Soteriology

Soteriology

Does God Desire All People to Be Saved?

1 Timothy 2:4 states that God “desires all men be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” But what does it mean that God “desires” all people to be saved when Scripture plainly teaches that not all people will be saved? Toward an answer to this question, we must distinguish between God’s “desire” (i.e., what God would like to see happen) and God’s “plan” (i.e., what God makes happen). The reason we must distinguish between God’s desire…

Does Christmas Promise Peace on Earth?

During this time of year—Christmas season—religious services and songs commonly speak about peace on earth: Hark! The herald angels sing/Glory to the newborn King!Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled! Unfortunately, however, traditionalism and sentimentalism obscure our reading of the biblical text from which this hymn is adapted. For hundreds of years, English speaking people have read in Luke 2:14: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (KJV). But when…

Is Belief In The Virgin Birth Necessary for Salvation?

As Advent season is upon us, the virgin conception/birth of our Lord Jesus Christ takes prominence in our hearts and minds. That his virgin conception and birth is clearly taught in Scripture is undeniable (Matthew 1:20, 25; Luke 1:35). But is it necessary to believe in the virgin conception/birth for personal salvation? Before I answer this question, I want to state what I think this question is really asking. The real question is this: what is the minimum someone must believe…

Five Reasons for Obeying God

We bark the command to our children: “You need to obey mom and dad,” based on Ephesians 6:1. While this command is often given, in the heat of the moment we seldom give the reason, motivation, or benefit for obeying mom and dad. But your kids need to see the reasons and benefits of obedience. And so do we! You need reason, motivation, and benefit for obedience to God. Why should you obey God? Seventeenth century pastor, Richard Baxter (1615-1691), recognizes…

Why Getting God Right Matters

As Christians, we believe that God has revealed Himself in the sixty-six books of the Bible. Any belief about God that does not line up with what has been revealed in the Bible is not the true God. It is an idol. Puritan William Perkins (1558-1602) once put it like this: “God is to be conceived as He reveals Himself unto us” in the Scripture, “and not otherwise; if otherwise, God is not conceived but a fiction or idol of…

The Simple and Sound Message We Proclaim

Amidst all the celebration in our church for what God has done the past twelve years, it is helpful to be reminded of the simple and sound message we proclaim. James recalls this message in one verse: the who, how, what, and why of the message we proclaim. Here it is: “In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures” (1:18). Who: “In the exercise of…

The Great Exchanges

When I travel to Sierra Leone to equip under-resourced pastors, one thing I have learned is that you get a much better exchange rate “on the street” than you do at the banks or markets. The “street” has very little overhead, so the exchange is great! If you have been attending Grace Community Bible Church for some time, you know that we are passionate about an exchange—not a monetary exchange—but what we call the “great exchange.” Very simply, the “great…

Why Is Christianity Exclusive?

Ravi Zacharias died over a month ago. Though I never read any of his books and only occasionally heard him speak on Christian radio, I do know he did much to advance Christianity in a religiously pluralistic age. We certainly live in an age in which religious pluralism prevails. In a nutshell, religious pluralism is the belief in the existence of multiple paths to God. Christianity, in distinction from religious pluralism, says that there is only one way to God.…

Who Wants to Limit the Atonement?

Some Christians are often charged with limiting the atonement. The truth is that these Christians do not want to limit the atonement. No one does. The reality, however, is that unless you are a Universalist, then you limit the atonement. How? In one of two ways. You either limit the effectiveness of the atonement, or you limit the extent of the atonement. If you limit the effectiveness of the atonement, you believe that Christ atoned for the sins of every…

Why Did Christ Have to Die on a Cross?

I am not asking why Christ had to die.  I am asking why he had to die on a cross.  To ask the question another way: could Christ have atoned for our sins through stoning or hanging or some other means of execution? The answer is that an execution of any other means would give us no assurance that Christ has taken our curse for us.  Allow me to explain. The law brings a curse, because cursed is anyone who…