Eyes That See

“I Once Was Blind”

If the Resurrection Happened, Then What?

This is part two of what, Lord willing, will be a three-parter about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  In part one, “The Centrality of the Resurrection,” I argued that the Resurrection is central to Christian faith, and therefore should be central to any Christianity vs. Atheism debate.  This second part will be on the ramifications if the Resurrection did happen.  The third part will be my argument that the Resurrection really did take place.

If Jesus Christ were indeed resurrected from the dead, as I believe that He was, what does that mean for you and I?  The Bible is full of accounts of miracles, but there are arguably none as great and/or significant as the Resurrection.  If we are convinced that the Resurrection happened, then it lends great credibility to the Bible as a whole, and most imporantly to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Here I would like to look at the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as what verses twelve and thirteen of Jeremiah chapter two have to tell us about sin.

The Bible tells us that God created all of us, and that He will one day judge all of us.  We have all sinned against God.  The Bible tells us that blood and death are the only means that effectively atone for sins and ransom sinners from the wrath of God.  In the Old Testament, God mercifully gave His people a way to have a substitute pay for their sins with its blood and its death in both the Passover and the sacrificial system.  In both of these cases, an animal was a “propitiation” for sins.  This simply means that God reckoned the sins of the sinner paid for by the blood and death of the sinless animal, while at the same time reckoning the sinner righteous by the sinner’s faith that God would be faithful to His promises.

The Bible tells us that the passover lamb, the animals without blemish that were sacrificed, and the scapegoat of the day of atonement all pointed forward to the Messiah that would be once and for all the passover Lamb and the Scapegoat, sacrificed to atone for the sins of all who would have faith in Him and faith that God will be faithful to His promises.  And this Messiah would ransom sinners from the wrath of God, by taking His wrath upon Himself, if the sinners would believe in Him.

This Messiah was and is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  The apostle Paul tells us that, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).  The Bible teaches us that this “belief” that Paul mentions here is a belief that is obedient to the “law of the Lord” and the teachings of Jesus, and that perseveres until the end.  All who have obedient, persevering faith in Jesus and repent of their sins will be saved.

Let us now turn to the Word of God through Jeremiah the prophet in Jeremiah 2:12-13:

“Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

In the eyes of God, all sin is two evils.  All sin is both forsaking God and putting our faith in man-made “cisterns” that are “broken” and “can hold no water.”  Since the first sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, all mankind has been forsaking God and foolishly putting their trust in man-made, broken cisterns.  God calls this evil, and says that the only reconciliation is by blood and death.  By faith in Jesus Christ, we become His, and the punishment for our sins is credited to Him.  He paid this penalty on the Cross, once and for all.  If we are His, then our sins are paid for and we receive His perfect righteousness:

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

If the Resurrection happened, then this is all true.  If it did not happen, then as the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:32, “If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.'”

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July 16, 2008 Posted by | apologetics, Atheism, Christ, Christianity, Religion | Leave a comment

The Centrality of the Resurrection.

I believe that the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is very much central to Christianity.  This comes from both experience and Scripture.  In my experience, I was converted to Christianity in March of 2007 on the basis of the evidence that Jesus Christ indeed rose from the dead.  The apostle Paul talks about the centrality of the Resurrection to Christianity in 1 Corinthians 15:

“And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” -1 Corinthians 15:14

“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” -1 Corinthians 15:17-19

In 1 Corinthians 15:14, Paul makes a direct connection between the Resurrection of Jesus and our faith.  If He has not been raised, then our faith is in vain.  And this is not some atheist saying that the absence of the Resurrection would prove our faith to be in vain.  This is the man who wrote much of the New Testament. 

Then, in verse 17, he says that our faith is futile, “if Christ has not been raised.”  And in verse 18, he says that if the Resurrection didn’t happen, then the atheists (and the Sadducees) are right- when you die, you die, period.  Then in verse 19, he makes quite an interesting argument.  Verse 19 is the second half of an “if, then, if, then.”  The first half goes like this:  If Christ has not been raised, then in Christ we have hope in this life only.”  Then, you get verse 19: “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”

So, in conclusion, “if Christ has not been raised,” then:
1) Preaching is in vain
2) Faith is in vain
3) Faith is futile
4) Dead people are dead, and not ‘in a better place’
and 5) Christians are, “of all people most to be pitied.”

