Being Loose

Christianity is necessarily true. Without the Person and Work of Jesus of Nazareth, we are left in our sin and without hope. But aren’t all religions true in some ways? Aren’t there many paths to God?

Is it easy? Not always. Will you receive everything you ever wanted in this life? Most likely not.

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Maybe you’ve heard the parable of the six blind men and the elephant. In this parable, six blind men feel a different part of an elephant and come to different conclusions regarding what the elephant is actually like. One blind man grabs the tusk and says, “An elephant is like a spear!” Another feels the trunk and concludes, “An elephant is like a snake!” The blind man hugging the leg thinks, “An elephant is like a tree!” The one holding the tail claims, “An elephant is like a rope!” Another feeling the ear believes, “An elephant is like a fan!” The last blind man leaning on the elephant’s side exclaims, “An elephant is like a wall!” This parable is often used to illustrate a view known as religious pluralism. Like the blind men, no religion has the truth. Rather, all religions are true in that they accurately describe their personal experience and the spiritual reality they encounter, given various historical and cultural backgrounds. There are various types of religious pluralism, but one way to define it is as follows: “the view that all religious roads – certainly all major or ethical ones – lead to God or to ultimate reality and salvation.” This idea is commonly reflected in such statements as “All religions basically teach the same thing” or “All roads lead to the top of the mountain.” The elephant parable, while attractive to many, suffers from a number of problems.

  • Problem #1: The parable is an analogy, not an argument.
  • Problem #2: Religious pluralism is patently false.
  • Problem #3: The parable begs the question.
  • Problem #4: The parable commits the self-excepting fallacy.
  • Problem #5: The parable is self-defeating.
  • Problem #6: The parable is radically skeptical.
  • Problem #7: The parable proves the opposite.

Read more of the explanation here: The Six Blind Men and the Elephant: A Case for Religious Pluralism?

Jesus said in :

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 ForGod did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

Do you understand that to be a Christian, you must only believe in Jesus? That He is the Son of God, sent from the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit, whereby Jesus came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it. ().  If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (). Jesus fulfilled everything required of us by God the Father, and even though He did everything perfectly and without sin, He died to save us and was treated as one who broke the law — in our place.

We call this vicarious living and dying.

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Think of it this way. What other religion or religious system allows for someone else to fulfill every requirement necessary for 1) salvation 2) entering into Heaven / Paradise? And thereby, through faith in that one person, you are saved to the uttermost?

Not only this, but if God is your Father, then you will love Jesus (), and if you love Jesus, you will keep His commandments ().

But you will be hated by all for my [Christ’s] name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved (). Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my [Christ’s] sake will find it (). For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my [Christ’s] sake will find it (). And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my [Christ’s] name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life ().

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The Christian life is hard. But unlike Islam, we are saved first through faith in Jesus, whereby we know beyond a shadow of a doubt we will be raised at the last day, therefore, we live our lives in thankfulness and gratefulness to the Lord. Islam and other religions do not have a guarantee as this. And not only this, we receive the promised Holy Spirit by Whom we are sealed — and no one can snatch you out of the hand of the Father nor out of the Son’s hand ().

Why do I bring this up?

In Christianity, sin is sin. All sin and any sin is enough to condemn us to Hell. Why? Because we are sinners. We sin because we are sinners. So, in one sense, no sin is any worse than another. However, without believing in Jesus as your only Hope and Savior, you will die in your sin.

As Christians, we struggle and fight to do what is right and good. Not to gain God’s favor, but because Jesus has gained the Father’s favor for us. We struggle and fight in thankfulness for what Christ has done for us.

It is only reasonable.

Therefore, we are to be strict with our bodies and loose with our money and possessions. The world believes we should be tight with our money and possessions yet loose with our bodies. And the world will go to great lengths to present the perception we can change the meaning and message of words. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap ().

Why do the nations rage

and the peoples plot in vain?

2 The kings of the earth set themselves,

and the rulers take counsel together,

against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,

3 “Let us burst their bonds apart

and cast away their cords from us.”

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs;

the Lord holds them in derision.

5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,

and terrify them in his fury, saying,

6 “As for me, I have set my King

on Zion, my holy hill.”

7 I will tell of the decree:

The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;

today I have begotten you.

8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,

and the ends of the earth your possession.

9 You shall break them with a rod of iron

and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;

be warned, O rulers of the earth.

11 Serve the Lord with fear,

and rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son,

lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,

for his wrath is quickly kindled.

Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

()

In other words, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. Otherwise, God’s wrath is kindled upon you. It will be only a matter of time before your time is up.

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3:1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

22 After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing. 23 John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized 24 (for John had not yet been put in prison).

