Women are Equal Heirs with Men in Christ

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In calling both Christian men and women sons, the Bible is saying that we enjoy the same privileged legal status and benefits as sons did in the time of Paul’s writing. This doesn’t exclude women in any way. Rather, in New Testament days the family life and inheritance were passed on through the sons, not the daughters, and by calling men and women “sons,” the Bible bestows on both the highest honor and most privileged familial position in that culture. Men and women are equally adopted with equal legal standing and an equal inheritance from God the Father.

From Mark Driscoll’s Who Do you Think You Are?: Finding Your True Identity in Christ (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2013), p. 235 n.6.

My wife and I just “happened” to find this book at a local Savers yesterday as we shopped for clothes 50% off. I love it when God gives us surprises like this!

Overcoming BSL : Bible as a Second Language

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From Tim Kimmel over at the Desiring God blog:

With tweets, blog posts, predigested podcasts, and fingertip access each week to downloads of some of the most engaging Bible teachers in the world, it’s tempting to develop an on-going input of the Bible at the hands of others that overshadows, or even eclipses, input from personal time spent pouring over it on our own.

The drive-by options we have to phenomenal biblical insights can easily meet our need for spiritual satisfaction. Forget the possibility that much of it may be the equivalent of spiritual junk food — great insights and observations that feel good being consumed but can’t possibly provide a well-balanced biblical diet. Throw in some white noise from our preferred theological hot buttons, and the evangelical celebrity status of our favorite Bible teachers, and we shouldn’t be surprised that our primary connection to God becomes one or more steps removed from God himself.

What’s the solution? Kimmel offers these thoughts:

bible_as_second_langugeOur limitless access to prepackaged devotional, inspirational, and theological insights from others can unwittingly give us a BSL — Bible as a Second Language — orientation on God. But intimacy with him is better reached via a firsthand relationship through his word than through someone else’s translation of it on our behalf. There’s a place for both — God has given us teachers (Ephesians 4:11). We simply must be careful becoming so co-dependent on the one that we fail to do due diligence with the other.

I would not venture to legalistically propose what this personal arrangement should look like or how often it should be practiced. But I am claiming here that our relationship with God is always better served when it’s primarily gained by our personal interaction with him through his word than impersonally through the second-hand offerings of his word by others — regardless of how wonderful they may be.

The impact of the gospel in our hearts and its grace-covered application in our lives will always be easier to enjoy when we resist the temptation to keep the Bible as our second language and instead insist on turning it into our native tongue.

I know I’m guilty of “BSL” so often. To me, it feels so much easier to follow the blogs of Christian pastors and theologians I respect. Or to occasionally listen to or watch a part of a sermon by one of my favorite online pastors and call it good. I think that most of us struggle with this. But I think Kimmel is right: “our relationship with God is always better served when it’s primarily gained by our personal interaction with him through his word.” How do we help each other make the Bible our native tongue? One way I know is the following. Reader of my blog: please read your Bible more than you read my blog. Always.

HT: Tim Challies

Abortion & “Women’s Health”

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From a Facebook post from Mike Huckabee on 6/24/13:

[Liberals] demand the right of carrying out the death penalty on an unborn child at any time for any reason and even insist that it all be called ‘women’s health.’ Can’t be too healthy for the baby, and if it’s a little girl baby, I would think that would be bad for that little woman’s health.

womens_healthI wonder how many liberals (or anyone else) actually think through this logic. I am persuaded that Huckabee is right on the money: if “women’s health” was what is truly important, then the life of the little woman (or man) in the womb would be just as equally precious and valuable as the woman carrying the young one. As a nation, then, we couldn’t justify “eliminating” the young woman or man because we would clearly see that as unjustly murdering a helpless, defenseless life in the womb.

I think these thoughts ultimately lead back to the question of when the entity inside the womb is human. It seems the only consistent (and certainly apparent) answer would be at conception. Otherwise, we are left to decide for ourselves this question:

So the question I have for you is what is the moral difference between what Dr. Gosnell did to a baby born alive at 23 weeks [he murdered the baby] and aborting her moments before birth?

This very question was posed recently to Rep. Nancy Pelosi by a reporter from The Weekly Standard. If you want to see her response, go here (spoiler: she avoids the question).

