Monday, December 1, 2014

A Virgin Birth

The Virgin Birth of the Lord Jesus Christ has always been a vital part of evangelical theology. Mary conceived supernaturally. Joseph had nothing to do with her conception. That Christ was virgin-born was numbered among five of the fundamentals of the historic Christian faith. The inspiration and authority of the Bible, the Deity of Christ, the substitutionary atonement of Christ, and the bodily resurrection and second coming of Christ are the other four items.

Christ’s virgin birth means the Holy Spirit of God was the efficient cause of her conception. He supernaturally produced the effect or result of it.

Is this a cardinal doctrine of the historic Christian faith? Indeed, it is and therefore it is very important. Why? you may ask. It is because of the clear teaching of Scripture. This doctrine determines whether we have a naturalistic or a supernaturalistic Christ. By means of Jesus’ virgin birth God the Father kept His Son from receiving a sin nature from Joseph or Mary. This belief is not what Roman Catholicism calls the immaculate conception of Mary. She was not without sin or free from original sin but supernaturally Christ was and is free from sin.

Scriptural support for Christ’s Virgin Birth is given by Matthew, Luke, and John. Matthew’s quotation (1:23) of Isaiah 7:14 makes very clear that virgin is the intended meaning of almah which was used by Isaiah. Also, Matthew’s use of the feminine relative singular pronoun “of whom“ (Matthew 1:16) provides strong support because Matthew associated Christ’s birth with Mary only. After all, she was with child “before” she and Joseph “came together” (Matthew 1:18). Luke, the physician, records the angel’s explanation to Mary of her pregnancy (Luke 1:34-35). John, the beloved disciple, assigns God as the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ and thus affirmed the Virgin Birth (John 8:19-48).

Monday, November 3, 2014


    Perhaps you have never heard what the title “Dispensationalism” for this Thought for the Day means. Or maybe you have heard or seen the word but those who used it gave the impression it should be avoided at all cost. It has been said that its teaching is heretical, dangerous and a false teaching.

    John Gerstner has called dispensationalism “a cult and not a branch of the Christian church.” John Bowman in his criticism of the Scofield Reference Bible, which includes dispensational teaching, says dispensationalism is the most dangerous heresy currently to be found within Christian circles.” A number of other descriptions of the system have been called “modernism,” “unscriptural,” and “heresy.” As Charles Ryrie has said in his Dispnsationalism, the system has been attacked intellectually and historically.

    All the attacks and slanders against Dispensationalism have been addressed and answered but to little avail. Dispensationalism is a system of theology which sets forth that God has dealt with mankind differently in different time periods and in different stages of His revelation to man.

    Dispensationalists generally believe there are seven of these time periods. They are named: Innocence, Conscience, Human Government, Promise, Law, Grace, and Kingdom. These seven are also called economies. Unfortunately, critics have insisted that dispensationalists believe in seven different ways of salvation based on the seven dispensations. Nothing could be further from the truth. In his book titled Dispensationalism Dr. Ryrie lists three dispensations mentioned by the apostle Paul, He uses Ephesians 1:10; 3:2; and Colossians 1:25-26 to support his claim. In closing it should be pointed out that in the first two of these references the Greek word translated “dispensation” is used by Paul in the same way the dispensationalists use it.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Is God Handicapped?

Imagine it! An increasing number of “evangelicals” have left their church ministries and have become a part of what they call “Open Theism.” What do they mean by that designation? They insist and are spreading abroad that the God of the Bible knows all the past and all the present but He does not know the future because it has not happened yet. In other words, their God does not know how humans will respond to future decisions that they will be called upon to make. Their God waits for man to see what and how he will respond to issues before He learns how we humans decided. If that is the case, God is indeed handicapped.

In contrast to such a view, the Bible tells us that the triune God of Scripture not only knows perfectly the past and the present but all the future as well. If the God of “Open Theism” does not know the future, how are we to understand all the prophecies of Scripture yet unfulfilled?

The Bible declares that God knows from eternity past what will be in eternity future (Isaiah 46:9-10; Acts 15:18). He knows everything in nature (Psalm 147:4; Matthew 10:29). He knows the ways of all people (Psalm 139:2-4; Proverbs 5:21; Amos 9:2-4) and He knows believers in a special way as His own (2 Timothy 2:19). The believer’s sorrows (Exodus 3:7), needs (Matthew 6:8, 32), and details of life (Matthew 10:30 are all known by God. He knows it all! If He does not, He is not the God of the Bible!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Freedom by the Payment of a Price

The title for this article is what is meant by Old Testament and New Testament words for sin. There are three related and progressive ideas in the New Testament words translated “redeem,” “redemption” and “bought.” Let me explain these words from their usage in Scripture.

