Are you a Trinitarian heretic?

One of the mysteries of the Bible is the nature of God himself; that God is Trinity.

Trinity means tri-unity – three in oneness.  There is diversity in unity.

God is three persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and each person in fully God.

Yet, we believe in one God, not three.

The word “Trinity” does not occur in the Bible and opponents of Christianity are very quick to point that out.  But the Bible certainly teaches the fact that God is Trinity.

There are many other words that do not occur in the Bible either.

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Who is in control? (The decrees of God)

MasterplanThe decrees of God are God’s purposes or determinations with respect to future things.

Ephesians 1:9 refers to the “mystery of his will”.

Acts 2:23 refers to the “definite plan and foreknowledge of God”.

Romans 8:29 uses the word, “predestined”.

Ephesians 3:11 refers to God’s “eternal purposes”.

The decrees of God are, therefore, God’s purposes or counsel that is eternal and always come to pass.

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The self-sufficiency of God

universeBy the self-sufficiency of God we mean that God is unique, solitary and self-sufficient in all his excellency.

Exodus 5:11 says,

“Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?  Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?”

The answer is that there is no-one like God.  The first four words in the Bible, “In the beginning God”.  God was there in the beginning.  God was there in eternity past and will be there in eternity future.  Before there was anything, God was.  During a past eternity, God was alone, self-contained, self-sufficient and self-satisfied; God was in need of no one or no thing. God did not need heaven, or angels, or a universe, or an earth, or human beings, or you.  God was not lonely, or sad, or lacking anything.  God was under no constraint, or obligation, or necessity to create anything; God was and will always be self-sufficient.

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Adoption as sons

Caesar Augustus
Caesar Augustus

Julius Caesar was a great Roman General, with unmatched military ability.    He lived from 100 BC to 44 BC and became Leader of the Roman Empire.  Julius Caesar played a critical role in the Roman Republic, ruled largely by a Senate, becoming the Roman Empire, ruled largely by one man – the Emperor. 

What is less know about Julius Caesar is that he adopted a son.

In Roman times, adoption was viewed with high honour and was not uncommon.  Frequently, affluent but childless couples looked to adopt, as in the case today.  Conversely, families with numerous children viewed adoption as a way to make money.   Roman adoption usually involved parents giving up teenagers for adoption.  Perhaps the most famous Roman adoption was when Julius Caesar adopted the 19-year-old Octavian.

When Julius Caesar was assassinated, Octavian was Son and Heir and thus became Emperor.  He was later known as Caesar Augustus and it was he who reigned during the birth of Jesus.

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To obey or not to obey?

ten commandmentsWhat place does the Law, epitomized in the Ten Commandments, have in the Christian’s life?  Are we free of the Law and not under obligation to obey it?  If we seek to obey God’s Law are we not being legalists and fundamentalist?  What does the bible mean when it says Christians are under grace, not Law?

Romans 7 answers an important question about the Law’s place in the Christian’s life.  By “Law”, I mean the law given by God to Moses epitomized in the Ten Commandments.

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Original sin and why you should care

cemetery-989920_640Did you realise that, without committing any actual sins, you were condemned before God and accountable to the judgment of God?  Romans 5:12-21 and other places in the Bible teach the doctrine of original sin.  Article 9 of the 39 Articles explains this doctrine:

 

Original sin does not consist in imitating the sin of Adam, (as the Pelagians wrongly teach), but is the fault and corruption of the nature with which all descendants of Adam are born. It is due to original sin that we have departed very far from the original righteousness in which we were created, and are naturally inclined to evil, with the result that there is a constant war between flesh and the spirit. Accordingly, in every person born into this world, original sin is deserving of God’s wrath and condemnation.

Romans 5:12 describes the order of world history and how this doctrine came to be.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned… (Romans 5:12)

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Jesus must call his sheep (Redefining missions)

A well known secret at our church is that I am terrible at DIY. I can’t understand why though? I rate myself as very logical, analytical and somewhat handy; yet DIY escapes me. When I hang mirrors I drill into water pipes. I wrongly measured and cut the geyser-blanket three times in a row.  I break things that weren’t broken. In fact, my wife pays me not to do DIY. Yet I love painting because there is a sense of achievement when you’ve finished.   I painted a room this week and looked at the job-well-done with pride. In Christian ministry we seldom have the same sense off achievement.  There is always the sense that there is more one could do: more people to visit, more work on your sermon, more ministries to be involved in etc. However, being a Christian should give us a massive sense of achievement when we think about the cross of Christ and world missions because, contrary to what we might think, God always achieves his purposes – in Christ and in world missions. Continue reading Jesus must call his sheep (Redefining missions)