By Paul Bawden
Christmas is always an exciting time, especially for the children, yes, it’s a time of great anticipation.
I remember that my sister and I could hardly wait for Christmas morning to come to find out the presents we received for Christmas.
Even if one doesn’t celebrate Christmas, or believe in the reality of Christmas, there is something about “the spirit of Christmas” – the giving and receiving of gifts, gathering with family, and reaching out to help the less fortunate.
But is Christmas fact or fiction? Actually, there can only be two responses – either Christmas is a reality or it isn’t a reality.
C. S. Lewis, prolific Irish writer and scholar, once an atheist, embraced the living Christ as his Savior. He called Christmas the “Grand Miracle.” Obviously, he accepted the historical reality of Christmas. Why did Lewis call Christmas the “ Grand Miracle?” He called Christmas the “Grand Miracle” because Christmas is the incarnation, the uniting of Deity and sinless humanity in one person – the God-man – the Lord Jesus Christ.
To our human reason such seems impossible in our high-tech scientific world. Of course, that doesn’t mean the incarnation didn’t happen. In fact, if the incarnation never happened, there would be no solution to sin, guilt, selfishness, and death in our world.
The truth is, as the trustworthy writers of Sacred Writ testify, through Christ’s death on the cross, His burial, and open tomb, He paid our penalty for the breaking of God’s law, which is death, and conquered the grave bodily, winning His eternal life and forgiveness for each of us, which life includes selflessness, eternal meaning and purpose for living now, and the guarantee of being in God’s presence after this life.
So the choice is ours. We can believe that Christ died in our place and conquered the grave bodily to provide us His forgiveness and eternal life, or we can reject who He is and what He has done for us. As the poet Goethe said, “Choose well. Your choice is brief yet endless.”
And the one who, by faith, believes in Christ, has the “Grand Miracle” take place in his or her life. What do I mean by that? The believer in Christ has His Spirit live in one’s life spiritually (Colossians 1:27), so that now the believer can display on a daily basis the very life of Christ in His power.
It’s been put this way that the biblical God is still walking in men, and wherever He walks He acts like Himself. . . . and in so doing Christ will act the same way as He did in Galilee and Judea. His disposition will be the same – holy, righteous, compassionate, meek and humble. He will be the same in the believer – friendly, kind, loving, prayerful, worshipful, sacrificial as He walks (lives) in the believer.” Have a wonderful Christmas celebrating and living the Grand Miracle!!
By Paul Bawden
I’m sure you have noticed that there are those who like to keep the biblical God out of the public arena, out of our schools, out of the work place, and out of our government.
It is well to keep in mind that since the biblical God (Psalm 139) is able to be present everywhere at the same time, it is impossible to keep HIM from being anywhere.
This means that the biblical God’s presence is always there regardless of what is happening in our lives. Even the promoters of the separation of church and state cannot stop the biblical God from being present in the church or the state.
In fact, those, who push the separation of church and state in the United States, use what is called the Jeffersonian “wall of separation between church and state.” The problem with this is that the United States Constitution says nothing about the separation of church and state. The first amendment of the Constitution is clear that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, meaning that there is to be freedom of religion not freedom from religion. The Framers did not want any one religion to become the state’s official religion to the detriment of others. Jefferson’s desire was to protect religious liberty from an over reaching government. Jefferson, and the other framers of the Constitution, did not want to restrict religious conscience and activity.
Furthermore, if a person takes time to review all 50 State Constitutions, one will discover the acknowledgment of God or Divine guidance in all of the Constitutions. Those having influenced some federal courts to act to take God out of the United States society in different ways and places are faced with the prospect of being wrong. It’s no wonder that William Penn has said, “Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.”
The reality that the biblical God is everywhere means that He is more than a one day a week God, depending on the day one meets to worship. Regardless, He cannot be kept boxed up in a place of worship for one day a week.
We need to acknowledge that the biblical God is always present at all times. Our
challenge is that we want to be our own god. We think we can run our lives solely by our reason. Could this be why the United States has so many problems? But even more than that, we need to let His presence be part of our personal lives, for without Him in our personal lives we have no lasting purpose in this life and no hope beyond the grave.
