DiM | “Something Beautiful” by Steven Curtis Chapman

Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)).

June 02, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Something Beautiful” by Steven Curtis Chapman which currently sits at #18 at 20theCountdownMagazine.

We’ll continue using this top 20 song list until I find a better list. Your feedback in this would be greatly appreciated.

I love Steven Curtis Chapman’s writing, music, and ministry. I don’t think this is one of his stronger songs. This is a song of encouragement generally based on the idea that for Believers everything that we think is “bad” will be turned into something “good” by God. This is based on a commonly held interpretation of Romans 8:28 that isn’t quite right. We’ll look at that later. There are some generically positive themes in this song, but the details are a little “off”.

Official Pseudo Video

Lyrics (Partial Lyrics from Air1)

Something Beautiful

I see you sitting over there with your head in your hands
And the mess life’s made of your best laid plans
You really want to shake your fist
But you don’t know who to blame
Well, you can blame yourself or the man upstairs
Or the guy on the screen who says he cares
But all the shame and the blame won’t change a thing
What’s done is done
But grace has just begun

And God says
I’m gonna turn it into something different
I’m gonna turn it into something good
I’m gonna take all the broken pieces
And make something beautiful like only I could
So put it all in the hands of the Father
Give it up, give it all over to
The only One who can turn it into
Something beautiful
Something really beautiful

We know the world got broke when it took the fall
And here we are living in the middle of it all
Longing, waiting for the day when everything’s restored
But the best of the beauty that we get to SEE
While we’re living down here in this “yet to be”
Is to watch God take the most broken things
And to hear Him say
“When I get through, you’re gonna be amazed”

‘Cause I’m gonna turn it into something different
I’m gonna turn it into something good
I’m gonna take all the broken pieces
And make something beautiful like only I could
So put it all in the hands of the Father
Give it up, give it all over to
The only One who can turn it into

Something beautiful
Something beautiful
Something beautiful
Put all the pieces in His hands
And watch Him turn it into something beautiful

God’s gonna turn it into something different
He’s gonna turn it into something good
He’s gonna take all the broken pieces
And make something beautiful like only He could
So put it all in the hands of the Father
Give it up, give it all over to
The only One who can turn it into
Something beautiful
Something really beautiful
Something beautiful
Something really beautiful

Publishing: © 2013 One Blue Petal Music / Primary Wave Brian (BMI) All rights admin. by BMG Rights Management. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Writer(s): Steven Curtis Chapman

I love Steven Curtis Chapman’s writing, music, and ministry. I look forward to hearing a new song from him on the radio. He has a signature style and is easily recognizable. However, the more I listen to this song, the bigger its problems seem. Is I mentioned in the intro to this post, the premise of this song is based on a common misrepresentation of Romans 8:28. Let’s look at it in its immediate context.

CTT | Romans 8:28

Romans 8:18-30 (ESV) | Future Glory

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

To what is the Apostle Paul referring when he talks of the glory that is to be revealed to us? Is he speaking of glory promised us in this life? No. Paul always points to the Resurrection in the Last Day, when Jesus Christ returns in Glory. Paul points to a creation that is subjected to futility, by the sin of Adam. Though we are individually made new by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, the whole of creation remains cursed. It groans for the day of its redemption, just as we (Believers) groan for the redemption of our bodies, when we will be given new and perfect bodies in the resurrection. This is all resurrection, return-of-the-King language. As long as sickness, death, plague, and calamity exist on this earth, in creation, we remain in the not-yet. Paul is pointing to the New Heavens and the New Earth, when all of Creation is finally made right again in Christ Jesus.

