Saturday, April 30, 2016

Time With God is Food for the Soul

If spending time with God in the morning could be like having breakfast with him, which of these would best describe your response to his invitation?

The I-don’t-do-breakfast Approach:

Nothing more to say. Some people just don’t want to have breakfast for their soul, even if God is there.

The Menu Approach:

You are quite content to read God’s word like a menu, speaking of things God could do in your life, and leave your time with God having ordered nothing of his promises and purposes for your life. The thought of what he could do is enough to get you through the day.

The Aroma Approach:

For this person, it is enough to go and sit in the kitchen for a while, enjoying all the aromas of the food as it is cooking, and imagining how good the food would be for anyone who ordered it. You have a wild imagination as it is, so the aromas fueling your imagination seem to suffice.

The Finger-in-the-icing Approach:

Some people want nothing more from God than to get alone with him and run their fingers through the icing on the cake. They have no interest in what God might wish to give them for a meal, but only to dabble in whatever thoughts from his word appeal to their sweet tooth with all its whims and wishes intact.

The Tub-of-ice-cream Approach:

In this approach to God, the person appears to have an insatiable appetite for his word. They always seem to be hungry, with deep hunger-needs always staring them in the face, and all he or she wants is to gorge themselves on comforting thoughts from God’s Book. As someone who suddenly sees themselves looking down into the bottom of any empty ice cream container wondering how they devoured the whole things while watching mindless TV, this person gets to the end of his or her time with God and feels just as unsatisfied as when they started. The ice cream is never enough. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow.

The Full-meal-deal-drive-thru Approach:

This customer of God’s word would like to get as much food stuffed into his or her soul as quickly as can be with the lowest possible cost. Nutrition does not matter, only that the ravenous hunger is speedily satisfied so the person can carry on without thinking anything further of needing anything from God.

The Picky-eater Approach:

Those in this category consider God’s word like a buffet from which they can pick-and-choose whatever interests them. They do not want to know what their heavenly Father thinks is a healthy and balanced diet, but only which parts of his provisions makes them feel good all the time.

The Grazer Approach:

This child isn’t opposed to eating a bit of everything, as long as it is only what and when he or she desires at any given time. Sitting down to a full course meal with Father is an unthinkable interruption to all the fun they are having, and they only want to stop for a quick bite when their hunger interferes with their entertainment.

The Hearty-lone-ranger-breakfast Approach:

This person would like a healthy breakfast, but prefers starting the day alone rather than spending time with Father. They like it if he serves them everything they need on a platter, and then leaves them alone to enjoy it at their own speed, with their own thoughts and considerations, and then ride out into the world to save the day in their own strength.

The Hearty-breakfast-with-Father Approach:

This person wants to have a full meal breakfast with Father, simple as that. The Father-child relationship makes the enjoyment of Father’s provisions what it is. Feeding on his words, while hearing them in his own voice, expressed through his own presence, turns the meal into something far more than nutrition. It is time alone with God that strengthens the child to walk with God throughout the whole day.

I have no doubt that readers will see other ways to express these things. I present them simply to draw attention to the best way of seeking God each day, which is the heart cry of God’s children, “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.”[1]

If you would like to spend time with God in a way that feels like meeting with him is the best food for your soul, echo this prayer given to us in God’s Book, “Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”[2]

God promises to answer such prayers as this. He may need to point out how malnourished you are, and perhaps address some untended injuries to your soul, but, as one man declared when forced to see the ugliness of the human condition,

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;    his mercies never come to an end;they are new every morning;    great is your faithfulness.“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,    “therefore I will hope in him.”[3]

© 2016 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] Psalm 90:14
[2] Psalm 143:8
[3] Lamentations 3:22-24

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

When Our All-Consuming Fears Meet Our All-Consuming God

How is it that the “all-consuming” nature of God is our best hope against our all-consuming fears?

One thing I love about the relationship-with-God aspect of the truly Christ-centered faith is that we have daily testimonies of what God does to show us that Jesus is with us always, to the very end of the age. Here is today’s installment!

I am very familiar with people speaking of their all-consuming fears. I have seen panic-attacks, dissociation, fear-based self-protection, numbing depression, and all manner of expressions of people’s broken souls.

