Hebrews: The Supremacy of Christ (Hebrews 2:1-18)

Source: Hebrews: The Supremacy of Christ (Hebrews 2:1-18)

Join us for our new Bible study series in the book of Hebrews. The YouTube video of the study is attached to this post. If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to the Bellator Christi channel on YouTube. During the live studies, you will be given an opportunity to ask any question pertaining to the Bible study, or on any area of theology and apologetics. The recorded podcast is also available for your listening pleasure. In addition, a PDF file of the PPT accompanying the study is added for your personal use.

To open the PDF file, click the link to the right: Lesson 2_Heb. 2.1-18_Should You Listen to Jesus

About the Host

Brian G. Chilton is the founder of BellatorChristi.com, the host of The Bellator Christi Podcast, and the author of the Layman’s Manual on Christian Apologetics. He received his Master of Divinity in Theology from Liberty University (with high distinction); his Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Gardner-Webb University (with honors); and received certification in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Brian is enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Theology and Apologetics at Liberty University and is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Evangelical Philosophical Society. Brian has been in the ministry for nearly 20 years and serves as the Senior Pastor of Westfield Baptist Church in northwestern North Carolina.

https://www.amazon.com/Laymans-Manual-Christian-Apologetics-Essentials/dp/1532697104

 

© 2020. BellatorChristi.com.

Facing an Unknown Future with a Known God

Source: Facing an Unknown Future with a Known God

By: Brian G. Chilton | September 14, 2020

 

This past Sunday, my family and I stopped by a local antique store after church. We were there for no reason but to check out their merchandise to see, as my wife says, “if there was anything that we couldn’t live without.” As we navigated our way through the aisles of the store, a sign appeared before me with a message that I needed to hear. The sign read, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” I have heard people asking God for a sign. I have asked God for the same. Nevertheless, God gave me a literal sign for the moment.

As a bit of a backdrop, my family and I had just attended the last service where I served as pastor. I am about to embark on a new phase of ministry. As such, our lives are in a state of transition. Change is often difficult for us all. Yet this sign served as a reminder that God is not only over all places, God is over time itself which means that we can trust the knowable God with our unknown future. Here are a few reasons why we can believe the sign’s statement.

God is Transcendent. God’s transcendence indicates that God is not restricted by creation. This is something that truly baffles my mind. As a stargazer, I found myself lying on the ground last night looking up at the stars. I found myself lost in the beauty of the Large Magellanic Cloud band of the Milky Way galaxy. I was in awe of the intensity of the glow of Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars. And then it hit me. As immense as the universe is with its numerous stars, planets, and galaxies; the universe and all its parts still do not compare to the transcendent majesty of God. God is not restricted by creation, but rather creation is subdued under the transcendent Creator’s authority. With this in mind, believers can face an unknown future with the confidence that God is able to come through for them in ways that no other being has the capacity to do. God’s sphere of transcendence places him on a level that no other being could attain. God is the highest and greatest of all possible beings.

God is Omnipresent. Omnipresence is God’s attribute that describes God’s ability to be in all places at all times. God is not restricted by space. Therefore, God can always transcend locations enabling God to be near to all people. Paul had this idea in mind when he said to the Athenians that God is “not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27). God reveals that he fills both heaven and earth through his prophet Jeremiah, saying, “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth” (Jer. 23:24)? While we may not know what tomorrow brings, we can face the future with confidence knowing that God’s presence is always with us.

God is Omnitemporal. God’s omnitemporality indicates that God is the Lord of time. Isaiah writes, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never becomes faint or weary; there is no limit to his understanding” (Isa. 40:28). Alan Padgett contends that God is the Lord of time. Time flows from the being of God. Padgett writes, “To say that God is the Lord of time would include the fact that he is not limited by any amount of time, either in the actions he can perform or the length of his life. While humans can fear the passage of time, because it brings them closer to the end of their life, God is everliving. He cannot die, and has nothing to fear from the future” (Padgett, GEATNOT, 123). Since God is the everliving and everlasting God, then God’s children have nothing to fear from the unknown future because God is already in the future, as such. Even death cannot intimidate the believer as the everliving God has granted eternal life to those who trust in him.

