True Christianity is a religion of constant vigilance in a conscious endeavor—striving, struggling, and making choices—to do what is right to please God.
David Grabbe, unraveling several apparently contradictory scriptures, exposes a fundamental flaw in western thinking—namely the binary (that is, either-or) thinking that leads us to construct false dilemmas. Perhaps the best example of this is the one delineated by Protestant theologians who conceptualize law and grace at …
We must make choices over our entire lifetime. God does the heavy lifting in terms of giving the choices and the solutions for us, but He will not choose for us.
Gideon began his life as a coward, became a conqueror, and ended a compromiser, all the while needing assurances from God to bolster his flagging faith.
God demonstrated to Gideon, through His systematically whittling his army from 30,000 to 300, that His providence, and not Gideon's might, would bring victory.
What does Scripture say about free-moral agency? Are we human puppets on a string, manipulated from above? How does free will relate to God's sovereignty?
Mark Schindler, reflecting on Michael Abraschoff's book, It's Your Ship, suggests that just as a captain of a ship wants decision-makers, not just order takers, God expects members of His family to be decision-makers. We cannot follow the example of Satan, who used his free moral agency to succumb to pride and vanity, totally …
Though fasting deprives the physical body of nutrition and strength, a proper, biblical fast adds conviction and depth to the inner, spiritual man.
Spiritual conditioning involves prayer, study, meditation on God, and occasional fasting, refining our judgment of—and hence our response to—trying situations.
Mark Schindler, establishing some foundational principles that God does not create chaos and confusion, but has re-established order after Satan's rebellion, points out the danger and folly of presumptuously choosing standards of right and wrong rather than trusting God's judgment. The essential dualities of the Tree of Life and …
Human will is not sovereign in the body, but is just another servant, functioning according to the information it receives. We choose according to desires.
The key to success in adult life stems from habitually choosing lawful and productive behavior over unlawful and unproductive behavior now.
In terms of salvation, works cannot save, but good works are the fruit of God's involvement. Grace frees one; works prove that one has been freed.
In this message on the subject of planning and God's sovereignty, John Ritenbaugh stresses that we are obliged to respond to God because He has interfered in our lives, causing us to repent, giving us His Holy Spirit, and limiting our options. We should plan our lives to be in sync with God's planning and purposes for our lives. …
John Ritenbaugh explores several nuances of the term grace, describing a generous, thoughtful action of God, accompanied by love, which accomplishes His will, equipping us with everything we will need to be transformed into the Bride. Even though we, like Jeremiah, may feel timid and underpowered, God is always out in front, …
This earth is a prison, and Satan is its jailer. The inmates—mankind—do not realize that there is no free will! A prison takes away freedom.
One aspect of sovereignty that causes some confusion is predestination. God's sovereignty does not remove a person's free moral agency — we must still choose.
Wisdom is not a trait valued or acquired by youth, but takes second place to strength, beauty, or fun. We get too soon old and too late smart.
In the example of a child summoned by a parent to clean up his room, the child's dawdling and complaining are not predestined nor are they part of God's will.
Progressives tend to believe that human nature is perfectible and evolving. Conservatives tend to believe that human nature is evil and must be controlled.
Most professing Christians agree that God is sovereign, but there is a wide range of beliefs with regard to just how involved God is in their lives.
God is the consummate artist, incorporating in His saints what seems to be a random jumble of dot and dashes, consisting of moments spread out on a canvas.
Misguided theologians have tried to create a false dichotomy between grace and works. We do works of obedience to build character, not to earn salvation.
God, following a pattern, routinely calls the lowly and weak to guard against pride. God will transform the weak of this world through His Holy Spirit.
The Feast of Trumpets is a day of decision, a time to determine whether we are on the Lord's side. We must loyally fulfill the role to which God called us.