Revelation 21:1-8 (ESV) | The New Heaven and the New Earth

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

This is the “new” and “the good” that God is working all things for those who are in Him. That is the context of Paul’s writing in Romans 8:28. Does God give good gifts to us here in the temporary? Absolutely, but that is not where we lay our hope, and definitely not where we lay up our treasures. Therefore, whenever someone invokes Romans 8:28 as a blank check from God that every disappointment in this life will be converted into something awesome in this life, know that they are lifting the passage out of its context, twisting the scripture (whether or not they realize they are doing it). We have a wondrous and blessed hope of glory in the Resurrection… it is marvelous and magnificent and it is assured for all who are in Christ Jesus. This Promise is sealed by God the Holy Spirit as a gift to every believer. That is why Paul asserts so strongly that the suffering of this present time are worthless by comparison. Paul was well acquainted with suffering as an Apostle of Jesus Christ. Dear Christian, the focus of Scriptures and the heart of Prophecy is Jesus Christ, not us in this temporal life. Jesus is returning, and His return is our Hope.

Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV) | Lay Up Treasures in Heaven

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Discussion of Song Lyrics

Verse 1. The singer is addressing an individual who has either sinned or experienced hardship or both. It isn’t clear if this is a believer or an unbeliever. We’ll assume for now that Steven intends to address the believer. There is a glaring problem in this verse, though, in how the song deals with ascribing the source of the individual’s problem. Life’s made a mess of your best laid plans? What does that mean? Sin leads to death. Sometimes plans crumble due to sin. Sometimes they crumble because they were sinful in themselves, and sometimes God is the one doing destroying the sinful schemes. As the verse progresses, it seems to lean toward a sin that was committed “you can blame yourselfall the blame and shame won’t change a thing what’s done is done“. What is that? That’s not repentance. At best it is an acceptance that something bad happened, and there’s nothing I can do to change that. Let’s put a sin in there, and see if this logic holds as doctrinally sound. Say the man with his head in his hands has committed adultery and lost his wife and kids as a result. Is there anything he can do to fix any of that or undo any of that? No. Does saying, “I can’t change it, what’s done is done” pass as repentance? No. Does accepting the blame for having committed the adultery fix the marriage after the divorce? No. So, does that make accepting the blame for the sin of adultery a pointless act? Absolutely not. The Gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t that the results of our sins will be erased; rather, that the sins will be forgiven for those who rightly confess that they are indeed sinners in need of a Savior, repent, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. I find this verse overly dismissive of the need to rightly confess our sinfulness. While I believe Steven is trying to convey, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1 ESV), you cannot simply skip over confession of sin and repentance from sin and work to alleviate condemnation… because prior to confession, repentance, forgiveness what you are really mitigating is conviction of sin. The purpose of the Law is to identify sin and convict us of our sinfulness. The Law isn’t to be mitigated, its purpose is to push us toward repentance and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Only way of Salvation. But in this verse, we minimized personal conviction and are jumping straight to Grace, without repentance. Not good.

Chorus. Does God say that He’s going to take everything we break, every sinful act we’ve committed and turn it into something good? Remember how we discussed the context of Romans 8, Paul is not limiting our Hope to this temporal life. If your sin leads to a wrecked marriage, a wrecked home, there is no guarantee that he’ll take that broken home/marriage and make it into something beautiful in this life. What the Bible does teach, is that for those who are in Him (penitent believers), God will use this life to grow you in Him for His Glory, and in the Resurrection you will definitely be free from all the pain and the hurt caused by sin (by your sin and the sins of this world). In this life, worms and rust will destroy and thieves will steal. Our hope rests in Heaven and the Great Day of Christ’s return. At the end of the chorus, there is a turn in the lyric that is true, and I do want to highlight that. God is the Only One who can turn our lives around, who can forgive our sins, and heal our brokenness. He will DEFINITELY do it when Christ returns, and He does it in many ways, by His Will and His Grace for us in this life, too. He blesses us every day according to His goodness and mercy. Please understand that we do serve a loving, caring, and gracious God. But that isn’t to say that everything will be made new in this life. God is growing us, molding us, and He is willing to use rebuke, reproof, and even hardship to work in us. As a father disciplines his son, so does our Heavenly Father discipline us.

