Category Archives: Sin

The Forgotten Sin

I get it. Nobody likes to talk about sin, but sometimes we need to. The turmoil of the 21st century has obscured our view of sin with the result that there is now The Forgotten Sin.

Some sins seem to reach out and grab us by the collar. The in-your-face wickedness makes us angry. But, in our rush to combat the assault of these wicked thoughts and ideas, we have created an unbiblical hierarchy of sins. We spend all of our time talking about the “bad sins” but fail to address the “lesser sins.”

Some years ago, a public health professional told me that the extraordinary emphasis on HIV-AIDS was hiding the serious nature of older sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea. In her words, we have lost control of syphilis and gonorrhea and will never get it under control again. I wonder if we’re in the same situation with sexual sin.

We know sin separates us from God. But, what sin? Aren’t some sins worse? In Proverbs 6:16-19, Solomon says “hands that shed innocent blood” are an abomination to God. In that very same list, he says that “haughty eyes and a lying tongue” are also abominations to the Lord and are things that the Lord hates. But surely lying isn’t as bad as murder, is it?

Any sinful behavior, no matter how trivial it appears to us, is deadly serious to God.

In our rush to oppose homosexuality, transgenderism, and abortion, we have forgotten “routine” fornication and adultery. In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul begins his list of sins with sexual immorality; it’s right there in the same list with idolatry, sorcery, drunkenness, and orgies. Paul says that people who do these things “will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

What exactly is “sexual immorality?” The underlying word, porneia, is a very broad word in Greek. It speaks to any illicit sexual activity. Sexual intimacies not ordained by God are sinful. This word includes fornication, adultery, and homosexuality. Yet today, our world assumes that people in a dating relationship are, in fact, having sex. Culture’s greatest concern is whether the sex is consensual and whether the couple has used protection against disease or unwanted pregnancies. There is no concern for the sinfulness of such a relationship. The forgotten sin is sexual immorality.

Let me be clear: sex outside of a God-approved marriage is sinful. Hebrews 13:4 says it is the “marriage bed” that is undefiled. Paul calls us to “abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). Those words should speak to you, Christian. Let your life be a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1). Your Lord loves you more than you can ever imagine. He wants what is best for you. If we hear his words and abide in his teachings, our life now will be much better. Our lives in eternity will be indescribable.

The world is awash in every imaginable sexual sin. Let the Christian remain pure and holy before his maker.

Are People Good?

Are people good? Are they inherently virtuous? Why does it seem that some people are good and honorable while others are dishonorable and even evil? As expected, there is a Bible answer.


Humanity began in Eden. The Bible tells us that as part of God’s creation week, he created the human species. Most importantly, they were created in his divine image. They were image-bearers of the creator (Genesis 1:27). He told them to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:26-31). It is evident that they obeyed this command, for in Genesis 4, two sons have been born to the first couple. A third son is born at the end of the chapter. By the end of Genesis 5, 10 generations from Adam and Eve are recorded.

On the 6th day of creation, as God prepared to rest from his work, he looked upon the totality of his creation. He declared it “very good” (Genesis 1:31). According to the biblical record, only two humans were alive when God declared the goodness of his creation. There is no evidence of any evil in the world, and there was certainly no sin. This is critical. Mankind was very good when created. Inasmuch as there was no evil in the world, we may conclude that the original couple was pure, sinless, and thus very good.

Unfortunately, something very bad was about to happen in the very good world.

Disaster Strikes

We do not know how long this sinless state continued in Eden, but by the time Adam was 130 years old, sin had entered the world with catastrophic consequences (Genesis 5:3).

A choice was given. Adam and Eve could obey God, or they could disobey. Their choice? Disobedience. God had placed two unique trees in the Garden of Eden: the tree of life of which man could freely eat, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was this last tree that mankind was forbidden even to touch. The presence of those two trees provided a choice for Adam and Eve.

All was well in the garden until Satan entered in the form of a serpent (Genesis 3:1). He immediately questioned God’s authority and even called God a liar. He tempted Eve to eat from the forbidden tree. She surrendered to the temptation, as did her husband, Adam (Genesis 3:6). We must emphasize that neither Adam nor Eve was compelled to eat the forbidden fruit. It was their choice. Because they chose to disobey, they suffered the consequences of their action.