I have always known that Jesus is the answer.[1] There are so many promises related to the condition of our souls, that God’s grace is always working to give us faith that God will do for us what he has said, and what he has so often done for others.

This morning, as I was praying for people struggling with the scary world of their inner soul-condition, I suddenly had the AHA!-Moment that brought pieces of the puzzle together in ways I had never considered them before. It revolved around a familiar expression from God's Book, which reads:

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.[2]

How do gratefulness, acceptable worship, and reverence and awe, fit a relationship with the God who is a consuming fire?

Part of this is, no doubt, that the children of God know that God’s impending judgment on the world will literally be a consuming fire. We live in a foreign land that is destined for judgment. We know that. We know our God is capable of judging everyone who has rejected his Son. No doubt about that. We well-know how our own sins deserve that judgment, and so we are super sensitive to the weight of condemnation about to come upon the world. Scary stuff. God’s children are thankful to be his children, not his enemies.

However, the consuming fire of God’s nature has a very personal application to the hearts of all God’s children. God has saved us so that he can fully restore us to the image and likeness of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. To do that, sin, guilt, shame, and fear, must be consumed. They took root in our lives through our involvement in the world’s sin. Coming to Jesus sets us free from all the condemnations associated with our guilt, shame, and fear. Now we have a God who can consume whatever remnant of these things we struggle with during this earthly lifetime.

The delightful ministry to my soul this morning was to see that, no matter how all-consuming are sin, guilt, shame, and fear in my heart, or in the lives of others, the all-consuming fire of God will purge from our lives the dross of those things so completely that our Forever Home will only know the righteousness, joy, and peace, of being in God’s presence for eternity.

“Therefore” if we are those people who are “receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken,” of course we would be grateful for this. Why wouldn’t we “offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,” knowing that “our God is a consuming fire” who consumes in his children all that makes us different from Jesus, and that he will consume all evil and evil doers at the return of Christ so that there is no further remnant of sin, guilt, shame, or fear, in the presence of his perfect love?

© 2016 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] I mean that in the sense that, as long as I have seen people facing all-consuming fears, I have known that Jesus is the answer, even if I haven’t seen how to apply him and his work at any particular moment.
[2] Hebrews 12:28-29

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Unknown God Who Makes Himself Known

As I consider the claims of evolutionists that their long-ages views are superior because they are scientific, while the Bible’s revelation of God’s creative work is inferior because it is religious, I can summarize my response in just a few words: they’re wrong; God’s Book is right.

While I can’t say whether the earliest leaders in Jesus’ church encountered outright evolutionary beliefs, I do know that they faced a whole variety of worldviews and philosophies that were not true, just as today. In the seventeenth chapter of the book of Acts, we see how the apostle Paul used such a collection of wrong beliefs to teach people the truth in love.[1]

16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.

The world continues to love its idols. They are in religions, philosophies, worldviews, statues, trinkets, people, and the universal idol of self. Paul knew Jesus, so he was provoked, or troubled, that all this city seemed to know was counterfeit.

This should also encourage us to see that pluralistic societies are nothing new. This city was full of the contradictory ideas of the pluralistic mind. However, everyone still needs to know the truth and life that is in Jesus Christ, the only way to the Father.[2]

17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.

The “so” says that Paul was not satisfied to leave each to their own idol. He knew what was true, and counterfeits would never do.

However, because he understood the differences between segments of their society, he reached out to various groups in distinctive ways. In this case, “the Jews and the devout persons” who already had a belief in God, he reasoned with them regarding the Scriptures, always seeking to show that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah, or Christ.[3] There were others in the marketplace, and so Paul reasoned with them as well.[4]

18 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.

Even within various groups, the audience could be divided in their opinions. What stands out is that, even with the thoroughly philosophical leaders of the day, Paul “was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.” We can well imagine the kinds of tangents people could have taken Paul on if he thought he had to reason with them on the basis of their philosophies and false religions.

However, Paul knew that all people were created by the same God, had offended the one true God, and had no other hope of escaping the just condemnation of their sins, except through Jesus Christ and his redemptive work. The greatest affirmation of Jesus’ ministry as the Messiah of Israel, and “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”,[5] is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This reality proves evolution wrong, philosophy wrong, religion wrong, and calls all people from everywhere to come into the kingdom of God through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” 21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.

