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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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    • The creation of the angels

      What day do you think the angels were created? Based on Job 38:7 it seems they were created before the creation of the earth. I also wonder what day they sinned.

      in Creation Ex Nihilo

    • Trump Admin Backs Creation of New Ukrainian Orthodox Church

      The Trump administration has expressed its support for the recent decision by the Orthodox Church to create an independent church for the Ukraine, despite opposition from the Russian Church. View the full article

      in Christian Current Events

    • Why the New Creation Matters to Your Creativity

      Creativity has always been and will always be a tool for building paradise. God made us creative to spread the beauty of Eden to the rest of the world through our creative work. The problem started when sin got in the way. We stopped building God’s paradise and started to build our own. The issue isn’t that we’re using our creativity to create paradise. It’s that we are building the wrong one. We’re using our creativity to build a dead-end road, one that ends in our own selfish gain and ingrown purposes. God calls us to a better way. He shows us how to use our creativity to build an onramp to the King’s highway, the road to the new Jerusalem. We Need a World That Lasts When we disconnect our creativity from God’s new creation, it sends shockwaves through every part of our lives. If there is no future hope, our creativity either becomes shortsighted, or it tries to fill the void left by God’s promises on its own. When we reject God’s future, we will manipulate our creativity to make another one that we try to convince ourselves will somehow overshadow his. As a result, everything about us, including our creative work, becomes locked into this world. In an attempt to be good-natured, many of us will diligently use our creativity to try to change the world and overcome the prejudices and injustices mounting up against us. Yet notice how even this work assumes God. Where do you think your impulse for justice came from, and who do you think will execute perfect and final justice when it counts? Further, for there to be lasting change, we need a world that lasts. If there is no eternity, then why does justice matter? Let’s just eat and drink, for tomorrow we die (1 Cor. 15:32). Even as we try to sweep God and his righteousness out the front door of our lives, we smuggle in assumptions about him through the back with our attempts to make the world righteous and good through our creativity. This exposes an important truth: the justice so much of our creativity was meant to work toward is eschatological and divinely determined. Justice only matters if our future matters, and our future only matters if God directs the world to his righteous ends, overcoming evil once for all while making all things new. Not only will we try to make a future with our creativity; we will try to make creativity our future. This happens all the time. When we are so enamored with the beauty of the world, we forget that God has offered us something better. It’s like staring at a campfire you made. Sure, it’s beautiful to watch the flames dance for a time. But don’t let it keep you from looking to the night sky. God has sprinkled it with stars that produce light and flame far superior to your fire. When the beauty of the world captures us for too long, we cut ourselves off from God’s bigger world and his vision for our creativity. And when this happens, we make our lives about making beautiful things for themselves. This becomes our future. The only things worthy of our time and our lives, then, are our creative acts—things beautiful in the world’s eyes. Without a future, we settle for what’s in front of our eyes and what we produce with our hands. And when all we have are the small trinkets of our own making, we are cut off from the eternal beauty that awaits in the new heavens and new earth. Drawbacks of Futureless Creativity But our art cannot hold up the weight of our needs, assumptions, desires, and purpose. It was never meant to. When we try to replace God’s future promises with our own creativity, we end up breaking our souls. We no longer know why we create. At best, our creativity becomes self-serving. We may talk a good game in in the public square, but when we’re alone, we can’t help but feel empty and hollow. That’s when we notice that we’re not creating for God anymore. We’re creating just to keep up appearances, to assuage the critic, to fool the masses, and the keep the money or the fame or the machine going. Our creativity has begun to re-create us, and when we’re not on stage, we don’t like being around the person who is always with us in the green room. And yet we continue to climb up on the rickety pedestal. We keep pushing our agenda, all while forgetting the reason we started doing this in the first place. In the silence, we question our art, our motives, our reasons, and our identity. But we can’t stop now. Our followers wouldn’t want us to, and our “creativity” won’t let us. That’s the drawback of a futureless creativity. It helps us become who we want to be or what the world demands of us, but it sacrifices our God-given identity in the end. We play for the crowds or for our ego, but not for our God. Our Art Is Not the World’s Hope This is why the new creation is so important. God’s future promises teach us that the hope of the world is not our art. It is God dwelling with humanity in the new heaven and new earth, where tears, death, mourning, crying, and pain shall be no more (Rev. 21:1–4). This stops your compass of purpose, worth, and identity from spinning out of control. It gives a due north that you can point your creativity toward. Your creativity isn’t your future; God is. And this is a very good thing. First, it gives us a proper perspective. God alone is worthy. He created the world, created you, created your creativity, re-created you, re-created your creativity, and re-created the world. He gets first chair. Actually the only chair. And second, it means your creativity doesn’t have to hold up the world. God already does. Rest defines our experience in the new creation. Not just a quick-Sunday-nap type of rest but deep, anxiety-destroying, peace-inducing rest. And this new-creation rest has broken into this world in many ways. There is great peace knowing that your next creative piece does not determine the trajectory of the world. It never could, and you wouldn’t want it to. The hope of the new creation should fuel your creativity with God’s perspective and rest. It gives your work a proper beginning and a perfect ending. It looks back to what God started, what he re-created, and what he promises is to come. Related: Why Your Creativity Matters to Christ View the full article

      in Christian Current Events

    • Our "new creation" is in Christ and in heaven.