Much of this chapter focuses on the consequences of their sin. Adam must now work harder, Eve will suffer pain in childbearing, the serpent is cursed to crawl upon the ground and eat dust, and Satan will be crushed by one who is yet unborn (Genesis 3:15). But the greatest consequence is not revealed until the end of the chapter. God banished man from the presence of the tree of life (Genesis 3:22-24). On that dark day in the long-ago, man’s spirit died when he was separated from God, and the process of physical death began as well. Because man could no longer eat from the tree of life, his body began to age and break down, leading to physical death.

The horrible aftermath of the sin in Eden is seen in Genesis 4. The very next generation, the son of Adam and Eve, Cain, worships improperly, then rises up against his brother Abel and kills him. Even more deadly violence is recorded in verses 23 and 24. The horrific picture of murderous rage is painted in the boldest of colors immediately after the sin in Eden.

What happened?

There was only one way to sin in the Garden of Eden, and Adam and Eve found it. All the joys and pleasures of a perfect world lay before them. But they threw it all away by succumbing to temptation.

Here is the problem for the modern world: Sin was once contained at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But once touched and consumed, sin was set loose in humanity. The very name of the tree explains its dangerous contagion. It opened their eyes and gave them knowledge of sin, thus making them guilty and subject to punishment (Genesis 3:7). The first parents would then spread the influence of sin to their children, who would spread it to their children, and so forth. Sin spreads when we are influenced to choose wrongly.

Sin is not in our DNA. We are not sinful because some ancient ancestor sinned (Ezekiel 18:20). We are sinful because of our choices. Now the upshot of this argument is that people are inherently good. We become evil when we surrender to evil influence.

The real man, the authentic man, is made in the image of God and is, therefore, very good. When we sully the image of God that we each bear, we become evil. Our goal, achieved through Jesus Christ alone, is to find and reclaim the holiness that once defined God’s creation.

Authenticity calls for a return to the original condition seen in Eden. It is not defined by what our corrupted hearts and minds tell us it is. The dark ruler of this world wants you to find pseudo authenticity in anything but the image of God.

We are like a people swimming in a putrid river of sewage. Our world and our culture are corrupt. Sin is everywhere. We are influenced to sin through others, the media, and especially social media. Like those swimming in the festering river, we must not grow weary and must press to reach the other side. To stop swimming means certain death. To surrender to evil temptation means certain death.

Do not give up but continue to search for the inherently good spirit God has placed in each of us. Yet, none of us are strong enough to reach the other side of that river without God’s help. God’s grace empowers us to reach the other side of the river and to return to the authenticity of an image-bearer of God

Yes, people are good.


Of all the words that have fallen out of favor, sin is in the top spot.  No one wants to think about sin, especially the idea that they have sinned. Still, sin is real. It is part of the Bible and is prominent in the Gospel story of Jesus.

The origin of sin

Genesis 3 is the first account of sin in the Bible. The first couple, Adam and Eve, were given a very simple choice. They had to decide if they would eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil or if they would avoid it as God commanded. Eve ate the fruit of the tree and gave it to her husband, Adam, who was with her (Genesis 3:6). At that moment, sin entered the world.

God warned them that if they ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they would surely die (Genesis 2:17). Even though Adam lived well over 900 years, he died. More importantly, Adam and Eve died spiritually. That is, they separated themselves from God through their sin. It is accurate to say that sin began with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

What is sin?

Most basically, sin is disobedience to God. In Romans 3:23, Paul says sin is to “fall short of the glory of God.”  The ancient word, which we translate as sin, actually means to fail to meet a goal or to miss the mark. We might say that Christians aim to glorify God and become holy like He is holy. When we fail to do that, we miss the mark. Or, put another way, we sin.

While sin is certainly a mistake, it’s probably best if we don’t think of it that way. For most, sin is a deliberate act of disobedience. It may be that we choose to commit some sinful action. But often, sin is a failure to do what we know to be good (James 4:17). Like Adam and Eve before us, we are warned of the consequences of sin. Paul says the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23; Proverbs 10: 16). Death always follows sin.

Who is guilty?

But who is guilty of sin? Is it God’s fault for giving us a choice while knowing we would often choose wrongly? Is it Satan’s fault for wielding such evil influence? These are incredibly important questions because the person guilty of sin faces eternal consequences. Those consequences include a forever separation from the presence of God. It means the person will spend an eternity in a devil’s hell.

