Category Archives: Bible Study

Solved – 400-Year-Old Mystery

© Original content written by James R. Carlson


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Most people in the Christian Church are familiar with the question, “Can you lose your salvation?” The answer requires research into the history of Christian theology that goes back 400 years. From 13 November 1618 – 9 May 1619, a meeting was held in Holland over theological issues that continue to affect us today. The questions raised then are the source of a heated debate today. While many argue a simple binary of Yes or No, the truth is found in a theological doctrine called, Sanctification by Grace.

Your Sanctification is your Preservation. Many people are familiar with the ideas of “Let go and let God”; “Trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey.” Sanctification by Grace, also called Sanctification by the Spirit (Holy Spirit), means we grow in the goodness and grace of God. This process of maturing in Christ means we surrender our righteousness, submit to the righteousness of God, and follow the leadership of the Spirit in our day to day life. This process of Sanctification, means we are maturing in God’s righteousness. And it is this life lived by faith in Christ that is preserved by God, not ourselves.

Problems arise when we seek to establish ourselves in our own goodness. We witness the failure of our efforts and the depravity of our human nature, which is sin. Surrendering to God’s goodness requires an act of faith in Christ where we abandon our own goodness and surrender to God’ goodness. Many of us in our Christian lives understand that we are led to the end of our own ability to do good things, so that we may be raised by the Spirit of God into His goodness to do good things. This cycle of life-death-new life is a process that comes easy to some and hard to others. When it gets hard, people suffer needlessly.

Some people fight with everything they have to be good and get better in their own ability. They never realize that they have to surrender their goodness to God’s ability. It is like hanging on to the end of a rope for dear life when the ground is only inches below our feet; just let go and trust that God will be there to catch you. We need to trust God, in His goodness, that he will help us live a life apart from sin, not by our strength but by His. When we are weak, He is strong. When we refuse to die the death to self, we linger in our own weakness and fail to receive God’s grace to grow in His goodness. Such is the problem of scrupulosity – the fear of losing one’s salvation because our lives still have sin in them.

I wrote a book called Scrupulosity showing my own personal journey to surrender. I also present a journey to the answer that provides a theological solution to scrupulosity. Sanctification by the Spirit is the answer to this 400-year-old problem. All one needs to do is trust God for their growth in Christ. Allow God to bring you to the end of your self and learn to lean on God’s goodness and grace for your Christian growth and preservation. Truly God loves you. If Jesus died to pay for your sins, he’s still dying to bring you into a life of fellowship with Him by the leadership of His Holy Spirit. Lean on God; He won’t let you down.

Please pray:

God, I have trusted Jesus for my salvation. Now I want to trust in Him for my sanctification. I know you are working in my life by the leadership of your Holy Spirit. I surrender my life to your leadership. I surrender my goodness to follow yours. I thank you for your love and I know that I can trust you each and every day. You are a good God. And I thank you that you are a loving Father. I surrender my all to you. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

He That Restraineth

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

He that Restrains

The Bible tells us in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 New King James Version (NKJV)

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.

Who is He that restrains?

The traditional interpretation of this verse places the Holy Spirit in the role of the restrainer. The work of the Spirit in the life of the believer of Jesus is to enable one to live a life of sincere righteousness. A righteousness not born of one’s self (self-righteous) but of God. Believing in Jesus gives us God’s righteousness and we are to grow in the goodness and grace of God. This is sanctification by grace or by the Spirit. It is the work of the Spirit of God in the life of the believer that retrains us from continually practicing sin and enables us to do good.

But what restrains us from sin if we don’t believe in Jesus? Here, God gave all mankind a conscience to know right from wrong. This gift of God retrains us but it works through our free will to be responsible for what we do. This works for most people. Religion enhances the natural revelation of God’s law in our conscience with God’s revealed law. Once again, choice is required to do what is right and we are responsible for the good or bad things we do.

Romans 2:11-15 New King James Version (NKJV)

11 For there is no partiality with God.

12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law 13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; 14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)

But what about the evil work of sin in society? Is there one that restraineth here? For this, God gave mankind the institution of government (Romans 13) to restrain bad works (not bad people).

Romans 13 New King James Version (NKJV)

1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.

The government doesn’t care what you believe in; they care about what you do. They are supposed to leave you to your conscience to serve God. You are responsible for your actions before God. And you are also supposed to be responsible for your actions before the government. You can serve God and your fellow man with a clean conscience. He who restrains is God through the institution of government.

Government is made up of people and like people, government can rebel against God. The government does not always base law upon the moral laws of God. Occasionally, the laws of man supercede God’s Laws. The Declaration of American Independence says that God gave us our rights and showed us the value of what is right in the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God (Romans 2). God gave all mankind a conscience to know right from wrong. And God gave us His divine revelation to see moral truth from a better perspective, His Word. Government based upon divine principles of morality should protect people who do what is right. Today, however, with a misinterpretation of the separation of church and state, sin is being legalize while righteousness is being criminalized.

Early in the 19th century, Daniel Webster told us that to preserve our republic we need to practice public morality. We should be outspoken about the sins we find in society; in private and in public places. Today, however, we are seeing the practice of public immorality. Gay parades, medicinal marijuana laws, and unbridled abortions characterize our society today. Speak out against it and you’re labeled a homo-phobe (same-fear?), a prude, or a nazi. We who practice right from wrong need to tell it like it is because there will be a day when we can no longer talk truth. As more and more people talk trash, stand up for the truth and the right way of doing things. Here then, we are they that restraineth as we stand up for God’s principles.

