Category Archives: God

morality is dead

What is Evil?


Evil is ubiquitous. It is in every corner of the world and in the heart of every person. Evil is the reason the world is the way it is today. Marked by chaos and division, the world suffers from the effects of evil. We should know as much as we can about this malevolent power.

The word occurs frequently in the Bible. The English Standard Version reports 531 results or an average of 8 time per book in the Bible. Jeremiah has the most occurrences but tiny 3rd John has the most per words in the book. Solomon used it often in his review of life and happiness in Ecclesiastes where it occurs roughly 4 times per thousand words. The effects of evil are clearly seen in every Bible book.

Philosophers have tried to define evil apart from the Bible and have been quite unsuccessful. They have gone so far as to use the real existence of evil as evidence against the existence of the God of the Bible.

What the Bible says about evil

Let the Bible Speak

Inasmuch as evil is a spiritual concept, we should allow the Bible to reveal it’s dimensions and define it’s horrors. The Bible is truth (Psalm 119:160; John 17:17).

Evil is personal.

The Bible does not view evil as an ambiguous, vague force. Evil surrounds and defines Satan. Jesus perfectly describes Satan while rebuking the religious leaders of his day.

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

John 8:44

In Genesis, it was Satan who lied to the first couple. He directly, and personally, contradicted God – in essence calling God a liar – concerning the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

The outcome of Satan’s meddling teaches us much about evil. The outcomes are never good. In the Genesis 3 account, the outcome was a severing of the relationship between God and humanity. Man can only serve one master (Matthew 6:24). There has never been a throne big enough for two!

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

Romans 6:16

Evil Usurps

Once God was driven from their lives Satan enjoyed freedom to corrupt and destroy. Their family was shattered when their eldest son murdered their youngest son. Cain killed Abel because God was displeased with Cain’s sacrifice. He couldn’t strike out at God but his brother was an easy target. This story is made even more tragic when we realize that God tried to guide Cain. He tried to guide him into a better place.

The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”

Genesis 4:6, 7

Cain rejected God’s guidance because his heart was blinded by sin. The evil one had taken the place of God in his life and led him to assault and murder his own brother. This is the nature of evil. It forces God off the throne and takes his place with a lawless rule.

Evil is the enemy

Notice the last sentence: “It’s desire is contrary to you…” Despite Satanic protestations to the contrary, sin lies in strong opposition to our God given souls. The NIV translates the passage this way: “it desires to have you…” Sin is the product of evil and actively seeks victims. Peter wrote that “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). An adversary is an opponent. The psalmist often prayed that God would defeat his adversaries. But here, in 1 Peter, the adversary is clearly the devil. The apostles says he is looking for someone he can devour.

Satan is not merely interested in troubling you or causing you inconvenience. He uses evil to consume your life. Like a potent toxin, the devil slowly but completely takes the life of his victim. Yet, we are often unable, or unwilling, to see the danger our adversary contains. He presents himself as a friend, a confidant, or a wizened guide.He may even present himself as a man of faith. He may appear as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) or he may come quoting Scripture (Matthew 4:1 – 11). Remember, he presented himself to Eve, disguised, as one who would help her reach her greatest potential (Genesis 3:1-6).

To us, Satan presents himself with the face of our best friend. Perhaps he looks like our wife or our husband. He may appear with the authority of an employer or a government official. He could even appear as a nerdy, bullied, misunderstood teenager who just needs to let off a little harmless steam.

Satan is a liar. However he appears, whatever form he takes, will be false. Like a secret agent in wartime he disguises himself as a friendly when he is really an enemy.

What the Bible says about defeating evil

Evil looses

No matter how it may appear, the devil looses. In December of 1944 German forces fully encircled the Allied troops. The German commander promised to annihilate the US forces if they did not accept the surrender terms. The American commander refused.Four days later the reinforcements arrived. The refreshed troops attacked and drove the Germans back to where the battle began. Sometimes, in the moment, defeat may seem certain. Yet, for the one who perseveres, victory comes.

Jesus said:

and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

Matthew 10:22

James wrote:

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12

And Jesus said again:

Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.

Revelation 2:10

The Lord told Satan that he would loose. Speaking while the forbidden fruit was still fresh in their bellies God said:

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

Genesis 3:15

John says our faith is based upon our faith (1 John 5:4). Paul laughs in the face of defeat and asks “O death, where is your victory” (1 Corinthians 15:55). In the next verse he declares that God has given us the victory through “our Lord Jesus Christ” (vs. 56).