Purchase or “bought” is even used of those who refuse what Christ has done for them on the cross. The apostle Peter put it this way: “But there are also false prophets among the people even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord Who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction” (2 Peter 2:1).

Security is also a vital part of redemption. Paul, the apostle, made this very clear to the Galatian believers: “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us–for it is written, cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” (Galatians 3:13). The word used here is even stronger than the word Peter used in 2 Peter 2:1. “Redeemed” in Galatians 3:13 means the purchased one, the redeemed one, has been removed from the slave market of sin never to be put on sale again.

Freedom is another wonderful benefit and blessing for the redeemed. Again, Peter wrote, “ were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers” (1 Peter 1:18). In other words, the redeemed is taken from the slave market and is ransomed, released and set free. The child of God no longer needs to be a slave, in bondage to sin and Satan. Redemption has delivered the believer from sin’s fetters and has given him a new Master, Christ Jesus our Lord!

Monday, July 7, 2014


This is one of four major accomplishments that Christ provided in His death on the cross. We will present the remaining three in subsequent articles.

The Savior died to satisfy the demands of the offended righteousness of God the Father. He died in the sinner’s place. True, He also died for the sinner’s benefit. But that does not fully describe the nature and purpose of His finished work.

The strongest expression of Christ’s substitutionary death is given with the Greek preposition anti translated “for.” Christ Himself used this word when He said, “Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). Christ died in the sinner’s place. He died instead of the condemned.

The Savior also said of His cross work, “For this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28). The apostle Paul wrote the same to his son in the faith, Timothy. “Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:6).

How wonderful! Christ paid the debt we owed. He died in the sinner’s place. Salvation is therefore full and free.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Who Are Christians?

The word “Christian” seems to be getting broader and broader in its intended meaning. Webster’s New World Dictionary defines the word as “a masculine name ... A Christian person professing belief in Jesus as the Christ.” Bunyan in his Pilgrim’s Progress depicts a refugee fleeing the City of Destruction and calls his name Christian. Webster further defines Christians as those who profess the religion based on Jesus’ teachings.

The word “Christian” appears only three times in the Bible. In Acts 11:26 we are told that Barnabas went to Tarsus looking for Saul. He found him and brought him from Tarsus to Antioch. There Saul and Barnabas worked with the local church for a year. They were blessed of God and many Jews and Gentiles became believers in Christ and became His disciples and were called Christians for the first time.

In Acts 26:28 King Agrippa said to Paul the apostle that Paul might in a short time persuade him to become a Christian. Whether he became a believer later or not, we do not know, however.

Peter reminds his readers, “If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name” (1 Peter 4:16).

 It is very clear that in all three of these texts the term Christian refers to those who follow Christ. They belong to Him. They are His people. The Bible also makes clear that one becomes a Christian, a “follower of Christ,” when he/she accepts Jesus as the One who died in his, the sinner’s, place. One does not become a Christian by simply doing good or being good. Christians are children of God because they have been born again.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Thought For The Day: Worship

There seems to be a lot of talk about worship these days, especially in churches with worship leaders.

One of the Hebrew words used in the Old Testament indicates that to worship God is to bow down, to prostrate one’s self before Him. In this way, respect, adoration, and love are displayed.

Another Hebrew word is used which gives the idea of serving the one worshipped. The external form of the worship should be expressing that which is the inner reality of humility and service for the Lord. When this is true, God is well pleased.

The New Testament words for worship carry the same meanings and significance as those in the Old Testament. Jesus said, “You shall WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY’ (Luke 4:8). “God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). John the apostle said, “Fear GOD, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters” (Romans 14:7).

Surely, biblical worship is more than a happy, joyous feeling. It is not a mere religious ritual either. Physical body movement to certain kinds of music and beat does not equate worship any more than a quiet solemn spirit does.

What then is true biblical worship? Of course, there are various kinds and places for the child of God to worship Him. It can be done quietly as an individual or in a group in church or outside of church. We can worship as we reflect on God’s Word when we are riding a bike, praying, listening to the exposition of God’s Word, running, walking, or driving a vehicle. In other words, the child of God can and should give serious attention, adoration, and thanksgiving at all times for who God is and all He has done and is dong for us.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Thought For The Day: He Is Not Here; He Has Risen (Luke 24:6)

Women came to the tomb where Jesus was buried and they found the stone rolled away from the entrance and the body of Jesus was not there. He was not there. He had risen from the dead! The term Easter has a pagan background. It was the word used to describe the festival named for the Saxon Goddess Eostre, of Ostara, a European form of Astarte.

