The Futility of Trusting Idols

Read: 1 Kings 18:1-2, 17-29
Text: Verses 23-29

And so it is easy for us to place our trust in the things we can see rather than in the God whom we can’t see. The only way we know that everything that we need comes from God is from the Bible. God tells us in his word that he is our Shepherd and our provider. But we know that by faith. We do not know that empirically. God’s involvement in our lives and in the weather and in the economy is not something that we can discern on the basis of experience. We must believe it on the basis of God’s word.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Hebrews 8

Read: Hebrews 8

That is what is promised to us in the new covenant and sealed to us in our baptism. Our baptism reminds us and confirms to us that through faith our sins are actually dealt with once and for all time. The forgiveness that is signified and sealed to us in our baptism is based on the reality of Jesus fully and finally paying the penalty for our sins. Because God’s justice has been served by Jesus’s death, that same justice requires that our sins can never be counted against us. And that registers in our own consciences so that the peace that we experience is much deeper and more profound than what was possible under the old covenant relationship between God and his people.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Law and the Christian

Read: Romans 7

Our sinful nature is provoked to sin by the law because we are rebellious at heart. If we see a law, we want to trample it. But that is also the way that God brings us to see how sinful we are. Once we understand how the law provokes us to sin we come to see how profoundly sinful we are, and we realize that we are dead in sin and that we need to be made alive to God which of course is exactly what God does to us through our union with Christ when we believe.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

A Natural Question Profoundly Answered

Read: Romans 6

The good news is not only that we are forgiven and accepted as righteous by God through faith in Jesus Christ. The good news is just as much that the power of sin over us is broken. A huge part of what is good about the good news is that we are set free from the power of sin in our lives when we believe in Jesus. The problem with sin is not just that it makes us liable to God’s punishment. The problem with sin is also that sin is destructive and dehumanizing and devastating. Sin takes away from our joy and our happiness and our quality of life in the deepest sense. And so, it is a huge part of the good news that believers are released from the slavery to sin and to Satan.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Meaning of the Fourth Commandment (3) A Memorial and a Sign

This is one of God’s great purposes in creation and in the history of salvation – that people might come to know that he is the Lord of all and that they might give him the glory that is his due. And so, for his people, he gave them a day where work was off-limits and common activities were off-limits so that they might remember and contemplate where they had been before God had rescued them, but also that they might remember and adoringly ponder the awesome power and glory of their God revealed in their rescue.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Truths of the Reformation (10) Union With Christ

Separation between God and man is the reason for all that is wrong in the world and all that is wrong in our lives and the reason for that separation is sin. The biblical teaching about union with Christ is how that separation is overcome; it is about how we can have a close and intimate relationship with God. Union has to do with being united. It has to do with being one. And being one with God is at the heart of having a good life. It is at the heart of all blessing. This is what it means to be saved.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

“If one member suffers, all suffer together.”

The Bible has lots of commands and exhortations to believers. Obedience is automatic in the sense that it always follows from true faith. It is it not automatic in the sense that it just happens without any effort on our part.
And so it is here, when it comes to this principle of the whole body suffering when one part suffers. In one sense it is automatic because that is what it means to be a body. And yet we are also exhorted to weep with those who weep.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Jacob Blesses Joseph

The bottom line is that believers are all undeserving and all spiritually powerless in their own strength. Anything that is commendable in their lives comes from God’s grace working in them. And yet that never comes without effort on their part. In order for us to do good things by the grace of God we still must do them. That takes effort and exertion. And then that effort and exertion is rewarded by God even though none of it was possible without the grace of God.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra