Table of Contents
God wants you to know that He is the Owner of all things, including you. God also wants you to know that He has made you in His image and that for this reason you have unique dignity and worth.
At the beginning of human history, God made it possible for our first parents to know Him and enjoy Him. He brought the man and his wife together. He led them to their home and gave them their work. He provided all that they needed and shared in their life. What God did for them, He continues to do for all His people. The only difference is that we don’t see Him do it. We walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).View 2 Curse
We can only begin to make sense of our world when we understand that we live with the knowledge of evil and are excluded from the presence of God. But God has not abandoned us. He sent His Son into our ongoing battle with evil. Through His death on the cross, He broke the power of the enemy and opened a new and living way into the presence and blessing of God.View 3 Salvation
Imagine yourself at a theater for the first performance of a new play. The curtain goes up, but the stage is empty. Then the author walks out and introduces himself to the audience, telling you who he is, why he wrote the play, and what it is about. The author does not present an argument for his own existence, he simply introduces himself and begins to speak about his work.View 4 Judgement
God divided mankind into different linguistic groups in order to put a brake on man’s growing rebellion. The brake has been remarkably effective. Throughout human history there have been multiple attempts to bring the nations together, but any success has always been limited and short-lived.
But God is bringing people from all nations together through Jesus Christ. In heaven all the barriers that have divided people throughout history—race, class, and language—will be completely removed, and God calls His people to begin expressing that unity now in His church.View 5 Promise
God’s promise to bless the world through Abraham’s descendant is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. God the Father was pleased to send His Son into the world, where He carried our sins on the cross and laid down His life as a sacrifice, so that His righteousness might be credited to all who come to Him in faith.View 6 Blood
The repeated slaughter of animals is one of the harder themes for us to understand in the Old Testament story, but it is also one of the most important. Through these animal sacrifices, God was preparing His people to understand the need for, and the significance of, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
“Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Cor. 5:7). He bore the judgment of God so that it will not fall on you. But as in the Passover, the blood must not only be shed, it must also be applied. Just as there had to be an act of faith and obedience in which God’s people applied the blood to the doorframes of their houses, so there must be an act of faith in which Christ’s blood is applied to your life. Then you can rest on God’s promise, and God will bring you safely through the Day of Judgment.View 7 Law
The law is a mirror that exposes the hidden sins of our lives. Properly understood, it will convict us of our need for a savior and bring us to Christ. And when the Holy Spirit lives in us, the law is no longer a list of impossible demands, but a description of new possibilities.View 8 Atonement
Maybe you feel that if you are sufficiently sorry for your sins, you will be right with God, or that if you are obedient to God by attending church and saying your prayers, this will atone for your sins. These things are good, but they are not good enough. It’s the sacrifice of Christ and the shedding of His blood that makes atonement with God. This is what puts things right with God and brings back His presence and His blessing in our lives.View 9 Priest
The Day of Atonement illustrates how Jesus made atonement for our sins. When His blood was shed, God’s judgment was poured out, and mercy was released for sinners. The atonement is applied to your sins, in particular, when by faith you lay hold of Christ, believing in Him and confessing yours sins to Him. God will transfer the guilt of your sin to Christ as you lay hold of Him by faith. And when God transfers your guilt, He removes it from you, so that you can look up to God with the joy and freedom of someone who is truly forgiven.View 10 Courage
Some generations contribute more to advancing the purpose of God than others. The book of Numbers leads us to expect that this would be the case; not all generations serve willingly. Unity among God’s people and courage among their leaders will save us from aimless wandering and position us to advance God’s purpose in the world.View 11 Deliverer
Idolatry is redefining God. Across the centuries people have repeatedly chosen to invent their own gods rather than bow before the living God. The gods we create are attractive because we can control them, but they only exist in our minds and are powerless to deliver us from sin, death, and hell. Only God can deliver us, and this is why He sent His Son into the world.View 12 King
Jesus is the king who completely fulfills all that God requires of any leader. It is through our king that the will of God will be accomplished in our lives and in the world. God calls all who aspire to leadership to submit themselves to Christ the King and follow his example.View 13 Throne
God’s people can be confident about the future because Jesus Christ is on the throne. Through Him we are reconciled to the Father and become members of His family. Christ has many enemies, but they will all be put under His feet (Psalm 110:1), and the destiny of God’s people is to enjoy the blessing of His reign and rule forever.View 14 Prophet
If you have ever wished that God would speak to you, you need to know that He does. God speaks through His Word and by His Spirit. When His Word is opened, His voice is heard.
