Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Proverb of the World and Proverbs of the Word


These days a lot of emphasis is laid on the importance of appreciation by the secular world. I call it a 'proverb of the world'. It states, “Don’t be negative.” “Don’t be judgmental.” “Be positive.” “Appreciate others.”

Yes, I do believe that appreciation is wonderful. We must practice appreciation when it is necessary as it is a great means of encouragement.

What saddens me is that the world is addicted to appreciation and resistant to correction. This tendency has greatly influenced the mindset and attitudes of Christians too. Since the beginning of the exodus of Israelites, what we observe is that God’s people are more prone to the influence of the culture rather than to the command of God’s Word.

Loving Appreciation and Despising Correction


I fear to see how people in churches love appreciation and despise correction. When they are corrected, their face falls down, their emotions are disturbed, and their reactions are either wild or bitterly suppressed.

How seldom do we find people responding to correction, saying, “Thank you for your correction. It helps me to become a better Christian. Please continue to help me become more like Christ.” Such words can only be uttered by a wise person who deeply reveres God and His Word.

No matter how the talk of people and their Christian walk is, like the world, churches want to be just in the business of appreciation. They don’t want to offend one another, even if it is for good. They love to please each other through appreciation. They are reluctant both to receive and to give correction.

Proverbs of the Word


When I turn to the Proverbs of the Word, I don’t find much about the importance of “appreciation”. I find it only once where a godly woman is praised (Pro. 31:28, 30). The emphasis of the book of Proverbs is on “correction” (reproof, rebuke).

The words “reproof” and “rebuke” (correction) are used 20 times in the book of Proverbs. There could be more. And when the book of Proverbs speaks about correction, its attention is more on receiving correction rather than on giving it.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that appreciation is wrong. Although we don’t find about it in Proverbs, there are other parts of the Scripture which speak of it a bit.

As mentioned earlier, I believe in appreciation. It is a great encouraging tool. It is one of the love languages of people. We all love appreciation. Sometimes it rightly encourages us and at other times it pampers our ‘self’. Interestingly, correction is not the love language of anyone. It appears to be the hate language of people.

Proverbs on Correction


If we love God and His Word, we must be people who love correction. Look at the following few Scriptures from Proverbs which speaks about the importance of correction. The words commonly used for “correction” are “reproof” and “rebuke.”

  • Wisdom says, “If you turn at my reproof , behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you.” (Proverbs 1:23, ESV)

  • “My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3:11-12, ESV)

  • “Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.” (Proverbs 10:17, ESV)

  • “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.” (Proverbs 12:1, ESV)

  • “A wise son hears his father's instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.” (Proverbs 13:1, ESV)

  • “Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honored.” (Proverbs 13:18, ESV)

  • “A fool despises his father's instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is prudent.” (Proverbs 15:3, ESV)

  • “There is severe discipline for him who forsakes the way; whoever hates reproof will die.” (Proverbs 15:10, ESV)

  • “The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.” (Proverbs 15:31-32, ESV)

  • “Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” (Proverbs 27:5, ESV)

  • “He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.” (Proverbs 29:1, ESV)

Moreover, observe the very purpose of God-breathed Scripture: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16, ESV) Even God's Word is given for the purpose of reproof and rebuke. It is not given for appreciation but for correction.

Correction Shapes Character


Honestly, in my many years of Christian life, I have learned so much more through correction rather than through appreciation. Whatever growth people see in me, much of the growth is the result of correction. The day that I stop taking correction, my growth halts and I become stagnant and dead.

Recently, I have taken initiation and asked a brother to correct me if he had observed any flaws in my character. What he corrected in me has led to a radical change in my life and ministry. I am forever thankful to him. How true are these words, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses!” (Proverbs 27:6, ESV) Well, there were times where I resisted correction to my own loss of character.

Never forget that appreciation encourages us, but correction shapes our character. Appreciation makes us feel good about ourselves but correction helps us to grow well towards maturity. We indeed need appreciation, but more than that what we need is correction. He who loves appreciation and hates correction desires destruction of his character, perhaps even of his soul.

Cultivate the Love Language of Correction


Correction may not be the love language of the worldly people, but it must certainly be the love language of godly people because the book of Proverbs speaks so much of its benefits. Christians must resist being like the world and become the light of the world. They must cultivate a humble heart of receiving correction. According to God’s Word, only a fool hates correction.

Agreed, it is painful to receive correction. It hurts our ‘ego’. But, as followers of Christ, are we not called to deny ourselves and to follow the right path to change?