Satan looses.

So, what is evil? Evil is a real, but false force that seems to encompass us on all sides. It is always bad and never seeks good for mankind. It is our enemy and will be destroyed when the Lord returns. For us, we stand strong against every appearance of evil and await the glory that comes from our Lord. There is victory and it is coming.

Jesus and Government

Christians live in two worlds, secular and spiritual. Christians live in the kingdom of God, governed by Jesus. We also live in an earthly, secular kingdom governed by whoever is in power at the moment. Tension always exists between the two kingdoms. The desires and expectations that the two kingdoms hold clash. We must carefully navigate between our two worlds.

Jesus showed us how to live perfectly in both worlds at the same time. By following his leadership, we can be faithful to the God of Heaven and to the laws of men.

His Words

Jesus was born into God’s kingdom: Israel. They were chosen by God to be his people. Still, Jesus spoke of another kingdom that was still to come (Matthew 4:17; 5:19, 20; 6:10, 33; Luke 11:2; 13:29; 19:11; John 3:3,5; 18:36).

Jesus also acknowledged the earthly kingdom of Rome. Jesus said, render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21), thus acknowledging both the legitimacy of the Roman government and the requirement for Christians to obey it. His apostle Paul would voice the same command in Romans” “let every person be subject to the governing authorities” (Romans 13:1ff). To Titus, Paul said, “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work (Titus 3:1).

His Actions

Jesus applied his words to his actions. The kingdom of Judea, the remnant of Israel, was corrupt, vile and ungodly. Her king lived in open sin. Still, Jesus obeyed the Israelite rulers. When the Israelite religious leader, Annas, questioned Jesus, he submitted and answered him (John 18:19-24).

In his arrest, Jesus declared that he could call “twelve legions of angels” to deliver him. But he did not. (Matthew 26:53). Even as he hung on the cross, Jesus railed not against the Jews or the Romans.

His apostle Paul voiced his submission to Rome as he faced a death penalty. He responded to the governor that he would not refuse to die if he had done some wrong (Acts 25:11). We believe Paul would later die by execution.

His Non-Actions

There was plenty wrong with governments of the first century. Rome, like the Greeks before, was thoroughly pagan. Recall the picture of Athens, where Paul called the city “full of idols” (Acts 17:16). Rome worshipped anything. They even had an altar to the unknown God (Acts 17:23). Their worship was so twisted as to encourage intercourse between worshipper and priest. Some idol temples had male and female prostitutes who served their false gods. Soon, Rome would even demand worship of the Emperors. Meanwhile, a puppet family ruled the Jews. The Herodian Dynasty included every imaginable sin. Herod the Great was a known mass murderer (Matthew 2:1-18).

But that Jesus never embroiled himself in the politics of the day. The politics of Herod, Annas, and Caeser were not the focus of his wrath. He rebuked people for their sins, not their politics. His emphasis was to follow Him as the Savior.

Jesus led no boycotts. Jesus did not complain of high taxes. Jesus led no revolt against the troops of the Empire. He did not demand a letter campaign against Herod’s crazed behavior. Even when Rome was systematically executing Christians, there was no revolt. The business of the kingdom of God consumed Jesus. The zeal of God’s house consumed Jesus (Psalm 69:9; Luke 2:17).

We have opportunities to do good by being salt in the world. We can affect the direction of government through elections. But we must never speak more of the kingdom of men than of the kingdom of God. Like Jesus, be consumed with the Lord’s work.

Your comments are always welcomed.

Kingdom of God 6

.” it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

Daniel 3:18

“But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”

Acts 5:29

The Kingdom of God reigns above any government of mankind. Earthly rule protects the believer from the avarice, greed, and violence of the worldly person who has no respect for God’s laws. The Christian is to be subject to those laws. However, when man’s laws contradict or oppose God’s laws, we must refuse to obey the government. Today, some engage in violent opposition to the government at the drop of a hat. They wrap themselves in the banner of the divine while breaking civil laws. We must not do likewise. The decision to engage in civil disobedience must come only after a careful study of the Bible.

Civil disobedience did not begin in the 1950s and 1960s with the civil rights movement or the anti-war protest movement. The two verses above show that resisting the authority of the state has been established for a very long time.  For us, we must take care to avoid a flippant appeal to disobedience. I offer three ideas to consider.

