The key question is: Are we saved and kept by our works or by the grace of God through the work of Christ?
What words come to mind when you hear the term theology? Dry…Dreary…Doubtful…DULL? You’re not alone.
Too often we don’t realize that theology—thinking about God—is an intimate part of our everyday lives, rather than something that takes place in ivory towers crowded with bearded men crouched over dusty books. We each engage in theology because we each have a set of beliefs about God. But rather than being content with our ideas about God as they now stand, we should each have a desire to know God better than we do today. If you’ve got that desire, then you’re ready to do theology!
Let these resources point the way to a faith more deeply connected with who God actually says He is.
Does God expect Christians to be perfect? The short answer is yes and no.
Revelation is notoriously considered the most difficult of all the Bible books…completely unique, full of symbols, and awesome in scope. Regrettably, Revelation has occasionally become the playground of religious eccentrics, fodder for prophecy “fanatics” who seem compelled to find in Revelation a detailed end-times timetable—right down to the very day of the Lord’s return.
Someone has correctly coined Jude’s letter with the title “The Acts of the Apostates.” The primary apostates in the first century were the Gnostics, who embraced the philosophy that humans could do anything they liked, as no one is under any moral obligation to his or her physical body. This mindset led to rebellion against authority, irreverence, presumptuous speech, and a lifestyle marked by unbridled license.
John singles out three men for observation and instruction. Gaius, Diotrephes, and Demetrius, while actual personalities in the early church, represent three types in the church today. We’ll find much that is practical for our churches as we examine these 15 verses together.
John’s second letter is much less complicated than his first—perhaps because it’s a personal and private letter. In it John mentioned “truth” five times and “love” four times. And both are key to understanding 2 John. John’s desire was for “the chosen lady” who received this letter to maintain a balanced perspective on life: love and truth…practice and doctrine…walking and standing…accepting and rejecting. A balance we need to maintain today.
In this study, we will look at a five-chapter letter appearing simple and uncomplicated yet, in reality, is both profound and complex. In the epistle of 1 John, he emphasized the nature of that life as possessed by God’s children.
In 2 Peter, the Apostle dealt with the internal enemies—false prophets and other subtle adversaries—who twisted the truth. Of special interest to Peter were false teachings regarding the return of the Lord as well as our life of service and purity prior to the event. The tone of 2 Peter is that of an urgent warning, urging all readers to beware…to be ready.
A quick glance at the first few verses of 1 Peter is enough to give us an understanding of Peter’s message to his readers: hope for the hurting. According to verse 1, the hurting were those residing as aliens, scattered throughout vast regions of the Roman Empire. These Christians were objects of social ostracism, slander, mistreatment, and threats. They needed encouragement.
Don’t be fooled by its size. The letter of James may be small, but it’s strong. It refuses to let the reader hide behind the walls of theological theory or intellectual faith. True faith produces authenticity. “No authenticity…no faith”—that’s James’s conclusion on the matter. James’s letter may make us squirm, but it also makes us tear down our facades.