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Quotes by Sam Storms


The Holy Spirit is a Divine Person

1. What is said of God is said of the Spirit (Ac. 5:3-4).

2. The Holy Spirit is identified with Yahweh (Ac. 7:51, quoting Ps. 78:17,21; Heb. 10:15-17, quoting Jer. 31:33-34).

3. The activity of God = the activity of the Holy Spirit (e.g., in creation, conversion, etc.).

4. “God said” = “the Spirit said” (Isa. 6:9 / Acts 28:25).

5. We are the “temple of God because the Holy Spirit dwells in us” (Eph. 2:22; 1 Cor. 6:19). If the Holy Spirit is not God, how could we properly be called the temple of God simply because the Spirit indwells us?

6. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the only unforgivable sin (Mt. 12:31; Mk. 3:28).


Attributes/Actions of deity are ascribed to the Spirit.

1. Omniscience (Isa. 40:13-14; 1 Cor. 2:10-11).

2. Omnipresence (Psm. 139:7-8).

3. Omnipotence (as seen in the Spirit’s role in creation [Gen. 1], providence [Psm. 104:30], regeneration, etc.; see especially Zech. 4:6).

4. Eternality (Heb. 9:14).

5. Holiness (used of the Spirit only twice in OT: Psm. 51:11 and Isa. 63:10).


The names of the Spirit suggest (require?) His deity.

1. Spirit of glory (1 Pt. 4:14).

2. Spirit of grace (Heb. 10:29).

3. Spirit of life (Rom. 8:2).

4. Spirit of truth (John 14:16; 15:26; 16:13).

5. Spirit of wisdom and revelation (Eph. 1:17).


Traditional Interpretations of the Image of God:

1. Capacity for reason and choice.

2. Moral and spiritual accountability to God.

3. Man’s reason.

4. The soul (i.e., the mind and heart).

5. Mental capacities of memory, understanding, and will.

6. Dominion over creation.

7. Capacity for relationship and social interaction both with God and other humans.

8. Man’s original righteousness.


Special significance of the creation of male and female in the image of God:

1. It is only after God has created man that He says of all He has made: it is “very good” (1:31). This is not simply because God’s creative task is finished but because mankind is the pinnacle of all He has made.

2. The creation of man is introduced differently than other products of creative work, with the personal and deliberative expression, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.”

3. The one God who creates man as male and female deliberately uses plural references of himself (e.g., “Let Us,” “Our image,” “Our likeness”) as the creator of singular “man” who is plural “male and female.”

4. The “image of God” is stated three times in 1:26-27 in relation to man as male and female but never in relation to any other part of creation (are angels created in the image of God?).

5. The special term for God’s unique creative action, bara, is used three times in 1:27 for the creation of man in His image as male and female.

6. Man is given a place of dominion over all other created beings on the earth, thus indicating the higher authority and priority of man in God’s created design.

7. Only the creation of man as male and female is expanded and portrayed in detail as recorded in Gen. 2.


Grace does not demonize our desires nor destroy them nor lead us to deny them. Grace is the work of the Holy Spirit in transforming our desires so that knowing Jesus becomes sweeter than illicit sex, sweeter than money and what it can buy, sweeter than every fruitless joy. Grace is God satisfying our souls with His Son so that we’re ruined for anything else!


When it comes to satisfying our spiritual appetites, there is no such thing as excess. There are no restraints placed on us by God. There are no rules of temperance or laws requiring moderation or boundaries beyond which we cannot go in seeking to enjoy Him. We need never pause to inquire whether we’ve crossed a line or become overindulgent. You need never fear feeling too good about God.


Sin comes to us, taps us on the shoulder or tugs at our shirttail and whispers in our ear: “You deserve better than what God has provided. He’s holding out on you. You deserve to feel good about yourself. I’ll affirm you in a way no one else can. Why live in misery any longer? Come to me. I’ll give you a sense of power you’ve never known before. I’ll expand your influence. I’ll fill your heart with a sense of accomplishment. I’ll nourish your soul. You’ve never had a physical rush like the one I’ve got in store for you. Obeying God is boring. It’s a pain. He’s always telling you to do stuff that’s difficult and burdensome and inconvenient or ordering you to forsake the few things that really bring you happiness. Come on. You’ve only got one life. Obedience is ugly. My way is fun. My way feels good.”


The focus of Satan’s efforts is always the same: to deceive us into believing that the passing pleasures of sin are more satisfying than obedience.


Temptation is often strong because it comes in the form of an enticement to satisfy legitimate needs through illegitimate means.


