Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Hatred of Sin

"You who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked." Psalm 97:10

One of the most important marks of one who is born again is the hatred of sin. Before we are made new by the blood of Christ, sin is the very thing we ever desire. We are born in sin and sin consumes our lives (Romans 3:9). Sin itself is the rebellious practice of pleasing ourselves against the very will of God: the act of lawlessness in the face of God's righteous commands. If once we have been made new creations we do not despise the rebellion against God's law there has not been true repentance. True repentance is the changing of ones mind and nature specifically in the context towards the law of God. This is, in essence, a change from loving sin to hating the very practice of it. 

If this is true we must rely so greatly upon the grace of God through His holy spirit to daily convict us and lead us; for we know none of us is without sin (1 John 1:8-10) and thus none of us has reached a perfect zealous hatred of sin. Without the daily grace of God in sanctification and forgiveness we would never remain on the straight and narrow path for, "My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber." (Psalm 123:2,3).

We all can testify to the wicked flesh that we are still attached to and its vicious hatred of the law of God. But as new creations in the spirit we must put to death our flesh daily and seek to love the Law of God with all of our being.

"...but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin." Romans 7:23-25

By: Tim Snyder

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Purpose of the Law

 “Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners…” 1 Timothy 1:6-9

God gave the law to people who were rebellious and unrighteous, and therefore, completely unable to keep the lofty moral demands of the law. Why would God, who is infinite in wisdom, give demands to people who are utterly unable to perform them? Either God delights to cause misery in the consciences of those who continually fail to keep His law, and wishes only to bring condemnation to men, or He has another purpose entirely. Obviously, we know that God does not do what I previously proposed. God is a God of love, mercy, and goodness; it would be contradictory to His nature to have a purpose that excludes love or grace toward mankind. So what then was God’s intent in giving Israel the law? The purpose of the law God gave was to lead men to Christ; therefore it wasn't, in the main, given by God in the hope that it would be perfectly obeyed by the people.

The law was meant to show mankind the desperate plight of his own sinfulness in order to lead him to the grace and mercy that is in Jesus Christ. Law prepares the heart for grace. The law was the tutor, or guardian, to lead men to Christ (Galatians 3:24-25). The law imprisoned all under sin so that we would receive the grace that is in Christ through faith (Galatians 3:22-23). The law shuts every mouth, and holds the whole world accountable to God; for no one can be justified by his own efforts to satisfy the law’s demands (Romans 3:19-20). The glory of God in Jesus Christ is the focal point of all of Scripture. The law highlights and magnifies the grace of Jesus, beckoning all people to cast themselves upon this grace. The law’s purpose is to condemn all men so that they might forego seeking salvation through the merits of self-effort, and seek salvation through the mercy of God in Christ.

To miss this is to miss the whole purpose of the law, and to misunderstand this is to misunderstand the whole law. If you don’t get this, you will never understand the cross. That’s why Paul, in 1 Timothy 1:7, said of the false teachers, who desired to be teachers of the law, that, “they understand neither what they are saying nor the things about which they make confident assertions.” They don’t understand that God’s intention was to use the law to show man his corruptness and sinfulness, and thus, show him his great need of a salvation outside of himself; specifically, the salvation by the grace of God through faith alone. Salvation was never meant to be through a righteousness gained by one’s own self before God. This may sound strange, but the law wasn't given primarily to be obeyed. It was given primarily to reveal mankind’s sinful nature (Romans 7:7-12). And by doing that, it leads people to a gracious Savior.

Once the law has accomplished its primary function in bringing people to the mercy of Jesus, it serves an entirely different purpose and function (I will later address the functions of the law in the life of a Christian). It no longer serves primarily as a condemning force leading people to God’s grace; though it ought to serve as a constant reminder to the Christian of his great need for Christ’s grace.

Grace. In actuality, grace is the purpose of the law. It’s all about God’s glorious, undeserved, unmerited, and infinite grace. God’s intention in giving His law was to lead men to the grace of God, so that they may ever exult in His endless mercy and love, and boast only in the cross of Christ. Give up self-effort to earn righteousness, embrace the self-realization that the law provides, and thrust yourself fully upon divine mercy, the grace of God in Jesus Christ. For by works of the law no person shall be justified before God.

By: Chris Blaise

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Sound Thinking

How do we properly study the Bible? Should we interpret everything metaphorically? Is everything in the Bible directly applicable? How do I know if what my pastor is saying is true? All of these questions must be addressed in ones own life. One thing I've really noticed my entire life as a Christian is the dire lack of critical thinking in the modern church. Though it is crucial to have a kind and humble attitude towards others faults, I believe this fault is of such significance to where it must be addressed.

A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps. 
(Proverbs 14:15) 

How do we view the world around us, the word of God, and rightly assess the massive amounts of information that we encounter? The way in which we assess and think about things drastically affects the conclusions we make in our minds. If our thinking is faulty, our conclusions will be exactly that: faulty.

