Caption on the cup reads:

Martin Luther

Funny thing is, it has a picture of the wrong Martin Luther. Now, there are a number of men who bear that name, but only two (2) stand out. Both were controversial and preachers of the gospel (though one is accused of straying from orthodoxy) – and both had doctorates in theological fields. With all due respect, I dare say, however, that one of the two men outshines the other like the sun outshines the moon and the stars. We live in a dark world, covered by the black fog of ignorance and the dark clouds of unbelief which often bar many from seeing the true Light, the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, when the light of the gospel shines, so many do not receive it because they are blind to the light. Church history, which is a very important matter – one that demands both our attention and understanding – seems to have been forgotten, and in some cases distorted.

For us who are known as Protestant Christians, a major event took place exactly 501 years ago (in 1517) in a little town in Germany (Saxony) known as Wittenberg. A lone monk posted (literally, nailed) a document with 95 Theses (topics for discussion) in it on the local church doors, looking to debate these important theological matters – these 95 points became the basis upon which the greater Dr. Martin Luther built his assault upon the errors afflicting the apostate church at the time, which happened to be the Roman Catholic Church. This ultimately led to his excommunication (and being declared a heretic and outlaw) some years later, and in one of the greatest splits of the church ever to happen to date, those who stood for and with Dr. Luther’s greater thesis – that a man is justified by grace alone through faith alone, apart from works – ultimately separated themselves from the Roman Catholic Church, when the efforts to reform her proved null and void. These men became known as the Reformers, though they were also known as the Protestants because they refused to conform to the dead and ungodly practices of Rome.

Many articles and books have been written covering not just this event, but the circumstances surrounding it, the preceding catalysts, and the succeeding outcomes – even the deep effect this Protestant Reformation still has today! The world as we know it now owes a lot to the Reformation efforts, and especially to the great Dr. Martin Luther, a former German monk and priest. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., (on the cup) who lived and died in the 20th Century and that became a great man in his own right, was actually named after this greater Dr. Martin Luther, “heretic” of Wittenberg. We remember the words of Dr. Luther as he stood before the Holy Roman Emperor, the princes and politico-spiritual rulers of this world, under pressure for upsetting the establishment of the day and being forced to recant his writings (and thus, his beliefs). This is what he said in response:

“Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have often contradicted each other. My conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything: for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.”

In 1517 AD, Martin Luther was as the first raindrop among many other refreshing drops that fell upon parched ground — hence, like that first raindrop cannot receive all the credit but God alone, Who is the Giver of rain, so Dr. Luther is not ultimately credited with this work accomplished by God Himself. The Protestant Reformation saw the reintroduction of the Scriptures back into the hands of the common man, such that a poor farmer boy from the field could read the very same comforting words of the Lord Jesus Christ that the great Christian scholar of old, even the Apostles themselves, had handled, for the salvation of his soul. More was to come in the succeeding centuries. Many godly men still uphold the unadulterated truth, proclaiming it to lost souls and defending the Church’s faith from all manner of foul doctrine threatening to assail her. Yet, even though the outward form of the Protestant Reformation continues to this day the inward reformation of hearts is slowly being forgotten by many of those who claim to succeed the Reformers. The true battle was started by our Lord Jesus Christ, not 500 or 600 years ago, nor even 2,000 years ago (even though the Cross is the MOST significant event in history and especially in Christianity) – true reformation began when He, as God, began separating His own elect from the world, justifying them that they may live by faith. I would submit to you that salvation in whole speaks of greater Reformation than Dr. Luther’s 95 Theses or even the blood of the numerous martyrs that has been unjustly shed by those who would have us remain in bondage to sin and the world! I do not wish to water down the deeds done during those violent years of the enlightenment, but to give them the true foundation of righteousness from whence any good work is acceptable to God since it traces its source in Christ alone. No man can lay any other foundation other than what was laid eternally – the foundation of true Christianity is Jesus Christ Himself! He is the actualization of the Reformation – He gets the due Glory for any act of victorious Reformation, martyrdom and salvation that happens to mankind. The Lord Jesus Christ is the faithful Witness of God, the Author and Finisher of justifying Faith, the true Prophet of God Who came to pin the curse of the law on that Cross and pin the fulfillment of the Law in the door of the hearts of many, the great Defier of dead religion and man-made traditions, the true Goose that was cooked for our edification, the true Giver and Announcer of the Father’s Word toward men, the very Freedom of man’s will, the Savior-God in the flesh, and the Sovereign King that all Christians follow in fulfilling God’s will in their lives. Jesus Christ is the true Gospel and its Revealer. To God alone be the glory and unto the Lamb!

May the Lord Jesus, by His Spirit awaken a new thing in this day that will shake the earth, and change the lives of many for ever. Great will be the day when Christians are convinced of the power of the gospel that brings eternal salvation – convinced enough, by Scripture alone, against all tribulations, to say, “Here I stand, by the grace of God. Amen!”



The Old Testament period was an expectant period. The Jews of the Old Testament period were expecting a final Prophet. This is clear from the questions the Pharisees posed to John the Baptist in John 1:21 (Are you the Prophet?), and the exclamation of the Jewish multitude in John 6:14 and John 7:40 (This, really, is the Prophet who is to come into the world!) — the latter two verse references responding to Christ’s words and works. In connection with this expectation of “THE” Prophet, we may look at Matthew 21:10-11 as well: And when He entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the Prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

The Jewish people were not expecting something that they themselves made up in their minds but a sure promise of the holy Scriptures. In the Old Testament, Moses had said, “Jehovah your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers — it is to Him you shall listen…And Jehovah said to me…‘I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever does not listen to My words that he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.’” (Deuteronomy 18:15,18,19). This Prophet was to be a final revealer of God’s will to the people, hence the duty of the people to listen to him or else personally face the wrath of God.

