Old Testament rules of holiness had a vital either/or quality about them, unlike more tolerant religious rules of the present day. These older rules paint a portrait of a holy and just God, one whose will cannot be dismissed and whose word cannot be ignored. On one occasion that illustrates the stringency of these rules, a bystander tried to save the ark of the covenant from a fall, but in so doing violated the rule of holiness and lost his life (2 Samuel 6:6-7). Continue reading WHY WOULD PEOPLE DIE IF THEY GOT TOO CLOSE TO GOD?
The Israelites found themselves in the midst of a Canaanite culture that was awash in pagan immorality. These heathen nations had merged spirituality with sensuality to create a very alluring and very dangerous combination. To keep His people from joining this around-the-clock celebration of perversion, God decreed severe punishment for those guilty of sexual sin. Continue reading WHY WERE PENALTIES FOR SEXUAL SIN SO SEVERE?
John’s use of the “Word” to describe Jesus was a startling new application of a popular expression. The term was used widely by theologians and philosophers, both Jews and Greeks. It described the agent of creation (Psalm 33:6); God’s message to His people through the prophets (Hosea 1:2); and God’s law, His standard of holiness (Psalm 119:11). In Greek philosophy, “the Word” was the principle of reason that governed the world. Continue reading IN WHAT WAY WAS JESUS THE “WORD”?
Repentance describes the process of sorrow and regret over sin that causes a person to turn away from sin and turn to God. Like most human experiences, repentance comes in true and false versions. True repentance affects the deep inner springs of the human heart; false repentance settles for a change in behavior unconnected to any internal transformation. In the Bible, people often would tear their clothes as a sign of repentance. Continue reading WHAT IS REPENTANCE? “JOEL 2:13”