Temptation, in and of itself, is not sin. This is critically important, especially for those who suffer from an overly sensitive and tender conscience. Jesus was repeatedly tempted (Heb. 2:17-18; 4:15; Mt. 4), but he was sinless. We must resist thinking that we are sub-Christian or sub-spiritual simply because we are frequently tempted. It was the great reformer Martin Luther who first said, “You can’t prevent the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.” His point is that a temptation only becomes a sin when you acquiesce to it, as it were “fondle” it and “enjoy” it.


Whereas God tests our faith, he never tempts it (James 1:13). The purpose of divine testing is to sanctify and strengthen. The purpose of satanic tempting is to deceive and destroy. Evil neither exists in the heart of God nor is He its author. It most assuredly exists in our hearts and we are its author.


Confront and conquer temptation at the beginning, not at the end. In other words, the best and most effective tactic against temptation is to deal with it from a position of strength, before it has an opportunity to weaken you. Better to take steps up front to eliminate temptation altogether (if possible), than to deal with it later when your defenses are down.


The strength of all sin, whether simple or scandalous, is the lie that God can’t do what it can.


All people freely and voluntarily and willingly reject the gospel because it is their heart’s desire to do so. A person’s freedom consists in the ability to act according to one’s desires and inclinations without being compelled to do otherwise by something or someone external to himself. So long as one’s choice is the voluntary fruit of one’s desire, the will is free. This is what I mean when I say, “Yes, all people are free moral agents.” On the other hand, to say that a person has free will is to say that he has equal ability or power to accept or reject the gospel. It is to say that he is as able to believe as to disbelieve, and that this ability springs from his own making and is native to him notwithstanding his fallen and sinful state. If this is what you mean when you ask me, “Is man free?” my answer, or rather, the answer of the Bible, is “No.” A man’s will is the extension and invariable expression of his nature. As he is, so he wills. A man is no more free to act or to will or to choose contrary to his nature than an apple tree is free to produce acorns.


We are not kept from believing against our wills. “The one who comes to Me,” declares Jesus, “I will certainly not cast out” (John 6:37b). The problem, however, as Jesus goes on to say, is that “no one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44a; italics added).


The question, then, is this: Does the Bible teach that people have the power and initiative within their own will to believe the gospel? The question is not, “Are people morally responsible for their actions?” The Bible declares that we are. We are responsible to God for every act of will and work that we perform. Neither is the question, “Do people have the opportunity to believe?” The Bible declares that we do. God has made Himself known to all people, either in nature, conscience, or the gospel, so that all are without excuse (Rom. 1:18-23; 2:14-16; Ac. 14:16-17). The question, rather, is this: Do people have a free and unfettered will by which they are able to believe? The Bible declares that they do not. The teaching of Scripture is that all people are born into this life corrupt in nature and therefore ill-disposed to the gospel and to the truth. This is the doctrine of total depravity.


The Bible and the Bible alone (Sola Scriptura) is sufficient to provide us with all truth essential for salvation. Whether explicitly or implicitly, everything necessary for faith and life can be found in Scripture.


Meditation begins, but by no means ends, with thinking on Scripture. To meditate properly our souls must reflect upon what our minds have ingested and our hearts must rejoice in what our souls have grasped. We have truly meditated when we slowly read, prayerfully imbibe, and humbly rely upon what God has revealed to us in His Word – all of this, of course, in conscious dependence on the internal, energizing work of the Spirit.


Meditation may take one of several forms, depending on the object upon which we focus our mental and spiritual energy:

1. Meditate on Scripture.

2. Meditate on creation.

3. Meditate on God and His works.


Many are frightened because meditation has become something of a buzzword in New Age circles. But the differences between biblically based meditation and what we find in Eastern religions and the New Age movement are profound. Here are a few of them:

1. Unlike Eastern meditation, which advocates emptying the mind, Christian meditation call for is to fill our mind with God and His truth.

2. Unlike Eastern meditation, which advocates mental passivity, Christian meditation call on us to actively exert our mental energy.

3. Unlike Eastern meditation, which advocates detachment from the world, Christian meditation call for attachment to God.

4. Unlike Eastern meditation, which advocates visualization in order to create one’s own reality, Christian meditation call for visualization of the reality already created by God.

5. Unlike Eastern meditation, which advocates metaphysical union with “god,” Christian meditation calls for spiritual communion with God.

6. Unlike Eastern meditation, which advocates an inner journey to find the center of one’s being, Christian meditation calls for an outward focus on the objective revelation of God in Scripture and creation.

7. Unlike Eastern meditation, which advocates mystical transport as the goal of one’s efforts, Christian meditation calls for moral transformation as the goal of one’s efforts.


