Category Archives: Quest for Truth

Seeking the truth about God, the bible, and faith.

Quest for Truth 144 Random Thanksgiving, with Michael Prince

Happy Thanksgiving!

With the return of co-host, Nathan Caldwell, we are at a loss for words. Offering us a few moments of his time at the very last moment, Michael Prince of BecauseFamily.org joins us as we talk, and sometimes ramble, about things that we are thankful for, and that has blessed our lives. We share thoughts and moments on past Thanksgivings, Michael’s 2 year mission, living out of an RV, and his return to a home.

Flipping the show just a little, Michael has to go, and signs off with his contact information. Nathan and Keith stick around with a little “Meet the Host” time. The Retrobots help us sign off with our Thoughts of the Week segment.

Quest for Truth 143 Modeling Christ, with Doug McCoy

Today, Keith interviews pastor, podcaster, and author, Doug McCoy. Learn about his ministry and how he came to follow Christ. We talk about his various podcasts, most having to do with movies, games, and well… whatever Doug likes, and likes to share. His books are available on Amazon, and range from video games, to Halloween, to Thanksgiving, and more.

We talk about living our faith in a sometimes hostile world. Sometimes people want to hear more about the gospel, sometimes they don’t, but the two best things to do is pray,;and model the Christian life. Pray for the opportunity to share, ;pray for the right words to say, and when there’s nothing other to do, than giving people their space, pray for a hardened attitude to be softened. But model Christ to them.

Shifting back to the topic of writing, we discuss how characters, and stories can be developed to telll a story with Christian undertones, without being something that’s in your face with bible lessons. A book that’s Cristian, not a straight Christian book that uses a story to teach.

The question is also posed: If you had to pick a different occupation, other than what you do now, what would it be? Just how does one go about becoming Indiana Jones? Regardless of the choice, modelling the life of Jesus is going to be woven through it.

Diving further into the world of randomness, we share our ideas on a quote by Albert Einstein.

Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge will get you from A to B, but imagination will take you everywhere.

Quest for Truth 142 Bible Survey 16: Jesus Fulfills the Law

A special guest joins Keith in the studio, but first an answer to a few challenges to whether the Bible is reliable, and can be trusted.

Myths include:

  • The bible was made up by the emperor Constantine.
  • There was no Christian god, before Jesus was invented in the early 300’s AD.
  • the Bible was canonized by Constantine to suit his political agendas.
  • Christianity would never have spread if not for the corrupting influence of the Roman emperor.
  • The oldest surviving manuscripts only dat to the Middle Ages, so how can they be trusted to be accurate in relzating events that happened a thousand years earlier?

A scan through accepted secular histories can debunk all these myths. It’s easy to date copies of the oldest fragments of the New Testament to around 300AD. Being copies, we know there were originals long in existence before this. Plus the earliest church leaders, students of the original disciples, widely quoted from the books and writings we now call the New Testament . Where did corruption come from, if the church has become corrupt? From people who hide the Bible away, and teach their own agendas above what god says in his word. When in doubt, throw out the commentary, and read what the Bible says.

Since the original writings are no longer with us, the thing to do is stop talking about how we came to have the Bible, or how it was preserved, and read what it actually says about itself, and about what god wants. Keith includes 11 points from J Warner Wallace’s book, Cold Case Christianity to prove the early dates for the writings, the witnesses, and how to know the events are real.

Main Topic

Bible Survey 16. Jesus Fulfills the Law

Matthew 5:17-20; Romans 8:1-4

Summary:

  • He came to fulfill the law.
  • They that are in Christ, are free from condemnation.

John Steinklaubber joins in to discuss what it means to have the law fulfilled, The law is important, and will not pass until the end of time. Still, it carries a heavy weight in responsibility if we expect to live up to god’s standards. If you can’t meet the standard of perfection.

For the rest of us, we need the new covenant that Jesus offers. The law of the spirit liberates, and reconciles us to be part of god’s kingdom.

To wrap up, we flip the usual format to put some random questions at the end. Enjoy our fun discussion of discovering our true passions in life.

