Wednesday, 21 May 2014

How do we know what God says?

This is the most basic question of the faith.  It should be as simple as saying, the Bible is the Word of God.  But today many deny this, and most are moving away from Scripture as the sole source and norm of Christian teaching.

You might think this started in recent times, but in reality it has its roots in the middle Ages.  In Roman Catholicism, the sole source and norm of doctrine is not Holy Scripture but in reality the Ego of the Pope, who "boasts that all rights exist in the shrine of his heart."  In the Papacy only so much of Scripture is regarded as binding as the Pope approves and confirms.

The incredible thing is that today most of "Protestantism" has become what they protested in the first place.  Instead of having the Pope's heart determine doctrine, they use their own heart as the source and judge of Christian teaching.  They deny that the Holy Scriptures are the Word of God and set themselves up as popes ready to determine doctrine for themselves.

Scripture Alone.

This was and remains one of the Great SOLAS of the Reformation - the Great "Alone" Statements upon which Luther returned to the teaching of the Apostles.  Christian teaching comes from the Holy Scriptures alone.  God will not speak to us outside of them.  He has not given us another way of understanding His revealed will.  They are true.  Reliable.  Inspired.  Inerrant.  Eternal.  Authoritative.  Efficacious.  Perfect.  Sufficient for Salvation.  Clear.

Without them we are grasping in the dark.  Without them we are alone.  We are lost.  But God has kept them for us.  He has preserved them for us.  We do not shape them - they shape us - call us - save us.  And God is pleased to give them to us for free. 

Never take the Holy Scriptures for granted.  They are worth more than every treasure in the entire universe, yet they sit on your kitchen table, your bedside table.  Dive in.  Ask questions.  But know that when you read or hear these words, God is speaking them to you.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Why is it Never Enough?

I was working as hard as I could.  Staying up late, working on days off, burning the candle on both ends.  I didn't let my mind turn off.  I was always thinking about my work.  I had a responsibility and I was going to take it seriously.  I didn't want to fail.  I didn't want to let the Lord down. 

And then I got sick. 

Too sick to work.  Too sick to speak.  And everything came crashing down. 

What was I thinking, that I was going to make it?  That I was going to do enough to... to... what?  Keep guilt away?  Keep all the rules?  Satisfy God's perfect expectations?

What was I thinking?  Because no matter what I do.  No matter what you do.  No matter what anyone does - it is never enough.  I cannot do enough, not in a thousand lifetimes, not in a thousand retries.  Not me.  Not you.  Not anyone.

But Christ wasn't anyone.  He was the One.  God's Chosen One.  His One and Only Son, whom He sent to do what we could not.  Christ didn't have to work to keep the guilt away, He came to take your guilt away in His own death on the cross.  He didn't have to run from the rules, He came to fulfill the rules for you in His own perfect life.  Christ lived One lifetime, but did it for thousands.  And where we could never do enough, His Godblood is more than everything - greater than everything - and satisfies everything for all people for all time. 

God offers you forgiveness.  A perfect record.  A free ride in His Son.  Yes, you will continue to do your best in this life, but not for yourself - not so you can satisfy God or keep guilt away - but for the sake of your neighbour.  Christ has satisfied God for you.  Christ has taken your guilt away.  Now you are free to serve your neighbour in love.  You are free to live the way God intended without fear or coercion or guilt.

No, what you do will never be enough.  But Jesus is more than enough, and He is yours by faith.

Monday, 12 May 2014


Remember when you were a kid - that first time you turned around expecting to see your mom and she wasn't there.  Do you remember the first time you suddenly realized you had no idea where you were?

We feel like this a lot, don't we?  We get lost.  We lose our priorities.  We wonder if our actions have any meaning.  We even stop caring. 

There is a story in the Gospel of Luke about two men leaving Jerusalem three days after Jesus was crucified.  They had been followers.  But now He was dead.  Though they knew where they were going, they trundled home lost.  They thought Jesus was going to give meaning to their lives.  They thought they had finally found the answer, but then He was crucified.  He was buried.  And there were even rumors that He was alive, but they didn't believe it.  They didn't care anymore.

But then Jesus found them.  Jesus drew near to them.  Jesus sought them out and opened the Scriptures to them about why the Christ had to suffer and die in this way - to atone for the sin of the whole world.

Here was this man - telling them that all these things DID have meaning.  That, in fact, they were the very things that secured true meaning for everything in this life.  After this Jesus made Himself known to them in the breaking of the bread, but quickly vanished from their sight.

Gone was their fear.  Gone was their despair.  Gone was their apathy.  For they were lost, but now they were found.  Found by Jesus.  Found by their Saviour.  Found by their Lord - their God.

The two men immediately went back to Jerusalem.  They knew where they were going now.  They knew their actions had meaning now.  They went to tell the others - all those who had been lost like them.  They had a reason to care.  They had a reason to serve.  And it was their Risen and Reigning Lord.

Christ is Risen!  He is Risen indeed.  Alleluia!