How does that happen? Only one way that I know. By acknowledging that only Christ has paid our penalty for our breaking God’s law through His death, burial, and bodily resurrection. Through faith in Christ, He comes to live spiritually in the believer (Colossians 1:27). By relying on His indwelling power, the believer can now love like He does, unconditionally, selflessly, offering forgiveness as needed. Then it will be evident through the believer that God is present in his or her life every day of the week!
By Paul Bawden
In light of all the negative happenings in our world, the word, thanksgiving, seems to be out of place.
For it’s easy in the midst of the negative to blame God, if there is a God, and then ask, if there is a God, “Why give thanks to Him? Look at the mess our world is in!” And if you are personally going through difficulties and challenges, giving thanks may be far from your mind.
Regardless of what’s happening in our world and in our lives personally, it is the Thanksgiving season in the United States. In fact, Thanksgiving Day, should be a time to stop in the midst of what we are going through individually or what is happening in our world, and take time to count our blessings regardless of our situation and give thanks. Why so?
To not give thanks means that a person is really sufficient in and of himself, and is the master of his own destiny. That is really short-sighted thinking, for each of us is here today and gone tomorrow. None of us is God no matter how hard a person may try to defend such thinking for it is based solely on man’s limited time reason.
The other side of the coin opens up the unlimited reality that there is an eternal God who is our Creator and Redeemer through Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and bodily resurrection. As our Creator and Redeemer, the biblical God is the Source of one’s blessings, the Supplier of one’s blessings, the Sovereign in giving those blessings, the Sustainer of one’s life, and ultimately He is the Savior of all who will put their faith in Him for forgiveness and eternal life. I trust you have made that decision to accept Jesus as your personal Savior.
In fact, it is only through an individual’s belief in the Savior, Jesus Christ, that a person can truly give thanks to the biblical God for all that He provides. That’s why the Bible says in Romans 1:21, “But even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations and their foolish heart was darkened.”
This verse is telling us that one of the first evidences of a person’s rejection of the biblical God, yes, a nation’s rejection of Him, is an ungrateful attitude. When God’s innumerable blessings are taken for granted, “Thanksgiving Day” has no meaning, for it is only “turkey day” if that.
But for the believer in Jesus Christ, the word, thanksgiving, means that because God is Sovereign, he can give thanks to God for spiritual and material blessings, family and friends, etc., for he knows that God is in control regardless of what is happening in his life and the world. Such is a freeing experience as the believer can rely on God’s loving sovereignty, which provides him the opportunity to have a daily attitude of gratitude of giving thanks in everything.
Take time to count your blessings during this Thanksgiving season, and every day. It will surprise you what God has done. Give Him thanks, for He alone is worthy!!
By Paul Bawden
The Alpha Omega Institute attempted to test evolution and creation more fully in the context of their building project.
First, they looked at the empty building and waited for something to appear out of nothing. Walls, ceiling, electrical service, plumbing, etc. were all needed, so they tried to wait and see if gravity or some other unseen naturalistic force could create something usable and optimal.
Being unsuccessful, they then thought that possibly, if they had all the materials available, order could come from chaos. So they assembled the building materials together in this empty room, and then left it alone.
Still unsuccessful, a suggestion was made that some energy should be added to the building materials. Unfortunately, they were unable to test their hypothesis. Their landlord intervened when he observed them bringing a box of TNT into the testing area.
The conclusions of the Alpha Omega Institute, from these experiments (though incomplete because of the landlord) were if they were to use this space, they would need a designer, builder, resources, and perhaps a more usable supply of energy to accomplish the task before them.
The Institute concludes their project by saying that they hope we can see how scientifically they have approached this project, and how considerate of opposing viewpoints they have tried to be; however the empirical evidence seems to suggest that nonsense is still nonsense.
I realize that the popular thinking in the public arena does not appreciate that conclusion. But it is truly amazing, is it not, that the design and order of our world will not be attributed to the Designer? In addition, in the public arena, there is no recognition that non-life cannot produce life.
Could it be that the human mind doesn’t want to acknowledge that there is the eternal Creator who brought our world and life into existence by His own word (Psalm 33:6). For once the Creator is acknowledged, a person begins to realize that he is created by Him, and needs to discover what his Creator is saying to him.
