Book Review: Life and Theology of Paul by Guy Prentiss Waters

I’m currently reading through 1 Corinthians as I finish up the New Testament. As I make way through the Pauline epistles, one cannot help but desire to know more of the man of God who wrote it. Here is a man who was a Pharisee persecuting Christians and ends up being one of the most prominent figures in Christianity. That being said , I came across this book that provides an overview that looks at his life and theology.

What I enjoyed about the book is that the author breaks down Pauline theology through the Scriptures. Addressing what certain terms in the text means, and what it means for us today in the provision of lessons. One cannot help but be amazed at how God used the apostle Paul in equipping the church in sound doctrine as it pertains to the Gospel. For the Christian, it shouldn’t be overlooked nor neglected. But rather, that much devotion be made to study for God’s Word as God speaks to us through it.

So have you read this book? Or what are some good books you read concerning the apostle Paul? Comment below and let me know. Don’t forget to subscribe!

New Mercies for a New Decade

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23

As we commence 2020, I cannot help but commence this devotional than with the mercies of God. For the only reason why we can begin this day, this year, and this decade is through the mercies of God. In seeing the mercies of God, we can see how He has been merciful to us in the past. We can see it in our everyday lives. And although some days are more difficult than others, or seasons, or years- God has been merciful whether you feel it or not. You are alive and that is a good thing for God has brought you this far which is merciful. For He has been merciful through Christ, who shed His blood and died for our sins so that we would be raised with Him unto everlasting life. We can complain about what we don’t have or how life didn’t go our way in the past few years, but remember we deserve nothing to begin with- only death, condemnation, and hell. But Our Lord in His great mercy reconciles you to Himself, which is an extension of His everlasting love.

We can also see how He is merciful to us in the present. The fact that you woke up to today is through the mercy of God. His Word is always at hand, His Spirit ready to indwell and empower, His Son interceding for you in His given moment, and God the Father is present with you everywhere you go for He holds you in His hands. He will never leave you nor forsake you this day, nor any other day. And should we fall this day (and we will), God shows mercy. Just cry out to Him!

Lastly, we will see how He will be merciful in the future. Again, every day brings new mercies. So you will encounter new mercies tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, and beyond. For the believer, it is reassuring to know that no matter what, one can rest in the mercies of God. For the unbeliever, it is hopeful for He still calls sinners home should the Lord tarry. Don’t delay. Embrace God’s mercies today. Rest in His mercies. Fear not, don’t think God as unmerciful. For He is the same, yesterday, today and forever and so His mercies are forever. Therefore, commence this year/decade under the steadfast mercies of the Lord. Happy New Years!

Praise the Lord, His mercy is more!
Stronger than darkness
New every morn’
Our sins, they are many
His mercy is more

Time spent with God

“Surely, brethren, if we have given whole days to folly, we can afford a space for heavenly wisdom. Time was when we gave whole nights to chambering and wantonness, to dancing and the world’s revelry; we did not tire then; we were chiding the sun that he rose so soon, and wishing the hours would lag awhile that we might delight in wilder merriment and perhaps deeper sin. Oh, wherefore, should we weary in heavenly employments? Why grow we weary when asked to watch with our Lord? Up sluggish heart, Jesus calls thee! Rise and go forth to meet the Heavenly Friend in the place where He manifests Himself.” We can never expect to grow in the likeness of our Lord unless we follow His example and give more time to communion with the Father. A revival of real praying would produce a spiritual revolution.”

E.M Bound’s book, “Purpose in Prayer” makes this sobering point of spending time with God. After all we waste our time in the things of this world, in high priority. Yet time with God is time well spent. If we can make time for everything else, how much more in God in growing in likeness to Him and communion with Him! Such a reality is revolutionary indeed.

The power of God

“The gospel is the power of God unto salvation” Romans 1:16

God’s power is matchless. None can compare nor contend. None can fathom nor guess how powerful He is. Moreover it is demonstrated in His glorious Gospel. For none can save for none is powerful unto salvation for all let alone themselves. No generation from all ages can achieve this feat exclusive to God alone. Remember nothing is impossible with God even when it’s utterly impossible with humanity. Just as it’s the power of God to save, God is all powerful to keep His people until the end as He is with His people to the end.

