Is the Bible For Real

Many skeptics today will say the Bible is not reliable. In most cases when skeptics use the term reliable, they mean trustworthy or accurate. They wonder: Is the Bible historically accurate? Do we have the correct books in the Bible today? Hasn’t the Bible been changed by men over time?

As Christians, we believe the ultimate authority is the word of God. The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit will lead us in all truth (John 16:13). It also affirms that God will preserve his Word, meaning his Word will supernaturally be kept pure (Psalm 12:6-7).

One of the most important issues when it comes to the Bible is the number of books. Protestant Bibles contain 66 books. Whereas, Catholic Bibles hold 73 books, the Ethiopian Bible has 83. Who is correct? As Christians, we know the voice of God by the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. There are three questions we can ask when it comes to recognizing which books should be in the Bible. 

  • Did it come from the Apostles, or an associate of the Apostles? When we review the list of books, can we connect any of the authors to the original apostles in the first century? This is important because it gives weight and trust to the book in question. If we have a book with an unknown writer, it should lead us to investigate this text a little more.
  • Did the church accept the teaching of the manuscript in question? If the book in question was rotating among the early church and accepted as the Word of God, it can be trusted. Origen, an early church father, produced a list of books in the New Testament by 250 A.D.
  • Is this book consistent with all other reliable texts, and consequently, do not contradict the other reliable teachings of the Bible? This is important because if a book agrees with another book, we are able to see unity in Scripture. Many books found in the Catholic Bible, for example, contain historical errors and contradictions. This is important to note because God does not contradict himself (Numbers 23:19).

As faithful students of the gospel, we don’t pick and choose which books belong in the Bible; we recognize the voice of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. We look at the content within these books and build a reasonable case. We also ask important questions and allow God to lead us in the path of truth.

Other factors to include in our discovery is historical accuracy and messianic fulfillment of prophecy. The Bible describes events and places throughout thousands of years of history. Many of these places and events are verified from Archaeology. Archaeology cannot prove if the Bible is the inspired word of God, but it can show us if things found in the Bible are true or false. By excavating biblical sites, archaeologists have proven many facts claimed in the word of God.

As Christians, we truly can believe the word of God and trust in God’s Spirit of truth to “guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13). Our foundation must start with this truth in mind. If we root our ultimate authority in history or external data, it can change or put us on shaky ground with a skeptic because it goes through human hands to determine what is reliable and what is not. As Christians, we believe with confidence that the ultimate authority is the word of God and so we pattern our lives after it.


Ever had a “Bushuru” moment?

Recently a celebrated and admired life-coach to the rich and famous identified the greatest barrier to success to be fear of failure. Fear of change, fear of failure, and even fear of success sometimes paralyzes people keeping them from the goals they desire. For example, the “millennial” experiences fear of being independent from family to the extent that they avoid opportunities for advancement and shun independence. Likewise, parents are sometimes are fearful that their children will no longer love them if they are disciplined, so they try to be best friends instead. In either case, fear causes failure.

During the ministry of Christ, we witness first-hand just how powerful a force fear can be in people’s lives. In Mark 4:35-41 we learn of an occasion in which the Disciples and Jesus found themselves traveling at night across the Sea of Galilee when a storm appeared. This sudden storm, common to the region, came about quickly when “there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat” (Mark 4:37, NASB).

The word translated “gale” refers to the momentum of the storm as that similar to a mighty whirlwind, or hurricane. Needless to say, the storm Jesus and his disciples experienced was likely the fiercest , most dangerous, one they had ever seen. It’s no wonder Jesus inquired of them after they had awakened him from sleep, “why are you so afraid?” Clearly, they were terrified about the storm occurring outside the boat and were nearly paralyzed with fear.

The surreal scene unfolds as the Lord of the universe commands the wind and the waves to “be still.” We know from the language used that the calm that occurred was immediate, and complete. It was not a mere ripple of water stirred in the Sea after Jesus’ command. It is within the calm of the moment that faith came into focus, or lack thereof.

It is interesting that Jesus places the blame of their fear on a lack of faith. He said emphatically, “do you still have no faith?” After Jesus said this to his Disciples, it says that they became “very much” afraid. In other words, the storm that happened outside the boat caused them to be afraid, but it was the reality that the one who is greater than the storm was, in fact, inside the boat!

Fear arises out of impending peril from a hurricane-force storm, but it also arises out of the realization that the same one who created the elements themselves, even the storm, is actually in the boat with us! What does this mean practically for me, and the storms of my life? Fear causes stunted spiritual growth. Jesus said, “why do you still have no faith” (Mark 4:40, NASB).