On the other hand, to not acknowledge the eternal biblical Creator is to live in a world with only man in his limited knowledge trying to find answers to his origin, which leaves him trapped in his life box. And without responding in faith to the eternal Creator, who has broken into that box, life has no eternal meaning, as people eat, drink, and are merry with no eternal hope beyond the grave. Such is sad as the Creator’s love, holiness, grace, forgiveness, yes, His new life with eternal meaning and hope are passed by.
John, in the first chapter of his Gospel, penned, “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.” Who is John referring to? None but the eternal Christ who is the Agent of Creation (Colossians 1:16). But He is not just the Creator, He also wants to be our Redeemer (John 3:16). Is He your Savior? (cf. Romans 10:9-13). If Jesus Christ is your Savior, worship Him as your Creator and live for Him in His power giving glory to His Name, while thanking Him for His eternal hope.
By Paul Bawden
On Tuesday, November 8, 2016 is election day in the United States.. Advertisements for various candidates seem endless.
The question I ask is this, “Who is the biblical God for?” Is He a Democrat, Republican, Independent, or Libertarian? It is interesting when we look at the Bible that there is one passage that gives us some direction. It is found in Romans 13:1-7.
These verses do not talk about a specific political party but rather that the biblical God has established the principle of government for two purposes: to promote good, meaning behavior that is profitable, generous, upright, and virtuous, and to deal with evil, meaning behavior that is wicked, depraved, morally bad, criminal, and harmful.
These words, then, assume that there are absolutes by which to live. If behavior is upright and virtuous, there must be a standard that says one’s behavior is such. If behavior is morally bad or wicked, it should be obvious that there is a standard by which one can say that behavior is evil. All of this means that for saying something is good and something is evil, that standard must not be based upon man’s changing ideas, but upon the eternal God whose standards are unchanging, yes eternal.
I realize that in the United States there are many who don’t believe that the eternal God has standards by which we should live. At the same time, the United States was founded on standards that are biblical. To understand, though, what the Bible is saying about government, the words good and evil must be understood in the context of the existence of eternal absolutes.
First, from the Romans’ passage, the government is to deal with evil when it is committed in the United States. That is the government is to protect people from those who commit depraved and morally bad behavior, yes, those who break God’s laws and the laws of the land, and bring to justice those who break those laws.
Second, the government should be promoting the good, that which is upright and virtuous, while affirming the behavior of those who keep God’s laws and the laws that man has made, which provide a person the opportunity to experience life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
This means that God is not for anyone political party. What it does mean is that God is for having people in leadership of the United States who first have a heart for His righteousness, and then to uphold and promote His righteousness.
At the same time, our leaders should do everything possible to provide the protection necessary to stop those committing evil, so they do not disrupt those doing good as they enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is why we need strong righteous leadership in Washington D. C. as well as at the state, county, and local levels, while having a strong police force along with a strong national military and border control as well.
What it comes down to is the moral compass of the United States. When the value of the unborn is diminished, marriage between a man and woman is no longer the foundation of the society, while honesty is in decline with corruption on the rise, soon the United States will find itself, if not already, a godless nation. God can only continue to bless a nation where righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people (Proverbs 14:34).
The biblical God, then, rather than being for any one political party, desires that people vote for those who will uphold His righteousness and deal with evil in all its forms. Vote wisely on November 8.
By Paul Bawden
How’s your theology? What do you believe about the Bible, grace, and faith?
Recently, the Nashville-based LifeWay Research did a new survey of American views on Christian theology. The online survey was sponsored by Orlando-based Ligonier Ministries. Researchers asked 3000 participants 47 questions on various topics. Let’s look at three areas from the online survey on Christian theology.
Regarding the Bible, fewer than half of Americans (47 percent) say the Bible is 100 percent accurate in all it teaches. Forty-three percent disagree. Ten percent are not sure.
Concerning grace and works, three-quarters of Americans (77 percent) say people must contribute their own effort for personal salvation. Sixty percent agree that Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of their sin.
Considering faith, six in 10 say everyone eventually goes to heaven, but half say only those who believe in Jesus will be saved. And while 7 in 10 say there’s only one true God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—two-thirds of Americans (64 percent) say God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Twenty-four percent disagree. Twelve percent are not sure.
Obviously, there are contradictory and incompatible beliefs here, as Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, commented.