25 Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

31 He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. 33 Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (ESV)

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (ESV)

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (ESV)


Listen

42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. (ESV)


Listen

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (ESV)


Listen

22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. (ESV)


Listen

39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (ESV)


Listen

25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (ESV)


Listen

29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. (ESV)


Listen

28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (ESV)


Listen

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. (ESV)


Listen

2:1 Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”

I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (ESV)

Starbucks and Gospel Reactions

I’m sure you’ve heard about the “boycott Starbucks!” debacle, right?

We, as Christians, need to think twice, research first, and respond in grace and not in haste.

Here are three articles discussing what really was said by Starbucks’ CEO:

  1. Starbucks, Same-Sex Marriage and Getting Facts Straight
  2. Did Starbucks CEO Really Say, ‘We Don’t Want Your Business’?
  3. Beware Before You Share: Starbucks, Worldviews, and Jumping to Conclusions

 

Update – 3/27/2013

The Christian Bandwagon Effect

Signs of the Times: 5 Gay Marriage Myths

Gay is Not the New Black

Should Christians Boycott Starbucks?

If you are going to boycott Starbucks, do it for the right reasons.

Don’t forget to read the fine print.

When Did Idolatry Become Compatible with Christianity?

Tim Keller – Evangelicals Face Growing Tension Between Political And Personal Views Of Gay Marriage

The Truth About Christianity

Jesus Ruined My LIfe is a great little post about the meaning of being a Christian.

Everyone is all for the pop-cultured American (small ‘c’) christianity. Instead of lifting Jesus up as our glorious Savior, he’s a used rung on the ladder of success to step on so those who step on him can be seen from a farther distance.

Albert Camus nails it when he wrote in his novel, “People naturally tried to get some help from his death. After all, it was a stroke of genius to tell us: ‘You’re not a very pretty sight, that’s certain! Well, we won’t go into the details! We’ll just liquidate it all at once, on the cross!’ But too many people now climb onto the cross merely to be seen from a greater distance, even if they have to trample somewhat on the one who has been there so long. Too many people decided to do without generosity in order to practice charity.” ~The Fall, p.114. “We long to be immortal. We are too much in love with ourselves not to want the precious object of our love never to disappear.”

Do we want a relationship with God or simply the assets He provides? We often oscillate between being both prodigal sons (). They both want the Father’s assets at the expense of a relationship with the Father. The tale of the Prodigal Sons describes American christianity.

Michael Horton wrote, “I would argue that the reason so many unbelievers can sit comfortably in our churches and even call themselves born-again Christians is that we give them very little to deny. The offensive message of the cross has been replaced with “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life,” with the cross tucked somewhere underneath it.”

This American christianity is a lie of the Devil. We must be watchful. Satan comes in like an angel of light and departs with a fiendish cackle over carcasses strewn in the wilderness – .

If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? ~Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“As a poor wicked sinner, I cannot but indulge the hope that God will save me from eternal death, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” ~John Cruver –1862.

God loves you so utterly and completely that he has given himself for you in Jesus Christ his beloved Son, and has thereby pledged his very being as God for your salvation. In Jesus Christ God has actualised his unconditional love for you in your human nature in such a once for all way, that he cannot go back upon it without undoing the Incarnation and the Cross and thereby denying himself.

Jesus Christ died for you precisely because you are sinful and utterly unworthy of him, and has thereby already made you his own before and apart from your ever believing in him. He has bound you to himself by his love in a way that he will never let you go, for even if you refuse him and damn yourself in hell his love will never cease. Therefore, repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. ~T. F. Torrance, “The Mediation of Christ”, 94

That is the truth about Christianity.

11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’” (ESV)


Listen

Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. (ESV)

Recommended Books for New Believers (for Anyone!)

Here are a few recommended books to read particularly if you are a new believer. However, these are good books for any Christian to read.

I have listed the books in an order that should build a solid foundation of the Christian Gospel upon which our faith is built. What books would you recommend?

What is the Gospel by Greg Gilbert
Gospel by JD Greear
Gospel Primer for Christians by Milton Vincent
Gospel Deeps by Jared Wilson
Gospel-Centered Discipleship by Jonathan Dodson and Matt Chandler
Gospel as Center by various
Grace Transforming by Philip Ryken
A Hunger for God by John Piper
Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian
Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart by JD Greear
Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges
Living the Cross Centered Life by CJ Mahaney
Embracing Obscurity by Anonymous
Disciplines of a Godly Man by R. Kent Hughes
The Gospel for Real Life by Jerry Bridges
If God is Good by Randy Alcorn
The Practice of Godliness by Jerry Bridges
The Transforming Power of the Gospel by Jerry Bridges
When People are Big and God is Small by Edward T. Welch
Who Do You Think You Are? by Mark Driscoll
The Work of Christ by RC Sproul
You Can Change by Tim Chester

Other recommendations:
Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church by Matt Chandler
Christian Beliefs by Wayne Grudem
Basic Christianity by John Stott
Reason for God by Tim Keller
Reasons for Belief by Norman Geisler
Why Church Matters by Joshua Harris
Everyday Church by Tim Chester

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Other recommendations:
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The Invisible Change

No doubt exists that God changes you and begins transforming you at the time of conversion ().