Who else could be called to restrain? The Church? Paul spoke of a list of sins people commit that included false religion.

2 Timothy 3 New King James Version (NKJV)

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

In this list of debased characteristics is a practice of false religion. This too is on the rise and is even seen in the Church. Where the Gospel is truly preached, sin is called sin. Often, the love of God is preached without mention of sin or the person of God – Jesus. The Love of God is the person of Jesus who loved us enough to pay for the penalty of our sin on the Cross. There is a false religion in the Church that wants the love of God without the person of Jesus or the forgiveness of sin; having a form of godliness but denying the power therein. The power of Christ’s Spirit to live a life apart from sin is what God’s love is for.

The mystery of iniquity will continue without restraint one day. During the great tribulation, He that restraineth with be removed – the Spirit, you/me, the Church. Societies all over the globe will suffer from unrestrained sin and we will witness what happens to mankind when God no longer hinders the unbridled passions of mankind. Sin will rule and man will fail. And it will take less than 7 years for all this to happen. Sin is that dangerous!

Throughout time and history, mankind has suffered from the wages of sin. God has always provided for a sacrifice for our sins to make a way through the darkness to His glorious light; this is the chief way our sin is restrained. The first sacrifice was in the Garden of Eden when God slayed animals to make coverings of skin for them. God also prophesied of a coming Seed of the Woman (Messiah) who would pay for the penalty of sin by His sacrifice on the Cross. Jesus is the promise in the Garden for our redemption. We can be forgiven of our sin and live a life apart from sin through him.

Pray this prayer and receive God’s forgiveness of sin.

God of heaven, I believe in Jesus Christ who died on the Cross for me. I believe that he paid for the penalty of my sin, which I admit I have done. I ask for your forgiveness of my sin and thank you for your love. Please bring me closer to you so that I may know you. By your Holy Spirit, please make in me a clean heart, a renewed spirit, and a right mind that I may do those things that are pleasing to you. Thank you, God, Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and now my Father in Heaven. Amen!



Please understand your role in these ‘last days’. We are to pray for the lost; we are to serve those who do not know God. We are to share the Gospel with them and not condemn them; their sin already condemns them. We are to stand for a moral government; we should work to preserve God’s good institution and not let it become perverted.

And as a Church, while we reach out with a social gospel of love, please know that the real Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only true answer to mankind’s sin. Jesus understood sin as the chief problem of mankind. He died to give us the forgiveness of sin and a renewed relationship with God through Him. Blessings be upon you in His name – Jesus!

Mystery of Iniquity

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

mystery of iniquity

Everyone loves a mystery. The ‘who done it’ theme captures the imagination of us all. But what if the ‘who’ in this question is not a person but something we cannot point to directly. What if the ‘who’ is actually ‘sin’? This is the mystery of iniquity.

Traditionally, iniquity is the willfulness we have in life to live apart from God. God’s Will for us represents the Law of God and our disobedience to His Will represents sin in our lives. Iniquity is different from sin when we live our lives without any respect for God’s Will for our lives; we’re doing our own thing! This is iniquity.

From a website definition, the Latin root for iniquity is iniquitas, meaning “unjust,” or “harmful” is:  in (not) + aequus (equal). But the Greek μυστήριον τῆς ἀνομίας (mysterion tes anomias) is probably best rendered, “Mystery of lawlessness.” It is not only a mystery of iniquity, but one of direct disobedience to the Law of God. Here, the mystery of iniquity is sin.

Paul writes about this mystery of lawlessness.

2 Thessalonians 2:7 New King James Version (NKJV)

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.

This mystery is the work of sin in the lives of every individual ever born on the earth. We are all found guilty before God for our sins and iniquity. Jesus, the sovereign Son of God, paid for the penalty of sin when he shed his blood and died on the Cross. Yes, He died for sin! Your sin and my sin. The Gospel first tells us that there is sin in our lives and we can be redeemed from sin by the work of Jesus on the Cross. The Gospel of Jesus has power over sin and the mystery of iniquity.

Paul also tells us of another mystery – the law of sin.

Romans 7 New King James Version (NKJV)

21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

This law of sin keeps us from doing good even when we desire to do good. It pushes us to do bad even when we don’t want to do what is wrong. The law of sin is sinister, dastardly, evil, and vicious. It is not obvious to those of us who are subject to it. We can only recognize it by the revelation of the God. But we who used to be subject to this law of sin are freed, not by the law of good works, but by the law of faith in Jesus Christ. We cannot do enough good to make God happy but Jesus on the Cross made God happy when he paid for our sin.

Sin is not a toy as some imagine it to be. It destroys lives, families, and even nations. We have a nation today that seeks to remove godly laws that prohibit such sins as sodomy (homosexuality), abortion, and recreational drug use (pharmakeia; often translated as sorcery). We find in the United States today a drive to outlaw righteousness and legalize sin.

Paul spoke of the last days in which we would experience such things.

2 Timothy 3 New King James Version (NKJV)

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

We see this in our society today. Increasingly we see people who are turning away from God and serve their own appetites (lust). But where does the drive to practice such levels of depravity come from? Paul tells us about the root of where this begins.

