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5 Things I Wish Christians Would Stop Saying

Just because we hear something – or say something – over and over again doesn’t mean it’s true. For instance, when my grandson Micah was 3-years-old, he referred to Hulu as “WeeHoo.” Whenever my daughter carefully pronounced it correctly for him, he would say “No, Mom. It’s ‘WeeHoo.'” Yes, the illiterate toddler thought he knew better than the grownup.

As silly as that sounds, we sometimes do that with God and His Word. We have allowed things out of line with Scripture to become so embedded in our brains, we now accept them as fact. Or we take a truth out of context and misapply it. And unfortunately, we repeat these things to others.

Although not an exhaustive list, the following examples are ones I hear over and over.

  1. “We are all God’s children” – All people are definitely God’s “creatures,” created by God and for God. But only those who have been spiritually born again through a saving relationship with Jesus are God’s “children” (Ephesians 1:5, Romans 8:15-17, Galatians 4:4-7). (This post explores what the Bible says about this topic.) At its best, this phrase is incorrect. At its worst, it gives people without a saving relationship with Jesus, a false sense of eternal security.
  2. “Judge not” – We too often quote these words of Jesus as an excuse to ignore sin in others’ lives or as a reason for others to leave us to our own detrimental behavior. The passages we whip out are Matthew 7:1 and James 4:12. Unfortunately, we regularly fail to consider the context of the greater passage and the whole counsel of God’s Word. Yes, both Jesus and James condemned a harsh, critical “judging” of people’s motives. This kind of “judging” is motivated by a self-righteous, hypocritical attitude. But in the whole of Scripture – including words of Jesus and James – God clearly commands Christians to lovingly point out sin and exhort each other to holiness. It is not our place to determine their motives, but it is our responsibility as a member of the body of Christ to gently identify behavior that God has already judged to be “sin.” The goal is to reconcile that person with others and with God and to keep the sin from spreading to others (Matthew 18:15-17, 1 Corinthians 5:5-7, Hebrews 12:15, James 5:19-20). For more about “judging” read this post.
  3. “God will never give us more than we can handle” – There is just one problem with saying this: It’s simply not what the Bible teaches. Many well-meaning people quote 1 Corinthians 10:13 to back up this understandable desire. But the context of this passage is about temptation. Here’s the good news: God does promise that He will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear; He will always show us a way to stand firm. So what does God teach about the amount of trials and difficulties He will allow into our lives? In a nutshell: He will allow far more than we can handle. Paul wrote that he had suffered extreme hardship in Asia, “far beyond his ability to endure so that he despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8-11).  God allowed this so Paul and his companions “might not rely on themselves but on God.” For more on this topic, read this post.
  4. “God is love” – First, yes I believe that God is love! Scripture says it over and over (1 John 4:8-10). God defines real love. He is loving by nature. He expresses this divine love in all that He does. But unfortunately, some Christians try to stand on this truth – “God is love” – to rationalize sin or to dismiss hell.
  • “A loving God wouldn’t send people to hell.”
  • “God loves me, He would want me to be happy.”

But our loving, holy God does not sweep sin under the rug. Instead His love moved Him to provide a way of salvation for all people by sending Jesus as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:11). And Christ’s love compels us to repent of our sins, accept His sacrificial death, and be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:11-21). God’s love provides a way of salvation, not a license to sin.

  1. “All sin is the same” – Most assuredly, any and all sin separates us from God and brings eternal spiritual death (Romans 6:23). In that way, all sin is the same. But Scripture does show that some kinds of sins cause far greater harm to ourselves and other people or bring far greater consequences than other sins. (For more on this see this article at BillyGraham.org.) Here are a few examples:
  • Sexual Immorality – Due to the intimate nature of sex, sexual immorality has unique consequences, such as tearing apart families and even directly impacting our relationship with God (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).
  • Pride – Scripture condemns the sin of pride over and over. In fact, the Bible says that God “opposes the proud” (Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6). Pride is an underlying attitude that manifests itself in a host of other “sinful” ways.
  • Hypocrisy – Jesus sternly warned the Pharisees about their hypocrisy (Matthew 23:13-36). This kind of self-righteousness blinds us to our own sin and our need for God. “Woe!”
  • Leading others into sin – Jesus’ language was harsh for those who would dare lead a “little one” into sin. It would be better for them to have a millstone tied around their neck and be thrown into the sea. Sounds serious! (See Matthew 18:1-9.)

