Category Archives: Scripture

What do you want?

I recently listened to the first episode of Fighting for the Faith I have in a long time. I didn’t stop because I grew tired of the program or anything. I just didn’t have time. Sorry, Chris Rosebrough, but when you have a wife and two small children, it’s difficult to fit in a daily two to three hour show. Anyhow, the episode was called Rosebrough’s Ramblings on Coram Deo. At the twenty-five minute mark, he starts discussing Romans 6. In this, he mentions how he was in class with Dr. Rod Rosenbladt and how when the gospel was preached, he was still in his old Nazarene mindset. So he went to Dr. Rosenbladt and said, “You’re saying if I’m saved by grace, I can do whatever I want.”

I’d like to take a moment to point you towards the banner at the top of the page. You’ll notice a quote from Augustine.

Love God and do whatever you please: for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved.

I’ve had that banner up there for quite sometime, since I started the site, really. I just always loved the quote and it made sense, but I never really quite thought about what exactly it meant until I listened to this episode of Fighting for the Faith.

Dr. Rosenbladt replied, “Well of course. Now that you’ve been set free from sin, death, and the devil, what do you want to do?”

And suddenly, it was all so clear to me. I realize that there is a difference between doing what you want and doint what you feel like. Ever notice how actually doing what you want leaves you sense of pride or accomplishment while just doing what you feel like can at times leave you feeling pretty low? I want to help those in need. I feel like drinking all the booze. One of those will probably leave me feeling pretty good about myself. The other may leave me a little disappointed the next day. Romans 7:15 helps to explain.

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.

When we are in the grace of Christ, all we want to do is what is good. Now, we may feel like doing some pretty awful things from time to time. We may even do some pretty awful things from time to time. But we don’t want to do them. Instead, we want to do what is good. This is where the third use of the law comes into play. It helps to shape the Christian to do what is right.

So as a Christian under the grace of God, by all means, go forth and do whatever you want.

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Putting It All Together

My original title for this was going to be something along the lines of, “Why not Peter with Jesus.” The basic premise was this. Peter cuts off the ear of Malchus. Jesus heals Malchus. Soldiers do not arrest Peter and execute him with Jesus. I started thinking about this incident yesterday and how to me Peter not being arrested made no sense and if you only read John, it doesn’t make any sense at all.

3 So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5 They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.”[a] Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6 When Jesus[b] said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” 9 This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” 10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant[c] and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

12 So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews[d] arrested Jesus and bound him. 13 First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14 It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.

15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door.

John 18:3 – 16

Can you imagine that conversation?

Malchus: “Holy crap! That crazy Jew just cut off my ear!”

Soldier: “Stop being such a baby Malchus. It’s just a flesh wound. You’ll be fine.”

Malchus: “Are….are you sure?”

Soldier: “Yes, Malchus.”

Malchus: “Oh, okay. If, if you say so.”

Doesn’t seem terribly plausible does it. But without any other information, what are we to assume? The Romans wouldn’t put up with this. Peter would be right there with Jesus on Cross. There wouldn’t be any ifs, ands, or buts about it. Thankfully, Luke gives us a few more details on the matter.

47 While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” 49 And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” 50 And one of them struck the servant[h] of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51 But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him. 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? 53 When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”

54 Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance.

Luke 22:47 – 54

Okay, Jesus heals the dude. Pretty incredible and it seems plausible that they would be so awestruck by what they witness that they may have forgotten about Peter. Then again, these were Roman soldiers, so it doesn’t seem that plausible.

Soldier One: “That guy cut off Malchus’ ear!”

Soldier Two: “Yeah, but this Jesus guy made it all better.”

Soldier One: “I don’t care! He attacked a Roman soldier and cut off is ear. That’s not gonna fly.”

This conversation seems much more likely, but again, the guards don’t go after Peter. As awestruck as they may have been, there’s still simply no way that they wouldn’t have arrested Peter on the spot. They’d have been all like, “Well, that was cool. Still, we can’t have you running around mucking things up now, can we. You’re clearly a threat to Rome. Off with us you come.” Perhaps one of the other Gospels could shed some more light on the subject matter.

47 While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” 49 And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. 50 Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.”[f] Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. 51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant[g] of the high priest and cut off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” 55 At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. 56 But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.

Matthew 26:47 – 56

Oh, thank you, Matthew. Luke and John suddenly make more sense now. The disciples suddenly running away ties everything together quite well. Peter cuts off an ear, Jesus heals it, and in all of it the disciples scatter. The Roman soldiers are all like, “Wut!?” but in the end, they got what they came for. Malchus is fine and Peter is presumably gone. What are they to gain by sending resources after him? How are they to convince Pontius of using their resources to find him?

Soldier: “They cut Malchus’ ear off.”
Pontius eyes Malchus suspiciously.
Malchus: “I got better.”