Romans 1 New King James Version (NKJV)

20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

From the beginning, those who reject God in their lives are driven from the righteousness that comes from God to a life of sin. Evolution (denying the Creator and elevating the Creature) turns people’s hearts away from God to serve their own lusts. Sin becomes their master and their iniquity takes them away from the instruction God offers them.

In the first century of the Church, Paul told us about the work of sin that was already at work in society; and in the last century of the Church, John tells us that the work of sin continues to work in society.

Revelations 9:21 New King James Version (NKJV)

21 And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

The Book of Revelations reveals, among other things, the judgement of God on the earth during the last days of the great tribulation period. John shows us that people will continue to practice sin without repentance. Unremitting sin will characterize the generation who is without Christ Jesus; this is the same generation that follow the antichrist – the man of sin – the lawless one.

The mystery of iniquity or lawlessness characterizes the work of sin in our lives. Religion is not capable of saving us from sin; it only judges sin in us. God gave us His Son to redeem us from the law and sin. By faith in Jesus we can be forgiven of sin and live a new life apart from sin.

Do you realize the peril that sin offers you?! Do you know that you can be forgiven of sin? You can be free of the penalty of sin and more. You can have power over sin in your daily life. We are without ability to do good in God’s eyes apart from the ability that God will give us. God gave us His Son Jesus to pay for sin’s penalty and to give us a new life in Him.

Pray this prayer and receive God’s forgiveness of sin.

God of heaven, I believe in Jesus Christ who died on the Cross for me. I believe that he paid for the penalty of my sin, which I admit I have done. I ask for your forgiveness of my sin and thank you for your love. Please bring me closer to you so that I may know you. By your Holy Spirit, please make in me a clean heart, a renewed spirit, and a right mind that I may do those things that are pleasing to you. Thank you, God, Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and now my Father in Heaven. Amen!

Life in Our Solar System

© Original content written by James R. Carlson


Since I was a little boy, I saw the solar system as a lifeless system where planets had incredible heat, no water, gaseous storms, etc.; all things that do not provide for an environment where life can occur. Look at the asteroid belt past Mars; was that once a planet that broke apart? Was Jupiter just the trash can for all the gasses in our solar system? Everything in our solar system shows a lack of conditions that favor life; except the planet earth.

The Bible tells us that God not only created all matter in the universe with his Word (“Let there be Light”), He also provided for a special creation on earth. Apparently, the waters of our planet once covered everything, so God separated the waters into 2 regions, those above and below the ‘firmament’ in the sky (those in the sky later flooded the earth). Then, God separated the waters on the earth from the land to make dry ground and the seas. He then created the plants on the earth; the sun, the moon, and the stars over the earth. He created life in the oceans, in the sky, and on the ground; the fish, the birds, and land animals were all created specially by God. Then God created mankind. So, the work of God was special in that it didn’t evolve but was the divine act of God in our solar system on one planet – earth.

This is the presentation of the creation week from the Book of Genesis. This outlines a special place for the earth that is unique in our solar system. The other planets around our sun are not suited for life; it is apparent that God did not create them for life or prepare them to support life. The idea that mankind can explore the solar system, or the galaxy, for new places to live is just fiction.

However, I do not object to space exploration or the pursuit of possible life elsewhere on other planets. I just don’t expect to find any.

Years ago, a professor at the UT School of Aerospace Engineering, Dr. Hans Mark, told us of a conference he had with religious leaders. They were given the question of whether or not there was life elsewhere in the solar system or galaxy and they routinely responded by saying no; but if there was life their response would be, ‘Praise God!’ This is why I do not object to exploring the possibility of life elsewhere because it is all the handy work of God and not of evolution. However, there are more important things on earth to be spending our tax dollars on.

Each and every planet in our solar system is a witness to lifeless environments. Mercury is so hot on one side we would fry a person and cold on the other such that we would freeze. Venus has toxic hot gasses under intense pressures that cannot sustain life. Mars has no real life of its own despite the science fiction movies. The gas planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are all one big toxic storm. And if you consider Pluto and Eris as planets, they are so far away from the Sun that Eris is considered to have a frozen atmosphere incapable of supporting life.

But then there are the moons of the planets. If there was life on them, that would be interesting. But these are as inhospitable for life as the planets. Some conjecture that there could be life below the ice cap on Jupiter’s moons, Ganymede and Europa. There are plans to explore this planet in the future. One of Saturn’s moons, Enceladus, erupts icy plumes on a regular basis. These ice moons are not suited for life and it is unlikely that any will be found.

The idea of life on other planets is one of evolution; if it occurred here on earth then why not elsewhere in the universe. Remember the fundamental law of biology – biogenesis; life comes from life. Evolution denies this fundamental law of biology and advocates abiogenesis – life emerging from lifeless chemicals. This has never been witnessed or proven by experimental science but it is a belief held by many who search for life outside of our own planet.

As we see the creation record of the Bible telling us of special creation on the planet earth, it is hard to look past the fact that there is no life in our solar system beyond earth that we can find (try as we have) and that the rest of the solar system appears to be a random display of general creation during the creation week. It appears that once again, the Bible has the better explanation for the origins of life on our planet as the remaining planets are totally lifeless. Once again, the record of the Bible proves to be true.

