I Have a Dream

Just over 60 years ago, in August of 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr., stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech to the crowd of 250,000 who had gathered for that civil rights march. The entire speech lasted just over 16 minutes, and it was just over 1,600-words long. Here’s a portion of his speech.

“So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.

“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

“I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

“I have a dream that one day down in Alabama with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, one day right down in Alabama little Black boys and Black girls will be able to join hands with little White boys and White girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today.

“I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

“This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”

It’s been more than three score years since that speech was given, and while our country has certainly made great strides in the last 60 years, I, for one, do believe that it is safe to say that King’s dream has yet to be realized. Let me illustrate.

The neighborhood in which my church is located was started as a “Whites only” neighborhood. Another neighborhood down the road was the Black neighborhood. In fact, as recently as the early 1980s, the former neighborhood was 100% White. While I am grateful that this is no longer the case, it was nevertheless the case in the recent past. King’s dream wouldn’t have included segregated neighborhoods.

Here are some other facts that lead me to believe that King’s dream is still yet to be realized.

As of 2019, the median wealth per family in the United States of America broke down as follows. For White families, the median wealth was $188,000 per family, while the median wealth for Black families was $24,000.

In 2019, 73% of White families owned their own homes, while only 42% of Black families owned their own homes.

Blacks make up only 13% of the total US population, but they make up 40% of the prison population.

In 2019, from the S&P 500 and the Fortune 500, which are the six or seven hundred largest companies in the US, only 5 of them—that’s less than one percent—only 5 of them were led by Black CEOs.

But statistics can sometimes be misleading. Let me share a couple of stories.

I am from South Carolina. I still attend my “home” church whenever I’m in South Carolina visiting my parents. Several years after joining this church in the late 1980s, I was told the story of a Black young lady who tried to join the church earlier in the 1980s.

As she was presented for membership at the church, there were vocal calls to reject her desire to join that church. To the pastor’s credit, he called out the naysayers and told them in no uncertain terms that rejecting someone for membership on the basis of race was sinful. My point isn’t that the pastor was brave (although brave he was). My point is that in the 1980s there were still “Christian” people who would publicly declare that it wrong for a Black person to join a White church.

While I now live in a different state and I’m no longer a member of that church, I thank God that there are now several Black families who are members of that once, all-White church.

And then there’s the story of another church in that same county as the previous church. This story took place in the early 2000s. I was responsible for planning outreach events for the church. We had a series of fall revival meetings coming up, so I thought it would be a good idea to have some type of outreach event to prepare ourselves for our revival meetings.

I decided on the idea of a block party. I ran the plan past a few church leaders, and they were onboard. So, they invited me to the next deacon’s meeting to share the plan with the remaining deacons and the lead pastor.

I still have the sheet that I passed out that night. I had five objectives for my proposed event. Here were my five objectives.


  1. To show the love of Jesus Christ in a practical way
  2. To give something back to [our] Community
  3. To foster racial unity
  4. To learn of unchurched people in our community
  5. To emphasize our upcoming revival

I shared those objectives with everyone who was gathered there that evening, and then, in a very animated way, I went on to share the plan in greater detail. I only talked for probably 10 or 15 minutes, but I was very excited about the plan.

Everyone listened patiently and politely until I was done. And then, I’ll never forget, one church leader spoke up. He said, with a bit of frustration and anger in his voice, “This is really all about number 3. Right?”

At first, I was a bit confused. I didn’t know what he meant by “number 3,” until I looked back down at my sheet. Objective #3, “to foster racial unity.”

So, I summoned up all the courage I had—after all, I was speaking to someone old enough to be my dad and someone who was recognized as a spiritual leader in the congregation—and I said, “This event is certainly about #3, or I wouldn’t have put it on the paper. But it’s not ‘all about’ #3. There are four other objectives on the paper.”

He didn’t like my answer, and he went on to say things like, “I’m not a racist, but they have their church, and we have ours.”

When he said, “they have their church, and we have ours,” I about blew a gasket, and I held up my Bible in my hand and said, “Show me where in this Bible it says, ‘they have their church, and we have ours.’ ”

[If you’re unfamiliar with the Bible, “they have their church, and we have ours” is NOT in the Bible! In fact, just the opposite of that statement is in the Bible.]

