Showing posts from January, 2011

Christians and the Law

What role does the law have in the life of a Christian? Well, you know there are some people who think the law has no place in the life of a Christian. They think that the law and the gospel are two opposing principles; that you can have one or the other, but not both. They think of the law as an onerous burden, from which we are delivered by Christ. But let me recite for you a few verses from the 119th Psalm, the longest Psalm, and indeed the longest chapter in the Bible…and it’s entirely devoted to singing the praises of God’s law. Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD! (v. 1). Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law (v. 18). My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times (v. 20). Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law! (v. 29). What’s this? Graciously teach me your law? But I thought law and grace were opposing principles. I thought they were incompatible, irreconcilable. Tha

What about unanswered prayer?

There are many promises in the Bible regarding prayer. But why is it that so many of our prayers go unanswered? Prayer is one of the many precious privileges we have as God’s covenant people. He has indeed promised to answer our prayers. For instance, Jesus says in Matthew 7, Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matt. 7:7-11). In Mark 11, he says, Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass,

Why did Jesus say, "Don't Tell"?

Why did Jesus tell the people he healed not to tell anyone? This is a curious thing, isn’t it? Especially in light of the fact that Jesus has commissioned us to make him known. We find that on several occasions during his earthly ministry that Jesus told the people whom he healed not to let anyone know about it. This was not always the case, however. For instance, when Jesus delivered the Gerasene demoniac from the power of Satan, and the man “begged that he might be with him… Jesus sent him away, saying, ‘Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you’” (Lk. 8:38-39). So here’s one time, at least, when Jesus told a man to tell everyone. But on most other occasions he told people not to tell. In Matthew 9 we read about two blind men whom Jesus healed. It says, And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, “See that no one knows about it” (Matt 9:30). In the first chapter of Mark we read of a leper who was healed; and it says, Jesus sternly charged h

The Salt of the Earth

What does Jesus mean when he says that we are the salt of the earth? In the ancient world salt was considered essential for maintaining life. The Roman author Pliny said, “Without salt human life cannot be sustained.” The book of Sirach (180 B.C.) has it that “The basic necessities of human life are water and fire and iron and salt and wheat flour and milk and honey, the blood of the grape and oil and clothing” (Sir. 39:26). In a certain Rabbinic writing, it is said, “The world cannot endure without salt.” So valued was salt that in different cultures it was sometimes used as a form of money. No doubt you have heard the phrase, “So and so is not worth his salt.” The saying has its origin in workers being paid at least a portion of their wages in salt. If someone is not worth his salt, he is not worth what he is being paid. We have a reminder of this historical fact (salt as money) in our word “salary,” which comes from salarium, the Latin word for salt. One of the most obvious us