Active Faith

Very few Christians define precisely what faith is.  Webster’s defines it as unquestioning belief, complete trust, confidence, or loyalty.  Believers and unbelievers alike casually toss around the word faith as a vague and mysterious feeling that cannot be explained but somehow everyone “gets.”   According to them, one can have faith to do anything.  How does God use and describe faith?  If we put our minds and hearts to a diligent examination of the Bible, we will discover the truth concerning faith.

In the gospel accounts, faith is the only thing that the LORD Jesus marveled at.  He was amazed at faith and the lack of faith. Undisputedly, faith is something of great worth in God’s sight.  “Without faith it is impossible to please [God], for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Heb 11:6).  First, one must believe in God to qualify for faith.  Since it is impossible to please God without faith, our ambition should be to pursue and excel in it.  This is not a trivial matter.  Salvation is graciously given to us by God and comes “through faith” (Eph 2:8).  “Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Eph 3:17).  We are told to “[take] up the shield of faith” (Eph 6:16) in order to stand against the principalities and powers against us.  Paul instructed, “Continue in the faith” (Col 1:23) and be “established in your faith” (Col 2:7).  Understanding faith is highly significant.  Continue reading

A Most Important Week

Attentive hearts waited in anticipation. They had waited hundreds of years for this day.  Safe inside their rooms enthralled with each significant detail, it was a day that would be spoken of forever.  The angel of the LORD was outside looking for blood.  If it was found on the doorpost, He would pass over that house.  If there was no blood, He would kill the firstborn.  This was the Lord’s deliverance!  This day meant freedom for the Israelites!

Commemoration of this event was of utmost importance to Israelites.  They were to participate in a celebration of reenactment each year.  Passover is referenced numerous times in Scripture making it important to the person concerned with what is valued by the Creator.  God’s perfect Word offers much for understanding Passover’s significance and illuminates greater depth in the events accomplishing ultimate deliverance through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Today there is a common misconception that the Lord died on “Good Friday” because of verses marking His death to be the day before the Sabbath and His resurrection on Sunday after the Sabbath.  Due to the importance of our Savior’s death and the events surrounding it, this garbled understanding can be cleared up by examining the many details Scripture provides. Continue reading

Philemon

Philemon is a short book.  Paul wrote it with Timothy from house arrest in Rome after the change at Acts 28:28.  It was written to Philemon, a Colossian Jew.  He was a wealthy slave-owner who had believed a divinely heralded salvation-bringing message from Paul, God’s apostle to the nations (ethnos).  Onesimus was Philemon’s runaway slave who met Paul in Rome.  Christ set this slave free (Gal 5:1). Both master and slave believed through Paul. The setting is almost identical to Colossians.  Colossians was delivered by Tychicus and the same Onesimus (Colossians 4:7-9).  These two journeyed to Colosse probably carrying both letters.  Philemon is Paul’s persuasive plea that Philemon deal graciously with Onesimus as God has dealt with him (Eph 4:32). Within the mere 25 verses of Philemon, Paul depicts a beautiful picture of how Christ forgives and lifts us past our lowly state.  Continue reading

What Did Josiah Create?

The fires of Molech burned deep in the hearts of the idolatrous Israelites.  They were told not to take on the gods of the nations or to act like them, yet this wicked addiction corrupted the nation of Israel.  The Lord said, Any man from the sons of Israel or from the aliens sojourning in Israel who gives any of his offspring to Molech, shall surely be put to death; the people of the land shall stone him with stones.  I will set My face against that man and will cut him off from among his people (Lev. 20:2-3).

King Hezekiah was likely a surviving Molech child.  Scripture exposes his father, Moreover, he burnt incense in the valley of Ben Hinnom and burned his sons in the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had driven out before the sons of Israel (2 Chron. 28:3).  Ahaz sacrificed multiple sons to Molech.  This horrendous practice was probably a child running through blazing fire.  Making it through or not would signify Molech’s pleasure or dissatisfaction.  Manasseh’s idolatry was also rampant prior to his conversion.  He made his sons pass through the fire in the valley of Ben Hinnom (2 Chron. 33:6).  If not for Amon’s short reign and life, Josiah might have been put through the fire. Continue reading

Cut Out and Forgotten

bible06Genealogies would seem to be quite straightforward.  Yet beneath the surface in the book of Ruth there is a puzzle in what seems to be a simple genealogy.  We are told at the end of the book that “Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David” (Ruth 4:21, 22).  If one diligently applies the mind to this passage considering all the facts Scripture contains pertaining to it, he finds that the Divine Author chose not to provide all the information.  “Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab” (Matthew 1:5).  If we assume that Salmon married Rahab the year that the Israelites entered the land of Canaan, then we are talking about a period covering approximately 460 years that spans the lives of only four people.  Therefore, there must be multiple people whose record was left out of the lineage.  There is no mention as to why, but we know from the book of Judges that this period was a time of wickedness where “everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”  Continue reading