Verse 2. I am disappointed again in the presentation of the sinful state of man. The first 2 lines in this verse present sin as something that happened to the Earth and man just finds himself living in the mess that was made. That is skirting the truth that Adam sinned, and we are born into that sin and bear the guilt of sin. It is our sin. We are simultaneously victim and culprit. We are unholy and unrighteous, deserving of death and destruction for our sin. Creation is cursed because of our sin. But God, in His Great Mercy and Grace, has made a Way for us in the sending of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus, to atone for our sin at the cross, so that by faith we might be made righteous in His Sight, washed clean by the Blood of the Lamb, clothed by His righteousness. If we held this verse in isolation from the rest of the song, I think we’ll see a better reflection of Romans 8… we can at least interpret it in the eternal rather than the temporal sense. Still bothered by the deflection of sin at the start.

The rest of the song plays out the “give it all to God and He’ll fix it” theme. As far as this temporal life goes, sometimes what is broken remains broken by His design for our benefit and for His Glory.


In general, the encouragement to take all of our hurts, fears, tears, sins, and failures to God the Father is true. The suggestion that God will fix everything we break in this life isn’t Scriptural. The fix would be to maintain a heavenly focus, a focus on the Great Day of the Resurrection in Christ Jesus. We need to be presented with the reality that sometimes our best-laid plans were sinful, and that God is the one who destroyed them. This song doesn’t leave room for that as it presents a sort of guarantee that whatever mess “life” has made for you, God will turn it into something beautiful. Vaguely positive, but problematic in its detail. While every good gift in this life and the next come from God, that doesn’t mean we can expect every good gift in this life. God is Sovereign and He is working to build up His Church for His Glory. We will face trials of many kinds, both from the enemy and from our own sinful flesh. We will also be disciplined by a loving Father, and the goal is repentance from a humble spirit and a contrite heart. All of creation indeed groans and awaits the return of our blessed Savior, Jesus Christ. In the meantime, we walk this earth in exile (as the Apostle Peter called in 1 Peter 1), no longer a part of the kingdom of darkness, not yet given our heavenly bodies. We walk by faith, keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, worshiping a Living God and serving our neighbors.

In Christ Jesus,

3 Things We Need to Hear

daughterToday, I just want to share something that has been on my heart for about a week now. As a husband of one wife and the father of two little ones, a boy of 5 and a girl of 3, my primary concern is my family and their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Our children have really begun to express their individuality in many ways, and at times it can be tough to adjust to their changing attitudes, questions, and responses such that they can continue to grow as individuals while remaining submitted to authority. I fail daily. One thing I’ve tried to model for my family is confession and repentance. I try to make it a point to apologize to my wife and kids when I lose my temper or wrongly dismiss them or their concerns. Over the past weekend, I noticed something about my relationships (particularly with my daughter of), about some of the things we need to hear for comfort, for relief, and for rest. This isn’t a scientific study, nor is it going to be anything deeply theological, these are just my observations.

3 Things We Need to Hear

#3 | I love you

Many will argue that this statement is the most important thing we need to hear. I would have argued the same until recently. If you will bear with me a bit, I hope to make the case for the 2 things we need to hear even more than “I love you”; however, those things will be meaningless outside of the context of love. My wife and I make sure to tell each other “I love you”, and we strive to make it known to our children, “I love you… no matter what”. The other day, after having to discipline my daughter for some bad behavior (time out), I went to my daughter to give her a hug and remind her that I loved her. Her response melted me, “I love you, too, daddy… even when you’re mad at me”. We need to hear “I love you” as a reminder, for encouragement, and for comfort. We need to know that we are loved.