Each time we surrender our minds to meditate on base and sordid objects their grip on our lives is intensified. To think we can decrease our affinity for sinful pleasure apart from a concentrated fixation on the spiritually sublime is simply delusional. (Phil. 4:8)


The word “death” is used in Scripture to describe three experiences:

1. Spiritual death, or the separation or alienation of the individual soul from God (cf. Gen. 2:17; 3:3, 8-9; Eph. 2:1, 5).

2. Eternal death or second death, which is the culmination or eternal continuation of spiritual death (cf. Rev. 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8).

3. Physical death which is the temporary separation of the material and immaterial aspects of the human constitution (cf. Gen. 35:18; James 2:26; Phil. 1:21-24; 2 Cor. 5:1-8, 1 Cor. 15:35-58).


People don’t sin because they feel they have to. We sin because we enjoy the pleasure it brings. We sin because it feels good. We sin because it brings a thrill to our bodies, fleeting satisfaction to our souls and excitement to the banality and boredom of our everyday lives… We sin because we believe the lie that the pleasure it brings, though passing (Heb. 11:25), is more satisfying than the pleasure obedience brings.


It grieves me to say this, but the primary reason people are in bondage to sin is because people are bored with God. One of Satan’s most effective tactics is to convince us that God is a drag.


Satan is an angel. All angels were created (Col. 1:16; Jn. 1:1-3). Therefore, Satan was created. He is, therefore, God’s Devil. Satan is not the equal and opposite power of God (contra dualism). He is not eternal. His power is not infinite. He does not possess divine attributes. In sum, he is no match for God! If anything, Satan is the equal(?) and opposite power of the archangel Michael.


Everything without God is pathetically inferior to God without everything.


In Romans 10:9 Paul identifies the confession of Jesus as Lord to be an essential element in the gospel message.


Many think of religion in general and Christianity in particular as a sour and depressing attempt to suppress human desire and deprive us of the delights of life. Nothing could be further from the truth! Christianity forbids us no pleasures, save those that lead to temporal misery and eternal woe. God has forbidden you nothing that is conducive to your ultimate satisfaction and delight. Nothing!


There is no reference anywhere in the New Testament to a female elder. You may wish to object by pointing out that this is an argument from silence… The bottom line is that we simply have no biblical precedent for female elders nor anything in the text that describes their nature, function, and qualifications that would lead us to believe that this could ever be a possibility.


I caution against referring to “carnal” and “spiritual” as rigid categories or classes of Christians. The idea of a distinctive class or category implies a strict line of demarcation between one group of believers and another. It suggests there are readily identifiable stages in the Christian life into which one may enter if certain things are done or out of which one may fall if other things are done. Sanctification, however, is far too fluid for such strict categorization. In other words, sanctification is a process which, because of its constantly dynamic and progressive nature, defies rigid classifications.


Notwithstanding what has been said, many Christians remain functional deists. They don’t deny that God exists or that there is a spiritual realm in which angels and demons are active. They simply live as if neither God nor spiritual beings of either sort have any genuine, influential, interaction with them. God isn’t dead, but He might as well be. Angels and demons might exist, but what does that have to do with my life?


Jesus believed in and experienced the ministry of angels:

1. His conception was announced by an angel (Gabriel).

2. His birth was announced by angels.

3. He was tempted by a fallen angel.

4. He was ministered to by angels subsequent to the temptation.

5. His teaching is filled with references to angelic beings.

6. He experienced the ministry of angels in Gethsemane.

7. He could have appealed to twelve legions of angels (Mt. 26:53).

8. [Angels] were present at His tomb following the resurrection.

9. [Angels] were present at His ascension.

The point is that angels were an integral part of Christ’s birth, life, ministry, teaching, death, resurrection, ascension, and will accompany Him at his second advent. To deny the reality of the angelic world is to undermine the integrity of Jesus Himself.


Suppose you have been outside in extremely cold temperatures, only then to enter the home of a friend who offers you a glass of brandy. A few minutes after drinking it, you become conscious of a feeling of warmth and attribute it to the alcohol. The fact is, the alcohol will actually make you colder. It has for the moment caused your blood vessels to dilate giving you the impression that your body is producing heat. In point of fact, it is losing heat. You may feel you are warming up, but in reality you are cooling down. Your feelings have led you astray. An observer knowledgeable about the effects of alcohol could tell you what was really happening. But if you are relying on your feelings you would reject his conclusions. So, too, in the spiritual realm, feelings can often deceive us as to the true state of affairs. We must have an external reference point or standard of objective truth by which feelings may be evaluated and judged… All subjective states of mind and emotion must be brought under the searchlight of the objective principles of God’s written Word.


