Paul Madson

THOUGHTS, QUOTES & REFLECTIONS

Year: 2015 (page 1 of 2)

Certainty, openness and theological wisdom

The more I travel globally to meet and serve our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world, the more I see the need for the wisdom and balance that Ray Ortlund shares in his most recent blog post (re-posted below).

I’m troubled by those in the “all certainty” camp.

But I’m equally troubled and concerned about those in the “all openness” camp.

As always, danger lies in the “ditch” on both extremes. As John Stott said, “There is almost no pastime the devil enjoys more than tipping Christians off balance.” Here is a re-post of the original article by Ray Ortlund (italics, bold and underline mine):

Certainty, openness and theological wisdom

by Ray Ortlund

Some Christians seem “all certainty.” Maybe it makes them feel heroic. But they see too few gray areas. Everything is a federal case. They have a fundamentalist mindset.

Other Christians seem “all openness.” Maybe it makes them feel humble. But they see too few black-and-white areas. They have a liberal mindset — though they may demonstrate a surprising certainty against certainty.

The Bible is our authority as we sort out what deserves certainty and what deserves openness. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, for example, defines the gospel of Christ crucified for our sins, Christ buried and Christ risen again on the third day, according to the Scriptures, as “of first importance.” Here is the center of our certainty.

From that “of first importance” theological address, we move out toward the whole range of theological and practical questions deserving our attention. The more clearly our logic connects back with that center, the more certain and the less open we should be. The further our thinking extrapolates from that center, the less certain and the more open we should be. When a question cannot be addressed by a clear appeal to the Bible, our conclusions should be all the more modest.

The gospel requires us to have high expectations of one another on biblically central doctrines and strategies, and it cautions us to be more relaxed with one another the further we have to move out from the center.

Building our theology is not like pushing the first domino over, which pushes the next over, and so forth, down the line — each domino of equal weight and each fall equally inevitable. Rather, building our theology is more like exploring a river. We start out at the mouth of the river. It is wide. There is no decision to make. All is unmistakably clear. But then one starts paddling up-river. As each tributary forks into the river, one must decide which way to go. Indeed, it may eventually become difficult to distinguish between the river itself and a tributary. But many decisions must be made along the way, not every one equally obvious.

This is why we need a map of the whole, noting the main features of the topography, such as 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 provides. There are other scriptures that help us globalize our biblical thinking in this way. For example, Exodus 34:6-7 is quoted multiple times throughout the rest of the Old Testament. Clearly, it is an atomically weighted passage that other biblical authors treated as a sort of theological North Star for guidance. There are other passages meant to help us improve our overall theological wisdom and a fair-minded sense of proportion.

A church or movement may desire, for its own reasons, to define secondary and tertiary doctrines and strategies as important expectations within their own ministry. That’s okay. But then it’s helpful to say, “We know this isn’t a dividing line for Christian oneness. It’s just a decision we’ve made for ourselves, because we think it will help us in our situation. We realize that other Christians will see it differently, and that’s no problem for us.”

May we become more certain where we’ve been too open, and more open where we’ve been too certain, according to Scripture. And where it seems helpful to provide further definition on our own authority, may we do so with candor and humility.

 

Are You One of the Fortunate 5%?

95% of the world’s population lives outside of the United States. Although the U.S. is one of the most (if not the most) powerful and influential nations globally, we only make up about 5% of all the people on planet earth!

When I was in Ethiopia recently, I posed the following question to several high school and college age students: What is your greatest dream?

Without hesitation, their unanimous answer was, “to live in the United States and get a college education.”

Most of those living in the Majority World would love to live where we call homeWe are a privileged people. And to whom much is given, much is required(Luke 12:48)

“You have never looked into the eyes of another human being who isn’t valuable to God.”

One practical action we can all take to help make a difference among those living in the Majority World (i.e. primarily Asia, Africa, Latin America) is to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who live in those regions.

The best resource I’ve found for guiding us in prayer for the global church (the 95%) has been Operation World by Patrick Johnstone.

