Tag Archives: judgment

Tell The Story of The Bible in One Minute Or Less

We can tell the story of the Bible in one minute or less. That may sound impossible, but it isn’t.

We begin where the Bible begins: creation. God made the heavens and the earth and everything in them. And his creation was good.

Next, we point out that God made people in his image. Every man, woman, boy and girl is made in God’s image and has incalculable value.

Here’s the bad news: humanity rebelled against God. Adam and Eve disobeyed him and all their descendants have, too. Because of our disobedience to God we live in a broken world full of injustice, suffering and death.

Here’s more bad news: God will punish all disobedience. He proved that with Noah’s Flood and his judgment against Sodom and Gomorrah.

Now for some good news: God promised a man named Abraham that through his descendant every nation would be blessed. Much of the Old Testament tells how God’s promise slowly unfolded in generation after generation of Abraham’s descendants, the Israelites.

God’s promises to Abraham and his descendants are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Jesus was born a descendant of Abraham, sent by God to offer himself as a sacrifice for sin so that all who trust in him can be forgiven and enjoy God’s eternal blessings.

God raised Jesus from the dead, showing that both sin and death have been defeated. Then God poured out his Holy Spirit on Jesus’ followers, the church, empowering them to live a new kind of life.

Now, through the church, God is proclaiming his message of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus. And soon, Jesus will return and take all those who belong to him to be with him forever.

So try it and see how long it takes. Use the stopwatch on your smartphone. It took me just over 50 seconds to speak through the version above.

We could alter the details of this presentation in a variety of ways, but the main thrust of the story is clear. God made us; we rebelled against him; he loves us enough to save us. So, each of us must decide whether we will accept his offer of salvation.

God has entrusted his story to us. We have the responsibility to be his messengers in the world today. And the world desperately needs the truth of God’s story.

What an honor it is to speak God’s truth. What a joy it is when we see someone respond with saving faith. Let’s tell God’s story!

May God’s empowering Presence inspire and enable us to tell his story boldly,

Brother Richard

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Equality Is Not Justice

Justice and equality are not the same. Equality implies that everyone, no matter who they are, no matter what they’ve done, should be treated exactly the same. Justice means everyone, no matter who they are, gets treated fairly. Everyone plays by the same set of rules.

If we are all to be equal, then jails and prisons are unacceptable. Criminals must be released and allowed to go free, otherwise, they are not equal. If we are to be just, however, then some people will forfeit their freedom by disobeying fair and just laws.

If we are to be equal, then competition is a curse. Every worker, no matter how many hours they work or what job they do, must receive the same annual salary. Every team in the NFL must get Super Bowl rings at the end of each season.

If we are to be just, then workers will receive fair wages based on their willingness to work and their abilities. If we are to be just, then competitive endeavors will have both winners and losers.

If we are all to be equal, then siblings should be allowed to marry each other. And men to marry men, women to marry women, marriages of three, or four, or whatever. If we are to be just, however, then we will place healthy and holy limits on who can and cannot marry.

If we are all to be equal, then children should be allowed to do all the same things as adults. I hope anyone will agree that this is a foolish statement, which demonstrates that absolute equality is a ludicrous notion. Justice and wisdom require proper limits.

Justice means that people require different treatment based on the facts. To treat a criminal like a law-abiding citizen would be foolish. To promote incest would be unwise. To treat children like adults would be dangerous. In fact, parents who treat their kids like adults may find themselves in legal trouble.

Equality is not automatically a virtue. To treat the weak exactly the same as the strong can be heartless. We build both stairways and ramps because we believe that people should be treated differently based on facts and circumstances. It is wrong to make some people use the stairs.

“Equal” has become an emotionally-charged term that is unfurled like a banner to rally public support for normalizing immoral and sinful behaviors. Sin is recast as a civil right and civil rights are redefined as equality. But true civil rights do not guarantee everyone equal treatment, they promise fair and just treatment.

The Bible calls for justice, but never insists on absolute equality. In fact, Scripture tells us that some people deserve special considerations. Widows, orphans, and aliens require extra help. God insists upon it.

The Bible says that some people have the right to take freedoms from others. The Bible says that some people have no right to marry. The Bible says that nobody has the right to pervert justice.

Using equality as a cover for immorality undermines justice. Any sinful behavior can be added to an endless list of supposed civil rights. Absolute equality as a guiding principle leads us further away from justice, not closer.

Not only does the Bible elevate justice above equality, God’s word also elevates mercy above judgment. More than simply judging sin and immorality, God’s desire is to demonstrate mercy and grace to the sinner. But without justice there is no mercy, no grace.

Only when we truly understand the justice and holiness of God can we appreciate his mercy and grace. If we try to replace God’s justice with mistaken notions about equality, then we obscure and even erase God’s standards. Rejection of God’s standards leaves us ignorant of our need for God’s grace.

Without a healthy understanding of God’s grace, we find Jesus dying on the cross not as our Savior but as a fool. Who would die for a world that has no need for a Savior?

Despite all the attempts to replace justice with equality, the sinfulness of humanity is still blatantly evident. And great sin requires a great salvation. Praise God we have a great salvation through our great Savior Jesus Christ!

Let us not demand human equality. Instead, let us cry out for God’s grace.

May God’s Spirit give us wisdom and compassion,

Brother Richard Foster

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Noah’s Proclamation

Noah must have been one of the most tenacious and single-minded people who ever walked the face of the earth. He lived at a time when God was all but forgotten; a time when wicked living was standard operating procedure everywhere. But Noah stood strong for what was right even though the whole world was against him. He was willing to speak the truth in a world that did not want to hear. Surely his life would have been easier had he simply kept his mouth shut, but he did not.

And Noah did more than speak the truth; he lived the truth. Noah’s faith was so strong that he not only worked to support his family, he also worked to build an ark according to God’s design and for God’s purpose. He was devoted to doing work that would please God and lead others to faith and deliverance.

So Noah proclaimed righteousness in a world of wickedness and he built an ark for safety in the day of God’s judgment. He did all this despite the apathy of his generation. How did he do it? How did Noah stand for truth and build for God under such difficult conditions?

One reason that Noah had such a strong faith was his conviction that he had received a word from the Lord. He had no app on his iPhone with multiple translations of the Bible and word-search capabilities. He had no TV preachers, Sunday school teachers, or conference speakers, but he knew that God had spoken to him.

And Noah was willing to live his life based on the word which he had received from God. Even though God’s word to Noah meant that he would be going against the strong tide of public opinion, Noah obeyed. Pleasing God was more important to Noah than getting along with everyone else.

Like Noah, we have a word from the Lord. Like Noah, we are called to speak for God and to build for God in a world that is unfriendly to God. And like Noah, we can choose to be silent and get along with the world, or we can decide to speak up and get the approval of our Lord.

Noah went through some tough times, but God was with him. In the end he experienced a great victory. God is calling us to proclaim his truth and to build his kingdom in a rebellious world. Going against the flow is not easy, but our Lord promises to be with us. And he promises that we will share in his ultimate triumph.

May the love of Christ compel us to say and do all that our Lord desires,

Brother Richard Foster, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church, Camden, AR

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