The Meaning of “Only-Begotten”

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

What does that title, “only begotten Son,” mean?  And is it a reference to the birth of Jesus?

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Peace, Perfect Peace

Isaiah 48:18

O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:

Isaiah 48:22

There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.

Isaiah 9:6

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 26:3

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

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Sanctification on Display?

Pastor Brian Morgan said this in a comment on my post yesterday:

Our progress of sanctification is not illustrated by our position on this matter. But how we treat others who might disagree with us may indeed be illustrative!

How many decisions in life are like that!  There are many things where the Scriptures give clear and direct instructions, and our response does reflect our Christian growth.  But in many decisions, mature and obedient Christians may choose differently.

But even in things the Bible commands, how we treat those who disagree says more about us, and our progress in sanctification, than about them or the question at hand.  After all, the following instruction guides our dealings with those in sin.  How much more would it apply to those who disagree on matters that are not sin!

II Timothy 2:24-26

24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

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‘Tis the Season….

…for people to tell others they should or shouldn’t celebrate Christmas.  So I’ll restate — the Bible does not tell us to celebrate Christmas, but does give sound Biblical basis for us to do so if we wish.  In the articles linked below, I’ve answered the most common objections and given some cautions about the way we celebrate.

I’ll also give links to some other articles I’ve written related to the birth of Christ.

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Superhero Theology

Five-year-old theologians sometimes get right to the heart of the matter.  This little gem came on the way home from school.  (The wording isn’t exact, but close enough….)

“Dad, my friends were talking about which superhero is the best.  I told them Jesus is the best.  They said why, and I told them Jesus came back from the dead, and no superhero can do that.”

The resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Even superheroes can’t match up to that! :)

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“Our God Contracted to a Span”

I’ve been very busy, so the blog has been quiet recently.  I guess that means I owe my readers some blog posts :), so instead of one hymn today, I’ll give you two.

On Sunday, I preached the final sermon in my “Church on Purpose” series.  I planned it months ago to finish the series with this one — how the Incarnation of Christ (God becoming man) affects our practice within the church.  So obviously, the sermon dealt with the Biblical teaching on the incarnation (and perhaps I’ll summarise it in future blog posts).  But we didn’t sing the usual songs sung around this time of year, even though many of them teach of the incarnation.  Instead, among others, we sang a little known hymn by Charles Wesley, and a well-known hymn by Fanny Crosby (which is rarely connected with the incarnation, but should be).

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“The Light We Throw Upon Them”

“Persons appear to us according to the light we throw upon them from our own minds.”
– Laura Ingalls Wilder, The First Four Years

It is true whether you put the best interpretation on people (and their actions) that you can, or the worst interpretation.  In either case, you tell people more about yourself than about others, revealing the light (or darkness) of your own mind.

Beareth all things,
believeth all things,
hopeth all things,
endureth all things.
I Corinthians 13:7

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