John 3:16-18 (ESV) | For God So Loved the World

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Romans 5:6-8 (ESV)

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

#2 | I Forgive You

Once a loving relationship has been established, the most loving thing you can say to someone you love is, “I forgive you”, when they repent. I believe that this is something we’ve lost sight of here in the West, even in the Church. This past weekend was a long weekend, and my wife and I really wanted to spend the time together, so I got a lot of personal time with my kids. Which means that Daddy had to be the disciplinarian for an extra day. On one occasion, my daughter had done something she knew full well she wasn’t supposed to do, and tried to hide it. When I caught the infraction, I expressed my disappointment, issued a reprimand, and charged her not to repeat the infraction. Well, it happened again a few hours later. I was tired, so I just sat on the couch collecting my thoughts. My daughter came to me… slowly… and said, “daddy, I’m sorry for [doing what was wrong]…” and then the bottom lip started to puff out. I responded with, “thank you for apologizing… I love you honey” and I gave her a hug… but her bottom lip was still out, and it started to shake a bit. I was confused. She was still troubled and looked like she was going to start crying… “are you still mad at me?” That’s when it hit me. “Honey… I forgive you, sweetie… I forgive you”. At the sound of those words, my beautiful little daughter relaxed… shoulders dropped, as did the single tear that had welled up in her eye, and she let out a sigh and smiled. And then Daddy got a big sqeezy hug, which he returned with equal enthusiasm. She didn’t doubt my love, not for a second, but she still needed to hear me say, “I forgive you”.

In less dramatic fashion, I was in a meeting yesterday for a charity organization. Several senior officials were there, and one of them jokingly commented on an odd word I had used. I thought nothing of it but later caught myself using a synonym as a replacement for the initial word and jokingly referred back to the senior official. Several hours later, I got a phone call from that individual, and in that conversation he apologized for poking fun at my word choice, given that we were not close friends and it was in a meeting. I did the typical thing of dismissing the apology by asserting “no harm done, I thought it was funny”. He graciously accepted my explanation, but insisted that what he had done was inappropriate despite my claim of “no harm, no foul”. Again, it hit me, I need to plainly, simply, and humbly accept his apology and tell him, “I forgive you”. So I did, and it lightened up the conversation so much. I was then able to encourage him to be comfortable with me in the future and that such comments would be fine… he was now free to accept such encouragement, because the burden of guilt was lifted. Please, don’t dismiss repentance… don’t bat it away… it isn’t always about YOU. Forgive the one who is repenting, for the sake of his/her conscience.

2 Corinthians 2:5-11 (ESV) | Forgive the Sinner

Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. 10 Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

#3 | You Are Forgiven

If the western Church has lost sight of personal forgiveness… I believe it is largely due to having lost sight of the importance of the Gospel being preached to the Believer. Evangelicalism has allowed the Gospel to become “something that the lost need to hear to be saved”, but for some reason those who are saved are expected to just remember what the Gospel is while they get beaten down by principles to living more holy and acceptable lives (the Law) from week to week, month to month, year to year. We need to change the way we do “altar calls” and get back to preaching the Truth of the Gospel with conviction and regularity. To the unbeliever and believer alike, we preach “repent and be forgiven”… but to the believer, we include “You are Forgiven, in Jesus’ Name” by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the Glory of God alone.

2 Corinthians 5:14-21 (ESV)

14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

1 John 1:5-10 (ESV) | Walking in the Light

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Through Christ’s once-and-for-all finished work on the Cross, this forgiveness, reconciliation, and cleansing is not merely a one-time thing for us… but daily occurrence.

Matthew 6:9-13 (ESV)

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.

Amen. It is my sincere prayer that you attend a church that preaches Gospel to believers. We need to hear “you are forgiven” often. We need to hear it, even those who are of the faith.


Let us not grow weary in doing good, love the Lord, love your neighbor, repent and be forgiven. In as much as you have been forgiven, forgive others. Let them hear your forgiveness, even if you don’t yet fully understand the sin.

I pray that my children may grow in the knowledge of Christ, assured of their salvation in Christ Jesus. I pray that my wife might find rest and comfort in the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. And I pray that each time I fail, that I remain humble enough to repent and seek forgiveness, as well as to grant forgiveness to others.