This particular audience was characterized by a culture of needing to hear new stories. Of course, this was a cultural admission that the old stories were not satisfying the inner longings of their souls. Paul knew that Jesus called people to himself so he could give rest to their souls,[6] so it was a prime opportunity for Paul to give them the one story that would end all others.

22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious.

I can see the way proponents of the evolutionary religion are “very religious” in their worship of naturalism as the cause of all we see around us. The issue is not how devout people are, but how true they are.

23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’

The evolutionary religion presents naturalism as its altar to the unknown god. It marvels at how evolution could figure out so many amazing things to work together. Paul, of course, knew better.

What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.

Because naturalism has no means of measuring spiritual things, the god they worship is “unknown” to them. Because Paul was deeply immersed in spiritual things, he could proclaim to these people the identity and character of this unknown god. Paul was not agreeing that God was unknown, but meeting these people where they were in their admission of not knowing God.[7]

24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.

This presents the obvious, that the God who made all of space, time, and matter, does not relate to man with material needs of any kind. He, in fact, sustains material life from his spiritual realm.

26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’

God has put it into the human heart to seek him, feel their way toward him, and find him, even though he “is actually not for from each one of us”. While naturalism can only think as far as something like SETI,[8] the vast history of world religions shows this to be true, that God has caused human hearts to want to find the one who created us (our Father). As another part of God’s Book reveals, “he has put eternity into man's heart.”[9]

29 Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.

Even though we live in a universe of space, time, and matter, we cannot think that the true God who created us can be represented in material forms. No compilation of artistry can capture the spiritual realities of God in material forms.

30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

This points to the way God did something in the material realm to prove his place in the spiritual realm. By giving us his Son, presenting him as the sacrifice for sin, proving his death, and then proving his resurrection, these material expressions gave assurance of the spiritual realities in which they originate.

While this is a glorious message to those who receive it (Jesus’ resurrection gives us his eternal life), it is also a deadly level of accountability since God has already given us enough time to overlook our ignorance of him, and soon there will be that “fixed” day on which “he will judge the world in righteousness”.

As his Book says elsewhere, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). When Jesus returns, the whole world of naturalists, and skeptics, and false religions, will admit that they had no excuse for rejecting Jesus as the resurrected Christ.[10]

32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked.

Nothing new there. Mockers are easy to come by.

But others said, “We will hear you again about this.”

Even though this was a new message, and identified the accountability that their “unknown god” was really the most known and knowable God of all, and was accompanied by the usual mocking of the skeptics, some people heard something in this message that made them want to know more. Yes, there are still such people around today. The gospel will find them.

33 So Paul went out from their midst. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.

This is the way of history since the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. Some mock, others are curious, and still others join because they believe what they hear.

It is also significant that, once Paul had shared the good news of the gospel with these people, he “went out from their midst.” This helps to put to rest the notion that Jesus wants his leaders to keep flogging a dead horse in the hope it will come to life. Paul knew that the power of God was in “the word of the cross”,[11] so he preached about Jesus and the resurrection so everyone had the opportunity to hear God’s invitation into eternal life.

My aim in writing my blog is to look for people who will join in Jesus’ name and believe the glorious message of Jesus’ death and resurrection. As we marvel at all the inter-relatedness in the universe around us, down to the inner workings of cells and molecules, we also see the inter-relatedness of the Book God has given, and the impossibly complex message of redemption.

While some see using the Bible as proof of God’s existence as circular reasoning, others (like me), see it as irrefutable evidence that the God who is spirit made a way to communicate with creatures bound up in space, time, and matter, so that the sheer complexity of history, and testimony, and prophecy, and fulfillment, and doctrine, are woven together in such a way that no collection of men (especially spread out over a period of fifteen centuries), could fabricate so many details into so many fulfillments.

The heavens continue to declare the glory of God in his creation,[12] and God’s Book continues to explain him to us in the finest of details. I know I will never stop the world from promoting its unknown god of naturalism. I am simply looking for those who feel the eternity in their hearts recognizing the voice of Jesus their Creator and Shepherd calling them home to the eternal love of their heavenly Father.

