CHRIST’S SACRIFICE ONCE AND FOR ALL: A QUICK REFLECTION ON YOM KIPPUR

In reflection on this Yom Kippur, I turned to Hebrews 10 to be reminded of the importance of this day. On the Jewish calendar, this is the most holy and sacred day; the day when the high priest could enter into the Holy of Holies, the place where the presence of God, YHVH dwelled. It was there that every year the blood of sacrificed animals was sprinkled and spread on the Arc of the Covenant that contained the law. When God looked on the law, his... Read More

THE GOSPEL WAS ALWAYS PLAN A: GALATIANS 3:6-14

From the foundations of the earth, God’s eternal purpose was the gospel. One might wonder, however, what was the function of the Old Testament in general and the law specifically. After all, aren’t we to live good and moral lives according to the 10 Commandments and all? Good people go to heaven, right? Sure, good people go to heaven. The problem is, there is only one who is good. Jesus says plainly to the rich young ruler whom asked him on how... Read More

Jesus Perfects You, Not Your Own Efforts: Galatians 3:1-6

Image by Rooted Law lovers—a very serious accusation in the ancient church. Of all the errors that Paul dealt with, this was paramount—not radical theologies, wild prophets claiming to have a new “revelation” from God, or fantastic healing oils secreted from some holy man’s feet that could be yours for three easy payments of $9.99. No, the error is far more basic and deeply rooted in the human condition. Religion. At the heart of the matter,... Read More

Grace + Nothing

Image by Jenifer Su Jesus Christ transforms. His cross transforms. The will and act of God alone to take human form and to rescue humanity from their plight transforms. Unwittingly, so many in the Church have undercut the cross and what Jesus accomplished on it. He rescued us. If in fact we can agree upon this basic Christian, gospel tenant, can we really say that we rescue ourselves? *OF COURSE* we can’t. And few Christians would claim outright... Read More

Actions Demonstrate What We Place Our Faith In—Law or Christ: Galatians 2:1-21

Image by Blake Burton Too often faith is backward. Understandably, with everything else in life, what we do determines who of what we are. As the adage goes, “You are what you eat.” Indeed, if you want to be a fit person, you must eat right and exercise. The kingdom of heaven is not like this. Despite what some ministers, pastors, and churchies in general tell you, you are not defined by what you do, but by who you are. Indeed, you are holy, clean,... Read More

Why Les Miserables Gives Us Hope: How Grace Triumphs Over Law

Artwork from Les Miserables 2012 Miserable is certainly not the term to be applied to the film Les Miserables. Translated as the miserable, the wretched, the poor ones, or the victims—Les Miserables has been a force of narrative brilliance since its writing in 1862. This film adaptation to the broadway musical is masterful, to say the least. Sobs of sadness and joy could be heart throughout the movie theater, as was the case all over theaters worldwide... Read More

Blogging the Bible: A Grace-Centered Reading Through the New Testament

Image by Lucy Loomis There are few books that have the depth of impact on the human soul as does the Bible. Regardless of reading it over and over again, a freshness emerges in the text each time it’s read. This year I have decided that I am going to blog through the New Testament. I do so mostly for me, as such an endeavor is not new. I will be trying to condense books, chapters and passages into a single thought, challenge, or concentration.... Read More

How My Father Invented the Heavenly Father: The Dangerous (and Potentially Beautiful) Power Fathers Have Over Their Children

Image by Garry Cook Humans are creatures in relationship. Familiar images abound: the caressing mother caring for her young child, the strong father instructing his children on how to live rightly, the loving wife supporting her husband, the faithful and sacrificial husband, a brother, sister, son, daughter. On and on, hundreds of relationships exist in the human condition. In fact, our society is built around these relationships. They are the native... Read More

The Poison Infecting All Youth: Thoughts On Why Murder and Death is Humorous

Kiev Jew Killed in Ivangorod (1942) The muzzle of a Luger P08 pistol was pressed against the back of a defiant Jewish woman’s head. She had refused to succumb to the terror and fear which had seized those around her. Upon the barking and abrasive order of his superior officer, the young SS soldier pulled the trigger. She was but one victim of the Nazis in the early years of WWII leading to the mass extermination of Jews. This eradication is retold... Read More

Why Love and Fulfillment is Not Found in Relationships: The Black Keys’ Everlasting Light

“Your glory outshines all—everything. All things. I am eclipsed by the greatness of your throne and who you are. My weak words do not paint the picture that should be brushed. Never-ending. An eternally bright light. A thousand blasts of Supernova light pale in comparison to your greatness and majesty.” Such are the words I penned when first hearing The Black Keys’ popular ballad “Everlasting Light.” My words were not a reaction to this... Read More

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