God is Omnisapient. Finally, God is omnisapient. Omnisapience refers to the all-wise God. Omnisapience (all-wisdom) differs from omniscience (all-knowledge) in the sense that while knowledge understands certain data, wisdom knows how to make the best decisions with the data available. Wisdom references good decision making. God, being the all-wise God, makes the best decisions for our lives even when those decisions do not make sense to us. Since God is the only being who is self-existent, self-sustaining, omnipresent, and transcendent; God then has access to information that none of us could ever possess. God is love (1 John 4:8). As such, God desires the very best for us, especially God’s children. Therefore, people can trust their lives and their future to the all-wise God.

I am certain that I am not the only person who faces uncertainty in life. With society in turmoil and the world facing a pandemic, nearly everyone has been impacted by the tensions of uncertainty. Nevertheless, we do not need to fret if we trust God. Oswald Chambers rightly holds that our fears arise when we place our trust in humanity or in our own abilities. Chambers notes,

“Our Lord trusted no man; yet He was never suspicious, never bitter, never in despair about any man because He put God first in trust; He trusted absolutely in what God’s grace could do for any man. If I put my trust in human beings first, I will end in despairing everyone; I will become bitter, because I have insisted on man being what no man can ever be—absolutely right. Never trust anything but the grace of God in yourself or in anyone else” (Chambers, MUFHH, 152). Rather than placing your trust in your abilities or the abilities of other people, trust God with your future. While our future may be unknown to us, the future is known by the known God.

 

Sources

Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest. The Classic Edition. Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour, 1935.

 

Padgett, Alan G. God, Eternity, and the Nature of Time. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 1992.

 

About the Author

 

Brian G. Chilton is the founder of BellatorChristi.com, the host of The Bellator Christi Podcast, and the author of the Layman’s Manual on Christian Apologetics. He received his Master of Divinity in Theology from Liberty University (with high distinction); his Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Gardner-Webb University (with honors); and received certification in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Brian is enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Theology and Apologetics at Liberty University and is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Evangelical Philosophical Society. Brian formerly served as a pastor for nearly 20 years.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Laymans-Manual-Christian-Apologetics-Essentials/dp/1532697104

 

© 2020. BellatorChristi.com.

Modern Pelagianism and Its Failure to Recognize the Power of God

Source: Modern Pelagianism and Its Failure to Recognize the Power of God

By: Brian G. Chilton | August 17, 2020

Pelagius was a fifth-century British monk who caused a stir during his time. He denied the doctrine of original sin. As such, he believed that no one was truly impacted by sin, but rather chose to do evil rather than good by one’s own free will. Concerning salvation, Pelagius believed that Christ served as a salvific example. Therefore, God’s grace was not necessary to save a person and neither was the atoning work of the cross. Rather, a person was saved by choosing God. Pelagius held to a doctrine that focused on man rather than God. A derivative of the doctrine is found in what is called semi-Pelagianism, a belief that God bestows grace after a person chooses God. Many have erroneously credited Wesleyanism and Arminianism as adhering to this viewpoint. However, both John Wesley and Jacob Arminius held that God’s grace first moved on a person before the person was given the opportunity to embrace or reject that grace. Semi-Pelagianism held that the person first chose God before God’s grace was granted. There is a nuanced difference between the two perspectives. While the nuance seems small, it holds major implications. Nonetheless, I digress.

Augustine of Hippo confronted Pelagius’s beliefs and noted that the grace of God was essential to overcome a person’s sinful inclinations. While still accepting the person’s freedom of the will, he noted that the grace of God was necessary to bring about a person’s salvation. Rather than emphasizing humanity as did Pelagius, Augustine rested the emphasis on God. In matters of trouble, God’s grace was needed. Augustine writes, “Therefore, also, does grace aid good men in the midst of present calamities, so that they are enabled to endure them with a constancy proportioned to their faith” (Augustine, City of God 22.22.4, 501). Even in matters of adopting a true philosophy, God’s grace was required. Augustine notes, “So that even those against whom we are disputing have been compelled to acknowledge, in some fashion, that the grace of God is necessary for the acquisition, not, indeed, of any philosophy, but of the true philosophy” (Augustine, City of God 22.22.4, 501). In Augustinian thought, God’s grace was necessary to overcome the sinful inclinations of human beings. As such, salvation was truly God’s gracious gift to humanity.