You may not agree with me on all these, and that’s okay. What I hope we will all do is go to God’s Word to find His truth. But, let’s not ever settle for a “truth” we’ve grown accustomed to.

Have you ever said any of these 5 things? How do you feel about it now? What are some other things you hear often from Christians that don’t line up with God’s Word? Be sure to share what God’s Word says about it!

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The 4 “R” Bible Study Method

Bible study methodThere is not just one right Bible study method. Depending on your goal, you can dive into God’s Word in lots of different ways. For instance, you can do a word, character, or topical study. You can dissect and ingest a small passage, a chapter, or an entire book.

However, there are some general guidelines for all and any Bible study. For instance, we must keep the genre of the book and the context of the passage in mind. We must seek to discover the original meaning of the passage. There are infinite ways to apply a passage, but only one meaning. And, to keep the proper perspective, we must always keep in mind that God’s Word is first and foremost about God.

This Bible study method below is a basic way to dig a little deeper into any biblical passage. You don’t need extra tools or resources. All you need is your Bible, a pen, a notebook or journal, and a humble, teachable attitude. The “R” repetition makes it easy to remember! You can literally take it anywhere! (Click here to get a printable PDF of the following study method.)

The 4 R Bible Study Method

  1. Read – Read the entire passage. For instance, if you plan to study the book of Philippians, read all 4 chapters in one sitting. If you plan to study John 15, read the entire chapter. If you can, it’s helpful to read the passage from several different translations. If you want to go the extra mile – or if your passage is relatively short – rewrite the passage in your own words.
  2. Record – Read the passage again with the attitude of an investigative journalist. If you plan to study a larger passage or book, break it up into chunks to make it manageable. Observe the text, ask the journalistic questions – who, what why, where, and when – and record what you discover. Here are a few other things to look for and record:

Facts

Keywords, repeated words and phrases

People

Places

Timing

Who is writing to who and why

  1. Recognize – Read the passage again and look back over your written observations. Ask God to show you what eternal truths and principles this passage teaches. For instance, what do you learn about God, His character, and His ways? What do you learn about Jesus and what it means to follow Him? What do you learn about the church, salvation, a life of faith, godly relationships?
  2. Respond – This is where the rubber meets the road! How does God want you to apply His truth to your life today? Is there some sin to confess and turn away from? Is there a relationship that needs to be healed? Is there a command to be obeyed or an act of service to perform? Are there beliefs and ways of thinking that need to be conformed to God’s truth?

This Bible study method is so flexible! You can work through it in one sitting with a small passage or weeks with a larger passage or book. Check below for a list of a few helpful resources that will give a good foundation to a lifetime of purposeful Bible study.

I’d love to hear about your favorite Bible study method! Please share!

Bible study resources

A few resources you may find helpful: 

 

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Why Do You Read the Bible?

Why do you read the Bible? If you and I had coffee together and I asked you that question, how would you answer?

Why Do Americans Read the Bible?

A 2016 study by the Barna Group shows that about 1/3 of Americans read the Bible at least once a week. The same study also cites why people read the Bible. Here’s a quick rundown of the top answers:

  • Brings me closer to God (55%)
  • To receive comfort (16%)
  • To find direction or an answer to a problem (16%)
  • Because I am supposed to (6%)

Why do I Read the Bible?