© 2016 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] The whole episode is recorded in Acts 17:16-34
[2] John 14:6
[3] Both “Christ” in the Greek, and “Messiah” in the Hebrew, mean “anointed one”. These titles belong to the one God anointed, or commissioned, for the work of salvation he promised through the Prophets.
[4] In I Corinthians 9:19-23, Paul detailed how he adjusted his way of relating to whomever he was addressing, but with the common aim of winning people to Christ so they could share in the blessing of salvation.
[5] John 1:29
[6] Matthew 11:28-30
[7] As Ravi Zacharias said of Richard Dawkins book, the God Delusion, (as best I recall) that he also could not believe in the god Richard Dawkins could not believe in. In other words, no Christian believes in the god Richard Dawkins keeps describing as the God of the Book, since Richard Dawkins’ god, and the God of the Book, are not the same person.
[8] SETI = Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. Of course, God’s intelligence is as extra-terrestrial as we can get! However, it is very sad that evolutionists and atheists are looking for signals from space that would have an orderliness to them that indicates intelligence, while denouncing all the orderliness of creation as proof of the supreme intelligence of God our Creator.
[9] Ecclesiastes 3:11
[10] In fact, Jesus said that the nations would mourn when they saw him returning (Matthew 24:29-31), and John described the horrifying way that people would call on the rocks and mountains to cover them when they see the look of God’s wrath in the face of Jesus Christ ( Revelation 6:12-17).
[11] I Corinthians 1:18
[12] Psalm 19:1

Friday, April 22, 2016

Bible Study: “The Spirit’s Work in Sealing Our Salvation”

In this study, we consider the place of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives when we become children of God through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. As always, this is not presented as a tool that will work by itself, but as a source of encouragement for each of us to seek God through his word and prayer, asking that we may know our Heavenly Father better today than we have ever known him before.

This study follows the pattern of considering the place and importance of each word or phrase, but with an added focus. For each emphasized section, consider it through these three observations:

Point: What is the main point that this word or phrase adds to the message?

Problem: What problems do you or others experience in relation to this truth?

Provision: What has God provided to solve our problems in order to experience his truth?

Again, I present this as something that was helpful to me one particular morning. I will also present my own “completed” study for your encouragement when I am finished and post the link in the footnote below.[1] However, I hope you will first do this on your own to see what stands out to you. Cut and paste the study into your word-processor and enjoy the prayer journaling!

13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1)

13 In him




13 …you also,




13 …when you heard the word of truth,




13 …the gospel of your salvation,




13 …and believed in him,




13 …were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,




14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance




14 …until we acquire possession of it,




14 ….to the praise of his glory.




Application (for yourself, and what you would think of sharing with others):

1.  What stood out most as something God was speaking to you about through this Scripture?

2.  What were you convicted about as something that God is doing in you through the Holy Spirit’s ministry of applying his word to your life?

3.  What do you need to do to put into practice what God is saying to you through his word, and to join him in what he is doing?

© 2016 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] Look for link here when posted.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Changing Our Boasting

This morning I felt a wonderful assurance of my salvation. It came as I was praying about the glory of God in the eternal relationships of the Triune. I found myself marveling in wonder at what the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were like in their eternal natures, and eternal relationships in the Godhead, and what it was like for them to want to display their glory through creating something.

As I pondered these things, I found a sense of thanksgiving rising up within me, and a sudden conclusion that, because eternal life is to know God,[1] one evidence of our eternal life is that we understand and know God.

Which brought me to return to this glorious expression from God’s word:

Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”[2]

God’s word calls us to stop boasting (trusting) in what makes sense to our sarks[3] (“his wisdom”), what makes sense for us to do in our own strength (“his might”), or what makes sense to what we think we can afford (“his riches”). We must change our boast to the fact that we understand and know Yahweh, and that he delights to practice steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth.

As God weaves so many things together, I can see how an appreciation of God’s glorious completeness and perfection prior to creation helps us understand him. What he does in our world is an expression of who he is in himself, not who we decide he is based on what he does for us.

At the same time, the redemptive work of Christ, revealed in the gospel, invites us to know God. It is the most personal invitation to relationship the world has ever known, and it remains open to all who will come to God through faith in his Son.  