Note: When we give correction, we must do it with love and kindness. And when firmness is required in correction, it must be exercised with concern and without being harsh. Having said this, I must exhort that we must be more passionate and humble in receiving correction rather than giving correction. How we humbly receive correction encourages others to appropriately respond to correction.

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Sunday, August 27, 2017

My Name Is Tradition


MY NAME IS TRADITION

There are some truths in me and some lies.
To be honest, there is less truth in me and more lies.
And as you might know, a little truth is more dangerous,
Than an outright lie which is less treacherous.

People chase me blindly and do so without reason;
They follow me zealously, like their forefathers did, in and out of season;
Folks adore me and don’t bother with any questions;
They want to be left alone with their purposeless superstitions.

Here is my charisma and great feat;
People simply tend to lose their minds at my feet.
Not just the ignorant, but also the ones with intelligence;
They dance around me like gullible fools without hesitance.

My power thrives on people’s ignorance,
I enslave them in their arrogance;
And those who dare question my credibility
Are quickly silenced by the society.

Beware, those who challenge and deny me,
Make themselves my bitter enemy.
They face rejection and slander,
For becoming Truth’s defender.

My loyal servants cannot tolerate,
Reasonable people whom they oppose and berate;
They’d rather have ignorance and blind belief,
Than embrace Truth and acknowledge their misbelief.

For so they esteem me in their foolish minds,
Exchanging God’s Truth for mindless trends;
They defend me with such a zeal,
That even makes Truth seem so unreal.

Yeah, my name is tradition,
I am so loved and admired by those who've lost their reason.

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Note: This poetry is about the traditions which are unbiblical, which unfortunately is what is prevailing in our society.

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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Proclaim the Cross of Christ


Galatians 3:1-2, “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?”

Paul’s disappointment and anger are clearly seen in his words to the Galatians. He was disturbed in his heart because after they received the gospel by faith in the finished work of Christ, they turned back to the works of the law.

It is foolish to consider attaining salvation by works, and so calls Paul, “O foolish Galatians.” “Who has bewitched you?” This is a term of witchcraft. In other words, “Who has influenced you in an evil way?” To wander away from the biblical gospel is like being bewitched by the evil.

Vivid Proclamation of Christ's Crucifixion

Paul goes on to explain, “It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified” (Gal. 3:1b). Does this mean that the Galatians witnessed with their eyes the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Where was Christ crucified? In Jerusalem. The Lord Jesus Himself said, “From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (Matt. 16:21).

Where was Galatia? Galatia was a Roman Province, located near the central region of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). It is surrounded by Bithynia, Pontus, Cappadocia, and Phrygia. The churches of Galatia include Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe, which Paul visited in his first missionary journey.

Galatia and Jerusalem are separated by hundreds of miles. Then how did the Galatians witness with their eyes the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ?

This doesn’t speak about seeing the crucifixion of Christ with physical eyes. Paul didn’t say, “It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly crucified.” He said, “It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly PORTRAYED AS crucified.” This speaks about the public proclamation of the gospel of Christ Jesus with clear verbal description of Christ’s crucifixion.

The cross of Christ speaks of man’s sin for which He was crucified. The cross of Christ demonstrates God’s love towards sinners. The cross of Christ manifests the satisfaction of God’s justice. The cross of Christ reveals the propitiatory sacrifice of the Lord Jesus to reconcile man to God. The cross of Christ shows the only hope of man, which is to believe in the death and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus to receive God’s gift of eternal life. This is what the gospel of the cross is.

Paul's Passion for the Cross of Christ

When we examine the ministry of Paul, we observe that God had wrought great miracles through this man. He was a man filled with the knowledge of the Scriptures. He had supernatural experiences. He walked in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He was an extraordinary apostle. He was a church planter. He was a disciple-maker. He was a fund raiser who helped numerous needy believers.

In spite of all these great gifts and accomplishments, Paul’s focus and emphasis were on proclaiming the crucified Lord. Like the sun that shines, giving light to all the earth, so the cross of Christ shone over Paul’s entire ministry.

Elsewhere Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). He even said, “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14).

Paul didn’t proclaim the crucifixion of Christ as a passing remark, as many do today. The cross was not peripheral but absolutely central to his message. What the Lord Jesus did on the cross drove everything that Paul spoke and did. The message of the cross permeated every cell of his body.

When Paul preached the gospel to the people, the Lord Jesus was clearly presented to them as crucified. According to Paul, there is no gospel without the cross. How precisely, emphatically, vividly, passionately, magnificently, he proclaimed the gospel of Christ Jesus that it was as if the listeners saw the crucifixion of the Lord.