To be clear, I don’t hold any animosity against that man. To this day, I hold no animosity against him. He was in sin. Yes, he was. But the truth of the matter is that we’re all born into sin, and even after coming to faith in Christ, we are still subject to give ourselves over to sin.

The answer for that man, the answer for me, and the answer for everyone, is Jesus. Jesus died on the cross to free us from our sin. He died on the cross to rescue us from our sin. He died on the cross so that we could experience forgiveness for our sin. He died so that we can be one—Jew or Gentile, Black or White—that we can be one.

I share this example from that church because this was the early 2000s—not ancient history. I share these things because we sometimes think that these things don’t happen anymore. We think that we’ve moved beyond this. We think that because Jim Crow and the practice of redlining has been criminalized, that racism is a thing of the past.

I’m not trying to be unduly harsh. We, as a country, and we, as a church, are in a much better place than we were in 1963, but King’s dream is still yet to be realized. We as a people—not just churches in the deep South, but churches everywhere—and not just White people, but people from all ethnicities—we have a long way to go. Thank God that we’re not where we were, but we have a long way to go before we can say of racism and its ugly past, “Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty, we’re free at last.”

Commencement is a community affair

It’s that time of year again. In the months of May and June, hundreds of thousands of young people—and some not so young people—will be crossing stages and receiving their diplomas or their degrees. If you’re one of those people, congratulations. You’ve worked hard to get to the finish line, and your labors have paid off.

But there’s something else that’s important for our graduates and their families to recognize. Commencement exercises are a community affair. In other words, your graduation ceremony isn’t only about you! The graduation ceremony is a community event.

As someone with two master’s degrees and a PhD, I’ve sat through several graduation ceremonies of “my own,” and as a pastor (for over 20 years), I’ve been invited from time to time to attend graduation ceremonies for those who are closest to me. Some of those ceremonies have been at secular schools, and others have been at distinctively Christian schools. So, with apologies to Farmers Insurance, I know a thing or two about graduation ceremonies.

Recently, I attended a graduation ceremony at a distinctively Christian school. The ceremony itself was celebrative, yet elegant. The names of each of the approximate 400 graduates were read aloud as each graduate crossed the stage while having his or her picture taken.

At first, there was polite applause from family members as “their” graduate crossed the stage. But as the ceremony continued, the polite applause turned into whooping and hollering, oftentimes lasting so long that the name of the next graduate couldn’t be heard.

And then, to make matters worse, some of the earlier graduates began to leave the ceremony long before the final graduates had ever crossed the stage. By the time the final graduates crossed the stage, a full 10% or more of the seats from the early graduates were vacant. At least 20 to 30 of the early graduates grew tired of waiting, and they and their families simply exited the room in which the ceremony was taking place.

Now, we could address these issues from the perspective of etiquette. It does indeed show poor etiquette to be so loud and proud of “your” graduate that the family of the next graduate can’t even hear his or her name be spoken. And it also shows poor etiquette to leave your own graduation ceremony before all of the other graduates have had their turn to cross the stage.

But these breaches of “etiquette” only point to a deeper issue. We live in the age of the “selfie”—a word which was first coined in September of 2002. Too many of us believe the world revolves around us. Too many of us believe we’re the center of attention. Too many of us act as if we’re the most important person in the room. But that’s neither a humble attitude nor is it our Lord’s attitude (see Philippians 2:1–11 and John 13:1–5).

If commencement exercises were about each of us as individuals, then, in the example above, that school would have hosted approximately 400 separate commencement exercises. But, of course, these exercises aren’t primarily about us individually. They are intended to be a community affair.

By analogy, consider the church and its corporate gathering. Neither the church nor its corporate gathering is about us as individuals. They are also corporate affairs. To illustrate that point, consider the nearly 60 “one another” commands that are found in the New Testament. If the church and its gathering were primarily about us as individuals, then the “one another” commands would make little sense. But the church and its gathering aren’t about us merely as individuals. Rather, they point to a corporate reality where we gather together to make much of our Lord and we encourage one another—from the least among us to the greatest among us.

And while a graduation ceremony isn’t the same thing as the gathered church, those last graduates are also there to be encouraged, to be applauded, to be celebrated. They are also important, from the least among them to the greatest among them. So, as you make plans to attend a graduation ceremony for your loved one this spring, please remember to use that time to celebrate not only your loved one but all of the others who have worked hard to make it to that point. Commencement exercises are not only about “your” graduate. They’re intended to be a community affair.