Therefore, Christ having been raised is both central to Christianity and should be central to any Atheism/Christianity debate.

This is part one of what I see working out to be a three-parter, in response to a couple of comments to my recent posts.  This could change, but as I see it now, part two will be what the Bible teaches about the ramifications of whether or not Jesus was resurrected- namely what that means about God, what that means about our standing before God, what Jesus Christ did to reconcile us with and to God, and what we must do in response to these truths. And part three will be my argument that 1 Corinthians 15:4 is indeed true, namely that Jesus Christ, “was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”

July 13, 2008 Posted by | apologetics, Atheism, Christ, Christianity, The Resurrection | 3 Comments

Should We Respect Atheism?

Much of what I post here also finds its way to my ‘notes’ section on my facebook profile.  My post last night, “The Atheist Delusion,” received a gentle rebuke from a friend on facebook.  I believe that this paragraph is what he was responding to:

Anyways, if you or somebody you know has been affected by silly, little publishers who allow silly, little atheists to publish their silly, little arguments that try to disprove God, then I would greatly suggest that you delve into David Robertson’s “The Dawkins Letters.”

He encouraged me to “remember to stay humble.”  The most obvious place where humility was lacking was in calling these publishers, these atheists, and their arguments “silly” and “little.”

I’m not sure who it is that he quotes, but in C.J. Mahaney’s book “Humility: True Greatness,” he provides a quote that says something along the lines of, “at every stage of the Christian walk, pride is our greatest adversary/enemy, and humility our greatest friend.”  I give that idea (I would say quote, but there’s a good chance I’m misquoting it) a hearty ‘Amen!’

However, I would just like to think out loud a bit here.  On one hand, I believe that it is totally possible to be right in the wrong way.  By that I mean that you can be communicating truth, but do so in a way that turns people away from the truth.  Not on the basis of whether or not they believe it to be true, but on the basis of the way it was communicated.  If this is what my friend meant, then his gentle rebuke was warranted.

On the other hand, if what he meant is that I should show more humility by way of respecting atheism, then he was flat out wrong.  I believe that we sinners often sin in two ways when it comes to common misconceptions with regards to pride and humility.  Because our worldviews are far too often shaped by things outside of the Bible, we have a worldly view of pride and humility that is skewed.  Because of that, we often are guilty of sinful pride toward God when we keep our mouths shut in the name of humility.  The other side of the same coin is that we do not act as we ought in humility toward God for fear of being perceived as acting pridefully towards others.

So my answer to the question posed in the title of this post is a resounding “no!”  We should not respect atheism.  The reason that I wrote what I wrote last night was that I was greatly encouraged by Robertson’s book.  He is, for all intents and purposes, a nobody.  Conversely, Richard Dawkins is, for all intents and purposes, a somebody.  Robertson is a Scottish Presbyterian minister that I had never heard of until I picked up his book, and a man that few know.  Dawkins is a professor at renowned Oxford, and could very well be considered the current ‘Emperor of Atheism.’  Robertson discusses the children’s fairy tale about the Emperor’s New Clothes in his book.  And in his book he makes a very compelling argument that Dawkins, the ‘Emperor of Atheism,’ indeed figuratively has no clothes. 

So to see a relative nobody so effectively disarm arguably the world’s greatest atheist was very encouraging to me.  And when it comes down to it, atheists and their arguments are both “silly” and “little,” as I said in yesterday’s blog post. 

However, as my friend said, we need to remember to stay humble.  I need to remember to stay humble.  But for the grace of God, I would still be in the blissful ignorance of my atheism.  Therefore, what we need is to find a way to manage the tension between loving the atheist and giving their “silly, little” atheism no respect.  And make no mistake about it, atheism deserves no respect.  And men like Richard Dawkins deserve no respect.  He wrote “The God Delusion” to support atheism.  He wrote this book to try to do away with religion.  What is at stake with this book?