Instructions from The Father to His Son

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

Child of the Father

We celebrate Christmas as the season of remembering the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. We relish the image of a baby in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes. But we spend little time thinking about Jesus as a little boy growing up under the care of his mother and father. Apart from myth, there is little in the Bible that tells us of how he was raised. However, we do have a glimpse into how His Heavenly Father, God, trained him while Jesus was young.

We find a brief account of Jesus as a young boy in the New Testament book of Luke that gives us insight into his upbringing.

41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.

42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.

43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.

44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.

45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.

46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.

47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.

48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.

49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?

50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.

51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.

52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

[Luke 2:41-52 KJV]

Jesus, as a boy, recognized his duty to be subject to Mary and Joseph but at the age of 12; but he also recognized that he was the Son of God and had a duty to His Heavenly Father. This led him to answer his earthly parents saying that he was about his Father’s business. Obedience to his Father in Heaven was first on his mind. As the 5th commandment tells us, Jesus was subject to his earthly parents (although Joseph was only a step-father) and this was in fulfillment of the Law of Moses.

Reading and understanding the Word of God was a part of the Father’s business with Jesus. He was learning and discussing what he learned with those who had a ‘learned’ position within Judaism in the city of Jerusalem. He was able to convey his understanding and reach out to understand more. The idea that Jesus as a pre-teen would seek Biblical knowledge and wisdom speaks of the training he received from his Heavenly Father.

It is no stretch of the imagination to understand that Jesus’ Father would use the book that He wrote, the Hebrew Bible, to teach His Son with. Jesus had many lessons to learn from this textbook of the Bible before entering into his earthly ministry and fulfill his Father’s Will. Just as we have lessons to learn that prepare us for the purpose God has in our life and ministry, Jesus had to learn these lessons as well. Any loving Father will train and discipline their children so that they may grow to their full potential.

Take for example the story of Sampson and Delila in the Bible. If Jesus were to enjoy the pleasures of the flesh, he would find his eyes blinded and led to serve at satan’s mill for an eternity. If like Esau, Jesus took hold of the pleasures of the flesh instead of the inheritance God gave him, he would lose the position he had with God and His Kingdom although he would bitterly seek it all his life. And like Adam, if Jesus disobeyed the Will of God and took hold of the carnal knowledge of good and evil, Jesus would be rejected out of paradise and left to suffer the thorns of labor all his days.

There are so many stories that can be counted as lessons from the Father God to His Son. All of them are stories of God’s love for His Son that prepared him for his ministry and ultimately for the Cross. While these lessons not only applied to Jesus but to ourselves as well, let us look into the greatest challenge Jesus would ever face – the crucifixion.

Jesus was led by the Father to a water baptism with John the Baptist before the Holy Spirit came upon him. Then, led by the Spirit, Jesus raised several people from the dead during his earthly ministry. Jesus even raised Lazarus from the dead after he had been in the tomb 4 days. Jesus foretold of his death and that he would raise from the dead after 3 days. The experience the Son gained from obedience to the Father, led by the Holy Spirit, helped Jesus understand that his death on the Cross would not be his end. This all led to Jesus being able to trust the Father and obey His Will to suffer the death of the Cross.

We can draw from the lesson book that God gave to Jesus, the Bible, many lessons that apply to us as well. The truth of God’s Word is timeless and endures to all generations. Looking into the curriculum that Jesus had from his Heavenly Father gives us a glimpse into Jesus the man who was also God, prepared to take on the sins of mankind so we could be forgiven by the Father.

There is more to this story than meets the eye. Trusting God, being led by the Holy Spirit, obedience to the Father by faith in His Son Jesus Christ, are only the beginning of a life well lived. Truly, we are children of God the Father by trusting in the Cross of Jesus Christ. How wonderful it is for us that Jesus was an obedient Son, obedient even to the point of death.

Pray this prayer to become a child of God.

God of heaven, I believe in Jesus Christ who died on the Cross for me. I believe that he paid for the penalty of my sin, which I admit I have done. I ask for your forgiveness of my sin and thank you for your love. Please bring me closer to you so that I may know you. By your Holy Spirit, please make in me a clean heart, a renewed spirit, and a right mind that I may do those things that are pleasing to you. Thank you God, Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and now my Father in Heaven. Amen!

Love Is the Gift of Christmas

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

Christmas Love

We have often heard of the passage in the New Testament book of 1 Corinthians that speaks of the power and primacy of love. The eternal blessing God has given to us through His Son Jesus Christ is a gift of love. This gift of love was first given to us on the day we celebrate Christmas.

8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

[1 Corinthians 13:8-10 KJV]

What is that which is perfect? It is the love of God given through His Son Jesus Christ.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

[1 Corinthians 13:11-13]

We know in part, we see in part but when we see Jesus, we will know as we are known. How are we known – by the love of God. We are not seeing things clearly not but God really loves us!

Our knowledge of things on earth is only an imperfect picture of God’s love. Our picture of knowledge, when we’re in heaven, will be the face of God, from which all things are seen with perfect clarity. We can learn now that love is the foundation of creation and of salvation and everything in between. There is nothing that God has given to us that is without His Spirit of Love – God is Love!

This Christmas, let’s celebrate the Love of God, who gave His only begotten Son, not just on the day of his birth but on the Cross through which he triumphed over our sin. We have God’s love in us when we accept God’s forgiveness of sin through the work of Jesus on the Cross. When you ask Jesus into your heart, to forgive your sin, and to renew your fellowship with God, you will experience the joy of Christmas, now and forevermore.

