The word “faith” is found 9 times in the third chapter of Romans, the first being our text for today; “For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?” Romans 3:3. To understand this verse, we must first understand the essence of faith. It’s often said that the Bible is the best commentary on itself and Scripture is clear: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1. The word “substance” is translated from the Greek “hupostasis”* (G5187) found 5 times in the New Testament (NT). The King James Version (KJV) translates it “substance” only here; “confident or confidence” in 3 passages, 2 Corinthians 9:4, 2 Corinthians 11:17 and Hebrews 3:14 and “person” in Hebrews 1:3. Strong defines it as: “a setting under (support), that is, (figuratively) concretely essence, or abstractly assurance (objectively or subjectively).” The word “evidence” is from the Greek “elengchos” (G1650) found only one other place in the NT where it is translated “reproof in the KJV: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” 2 Timothy 3:16. The Lexicon defines it as “evidence, demonstration, proof, convincing argument.”
Faith exists in human interactions as well as those involving our Creator. Two separate and distinct agents are at work with faith, one is passive, the other active. By passive, I mean impotent, i.e., powerless to produce a result. By active I mean dynamic, efficient, effective, i.e., power to produce a result. The passive agent is always a person. The active agent can be a person or God: Continue reading
On July 10, 1944, equipped with only a mirror and hand-made semaphore, U.S. Navy Radioman First Class George Ray Tweed signaled: “I have information” to the U.S. fleet as they approached Guam for the Second Battle of Guam.
From his vantage point, Tweed conveyed information about Japanese defenses that he had gathered during his seclusion overlooking the west coast of the island. He was quickly rescued by a whaleboat from the USS McCall.
At the age of 20, Tweed enlisted in the United States Navy in 1922 and attended the basic training at Naval Station Great Lakes. He also attended the Radioman School and served in the various Navy radio units until 1940, when he was transferred to the Naval Base Guam.
Radioman First Class, Tweed was serving in the Navy Communication Office when the Japanese invaded the island on December 8, 1941, in the First Battle of Guam. Tweed had arrived on Guam in August 1939.
He and five other navy men from the USS Penguin slipped into the Guam jungle rather than become prisoners of war.
The group believed that American forces would rescue Guam from the Japanese within a matter of six weeks at the most, and figured they could hold out in hiding for that long. Little did they know that it would be more than two and a half years before American forces returned. Continue reading
Fireworks and parades and ice cream cones and picnics…all a celebration of our Independence Day…won by so much blood and treasure. So many brave souls, many of whom we will never read about in print…these men and women of valor who put their own lives and desires aside for the betterment of future generations. A debt that none of us can ever repay.
Yes, living in the United States of America is a bit like winning the lottery—in terms of being blessed with the greatest country in the world. Most of all, we value our freedom, also referred to as liberty, and we value our culture of righteousness, also referred to as justice. “…one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Such cherished words in our Pledge of Allegiance. We innately know that these two things, liberty and justice, are what lead to true peace and joy.
And we also know that the God of The Holy Bible values freedom enormously. After all, the greatest freedom that He could allow would be for His children to have the authority to accept or even reject Him. And God allowed even that freedom. Quite a concession for the Creator of the universe….
But what is true freedom? Is it the opportunity to do whatever we feel like doing? To not have any restrictions? Or to live a life of pure comfort and pleasure, regardless of our fellowman? And just where do our rights begin to infringe upon the rights of others, who also may be on their own self-centered paths to freedom? Continue reading
We expect our friends to be loyal. How would you feel if your closest friend cowardly denied knowing you? Friends who forsake you create some of the deepest scars. For 3 ½ years Peter had been groomed by the Lord to be the leader of the disciples after His death, resurrection, and return to Heaven. Yet, when the chips were down, Peter failed.
Peter had heard the Lord’s words. With his own eyes, He had seen diseases healed instantly, food multiplied, storms stilled, and demons overpowered. When Jesus told all the disciples that they would soon abandon Him, Peter boasted, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” (Matthew 26:33)
Only a few hours later, Peter’s bravado failed him, and he denied knowing the Lord. Like Peter, our pride leads us to have an elevated view of ourselves. After his third denial, “The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter.” (Luke 22:61) Could you imagine how that must have devastated Peter when his eyes locked onto those of the Lord! Continue reading
In recent months we have been witnessing the formation of two opposing sides that I would call Biblical: the children of light and the children of darkness. The children of light constitute the most conspicuous part of humanity, while the children of darkness represent an absolute minority. And yet the former are the object of a sort of discrimination which places them in a situation of moral inferiority with respect to their adversaries, who often hold strategic positions in government, in politics, in the economy and in the media. In an apparently inexplicable way, the good are held hostage by the wicked and by those who help them either out of self-interest or fearfulness.