As you study the Bible and hear it proclaimed, you will find that God says some things that can be hard to take. Hearing the truth about your sins will make you uncomfortable. But whenever God speaks, it is a sign of His grace. His purpose is always to restore and to bless.View 15 Temple
The cloud of God’s presence in the temple pointed forward to what God would do in Christ. God took human flesh and came down among us in Jesus Christ. When we believe in Him, God’s presence enters our lives by the Holy Spirit, giving us a foretaste of the joys that lie ahead when we will live with Him forever.View 16 Worship
Authentic worship is always a response to revealed truth. It is directed toward the living God, focused around the Lord Jesus Christ, and inspired by the Holy Spirit. True worship will be fostered where God’s truth is proclaimed, where Jesus Christ is exalted, and where God’s people submit to the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
If you want to grow in your worship, open your Bible and soak your mind in what God says about Himself. The Holy Spirit will use the truth to stimulate worship in your heart.View 17 Sin
God calls us to godliness and righteousness. We are to love God with our whole heart and we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. Morality cannot be sustained when we lose the knowledge of God. But when we come to Jesus Christ, He will reconcile us to the Father and lead us in paths of righteousness.View 18 Righteousness
Righteousness cannot be imposed by parents, churches, or governments because it must flow from the heart. Of course, good laws are better than bad ones, and they have great value in restraining evil. Good laws backed up by appropriate penalties will usually bring some modification of behavior. But the law cannot bring a change of heart, and that is why attempts to impose religion always fail.
God’s purpose is not to impose an outward conformity to His law. It is to cultivate an inward desire for righteousness. This is the promise of the new covenant and the work of the Holy Spirit. It involves changing our hearts to give us a new hunger for righteousness, and a new ability to pursue a life that is pleasing to God.View 19 Joy
Scripture has the power to change a human life and reshape an entire community. When God’s Word is taught, God’s voice is heard. The Bible read and applied will expose our sins and reveal God’s grace. When this leads to repentance and obedience, you will experience great joy.View 20 Holiness
God is holy, holy, holy. His holiness is foundational to His character. In Isaiah’s day thousands of people crowded into the temple, but they had no experience of the God they claimed to worship. Eventually this kind of worship becomes boring. But if you think God is boring, you have never encountered the God of the Bible.
Sin is an offense against a holy God, and an atonement is needed, because without it sinners would be ruined in His presence. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus, God’s Son, satisfied the judgment of a holy God, by becoming the sacrifice that atoned for all our sins.
Christians desperately need to rediscover the awesome holiness of God. Then, like Isaiah, we will begin to appreciate the wonder of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ, and we will feel that our greatest privilege in life is to serve this awesome, glorious, holy God.View 21 Servant
Jesus Christ is the Servant who gets the will of God done. He said to His disciples, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” (John 20:21). Those who know Jesus are to go out into a broken world and show the compassion of Christ. We are to proclaim the truth of what God has done in Jesus, so that people who do not know Him may come to enjoy the freedom that He gives.
Christ sends His servants to all the nations of the earth. As we go and minister in His name, the blessing of God will come to many people, and Christ will see the fruit of the travail of His soul and be satisfied.View 22 Calling
Jesus Christ offers to meet the deepest thirsts of your soul. He offers to bring you into a relationship with God in which your sins are forgiven and you begin to experience His power to live in a way that pleases Him. This life will continue beyond death for eternity.
You cannot buy this gift, but you can receive it. In order to receive it, you must lay aside the idea that there is something that you can offer to God. You must ask Him to give you what you do not have. Faith is like a hand being opened to receive what Christ offers, and He stands ready to give to all who are willing to receive.View 23 Heart
The problem of the human heart is that it is defaced with the graffiti of sin. Our great need is that the law of God should be written on our hearts so that what He commands becomes what we desire. Only God can write His law on our hearts, and He came to us in Jesus Christ to make this possible. “If anyone thirsts,” Jesus said, “let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:37-38).View 24 Tears
Knowing how to handle discouragement is a key to sustaining a lifetime of ministry. Unrealistic expectations usually lead to deep disappointment, and the Bible reminds us that there are no instant formulas for success in God’s work. Ministry often advances through tears and learning that principle will help you when you face discouragement.
Remember that God values the tears of a person who cares about His kingdom. He often brings the most fruitful ministry out of a broken heart. God is faithful. And one day He will wipe away every tear from our eyes (Revelation 7:17).View 25 Glory
The Lord of glory came down among us, and in Jesus Christ, the glory of God came to His temple. But the people did not want Him, so the glory of God left Jerusalem, not on a flying platform, but carrying a cross.
The Glory appeared and the Glory departed, but thank God, the Glory will return. Jesus Christ rose from the dead and one day He will return in power and glory. When He does, we will see Him, we will be like Him, and we will enjoy Him forever.View 26 Shepherd
Shepherding God’s flock involves the ministries of the prophet, priest, and king. Those who are trusted by God with the responsibility of leadership in the church must not abuse their positions. It is an abuse of privilege to teach one’s own opinions, to neglect the spiritual needs of God’s people, or to impose unnecessary burdens on them.