Proclaim the Cross of Christ

This is how we must proclaim the gospel. The listeners must clearly see with the eyes of the heart the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. They may forget almost everything we speak but not the cross because of our vivid description of it and emphasis on it. Our proclamation of the gospel centered on the cross must leave an indelible mark on their minds.

It is the cross which discloses Christ as the unique Savior from all the so-called saviors of the world and of other religions. Jesus is the only Savior of the world because He is the only One who went to the cross to save the world. We cannot exalt Christ without elevating His cross.

Therefore, the effective presentation of the gospel is portraying before the eyes of people the Lord Jesus Christ as crucified. Let us resolve, like Paul, to proclaim Christ and Him crucified.

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Saturday, May 6, 2017

An Unusual Man of God


I can never forget the day I met this man for the first time. My youngest son, Joe, was born on December 7, 2006. The next day he came to meet me and to see my newborn son in the hospital. He had recently shifted to Hyderabad from Bangalore and someone suggested my name to him. So, he wanted to meet me. And since the day we met in the hospital, we became close brothers in the Lord. This man is Kim Taeyeob. His Indian name is John Kim.

Brother John was born in South Korea on August 4,1960, to a poor family. He grew up facing many challenges in life and ended up becoming a young rebel. Thankfully, he came to know the Lord at a young age. Thereafter he went to a seminary for training and served as a pastor for few years. Later, he felt the Lord calling him to India to serve as a missionary. After much thinking and prayer, in 2003, he finally moved to India with his beloved wife and son.

Brother John faithfully served the Lord in India for 13 years. A few months ago, he felt the Lord calling him to another third world country (which I leave unnamed) to serve as a missionary. After giving much thought, going through emotional struggle, and praying, in May, 2017, he moved to that country.

I have known brother John for more than 10 years. During his stay in India, he has been a blessing to many people, and I am one among them, perhaps the most. I write this article to share what I observed and learned from this man of God. There is so much to speak about the Lord’s work in him that I could easily write a book. I hope these brief words would be a great encouragement to the readers, especially to missionaries, pastors, and other Christian leaders.

Note: Whenever we read a person’s biography or listen to a testimony about others, we must know that it is a witness about the power of the gospel of Christ Jesus in transforming a worst sinner into a beautiful saint. Therefore, all glory goes to God for His amazing grace and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.

1. A MAN OF SELF-DENIAL

I cannot speak about brother John without mentioning about his commitment to the Lord’s work. When he felt the Lord calling him to India, he left his comfortable life in South Korea and came to India. He was not disobedient to God-given vision. (Acts 26:19)

Due to his serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus, he constantly suffered from weakness and sickness. He faced the pressure to return to his homeland many times. However, he wanted to serve and die in the land to which the Lord had called him to serve. Even on the day he was leaving India to serve the Lord in another country, he was physically unwell.

The country that he has now gone to is not an easy place to live. India is a lot better in comparison. Nevertheless, to brother John, what matters in life is not enjoying the comforts of life, but walking in obedience to the Lord who loved him and gave His life for him.

During his stay in India, brother John lived a simple life. He was a man without love for material riches, worldly pleasures or comforts. He was extremely cautious about how he spent money, especially when spending money on himself. He had very few pairs of clothes, so much so that at times we were tempted to buy him some. On one occasion, we pooled in money and bought a new windshield for his vehicle which had worn out. This is not because he had no money. Although he had the opportunity to live a luxurious life, he chose to live a frugal life for the sake of using money for better purposes.

2. A PEOPLE PERSON

A lot of missionaries and Christian leaders seem to be ministry-oriented, not people-centered. On the contrary, brother John is a people person. He puts people before ministry. In fact, to him, ministry is loving people.

In TENTS ministry, which is established through his encouragement and efforts, all the brothers can testify that brother John cares for people. When brothers or their family members fell sick or became unwell, without even caring about the distance, he immediately went to visit and to encourage them and kept following up about their welfare. If you live in his circle, you would know that there is a brother who always cares for you.

Here is a testimony of one brother: “My wife became quite sick to the point of death. At this dark hour, brother John and his wife stood with us. He fervently prayed for us and even raised prayer support from his countrymen. He gave away his own medicine to help my wife. He constantly visited us traveling a long distance and encouraged us. He cared for us more than our own family members.”