The Church recognized the errors of Pelagianism and condemned the view as heretical in 415 at the synod of Jerusalem. It is important to note that despite their differences, Augustine always treated Pelagius with the utmost respect, something from which modern believers could learn. (For a fuller treatment on the issue, see Wyatt Graham’s article “Augustine’s Surprising Treatment of Pelagius” at the Gospel Coalition. It can be found at https://ca.thegospelcoalition.org/columns/detrinitate/augustines-surprising-treatment-of-pelagius/.)

Far too often, people think that they must do things or accomplish certain tasks to earn God’s favor. They think that their efforts politically, socially, or otherwise determine their standing with God, siding with the idea that a person must be x, y, or z to be a Christian. However, such thinking illustrates the adoption of a modern form of the Pelagian heresy. The apostle Paul reminds us, “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do” (Eph. 2:8–10). Relish in the grace that God has afforded to you. Allow that grace to shine in your life so that others can see Jesus in you. Finally, trust in God’s sovereign plan. For me, the latter is the most difficult, as faith does not come easy to this cynical mind.

                                                       Source

Augustine of Hippo. “The City of God.” In St. Augustine’s City of God and Christian Doctrine. A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church. Volume Two. Edited by Philip Schaff. Translated by Marcus Dods. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1887.

                                             About the Author

Brian G. Chilton is the founder of BellatorChristi.com, the host of The Bellator Christi Podcast, and the author of the Layman’s Manual on Christian Apologetics. He received his Master of Divinity in Theology from Liberty University (with high distinction); his Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Gardner-Webb University (with honors); and received certification in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Brian is enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Theology and Apologetics at Liberty University and is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Evangelical Philosophical Society. Brian has been in the ministry for nearly 20 years and serves as the Senior Pastor of Westfield Baptist Church in northwestern North Carolina.

https://www.amazon.com/Laymans-Manual-Christian-Apologetics-Essentials/dp/1532697104

 

© 2020. BellatorChristi.com.

Committing Yourself to God Amid the Uncertainties of Life

Source: Committing Yourself to God Amid the Uncertainties of Life

By: Brian G. Chilton | August 10, 2020

 

Today’s topic requires a bit of Scripture at the outset. First, consider Joshua’s final address to the Hebrews before dying at the age of 110 as found in Joshua 24.

11 “‘You then crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. Jericho’s citizens—as well as the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hethites, Girgashites, Hivites, and Jebusites—fought against you, but I handed them over to you. 12 I sent hornets ahead of you, and they drove out the two Amorite kings before you. It was not by your sword or bow. 13 I gave you a land you did not labor for, and cities you did not build, though you live in them; you are eating from vineyards and olive groves you did not plant.’

14 “Therefore, fear the Lord and worship him in sincerity and truth. Get rid of the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and worship the Lord. 15 But if it doesn’t please you to worship the Lord, choose for yourselves today: Which will you worship—the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living? As for me and my family, we will worship the Lord” (Josh. 24:11-15).

 

Joshua recounted the ways that God had been with the people even amid some of the most troubling times one could experience. However, he realized that God orchestrated everything to bring the people to the place that God desired them to be. In the case of Joshua, we see a man looking back at the past. Unsure of what the future would bring, he declares his commitment to the Lord despite what life may bring.

Fast-forward 633 years and you will find a prophet by the name of Habakkuk. Habukkuk’s name should serve as an indicator of his commitment to God as the name means “to ardently embrace.” God revealed to Habakkuk that difficult days lie ahead for his nation. Even still, Habakkuk writes the following:

Lord, I have heard the report about you;

Lord, I stand in awe of your deeds.

Revive your work in these years;

make it known in these years.

In your wrath remember mercy!

God comes from Teman,

the Holy One from Mount Paran.