Effective leaders will teach God’s truth, pastor God’s people, and lead God’s flock in paths that are pleasing to Him. They will focus on these duties because they are accountable to the Great Shepherd, Jesus Christ, who gave His life for the sheep (Acts 20:28).View 27 Alien
Daniel lived a godly and successful life in an affluent and ungodly culture. Realizing the subtle pressure that he faced, he exercised voluntary restraint and nourished his love for God, so that it was stronger than any of the attractions and pleasures of the world.View 28 Hope
It would be easy to get the idea that all religions lead to God, but the Old Testament teaches the opposite. No religion can bring us to God, not even the religion of the Old Testament itself. The entire Old Testament was given to show us why we need Jesus and to prepare us for His coming. God destroys all false hopes so that we may find our true hope in His Son, who answers the problem of sin and fulfills the promise of God.View 29 Born
Throughout the Old Testament, God had promised that help was coming. In Jesus Christ, that help has come. God the Son came on an amazing journey. He took human flesh to Himself and was born of a virgin. He came down, lived among us, and went to the cross to bear our sins. As God, He reconciled us to Himself. As man, He delivered us from the wrath of God. As the holy one, He empowers us for a holy life, and one day He will welcome us into the joy of His holy presence.View 30 Tempted
The Bible makes it clear that Christ was tempted in every way, as we are, yet he was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). The difference between the temptations Jesus faced and ours is that sin resides in us, and we are tempted by our own evil desire (James 1:14). This was not true of Jesus. His temptations came directly from the devil.
This does not mean that Christ’s temptations were less than ours; in fact, they were greater. Christ stood against the full force of everything the enemy was able to throw at Him—and triumphed.View 31 Sovereign
I sometimes hear people say that they received Jesus as Savior but did not make Him Lord. The assumption is that we can somehow separate the Savior from the Lord—that we can have faith without repentance, blessings without commands, and the forgiveness of sins without the pursuit of holiness.
This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the gospel. We cannot receive what Jesus offers and at the same time resist what He commands. God calls us to give up our resistance to the lordship of Christ and receive His salvation. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). Submit yourself to Christ as Lord and you will find that He is a mighty Savior.View 32 Crucified
Everything God had planned to do since the beginning of time was accomplished at the cross. Bearing our sin, Jesus purchased our forgiveness. Enduring our hell, Jesus secured our entrance into heaven. Forsaken by the Father, Jesus reconciled us to God.View 33 Risen
On the third day, the tomb was empty. Jesus rose from the dead. We know this because God said so. When Christ comes again in glory and gathers all his people, we too will be given resurrection bodies. God will redeem not just a part of you, but the whole of you. When you get that settled in your mind, you will have far greater anticipation of the joys that lie ahead.View 34 Ascended
As a believer, you can have great joy today, knowing that your ascended Lord is at the right hand of the Father, and that His hands are raised in blessing over you. Through the Holy Spirit, His presence is always with you, empowering you to do all that He calls you to do. And when He comes again, He will take you up into His presence forever.View 35 Returning
The return of Jesus is a vital and practical truth that we need to grasp for living the Christian life today. There may be times when you are faced with devastating news. You may wonder what God is doing and what the future holds. But Jesus tells you not to let your heart be troubled. He invites you to trust Him and lean on what He has revealed about Himself. God’s work in you and in the world is an unfinished project, but it will be brought to completion when Jesus Christ returns in glory.View 36 Father
There is one God, and He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. How this can be is a mystery, but we should not be surprised that God is greater than the capacity of our understanding. Knowing God as Father is not natural for us. We need to be brought into a relationship with Him, and this is why Jesus Christ has come into the world. He came from the Father’s side to make Him known and to bring us to the Father.View 37 Son
Jesus is God with us, and for this reason we can truly know the Father through Him. His death on the cross is the ultimate demonstration of God’s love for us. God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:19). The deity of the Lord Jesus Christ is our assurance of salvation. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24).View 38 Spirit
God the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, and His ministry is central to our salvation. We could not be saved without the work of the Son of God on the cross, and we would not be saved without the work of the Spirit of God in our hearts.
The Holy Spirit disturbs us so that we see our sin and grasp our need of the Savior. As He disturbs, He also illuminates, so that we can see the glory of Jesus.
If you have come to faith in Jesus Christ, God’s Spirit lives in you (1 Corinthians 6:19; 12:13). So don’t ever say that you can’t change.View 39 Christ
The name Christ means “Messiah,” or “anointed one.” In the Old Testament, God anointed prophets, priests, and kings to advance His purposes in the world. They pointed forward to one who would fulfill what they could only illustrate.
