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BY MAX FERNANDEZ

 

Introduction

Companionship is one of the blessings of marital covenant. Implicit within the thought of companionship is the assumption that aloneness is not good. From where did this assumption come, and who made the solution for aloneness? The purpose of this first lesson will be to establish that God is both the Creator of aloneness and the Supplier of companionship.

God is both the Creator of aloneness and the Supplier of companionship.

A Divinely Designed Dilemma

In Genesis 2:18 we read the following words: “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” Though God had created all things as good to this point, here God says that something is not good–aloneness is not good. God’s determination here is based on two important principles: (1) God is the Creator who reserves the right to determine what is good and what is not good and (2) God, as Creator, intentionally created this dilemma.

The meaning of the phrase not good means that there is incompleteness. Maybe when you hear the phrase not good you are thinking that man was made morally imperfect, but that is not the thought here. The inspired penman Moses is communicating that though man was a social creature who was created to be in relationship, Adam did not have a companion. Adam was incomplete.

As a New Testament Christian, please be very careful not to run off with the idea that all men and women are supposed to be married. Scriptures such as Genesis 2:18 have errantly been interpreted to teach that some people are of less value or less worth unless they find that special “one.”  This kind of interpretation of Genesis 2:18 is not in consideration of the fulfillment of Christ’s gospel. For example, Paul speaks of the gift of singleness (I Corinthians 7:7), and it appears also that some would remain better as singles; thus, it is possible that not all people must be married.

A Divinely Designed Solution

Nonetheless, the dilemma of Genesis 2:18 is given a divine solution. Notice the words “I will make him an help meet.” God creates the solution by making a helper who would be suitable for Adam–as opposed to identical.  Also, it is God who created marriage. Though the passage does not use the modern English term of marriage, the covenant is heard in the words from Adam in Genesis 2:23–“And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Marriage is God’s solution of companionship for the aloneness.

Conclusion

There are a couple summarizing principles from this account: (1) Marriage was designed by God and not by man, and (2) Marriage is the divine solution and not a human solution. These two previously stated principles should cause us to conclude that mankind does not have the right to tamper with or change the God-created institution of marriage.

Mankind does not have the right to tamper with or change the God-created institution of marriage.

As the Creator of marriage, God is the foundation of marriage. Marriage is the covenant that should reflect the Creator and should be upheld according to His standard:

The most foundational thing to see from the Bible about marriage is that it is God’s doing. And the ultimate thing to see from the Bible about marriage is that it is for God’s glory. Those are the two points I have to make. Most foundationally, marriage is the doing of God. And ultimately, marriage is the display of God

If God invented marriage, then those who enter it should make every effort to understand and submit to his purposes for it. We do this in many other aspects of our lives.² As previously stated, God is the Creator of the divine dilemma as well as the divine solution.  God’s word must be the standard which is upheld for determining what marriage should be like.

 

¹Piper, John. This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence (Kindle Locations 215-217). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

²Keller, Timothy. The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God (p. 5). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


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BY MAX FERNANDEZ

 

How does Galatians 1:1-5 help administrators within a Christian institution?  

It is hard to imagine that such an old writing like the book of Galatians may actually be relevant within Christian administration, but Galatians is tremendously relevant for administrators within a Christian institution. It will be the purpose of this short article to set forth the passage, principle, and practice according to the book of Galatians.  

Passage:

Paul opens up with a thoroughly God-centered perspective. First, Paul mentions that he himself is an apostle (Gal. 1:1). This means that Paul is a sent one. Paul’s commissioning is not by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father. The authority of his commission rests in the Person of God, and is qualified by the powerful resurrection. God is central to Paul’s work.

The authority of [Paul’s] commission rests in the Person of God, and is qualified by the powerful resurrection.

Secondly, Paul notes how this work of God has brought about a new brotherhood (Gal. 1:2). God’s power is not only seen in the resurrection, but also in what the work, by Christ, has accomplished in creating a new people for his own name. The development continues as Paul mentions that this band of brethren (those who are with Paul) are writing to multiple churches. This shows that the work of God is multiplying by this same resurrection power. God is central in establishing the new brotherhood.  

Lastly, in Galatians 1:3, Paul uses the terms “grace” and “peace”—terms indicating that something has started and is ongoing. How did this unmerited favor upon them begin? This is answered in Galatians 1:4. The grace and peace of God has come by way of the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This substitutionary terminology presumes the sinfulness of men. This presumption can be understood by several phrases in the verse: 

1. Who gave – this indicates the need for mankind to have a willing participant; 
2. gave himself shows to us the intimate and complete nature of what Jesus Christ did for mankind; 
3. for our sins – answers the question why mankind needed a substitute;
4. that he might deliver us from this present evil world – teaches us the intended outcome of this substitutionary sacrifice. Thus, God is central to the bestowal of grace and peace.  

Principle:

This passage introduces the fundamental principle which guides the rest of the letter—God reserves the right to all glory (Galatians 1:5). God’s right to glory is attacked when another gospel is introduced to the region of Galatia, but it is not just a problem that happened in Galatia in the 1st Century. At heart, we are all glory thieves. Some are glory thieves who self-deprecate all of the time. Some are glory thieves who self-exalt all of the time. In both cases, self-deprecation or self-exaltation, God’s glory is being stolen.

