'Behold, He is Coming with Clouds'
Summary: Jesus Himself instructs us to live by every word of God (Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4), advice that is also useful when we study the Bible. Most of the passages that describe Christ's return to earth in power and glory at the end of the age contain the same detail: that He will come in, on, or with clouds. David Grabbe provides biblical background to help us understand why this detail is significant.
Summary: The old song speaks of "Amazing Grace" but do we really understand just how amazing it is? John Ritenbaugh fills in some details on this vital topic.
An Unpayable Debt and Obligation
Summary: When God calls us and redeems us through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ, we suddenly come under obligation—a debt we cannot pay. John Ritenbaugh pursues what this means to us as we continue on our Christian walk toward God's Kingdom.
Basic Doctrines: Faith Toward God
Summary: What is faith? Is it something we work up or does God give it to us? Do we have the faith to be saved? Do we really trust God?
Basic Doctrines: Salvation
Summary: Are you saved already or are you being saved? What is salvation anyway? What part do we play in our own salvation? These are important questions that we must answer from God's Word.
Born Again or Begotten? (Part One)
Summary: Throughout its recent history, the "born again" or "begotten again" doctrine has time and again been a point of controversy in the church of God. Clearly an important principle, it is the subject of Jesus' first discourse in the book of John, a gospel made up of our Savior's expansions on vital, spiritual subjects. John Ritenbaugh explains that "born again" is entirely a spiritual matter, a fact that Nicodemus misunderstood and one that continues to elude many even today.
Christ, Our Passover
Summary: Many people, even in the church of God, believe that Passover focuses on our sins—but they are wrong! We are certainly to examine ourselves to take it worthily, but the Passover's central figure is Christ, the Lamb of God. John Ritenbaugh explores His awesome, gracious sacrifice that enables forgiveness of sin and opens a relationship with God. How well do we know Him?
Summary: It is commonly thought—if not commonly taught—that obedience plays little part in New Testament Christianity. People are urged, “Believe in Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” ...
Creator, Sustainer, Head (Part Two)
Summary: Despite being perhaps the oldest text in the canon, the book of Job contains many detailed, even scientific, insights into the extraordinary creative and sustaining power of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Many of these are things humanity did not really understand until recent centuries. ...
Devil in the Details?
Summary: In II Timothy 3:16, Paul tells the young pastor that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. ...
Evaluating the Price of Redemption
Summary: Of all of God's appointed times, the Passover is one that we should not just rush into without thought and preparation. If we do so, we will miss the awesome depth of its meaning, placing ourselves in danger of taking the Passover unworthily. ...
Faith—What Is It?
Summary: How important is faith? What is the faith God requires us to have? Pat Higgins explains that faith is simple in concept, but difficult to display in our lives. Nevertheless, we must exercise this gift of God to pass the tests that are sure to precede the return of Christ.
Five Teachings of Grace
Summary: The Protestant world presents grace as "free." John Ritenbaugh shows that God expects a great deal of effort from us once we receive it.
God's Power: Our Shield Against Apostasy
Summary: As Christians, we realize that God is not only powerful, but He is also the source of all power. How do we translate this understanding into practical action? John Ritenbaugh explains how we can tap into God's power to avoid slipping into apostasy.
Heirs of the Kingdom
Summary: In my studies, I happened across Matthew 8:5-13, the story of Jesus’ conversation with a centurion whose servant had become paralyzed and was in great pain: "Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, ... "
How Much Longer Do We Have?
Summary: How often have we heard—or cried ourselves—"How long, O Lord?" Our great hope is in Christ's return, but despite His assurances that He is coming quickly, it seems as if that time is delayed. David Grabbe, keying in on II Peter 3, cautions us not to be distracted by scoffers or cunning arguments, but trust that Christ will return at exactly the best time.
Is Heaven the Reward of the Saved?
Summary: Most of Christianity believes humans go to heaven or hell after death, but is this so? This belief does not originate in the Bible—and in fact, the Bible reveals a very different Christian destiny.
Is It Salvational? (Part Two)
Summary: As we saw in Part One, Adam and Eve fell for Satan’s temptation by weighing only the penalties and the benefits of the fruit that appeared so pleasant to their eyes. They overlooked what their choice would do ...
Is the Kingdom of God Within You?
Summary: Luke 17:21 has tripped up Protestants for centuries. Using the context and the meaning of the Greek, Richard Ritenbaugh explains that this verse's meaning is very plain!
Jesus and 'the Spirits in Prison'
Summary: Peter's statement that Jesus 'preached to the spirits in prison' (I Peter 3:19) has for years baffled many a Bible student. Richard Ritenbaugh examines this verse in context, showing that the traditional interpretation is woefully off-base to the point of suggesting a totally unbiblical conclusion.
Jesus' Sufferings on Passover
Summary: The leaders of the Jews—the chief priests, elders, scribes, and Pharisees—had begun early in Jesus’ ministry trying to undermine Him and find a way to get rid of Him. ...
Summary: Affliction seems to be an integral part of Christianity. Our Savior Jesus Christ and His apostles suffered a great deal during their ministries, and though modern Christians' burdens cannot compare to theirs, they are still significant enough to cause great pain. Pat Higgins demonstrates the relative nature of Christian affliction, urging believers to take the Bible's long view of their suffering.
