Why Does Paul Call the Church God’s Field?

Agricultural images in Scripture typically carry connotations of growth—or lack thereof.

The Apostle Paul uses an agricultural metaphor for the church in 1 Corinthians 3, calling it “God’s field” (v. 9). In that same chapter, he also refers to the church as “God’s building” (v. 9) and “God’s temple” (v. 16). All of these images teach us something about the church, and each metaphor brings out a... Continue Reading

The Parable of the Sower and the Power of the Seed

Which kind of soil is your heart made of?

Parables serve as a kind of filter for the world. Jesus’ parable in Mark 4:1-20 shows that in every crowd there are different responses to the Word of God. Some people are really interested in Jesus, some are pretending to be, and some aren’t at all. And the parables sort them out.   My yard... Continue Reading

Two Types of People and Two Eternal Destinies

As you consider these statements, examine your life and see if you are in the faith.

The unbeliever sets his mind on the things of the flesh (the world) while the believer sets his mind on the things of the Spirit (God and the things of God). The unbeliever receives the second death while the believer receives eternal life and eternal peace. That’s the entire point of Romans 8:5-6. In other words,... Continue Reading

How Can We Know God?

Human history is the story of the revelation of God.

There are two ways that God has chosen to reveal himself to us. The first is typically called general revelation, or alternatively natural revelation. This is the basic knowledge of God we see expressed in his created works, which image God to us. We use the word “image” because no created thing is exactly like... Continue Reading

Herman Bavinck’s Doctrine of God is Like no Other

The knowledge of God is inexorably bound up with the doctrine of salvation.

Within the landscape of modern evangelicalism, the doctrine of God, in which we come to know the nature and character of God, has often been considered impractical and irrelevant for life. The trend has been either to neglect the doctrine of God or try to augment it in order to make God more relatable and... Continue Reading

What Will Heaven Be Like?

God tells us enough about heaven to make us eager for it.

The biblical descriptions of heaven are heavily metaphorical. This does not, however, argue for heaven’s unreality but for its surpassing grandeur. That the biblical writers could illustrate heaven with earthly analogies suggests that the Promised Land is not as unfamiliar as we think. When the Israelites yearned for that “land flowing with milk and honey”... Continue Reading

Expiation and Propitiation

How is it that the Apostle Paul, along with the rest of the New Testament authors, determined to know nothing but “Jesus Christ and him crucified”?

God, to the praise of His unsearchable wisdom, gave ancient Israel sacrifices to serve as theological tools, instructing His people about the remedy for sin and the need for reconciliation with God. After the resurrection of Jesus and the outpouring of His Holy Spirit, the Apostles were enabled to discern in the pages of the... Continue Reading

Restless and Reforming

Many confessional Reformed Protestant communions feel that TULIP’s five points fail to capture the depth and subtlety of what it means to be Reformed.

When Reformed churches created a separate identity from Lutherans and Anglicans, they originally understood that Christianity involved much more than doctrines of original sin, justification by faith, or predestination. And if twenty-first-century Reformed churches in the United States have trouble differentiating themselves from the New Calvinism as they attempt to retrieve the past, that challenge... Continue Reading

Why You Need to Stop Being Too Busy for Jesus

What the troubled Martha needed wasn’t to keep busying herself for Jesus, but to sit and spend time receiving from Jesus.

There’s Martha – the doer – tending to the Lord, wanting to make this a special visit for him. This was, no doubt, a big moment for her; and everything needed to be perfect! And yet, Luke tells us that her service for Jesus was actually a distraction from Jesus. One popular Greek lexicon defines... Continue Reading

The Apostles’ Creed: The Holy Spirit

“The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

Rather than drawing attention to himself, the Sprit has always delighted in shining the spotlight upon the Son, to the glory of the Father. And this is precisely why, as Joel Elowsky has wisely noted, any discussion of the Holy Spirit is fraught with particular difficulty as the church seeks to define and understand Someone... Continue Reading