The Bible is clear that while little men or women are inside their mother’s womb, God knows them intimately. Consider these verses:

13       For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14       I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15       My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16       Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:13-16)

God said to Jeremiah the prophet:
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations. (Jeremiah 1:5)

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby [John the Baptizer] leaped in her womb. (Luke 1:39-41a)

Certainly these passages (and others) indicate that to God, people inside their mother’s womb are in fact people. God forms and knits them together in the womb! God sees the undeveloped baby! These facts are true not only of those babies who are fortunate enough to make it alive outside the womb (aka “are born”) as one looks in hindsight, but true of all babies in the womb, even if they don’t make it out alive. In the case of Jeremiah, even before he was formed in the womb, God knew him! And with John, he somehow leapt inside his mommy!

nephew_benjamin

My cute nephew Benjamin texting his daddy

So, next time when you are talking about a baby (whether born or unborn), please refer to the child as “he” or “she” and not “it”. Why? Because the child inside the womb, and the child who has been born, are humans that God made either male or female. You know something is amiss when regularly you hear people refer to their cats and dogs as “he” or “she” with personal names, but refer to babies as “it”. As Christians, let’s try reverse that trend with our speech. Maybe God will use small things like this to impress upon a larger culture the personhood of the precious little ones in mommies’ bellies all across the land.

The Danger in Having a Favorite Verse (Context Matters!)

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So many of us who read the Bible regularly have our favorite verses. Maybe it’s “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Or, ‘“For I know the plans I have for you,’” declares the LORD, ‘“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11). Whatever our favorite verse is, our tendency is to focus only on it, and not the verses and chapters around it. Sometimes that can lead to really bad conclusions.

For example, without reading the surrounding context of Philippians 4:13, I might conclude that I can fly through Christ who strengthens me. Or that I can work all day every day, without resting. Or even that I will win the lottery. I mean, Paul says “all things” right? Well, yes he does. But, what does he mean by saying that? Looking at the verses around 4:13 will give us the answer. In verses 11 and 12 we read:

11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

What is Paul saying here? He has learned to be content no matter the situation, whether he has little or much. That is what he is restating using different words in verse 13 when he says “I can do all things through Christian who strengthens me.” The “all things” refers to him being content in all situations. It’s not a confidence that he can fly, or never rest, or do other outlandish, silly, or unbiblical things.

Two verses that I have often thought about or have been quoted to me when I find myself in conflict are James 1:19-20:

19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

At first glance, these verses seem like the best advice for people who talk too quickly without listening. And certainly it is not good for a loudmouthed, angry person to dominate a discussion.

But, to whom are we to be quick to hear? On a recent blog post, biblical counselor Ed Welch points out that James is instructing us to be quick to listen to the Word of God. While it’s a good idea to listen to the other person in a tense conversation, that is not what James is talking about. The context in James 1:18 and 1:22-25 does seem to make that clear. Verse 18 states that God brought us forth by “the word of truth” and verse 22 urges us to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only.”

We are to be quick to listen to the Word of God, not allowing ourselves to impose our contrary thoughts on it and/or arguing against its claim on our lives. We should submit ourselves wholeheartedly to God’s will as revealed in His Word. To do otherwise would be to our peril. May God enable His people to joyfully obey.

And may God remind and help us to read our favorite verses in context, so that we can be comforted and encouraged by what those precious words truly mean.

What does it mean to put “faith” in Jesus Christ?

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As an evangelical youth worker, when speaking to groups of teens, children, or adults I will frequently exhort them to place their “faith” in Jesus Christ alone. Only He can save us from what truly we need to be saved from. What do I (and so many others who use this biblical word) mean by “faith”? Often, I will mention the word “trust” in connection with the word “faith,” expressing the idea that faith in Jesus involves trusting Him.

But, that raises the question: what is meant by the word “trust”? Recently I came across a helpful blog post by R.C. Sproul explaining three aspects of saving “faith.” He explains them using three Latin words from the Reformation days. Here is a very brief summary:

    1. notitia: “believing in the data or the information”
    2. assensus: “persuaded of the truthfulness of the content”
    3. fiducia: commitment of the mind and heart to “put my life in the lap of Jesus”

In other words, faith in Jesus includes the following:

  • knowing the information that He died for our sins, rose again, etc.
  • believing this information is factually true and personally relevant
  • committing with our mind and heart to trust Him alone as our Savior and follow Him.

Read the whole post by Sproul to get a better understanding of biblical, saving faith.

So, next time you here me say “place your faith in Jesus,” hopefully you’ll have a better understanding of what I mean.

I welcome questions for further clarity. Smile

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