I must also mention the grace he shows towards people despite being hurt by them. I personally witnessed his immense patience and gracious attitude toward others, including myself. I wonder whether I or others would be as gracious as this man. He doesn’t easily give up on people. This may be because he is familiar with the gracious God and His amazing grace.

3. A WONDERFUL FAMILY LIFE

Brother John is married to Oh Hyunju. We call her Elizabeth. They have been married for more than 25 years and are blessed with only one son. They are one of the rare, loving and joyful couples I have ever seen in my life. Their love and commitment to each other causes us to envy their family life. One of my wife’s desires is to be like them.

Living closely to their family, we have seen that sister Elizabeth is a submissive wife and highly respects her husband. Brother John loves his wife and takes great care of her. They are physically, emotionally, mentally and heartily one flesh. This doesn’t mean they are a flawless couple. Yet, their strength in loving each other is greater than their failure of getting into occasional conflicts.

They not only loved the Lord and each other deeply, but have also devoted themselves to love and serve others as a family. Theirs is an open house, devoting themselves to show hospitality. We learned that when we go to their house, we must go with an empty stomach, because they would spread the table with a variety of foods, and that too nutritious ones. We had memorable moments in their house. Their hospitality and care makes us to feel guilty for failing to live up to their generosity.

4. A MAN OF HUMILITY

We do not easily testify about someone, ‘He is a humble man’ as we quickly and usually say, ‘He is a good man.’ I would unhesitatingly testify, along with the brothers in TENTS ministry, “Brother John is a humble man.” Despite the fact that Korean churches are generally known for having authoritarian, highly pastor-centered, and top-heavy hierarchical leadership structure, brother John was different.

Brother John’s aim was not to build a name for himself. His passion was not to build an organization centered around him. His motive was not to be served by others. His expectation was not for others to elevate him. His conduct was not controlling, authoritarian, and dictatorial. Many times I have watched him giving preference to others' opinion than to his own.  His goal was only to glorify God and to build His kingdom. And we give glory to God for his humility. I sincerely desire to become like him in his patience, gentleness, and humility.

Out of the many incidents which speak about his humility, here is one. Once brother John and I went to Nepal. I was teaching in a Bible college for a few days. Since the roads were sandy and dusty, my shoes became dirty at the end of the day. Every morning, he would polish my shoes and keep them ready at the doorstep for me to wear. Only a person who intimately knows the humility of Christ, who washed His disciples’ feet, would be willing to serve others humbly.

5. A MAN OF PRAYER AND WORD

Brother John is a man of prayer. He believes in the power of prayer. When it comes to important decisions, he takes time to pray rather than make hasty decisions. If he has problems with any person, he gives himself first to prayer and prays hard. In difficult situations, he pours his heart before his God like a child. If he thinks a lot, he also prays a lot about what he thinks. He has earned the right to say with Paul, “I served the Lord with all humility and with tears” (Acts 20:19).

Brother John and his wife have also developed the habit of studying the Holy Bible in an incredible way. They study the Old Testament twice and the New Testament 20 times every year. Their desire is to live a Bible-saturated life. He keeps encouraging others to study the entire Bible more than once every year. I am slowly toddling in their footsteps, studying the whole Bible at least once a year.

6. A MAN FOR GOSPEL AND FOR CHURCH

Brother John’s greatest passion was for the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the unreached places and for the planting of local churches. Like many missionaries, his focus was not on doing some social work, although he believed and practiced charity. His priority was the gospel and the church, which were also the main thrust of the book of Acts. He strongly believed in the importance of local church and was co-shepherding a church along with an Indian brother.

The co-pastor who served alongside brother John wrote to me, “Brother John is a man of commitment to church. His heart was for church. His sermons were gospel-centered. He gave himself unreservedly to serve the church members. Even when his health was in bad condition, he made himself available for church meetings and to encourage the brothers and sisters in church. Any part of the day or night, whatever the distance, if any church member was in need, he did not miss to serve them. Serving the church diligently and faithfully was his motto. And he patiently and graciously encouraged all the church members to do the same.”

I have known missionaries who were not part of any local church and some who nominally attended the church, but brother John took the local church seriously to heart and had poured his life into it. I wish many missionaries and Christian leaders would imitate his commitment to the gospel and to the local church.

Finally, this is my assertion. In my more than twenty years of Christian life, I have never seen a foreign Christian missionary in India like brother John. My wife wonders whether she would ever meet a missionary couple like them in the future. Although not immune to imperfections, brother John lived an unusual life among us. In a conference which I attended in India, one of his own countrymen said to me, “He is like Jesus.” What a testimony! All glory to God for this unusual man of God. May we imitate such men who imitate Christ.