Choosing to Make Himself Known

Have you ever given thought to the kindness of God in making himself known to us? We are, after all, only creatures. He is the Creator. He is in no way obligated to make himself known to us. Rather, he’s chosen to make himself know.

But how has he chosen to make himself known? Theologians have identified two ways in which God has revealed himself to his creation. Those two ways are general revelation and special revelation.

A layman’s definition of the former would be that God has revealed himself to everyone through the majesty of his creation. We see this truth affirmed all throughout the Bible. The psalmist declares, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Ps 19:1; cf. 19:2-6).

A layman’s definition of the latter would be that God has revealed himself specifically and especially through his inspired Word, the Bible. The same psalm goes on to proclaim the excellencies of God’s written Word (see Ps 19:7-11).

General revelation, however, is not sufficient to provide salvation. John Calvin writes, “Although they [i.e., God’s revelation in nature] bathe us wholly in their radiance, yet they can of themselves in no way lead us into the right path” (Institutes, 1.5.14).

We need the Word of God to show us the path to salvation. Again, Calvin writes, “Scripture, gathering up the otherwise confused knowledge of God in our minds, having dispersed our dullness, clearly shows us the true God. This, therefore, is a special gift, where God, to instruct the church, not merely uses mute teachers [mute teachers is a reference to general revelation] but also opens his own most hallowed lips. Not only does he teach the elect to look upon a god, but also shows himself as the God upon whom they are to look” (Institutes, 1.6.1, emphasis added).

So, lets give ourselves to the reading and study of God’s Word.

We Need a Mediator

Sports fans lament strike-shortened professional sports seasons. In 1994, a Major League Baseball strike ended the season early and there were no playoffs. These strike-shortened seasons are usually the result of club owners and players not agreeing on how many millions of dollars these professional athletes should be paid per season.

And when the opposing sides are especially far apart on reaching an agreement, they usually bring in a mediator to help the two sides see eye to eye. The mediator accomplishes this by having each side make some compromises with respect to their ultimate goals.

The Bible teaches us that we are born at odds with God (see Psalm 51:4-5). We’re born sinful, and God is utterly sinless, which puts us at odds with God. We could conclude that we need a mediator between God and us. We need someone to bring the two sides closer together.

But unlike the mediators that sit between the striking players and the club owners, there’s no compromise with God. God is perfect in all of his ways, and he will not compromise his perfection. But God did send us a mediator.

Jesus Christ is the one mediator between God and men (see 1 Timothy 2:5). In his Institutes, Calvin writes, “In this ruin of mankind no one now experiences God either as Father or as Author of salvation, or favorable in any way, until Christ the Mediator comes forward to reconcile him to us” (1.2.1).

When Jesus came as our mediator, he came to step in our place. He came to take the penalty that we owe. He came to make things right with the Father. He took on our sin, and he gave us his righteousness in return. What glorious good news is that!!

On our own, we stand no chance of being made right with the Father, but through the love and sacrifice of the Son, we can be put into a right relationship with him forever.

Two Types of Knowledge

Calvin begins his Institutes by arguing that there are two parts to sound wisdom. The first part is the knowledge of God, and the second part is the knowledge of ourselves. Both types of knowledge are important. Without the former, the latter is lost, and without the latter, the former is lost. But why is this so?

So long as we are content in ourselves–that is, so long as we don’t truly know ourselves, we’re quite content to remain in our current condition. It’s only when we realize that we are somehow lacking–it’s when we realize that we don’t have all of the answers–that we turn our gaze from inward to outward.

Calvin writes, “Thus, from the feeling of our own ignorance, vanity, poverty, infirmity, and–what is more–depravity and corruption, we recognize that the true light of wisdom, sound virtue, full abundance of every good, and purity of righteousness rest in the Lord alone” (1.1.1).

On the other hand, it’s when we truly know God in all of his perfections that we finally realize that we have blindspots in our lives. Our pride disguises our own failings and shortcomings. We compare ourselves to others, and we thus feel ourselves superior because–in our eyes, at least–we’re “better” than our neighbors.

