Category Archives: Hot Topics

The Biblical Teaching on Tithes

The word tithe means “to give a tenth.” The tithe consisted of produce and livestock (Lev 27:30-32), and was given to the Levites for their support for ministry (Num 18:21-24). The Levites, in turn, gave a tithe of the tithe to the Priests for their service (Num 18:25-28). Additionally, the worshipper could eat a portion of the sacrifice with his family and the Levites (Deut 12:17-19; 14:22-27). Lastly, a tithe was taken every third year to help the poor, the alien, the orphans and the widows. This tithe was comparable to a social welfare system for the most unfortunate in society. Continue reading

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The Old and New Priesthood

Presently, in the church age, every Christian, at the moment of salvation, becomes a priest to God. Peter writes of Christians, saying, “you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 2:5), and “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet 2:9). This is the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, who “has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father” (Rev 1:6), and “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth” (Rev 5:10; cf. 20:6). Furthermore, we do not worship at a temple; rather, “we are the temple of the living God” (2 Cor 6:16; cf. 1 Cor 3:16-17). And we do not bring animal sacrifices, but “offer up spiritual sacrifices” to God (1 Pet 2:5). Continue reading

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King David – the Good and the Bad

The Bible describes David as a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14; cf. Acts 13:22). This is a huge compliment, but what does it mean? God certainly knew David’s heart and what kind of king he would be, for He informed His prophet, Samuel, saying, “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). However, we should not conclude that David was perfectly obedient and kept the Lord’s will in all matters in his life. He did not. No believer ever does, for there are none who are sinless, except the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15; 1 Jo 3:5). But David obeyed the Lord in important matters, and apart from a few major offences, he did not generally commit egregious sins. Continue reading

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God’s Imputed Righteousness

For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one … Continue reading

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They Will Suffer for Your Unfaithfulness

Numbers chapters 13 & 14 reveal the biblical concept of blessing and cursing by association. In this section of Scripture, God disciplined the Israelites in the wilderness because of their disobedience, and that discipline had direct impact on their children. The key verse in this article in Numbers 14:33, which reads, “But as for you, your corpses will fall in this wilderness. Your sons shall be shepherds for forty years in the wilderness, and they will suffer for your unfaithfulness, until your corpses lie in the wilderness.” Continue reading

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Biblical Meditation

Meditation, in the biblical sense, is an intentional filling of the mind with divine viewpoint; specifically, God’s Word. The purpose is to saturate our thinking with Scripture so that it will permeate all aspects of our reasonings and guide us in God’s will. This stands in stark contrast to the eastern view of meditation, which instructs adherents to empty the mind and to think nothing at all. Continue reading

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Theological Categories of God’s Justice

The righteousness of God refers to the intrinsic, immutable, moral perfection of God, from which He commands all things, in heaven and earth, and declares as good that which conforms to His righteousness and as evil that which deviates. The righteousness and the justice of God work together. Whatever God’s righteousness requires, His justice executes; either to approve or reject, to bless or condemn. The various theological categories of God’s righteousness include rectoral justice, retributive justice, remunerative justice, redemptive justice, and restorative justice. Continue reading

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Chasing After Donkeys

God’s providence refers to His wise and personal acts, whereby He creates and controls circumstances in order to direct history according to His predetermined plan, all for His glory and the benefit of His people. As Christians, we live in the flow of history, and are moved by the circumstances He controls, for the Lord “does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’” (Dan 4:35). Continue reading

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Social Justice from a Biblical Perspective

When Israel was a theocratic kingdom, God legislated certain benefits to the poor, widows, orphans and sojourners in order to meet their daily needs, and these were to be given by those whom He’d blessed with abundance. God instructed His leaders to uphold and defend the rights of the vulnerable, knowing there would be wicked persons who would seek to exploit them. Sadly, much of Israel’s history was marked by a breakdown among His people, as the leaders and wealthy in the land exploited the poor they were called to defend. Now, in the Church age, God provides care for the needy in society through human governments, as well as through individual Christians and local churches. Lastly, perfect government will come in the future when Jesus Christ returns and establishes His kingdom on earth and provides righteous reign and care for all. Continue reading

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When God Gives Us a Test

God tests His people. It’s a fact that is repeated throughout Scripture (Exo 16:4; 20:20; Deu 13:3; Jud 3:1-2; Isa 48:10). He tests us with difficult situations in order to humble us, so that we will not look to ourselves for strength, but to Him. In the end, the test reveals that it is God who provides for us. Continue reading