Selah

His splendor covers the heavens,

and the earth is full of his praise.

His brilliance is like light;

rays are flashing from his hand.

This is where his power is hidden.

Plague goes before him,

and pestilence follows in his steps.

He stands and shakes the earth;

he looks and startles the nations.

The age-old mountains break apart;

the ancient hills sink down.

His pathways are ancient …

17 Though the fig tree does not bud

and there is no fruit on the vines,

though the olive crop fails

and the fields produce no food,

though the flocks disappear from the pen

and there are no herds in the stalls,

18 yet I will celebrate in the Lord;

I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!

19 The Lord my Lord is my strength;

he makes my feet like those of a deer

and enables me to walk on mountain heights! (Hab. 3:2-6, 17-19).

Joshua was a man who looked back with God’s work with faith in how God had orchestrated all things together for his people. Habakkuk was a prophet who looked ahead with great anticipation with faith in how God would orchestrate all things together.

2020 has been a wild and crazy year. Let’s recap. We have experienced a pandemic, murder hornets, hurricanes that hit the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico, unbelievable lightning storms, Australian wild brushfires on January 2, a Presidential impeachment trial and acquittal, schools to be forced completely online, the closure of professional sports leagues and movie theaters, businesses forced to close, and now we experienced the largest earthquake to hit the eastern seaboard in 100 years, not to mention the tremors that are occurring in various parts of the North American continent. Please, for the love of all that’s holy, no one ask, “What’s next?”

On the one hand, I think the Lord is trying to get everyone’s attention. A lot of these occurrences would be strange enough by themselves, but the combination of all these things together in the same year is quite telling. I believe God is trying to get everyone’s attention. Perhaps, like Joshua, God is revealing those areas of life that are more important than other areas that aren’t. Perhaps, God is challenging our idolatry by taking away those things we hold most dear.

On the other hand, I stand with Joshua and Habakkuk. This year has delivered a little bit of everything. The future is perhaps more uncertain now than it was when we first entered this year. However, when things are uncertain, that is when our faith and dependence in God shines the brightest. Though the world should crumble and pass away, and though none go with me; as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Can you say the same?

 

Unless otherwise noted, all quoted Scripture comes from the Christian Standard Bible (Nashville: Holman, 2017).

About the Author

 

Brian G. Chilton is the founder of BellatorChristi.com, the host of The Bellator Christi Podcast, and the author of the Layman’s Manual on Christian Apologetics. He received his Master of Divinity in Theology from Liberty University (with high distinction); his Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Gardner-Webb University (with honors); and received certification in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Brian is enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Theology and Apologetics at Liberty University and is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Evangelical Philosophical Society. Brian has been in the ministry for nearly 20 years and serves as the Senior Pastor of Westfield Baptist Church in northwestern North Carolina.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Laymans-Manual-Christian-Apologetics-Essentials/dp/1532697104

 

© 2020. BellatorChristi.com.

Socrates and Jesus on Allegiances and the Unseen Realm

Source: Socrates and Jesus on Allegiances and the Unseen Realm

By: Brian G. Chilton | August 3, 2020

 

You have probably heard the saying, “Great minds think alike.” I think there is more truth to the claim that we might imagine. The ancient philosopher Socrates had a conversation with Plato’s eldest brother Glaucon about transcendent truths known as Forms. Forms are metaphysical truths that exist independently of personal opinions and the physical world. His conversation with Glaucon is recorded in Plato’s book The Republic. Socrates explains Forms and the importance of pursuing them in his Allegory of the Cave (Republic 514a-517a).

The Allegory tells the story of a group of men held captive since their youth. They are held in a cave and tied down so that the only thing they can see is the shadows cast on the cave’s wall by their captors playing in front of a fire. This life is the only life these men know. All their knowledge of the world stems from the shadow puppets cast for their entertainment pleasure. But, Socrates inquires, what if one of the captives was released and allowed to see the world outside of the cave? The light from the sun would hurt his eyes. His mind would have trouble comprehending the beauty of the exterior world that is so new to him. The birds, the sky, the animals of the field, and the beauty of flowers and trees would overwhelm his imagination. Socrates further questions Glaucon by asking, what if the man wanted to free his brothers in the cave? What if he were to return to tell of the wondrous things that he had seen? Would his brothers not think him to be a madman and eventually kill him? Socrates holds that this is the response of individuals living only with a mindset on the Particulars (the physical attributes of the world) to those who observe the beauty of the Forms (the unseen realm).

