Women Embracing Faith

Thinking Through the Bible

Living With Promise and Hope April 19, 2011

Filed under: Galatians — womenembracingfaith @ 5:56 am
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Read 5:13-6:10

Don’t you think most people would say they would like a life of freedom, hope, and promise? Paul’s defense of the gospel includes an appeal to these universal longings of us all. Justification by faith is, he wrote, a call to liberty. We are free from the necessity to prove we are good enough to make it to heaven. I am reminded of another old hymn, “Nothing to the cross I bring;simply to the cross I cling.” He urged these churches in Galatia to stand together on this freedom, and not allow anything to be added to the gospel. Otherwise, they are obligated to keep all the Old Testament laws perfectly and they will fail in that, and thus, lose their liberty. “Live like free men, not slaves,” he said.

All along he has reminded them of Jesus’s promise of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 3:14). They are to not only live like Issac, a free, rich man, but they are to live as children of the promise. They are to live as children of Abraham, even though none of them were Jewish. “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness” was both a promise and hope for them. “All other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand…” Christ is the Rock on which we stand. He give promise of righteousness and hope of eternal life. And now, as Christians, they had the additional promise that the Holy Spirit will encourage, enlighten, guide, and strengthen them (John 15:26-16:10).

But, wait. Now he gave them a warning:

Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word:’You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But, if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another (Galatians 5:13-15).

Ah…here is the rub. If they weren’t careful, they would go after these false teachers with a vengence, and instead of acting with love and kindness, they would “bite their heads off.” Then, people would take sides, provoke one another, envy others, and strife would be the order of the day. Things would quickly get out of hand. There was an orderly way to stand firm, Paul said. It was to not listen to those twisting the gospel, to realize how false teaching would spread, and to support scriptural teachers and share with them. After all, they were to live as people who had these promises of righteousness, eternal life, and help from the Holy Spirit. They were not slaves to their sinful desire to have their own way and pre-eminance over others. If they continued to live as free people who were led by the Holy Spirit to love others, they would see themselves acting in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness ….. (Galatians 5:22). And this would give them even more liberty, promise, and hope.


This passage is chiefly about life in the community of the local church. But, we can apply it to our family life as well. There is a sense of standing up for the gospel in our immediate and extended family. Of cultivating a climate of freedom to believe in the promises and hope of the Scripture–even if others disagree. But, always acting and speaking with gentleness, kindness, love, and, of course, self-control and putting up with one another. You are free to be led by the Spirit, to sow the seeds of spiritual things, instead of always tending to rivalries between children, divisions between in-laws, someone’s controlling the family by fits of anger or drunkenness, or even sexual immorality. God will give your spirit grace through His Spirit.

What would sowing spiritual seeds look like in your family? Could you regain a spirit of liberty and hope as you stand on the promises?

“The north wind brings forth rain, and a backbiting tongue, angry looks. It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife (Proverbs 25:23-24).

As Paul asserted with confidence, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers.”


This Year’s Introductions December 29, 2009

Filed under: introductions — womenembracingfaith @ 3:15 pm
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Isn’t it nice to meet new people?  Since I live in “paradise,”  my circle of acquaintances is always in flux.  People come here from all over the world.  It enriches us; gives a new perspective.

This year I’ve  introduced you to four people who can help as you think about the meaning of scripture.  That done, you can then apply it readily to your own circumstances and also stir up your love for God (and other people!)  You’ll be amazed at how this way of reading the Bible lifts your heart and makes your life so much more enjoyable.  First, get what it says right, then get it meaning, then apply it to how you think, act, do.  Lastly, let that meaning roll around in your mind until your awe and love for God wells up.  Then your love for others will spill over.  It is mind first, then will, then emotions. Never in reverse, or worse yet, skip the mind part! These guys can help you do it.  I can too!

Walter Chantry–editor of  Banner of Truth Magazine and author of several books.  He is short and to the point.  Almost crisp.  He gives you sweeping views of biblical truth while applying it with piercing accuracy.  Look him up at http://www.banneroftruth.org      or     http://www.cvbbs.com

Roger Ellsworth–pastor of Parkview Church in Jackson, Tn.  He has written more than 30 books which in simple language explain and apply scriptures verse by verse.  His explanations make you think; his applications stir your emotions.  Find his books at rogerellsworth.com            or cvbbs.com.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones–pastor of Westminister Chapel in London 1939-1968.  His sermons continue to be published and will help you understand the particular context and general biblical principles behind that portion of scripture.  Reading him changed my world-view and my life.  Access him at www. ml-j.org    or    http://www.cvbbs.com.

Ernest C. Reisinger–my pastor and mentor.  He was on the governing board of  Banner of  Truth from 1968-1984.  His books are available at http://www.cvbbs.com.  I helped him edit some of  them.  His gift was in spotting the potential for trouble and exposing it without flinching.  http://www.cvbbs.com   or     http://www.founders.org    are the best places to find him.

Now here’s the rub.  Introductions can lead to no where.  Sometimes new people move here who have their nose up in the air, (intent on looking down it), ready to change everything about our community.  They don’t like the food; they have more money to spend than we do; they think we are stupid, lazy, and uneducated!  Ten winters are about as long as they stay around.  No one really lets them in.

Pastors Reisinger, Chantry, Lloyd-Jones, and Ellsworth are not like that.  They all have pastoral hearts.  Let them into your circle of  friends. They will enrich your spiritual life.


Charity In All Virtues March 1, 2008

Filed under: applications,Uncategorized — womenembracingfaith @ 2:46 am
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Thinking through the Bible together and, especially seeking its relevance to life today, calls for a boundary. This boundary has been in Christian circles at least since the 1500’s; I heard about it from one of my favorite dead pastors who put it into practice all the time: “Unity in Essentials, Liberty in Non-Essentials, Charity in All.” Love is, of course, the tip-top of moral excellence. Love is patient, kind, and is not jealous, is not proud or arrogant either (I Corinthians 13). So in thinking about biblical applications, we should assert that when we disagree, patience, kindness, and humility still crown our relationships.

Of course, this is not so easy to pull off. We are to be of one mind in essentials, but what is essential? We are to give each other Christian liberty to disagree over non-essentials, but again, what are the biblical things that open-ended? These issues have to be worked out as we go along. The paramount thing to pull off is to love one another as we define essential and non-essential.

One essential seems to me to be agreement that the Bible is applicable to our lives today no matter where we live, our age, social standing or political preferences. Maybe I’m for green and you don’t even recycle but biblical spirituality means we still are kind, not jealous, and never arrogant.

I flourish in liberty. I dislike to be controlled. I relax in unity. Love shines amidst all moral excellence. Think about it. How does it fit into your life right now?