In our last Teaching Notes, we looked at the Bible’s teaching about the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. God the Father is often referred to as the First Person of the Trinity, yet the New Testament is quite clear that God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are Co-Equal with God the Father.
We turn now to the Second Person of the Trinity in this continuing series of Teaching Notes from the 1970’s.
In the last Teaching Notes, we looked at the Holiness of God. While other religions believe that God is holy (e.g. Judaism, Islam), the Christian belief about God is different than all other religions on earth. We look now at the Trinity – a belief exclusive to Christianity.
The United States has new leadership in the White House and the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union. Each change came after serious disagreements and with strong words. Many people on both sides of the pond are pleased by these changes, while many others are dismayed. What now?
We are looking for answers through the lens of Christianity – how Jesus Christ sees life and its challenges. In the first part of this series, we looked at the Christian response to modern challenges from a positional perspective. In the second part, we will look at the Christian response from a practical perspective. How should Christians live out Christianity in a changing world?
Whether you live in the United States or the United Kingdom, you may be wondering “what now?” Whether it’s President Trump or Brexit, things are changing. Whether you voted Republican or Democrat, things are changing. Whether you voted to leave the European Union or stay in the EU, things are changing. If you live in other countries around the world, you may also be facing changes that are very challenging. So, we ask, what now?
Lest you think this is going to be a political post that favors one candidate or party over another, I invite you to read a post published during the Presidential Primary season a year ago – How To Choose The Best Leader For A Nation.
I’d like to address this from the Christian worldview, since that is what I believe to be true and lasting. I realize that if you have a different worldview you may not agree with some of what I’m going to share, so please share your thoughts with me in the Comment (Reply) section below and we can discuss our differences. Talking about our differences can be highly constructive, especially if we treat each other with gentleness and respect.
The first part of this series will be positional in nature. The second part will be practical. Our hope and prayer is that both will be helpful to the conversations we are having with family and friends during these challenging times.
God’s name is found thousands of times in the Bible – as well it should be. The Bible reveals what God wants us to know about Him and what He is doing in Heaven and on earth.
In a previous Teaching Note we saw that God is Solitary, Supreme and Sovereign. We also know from Scripture that God is Eternal, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, Immutable, Love, Good, Righteous, Just, and Merciful.
God created a host of beings called “angels” who serve Him in Heaven. They sing this song to God – “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.” (Isaiah 6:3) God also created beasts full of eyes before and behind who stand before God in Heaven and say – “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.”
The Holiness of God is a powerful theme, both in Heaven and on earth.
We know what we know about God because He revealed Himself to us. We find His revelation in His Word, the Bible. God reveals Himself to be the Creator and Sustainer of the universe and all life within the universe.
“Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.” Deuteronomy 4:39
God also reveals Himself as our Refuge and Strength, a very present help in trouble. Even if the earth is removed, and mountains are carried into the middle of the sea, and waters roar and are troubled, and mountains shake with the swelling, we will not fear. Why? Because we know God is in complete control.
“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”
I recently came across some large boxes in storage that contained some of my teaching notes from 40 years ago. As I looked through those notes, I wondered if and how my thinking about God had changed through the years. I had come to Christian theism from atheism, so the reality of God’s existence was the most exciting knowledge I had ever experienced.
What did I think about God in those early days of Christianity? What have I learned since then? What can I learn now from what I believed and taught then?
“My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” James 3:1
That Bible verse has bothered me for many years – as well it should. James, the half-brother of Jesus, wrote a letter that hits followers of Christ hard, especially those who teach and lead. While that verse didn’t keep me from teaching the Bible, it has been a constant reminder of being careful about what I teach. Teachers will receive a “stricter judgment.”
That said, let me add that teachers who teach correctly also receive great reward. That reward includes pleasing God, being to the praise of His glory, and making disciples.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17.
As we shared in our last article, the Apostle Paul told the Romans that “the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.” The meaning of “faith” in the Greek is a confidence based on trust in truth based on evidence. The “righteousness” of God is something He does based on the fact that He is “righteous.” The idea of “from” or “out of” “faith to faith” can be understood as moving from the origin of faith to the maturing of faith – a “faith journey.”
We now move to the last thought in Paul’s thematic statement – an idea that was centuries old even when the apostle wrote to the Romans 2,000 years ago.
As we approach another new year, we’d like to share some thoughts with you – thoughts based on God’s amazing grace.
“And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” John 1:16-18