Tragically, though, many have become so enamored by their intimacy with God that they interpret their subjective states of mind and emotion as infallible indicators of truth. Worse still, some have concluded that because of the depths of intimacy they experience with God that objective revelation is no longer essential; it can be discarded in favor of immediacy of communion and communication with God.


Where there is no fruit, there may be no root.


It would be more proper for us to speak of the Virgin Conception of Jesus than of His Virgin Birth. His birth, as far as we can tell, was like any other birth. So, too, was his embryonic development in the womb of Mary. What sets Jesus apart is the fact that he was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin (cf. Lk. 1:31, 35).


The biblical evidence :

Matthew 1:18-25

1. Joseph and Mary were betrothed (1:18, 20, 24), a relationship regarded as the legal equivalent of marriage. In other words, betrothal could be broken only by a formal divorce. This is why Joseph is referred to as her “husband” (v. 19).

2. Although betrothed, the relationship had not yet been consummated sexually (see vv. 18, 25; also Luke 1:34).

3. Mary’s pregnancy is attributed to the Holy Spirit:

a. Verse 20 – “of the Holy Spirit.”

b. Verse 16 – “and to Jacob was born Joseph the husband of Mary, by/of whom [feminine] was born Jesus.” Matthew clearly excludes Joseph.

c. Note that the repeated active verb (“was the father of” or “begot”) gives way to a divine passive in v. 16 (i.e., God is the active agent in the conception and birth of Jesus).

4. Joseph is instructed to take Mary into his house and to name the child (vv. 20-21) thereby establishing for Joseph legal paternity of the child. Hence the community came to believe that Joseph was Jesus’ father (Lk. 2:48; Mt. 13:55).

Luke 1:26-38

1. Mary is explicitly identified as a “virgin” (parthenos, v. 27), a fact she confirms in v. 34.

2. Verse 35 clearly attributes the conception to the work of the Holy Spirit.

3. The terms translated “come upon” and “overshadow” (v. 35) are not euphemisms for sexual relations. They are simply figurative expressions for divine intervention by which God will supercede the natural order of things.

4. For the term “overshadow,” see Ex. 40:35; Psm. 91:4; 140:7; Mt. 17:5; Mk. 9:7; Lk. 9:34 (cf. also Gen. 1:2). The emphasis is on the powerful creative presence of the Spirit in bringing to pass the conception of the man Jesus.


Seven Important Facts concerning the Virgin Birth of Jesus:

1. The virgin birth was not a demonstrable event. I.e., it was not the sort of miracle that was subject to empirical investigation and proof (as were, for example, the resurrection and the healing of Acts 3-4). We either believe the virgin birth or not based upon our belief in the reality of the supernatural and the integrity of Scripture.

2. The virgin birth was not the beginning of the Son of God. The Son of God was eternally pre-existent (cf. John 1:1; 8:58). The virgin birth is only the beginning of the God-man, Jesus.

3. The virgin birth does not entail a reduction or denial of the deity of Christ. There was not in the virgin birth a transformation of deity into humanity, as if to suggest that the second person of the Trinity has been transmuted into a man. God the Son did not cease to be God when he became a man.

4. The virgin birth does not entail a reduction or denial of the humanity of Christ. There are three ways of coming into being: born of man and woman (us), born of man but not woman (Eve), and born of neither man nor woman (Adam). All admit that we, as well as Adam and Eve, are all human. So why not then a fourth way of coming into being: born of woman but not man (Jesus). The New Testament provides overwhelming evidence both for the reality of the virgin birth and the full humanity of Jesus.

5. The virgin birth does not require us to believe in the immaculate conception of Mary (as proclaimed by Pope Pius IX on Dec. 8, 1854). The doctrine of the “immaculate conception” is the idea that Mary herself was conceived without sin. The RCC also teaches that “in consequence of a Special Privilege of Grace from God, Mary was free from every personal sin during her whole life” (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p. 203). But there is not one word in the New Testament that remotely suggests Mary was conceived in a way different from any other human being. Furthermore, Mary herself confessed she was a sinner in need of a savior (Luke 1:47).

6. The virgin birth does not require us to believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary (as proclaimed by the Council of Trent in 1545-63).

a. See Matthew 1:25.

b. See Luke 2:7 where Jesus is described as her “first-born” son. If she had remained a virgin, would not Luke have described Jesus as her “only” son?

c. Jesus’ half-brothers and half-sisters are mentioned in the New Testament (Mk. 3:31-35; 6:3; Lk. 8:19-21; Jn. 2:12; 7:1-5, 10; Ac. 1:14; 1 Cor. 9:5; Gal. 1:19). These were not, as the RCC claims, his cousins. Even if Mary did not have other children, this does not prove she remained a virgin all her life.

d. This doctrine would also require us to believe in the perpetual virginity of Joseph!

e. This idea is based on an ascetic, un-biblical view of sex, according to which sexual relations are defiling or demeaning.

