“I think it’s a serious mistake to evaluate answers to difficult questions by imagining whether a non-believer is likely to respond positively or not. Jesus never did that. He simply proclaimed the truth. That’s the same approach we need to take. If unbelievers reject the answer anyway (and some always will, regardless of the cleverness of our strategies), then that’s not necessarily an indication of failure on the ambassador’s part.” – Phil Johnson
Category Archives: Questions
Where is Jesus Now?
A Sunday School teacher of preschoolers was concerned that his students might be a little confused about Jesus Christ because of the Christmas season emphasis on His birth. He wanted to make sure they understood that the birth of Jesus occurred for real. He asked his class, “Where is Jesus today?”
Steven raised his hand and said, “He’s in heaven.” Mary was called on and answered, “He’s in my heart.” Little Johnny, waving his hand furiously, blurted out, “I know, I know! He’s in our bathroom!!!”
The whole class got very quiet, looked at the teacher, and waited for a response. The teacher was completely at a loss for a few very long seconds. Finally, he gathered his wits and asked Little Johnny how he knew this. Little Johnny said, “Well…every morning, my father gets up, bangs on the bathroom door, and yells, “Good Lord, are you still in there?!”
That’s an old joke, but the question is quite valid. Where IS Jesus now? I fear there are some who might be confused in this matter. Scripture tells us exactly where He is now:
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
At this very moment, Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, His majesty and glory restored, awaiting the command from His Father to come to earth a second time, but as judge, not as Savior – that work was finished at the Cross.
The work of God on Earth and in the life of the believer is in and through the Holy Spirit, whose sanctifying work is ever conforming us into the image of God’s Son. It is the Holy Sprit who brings comfort and peace when we are troubled or weary, but who also brings conviction and guilt when we sin. The love of God ‘shed abroad in our hearts’ is the Holy Spirit at work. The peace that surpasses all understanding is the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. And the list goes on. . .
If Jesus is sitting in majesty and glory at the right hand of the Father, and the Holy Spirit is now working on earth, where did all this “Jesus is my dance partner” mushy romanticism come from? More importantly, where in scripture is such a view of the Lord of the universe presented in scripture? Can anyone out there tell me?
OLD Truth and NEW Things
I’m hearing a lot these days about how God is doing a NEW things in our time. Now, I am not saying that God CANNOT do new things, for I would be trampling on His sovereignty if I did. I’ve been told by well meaning folk that God doesn’t need to do new things, but that he just IS doing a new thing in our time. While I totally agree with the former, I am skeptical about the latter. When I look as some of the touted NEW things taking place these days I see more of man’s imagination at work along with a little help from the ‘dark side’ (in some cases), than God being manifested in His true glory, majesty and sovereignty.
These NEW things range everywhere from ‘softening’ terms we use (‘Christ follower’ instead of ‘disciple’), how we ‘do’ church (I hate that term but it’s everywhere) to the completely unbiblical and sometimes even heretical. I have also discovered that most, of not all of the NEW things dancing around on the stages of many ‘churches’, are just based on old lies that surfaced early on in the history of the church that the Apostle Paul even warned against.
When I have thoroughly investigated some of the NEW things popular in our time, I find that scriptural ‘evidence’ for them is either slim and taken out of context, or non-existent. I have offered scripture after scripture, with contextual explanations, and been told what is plainly read is just my opinion man’s doctrine.
I offer here the twin notions that God has not changed and neither has man. Scripture still means what it says to us and what it says about itself. (See this post.) The only things that have changed since men first appeared on planet Earth are the ‘toys’ we play with. Could it be that perhaps WE are the ones fascinated with NEW things and not God? Just a thought. . .
How were Old Testament Saints Saved?
Jesus expressed his exclusivity as the only way to God in John 14:6:
Jesus said to him (Thomas), “I am athe way, and bthe truth, and cthe life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.1 (Emphasis mine.)
a John 10:9; Rom 5:2; Eph 2:18; Heb 10:20
c John 1:4; 11:25; 1 John 5:20
1New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, S. Jn 14:6
Here is the entry that addresses the question at the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (www.carm.org).
The OT saints were saved the same way the New Testament saints were/are saved, by faith.
For what does the Scripture say? “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” 4Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. 5But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness, 6just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works: 7“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered. 8“Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account” (Rom. 4:3-8).
As you can see, the Bible tells us that Abraham was justified by faith (see Rom. 5:1 and Eph. 2:8-9). That is, his faith is reckoned as righteousness, v. 4 above. They were saved by faith in the Messiah in whom they were trusting. Only, for them it was a trust in the future Messiah. They knew He was coming as had been prophesied .
Also, the Holy Spirit was there in the OT times the same as the NT times. Consider Psalm 51:11, “Do not cast me away from Thy presence, And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me.”
God did not change how He saved people in the New Testament. It has always been by faith. In the case of the OT people, they looked ahead in time to the Messiah. We look back to Him and see the cross.