Quest for Truth 141 The Scary Bible

For Halloween, Keith has put together this solo episode. Asking the question, “In the Bible, is there any passage, or topic that would make a good scary story, movie, or just something that was terrifying when you heard it?” Responses are shared from a few of the people who were willing to talk on the microphone about it. Our usual co-host, Chris shares a thought on the book of Revelation, and also the field of blood. A guest who will soon appear on the show, John Steinklaubber, has the same thought bon Revelation, but also in another matter. A podcaster who was recently interviewed for Keith’s other podcast, Retro-OTR.com is willing to share a scary thought on demon possession, and how it affected him. Find Kevin Zerbe’s work over at Zerbinator.wordpress.com where you’ll find all of his work for free. Listener discretion is suggested on some of his shows.

Finally, Keith shares a quick thought before turning the floor over to co-host, Nathan Caldwell, who shared a sermon he just preached on a scary topic. The account of Lazarus, and the rich man who both died, but had very different experiences. The account can be found in Luke 16.

Worldly advantages, or hardships are temporary. Hardships can be scary, illness, disability, or any number of life’s tragedies that cause us to fear will come to an end. Death itself is a scary thing as it brings an end to any poverty or prosperity we may be experiencing. What lays on the other side of death? Knowing Jesus, and the promise we have in calling on his name offers assurance to the one who has faith.

The scariest thing. In verse 23, we read of the account of where the rich man ended up. A place of fire and torment. A place that is inescapable. A place we all deserve to go, if not for the price Jesus paid so all of humanity might become spiritualy reborn.

The time is now, in this life, to be sure of that eternal destination. It’ll be too late to ask for relief. There’s no going back to have a second shot. All the evidence people need, is already present, so there’s no going back to warn others.

Will we have all our questions answered in this life? No. Will we find all the answers we seek in the Bible? No. But there’s more than enough evidence to know what God wants from us, what he expects of us, and what our final destiny will be for each person to decide. The trouble is that most will cast aside the evidence. Or have clear evidence, but keep asking for yet one more thing.

If you’re the person who has the facts, it’s time to stop demanding one more item. Connect the dots you already have, and study the picture you already have. You’ll probably find that adding one more dot to connect won’t change God’s plan. If you already have faith, help someone you know connect the dots they have, and be ready to help them put it all together.

Quest for Truth 140 Patching the Political Divide

Or, The Good Samaritan

Though not in our usual recording set up, Nathan is patched in, through the magic of podcasting technology to share his thoughts on today’s topic. The Retrobots help to ease things along, despite some behind the scenes drama.

In our current political climate, where the rift between various agendas seem to rip our nation apart, this is the time to learn how to take steps to being reconciled, and put differences aside to discuss what’s really wrong, and heal wounds that are in dire need of attention. Will it mean we’ll see things the same, and agree? No, but Wounds need to take top priority in fixing, before we can begin to discuss, and understand opposing ideas.

How does the account of the Good Samaritan help? The focused question deals with who a neighbor is, and the unexpected source of help. But the original question also helps in identifying a higher purpose as well. That higher goal is in reaching a unified kingdom, where humans of all diverse races and groups can come together. But even more importantly, a kingdom where humans and God will one day be able to reconcile, and unite.

Continue reading Quest for Truth 140 Patching the Political Divide

Quest for Truth 139 Humanity, from Innocence to Immorality

In a solo episode with Keith, hangout for a session in getting down to a few basic concepts about humanity, and the initial blessings laid at our feet. If it’s all so great, then why is the world we live in so messed up? Keith also talks about what sin is at its core, and what was lost, corrupted, and what we have left.

One basic principle is that God is entirely good, loving, and sinless. Only angels, and mankind can sin. Amazingly, commentaries can be vague on the topic of sin. To figure it out, a look at the first recorded history of where it came from, and what the world was like before and after it entered offers some clues.

ADAM

Humanity

The first man. Creation of

Genesis 1:26-28

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Observations:
People are physical beings, but our spirituality is in the image of God. What do we find him doing in these early pages? Creating, building a special habitat, uniquely designed for humans. He laid it at our feet to rule over, discover, and enjoy. We have his blessing, and in the physical form of male and female, we can create human life. Try as we might to create life, or animate life in some artificial way, it can’t be done. It is so obvious and simple to do when a male and female join together. Creating life is the highest form that we humans can create on our own. It should be a humbling thing that deserves our highest respect and responsibility.