On the day of Pentecost, we see Peter addressing the Jews in Acts 3:19-26 saying, “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send the Messiah appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets long ago. Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul that does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ God, having raised up His servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.”

Christ also referred to Himself as a prophet. Luke 13:33 says, “Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.” This was the Prophet who knew the time, place and purpose of His death!

Primarily, the work of a prophet consists in receiving revelation from God (who first chooses the prophet) and giving this revelation to the people in a bid to call the people back to God. We can take the case of Jeremiah 1:4-10, “Now the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.’ Then I said, ‘Ah! Jehovah Adonai! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.’ But Jehovah said to me, ‘Do not say, “I am only a youth”; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares Jehovah.’ Then Jehovah put out His hand and touched my mouth. And Jehovah said to me, ‘Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.'” What power this prophet was granted — what mighty privileges! Again, God says in Numbers 12:6, “And He said, ‘ Hear My words: If there is a prophet among you, I Jehovah make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses. He is faithful in all My house. With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of Jehovah.’” Now, if that is the special status Moses held among the prophets, even over Jeremiah, of how much more worth is the greater Moses, Jesus Christ, of whom it is written in Hebrews 3:3-6, “For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses — as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now, Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are His house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.”?

Furthermore, this same Jesus has delivered to us ALL that pertains to God’s will because, unlike Moses or Elijah or Jeremiah or any other prophet, He came down from the heavens, having been eternally with the Father,and being sent by the same Father to come down to us to reveal Him to us — John 3:13, “No one has ascended into heaven except He who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.” While all other prophets, even Moses, spoke in this manner, “Thus says Jehovah…”, we find Jesus Christ speaking in this manner, “You have heard that it was said…But I say to you…” showing the inherent authority of His prophetic office. And the Father Himself testifies to Christ and requires us all to hear Him as Mark 9:7 says, “And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, ‘This is My beloved Son, listen to Him.'” This is how Christ Jesus both fits into and performs the function of “The Prophet” EXCLUSIVELY. He is the final and perfect revelation of God to mankind — He gave to us everything He received from His Father, even proclaiming and accomplishing all that pertains with the free salvation of God (read John Chapter 17). Hence, we can confess with the writer of the letter to the Hebrews, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son.”

What is Sin?

What is sin?
It is the glory of God not honored.
The holiness of God not reverenced.
The greatness of God not admired.
The power of God not praised.
The truth of God not sought.
The wisdom of God not esteemed.
The beauty of God not treasured.
The goodness of God not savored.
The faithfulness of God not trusted.
The commandments of God not obeyed.
The justice of God not respected.
The wrath of God not feared.
The grace of God not cherished.
The presence of God not prized.
The person of God not loved.
That is sin. ~ John Piper.

To some people sin is a myth. To others, it is an old and backward idea that needs to be outgrown in the 21st century. Our politically-correct, modern culture is quick to call sin a mistake or a choice or even a preference! Those of the world do not want to be convicted of sin — that weight is too burdening to their consciences. Thus, to them the big sin is in calling sin by its name! If we do not get our definition of sin from the Bible, which is God’s inerrant word, we will fail to grasp how deep and wide the influence of sin really is in us. As Christians therefore, we have to remain vigilant in identifying, understanding and describing sin as it is presented to us in the Scriptures — especially our own sin. Believer, it is your responsibility to study sin because “sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” But, how should we describe sin?

Sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4):
Sin is transgression of the law, it is missing the exact mark, it is falling short of the perfect standard — without the law there is no sin, for there can be no breaking/abusing of a non-existent law. The law is a decree or a command or a will of the lawgiver — it shows, clearly, what pleases or displeases the legislator. In addition, the law cannot exist without the lawmaker — it flows from the lawgiver’s nature and heart. The moral law displays the nature of God — He is holy, righteous, just, gracious, loving, faithful, orderly, wise. To sin is to deny these truths about God — sin is opposition to God. The sinner, consequently, is anti-law and is, really, an enemy of God!

Sin is treason:
To sin, therefore, is to directly attack and resist the law giver — it is to rebel. Sinning demonstrates that you reject God has authority over you. God has commanded and it is our duty to obey. However, mankind has a particular love for disobedience — it is no wonder children have to be corrected and chastised even after multiple warnings. People easily excuse themselves that they have not committed some explicit wickedness — but God’s word is clear, “whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (James 4:17). Naturally, in our hearts, we want to be free from rules and laws, free from God’s commands, free from God — and consequently, we want to be our own gods. This is a high crime, before God’s sight. Sin, biblically, is a great offense to the thrice-holy God!

Sin is wickedness:
Whether you have said a small lie or robbed a bank, the bottom line is that you have despised God’s law — you have sinned. Sin, no matter small it seems, is utterly wicked, that is, ungodly. Sin rushes to pervert good and perform evil — all who commit sin prove that they hate God. In Revelation 21:8, the liar and the murderer end up together in the Lake of Fire. This is to show us that there will be no distinction between the “little white liar” and the “serial murderer” — God hates both. We were made in God’s image so that we may be like Him. Whenever we are unlike God, we prove the power of sin’s wickedness over our lives.

