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Did the Apostle Paul just say that “he fills up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ?" That seems a little at odds with Jesus statement "It is finished." Perhaps salvation isn't complete? Jesus suffered a lot, but maybe a little more suffering is required from each of us?
Paul starts detailing what it means to be justified. He doubles down on the role of grace. What if we mess the Christian life up? How does grace give us a reason to hope? What does it mean to have the of God “poured” into our hearts? We might be willing to die for a good person but Paul says this is not what Jesus does. Where is the wrath of God located? Daniel and Erick discuss all of this. Have a listen!
BY NORMAN NAGEL
You have not faced death fully unless you have faced the death on Calvary. Jesus was, in fact, a good man. Two bad men were dying along with Him. One of them acknowledged the truth, “We have it coming to us, but not this one.” Jesus was different, yet He was on the center cross, dying along with them.
Moses is going to die soon, but first the Israelites must go to war with Midianites. Many people are killed, including woman and children, as well as Balaam. How are we supposed to understand battles like this? What is all this judgment and death pointing to? Texts like this are hard but Chad and Daniel do their best to get you to the cross of Christ. Have a listen!
Pergamum was huge. Think New York. Think Las Vegas. Think of London. If the other cities had their attractions, Pergamum was the place to be just because, well… it was the place to be. They may not have been the greatest at any one thing, but they had it all.
You may be thinking to yourself, “What is a Grace Pirate? I have never heard of such a thing.” But I am willing to bet you have heard of some fictional person that functions like him. There is almost always one in the religious crowd that will suggest that the message of free grace will create “Grace Pirates.”
The prophet Jonah longed for one thing: to see the Assyrian city of Nineveh utterly destroyed by the wrath of God. His wish eventually came true. The later prophet, Nahum, describes in terrible and graphic detail the fall of the city. Nahum is a book almost entirely devoted to the horrors of the wrath of God.
Paul moves to talking about Abraham and how he was justified. Was it by works or faith? Before or after circumcision? What is it that Abraham believes about God and the ungodly? What about David? What kind of God did he believe in? The entire argument is to show that God justifies ungodly people. Daniel and Erick discuss all of this. Have a listen!
BY MARTIN LUTHER
I have often stated above and elsewhere that it pleases me greatly and is salutary for us to hear of the weaknesses of the saints, for these examples of weakness are more necessary for us and bring more consolation than the examples of that heroic and very great fortitude and other virtues.
BY MATT JOHNSON
In our democratic society we love to talk about freedom. But anybody out there ever tried to be perfect? Ah, shucks. Turns out we’re not as free as we thought. Freedom of the will is a thorny issue—but only theoretically speaking. The problem of the un-free will is not a philosophical problem.
Chad and Daniel discuss the feast days and calendar of Israel. Why does God give people days to observe? What does it mean to participate in holy days then and now? Moses instructs the people on making oaths and being a people who do what they say. How does this fit with what Jesus says about making oaths? Does God want us to trap Him with His own words?
You’ve likely seen it yourself or at least heard of it happening. I recall hearing testimony after testimony from Christians who had been convicts, gang members, drug addicts, alcoholics, perverts, deviants, anarchists, extortioners, and scam artists. And Jesus saved all of them.
We are a people always seeking, always moving, always striving for more: it is the American way. In our culture, the most dishonorable people are the people who don’t work toward anything and don’t want toward anything. Having a job is respectable, certainly, but it’s the striving that makes you remarkable.
There have been so many times in my life where I have thought to myself; God isn't paying any attention to me. He doesn't care what I do down here on this inconsequential planet in the middle of the huge universe He controls. He might be able to see me, but He doesn't really care to look down on me.
Paul wraps up his exposing of mankind. Did having the law help the Jews at all? Is anyone righteous? How does our unrighteousness play out? What is the ultimate purpose of the law? So where does righteousness come from? What does it mean that righteousness is apart from the law? Is there any room for boasting in our salvation? Who is really trying to undermine the law? Daniel and Erick discuss all of this.