Fear keeps us from trusting in Jesus. When we experience storms, we fail to trust in him to see us through. The “calm” he provides reveals the awesome power of God to save.

Fear prevents us from reaching our full potential. Whether you are afraid of the storm, or even the one who calms the storm, success in life depends on a deep abiding faith.

The truth is that fear keeps us from experiencing not only respite from the storms of our lives, but more importantly, it keeps us from true faith in the one who calms the storms. The Lord said, “fear not, for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10, NASB).


Uh oh! I think I may have “friended” Satan on Facebook!

Although social media has no doubt changed the way we think and live, but how beneficial is that for those in Christ? Social media can be an effective platform for the spread of the gospel. There are plenty of Christ-centered resources in the online community that I use on a daily basis to help me grow spiritually. But if we’re honest, we probably spend a small portion of our time advancing our spiritual growth, while the rest is spent on aimless scrolling. We spend hours a day consuming endless information, pictures, and videos without any safeguard for our minds. For Christians, this can become dangerous territory. After all, Satan is described as going about like “a lion seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8, NIV).

Satan uses Facebook to destroy your marriage. It starts with a “like” here, and a “like” there. She’s only a friend. You justify the innocent interaction of the “like” button because it doesn’t cross any solid lines. Sooner or later you are hiding conversations from your spouse. Before you know it, you’re involved in a mental, perhaps even a physical affair. Many studies show that Facebook is the most common place that an affair starts.

Satan uses Facebook to dominate your thoughts. Aimlessly scrolling through the mind-numbing newsfeed is one of the most dangerous things a Christian can do. We live in a pornographic culture and it is almost impossible to avoid while scrolling. Couple that with the ease of giving into lustful thoughts and it’s a disaster for holy living. The temptation to scroll back up for one more look is even more dangerous because it’s privately done. Satan will whisper that it’s okay to look because there’s no harm. Who’s going to know? It can be your little pet sin. Matthew 5:8 tells us that the “pure in heart will see God!” Keep your heart pure and fixed on the Father. Get rid of anything that might hinder that. It’s absolutely worth it, and absolutely deadly if you don’t. “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers” (1 Peter 4:7, NIV).

Satan uses Facebook to occupy all your time. Social media is a very handy tool that Satan uses to rip your attention and affection from God. If you compare your daily amount of time spent on Facebook to prayer, how does it measure up? Psalm 1 tells us the blessed man meditates day and night on the Word of God. How can we know what to pray unless we meditate on His Word? How can we read the Word, much less meditate on it day and night if we’re constantly scrolling through social media? We’re simply choosing the pleasures of this world rather than spending time with the God of the universe. It’s that simple. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14, NIV).

Satan uses Facebook to create self-worship. I do not mean devil worshiping as in pentagrams, black robes, or any of that garbage. What I’m talking about is much more subtle and inward focused. Social media can train us to worship the idol of self. We essentially create mini shrines of ourselves, striving for praise via the almighty “like.” Satan wants you focused on yourself. If you’re inward focused, you won’t be focused on Jesus. Satan wants your source of self-worth to only be found in the empty praise and attention of others, not the atoning blood of Christ. “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3, NIV).

Facebook is your friend when you use it to God’s glory. It should never be the place to air out personal grievances, to say things in the cyber-world you wouldn’t say face to face, and certainly not the place to have an illicit affair. In 1 Corinthians 10:31, Paul tells us to glorify God in whatever we do. This includes social media. We can either wield Facebook for God’s glory, or Satan’s.


How Having a Church Home Can Change Your Life

For most of us, going home feels good. The sights, the sounds, and even the smells of home bring back great memories of childhood. Home is a place to belong. Home is a safe place where we can truly be who we are. But there are others of us that either didn’t have a good home, or the home we grew up in is gone along with all of its virtues. In any case, home should be a place where love dwells.

Through the years, having a church home has also lost a bit of its promise. Many of us grew up going to church and enjoying its joy, its reverence, its relevance, and its community. We remember the wonderful stories of the Bible applied to our human experience and thrilled during the symphony of praise in worship each Sunday. We loved our teachers and preachers and were proud of our church family. Perhaps we long for a day when church was as important to us as any other thing in life.

While so many have drifted far from church life, there are a great many more coming back to it. But why? How can having a church home make a real difference in my life?

Church is important because it is a rock of stability in an ever-changing world. At church we become something bigger than ourselves. God loves His church and wants each of us to be a part of it. The Bible teaches us that God reveals Himself in a special way in His church like nowhere else on earth: “to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever” (Ephesians 3:21).

Church is important because it is a consistent source of positive, uplifting, encouragement. The first churches we read about in the Bible were very careful never to miss such a great opportunity to become the best version of themselves. The writer of one book of the Bible (Hebrews) says this about church: “Do not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (10:25).