Celebrate the spirit of Christmas.

Celebrate the love of God.

Celebrate Jesus in your life.

Believers in the not-God – The Religion of Atheism

© Original content written by James R. Carlson


There are many religious people in the world. Perhaps the most religious group are those who follow a belief in atheism. Theism regards the creator God as real. The antithesis of theism, a-theism or not-theism, is a belief in the not-God.

God is real enough. Atheists contend that God hides himself and makes himself invisible. However, his creation is apparent for all to see and through his creation, the Creator is plainly visible. The Bible says:

20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

23 And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.

24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves:

25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

[Roman 1: 20-25 (KJV)]

God is not hidden but apparent in everything we see in nature. The very complexity of life itself should sway any mind that this is not a random occurrence.

Those who believe in the not-God also believe in the not-Science of evolution. Evolution has proven to be invalid in that empirical science has never validated it experimentally. Yet these believers in the not-God choose to exchange the truth of God for the lie of evolution.

Science is supposed to be thinking God’s thoughts after him. God created the universe and all that is in it. The Laws of Nature express in mathematical terms how God is governing the physical universe around us. The growth of modern science began from theists who believed in God. It makes sense, then that those who chose not to believe in God believe in something that does not include God.

God is omniscient, scientist are partly ‘scient.’ Science comes from the word ‘scientiae’, which simply means knowledge. God knows all, scientist only know in part. It is a fool who thinks that they know more than God. Or worse yet, it is the fool who thinks they are so smart that they cannot include the reality of God into their thinking.

God does not argue with atheists. God simply calls them ‘fools.’ To argue with an atheist puts them on the throne equal to God or it takes God off the throne to be equal to them. Atheists consider themselves to be gods as they worship themselves and consider themselves to be wiser than God. However, God simply says, “FOOLS.” If they cannot get the hint and repent their judgement is their own.

Please pray this prayer:

God of heaven. I believe you are the Creator and Savior of mankind. I confess that I’m a sinner. I choose to believe in Jesus Christ, your Son, who died for me on the Cross for me that I may be forgiven of my sins. I ask for your forgiveness of my sin and thank you. Please bring me closer to you so that I may know you. By your Holy Spirit, please make in me a clean heart, a renewed spirit, and a right mind that I may do those things that are pleasing to you. Thank you, God, Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and now my Father in Heaven. Amen!

The Light of Creation

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

Light of Creation

Argument from Science

20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.

1 Timothy 6:19-21 (KJV)

The false science Paul was referring to is philosophical science of the ancient philosophers and not modern empirical science. Experimental (empirical) science began with Galileo in the 17th century when he told us to couple mathematics with experiments to discover the laws of God’s nature. Modern cosmology and cosmogony is largely philosophical and tells us that matter existed at the beginning of the universe. This matter apparently had a Big Bang that then formed all the worlds around us including our own world. However, this may be nothing more than science falsely so called.

The philosophy circulating in the days of the Apostles would lead one to believe in a chaos of matter that preceded the present order of things. Certainly, myth taught this and so too did the ancient Greek philosophers who borrowed from the ideas of ancient myth. But the Bible teaches something clearly different from myth. God spoke light into the darkness to create the universe.

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Genesis 1:1 – 3 (KJV)

Light first entered the darkness, not some primordial mass that had a Big Bang. Matter first is a primary tenant of evolution (materialism) but if we accept the Biblical account of creation one may present an thesis of energy first instead.

If we turn to the world of empirical science, we find the thesis that has been tested, which shows that the square of the speed of light, coupled with matter, equals energy (e=mc2). The idea of matter first is not required except by those who believe in the ideas established by the standard cosmology. Instead of focusing on the materialism of the Big Bang, one could focus on a universe that began with energy first. We can take God’s Word literally and say that light was first spoken by God into the darkness and matter and energy entered into the universe as a result.

Consider that all matter has electrons that move at the speed of light. Atoms, once created by light, are at the foundation of all matter. All atoms have various levels of energy wherein electrons travel around the nucleus of an atom; these levels are called valences. If the energy of an atom increases, electrons move to a higher level or quantum of energy. And if an electron moves to a lower level of energy, it emits a photon of light. Matter is continuously sending and receiving light. As God spoke light into the darkness to create the universe and all that is in it, we can say that we are born from the stuff of light.

Evolutionists believe that due to a Big Bang nucleosynthesis, the lighter elements were formed from original chaotic matter. This idea of matter first becoming hydrogen and helium is a part of the standard cosmology. Afterwards, stellar nucleosynthesis transformed the lighter elements into heavier elements that eventually became you and me. Evolutionists believe that we are formed of the stuff of stars. But a better idea, taken from the truth of the Bible, is that we are made of the stuff of light; the same Light that God spoke into the darkness to create the universe.

Ancient mythical ideas of matter first persisted for thousands of years and eventually the Greek philosophers tried to make rational sense out of the physical universe. Anaxagoras once postulated that the universe was made up of tiny particles and that these particles could be divided infinitely into smaller particles. Leucippus and Democritus, who were later called the Atomists, offered a different explanation that matter could only be divided finitely into one small particle. And when the discovery of the ‘atom’ came along, people began to agree with the atomists philosophy of a limited division of matter into ‘atoms.’

