Sealed in the Holy Spirit

“In whom we have received an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of the one who works all things according to the counsel of his will, to the end that we should exist to the praise of his glory — those who first hoped in Christ; in whom you also, in hearing the word… Read More

Existing to the Praise of His Glory

“In whom we have received an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of the one who works all things according to the counsel of his will, to the end that we should exist to the praise of his glory — those who first hoped in Christ; in whom you also, in hearing the word… Read More

Predestination and Human Freedom

“In whom we have received an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of the one who works all things according to the counsel of his will, to the end that we who exist to the praise of his glory — those who first hoped in Christ; in whom you also, in hearing the word… Read More

Saturday Word Study: “The Evil”

In the book of Judges, seven times the people are said to do “the evil” in the sight of the Lord. While most English translations ignore the definite article, preferring to translate it as “evil” or “evil things,” the Hebrew text clearly presents the term as a definite noun. The authors of this book of… Read More

The Summation of All Things

“making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Him as a plan for the fullness of time to sum up all things in Christ — that which is in the heavens and that which is on the earth, in Him.” (Ephesians 1:9-10) Why does God… Read More

Grace Abounding

“In Him we have deliverance through His blood — liberation from trespasses — according to the riches of His grace, which abounds to us in all wisdom and understanding,” (Ephesians 1:7-8) Grace is said to “abound to us in all wisdom and understanding.” Some Bible translations prefer the more poetic language of God “lavishing” his… Read More

We Need an Enemy…We Usually Choose the Wrong One

How else do you explain history? Even going back as far as Adam and Eve, they had an enemy in the serpent and chose to make God their enemy. Further, when confronted in their sin, Adam immediately turns on his wife and makes her his enemy rather than seeking to intercede and protect her. Look… Read More

“What Do You Have for My Children?”

As a pastor, that is a question I have often heard over the years. In most cases, what is being asked by parents is whether there are programs and opportunities at the church for their children to get involved. They want to know if there are youth groups, Sunday School classes, Vacation Bible Schools, and… Read More

The Abundance of Grace

“In Him we have deliverance through His blood — liberation from trespasses — according to the riches of His grace, which abounds to us in all wisdom and understanding,” (Ephesians 1:7-8) While we talk a lot about grace in the Christian world (and rightly so!), before we do so in this context, it seems appropriate… Read More

What Do I Look For in a Church?

That tends to be the question that we ask, isn’t it? This question drives the person who is “church shopping,” but it also drives the person who has chosen to remain in a church despite disagreements with the pastor or with the church’s leadership. Many surveys and polls that I have seen suggest that the… Read More

Deliverance!

“In Him we have deliverance through His blood — liberation from trespasses — according to the riches of His grace, which abounds to us in all wisdom and understanding,” (Ephesians 1:7-8) To start with, let’s talk about the idea of deliverance. In context, Paul parallels the idea with the phrase, “liberation from trespasses,” giving us… Read More

Rights and Privileges

In America, it is not an uncommon thing to hear discussions about rights and privileges. As a young man, I remember my father instructing me that I ought always to honor those who have sacrificed to protect the rights I had because even those rights that we believe to be unalienable can be lost if… Read More

Beloved in the Beloved

“to the praise of His glorious grace with which he has blessed us in the Beloved One.” (Ephesians 1:6) In the absolute sense, who is the beloved of God? Jesus. Does that mean that Christians are not beloved by God? Not at all; we are regularly called God’s beloved within the Scriptures (e.g. Romans 9:25;… Read More

The Pleasure of His Will

“Predestining us for adoption through Jesus Christ into Him, according to the pleasure of His will,” (Ephesians 1:5) The Pleasure of His will… I wonder whether we really take time to think about this phrase very often. God does this work of adoption through Christ not primarily for our good (though it is very much… Read More

Family

“And his mother and brothers came and standing outside they sent for him and called him. And there was a crowd sitting around him and they said to him, ‘Look, your mother and your brothers, they are looking for you.’ And he answered them saying, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking around… Read More

Adoption through Jesus Christ

“Predestining us for adoption through Jesus Christ into Him, according to the pleasure of His will,” (Ephesians 1:5) The doctrine of adoption is a blessed doctrine, indeed. Think about it this way, God’s work in Christ is not simply a matter of delivering us from eternal judgment, which indeed would be a blessed thing, yet… Read More

Predestination and Man’s Distorted View of Freedom

“Predestining us for adoption through Jesus Christ into Him, according to the pleasure of His will,” (Ephesians 1:5) Predestination is one of those words that often causes people to recoil. The funny thing is that the Bible uses the term six times in the New Testament, so somewhere along the way, people need to wrestle… Read More

The Unnecessary Member

In many biology textbooks, especially older ones, they speak about “vestigial organs.” The belief was that, as the human body “evolved,” there were left behind remains of previous stages of evolution and we are thus chock full of parts that are no longer needed. Examples if parts that are or were considered vestigial are things… Read More

Love of God in Christ

“Blessed is God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; blessing us with every spiritual heavenly blessing in Christ, just as he elected us in Him before the foundation of the cosmos to be holy and blameless before Him in love.” (Ephesians 1:3-4) The last clause in these verses is one that might go… Read More

Elected to Holiness

“Blessed is God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; blessing us with every spiritual heavenly blessing in Christ, just as he elected us in Him before the foundation of the cosmos to be holy and blameless before Him in love.” (Ephesians 1:3-4) It is worthwhile to dwell on this notion that God has… Read More