It's important to understand the God of wisdom before trying to understand practical living. Ecclesiastes has much to say about who God is.
Paul talks about two categories of Christians in Romans 14, the strong and the weak. Every believer falls under one category or the other. Both are assumed to be reverent and growing. Both are instructed to keep themselves in the love of God.
Psalm 73:3 expresses a feeling that most Christians experience after they have been saved for a while: "I was envious of the arrogant as I saw the prosperity of the wicked." Job expressed the same thought in Job 21:7-20. This is especially challenging in a culture where sinful lifestyles are celebrated.
Psalm 73 addresses the issue of why the wicked prosper, but without answering the question. It answers the deeper question of why the righteous envy the wicked and what the solution is for that.
In Romans 9:19, Paul anticipates another question from his readers, then proceeds to dispel any fear or doubt they might have about God's justice in saving. God saves righteously: He is equitable, fair, and just.
The greatest joys in life are knowing Christ and seeing others meet Him. Yet of equal magnitude in grief is seeing those who hear the Gospel refuse Him.
Romans 9 shows us how to find our way back to joy. Paul's answer is considering God, His person and His attributes. This will give us the ability to work our way out of any grief.
As humans, we need to understand the axioms of existence. What is the big picture? What are the fundamental presuppositions of the universe? As we read the book of Psalms, what is the underlying galvanizing reality that underpins them all?
Independence Day weekend is filled with national interest, with many looking to our government for happiness. Psalm 1, however, identifies the individual and their relationship to God's Word as the true source of happiness. Your relationship to God’s Word determines your state of being.
Knowing intellectual data about Jesus is not enough to save a person. Nicodemus was a learned Jewish teacher, but he still did not possess saving faith until he knew what it meant to be born again (John 3:1-21). The longest 18 inches is the distance from the head to the heart, from knowing about Jesus to placing our full faith in and submitting to Christ.
People who are considered moral need God too. Many moral people can sound Christian without actually knowing Christ. There is only one Judge who knows the whole truth. Romans 2:2-16 describes four ways that God judges moralists.
God's charge against humanity continues in the divine courtroom. He is answering the question, Is all the world lost? The answer is yes, all are guilty before God. In Romans 2:1-16, we learn the moralist is just as guilty as the immoral person. It's important to remind do-gooders that they need Jesus just as much as the wicked. None of us have an excuse before God (Romans 1:20).
Some may recall a teaching method used to ingrain material in students' heads: Remember, Recite, Remediate. After material is taught, it is repeated until the students can recite it accurately. Romans 1:18-32 is a repetition of the truth about fallen humanity. It was not written primarily to convict sinners, since the letter was written to believers in Rome. It is a reminder of what we were before the Lord saved us.
Genesis 19 is a hard chapter to understand. It is often misunderstood and misinterpreted as judgment on one particular sin, but it is not. Rather, it should be read as a sub-narrative in Abraham’s story about how God’s people can slip into living like the world.
The Bible is not a history book, but it contains history. We can learn much from what the Holy Spirit chose to record.
Some readers of Genesis 7 may ask, “Why a worldwide flood? Was that level of judgment really necessary?” Remember what we learned about the society in that day – it was “exceedingly corrupt,” to the point that “every intent of the thoughts of [anyone’s] heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). God’s judgment is always proportionate to the sin He is judging. We will see again this week that He is a fair and just God who continually offers mercy even at the eleventh hour.
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