What is the first time the concept of “holiness” (from the same root often translated “sanctified”) is mentioned in Scripture? Gen. 2:3. How significant is the fact that the first thing deemed holy in the Bible is time?1
This text gives us our first understanding of holiness. It shows that something, in this case time, is “set apart” from that which is around it. The seventh day itself is no different from any other 24-hour, sunset-to-sunset period; what makes it different, “holy,” is that [...]
Even a superficial study of church history makes it clear that it’s all too easy to develop ideas about God and then to worship these ideas instead of God Himself, the God revealed in the Bible. As the skeptic Voltaire quipped: “God made man in His image, and man has returned the compliment.” We may not even realize that we have an incomplete or even false understanding of God.1
Thus, we must return to Scripture and compare our thinking about God [...]
Read for This Week’s Study: Matt. 11:10; Mark 1:2; Gen. 2:3; Job 42:5, 6; Luke 5:1–11; Luke 4:31–36; Isa. 6:1–3; Rev. 4:8, 9.
“Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the Lord our God is holy” (Psalm 99:9).
Key Thought: Scripture gives much attention to God’s holiness. What does this holiness tell us about what God is like and what it means to the plan of salvation?
One of the foundational assumptions of all biblical writers is that the God of heaven exists. None ever express [...]
How do grace and judgment work together? Here’s how inspiration reveals it.
“While Jesus is pleading for the subjects of His grace, Satan accuses them before God as transgressors. The great deceiver has sought to lead them into skepticism, to cause them to lose confidence in God, to separate themselves from His love, and to break His law. Now he points to the record of their lives, to the defects of character, the unlikeness to Christ, which has dishonored their Redeemer, [...]
Roseline lives in a village in northwestern Haiti. She felt rich, for she owned three cows. But she also felt grateful to God for her wealth and had dedicated one of her cows to God. Now the cow was about to give birth, and Roseline would give the calf to the Lord.
One day after finishing her morning devotions, Roseline went to tend to her cows. But her dedicated cow was missing. She walked up and down the path calling [...]
“Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known”(Matt. 10:26).1
Looking around at the world, we shouldn’t have a problem understanding the idea of judgment and condemnation. One doesn’t have to be a believing Christian to realize that something is radically wrong with humanity. Who can’t see what a royal mess, even disaster, we’ve made of things? Maybe we cry so hard at birth because, instinctively, we know what’s [...]
Most everyone is familiar with John 3:16. What comes after, though, helps flesh it out and explain it even better.
Read John 3:17–21. What does it say about judgment? About grace? How do these verses reveal to us how grace and judgment work together?
The word translated “condemn” in verse 17 is also translated in some versions as “judge.” Clearly, though, the context is that of condemnation, because God has made it clear in numerous other places that the world will be judged.
Two themes appear in [...]
Critics of the Bible make a big deal of the fact that other ancient civilizations had their own flood stories. They argue that the Bible story isn’t unique, original, or even true but is merely a copy of some previous myth or legend.1
On the other hand, those who believe that the Bible is the Word of God see these stories as a confirmation of the reality of the Flood. The Flood happened, and Genesis gives the inspired account of it. [...]
Think about this: before sin, there was no need of grace because there was nothing to forgive, nothing to pardon, nothing to cover. It’s the same with judgment. Before sin, there was nothing to judge, nothing to condemn, nothing to be punished. Both grace and judgment arise, at least in a human context, only because of humanity’s sin.1
Read Genesis 3, the account of the Fall. In what ways are both themes, that of judgment and grace, revealed?
Satan succeeded in bringing sin [...]
The theme of judgment, divine judgment, runs through the entire Bible. And contrary to common beliefs, judgment is not contrary to salvation or to the gospel. Indeed, both themes are woven together in Scripture from Genesis through Revelation.1
And no wonder. Judgment and salvation reflect twin aspects of God’s character: His justice and grace. Thus, we should not pit the idea of judgment against the idea of salvation any more than we should pit the idea of God’s justice against His [...]