We might ask, What do all the hunts for colored hidden eggs and cute little rabbits have to do with the resurrection of Christ? The answer is, They have absolutely nothing to do with it.

Our Lord Jesus Christ paid the total price for the sins of all mankind. And His resurrection from the grave on the third day after His crucifixion is proof that God accepted that substitution, that payment for our sins. The gospel message includes Christ’s full payment for our sins and it also includes His resurrection from the grave. The apostle Paul put it plainly in Romans 4:25: Christ was “delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.” He said the same thing to the Corinthian believers: “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:4).

As some have suggested, let’s change the name Easter Sunday to Resurrection Sunday in our homes and our churches.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Spiritual Adoption

Many are the wonderful blessings God showers upon His sons and daughters who accept Him as their personal Savior. Among these is adoption into the family of God.

My wife and I have three married daughters. The youngest of these is Natalie. Her husband’s last name is Steitz. In addition to their own seven children they took in Gisell and Serenity as foster children and then later adopted them into their family. Before all that could take place, the agencies made visits to be sure the girls would be carefully cared for.

Adoption into the family of God is one of the many blessings of being a believer, a member of God’s family. It is one of the riches of God’s grace. The apostle Paul informed his believing readers that they had “received a spirit of adoption as sons, not a spirit of slavery leading to fear again” (Romans 8:15). All those under the Law who received Christ as their Savior were “adopted as sons” (Romans 4:5). They became heirs “through God” (v. 7). They had the full rights and privileges as sons in God’s family. The same is true of all believers today. We are sons and daughters of God. We have been adopted as His children as a result of our redemption.

The truth of God’s adoption of His children is primarily a New Testament truth taught by the apostle Paul. However, there are examples of the truth of adoption in the Old Testament even though there is no Hebrew term for adoption. Abraham, for example, viewed his servant as his heir when God had not given him one (Genesis 15:30). Here is another example of a similar case of adoption in the Old Testament even though a Hebrew word for adoption is not used. This would be when Pharaoh’s daughter cared for Moses and “adopted” him as her own (Exodus 2:10).

Imagine it! The believing sinner is adopted, placed as an adult son, by God Himself and becomes an heir of God in His family. That is very special!

Monday, February 3, 2014


When used as a noun, Webster says of doubt that it is “a wavering of opinion or belief; a condition of uncertainty.”

But what about doubt in spiritual areas? Yes, even Bible-believing Christians sometimes doubt precisely what God says is so in His Word. Many of God’s servants have had periods of doubt. In fact, Satan works hard to discourage and make God’s people ineffective in their life and ministry.

John Knox, a great Scottish reformer, confessed that at times he experienced doubts of the very promises of God. Increase Mathes, a staunch Puritan spokesman for God, admitted in his diary that he was sometimes tempted to be an atheist. One more example of the above is Martin Luther, the great reformer. Sometimes for a week at a time, he confessed, he had periods of doubt.

What can we do when we have times of doubt? First of all, we must never choose to reject God’s Word which is truth. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). In other words, He is truth personified. We need to remember too that each believer is in conflict with the devil himself who is God’s enemy and ours also. We need to fill our minds with God and reaffirm our faith in Him.

I like what Dennis DeHaan wrote to help us in times of doubt:

“The devil is subtle, deceptive, and sly;
He’s clever and tricks us to swallow his lie,
But his cunning methods we’re sure to discern
By making God’s warnings our daily concern.”

Monday, January 6, 2014

Who Is The Christ of Christmas

His birth is far more important and significant than the birth of any other person who ever lived on planet earth and whoever will live on planet earth. Pilate said of Him. “I find no fault in this man” (Luke 23:4). Judas, His betrayer said, “I have sinned in that I have betrayed innocent blood” (Matt. 27:4). The centurion said, “Certainly this was a righteous man” (Luke 23:47). John the Baptist, His forerunner said, “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Peter said to Christ, You are, “the Christ of God” (Luke 9:20). Doubting Thomas said of Christ that He was “Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 8:39). God the Father declared of Christ, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17).

Christ, for many, is no longer the heart, the center, of the Christmas celebration. More and more commercialism has taken the Christ of the Bible out of Christmas for many. He has been replaced by things which often distract from Him instead of giving honor and exaltation to Him. In some public places it is considered illegal to have nativity scenes and nativity plays and even to sing Christmas carols.

[Next year] Let’s make every effort to teach our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren the true meaning of Christmas. Let’s put Christ back into Christmas and keep Him there. We must never forget that the Christ of Christmas was born of Mary and became the God-Man who died in the sinner’s place and was victorious over the grave.