But are all changes God makes in your life visible?

The oft asked question, “does your life look the same after conversion as it did before conversion?” is really the wrong question to ask.

Sure, many people’s lives will dramatically change after conversion. Drug users will quit cold turkey, alcoholics will end their abuse, money launderers will cease and desist and even repay what was taken, but what about the people who are law-abiding citizens, ethical and moral in their behavior and speech?

For some people, their lives will change dramatically; others’ lives ever so slightly

We love to make the point that every life will change dramatically. But this is not always the case.

The real change is in motivation

For whose glory are we doing something?

If for the glory of self, then we will pursue money laundering, alcohol, drugs, sex, escape from reality because they become not only an end to themselves but a false ultimate end.

But if we do everything to God’s glory, we may not change what we do but why we do it. The change is invisible to the naked eye:

– So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.


Listen

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (ESV)

31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (ESV)

Legal Schizophrenia

If we found on mars what we find in the womb, there would be no doubt life was discovered. – Garrett Kell

The inconvenient truth to Atheism is David Attenborough’s conclusion: Humans are [a] plague on Earth.

Let that sink in

The law of (un)intended consequences of this kind of thinking says old people should hurry up and die (Taro Aso, Japan’s deputy prime minister), not to mention Roe v. Wade.

Humans are viewed as enhanced animals

Humans are not viewed as made in the image of God (; ). Man as enhanced animals precludes human rights simply because the survival of the fittest rules, and if the survival of weak people relies on large numbers, then the largest group will overcome the weak who are alone and outcast. No one wants to admit this, of course, but the reality is, no one has a right to life if others deem them inferior and unwanted.

We are plagued with Societal Schizophrenia

Google defines Schizophrenia “(in general use) as a mentality or approach characterized by inconsistent or contradictory elements.”

Abortion is Legal Schizophrenia

John Piper explains,

It is illegal to take the life of the unborn if the mother wants the baby, but it is legal to take the life of the unborn if she doesn’t. In the first case the law treats the fetus as a human with rights; in the second case the law treats the fetus as non-human with no rights. Humanness is defined by the desire of the strong. Might makes right. We reject this right to define personhood in the case of Nazi anti-Semitism, Confederate race-based slavery, and Soviet Gulags. When we define the humanness of the unborn by the will of the powerful we know what we are doing.

The website Case for Life nails the whole point of this discussion: What is the unborn? They write, “If the unborn are not human, no justification for elective abortion is necessary. But if the unborn are human, no justification for elective abortion is adequate.”

Science

Keith Mathison makes an important point: “Every embryology textbook states that a new genetically distinct human being begins its life at conception.”

C. Ward Kischer, Ph.D., expresses this point in more detail in his article When does human life begin? The final answer (HT),

Every human embryologist and every major textbook of Human Embryology states that fertilization marks the beginning of the life of the new individual human being. The reason why this is true is the following:

From the moment when the sperm makes contact with the oocyte, under conditions we have come to understand and describe as normal, all subsequent development to birth of a living newborn is a fait accompli. That is to say, after that initial contact of spermatozoon and oocyte there is no subsequent moment or stage which is held in arbitration or abeyance by the mother, or the embryo or fetus. Nor is a second contribution, a signal or trigger, needed from the male in order to continue and complete development to birth. Human development is a continuum in which so-called stages overlap and blend one into another. Indeed, all of life is contained within a time continuum. Thus, the beginning of a new life is exacted by the beginning of fertilization, the reproductive event which is the essence of life.

Herein lies the importance of distinguishing between the science of developmental biology and the science of Human Embryology. Within the science of Human Embryology, the continuum of life is more fully appreciated. The fact that development and developmental principles do not cease with birth becomes more fully realized. So, the continuum of human development does not cease until death, whenever that may occur, in utero or at 100 years of age.

In other words, We know what an apple really is.