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How to Deal with Jealousy

Jealousy can be either healthy or unhealthy, depending on the motivation of the heart. God is jealous. He is jealous to protect His glory (Isa 42:8), His name (Eze 39:25; cf. Isa 42:8), and His people (Zec 8:2). When we love what God loves, then we’ll possess a godly jealousy, like Elijah (1 Ki 19:10) and Paul (2 Cor 11:2). But when we care little about God, then sinful jealousy will dominate our hearts, and we’ll seek to destroy rather than protect and edify others, such as when Joseph’s brothers tried to kill him (Gen 37:11-28), or when the Sadducees attacked and imprisoned the apostles (Acts 5:17-18). We overcome sinful jealousy by: 1) placing God’s Word at the center of our lives and letting it direct our thoughts, words and actions (Psa 1:2; 2 Cor 10:5), 2) realizing the Lord owns everything (Psa 24:1; 89:11), and that He is free to leave or take whatever we have, including possessions, family, or health (Job 1:6-21), and, 3) that sinful jealousy cannot exist in a heart saturated with God’s love, for “Love…is not jealous” (1 Cor 13:4). Continue reading

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When God Uses Evil Actions for His Good

Through Scripture, God gives His people the capacity to see all of life from His vantage point. Having God’s perspective allows us to rise about the daily grind of life and the petty actions of others and realize there is a sovereign God who rules over His creation and directs the activities of mankind—even evil activities—for His own good and the good of His people. For this reason, we can understand Paul’s words and know “that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). Continue reading

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Alexander the Coppersmith

There are times when it’s necessary to specifically name a person as hostile in order to warn others to avoid unnecessary harm. This was true of the apostle Paul, who warned his friend, Timothy, about a man named Alexander. Continue reading

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Submission to Authority – Part III

Christians will, at times, suffer unjustly at the hands of those whom God has placed in authority over us, like the suffering Hagar experienced at the hand of Sarai. And, the harsh or immoral character of leaders should never dictate our response; rather, we should be governed by God’s Word, as we look to Christ as our example of unjust suffering. Continue reading

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Submission to Authority – Part I

God is the supreme Ruler of His creation, and He has established human governmental authorities to promote law and order. This means He has delegated authority to persons and groups who serve as administrative overseers to others. As Christians, we are commanded to submit to those in authority over us, whether it is the president, state governors, local city officials, police officers, employers, parents, teachers, etc. Failure to submit to human authority is regarded as failure to submit to God, Who has placed those persons over us. Continue reading

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Twelve Ways to Deal with a Bad Boss

The purpose of this article is to provide several tools for the Christian who is struggling under a bad boss. Continue reading

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The Wrath of God

God’s wrath refers to His intense hatred of sin. God’s hatred of sin is primarily born out of His attributes of righteousness and love. Righteousness and love are eternal attributes, but wrath is not. God’s wrath is the natural response to that which is contrary to His righteousness and love. Continue reading

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Babylonianism

Babylonianism is a philosophy of human autonomy. It is a system of values that start and end with man, and is embraced by the vast majority of people who assign no serious thought of God to their discussions, plans, or projects, and who seek to use His resources independently of His wishes. Continue reading

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Contrasting Good and Bad Leaders

A leader is one who influences the thoughts and actions of others in order to achieve a specific outcome. The Bible differentiates between good and bad leaders, between the righteous and the wicked. Bad leaders exclude God from their daily thoughts and activities and selfishly pursue their own desires, even if it means harming others. In contrast, the good leader is first and foremost a follower of God who wears a crown of humility and derives his values and strength from the Lord.

As believers, we are always to pray for those in leadership positions. Paul writes, “I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Tim. 2:1-2). Continue reading

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Faith or Regeneration – Which Comes First?

The ordo salutis refers to the order of salvation. Some believe regeneration precedes faith in Christ, and others that faith in Christ precedes regeneration. This article seeks to present a fair presentation of the subject. Continue reading

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What is the Church?