We miss you, brother John.
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Thursday, May 4, 2017

A More Important Question Than “Why Kattappa Killed Baahubali?”


The movie “Baahubali: The Beginning” in 2015 left the audience with a burning question, “Why Kattappa killed Baahubali?” The media has created so much hype on this question all over India and beyond that crowds have flocked to watch the recent release of “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion.” They were eager to find an answer to this mystery. This movie is said to have made an all-time record in the Indian film industry.

Multitudes of people have found an answer to their long awaited question after watching the movie, but what happened after that? They all went back to their usual routine of life. It did not make any difference in their lives, except that it brought some momentary thrill to their emotions and millions of money to the makers of the movie.

I still do not know why Kattappa killed Baahubali. And even if I come to know, it may satisfy my fleeting curiosity, but it is in no way going to change my life. It is not a question of utmost importance.

However, there is a question more important than “Why Kattappa killed Baahubali?” It is, “Why was Jesus killed?” Unlike the question in the Baahubali movie, this is a real question, for Jesus was really killed on the cross. This is not an entertaining idea, but an eternal truth. The importance and seriousness of this question cannot be exaggerated. This is the question that can change your life for eternity.

Before going further, it should be noted that although it was the joint effort of both Jews and Romans in putting Jesus to death, the Lord Jesus voluntarily surrendered Himself to be killed by them. He asserted, “I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again” (Jn. 10:17, 18).

Moreover, His death did not take Him by surprise, for the Lord Jesus predicted His own death before He was killed: “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise” (Mk. 9:31).

But, why was Jesus killed? Author John Piper wrote the book "50 Reasons Why Jesus Came To Die". This article briefly presents three reasons why Jesus was killed. Or, it may be more appropriate to ask, “Why did Jesus voluntarily lay His life on the cross?”

1. JESUS DIED ON THE CROSS TO RECONCILE US TO THE TRUE, LIVING GOD

The Holy Scripture discloses that there is only One, True, Living God who is Self- Existent, Creator, Infinite, Sovereign, Unchanging, Incomparable, Holy, Loving, Personal, and Eternal (Exo. 3:14; Ps. 71:16; 86:8; 115:15; 147:5; Heb. 13:8; 1 Pet. 1:16; 1 Jn. 4:16; Isa. 40:11; 1 Tim. 1:17).

At one time the human race knew this God intimately, but through sin, all mankind became separated from God. Man in his sinful state has lost the godly knowledge and relationship with this wonderful God, consequently becoming His enemy.

However, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).  Christ died so that we would be reconciled to God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and walk in intimate fellowship with Him (Rom. 5:10; 1 Pet. 3:18).

2. JESUS DIED ON THE CROSS FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF OUR SINS

The Holy Scripture declares that all have sinned and that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 3:23; 6:23).

In order to save us from this eternal death, “He (Jesus) appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin” (1 Jn. 3:5). “He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities” (Isa. 53:5). “He (Jesus) has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Heb. 9:26).

Since Christ died for the sins of people, our sins are forgiven only in Christ, for He alone sacrificed His life on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins.

3. JESUS DIED ON THE CROSS TO GIVE US ETERNAL LIFE

The Holy Scripture says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). When we repent of our sins and trust in Christ, God forgives our sins in Christ, our penalty for sin is blotted out and we receive the gift of eternal life. In Christ Jesus, instead of eternal death, there is eternal life.

Stated another way, if the wages of sin is eternal death for sinners, then the wages of Christ’s death is eternal life for those who believe in Him. Christ Jesus died and rose from the dead so that those who believe in Him will also rise from the dead to eternal life. In His own words, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live...Do you believe this?” (Jn. 11:25-26)

CONCLUSION

Dear friend, “Why was Jesus killed?” is the most important question on the face of the earth. It is so important because the eternal destiny of your life (and of everyone) is hinged upon your acceptance or rejection of what Jesus did on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins. Would you call upon Jesus with repentance for the forgiveness of your sins and for the gift of eternal life? Assuredly, you will be amazed to see yourself changed, not merely for a moment, but forever.


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Friday, April 21, 2017

Does God Hate Sin and Not the Sinner?


There is a widespread sentiment in Christian circles: “God hates sin but loves the sinner; He doesn’t hate sinners.” How good it sounds to hear God does not hate sinners, only their sin! There are some popular notions in Christian culture that many have naively accepted without examining them in the light of Holy Scripture, for they carry great appeal to man's self-indulgent emotions.