The Gospels give us the evidence that Jesus is the Christ and show us how He uniquely fulfills the ancient roles of prophet, priest, and king. The centerpiece of God’s purpose for history is that God Himself took human flesh in the person of Jesus, and it is through Him that all of the promises of God are fulfilled.View 40 Power
Every Christian and every church has a part to play in God’s great purpose of blessing people from every nation on earth. For some people, that will mean going to another culture and learning another language, so that the good news of Jesus may be known. For others, God’s call will be to find our voice in the language God has already given us.
God wonderfully puts groups of people around every believer so that we can communicate the good news of Jesus in their language. Maybe you can speak the language of high schoolers or of children. God has wired you in a way that makes it possible for you to communicate with a certain group of people. Find out who they are, get among them, and tell them about Jesus.View 41 Conversion
Jesus Christ is able to transform the life of any person, even a person who has been openly hostile to Him. This transformation is a work of God that begins at conversion, in which we discover our need for mercy and submit ourselves to Christ. When you are converted, God has work for you to do, and as you commit yourself to a local church, other believers will help you discover that work.View 42 Wrath
God’s wrath is the response of His holiness and His love to evil. It is not in God’s nature to be angry, but His anger is provoked by the godlessness and unrighteousness of men and women who suppress the truth that God has clearly revealed. God expresses His wrath by giving people up to their own choice with the result that they become bound by the power of sinful lusts, dishonorable passions, and a debased mind.
But God has sent His Son to deliver us from His wrath. When Jesus died on the cross, He endured the wrath of God for us. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).View 43 Justification
God justifies sinners on the basis of the propitiation that was offered by Jesus on the cross. He does this for all who will come to Jesus in faith. Faith unites a person with Christ who pays our debts and credits us with His righteousness.
For Jesus, union with us meant going to the cross. For us, union with Jesus means being set free from condemnation and enjoying a new relationship of peace with God.
Justification does not depend on your performance in the Christian life but on God applying the benefits of the death and resurrection of Jesus to you.View 44 Assurance
Since your life is in the hand of God, you can be confident that God is working out His purpose even in the darkest days of your life. Your suffering is not accidental, meaningless, or out of control. In fact, it is the place where God will form the image of Christ in you.
God has demonstrated His love for you in the death of Jesus on the cross, and His love is poured out into your heart by the Holy Spirit. God’s love will never leave you, and you can look to the future with confidence because the Christ who died to save you lives to keep you. Your final salvation does not rest on your performance in the Christian life; it has been sealed by the blood of Jesus, and knowing this, you can “rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”View 45 Union
A Christian is a person who has been united with Christ in His death and resurrection. When you were united with Christ by faith, the person you were before ceased to exist, and a new person came into being. You still have many struggles and you will fail in many ways, but since Christ has set you free, you are in an entirely new position.
Discovering your new position in Christ is one of the most important keys to living the Christian life. Sin will always be your enemy, but it is no longer your master. You are now in a position to put up a fight.View 46 Nature
The power that you have depends entirely on your spiritual position. Without Christ, the Christian life is beyond your power. But when you come to Christ in faith, He gives you His Spirit, and that puts you in an entirely different position.
You will face many struggles and you will have many defeats as well as victories, but you are not alone in this battle. The Spirit of God is within you, and He makes the Christian life possible. The Christian life is all about the proper application of overwhelming force. Never say you are Helpless when the Spirit of God lives in you.View 47 Church
The church is central to God’s great purpose—to display His glory by reconciling people to Himself and to each other. When we believe in Christ, we become part of His church that comprises all believers in every time and place, and God’s purpose is fulfilled when we worship and serve Him in a local congregation. Christ loves the church, and if we are His friends, we will love her too.
The Heidelberg Catechism answers the question: “What do you believe about the church?” with these words: “I believe that the Son of God, through His Spirit and Word, out of the entire human race, from the beginning of the world to its end, gathers, protects, and preserves for Himself, a community chosen for eternal life and united in true faith. And of this community I am and always will be a living member.” I cannot imagine a greater privilege than that.View 48 Battle
So, here is how you stand in the battle: know the truth, do what is right, and advance the gospel. Do this in fellowship with other believers, confident of your ultimate triumph in Christ. If your armor is in place, you will stand in the battle, and when you are standing, you will be able to move forward using “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).View 49 Intercession
Jesus Christ has completed the work of offering Himself as the sacrifice for our sins. He now engages in His continuing work for us in heaven. He represents us in the presence of the Father. He intercedes for us. And He purifies our prayers, releasing all that we need for living the Christian life.
Since we have such a great High Priest in heaven, we should not hesitate to come to God in prayer, knowing that when we come to Him, we will receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16).View 50 City
The question of where you will spend eternity is more important than any other issue you will ever face. The whole of the Bible story is about how God has opened the way into everlasting life through Jesus Christ for all who will come to Him in repentance and faith.View