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Posted by Matt Postiff December 11, 2022 under Theology  Church 

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic* [universal] church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

*The true Christian church of all times and places, not the Roman Catholic church.

English translation from

Posted by Matt Postiff November 19, 2022 under Theology  Bible Texts 
Does the Bible teach in Revelation 10:6 that time will cease?

I noted an article by Gitt in 2013 cites Rev 10:6 to support the end of physical time.

This interpretation is highly suspect. Here is why. First, in Revelation 10:6, "time" (KJV) should be translated "delay." (See the third definition in the BDAG lexicon.) It refers to the fact that there will be no more delay until the mystery of God is finished. The end times will now fully unfold without further delay.

Second, in the context of the eternal state, Revelation 22:2 says that the tree of life which bears 12 fruits, will yield its fruit every month. Evidently the passage of time must occur for this to happen on a monthly basis. Therefore, time seems to continue in the eternal state. Someone might object that in eternity there is no need for the sun or moon. Perhaps those heavenly bodies cease to exist, and so the times they mark (days and months) cease as well. But note that months can be marked without the moon—in fact today we have months that do not correspond precisely to the lunar cycle.

Third, and more philosophically, I doubt that finite creatures can exist in a completely timeless way, for a movement from one location to another would take some time. What transpires as the creature is chewing the fruit of the tree of life? Being time-bound is a feature of finite creatures which distinguishes them from the only infinite being, God.

Fourth, the passage of time is not a negative feature in the heavenly state. Since time existed during the open days of the creation week prior to sin, and the passage of time did no harm to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, there seems to be no reason that it could not exist in the heavenly state.

There are parallels to this. Humans existed in physical bodies in the pre-fall state, and they will exist in physical bodies in the heavenly state. There are three-dimensional objects in the present existence, and there is no reason to suppose that this same sort of thing will exist in the future. After all, the three-dimensional human body of Jesus is approximately the same as the one He had post-resurrection. It exists in Heaven today, and is coming back the very same way (Acts 1:11). The heavenly state boasts a new heaven, earth, new city called Jerusalem with foundations, walls, and gates, a river, and a multi-fruited tree. Such things are similar to the 3-D kinds of things that exist today. I see no reason that time should have to disappear in the future.

Finally, when God created all things, including time, in Genesis 1:31 he said that it was "very good." There is no indication that time was bad, nor became bad simply because sin entered the world. Time is certainly used for sinful purposes, just like our human bodies may be used for sinful things. But time itself is not bad, and this is no reason to suppose it necessary to eliminate time in the eternal state.

I wrote on this subject a few years ago.

Posted by Matt Postiff November 4, 2022 under Theology 

I ran into this statement today from an author whose name is unknown to me:

The fact is, redemption has 'not yet' been applied to our mortal bodies in any sense.

Is this true?

I cannot imagine saying this statement to my church family in a sermon on Sunday. I believe it is wrong and leads in a wrong direction. It is like MacArthur's view of "un-redeemed flesh." I know where he gets the idea—that our bodies have not been glorified. True. But to say that redemption is not applicable to our mortal bodies in ANY SENSE is too much. All genuine Christians intuitively recognize that salvation does immediately apply to their bodies. We:

  1. present our members as instruments of righteousness to God (Rom. 6:13)
  2. present ourselves as slaves to obedience which leads to righteousness (Rom. 6:16)
  3. are slaves of righteousness, despite admitted fleshly weakness (Rom. 6:18, 19)
  4. put to death our members which are on the earth (Col. 3:5)
  5. seek the virtue of self control (Gal. 5:23) which is exercised both internally and externally with the body
  6. strive to possess our vessels in sanctification and honor (1 Thess. 4:4)
  7. do not hold the carnal Corinthian philosophy of "foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods" (1 Cor. 6:13)
  8. know that the body is not for immorality but for the Lord (1 Cor. 6:13)
  9. learn that our bodies are members of Christ (1 Cor. 6:15)
  10. know our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19)
  11. must glorify God in our bodies (1 Cor. 6:20)

This all sounds like redemption has 'already' been applied to our mortal bodies in some sense!