When you put Luke, John, and Matthew together, Peter not being crucified with Jesus doesn’t seem so far fetched anymore. Like Chris Rosebrough says on Fighting for the Faith, the three rules for good discernment are context, context, context.

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Hypocrites; All of Us

There’s an old adage that states that the one who preaches the hardest against something is probably the one most likely doing it. If the news is to be believed, than this is more often than not true. It seems all to often one who espouses the evils of drugs is discovered to snort cocaine with alarming regularity. The one who condemns alcohol winds up in the hospital for alcohol abuse. Adultery is called out for being abhorrent by those who they themselves are in adulterous affairs. Famous preacher Ted Haggard preached vehemently against homosexuality while having sex with other men. It seems as though there is no end to the hypocrisy spewed forth from the gullet of men who are supposed to be a paragon of righteousness. How can we trust anyone?

It’s tragic in the way we fall into sin. It’s enticing grasp pulls us further down the hole though we know it is wrong. I pose that perhaps the reason these people preach so hard against the very thing that they do is because they fight an inward battle that they are losing and that perhaps the words they preach are more for themselves then the very audience they give it to.

Romans 2:15 English Standard Version (ESV)
15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them

Because the law is written on their hearts, though they feel they cannot help but do the wrong that they do, they know that what they do is evil and wicked and strive to fight against it, perhaps thinking that by vocally condemning it to the world that they themselves will be able to resist and conquer. I suppose the real tragedy of it is all is that they are all too afraid to confess their sin until they are caught, though I’m sure that could be said to say the same for most of us. It’s so dark and evil that most people desire to hide it and who could blame them. I suspect most people have no desire to expose their shame to the world. So the fight the battle internally.

Before we condemn the hypocrite in front of us, remember we do not know the struggle they suffer. Yes, they need to be called to repentance, but I’m willing to bet that each of us is a hypocrite in our own little way, even if it’s not on such a grand stage.

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Little Nudges

Sometimes we are presented with little nudges towards where we need to go or what we should be doing. At times, those nudges are for something we should be doing to begin with. We all stumble, often time more than we’d like to admit. My nudge comes in the form of my second child encouraging me to get back into regularly reading the scriptures.

bradgrierson dotcom

When my daughter was born, I held her in my arms and read chapter one of Genesis to her. It was a touching moment and something I had pledged to do long before she was born. It just somehow seemed appropriate.

WP_20130919_018 Genesis 1 on the day she was born.

Yet now with a second child a mere six or seven months away, I want to do the same thing but I have yet to figure out what I shall chose for him or her.

Ottheinrich_Folio296r_Rev13 Really hoping I don’t find some years down the road that the appropriate scripture should’ve been Revelation 13.

I suppose this presents me with a good opportunity to buckle down on scripture, something I’ve been neglecting a bit lately. It’s interesting to see how these little nudges come when they’re needed. Now, I’m not saying it’s some cosmic force that’s pushing me into immersing myself into…

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Help without words

I helped an old man with the Bible yesterday. Honestly, I was caught completely off guard by his question. He walked in with his Android phone and I asked what I could do for him.

“How do I work the Bible button?”

At first, I thought I had misheard him as there is no Bible button and I’m sure there would be mass protests in the streets if Motorola attempted such a thing. I had to ask him again to be sure I had heard correctly and when he said it again I was positive that I was mishearing something. So upon receiving his phone I saw that he was in fact referring to a Bible app that had somehow been grouped with another app. My initial thought was this must be the problem and uncoupled the apps for his ease of use. Then I opened the app and to make sure he was able to use it.

“Hold on!” he protested. “I forgot something.”

The old man ran out to his car and came back with what I immediately recognized as scripture readings from any given Sunday. I didn’t get a long glimpse, but I don’t think he was Baptist as they didn’t resemble any of the formats that the Baptist churches in I’ve been to in my area. It appeared to be a bit more traditional from my estimation. I suppose I could’ve asked him his denomination, but politics and religion are generally frowned upon topics in the workplace. Especially when there are other customers around.

Anyhow, I tried helping him with the app and even searching the scriptures he had brought out from his car. I say tried because whoever designed the app did a very poor job. There seemed to be no real logic to it and even had buttons that didn’t function. I suggested he let me put a better app on his phone which he agreed. So I installed the app that I recently started using in my personal phone and it was such a verse showing him how to use it. He was thrilled with all the functionality of it. That is until I showed him how to switch between translations (the default being KJV).

“I don’t NEED any other version! ” he snapped angrily.

Okay, definitely not Lutheran.

Suffice to say, he was very happy that he could now use the scriptures on his phone. Judging from what he brought in, this was going to be a big help for him in church. While I’ve never been able to get behind the King James Version (I don’t care what anyone says, it’s not the same language), I’m glad to have been able to help someone in their Christian walk. I think perhaps something that we as Christians don’t always consider is that we can help people in their walk with Christ even when we’re not in a situation where we adequately talk to them about it. The tools we have at our disposal in this day and age are astounding. Sometimes we just need to give someone the right tool.

