The story of Ebed-Melech goes far beyond a historical vignette. His story is an allegory of God's grace to the Gentiles.
Grace implies empowerment for growth. It is the single most important aspect of our salvation, and His giving of it is completely unmerited on our part.
God gives grace from start to finish in a person's relationship with Him. It cannot be limited merely to justification and His forgiveness of our sins.
The apostle Paul inventories spiritual gifts that God has given for the edification of the church, including ministry of the word and practical service.
We must carefully consider the offenses preventing the Israelites from entering the Land. That evil generation refused to trust Him, but complained continually.
Like the Israelites, Christians must live by faith as we follow Christ through a spiritual wilderness. Faith is the vital component carries us through.
It is presumptuous to cast aspersions on Thomas, using the cliché 'Doubting Thomas,' as he was braver than most of us would have been in his circumstances.
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.
At the time of the end, sin will be so pervasive and so compelling that our only resource for enduring its influence will be our relationship with God.
At times we exhibit some faithlessness, perhaps because we have viewed faith just in terms of what we do rather than what God does through His gifting to us.
God has consistently moved His creation toward its ultimate purpose, setting the bounds of nations, motivating rulers to pursue a certain course of action.
Faith is simple in concept; it is believing what God says. Yet it is difficult to display in our lives, and it is often tested. Here is some evidence of faith.
The overriding issue of life is to whom we will give ourselves in obedience. Will it be ourselves, society, business, Satan or God?
Far from being blind, faith is based on analyzing, comparing, adding up from evidence in God's Word, our own experience, and our calling by God's Holy Spirit.
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.
Millions lack faith to receive answers to their prayers. To a large extent, this is due to a lack of understanding what faith is.
The Bible abounds in metaphors of warfare, indicating that the Christian's walk will be characterized by stress, sacrifice, and deprivation in building faith.
Constant, earnest prayer keeps faith alive and makes certain the receiving of the qualities that make us in the image of God. God's purpose comes first.
Faithfulness in a person ultimately rests on his or her trust in God, and if a person is going to be faithful, its because he or she believes what God says.
God's mysteries have been in plain sight from the beginning of time, but carnality has obscured them from mankind.
Pride is a perverted comparison that elevates one above another. Because of its arrogant self-sufficiency, it hinders our faith. Faith depends on humility.
David Grabbe, asserting that the parable of the leaven hidden in the meal and the parable of the treasure hidden in the field serve as the juxtaposition of a negative and positive symbol (respectively, leaven and treasure), identifies a stark contrast between evil corruption and godly treasure, hidden for totally different …
Abraham embodied living by faith. Through perpetually living in a tent, he demonstrated his complete trust and reliance upon God.
Everything that we go through has been engineered by God. We are His workmanship, created for good works, a response to the faith He has given us.
All of God's people should be watchmen like Habakkuk, living continually by faith, discerning, listening to, and responding to God's instructions.
God's people are the precious jewels (or the private, personal possessions) of God, obligated to conform exclusively to His will and purpose.
The fear of God is the first line of defense, keeping us from profaning God's name, tarnishing the image of the Lord, and defending us from pain and/or death.
The purpose of prayer is not to overcome God's reluctance, but to help in yielding to His will. 'Prayer changes things' is only true if it conforms to God's will.
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.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on God's gifts to Abel and the other luminaries in the faith chapter (Hebrews 11), suggests that all of us called-out ones are in the same spiritual predicament, needing to humbly use the gifts God has given to us, faithfully pursuing God's purpose for us. Nobody evolves into a God-being on the power …
Jesus Christ is the Word, by whom the world was created. He has always interfaced between mankind and the Father, having primacy as our Lord, Master, and Ruler.
We keep Unleavened Bread because of what God did to bring us out of sin (typified by Egypt). While God compels us to make choices, He is with us all the way.
God provides the gift before it is actually needed so that when it is needed, everything is prepared for the person to do as he has been commissioned to do.
Ronny Graham, in part two of his message, "Seeing God in Creation," again focuses on Romans 1:18-20, emphasizing that humans can deduce God's presence from His creation. Hebrews 11:3 adds that the Invisible has created the visible. Hebrews 11 shows that Abel, Noah and Abraham displayed their faith by their works. Two theories of …
Ted Bowling, acknowledging that faith is a foundation of our assurance in the reality of God, uses a submarine analogy with its sonar equipment to illustrate faith. The crew of the submarine must rely on the ping of a sonar signal to keep from crashing into underwater cliffs, trusting in a power they cannot see. God has given to …
We dare not equate can-do enthusiasm with genuine faith, as Peter did as he attempted to walk on water. Human faith or zeal is not godly, saving faith.
In Luke 21:36, our Savior gives us two essential keys to being accounted worthy and escaping the terrors of the close of the age: watching and praying always.
John 6 has always been a difficult chapter to explain. However, Jesus' teaching is clear. Here is what it means to us.
Catholics and Protestants, because of lack of belief, do not find the Bible a sufficient guide to salvation. They claim to believe Christ, yet disobey.
Commitment to a course of action is essential for physical or spiritual success. Faith motivates and sustains right action, protecting us from the yo-yo like fits of starting and stopping. Shallow or incomplete faith is contrasted with complete or mature faith. Our simple faith must transform into mature or enduring faith, which …
While salvation is within our grasp, it is not determined until we have finished the race. Salvation is ours to lose, if we choose; we can fall away.
While we must express some of our own faith as we come to salvation, the great bulk of "saving faith" is a gift of God, given graciously and miraculously as part of God's creative process in us. In particular, John Ritenbaugh uses the examples of Abel and Enoch to illustrate the pattern of faith through which God walks His people.
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, …
Rejecting the Sabbath or embracing Christmas requires rejecting fundamental biblical truths. If we do not do what Christ did, we cannot claim to follow Christ.
Mark Schindler, reflecting on a funeral sermon he delivered suggested that the deceased person had displayed spiritual gifts (i.e., designated as Cook County Foster Mother of the Year) long before she had been called into God's church. God evidently has had each of us in His radar scope long before the foundation of the world, …
Martin Collins, describing different reactions of certain substances to fire, uses this variation of reaction as a metaphor of our differing reactions to fiery trials. As Christians, we can be conditioned to rejoice in trials, paradoxically having joy in the midst of grief and heaviness. Trials come in great variety, from …
David Grabbe, focusing on the unsearchable judgments of God described in Romans 11:33, points out that sometimes human nature sees God's decisions as unfair, as in the slaying of Uzzah, the favoring of Isaac over Ishmael, the favoring of Jacob over Esau, or the hardening of Pharaoh's heart. When we internalize the fact that all …
John Ritenbaugh reiterates that God based the awesome promises He gave to His friend Abraham on the patriarch's proclivity to believe Him even when he had only partial and sometimes disturbing information. Abraham remained a lifetime sojourner, owning no land except for Sarah's tomb. His offspring, after some 400 years, received …
Because the world is under the sway of the wicked one, if mankind were left to its own choices, the world would revert to the condition before the Flood.
Most of the Christian world believes that it is the duty of believers to 'win people for Christ.' Yet the whole counsel of God reveals a larger reality.
A poor spiritual diet will bring about a weak spiritual condition. What the mind assimilates is exceedingly more important than what the stomach assimilates.