We miss the fact that our neighbor isn’t the measuring stick, but God and his perfection is the measuring stick, and we all fall woefully short on that account.

Calvin writes, “As long as we do not look beyond the earth, being quite content with our own righteousness, wisdom, and virtue, we flatter ourselves most sweetly, and fancy ourselves demigods. Suppose we but once begin to raise our thoughts to God, and to ponder his nature, and how completely perfect are his righteousness, wisdom, and power–the straightedge to which we must be shaped. Then, what masquerading earlier as righteousness was pleasing in us will soon grow filthy in its consummate wickedness” (1.1.2).

We will never truly know ourselves until we come face to face with who God is, and we’ll never truly know God until we know something of ourselves, but let’s start the journey by knowing who God is.

Reading Calvin

I would hardly describe myself as a prolific reader, but I do like to read a good book. A number of years ago, I was struck by C. S. Lewis’ advice to not neglect old books. He wrote, “It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones.”

John Calvin

So, I’ve decided to follow Lewis’ advice, at least so far as is concerned with one major theological work. I’ve read Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology as well as other modern systematic theologies, so in 2021, I have decided to turn to something a bit older–approximately 500 years older. This year, along with nine other church members, I’m reading John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. I’ve read large chunks of this important work before, but I’ve never sat down to read it cover to cover.

Of course, if you’re familiar with Calvin’s Institutes, you know this isn’t the type of book you sit down and read in one setting, but nor is it a book that will overwhelm you. Reading a few pages for 15-20 minutes per day will easily check this book off the list in less than a year’s time.

The first edition of Calvin’s Institutes was published in 1536 when Calvin was only 26 years old. I’m more than twice that age now, and I promise you that writing a book like the Institutes wasn’t on my radar when I was that young (for that matter, nor is it on my radar now)! Calvin continued to add to the Institutes through of series of updated editions until it took its final form in 1559, five years before his death.

Calvin wrote in one of his commentaries, “Today all sorts of subjects are eagerly pursued; but the knowledge of God is neglected. . . . Yet to know God is man’s chief end, and justifies his existence. Even if a hundred lives were ours, this one aim would be sufficient for them all.”

So, in 2021, I want to know God more, and inasmuch as Calvin was faithfully meditating on the scriptures as he wrote, I hope the Institutes will help me in that endeavor. I intend to write a brief blog each week to progress my reading. This blog is for me as much as it is for you, dear reader. Let’s grow in our knowledge of God together!

Do We Really Believe That “Jesus Saves”?

Yesterday, January 6, 2021, was a dark day in the history of our nation, and it was a day that will long live in the memories of many Americans. Yesterday, a “protest rally” turned into a criminal riot in our nation’s capital as rioters stormed the United States Capitol building, breaching security and making their way onto the floor of the House and Senate and even into individual lawmakers’ offices.

The rally was designed ostensibly to protest the “fact” that the election was “stolen” from President Donald Trump. [NOTE: This blog post is not arguing for or against the claim of a “stolen election.”] Unfortunately, the rally soon turned from a peaceful protest to a criminal riot with at least four people losing their lives (one through a police shooting and three through medical emergencies).

As I watched parts of the news coverage of this horrific event, I was particularly appalled when I saw one protester who was carrying a bright neon sign that read “JESUS SAVES.” As a Christian who has devoted himself to over 20 years of full-time vocational Christian ministry, I whole-heartedly agree that “Jesus Saves.” But I wonder if the individual who was carrying the sign really believes that.

For the record, I have no idea who that individual is. I don’t know that individual. The camera angle from which I was viewing was too far away to tell if it was even a man or a woman. I know nothing about that individual other than he (or she) was carrying a sign that read “JESUS SAVES” and he (or she) was trespassing on the steps of the US Capitol building during what can only be called an illegitimate and illegal criminal riot.

Also for the record, I believe there are many faithful Christians who voted for Donald Trump and I believe many of them were genuinely disappointed when he lost the election. Furthermore, I believe many authentic Christians may have some doubts about the veracity of the election results.

And with all of that said, however, if someone (Christian or otherwise) feels that an injustice has happened, that individual has every right to peacefully protest and to seek recourse through the law (i.e., the courts or other legal channels), but unless we’re being required to deny our Savior or a key principle of the faith, Christians are not justified in resorting to criminally violent behavior when their politician of choice loses an election.