Sin is a reality:
Imagine with me for a moment. Without sin, what bliss Adam would be enjoying till now; what a wonder Samson would still be; how glad Moses would have been to taste the milk and honey of Canaan; what heights of wisdom Solomon would have scaled; how blessed the tribes of Israel would still be today; how glad the Jews would have been to have the great Messiah walk amongst them; how different our lives would be — glorified lives! But, in this world, that’s just imagination — it’s unrealistic. The reality is, sin is with us. Because of sin, Adam the sinless fell from grace and lost a perfect estate, Samson the strong lost his strength, then his eyes and finally his life, Moses the meek became impatient, burst out in anger and lost a very dear hope, Solomon the wise fell into idolatry and multiplied wives more than we change clothes, Israel the elect fell into idolatry so many times, was eventually given into bondage in exile and finally killed the Messiah. What of you — in what ways can you identify the reality of sin? Dear reader, sin is much nearer than you think — because of it, you may lose your only soul. You are, naturally, a sinner.

Sin is contrary to Christianity because it is satanic:
When a Christian sins it is worse than when an unbeliever sins — for “the eyes of our hearts have been enlightened”; God has revealed Himself to us and granted us the privilege of partaking of His divine nature. O, Christian, will you look at the Lord Who was crucified at Calvary when He carried all your sin and its great power, that crippling burden? Will you despise your Christ and forget His sacrificial work for you? Will you conspire against the Trinity to do that which you very well know will displease the one God? O, Christian — feel the shame. Flee from seductive sin. 1 John 3:8-10 makes it clear that sin is satanic “for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.

Sin is invisible:
Sin may be unseen but its effect, influence and consequences are visible/tangible. You can be as sure as you have a skeleton in you even though you do not see it, sin is in you though you do not see it — but it’s within! For instance, when you steal, you rob another person of a good or a dear thing that belongs to them. When you lie, you alter facts which may lead to someone changing their mind about you and suffer as your victim. Adulterers and rapists change the lives of their victims for a lifetime; abusive drunkards scar their families for a long time, even for life; Look at the corruption in Kenya — things are done in the dark, but the effects cannot be hidden. Greatest amongst the effects of sin was that men ganged up to crucify the Son of God — whatever was bubbling in the secret part of their hearts was made clear in its effects at the Lord’s crucifixion.

Sin is an oppressive burden:
No one can perform sin in true freedom. A thief is always burdened in conscience lest he get caught enjoying the very thing he stole to enjoy. A murderer is always on the lookout to see if the police will finally track him down. The adulterer is always taking calculated and careful steps just to ensure he is not caught in the act. A liar is always fabricating new lies just to cover up the first lie. John 3:19-20 tells us that people “loved the darkness rather than the light BECAUSE their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.

Sin is too expensive:
How many people have drunk their wealth into oblivion — simply because they could not control their appetites for wine and liquor? How many have lost respect; a good name, which is hard to keep, since they were caught in the arms of another man’s wife? How much money is lost by entire governments in the name of bribery, greed and other forms of corruption? But it does not stop there — sin is more expensive than that. It pretends to be cheap until you buy it with your own soul. What does it profit any man to gain the whole wide world, which is quickly passing away, but lose his only soul in hell? “For what can a man give in return for his soul” (Mark 8:36-37) — a thing which cannot pass away? People, by sinning, secure their own title deeds in hell by selling their portions of heaven! Sin is not cheap — it will give you worthless vanity but cost you everything precious.

Sin is unreasonable:
Hence, we also see that sin is absurd. By this, we mean that it is unreasonable for anyone to expect true gain from such a heavy loss. Addiction can cause you to do things you never thought any other man could do — just to feed your own lusts. What unreasonable acts have men done who have murdered others, violated others, insulted others, envied others, stolen from others, lied to others? Even more, your own sin can make you do these very things to yourself — sin will turn you against yourself! Friend, do you not see how irrational sin can easily make you? It makes us play the part of a fool — ignorant and mad! (Proverbs 19:1-3).

Sin is a mighty jailer:
Sin’s seduction is that it promises happiness and satisfaction to the flesh. However, sin never shows its true consequences until a person has sinned. No one has committed sin and not fallen, that is, become its slave/prisoner — starting with Satan himself. He was an angel; a darling of heaven ever in the presence of the Almighty God, but sin was found in him and has never been taken away from him! In John 8:34, Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.” Along with Satan, this is the condition of all those whose sins have not been taken away by Jesus Christ — their sin tightly latches on to them. Furthermore, it carries an eternity of consequences with it. We are afraid of getting caught in sin when we are committing it — but the guilt still lingers on after we sin, and it never goes away. Time never heals a guilty conscience — the heavy stain remains till death and the final judgment. Truly, unless the blood of Jesus washes the stain of your sin, even the fires of hell will not be strong enough to purify you for all eternity.

Sin is a disease:
Sin is the greatest disease known to man. Actually, all diseases have their source and power in sin — even death itself. Even believers are not exempted from the presence of this powerful disease, even though its power has been defeated in our lives. It is clear that as Jesus went healing people, He told them that their sins were forgiven — to signify that He came to primarily heal us of a greater disease than our physical sickness. If the great Physician does not heal you of this mighty disease, you will surely die! It is only the Christian who can gladly say, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, Who forgives all your iniquity, Who heals all your diseases.” (Psalm 103:2-3).

Sin is universal:
Romans 5:12 says, “sin came into the world through one man”, that is, through our common father, Adam. No human being has escaped it. No ethnic tribe has been so morally pure — we only have a history of wars and men enslaving fellow men. No nation can call itself the perfect model for the world — because every nation is made up of only sinners. Sin destroyed two races — angels and humans. Sin is expressed by men, women, and even “innocent” infants. Even more, sin has invaded all the faculties of humankind — the heart, the will, the mind, the whole soul and body. No one can say he or she is without sin. O, what a waste sin leaves of the whole world!