I honestly don’t know how he’ll be using the new app I put on his phone, but he left me with an impression that the app is going to help him be more involved in the word and his church.

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The question of sin (3 of 4)

Eilers Pizza

God’s Word, which is my preferred term for the Holy Bible, makes clear what is and is not the Lord’s will for our lives. As my very first seminary professor continually reminded us, when we are not clear on something it is due to our weakness and not from God’s being indistinct.

Smoking can get people, um, smoking. Since God’s Word does not speak to it, most of Christianity leaves it in the arena of personal decision. When I would teach religion to middle-schoolers, I would make two columns on the whiteboard and have the kids list the positives and negatives of smoking. The negatives side contained the typical things like cancer, emphysema, addiction, and expense. The positives side? It was blank. When they wanted me to write, “It tastes good,” I would, but then I would make arrows to all of the negatives. Of course, I did not want…

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‘I never knew you — depart from me’

Such a powerful and important blog post. Let it serve to us as a great reminder. May this be of benefit to those of us who stumble and forget.

Churchmouse Campanologist

Matthew HenryAlong with the instruction to build our spiritual houses upon rock, another passage in Matthew 7 from the Sermon on the Mount which bears close scrutiny is our Lord’s teaching on who will be turned away from the kingdom of heaven.

I Never Knew You

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

It is in the three-year Lectionary. One can only wonder about the sermons preached on it. Any number of clergy — as well as congregants —…

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The Most Important Meal of the Day

I have found that when I eat heartier meals, I have a tendency to have a much better day. For the longest time, my breakfast consisted of two eggs and some bacon or sausage. Excellent foods, but at only 300 – 400 calories, it’s not exactly hearty. However, I have found when I add in say a bagel with cream cheese or a bowl of grits, my day is much better. And it’s no secret why. When my breakfast is 600 – 800 calories, I’ve got the fuel to get me through the day. I work better. I’m happier. I’m more motivated. I have more energy. I kick myself on those mornings where I don’t have a big breakfast. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I believe it rightfully true. Likewise, it’s important to start your day out with good theology.

I used to begin every single morning listening to a good theological podcast. I had a great selection that I would listen to. Issues Etc., The God Whisperers, Fighting for the Faith, The White Horse Inn, or a sermon that I had missed because I couldn’t make it to church that Sunday. But a few weeks ago, an update to my podcast software actually broke the program. Rather than immediately start looking for a new one (it’s awful trying to find just the perfect podcast software), I decided to wait until they fixed it. And I waited. And waited. And waited. And yet, still no fix. I have found because I haven’t been getting my morning theology fix, I really slumped in it overall. I’ll admit it, I haven’t been reading the scriptures nearly as much. I haven’t been keeping up on books I’ve been reading. Even my prayer has taken a hit (something I wasn’t that good at to begin with).

As I look back and compare it to my breakfast, it’s really the same thing a way. When I got in some good theology early in the morning, I got in good theology the rest of the day. I would read in the evening. I would get in prayer more often instead of off the cuff when I think about it. I would intentionally study more. I was even happier. But the times that I don’t get my morning dosage, I forget about it later. I don’t have the motivation. I don’t care as much. I’m not as happy. In fact, I start to slip into my old pre-Christian self. I need to get back into getting in good theology first thing in the morning. If that means suffering through a terrible podcast app until they fix my normal one, than so be it. But this lack of morning theology is killing me spiritually. I’m glad that I suddenly recognize it, but I’m disappointed that it took me so long.

Thankfully, tomorrow morning calls for some grits and a long drive. I should be able to get my fix.

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My confession and faith

Eilers Pizza

The most important thing I could ever write
The problem of God: part three

The problem with God is me.

I know what His Word says. I believe every word of it. I know that, because of Adam’s sin, I was born with Original Sin and, therefore, I am by this nature sinful and unclean, which causes me to sin in thought, word, and deed. I know that Jesus Christ paid for my sins, that believing in Him I have eternal life (John 3:16) and being baptized into His Name I am clothed with Him (Galatians 3:27) so that God the Father sees me as holy as the Holy One, His Son.

I know that the Lord made us male and female. I believe what He says about marriage. I know that I am a man, married to a woman, the father of five children, an ordained minister in a…

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The problem of God: part two

Eilers Pizza

The problem with God is that He is too nice.

I know that I just made a faith statement. This is what I believe: God is perfectly, profoundly nice to us. Just because that is a statement of my faith does not mean it is not true.

Even before we get to God the Son dying for the life of the world—the ultimate proof of God’s niceness—I like to note that, from the beginning, we see in God’s character that we can trust Him, that He aims to display kindness. When Adam and Eve hid from Him, because they had broken the law, God searched for them. He did not search for them to kill them, but to counsel, console, and clothe them. When He asked Adam what he had done, Adam did this: Adam sassed God right to His face.

And he lived to tell about it.

Adam said…

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