Genesis 2:7;

7 then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

1 Corinthians 15:45;

45 Thus it is written, The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

Observations:
Skipping ahead to Paul’s writing, he makes the connection between the first, physical, man who brought life, but also sin and death, to the second Adam. The one who would bring spiritual life. But let’s return to thug of humanities intocense.

History of, before he sinned

Genesis 1:26-30

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.

30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.

Observations:
Mankind was made to rule over all life in the earth, and even the world itself. To subdue it, discover all its mysteries. All this in a state not of perfection, but of innocence. He was blessed, and his place was established to learn about this amazing place, while using all it contains responsibly, and in a manner in line with how God would be glorified the best.

But wait… there’s more…

Genesis 2:16-25

16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden,

17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

19 Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.

20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.

21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.

22 And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.

23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Observations:
Mankind was given food, but with a boundary. All the other plants in the garden were fine, just don’t bother this one in particular. That’s it. Just think of how long the man and woman might have continued living in innocence, but the warning was they would surely die. Not an instant death, but one that began its process in that instant.

The man was given work to do in this innocent time. Tend and till the garden, discover, explore, name animals, all this to occupy his time, and do one more thing. God let the man come to realize that as fascinating as this created universe was, all that knowledge, and pursuit of it was unfulfilling. The man still needed a counterpart. Someone to be a suitable fit, to keep from being lonely. Someone equipped in a different, complimentary way to create life on their own.

The female was created out of man, presented to him, and approved of by him. The marriage relationship was established as good, in this age of innocence.

All these things were put in place and blessed, while humanity was in its undefiled stage. They are created good. And they still are intended as blessings for us. To rule, to work, to eat, to marry, and to otherwise discover our world, they have also become objects of corruption and abuse.

Temptation and sin of man

Genesis 3:1 ;

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

Observations:
Without going into the whole ordeal of the initial sin, the lie was introduced. Twisting God’s word, putting words in his mouth that were never said, and the hook is set. The far reaching affects of this tiny act of rebellion were incomprehensible by the first humans at this time.

Isaiah 43:27;

27 Your first father sinned, and your mediators transgressed against me.

Observations:
Everybody sins. parents pass sin on from generation to generation. Just as leaven works its way through the whole loaf, and is passed from one loaf to the next, sin is passed in the same kind of way. Even someone held as a mediator, a go to person, a coach, or whatever, they have their limitations due to their own sin.

Subsequent history of

Genesis 3:20-24

20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.

21 And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—”

23 therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.

24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

Observations:
What just happened here? Was the sin in eating a piece of fruit? Maybe, not exactly. Was it in rebelling in Crossing a boundary? Yes. What was lost, or gained? A clear understanding of what morality was grasped, but that eye opening experience came only after the deed was done, and there was no going back on the choice. Knowing right and wrong was already in place, and the warning God gave earlier should have been enough. A choice, the wrong choice is all it took to plant that first seed of sin.

Sin is our intentional choice to act, and make the wrong choice, even when we know it’s wrong. Especially when we know its wrong.

Sin condemns, and requires punishment. God’s presence was removed, the tree of life is removed, the humans are kicked out of the garden. All the other blessings remain, but only with a degree of added work, pains, and other problems.

Genesis 4:1,2,25;

1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.”

2 And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground.

25 And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.”

Observations:
Sin is passed to the next generation. In the verses in the middle of chapter 4, God warns Cain over being upset over his offering. Despite the choice to drop the anger, and live well, Cain makes the intentional choice to be angry, and hate. The attitudes lead to being deceitful, and then to kill. One attitude feeding the next, and ending in the act of murder. God gives a mixture of punishment and protection.

His death

Genesis 5:5

5 Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died.

Observations:
And so it goes. The act of sin continues. It can only end in death. Our sin is the thing that condemned us and keeps us from ever being in God’s presence. Regardless of the deed, it boils down to having a choice, knowing between Right and wrong, and choosing wrong. Knowing what good and evil is, and choosing evil. Sin was passed down to us, and we pass it down to the next generations.

Fortunately, we have a way to break the cycle, and end the problem of sin, We can be justified, and returned to God’s good graces. Jesus paid the price to cover sin. It’s God’s gracious gift we don’t deserve. By confessing sin in our life, repenting from it, and turning to him in the faith we receive from the Holy Spirit, we are assured of his eternal spiritual kingdom. A choice to sin got us into this mess. All the horrible things in the world come from decisions that people make. Through a choice in faith, we can claim the promise of being included in a spiritual kingdom of life.