Let us first examine this statement logically—can sin occur without an individual’s choice? We know that sin is an outcome of a person’s will. When one chooses to sin, how can God just hate the sin and not the individual who chose the sin? It is like telling about the murderer who killed your child that you hate the murder and not the murderer. Crime does not exist without a criminal. Sin is not committed without a sinner.

Besides, if God loves the sinners but hates only the sin, can we also inverse the statement and say, “God loves the good deed but He does not love the doer of the good deed?” It doesn’t make sense, right? Just as good reflects the goodness of the one who did the good deed, so sin reflects the vileness of the sinner.

The Holy Bible does reveal that God loves sinners: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). And the Holy Scripture also declares that God hates sinners: “The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; YOU HATE ALL WHO DO WRONG” (Ps. 5:5).

Observe, He not only hates the wrong, but also those who do wrong. God loves and hates sinners. Reformed evangelical theologian and professor of the New Testament, D. A. Carson, comments:
The cliché (God hates the sin but loves the sinner) is false on the face of it, and should be abandoned. Fourteen times in the first fifty psalms alone, the psalmists state that God hates the sinner, that His wrath is on the liar, and so forth. In the Bible the wrath of God rests on both the sin (Rom. 1:18–23) and the sinner (1:24–32; 2:5; John 3:36).
Well, a question may arise, “How can God love and hate the sinner at the same time?” This is a paradox. French theologian and Protestant Reformer, John Calvin, writes about God that “in a marvelous and divine way he loved us even when he hated us.”

The Holy Bible teaches that God is holy and God is love (1 Peter 1:16; 1 John 4:7-8).  God hates sinners because He is holy and righteous, abhorring sins they commit; and He loves them still because He is loving and gracious, manifesting His mercy towards them. Both the holy and loving attributes are manifested in God’s perfect nature.

All men deserve God’s wrath because of their sin. No one deserves His love. His grace is amazing towards the sinners because He loves those who indeed deserve His wrath, and had His Only Son to die for them and save them from His wrath. Blessed be His Glorious and Gracious Name.
"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." (Jn. 3:36)
Note: This article is an excerpt from the book "Signs of Salvation: Understanding Authentic and Counterfeit Conversion" by C. Stephen David. Click on the following image to find more details.


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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Look at the Modern Christian Devoted to What’sApp and Facebook


This is the tragedy of a modern Christian who has erected idols of social media in his/her life.

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The Holy Scripture: “Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. With this in mind, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18).

The Modern Christian: “Engage with What’sApp and Facebook at all times. With this in mind, keep alert with all perseverance, seeing and responding to the messages that are coming from all the saints.”

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The Psalmist: "In the morning my prayer comes before you (God)” (Ps. 88:13).

The Modern Christian: “In the morning my eyes fall on you (Facebook and What’sApp).”

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The Psalmist:"I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways” (Ps. 119:15).

The Modern Christian: “I will meditate on What’sApp and Facebook and fix my eyes on its posts.”

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King David: "I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night.” (Ps. 63:6)

The Modern Christian, “I remember What’sApp and Facebook on my bed, checking its messages, watching its posts, and meditating on them in the watches of the night.”

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The Early Saints: "And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42).

The Modern Saints: “And they devoted themselves to What’sApp messages, to Facebook posts, to the breaking news and the broadcasts.”

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The Holy Scripture: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col. 3:16).

The Modern Christian: “Let the messages from What’sApp and Facebook dwell in your richly, pinging and chatting with one another, reading posts, listening to music, watching videos, forwarding messages, (with forgetfulness in your hearts to God).”

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The Holy Scripture: "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Heb. 10:24-25)

The Modern Saint: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to browse new things and online works, not neglecting to chat together in groups, as is the habit of some, but messaging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."

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The Holy Scripture: "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33)

The Modern Christian: “But seek first the kingdom of What’sApp and Facebook, (and all the distractions of the world will be added to you).”

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The Psalmist: "My eyes long for your promise; I ask, “When will you comfort me?” (Ps. 119:82)

The Modern Christian: “My eyes long for messages from What’sApp and Facebook; I ask, “When will new posts come and comfort me?” 

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The Holy Scripture: "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thess. 5:16-18)

The Modern Saint: “Stay online always, see messages on What’sApp and Facebook without ceasing, give prompt response to the messages in all circumstances; (for this is the will of the devil apart from Christ Jesus for you)."

"Little children, keep yourselves from idols."
(1 John 5:21)

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