The Difference Between Faith and Hope – Luther

49-29588_Tin_Plaques_Faith_HopeIs there any difference between faith and hope?  At first glance, this question looks like a no-brainer.  But when you stop and think about it, you begin scratching your head and you go “Hmm, yes and no?”  Well, let’s let Martin Luther help us out here.  Here is what he had to say in response to this question in his Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians:

The question occurs to us, What difference is there between faith and hope? We find it difficult to see any difference. Faith and hope are so closely linked that they cannot be separated. Still there is a difference between them.

First, hope and faith differ in regard to their sources. Faith originates in the understanding, while hope rises in the will.

Secondly, they differ in regard to their functions. Faith says what is to be done. Faith teaches, describes, directs. Hope exhorts the mind to be strong and courageous.

Thirdly, they differ in regard to their objectives. Faith concentrates on the truth. Hope looks to the goodness of God.

Fourthly, they differ in sequence. Faith is the beginning of life before tribulation. (Hebrews 11.) Hope comes later and is born of tribulation. (Romans 5.)

Fifthly, they differ in regard to their effects. Faith is a judge. It judges errors. Hope is a soldier. It fights against tribulations, the Cross, despondency, despair, and waits for better things to come in the midst of evil.

Without hope, faith cannot endure. On the other hand, hope without faith is blind rashness and arrogance because it lacks knowledge. Before anything else a Christian must have the insight of faith, so that the intellect may know its directions in the day of trouble and the heart may hope for better things. By faith we begin, by hope we continue.

Would you like to interact with Martin Luther?  Please post your comments below.  Blessings in Christ!

Beware of the Sugar-Coated “Gospel”

sugar coating the gospelA sugar-coated “gospel” is no gospel at all.  The great calling of every gospel preacher is to be a herald of God’s (not his own) message.  This gives us a benchmark against which to measure and test every preacher, i.e. faithfulness to the Bible.  Sadly, many Christians are so gullible and they are gobbling up spiritual junk food Sunday after Sunday.  Even sadder than that is that they don’t seem to know it and those who do know, don’t seem to care.

In most cases, the problem with the preachers of this sugar-coated “gospel” is not so much in what they say.  The problem is in what they don’t say.  Here are some of the major things they don’t talk about:

  1.  Repentance toward God – “I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:21).
  1.  Faith in Christ – “I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:21).
  1.  Obedience to Christ – “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Continue reading “Beware of the Sugar-Coated “Gospel””

Is There Any Difference Between Faith and Hope?

Now, that’s a good question!  At first glance, this question looks like a no-brainer.  But when you stop and think about it, you begin scratching your head and you go “Hmm, yes and no?”  Well, let’s let Martin Luther help us out here.  Here is what he had to say in response to this question in his Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians:

The question occurs to us, What difference is there between faith and hope? We find it difficult to see any difference. Faith and hope are so closely linked that they cannot be separated. Still there is a difference between them.

First, hope and faith differ in regard to their sources. Faith originates in the understanding, while hope rises in the will.

Secondly, they differ in regard to their functions. Faith says what is to be done. Faith teaches, describes, directs. Hope exhorts the mind to be strong and courageous.

Thirdly, they differ in regard to their objectives. Faith concentrates on the truth. Hope looks to the goodness of God.

Fourthly, they differ in sequence. Faith is the beginning of life before tribulation. (Hebrews 11.) Hope comes later and is born of tribulation. (Romans 5.)

Fifthly, they differ in regard to their effects. Faith is a judge. It judges errors. Hope is a soldier. It fights against tribulations, the Cross, despondency, despair, and waits for better things to come in the midst of evil.

Without hope faith cannot endure. On the other hand, hope without faith is blind rashness and arrogance because it lacks knowledge. Before anything else a Christian must have the insight of faith, so that the intellect may know its directions in the day of trouble and the heart may hope for better things. By faith we begin, by hope we continue.

Would you like to interact with Martin Luther?  Please post your comments below.  Blessings in Christ!

The T. B. Joshua Appeal! Who Is T. B. Joshua Anyway and Why Does He Matter?

I have been greatly overwhelmed and encouraged at the same by the responses that I have received to the post which I entitled Exposing T.B. Joshua’s Patch-Work Prophecies.

T. B. Joshua 2I am overwhelmed at the number of people who truly seem to be behind T.B. Joshua and his teachings.  I am encouraged, because in this, I see a great and wonderful opportunity not only to expose the errors and flaws in T.B. Joshua’s doctrine and that of others like him – I hope and plan to do that.  But more than that, I am encouraged or should I say excited (as my American friends are fond of saying) – I see this as a great opportunity of bring to light what the Word of God teaches in the hopes that by His grace and by the working of His Holy Spirit, the LORD’s will and purposes might be fulfilled in my own heart and life and in the life of everyone who is following these discourses.  Furthermore, I pray that when it’s all said and done, we will all come out of this far better Christians, more knowledgeable of what the Bible actually teaches of the matters to be discussed – and above all – more like the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior!  That’s my hope and prayer!  Will you please join me in that?  Thank you.

Continue reading “The T. B. Joshua Appeal! Who Is T. B. Joshua Anyway and Why Does He Matter?”

The Best Job in the World!

bestjobintheworldBeing paid to study and teach the Bible has to be the BEST job in the world! Seriously, think about it. You spend hours and hours praying, reading, studying and teaching the Word of God and at the end of month, someone hands you a check for doing that? How wonderful is that? Hey, if you are wondering – that’s my job and I love it! I don’t love it for the money (though I need the money to pay some bills and care for my family). I’ve got a wife and two kids and lots of other responsibilities. I need the money and I am thankful that I do get paid. But you know what, even if I wasn’t getting paid, I would find a way to keep doing what I am doing and care for my family at the same time. Like, Paul, I could go tent-making or something like that. I would do anything if I had to – thankfully I don’t – for now anyway and I praise the Lord for such mercy and grace to me and my family!

Continue reading “The Best Job in the World!”

How I Became A Christian

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Ro. 5:8).

Today, I thought I should share how the LORD opened my eyes to His glorious grace in Christ.  I was nine years old.  I remember vividly what happened.  I picked up a small gospel tract in my Dad’s study.  My father is a Gospel Minister as well.  He has been since before I was born.  So being born in a pastor’s home, the seed of the Gospel was planted in my heart from a very young age.  I loved going to church with my parents every Sunday and at any other time there was something going on at the church.  I loved the daily family times of prayer which we used to have as a family throughout all the years, I was growing up at home.  I loved to pray!  I loved the Word of God!  I loved the church!  For the most part, I was a good kid (not perfect by any stretch of imagination).  I was doing well in school and was well-behaved at home most of the time. Continue reading “How I Became A Christian”

The Beauty and Simplicity of Moment-by-Moment Dependence on Christ

Life often throws curve-balls on us.  But for those who have learned to depend on Christ can live each moment looking forward to the day when their faith shall be sight.  But the wonderful thing is that the Lord often uses such moments in life to teach us (His children) the beauty and simplicity of moment-by-moment dependency on Christ.  We may not understand everything now, but farther along, we will (certainly in glory).

Farther along we’ll know more about it,
Farther along we’ll understand why;
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it all by and by.

Continue reading “The Beauty and Simplicity of Moment-by-Moment Dependence on Christ”