Quest for Truth 138 Parenting Style with John Wilkerson

To start things off, enjoy a short drama as the Retrobots help get the studio ready for the roundtable. Guests don’t show up, messages from a fan mean a secret is revealed about Retrobot David. It’s time to get started, so we get right to it.

John Wilkerson of the Wired Homeschool is on hand to discuss some ideas related to parenting style.

Main Topic

Parenting Styles

There are four styles, based on 2 points.

Authoritarian.

Characterized by being: High on control, low on warmth.

  • High expectations,
  • structured environment, and clearly stated rules.
  • Unquestioned obedience.
  • Little negotiation between parent and child.
  • Children may benefit from boundaries, but it lacks a loving environment.
  • Demands are not balanced by responsiveness.

Permissive.

Characterized by: Low on Control. High on Responsiveness.

  • Avoids confrontation. ,
  • Low on setting limits, or asserting authority.
  • Children regulate their own behavior.
  • Accepting, affirmative, and tolerant of children’s impulses.
  • Desire for child’s self expression, not conforming to society expectations.
  • See themselves more as a friend than parent.

Uninvolved.

Characterized by: Low on control. Low on Responsiveness.

  • Worst case, they are neglectful.
  • More commonly, they provide for basic need, but focus is on self interest. Career, drugs, etc.
  • Few expectations.
  • Unlikely to be involved in child life, events, etc.
  • Little or no supervision.
  • Unable, or unwilling to provide support, or don’t recognize they’re not.
  • Find it easier to take a hands off approach.

Authoritative.

Characterized by: High on Control. High on Responsiveness.

    Sets clear standards,

  • accept responsibility to be responsive to child need.
  • Willing to discuss options, and negotiate rules or standards.
  • Nurturing or supportive, rather than imposing punishment.
  • Assertive, but not intrusive or restrictive.
  • Want children to be come assertive, self disciplined, responsible.
  • They listen to children.
  • Encourage independence.
  • Place limits, consequences on child behavior.
  • Express warmth and nuture.
  • Allow children self expression.
  • Encourage child to discuss options.
  • Fair and consistent discipline.

Authoritative is found to be associated with positive outcomes In social, psychological, and school success.

It focuses on child’s best interest, even if it means sacrificing self interest.

It insists on the child taking some responsibility, with responsibility increasing as they grow.

Quest for Truth 137 The End. What’s Next?

Our special roundtable presentation has to be called off, almost as quickly as the dramatized way you hear it happen in the interchange between Keith and the Retrobots. The cancellations actually started the day before, but the last ones were called in within the final couple hours before we hit the record button.

Since the topic we planned on was geared to our panel of guests, we fall back on a last moment topic. Escatology is a huge area of study, and our time is limited. Still, we give it as much as we can, before Nathan has to run.

Main Topic

So, what exactly is Escatology. No, it’s not the study of really curvy cats. Although that would make a lot of sense. It is actually the study of last things. Or the study of end times.

Most of the time attention is given to what happens at the end of the world, raptured saints, the return of Jesus, and all like that there. We aren’t going there today. That is known as a global end time.

There’S another kind of end time. A personal end of time. Here’s a spoiler alert for you, we all die. Sooner or later, we will all come to a day where our bodies stop, and our time on earth is no more. When that happens, and we’ve reached our personal end… what comes next?

The biblical worldview has a few things to say on death and resurrected bodies. We have enough time to examine five of these points. Hebrews 9:27 states that we die, then are judged.

And just as it is appointed for man to die once,
and after that comes judgment,
Hebrews 9:27 (ESV)

People die once. No second times through on this merry go round. God only allows us one shot at this physical life. There’s a lot to explore, do, and enjoy, but when it’s over, all that remains is judgement on how well we spent our time here. There’s judgement, no grace or mercy. We have that now. God grants all kinds of grace in this life, but only judgement remains when we account for what we did here.

1. The body returns to dust, the spirit to God.

Ecclesiastes 12:7 (ESV)
and the dust returns to the earth as it was,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

When the body dies, the part that is spirit, or our soul, is torn away as the bond that holds it together is broken. The body begins it’s journey back to dust, and to the earth swhere it came. The spirit returns to God.