Posted by Matt Postiff November 4, 2022 under Theology  Kingdom of God 

I received this comment from an acquaintance:

Some people say there is no present fulfillment of the kingdom for believers. My difficulty in fully agreeing with them on this is based on passages such as Col. 1:13 and Rom. 14:17.

And another:

There is a present heavenly sphere of the Kingdom of God into which the Church has entered.

Here is how I reply to the above thoughts. It took me a little while to become untangled from the doctrine that there are many kingdoms—kingdom of God, kingdom of Heaven, spiritual kingdom, millennial kingdom, kingdom of Satan.

After much study, I came to agree with the statement that there is no present fulfillment of the kingdom for believers.

One big reason: I believe the disciples' prayer (commonly known as the Lord's prayer) in Matt. 6:10 is still relevant: "Your kingdom come." We should not pray for something to come if it is already here. We pray for the kingdom to come precisely because it is not present yet.

A second reason: "heavenly sphere" language is vague. It is better to say plainly something like this: church saints have not yet entered the kingdom; they have entered the CHURCH. That is what this present age is about—the church. We are not in the kingdom age. We are awaiting the coming of the kingdom. See for example Acts 14:22—we have not entered the kingdom of God yet, but we must through many tribulations enter into it. See also 2 Peter 1:11 and 2 Tim. 4:18 for forward-looking and entrance language regarding the kingdom.

A third: the sphere idea and the texts that are "troublesome" like Romans 14:17 and Col. 1:13 can be explained—fairly straightforwardly in my understanding—like this: when we are saved, we are immediately constituted as citizens of the future kingdom. Without being born again, we cannot see that kingdom, but being born again does not mean you immediately enter it. God is busy right now calling out a people for His name in the church, and preparing them to be members of the Kingdom which will come in the next dispensation.

As citizens and ambassadors of that kingdom, "kingdom ethics" should be displayed in our lives now, in advance of the king's coming. We are not citizens of the kingdom of darkness anymore. Our priorities are not food and drink, but righteousness, etc. Those ethics are not required of us because we are IN the kingdom, but because we are displaced citizens, ex-patriots, ambassadors of that kingdom to the kingdoms of this world.

This citizenship idea is a crucial notion for our relationship to God and this world. Our citizenship is indeed in heaven (Phil. 3:20) but the harsh fact is that we are not in heaven. Indeed, in Christ we have a place there (Eph. 2:6), but we are actually on earth. The heavenly connection demands something of us in the here and now.

Fourth: if a kingdom has a ruler, realm, and a functional actual reign, a quick look around the world will tell us that we are not in the kingdom at all because those features of the heavenly-kingdom-sort are not present. These features include spiritual and societal blessings that are just simply not present today.

Fifth, the Lord's parable in Luke 19:11-27 teaches that He was going to go away on a long journey to a far country. There He will receive a kingdom (be invested with the right to rule) and then return to actuate that rule. Christ has to be back on the earth for the kingdom to be operational. While He is away, other rulers are ruling.

Posted by Matt Postiff June 24, 2022 under Society 

Over the years I have heard professing Christians excuse their lax stance on abortion or even their vote for pro-abortion candidates by saying that there is nothing that is going to be done about abortion, so their stance or vote does not matter. No change is possible, abortion is fixed in law, so conservatives should "give it up."

This thought pattern became the philosophical underpinning that excused votes for godless candidates who were supposedly less personally objectionable or who had more experience, or were more "statesman-like," or who were more "compassionate," or who supported desirable entitlement programs.

In contrast, we always believed that our stance against abortion and vote against pro-abort candidates does matter to God, even if no change in abortion law seemed possible, so the whole way of lax thinking was flawed from the beginning.

In early May 2022 with the leak of a draft decision by the court that would flip Roe v. Wade, it seemed that something could be done about it. And now that the Supreme Court decision has come out (June 24, 2022), and something has been done about it, the wrongheadedness of those professing Christians is all the more clear. They were wrong that nothing could be done about abortion. For the voter, what could be done was to vote for a pro-life president and senators and state legislators and governors. These men and women could stand for the unborn to give them a voice and provide some level of protection to their lives. They did this through passing state laws, defending those laws in court, appointing pro-life justices, and confirming them to the court.