Justin Taylor (of The Gospel Coalition) writes about what he considers to be “one of the most remarkable Christian publications of the 20th century”:

I’m very happy that InterVarsity Press has published a new book that carries on the legacy of Operation World, entitled Pray for the World. Here’s a description of it:
 
For decades, Operation World has been the world’s leading resource for people who want to impact the nations for Christ through prayer. Its twofold purpose has been to inform for prayer and to mobilize for mission. Now the research team of Operation World offers this abridged version of the 7th edition called Pray for the World as an accessible resource to facilitate prayer for the nations. The Operation World researchers asked Christian leaders in every country, “How should the body of Christ throughout the world be praying for your country?” Their responses provide the prayer points in this book, with specific ways your prayers can aid the global church. When you hear a country mentioned in the news, you can use Pray for the World to pray for it in light of what God is doing there. Each entry includes:
  • Timely challenges for prayer and specific on-the-ground reports of answers to prayer
  • Population and people group statistics
  • Charts and maps of demographic trends
  • Updates on church growth, with a focus on evangelicals
  • Explanations of major currents in economics, politics and society
Join millions of praying people around the world.
Hear God’s call to global mission.
And watch the world change.
To learn more about how Operation World came to be, watch this 5-minute video:

And Believe That I Love You

Why is it so hard for us to believe that God truly loves us – with all of our faults, weaknesses and failures?

Nothing helped me to begin to “feel” God’s love for me more than when my wife and I had our first child…a daughter. I still remember feeling this overwhelming sense of love that was going to explode out of my chest. And for the first time I felt like I understood what the Psalmist wrote when he said…

“As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.” 
(Psalm 103:13-14 NIV84)

One of my favorite Christian musicians is Andrew Peterson. He writes beautiful music with profound lyrics.

One of his newest songs, Be Kind to Yourself (from his latest album The Burning Edge of Dawn), was written to his soon-to-be teenage daughter (who sits next to him at the piano).

He writes as a compassionate father to his daughter who is struggling with all of the common pre-adolescent struggles. He sees that she is so hard on herself – far harder than any loving father would ever want for their child.

This song is a metaphor for our relationship with God.

I have found throughout my years in ministry that many followers of Christ are so hard on themselves – they beat themselves up over every small mistake, every failure – no matter how small or insignificant. They expect perfect sanctification from the moment they come to Christ – without exception. They don’t allow themselves to rest in the “finished work of Christ” (Hebrews 7:25-28) – out of which flows their growth in Christ!

They allow the “accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10 KJV) to slay their heart and bring on profound discouragement. They often wonder and doubt God’s “everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he remove our transgressions from us.”
(Psalm 103:11-12 NIV84)

As you watch and listen to this song, I pray that it would be an encouragement to your soul. Selah!

Be Kind to Yourself (Lyrics)

You got all that emotion that’s heaving like an ocean

And you’re drowning in a deep, dark well

I can hear it in your voice that if you only had a choice

You would rather be anyone else

 

I love you just the way that you are

I love the way He made your precious heart

 

Be kind to yourself

Be kind to yourself

 

I know it’s hard to hear it when that anger in your spirit

Is pointed like an arrow at your chest

When the voices in your mind are anything but kind

And you can’t believe your Father knows best

 

I love you just the way you are

I love the way He’s shaping your heart

 

Be kind to yourself

Be kind to yourself

 

How does it end when the war that you’re in

Is just you against you against you

Gotta learn to love, learn to love

Learn to love your enemies too

 

You can’t expect to be perfect

It’s a fight you’ve gotta forfeit

You belong to me whatever you do

So lay down your weapon, darling

Take a deep breath and believe that I love you

 

Be kind to yourself

Be kind to yourself

Be kind to yourself

 

Gotta learn to love, learn to love, learn to love your enemies

Gotta learn to love, learn to love, learn to love your enemies too

 