The church refers to the body of Christ which began on the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2. It is comprised of Jews and Gentiles who have accepted Jesus as Savior. The church exists universally as an organism, the global presence of Christians who form the body of Christ. The church also exists locally as an organization, a nearby assembly of believers who gather together for Bible study, worship, fellowship, and the practice of the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The Christian church is a mystery not revealed in the Old Testament and is separate from Israel, having a different identity and purpose. Continue reading

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Not of Works

Christians are saved by what Jesus accomplished for us at the cross and not by any good works we produce. Good works should follow salvation, but they are never the condition of it. Continue reading

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A Commitment of the Heart

Good and evil reflect a commitment of the heart, and this commitment determines our values and actions, either good or bad. Who are you? Are you one who has set your heart to turn away from God and live as you please? Is your will more important than His? Or, are you one who has an honest and good heart that welcomes God and His Word and who submits yourself to doing His will? I hope it’s the latter. Your words and actions will show it. Continue reading

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When God Said “Do Not Pray”

Three times God told Jeremiah, “do not pray for this people, and do not lift up cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with Me; for I do not hear you” (Jer. 7:16; cf. 11:14; 14:11). The reason behind God’s command was that He had decided to judge and punish His people (Jer. 7:20) because they’d repeatedly broken their covenant with Him by disobeying His commands and pursuing other gods, which He had forbidden (Ex. 20:2-4; cf. Ezek. 20:4-24). Continue reading

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The Basics of Prayer

Prayer is discussion with God. It is motivated by different causes and takes different forms. Most often prayer is an appeal to God to change a difficult or helpless situation. Sometimes God changes our situations as we request (i.e., concerning employment, health, finances, family matters, etc.), and sometimes He leaves the difficult situation and seeks to change our attitude (2 Cor. 12:7-10). Continue reading

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The Meaning of Sin

The word sin is found throughout Scripture, and both the Hebrew and Greek share the same basic meaning. The Hebrew word חָטָא chata means “to miss the target, or to lose the way,” and the Greek word ἁμαρτάνω hamartano is defined as “miss the mark, err, or do wrong.” Continue reading

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Why Believers Show No Grace

God is gracious to us and treats us better than we deserve. More so, He calls us to be like Him and to show grace to others. This means loving our enemies and being kind to those who hurt us. Continue reading

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The Noetic Effects of Sin

The noetic effects of sin refers to the affect sin has on the mind of every person. Sin impacts our ability to think rationally, especially about God, Who has made Himself known through general revelation and special revelation. God’s revelation disrupts the mind of man, confronting wrong thoughts and inviting conformity to the mind of God. Continue reading

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Original Sin

Original sin refers to Adam’s sin in the garden in which he disobeyed God (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:1-24). Adam is the head of the human race. When Adam sinned, we all sinned with him. His fallen position is our fallen position. His guilt is our guilt. The pure image of God (imago Dei) that belonged to the first couple was marred when they sinned and all Adam’s children are born with a distorted image and a proclivity toward rebellion against God (Ps. 51:5; 58:3; Eph. 2:1-3). Continue reading

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The Worthless Person

     In several places in the Bible there are references to worthless persons (Deut. 13:13; Judg. 19:22; 20:13; 1 Sam. 25:17; 1 Ki. 21:9-13; Prov. 6:12-14; 16:27; 19:28; Nah. 1:11). The term worthless translates the Hebrew בְּלִיָּעַל belial, which … Continue reading

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God’s Righteousness in the Future

The future is bright because there is the hope of a good and righteous King who will bring in everlasting righteousness.  This King is the Lord Jesus, the Christ, the Savior who will establish His kingdom upon the earth.  Jesus will reign forever.  Continue reading

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A Dispensational View of God’s Righteousness

God is forever righteous and the expectation of righteous behavior from His people is a timeless truth. God’s righteousness is manifest in the laws He gives, and He always expects righteousness from His people. Continue reading

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God’s Favor Toward His People

God’s favor refers to the goodness and blessing He shows to others. God’s favor is based on His sovereignty, for He is under no compulsion to act, but does so according to His good pleasure, freely, from the bounty of His own goodness. His favor is often accomplished through the agency of other people as well as through circumstances. Continue reading

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When a Believer Perpetually Sins

The purpose of this article is to show that a child of God can simultaneously surrender some areas of his life to God and other areas not. Like train tracks that run parallel, a believer may be obedient in one thing and disobedient in another. Continue reading

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What it Means to Follow Jesus

Jesus called men to follow Him (Matt. 4:18-19; 9:9; John 1:43), and He had many female followers as well, several of whom funded His earthly ministry (Luke 8:1-3). To follow Jesus means to learn His teaching, obey His commands and model our life after Him. Followers of Jesus were to share the gospel (Matt. 4:19), not be bound by the world’s values (Matt. 8:19-22), treasure Jesus above one’s profession (Matt. 9:9), be committed to Jesus above family (Matt. 10:34-38; cf. Mark 1:20), and deny self and take up one’s cross daily (Matt. 16:24; cf. Luke 9:23). There is no place for personal glory or selfishness in serving the Lord, as one’s life is given for His glory and the benefit of others (1 Cor. 10:32-33; Phil. 2:3-4). To follow Jesus is a lifelong pursuit. Continue reading