Perhaps it is simplistic, but the person guilty of sin is the person who actually sins. In other words, I am not guilty of sin because my father, or any other ancestor, was a sinner. I sin, and you sin; therefore, we are each individually guilty of our own sins. The inspired prophet Ezekiel reports God’s own words: “the soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4). The entirety of Ezekiel 18 makes plain that sin and its consequences are not inherited. A person must sin before he is guilty and before facing the consequences.

The harsh reality is that every one of us sins. Referring again to Romans 3:23, we see that all have sinned. John says in 1 John 1:8 that “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” We choose to sin and are, therefore, appropriately guilty of sin and must suffer the consequences of sin unless someone intervenes for us.

What can I do about my sin?

You cannot fix your sin. If that statement is true, and it is, you are in a horrible predicament. God must require payment for sin else God would not be just. Before the foundations of the world were laid, Jesus was selected as the payment for our sins. Jesus was chosen to be a propitiation for our sins (Romans 3:25), that is, one who receives the penalty of sin in place of someone else, a substitute, if you will. The propitiation of Jesus demonstrates that God is both just and the justifier of those who have faith in Jesus (Romans 3:21 – 26).

Your sin is removed because of the blood of Jesus. Redemption is found in Christ (Romans 3:24). Eternal life is in Jesus (Romans 6:23). In Christ, there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1). All spiritual blessings are in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). How do we come into Christ? We do so in obedience to his commands. Baptism, so often downplayed, is the essential moment when we enter Christ. (Romans 6:3). It is only the beginning, however. We grow and are being sanctified by and through His words.

Satan does not give up. He still pursues us and sometimes we fall. We still sin. However, John reminds us that the blood of Jesus keeps cleansing us while we walk in the light.

Sin is real. The consequences of sin are real. But so is deliverance and salvation in Jesus Christ. Let us thank God for the blessing of eternal life. Sin has no hold over the Christian. Jesus has broken those bonds. That’s the greatest news anyone could hear.

A Line in the Sand

It’s time to stop calling bad things good and vice versa. We must no longer tolerate the invasion of worldliness into our lives and into the church. There’s been enough of it, and we are all suffering for it. It is time to say no. It is time to draw a line in the sand and go no further.

The words I write are not new to my readers, nor are they subject to dispute from you. However, it is useful to be reminded lest we easily slip into an attitude of acceptance and even endorsement of sin. There is no better chapter in Scripture for such a reminder as Isaiah 5. The prophet speaks first of God’s careful development and preparation of his people. Next, he speaks of the failure of God’s people to produce the godliness that the Creator desired. Finally, the Lord destroys what he has built. Six times these verses utter woes against the sinful. As I studied this rich chapter, I marveled that Isaiah penned it about 2600 years ago, yet its words are as fresh as tomorrow’s newspaper.

First Woe: Greed (vs. 8)

“Woe to those who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is no more room…”

Those who accumulate wealth for their own luxury are not role models to be emulated. They are people to be pitied for their wealth produces only loneliness. Many seek to swell their riches while others nearby swivel and die. Governments spend billions on arms and their military while children go without basic needs, including healthy food and medicines. Many young people choose careers based upon earnings rather than good to others. These are certain paths to suffering and loss.

Woe Two: Drunkenness (vs. 11)

“Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them.”

No wise Christian will play with Satan’s great tool of destruction. Social drinking is the only gateway to alcoholism. Surely it is a disease once it comes to fruition, but there is no such thing as an alcoholic who never drank a drop. Let it not be named among God’s people!

Woe Three: Mocking God (vss. 18, 19)

“Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood, who draw sin as cart ropes…”

Verse 19 makes clear that the wicked are taunting God to act as he said he would. They dare God to make good on his promises of judgment. Amos warned that the day of judgment would come and would not be a good day for the wicked (Amos 5:18-20). A man must fear God, not challenge him! The God of Creation is a source of both cursing and ridicule in our world. Sadly, we tolerate such in our presence. The Lord of Hosts is holy. Let his people treat him as such.