Souls and their eternal destination are at stake.  His book is an outright attack on Jesus Christ and His Gospel.  Let us have compassion for Richard Dawkins, and let us pray for God to send somebody to him with the Gospel.  And let us pray for his salvation.  But let us also pray for the failure of his work.  Let us pray that the great number of souls that come into contact with his book will see that they are nothing more than the Serpent’s lies.

The First Part of what, Lord willing, will be a three-part discussion in order to oppose atheism by providing evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is called “The Centrality of the Resurrection.”

July 13, 2008 Posted by | apologetics, Atheism, Christianity, humility, respect | 6 Comments

The Atheist Delusion

At the beginning of my freshman year in college I saw a book in my college library called simply “There is no God” (I’m pretty sure that is what it was called, at least).  My faith was definitely fragile at the time, as I had really only started to think through things for myself that I had believed my whole life.  Until then I mainly believed them because my family and many people that I knew believed them.

This seems extremely foolish to me now, but at the time I remember thinking along these lines after I saw that book, which I didn’t even pick up much less read:
1) It is difficult to get a book published.
2) This book, “There is no God,” has been published.
3) Therefore, it is at least debatable whether or not there is a God.

I don’t recall these thoughts having a huge effect on my straying from the faith.  However, it at least played a small part, and it is worth noting that I remember it almost six years later.

I think that Richard Dawkins’ book “The God Delusion” could have a similar impact on others.  Today I started reading “The Dawkins Letters” by a Scottish Presbyterian minister named David Robertson.  In this great little book, Robertson has compiled a series of letters that he sent to Dawkins in response to “The God Delusion.”  He addresses the myths that Dawkins puts forth as proof that there is no God, and that those who believe that there is a God have been deluded.  There are many holes in Dawkins’ logic, and Robertson definitely hands him the berries in this brief little book (I got the saying “hands him the berries” from here; incidentally, Douglas Wilson has written “The Deluded Atheist: A Response to Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion“). 

Anyways, if you or somebody you know has been affected by silly, little publishers who allow silly, little atheists to publish their silly, little arguments that try to disprove God, then I would greatly suggest that you delve into David Robertson’s “The Dawkins Letters.”

July 12, 2008 Posted by | "The Dawkins Letters", "The God Delusion", apologetics, Atheism, Christianity, David Robertson, Richard Dawkins | 2 Comments

Abraham: The Father of 3 Religions?

Was Abraham the father of the three major religions in the world- Judaism, Christianity, and Islam? I would say that he was the father of only one modern religion, on the basis of two reasons. First, the Jewish Tanakh, which is the Christian Old Testament and mentioned in the Qur’an as the “Holy Scriptures,” is an incomplete work. Even with the addition of the Talmud, the other collection of writings that are central to Judaism, Judaism is an incomplete religion because it both awaits its promised Messiah and does not explain how God can be quick to forgive without leaving the guilty unpunished. Christianity piggy-backs off of Judaism by acknowledging the writings of the Tanakh, the Old Testament, as holy writings. Islam attempts to similarly piggy-back off of Christianity by acknowledging both the Old Testament and the New Testament as holy writings- calling them the “Holy Scriptures” and the “Gospels”- and by relegating Jesus Christ, who the New Testament claims is the Tanakh/Old Testament’s promised Messiah, to the status of a prophet.

Secondly, according to the apostle Paul only one of the three religions is based on the faith of Abraham. So, although he may be the physical ancestor of all three religions, on the basis of faith he can and should only be seen as the father of one.

Our questions are these: Is the Christian claim to being the fulfillment of Judaism valid? Is Christianity complete, unlike Judaism? Is the Islamic claim to being the fulfillment of Christianity valid? Which of the three major religions has the faith of Abraham, and therefore is truly the heir of “father Abraham?” Last and most importantly, was Jesus the Christ, the Messiah that was promised in the Tanakh/Old Testament?