Since many church-going people struggle with deep sarky thoughts that contradict the revelations of God’s Book, here is an illustration of the contrast between what we are able to think in our sarks (flesh), and how we are able to know God through his Spirit:

Sarky Lies
Spiritual Truth
God can’t love me the way his word says he loves me
Yahweh delights to practice steadfast love in the earth
God is unjust in his handling of things that have happened to me
Yahweh delights to practice justice in the earth
What God wants to do in my life is unrighteous of him
Yahweh delights to practice righteousness in the earth

As I’m sure we know, the “sarky lies” column is never true, but it destroys relationship with God and his people when we believe such things. It is no wonder Paul says, “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”[4]

Considering these things makes me realize that when we speak against God (as is happening in so many churches these days), we are glorifying our sarks as the authority on God rather than glorifying God as the authority on himself. That is definitely not something we need to outgrow, but something we can be free of today!

When I looked up the verse above, another stood out to me in the search:

“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,
    “and my servant whom I have chosen,
that you may know and believe me
    and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
    nor shall there be any after me.
I, I am the Lord,
    and besides me there is no savior.[5]

What stands out is the reasons God gives for why we who believe in Jesus Christ are his chosen ones.

Reason one: that you may KNOW me.

Reason two: that you may BELIEVE me.

Reason three: that you may UNDERSTAND that I am he.

Again, let us see this in contrast:

In the Sark
In the Spirit
The natural person cannot know God
Our new hearts long to know God better every day than we have ever known him before
The natural person cannot believe God
Our new hearts believe God with a sense of absolute confidence because everything about him is supreme over everything in the world, the flesh, and the devil
The natural person cannot understand that God is who his Book says he is
Our new hearts are willing to suffer and die for our association with Jesus because we have come to understand that Jesus is “he”

These passages I have shared from God’s Book should give us a strong sense that God is addressing something in our lives that needs teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.[6] The more honestly we admit what God and his word are saying to us, the more openly we can submit to whatever the Holy Spirit is doing in our lives to conform us to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ.

At the same time, these Scriptures give us a good indication of things God is doing in us, and in our church gatherings. There is no doubt he will be working in every Christian, and in every church, to switch our dependence from ourselves to the Holy Spirit. There will likely be something specific that comes to mind that we know must change in order for us to join God in his work. Again, the more honestly we admit what God is working on, the more deliberately we can join him in his work.

Since God’s word so clearly reveals his will that we understand him, know him, believe in him, and follow him, each of us will have a testimony at the end of the day whether we resisted the Spirit, or kept in step with whatever the Spirit is doing. God wins the debate on which makes the most sense to our new hearts.

© 2016 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] John 17:3
[2] Jeremiah 9:23-24
[3] The Greek word “sarx” which is transliterated as “sark”, and translated as “flesh”.
[4] Romans 8:6
[5] Isaiah 43:10-11
[6] II Timothy 3:16-17

Considerations: Faith that Triumphs Over Opponents

Faith residing in the human heart is the only state of being that honestly reflects the relationship between God and his child.

Pride does not reflect the relationship between God and his child because it shows that the child has no honest appreciation of the majestic glory of his Father.

Wallowing in regret does not reflect the relationship between God and his child because it exposes the child’s lack of understanding of the riches of God’s glorious grace as revealed in the redemptive accomplishments of our Lord Jesus Christ.

No, it is faith alone that responds to the majestic glory of God with the humility of a child in the care of his Father, and to the riches of God’s glorious grace with a confident appreciation that all is well with his soul. 

© 2016 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

Considerations: God Made You vs Goo-to-you

In one part of God’s Book, where he is describing the people who are his, he describes them like this:

“everyone who is called by my name,whom I created for my glory,whom I formed and made.”
(Isaiah 43:7)

Some who hold to a branch of the goo-to-you evolutionary religion concede that God must have been involved in helping evolution along.

However, God specifically states in his Book something quite opposite. Not only did he not help evolution do the amazing work of creation, but neither did evolution help him!

Rather, he “created” for his glory. There is no glory to God’s creative genius if all he is doing is helping evolution produce the vast and complex universe we live in.

When it comes to the humanity that keeps trying to figure out life in a distinctive way that does not belong to animals (because we were created in God’s image and likeness, of course), God states things very personally. In identifying the unique place of those people who are called by his name, he says, that he personally “formed and made” them (this is described right in the second chapter of God’s Book!).