Ephesians 3:14-21 (ESV) | Prayer for Spiritual Strength

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,

Related blogs:

Church History | Gospel for those who have been hurt by the Church


CTT | Confession, Repentance, & Absolution

Iglesia de San Joaquín Confessional

Iglesia de San Joaquín Confessional

Good Monday morning. In a conversation I had recently with a loved-one regarding sound doctrine and the various Christian denominations, I was reminded of one of the strongest objections within Christian denominations, the practice of private confession and absolution. It is generally considered “a Catholic thing” but Lutherans also maintain this practice as one of the roles of the office of Pastor. I’m not here to review/critique their practice. I am interested, however, in the subject of confession, repentance, & absolution from a Biblical perspective. I could not find a way to discuss confession and repentance apart from Church Discipline.

Gospel of Grace

While the topic for today is one of practices within the Church, the Body of Christ, I do not want to skip over this by way of assumption. Regardless of your church practice, this discussion is not about absolving the unbeliever of sin. To enter the Body of Christ, one must be Converted or Born-Again by Grace, through Faith.

Acts 16:25-34 (ESV) | The Philippian Jailer Converted
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.

Praise the Lord. Now, those who are saved in Jesus Christ still live in sinful flesh, and are in need of forgiveness and restoration every day until the hope of the upward call of Jesus (the Day of His Return and of our Resurrection in Christ). So, for those who do not believe in the Lord Jesus, what follows is of lesser concern.

Jesus Taught Us to Forgive Each Other

Undoubtedly the primary point of the Gospel is the forgiveness of sin through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus also commanded His disciples to forgiven one another and tied it to how we are to pray. Let’s look in Matthew what follows right after the Lord’s Prayer:

Matthew 6:14-15 (ESV) 14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Still, this is not yet pointing to our topic of the day. There is something interesting that Jesus says to His disciples later in the text after Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Christ, Son of the Living God.

Matthew 16:13-20 (ESV) | Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

Interesting. Growing up in a Pentecostal / Charismatic tradition, I’ve always heard this passage (highlighted portion) taught in the “spiritual warfare” sense. But here, it follows Jesus saying He will build His Church upon the confession of Jesus as the Christ, and that nothing will prevail against His Church. Rather than expound upon this further, let’s look at how this phrasing comes back up later in the text.

Matthew 18:7-22 (ESV)
Temptations to Sin
7 “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! 8 And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.

The Parable of the Lost Sheep
10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. 12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14 So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

If Your Brother Sins Against You
15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.

I decided to leave the ESV section headings in this portion to better illustrate what the immediate context of this passage conveys. The context is within the Church. The Kingdom of Heaven, the sheep fold, is where the sheep have heard the Voice of Jesus, their Shepherd. Temptations will come, some will be led astray, and the Shepherd goes in search for the one who is lost and rejoices over its restoration. In verse 15, Jesus isn’t talking about “the world”; rather, He is talking about “your brother”. It is in this context that we see, again, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven… Interesting. Now, before we get too far beyond the fulcrum (thus tipping the lever too far in the other direction) notice that Peter’s question seeks a “limit” of sorts. This power of binding is understood as a responsibility rather than a privilege, and Peter is seeking an upper limit. Jesus doesn’t provide one; rather, He says that as long as your brother repents, you are to forgive. Remember what Jesus taught when the Disciples asked how to pray; If they do not forgive the sins of others, their sins will not be forgiven them. Still, this responsibility of binding and loosing remains. So, avoiding the sin of taking one passage over another, let us hold both to be true.

On the Day of Christ Jesus’s resurrection, He says something very interesting when He breathes on them. Let’s turn to John chapter 20.

John 20:17-23 (ESV) | Jesus Appears to the Disciples
17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her. 19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them,“Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

Binding and Loosing on earth as it is in heaven. This is nothing to play around with, particularly given the counterpoint of the weight of failing to forgive others. This responsibility and charge is given in conjunction with receiving the Holy Spirit. This is the passage of scripture invoked by the Lutheran explanation of the practice of Confession and Absolution. As I read this passage again, I cannot help but read this in light of their missionary journey when Jesus sent out the 12:

Matthew 10:5-15 (ESV) | Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles
5 These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. 9 Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food. 11 And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. 12 As you enter the house, greet it. 13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. 15 Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.