Quotes to Note

by Paul Madson

“Give yourself unto reading. The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own. You need to read.” (Charles Spurgeon)

“Your faith will not fail while God sustains it; you are not strong enough to fall away while God is resolved to hold you.” (J.I. Packer)

“Human beings are hope-shaped creatures. The way you live now is completely controlled by what you believe about your future.” (Timothy Keller)

“The Bible simultaneously pictures God as utterly sovereign, and as a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God.” (D.A. Carson)

“The greatest evil is not done now in sordid dens of crime. It is not even done in concentration camps and labor camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried and minuted) in clear, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.” (C.S. Lewis)

“We are too prone to engrave our trials in marble and write our blessings in sand.” (Charles Spurgeon)

“Mark it down—your progress in holiness will never exceed your relationship with the holy Word of God.” (Nancy Leigh DeMoss)

“What will really save the lost world? Let me tell you: none of our complaints against it.” (Jared Wilson)

“Men would rather be ruined than change.” (W.H. Auden)

“No one has ever come to Christ because they lost a debate on Twitter.” (Russell Moore)

“People tell me ‘Judge not lest ye be judged.’ I always tell them, ‘Twist not scripture lest ye be like Satan.’” (Paul Washer)

“Learning to pray doesn’t offer us a less busy life; it offers us a less busy heart.” (Paul Miller)

“If we are Christians and do not have upon us the calling to respond to the lostness of the lost and a compassion for those of our kind, our orthodoxy is ugly and it stinks. And it not only stinks in the presence of the hippie, it stinks in the presence of anybody who’s an honest man. And more than that, I’ll tell you something else, orthodoxy without compassion stinks with God.” (Francis A. Schaeffer, Death in the City (Chicago, 1969), page 123.)

“Inerrancy means the word of God always stands over us and we never stand over the word of God.” (Kevin DeYoung)

“When we bring God’s Word directly into our praying, we are bringing God’s power into our praying.” (Joni Eareckson Tada)

“In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.” (Augustine)

“Hell is full of people who think they deserve heaven. Heaven is full of people who know they deserve hell.” (Trevin Wax)

“We’re to love our children for who they are, not for what we want them to become.” (Alistair Begg)

“When you go through a trial, the sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which you lay your head.” (Charles Spurgeon)

And finally, some humor…

“A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.” (H.L. Mencken – 1880-1956)

“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” (Mark Twain)

Outdo one another in showing honor

Over the years, I have found certain seasoned, respected Christian leaders that I resonate with extremely well. One of those leaders is pastor / author Ray Ortlund of The Gospel Coalition. What he writes is both beautiful and profound! (Note: italics and bold mine)

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“They who avow the doctrines distinguished by the name of Calvinistic, ought, if consistent with their own principles, to be most gentle and forbearing of all men.”  (John NewtonMemoirs of the Life of the Late William Grimshaw, page 67)
 
“John Wesley never encouraged criticism of George Whitefield.  ‘Do you think we shall see Mr. Whitefield in heaven?’ asked one small-minded disciple.  ‘No,’ replied Wesley, and the man looked pleased that he had aimed his flattery well.  ‘No sir,’ said Wesley, ‘I fear not.  Mr. Whitefield will be so near the Throne and we at such a distance, we shall hardly get a sight of him.’”  John PollockGeorge Whitefield and the Great Awakening, page 244.
 
I am Reformed.  I am grateful for all I have learned from my Reformed brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ.  But I am also grateful for others — Dispensationalists, Methodists, Charismatics and others who do not align with me in some aspects of theology.  Theology matters.  Our differences matter.  But what we share in common in Christ matters more.  And I not only accept that as a fact; I rejoice in it as a fellowship.
 
I am grateful for Dallas Theological Seminary, where I studied from 1971 to 1975.  I am no longer a Dispensationalist.  But I will go to my grave thanking the Lord for the biblical languages and exegesis DTS drilled into me.  Every day of ministry since my ordination in 1975, what DTS gave me has made a wonderful difference.
 