Passover, Obligation, and Love
Summary: John Ritenbaugh discusses how Christ's redemption of us obligates us to obey and serve Him. We show our gratitude for this priceless gift by doing good in acts of love and service to others.
Remember Me (Part One)
Summary: In I Corinthians 11:23-30, the apostle Paul reiterates what took place the night our Savior was betrayed and His instruction regarding the proper observance of Passover: "For I received ...
Remember Me (Part Two)
Summary: As we saw in Part One, the apostle Paul teaches Christians in I Corinthians 11:27-29 to appraise themselves carefully before partaking of the bread and the wine in the Passover service: "So if anyone eats ...
Saved By Faith Alone?
Summary: Protestantism is based on Luther's insistence that Christians are saved by faith alone. But is the really true? Earl Henn explains that the Bible says this of justification, not salvation.
The 'Open Door' of Philadelphia
Summary: The modern church of God, particularly a few of its splinter organizations, have made a big deal out of Revelation's letters to the seven churches. Often highlighted is the "open door" promised in the letter to Philadelphia. David Grabbe provides proof from Isaiah 22 that our understanding of this image should be revised to reflect the insight given in this neglected Old Testament prophecy.
The Awesome Cost of Love
Summary: We assess costs and values all the time in our daily lives: Is it better to buy used or new? Should we prefer traditional or contemporary? Paper or plastic? John Ritenbaugh employs the same process to God's love for us in giving His Son as the sacrifice for sin. What costs have been paid for our redemption?
The Crowns of Success (Part Two)
Summary: In Part One, we began examining the biblical idea of five heavenly crowns and what these rewards mean for Christians. We will continue our examination by considering the fourth of these, the ...
The Price of Atonement
Summary: We will soon be observing the Day of Atonement. Like Luke in Acts 27:9, we tend to think of this holy day as “the Fast.” Afflicting our souls by not eating and drinking for the entire 24-hour period ...
The Signs of God (Part Three)
Summary: As we have seen in Parts One and Two, God is serious about the signs He has given to His people (Numbers 14:11, 22-23). Obedience to His instructions is a general sign ...
Was God's Law Nailed to the Cross?
Summary: Many use Colossians 2:14 to 'prove' God's law is done away. Is this really what Paul means? Earl Henn uses the Bible to explain the apostle's intent in this verse.
What Does It Mean to Take Up the Cross?
Summary: Beyond the fact that our Savior Jesus Christ was crucified on a cross of some sort, He used its imagery to instruct His followers: He bids us take up our cross and follow Him. David Grabbe analyzes what Jesus' command would have meant to those who heard Him, showing that our Savior is asking us to follow His example of sacrifice in our own Christian lives.
What Happened to the Thief on the Cross? (Part Four)
Summary: Even though interpreting Luke 23:43 as saying that Jesus Christ and the criminal would both be in Paradise that very day contradicts many clear scriptures, some still hold onto this idea because of the unique construction of the sentence. ...
What Is Propitiation? (Part Two)
Summary: The subject of propitiation can be deeply complex. However, understanding three related Greek terms will help to frame propitiation properly, as the expression of God's mercy and grace. Martin Collins explains that Christ's propitiatory sacrifice satisfied both the law and God's holiness, allowing Him to extend mercy to believing, repentant sinners.
Where Is God's True Church Today?
Summary: This world presents us with a disordered array of religions of all kinds—from atheism to animism, ancestor worship, polytheism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and many more besides. Where can we find the true religion, the true church, in all this confusion? John Ritenbaugh reveals that only one religion with its one true church has the answers to salvation and eternal life—the church Christ founded and heads today.
Who Fulfills the Azazel Goat— Satan or Christ? (Part Five)
Summary: While the church of God has long taught that the azazel goat of Leviticus 16 represents Satan bearing part of the blame for man's sins, the present series has shown that this view has no biblical support. David Grabbe concludes the series with several common questions posed by those who have desired additional clarification of some of the issues involved in the subject.
Who Fulfills the Azazel Goat— Satan or Christ? (Part Four)
Summary: Many in God's church have believed that humanity cannot be "at one" with God until Satan has been bound at the beginning of the Millennium. This misunderstanding, David Grabbe contends, has come about due to a general failure to grasp significant truths about the completed atoning work of Jesus Christ, something that Satan has no part in.
Why 153 Fish? (Part Three)
Summary: The eighth sign of Christ’s Messiahship in John’s gospel contains the curious feature of 153 fish, which Jesus miraculously provided. As a symbol, fish typically represent people, such as when Jesus initially ...
Why Did Jesus Have to Die by Crucifixion?
Summary: Crucifixion is man's most cruel, inhumane form of capital punishment. Why did our Savior need to die this way? What does it teach us? This article also includes an inset, "Was Jesus Stabbed Before or After He Died?"
Why Preach the Gospel to the World?
Summary: On a street corner of a crowded city, a young man in threadbare clothes stands on a pine box, a worn Bible clutched in one hand. He shouts at the hustling passersby, "God is not mocked! We will reap what we have sown!" ...
Worthy to Take the Scroll
Summary: When reading the book of Revelation, we often pass quickly through chapters 4 and 5, perhaps because very little of significance seems to happen in them. To many, they contain just a fantastic description of God's throne room. David Grabbe, however, explains that chapter 5, especially, narrates an event of tremendous magnitude for those whom God has chosen.