That’s why we need to go back to 1517. Why? On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. His action, along with others, such as Wycliffe, Haus, Zwingli, Tyndale, and Calvin, brought about what is called the Great Protestant Reformation. God raised up these men to cause people to return to what the Bible actually taught.
The three areas considered in the above online survey came to the fore in the Reformation.
Sola Scripture (Bible) – The Old and New Testaments were written by men of God, superintended by the Holy Spirit, leaving in tact their personalities and writing styles, while recording accurate history and doctrine that is totally authoritative and reliable for faith and practice, whether past, present, or future.
Sola Grace – A true experience with the biblical God was not based upon one’s own merit, which was polluted by one’s own selfishness and sin, but rather, God in His love for mankind demonstrated His great love and mercy by providing His unmerited favor, His grace in Jesus Christ, who won redemption for all – really common grace.
Sola Faith – In order to have an eternal experience with the biblical God, the person must by faith believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay his penalty for his sin, which is death, was buried, and rose again on the third day to provide him His forgiveness and eternal life. This is efficacious grace for the believer in Jesus Christ.
Since the Bible is eternal in its content (Psalm 119:89), it is the eternal foundation for grace and faith – yes for the individual today to have a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. Where are you in your theology? Have you read the Bible? Try John 3. Have you considered Jesus Christ? (cf. Romans 10:9-13).
By Paul Bawden
Through Liberty Counsel, I understand that in California there is the Assembly Bill 775 that requires all licensed and unlicensed pregnancy counseling centers to post a message from the government. The message says, “California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care and abortion for eligible women.”
This message means that pro-life crisis pregnancy centers offering resources, counseling, and alternatives to abortion must post this message when they do not believe in abortion. Not posting this message, there is a fine of $500 for the first violation and $1,000 for each additional violation. At the same time, the abortion clinics have no direction to inform their clients that there is a pro-life Crisis Pregnancy Center nearby.
Of course, this is a double standard, and impinges on free speech and the right of conscience, which is protected by the Constitution of the United States. Rightly so, Liberty Counsel is challenging Bill 775. It’s amazing how the system works. A law can be made that runs rough shod over those who have rights under the United States Constitution.
In all of this, I ask this question: “Are man’s laws the only laws we have?” If so, then those in charge can make laws that promote their ideas regardless of how they may affect one’s conscience and personal liberty. This leads to another question: “Are there laws other than man’s laws?” That depends on whether or not one believes that there are eternal laws that are embedded in the character of the eternal, personal, and biblical God.
Believing that man is the only one who can make laws, we see laws being made today that undermine one’s religious conscience and liberty. On the other hand, believing that there are eternal laws that affect man’s decisions and behavior changes the dynamics of a culture directly. Take for example the eternal law of love, for love is the fulfilling of the biblical God’s law (Romans. 13:10). Since the biblical God is love (I John 4:8), love doesn’t define Him, rather the biblical God defines love. At the same time He is light (I John 1:5), which tells us that the biblical God is holy, transcendent moral purity, without any flaw and without any sin.
Knowing the biblical God is morally pure in His love means that His law of love is pure morally as well as righteous. That’s why when His law of love is applied to our conduct, Galatians 5:12 tells us through love to serve one another. Now this is not our love, which is tainted with our selfishness and sin. Rather, it’s the biblical God’s love (Romans. 5:5), won for the believer in Christ through His death, burial and bodily resurrection, which love is selfless, sacrificial, pure, and righteous, while upholding the infinite value of life and each individual from conception to the grave. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, is His love displayed through you (I Corinthians 13:4-8a), as you depend on the Holy Spirit’s indwelling power? (Galatians 5:16).
If God’s law of love had been followed, the situation in California regarding Assembly Bill 775 would not be in existence and some of the other situations in the United States where one’s conscience and liberty are being challenged would not occur. Only following God’s law of love brings true infinite value to life, gives the individual genuine liberty, and provides the pursuit of lasting happiness, with the guaranteed arrival in God’s presence after this life.
By Paul Bawden
The Olympics in Rio have been exciting to watch. Even though many didn’t receive a medal, they were still winners because they did their best on the international stage.
How about you on the journey of life? Do you feel like a winner? Or do you feel that the word, winner, is far from describing what’s happening in your life?