Woe Four: Spiritual Lies (vs. 20)

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil and put darkness for light and light for darkness who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”

Perhaps no other section of chapter 5 describes our society today than this single verse. Consider they way we’re told to view the homosexual agenda. We are told that same sex relationships are good and wholesome; that Biblical injunction against such is archaic and outdated. We are told to be tolerant. In worship, we are told that it is good to move ahead with changes to both the worship itself and even the structure and organization of Jesus’ church. We are expected to approve of leaders regardless of their character and conduct. “They are good,” we are told. “It’s about results not their conduct.” No! Let us call it what it is: evil! I am reminded of the old Restoration plea to call Bible things by Bible names. In this case, call it sin.

Woe Five: Earthly Wisdom (vs. 21)

“Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!”

Have you noticed how many people think so highly of themselves? We should listen to them because they know, and we do not. These are the kind of people the Lord had in mind as he caused Isaiah to write this rich book. Paul spoke of them too. He refused to use words of “eloquent wisdom” as he preached Christ. He rejected human wisdom in favor of God’s wisdom. Human thinking is folly with God (1 Cor. 1:17; 3:19). Today, the intelligent often tell us of the foolishness of Creation or of the flood as they reject the entirely reasonable Biblical accounts. It is wearisome to listen to their parroting of poor scientific philosophy in opposition to God’s word.

Woe Six: Injustice (vs. 22, 23)

“Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and valiant me in mixing strong drink, who acquit the guilty for a bribe and deprive the innocent of his right.”

We like to think of our society as fair and equal for all. It is not. The great division today is not between races but between the empowered and the vulnerable. Recent lawlessness in the highest echelons of law enforcement should teach us that in our world, the man with the gold makes the rules! Power really does corrupt. Jesus spoke often of the poor and widows. The earliest Christians cared for these vulnerable people. James would add orphans to that list. God’s people must never engage in injustice or tolerate it in others.

The church risks becoming irrelevant if we continue to blend into culture rather than changing it. The church is the true counterculture to an evil world. Yet, if we accept and tolerate its teachings, we become indistinguishable from it and can no longer change it. We become salt that has lost is flavor. You know what happens to flavorless salt, right (Matthew 5:13)?

5 Ways to Guarantee Hypocrisy Will Thrive


“Hypocrite” is a nasty word. It’s a slap in the face to be called a hypocrite. Jesus used it for his loudest critics (Matthew 23). He used it of those who were judgemental while ignoring their own faults (Matthew 7:5; 15:7). It is not a nice label. Nobody likes a hypocrite.

Yet, hypocrisy is everywhere. Why? If it is so bad, why does it keep cropping up?

Hypocrisy remains among us because we feed it, nurture it, and grow it to maturity. Here’s how to guarantee that hypocrisy will grow.

Use Hypocrisy as an Excuse for Hypocrisy

Someone makes a hypocritical statement, and they are called on it. Their response is that their opponent did the same so why complain? It’s common in the news. Memes are floating around the internet quote the leader of one party making a statement in the past that is vehemently opposed today by that same party. Then, the tables are turned, and the hypocrisy flows in the other direction.

In this way of thinking hypocrisy is still just an excuse. It is a weakness of character that allows the horrible practice to spread and expand. Hypocrisy becomes fertilizer for more hypocrisy.

Allow Hypocrisy to be Expected and Accepted

Hypocrisy is so common that we have to come to accept that hypocrisy is a part of everyday life. When was the last time you were shocked, at someone’s hypocritical behavior? Have you ever heard a brother sing sweet hymns to our Lord in the assembly and scream and yell like a banshee when he’s cut off in traffic? How about a sister who modestly sits among the saints Sunday and dresses in attire worthy of a brothel on Monday?

This is the nature of sin. “Everybody is doing it” cries Satan. It must be ok! Can we rediscover a sense of holiness that refuses to accept hypocrisy or any other sin, as normal? Accepting hypocrisy feeds the flock and grows more.

Tolerate Hypocrisy

The government just recalled all romaine lettuce because it was contaminated by bacteria. The contamination was tiny. You couldn’t see it, and it couldn’t even be washed away. This minuscule impurity was enough to sicken and kill people. Its presence in the food chain could not be tolerated.

Tolerate hypocrisy, and it will grow just like a bacterial infestation will grow in your physical body. We seek a consistent but growing holiness among brethren. Gentle, or even strong rebukes, may prevent hypocrisy from becoming habitual. Tolerance of duplicity is the water of a crop of hypocrisy.

