Sometimes when wondering where to begin with explaining who God is it is best to simply go to the beginning – of the Bible and of creation. In the opening verse of the Bible we read, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). The beginning spoken about here was not God’s beginning; God doesn’t have a starting point; He is from everlasting to everlasting (Ps. 90:2; 103:17); and Moses, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, felt no need to offer an introductory apologetic for God’s eternal self-existence.
Category: Doctrine of God (Page 1 of 8)
I can remember reading an article in a daily newspaper that began with a kind of startling opening sentence. It went something like this – ‘according to financial experts people with high incomes are struggling with debt as much as people with low incomes.’ Now at first glance that could appear surprising. But upon further consideration you can see why it isn’t.
Perhaps you can recount times when you were in difficult financial straits, not because you were unemployed, or ‘under-employed’, but because you lacked self-control. The income was there, the work was there, yet, before you knew it, you found yourself having frivolously spent whatever you had. The world system we live in is designed to bolster that tendency. Billboards proudly declare that their products are the secrets to success and happiness. E-mail inboxes can fill up with sales on just about anything and who can resist 50% off a familiar shopping item? Societal norms (cars, cable, cell phones, etc.) increase the cost of living. Credit cards are often easily mishandled leaving their debtors to pay not only their debt but additional fees as well. The list could go on and on… it really could. And unless a person has borne the fruit of self-control via the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, they will not handle their finances in a God honoring manner.
When was the last time you prayed that prayer?
I think there is, for many Christians, sometimes, a sense of aversion to praying like that given the great abuse of the subject of faith in ‘television evangelicalism’. People hear well-polished, self-help gurus posing as evangelical preachers saying things like, “Believe that God has abundance coming your way”, “believe God is going to get you that bigger house and that nicer car”, “believe that you will get that promotion”, and they think, “These ‘faith-guys’ are saying ‘believe this and that’ as a guise for inciting materialistic cravings in their hearers! They don’t preach through the books of Scripture. They don’t focus in on the glories and excellencies of the Savior. Rather, every week it’s the same thing: “God wants you to have more”, “Give Him permission to bless you by believing Him”, “Don’t settle for just enough when you can have an abundance”. Thus, the rampant abuse of the subject of faith has inadvertently lead many to forget how important of a subject it is beyond its quintessential role in salvation.
How would you have responded to the sectarianism that plagued Corinth? This issue was so potent that Paul addressed it twelve verses into 1 Corinthians saying,
Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” (1 Cor 1:12)
Perhaps some said, “I’m sticking with Paul. After all, he rebuked Peter and set him straight so I will be his disciple.” The Apollos crowd might have responded by saying, “Have you heard Apollo’s speaking ability? He is not only eloquent, but he is mighty in the Scriptures! Surely the anointing of God rests more mightily upon him.” To which Cephas’ crowd might have said, “Don’t forget to whom our Lord said, ‘You are Peter (Petros) and upon this rock (petra) I will build My church.’ Granted, Peter may have had his ups and downs but he is our guy.” And then the Christ-crowd might have responded by saying, “I’m not following any of those guys; I’m just gonna follow Jesus.”
For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous. (1 John 3:11-12)
Time and again in his first epistle John pointed his readers back to what they heard from “the beginning”. With false teachers trying to bring in destructive heresies and, most likely claiming new revelation, John repeatedly pointed back to the apostolic message his readers heard from the beginning.