However, when a person considers biblical Christianity, one discovers that the believer in Jesus Christ is a winner regardless of what is happening in one’s life. For the Bible is clear that the believer in Christ is more than a conqueror through Him (Christ) who loved us (cf. Romans 8:37; II Corinthians 2:14). This means that regardless of the believer’s experience and how he feels, God affirms the believer as a winner. Is Christ your personal Savior? (cf. John 3:16).
And the key for the follower of Christ, in the good times and difficulties of life, is to make the choice to believe who he is as God says he is, a winner in Christ. Even when the believer disobeys God, he is still a winner before Him. What he needs to do is confess his sin to the Lord (I John 1:9). In so doing, fellowship is restored with his Lord, and the follower of Christ can keep living as a winner in HIM.
The apostle Paul understood what winning in Christ was all about when he penned, “I can do all things through Him (Christ) who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Paul never saw himself as a loser in Christ. Neither should you if you are a follower of HIM.
Paul’s words from II Corinthians 4:8-9 encourage each believer in Christ to grasp that he is always a winner in HIM. I use a translation by William Barclay.
“We are sore pressed at every point, but not hemmed in” – There are all kinds of pressure on us, but we are never in so tight a corner that there is no way out.”
“We are persecuted by men but never abandoned by God.” One of the most notable things about the martyrs has always been that it was amidst their sorest times that they had their sweetest times with Christ.
“We are at our wit’s end but never at our hopes end.” There are times when the follower of Christ does not know what is to be done, but even at such a time as that he never doubts that something can be done.
“We are knocked down but not knocked out.” The supreme characteristic of a follower of Christ is not that he does not fall, but that every time he falls he rises again. It is not that he is never beaten, but he is never ultimately defeated. He may lose the battle, but he knows that in the end he can never lose the campaign.
Paul knew that by being a disciple of Christ, he was always a winner in the good and bad times. No cross. No crown. Living in the life of Christ, Paul knew he must share the risks of Christ, even if meant dying for Him. Paul knew as well that any suffering in this world would be nothing in comparison to the glory that would be his in the next world (II Corinthians 4:16-18).
If a disciple of Jesus Christ, may you experience His joy in the challenges of life, knowing regardless of what you are going through, relying on His inner power, you are always a winner in Jesus Christ, knowing that after this life, God’s presence is your destination. Keep going for the gold!!
By Paul Bawden
The various killings in the United States and other places in the world should cause all of us to stop and think seriously about who we really are. Why do I say that?
I say that for somewhere we have lost the value of human life. How can that be? Could it stem from the major idea in our culture today that our origin has evolved somehow from some form of animal, and we are just an extension of that world? Certainly animals are valuable, God created them. But they give very little value to human life, as they are here for a while and then gone. Could this be why babies are killed in the womb, humans murdered at will, with some promoting euthanasia?
Following the evolutionary theory, actually man is made in the image of animals, which results in man becoming his own god. The outcome is that man worships himself, for he is the final image. Since man is also here today and gone tomorrow, he has no lasting basis upon which to give true value to human life. Man is weighed in the balances and found wanting.
On the other side of the coin, there is the biblical viewpoint that we are created in the image (the likeness) of the eternal God (Genesis 1:28-30). This means that each of us has an immaterial (spiritual) part, a mind, an emotion, and a will like unto our Creator God. Of course, that does not mean that we are God. At the same time, God made us physically either male or female. This means that each of us is infinitely valuable, immaterially and physically. We have the stamp of the eternal and loving God upon us. That’s why we can think, reason, invent, plan, laugh, enjoy each other, and life itself. Yes, why we are not an extension of the animal world.
I realize that this viewpoint of the value of man is not accepted in the popular arena. Regardless, such a denial does not do away with the reality that we all are created in the image of the biblical God with His value.
At the same time, accepting that man is made in the image of God, why is there still the killing of humans in our society? Again the Bible provides us that answer. When man knew God, that is he had a personal relationship with God and knew he was made in the image of God, he turned from that understanding and started worshipping the creature rather than the Creator. This meant that man started worshipping himself – his own image, while rejecting being created in the image of God. A quick read of Romans 1:19-34 tells us that this rejection of being made in the image of the biblical God has led to a depraved mind that becomes involved in different sins such as immorality of all kinds, greed, murder, strife, deceit, gossip, slanderers, haters of God, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful.
