Interplay of the Word and the Spirit

God works through “the word” He gave us through the writers of the New Testament, along with His Spirit working in us to guide into truth.

Depositphotos Image ID: 36662225 Copyright: alexraths

I recently heard a Sermon on Matthew 3:15. The verse was posited for the proposition that believers in Christ should be baptized as a public expression of faith in obedience to God. This is a pretty fundamental proposition that most Christian denominations would advocate in some form or another.

In Matthew 3, John the Baptist has been preaching repentance, turning to God and baptism to make the way for one who “is coming soon who is greater than I am – so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals”.[1] This was Jesus, of course. Then we are told that Jesus went to Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John, and John tried to talk him out of it, saying, “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you….”[2] This is the context in which Jesus makes the statement that was the focus of the sermon.

The New Living Translation of the Bible was used for the textual reference. I tend to use the ESV and NASB translations because they are more literal. They are word for word translations, rather than phrase for phrase (or idea for idea) translations, like the NLT. The word for word translations tend to be considered more accurate and more authentic to the original text. These are things I was thinking as I listened to the message, and I wondered what difference a more literal translation would make.

Continue reading “Interplay of the Word and the Spirit”

As We Have Also Forgiven

15636643813_df011ec118_z“… as we[i] also have forgiven[ii] our debtors[iii].” (Mt. 6:12) The forgiveness I may ask for, receive and experience from God is directly related to my forgiveness of those who “owe me” (or who I think owe me). The emphasis in this verse is on us (me)!

Whatever your theology is in regard to the sovereignty of God and grace, it is hard to ignore Scripture when it emphasizes something we must do. We dare not ignore it! This is one place where the emphasis is on us, and, therefore, we really need to pay close attention. Continue reading “As We Have Also Forgiven”

My Redeemer Lives

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“I know that my redeemer [i]lives.”[ii]

Do you know who said this? You might be surprised if you don’t know. It wasn’t the person who wrote the song.

This statement is a triumphal statement of faith. We sing it as a joyful pronouncement of gratitude and proclamation of our confidence in God. These words convey hope. They are a reflection of overcoming faith, but there is much more to the story. Continue reading “My Redeemer Lives”

Hallowed is Your Name

Photo by Chris Fraley
Photo by Chris Fraley

“[H]allowed is Your name!”[i] (Matt. 6: 9) follows the address to “our Father who is in heaven” in the only prayer that Jesus taught His disciples to say. After addressing the Father, Jesus taught us to praise Him. He is deserving of all our praise! Continue reading “Hallowed is Your Name”

What Does it Mean that God is Holy?

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“Our Father who is in heaven hallowed[i] be his name…” (Matt. 6:9)

Special, sacred, holy and set apart is God. No one set Him apart. He just is (from the beginning and always, continuously and ever will be) holy.

What does it mean, though, that is God is Holy? Continue reading “What Does it Mean that God is Holy?”