Jesus told a parable somewhat comparable to Socrates’s called the Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen or the Parable of the Bad Tenants in Matthew 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12; and Luke 20:9-19. The parable is about a group of tenant farmers who gave a portion of their harvest to the owner for payment for the use of the landowner’s property. The harvest was part of their rental agreement. Rather than paying the agreed harvest, the wicked tenant farmers beat and killed the servants sent by the landowner to acquire payment. Last of all, they killed the son thinking that they would steal his inheritance. Finally, the landowner came after the tenant farmers and destroyed those wicked men. While the two parables differ substantially, they hold three common truth claims.

The Reality of the Unseen Realm. Both Socrates and Jesus point to the reality of the unseen realm. The unseen realm of Forms is clearly in view in the Allegory of the Cave. However, the same is in view in the Parable of the Wicked Tenants. The landowner represents God who is unseen in the parable. At God’s command, the servants and son are sent, and the wicked tenants are punished. The reality of God’s existence at least to some degree verifies unseen transcendent truths. This is not to say that Jesus defends the Platonic Forms, but it does draw a similarity between the two stories, although the philosophical implications cannot be pressed too far. Both stories show that there is more to the world than just the physical reality one sees.

The Advocates Proclaiming the Truths of the Unseen Realm. In both stories, the authors hold that servants of the unseen truths are often ridiculed and abused. This is true of the freedman in Socrates’s Allegory of the Cave and the servants and son in Jesus’s Parable of the Wicked Tenants. It is also fascinating to consider that both Socrates and Jesus were executed by the authorities because of their teachings. Jesus’s execution was far more torturous and viler. Nonetheless, both Jesus and Socrates asked questions. As one professor pointed out to me, it can sometimes be dangerous to ask too many questions.

The Choice Between God and the World. Socrates, like Jesus, was likely a monotheist living in a polytheistic world, a henotheist at the very least. By his own admonition, Socrates claims to have encountered the one true God. Regardless of the case, Socrates challenges his readers to make a choice to either live in a world of shadows by only looking to the physical world, or to step out of the cave and experience the transcendent, metaphysical truths of the divine. In like manner, Jesus noted that it was impossible to serve both God and the world (Matt. 6:24), a point that Paul addresses in Colossians 3:23-24. For whom are you working? What are you seeking? Everyone must make a choice. A non-choice is a choice. Whatever masters your heart, masters your life.

Amid the uncertainties of life, we all must ask ourselves where our allegiances lie. If you decide to work for the world, then know that it is of no profit to gain the whole world and lose your soul (Matt. 16:26). If you are only living for the here and now, then you are missing out on a larger portion of reality. Reality is like an iceberg. The part we see is minuscule compared to the realm we cannot see. If you choose to serve God, your life will not necessarily become easier. In some ways, it may become more difficult. But you will find that your life holds greater purpose and value if you do.

 

About the Author

Brian G. Chilton is the founder of BellatorChristi.com, the host of The Bellator Christi Podcast, and the author of the Layman’s Manual on Christian Apologetics. He received his Master of Divinity in Theology from Liberty University (with high distinction); his Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Gardner-Webb University (with honors); and received certification in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Brian is enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Theology and Apologetics at Liberty University and is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Evangelical Philosophical Society. Brian has been in the ministry for nearly 20 years and serves as the Senior Pastor of Westfield Baptist Church in northwestern North Carolina.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Laymans-Manual-Christian-Apologetics-Essentials/dp/1532697104

 

© 2020. BellatorChristi.com.

“God is Light:” What Does This Mean?

Source: “God is Light:” What Does This Mean?