Dear reader, I have attempted to show you (and not in an exhaustive manner) what sin is. Do you recognize it in the world around you — even more do you see it in you? Do you seek out your own sin to kill it no matter the trouble you have to go through to find it out in your own dark heart? Do you understand what sin will do to you if you let it live within you? There is no negotiating with sin — sin knows only how to destroy your life. Sin will not leave you until you kill it or flee from it. It is better to suffer a little for denouncing your sin than to suffer for ever for indulging in it. As it has been said before, kill sin or sin will kill you. Do not be stiff-necked and stubborn. Repent — turn around from sin and make haste toward God, the only Savior from sin.

Hymns in Christian Ministry:

Hymns in Christian Ministry:

Ephesians 5:19-21

“…addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Colossians 3:16

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

A few words on this…

What is a Hymn?
Hymns are Christian songs which preserve, present and preach particular themes and/or doctrines contained in the Scripture. The tunes are carefully crafted in a melodious tune that is meant to be enjoyed by the congregation of believers (and unbelievers) who sing the hymns.
The Purpose of Hymns:
Primarily, we sing to God directly, earnestly, joyfully, sincerely and fearfully. We sing to praise and worship God, concerning His nature, glory and power, we sing to give Him thanks, and we sing to declare His awesome works to all creation.
Secondly, we sing hymns to one another corporately in a local church in order to edify each other. Hymns are a great tool or activity for fostering fellowship amongst believers.
The Benefits of Hymns and Spiritual Songs Sung during the Worship Service:
1) They help us remember or reinforce recently learnt doctrine.
Sometimes we go to church having forgotten some doctrine that we recently learnt. Sometimes we have not studied a certain truth about God (e.g. that He is by nature Triune, or the weight of our sins taken by Christ). Hymns have a way of reminding us about these truths when we may have forgotten them or neglected them.
2) We are able to respond to God’s work in us and for us.
By singing to God we present our response to His work of grace in our hearts. We do not merely sing to entertain ourselves but there is a sense of joy and gratitude as a result of the salvation of God. Moreover, we are encouraged to holiness when we sing it ourselves with our lips.
3) We can submit to one another by listening to and learning from each other.
As every person in the congregation sings, they are also hearing their neighbor sing. Hymns are sung corporately and in an ordered manner in the church — otherwise, we would all be singing different hymns at the same time and not benefitting from such singing. We are able to fulfill Scripture by listening to one another sing about the gospel, missions or about Christian love. At other times, we may not know the hymn being sung and we are able to hear other believers teach it to us.
4) To teach and encourage one another with the truths found in Scripture.
Every Christian is (or will be) a teacher at one level or another — whether to their own children, to a younger Christian, or to the entire local church. Hymns are a great opportunity and a privilege to participate in Christian ministry by teaching the doctrines or themes of the bible to the congregation — both old and young, male and female.
5) We verbally evangelize to the unbelievers.
Some hymns have more evangelistic properties than others. It does not make them superior. However, the visible church is not composed of believers alone — there are some who may yet be hardened to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Almost all hymns contain potent truths about sin, righteousness and judgment. Some hymns, for example, may be used by God to challenge the worldview of an unbeliever and cause him to question their stand or think more about the state of their soul. Nevertheless, you who believes is presented with the glorious opportunity to “preach the gospel to every creature.”
6) Hymns refresh our hearts with sweet melodies full of divine truths.
One way the human being distinguishes himself from all other creatures is by his appreciation of music. Hymns are not only doctrinal theses meant to be read — they ought to be sung. Hymns involve melodious tunes, rhythm and rhyme, syllabification and they are deeply poetic. I have yet to hear a hymn that is not musical. Sweet melody combined with deep truth rejoices the Christian heart — it is like feeling a sweet taste in one’s mouth after looking upon a beautiful sight!
7) They enable us to express our emotions and our delight in God in an appropriate manner.
What is a human being without emotion? A Christian has certain periods of their lives when they are bubbling with inner joy at the salvation of God. Sometimes, it is in understanding the darkness of their sin that leads them to wonder at the price Christ had to pay. How beautiful it is then for such a one to verbally express themselves to the Lord in the hearing of the people of God. Yet, we do not scream around insanely or incomprehensibly, rather we sing melodiously and in a proper manner.
8) Prayerful hymns help ease the burden of our afflicitions and encourage us to pray.
When hope is bleak it is difficult to listen to others. These are the periods of our lives when we want to be heard — to cry out. We almost always pray for God’s intervention. There are hymns that offer us very appropriate words when we are in that mood of prayer. Furthermore, we are more open to hearing others sing to us when we are heavy-laden, and thus hymns sung in the church can be of great encouragement to our weary souls and help lead us into prayer.
9) They prepare our hearts to receive God’s holy word.
It is important for us to prepare ourselves well on the Lord’s Day before we hear God’s word preached from the pulpit. For some, this is a struggle, for various reasons. One way to help rid us of intrusive thoughts during the sermon is to put all our heart into the singing of the hymns. This is especially beneficial when the hymn sung is of the same theme with the sermon.
10) They preserve for many years (even centuries) the correct biblical doctrines.
It is something to marvel at that the church’s doctrines have remained intact for about 2000 years. This could not be possible without the power of God’s Spirit preserving the text which we call the bible for us to read today. Hymns are not the bible, but they are very handy instruments for gospel preservation — because they present a summation of what is in the bible. We believe that God gifted the men and women who wrote the many hymns down the centuries till today. Hymns borrow a lot from systematic theology to present thematic truths contained in the inerrant word of God.
A bonus:
11) Hymns teach us a lot about Church history.

