The Enemy of Faith (It's Not What You Think)

The greatest barrier to faith isn't doubt.


Did you know I write a monthly article for my email subscribers?

This month we're talking about the primary obstacle to faith in our lives. Here's how the article begins:

If you were to ask someone on the street what the opposite of faith is, he or she might say it is doubt.

I disagree.

In fact, I think doubt is a healthy part of the faith equation. Those who never doubt the religious advice of others end up brainwashed and burned to death in a Waco, Texas compound, or protesting military funerals and holding signs proclaiming, "God hates gays."

God fashioned human beings in his own image. Part of that image is the ability to reason. No other terrestrial creatures have such abilities.

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So if doubt isn't the opposite of faith what is?

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Until next time,

Andrew

No, Moses Wasn't Jewish Part II: What Your Sunday School Teacher Never Told You About God's Tender Love

If you were with us for part one of this article, you'll know that the term Hebrew came from Noah's great great great grandson Eber whose forefathers settled in Mesopotamia after the Ark landed in Ararat. You'll also know that Israelites are descendants of Jacob (also called Israel). Today we'll explore the transition from Israelite to Jew.


Daiga Ellaby


The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23


Multiple years ago—I say multiple because I'm embarrassed how many it has been—I began work on an as yet unpublished book. In my research and draft writing process, I came to a realization that I can't unrealize. Even if I wanted to forget, the distinction has stuck in my mind like a piece of chewing gum to the sole of a sneaker.

I'm referring to the misapplication of the terms Jew and Jewish to peoples that predate their existence.

I'm warning you though, if you continue reading, you'll see these misnomers stick out like sore thumbs in Bible Studies, books, sermons, and the like.

Wasn't Jesus Always Perfect?

Hebrews 2:10 tells us God made Jesus "perfect through suffering."

But wasn't Jesus always perfect? Why did God need to perfect him?

If you're new here, you might be interested to know I write a monthly article for my email subscribers. This month we're discussing this very question, "Wasn't Jesus always perfect?" And we'd love for you to join us.

Here's a snippet of the article:


We can answer this question fairly easily when we recognize we might be thinking of the word "perfect" in a different way than the author of Hebrews presents it here.

When I hear or read perfect I understand it as flawless or without fault. As one definition reads:

Being entirely without fault or defect; corresponding to an ideal standard or abstract concept. [2]

From a Christian perspective we might speak of moral perfection, of being sinless.

In all of these regards, yes, Jesus was perfect. He never sinned. He was never at fault. And, being the incarnation of God, he corresponded in every way to the ideal standard.

In New Testament Greek, the word which most closely equates to this concept is probably amomos. The word is a compound one beginning with a which means not or without, and mómos meaning blame or blemish.

So this combination yields blameless or spotless.

Such is a great descriptor of Jesus, and, in fact, Peter uses the word to compare Jesus's death with that of a spotless lamb. Just as Mosaic Law dictated the sacrifice of an unblemished lamb, Jesus lived a perfect (amomos) life and therefore could serve as the final sacrifice for sins.[3]

Nevertheless Hebrews 2:10 does not use amomos when discussing how God made Jesus perfect. Instead, the passage uses a different word.


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See you next month!

No, Moses Wasn't Jewish: One Thing All Christians Should Know about God's Plan for Humanity

The mountain, Ararat, on which Noah's Ark came to rest after the flood. Photo by Mariam Grigoryan.

At the risk of seeming prideful and petty (mostly because I am both of these things, and I fear you'll learn the truth about me), I will tell the following story.

At the office some time ago my boss told a tale of a near-unbelievable construction feat, namely a crew building an entire house from slab to gable in mere hours. Being myself quite ignorant of the construction process (as such is not my specialty) I asked a question.

"How long does it take for the foundation to dry once it's poured?"

Why Didn't God Create a Sinless Reality from the Beginning?


Simon Matzinger

Did you know I write a monthly article for email subscribers?

(If you'd like to join the club, it's totally free. See below to sign up.)

This month we discussed a deep philosophical question I'm probably unqualified to answer. Nevertheless, I took a stab at it and even included an awkward middle school story. What could be better?

Here's a snippet:


If, as I asserted last month, we humans will be sinless yet have free will intact when we go to heaven, why didn't God simply create such a reality from the beginning?
The short answer is this: It's not possible. 
Whoa, are you saying something is not possible for God? 
To achieve the end result God desires, yes, it's not possible. Hear me out. 
The first fact we have to establish is that created beings cannot be perfect. I know what you're thinking, Didn't we establish last month that we will become perfect? Yes, but here I mean perfect in the way God is perfect. That is, omniscient, omnipotent, and so on. 
To put it another way: any created being must be a non god. 
Why? Because by definition, God is not created. 
Why is it important to establish this fact?


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