So, here’s a question for serious Christians to consider. If we really believed that “Jesus Saves,” would we participate in a criminal endeavor because our politician of choice lost the election? I don’t think we would and I don’t think we should.

Participating in this type of activity reveals a heart of idolatry. Let me explain.

The Bible teaches that Jesus is sovereign over the events of this world (see e.g., Psalm 2). This means Jesus was sovereign when Donald Trump was elected four years ago as the president, and this also means Jesus is still sovereign now as Joe Biden will be taking the oath of office in less than two weeks. Nothing has changed in the heavenly realms.

And even “if” the election was stolen from Donald Trump, Jesus is still on his throne. He’s still sovereign. We don’t need to “storm the Capitol” if we believe Jesus is who he says he is. If we really believe that Jesus is sovereign, then we will understand that Jesus is just as sovereign under a Biden presidency as he was under a Trump presidency. And if we really believe that it’s Jesus who saves, then we know that Jesus can save people under a Biden presidency just as easily as he can save people under a Trump presidency.

Psalm 146:3–5 instructs us: 3 Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. 4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. 5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God.

Idolatry rears its ugly head when—among other things—we put our hope in politicians rather than in Jesus.

Christians ought to lament that the name of Christ was connected to the storming of the Capitol and other lawless deeds. We must remember what our Savior said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world” (John 18:36). Let us purpose to not misuse the name of our great King (Exo 20:7), but to be ambassadors for his cause—imploring lost men and women to be reconciled to God (2 Cor 5:20).

Enjoy Your Prayer Life

Michael Reeves. Enjoy Your Prayer Life. London: Ten Publishing, 2014. 46 pages.

            All Christians recognize the importance of prayer, but many Christians still struggle to set aside the time to develop a meaningful prayer life. And if they won’t set aside the time to develop a meaningful prayer life, chances are that they won’t read many of the excellent books that are available about prayer. [NOTE: My favorite book in that category is Tim Keller’s Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (Dutton, 2014).]

            This is where Michael Reeves comes in. He has written a splendid short little book about prayer. And at only 46 pages, it can be read in a single setting.

            In this helpful little book, he talks about what prayer is. Prayer isn’t something “we do.” Rather, “prayer is the primary way true faith expresses itself” (12). Therefore, a lack of prayer can be considered nothing less than practical atheism.

            In last week’s post, I reviewed a book about how we approach God’s Word. Our intake of God’s Word and prayer are intimately connected. In fact, “prayer springs from God’s Word” (17). God’s Word awakens faith in our hearts which then leads us to prayer.

            There is a danger of trying to “fit” prayer into our daily lives. Remember, prayer is the primary way true faith expresses itself. Therefore, prayer isn’t something that’s only done in the morning or in the evening. Rather, our prayer life is to be unceasing. This, of course, means that prayer will happen in many forms. It may happen as we set aside an extended amount of time to approach the throne of grace. Then again, it may happen as the Lord brings to mind the name of a friend or loved one who is struggling with a health issue.

            But in all of our prayers, we need to recognize our utter dependence on God. We don’t accomplish God’s work through our own personal ambition. We need to rely on God every step of the way, and this is often expressed through prayer. And we often don’t even know how to prayer. This is when the Holy Spirit himself intercedes for us in our prayers.

            So, brother or sister, be encouraged as you seek to develop a meaningful prayer life, and pick up a copy of Reeves outstanding little book on prayer.

Book Review: “Before You Open Your Bible”

Matt Smethurst. Before You Open Your Bible: Nine Heart Postures for Approaching God’s Word. London: Ten Publishing, 2019. 89 pages.

            Have you ever given any thought to the Bible? It’s quite a book. It’s actually a collection of books—66 to be exact. There are 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament. To make matters even more interesting, the timespan from the first book written to the last is somewhere around 1,400 years. And it’s been over 1,900 years since the last book was written so the whole Bible is filled with ancient customs and ideas. The 66 books were written on three different continents (Asia, Africa, and Europe). They were written in three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek). And there were approximately 40 different authors (with one divine author overseeing the process).

            This is enough to make one’s head swim, and these facts can make the Bible a very intimidating book. So, how should a person approach the Bible? Thankfully, Matt Smethurst has written a gloriously short (89 pages) little book to help us as we approach the Bible. Smethurst gives us 9 “heart postures” with which we should approach the Bible.