Wait. Does this mean that all people go to heaven? It says the soul returns to God, right? Yes… then the judgement. If all souls return to God, it is at this point they will be judged, and there are only two options. Two destinations, and one is already set, unless a choice of faith is made during your life.

2. Spiritually: born dead.

Ephesians 2:1-6 (ESV)

1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins
2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience�
3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ– by grace you have been saved–
6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

This claim is that it’s our physical nature to be self serving to our passions and desires. We are easy prey to sin and rebellion. Simply put, verse 1 states, you were dead in trespass and sin. It’s only by God’s love, grace and mercy that he even offers to take us out of it. We have abundant grace and mercy now. All we can count on when our soul returns to God is judgement.

What happens to the soul, after this encounter with God? What are these two destinations, and who goes there?

3. Second Death: Is for the unrepentant.

Revelation 21:8 (ESV)
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable,
as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars,
their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

The short list of sins listed are only representative of who will be separated from God. A key trait in this list is the word faithless. Many sins aren’t on this list, but those people will find themselves here all the same. God knows the heart, the inner self, he knows who can stand before him, and still, from the core of their being, count themselves in rebellion, and faithless. There is a place where they will be. It’s a place where God is not, and they will have received their wish to spend their eternity without him.

Just as the body dies, decays, and returns to dust, the soul goes into a perpetual state of death. Are you living? Are you aware? Does it really never end? I don’t know, but I don’t want to be there.

4. Second Death: None for the repentant.

Revelation 20:6 (ESV)
Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power,
but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

There is some poetic language in play here. The first resurrection refers to Christ being the first fruit, the man by whom sin was concquered. As such there’s never any chance you’ll be going to the place where the soul is perpetually destroyed. Reigning for a thousand years doesn’t mean a literal thousand years. It means for a long period of time.

The simple answer here is that when God finds us worthy to be in his kingdom, we are blessed, and there’s only one destination for us. If one place is a death of the soul, the second death, the other place is life to the soul, forever.

What determines we’ll be in this blessed place of life?

Our time is nearly up, but we have time to bring up the matter of where sin and death comes from, and where we can find resurrection and life.

5. Through One man, sin. Through one man, life.

Adam: Through him, sin, with both physical and spiritual death came.

Jesus: Through him, resurrection, with spiritual life came.

1 Corinthians 15:21 (ESV)
For as by a man came death,
by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.

Because of Adam’s poor choice, we are alldeestined to make the same poor choices. We’re born into it. His poor choice doomed us all to a physical death, and we’re born into a spiritual death. When Christ came to the world, he proved he was worthy by living up to God’s standard. Living all the laws in his book with perfection. He died to justify us, and pay for our debt of sin, and just as he conquered death and was resurrected, we also have that hope. Whether our bodies die or not, we are blessed that we can claim spiritual life when we repent, and receive faith from the Holy Spirit to believe that he truly justified us. We fully claim God’s grace and mercy, and there’s no fear in judgement when we stand before him.

After Nathan has to leave the call, we have a final song, thanks to Kathy Adkins for permission to use her music.

To put a final closure to the day, the Retrobots close us out with a thought for the week.

Quest for Truth 136 Merciful Forgiveness

In a shorter, solo episode, we Keith falls back on a topic gleaned from a recent Sunday school quarterly. If you get material from the Gospel Project, it may seem familiar. All we do is take the bible passage, outline, and read a couple opening statements, and talking points. Basically a derivative work to present a basic theme of forgiveness, and how it works in the context it was intended.

To help with the scripture reading, a guest Retrobot is on hand. Be sure to drop us a line to let us know how he did.

Let’s get right to the main topic, and a parable about…

The Unmerciful Servant

Theme: Those who receive forgiveness must, in turn, extend forgiveness.

  • Our debt before God was too great to be paid through our good works or effort,
  • We have received forgiveness through the grace of Jesus Christ, who paid our debt through His death on the cross.
  • God has wiped the slate clean with the blood of His Son.

Introduction

Revenge in our culture shows up in books, movies, and in a fictional world seems to bring a satisfying sense of justice. The good guy wins, and the evil deeds of the bad guy catch up to him. A reason to celebrate… right?