But ‘atoms’ can be divided into smaller ‘subatomic’ particles called electrons, neutrons, and protons. The smallest particle called an ‘atom’ now has smaller particles that are called ‘subatomic.’ Is there really any such thing as an ‘atom’? The term ‘subatomic’ is an oxymoron. While what we call an ‘atom’ definitely does exist, the philosophy behind it may be flawed. Subatomic particles can be further divided into quarks, etc., etc. Physics has proven that there are many more divisions that can be made of matter and Anaxagoras may have been right. Or was he?

As we are finding by experimental science that matter can be divided into smaller and smaller particles, there are levels (quanta) whereby these particles have a stable form. The elusive Higgs Boson is considered the smallest of subatomic particles and its mass is measured at 125 GeV/c2. Expressing mass in terms of energy (eV/c2) is a common practice in particle physics relating mass to energy in terms of e=mc2. Eventually, dividing matter ever smaller may realize a point where it no longer remains matter but energy. Speculations being what they are (often unproven), we may postulate that matter can only be subdivided so far until the smaller quantum of matter reaches a quantum level of energy.

Reversing this may shed some light on how matter began in the first place. An energy first cosmology would provide a mechanism whereby energy first invaded the universe. If energy first invaded the universe of darkness faster than the speed of light, when the speed of light slowed down to a constant velocity as it is at present, then matter would have been derived from this energy as light slowed down. If e=mc2, then energy first will yield matter when light reached its present velocity. And as the quantum of energy began to develop into the quantum of matter, this would lead to larger particles and eventually the creation of what we call atoms.

Even those who still hold to the idea of a Big Bang where matter was the first thing in the universe (where it came from no one knows) say that the universe inflated faster than the speed of light. This fact of the standard cosmology leaves the door open to other ideas of the origins of the universe such as energy first. An energy first cosmology/cosmogony will provide an explanation of the origin of matter and the idea of matter transmitted across the universe faster than the speed of light.

Returning to Genesis chapter 1 we find that God created the universe by His spoken Word. His first word was Light. And through this we have the foundation of the physical universe in which we live. We do not have to subscribe to the standard cosmology to make sense of what we see in the universe. We can continue to rely upon God’s Word to make sense of the universe in which we live.

Argument from the Bible

We read many passages in the Bible about the Creator God. We find many theories about God’s creative work in theology and philosophy. But what does the New Testament have to say about God’s work in creation?

Turning to the book of Hebrews, we read in chapter 11 verse 3:

3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

This verse tells us how to understand Genesis chapter 1 verses 1 – 4:

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

God did not create the universe from preexisting chaotic material. God spoke Light into a great void of nothingness when He said, “Let there be light,” and the light entered into the darkness. This we understand by faith as we take God at His Word.

The usual translation of this passage in Genesis leaves some people thinking that chaos (void) was first created by God or that chaos and matter preceded God and then God gave order to the chaos. This, however, is a false reading of Genesis 1:2, born of ancient myth, as Hebrews 11:3 shows. The things we see are not made by the things that appear but are made by the Word of God.

The actual word for “created” in Genesis 1:2 is the Hebrew word “bara,” which means to create only as God can; often this means creation from nothing. God can create something from nothing and he can also create something from something. God, like man, can fashion something from existing materials that He also created. This type of creative work is referred to in the Hebrew text of Genesis chapter 1 as “asah.” Mankind can only fashion something from existing materials whereas God can create with his spoken Word. We are clearly told in Hebrews 11:3 that God spoke the worlds (universe) into existence.

God uniquely created (bara) many things with his Word: Stars, plants, fish, birds, and animals. Each were created complete and whole as God saw that they were “good.” God created by divine acts with his Word in some passages of Genesis chapter 1 but in other passages His creative work used the stuff that was already available that he had created beforehand. Mankind, however, was made from the clay of the earth.

Argument for Salvation

The Word of God is the foundation of God’s creation and Light was the first word spoken. We even see in the New Testament where Jesus is God in the beginning who created all things as the express Word of God. In John chapter 1 verses 1-5 we read:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2 The same was in the beginning with God.

3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

As the Word in this passage is Jesus, the first word that was spoken was Light. Jesus is the light of the world and that light shines into the darkness not only of creation but also of the human heart. This is a light that provides mankind with spiritual way through the darkness of life.

Again, we see in this passage the idea that all creation began with the Word of God. Light entered the darkness of the universe, which created the physical stuff we see all around us. In essence, we were physically created by the stuff of light and we are also recreated by faith in the person of Jesus Christ who is our spiritual light. Our darkened hearts are enlightened by His Word in us and as we walk in the Light of Life (Jesus) our lives grow brighter and brighter.

Please pray this prayer:

God of heaven, you are the Light of Life. I believe in Jesus Christ, your Son who died on the Cross for me. I believe that he paid for the penalty of my sin, which I admit I have done. I ask for your forgiveness of my sin and thank you for your love. Please bring me closer to you so that I may know you. Please shine your Light into my heart. By your Holy Spirit, please make in me a clean heart, a renewed spirit, and a right mind that I may do those things that are pleasing to you. Thank you, God, Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and now my Father in Heaven. Amen!

