It’s Good Friday and it’s a good opportunity to meditate on the cross. Therefore I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite resources for Good Friday, some brand new resources and some of our blog readers Good Friday meditations. Have a look through the list and spend some time using one of these resources to remind you how amazing Jesus is.
There are some questions that trouble non-Christians that really don’t trouble Christians.
- “Is there such a thing is as truth?” seems so self-evident.
- “Is the crucifixion cosmic child abuse?” is easy to answer if you’ve read the Bible yourself.
- “Is Christianity anti-Semitic?” seems ridiculous when you know the church was founded by 12 Jewish guys who followed another Jewish guy who was fulfilled the great Jewish hope.
Although we are happy to answer the questions of our friends and family, these things rarely ever make us struggle.
But there are some questions that do.
One such question is about God killing people in the Old Testament. God seems utterly brutal to do such a thing. How can we reconcile this with the loving God of the New Testament?
Dave Bish has put up an excellent blog post entitled “What about God killing people in the Old Testament?” where he discusses these issues. I would urge you to read the post for yourself. Let me summarise the main arguments here and then add some thoughts of my own.
In The Greatest Prayer Tip I Ever Received, I recommend using the prayers of Paul as inspiration for prayer.
Of course finding the prayers of Paul can be a challenge. So I have compiled a list of all of Paul’s prayers, prayer reports, prayer requests and exhortations to prayer. This list comes from “A Call to Spiritual Reformation” by D.A. Carson and shows every single prayer Paul prays.
Though in Amos we see God acting in wrath, most Christians are uncomfortable with this idea. Therefore I want to explain why a God of wrath is good news for Christians:
God hates sin
We may be deceived by this world but God isn’t. He hates sin. He does not sit idly by and watch as people are murdered, raped and starved. He is seething with anger!
We are not. We would prefer everyone to get off scott-free. We wouldn’t have even thought the substitution of Jesus was necessary. Some even think God is evil for punishing sin! What idiots we are. God hates what harms us and that is a glorious truth.
God will destroy sin
If God hates sin he will not let it exist in his kingdom. It tells us in Revelation he will wipe every tear from our eye (Rev 21:4). All the evil that plagues us now God will banish forever. Utterly decimated, it will never to trouble us again.
God’s love overcame God’s wrath
Think of the passion shown in his anger towards sin. It’s massive. Yet he loves you more fiercely than he hates sin. What an amazing truth!
Moreover, God himself received wrath on the cross. Jesus Christ, God made flesh, was subject to God’s full wrath on the cross. He took all the punishment due upon us.
Christian do not hate the God of Wrath, rather praise him now for hating sin and loving you. Pray also that you may hate sin as much as he does.
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He gave the example of what most Christians would say “salvation by faith” and asked what do you do with Jodo shinshu Budhism, which also agrees with salvation by faith alone.
He said that false religions can copy any doctrine of Christianity. What they cannot copy however is the God we talk about. The things that distinguish our Gospel flow out of our God.
So if you want to know what makes Christianity tick you need to know God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Join us over the coming days to find out more about him.
An Impractical Doctrine?
We tend to associate the Trinity with philosophers, and not see it as something that affects our lives. If you asked someone to write down the impacts the Trinity had on their life the first word spouted would probably be “Er…”
The Most Important Doctrine
Mike argued the Trinity is the most important doctrine of all, following the Athanasian Creed:
Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic [universal Christian belief, not Roman Catholic] faith;
Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;
The creed has the trinity as the foremost doctrine of the Church. How can this be?
The Trinity tells us who our God is. This affects everything we believe in.
Therefore, it is lamentable that Christians present the Trinity as a dry, abstract doctrine. How can abstraction be a good description of the living God.
If you’re a Christian, consider what place the Trinity has in your life. Is it dry dogma or living truth?
If you aren’t a Christian join us for the rest of this series and see who the God we worship really is.
In the first two chapters (his first sermon) Amos pictures God as a roaring lion, a holy judge moving against the unrighteousness of the nations . Many people in our society, Christian and non-Christian, would cheer as he condemns the war-mongers, baby-killers and poor-abusers. But the point of the passage is this: all of us deserve God’s punishment. We all have skeletons in the closet and we desperately need someone to save us. (click “Read the rest of this entry” for a longer exegesis). Continue reading