Some hymns were written to emphasize certain truths after some errors and heresies that had infiltrated the church (e.g. the Trinitarian controversy). Other hymns tell us a lot about godly men and how they trusted in Christ during very afflicting periods of their lives (e.g. It is Well With My Soul). Other hymns remind us of the Protestant Reformation (e.g. A Mighty Fortress). It is even thought by some scholars that the apostle Paul, in Philippians 2:5-11 and 1 Timothy 3:16, was quoting popular hymns of his time.

Dear reader, why don’t you consider these points (and there are more) when you next take up that hymnal to read and sing at Church? This is why hymns are legitimately and importantly recognized as part of Sunday worship — we sing to God and to each other. Even our Lord, Jesus Christ, sung hymns in His life on earth. Therefore, take your time to learn and understand the hymns, both for your own sake and for the sake of other Christians — it is your Christian ministry!

The Precious Cross!

Romans 4:25a“[Jesus] Who was delivered up for our offenses…”

1 Corinthians 1:18“For the word of God is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

To us, this is the prime importance of the Person of Jesus Christ and the significance of His work, which was achieved by His obedience to the point of death and His glorious resurrection. The death of Jesus Christ is the most important event for the Christian. Jesus was not born like other men – He was born of the virgin vessel, Mary, who conceived Him by the Holy Spirit, not by means of a man. Jesus then lived His earthly life without even a hint of sin – He was tempted alright, but He never did give in to sin, yes, even once. This is evidenced in 1 Peter 2:21-25“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, Who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him Who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” Thus, the Jesus Christ Who was prepared as a sacrifice was the holy One – by virtue of His birth (therefore inherently), and by virtue of His holy life, not to mention that He was fully Divine, that is, God Himself in the flesh! If ever there was a man who did not deserve the slightest of God’s punishment – and that Man does exist – that Man was none other than Jesus Christ. Yet, why is this Jesus still on people’s lips and minds today? More than anything else, this – the historic event of the cruel Roman crucifixion. Not that alone, but the stunning fact that it is recorded in Scripture that God the Father was He Who placed such brutal punishment on Him! How sadistic, right? Yet, this “cruelty” serves as man’s only salvation – in being indescribably cruel to Jesus Christ, God was being utterly gracious, eternally merciful, unfathomably loving to hell-deserving creatures, that is, to us! Christ’s groans earned us relief. Christ’s sufferings earned us eternal comfort. Christ’s blood being shed was our life being made available and sure! Christ’s death guaranteed, beyond any shadow of doubt, sufficient life for God’s elect! God crushed and killed the holy and the innocent One in the place of the deserving wicked and the guilty ones – that is, us!

Allow me to paint this picture more expressively. On that cross, so that we (believers) would not get the just punishment for our sins, the holy Prince, Jesus, was treated like the master rebel; like the prime sinner. He took the shame and guilt that is associated with and comes from sin. Further, there was not a single sin that you and I know which was not placed on Him – more than I could attempt to tell. What do I mean? Jesus was penalized like He was the man who mercilessly killed over 6 million Jews. Jesus was brutalized like He was that guy who, without any compassion in his heart, everyday batters his poor helpless wife. Jesus was debased on that tree like He was the black leather-jacket evil smiling commercial sex pimp who uses women and their parts for financial gain without regard for their age. Jesus was regarded as that drug peddler who sells bhang or cocaine in the streets of Nairobi or Mombasa. Jesus was considered as that nurse who exchanges children at birth or steals them from weak unsuspecting mothers to sells them off to the highest bidder. Jesus was treated in every way like that abusive father who just raped his daughter for the 15th time and then went to the bar down the street to casually have a drink with his friends. Jesus on that cross was treated like the murderous doctor who finds pleasure in this very thing – killing helpless unborn children who are still growing in their mother’s womb. Jesus was, before God’s sight, that scum who dumped the body of his girlfriend in the river after strangling her to death. Jesus was hanging there as if He was that nagging gossip and habitual liar who is always backbiting everyone she knows for her own gain or that unstable woman who is always sleeping around with other women’s husbands, snatching away love. Jesus, before God’s Justice, was as if He was that cussing atheist who taught all men that God is as real as a talking tree or as dead as a rock. Jesus was on that tree hanging like He was the condemned high priest or priestess of some foreign gods of stone and wood, teaching men how to be idolaters and blasphemers and sexual perverts. Jesus was bleeding on that tree like He was the most flesh-indulging uncontrollable addict or like He was an immoral homosexual that was facing God’s torture! Jesus was punished like a corrupt king or a corrupt high ranking government official, who had stolen lands and stolen from the poor citizens who could not bribe him. Jesus was killed, under God’s decree, as if He and only He carried in Himself ALL the sins of the world – past, present and future! God ostracized Him; He totally expelled Jesus from His holy presence – this bearer of wretched, filthy sin! And in doing so, God punished sin.