Even though I believe the lack of critical thinking stems from faulty education, I believe the issue should be addressed as a personal responsibility in adults. Though there is much to discuss, I would like to address three practical points in Biblical thinking that are crucial for the everyone to apply to their studies.

1. Grasp and apply simple logic

First and foremost we must be able to construct simple logical arguments. Though logic could be discussed in great depth, a cursory discussion of it is of great benefit. To begin with a simple deductive argument we must first discuss propositions. Propositions are statements that can be assessed as either true or false. A deductive argument begins with with a preliminary proposition called a premise. Premises are assumptions that must be agreed upon to continue the discussion. Next, within a deductive argument is inferences. Inferences are building blocks within the argument that lead you down a path of thought. Finally, a deductive argument hopefully comes to a conclusion. A conclusion should be affirmed on the basis of the premises and the inference made from them.

In conclusion here is an example of a deductive argument:

(Premise) All humans are sinful

(Inference) David was a human
(Conclusion) David was sinful

2. Understanding and recognizing fallacies

A fallacy in an argument is a flaw in reasoning. A great way to discuss fallacies is to give examples of them. See if you can see the fallacy in the following argument.

(Premise) All humans are sinful

(Inference) Demons are sinful
(Conclusion) Demons are human

This argument is fallacious because you cannot conclude solely from the propositions that demons are human. To correct the argument you would have to write it as such:

(Premise) All sinful things are human

(Inference) Demons are sinful
(Conclusion) Demons are human

As we critically think about the Bible, what people say, and just life in general, we must be able to recognize fallacies, and be able to assess things in a conclusive manner. As you encounter arguments of various forms in everyday life, try your best to assess them with a sound mind and test if they are fallacious or solid arguments.

3. Proper study of the Bible

No matter how perfect arguments are, they must come from proper information to be useful. A critical aspect of studying the Bible or any text is hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is a just a big word for the study of interpreting biblical or philosophical texts properly. Some simple rules of hermeneutics for Biblical texts are as follows:

1. Assess the context; Scripture taken out of context can convey something much different from it's original intention. 

2. Recognize the cultural context; Who was this written to? Why was this written? When was this written?

3. Realize potential translation clarity; The Bible has been translated multiple times and was not initially written in English.

4. Approach the Bible holistically; To gain a balanced and holistic theological view it is critical to combine verses from the whole Bible, not just build theology from one verse.

5. Recognize literary type; much like assessing the context, recognizing if the text is a narrative, prophesy, poetry, a letter, or history can be crucial in interpreting the text correctly.

Being aware of these rules in reading will greatly benefit you in properly understanding what God is trying to convey with the Word. We are responsible for how we read and what we tell others to be true so we must give upmost effort and attention to rightly reading the Bible.

Even though we barely touched on some of these topics I hope it will be helpful for you to recognize how important critical thinking is. If we have bad logic, can't recognize fallacies, and do not read and understand the Bible properly, a misshapen, malformed, and unhealthy version of Christianity will appear. Sadly we can see it all around is in the form of every variation of false doctrine and heretical systems of belief. As Paul writes to the church at Thessolonica, "Test everything; hold on to what is good." We must be able to properly assess everything we come across and have a sound foundation of truth. And yet as much as we can our minds we must give ourselves to prayer and submission to the one who regenerated our souls and breathed life into us: our great God, the Father of truth and light.

"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, that you being rooted and grounded in love may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, length, height, and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." - Ephesians 3:14-19

By: Tim Snyder

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Oft Rejected & Ignored Orthodoxy

Predestination. The word is used multiple times in the New Testament (Romans 8; Ephesians 1; Acts 4), and the idea is expressed all throughout the entire Bible (Jeremiah 1; Galatians 1; Acts 13). Both the word and the idea imply that a certain act will definitely take place because the sovereign God previously decreed that it would happen. I think the question ought to be asked: if that is true, and the Bible is unequivocal on the matter, why not take it for what it says? As an Arminian, this idea was borderline impossible for me to reconcile (most of my Christian life I embraced Arminian theology). To say that God predestined certain events to certainly happen seemed to me an irreconcilable idea because of my strong persuasion of the dignity of human will in relation to God’s will. In order for my doctrinal system to work, ultimately decisions involving mans future must be left to him.

The mere idea expressed in the verses that either speak
of God’s predestination or allude to the idea was a crushing blow to to the theology I ardently held to. The omnipotent, sovereign God decreed what would happen in the future, but ultimately man must give his “ok” for the event to occur. Do you see the contradiction of that statement? It would be a blatant contradiction for me to affirm such a statement. Psalm 115 says, “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” Not maybe, not possibly, and definitely not man willing. He absolutely does all that He pleases and purposes to do.