Confuse Repentance with Hypocrisy

Our Lord calls for repentance (Luke 13:3). Entrance into the body of Christ requires repentance (Acts 2:38; 3:19). One who has repented talks, thinks, and walks differently than before. On the surface, they may suddenly appear to be a hypocrite, but they are not; they are changed.

When we question the validity of repentance, when we assume hypocrisy instead of struggle, we will drive that person back into the arms of sin and make our prophecy of their hypocrisy self-fulfilling.

We must encourage repentance for no man can come unto Jesus without being changed. But understand that change is often slow. It is hard. Sometimes we slip. That is not hypocrisy. To confuse repentance and pretense is sure to grow a bumper crop of hypocrisy.

Spout Vague Teachings to Mask Hypocrisy

At its core, hypocrisy is about hiding conduct in a way that masks hypocrisy. No one wants to be labeled a hypocrite, so he is careful with his words and speaks in broad generalities avoiding specifics.

Our pulpits have become fountains of weak words and weasel statements. As a result, brethren have begun to use the same language. Our claim that sin is a problem or a disease masks the reality of its true, heinous nature. Jesus was never vague. He spoke truth. Speak elusive words and hypocrisy will soon bloom.

Root out hypocrisy and a beautiful lawn will grow in place of the weeds.



Are the Disobedient Saved?

We recently wrote of the alleged clash between grace and works. Our conclusion was that a man cannot be saved apart from God’s grace. We also affirmed that there is a response, an obligation on the part of man which is also essential. Today, I want to pursue that idea a bit further.

It is common among some to assert that man has no role in his own salvation. They claim that there is absolutely nothing required of a man in order to be saved. That is a popular view and a view that holds some comfort in that we can live any way we desire without consequence. Our eternal salvation is fatalistic occurrence far beyond self. What does the Bible say?

[bctt tweet=”Is our salvation fatalistic? Is it already determined? Surely not!” username=”Preachers_Study”]

Obedience is commanded

God’s word commands obedience. As the Israelites gathered at Sinai, God commanded them, saying, “if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples…” (Exodus 19:5). Again, “And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,  he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil” (Deuteronomy 11:13, 14).

Peter declares that the salvation gift of the Holy Spirit is given to those that “obey him” (Acts 5:32). The writer of Hebrews speaks of the glorious Christ, who, “being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him (Hebrews 5:9). John says obedience is confirmation of our love for the Lord and our place in his family. “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:2,3).

Disobedience is condemned

Even more prevalent in Scripture is the condemnation of the disobedient. Instead of asking if obedience is required for salvation we should ask if a man can be saved in his disobedience. Again, it is the Bible that gives the answer.

[bctt tweet=”Instead of asking if obedience is required for salvation we should ask if a man can be saved in his disobedience. ” username=”Preachers_Study”]

Israel was warned of its own demise if they did not obey. Moses warned, Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 8:20). He repeats, “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse;  the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known” (Deuteronomy 11:26-28). There is no question that God’s people were required to obey God and were warned of punishment if they did not.

Perhaps the clearest warning against disobedience is from Paul. He writes that Jesus will return and will inflict “vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:8). Peters wonders of the end result of those who “do not obey the gospel of God” (1 Peter 4:17). The Bible student must see that obedience is required and disobedience is condemned.

It is only because of God’s stunning love for a lost creation that we have a plan of escape from coming doom. It is only because of his extreme love that we have a savior. It is no blow to his glory that we comply with his commands. Instead, our obedience reflects his goodness and his glory throughout creation!


Grace Vs. Works

There is no clash between grace and works. Both are undeniable biblical concepts. Christians are “saved by grace through faith” (Ephesians 2:8). They are also created to do good works and must be obedient to the Lord’s commands (Ephesians 2:10; Acts 6:7; Romans 1:5; Romans 6:17). Any clash between grace and works is man-made and just plain wrong.

[bctt tweet=”Any clash between grace and works is man-made and just plain wrong.” username=”Preachers_Study”]


It Begins With My Personal Sin

We all sin. It’s not absorbed from someone else; it is not hereditary. “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4). “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). All have sinned (Romans 3:23) and none is righteous (Psalm 14:1-3; Psalm 53:1-3). Sin is the horrible dark bond that every person shares.