Withholding forgiveness for the lost sheep must be a matter of judgement/discipline here, not just of a mere unbelief as would be expected of the Gentiles. For we see here in Matthew 10 that Jesus is first sending them to those who should know better, the lost sheep of Israel. We also see in Chapter 18 that there are many attempts to point out the sin of a brother before treating them as a Gentile or tax collector. There is a blatant lack of repentance in that passage that leads up to the binding and loosing charge.

A Practical Example in Corinthians

Thankfully, we are not left completely without an example of what this form this Church discipline is to take. The Apostle Paul, in his writings to the Church at Corinth, issues a judgement in his first letter, then offers praise and comfort in his second regarding what seems to be the same individual and situation.  Let us turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 5.

1 Corinthians 5 (ESV) | Sexual Immorality Defiles the Church
1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

Wow… so much for the whole “thou shall not judge” that Christians wrongfully throw about, eh? God judges the world with Himself as the standard (the Law). We are to hold each other, within the Body of Christ, accountable to the Word of God, both for their benefit and for the building up of the Saints. Notice the strong language in verse 5. This isn’t the only time Paul phrases it this way, but Paul is issuing the order for the Church in Corinth to carry out. This is the Word of the Lord. The sinner, who bears the name of brother, is to be rebuked and delivered to Satan for the destruction of the flesh (the part of us that remains sinful) so that his spirit may be saved in teh day of the Lord. The purpose is for repentance, but if repentance does not come he is to be purged from among the brethren.

2 Corinthians 7 (ESV) | Paul’s Joy
1 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God. 2 Make room in your hearts for us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. 3 I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. 4 I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.

5 For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. 6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. 8 For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. 9 As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. 10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 11 For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter. 12 So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the one who did the wrong, nor for the sake of the one who suffered the wrong, but in order that your earnestness for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God. 13 Therefore we are comforted. And besides our own comfort, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 14 For whatever boasts I made to him about you, I was not put to shame. But just as everything we said to you was true, so also our boasting before Titus has proved true. 15 And his affection for you is even greater, as he remembers the obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling. 16 I rejoice, because I have complete confidence in you.

There was repentance, and it was felt by the body of Christ. Paul doesn’t just single out the individual in this letter; rather, he points to assembly. Paul wasn’t just dealing with the singular matter issued in 1 Corinthians. Paul’s closing comments in Chapter 13 offer some encouragement (both tough and kind).

2 Corinthians 13:5-14 (ESV) 5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 6 I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. 7 But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for. 10 For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down. 11 Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All the saints greet you. 14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.


The Church is to encourage and build up one another, and that includes rebuking sin. We see that for those who repent of their sin, forgiveness is assured. We who are called brothers and sisters in Christ, have been filled with the Holy Spirit and charged with binding and loosing. We’ve also been charged to forgive our brother and sister who repents of their sin against us. Is taking confession and pronouncing absolution a specific role of the Pastor? I don’t see that in Scripture. However, I do see that we need to confess our sins, repent, and forgive others, and I know that in Christ we find our forgiveness. I don’t like the formulaic approach to routine confession-absolution in private, nor of the ceremony of corporate absolution (Lutheran Liturgy) mainly because I know that “going through the motions” is a big problem for me. What I would like to say is that people need to hear “your sins are forgiven” regularly. We need the Gospel of Jesus Christ daily, for we have not yet attained the perfection of Christ (and will not until we join in His resurrection on the final Day). Whether it is in Bible study, personal counselling, or mentorship, each member of the Body of Christ needs to understand the need to confess their sin one to another, knowing that in Christ there is the Forgiveness of sin. We need to hear “you are forgiven” from a reliable source, the Word of God. And sometimes, it really helps to hear these words spoken over us, particularly in the midst of godly grief. The world understands this need, but their answer is to gossip and to tell each other that what they did wasn’t wrong and that they are better people for it. They invent “laws of attraction” and “positive thinking”… actually… it seems much of the visible church has been selling these same lies lately. The tyranny of “positive thinking” is that it prevents Christians from confessing and repenting of their sin. In some cases… it prevents even acknowledging sin to be sin… May God forgive us for calling good evil, and evil good.