Jesus died crying out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Why, do you think that cry was not a cry born out of true agony? Think again! Truly, He was under God’s terrifying wrath; cursed by God; smitten by God, the Scriptures say. By all standards, Jesus was punished as though He was a sinner – as if He was the greatest sinner, I dare say; even though He had never known sin before that day on the cross. It would be difficult to imagine that I am speaking of none other but God the Son – the One that is “Holy! Holy! Holy!”, and our God! You would think I was describing the worst wretch that this planet has ever known. Can you see to what Christ debased Himself, and all so that He may save sinners? O, to think that this Jesus went to that cross of His own will – what love! How evil are those who despise so great a love which has been greatly demonstrated at the cross. In John 3:18, “…but whoever does not believe is condemned already…” the Scriptures testify that we were condemned already – and justly so – yet this Son of Man came along to redeem this lost race of Adam. You who are yet to believe in Jesus Christ should consider what manner of love this is. As for the Christian, know that God has demonstrated His love to us in this way – by crucifying His holy Son for our sakes. That act – crucifixion – it should have been us hanging on those crosses paying for our sins. Yet, even receiving such punishment on our bodies a million times over could never have been payment enough. The event of the cross showed God’s contempt for sin; His deep hatred for sin, so much so that He crushed His lovely Son. Why? God will not let sin slide. He will not overlook sin. He will not allow sin to stain His glory – not even for the whole world. “But God” sent the only One that was both capable and willing to do that which we could not do but had to be done by us or for us. And this benefits us who are Christians, because God, of His own will, through the cross, having predestined us to receive glory, redeemed hell-deserving men such as me to Himself, without spotting His own glorious character! Jesus Christ is that Lamb that is the propitiation for our sins – our sins collectively and even individually. And by His resurrection, Jesus proved His power over sin, death and Satan. He showed that the grave could not hold Him – neither were the sins of an entire race able to keep him in the grave permanently nor damn Him to hell, being the Almighty One! The Lord Jesus Christ will return once more, not to die for sins again, but to Judge with all righteousness – to act ruthlessly against the unbelieving ones who abide in sin still, and to finally clothe the righteous ones with unending glory, never to fade away. This is our hope – He, Jesus Christ, is our Living Hope!

Do not despair, Christian, when you see the evils of this present age multiply – your redemption is nearer than before. But, to where shall the wicked escape on that Day of Judgement? To whom? For even death shall not dare relieve them of God’s holy wrath! Should this not terrify all you who insist on remaining in your sins? How painfully true is God’s word which shows that the message of the cross to those of the world is a tasteless substance in their mouths which they quickly spit out – for it is utter foolishness and a stumbling-block to them! Oh, but for the Christian, who knows the precious work of his dear Lord, his beloved Savior, the doctrine of the cross is as precious as it can fully mean. We cannot live without it, for to deny the cross and its power is to be hopeless as it says in 1 Corinthians 15:17, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins.” Consider this verse for a moment. The Christian knows that without the cross of Jesus Christ there is no hope, for without it there is: no blood of Jesus that washes our sins away [expiation], no blood of Jesus through which we have redemption, no holy Sacrifice Who was the propitiation in our stead [delivering righteous Justice to God and appeasement to His holy wrath], no forgiveness of sins, no peace and goodwill to man, no love of God [Who loved us while we were yet sinners], no gospel of grace, no Holy Spirit of promise [the guarantee of our inheritance], no salvation, no new creation, no freedom from the bondage of sin, no eternal Kingdom of God with Christ as its King, no death of Christ which achieved reconciliation to God for us, no regeneration of the heart, no means for justification and adoption through Christ’s blood, no righteousness of Christ imputed to us and our sin imputed to Him, no means for battling the flesh by mortifying it, no separation from the world and unto God and holiness, no bride of Christ [for whom He died], no resurrection through which we receive guaranteed victory over sin, death and Satan! Without the cross, there is no such thing as eternal life for the true believer. Without the cross, Christ Jesus was not glorified with the Father and men [all men] are doomed; condemned to eternal damnation! This doctrine of the cross is for them who are being saved “the power of God.” Praise God for “Christ Jesus and Him crucified.” Let us therefore esteem the cross as a doctrine so precious as we look “for that blessed Hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

The Three Great Imputations:

“Lord Jesus, You are my righteousness, I am Your sin. You have taken upon Yourself what is mine and given me what is Yours. You have become what You were not, so that I might become what I was not.” ~ Martin Luther, Protestant Reformer.

There are three great exchanges (imputations) that involve the whole gospel: Romans 5:12 says, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” The point is this – sin and its deadly effects can only be traced back to us, mankind! There is no one to rightfully blame outside of ourselves for all effects of our sin – death, waste, corruption, disease, curses, war, untold terrors, etc., “because all sinned” in Adam! Adam’s sin is imputed, that is, counted against us – this is the first imputation. It is this inherited sin that separates us from God, Who alone is the only Source of life. Thus, the first confession of a Christian is this: “I am deserving of death, because I am a sinner!” For when Adam sinned, all men were still in him, in his loins, and Adam’s sin was imputed to all mankind; his entire race. We continue to be rebels even today for Scripture testifies this of mankind in Romans 3:10-12 – “There is none righteous, no not one; there is none that understands, none who seeks God. All have turned away, they have altogether become unprofitable; there is none who does good, not even one!” A powerful indictment of every man. Yet, God saves us as Ephesians 2:4-5 says, “But because of His great love for us, God, Who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by Grace you have been saved.” It is very important to note that God saved us purely out of His own uninfluenced pleasure to do so – not because of any potential He saw in us. There has never been anything pleasing to God or anything “good” in us since Adam sinned. Hence, God’s Grace can only be attributed to God and not to the man who God saves – it is an act of blessed, unmerited mercy and Divine compassion upon an already rightly condemned and lost rebel, who wholeheartedly and knowingly still disobeys and therefore deserves the just damnation of the Righteous Judge. Moreover, God says in Proverbs 17:15 that he “who justifies the wicked…[is] an abomination to God”, yet Romans 4:5 explicitly states that it is “God Who justifies the ungodly” – we therefore seem to have a problem. Is God contradicting Himself by lavishing Grace on wicked sinners? Romans 3:23-24“For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God and are justified freely by His Grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” We have already established that man is an eternal debtor to God as regards righteousness – this portion of Scripture makes it clearer. Sin entered the world through man i.e. man was the door used by sin (and its effects) to enter into this world. Man is responsible for all sin in this world, and for sin’s present effects in this world for he is the carrier of sin – hence, a sinner! The second truth is that man, in sinning, has not attained to or maintained that righteousness that God requires of him despite being made in God’s very image. Because of sin, man has inflicted on himself a mortal wound through which all manner of evils have consumed him, and from which condition he is unable to make himself right again. He has come short of God’s perfect standard. This standard of God is His glory – a glory so special that He shares it with no other, and so pure it cannot be smeared with impurity of any sort. Yet, again we see Scripture affirm that the glorious God has freely justified sin-ridden man. How? Here is the irreplaceable key: in enters Christ Jesus, that Lamb of God!