In many places in Scripture, God promises to guide us along the godly path. Also within the pages of the Bible—our main source of information about spiritual matters—are the details about the way we are to conduct our lives. Mike Ford shows the steps we should take when faced with trials, problems and decisions.
John Ritenbaugh, explaining that an individual's worldview is shaped by his past experiences, family values, and the culture into which he were born, warns us that a person's worldview influences every decision he makes. If we do not give God the prominent position in our worldview, we will make self-destructive choices, as did …
John Ritenbaugh reiterates that the book of Ecclesiastes, a document which provides an overview of the consequences of life's frustrating activities, gives us directions for making it through the labyrinth of life. This treatise prepares us with helpful, practical, and profitable approaches, preparing us for the Kingdom of God. …
Ecclesiastes is perhaps the most practical book in the Old Testament, providing overviews of life-guiding advice, essentially a roadmap through the maze.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the writings of the wisest mortal man who ever lived, admonishes us that we must use our faith to follow what God says, acquiring wisdom and understanding with all the energy and resources we have. There is a vital linkage between wisdom and understanding, but the latter comes only through hard …
All people will be judged according to the quality of their works after they make the covenant with God. Works are required and rewarded.
Those who believe in the "once saved always saved" doctrine fail to see that God has a more extensive and creative plan for mankind than merely saving him.
God wants us to use wisdom to change ourselves, humbly replacing our perspective with His perspective. God gives wisdom as a component of His grace.
Regardless of whether one submits to God, government, or community, self-government is the best means to having a safe, smooth course toward an objective.
It can be encouraging to us that our patriarchs and the prophets had serious doubts, but God overrode all their fears in accomplishing His purpose.
Justification does not 'do away' with the law; it brings us into alignment with it, imputing the righteousness of Christ and giving access to God for sanctification.
We must put our lives, treasure, and honor on the line, picking up our cross daily, declaring our independence from carnality, evil and bondage to sin.
Here is the story of a young man's momentous choice regarding his keeping of the Sabbath, a decision he had to make all on his own.
God's hand was definitely involved in the scattering of the church. We should respond by growing and preparing ourselves for His Kingdom.
John Ritenbaugh teaches that biblical liberty consists of choosing to whom we will submit and by whom we will be constrained. Making wrong choices, largely in ignorance, has placed us in bondage to sin and destruction. God's truth indeed limits our choices'largely in matters of right and wrong. A mind focused on too many choices …
God proclaims a cause-effect relationship between sin and madness, blindness, and confusion of heart. Sin causes blindness, and blindness begets more sin.
We are not individually sovereign, but we are taught to give ourselves over completely to God's sovereignty. If we do, we will reap unfathomable blessings.
If we learn to fear and love God, loyalty, faithfulness and commandment-keeping will naturally follow, and we will instinctively hasten to depart from evil.
The signs that accompanied Peter's Pentecost sermon attracted attention, confirmed God's Word, and provided meaning to the effects of the Holy Spirit.
Ecclesiastes 7 contains a paradox: wickedness appears to be rewarded and righteousness seems to bring trouble. We must be careful in how we respond to this.
John Ritenbaugh, cuing on Deuteronomy 30:15-20, maintains that our worldview must include the value of our calling, determining the kinds of choices we make to overcome and pursue our spiritual journey. We alone can determine the value of that calling. The primary responsibility of the church is to continue what Jesus started in …
Bill Onisick, warning us that we are continually in danger of being deceived by our hearts and carnal nature, a nature which distracts us from following God, though we go through the motions, cautions us to not practice hypocrisy before Almighty God. Most have deluded themselves into thinking their ways are pure and acceptable …
Our human nature reflects the nature of malevolent spirits' attitudes. The only way to overcome it is through God's creating a new heart in us by His Spirit.
God's faithfulness is the foundation of our faith. We cannot live by faith unless we believe we have a God who is faithful in everything He does.
Even though Joseph was born into a highly dysfunctional family, he nevertheless had a high batting average when it came to making the right moral choices.