As I write this blog, I’m thinking about how I would answer this question. I mean, honestly answer this question. And you know what? I think my answer would depend on the day. Absolutely I want to be closer to God. But, some days I do read it because I know I should. Other days I need some godly direction or an answer for a specific problem. And on tough days, I just need some comfort.

And you know what? I think all those reasons are legitimate. God’s Word does give comfort, offer direction, and have answers for life today. And yes, sometimes we really should read our Bibles when we don’t necessarily want to, because Christian life requires discipline and purpose. We must “train ourselves for godliness”(1 Timothy 4:7-8).

While all those reasons and more are wrapped up in why I read the Bible, there is another reason. One I desire to be my primary reason.

I want God’s Word to shape me. To refine me. To make me more like Jesus.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

And as it does, all those other things will happen too. My intimacy with God will deepen and grow. His constant presence will comfort and guide me.

So, now it’s your turn. Why do you read the Bible? Maybe your current reason isn’t what you’d like it to be. Or maybe you don’t read the Bible regularly now. The best way to create a hunger for God’s Word to simply to begin to read it. Once you get a taste… (Psalm 34:8).

Why do you read the Bible?

If you’d like to begin to read the Bible but you aren’t sure how to get started, check out my free resources page. It is full of helps, including quiet time tips and Bible reading plans! 

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A Century Old Bible and a Legacy of Faith

BibleFor the last few months, my brother and I have been working to move my parents from Louisiana to Tennessee. Mom and Dad’s health took a nosedive last summer and they need to be closer to one of their children. I’ve been making regular trips from Houston to Shreveport to check on them on begin to go through the family home in preparation for the move.

Since our parents have been in the same house for almost 50 years, there is quite a bit of “accumulation.” Though much of it is regular household stuff like gift-wrapping supplies, long-lost Tupperware lids, and manuals for appliances they no longer have, we have also discovered a few treasures that reveal a family legacy of faith.

For instance, back in September, I shared a letter I found from my great-great grandmother to my great-grandfather. She wrote how she prayed daily for him and his family.

BibleI discovered another treasure this past weekend – a crumbling Bible given to that same great-grandfather, Howell Adam Shouse from that same great-great-grandmother Mary Dozier Cash. The inscription is dated March 7, 1910, more than 100 years ago.

Over the last few months, I have discovered several letters, Bibles, and other items that reveal the consistent and persistent faith of Mary Dozier. I’m not sure what Howell Adam did with her legacy, but I know that her name sake and my maternal grandmother, Mary Dozier Shouse Addington, shared her love for Christ.

My grandmother, Mary Addington, shared her grandmother’s name and her faith. And like her grandmother, she constantly talked about Jesus with her grandchildren. That legacy of faith continues with me – Mary Kathryn. I share my grandmother’s name and her faith. I pray I will continue that legacy of faith with my grandchildren.

How can we be purposeful in passing our faith to the generations that follow?

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We Are Not “All God’s Children”

All God's ChildrenI hear it all the time: “We are all God’s children!” Sounds good, doesn’t it? That would be great! All humanity united in one family. With one Father.

Just one problem with that. That’s not what the Bible teaches.

Yes, all humans are creatures of God. We all belong to Him because He formed and fashioned us. We were made by Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16). Made in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). Made for His glory (Isaiah 43:7).

And yes, God loves all people (John 3:16). He longs to be in right relationship with each and every individual (2 Peter 3:9). He desires that all people come to eternal salvation through Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:3-6). In fact, He desires this so much that while everyone was still in utter rebellion against Him, God sent His Son to die to save us (Romans 5:8). That’s how much He loves us. That’s how much He loves you.

But not all people are children of God.

The Bible makes a clear distinction between those who are “God’s children” and those who are not. Only those born by God’s Spirit through faith in Jesus are children of God (1 John 3:1-10, Galatians 3:26, John 8:34-41).

“To all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” John 1:12-13, NIV

The Bible also tells us what a child of God looks like. How they will behave. Here is a short list of some of what God’s Word says.