7. The virgin birth does not elevate Mary to a place of worship and veneration. Note these unbiblical declarations of the RCC: “As no man goes to the father but by the son, so no one goes to Christ except through his mother” (Pope Leo XIII, 1953). “It is the will of God that we should have nothing which is not passed through the hands of Mary” (Pope Pius XII, 1953).


The Virgin Birth was in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. See Isa. 7:14 and Mt. 1:22-23. But…there is little to indicate that the Jews themselves understood Isa. 7:14 in this way during the time of the Old Testament.


The Virgin Birth alone insured both the full deity and full humanity of Jesus. If God had created Jesus a complete human being in heaven and sent Him to earth apart from any human parent, it is difficult to see how He could be truly a man. If God had sent His Son into the world through both a human father and mother, it is difficult to see how He could be truly God.


Was the Virgin Birth necessary to secure the humanity of Jesus from the corrupting taint of inherited sin? Among those who have said Yes are Gregory the Great, Ambrose, Augustine, Aquinas, and Luther. The line of descent from Adam to Jesus is partially interrupted in view of the fact that he did not have a human father. But why would he not have inherited corruption of nature from Mary? Luke tells us that it is because the Holy Spirit is responsible for Christ’s conception that the child in Mary’s womb is to be called “holy” (Lk. 1:35). Contrary to popular opinion, there is no biblical evidence to suggest that the sin nature is transmitted exclusively through the father’s seed.


The principal reason for the virgin birth was so that the entry of God into human flesh might be by divine initiative. It is not by any human act or at any human initiative that salvation comes to us. It is divinely initiated. Man does nothing. Mary did nothing (other than to submit to what God would do). Joseph did nothing. God did it all.


A hypocrite wants to impress others with an external façade of religious piety that he knows is devoid of internal spiritual substance.


There are people, professing Christian people, who are determined to bring you under their religious thumb. They are bent on making you a slave of their conscience. They have built a tidy religious box, without biblical justification, and strive to stuff you inside and make you conform to its dimensions. They are legalists, and their tools are guilt, fear, intimidation, and self-righteousness. They proclaim God’s unconditional love for you, but insist on certain conditions before including you among the accepted, among the approved elite, among God’s favored few… They threaten to rob you of joy and to squeeze the intimacy out of your relationship with Jesus. They may even lead you to doubt your salvation. They heap condemnation and contempt on your head so that your life is controlled and energized by fear rather than freedom and joy and delight in God.


Waiting on God entails three elements:

1. Complete dependence on Him (embracing the truth of what He has just said and actively entrusting one’s soul and circumstances to the God who does what He says He does).

2. Yielding to His schedule, i.e., patiently acquiescing to the wisdom of His timing, not ours.

3. Seeking God’s face, pressing in to know Him better and to love Him more.


Spirit-filling is…a metaphor describing our continuous, on-going experience and appropriation of the Holy Spirit. To be filled with the Spirit is to come under progressively more intense and intimate influence of the Spirit. [The] results [are]: power, purity, proclamation [and] praise. Spirit-filling can be forfeited and subsequently experienced yet again, on multiple occasions, throughout the course of the Christian life.


1. To be filled with the Spirit is different from being baptized in the Spirit. There is one baptism, but multiple fillings.

2. In no New Testament text are we commanded to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. There is no appeal to do something in order to be baptized; no exhortation, no imperative.

3. On the other hand, we are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18).

4. It is possible to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, to experience the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and yet not be filled with the Holy Spirit (e.g. the Corinthian believers).

5. To be “full of the Holy Spirit” is to reflect a maturity of character; it is the ideal condition of every believer [see Acts 6:3, 5; 7:55; 11:24]. To be “filled with the Holy Spirit” is to experience an anointing for power, purity, proclamation, and praise.


Grace has meaning only when men are seen as fallen, unworthy of salvation, and liable to eternal wrath. It is precisely because people today have lost sight of the depths of human depravity that they think so little of divine grace. What makes Paul’s declaration that we are saved “by grace” so significant is his earlier declaration that we were “dead” in trespasses and sins, “gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature,” “following its desires and thoughts,” and were by nature the children of divine wrath (Eph. 2:1-10).


The essence of loving living as a follower of Jesus isn’t in trying harder but in enjoying more. I’m not saying you can change without trying. I’m saying that enjoyment empowers effort. Pleasure in God is the power for purity.