These two sides, which have a Biblical nature, follow the clear separation between the offspring of the Woman and the offspring of the Serpent. On the one hand there are those who, although they have a thousand defects and weaknesses, are motivated by the desire to do good, to be honest, to raise a family, to engage in work, to give prosperity to their homeland, to help the needy, and, in obedience to the Law of God, to merit the Kingdom of Heaven. On the other hand, there are those who serve themselves, who do not hold any moral principles, who want to demolish the family and the nation, exploit workers to make themselves unduly wealthy, foment internal divisions and wars, and accumulate power and money: for them the fallacious illusion of temporal well-being will one day – if they do not repent – yield to the terrible fate that awaits them, far from God, in eternal damnation.
In society, Mr. President, these two opposing realities co-exist as eternal enemies, just as God and Satan are eternal enemies. And it appears that the children of darkness – whom we may easily identify with the deep state which you wisely oppose and which is fiercely waging war against you in these days Continue reading
At the moment we place our personal faith in Jesus Christ, tremendous things take place. Colossians 3:1-4 identifies four of these truths:
- I died with Christ
- I am raised with Christ
- My life is hidden with Christ in God
- I will live with Christ in glory
These facts are true of every Christ-follower. Therefore, Paul encourages us to “set our hearts and minds” on them. We are to meditate upon them until we are solidly convinced of their reality. While we live in this world, our lives are secure in Christ. When we leave this earthly life, our eternity with Him will be glorious! All of these four realities are solely true because of the work Christ has already done.
After outlining how I have benefitted from the work of Christ, Paul turns his attention to some of the weeds that I am responsible to pull from my life. Since people come to Christ out of a variety of backgrounds and at different ages, some of us bring a lot of baggage and bad habits with us. Continue reading
At times, all of us hear the voices of discouragement. Sometimes they confront us even when we are confident that we are doing what God wants us to do. This blog will unmask three of the common methods Satan uses to discourage us, as well as the two ways in which we can rise above discouragement.
The attempt to discourage a person is clearly seen in the Old Testament book of Nehemiah. This man, for whom this book is named, was living in the land of Persia. After years of faithful service to the king as a cupbearer, the Persian monarch sent this Jewish man back to Israel to rebuild the wall and gates around Jerusalem.
The wall around Jerusalem had been pulled down a century earlier by the Babylonian army, removing its defenses from marauders. During that time, two men not of Jewish descent had achieved governmental leadership in the area. Their names were Sanballet and Tobiah. As in any turf war, they viewed Nehemiah as a challenger. They didn’t want to see him succeed in rebuilding the city’s defenses. Let me challenge you to read through the first six chapters of Nehemiah. Here’s where we begin to see how Satan attempts to discourage us, as well. Continue reading
You’ve heard of kids turning 180 degrees away from the values of their parents? Well, this is one of those situations. Hezekiah was a good leader of his country. He began his reign at 25 and was king of Judah for 29 years. But after he died, his son, Manasseh, became king. Manasseh was only twelve years old when he inherited carte-blanche authority in his country (how many of you would want to see a twelve-year old be your mayor or governor or president?). He reigned for 55 years.
The summation of his life is given us in 2 Chronicles 33:2, “He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites.” Some of the detestable practices he engaged in were astrology, witchcraft, and seances. He also corrupted the Temple and sought to turn his country away from the Lord to worship other gods.
The worst thing he did, though, was he “sacrificed his children in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom…” (2 Chronicles 33:6) He actually threw his screaming, terrified young children into burning trash dumps as WORSHIP of the gods he followed! Can you believe how heartless this maniac was? Continue reading
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” Hebrews 11:1. This study examines three entities to which faith is attributed: 1) as the name of a Gospel, which is a body of truth, i.e., “The Faith;” 2) Jesus Christ’s faith, thus it is referred to as “the faith of Jesus Christ;” 3) as the faith of individual members of the Body of Christ.
1 – The Faith:
The term “the faith” is never found in the four Gospels. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, faith is usually attributed to individual people and the word faith does not appear in John. “The faith” first appears in the book of Acts where it refers to the belief of the Jews in the Pentecostal church in Jerusalem. They believed the Gospel of the Kingdom, which was simply, that Jesus was their promised Messiah. Peter and the other 11 apostles, along with the Jewish believers were waiting for the Tribulation, after which they anticipated Christ’s return to establish His Kingdom on earth, Acts 1:6 – 8. They followed the Law of Moses and worshiped in Jerusalem at the Temple, Acts 2:42 – 47. The Old Testament (OT) had prophesied the Tribulation and the Messianic Kingdom. Jesus Christ Himself foretold the Tribulation, Matthew 24:4 – 14 and His subsequent return to establish His Kingdom, Matthew 24:29 – 31. That was the Gospel or “the faith” to which they were obedient: “… the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” Acts 6:7. However, they soon had to flee Jerusalem or be killed when Israel’s leaders rejected the Apostle’s offer of the Kingdom, climaxing with the stoning of Stephen, Acts 7:54 – 60. Continue reading