As I said before, Judaism is incomplete because at the close of their holy writings there is no Messiah. And because, without the Messiah, there is no explanation as to how God can forgive without letting the guilty go unpunished. That forgiveness is necessary assumes the guilt of those needing forgiveness. This mystery, which I am stealing from Mark Dever’s book “The Message of the Old Testament: Promises Made,” is very clear in Exodus 34:6-7:

“The LORD passed before him (Moses) and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.'”

As we see there, the LORD promises to forgive iniquity, transgression, and sin. However, He then says that He will “by no means clear the guilty.” I agree with Dever’s assessment that this can only be understood in connection with a Messiah who would take the guilt of God’s chosen people upon Himself. Just as the sacrificial system of the Old Testament allowed reconciliation between God’s chosen people who had faith in God, and by faith that God would forgive their sins on the basis of the animal without blemish that was sacrificed. The death and blood of the animal paid the debt that was brought on by the sin. Since animals and their blood can accomplish nothing without the willingness of the living God, who is loving, merciful, and gracious beyond measure, the sacrificial system was really about the faith of God’s people and His willingness to forgive. However, modern Jews no longer participate in the sacrificial system. And they believe that their Messiah has not yet come. This begs the question, whereby does reconciliation with God and forgiveness of their sins come, with no sacrifice and no Messiah? Just as the religious writings leave off incomplete, with no reconciliation or forgiveness the Jewish religion is similarly incomplete.

The Christian New Testament claims that Jesus of Nazareth was the fulfillment of the Tanakh/Old Testament’s promised Messiah, and that through Jesus alone can the mysterious mercy without excluding justice be possible. He took upon Himself the sins of God’s chosen people on the Cross. Therefore, they are no longer guilty before God and He is able to forgive without letting the guilty go unpunished.

Christianity does leave off with a few mysteries, but they are mysteries that are promised to be understood when Jesus the Messiah returns. Therefore Christianity is not incomplete and does not need fulfillment the way that Judaism is incomplete and wanting fulfillment. We do not know when the Messiah will return, but we know who He is and that He will come. However, Islam attempts to piggy-back off of Christianity anyways. Islam does not deny the holy writings that are known as the Old Testament and the New Testament within Christianity. Neither do they deny that there was a man named Jesus who had supernatural abilities and was an extraordinary teacher. They accredit the Christian holy writings as the “Holy Scriptures and the Gospels” and Jesus as a prophet, who the Qur’an says lived flawlessly. However, there are two main ways in which Islam and Christianity cannot be reconciled. First there are things in the Qur’an that are irreconcilable with the Christian writings. For example, the Qur’an instructs its followers to kill “infidels” (unbelievers) if they will not convert to Islam. Secondly, they relegate Jesus from Messiah to prophet. Jesus taught that He was the way, the truth, and the life, and that no man comes to the Father except by Him. Islam and this statement from the lips of Jesus cannot both be true. In order for Islam to be true, Jesus must be relegated, as they attempt to relegate Him, to merely a prophet. And the Cross, where Christians find the essence of meaning, must be relegated to a meaningless event. If Jesus is not the exclusive way to God, then the Cross was unnecessary.

Paul says that by his faith righteousness was credited to Abraham, and Christians are to similarly trust the God of Abraham, who raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. Judaism and Islam are both works-based religions, whereby righteousness is a reward for living righteously. However, neither religion accounts for unrighteousness. Christianity is the only religion that calls for faith, like that of Abraham, by which Christians will both receive the necessary righteousness to stand justified before God and their unrighteousness will be accounted for, as by their faith their sins were paid for by Jesus on the Cross. Therefore, only Christianity can claim to be an heir of Abraham because it is the only religion that is based on the faith of “father Abraham.”

I chose to address this question last, although this changes the order in which I introduced them, because I wanted to save it for last. The true test of which of the three religions contains Truth is the identity of one Man. If Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, then Christianity and not Judaism contains Truth. If Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, and not merely a prophet as Islam contends, then Christianity and not Islam contains Truth. If Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, then the Truth of the Tanakh/Old Testament continues to the Christian New Testament. If Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, then the Truth of the Old and New Testaments stops there, and does not continue to the Qur’an.

