A Heart at Peace

The wisdom that comes from God is first of all pure, then peaceful, gentle, and easy to please.
JAMES 3:17

The heart of Jesus was pure. The Savior was adored by thousands, yet content to live a simple life. He was cared for by women (Luke 8:1–3), yet never accused of lustful thoughts; scorned by his own creation, but willing to forgive them before they even requested his mercy. Peter, who traveled with Jesus for three and a half years, described him as a “lamb, unblemished and spotless” (1 Pet. 1:19 NASB). After spending the same amount of time with Jesus, John concluded, “And in him is no sin” (1 John 3:5
NIV).

Jesus’ heart was peaceful. The disciples fretted over the need to feed the thousands, but not Jesus. He thanked God for the problem. The disciples shouted for fear in the storm, but not Jesus. He slept through it. Peter drew his sword to fight the soldiers, but not Jesus. He lifted his hand to heal. His heart was at peace.

Just Like Jesus

WHAT SIZE IS GOD?

“For God all things are possible.”
MATTHEW 19:26

Nature is God’s workshop. The sky is his resume. The universe is his calling card. You want to know who God is? See what he has done. You want to know his power? Take a look at his creation. Curious about his strength? Pay a visit to his home address: 1 Billion Starry Sky Avenue.

He is untainted by the atmosphere of sin, unbridled by the time line of history, unhindered by the weariness of the body.

What controls you doesn’t control him. What troubles you doesn’t trouble him. What fatigues you doesn’t fatigue him. Is an eagle disturbed by traffic? No, he rises above it. Is the whale perturbed by a hurricane? Of course not, he plunges beneath it. Is the lion flustered by the mouse standing directly in his way? No, he steps over it.

How much more is God able to soar above, plunge beneath, and step over the troubles of the earth!

from THE GREAT HOUSE OF GOD

Judgment in the New Testament

“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9)

Many critics have decried what they contend is the Bible’s inconsistency.The Old Testament is a harsh indictment of human sin and warning of coming divine judgment, they say , whereas the New Testament stresses God’s grace and love.

The fact is, however, that the Old Testament contains numerous testimonies of the love and merciful lovingkindness of God (e.g., Psalm 1 03 ). Similarly , the most striking and fearsome warnings and prophecies of judgment to come are found in the New Testament. The above text for the day is an example, with its revelation of the coming eternal separation from God of all who reject Christ and His saving gospel. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself uttered more warnings of future hell than any one else recorded in either testament. He said, for example, that those “On the left hand” will be commanded to “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 2 5:4 1 ). Jude spoke of ungodly men “to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 1 3 ).

And, of course, the very last book of the New Testament, written by John, the disciple who stressed God’s love more than any other writer, focuses especially and in detail on the coming period of God’s judgment on a rebellious world. The climax of these warnings is Revelation 2 0:1 5: “Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” God’s grace and full forgiveness are free to all who receive Christ, but certain judgment will come to all who refuse

by Henry Morris, Ph.D.

Justice for the Righteous

“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain. . . And she again bare his brother Abel.” (Genesis 4:1-2)

Genesis 4 details the interaction between these brothers. Abel was righteous (4:4), and Cain was wicked (4:5-7). Consequentially, Cain murdered Abel (4:8). God interrogated Cain, and Cain feigned ignorance (4:9), though God saw the entire event (4:10). At this point, the story takes an unexpected twist.

The rest of the narrative (Genesis 4:11-15) sets up a dilemma, which is never resolved in the rest of the Old Testament. Abel’s murder demanded justice–either vindication for him or capital punishment for Cain. Yet neither occurred. Cain lived, and God made no mention of Abel’s fate either in this passage or in the rest of the Old Testament.

The words of Genesis 4 make this dilemma all the more acute. Though Abel does not personally appear in the rest of the Old Testament, the word for his name does: “Vanity of vanities . . . all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). The word for “vanity” in Hebrew is the same as the word used for “Abel.” Thus, both the details of the passage and the word used for Abel’s name raise the question: Was Abel’s life lived in vain?

In the New Testament, the writer of Hebrews holds up Abel as an exemplary model of living by faith (Hebrews 11:4). How can Abel’s short-lived life encourage us to walk by faith?

The answer is found in two stunning events that take place between Abel’s life and the writing of the book of Hebrews: Christ’s death and resurrection. Like Abel, Christ was murdered. Unlike Abel, He rose again! Now we, with Abel, can be justified together. God did not forget justice. Instead, He delayed it, “having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:40).

The account of Cain and Abel sets up a tension to point us to the glory of Christ.

by Nathaniel T. Jeanson, Ph.D.