5 Characteristics of a “child of God”

  1. They love Jesus (John 8:42).
  2. They believe that Jesus is the Savior (1 John 5:1).
  3. They love God’s children (1 John 3:10, 5:1).
  4. They are controlled by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9, 14).
  5. They obey God (1 John 2:29, 3:7-9).

Are you a child of God? You don’t have to wonder. God longs for you to receive His gift of salvation and be assured of eternity (Find out more here.) And there are so many benefits in being a child of God!

8 Benefits of being a “Child of God”

  1. God’s children have been “redeemed,” set free from sin and eternal death by Jesus’ sacrificial death (Galatians 4:4-5).
  2. God’s children are His heirs, inheriting spiritual rights and privileges and eternal life (Romans 8:17).
  3. God’s children have direct access to their Father (Galatians 4:5-7)..
  4. God’s children have a special intimacy with their Father (Galatians 4:6).
  5. God’s children will grow to become like Jesus (1 John 3:2).
  6. God’s children have peace, unity, and equal status with each other (Galatians 3:26-29).
  7. God’s children will experience a future resurrection (Romans 8:11).
  8. God’s children have the presence and confirmation of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:16).

Have you every heard the incorrect statement “We are all God’s children?” Maybe you’ve said it. Why is it important that we understand the truth?

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3 Steps to Help You Choose a New Bible

New BibleTime to choose a new Bible, but overwhelmed with the sheer volume of the choices available? Dozens of translations combined with a myriad of features yields hundreds – if not thousands – of specific Bibles to choose from. Selecting a new Bible can be a daunting task!

Before you throw your hands up in surrender, keep reading. This post will walk you through a simple 3-step process to help you choose the Bible that will best meet your needs.

Since many of you probably already have one or more Bibles, the first step is to determine why you need another Bible and which Bible that should be.

3 Steps to a New Bible!

  1. Determine Your Primary Purpose – How do you intend to use this new Bible? Your purpose will guide the next two steps. Maybe one of the following describes your intended purpose:
  • In-depth study
  • Devotional reading
  • Casual reading/simple enjoyment!

2. Choose the Translation – Unless you read Hebrew and Greek – the original language of the Bible – you must choose from one of the many English translations of the Bible. There are three basic levels or groups of translations. One of these groups will better align with your purpose than the others. Also, it’s always helpful to have more than one translation. You can compare the same passage in different translations for a greater understanding.

  • Word-for-Word (also known as Formal Equivalent) – These translations are the closest to the grammar and syntax of the original language as possible, but they can often sound wooden. Also this kind of translation makes no consideration for cultural changes. This kind of translation is a great choice for in-depth Bible study. (Ex: Amplified, NKJV, NAB, ESV, NASB. Note: NIV falls somewhere between the Formal and Dynamic Equivalent)
  • Thought-for-thought (also known as Dynamic Equivalent) – These translations work to keep the overall original thought rather than attempt a literal word for word translation. Although not as literally as accurate as the Formal Equivalent, they are much easier for 21st century westerners to understand. For instance, Dynamic Equivalent translations change idioms, figures of speech, and measurements into “equivalent” terms that we will understand. This kind of translation is still close enough to the original to be good for Bible study, but it can also be used for devotional reading. (Ex: NLT, CEV)
  • Paraphrase – this translation group departs the furthest from the original language but it provides a fresh reading experience. A paraphrase is more of a big idea-for-big idea translation. This translation group is fine for devotional reading but not a good idea for study. With the paraphrase’s “storytelling” format, it would be great for family devotions with young children. (Ex: The Message)
  1. Select the Features You Want – Ah, there is no end to the possible tools, special editions, and unique features you can get in the different Bible translations. Select the ones that best meet your needs and circumstances. By the way, at ChristianBook.com you can refine your Bible search by translation and features! Here is a sampling:
  • Study Bible – includes book introductions, character studies, notes, etc.
  • Tabs – helps you quickly find individual books
  • Cross-references – read related passages
  • Concordance – alphabetical index of words and where they are found in the Bible
  • Dictionary – definitions of Bible words and terms
  • Journaling space – empty wide margins on every page gives room to journal or draw
  • Large print – hard time reading tiny print? This may be for you!
  • Maps, charts, timelines – helps you step into Bible times
  • Devotional – will help you meditate on and apply the passages
  • Focus on a select audience like women, students, men, children
  • Parallel translations – shows more than one translation side-by-side