Revenge in the real world, as testified to by a search through news headlines reveal it’s emptiness. For example, a father who got revenge for the death of his son only led to another death, and such grief the father hung himself because he couldn’t cope with his loss.

Another tragic tale of revenge found a doctor, stripped of his title and profession after 4 counts of revenge. Now he’s facing a possible death penalty by the justice system . Revenge has never been intended to fall to the hands of men. Even just retribution is designed to come at the hand of civic authority, not an individual.

1. How much forgiveness is required of a Christian?
(Matthew 18:21-22 CSB)

21 Then Peter approached him and asked,
‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? As many as seven times?’
22 ‘I tell you, not as many as seven,’ Jesus replied,
‘but seventy times seven.

How would you define forgiveness? Is it just allowing someone to continue taking advantage of you, resetting the count up to 490 to 1 at each occurance? Forgiveness Is more than a one way street. You are not outside your right, or expectation to say, “I forgive, but please stop.” Even Jesus exercised this when he forgave the woman caught in adultery. “I forgive you, go and sin no more.” To forgive, but not expect a reciprocal response, is to condone the injustice.

Still, forgiveness needs to be extended as often as God does… overtime.

For Peter, the culture of his day, and even in our own, we use the principle of “3 strikes and you’re out”. Peter probably felt he was being generous in doubling that number, and adding to it. Jesus played his little legalistic game, took that generosity, and multiplied it exponentially.

What would such a level of grace and forgiveness within the church communicate to unbelievers? You’d think it ought to open up a batch of warm, fuzziness, and people might flock to our church to be saved. Maybe so. In a more practical way, they might think we’re all a bunch of push overs. Morons who just let the world come in and take what they please, or abuse us as much as they like, and the kind, and forgiving Christians will let them.

I don’t think that’s what God wants. It’s possible to forgive, but not trust someone. We don’t have to set ourselves up to be taken advantage of on repeat cycles. A broken trust is one that is hard to rebuild.

Can you forgive someone without loving them? Emphatically, no. The natural reaction is to lash out. Love paves the way to forgive. It cannot exist without love.

2. As Christians, we have received forgiveness
(Matthew 18:23-27 CSB).

23 ‘For this reason, the kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle accounts, one who owed ten thousand talents was brought before him. 25 Since he did not have the money to pay it back, his master commanded that he, his wife, his children, and everything he had be sold to pay the debt.
26 ‘At this, the servant fell facedown before him and said,
“Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything.”
27 Then the master of that servant had compassion, released him, and forgave him the loan.

In this example of how God’s kingdom works, the amount owed represents an amount that no one can hope to repay. From a couple different sources, the tallest was equivalent to about 6000 days of work, or a full 20 year career for the common laborer. Now multiply that by ten thousand. Even for a wealthy man, a term of multiple lifetimes is out of range of being able to repay it.

If you’ve had a huge financial loan forgiven in your life, there was probably cause to celebrate. Imagine the kind of celebration that will be taking place in God’s kingdom for the forgiveness of our debt of sins.

3. As Christians, we must extend forgiveness
(Matthew 18:28-35 CSB).

28 ‘That servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him, started choking him, and said,
“Pay what you owe!”
29 ‘At this, his fellow servant fell down and began begging him,
“Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.”
30 But he wasn’t willing. Instead, he went and threw him into prison until he could pay what was owed. 31 When the other servants saw what had taken place, they were deeply distressed and went and reported to their master everything that had happened. 32 Then, after he had summoned him, his master said to him,
“You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?”
34 And because he was angry, his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he could pay everything that was owed. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to you unless every one of you forgives his brother or sister from your heart.”

The injustice here is clear. A similar kind of debt was owed, but the forgiveness wasn’t passed along. I have a problem about using this as a teaching to warn Christians they need to forgive… or else. That implies that salvation can be lost by failing to follow biblical teaching and examples. True, Christians above anyone else ought to pay God’s kindness and forgiveness ahead to those who wrong us.

What about when we do our best, but keep tripping over our own two big feet? We intend to do right, we mean well, but the weakness of our human desires gets in the way?

The core thing to look at is the heart, as mentioned in the final phrase in the passage. Clearly the first man didn’t have a forgiving heart. To me that is better represented by the people in the world, who enjoy all of God’s graces by living in his good and abundant creation. They rack up debts against his mercies and blessings. He loves all people, and offers the same forgiveness to all, even those who would throw it back in his face.

