Archive for the category “Uncategorized”

This Momentary Marriage: Ian & Larissa’s Story

This Momentary Marriage: Ian & Larissa’s Story.

Neat story.  Highlights one aspect (our marriages) of how we model for the world what Jesus has done for us.  I haven’t read the book that is mentioned.  But I did see that you can download it for free if you follow the links for the book in the article.


Sin that leads to death

“If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.”   (1 John 5:16-17 ESV)

This Sunday will be our last class.  We will be looking at the above passage, plus 2 John and 3 John, to finish out our class on 1 John.  There are several issues to consider in trying to get a handle on what John is saying to us.  Consider the following while preparing for class this week:

1.  Does “brother” refer to a brother in Christ, or generally to our fellow man?

2.  Do “death” and “life” refer to spiritual or physical death and life?  Before answering too quickly, look at 1 Samuel 2:25.

3.  If “brother” is a brother in Christ and “life” is spiritual life, then would God need to give him “life” again?  Hasn’t he already entered into “life” at his conversion?

4.  Is “sin that leads to death” a specific set of sins, such as those punishable by death in the Old Testament (i.e. Lev. 20: 1-27)?  Or one specific sin, such as a blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (see Mark 3:29)?  Or a person who, once saved, now rejects the faith and renounces our Lord (an apostate)?

You should not be surprised

I mentioned in class another example of what is going on in our world which highlights again what John has indicated in his letter concerning the hatred the world has for Chrisitians.  Follow the link for the story.

Update on religious liberty and the university

John says we should not be surprised…here is a “the world will hate you” update:

More information and commentary generally on the higher education bias against Christianity, and more specifically on Vanderbilt University.

Intentional, or not?

Steven pointed out a timely article that relates to our discussion last Sunday of 1 John 3:4-9.  It is about the idea of intentional and unintentional sin.  It is an interesting read.

Better Than I Used to Be

Today, we are talking about the practice of righteousness.  In the preceding post I listed some thoughts over the years concerning the interpretation of 1 John 3:4-9.  In an earlier class we looked at a song by Miranda Lambert that was an incorrect view of the problem of sin.  I think the song Better Than I Used to Be is more in line with a humble approach to our failings.  If you haven’t heard it before, I think you will like it.

You have a choice…Tim McGraw sings the most popular version; Sammy Kershaw sings the real country version.

1 John 3:4-9

The next passage of scripture focuses in on how we morally act in our day-to-day lives.  We have seen that the fact that Jesus did appear and will appear should motivate us to “purify” ourselves.  It is interesting in the material that I have been reading that there are many explanations for what John is putting forward in the verses found at 3:4-9.  The hang-up appears to be John’s straight-forward statement in verse 6 that “[n]o one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him”; followed by the statement in verse 9 that “…one born of God…cannot keep on sinning…”

Some explanations given over the years:

1.  “Sin” in these passages is meant by John to refer to notorious crimes only. (Augustine, Luther, Roman Catholic)

2.  What is sin in the life of a non-believer is not so regarded as sin in the believer. (some gnostics)

3.  An argument from Galatians 5:16-17.  We have two natures, and our nature “led by the Spirit” will not sin, which is our new nature.  Our old nature may keep on sinning in certain situations, but we know are in possession of a new nature.  “It is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me” (Rom. 7:17).  So it is not I that is doing it, but that old, sinful nature.

4.  John is setting out the ideal, which is the example set by Jesus of living sin-free.  The argument is that sinlessness is a characteristic of the age to come and John recognizes that the new age has come (see 2:8).  The commentators who take this line of interpretation argue that John is opposing the heretics with statements that are theoretically true of the Chrisitian character.  (William Barclay, Robert Law)

5.  The sin that a Christian cannot do is the voluntary and wilful act of breaking God’s law.  Some may unknowingly sin, or be ensnared by sin which he does not want to do.  John Calvin:  “they do no consent to sin, but in fact struggle and groan, so that they can truly testify with Paul that they do the evil they would not.”  John Wesley:  “sin properly called…is a voluntary transgression of a known law.”

6.  John means that the sin that a Christian cannot and will not do is a habitual and persistent pattern of wrongful conduct, while leaving open the fact that a Christian will continue to sin.

The world will hate us

Vanderbilt University is not unique, just the latest.

(Full disclosure:  I am on the board of a Christian university) (one that gives great value for the dollar 🙂 )  (one that equips young men to ably teach Bible classes 🙂 🙂  )

Test of belief

This week we will be looking specifically at the danger of false teaching.  If you recall, we have talked about the fact that in John’s day there arose different ideas about Jesus and his divinity.  Those teachings are still around, including the idea that Jesus is a myth.

Check out this interesting article on a new book about the existence of the historical Jesus.  I found it interesting that the writer of the book is not a Christian, although he is a New Testament scholar.

I suppose it is easier today to throw out the claim that Jesus is a myth, since a couple thousand years have passed.  That would have been more difficult to claim in John’s day, as there were “many witnesses” who could say they had seen Jesus (1 John 1:1-4).  Apparently, though, people had a hard time accepting the divinity of Jesus, or the idea that God would come in human form, and allow himself to be killed by man.

The world

The second section of scripture we will cover on Sunday will be 1 John 2:15-17.  This section concerns the Christian and the world.  John writes, “Do not love the world…”  Yet, in his gospel account, John quotes Jesus as saying, “For God so loved the world…”  We want to consider whether the meaning of love is being used differently, the meaning of world is being used differently, or a little of both.  Consider the question as you prepare for class this week.

In relation to the idea of not loving the world, what do you think about this column by David Brooks in the New York Times?  He says that “…there’s no use denying — though many do deny it — that [the sports] ethos violates the religious ethos on many levels.”  What do you think?


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