You’re almost there! Choose the translation based on your purpose. Then add in the features you’re most interested in. Congratulations on your new Bible!

What was the last Bible you purchased? Why did you choose that particular one?

Helpful articles and posts:

 

 

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7 Things God Cannot Do

Yes, I know. God is all-powerful, all-knowing, sovereign, and holy. I fully embrace all that God’s Word says about who He is, how He works, and what He can do. But there are some things that God cannot – or will not – do precisely because of who He is.

These 7 things are not a comprehensive list, but they will all help us better understand our one, true God. I pray they also help you to worship Him more passionately and trust Him more completely.

7 Things God Cannot Do

  1. God cannot be wrong or make a mistake – Everything God does is right. His knowledge is perfect (Job 37:16). All His works are perfect (Deut 32:4). He never even makes an “honest mistake.”
  2. God cannot sin – God is holy. He is “light” and in Him there is no darkness (1 John 1:5). Perfect holiness. Not a speck of unholiness. God cannot do anything against His perfect, holy nature. He cannot do evil or be tempted by evil (James 1:13).
  3. God cannot lie – Yes, a lie is sin, so this one is covered by #2. However, since the Bible makes a point of telling us this specifically, I thought it was worth emphasizing! God doesn’t lie like we humans do. He only tells the truth, all the time, every time. (Hebrews 6:18, Titus 1:2, Numbers 23:19)
  4. God cannot change – Perfection cannot become more perfect. Since God has perfect knowledge and perfect character, He cannot change His mind or improve His behavior. (Malachi 3:6). By the way, we shouldn’t dare to “update” God’s Word or standards to match our times. Our culture may be changing constantly, but God “does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).
  5. God cannot break a promise – We can always take God at His word. He is faithful to keep His covenants. What He says, He will do. (Psalm 89:34)
  6. God cannot get tired – No matter how much God accomplishes, how great and far-reaching His works, He will not grow weary or fatigued (Isaiah 40:28). In fact, He has strength in abundance and is willing to share His strength with us! (Isaiah 40:31)
  7. God cannot stop “being” – Our Creator God is the God who “IS.” His personal name, Yahweh, expresses the nature of His existence. He exists because He is. He exists outside of time. He has not ever “not existed” at any point, in any dimension. By nature of who He is, He must exist. Isn’t that mind blowing? (Exodus 3:13-15, Psalm 90:1-5, Revelation 1:1-8)

So, what do you think? Do you agree that there are some things God cannot do?

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4 Spiritual Benefits from God’s Word

4 Spiritual benefits BibleThe benefits of reading, studying, and applying God’s Word are endless. But there are some we think about – and dare I say, seek – more than others.

We know the Bible teaches us more about God, His will, and His ways. We have experienced God’s comfort, peace, and encouragement through His Word. And we have gained direction and insight for our daily lives. But those things only scratch the surface of the spiritual depth of God’s Word.