Civil Disobedience Requires the most Extreme Circumstances

God’s people have often found themselves in dire straits. They were attacked by other nations (Judges 4:2; 6:1; 10:7 et al.), enslaved (2 Kings 25), opposed by religious leaders (Acts 4:1-3), arrested and executed by kings (Acts 12:1-3) and generally persecuted by authorities (Hebrews 11:32-40). Despite all the opposition, civil disobedience was uncommon.

In Daniel 3, the king demanded that the Hebrews worship his pagan god. In Acts 5, the religious leaders demanded the apostles to stop preaching the gospel. In the USA, the Constitution constrains the government from issuing such orders. The time may come when such restraint is removed, but for now, we are blessed. Only an extraordinary assault on our faith would justify lawless opposition.

Civil Disobedience Is a Last Resort

Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not initiate a confrontation. It arose as a response to their obedience to God. Obedience drove their actions, not publicity. Had the rulers left them alone, there would have been no clash. History records that when Rome tried to prevent Christians from worshipping,  they assembled in hiding.

Another blessing of our nation is the right to petition the government for redress (relief) from burdensome rules. Last week, a federal judge slammed the door on attempts by New York to single out houses of worship for restrictions during the health crisis. Often, our complaints are better addressed in venues other than the media or the street.

Only after using venues of appeal and discussion may the Christian resort to civil disobedience. It is a tactic of last resort.

Civil Disobedience Demands Careful Consultation with the Lord

Before a person willingly breaks the law under God’s banner, he had best be sure his actions have divine approval. Daniel and the apostles were inspired. They received truth directly from on high. We do not. However, we have the inspired word of God that guides us into all truth (John 16:13; 2 Peter 1:19-21). How foolish to charge into lawbreaking without a knowledge of the word of God. So, the one planning disobedience does so only after an intense study and researching of God’s word.

Equally important is a prayerful spirit. Just as Bible study must be intense, our prayers must be fervent. Only then, after prayer and study, may we solemnly engage the exceptional act of disobedience. That prayer and study must be motivated by a desire to know truth. Approaching the Scriptures or bowing in prayer with our minds already made up is dangerous. We must seek to know the will of the Lord, not to find confirmation of our ideas.

Let us earnestly seek to be subject to the laws of government while being faithful to the real king, Jesus!

What are your thoughts? Please comment.

Kingdom of God

“My kingdom is not of this world…”

John 18:36

There is much confusion surrounding the kingdom of God and the kingdoms of earth.  Christians, citizens of God’s kingdom, live in and under earthly governments. But just because God approves of earthly governance does not mean those governments are identical, or even parallel to, the kingdom of Christ. Often, they are enemies of the cross of Christ. We must distinguish between the heavenly and earthly authorities.

There was a brief period when no earthly government existed. Beginning at Creation and lasting until the days of Cain. Genesis 4:17 notes that Cain built a city. Such would likely have had some kind of centralized authority. Going forward, we encounter increasing and total corruption of mankind, resulting in Noah’s flood (Genesis 6 -9).

By Genesis 10, we are reading of nations (vs. 5) established by the descendants of Noah’s sons. Egypt is already a mighty nation when Abram and Sarai travel there in Genesis 12. It would be the Egyptian monarch who would order the enslavement of Israel’s sons. After their miraculous release from captivity, the Lord crafts them into his own nation with a divinely given code of law, often called the Law of Moses. In this divine economy, there are no human kings, princes, or presidents. There is no governing body apart from God. Judges occasionally rise to adjudicate disputes and to deliver the people from external oppression.

Soon, God’s people turn on him and demand a king “like all the nations”  (1 Samuel 8:7). Though displeased, God allows them to have a king. Ideally, God would still be the ultimate sovereign. But in short order, we see faithlessness invade the throne, and God’s people begin a slow descent into wickedness. At the beginning of the reign of the fourth king, a schism divides the people into two distinct nations.

In the historical background, mighty nations have arisen and would soon enslave Israel. The larger of the two was captured by Assyria and the smaller, by Babylon. Seventy years after its capture,  the smaller kingdom is allowed to re-establish themselves in Jerusalem. Although frequently overrun by more powerful nations, Israel continues until the absolute destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. At that moment, and probably earlier, the governments of the world were fully secular.