I am grateful for my Wesleyan brothers and sisters.  I don’t accept the traditional Wesleyan doctrine of entire sanctification.  But if I ever become half the Christian that Robert E. Coleman, for example, is, then I will be a better man than I am now.  I admire him, and others like him, as fathers in the Lord.
 
I am grateful for my Charismatic brothers and sisters.  I remain unpersuaded by some of their arguments.  But they taught me to stop treating a church service as mere doctrinal rehearsal; they helped me see it as an encounter with the living Christ.  They expect the Lord to do something, and they are right.
 
I am grateful for so many who are located elsewhere within the Body of Christ.  As I observe myself, it often happens that I notice a phrase or even a word finding its way into a sermon, something that echoes a Christian who contributed to me long ago without even realizing it.  And this includes some people, unlike my friends mentioned above, whom I don’t particularly like.  But they taught me.  They showed me something.  And I am better off for it.
 
Many disparate believers, in many ways, have helped me toward the Lord.  How could I be ungrateful?  I don’t believe that verses like Romans 12:10 apply only to other Reformed believers.  My heart has been stretched out beyond that circle, without diminishing my own convictions, and for that too I am grateful.
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And finally, below is an excellent recent discussion between Matt Chandler, Michael Horton and Tim Keller on “How to Disagree” (biblically and gracefully). It’s well worth 10+ minutes to watch! Selah!

How to disagree by Collin Hansen

Before the widespread accessibility of the internet, most theological debate moved at the speed of journal publishing, which is to say, slowly.  There was a time when perhaps two years would pass before an author would see critical reviews of his or her work. Today, controversial books will be dissected by bloggers and Amazon reviewers before most readers even know the book has been released.
 
This is just one way the terms of theological debate have changed, according to Michael Horton, who talks in this video with Tim Keller and Matt Chandler about how Christians ought to disagree among ourselves and with other theological opponents. You’ll hear them offer several nuggets of wisdom that all Christians would be wise to follow as they call on us to criticize when possible in the context of relationship and state our opponents’ arguments in a way they would recognize and own.

Weak Faith in a Strong God

Tim Keller, in his book, The Reason for God, writes…

“The faith that changes the life and connects to God is best conveyed by the word ‘trust.’
 
“Imagine you are on a high cliff and you lose your footing and begin to fall. Just beside you as you fall is a branch sticking out of the very edge of the cliff. It is your only hope and it is more than strong enough to support your weight. How can it save you? If your mind is filled with intellectual certainty that the branch can support you, but you don’t actually reach out and grab it, you are lost. If your mind is instead filled with doubts and uncertainty that the branch can hold you, but you reach out and grab it anyway, you will be saved. 
 
“Why? It is not the strength of your faith but the object of your faith that actually saves you. Strong faith in a weak branch is fatally inferior to weak faith in a strong branch
 
“This means you don’t have to wait for all doubts and fears to go away to take hold of Christ. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you have to banish all misgivings in order to meet God. That would turn your faith into one more way to be your own Savior. Working on the quality and purity of your commitment would become a way to merit salvation and put God in your debt. It is not the depth and purity of your heart but the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf that saves us
 
“Faith, then, begins as you recognize and reject your alternative trusts and gods and turn instead to the Father, asking for a relationship to him on the basis of what Jesus has donenot on the basis of your moral effort or achievements.

Creation’s Groans Are Not Meaningless

One of the best books I have come across in the past several months is Tim Keller’s excellent work on Romans 8-16 (“Romans 8-16 For You” – The Good Book Company – 2015).

Below are a few paragraphs, first posted on The Gospel Coalition’s website, dealing with the pain, suffering, discouragement and disappointment that we all experience at one time or another in this life. Keller begins this section by getting our attention with the following statement:

“Sooner or later, every believer wonders if being a Christian is worth it.”
 