There is no way we can mesh what God wrote in his Book with the teachings of the evolutionary goo-to-you religion.

And, I’ll let you in on a little secret: the evolutionary religion is wrong. Yes, scientifically, philosophically, religiously, factually, wrong.

The question then remains: are you one of the “everyone” who is called by his name?

© 2016 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

Friday, April 15, 2016

Bible Study ~ Freedom in Christ is Freedom from the Law (Galatians 5:16-26)

In this study of God’s Book, the focus is on the freedom God’s children have in Christ, by the Holy Spirit. Of particular notice is the freedom God has given us from the law. Every child of God must know why our freedom from the law gives us freedom in the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ.

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

A.  What does God say will happen to everyone who walks by his Spirit?

B.  What has God done to make sure we can do this? (Note A: I’ve included a verse from Romans 5 at the end of this study to help you with this question.)

C.  Who decides whether the promise of this verse will happen in our lives?

17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (Galatians 5)

A.  What is always true about the desires of the flesh (sark)?

B.  What is always true about the desires of the Holy Spirit?

C.  What is the flesh’s aim in pitting it’s desires against the Spirit?

D.  How well is this working in your life?

18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (Galatians 5)

A.  Since the conflict is between the flesh and the Spirit, why did Paul say that those who are led by the Spirit “are not under the law”, rather than saying that they “are not under the flesh”? (Note B: I’ve included a passage from Romans 7 at the end of this study if you don’t know the answer to this question.)

B.  What does Paul mean by a life that is “led by the Spirit”?

C.  How do we get this Spirit-led life? (Note C: I have included a passage from Romans 8 at the end of this study to help you with the answer to this question.)

D.  How would you describe your life in relation to the Spirit-led life?

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. (Galatians 5)

A.  How much have you seen that this list of works of the flesh are “evident”?

B.  What does it add to the picture when Paul concludes, “and things like these”?

C.  How evident are the works of the flesh in your life, family, church?

21 I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5)

A.  How important are these things to Paul since he is doubling up his previous warning?

B.  What is the real life consequence for those “who do such things”?

C.  What does it mean to you that God wants those who do inherit the kingdom of God to live differently from those who do not inherit the kingdom of God?

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5)

A.  If these qualities are the “fruit of the Spirit”, what do we need in our lives in order to bear this fruit?

B.  In reference to Paul’s earlier expression that, “if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (vs 18), what do you think he means here by emphasizing that “against such things there is no law”?

C.  How fruitful is your life in the Spirit when measured by this list of Christlike qualities?

24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5)

A.  What does Paul say has already happened to “those who belong to Christ Jesus” that gives us the decided advantage in living by the Spirit instead of by the flesh?

B.  How does this passage from Romans 6 help us appreciate what this verse means? 

1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6)

C.  How does your experience compare to a life in which someone has “crucified the flesh with its passions and desires”?

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5)

A.  What is the necessary expectation of everyone who professes to have come into the kingdom of God by repenting and believing in the gospel?

B.  What does the “let us” tell us about who is responsible to make sure this happens?

C.  Since this is an exhortation of God’s word (calling us to do what is written), what are you going to do to respond in obedient faith?

26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5)

A.  How does the “let us not” give us the necessary counterpart to the “let us” of the previous verse?

B.  How would each of these fleshly qualities damage the church’s efforts to be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3)?

·         Becoming conceited:

·         Provoking one another:

·         Envying one another:

C.  How would keeping in step with the Spirit ensure that we do not carry out these passions and desires of the flesh?


A.  What is the central thing you hear God speaking to you about through this passage from his Book?

B.  What do you see God doing in you, and around you, through his word and through his Spirit?

C.  What are some specific things you need to do to join God in his work?

Note A: Romans 5:5

5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5)

Note B: Romans 7:4-6

4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.[1]

Note C: Romans 8:1-11

1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. [2]

© 2016 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] The whole context of Romans 7:1-25 is very important to understanding how it is our freedom from the law that gives us victory over the flesh.
[2] The whole context of Romans 8:1-39 gives the wonderful context of the victorious Christian life, and clearly explains how we experience the life of freedom through the indwelling Holy Spirit.