Contrasts in God’s Character, How can we help people understand that the God of the Old Testament is the same God in the Christ of the New Testament?
The same God who banished Adam & Eve from the garden and cursed Cain, Gen 4:11, is still the essence of love itself. The Old Testament records many instances when the God of Abraham sent countless of his children to their deaths in their rebellion, facing His wrath. But the prophet Micah proclaims “There is no other God like you! You forgive sin and pardon the rebellion of those who remain among your people. You do not remain angry forever, but delight in showing loyal love” Mic. 7:18. In order to help people understand that God in Jesus Christ is the same God as the God of Israel, is to clarify how Christ promised His wrathful judgment to come. The wrath of God in Old Testament times was temporary, but now we have been warned by Christ, that God’s wrath will become permanent! It is simply our responsibility to accept that God is God and his timing is not ours. Jesus said, “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish”, Luke 13:3-5
Discerning Between Spirit & Soul. Why does the Bible describe our humanity as being three-fold?
There are so many synonyms in the english language for the complexity of human behavior and our sentient being, that we are often confused about how to use all the different words. Hebrews 4:12 proclaims that there is a difference between the human soul and the human spirit and that the word of God discerns between the two parts of our humanity, which is tri-fold according to Paul in 1st Thessalonians 5:23. Both words “soul” which is PSUCHE (Mt. 12:18) in Greek, and “spirit” (Mt. 3:11) which is PNEUMA in Greek, are used interchangeably to refer to God and humanity. However in reference to humanity, soul usually refers to our life-force and mindset. Spirit usually refers to our motive & emotions. One peculiar and unique trait of the New Testament Greek language is that only once is the word “PHANTASMA” used, and it is referring to what our imagination thinks is a visible ghost. Whereas, spirits and souls are never referred to as visible, regardless of their being evil or good.
Why do we struggle with forgiving ourselves when God forgives us?
Both factors of time and guilt, have a big role to play in being able to feel like we are forgiven when God’s word declares that God forgives us. This may be why the apostle Peter declared “times of refreshing will come”, Acts 3:19. Note the future tense plural word “times”. Perhaps one way of us understanding our own forgiveness is to have a keen sense of the difference in deliberate sin, and unintentional sin. “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries”. Hebrews 10:26-27. It is healthy to remember that “If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life–to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death. 1st John 5:16-17