The upshot is that we are neither deserving nor worthy of salvation. We are corrupt and saturated with sin and cannot be in the presence of the Holy God for even one second, not to mention an eternity.

[bctt tweet=”The upshot is that we are neither deserving nor worthy of salvation.” username=”Preachers_Study”]


My Sin Cannot Be Overcome

It’s natural, especially in our culture, to think that with enough work we can overcome and fix almost any problem. Advances in science have given us the idea that we can conquer any obstacle. It’s a nice thought, even comforting, but it is just wrong. We cannot fix everything. Just like there are some illness that cannot be overcome even with the finest healthcare, there is a spiritual problem that cannot be overcome. That illness is sin.


Speaking of our salvation as a work of grace, Paul says “this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). Our works do not justify us as worthy for salvation (2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5). When all is written we are still unworthy. Jesus said, “Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded?  So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty’” (Luke 17:9-10). The servant’s work and obedience were expected; that was their duty.


My Obedience is Expected and Necessary

As the servant in Jesus’ parable above, we do our duty. When God determined to bring a massive flood to destroy the terrible wickedness on the earth, he made Noah the object of his grace (Genesis 6:8). Then, God gave Noah a plan of escape. He warned him and told him how to escape. However, it was up to Noah to obey. God did not tell him where to find an ark, nor did he remove him from the earth. Noah survived because God showed him grace by giving him a plan and then because he obeyed the plan (Genesis 6:22; 7:5, 9). Consider Abraham who was the object of God’s love and affection. Abram was told to leave his home and travel to a place that God would command. What did he do? He obeyed (Genesis 12:1-4).


It is by his grace that God teaches us to avoid the coming destruction (Titus 2:11-14). Like Noah, we humbly and gratefully accept this grace and are trained to obey. Could Noah have thanked God for his grace and then refused to build the ark? Would he have been spared? Could Noah have graciously accepted God’s direction to move but remained in Ur? Would he be called the father of the faithful? Can anyone be called faithful who lives in rank disobedience to God? Of course not.


How horrible to divide God’s plan by removing grace or by knifing obedience from what God has said! John was clear: “whoever does not obey the son shall not see life…” (John 3:36). The Holy Spirit is given to the obedient (Acts 5:32). Put negatively, those who do not obey will face wrath (Romans 2:8). Those who do not obey the gospel will face the judgment of the returning Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

[bctt tweet=”Those who do not obey the gospel will face the judgment of the returning Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:8).” username=”Preachers_Study”]


Let us handle God’s word with respect and seek to understand it all.



mushroom cloudThere’s a war going on. It’s not in Syria. Our opponent is not Russia, Iran or North Korea. The bombs are not made by Raytheon, and there are no Admirals or Generals leading armies. This war is far more destructive than any conflict humanity has ever witnessed. More will fall than in all the previous wars and conflicts combined.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12).

Christians must stand strong against those forces that would condemn us to eternal damnation. Instead, we befriend culture while knowing that “friendship with the world is enmity with God” (James 4:4). Those who support and encourage sin and sinful lifestyles are our enemies. They intend us harm!

1. The Christian is a Soldier

Paul uses the word “wrestle” in Ephesians 6:12 (ESV). Other translations have struggle, battle or fight. This is the only time this Greek word appears in the New Testament, but the concept is well known. Christians fight against evil. We prepare ourselves with appropriate armor (Ephesians 6:13-17; 1 Thessalonians 5:8; Romans 13:12).

The life of a soldier is not easy. He is often in physical discomfort and many times lonely as he meets the foe. Still, we stand firm. Timothy is told to “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3). He is to “wage the good warfare” (1 Timothy 1:18).

In our Christian conflict, there are no positions in the rear echelon. We must all serve on the front lines in this eternal conflict.

2. This War is Different

Paul is clear: Our battle is not against people but powers. The descriptions here are of non-human forces “in heavenly places.” Like so many Bible words, context is always vital. Heaven may be the place where God and the glorious host reside, or it may be the sky and space. Here, it is the celestial realm, the place of spirit beings.

Our battle, with immortal consequences, is waged against immortal enemies. Satan and his minions have long been at work against the Lord. Although their defeat is certain, they continue to wage war against the Christ and his saints. Cruise missiles, smart bombs, and bullets have no effect against these enemies.