By: Brian G. Chilton | July 28, 2020

The concept of light and dark, and their contrast, are found throughout the pages of Scripture. From the opening verses of Genesis, one finds God speaking light into the void of darkness (Gen. 1:3). Over time, God manifested himself to humanity often using light and fire to indicate his presence. God is often identified with light. Isaiah writes, “The Lord will be your everlasting light, and our God will be your glory” (Isa. 60:19). The psalmist notes, “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear” (Ps. 27:1). God is robed with light (Ps. 104:2) and light dwells with him (Dan. 2:22). John, more explicitly, notes, “God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in him” (1 John 1:5). While God is light, his presence is not restricted from knowing dark areas. The psalmist pines, “Even the darkness is not dark to you. The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to you” (Ps. 139:12). Thus, God’s light and his insight penetrates and overcomes even the darkest of areas.

Jesus picks up on this theme and teaches two profound truths. First, he holds that he is light, saying, “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). As such, Jesus shows that he embodies God’s revelation and his goodness. Second, Jesus also instructs his followers, noting, “You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matt. 5:14). The disciples were to be evangelists sharing the gospel and spreading the love of God to the world. I used to think that believers are mere reflections of the light of God, much as the moon reflects the light of the sun. While I still think there is some merit to the claim, an understanding of the Spirit’s work in our lives illustrates the idea that the light shines from the inworking of the Spirit in our lives. As such, we are like torches that flame the light of God in the areas where God places us. More on that to come.

What does it mean to say that “God is light?” Obviously, with the emphasis of divine light that has already been noted in Scripture, God’s light must hold some weighty meaning. Concerning the light of God, three things can be said of God’s light.

God’s Light is Revelatory. First, God’s light reveals the truth. God exposes things as they truly are. On the one hand, God’s light reveals the truth about reality. The psalmist notes that God’s truthful direction is a “lamp for my feet and a light on my path” (Ps. 119:105). As such, God provides wise instruction on how to handle life’s most difficult circumstances. In addition, the Spirit of God, or the “Spirit of truth” (John 14:17), sheds his light on the believer by guiding them into the truth (John 16:12-14).

On the other hand, the light of God reveals wrong behaviors by exposing sin. The Spirit also is known to shedding divine light onto individuals by convicting the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-11). Jesus said that it was for this reason that those who loved evil abhorred the light of God, for they feared that their deeds would be exposed (John 3:20). Ironically, the light of God will eventually expose every deed anyhow, regardless of whether one tries to hide their misdeeds or not.

God’s Light is Relational. God’s light often refers to divine holiness. Worded another way, God’s light reveals that he is the absolute good. As previously noted, this was part of John’s teaching concerning the light of God in his first letter. God’s holiness is viewed by Paul to be an “unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see” (1 Tim. 6:16). The unapproachability of God was overcome by the work of Christ on the cross by making people righteous so that they can boldly approach the throne of grace (Heb. 4:16). Because of the work of Christ, people can now shine the light of God in a world of darkness.

God’s Light is Rousing. By rousing, I do not infer the idea of a crowd enamored by a well-performed theatrical play. Rather, the term refers here to the giving of life. The symbol of light often referred to life in contrast to sorrow, adversity, or death (Ellis, NBD, 690). To see God’s light was to live (Job 3:16; Ps. 49:19). To walk in God’s light is to walk in the “light of life” (Ps. 56:24; Job 33:30). Light to the eyes is considered the gift of physical life that God grants to all (Prov. 29:13). As such, it is unsurprising that God’s presence is shown to be an effervescent, radiant light (Rev. 1:9-20; 4:1-11).

The concept of God’s light did not stem from Hellenistic thought but was deeply rooted in Judaism. Such is evidenced in the usages of light in the OT and the Qumran texts (e.g., War of the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness). Could it be that some sages of philosophy (i.e., Socrates and Plato) and the writers of the inspired Word both caught a glimpse of God’s transcendent light? Even if such is true, the full revelation of God would be found in his Word.

