by David Clayton
In Ephesians chapter 5 there is an interesting passage which deals with the marriage relationship. It outlines the attitudes and committment which should exist in a Christian marriage. It is an especially interesting passage because while it speaks of husbands and wives, the passage has a deeper meaning as it is intended to teach vital lessons concerning the relationship between Christ and the church. In verses 25-27 we read:
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (26) That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, (27) That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (Eph 5:25-27)
by David Clayton
The Roman Catholic Church has a list of seven sins which they classify as the “Seven Deadly Sins.”
“The Seven Deadly Sins , also known as the Capital Vices or Cardinal Sins , is a classification of objectionable vices that has been used since early Christian times to educate and instruct followers concerning fallen humanity's tendency to sin. The currently recognized version of the list is usually given as wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. (Wikipedia)
It is interesting and in a way, pitiful that any Christian institution should become so confused as to the true nature of mankind's problem as to view sin in this superficial way. The list of seven “Deadly Sins,” seems to be arbitrary and there seems to be no pattern as to why these particular seven things were chosen. Catholicism seems to embrace the view that sin is primarily the result of individual elements of human desire, behaviour or attitudes. I wondered as I looked at the list why only seven things were chosen. If I were to approach the question of sin in this way, I can think of 20 things that I might add to the list, why stop at seven?
Jesus Christ the Son of God came to this earth and became a man. He was one hundred percent human, but at the same time He was fully divine. This is a truth which has been proclaimed by Christians for ages and most still hold it as unshakeable truth today.
At first glance, such a concept appears to be contradictory and impossible to harmonize. Most Christians explain it by saying it is a mystery and something to be accepted by faith without trying to understand it. However, the full divinity of Jesus combined with the fact that He was completely human, is the key to the plan of salvation and unless we understand how Jesus could have been completely human and yet fully divine, the plan of salvation will alway be an incomprehensible mystery to us.
by David Clayton
One of the most terrible consequences of sin is that it has distorted our concept of God. This is the tragedy of the ages. and the great goal of the plan of restoration is the renewal of a true concept of God throughout all creation. The fact of this terrible distortion is clearly illustrated in the behaviour of our first parents after they disobeyed God.
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. (8) And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. (Gen 3:7-8)
It is an interesting fact that before God came visiting, Adam and Eve devised a plan. Their plan involved sewing fig leaves together to cover their nakedness with the hope that this qualification would be adequate to enable them to appear before God. But when God appeared, they discovered that our own provision is never good enough to qualify a person to stand before God. When they heard His voice it instantly became clear to them that there was nothing they could do to make up for what they had done and they fled to hide from the face of God.
(Heb 11:1) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Faith is based on fact. Nobody can have true faith in something which is not a fact. Now the verse says, “faith is the substance …” A substance is something which exists, something which has reality. Faith is that quality which allows you to take hold of already existing realities, even though some of these realities may be, at the moment, unseen.
Faith does not create the reality, it is important that we understand this, but faith provides a channel by which we may lay hold on reality. It is important to remember that whether we believe or not, that reality is there. Sometimes we get a wrong perspective of faith because we do not understand what James says in James 1:6,7
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. (7) For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. (James 1:6-7)
So we read this verse and we know that faith is critical. According to the verse, if we don't have faith we will receive nothing. How do we relate to this? We say, “God requires faith,” so we pray about something and nothing happens. We pray again and we say, “we need to believe!” So we try to believe and we pray again and … nothing happens. We are humans and we start to ask, “why wont you answer?” We start to question, “why is God so hard, doesn't he care about me? Can it be that my faith is not even as big as a mustard seed? Well, why wont God just answer on the basis of what I have, because I am sure that at least I have as much as a mustard seed.” We end up wondering just how much God requires and asking ourselves just what do we need to do to please Him.
by David Clayton
When most of us think of a name, we usually think of the sound which is made when referring to, or addressing a person. Usually there is no more than that associated with the "name." This is mostly true in the western part of the modern world where names are often chosen, not because they have any particular meaning, but because of how they sound. However, a name has always been more than simply a sound and in fact, the actual sound made when expressing a name is of far less significance than the actual meaning associated with it.
The significance of a name
Among ancient people, every name was chosen to convey a particular idea, or to express some hope. This is still true in many places of the world and it is clear that this was a powerful emphasis during Bible times. Names were intended to convey particular information and were much more than merely sounds used to identify particular people. A name in fact signified several things associated with the person to whom it belonged.