Although the Cross is arguably the most significant event for Christians- for by the Cross alone can we be forgiven of sins and reconciled with God- the Resurrection of Jesus is the most significant here. Many men died by Roman crucifixion. The Resurrection proves that only one of those men was the Son of God. I argue for the resurrection here.

I believe with every fiber of my being that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead and that Jesus was the Tanakh’s promised Messiah. I believe that there is a God, and that He is holy and just. I believe that our sins against God have both angered Him and caused separation between mankind and God. I believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that no man comes to the Father but by Jesus. Jesus’ substitutionary death satisfied the righteous anger of God and paid the death penalty warranted by our sins, and by that death alone can we have eternal life.

Trust in Jesus, He is the Lord of the universe He created. Confess with your mouth that He is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead and you will be saved!

June 11, 2008 Posted by | Bible, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Faith, God, Islam, Jesus, Judaism, Religion | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Compassion.

This is an email that I just sent to the website http://www.godhatesfags.com, website of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, KS. The church is known for picketing funerals with outrageous signs, such as the one for which they named their site: “God Hates Fags.”

First let me say that I think you guys are absolutely right.  God has a hatred for homosexuals.  A hatred that will end with them spending eternity in hell if they do not repent and put their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord, Savior, and Forgiver of sins.  1 Corinthians 6:9-10 would support us in this regard:  “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

So not only does God hate homosexuals, but He also hates all people who unrepentantly sin.  But keep reading:

“And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).

From this it seems that some of those that Paul was writing to in the Corinthian church may have been homosexuals before coming to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Is this not the end that we hope for, brethren?  That they will turn from their homosexuality and be “sanctified” and “justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God?”

You and I may not have ever engaged in homosexuality, but James tells us that if we are guilty of any sin, then we are transgressors of the law.  And he tells us to speak and act “as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.”  Why?  Because “judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:8-13).

I admire that you guys speak boldly as you ought to about the truths of the Word of God.  However, I fear that the way that you do so may cause people to reject the Truth- not because of the Truth itself, but because of the offensively outspoken manner that you employ in proclaiming it.

The goal is not only to proclaim the Truth, the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, but also to proclaim it in a way that will lead sinners to repent and believe. 

Where is the compassion of Moses in Exodus 32:32?  Where is the compassion of Paul in Romans 9:3?  We will all stand before God on the ultimate Day of the Lord.  James tells us that those who do not show mercy will not receive mercy.  When we stand before God, we will all be found wanting- but for the precious blood of Jesus Christ our Lord. 

You who have received mercy and forgiveness by that blood begrudge the mercy of God by turning away from the God who has cancelled your debt and turning to whip your servant for not being able to pay his debt (Matthew 25:14-30).

One last point: Jesus told us that the world will know we are his disciples if we have love for one another (John 13:35).  He also told us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44).  Belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior should make us look different from the world- moreso than it does in most churches.  However, what sets us apart should be first our love for one another, and second that we love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.

I would love to hear your thoughts on these texts, and where picketing funerals with outrageous (albeit true) signs is encouraged by Jesus or His apostles.

Humbly,
David Hamilton

June 2, 2008 Posted by | Christ, Christian, Christianity, Life, Religion | , , , , , | 9 Comments

Keep Your Eyes On Him. (Part I)

I just finished moving out of my apartment today.  Something that I realized is how quickly things lose value when you are moving.  I saw the decrease in my stuff’s value in two ways:  1) how easy it was to throw things away, and 2) how little I now like the things that I did not throw away.  After all of the time and effort that I put into the move, I thought that if Jesus showed up and told me to sell everything I had and to follow Him, then that would be easier than ever- not only because it’s Jesus, but also because I don’t like my stuff a whole lot right now.

