Joseph Exell’s Biblical Illustrator quotes an author approvingly on Matthew 18:2-5, “This teaches us all—I. The necessity of humility in order to salvation” (p. 392).

But wait! Isn’t faith alone necessary for salvation? So say the evangelicals. Until they get into the text. Then they contradict themselves and bend over backwards to undo what they plainly read.

Now they may try to wrap humility into faith, place it under the faith umbrella. And that’s fine. But they should also permit that we place obedience under the faith umbrella as well. (Paul does use “faith” as an umbrella term for man’s total response to the gospel.) Continue reading

Kyle Massengale of the Madison AL church had me on his iQuest podcast last night as a guest. The assigned topic was “Water in the Plan.”

You can tell from the title that baptism was the subject. We covered some of the usual ground, but had some interesting items in the mix that you might not normally expect. So don’t think ho-hum and move on. The story I conclude with is worth hanging on until the end.

Skype was quirky last night and didn’t work. (I blame Microsoft!) I wound up calling on a land line. My part of the podcast lasted for an hour, so I’ll have a hefty phone bill this month. But it was worth it.

Perhaps because of the land line, there was an echo in the first part of the podcast behind me. But their geek guy got it fixed. The archived file was edited, and it sounds normal.

We were originally scheduled for two weeks ago, then came the tornadoes through Alabama. After that, I forgot about it until Kyle buzzed me on Facebook a couple of hours ahead. So I jotted down some talking points to go with. Kyle was great at keeping the subject moving.

I found myself stammering for the English words. Too many “uhs” in my speech. Perhaps it won’t take the listener’s attention away from the subject matter.

This was my second experience at being a guest on a podcast. iPreach was my first go-around.

Whatever your condition in life, you can still be a Christian. Whether Jew, Gentile, married, single, slave, or free — even a Lakers fan. We don’t have to become something different than what we are in order to follow Jesus. That is good news.

In whatever situation someone was called, brothers and sisters, let him remain in it with God.
1 Corinthians 7:24 NET

Some Jews wanted to force Gentiles to become like themselves. Paul refused to give in. Must one be married, or remain single? It doesn’t matter, says the apostle, and it depends on the situation.

What isn’t in view here is repentance from sin. The convert to Christ must repent and leave off adultery, greed, lying, and any other sin in which he is involved. This change must be made.

But, besides repentance, we can continue our normal life, for God has called us to take his truth with us in the midst of where we live. Even to Lakers fans.

The tenth day of the seventh month of Israel’s calendar marked a day unlike any other (see Leviticus 16). To the spiritually minded in Israel it was a day to be prepared for and longed for. It was a day of approach to God; indeed more closely than any other day of the year. It was the day the high priest and his family, the tabernacle itself, and the congregation were cleansed. It was the day that the high priest made atonement for the people of Israel. It was a day of great danger for the high priest, entering, as he did, into the holy of holies. It was a rite full of meaning for the children of Israel. It spoke of God’s desire to commune with His people. It spoke of God’s mercy and grace in making a way for Israel to approach God. It has great meaning for Christians as we consider that which is equivalent to the Day of Atonement in the New Covenant. via The Day of Atonement | The Preacher’s Files.

Eddie’s somber description of the Jewish Day of Atonement reminds us how precious Christ’s sacrifice is. Check out his article at the link.

When considering a touchy subject, I must remind myself: I’m on a quest for what is right and true. Am I open to truth? Am I willing to look again at a subject that has been argued over for centuries? Sensitive or not, a topic deserves reexamination whenever it’s related to salvation.

There comes a time when a person questions his conversion and asks if his salvation is secure. This is a healthy process, if one compares one’s experience with the teaching of the Bible about conversion. Continue reading

It’s a common view that the ark saved Noah and his family from the water. The flood is seen as the threat to their safety, since it destroys the human population of that period.

That view is reflected in what must be the worst rendering of the New Living Translation, which I otherwise appreciate: “Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood” (1 Peter 3:20). The original text says nothing about drowning! Continue reading