We should pursue purity because the purpose of our redemption is holiness, not impurity. Impurity runs counter to everything God had in mind when He created us, called us, and redeemed us in Jesus.


The biblical exhortations to resist sexual sin are motivated by a recognition of how it deprives us of even greater satisfaction. The principal reason for saying No to physical immorality is that it undermines the ability of our hearts to deeply enjoy the multifaceted joys that God provides for His children. Sexual sin diminishes our capacity to feel God’s delight in who we are. It drains us of His power and hardens us to the loving overtures of His Spirit.


What are [most] rationalizations based on? One lie. The most pernicious, heinous, Satanic lie of all. They are based on the lie that God really isn’t good after all; that God is neither able nor willing to do for our souls or bodies what they so desperately need done; that therefore God can’t be trusted with our fears and doubts and hopes and hurts. Since God doesn’t care and can’t be trusted, we’ll find satisfaction somewhere else. And so often, we do.


There is nothing Satan can do to alter or undermine the fact that we are saved. Not “angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39). But, what he can do is erode our assurance and confidence that we are saved. Our salvation, our standing with God, does not fluctuate or diminish with our success or failure in spiritual battles. But Satan is determined to convince us that it does.


What do we mean by the word “Incarnation?” The idea is found in several texts which speak of Jesus as “coming in the flesh” (1 Jn. 4:2; 2 Jn. 7), being “sent in the flesh” (Rom. 8:3), “appearing in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:16); He also “suffered in the flesh” (1 Pet. 4:1), “died in the flesh” (1 Pet. 3:18), made peace by abolishing “in the flesh the enmity” (Eph. 2:15), and “made reconciliation in the body of His flesh” (Col. 1:21-22). In sum, “the Word became flesh” (John 1:14). Thus, by the Incarnation we mean that the eternal Word or second person of the Trinity became a man or assumed human flesh at a point in time, yet without ceasing to be God.


The eternal Word, God the Son, entered into this world by being born as a human being. Therefore, it isn’t correct to say that Jesus has always existed or that Jesus was in the beginning with God (v. 1). The Son of God has always existed. The Second person of the Trinity, the Word, was in the beginning with God. But Jesus is the human name given to the second person of the Trinity when he took to Himself flesh. The Word was never called Jesus until Joseph did so in obedience to the command of the angel in Matthew 1.


His being does not consist of material substance, which is created. As uncreated, He is pure spirit. No human eye can hope to “see” Him except to the degree that He chooses to reveal Himself in some mediated form compatible with the finitude of man or in the incarnation of His Son. The glorious good news is that the invisible God became visible in the person of Jesus (John 1:18).


1. The doctrine of the Incarnation means that two distinct natures (divine and human) are united in one Person: Jesus. Jesus is not two people (God and man). He is one person: the God-man. Jesus is not schizophrenic.

2. When the Word became flesh He did not cease to be the Word. The Word veiled, hid, and voluntarily restricted the use of certain divine powers and prerogatives. But God cannot cease to be God. In other words, when the Word became flesh He did not commit divine suicide.

3. When the Word once became flesh He became flesh forever. After His earthly life, death, and resurrection, Jesus did not divest Himself of the flesh or cease to be a man. He is a man even now at the right hand of God the Father. He is also God. He will always be the God-man. See 1 Cor. 15:28; Col. 2:9; 1 Jn. 2:7 (note use of present tense).

4. Thus, we might envision Jesus saying: “I am now what I always was: God (or Word). I am now what I once was not: man (or flesh). I am now and forever will be both: the God-man.


1. The Holy Spirit has all the qualities of a personal being.

a. Mind (knowledge) – Isa. 11:2; Jn. 14:26; Rom. 8:27; 1 Cor. 2:10-11.

b. Emotions (feelings) – Rom. 8:26; 15:30; Eph. 4:30 (cf. Isa. 63:10); Ac. 15:28; Jas. 4:5.

c. Will (choices/plans) – Ac. 16:7; 1 Cor. 12:11.

2. The Holy Spirit performs all the functions of a personal being.

a. He talks (Mk. 13:11; Ac. 1:16; 8:29; 10:19; 11:12; 13:2; 21:11; 1 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 3:7; Rev. 2:7).

b. He testifies (Jn. 15:26; 16:23).

c. He can be sinned against (Mt. 12:31).

d. He can be lied to (Ac. 5:3).

e. He can be tested/tempted (Ac. 5:9).

f. He can be insulted (Heb. 10:29).

g. He enters into relationship with other persons (2 Cor. 13:14).

h. He encourages (Ac. 9:31).

i. He strengthens (Eph. 3:16).

j. He teaches (Lk. 12:12; Jn. 14:26; 1 Cor. 2:13).


