Be perfect?

Does Jesus call us to be perfect people?

Not exactly. This idea comes from a misunderstanding of the context in which Jesus famously says, “Therefore, be perfect, just as your heavenly father is perfect” (Matt 5:48).

Remember the old “What’s the therefore there for?” rule? In this passage, it’s the key!

Jesus has just explained to his disciples how to love and treat people, basically saying, “Don’t just love your neighbour; love your enemies too. Pray for those who persecute you. This is how you show yourselves to be children of God, because God’s character is such that he gives rain and sunshine to everyone, not just to ‘good’ people. God’s goodness toward people is holistic and comprehensive, not partial and divided. Selective love is contaminated love.”

Side note: we sometimes think that “God sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous” means “Good and bad things happen to everyone, not just to good or bad people,” but that’s not at all what this means. Rain and sunshine, especially in pre-modern cultures where they grow their own food, are wonderful things – they are the stuff of life, a beautiful gift from heaven. Jesus says that God sends good things to everyone!

He then reminds his disciples that even the hated tax-collectors (read: politicians and parking inspectors) and heathens (the people the Jews looked down on as being ‘not God’s people’) love their friends, and do good to their neighbours.

But that’s not how God is, and that’s not how you should be either.

Therefore, since God is this way and you are his children, be holistic, comprehensive, genuine, consistent, and universal in how you love people, just as your father in heaven is holistic, comprehensive, genuine, consistent and universal in how he loves people.

chroNICHOLLS August 2015 is now available for download (5 MB) as a PowerPoint file.

A lower quality PDF file is also available here (3 MB).

DSC02204 Stitch (Small)

I am

John 8:58 – Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”

I’ve always thought that when Jesus said, “I am” (Greek: EGO EIMI), he was alluding to Exodus 3:14 – God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’ ” (NASB).

But I was reading Exodus 3:14 in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the OT in use in Jesus’ day) and the Greek says something like, “I am the one who is” (Greek: EGO EIMI HO ON). And then God tells Moses, “Thus you will say to the sons of Israel, ‘The one who is has sent me to you’ ” (Greek: HO ON has sent me to you).

This means that the normal Greek translation of God’s name given to Moses is actually The one who is (HO ON). If we were speaking Greek, and wanting to use the name that God gave to Moses, we would call him HO ON, not EGO EIMI (I am). This should have been well known in the first century, and is probably why John uses HO ON and its other forms for referring to God in Revelation – “who was and is and is to come,” (Greek: HO EN KAI HO ON KAI HO ERCHOMENOS) etc.

Jesus probably spoke Aramaic, but when John translated his words into Greek for his gospel, he would have used the term HO ON if he had been alluding to Exodus 3:14. Something to think about.

(This is a tad on the philosophical side, so if you’re into that kind of thing you might enjoy this. If not, here’s a link to funny cats.)

I’ve been musing a little over this issue for a while – if there is a God (and I believe there is), then why is this God good? Why is God ‘love’ as the apostle John wrote, and not ‘hate’, or just something neutral and in between?

Wouldn’t it make more sense for God to be neutral or indifferent? If God is the prime mover, the first cause, the great original being, then isn’t all of this (the universe, humanity, etc) just a great social experiment by a curious eternal consciousness? Continue Reading »

the God of this age is God**The ‘notes’ at the end have a lot more information that explains many points made in the body of this post**

I have been mulling over this blog post for almost a year now, not sure how to write it, and not sure if I wanted to, but here goes.

The Background:

Last year Kelly was studying Isaiah and wrestling through this section:

He [God] said, “Go, and tell this people:
‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive;
Keep on looking, but do not understand.’
“Render the hearts of this people insensitive,
Their ears dull, and their eyes dim,
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
Understand with their hearts,
And return and be healed” (Isaiah 6:9-10 NASB).

This passage almost sounds like God intentionally prevents people from ‘understanding’ lest they ‘be healed’. Continue Reading »

Did the New Testament abolish the Old Testament Law?


Jesus made it very clear that he did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. How do you fulfill the Law? By keeping it perfectly!

Jesus said, “It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law” (Luke 16:17). The law is not going away. The next verse of that quote says, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” This is not a teaching about divorce per se, but a reinforcement that the Law is binding and you can’t just divorce yourself from it! That is equivalent to committing adultery.

So, if the Law still stands, should we follow it? Continue Reading »

Hebrews to music

Hebrews 3*UPDATE*

I finished the last 2 chapters in December 2014, so now the whole book is done! Hopefully I can find a way to get it all recorded, and then release it for others to use.


This year I started putting the book of Hebrews to music as a memorisation aid. I’ve now done chapters 1-11 and only have 2 more chapters to go, and then the whole book will be put to music.

A few chapters into the process I started thinking that it would be really cool if other people could have access to the music so that they could either memorise it too, or just be blessed by listening to Scripture. Continue Reading »


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