Furthermore, He loves this people to the end. Such love is demonstrated through Christ who bled and died for every sin and transgression, conquered death , resurrected and ascended to the right hand of the Father. And now, He makes intercession for us. By no means is His power lessened but disclosed all the more! Don’t think that you’re beyond saving as if His power is limited. O Lord, may we wait on you and your power unto salvation and unto every fabric of our lives with an increasing dependence. We are powerless without You as we can do absolutely nothing without You. May the gospel be proclaimed unto all the world so that the power of God be on full display for our God is the Omnipotent one, The Almighty one, the Champions of champions who reigns forever and ever. Amen.

Outspoken Boldness

“And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness”. Acts 4:29

So I’m reading through Acts and I’m amazed at how the first church was missional all the way. The disciples prepped for this moment through their training with Jesus who sent them out. And then they waited on His promise of the Holy Spirit so that they would preach from Jerusalem, Samaria, and beyond (Acts 1:8). Once sent, they were unhindered by anyone’s threats, imprisonment, and inevitable execution. The spread of the Gospel wouldn’t have come through cowardliness but through boldness. “The righteous are as bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1),  is seen in full force in Acts.

I am currently reading through Acts and I’m amazed at the usage of the word “boldness” when it came to the church being on mission. Even in the face of opposition, the church prayed for even more boldness! (Acts 4:29-31). The apostle Paul was under house arrest yet continued “proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance” (Acts 28:31). Unlike most churches today, we’re not called to be entertained but to be sent out preaching the Gospel with boldness! We are not to live in cowardice but in boldness! O God grant us boldness!

Scripture references on boldness or boldly in Acts (4:13,29,31; 9:27,28; 13:46; 14:3; 18:26; 19:8; 28:31)

 

On This Reformation Day…

Let us be grateful for such a moment in the history of the church in which we come to understand justification by faith. Although it was already established in the Bible, it was far from a reality during Martin Luther’s time. Many (even today) believe that by one’s works, justification is earned rather given graciously. But like Luther before realizing this truth, many are overburdened and weary of their works. They labor and toil without realizing that the perfect work of Christ completes it all, as He says “it is finished” as a sacrifice  “once and for all” (Hebrews 10:10). Jesus Christ not only gives justification, but He is our justification! Without a grasp of this truth, diminishes the gospel altogether for justification the doctrine by which ‘‘the church either stands or falls.” as stated by Luther

Secondly, let us be grateful for the spread of the Bible for the layperson. For too long, it was merely relegated to the clergy. But thanks to individuals such as John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, and Martin Luther, various translations of the Bible were being put out and then some. We need the Bible now more than ever, especially in an age where biblical truth is either questioned or neglected altogether. Many cry for revival, but the truth is that you can’t have a revival without a reformation. We must get back to the Word of God as the source God has given us to proclaim! It is absolute truth. Without it, we wouldn’t come to an understanding of justification by faith and the Gospel. We would not see God’s redemptive plan throughout both Testaments. We wouldn’t know of our sin and radical depravity.  Moreover, we wouldn’t know God as He truly is in the Word. The Word of God therefore, is indispensable to reformation. No other source comes close. I don’t care how creatively, or well researched it is, or how prophetic it sounds. God’s Word is final and it is sufficient! (2 Timothy 3:16)

Ecclesia reformata semper reformanda est secundum Verbum Dei”(The church Reformed and always reforming according to the Word of God)

 

Happy Reformation Day!

The Quintessential Freedom

“Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” – John 8:34-36

Oh what a travesty it is to be enslaved to sin! To be bound in darkness in all of one’s life. Worse of all, you’re comfortable in it without concern. But when the Morning Stars dawns, the darkness ceases. The emancipation from sin has arrived through Christ Jesus our Lord. Oh what a joy it is to taste freedom! From sinner to saint, from death to life, from darkness to light, from bondage to freedom! This is a new birth to a new life far beyond living under the sun. And this freedom was never sought after but initiated by Christ. Moreover, this freedom is guaranteed- evident in our justification, sanctification and inevitable glorification.

Shall we remain quiet about this freedom? Perish the thought! Sing praises unto His name! Make His name known to all the nations! Preach the good news to this dark and oppressed world. Many more captives like you Christ seeks to set free from sin! And how much more glorious is it when His church testifies to their freedom in Christ! Whom the Son sets free is free indeed! That is the quintessential freedom!