Romans 5:21“So that, just as sin reigned in death, so also Grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:21“God made Him Who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” This is the greatest of exchanges in the world of transactions – the double imputation. O, there is so much to learn from this truth. Christ, Scripture says, was (and is) without sin. Unlike all others He was not conceived in sin, neither did He ever sin, nor did He bear any responsibility of being a sinner like all other sons of Adam! He was spotless from conception – being born of the Holy Spirit Himself, through the vessel of a virgin’s womb, pure from man’s interference! Scripture in Isaiah clearly affirms of Christ that “He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.” This is in contrast to man’s natural description clearly drawn in Romans 3:13-15: “Their throats are open graves, their tongues practice deceit. The poison of snakes is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood.” The comparisons are stunning! He knew no sin, and we – all we ever do is sin! Yet, “it pleased Yahweh to bruise Him and cause Him to suffer” for our sakes! More amazing is that Christ Jesus willingly went to the Cross and took up all our sin – and not grudgingly, but with true love. That is the second imputation. Oh, the love of God that destroys sin and its awful power! What it achieved was tremendously beautiful that till now it brings tears to my eyes – that my sin, which in no way goes unpunished, is blamed upon that Holy One as if it were His very own committed sin! Grace, amazing and precious grace! Who would dare think of a higher good or blessing upon an already judged and condemned man? Do you see the immense riches of God? Incomparable! It does not stop there for God takes away our shame and guilt and our filth for an even greater purpose – in the same Jesus Christ we are made into God’s very own righteousness! Here then is the third and final imputation. Do you see the progression of God’s blessings? In God’s plan, grace begets glory – where, before in Adam’s state, sin begat death! Those whose sins have been accounted in Christ at the cross, by repentance and faith, have yet another blessing – His righteousness; His perfect righteousness is accounted to them, for God’s glory. Grace, it says in Romans, working through righteousness, brings eternal life – a life of glory in Christ! These last two imputations are in themselves a double blessing for our sins are taken away and we are moreover made so worthy as to be rightly called God’s sons – inconceivably glorious! Yet, the unbeliever must remember that he bears his sin because of the fist imputation since he has inherited sin from his father, Adam. Be it as it may, know this day, Christian, that because of this final double imputation you bear the glory of God in yourself – not for self, but to bear fruit that meets this holy responsibility.

Christian, of all the many wicked evils that you have done, none will be held against you for it was all taken up and placed upon the Innocent One, Who suffered in your stead the serious death penalty that is rightly due to you. And furthermore, the nature of His purely righteous character that transcends moral, ethical, virtuous, and law-abiding goodness has been freely transferred to your little known name. His blood has ultimate power over all your heavy sins and that power breaks all chains that previously bound you to sin’s dominion. Yes, by this double imputation God has enabled you to be holy, even as He is holy! This grace and its effects cannot be boasted of since no one can ever earn it, even if they try (and many still try to, in vain)! One can only rejoice in the Lord Jesus Christ for this plethora of unattainable gifts! Jesus Christ was crucified so that He may acquire for us His merits. Hallelujah! This is how our Holy Father rightly justifies the ungodly without being unjust nor breaking His established Word in that since God has judged our inherited and committed sins in Christ by crushing Him Who became our sin it has pleased him to fill us with His own righteousness. For now, Christian, we share gladly in the sufferings of Christ (for, Christ having suffered in the flesh has sanctified the sufferings that are for His sake) “so that we may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the Name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” We, the true Israel, know “that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Rejoice, Christian. Again, I say, rejoice. Jesus Christ died on the cross to become your sin, that in Him, you might become God’s righteousness! God, in His rich mercy, has passed over your sin, which was severely judged in the body of Christ Jesus at the Cross, and has, through grace, changed your heart of stone for a sensitive heart of flesh, hence you are now in His holy sight justified, that is, cleared of all record of charges which the law had pressed against you, and you are declared guiltless, and have become the righteousness of God, in Christ Jesus. You are redeemed, that is, justified by Christ’s blood, bought by His blood, saved by His blood, freed by His blood, raised to life by His blood, and accepted by God for His blood. To show forth God’s glory is your destiny, of which price was this very precious blood. By the blood of Jesus Christ, which He shed on the cross, sin’s curse is broken, the sinner is forgiven and the saint is conformed into the image of Christ. Let us rejoice, again and again, for God has saved us from the first imputation using the latter double-imputation! Let this be an encouragement to you, dear brethren.

