Posts Tagged ‘ Faith ’

Versed: John 3:18

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
John 3:18, ESV

Denying Christ leaves you under God’s wrath. Only through faith in Christ, the Son of the living God who took on the Father’s wrath in our place, are we freed from that condemnation.

Now and always.

VerseD: Psalm 34:18

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18, ESV

Life can be hard, disheartening, oppressive, scary, depressing, and all-around cruddy.

God is closest during these times. Take hold of His hand.

VerseD: Ephesians 6:10

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
Ephesians 6:10, ESV

The Lord is our strength. Trust in Him, not your own abilities.

VerseD: Hebrews 12:2

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2, ESV

What is faith? Jesus is the source. Without the cross and resurrection, we have no basis for faith.

Christ’s faithfulness gives us faith.

Religion Madness

It is time to look at that super-non-controversial word “religion”!

Some claim religion is for unthinking idiots or contrary to a relationship with God.

Some Christians claim “It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship.”

Atheists and other irreligious folks claim that religion is an opioid for the masses (Marx) or for those who don’t like to think.

Are these claims true?

Many scholars agree that our word for religion comes from the Latin:

religare: to bind, to connect

And therefore …
religio: obligation, bond, reverence

We therefore can understand religion as binding oneself to a set of obligations. Is this helpful?

Both Merriam-Webster and Oxford dictionaries have several definitions (look them up!), but I will focus on just a few:

Merriam-Webster uses:

  • commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
  • a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
  • a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

With some definitions of religious being:

  • relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality
  • FERVENT or ZEALOUS

Oxford defines religion with:

  • A particular system of faith and worship.
  • A pursuit or interest followed with great devotion.

Personally, I would also clarify with a religion being:

  • A set of guidelines and beliefs that order life
  • or a shared collection of beliefs and practices.

This all should quell the religious fervor with which Christians deny that Christianity is a religion. We still set boundaries for any relationship which we faithfully follow, so this particular relationship is a religion. (But I get their meaning, so I will not harp too much on them for it … unless it gets in the way of or directly refutes firm doctrine.)

Conversely, this all implies that even atheism is a religion. Why?

The argument some atheists offer, that it is a lack of belief, is, frankly, stupid. It is a belief. It is incredibly difficult to prove scientifically that something supernatural (Beyond the natural) exists, so a lack of evidence in something beyond our understanding of space-time can only lead to one believing something … without evidence.

And before anyone argues atheism is not a blind faith, how did the universe or life on Earth begin? No experiment or evidence has yet to reveal these from a naturalistic origin. To claim we know how either of these began (apart from God) is being intellectually dishonest and anti-science. You must believe on faith that we may someday find these answers, even with little to no evidence supporting any of the myriad of claims for each beginning.

How is atheism (and along with it evolution and the climate change movement) not a religious belief, especially with the cultish celebrity-worship, demand for strict adherence to the teachings, and excommunication of people who disagree (or raise challenging questions, even from a sincere perspective)?

No matter the religion, Christian Scripture tells us what our religion should look like:

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
James 1:27

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

Matthew 23: Basically, Jesus tells us that hypocrisy is setting rules and demands on others while not holding yourself to them. Do not make it more difficult for people to follow, make yourself look good, and take care of your own needs, yet neglect mercy, justice, and true faithfulness without really changing yourself.

Religion is not relationship denying nor for unthinking idiots.

Wise people have religion, for it sets the boundaries to live by to protect relationships and truth. To remove those rules and guidelines is to allow for any “truth”, and this leads to cultish behavior and/or anarchy. Just look at the state of the Western Church and pop-atheism and the global climate change scare.

Madness.

Give Me Five: What Is Faith?

I did not do the silly high five at the end of this video! Am I a horrible person? (Theologically speaking, technically yes … apart from Christ …)

But it is addressing that tantalizing question: What is faith?

Give Me 5: What Is Faith?

Many people do not really understand faith.

In a recent book, “A Manual for Creating Atheists”, philosopher Peter Boghossian defined faith as belief without evidence, pretending to know things you don’t really know.

But is this right?

In a word: no.

How does the Bible explain faith?

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1, ESV

Another way of explaining faith is putting your beliefs into action. If you believe something to be true, prove it! Prove you are faithful to those beliefs by acting on them.

The most used example of what faith is is a chair. You can say you believe a chair will hold you up, but faith is proving it by sitting on the chair. Typically, you are acting on evidence. (In this case, you have been told chairs are for sitting on, and you may have seen other people sit in chairs.)

As Christians, we do not have a blind faith. The Bible is our evidence for God and Jesus.

The Bible has several prophecies about the coming Messiah who would take away our sins, and Jesus claimed He was the fulfillment of those prophecies. He made many claims to His deity, as well, and He said that He would prove it all by dying and rising again.

The Apostles and early disciples did not just write about things they heard. They claimed to have heard these things and seen the crucified and risen Jesus with their own eyes.

And the Bible is the most reliable ancient set of documents we have from antiquity, by far. Few experts contest this. (Maybe the actual events, but not that at least the New Testament is reliably from people from the First Century.)

Who lives with and uses faith?

Everyone.

It is not only Christians and the overtly religious. My evidence for this?

How about evolutionary theory: How is it claimed life began? Several chemicals somehow combined in the right amounts at the right time to create the building blocks for RNA and DNA, creating the first living cells.

How do we know it happened this way?

We don’t. No one was there to see it, and no one as recreated it in the lab to test this hypothesis. People simply believe it is true.

This is more like blind faith than Christianity!

As said before, everyone lives by some form of faith in someone or something throughout their days and lives. Faith is putting beliefs into action.

What do you think? Am I way too far off the mark? (I think most others are.)

How about we talk about, either in the comments (on this blog post or on the YouTube channel) or through the e-mail: Together@asimplemanofgod.com, or even at the Facebook page: a simple man of God.

Give Me 5: The Five Solas

Yep. I missed last week. We had family in town, and I never had a long enough, quiet enough stretch of time by myself to record a video. Here is a new one, though! Here is the new Give Me 5:

Out of the Reformation of the 1500’s came what we call “The Five Solas or Solae”, but what do they mean?

The Five Solas

The Reformation started as a call to return to a simple faith not dogged down by man-made or superfluous rules and dogmas. (This is not the time for a debate about Catholic versus Protestant and denominational separation.)

It does lead to our first sola: Sola Scriptura – Scripture alone. Basically, this means that all of our traditions and understanding about God, Jesus, and humanity should be based on what the Bible says. There is value in traditions, the various councils, and books/teachings, but they must conform with what Scripture – as a whole – teaches.

This includes the matter of salvation, covered in the next solar: Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Solus Christus, Soli Deo Gloria – By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone.

This was summarized by Paul in Ephesians chapter two, when he said,

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
(vv. 4-9, ESV)

We still need to confess our sins – primarily to God, but also to each other (James 5:16).

We still do works – but as an act of obedience and love for the One who saves us (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

But it is only by grace through faith in the work Christ to the the glory of the Father as revealed in Scripture that we are saved.

Now, this is only a brief overview. We can continue to discuss this in the comments or through e-mail at Together@asimplemanofgod.com, or even on our Facebook page, a simple man of God. I am sure more videos and articles will be made discussing these.