The Death of the Lord Jesus

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

The Via Dolorosa, or painful way, is the path tradition says Jesus took through his trial, torture, and final execution. The Passion of Christ begins at Mount Olives and continues through the Garden of Gethsemane and into the Lion’s Gate of the city of Jerusalem, which is at one end of the Via Dolorosa. Through many stations of the cross, representing the many events in the night between his trial and crucifixion, the path along the Via Dolorosa continues until one reaches the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where tradition says Jesus was crucified on the Cross. Pilgrims follow this path during Easter (Pasch) but there another, more accurate route they may follow.

In a previous article, I explain in some detail where the alternate site for Jesus’ crucifixion could be – outside the eastern wall of Jerusalem on a hill near the old Temple. This site, unexcavated, is likely to be the site where the Lord Jesus fulfilled his mission to save mankind by his death on the Cross.

This site is across the street from the Tomb of the Virgin, along Jericho road (Route 417) just outside the old city wall (see map below).


The hill just west of the Jericho road and east of the old wall of Jerusalem, is situated between the Ophel road (derech HaOfel) and the Lion’s Gate road (derech Sha’ar HaArayot). This hill, bounded by these 3 roads is also bounded by the Yeusefiya cemetery that is extends along the old city wall. The Lion’s Gate, also called “Sha’ar Ha’aryot” in Hebrew, also referred to as Saint Stephen’s Gate, is where the Via Dolorosa begins and ends at the old city wall.

For more than a millennium, pilgrims have been following the Via Dolorosa along the path described above with the believing that the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus occurred at the site of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and not as presented here above. Helena, mother of Constantine, had been told by locals when she visited Jerusalem in the 4th century C.E. of this site northwest of the Temple and pilgrimages have followed her path ever since.

As I have explained in a previous article, this and other sites lack merit for the place of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. One fact that is missing in two traditional sites for Jesus’ death is the fact that while He was dying, the crowd witnessing His death also witnessed the veil of the Temple being torn. This could not have been seen from sites west of the Temple but it could have been seen by those on top of the hill just outside the Lion’s Gate at the end of the Via Dolorosa.

Josephus speaks of the temple veil:

…before these doors there was a veil of equal largeness with the doors. It was a Babylonian curtain, embroidered with blue, and fine linen, and scarlet, and purple, and of a contexture that was truly wonderful. Nor was this mixture of colors without its mystical interpretation, but was a kind of image of the universe; for by the scarlet there seemed to be enigmatically signified fire, by the fine flax the earth, by the blue the air, and by the purple the sea; two of them having their colors the foundation of this resemblance; but the fine flax and the purple have their own origin for that foundation, the earth producing the one, and the sea the other. This curtain had also embroidered upon it all that was mystical in the heavens, excepting that of the [twelve] signs, representing living creatures. (Wars 5.5.4)

The Jewish Encyclopedia online also speaks of the temple veil:

At the entrance to the outer Temple hung a veil embroidered in blue, white (byssus), scarlet, and purple; the outer Temple was separated from the Holy of Holies by a similar curtain. The outer curtain was folded back on the south side, and the inner one on the north side, so that a priest in entering the Holy of Holies traversed the outer Temple diagonally.

It is clear that there were two veils that were a part of Herod’s Temple in Jesus’ day. Three passages in the Bible refer to the veil being torn in two.

Matthew 27:51-53 (NKJV)

51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom;

Mark 15:38 (NKJV)

38 Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

Luke 23:45 (NKJV)

45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two.

Just which of the two veils was torn in two is made clear from Matthew’s account where he said “behold”. One could not behold the inner veil being torn in two but one could behold the outer veil from outside the Temple if they were to the east of the Temple as it faced the east. And the site of Golgotha suggested as being on the hill at the end of the Via Dolorosa is a perfect site from which the Temple veil could be seen being torn in two. The other two sites for Jesus’ crucifixion west of the Temple cannot account for this event.

On Palm Sunday, we celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem through the Golden Gate and then on Friday we commemorate his passage through the Via Dolorosa to Golgotha where he was crucified. The capture of Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane, where he and his disciples often gathered, began Passion of Christ. He was taken into the city of Jerusalem either by the Golden Gate or the Lion’s Gate and was escorted through a series of civil (3) and religious (3) trials before being crucified at Golgotha. It should be clear that the final path of the Via Dolorosa led to this hill just outside the Lion’s Gate in a direction opposite what is being followed by pilgrims today. Excavations are needed to confirm this as the actual site of Jesus’ crucifixion.

Jesus was likely buried at the Mount of Olives in a garden tomb following his death. The Mount of Olives is the likely place where Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man, owned his tomb. Jewish tradition tells us of people from antiquity who wanted to be buried there as interpretations of Zechariah 14:4 suggest that this is where the first resurrection of the dead will occur when the Messiah comes.

Zechariah 14:4 (NKJV)

4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east.

This prophecy was fulfilled and recorded in Matthew 27.

Matthew 27:51-53 (NKJV)

51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,

52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;

53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

Jesus understood throughout His ministry the significance of His travels between Jerusalem and the Garden through the Lion’s Gate as the path He would later take for His crucifixion as His Father told Him. And while Jesus hung on the Cross for the sins of mankind, on the eastern side of the Temple, the Temple was at His right hand and the Garden of Gethsemane, at the foot of the Mount of Olives, was at His left hand. He was situated in between the Temple and His Resurrection as He was being torn apart for the sins of mankind.