As an example of the effect that better abortion law can have, note the story from NPR that abortions were reduced from 5,400 in August 2021 to 2,200 in September 2021. This is a reduction of 60%. If all those moms stayed in Texas and did not travel to neighboring states to murder their children, approximately three-thousand two hundred lives were saved that otherwise would have been aborted. This is a lot of lives saved in a single month—more than died in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks (2,996).

If, on the other hand, some of those moms decided to be more careful and use birth control—or demand their men to use birth control—then some pregnancies were avoided. That is OK too, particularly if those potential parents were unwed, because little baby's lives were not murdered.

Beloved, righteousness always makes a difference, even if you think it will not. If you previously thought the way I describe above, please repent.

For those of you who are angry today because a precious right was taken away, recognize this please: God never thought you had a right to kill unborn children. The support for the right in the U.S. Constitution was very weak, because it did not really exist there either. And recognize too that all the SCOTUS decision does is to push the decision back to the people in their states and through their representatives. There is no reason to go berserk about this. In many states there will be little true change. For us Christians, that is a tragedy, because every womb with a baby in it should be a safe space for that baby.

Posted by Matt Postiff June 22, 2022 under Theology  Society  Bible Texts 

Today's question from a church attender:

What are your thoughts about how we are to think scripturally about our second amendment rights?

First, let us start by understanding the second amendment text:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The phrase "being necessary to the security of a free State" is a ground or reason clause. It would be equivalent to saying this: "Because a well-regulated militia is necessary to security of a free State", then the following right has to be maintained.

That right is that the people, who must be ready to defend the security of the free State, also necessarily must be able to keep and bear arms. These arms are firearms, in short, and of a sort that can be effective to defend the security of the State. To keep means to own or possess, a necessity for security. To bear means to carry and transport with and/or on their person, again, to be able at a moment's notice to defend the security of the free State. The security of the State starts with the security of individuals within the State, so that it can be rightly said that individual self defense is at the core of the second amendment.

To hobble the type of firearm to be ineffective in comparison to what would be used against the citizen, or to prohibit gun or other similar weapon ownership, or to make it illegal to carry the weapon where it may be needed to provide security—all three of these restrictions are not permitted to the State. The constitution restricts the ability of the State in these areas. These would all be forms of infringement on the right of the people to defend the security of their persons and property.

The limitation in the constitution also serves to limit the power of the State against its citizens. History shows very clearly that when a people is disarmed, they are then often subject to horrific abuses of power and death at the hands of the State. The limitation on power imposed by the second amendment is very useful because people are depraved (a basic Christian teaching), and groups of people gathered into governmental agencies are also depraved. Their power needs to be limited to limit the damage of their depravity.

It should be rather obvious that this right is to be protected for individuals, not just corporate militias. Since militias are not even common these days, a militia-only interpretation would gut the amendment of its practical protections for the rights of the people. The point is that the people had to keep and bear arms so that they could join together in their militias to protect the security of the state.

Now, how is the Christian to think about this? Does this accord with Scriptural teaching?

The right of a person to defend himself or herself is present in Scripture. Consider the following:

Exodus 22:2 If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed.

The homeowner is permitted to defend the security of his family, even by taking the life of a night-time intruder. The assumption is that a threat to personal safety justifies even homicide. The homeowner would not be guilty of murder in that case.

The astute reader will notice verse 3:

Exodus 22:3 If the sun has risen on him, there shall be guilt for his bloodshed. He should make full restitution; if he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.

The difference is the daylight. If a thief comes during the day to steal property, then taking his life is not justified, and the homeowner would be guilty of bloodshed. However, if at night, the intentions of the intruder are not well understood, and in the confusion of the situation, the homeowner is given the benefit of the doubt. This mirrors advice that I heard from a police officer once. He said when people break into a home at night, they do not have good things planned for the residents there. This justifies using deadly force if necessary to protect the lives of the occupants.

On the other hand, if a homeowner has daylight enough to see a thief carrying away his big screen TV, the homeowner is not justified to shoot the thief. That would certainly land the homeowner in jail, because the response was disproportionate to the crime. Only when death or great bodily harm is likely can deadly force be justified. Property crimes do not merit or justify the death penalty. The men who killed Ahmaud Arbery should have learned this fact long before they committed their heinous act against a man who they (wrongly) believed to be guilty of a property crime. Now they are justly jailed because of what they did.