3. Our Weapons are Spiritual

Physical combatants often wage war for the “hearts and minds” of the people. In most cases, such battles are secondary to the main event of explosions and destruction. In our case, “hearts and minds” are primary.

We combat the evil forces with the absolute weapon of truth. Satan has been a liar from the beginning in Eden (Genesis 3:4,5). When he speaks, he lies for that is his character (John 8:44). When we speak truth, we oppose him and always do damage to him. Again, truth always hurts the devil. As a soldier carefully loads ammunition into a gun, we load truth into our lives by the study of truth, that is, the word of God. As we live by truth, we reject the devil’s lies, and we defend ourselves against his lies.

Are you a good soldier? Are you prepared? Are you trained? Press against the forces of evil and show yourself a good soldier for Jesus Christ!


Human Trafficking: Somebody Gets It

I am at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas this morning. This major University is home to students from all over the world. I had breakfast this morning and as I walked around campus I found a handwritten phrase that you see above: End Human Trafficking.

It was one of those surprising coincidences as I had written on the subject a few days ago. I focused on the link between pornography and enslaved people.

The truth is, pornography is only a piece of the problem.

$8000 is the going price for a child. In Morgan County, Alabama the FBI arrested a man for agreeing to kidnap a 14-year-old and sell her to a trafficker in Memphis. Authorities say 12 or 13 is the average age of entry into the sex trafficking web.

Your local hotel could be a hotspot for trafficking. A recent report from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline shows that 92% of their hotel calls involve sex trafficking. 5% involve forced labor and 2% involve both.

Jesus came to end the spiritual enslavement of mankind (Luke 4:18; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Ephesians 4:8). While we who are free, remain in this world we are to help the troubled and downtrodden. We always apply the golden rule of Matthew 7:12. We can deliver the enslaved to a better life here and a life of glory in the next world.

What can I do?

Observe. Open your eyes. The Polaris Project website, linked above, offers clues to what you might notice.

Act. Do not assume someone else will make a report. That person that you think may be a victim needs you to make a call.

Share this article and others like it. Spread the word that slavery did not end with the Emancipation Proclamation.

Pray. Be in constant prayer for the victims of human trafficking. There is nothing greater that you can do.

Have you seen possible cases? What has been your experience? Your comments could help us better understand this diabolical crime.


Searching for Sin

sinDaddy always told me that I should not look for trouble. He said it would find me if I weren’t careful. But today, I am looking for trouble. Specifically, I am searching for sin. I am not looking to commit sin, but I am curious if sin still exists because, from what I hear lately, it has been eradicated. Like smallpox, society has mounted an effort to destroy sin. Seemingly, the world has been successful.

Lying is no longer sinful. It is now described as “advertising” or “politics.” Sexual sin is now “an alternative lifestyle” and is presented as one choice among many. Murder is a “woman’s right.” Greed is “success.” Immorality is opinion. Sin is no longer part of the conversation.

This is troubling because God still speaks of sin. Jesus’ blood still lingers beneath the old rugged cross because of sin. Just because society has banned sin, it does not mean that God’s word has suddenly fallen silent. It has not.

Sin occurs anytime we violate the glory of God. It happens when we transgress God’s will. We sin when we do not reflect his beauty to the world around us. Defined in such broad terms, it is not surprising that we often sin (Romans 3:23, 1 Corinthians 15:34, 1 John 1:8). When we understand the extraordinary purity of God, we begin to see just how far we miss the mark. We are not God. We are nowhere near the virtue of God. Thankfully, God extended himself to us in Jesus Christ who reconciles us to himself (Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20; Colossians 1:20-22).

But how can a man be reconciled when he rejects the very premise of sin?

Our world wants to be comforted. Society seeks affirmation that all is well. The Bible speaks of people who have “itching ears”  (2 Timothy 3:3-5), who conspire against the good word preached by God’s people (2 Chronicles 24:20-22; Jeremiah 18:18), and who desire soft words of comfort and not condemnation. Sadly, many teachers have bowed to society’s demands and no longer preach truth but instead offer words of ease to a people in need. It is as if a man with undiagnosed cancer visits his physician and is told that all is well. He is comforted all the way to his grave! We ask the world, do you want comfort or truth? Cure or complacency?

Is there any truth in the world for you?  Can good and evil be distinguished? Where would you draw the line? Does anything go?