Showing posts from March, 2019

Finding the Grace You Need

My friend Mike Endicott, is an Anglican priest who has a healing ministry headquartered in Wales, which was commissioned by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. Mike emphasizes that Jesus Christ still heals, just as he did when he walked the earth, and that just as it was then, so now his healing is entirely a work of grace. Like salvation, it cannot be earned. Knowing that I have been sick Mike recently sent an email containing a scripture and then a comment. I want to share them here: The scripture: “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.”    Ephesians 2:4-5 (NIV) The comment is by Samuel Rutherford, who wrote about Grace almost 400 years ago! (Rutherford was a Scottish Presbyterian pastor who helped write the Westminster Confession of Faith.) “Every man thinketh he is rich enough in grace, till he take out his pur

Faith Versus Feeling

This is a column based on what I believe parts of scripture say, not based on your or my feelings or experience. I am arguing that we should consider taking the promises and affirmations of God’s word prayerfully and seriously, even when it is confusing and we are not experiencing the fulfillment of particular promises. My long-time friend Brad Long, who is the head of a Presbyterian and Reformed renewal organization, once made a comment I have not forgotten about “the fruit of the Spirit” and “the gifts of the Spirit” in the Bible. Many but not all of the gifts of the Spirit (I Corinthians 12:8-10, 12:28, and other passages) tend to be miraculous or supernatural. They include gifts such as healing, prophecy, tongues, interpretation of tongues, word of knowledge, etc. (According to Paul, only a minority of people in a church might have any one particular gift, but every Christian has been given at least one spiritual gift.) Brad pointed out that some of the more “supernatural”

Receiving the Power of the Holy Spirit

Recently I was writing to a friend (who is studying the Bible) about the difference between believing that we are saved (put right with God) by our works and believing that we are saved (put right with God) by God’s free gift (given in Jesus Christ) which we receive through child-like trust and by giving our lives over to God. Paul makes the argument for the second option (justification by grace through faith) in numerous places, including in the letter to the Galatians. But if you read what he wrote there, something surprising appears which many modern-day churchgoers may not understand. He says to his hearers: now when you received the Holy Spirit did you receive the Holy Spirit by doing good works or did you receive the Spirit by hearing the word of God and believing?! (Galatians 3:2) (“Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