This dire situation needs a solution beyond man’s limited life that’s here today and gone tomorrow. The only solution I know of is the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of the God-man, Jesus Christ. For someone has to pay the penalty for sins that man has committed against the biblical God, provide forgiveness for each person, plus life that never ends. This is what Christ did through His death, burial and bodily resurrection. The person who believes in Jesus Christ as one’s Savior, receives God’s forgiveness, and eternal life, which is really a new spiritual nature. Now the believer can display, relying on the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, the image of the biblical God – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).
Only as individuals encounter the risen Christ, and live by faith in Him, will the killing stop in our culture, along with the hatred and unrest, and the true image of God will be displayed through each person. How about you? Does your life display your image or the image of the biblical God?
By Paul Bawden
On July 7 the Noah’s Ark Museum opened in Williamstown, Kentucky. The $100 million project was built by Answers in Genesis. Ken Ham is the President. Answers in Genesis believes that the Bible’s account of Noah, the Ark, and a world-wide flood actually happened a number of years ago. The Ark is built to the biblical specifications of 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high. It is the largest timber-frame structure in the world, full of world-class exhibits designed to answer one’s questions about the biblical account of Noah’s Ark.
Bill Nye, known as the Science Guy, visited the Ark Encounter at the invitation of Ken Ham. Bill Nye, at one time, had a children’s television show entitled, “Bill Nye The Science Guy.” He has promoted science education and more recently climate change. Nye doesn’t believe that an ark filled with pairs of animals once floated on a world-wide flood. He has described his religious views as agnostic. In fact, in 2014, Ken Ham and Bill Nye debated at the Answers In Genesis Creation Museum.
Ken Ham wrote on his Facebook about the visit, “Bill challenged me about the content of many of our exhibits, and I challenged him about what he claimed and what he believed. It was a clash of world views.”
“It was a clash of world views.” That is really what was happening as Ken Ham gave Bill Nye a tour of the life-size ark. But questions like these arise: Was there actually a man named Noah? Was there an ark of the biblical description? Did a flood actually happen?
Obviously, different answers can be given to these questions, and those reading this article may have different views on Noah, the ark, and the flood. But I would like to refer you to the words of Jesus Christ, “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark” (Matthew 24:36-38).
So what do we conclude from these words of Christ? He believed that Noah was a real person, the ark actually existed, and there was a real flood. Shouldn’t that settle the questioning and unbelief? Jesus Christ is the God-man, He knows all things, and He can’t lie. Still, to many, the account describing Noah, the ark, and the flood is a nice story or a myth. Some even would doubt Jesus Christ’s existence. Regardless, the denial or doubting of Christ’s words do not in any way diminish His words that give historical credibility to the reality of Noah, the ark, and the flood.
In fact, the ark is a beautiful picture of Jesus Christ’s person and eternal work. In the days of Noah, the wickedness on the earth was so great that the LORD in His love and justice had to bring His judgment on humanity and the earth through the flood, but He found one man and his family who believed in Him. The ark became Noah’s salvation, his place to be free from God’s judgment. After the flood, the human race continued through Noah.
Today, in the spiritual sense, all of us are under God’s judgment because of our rejecting Jesus Christ (John 3:17-18). Jesus Christ, however, still loves us, and through His death, burial, and bodily resurrection, became the eternal spiritual Ark for us by taking our judgment and providing us His eternal forgiveness and life. So the question to each of us is this? Am I in the Ark, Jesus Christ, or not? According to Jesus’ words in John 3:16, faith in Him gives the believer the eternal “Ark Experience,” a life of eternal meaning here with the promise, after this life, of living eternally with HIM. Choose well. Your choice is brief yet endless!
By Paul Bawden
The atrocious killings in Orlando have shocked the United States and the world. To murder people in cold blood is totally an abomination, totally evil. Certainly, our prayers are with the families and friends who lost loved ones and those still needing physical healing.
Different responses have been made to this wicked event such as blaming Christians and guns, and others are reluctant to call it what it is, radical Islamic terrorism.
From a biblical perspective, the God of the Bible loves all people of the world without partiality, regardless of ethnicity and lifestyle.
How do we know that? One word, the Gospel – the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Why the Gospel? The Gospel is the good news that God loves all people (John 3:16). Why does God love all people? He sees all of us in our desperate situation.