One would be safe to assume that if the home invader comes in armed with an instrument of death, the homeowner should be able to "keep and bear" an arm of equal or greater firepower to defend his life. Thus the second amendment is not at all out of accord with Biblical teaching.

Guns did not exist during Bible times. However, another deadly weapon—the sword—did exist. Listen to the words of Jesus:

Luke 22:36 Then He said to them, "But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one."

Here the Lord expressly tells His disciples to acquire a sword. Does that sound strange coming from the lips of Jesus? Not if you understand that He is speaking of the "new normal" for the disciples. Previously, (see v. 35) He had sent them out with special divine provision. They would be cared for by a special divine providence. But now, He is sending them out again, after He will be gone, and they will be going out as sheep among wolves. This is the new normal. While they will try to be as harmless as doves, this does not mean that they cannot defend themselves from robbers or murderers. This is what the sword is for. It is not for offensive use, forcing conversions or enforcing a "Christian law" upon the places where we live. It is for defensive use. It is most obviously not for show. Like the Roman police, we do not "bear the sword in vain" (Romans 13:4). If it is carried, it is meant to be used in those situations where it is needed.

What are some objections to this?

I heard a very well-known evangelical preacher say that he would not use a gun against an intruder, for the criminal presumably needs eternal life, and the preacher already has it. If the preacher shoots the invader, then the invader goes to Hell. If the criminal shoots the preacher, the preacher goes to heaven, so he does not have anything to worry about in the end.

I respond to that objection this way: I have more than myself to "worry" about. I have a family—wife, children, and perhaps house guests, some of whom may not be going to heaven yet. I am charged with their safety, like Lot who welcomed two angels into his home instead of letting them stay overnight in the dangerous city square (Genesis 19:2-3, 8). Also, I feel that I have a moral duty to not only help when I see a person in need where it is safe to help them, but also, if necessary, to assist in the task of restraining evil where it pops up its ugly head. I certainly would rather not have to do that, and hope never to have to do so. But if it comes down to a question of "me or him" I know which I will lean toward. The innocent homeowner must not feel guilty if he defends himself. It is the criminal intruder who was in the wrong the entire time.

I take it then that the Lord could equivalently say, "he who has no gun, let him sell his garment and buy one." There is nothing wrong with the second amendment, and Christians can support it and defend it thoroughly. There is nothing wrong with guns of all sorts and sizes.

In this day and age, however, there is increasingly something wrong with people who have access to guns. Witness the Uvalde, Texas school shooting, or the many other gun, knife, or bomb crimes committed by mentally disturbed individuals around our land and throughout the world. Making new restrictive laws does not solve those problems, it only shifts them around. What we find most often, as in the Uvalde case, is a cascade of errors that resulted in a tragedy. The young man should never have had access to weapons because he was deeply disturbed. He was mentally incompetent to be responsible with a firearm.

One other point. Let us suppose that the elected officials in this land change the law to ban guns or certain kinds of guns. Or suppose that the second amendment were repealed. Would that justify an uprising of the gun-owning public? From a Christian standpoint, no, it would not justify revolution. It would be very undesirable to the ongoing of a free people, and it would be bad, and it would be out of accord with the founding spirit of our country, but if passed lawfully, it would be the new law of the land, and that law should be obeyed (1 Peter 2:13, Romans 13:1-2).

Posted by Matt Postiff June 20, 2022 under Theology  Bible Texts 

How do you inform someone who makes the following assertion:

Christians believe in polytheism—they have three gods.

The best way is to explain that we believe what the Bible says, and then let Scripture speak for itself (all quotations from ESV):

1 Corinthians 8:4-6 ...there is no God but one. For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"—yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
Ephesians 4:5-6 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all...
Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
Isaiah 43:10 Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.
Isaiah 44:6 Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: "I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god." (See also verse 8.)
Isaiah 45:5 I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God.
Isaiah 45:6 That people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other.
Isaiah 45:18 I am the LORD, and there is no other (see also 45:21, 22).
Isaiah 46:9 for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me...

