Month: March 2015

Purg-a-what?

A large percentage of the religious world has been taught that a place of purging exists to prepare the unready soul for eternity, a place that goes by the name “purgatory” – but truth be told, what exactly is purgatory responsible for purging?

For one, purgatory, in the not too distant past, purged people of their money through the sale of indulgences to shorten the time needed for penance of sins before one could enjoy “full fellowship” with God after death. This practice was so prominent it led to the cultural proverb, “As soon as money in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory’s fire springs” as well as becoming the issue of Luther’s 28th of his 95 thesis paper.

Today, purgatory purges authority from God’s word which lends no credence to the existence of such a place. The debt of Matthew 18:23-35 couldn’t be paid off; and the reward, or loss, of work in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 refers to the faithfulness, or the lack thereof, of those who were brought to Christ through personal work. Unlike purgatory, the word of God teaches that individuals are “justified now” and are “without condemnation” through the “sin purging” blood of Jesus (Romans 5:9, 8:1).

Purgatory purges, but it’s not purging what most people in the religious world are taught to believe. EA

who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Hebrews 1:3)

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The Offensiveness of the Gospel

For millennia the gospel of a crucified savior has offended people, and it continues to do so to this very day:

  • Some are offended at the suggestion that a crucified savior was the actual Messiah of the Jewish people.
  • Some are offended at the suggestion that a crucified savior was the prophesied and most authoritative prophet of God.
  • Some are offended at the suggestion that a crucified savior offered himself for the sins of all of humanity.
  • Some are offended at the suggestion that a crucified savior was offered for any supposed sin of humanity.
  • Some are offended at the suggestion that a crucified savior was a part of God’s plan to redeem mankind to himself.
  • Some are offended at the suggestion that a crucified savior is offensive.

Fact of the matter is, this crucified savior knew that he was an offense (Matthew 13:57), and so did his preachers (1 Corinthians 1:18-31), but the real shame comes from a “church” that is offended by the offense as much as the world. EA

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.” (1 Peter 2:4-8)

The Cold Reveals Where The Heat Is Going

One thing I couldn’t help but notice as I drove down the road during these winter months when there was a heavy frost or a light snow is how the cold reveals where a house’s heat is escaping.

And how, you may ask, does it do this? Well, if you look at the roof of a house and the entire thing is covered with a heavy frost or a light snow except “this one spot” towards the ridge line or except for “this spot” right in the middle of the roof about half way up, then you know that’s where the heat is escaping because that part of the roof is warm enough to melt what’s sitting on it.

By all means drive safely, but if you haven’t paid attention to this before then check it out the next time you get a chance.

So what’s my point? My point is maintenance. When someone sees the above happening, it gives the owner a chance to see where their warmth is escaping, and, in doing so, it gives them a chance to see where extra insulation needs to be added. A little extra insulation can a long way for various reasons.

Now I know this isn’t a DIY house maintenance blog, so maybe you’re wondering about the spiritual point– my point is still maintenance. Consider James 1:2-4 and perhaps it’ll help us learn to see the opportunities that allow us to see where our spiritual heat is escaping when we have to deal with the cold-fronts that come our way. EA

Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”                   (Matthew 24:11-13)

What does the phrase “Cross the Jordan River” mean to a Christian?

To understand what “crossing the Jordan River” metaphorically means to a Christian you have to first understand what it literally meant to the Jewish people.

God made a promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that their descendants would inherit a land given to them by God himself. But before Jacob died, the children of Israel found themselves living far away from that land in Egypt.

Generation after generation passed until the time was right; the time had come for the children of Israel to inherit the distant, but promised, land of Canaan. Add slavery, a handful of plagues, a law given by Moses, and forty years in the wilderness to the equation and you’ll arrive at the book of Joshua and the promised land.

But before Joshua could lead the people into the land flowing with milk and honey, an intimidating river had to be crossed – the flood stage Jordan River to be exact. But by the grace of God the people safely crossed the river; and by faith they received a land that they had only heard of through a promise that had been made so long ago.

As Christians we look back at the moment the children of Israel crossed the Jordan River into the Canaan’s land as a rite of passage. Once they crossed that river the promise became reality – and reality surpassed expectations.

In the same manner as God’s people of the past, we as Christians, who make up the people of God today, are looking for a distant land of promise that we have only heard of. As we travel through the wilderness of life we cling to this land by faith because this “promised land” is an expectation that comes from believing in God. Heaven is its name, and it’s waiting for God’s people (Hebrews 11:16).

But before we enter this “promised land” a rite of passage must be experienced – a “river” has to be crossed; this river is a cold river; this river is a wide river; and this river is an intimidating river to say the least. This “river” is called death.

But by the grace of God, this raging river can be crossed (Hebrews 2:14-15). Because in Jesus, the waters have no choice but to subside since he himself faced the waters, and crossed them, bearing God’s covenant for us upon his own shoulders so we may follow him across on dry ground to inherit the land we have only heard of through a promise made so long ago.

So if you have wondered what “crossing the Jordan River” means to a Christian, now you know. EA

So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57)