Nonetheless, I come now to the application of the article. I am sure you have heard the song This Little Light of Mine. The lyrics read, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.” God often places us in dark situations and circumstances so that our light will shine brighter. Our world is becoming a dark place to reside. Not only do we have a pandemic, but we also have national uprisings and cities in complete turmoil. Why has God decided to place us in this time and place? While there have certainly been darker times in world history, God has placed us in such a time as this to allow our lights to shine for God’s glory. Things may not be easy for a while. However, the light of God filling us and guiding us will truly be a “lamp unto our feet and a light unto our paths” (Ps. 119:105).

No matter what you may face today, this week, this month, or the remainder of this year; decide today that you will let the light of God shine through your life. Don’t be overcome by the darkness of the world, but rather overcome the darkness with the light of God’s glory. Then, we can all sing together, “Won’t let Satan blow it out, I’m gonna let it shine. Won’t let Satan blow it out, I’m gonna let it shine. Won’t let Satan blow it out, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!”

 

Ellis, E. E. “Light,” New Bible Dictionary. Edited by D. R. W. Wood, et. al. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1996.

 

About the Author

 

Brian G. Chilton is the founder of BellatorChristi.com, the host of The Bellator Christi Podcast, and the author of the Layman’s Manual on Christian Apologetics. He received his Master of Divinity in Theology from Liberty University (with high distinction); his Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Gardner-Webb University (with honors); and received certification in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Brian is enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Theology and Apologetics at Liberty University and is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Evangelical Philosophical Society. Brian has been in the ministry for nearly 20 years and serves as the Senior Pastor of Westfield Baptist Church in northwestern North Carolina.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Laymans-Manual-Christian-Apologetics-Essentials/dp/1532697104

 

© 2020. BellatorChristi.com.

Don’t Lose the Person When Winning an Argument

Source: Don’t Lose the Person When Winning an Argument

By: Brian G. Chilton | July 20, 2020

1 Peter 3:15 is a classic prooftext for the defender of the faith, otherwise known as the Christian apologist. Peter writes, “But in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3:15). While this verse is imperative to the modern Christian, we must also remember the next verse where Peter states, “Yet do this with gentleness and reverence, keeping a clear conscience, so that when you are accused, those who disparage your good conduct in Christ will be put to shame” (1 Pet. 3:16). Peter emphasizes how a Christian does apologetics as much as he stresses the need for apologetics.

Many times, a person may win an argument but lose the person. When presenting a case for the faith, we should never become haughty, seeking to appear intelligent or to demonstrate our superiority. Such attempts will eventually lose the person with whom you are speaking. Rather, we should seek to build friendships and bonds with others, especially those who differ from our point of view. This coincides with Paul’s teaching to the 1 Corinthians where he says, “If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing” (1 Cor. 15:2). You can be the smartest person in the world and still remain useless to the kingdom if you don’t have a loving spirit.

In your dealings this week, ask yourself if you are engaging people with a heart of love. If not, you might better go back to the drawing board and remember that it was love that created you, love that saved you, and love that grants you eternal life. Going back to Paul, he noted that there exist three things “faith, hope, and love—but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13). When engaging people in evangelism, ask yourself if your purpose is to win the person over to Christ or simply to win the argument at hand.

In my observations of online debates and forums, we as Christians have the habit of becoming nasty in our dialogues with others. Would we have come to faith if someone spoke to us the way we speak to others? Diplomacy and tact go a long way in building bridges and establishing friendships. In our conversations, it is important that we don’t lose the person in our attempts to win an argument. 1 Peter 3:16 balances 1 Peter 3:15 and is just as necessary. If we don’t have love, we don’t have anything.

 

About the Author

Brian G. Chilton is the founder of BellatorChristi.com, the host of The Bellator Christi Podcast, and the author of the Layman’s Manual on Christian Apologetics. He received his Master of Divinity in Theology from Liberty University (with high distinction); his Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Gardner-Webb University (with honors); and received certification in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Brian is enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Theology and Apologetics at Liberty University and is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Evangelical Philosophical Society. Brian has been in the ministry for nearly 20 years and serves as the Senior Pastor of Westfield Baptist Church in northwestern North Carolina.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Laymans-Manual-Christian-Apologetics-Essentials/dp/1532697104

 

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