The deeper we go, the more God’s blessings will cover us. Here are a few more benefits in which to delight:

  1. Preparation for the future – God uses His Word to foster spiritual endurance and fill His children with hope and encouragement. Even if the days ahead are filled with trouble, pain, and persecution we can be victorious every step of the way because God has prepared us through Scripture. For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope (Romans 15:4).
  2. Strength to resist temptation – Jesus Himself used God’s Word to stave off Satan’s attacks. Scripture will protect us from sin by arming us with the truth and strengthening our longing to please and obey God. With God’s Word in our hearts – not just in our minds – we can stand firm. The law of his God is in his heart; his feet will not slip (Psalm 37:31).
  3. Spiritual growth – God wants to grow us to be like Jesus. Ingesting Scripture fuels our spiritual growth. God actively uses His Word in our lives to shape our character, change our desires, and mold our motivations to the image of Christ. This spiritual growth fosters a more intimate fellowship with Christ through a deeper knowledge of Him. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good (1 Peter 2:2-3).
  4. Spiritual vitality – Those who live a life rooted in Scripture will thrive. God will bless us when we delight in and are devoted to His Word. Our relationship with Him will be strong and produce eternal results. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers (Psalm 1:3).

When we ingest God’s Word, we will taste the sweetness of the Author of Life. When we go beyond a superficial reading of the Bible and mediate on its truths, we will experience the Person of the Holy Spirit. We will interact with our Creator. That is the point when God will move our hearts and meet the deepest needs of our souls.

Have you experienced any of these spiritual benefits? How do you plumb the depths of God’s Word.

Want to create a hunger for God’s Word? Read “3 Steps to Create a Hunger for the Bible”

Not sure what the role the Bible should play in your life? Read “4 Vital Truths the Bible Teaches about Itself.”

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3 Reasons to Stop Reading the Bible

3 reasons to Stop readingFaithfully reading and studying the Bible is hard. It requires commitment. It takes time away from other things. And the results and benefits are rarely instantaneous.

In fact, I even found 3 reasons to stop reading the Bible in the Bible itself. Check these out:

  1. Reading it makes us accountable (Luke 12:47-48; James 3:1) – The more we know about God, His will, and His ways, the more God expects from us in stewardship, worship, and discipleship.
  2. Reading it isn’t enough anyway (James 1:22-25) – Simply “listening” or reading is a waste of time. If we don’t obey it, we trick and delude ourselves.
  3. Reading it can be painful (Hebrews 4:21-13) – God’s Word is not “dead” text, just ink on a page. It is a living thing, the very breath of God breathed out. It has the supernatural ability to penetrate our hearts and judge our thoughts, laying everything bare and exposed.

Sounds like it would be better to let our Bibles just sit and collect dust on the shelf, doesn’t it? Yes, then we could be our own boss. We could decide what to do and when to do it. We could rely on ourselves and only on ourselves.

Yep. Certainly we would be better off. Wouldn’t we?

While I could launch into dozens of reasons to read and obey God’s Word, today only one is necessary. Knowledge of God’s Word leads us to eternal salvation.

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:14-17

Without Jesus Christ and the salvation that comes only through Him, we would be eternally doomed. God’s Word reveals Christ and His salvation and shows us how to follow Him. Reason enough.

What reasons have you heard to not read the Bible? What excuses have you used? If you read the Bible, why do you?

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5 Things I Wish Christians Would Stop Saying

5 Things Stop SayingJust because we hear something – or say something – over and over again doesn’t make it true. For instance, my 3-year-old grandson refers to Hulu as “WeeHoo.” Whenever my daughter carefully pronounces it correctly for him. He says, “No, Mom. It’s ‘WeeHoo.'” Yes, the illiterate toddler thinks he knows better than the grownup.

As silly as that sounds, we sometimes do that with God and His Word. We have allowed things out of line with Scripture to become so embedded in our brains, we now accept them as fact. Or we take a truth out of context and misapply it. And unfortunately we repeat these things to others.

Although not an exhaustive list, I hear Christians make the following five statements over and over again:

1. “We are all God’s children” – All people are definitely God’s “creatures,” created by God and for God. But only those who have been spiritually born again through a saving relationship with Jesus are God’s “children.” Here’s what God’s Word says:

  • Through Christ, we can be “adopted” as God’s sons and daughters. (Ephesians 1:5).
  • Only those with the indwelling Holy Spirit are children of God (Romans 8:15-17).
  • Only those redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ are children of God (Galatians 4:4-7).