Rome morphed into the so-called Holy Roman Empire, but it was as corrupt and wicked as anything seen before. Its governance was always rooted in humanity and never found itself anchored in the authority of God. The very existence of that Empire was an affront to Christianity.

Our point is that no human government is on par with God’s kingdom. Some are better than others, but in the end, all are inferior to “the kingdom of his beloved son” (Colossians 1:13). Therefore, we argue that any allegiance to our earthly government must be second to our citizenship in heaven. Any activity of a political or governmental nature must be viewed carefully through God’s eyes, not our own.

In coming posts, we will develop these ideas further. Please watch for future articles.

When God is Silent

“Is there any word from the Lord?” – Jeremiah 37:17

The young man’s face betrayed the tension that lay beneath his words. “I believe in God, and I pray every day. But for some reason, God isn’t answering my prayers.” His words became softer as he continued, “I guess I’m doing something wrong.” His plight is not different from that of many Christians. In times of trouble, our petitions seem to fall upon a deafened Divine. Our expectations are unmet. Sadness, confusion, and despair may follow. Soon doubt and anger occupy our thoughts. “Why doesn’t God hear me?” we cry.

Our God hears his people (Proverbs 15:29). He is aware of our needs even before we ask (Matthew 6:8). He rivets his attention upon the most insignificant creatures (Matthew 6:26-30). As the pinnacle of his creation, we hope for a rapid, positive response. Still, God is silent. Why?

God is silent, not clueless

When God seems far, it is not because he is unaware. If the Father is concerned about birds and flowers, will he not also be concerned about the crowning achievement of his creation (Matthew 6:25-33)? The writer of Hebrews reminds that our Savior and High Priest, Jesus, knows our burdens. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one, who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). We can be certain, that God’s decision to act will come at the very best time for us

God is not silent because he is working

The crises in our lives seem to demand immediate attention. We cannot comprehend why God allows us to linger in distress. In fact, God is already busy changing our lives for the better. The Bible calls this discipline (Hebrews 12:6); it is evidence of God’s extraordinary love for you. Like a father who carefully watches his son as he struggles, God watches over our struggles too. Visit any high school or little league practice, and you will observe dozens of parents watching as their children run lap after lap, unendingly practice drills, and are pushed to exhaustion by their coach. Why? Because struggling produces something better in the future! Maybe your struggles are evidence of God at work in your life.

God is not silent because he is teaching

Paul struggled too. This great man, the one who declared “Rejoice in the Lord” (Philippians 4:4), also begged God for deliverance from a problem. Three times he asked the Lord to remove his problem, but God declined. Why? Because Paul needed to learn humility and to trust God. His words were powerfully instructive: “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Culture teaches us to be self-sufficient. Even the U.S. Army, an example of teamwork, extols the image of an “Army of One.” We need to be reminded that it is God who provides. Our trust must be on him.  Just as you would not hand a five-year-old the keys to your car, God will not give us what that, for which, we are not prepared. Perhaps God is teaching you a lesson in humility, patience, finance, relationships, or faith.

God is not silent; you are not listening

This is the hard one. God has spoken, and the answer is “no.” Remembering that God’s knowledge of past present and future is infinite, we should be confident that God knows what is best. Whether or not we understand is irrelevant; God is all-knowing. There are times, just like a loving father, when God that we should not get our request. God always gives what we need (Matthew 7:7-11), but he withholds that which is harmful.

The Christian knows that God hears and cares for him. Walk by faith, seek the encouragement and support of your brethren, and continue your petitions before the father.

Origin of Satan: From Where Did Satan Come?

skoczekKnown by many names, Satan is a central player in the Bible. He stands at a pivotal spot in salvation history. It is a truism that if there were no Satan, there would be no cross. There would be no need for Jesus to give his precious blood. All of God’s creation would be beautifully pristine. Sadly; Satan is real. We may try to push him from our minds and deny his existence, but he is as real as Jesus.

Since Satan is our enemy or adversary (1 Peter 5:8), we must learn as much about him and his ways as we can. As Sun Tzu, the famed Chinese general once said: “know thy enemy.” By knowing our enemy, we are better prepared to meet his attacks. Paul reminded the brothers in Corinth that “we are not ignorant of his designs.” Understanding the origin of Satan will help us to glorify God and will prevent us from making serious biblical errors.