      Traditionally speaking Christianity has taught that the believer goes to heaven when he dies. However there are some within the Christian church that reject this view. In this ongoing debate both sides claim the truth and both have their favorite texts. The traditionalist loves to quote 2 Corinthians 5:8 and those in the minority, Ecclesiastes 9:5. Who is right? I say we need to look at this issue from the light of the gospel.   First, let me quote Ecclesiastes 9:5   “For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing.”   Is there in consciousness in death? Not according to this passage, but some will take issue with this clear statement. They will misquote 2 Corinthians 5:8 by stating that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Here’s what it actually states: “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”   Note that the believer’s preference is to be away from his earthly body and to be home with the Lord. This idea is repeated in verse 2:  "For in this (body) we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven”.  And verse 4 repeats this eagerness again:  “We do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by (eternal) life.” And again, In Romans 8:23 ,Paul states this same idea again: "We ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body."   Nowhere in the context of 2 Corinthians 5:1-8 does it imply that the deceased believer is in heaven with the Lord. In fact this idea contradicts the truth as it is “in Christ”; the very gospel itself. How so? Let’s go to 2 Corinthians 5:1   "For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have (present tense) a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."  In other words the believer simultaneously has a glorified body in heaven now while in his earthy body here on earth. Here’s proof: “For He (God the Father) rescued us from the domain of darkness (this world under Satan), and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13,14 NASB   Question: Are you, a descendant of fallen Adam, in heaven? Of course not! Then what was transferred to heaven?   “God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…” Ephesians 2:4-6 NASB   When God the Father raised Christ early Sunday morning He also raised “us” up with Him. And when Christ ascended into heaven we were taken there too! How is this possible? To answer this question requires a knowledge of the gospel.   When speaking with His Father, Christ as the Son of God said, “Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, but a body You have prepared for Me” (see Hebrews 10:5) Keep in mind that as God, Christ is Spirit (see John 4:24). At the incarnation God the Father united the Divinity of Christ to our fallen body or humanity that need redeeming. Thus Christ as God “became flesh, and dwelt among us”. (See John 1:14) For thirty something years Christ as the Son of Man perfectly obeyed His Father’s law (see John 15:10). This fulfilled the positive demands of God’s law “obey and live”.   But because Christ as God had assumed our fallen flesh, Christ as the Son of Man had to take our curse to legally save us from “under the curse of the law”. (See Galatians 3:13) Therefore when the Son of Man died all mankind died in Him. (See 2 Corinthians 5:14). That’s why Paul states that “you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ” (Romans 7:4). Why? Because God’s law demanded your death and legally speaking our Adamic life “was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away”. (See Romans 6:6).   Before the resurrection the disciples knew “Christ according to the flesh, yet now (after the resurrection) we know Him in this way no longer.” (2 Corinthians 5:16) What happened? Our Adamic life died forever on the cross. In the resurrection God the Father made us spiritually alive together with Christ. Thus God the Father raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” Ephesians 2:4-6. Thus “in Christ” we have a “new creation”! (See 2 Corinthians 5:17)   Conclusion: Christ is called “the last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45). In Him we have a “new creation”. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ (the last Adam) all shall be made alive (future tense). But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His (2nd) coming.” (1 Corinthians 15:22,23)   Clearly the believer does not receive immortality, the reward of faith, at his death. The believer’s reward is at the 2nd coming of Christ. “Flesh and blood (our Adamic life) cannot inherit the kingdom of God”! “We must be changed into His image. This will happen “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (1 Corinthians 15:50-53)

      in Bible Study

    • New Creation 3

      New Creation 3     The essence of, John 14:20, is to pinpoint vividly the purpose of the Day of Pentecost. Once again we hear Jesus explaining the purpose of the Holy Spirit by what would happen on that day. In John 14:20, Jesus focuses the entire plan of God to the believer receiving the Holy Spirit and anchors it all to the happenings on that day. Jesus says that on that day, the Day of Pentecost, the believer will know something.   Now here is where the new creation believer is demanding the true Gospel. Jesus did not just say the believer would receive something or the believer would receive power or the believer would become someone within himself. What He plainly says is that the believer will come to know something. It is so sad that so many who claim to experience a baptism have never come to this knowing.   But look further, Jesus said the thing believers would know is that as He was in the Father, so would they know that He was in them and that they were in Him. What a revolutionary statement, a statement that Satan has generally kept away from most believers. The modern Church has not really understood Pentecost and the Father’s purpose on that day. Jesus plainly says that the essence of the Pentecostal experience is a believer coming to the revelation that Christ is his only life.   The new creation believers will not be denied this part of the Gospel any longer. There is only one work of grace, the birthing of the Father. But the strategic ministry of the Holy Spirit is to make that birthing continuous and ever-growing. The Church, the true Church of Jesus Christ is a formidable weapon of God against the forces of Satan. In fact, I see the Church as the major force to perpetuate and make known the Word of God.   However, it is because of this that Satan’s major attack, aside from the individual believer, is against the Church. Satan works at causing division, bringing schisms, confusing the Word that is preached and, finally, making the Church a laughing stock. There is little wonder that there are probably more saints truly born again outside church buildings in America than inside them.   Notice that I said church buildings. Sad to say, many believers have come to believe that a building is the Church. In fact, so many are being deprived the true Gospel so much that, through the erroneous preaching of the day, buildings have become a spiritual criterion. Preacher after preacher has made a new building, or the next building to build the essence of the gospel.

      in Bible Study

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