Christ put it this way in Mark 7:20-23, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”
Knowing this, Christ goes into love action and takes upon Himself these sins, and all the sins of humanity, your sin and my sin, everyone’s sin, as He dies on the Calvary’s cross for you and me to pay the penalty for our breaking God’s law, which is death, was buried and rose bodily from the grave, winning His forgiveness and eternal life for everyone. This is the Gospel. Those who believe the Gospel receive Christ’s forgiveness with a new life that exhibits, relying on His power, a pure life of love that includes His joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – actually Christ-likeness. (Galatians 5:22-23).
This means that the Gospel speaks directly to what happened in Orlando. It is not about guns, Christians, the killer’s identification with ISIS, or about political correctness, and it’s not about the lifestyle of those who were killed, although God in His Word says that the lifestyle of homosexuality is sin, along with adultery, murder, thefts, coveting, slander, deceit, envy, pride, etc., as Jesus taught above. Rather, it’s all about the human heart. Each person’s spiritual heart is sinful and needs to experience the eternal Gospel of Jesus Christ.
For that to happen, each person needs to respond positively in faith to the Gospel. For only the Gospel can change the heart from hatred to love, from selfishness to selflessness, from arrogance to humility, and to change any sinful lifestyle to a pure life-style that displays Christ’s joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It’s only the Gospel that can change each of our lives, for all of us have sinned against God – yes, it’s only the Gospel that can change each of our lives to do God’s will as each of us responds in faith to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Have you made that faith response to the Gospel? If so, does your life display Christlikeness?
By Paul Bawden
Recently some research was done by the Pew Research Center regarding the moral practices of a relatively new and growing group within the religious life of America called the “nones.”
Nones are people who, when asked about their religious affiliation, say that they are atheistic, agnostic, or “nothing in particular.” It was discovered that the “unaffiliated,” the nones, are the second largest religious group in America just under evangelical Christians.
As unaffiliated, the nones tend to be less religious in attendance at worship services, or daily prayer. Since they are not religious by these measurements, it was wondered what it meant for them to be a “moral person.”
The Pew Research Center asked the unaffiliated whether 16 pre-selected beliefs and behaviors were essential, important but not essential, or not important to what they think it means to be a moral person.
Topping the list was honesty. In fact, 58% of the nones said that honesty was essential to being a moral person. Some other essentials to the nones for being a moral person were: being grateful for what you have (53 percent), committing to spend time with family (47 percent), forgiving those who have wronged you (39 percent), and working to protect the environment (35 percent). About 10 percent of the unaffiliated believe praying regularly is essential to being moral. Two percent believe attending religious services is part of a moral life.
It appears from this research that one can be good without God in personal, family, and community relationships. In fact, the Chaplain of Harvard, Greg Epstein, the author of, “Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe,” said that the results of the Pew survey are evidence that the religiously unaffiliated community values action over belief in the supernatural.
This research causes me to ask several questions. (1) Is there an ultimate standard for good? (2) Why do people do good? (3) What happens when one doesn’t come up to the ultimate standard of good?
The Psalmist put it this way, “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever” (Psalm 107:1). The word, LORD, is capitalized, telling us that He is the self-existent, eternal God, and He is good. The word, good, means that the biblical God does everything perfectly without any flaw, for He is holy, transcendent moral purity.
The reason people can do good in so many different ways, even being honest, is that all of us have been created by the good God (Genesis 1:26-31). Our non-material part, our personalities, created like His, can demonstrate good because God is good.
Finally, it is obvious that we don’t do good at all times. In fact, we sin, we say and do things that don’t display that we are good, which means we don’t measure up to God’s standard of good (cf. Romans 3:10-18). We need His forgiveness and grace. That’s where the God-man, Jesus Christ, steps in for us. Since He is totally good, He can through His death, burial, and bodily resurrection provide for us His forgiveness and eternal life. The one who accepts Him as personal Savior, can now, depending on His power, display His good in life (Galatians 5:22-23), while having lasting fulfillment in time with eternity in God’s presence guaranteed.
Although the nones will likely not agree with these facts and neither the Harvard Chaplain, that in no way does away with their reality. The eternal biblical God is the ultimate and absolute standard of good. I trust you know Him by faith and His good is evident in your life!