The first we ever hear of Satan is in Genesis 3:1. Here, he has entered the Garden of Eden and is trying to spoil God’s new creation. It is a serpent that speaks to her, but that serpent is animated by Satan. However, Satan existed long before Genesis 3.

Satan Before Creation

There is little question that Satan existed before the creation of the earth. The real question is whether or not God created Satan; if he did, did God create him as an evil being. Let us begin by observing some important attributes of God.

God is love (Psalm 86:5, 15; 1 John 4:8, 16). His love is a sacrificial love that cost him dearly. Because of sin, the Father gave “his only begotten son” (John 3:16) for our sins. This gift is the evidence of His love (Romans 5:8).

God is true and only speaks the truth (2 Samuel 7:28; Psalm 12:6; 119:160; John 17:17; Ephesians 4:21). God cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18; Titus 1:2). His words are always true and never shaded with deceit

God is always faithful to his promises and covenants (Deuteronomy 7:9; 2 Chronicles 6:14; Nehemiah 1:5). God has never made a promise that he did not honor. There are no promises upon which he will renege.

If God is love, and if God is true, and if God is faithful, then how is it is that a loving, true, and faithful God could create an evil Satan? This is a bit of a conundrum unless we understand that Satan was not created as evil but as good. Clearly, there was a time when Satan inhabited heaven. Jesus declares, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18). Some connect this passage with a similarly sounding passage from Isaiah 14:12. However, the Isaiah passage seems to refer to the King of Babylon. Nevertheless, Revelation 12:9, suggests that Satan was in heaven, became rebellious, and waged war against God’s fateful Angels. Not surprisingly, God won, and cast Satan out of heaven.

Our conclusion then is that a good and loving God created Satan as a good Angel. But, Satan was unsatisfied with his position in heaven and sought to supplant God as the ruler of heaven and earth. Having rebelled against God, there was no place for the evil Satan in heaven. Satan, along with his angels, was cast out of heaven. Therefore, God did not create an evil Satan. Just as God did not create an evil Adam and Eve, he did not create an evil Satan. But when each sinned, he was cast out of his original abode.

So with this simple, biblical, explanation, we have defended God against the charge that he created evil. Satan and his angels, like men today, must accept the consequences of their choices,

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at You can follow Bryant on Twitter @J_Bryant_Evans.



handsJesus loves. Jesus teaches love. Jesus is love. No one else teaches love like Jesus. We follow him and so we learn to love like him. It is often a challenge.

Let’s begin with a clear definition of love. Love is a decision to provide the very best for another even at a sacrificial cost. The words of 1 Corinthians 13 argue that love is not self-centered, it does not “seek its own” (vs. 5). When we decide to love someone we are deciding to give of our self even if it’s costly. Jesus and his death for us demonstrates that decision.

It is not hard to love those who love us. We happily give them anything they need regardless of the cost. It’s a two way street in which both sides give to make the relationship work. Parents give to their children and receive love from them, friends love and support one another. It is hard not to love someone who loves us.

Love is not an emotion; it is not a feeling. Love is a decision. Ideally, love is an irrevocable. We do not fall out of love with someone accidentally. It is a commitment and a vow which must be taken seriously. It is heartbreaking to see friendships and even families destroyed because someone changed their mind. I am glad that our Father is not so fickle. He loved the world, sinners all, and continued to act on that decision through the death of his only son (John 3:16).

The picture of perfect love is seen in Jesus. Consider for a moment what we bring into our relationship with Jesus. Sin, wickedness, deceit, rebellion and weakness all define our lives. Yet, in spite of all of that darkness, Jesus just keeps on loving. Even after we have become part of his bride, the church, we still fail. We are the self-centered spouse who seeks our own needs and desires above those of our Lord. But still, Jesus keeps on loving. We are the ones who pattern our lives after our own wants rather than the wants of the one who died for us. Still Jesus loves.

Hosea was a prophet of ancient days used by God to call Israel back to the loving relationship they had enjoyed with Jehovah. But Hosea was also an object lesson. God required him to marry a “wife of whoredom” and to have children by her (Hosea 1:2). She was not the kind of woman a man would bring home to his parents. She certainly was not the kind of woman a man would want to marry. Don’t miss the lesson here. We are the whore. We are the one no one wants – except Jesus. In spite of our ugliness and sin, he marries us anyway and lavishes his love on us.