Creation – The Philosophical Case

However you look at it, whether as an atheist, a Buddhist, a Muslim, an African Traditionalist, or a Christian – creation is a supernatural event. This is the event of all events. Many people want to know how “all this” – how the universe – begun. The question “Where do we come from?” has crossed every mind. Therefore, it behooves every rational creature to search carefully and establish the truth regarding this phenomenon which we all (?) agree happened. In this brief write-up I intend to show (very briefly, but confidently) the weakness of the Big Bang Theory vis-a-vis the Biblical account of creation. This popular theory borrows heavily from chance and accidental occurences as a cornerstone for its case – I hope to show some errors for such a foundation. In the Christian faith, we profess a cornerstone that is both sure and immovable – the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ

It is important to understand that the eternal God does not operate as we, mere creatures, do. The mind, which denotes the ability to think, process and reason out things internally, is finite and biased (toward sin). We cannot begin to look at supernatural events or abilities with our natural mind, clearly, nor can we explain them exhaustively. It is not to mean that we cannot comprehend them, but there must be both revelation of the supernatural as well as guidance in such revelation (understanding), since we cannot of our own selves grasp either the context surrounding the supernatural, nor the elements involved in the supernatural. So, case 1 – we, natural creatures, are not the basis of information; only that which is supernatural can be the basis. But then we encounter another problem – the supernatural itself cannot just happen arbitrarily (without causation or order or final purpose) since (a) it is not guided by chance (otherwise, chance itself [a byproduct of the natural] would not exist), nor (b) can the supernatural happen without a chief agent, who has to be supernatural themselves. Chance exists only because a context for chance (matter, time and space) exists (Gen 1:1). What I mean is that there can be no lack of intention for a certain outcome without first presupposing the time, matter and space which are required for such an outcome (Lack of intention for a certain resultant outcome [an accident] requires time, space and matter for such an unintended result to be accomplished). We may need a car to move from point A to point B, and after considering all factors and having set a target outcome, if somewhere along the line of uninfluenced execution the car’s predestined/projected sequence is broken, then we term that an accident. But without points A and B, without the car, without the driver, without a projected desire, without motion, without an intended outcome, without anything really, there can be no accident – there is no pre-existing state to warrant the occurence of an accident. An unintended resultant outcome is called an accident. The primary condition for the occurence of an accident is uncertainty. Meanwhile, as we have seen, uncertainty consequentially demands prior order and also an expected futuristic outcome (both elements of time) disrupted by threatening unintended circumstances (which require space and time) or a prior lack of fulfillment in the same endeavor, creating the atmosphere for doubt (time and matter). Uncertainty, thus put, is the negation of a preconceived (existent) state – certainty. Wikipedia defines uncertainty as a “state of having limited knowledge where it is impossible to exactly describe the existing state, a future outcome, or more than one possible outcome”. Both uncertainty and accidents are elements of chance. Yet, chance does not only depend on intention (or the lack of it) but also on causation. Can some “thing” be caused arbitrarily or without intent? Sure, it can – but only if there was preexistent matter (building blocks of the “thing”), time and space for such occurrence to even be possible. This is because a cause always has to have a result, and if the final result is not the expected and/or desired result, then it is said that chance had its way. Hence, chance cannot be said to happen out of no precreated matter or without preexistent time or in a vacuous state. Chance is a function of creation and creation takes into account the factors of time, space and matter! Hence, the world could not have been created (come into existence) through an event that necessitated or heavily depended on chance for such existence to occur. There MUST needs be order, reason and certainty for creation (ex-nihilo) to take place. So, case 1 (a) – the world was not created by chance, nor did it come about accidentally or arbitrarily. Yet we know that order, reason and certainty are all concepts (abstract ideas) which have no will in and of themselves – they require an executor.

This brings us to the question of a supernatural agent; a capable executor of the ingredients of creation. Since creation cannot possibly come out of nothing (ex nihilo) without intention (that is, deliberate cause) nor by accident (itself an anomaly of the norm of order), and furthermore since order, reason and certainty (all which work with intention/purpose) cannot work by themselves, since they do neither possess a will nor the power/means to act on their own will, for creation to even be a possibility it necessitates a Creator. Since this Creator is also supernatural, it follows that we cannot know Him apart from His revelation of Himself to us. Only revelation via Scripture has given us a reasonable case for a pre-existent (for He has to be already in existence beforehand), self-sufficient (for He must not need nor borrow anything from anyone or anything), supreme (for He must be first in rank and authority), free and autonomous (for He must choose at the pleasure of His will), self-determining and decisive (for He must execute His own will), wise (for He must create order from non-order), sovereign (for He must be accountable to no one), almighty (for He must inherently possess all and ultimate power), holy (for He must be inherently pure and flawless and must communicate purity to everything), eternal (for He must not be limited by time in any way), uncaused and unformed (for He must not be created Himself), immaterial (for His essence cannot be created matter) hence a free unbound Spirit and the sole source of all that is “being”, that is, all creation. All things, including the necessary ingredients for creation MUST flow from Him, at the pleasure of His own free will. He is the rightful owner and possessor of all creation. Such must be His intrinsic nature. Here, we have our first case for God – the mysterious Creator! Hence, case 1 (b) – the world was created through order, with a purpose/reason and with certainty by a living and eternal Creator God Who alone and unaided could and did freely, powerfully and wisely orchestrate every “thing”, visible or otherwise, into permanent existence.


Some Scriptural references for creation:

Genesis 1 and 2; John 1:1-3; Romans 1:19-20; 2 Peter 3:5; Hebrews 1:2,10; Acts 4:24; Mark 13:19; Exodus 20:11; Nehemiah 9:6; Job 38:4-11; Psalm 33:6-9; Psalm 89:11-12; Acts 14:15; Psalm 102:25; Psalm 104:24-30; Proverbs 3:19; Isaiah 37:16; Isaiah 40:26,28; Jeremiah 10:12; Jeremiah 32:17; Zechariah 12:1; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 11:3; Revelation 4:11; Revelation 21:6.