Creation’s Groans Are Not Meaningless
 
Many people—including, most likely, some we know—answer no. They profess faith as Christians and seek to live God’s way for awhile, but in time they find their present sufferings aren’t worth it and they fall away. But in Romans 8:18–25, Paul answers the question with an emphatic yes. In fact, he says, “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (v. 18). Paul is saying: If you know where you are heading in the future, you won’t even entertain the idea that your current problems and pain aren’t worth it.
 
So what is this glorious inheritance toward which the Christian walks, sometimes with painful steps, day by day?
 
The apostle says, “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed” (Rom. 8:19). A glory is coming that will be so blindingly powerful that when it falls on us it will envelop the whole created order and glorify it along with usWe will bring nature with us into a renewed, restored, redeemed reality. Our sonship will be publicly revealed and acknowledged, and we will finally and fully be “conformed to the likeness of [the] Son” (Rom. 8:29). We will be as perfectly holy as Christ and as dazzlingly beautiful as he is. That’s what glory is.
 
Creation Is Groaning
 
And this is why we don’t yet enjoy this glory. When humanity fell into sin, the created order shared somehow in that fall (Rom. 8:20). It’s now “subjected to frustration.” Nature isn’t what it ought to be or what it was created to be. It’s alienated, both from us (who were meant to live in harmony with nature, as its directors, or rulers—see Gen. 1:29), and from itself. It’s become frustrated, not by its own choice, but by “the will of the one who subjected it” (Rom. 8:20). This refers to God, since the subjection was accompanied by “hope” of liberation (Rom. 8:20–21). This is why creation can wait “in eager expectation.”
 
For now, though, creation is in “bondage to decay” (Rom. 8:21). It’s caught in a continuous cycle of death and decomposition. It’s wonderful to see how nature’s life-giving quality continually seeks to reestablish itself, bringing new life out of death (e.g., flowers grow from the fertilizer of dead organisms). But everything in nature wears down and dies. And so nature is a realm of pain and suffering. It “has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth” (Rom. 8:22). There’s relentless pain that comes from first to last, as things decay. In this creation, no experience is untainted by pain, even if it’s only the pain of knowing the experience cannot last.
 
Creation Will Be Liberated
 
But none of this is the last word. “The creation itself will be liberated . . . and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21). Instead of frustration, there will be fulfillmentWhen we consider the majesty and greatness of the oceans, mountains, valleys, forests, and so on now, it staggers the mind to imagine what the world will be like when it’s free to be itself! And instead of pain, there will be only joy. This is why the best metaphor for the current state of creation is childbirth (Rom. 8:22Matt. 24:8). The pangs aren’t meaningless because the world is giving birth to a new version of itself.
 
This is the future—the fulfilling, renewing, joy-giving future—creation can look forward to since it’s the future God’s children look forward to. This is Paul’s answer to the question about whether our future glory makes our present sufferings worth bearing. Even creation, he observes, urges you to say yes!
 
We aren’t there yet, but we will be. ….
 
Then Keller wraps up this section by saying…
 
We know all our best days lie ahead and all our painful days will lie behind us then. And so, even on our worst days and in our hardest moments, we know this: It is worth it.
 
Editors’ note: This excerpt is adapted from a new study based on Tim Keller’s teaching, Romans 8–16 For You (The Good Book Company, 2015). Click here to read the full excerpt of this section.
 
(Bold highlights mine)

Quotes To Note

Francis Bacon died almost 400 years ago, but his famous description of words on pages are still as relevant and important as ever. Bacon wrote:

“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and a few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.” (Francis Bacon)

When it comes to reading, we should always remember the wise words of J.C. Ryle

“Whatever you read, read the Bible first. Beware of bad books: there are plenty in this day. Take heed what you read.” (J.C. Ryle)
 
“Gratitude isn’t only a celebration when good things happen. Gratitude is a declaration that God is good no matter what happens!” (Ann Voskamp)
 
“Nowhere in Scripture do we find doctrine studied for its own sake or in isolation from life.” (Dr. Wayne Grudem)
 
“I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.” (Martin Luther)