Hosea’s story is not over. After he marries this woman she cheats! She returns to her life of immorality and Hosea is commanded to go and bring her back (Hosea 3:1-2). One can hardly understand. But God is teaching us about his love. He called to us when we were sinners (Romans 5:8) and continues to call us even when we return to our sinfulness. Notice 1 John 1:9; “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” For Jesus, love is not three strikes and you are out. It is an everlasting commitment to his bride, the church.

I am so thankful for his love. When I think of where I have been and where I am now I rejoice in the purity and patience of his love. I am the wife taken from whoredoms. I am the unfaithful one that he so gently retrieves from sinfulness.

What is love? Jesus!

3 Rules for Holy Spirit Studies

open bible empty pewsMany people study the Holy Spirit. This divine member of the Godhead is often seen as a mysterious and unknowable Bible character. Sometimes, what people think they know about the Spirit is actually a blending of a little Bible and a whole lot of misinformation from wealth-seeking television preachers and book-selling authors who know that by carefully revealing new and fresh knowledge of the Spirit they can sell more and more books. Others have simply bought into errant teaching that is based on shallow studies and a lack of in-depth studies.

But the Holy Spirit (hagio pneumatos) can be accurately known. He is revealed in Scripture and the truth of his existence and work is found in Scripture. Although the Spirit is not as well described as the Father and the Son, he is, nonetheless, knowable. As such, the Spirit is an appropriate subject for study. As you approach your studies please consider the following 3 reminders in your work.

1. Everything we know about the Holy Spirit, we know from the Bible.

God’s word is true and has been fully delivered (John 17:17; Jude 3). Revelation is no longer occurring and that which was given was confirmed by great miracles. Inasmuch as confirming miracles no longer are seen we must depend upon the Scriptures as the only true source of information on the Holy Spirit.

The Bible student must use caution when approaching this subject as some rely upon odd and uncommon feelings of knowledge and even ecstasy for their information. As a man once told me, “I know the Spirit is real because I felt him moving during church.” In fact, feelings are probably the least reliable way to know anything. How would you feel if a doctor told you to set your affairs in order because you were soon to die? When you asked him why and how he knows he might only reply that he has no confirming tests, only a feeling of your impending death. You would ignore such nonsense.

If you want to know about the Holy Spirit, stick to what God has revealed and confirmed about him in Scripture.

2. We do not, and will not, know everything about the Spirit.

It is natural to be curious. No advance in any field as come without someone being curious. It is certainly normal and good for a Christian to have questions about the Holy Spirit and His work. Such curiosity drives the student to a deeper understanding.

But it is true that we will never know everything about the Spirit, at least, not in this life.

Paul salutes his readers in Ephesians 1:3 by telling them that God has given unto them every spiritual blessing. Just prior to his departure Jesus told the apostles that the Holy Spirit would come and guide them into “all truth” (John 16:13). Yet, we understand that we are guided into all the truth necessary for us. Many things remain hidden and belong only to God (Deuteronomy 29:29; Acts 1:7; Romans 11:33).

Sometimes, a Bible student will become frustrated when he cannot discover all that he wants to know about the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, in that frustration, the student unwittingly makes assumptions he ought not. He then shares those new “understandings” and confuses many.

Let us pursue what we can know and leave the rest behind God’s great curtain.

3. We have salvation.

While many questions will remain about the Spirit there is no lack of teaching on mankind’s sin and his desperate need for a savior. From Genesis until Revelation there is a single line of teaching on God’s great love for his Creation. All of the words of the Bible swirl around the Redeemer. Either he is needed, he is promised, he has come, he has saved or he is returning but the Scriptures abound with knowable teachings on Jesus.

It is not that we should avoid studying the Spirit. We should seek to know all we can but let us never lose sight of the reason for the Spirit’s work. He works to glorify Christ (John 15:26; John 16:14) and to show Christ to a lost Creation.

Aren’t you thankful for God’s sweet plan of redemption which was conceived by the Father, completed by the Christ and revealed by the Spirit?


Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.



An infant child inherently trusts his mother and father. He is unable to do a thing for himself for he really has little choice but to trust his parents. He seems to know that if mommy and daddy are near, all will be just fine. Sometimes that trust is misplaced. Some parents are not trustworthy. But most are and most will give everything they have for the benefit of their child.

God is like that.

The Bible uses the word father much as we do today. But it adds a special usage too. In Matthew 5:16 Jesus used the word father to apply to Jehovah God. He spoke of people giving “glory to your father who is in heaven.” He would use the term again and again to describe the relationship between the human race and their creator.