I propose to you, the hard hearted servant doesn’t represent the Christian believer, but those who abused God’s blessing, and refuse to extend his kindness. Their action demonstrates whose kingdom they belong to. M maybe they’ve never heard of the godpel message. Maybe they’ve rejected it. Maybe they’ve just been holding back, thinking God is an absent king, and he’ll show them forgiveness and mercy on that last judgement day.

If that’s so, then this parable illustrates their true heart and the wrath that will come their way in all fairness, and rightly so.

Does it represent the fakers? Those do a good job at pretending to be Christians? Again, their heart will be exposed, and that lifetime of self deception will be set right.

Is it possible to truly be a Christian, if we can’t find it in a softened heart to extend the love and forgiveness we received through Jesus to others? The answer should be no. However, it does take some intentional fighting against our human nature. We sometimes show resistance in small, subtle ways. The first step, recognize we do it. Try to be intentional in letting go of those inner thoughts and desires to get back at someone for an infraction against us.

Be challenged by Jesus use of the phrase
“from your heart” to His command to forgive?

Conclusion

To repeat the concepts we came in on…

  • Our debt before God was too great to be paid through our good works or effort,
  • We have received forgiveness through the grace of Jesus Christ, who paid our debt through His death on the cross.
  • God has wiped the slate clean with the blood of His Son.

To wrap up with closing thoughts, our Retrobots David and Callie add to Keith’s thought for the week.

Quest for Truth 135 Peace, Joy, and Hope

In something of a solo episode, Keith reviews a message of hope for those who have found the true way into God’s grace. Nathan can’t be live in the studio, but he has a few thougts on the topic recorded for us. Keith shuffles them in as we turn to the upbeat words found in Romans 5:1-11.

But first, in a short segment on meeting the hosts, Keith reminds folks to watch for the guest appearance Nathan made on the Old Time Superman podcast. By the time this show is posted, their 1000th episode should be available. Also to get ready for the launch of our very own original audio drama, Dangerous Christian. Production is well underway, and our first episode will be here before you know it. Tell your friends, and be sure to support the project on Nathan’s Patreon page, leave a rating and review, and encourage us to keep the shows coming.

Main Topic

In presenting the message in Romans 5:1-11, Keith shares some key words, and uses Matthew henry’s commentary to add some good news that has stood the test of time. Nathan reads the scripture, and interweaves his own ideas on the meaning of such foundational concepts as being justified, having faith, and the hope of God’s eternal grace to those who believe.

To be clear, we have peace once we are justified, a price that can only be paid by Jesus. Believing that fact, we are given the faith of the HolySpirit, who fills us. Actually if we bring anything to the table, it’s not belief, it’s a burden of guilt, sin, and shame.

This faith gives an admission ticket to God’s grace. A grace wherre he’s pleased with us. No wrath. His judgement is only for those who refuse to recognize sin in their lives, those who see no shame in it, or for whatever reason they see no burden of guilt with sin. Having access to God’s grace is always a reason to rejoice and celebrate.

When sin is removed, covered, paid in full by the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross, we have hope. An expectation where we can be confident in eternal matters.

There’s a proof for our faith. Suffering, or troubles, or the pressures in life. As the pressure is turned up, we see the depth of hardship our God can deliver us out of. The deeper the trial, the more our faith is strengthened, the more we experience firsthand how secure this expectant, confident hope reaches. God sees no shame or disgrace in enduring this kind of hoe, or the tests we go through to get it. There’s no shame in God’s love, or in the Holy Spirit who fills us.

The ultimate image of love is portrayed in how Christ died for us. Not after we did something, or cleaned up our act. He loved us enough to die, when all we could do was bring him our sin, and immorality.

Nathan wraps up by reading a parallel passage, 1 Corinthians 15:12-20. Sin isn’t just some kind of filth, or dirt that can be washed offf. Jesus refers to it as leaven. Think of how leaven works by permiating to every part of a lump of dough. Only sin is a leaven that pollutes. Nothing tastey, or good about it. Not something that is washed from the surface, but is shot through our character.

That’s the power that the justification from jesus has. Hope. Admission to grace. Time to rejoice.

In closing, our Retrobots share a thought of the week.