What is Love? Part 2: Love is Patient and Kind

For most of my life, I had thought about patience as the ability to wait without complaining. Like when I’m driving behind an Amish buggy without an opportunity to pass. Or when I’m waiting for my four-year-old to complete his thought. Of course these situations can be a test of patience. But when Paul says “Love is patient,” he is getting at something a bit deeper. It is easy to think of kindness as merely being nice to someone. Like letting the woman with only two items in her hands go in front of me with my full shopping cart. Or giving my son the last strip of bacon off of my own plate. (Can you believe I actually did that?) Sure, these are acts of kindness, but when Paul says “Love is kind,” he is taking it a bit further. Read More

What Is Love? Part 1: A Still More Excellent Way

“What is love” is an age-old question with a timeless answer. The Bible thoroughly defines love, explaining everything from its origins, to what it looks like, to how can we receive it and give it. Paul says it is the greatest virtue because it is eternal. It could be said that the whole Bible is a big love story. Our culture so desperately needs a biblical understanding of love and those of us who are in Christ need to be able to give it to them. To that end, this study series will examine one of the most common passages in the Bible about love: 1 Corinthians 13.  Read More

Substitutionary Atonement Conclusion: Our Bodies As a Living Sacrifice

Our Bodies As a Living Sacrifice Romans 12:1-2 Having come to the end of our series on substitutionary atonement, the question now is how should we respond to what we’ve learned? Of course, that should always be the question after studying the Bible. If we don’t apply its truth to our lives, all we’ve done is filled our heads with knowledge. But “the word of Read More

Substitutionary Atonement Part 6: Jesus Christ’s Atoning Sacrifice

Jesus Christ’s Atoning Sacrifice Romans 3:21-26 Up until now, this series has covered only passages from the Hebrew Scriptures on the subject of substitutionary atonement. We have looked at how, from the very entrance of sin into the world, God had a plan to bring people back into a right relationship with Him. He gave His people many pictures of substitutionary atonement to foreshadow the Read More

Substitutionary Atonement Part 5: Messiah’s Sacrifice Prophesied

Messiah’s Sacrifice Prophesied Isaiah 52:13-53:12 We have already seen in this series how from the very onset of sin, God had instilled in the hearts of His children the hope of a coming savior. Through prophecy and visual typology, He revealed that this savior would die bearing the sins of the world, defeating Satan and obtaining reconciliation for sinful people with their holy God. This Read More

Substitutionary Atonement Part 4: The Sacrifice of Bulls and Goats

The Sacrifice of Bulls and Goats Leviticus 1-7, 16 When I read Leviticus, I often find myself making faces. All the gory details about the animal sacrifices are, well, icky. (I can use that word since I have small children, right?) We are so far removed culturally from the Levitical sacrificial system that it almost seems barbaric. However, it was of critical importance under the Read More

Substitutionary Atonement Part 3: The Sacrifice of the LORD’s Passover

The Sacrifice of the LORD’s Passover Exodus 12   The Passover in Exodus is one of the clearest pictures of substitutionary atonement in the Hebrew Scriptures, specifically of the substitutionary atonement provided for you and me through Messiah Yeshua on the cross. Please journey through this with me to see (or to be reminded of) how Jesus is our Passover Lamb. It is amazing! The Setting Read More

Substitutionary Atonement Part 2: The Sacrifice of Isaac

Image Courtesy of National Gallery of Art, Washington   The Sacrifice of Isaac Genesis 22:1-16 The Background Imagine this: After a lifetime of infertility, you receive a promise that your offspring will comprise a great nation. You might hope. Imagine waiting year after year for a child to fulfill the promise and year after year failing to conceive. You might doubt. Then, imagine twenty-four years Read More

Substitutionary Atonement Part 1: A Sacrifice for Adam and Eve

Introduction: Substitutionary Atonement Substitutionary Atonement, a key theme in the Bible, involves three parties: the transgressor, the transgressed, and the substitute. The substitute (though innocent) takes the punishment that the transgressor (though guilty) deserves, in order to restore him to right standing before the transgressed. Here it is in biblical terms:  God is holy (Isaiah 6:3). “All have sinned and fall short of the glory Read More

We Love Because He First Loved Us: How to Think Deeply About Love on Valentine’s Day (Part 2)

We Respond in Obedience: Love God and Love Others “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11). “And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1 John 4:21).   In the previous post I talked about how we were designed to love as a reflection of God’s love. However, since Read More