A Practical Guide to Repentance

The necessity of repentance for the forgiveness of sins is central to the message of the gospel.  It’s one of the elementary doctrines of Christ, and leads to salvation and eternal life.[1]But what exactly is it, and how does one go about doing it?
The term in Greek (metanoia) literally means a change of mind.  As used in the New Testament it can refer to either the initial conversion event, involving a change in one’s entire course of life from disregard for God to reverence for him, or the subsequent, ongoing repentance that characterizes the daily, Spirit-led work of sanctification.
It’s the latter that I want to address, and more specifically, repentance for sins committed against a neighbor.  What does this sort of repentance look like? 
The first thing to be said is that it has a look, which is to say that it can be seen.  It’s not merely an unobservable matter of the heart.  Genuine repentance originates in the heart, to be sure, but it’s not confined to the heart.  It’s insuffic…

The ongoing ministry of Christ

The full name of the book of Acts is The Acts of the Apostles.Luke himself didn’t give this name to the book, of course, but this is the name by which it came to be known in the early church.[1]The name is indicative of the subject matter, although it’s a bit misleading because there is very little information given about the ministry of any of the other apostles except Peter and Paul—and Paul wasn’t even one of the original twelve.
Because of the prominent role played by the Holy Spirit, some have suggested the book should be called The Acts of the Holy Spirit.[2]There is some merit to this.  Clearly the Holy Spirit plays a vital role in the book.
I think the book might best be called The Continuing Acts of Jesus Christ.[3]Why?Because in it we find Jesus continuing the ministry he began while he was on earth.This is how Luke himself viewed the situation.
In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he…

Keeping up with the Herodians

When reading the New Testament, it can be difficult to follow who’s who in the family of Herod.  Here’s a brief overview of the Herodian dynasty, at least of those members who play a prominent role in the Gospels and the book of Acts.

The most famous member of the dynasty is its founder, Herod the Great.  He’s not called “Great” because he was good or wise or just, but because he was an ambitious builder.  The ruins of his many projects can still be seen all over Israel.  It was Herod the Great who attempted to put Jesus to death as a baby by ordering all the male children in Bethlehem under two years of age to be killed.
He died a few months after our Lord was born and his dominion was divided among three of his sons.  He had more than three, but these are they who inherited his kingdom:   Archelaus and Herod Antipas, brothers from the same mother (Malthrace), and Herod Philip, a brother from another mother (Mariamne II).
Archelaus is mentioned in Scripture just in passing (Matt. 2:22)…

Immigration and the Bible, pt. 3

This is the third Sunday school lesson in a three part series on immigration. Click here for part one and here for part two.
Immigration by the Numbers In raw numbers, the U.S. has far more immigrants than any other country in the world, about 50 million. This, in a population of 325 million. The number is five times higher than the immigrant population of Germany, which at 12 million has the second highest number.
Legal Immigration The United States also welcomes more legal immigrants on a yearly basis than any other country in the world, and has done so for many years. In 2016 we received just shy of 1.2 million Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs). This is the highest number in at least the last ten years. Since 2000, the number has hovered between 1 and 1.1 million. Here are the figures provided by the Department of Homeland Security.[1]
Year LPR 2007 1,052,415 2008 1,107,126 2009 1,130,818 2010 1,042,625