God has gifted pastors with a terrible privilege. We’re invited to go inside peoples’ pain. A stranger stands emotionally naked in front of us begging, “I can’t get what he did out of my head. Please, help me!” Pastors call pastors to express feelings of guilt and judgment.
The youth under a tutor follows not his own will; but, from fear of the rod, his master’s will. While under control of his master, his real character cannot be detected. Were he free, his true self would be apparent, for he would manifest his natural disposition and his works would be his own.
Chad and Daniel discuss the purpose of genealogies and how the promised land relates to Eden, the great commission and the new heavens and new earth. Why are the Levites scattered throughout the land? What happens when a man dies and he has no sons to inherit his possessions? Moses cannot enter the promised land, so who will lead the people when he is gone?
When I was a young boy I was constantly trying to assert my superiority over my siblings. I had to be the best at everything, and it was easy to believe I was the best. I was the oldest of seven brothers and a sister. Naturally, I was faster, stronger, and more coordinated than the rest of them.
With a new year comes many new things. In the corporate world, we again introduced to our yearly performance review. This might be exciting for some, but for me, it is always filled with anxiety. Sweaty palms, cottonmouth, an increased heart rate and loose bowels might all be present leading up to the review.
There was a time when I struggled to understand why God didn’t allow Moses to enter the Promised Land. Moses didn't ask to lead Israel. Moses didn't ask to deal with God's rebellious and idolatrous people. He was perfectly happy tending sheep and being a husband and father.
Paul explains how God will justly judge both Jews and Gentiles. How much of an advantage is having the law and circumcision? Why does Paul say the uncircumcised may condemn the circumcised? How does Paul understand Israel and the church? What is the slander Paul says he has endured? Daniel and Erick discuss all of this. Have a listen!
I have this really terrible habit. A habit that involves my car and days-old coffee and a willpower so weak that nine out of ten coffee cups get left behind. A habit whose repercussions aren’t so awful when you consider the fact that most days my car smells like classic vanilla Coffee Mate...
There is a brief passage in Psalm 55:22 which reads: “Cast your burden upon Jehovah, and he will sustain you: he will never suffer the righteous to be moved.” Follow this advice. Let not your burden rest upon yourselves; for you cannot bear it, and must finally perish beneath its weight. But, confident and full of joy, cast it from you and throw it on God.
Balaam gives his final oracle. He speaks of a star and scepter rising out of Israel in the future. How do Jesus and perhaps the wise men from the east fit into this? The men of Israel start marrying the woman of Moab and worshiping their gods. God is not pleased and Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, responds in a shocking and bloody way. Chad and Daniel discuss all this and more. Have a listen!
BY BRAD GRAY
The rich young ruler’s inquiry to the Lord Jesus in Mark 10:17–22 remains increasingly prescient for us today. I would say that it’s the inquiry that’s apropos of the human condition; it’s the question on everyone’s tongue, even if it’s not explicitly admitted — that question being, “How do I secure a spot in heaven?”
I have always felt I have a knack for disappointing people. It sometimes feels like everyone in my life thinks I'm more capable than I am. Five years into my chronic pain, I think my family is starting to catch onto my limitations. I still disappoint my kids all the time. That's probably true of many parents.
Paul continues to expose all of humanity as sinners. He gives a few examples of God allowing people to do what they want. Parts of this text get emphasized over the rest of it. Why is that and why is it important to not do that? Paul leaves all of us wreaked and without excuse. It’s a tough text but Paul is taking us to Christ. Daniel and Erick discuss it all. Have a listen!
Blood is the thing. In the Scriptures, sin must be covered or "atoned for" as it's called, by blood. You see, God hates sin. But God also wants to enjoy a faithful, loving, and kind relation with his people whom he loves. The trouble is, his people prefer to turn to things that are not God rather than God.