Did you know that the Bible not only speaks of God’s predestination concerning events like the cross of Christ, but also speaks of God’s predestination in reference to our individual salvation? “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:29) It’s a provocative thought, maybe even unsettling and offensive to some believers; nonetheless, the Bible clearly teaches it. God predestined you and me to be His before He ever created the universe ( Revelation 13:7-8). It isn't a possibility that those who He predestined will be His; it is a surety.

As the verse below reads, “in love he predestined us… according to the purpose of His will.” Not because He looked through the corridors of time and saw that you would accept Him, but because of His own purpose and will. He works all things according to the counsel of His will, thus if He purposes, who can thwart that sovereign purpose?

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved… In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will…” Ephesians 1:3-6

By: Chris Blaise

Sunday, April 20, 2014

You Brought Me Back to Life

     As I was resting last night listening to Citizen's new song, the Lord brought to my attention again the glorious simplicity within the gospel. The power of the gospel is salvation, new life, and hope in Jesus. I was immediately convicted of how my life is not always in fervent response to the greatness of Christ's sacrifice. Jesus gave us life: true life! How can we not daily love Him fully and be ever committed to Him. To understand the magnitude of what we have been given is a task for eternity; it is if we were blind and now we see, we were lame and now we walk, we were deaf and now we hear. Without continually musing upon these truths, it is so easy to lose sight of the simple beauty and glory that is in the gospel.

     As Paul says in Romans 1:16, "...for it (the gospel) is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes...". This great truth of salvation is sufficient to be worth our greatest devotion and thankfulness. As we spend Easter sunday remembering the sacrifice Jesus made and His glorious resurrection from the dead, let us not lose sight of the great price He paid, and the ultimate freedom we have gained through His sacrifice.

"But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved". -Ephesians 2:4,5

By: Tim Snyder

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Is Your Gospel Exportable, Or Should It Be Quarantined?

One can't even begin to overstate the greatness of the gospel. One could, and I believe God's people will,  spend an eternity searching out the glory of Christ in the gospel, and find himself only on its precipice. The gospel is God's incomprehensible wisdom and marvelous, unmerited grace on full display.  It is, as 1 Timothy chapter 1 calls it, the glory of God. The gospel is the central theme of Christianity, the lifeblood of Christianity. It is our boast, our motivation, and our only hope. The gospel is our life.
The gospel, simply put, is the power of God to salvation; it is God's means of saving mankind. This is the simplest definition that Paul uses to describe the gospel in Romans chapter 1, verse 16. Here is a short synopsis of the gospel. There are three major issues addressed in the gospel: the nature of God, the nature of fallen man, and the atonement of Christ. The first two issues deal with the need for the gospel, and the third is God's provision for that need. God is holy, and just, and wrathful towards sin. Every man, after the fall of Adam, is born with a sinful nature. This creates a major dilemma for mankind. If God carries out perfect justice on humanity, all would be condemned without exception. But God, being rich in mercy, provided a means of salvation and atonement for sin - His Son, Jesus Christ. God put on flesh by becoming fully man, lived a perfect life, and then died on a cross to bear the sin of man and the wrath of God.
That is an extremely basic overview of the gospel. Now, in order to correct misunderstandings you may have of the gospel, I am going to list five things that the gospel is not. So, here we go.

