The Justice of God …  (March 2023 Update) 

If there is no hell, then God is not just! Many Christians today shrink back from the doctrine of hell and from the justice of God. They often ask how a loving God could create a place like hell. Some atheists even use the doctrine of hell as an excuse for not believing in God. 

But God’s love demands that there be a hell with eternal punishment. If God is truly loving, completely loving, then He must punish sin or He would not be just. A truly loving God would not allow injustice to go unpunished. So, God’s love and God’s justice go together. They are like two sides to the same coin. You can’t have one without the other. 

However, the justice of God is almost completely ignored by many today. But this is not new to our age. At the beginning of the 20th Century, A. W. Pink wrote: “It is scarcely surprising that far less has been written upon the justice of God—than upon some of the other Divine perfections. We are accustomed to turn our thoughts unto those objects and subjects which afford us the most pleasure, and to avoid those which render us uneasy.” But God’s justice should not make us uneasy – it should give us confidence that, even though evil might reign for a season, it will ultimately be judged by God. But, if there is no hell, then evil will have escaped any just punishment. And God would not be just. 

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Good Theology … (February 2023 Update) 

Mention theology or doctrine among Christians and you are likely to get a variety of responses – mostly negative.  But theology is simply “the study of God.”  In that sense, everyone is a theologian, even the atheist!  The question is not whether we have a theology, but whether our theology is good or bad, and whether our theology is biblical or not! 

In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis says, “[If] you do not listen to Theology, that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones— bad, muddled, out-of-date ideas.” That’s why the study of theology is so important. 

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Behold, I Make All Things New … (January 2023 Update) 

There is something satisfying about taking an old, worn-out piece of furniture and restoring it to its original condition. Furniture restoration brings new life to what previously appeared to be a lost cause. It’s exciting to see how beautiful a restored piece of furniture can be. 

But that is not the kind of “newness” that the Bible usually refers to when God says, “Behold, I make all things new.” It uses a word that indicates something that is wholly new, something that is newly created. When God takes our sinful lives and gives us new life, He does not refurbish or restore our old lives. He makes us new! That’s why many translations of 2 Corinthians 5:17 say, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation ….” God is doing something new – He is not simply restoring or patching up our old life. God is creating something new – both now and in eternity. 

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Ukraine has certainly experienced a lot of darkness this last month. Every week, Russia has unleashed a barrage of 80-100 missiles, drones and bombs targeting civilian targets and especially targeting essential infrastructure. The result has been no electricity, no water, no heat and no light. Most of Ukraine has been plunged into darkness. But the people of Ukraine have not been deterred. They are even using candles to warm up their food. They are heating, as much as possible, with wood. And the government has set up tents with heat and generators where people can come, get warm, have some hot tea and recharge their devices. They are finding ways to manage, even as Russia continues to try, in the words of one Kremlin official, to “send Ukraine back to the Middle Ages.”  

But “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it (NLT).” Actually, that is also the message of Christmas! In John 1, John begins his gospel telling us WHO Jesus is – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” He makes it clear that this one who has come is the “light of all mankind.” And then in verse 5 he tells us, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” 

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True Thanksgiving … (November 2022 Update) 

What do you think of when you think about Thanksgiving? Most people think about turkey, turkey and more turkey. And visions of pumpkin, apple and pecan pies fill our minds. And we usually think about the wonderful joy of sharing this wonderful meal with our families and friends. But very few would think about suffering when asked about Thanksgiving. But that’s what the Pilgrims would have thought about if you asked them about the first Thanksgiving. 

In fact, suffering was the reason for their Thanksgiving celebration! These early settlers had suffered tremendously in the previous year. The Mayflower had arrived in Plymouth Harbor on December 16, 1620, and the colonists began building their houses. Many fell ill, as many as two or three people died each day during their first two months on land. Out of the 102 colonists, only 52 people survived the first year in Plymouth!  

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