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The Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s Supper was instituted by Jesus while celebrating the Passover meal on the night before His crucifixion. The unleavened bread symbolizes the perfect humanity of Christ, and the red juice symbolizes the blood of the New Covenant that was ratified on the cross. Christians who partake of the Lord’s Supper see themselves as the beneficiaries of the spiritual blessings of forgiveness and the indwelling Holy Spirit. Continue reading

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Christians Paying Taxes

Paying taxes is a form of godliness for the believer, for we support divinely established institutions of government and believe in the rule of law (Rom. 13:1-5). As submitting Christians, we pay taxes to our city, state, and federal government. Paul writes, “For because of this [submission to government] you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor” (Rom 13:6-7). Continue reading

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When Believers Hide

There have been, and are times when God’s people hide themselves, or were hidden by others, in the face of persecution. Biblically, there appear to be both right and wrong reasons for hiding. Continue reading

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Honor the Lord From Your Wealth

Giving for the Lord’s work is legitimate. The issue for the Christian is not how much one gives, but rather, that one gives joyfully, “for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). Continue reading

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God the King Maker

God is never neutral. He meddles in the affairs of mankind, political or otherwise. His unseen hand works behind all the activities of mankind, controlling and directing history as He wills. “Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps” (Ps. 135:6). Ultimately, it is God “who changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and establishes kings” (Dan. 2:21a), for “the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whom He wishes and sets over it the lowliest of men” (Dan. 4:14). Continue reading

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Religious Syncretism

    Several years ago I had a strange conversation with a young woman who was in graduate school and finishing her degree in Social Work.  The woman became excited when I mentioned I was in seminary and she proceeded … Continue reading

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God the Holy Spirit

     There is some confusion today among students of the Bible concerning the identity of the Holy Spirit.  Some heretical groups such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Unitarians say the Holy Spirit is merely an impersonal force.  Mormons recognize the … Continue reading

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Jesus is God

     Does the Bible teach that Jesus is God?  Yes, the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is God.  He is properly identified as one of the three Persons of the Godhead, commonly referred to as the Trinity.  There is … Continue reading

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The Doctrine of Simultaneity

Too often Christians struggle with understanding their position in Christ and why they continue to sin after salvation. The doctrine of simultaneity addresses this very relevant and practical doctrinal truth. Continue reading

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The Sin of Idolatry

Idolatry is the selfish sin of substitution in which we devote ourselves to worship something or someone in the place of God.  It is foremost a sin of a covetous heart that leads us to desire more than what God provides, and to trust something or someone lesser than God to satisfy our wants and needs. Continue reading

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An Evangelical Response to Same-sex Marriage

God’s Word reveals marriage is a divine institution and not a human social construct. Marriage is a covenant relationship between a man and a woman and is intended to be for a lifetime (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:3-6). Marriage began with the first humans—male and female—at the beginning of time-space-history (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:18-25). Concerning marriage, Moses wrote “a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). Jesus Himself stated marriage began in the Garden of Eden and is between a man and a woman (Matt. 19:4-6).  Continue reading

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The Doctrine of Election

Election (ἐκλέγω eklego) is that free choice of God from eternity past in which He chose to save and bless those who are the objects of His love and grace. The elect are the ones chosen. God elects based on His sovereign good pleasure and not because of any foreseen goodness in people (John 1:11-13; 6:37, 44, 65-66; 10:27-28; Acts 13:48; 16:14; Rom. 8:29-30; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:1-2). God elects groups (Luke 6:13-16; John 6:70) and individuals (1 Chron. 28:5; Acts 9:15); and His selection is based on sovereign choice (Rom. 9:10-18), not any foresight of good or worth (Deut. 7:7-8; 1 Cor. 1:26-31; Rom. 9:11). Election is to salvation (Acts 13:48; Eph. 1:4-6), spiritual blessing (Eph. 1:3), holy and righteous living (Col. 3:12; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 2:9), and service for the Lord (Jer. 1:4-5; Gal. 1:15-16; cf. Acts 9:15). Continue reading

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When God’s People Sin

     Do God’s people every behave poorly?  Yes.  There are times we behave poorly.  As a Christian, there are times I behave poorly toward God by refusing to do His will (James 4:17).  There are times I behave poorly … Continue reading

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The Purpose of Life

What is the purpose or meaning of life? It is a metaphysical question that pertains to ultimate reality. To answer the question, we must consider where we came from (origins), who/what we are (identity), and where we are going (eternity). There are two major ways to answers this question. Continue reading

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