  1. The gospel is not God's reaction to the fall (Adam's sin). The bible is unequivocal on this matter. The gospel wasn't an afterthought to sin, it was the eternal plan of God. God wasn't shocked by Adam's sin, nor was He befuddled about the course of action to take. He not only knew it was going to happen, but it also was a part of His glorious plan of redemption. It was designed, not accidental. Before God ever set into motion the creation of the universe, He decreed and predestined the gospel. Ephesians chapter 3, verse 11 calls the gospel, "the eternal purpose of God realized in Christ Jesus." 2 Timothy chapter 1, verse 9 says, "who (God) saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began." 
  2. The gospel is not merely the entry way into Christianity, after which you go on to deeper things. I'm shocked by how little the gospel is preached in contemporary evangelical churches in America, but I'm even more shocked by the trivial value ascribed to it. The gospel encompasses so much rich doctrine that is barely ever touched upon from the pulpit. We assume topics such as election, predestination, the atonement, original & imputed sin, and the attributes of God are too intellectually lofty for the people to grasp, and that the people are better off hearing more practical sermons about simpler themes such as financial wisdom or honesty. There is no doctrine more necessary or more practical than that which concerns the gospel. The pages of Scripture are filled with the glorious theme of Christ and His cross, and this theme ought to be preached. The moment Jesus Christ comes back you will understand all eschatology, but, as I iterated earlier, you will spend an eternity in wonder and awe of the glory of God in the gospel. 
  3. The gospel is not a remedy for self esteem issues, a promise for financial prosperity and success, or a guarantee for physical health while on earth. The gospel is about Christ redeeming sinful humanity, and reconciling them back to God the Father. It is not a social gospel that fixes social problems and fulfills social needs. God's gospel is designed to solve this universal problem: how can God be just, and simply forgive sinners without satisfying His justice? That is the colossal issue that the gospel is designed to fix. For in the gospel, God can be just, and justify the one who has faith in Jesus Christ because God satisfied his justice and wrath at the cross. Is there joy in God? Yes, fullness of joy. Is there peace given to God's children? Yes, peace that surpasses understanding. Is there comfort, security, hope, and love In Christ? Most assuredly. But those blessings are all found in God. God is the gospel; He is the great reward Jesus spoke of in Matthew five. Preach Christ and Him crucified. Don't make people promises of health now, or prosperity now, for no such promise is ever given in the gospel. Don't flatter people with your speech in order to avoid dealing with sin. The gospel offers redemption from sin through Christ, and reconciliation to God. Tell people that glorious truth.
  4. The gospel is not different for different people. Don't misunderstand me. I'm an advocate for being all things to all men so that they may be saved. That's biblical. I'm not, however, an advocate for reducing, or changing the gospel. How we act in certain situations with certain types of people may change, the way we present the gospel to different people may change, but the core message of the gospel cannot be changed. There are different cultures and different personality types, but people are still generally the same - sinful. That's what Romans chapter 3, verses 9-20, clearly teaches us. Preaching the gospel with a special focus on God's love is perfectly fine. Preaching the gospel with a special focus on the coming judgment of God is perfectly fine. Distorting the gospel in order to make it more palpable to unregenerate people is not fine. 
  5. The gospel is not primarily motivated by man. God's motivation to save man is found in Himself. The impetus in divine redemption is the nature of God. If it was not so, no one would be saved. The only thing we can evoke in God is wrath. The bible teaches that, "the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men" (Romans 1:18) and "no one is righteous, no, not one." (Romans 3:10) Therefore, there is no hope in our own abilities, righteousness, or efforts to be able to attract God. God's motivation to save you and I must come utterly from Himself. God's love must transcend all human action, will, and effort. It must be in spite of man, not because of Him. God loves us because God is love. The eternal fount of God's love flows from Himself, and is poured lavishly upon mankind. God must also be motivated by His own glory. In Ezekiel chapter 36, when prophesying about the salvation that would come through Christ, God makes it clear He is acting for the sake of His holy name - His glory. God saves us because He is devoted to His own glory, and because He is rich in mercy and great in love toward us.
Is the gospel you believe exportable, or should it be quarantined? I will end with this exhortation: know the true gospel of Christ. Muse upon it, study it, believe it. Fill your soul with these grand truths so that they may overflow to evangelism. There is no worthier cause than living for, and if need be, dying for Christ's great gospel.

     By: Chris Blaise

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Welcome to Theologian's Corner! We're absolutely ecstatic that you took the time to check us out! We here at Theologian's Corner believe that correct, biblical doctrine is vital, and essential for the spiritual growth of believers in Christ. Our mission is to exhort disciples of Christ to embrace a robust, God-centered worldview, and to urge Christians to become theologians themselves who "rightly handle the word of truth." The church of Jesus Christ in America is in desperate need of the knowledge of God. Humanistic and pagan ideologies plague modern Christian thought, and render much Christian work useless and powerless. This ought not to be so. The foundation on which we stand, and the source where all Christian ideology must derive is the inspired, inerrant, and sufficient word of God. It is our intention to combat secular philosophy with biblical philosophy.
     Why is sound, biblical doctrine so utterly necessary? Here are three brief reasons:
  1. It produces correct thinking about God, and all matters pertaining to life. I don't believe any doctrine is impractical. Some doctrines may be explicitly practical - like believing in Christ for salvation or not committing adultery - but all doctrines hold some practicality. All of our theology either explicitly or implicitly affects the way we live our lives.
  2. It produces pure love, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. In 1 Timothy 1:3-5, Paul is urging Timothy to charge men not to teach any different doctrine. Then, in verse five he says, "The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." Therefore, this deduction can be made: one of the effects of teaching sound doctrine is the production of pure love, a good conscience, and a sincere faith in those who receive it.
  3. It produces maturity, and an attribute of maturity is discernment. The verse supporting this is quite self-explanatory, "And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, in Christ..." (Ephesians 4:11-15)
Our greatest desire is that God would be given the worship, adoration, and obedience of your heart. May the manifold glories and excellencies of God be heralded through us here, and every place. Jesus Christ is worthy of all glory and exaltation. We passionately believe that, and we will zealously preach that. We hope that you will be intellectually challenged, strengthened in your inner person, and gain a higher view of God through our efforts.

     God bless,
     Chris Blaise