 

Updated 6/17/2016

Surprise! Life Does Begin at Conception:

It seems that sometimes, when it serves the story, the fact that life begins at conception is perfectly clear to both scientists and the media. Sarah Knapton, Science Editor at the UK Telegraph, writes in an article titled “Bright Flash of Light Marks Incredible Moment Life Begins When Sperm Meets Egg”:

Human life begins in bright flash of light as a sperm meets an egg, scientists have shown for the first time, after capturing the astonishing ‘fireworks’ on film.

An explosion of tiny sparks erupts from the egg at the exact moment of conception.

Scientists had seen the phenomenon occur in other animals but it is the first time is has been also shown to happen in humans.

Update: 1/23/2017

The Gospel Coalition:

Here we have the core of the pro-choice argument: You are not a human person if I don’t want you to be. And I have the power to make it so.

The pro-choice regime has nothing deeper, nothing more rational, nothing more humane. That’s the whole argument. I don’t want you to be a person.

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/why-abortion-makes-sense

 

The Gospel Coalition:

How did change Rosaria Butterfield‘s mind about abortion?

“Here was the line of my undoing: ‘And peoples yet uncreated shall praise and magnify the LORD’ (). I got it: abortion is not a right or an entitlement. Abortion steals praise from God by denying image-bearers the opportunity to live through and for him. Abortion despises and attacks and destroys the image of God.”

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/i-thought-planned-parenthood-protected-family-values

 

Crossway:

https://www.crossway.org/blog/2016/05/10-things-you-should-know-about-abortion/

 

National Review:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/430152/abortion-roe-v-wade-unborn-children-women-feminism-march-life

 

 

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. (ESV)


Listen

“Whoever sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in his own image. (ESV)


Listen

102:1 Hear my prayer, O Lord;
let my cry come to you!
Do not hide your face from me
in the day of my distress!
Incline your ear to me;
answer me speedily in the day when I call!

For my days pass away like smoke,
and my bones burn like a furnace.
My heart is struck down like grass and has withered;
I forget to eat my bread.
Because of my loud groaning
my bones cling to my flesh.
I am like a desert owl of the wilderness,
like an owl of the waste places;
I lie awake;
I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop.
All the day my enemies taunt me;
those who deride me use my name for a curse.
For I eat ashes like bread
and mingle tears with my drink,
10 because of your indignation and anger;
for you have taken me up and thrown me down.
11 My days are like an evening shadow;
I wither away like grass.

12 But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever;
you are remembered throughout all generations.
13 You will arise and have pity on Zion;
it is the time to favor her;
the appointed time has come.
14 For your servants hold her stones dear
and have pity on her dust.
15 Nations will fear the name of the Lord,
and all the kings of the earth will fear your glory.
16 For the Lord builds up Zion;
he appears in his glory;
17 he regards the prayer of the destitute
and does not despise their prayer.

18 Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord:
19 that he looked down from his holy height;
from heaven the Lord looked at the earth,
20 to hear the groans of the prisoners,
to set free those who were doomed to die,
21 that they may declare in Zion the name of the Lord,
and in Jerusalem his praise,
22 when peoples gather together,
and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.

23 He has broken my strength in midcourse;
he has shortened my days.
24 “O my God,” I say, “take me not away
in the midst of my days—
you whose years endure
throughout all generations!”

25 Of old you laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you will remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,
27 but you are the same, and your years have no end.
28 The children of your servants shall dwell secure;
their offspring shall be established before you. (ESV)


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18 Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord: (ESV)

Thirteen Texts Showing how the Gospel Annihilates Racism

1. Every human is created in the image of God. ()

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

2. The Covenant blessing is to all nations. ()

12:1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

3. The pathetic example of Jonah’s racism. ()

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry.

4. The gospel-melted heart is that of the tax collector not the Pharisee. ()

9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed [1] thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

5. The Lamb was slaughtered for the world. ()

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

6. We are justified by faith not race. ()

28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.

7. Christ has broken down the dividing wall of hostility. ()

13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

8. Racism, by definition, counts “us” better than “them”. ()

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

9. Racism is not “in step with the gospel”. ()

11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

10. Racism categorizes while the gospel unites. ()

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave [1] nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

11. Partiality gives glory to someone. The gospel gives glory to Christ. ()

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.

12. The gospel creates one race. ()

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

13. Racists will be uncomfortable in heaven. ()

8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”

“I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.” (Dr. Martin Luther King, “Letter from Birmingham Jail)

By: Chris Gonzalez

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. (ESV)

12:1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (ESV)


Listen

4:1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. (ESV)


Listen

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (ESV)

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (ESV)


Listen

28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. (ESV)

11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (ESV)


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Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (ESV)


Listen

11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” (ESV)


Listen

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. (ESV)


Listen

2:1 My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. (ESV)

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (ESV)


Listen

And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.” (ESV)