            First, we need to approach the Bible prayerfully. Smethurst admits that this shouldn’t come to us as breaking news. We know that the Bible is a divine book, and we know that God hears our prayers, but how often do we go to the Bible without prayer. Sadly, far too often. He offers a helpful acrostic as we prayerfully approach the Bible (an acrostic which he admits he received from John Piper). We should prayerful approach with I-O-U-S. Incline our hearts to God’s testimonies (Ps 119:36). Open our eyes (Ps 119:18). Unite our hearts to fear your name (Ps 86:11). And, satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love (Ps 90:14).

            Second, we should approach our Bibles humbly. We need to remember that our God is a God who talks. He didn’t have to talk to us, but he chose to talk to us. When we open our Bibles, we get to hear from the Creator himself. This should humble us.

            Third, we need to approach the Bible desperately. Bible intake isn’t an optional extra for the Christian. If we want to survive in this world, we need to look at the Bible as our survival food. The Bible isn’t snack food. The Bible is our main course.

            Fourth, we need to approach our Bibles studiously. Some people view Bible study as something that is reserved for Bible geeks or pastors or theologians. Not so! Bible study is for all of us. We study because we love. Because we love God (and he loves us), it makes sense to study his word. And as we learn more about God, our worship of him because more intense. And since we’re all theologians after all, we may as well strive to be good theologians.

            Fifth, we should approach our Bibles obediently. The Bible is good for us. God is committed to our joy and our flourishing. When we obey God at his word, we invite greater flourishing. Jesus told his disciples to teach everyone to “obey” his teachings (Matt 28:19).

            Sixth, we should approach the Bible joyfully. The scriptures are full of calls to joy. “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (John 16:24). ‘I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete” (2 John 12). “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11).

            Seventh, we need to approach the Bible expectantly. The Word of God has power. It has the power to save (Romans 1:16), and it also has the power to change lives (John 17:17). The Bible will see us through all of life’s ups and downs.

            Eighth, we need to approach our Bibles communally. No, Smethurst isn’t suggesting that we join a commune! Rather, he’s stating the straightforward truth that Christianity was never meant to be a solo sport. Christianity has always been meant to be a faith that is lived out in community. While we should read the Bible individually and devotionally, we should also read the Bible in community. We can use the Bible to teach and admonish one another (Colossians 3:16).

            Finally, we should approach our Bibles Christocentrically. That’s a big word, but when you look at its parts, the meaning becomes clear. We should approach our Bibles with the knowledge that Christ is at the center of everything that’s written in the Bible. Jesus himself told us that Moses and the Old Testament prophets were writing about him (see Luke 24:25–27). The Bible may have been written over a vast period of time and by many different authors, but the Bible is about Jesus from beginning to end.

Image of God (part 3)

In the previous two posts, I’ve discussed what the image of God is and what it means to have the image of God. In this brief post, I’ll be asking this question, “Who has the image of God?”

The short answer to this question is every single human being on the planet. All humans are created in the image of God.

It makes no difference whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat. Gay or straight. Male or female. Gender binary or gender queer. A US citizen or an illegal immigrant. Young or old.

All human beings bear the image of God. All human beings have been created in the image of God.

But I want to close with this thought. There is one person who breaks this mold. There is one person who wasn’t created in the image of God. Who is that person? His name is Jesus.

Jesus wasn’t created in the image of God because he IS the image of God.

The apostle Paul writes these words in Colossians.

Colossians 1:15
15 He [i.e., Jesus] IS the image of the invisible God (emphasis added).

Jesus doesn’t merely bear the image of God. He IS the image of God. And he came into this world to rescue us from ourselves. He came to rescue us from our sin and from our alienation from God.

Our sin had separated us from God, and he made “peace [with God] by the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1:20).

And now, those who have trusted in Christ are being transformed day-by-day into the image of the Son “from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

So, remember this. We’re all created in the image of God, and we’re being daily transformed into greater and greater likeness to the Son of God.

If you haven’t done so already, find a Bible-believing and Bible-preaching church and join that church. Hitch your wagon to the other members of that church so you can join them in this wonderful journey of being transformed together more and more into the image of God.