At its best, this phrase is incorrect. At its worst, it gives people without a saving relationship with Jesus, a false sense of eternal security.

2. “Judge not” – We too often quote these words of Jesus as an excuse to ignore sin in others’ lives or as a reason for others to leave us to our own detrimental behavior. The passages we whip out are Matthew 7:1 and James 4:12. Unfortunately, we regularly fail to consider the context of the greater passage and the whole counsel of God’s Word.

Yes, both Jesus and James condemned a harsh, critical “judging” of people’s motives. This kind of “judging” is motivated by a self-righteous, hypocritical attitude. But in the whole of Scripture – including words of Jesus and James – God clearly commands Christians to lovingly point out sin and exhort each other to holiness. It is not our place to determine their motives, but it is our responsibility as a member of the body of Christ to gently identify behavior that God has already judged to be “sin.” The goal is to reconcile that person with others and with God and to keep the sin from spreading to others (Matthew 18:15-17, 1 Corinthians 5:5-7, Hebrews 12:15, James 5:19-20). For more about “judging” read this post.

3. “God will never give us more than we can handle” – There is just one problem with saying this: It’s simply not what the Bible teaches. Many well-meaning people quote 1 Corinthians 10:13 to back up this understandable desire. But the context of this passage is about temptation. Here’s the good news: God does promise that He will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear; He will always show us a way to stand firm.

So what does God teach about the amount of trials and difficulties He will allow into our lives? In a nutshell: He will allow far more than we can handle. Paul wrote that he had suffered extreme hardship in Asia, “far beyond his ability to endure so that he despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8-11). God allowed this so Paul and his companions “might not rely on themselves but on God.” For more on this topic, read this post.

4. “God is love” – Yes, I believe that God is love! Scripture says it over and over (1 John 4:8-10). God defines real love. He is loving by nature. He expresses this divine love in all that He does. But unfortunately, some Christians try to stand on this truth – “God is love” – to rationalize sin or to dismiss hell.

“A loving God wouldn’t send people to hell.”

“God loves me, He would want me to be happy.”

But our loving, holy God does not sweep sin under the rug. Instead His love moved Him to provide a way of salvation for all people by sending Jesus as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:11). And Christ’s love compels us to repent of our sins, accept His sacrificial death, and be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:11-21). God’s love provides a way of salvation, not a license to sin.

5. “All sin is the same” – Most assuredly, any and all sin separates us from God and brings eternal spiritual death (Romans 6:23). In that way, all sin is the same. But Scripture does show that some kinds of sins cause far greater harm to ourselves and other people or bring far greater consequences than other sins. (For more on this see this article at BillyGraham.org.)Here are a few examples:

  • Sexual Immorality – Due to the intimate nature of sex, sexual immorality has unique consequences, such as tearing apart families and even directly impacting our relationship with God (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).
  • Pride – Scripture condemns the sin of pride over and over. In fact, the Bible says that God “opposes the proud” (Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6). Pride is an underlying attitude that manifests itself in a host of other “sinful” ways.
  • Hypocrisy – Jesus sternly warned the Pharisees about their hypocrisy (Matthew 23:13-36). This kind of self-righteousness blinds us to our own sin and our need for God. “Woe!”
  • Leading others into sin – Jesus’ language was harsh for those who would dare lead a “little one” into sin. It would be better for them to have a millstone tied around their neck and be thrown into the sea. Sounds serious! (See Matthew 18:1-9.)

You may not agree with me on all these, and that’s okay. What I hope we will all do is go to God’s Word to find His truth. But, let’s not ever settle for a “truth” we’ve grown accustomed to.

Have you ever said any of these 5 things? How do you feel about it now? What are some other things you hear often from Christians that don’t line up with God’s Word? Be sure to share what God’s Word says about it!

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