The death of the Lord Jesus is significant, even if we don’t know the exact details of history. The message of the Bible is not one of history, per se, but of divine instruction. The events in which these teachings are presented are true and finding their historic setting is important but not critical. The path Jesus took through His Passion along the Via Dolorosa will continue to be a focus of historians and pilgrims for a long time to come. But the path that Jesus takes to your heart is focus of concern right now. God wants to share His Passion with you!

Please pray this prayer:

God of heaven, I believe in Jesus Christ who died on the Cross for me. I believe that he paid for the penalty of my sin, which I admit I have done. I ask for your forgiveness of my sin and thank you for your love. Please bring me closer to you so that I may know you. By your Holy Spirit, please make in me a clean heart, a renewed spirit, and a right mind that I may do those things that are pleasing to you. Thank you, God, Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and now my Father in Heaven. Amen!

Homosexuals Are Sinners Too

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

Love of God

A sad fact of the homosexual community is that they believe they can practice sin without consequences. Many in the LGBT promote a Christ-less Christianity. Claiming to share the Love of God by accepting sinful behavior, they deny the real Love of God which forgives sinful behavior. The truth of the gospel is clear, unless one is a sinner, they cannot receive the Love of God.

Recall that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. And know that before he paid for sin’s penalty, he declared sin to be sin. The sovereign Son of God gave the verdict to sin that it is sin. Not just for those who agree with Him but also for those who disagree with Him. The judgement of God is final, sin is sinful. And, sinners can be forgiven of their sin by faith in Jesus.

Human compassion is not the same as God’s Love. Human compassion may accept things that are unacceptable to God. The Love of God is not in conflict with God’s Holiness. God’s Love is Holy. But often the love of man is not. When people replace the Love of God with the compassion of man, one is doing more harm than insulting the person of God – Jesus.

The Love of God has no meaning apart from the person of God – Jesus. Jesus is the definition of God’s Love in that He paid for the penalty of sin for us. The Love of God that does not mention the person of Jesus is a false presentation of God’s Love. Yet we see in America and elsewhere the Christ-less love of people who do not share God’s Love for the forgiveness of sin.

Sodomy is sin. Homosexuals (and some heterosexuals) practice this sin. Homosexuals by definition practice this sin and are often approved of by heterosexuals who practice it as well. Both are practicing sin but homosexuals are defined by their practice of the sin of sodomy. The definition of homosexuality, therefore, is one who practices sin. In other words, homosexuals are sinners too.

This is important because a person cannot receive the Love of God without first being a sinner. That is because only a sinner can be forgiven of sin by God by faith in Christ Jesus. The Love of God gave the person of Jesus for the forgiveness of sin so we can live a life apart from sin. If someone is not a sinner, they cannot receive the Love of God for the forgiveness of sin. Therefore, if the LGBT community decides to lie to one another about their sin calling it ‘love,’ they are self-deceived and have rejected the Love of God.

There is nothing wrong with same sex relationships; we call them friendships. What is wrong with homosexuals is that they couple the natural sex drive with their same sex friends to practice the unnatural sin of sodomy. Friendships are not a sin. However, homosexual behavior is a sin. Homosexuals are sinners who need the Love of God as Jesus wants to be their friend.

Many Christians hate to tell the truth about the Love of God. Instead, they prefer to share the love of man and pacify their homosexual friends instead of rebuking their sin. Preaching a Christ-less love, these lukewarm Christians tell people that they are loved but never share with them the forgiveness of sin in Christ Jesus. Telling someone they are loved without sharing the Love of God with them is like getting married and divorced in the same day.

The false love of man that pacifies the sinner instead of rebuking their sin has everlasting consequences. If they never receive the Love of God for the forgiveness of sin, the homosexual who is told they are loved will be tortured forever in eternal blazes. What kind of love is it that someone would share with the sinner that does not offer them God’s forgiveness of sin? It is the selfish kind of love that does not challenge someone to repent of their sin because they want to avoid conflict. The Bible tells us that an open rebuke is better than hidden love.

The false love of man also has temporal consequences for the sinner. Instead of relieving the sinner from their bondage and pain as they live in sin, man’s false love only pacifies the soul. The sinner is led into deeper and deeper despair from the consequences of their sin because the relief God has for them is dismissed. The love of man in place of the Love of God is torture to the tormented soul who could otherwise learn of God’s sincere selfless Love in Jesus. Accepting the forgiveness of sin given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ is the beginning of relief for the tormented sinner.

Sin has consequences and denying the sinner the Love of God is certainly not God’s will for mankind. Receiving the Love of God means asking God to forgive the sins one has committed based upon the work of Jesus on the Cross. The Cross is where our sins were forgiven by God when Jesus died on the Cross for our sins. And as He rose from the dead, we have redemption from our sin to live a life apart from sin. Sin no longer has us as slaves; we are freed from sin when we truly accept the Love of God in Christ Jesus.

To receive the forgiveness of sin, please pray this prayer:

God of heaven, I believe in Jesus Christ who died on the Cross for me. I believe that he paid for the penalty of my sin, which I admit I have done. I ask for your forgiveness of my sin and thank you for your love. Please bring me closer to you so that I may know you. By your Holy Spirit, please make in me a clean heart, a renewed spirit, and a right mind that I may do those things that are pleasing to you. Thank you, God, Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and now my Father in Heaven. Amen!