The state of being described in the scriptures as “in Christ” is unique. It describes a special, personal relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is a relationship so deeply meaningful that I’m not sure we can fully understand all that goes with it. It is not simply having a relationship with Christ, it is truly being in Him. Indeed, the scriptures speak of being “baptized into Christ” (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27).
There is an exhortation in scripture that is appropriate for all people of all ages seeking truth on any subject: “Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord…” (Isa. 1:18). Truth need not fear examination. Indeed, genuine truth shines all the brighter under the microscope of scrutiny. The apostle Peter instructed to “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;” (1 Pet. 3:15).
A Christian should stand out in the crowd. Not in the sense that he should purposely call undue attention to himself, but from the perspective of character a Christian should be distinct from the world.
In a previous article we noted that many people are very uncomfortable with the idea that there could be a place called Hell wherein God would assign to eternal punishment the souls of the unrighteous. Looking to the scriptures, God’s word, we learned that the Greek word most commonly rendered “Hell” in our English translations is “Gehenna.,” a specific word that identifies a definite place. “Gehenna” is used twelve times in the New Testament, eleven of those by the Lord Himself. Repeatedly it is used in phrases such as “cast into Hell” (Matt. 5:29, 30; Mk. 9:45; Lk. 12:5), “destroyed in Hell” (Matt. 10:28), “cast into Hell fire” (Matt. 18:9; Mk. 9:47) and “to go to Hell“ (Mk. 9:43). Reading objectively, it is nearly impossible to conclude anything other than Hell is a real place!
Many people are most uncomfortable with the concept of a place of punishment called “Hell” in scripture. Many believe Hell to be inconsistent with their concept of a loving, kind, merciful God of grace. Well, is Hell real?
I enjoy watching the Olympic games. Besides the enjoyment factor, they have at least a couple of good effects for society as a whole that may not get much notice. First, they’ve provide television programming that’s pretty family oriented and also rather compelling to watch. What a change that is! Second, they provide repeated and emphatic visual lessons that demonstrate that being ever so close to victory is still defeat.
What’s the best thing a mother can do for her child? Certainly, one of the strongest desires in the heart of a mother is for the welfare and well being of her child. Typically speaking, little compares with the devotion of a mother to her child. Motherly love is one of the greatest examples of compassion in the human experience. There is little that a mother would not do to save or protect her child, even to the point of giving her life. So, what’s the best thing a mother can do for her child?
Jesus stated, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Think about what that statement says. First, we can know truth. Jesus said so. Some people think that truth is relative. They believe that truth changes based on time, circumstances and personal feeling and interpretation. They see truth as fluid, always adjusting, changing. What is true today may not be true tomorrow, and then it may be true again next week. Jesus, however, settled the matter. His statement is unequivocal; we can know truth!
Just how much do we need God? Even the most faithful and dedicated people probably do not really think much on a daily basis about how much they truly need God. If we’re asked the question, most all of us would quickly affirm that we need God every step of the way, every day. But most of us probably do not demonstrate that realization much in the way we live our lives. We get caught up in all of the busy-ness of daily living. Well, do we really need God?
The apostle Paul stated, “but one thing I do...” (Phlp. 3:13). In this chapter, Paul talked about himself in order to illustrate his point. From a perspective of bloodline and heritage, he had excellent credentials. He could trace his bloodline back to the tribe of Benjamin. His bloodline was pure, being a Hebrew born of Hebrew parents. On the surface, his spiritual credentials also appeared most impressive. He was a Pharisee, meticulous in keeping the law of Moses and zealous enough to be an aggressive persecutor of the church (vs. 4-6).
Gary L. Hutchens