Category Archives: Christian Living

Our Spiritual Battle Part 2

by Peter Ditzel

In the first part of this article, we saw how our spiritual battle is not against flesh and blood, and that the opposite concepts of what our spiritual armor pictures show what we are fighting against in our spiritual battle (for example, the opposite of truth is lies, the opposite of faith is unbelief). In Part 2, we will see that our spiritual battle is a rational one founded upon the truth of the Word of God.

Logical Propositions

Joshua and the Israelites before the Walls of Jericho by Christoph Murer about 1600.
Joshua and the children of Israel brought down the walls of Jericho with trumpet blasts and a shout, and Hebrews 11:30 says, “By faith, the walls of Jericho fell down.” Joshua and the Israelites before the Walls of Jericho by Christoph Murer circa 1600.

I’ve heard preachers attack what they call “mere human reasoning.” Some might just mean erroneous arguments. But I know that others truly believe that Christians should avoid logic to
support their ideas. This is unfortunate. Jesus is the Logos of God. Logos is the word from which we get the English word “logic.” Logos is often translated as “word” (as it is in John 1:1) because words express logical propositions. We arrange words in grammatically correct syntax in sentences the way computer programmers arrange computer code.

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Our Spiritual Battle Part 1

by Peter Ditzel

Spanish (Valencian) tempera on wood painting of Michael slaying the dragon, ca 1405, artist unknown.
Artists have often depicted spiritual battles as literal fights, but the Bible even specifically points out that the battle between Michael and the devil was a disputation that ended with the words, “May the Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 9). This is a tempera on wood (ca. 1405) by an unknown Spanish (Valencian) artist. Source http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/437742.

In Ephesians 6:10, Paul tells his readers to “be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might,” which, in the next verse, he pictures as putting “on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Paul is making an analogy between the Christian life and an armored soldier standing his ground in a battle. What the Christian must stand against are “the wiles of the devil.” The devil has methodeia—”clever ways,” “cunning schemes”—that we must stand up against.

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Are there accountability partners in the Bible? Do pastors rule?–Authority and Accountability in the Bible

by Peter Ditzel

I used to do some freelance editing for a man who ran a Christian publishing, Internet, and speaking ministry. A few years before his death, he found that he was unable to, in good conscience, continue his membership in the church of which he had been a member and elder. Soon afterward, “Christian” forums had threads about him that went something like this: “Did you hear that so-and-so is no longer under the accountability of a church?” “What? Do you mean that he’s not under a church covering?” “This is outrageous! How can he continue his ministry while being unfaithful?” “Well, all I know is that as long as he’s not under the authority of a church, I’m not listening to him any more.”

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The Richest Man in Town

by Peter Ditzel

16 December 2015: A tradition that many people have at this time of year is watching Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. Capra made the film “to combat a modern trend toward atheism.”1 Individual opinions of the film range from its being the best movie ever made to its being too sappy to endure. I happen to enjoy it—a lot, and so does my whole family. Not only that, but I think it has more depth than many people realize. Some of the central themes of It’s a Wonderful Life are soundly biblical, and they are good lessons for Christians to know and live by. So, I’m going to do something unusual. I’m going to use It’s a Wonderful Life to illustrate some biblical principles.

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Q. Must we regularly confess our sins to receive God’s forgiveness?

A. Many, perhaps most, preachers teach that when a Christian sins, he or she must confess that sin to receive God’s forgiveness. They base this primarily on 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” But if it is true that we must always confess a sin for God to forgive us, it would seem to contradict the fact that God has already completely forgiven believers because of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. What, then, did John mean when he wrote 1 John 1:9?

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Living Sacrifice

by Peter Ditzel

This article is adapted from The Word of His Grace radio program, "Living Sacrifice."
If we Christians would join the wise men, we must close our eyes to all that glitters before the world and look rather on the despised and foolish things.... --Martin Luther
Martin Luther understood that being a living sacrifice involved turning from wordly ways.

In Romans 12, verses 1-2, Paul writes, “Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.”

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Don’t Be Conformed to This World

by Peter Ditzel

In Romans 12:2, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul instructed us, “Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.” What does he mean when he says to not be conformed to this world? What does he mean by being transformed by the renewing of our minds? Is he writing of a one-time event, or are we to continuously renew our minds? How does this affect the way we are to view and interact with the world around us?

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Q. Must we regularly confess our sins to receive God’s forgiveness?

A. Many, perhaps most, preachers teach that when a Christian sins, he or she must confess that sin to receive God’s forgiveness. They base this primarily on 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” But if it is true that we must always confess a sin for God to forgive us, it would seem to contradict the fact that God has already completely forgiven believers because of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. What, then, did John mean when he wrote 1 John 1:9?

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Q. What is the fruit by which we are to know people? (Matthew 7:16)

A. In Matthew 7:16, Jesus says, “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” Although Jesus explains in other passages and also right in the immediate context of this verse what He means by “fruits,” that has not stopped people from interpreting “fruits” in imaginative ways. I’m going to briefly list what some of these imaginative but wrong ideas are and then point out from the context precisely what Jesus means by “fruits.”

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