The thought that followed that one was how much this stuff- that now had little or no value to me- had distracted me from Jesus in the past year.  So as I write this blog to you, dear reader, pray for me that I will greatly improve in the area of keeping my own eyes on Him.  I do not keep my eyes on Him as well as I ought, but I caught a mere glimpse of Him and it was enough to change my heart, my dreams, and my life. 

In this blog I would like to encourage you to keep your eyes on Christ Jesus our Lord, who has the power to forgive us of our sins because He died for them on the cross, God raised Him from the dead, and He will judge us all one day.  Believe in Him and repent of your sins and you will be saved.  The problem that we face in the struggle to keep our eyes on Him has nothing to do with Him.  He is the most glorious sight that our eyes could ever and will ever behold.  Therefore, what we need is merely to see Him more clearly.  My aim in this blog is to help you to see Christ more clearly by reading the Old Testament the way that Jesus and the authors of the New Testament read it: typologically.

I would like to briefly define typology, discuss why I think that Jesus and the authors of the New Testament read the Old Testament typologically, and end with my typological argument that Jesus is the Old Testament’s promised Messiah. 

According to my brother‘s definition, typology requires two things: 1) a divine pattern of events that is 2) fulfilled (with escalation) in Jesus.  So a typological understanding of an event would include both the divine pattern and how it was fulfilled, with greater significance, in Jesus.  I will give an example shortly when I show why I think the New Testament authors read the Old Testament typologically.

I believe that Jesus gave us all reason to look for more than just what is apparent on the surface of the Old Testament Scriptures in His conversation with the disciples on the road to Emmaus.

“And he said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”  Luke 24:25-27

And when He spoke to His disciples later in Luke 24:

“Then he said to them,  ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.'” Luke 24:44-47

This not only shows us that there is more to the Scriptures than what the disciples on the road to Emmaus saw (and I don’t think we should assume to be more intelligent than them), but it also gives credibility to the way that the New Testament authors interpreted the Old Testament.  The risen Christ “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.”  And if the New Testament authors learned to interprit the Scriptures from Jesus, then the way that they interprited it is the way that He interpreted it.

So how did the New Testament authors understand the Scriptures?  Typologically.  I believe this is very apparent in Matthew 2:15, where the apostle Matthew quotes Hosea 11:1. 

“This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.'” Matthew 2:15

“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.” Hosea 11:1

In Matthew 2:13-15, an angel appeared to Joseph and told him to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt.  They stayed there until King Herod died, at which time God called His Son, Jesus, out of Egypt.  Matthew then says this fulfills what the prophet had spoken.  The apparent problem is that the prophet, Hosea, was not speaking of the Messiah.  He was speaking of Israel.  So we have to explain why Matthew interprets Hosea’s looking back to the Exodus as pointing forward to the Messiah.  Matthew was either wrong here or he saw something deeper than the surface.

(To be continued…)

May 10, 2008 Posted by | Christianity, Jesus, Typology | , , | 1 Comment

A Death Worth Living For

Dr. Jim Hamilton, Jr.

Sermon on 2 Samuel 20

December 23, 2007

The glory of God in judging those who oppose His Messiah, as seen in the twentieth chapter of Second Samuel.

December 30, 2007 Posted by | 2 Samuel 20, Christianity, Dr. Jim Hamilton, exaltation, expository preaching, exultation, glory of God, Gospel, James Hamilton, Jesus Christ, Jr., King David, preach the Word, seminary professor, sermon, the rebellion of Sheba, theologian | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Without Excuse.”

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” -Romans 1:18-20

Looking back on the time in my life when I rejected God and Christianity, I see things that I didn’t really see then. I had reasons for suppressing the truth of Christianity and rejecting it. I thought that it was better to live as if there was no God and as if Jesus was not the Son of God and is not the King of the universe.

I think back to conversations with my brother, when he made perfect sense and I couldn’t come up with answers for his questions other than simply saying, “I don’t know.”

As I said, “I don’t know,” I had to fight to keep a sly grin from coming across my face, because I was thinking about the reasons I couldn’t buy into what he was saying. I didn’t think that he could provide evidence for what he told me, and even when he did provide evidence, I brushed it off. If he gave me anything from the Bible, my defense was that the Bible wasn’t credible. Those things happened too long ago. How could anybody live their life around something that happened 2000 years ago? But the reason that I rejected everything he said was that I had to reject those things to live the way that I wanted to live.