After demonstrating that the oneness of God is a foundational truth of the Christian faith, you can explain that the one God exists as three persons sharing a single divine essence. This is the doctrine of the Trinity. Hard to understand? Certainly, because God is not like we are. God is not a human being. He is an infinite, un-caused, un-created, no-beginning being who is unique. There is no one else like him.

Posted by Matt Postiff June 17, 2022 under Interpretation  Theology  Bible Texts 

Today's question:

Romans 3:30 says that one God will justify the circumcision by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Why are two different prepositions used?

First, let's double check that there are in fact two different prepositions in the Greek text, and there are: the first is "ek" faith and the second is "dia" faith.

Now to the question of why this is. Bottom line: this is most likely a stylistic variation and the prepositions are not conveying any difference at all.

This conclusion is supported by the truth gleaned from our systematic theology studies that there is only ONE way of salvation, by grace through faith. There is not one way for Jews and a different way for Gentiles. There is no such thing as a dual covenant or "automatic pass" for Jews because they are "God's people." Today, if they do not exercise faith in the Messiah Jesus, they cannot be saved. And if Gentiles do not exercise faith in the Messiah Jesus, they cannot be saved either.

Douglas Moo points out that there are two other places where these prepositions are neighbors to each other with the same object (The Epistle to the Romans, NICNT, p. 252):

Romans 11:36 ESV For from (ek) him and through (dia) him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
2 Peter 3:5 ESV For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out (ek) of water and through (dia) water by the word of God...

In these verses, context demonstrates that the different prepositions do mean different things, that is, they are not used as synonyms. But in the context of Romans 3:30, they are used as synonyms.

This reminds me of an important principle of interpretation: you have to be VERY sure if you are building a big theological point on a small preposition (or two). Prepositions are outsized in their importance in language in general, and in Scripture particularly, in that they modify and connect ideas together to create larger and more significant ideas. But they are not that outsized whereby you can undermine a clear theological truth with an argument based on a dubious distinction between what can most easily be explained as synonyms.

You are saved by faith. You are saved through faith. Those two sentences mean the same thing. And thank God for them, otherwise we would not be saved at all!

Posted by Matt Postiff June 16, 2022 under Theology 

One of our church leaders wrote to me a few months ago about what he called a "strange shortage of workers" in spite of the high demand for jobs by employers (over 10 million at this writing). I would add that the large number of side-lined workers and people on unemployment (today numbering over 1 million) make the causes of this worker shortage somewhat mysterious. Where did all the workers go? This has become an issue at corporate meetings and in the media.

The person who was communicating with me commented that this whole scenario represents an opportunity for Christians to stand out as being different, which we are in everything, including labor. I agree with him.

Although I am unable to determine the root causes of the great worker shortage, let me offer a few thoughts sparked by my friend at church:

1. Wages are stagnant. They are not keeping up with inflation. If wages are going up at 3%, that sounds wonderful. But with inflation at 8.6%, that means wages are actually going down by 5%, more or less. It can be a depressing situation. But this does not mean that Christians give up work. God put Adam in the Garden of Eden to work the garden. Work is a gift from God, and it is something we can do and enjoy to a certain extent.

2. The government dole is easy to access. Many people are on unemployment. Some are on disability but are perfectly able to hold some job—not any job, but some job. We have a dear senior citizen in our church who has a disability and rightly receives disability support. But she wants to work, and does work, to supplement at the level she physically is able, and within the constraints of her low income housing and such. My point is that she works. Good for her!

3. There is a poor work ethic. An entitlement mentality exists in many people whereby they feel that they are "owed" some basic level of subsistence. The calls for UBI (universal basic income) and other "free" money are manifestations of this. Christians should be far away from this trend. Any family man who, in this economy, is out of work for any length of time is not looking hard enough for work. It is not as if there are 1 million job openings and 10 million seekers. There are 10 million job openings and 1 million seekers. It is easy to find work. You might not like the work, but that is why it is called work! If a man will not work, then neither should he eat! (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

4. Anecdotally, I spoke with a business owner in our area who said that he has noticed many families are switching gears to have mom stay at home. This trend is because, according to his explanation, sending the kids to daycare at $400 per week means that mom earning $650 outside of the home per week does not get the family significantly farther ahead, when you consider the other costs of having a second vehicle, gas, insurance, etc. The American Psychological Association laments the movement of women out of the workforce. They attribute it to "insidious societal messages that women should be mothers and that mothers should put their families first...Instead of opting out...women are being pushed out." I actually rejoice at this trend because children need mom at home. That is ridiculed as an old-fashioned patriarchal thing to say, but many women are recognizing the blessing of being at home with their children in the young years. If you want to be a mom at home, go for it! There is nothing wrong with it, and there is no higher calling to which you can aspire than to influence the next generation.