Jesus would use a similar but very intimate term himself when he cried “Abba, father” in Gethsemane’s garden (Mark 14:36). For Jesus, who had been with the Father from the very beginning (John 1:1), the term accurately reflected their relationship. Since we are fellow heirs with Jesus it is reasonable that we view God as father too (Romans 8:17).

There are deep implications when we call God our father. Remember that God is the perfect father. While our fathers are imperfect, he is not.

Children give glory to their fathers.

It is thrilling to hear a child speak in glowing terms of their parents. It is wonderful when that child talks proudly of his father’s accomplishments. Likewise, we should give glory to our father. I like Paul’s praise of the father in Ephesians 3:20-21:

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Let us shine the bright light of glory upon our father who does all for his children.

Children are obedient to their fathers.

Because we trust our parents, we obey them. I know there are exceptions. Sometimes a child obeys out of fear (1 John 4:18). But in the end, we obey because we trust that our obedience will bring blessings. Children obey their parents for such is the first command with a promise (Ephesians 6:1).

In heavenly matters, let us also trust and obey our father. His commands are not a burden (1 John 5:3) but instead a refreshing alternative to the way of the world. Like children, new Christians may first obey largely out of a fear of punishment. But as our faith matures we obey as a normal, trusting response to his immense love.

Sometimes, children are punished by their fathers.

As a son, I was often punished by my father. As a father, I often punish my children. Effective punishment never arises from anger, but only from love. When I punish, my desire is to improve or change some behavior. God is no different.

God’s desire is for his children to be like him so that they can live with him eternally (1 Peter 1:13-16). When God punishes, it is because of a desire to change us, to make us into something greater. As such, divine punishment is a show of God’s love. Instead of resisting God, let him remake us in his image.

I believe that my children want me to be proud of them – and I am. How much more should we desire the loving approval of our father who is in heaven! Let us trust him for all in our life. Let’s us be honorable children who love, cherish and trust their father.
Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.

Hate vs. Love

Westboro Baptist Church brought their hate to Tuscaloosa Saturday. That church is known for picketing funerals of American servicemen claiming they did as a judgment from God because the US supports homosexuality. We have no intention of saying anything else about them but they do provide a useful backdrop for some thoughts on approaching sin.

All Are Sinners

Paul is clear that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). John echoes the thought in 1 John 1:8, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” Likewise, James, “For we all stumble in many ways.”

The consciousness of our own shortcomings will temper the way we approach sin in others. Such perception is not, however, tolerance of sin. Sin destroys (Romans 6:23) and we must not surrender to its reality in the world.

All Sin is Equal

This is a controversial statement to some but it is clearly Biblical. Some sins have greater consequences in this life but when it really matters, in eternity, there is no difference. Isaiah says that sin separates from God (Isaiah 59:2). It is remarkable that Paul lists such so-called minor vices like hatred, rage, discord, selfish ambition, dissensions and factions together with the major sins like immorality (which includes but is not limited to homosexuality), debauchery, orgies and witchcraft (Galatians 519-21 NIV).

Some point out that homosexual acts are an abomination (Leviticus 18:22) and they are. But dishonesty (Deuteronomy 25:16; Proverbs 11:1), lying (Proverbs 6:17) and creating discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:19) is also an abomination.

By understanding the universality and the equality of sin, we should be sufficiently humbled so that we can overcome sin ourselves but also help others in the same way.

All Need Jesus

Separated from God by sin, mankind is ever trying to reunite with his Creator. Billions seek redemption but few find it (Matthew 7:13, 14). In an effort to be politically correct and to bow to the gods of tolerance, we have ignored Jesus’ own words. He said: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Jesus alone is God’s own gift to man for our salvation (John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:9, 10). His death proved God’s just nature and made God the one who justifies man through Christ (Romans 3:21-26). It is Jesus who takes away sins (1 John 2:1-6).

The one who attends every service of the church, gives generously and serves others, needs Jesus as much as the practicing, activist homosexual.

We do have an obligation to speak out against sin and to reach out to those enmeshed in it (Galatians 6:1; Psalm 141:5). But the key is how we do it. We ought approach sinners humbly and in full awareness of our own sin. Further, we approach in gentleness and kindness always speaking the truth in love. Remember brethren, hatefulness is of Satan while love is of God.

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.