Then things started to change. God started pursuing me. Certain weird things started happening in my life- I was living farther away from my dad than I had ever been, and I started having this crazy longing to have a son and thinking about what it would take to raise him and all the things that I wanted to teach him. I had this longing for the closeness that I have with my dad, along with the longing to someday build a similar father-son relationship with a son of my own. I was very strangely emotional about father-son relationships in TV shows and movies.

I started thinking more about the Christian life, and decided that it would probably be good to somehow teach my children the values that I learned being brought up in a Christian home. I remember thinking that I would definitely rather live in a neighborhood full of Christians than a neighborhood full of atheists, because I thought Christians were more “virtuous” in general.

I realized that I was being an idiot pursuing the kind of girls that I was pursuing, and I thought about all the “good girls” that I passed over when I was in college because I was looking for girls that “wanted to have fun.”

I decided that I would like to marry a Christian girl, because Christian girls are likely to be more virtuous. And because I thought that would be a good way to arrange for my kids to be brought up with Christian virtues. I decided that if I married a Christian girl, then I would be okay with going to church with her and our kids if/when we had kids for the sake of their virtues.

All of these things came together to elevate the Christian life in my eyes. Then, I “happened” to move to Houston, TX.

My brother gave me the Biblical evidence for the resurrection, and the only think I had to cling to was that the Bible wasn’t credible.

Then I came to realize that there was an enormous difference in the way that I read things. I remembered reading “The Da Vinci Code,” and I couldn’t get enough of it. As ludicrous as the ideas that “The Da Vinci Code” puts forth were, just the idea that it provided an argument against Jesus and Christianity spurred me on and I finished it in 3 or 4 days.

So, when I “happened” to stumble across Lee Strobel’s “The Case for Christ,” I began reading it with a realization that I read things differently depending on whether they supported or rejected Christianity.

So, with an elevated view of the Christin life, with my brother’s arguments, and with Strobel’s evidence for the credibility of the Bible, I was convinced that Jesus really was resurrected from the dead, and that He really is the King of the universe.

I truly believe that if you do not believe, then you are in the same position that I was in. Just as I suppressed the truth so that I could live the way that I wanted to, as if there was no God, I believe that you are suppressing the truth as well.

God has made it evident to you, and you have decided to reject the evidence. The poetry of life screams that there was a Divine Poet who set it all in motion, and we will all come face to face with Him one day.

If you do not repent of your sins, and turn to Jesus and accept and treasure Him as the only way to be reconciled with God, then you will have no excuse on that day.

I hope and pray that God will pursue you in the same way that He pursued me, because I know that I do not deserve it any more than you do.

Whatever explanations or excuses you have cannot account for the perfection and righteousness that God requires of us. Jesus’ death on the cross bought you, whether you accept it or not. The God who created everything in this universe requires absolute perfection and absolute righteousness from us. None of us are anything close to absolutely perfect or absolutely righteous. But our infinitely just and loving Creator provides an absolute perfection and an absolute righteousness in the person of Jesus Christ, who was fully God and fully man. And that perfection and that righteousness are extended to all who will accept it. It is an open invitation to all who are willing to give up the filth of this world for the treasures that God has to offer, lose the life that they want, and find the better life and the satisfaction that are only possible in Jesus Christ, who sits at the right hand of the Power that is in Heaven.

December 1, 2007 Posted by | Atheism, Atheist, children, Christ, Christianity, family, God, grace, Jesus, Life, love, mercy, Religion, Resurrection, righteousness, spouse, testimony, the Bible, virtue | 14 Comments

More Precious than Gold.

“The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children,’ Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and though of man.

Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”  –Acts 17:24-31

December 1, 2007 Posted by | Acts 17:24-31, Christ, Christianity, God, Gospel, Jesus, Paul, Religion, Sermon on Mars Hill | 1 Comment