The Gospel for Christians

Category Archives: Bible Study

Isaiah 36-37 The Enemy’s Tactics and Our Response

The story of Hezekiah’s miraculous victory over Sennacherib, King of Assyria is one of my favorite stories in the Old Testament (it’s also related in 2 Kings 18-19). I love the way God silences the boasting of the Rabshakeh, the Assyrian general who had mocked, scorned and blasphemed the God of Israel. Some of the most arrogant boastings and threats in the whole Bible are recorded as coming from this man’s mouth. But you remember the end of the story… Overnight, 185,000 Assyrian soldiers are put to death by the angel of the Lord. Sennacherib and his general return to Assyria defeated and humiliated and Jerusalem is spared.

This story is a microcosm of the victory that God will give his people over their enemy, Satan. There are similarities in the way the Rabshakeh spoke to Israel and the way Satan sometimes speaks to us, and we can learn from Hezekiah and his servants how we should respond to Satan when he comes against us with his lies and threats. We can also be assured that the victory, the slaying of the 185,000, has already been won, and Jesus at the cross has already humiliated our enemy, Satan. Continue reading

Romans 8:5-9 The myth of the “carnal Christian”

Last Sunday, in my post on Romans 8:1-4 I brought up the possibility that those who evidence none of the sanctifying power of the gospel in their lives should face up to the possibility that they are not truly born again. The point of that post ( and of Romans 8 ) is to encourage the true believer. When Jesus died on the cross for us, he did so much more than just give us a second chance. He provided for us a complete salvation that includes not just forgiveness but all that he will give us for all eternity, including a deliverance from the power of sin right now.

How can it be good news to hear that sanctification is basically up to us and that it is possible to live a defeated and “carnal” life as a Christian? As we continue looking at Romans 8, I hope to show you that the whole idea of the “carnal Christian” is a perfidious myth that is keeping many people under the illusion that they are going to heaven when they are actually on their way to hell. This myth also leads true believers away from their simple faith in the cross of Christ and confuses and weakens them as they try to produce spiritual fruit in their own power rather than receiving it by faith in Christ and his finished work on the cross. Continue reading

Romans 8:1-4 Justified AND Sanctified

I’m convinced that most American Christians have only a very rudimentary understanding of the relationship between salvation and the cross of Christ. The result of this lack of understanding is a weak and anemic faith and in some cases perhaps even a false assurance of salvation. But it doesn’t have to be so. If only we will look into the Word of God, there is a wealth of truth that reveals what Jesus has accomplished for us through his death and resurrection. Continue reading

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