In closing, let us turn to James

James 5:13-20 (ESV) | The Prayer of Faith
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. 19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Rebuke a brother/sister who has sinned against you in love, confess your sin against your brother/sister to him/her in love, and forgiven each other and pray for one another in love. For those who are constantly looking to define “Advanced Christianity”… this is it, and it is not of ourselves, it is a Gift from God.

May the Love of Christ fill you to overflowing that the Body of Christ is blessed,
In Christ Jesus,

Confessions of the Christ | What Israel was waiting for

Road to Emmaus  by James J. Tissot

Road to Emmaus
by James J. Tissot

I shared a couple of weeks ago that I was working on this topic. I realized that I had gotten sucked into the trap of researching nuggets when in-fact the entirety of the Bible points to Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One. So, this won’t be a singular post type of topic; rather, this is the central issue, the basis of our entire faith. I think the distraction was amplified by a desire to really make an impactful post in time for Easter, but thankfully, everything went wrong on many fronts. Thankfully? Yes. Sometimes things have to go wrong, for us to realize we’ve become too wrapped up in our own devices/plans/schemes/agendas. So, let’s get back to the basics of sharing Bible Studies as often as I can find the time, without worrying so much about “making something” of this blog. Forgive me for losing sight so quickly.

Confessions of the Christ

Our first stop will be the Gospel written by John. Please take a moment now to read John Chapter 1 in its entirety. Remember when we talked about the Sin of the Pharisee, we noted that John the Baptist knew what the Pharisees were getting at when they asked him who he was.

John 1:19-20 (ESV) 19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”

So without hesitation, he makes it clear to them that he is not the Christ. Now, when Jesus does step forward, John introduces Jesus to the people in a way that doesn’t fit with what they were looking for in the Christ:

John 1:29 (ESV) The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!…

At this time, sacrifices are a regular occurrence at the Temple. How did they miss this introduction as what is clearly a declaration of Jesus being the atoning sacrifice? They didn’t catch it, because they weren’t looking for it. Let us see what they were looking for:

John 1:30-34 (ESV) 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.

Okay, so here we have a flat-out declaration of Jesus not only being named “The Christ” but now He is plainly declared to be the Son of God. Now, let’s look at the reactions of the early disciples to Him.

John 1:35-51 (ESV) 35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Now, when these two disciples of John the Baptist hear Jesus identified as the “Lamb of God”, they understand that He is the One for whom John the Baptist was preparing them. So they follow Jesus. Here, we have the author explaining that the Hebrew word for “Messiah” is synonymous with the Greek word “Christ”. Neither word is actually translated into English, we’ve simply changed the way they are pronounced. They both translate to “Anointed”, and in the specific case of Jesus, “the Anointed One”. For those who might be new to the faith, or for those who simply have never asked, “Christ” isn’t part of Jesus name, it is a title. We notice also that Nathanael’s response to the news of Jesus was regarding Nazareth. Nazareth is never mentioned in the Law or the Prophets.  They were expecting the Messiah to come from the Bethlehem, the City of David (where Jesus was born). The Jewsish leaders of the day were looking for a descendant of David. Present-day Judaism still holds to these prophesies as indicators of the “end of days”, having missed their fulfillment in Jesus:

Jeremiah 23:5-6 (ESV)  5 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’

Jeremiah 33:14-16 (ESV) 14 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’ 17 “For thus says the Lord: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, 18 and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices forever.”