The Snare to Compare…

“Comparing ourselves to others is a dead-end street. As Theodore Roosevelt aptly said: Comparison is the thief of joy. So why do we continue to diminish our neighbor as a way to build ourselves up? Why do we find pleasure in negative gossip and the misfortune of others? Why do we feel we must win in order to feel okay about ourselves? No matter how athletic, slim, handsome/pretty, intelligent, well-read, respected, connected, funny, wealthy, or religious we are, if we anchor our worth in these things instead of in the smile of God over us, these things will eventually wreck usC.S. Lewis said “Aim at heaven and you get earth thrown itAim at earth and you get neither.” The only esteem that won’t abandon us is the esteem given to us by Jesus. Why? Because only in Jesus are we fully known and always loved, thoroughly exposed yet never rejected. Only Jesus will repeatedly forgive us when we fail Him. Only Jesus will declare His affection for us when we are at our very worst as well as at our very best.” (Ann Voskamp)
 
“If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself!” (Augustine)
 
“One reason why God usually doesn’t give us specific guidance in our sometimes-perplexing decisions is that He places a higher priority on our being transformed than our being informed in order that we will be conformed to the image of Jesus.” (Jon Bloom – President of Desiring God Ministries)
 
“I know not the way God leads me, but well do I know my Guide.” (Martin Luther)

“Knowing God without knowing our own wretchedness makes for pride. Knowing our own wretchedness without knowing God makes for despair. Knowing Jesus Christ strikes the balance because He shows us both God and our own wretchedness. Jesus is a God whom we can approach without pride and before whom we can humble ourselves without despair.” (Blaise Pascal – from his book Pensées)
 
“The duties that are required of us are not proportioned to the strength residing in us, but to the supply laid up for us in Christ.” (John Owen)
 
“Prayer is an acknowledgment that our need of God’s help is not partial, but total.” (Alistair Begg)

Partnering for God’s Glory

Two weeks ago, I had the privilege to participate in The Gospel Coalition National Conference in Florida. Over 6,000 people from all over the United States and 50 different countries came together to listen, learn, network, fellowship and worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Global Training Network partners with The Gospel Coalition’s International Outreach (TGCIO) arm by delivering quality biblical and theological books (that TGCIO purchases and has translated) to the pastors that we train around the world.

Since the inception of Global Training Network 11 years ago, we have always been committed to partnering together with other like-minded, gospel-centered ministries to help advance God’s Kingdom to the ends of the earth. Now that we are involved in 68 countries, and with a staff of over 85, partnering has become even more important and necessary, if we want to best steward the resources that God has entrusted to us. I’ve always believed that God smiles when He sees his children working together for His honor and His glory!

Some of you may not know much about The Gospel Coalition. In case you are not aware, I’ve included below an article that Joe Carter, editor at TGC, wrote a couple weeks ago that gives a brief, “30,000 foot” fly-over perspective of who they are, why they exist and what they do. TGC began back in 2005 when Tim Keller (Sr. Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, NY) and D.A. Carson (Professor of New Testament Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) got together and planted the seeds that would become The Gospel Coalition.

Click here to read “9 Things You Should Know About TGC” by Joe Carter.

“Honey, we’re not home yet…”

Photo courtesy of GraceWay Media

The story is told of an elderly missionary couple that arrived at their home port after years of faithful service. At the dock, an ambassador and his wife who had returned on the ship with them were surrounded by a crowd. Roses were bestowed on his wife as photographers’ flashes exploded, and an attentive, admiring press and public hung on every word as he spoke of the joy of serving his government and coming home.

As the missionary couple walked unnoticed through that crowd, the wife, with hot tears streaking down her face, wondered out loud to her husband, “Why is it that we have given our whole lives to Christ and yet there is no one here to honor us and welcome us home?” Her understanding husband, reaching beyond that lonely moment, said to her, “Honey, we’re not home yet.”

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away… And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:1, 3-5a)

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)

“Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath.” (Psalm 39:4-5)

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