In both cases, self-deprecation or self-exaltation, God’s glory is being stolen.  

Practice:

So, as Christians who have been graced to be children of God and to serve in a Christian institution: 

1. Begin each day with a thoroughly God-centered perspective.    
2. A God-centered perspective is impossible without re-faithing the gospel.
3. It is no gospel unless you consider the substitution of Jesus for your sinfulness and the power to live free in an enslaved world.
4. Extend the grace and peace to others, with whom you work, which has been extended to you on the merit of Jesus Christ.


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BY ALEX FLANAGAN

 

“God is dead, and we have killed him.” That is what the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche concluded in his seminal parable entitled The Madman. Although this simple yet profound statement was written well over one hundred years ago, it seems that the ideology behind it has never been more popular than it is today. In our modern secular culture, is Biblical Christianity still relevant, or is it just a relic of the unenlightened past?

As long as mankind has existed, there have been certain questions asked that have never gone out of style. They are timeless and inescapable – a given of the human experience. I like to call them life’s big questions. Here are a few:

  • Where did I come from?
  • Who am I?
  • Why am I here?
  • How should I live my life?
  • Why do people do bad things?
  • Why is there so much pain and suffering in the world?
  • What happens when I die?
  • Is there any hope?

Any worldview, if it is to be seriously considered, should be able to give satisfactory answers to these fundamental, existential questions. And the answers, taken together, must be logically coherent and empirically consistent. In other words, the answers cannot be self-contradictory, and they must correspond to reality. The question is: can Biblical Christianity give existentially satisfactory answers that are both coherent and consistent?

According to the Biblical narrative, God made man in His own image and likeness. Man’s created purpose was “to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever”, as the Westminster Shorter Catechism so beautifully puts it. However, because true love is impossible apart from free will, God gave man a choice. He could either submit to God and glorify Him, or he could rebel against God and glorify himself. Tragically, he chose the latter. And in doing so, he separated himself from God and plunged the world into unimaginable pain and suffering.

Because true love is impossible apart from free will, God gave man a choice.

But that was not the end. God did not abandon His creation. As a wise Father deals with a wayward son whom He loves, so God dealt with man. He sternly confronted man’s sin, but He also gave him hope. God promised to send Someone who would heal man’s broken heart and restore all creation to its original perfection. From that time, faithful men looked diligently for the coming of the One whom God had promised – the One who would make all things right: “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall” (Malachi 4:2).

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:3-4). At just the right time, according to God’s perfect plan, Jesus Christ, the very eternal Son of God, humbled himself and became a man – our substitute. He perfectly obeyed God and glorified Him; He suffered and died on the cross for our sins; He defeated death and hell by rising again; He ascended into Heaven and sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. Now all who believe in Him experience the first fruits of personal restoration. But one day, He will return as a conquering King and will completely fulfill God’s promise to heal our broken hearts and to restore all creation to its original perfection. This is the eternal hope of the Christian.

So, is Christianity relevant? The answer, I believe, is a resounding yes. Not only does the Christian message satisfy the needs of our innermost being, but it also describes the way the world is and why.


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BY DON OVERPECK

 

What happens when you die depends on what happens before you die.

Hebrews 9:27 declares, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” The only opportunity you will ever have to get right with God, is the opportunity God affords you right now.

When those who are saved die, they go directly into the presence of the Lord. Remember the thief on the cross? Luke 23:43 “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” This is a promise that at the moment of death, the repentant thief would pass from his life and his agonizing death into paradise with Jesus. The believer passes immediately into the presence of Jesus Christ. This is our hope and comfort as we stand at the graveside of a loved one.

The believer passes immediately into the presence of Jesus Christ. This is our hope and comfort as we stand at the graveside of a loved one.

What is ahead for us when we die?

  • Our soul/spirit goes into the conscious presence of the Lord.
  • Our body is buried until the day of resurrection.
  • When Christ returns, we will be raised bodily from the grave.
  • Our body and soul will reunite into a new, glorified body.
  • We will be with the Lord forever in a place where there are no tears, no pain, and no heartache. A place where we need no sun or moon because the great Glory of God lights our way. A place of eternal peace, joy, and beauty.

Now we consider the fate of those who die as non-believers, without a personal relationship with Jesus. For the believer, the moment of death brings him into the presence of Christ. For the unbeliever, death begins an experience of unending pain.

At the moment of death, the soul of the lost is sent to hell where it is in conscious torment: “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” Luke 16:22-26.

That pain is eternal. The Bible teaches an eternal punishment for those who do not know our Lord. Mark 9:43-44 “….it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”

If we shudder at such a thought, then let us do whatever is necessary to make sure that such a fate does not befall us or the ones we love. Hell is more than just theoretical doctrine. You must make a conscious choice to put your complete trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. The words of Jesus in Revelation 1:18: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”

Death is not the end of the road; it is only a bend in the road.

Death is not the end of the road; it is only a bend in the road. For the believer, death is the doorway to heaven and unimaginable peace and beauty. For the unbeliever, it is a passageway into unimaginable suffering. These things are true even if we do not fully understand them. They are true even if we do not believe them.  What happens when you die depends on what happens before you die.


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