A contemplative focus on the beauty of heaven:

1. Frees us from excessive dependence upon earthly wealth and comfort.

2. Enables us to respond appropriately to the injustices of this life.

3. Produces the fruit of endurance and perseverance now.

4. Exerts…purifying power on the heart.

5. Teaches us about the essence of true religion.


Not everyone thinks it helpful to focus on the future. They’ve bought into the old adage that people who do are “so heavenly minded they’re of no earthly good.” On the contrary, I’m persuaded that we will never be of much use in this life until we’ve developed a healthy obsession with the next. Our only hope for satisfaction of soul and joy of heart in this life comes from looking intently at what we can’t see (see 2 Cor. 4:16-18; Col. 3:1-4). Therefore, we must take steps to cultivate and intensify in our souls an ache for the beauty of the age to come.


Does the Bible explicitly condemn or forbid gambling? No. However, I do believe there are certain principles that militate against it.

1. Gambling is poor stewardship. The believer’s responsibility is to use wealth to promote the kingdom of God. The emphasis in Scripture is never on the use of money with a view to increasing one’s personal fortune but on putting our money to use in the service of those who are in need. It simply is not wise and responsible behavior to take what God has graciously bestowed and entrust it to circumstances over which we have no control (Pr. 12:11).

2. The biblical command is that the believer should obtain money by faithful and diligent exercise of God-given talents in work. Gambling is an attempt to obtain money that promotes sloth and is often an excuse for not working.

3. Gambling promotes covetousness and greed, whereas the Word of God encourages contentment (Phil. 4:11-12; Heb. 13:5). If one is seven times more likely to be struck by lightning than to win a million dollars in a state lottery, why do people continue to buy tickets? Greed!

4. Gambling appears to create a condition in which one person’s gain is necessarily another person’s loss. In other words, in gambling, someone always loses. If so, it would seem to violate brotherly love and justice.

5. There is a fundamental flaw in the character of any government that seeks to capitalize financially on the moral weakness of its members.

6. Gambling appears to violate our belief in the sovereignty of God.

7. Gambling has such a powerful potential for enslaving those who participate that it may well violate the admonition of Scripture that we not be mastered by anything or anyone other than the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:12).


But didn’t the OT endorse the casting of “lots”? Yes, but casting of lots “is a biblical illustration not of gambling (for no money or other value was placed at risk in hopes of greater gain) but of individuals trusting a sovereign God to direct the ‘chance’ disposition or direction of the lay of the lots. People used ‘chance’ to understand God’s will. Their faith was not in chance but in God” (Rogers, CRJ, p. 21-22). Be it noted, also, that subsequent to the casting of lots in Acts 1 the practice is nowhere mentioned (or endorsed) in Scripture. It would appear that, with Pentecost and the coming of the fullness of the Holy Spirit, God has dispensed with all such forms of ascertaining His will.


Enjoyment empowers effort. Doing is the fruit of delighting. Performance is energized by pleasure.


The resurrection body…is more than simply the putting on of a garment: it is the putting on of a garment over another. The picture is that of the heavenly body being put on like an outer vesture or topcoat, over the earthly body, with which the Apostle is, as it were, clad, so as not only to cover it but absorb and transfigure it. The assumption of the resurrection body, therefore, is not a creation ex nihilo, as if it were totally unrelated to the past, but is simply the fulfillment of a spiritual process which began with regeneration. We do not receive so much a new and different body as do we get the present one changed. Thus there is an element of both continuity and discontinuity (cf. Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Cor. 15:53: “This corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality;” see also 2 Pet. 3).


God is able to cause all things people do to us, even the bad things, to work together for our good (Rom. 8:28). That isn’t to say that all things are good, but that God can orchestrate the evil into a symphony of glory.


Pre-marital sex defrauds the future marriage partner of the person with whom you are involved. You are robbing that person of the virginity and single-minded intimacy which ought to be brought to a marriage.


Most of us hear the word “will” and instinctively envision a celestial frown. The phrase “will of God” often conjures up the mental impression of an inflexible and colorless lawgiver whose sole concern is for his own reputation. But when I hear Paul speak of God’s “will” for human sexuality I think of his heart’s desire, his yearning, his fatherly passion for our maximum enjoyment of one of his most precious gifts. I hear God saying, “This is what I long for you to experience as a sexual being. I made you. I put those sexual impulses in your spirit and in your body. I created hormones. Trust me when I say that I know far better than you what will bring the greatest joy and optimum pleasure.” The point is simply that God’s “will” for you and me is always an expression of his love. So what exactly is it that God “wants” of us when it comes to our sexual behavior?