I have long believed that the entrance of many women into the workforce over the years has had the completely predictable impact of increasing worker supply; this depresses wages. As a result, it has become harder for a family to make it on the income of one spouse. But if some (women) pull out of the work force, this reduces the supply of workers and should push up wages a bit. I do not count that as an "insidious" thing.

5. There is the great resignation. Some of these resignations were what we might call permanent, but others were simply to move on to another better job. Some people left work because they disagreed with the COVID and vaccination policies of their employers (either too strict or too lenient). Others left their job because the pandemic caused them to realize things about their quality of life, dissatisfaction with their career, or a desire for more liberal remote-work policies.

Posted by Matt Postiff June 7, 2022 under Society  Bible Texts 

A website visitor asked the following:

I would like to know if slavery was ordained by God and tehreby existed in the Old and New Testament to reflect God's order (like marriage)? Or, was slavery man-made, and, thus, more of a reflection of culture and man-made traditions? Which is it?

I prepared a brief answer that I shared last Sunday evening. Basically, this is it: Slavery was not created by God to reflect creation order. It is therefore unlike marriage. God did not "institute" slavery in the way that most westerners understand slavery. It came about as a result of the sin of man. Slavery was therefore man-made.

However, everything that comes to pass is ordained/permitted by God, so we would have to say that in some sense, God did ordain slavery, just like he did all other sins. I understand slavery to be unlike marriage, but more like divorce in that slavery and divorce were not instituted by God but God permitted and regulated them because of the sinfulness of the human heart.

The Law which God gave through Moses did make provision for a kind of slavery that we could call debt-servitude. It was used instead of what we have—modern bankruptcy—and to avoid imprisonment for petty thieves. Instead, they had to work off their restitution if they could not pay it up front.

Probably the most important passage on the subject—at least for a modern westerner—is this: Exodus 21:16. In that section, God outlaws man-stealing. The entire slave trade in early American history was based on this method of obtaining and selling and buying slaves. It was an abominable enterprise from start to finish—and God made it clear by assigning it the death penalty.

Here are the messages I preached on this subject in 2016:

The Bible and Slavery, Part 1

The Bible and Slavery, Part 2

The Bible and Slavery, Part 3

Another brief but helpful resource.

Posted by Matt Postiff April 26, 2022 under Church 

Many churches do not understand the importance of local church membership. They do not talk about it or care about it. It is as if that level of "commitment" is too much for many people to handle. Even our church family, in years past, did not emphasize membership. Let me share with you the words of one of our members who wrote them in response to an answer I gave to one of his questions:

I think our membership in the church is very important. As you know, one of the main reasons I wanted to become a member was to be held accountable by the church. Being held accountable is an act of love. It is too bad so many people name the name of Christ but do not view church as important as they should. The assembly of the brethren is forsaken too easily as the cares of this world are deemed more important.

Maybe using a sports analogy will help. Today, many Christians want to exist in a state of permanent free agency. They do not want to commit to anything. They want to say they are followers of Christ, and they "stand with" the church, but not too strongly, because when things get a little sticky, they want to disappear without any accountability.

Posted by Matt Postiff March 1, 2022 under Theology 

At some point when I was studying Matthew 12:1-14 a few months back, I jotted this note down, but I do not know where it came from or if I came up with it:

Christianity provides the rest and joy of an internal righteousness wrought by God, in contrast to the blasting burden of legal regulations and mere external obedience required by attempting to earn favor with God.

Obviously my thoughts were not on justification at the time, which provides a "from-elsewhere" alien righteousness for forensic justification. That in addition to the transformation created in regeneration gives the believer a package of righteousness before God and in the heart that is a source of great joy and rest.

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