The prophet Isaiah also prophesied regarding Him in a similar phrasing (naturally, since these are the Words of God, not of men):

Isaiah 11:1-5 (ESV) 1 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his loins.

So we see clearly between the confessions of John the Baptist, and the Prophecies of Jeremiah and Isaiah, that Jesus came as the atoning sacrifice, the Lamb of God, the Messiah, the Christ, the Branch of David, who will be called “the Lord is our Righteousness”… this is the Gospel of Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God. God’s Word is so awesome.

It was not only the Pharisees and the disciples of John the Baptist who were looking for the Christ. As we see in John 4, even the lowly Samaritans where aware of the prophesied Messaiah:

John 4:16-26 (ESV) 16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

So awesome. Jesus tells her at the Samaritans (corporate “you”) worship what they do not know. To demonstrate what she does know, she shows us that they, too, were waiting for the Messiah to tell them all things. Samaritans were outsiders. They were of mixed blood and mixed faith, but they looked for the Messiah to come. Praise the Lord God for His faithfulness.

Now then, that we have seen some of what it was the Jews and even the Samaritans were looking for, lets look at Peter’s confession of Jesus.

Matthew 16:13-20 (ESV) 13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

This confession is huge. One into which Peter would yet need to grow, but he does by the Grace of God. Notice, that this confession/revelation is not by flesh and blood, but given as a gift from God the Father who is in heaven. This statement bears a strong resemblance to what Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8 (ESV) “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God…”

Peter was not alone in having to grow into the understanding of just what it meant to confess Jesus as the Christ, Son of the Living God. Martha had a very hard time of it, too when her brother, Lazarus, died.

John 11:17-27 (ESV) 17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

It is on this note, that I’d like to pause for a moment. We all, must come to faith in Jesus as the Christ, Son of the Living God. The Lamb of God who laid down His life as the perfect atonement for the sin of mankind, for our sins included. This faith comes as a Gift from God, that we might die to sin ourselves, so that in Him we might have everlasting life.

Ephesians 4:1-16 (ESV) 1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says,

“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,and he gave gifts to men.”[Ps 68:18]

9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

In Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God, through the working of God the Holy Spirit, we are being woven together, fitted together, into one body. I thank God for each of you who do the hard work of discernment in all things, and in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who has is called “the Lord is our righteousness”. We who are in Christ long for the day of His return, to reign forever as King of kings and Lord of lords. Until that day, let do the work the Lord predestined for us to do in Him, so that when the Master returns, He will find His servants hard at work. Study the Scriptures, Preach the Word, and Love your neighbors as yourselves. Amen.

In Him,

We Believe | The Newsboys

newsboys-restart-reviewOkay, so I had planned to post the follow-up to yesterday’s post on Biblical foundation for Relationships, a look at the Marriage Relationship as defined in the Bible. However, on my drive in to work this morning, I heard a wonderful song on the radio. I just had to share it here. It’s been a while since I’ve been so excited for a Newsboys song… but… wow. I hope they don’t mind my posting this stuff.

If you’d like to see/hear the song visit the following YouTube link: http://youtu.be/9i9wtJzok4U

The following lyrics were pulled from their website: http://newsboys.com/

In this time of desperation
When all we know is doubt and fear
There is only One Foundation
We believe, We believe
In this broken generation
When all is dark, You help us see
There is only One Salvation
We believe, We believe

We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And He’s given us new life
We believe in the crucifixion
We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And He’s comin’ back again, we believe

So, let our faith be more than anthems
Greater than the songs we sing
And in our weakness and temptations
We believe, We believe

We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And He’s given us new life
We believe in the crucifixion
We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And He’s comin’ back again

Let the lost be found and the dead be raised
In the here and now, let love invade
Let the church live love our God will see
We believe, We believe
And the gates of hell will not prevail
For the power of God, has torn the veil
Now we know Your love will never fail
We believe, We believe!

We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And He’s given us new life
We believe in the crucifixion
We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And He’s comin’ back,
He’s comin’ back again
He’s comin’ back again
We believe!
We believe