[God] does not give His grace by calculated measure.


What God has eternally decreed shall occur may be the opposite of what He in Scripture says should or should not occur. It is important to keep in mind that our responsibility is to obey the revealed will of God and not to speculate on what is hidden. Only rarely, as in the case of predictive prophecy, does God reveal to us His decretive will.


The Christian is not free to do what the Bible forbids. Christian freedom does not entail the right to fornicate or to steal or to lie or to persist in an unforgiving attitude or to do anything else the Scriptures explicitly prohibit. And a person who lovingly points this out to you is not a legalist for having done so!


Christian liberty is itself a good thing. But when wrongly used, that is, in defiance of love and in disregard for the conscience of a weaker brother, it can bring disgrace on the gospel.


Christian liberty [also] may legitimately manifest itself in abstinence or asceticism. Christian liberty includes the right to abstain from otherwise legitimate pursuits if one is convinced in his/her own mind that such is the will of God for them personally. In other words, you may fully believe in the truth of Rom. 14:14a, yet choose to abstain anyway. Christian liberty does not include the right to insist that others likewise abstain simply because you do. Far less does it include the right to judge them as sub-spiritual for choosing a different course of action from you.


The conscience of the Christian is obligated and bound only by what the Bible either commands or forbids, or by what may be legitimately deduced from an explicit biblical principle.


God has left the indelible mark of His fingerprints all across the vast face of the universe… This revelation is sufficiently clear and inescapable that it renders all without excuse (see Rom. 1:20). Consequently, there is no such thing as “an innocent native in Africa” any more than there is “an innocent pagan in America”… The problem is not a lack of evidence. The problem is the innate, natural, moral antipathy of mankind to God. The problem is not that the evidence is not open to mankind. The problem is that mankind is not open to the evidence.


If I did not believe in the absolute sovereignty of God:

1. I would despair of my eternal destiny. I would have no assurance of salvation. Knowing the depravity of my soul, I would most certainly apostatize were it not for God’s sovereign preservation of me (cf. Rom. 8).

2. I would be terrified of all suffering, with no confidence that God can turn evil for good and bring me safely through (cf. Rom. 8:28 and relation to vv. 29-30).

3. I would become manipulative and pragmatic in evangelism, believing that conversion is altogether a matter of my will/skill vs. will/skill of unbeliever.

4. I would cease praying for God to convert and save the lost. If the ultimate causal factor in human conversion is the self-determined human will, not the divine will, it is futile and useless to ask God to work or touch or move upon the human will so as to assuredly bring them to faith.

5. I would despair of the political process and live in fear/anxiety/resentment of those elected officials who oppose the kingdom of God. See Daniel 2:21; 4:17,25,32; 5:18-31.

6. I would live in fear of nature: tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, wind and hail and rain (cf. Psm. 147-148).

7. I would despair of ever doing anything of a spiritual nature that God requires and commands of me. Phil. 2:12-13.


We must be careful that our trust in God is not simply [an excuse for] irresponsible behavior.


Worship is first and foremost a feasting on all that God is for us in Jesus… [One] in which God is the host, the cook, the waiter, and the meal itself.


Holiness and a progressively changed life are not optional. “By this we know that we have come to know him,” says John, “if we keep his commandments” (1 John 2:3). Mere profession of faith, unattended by good works, does not guarantee the reality of faith. We would do well to remember the rebuke of Jesus to those who professed their loyalty and cited their miraculous deeds: “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Mt. 7:23).


The holiness of God only secondarily refers to His moral purity, His righteousness of character. It primarily points to His infinite otherness. To say that God is holy is to say that He is transcendentally separate. Holiness is not one attribute among many. It is not like grace or power or knowledge or wrath. Everything about God is holy. Each attribute partakes of divine holiness.


So, how do I know if I’m a legalist? Here is a simple test, consisting of five questions.

1. Do you place a higher value on church customs than on biblical principles?

2. Do you elevate to the status of moral law something the Bible does not require?

3. Do you tend to look down your spiritual nose at those who don’t follow God’s will for YOUR life?

4. Are you uncomfortable with the fact that the Bible does not explicitly address every ethical decision or answer every theological question?

5. Are you more comfortable with rules than with relationships?


Legalists tend to fear ambiguity. The legalist’s favorite colors are black and white. They are uncomfortable with biblical silence and insist on speaking when the Word of God does not. They feel something of a “calling” to fill in the gaps left by Scriptural silence or to make specific and often detailed applications that God, in the Bible, chose not to make.