Church is important because it gives the Christian meaning and purpose in life. Church provides an opportunity to worship God. King David wrote this about worship, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you” (Psalm 22:22). In church we can learn how best to be a follower of Jesus. Paul, one of Jesus’ Apostles, reminded Timothy that “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). In church we can figure out God’s plan for our lives. When the good news of the gospel is taught and preached we are challenged, and we grow in our faith. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16).

Being a member of a church can change your life for the better. Right along side other fellow-travelers of faith, you can belong, be comforted when you are discouraged, be uplifted when you are down, be taught when you desire growth, and learn how to do better, be better, and make a real difference in the world! I am proud to be a member of the First Christian Church of Christopher! With great enthusiasm I join with others in creating a bridge to faith in Christ, to meaningful relationships, and develop a greater sense of purpose in my life, and the lives of others.


The Shiloh Supper: A call to impatient praise!

It was more than a meal, it was a yearly feast at Shiloh where Elkanah had brought his two wives, Phinennah and Hannah, for a sacrifice. In the course of tradition, Elkanah gave a portion of food to his wife who had bourn him sons, but to Hannah who hadn’t, he gave a double portion. Vexed as she was because of her barrenness, Hannah could not complete her supper at Shiloh, and instead, left the table to retreat to a place of prayer. Surely the Lord would hear her prayer of anguish and bless her accordingly.

While in surrendered prayer to the Father, she prayed in silence moving only her lips to convey her requests to God. Eli, who had been watching nearby, assumed she was drunk for only the righteous pray out loud. When confronted she answered his charge and clarified her intentions.

She had prayed these words to the Father: “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head” (1 Samuel 1:11, NIV). What an audacious request during what most would consider the most inopportune moments. The reality of her circumstance so troubled her heart that she couldn’t fully participate in the Shiloh supper. She had been given a double portion because of the unfairness of her predicament and was even accused of being intoxicated. At this point in the narrative should we feel sorry for her, or question the decision to exchange tradition for personal gain?

When we find ourselves broken and in desperate need of an answer from God, what are we to do? Should we pretend and go through the motions of faithfulness, or do what Hannah did?

As we “unpack” this narrative we are faced with some obvious truths. First, life moves on regardless of our personal anguish. Second, depression is a normal human response to anxiety. And third, God is the appropriate object of worship and recipient of praise even when the answer seems elusive. Jesus instructs His children to “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” Matthew 7:7-8, NIV).

James, the half-brother of Jesus, said about the subject of persistence: “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:6-7, NIV). It makes a difference what you believe when you pray. If you believe that God is able, but also that He is willing, your persistent prayer will be answered.

Hannah received an answer to her impatient prayer because it was important to her to be heard, but also answered. Her faith commitment to dedicate her child to the Lord should He answer her prayer is much more than a down payment of desire. In other words, it’s not that she wanted it so badly, it’s that the faith of her heart depended on God to gift her by grace.

Have a persistent prayer? Step away from the table, offer God the desires of your heart, and see what He does in response.


How do you hug a porcupine?

One of the sweetest most tender gifts God has blessed His people with is relationships in the Body. God could have chosen for us to follow Him solo without the support and help of others. However, God determined in His infinite wisdom to surround each of us with relationships in the Church. These relationships help us in a variety of ways.

First, relationships in the Church remind us that we are all imperfect and in need of the same thing-the blood of Jesus to cleanse us (Romans 3:23). Second, spiritual relationships empower us as we spur one another on to good works (Hebrews 10:25). And third, fellowship with each other empowers us in our own walk with Christ (1 John 1:7).

Having accepted the value of relationships in the church, we still must acknowledge an obvious truth. The truth is that though as Christians we love one another, sometimes we don’t always see eye to eye. On some occasions we have genuine disagreements, at other times we have personality conflicts. In either case there develops a strain in these relationships. Sometimes we encounter a person who is hard to love. They are like a porcupine-very difficult to love. So, how do you hug a porcupine? The answer is…very carefully!

 The good news is that God gives us instructions to how to love someone who is hard to love.

  • Accept the current condition of their soul and remember that we are all made in God’s image for His purposes (Genesis 1:27).
  • Recognize that God isn’t done with us yet. We are all His workmanship and are constantly in a state of growth (Ephesians 2:10).
  • Forgive relationship missteps and offenses just as Christ forgives us all of our shortcomings (Luke 17:3).
  • Overlook the spiritual immaturity we observe in others, and instead, lead by example, not merely in words (1 Cor. 8:13).
  • Embrace wounded souls who are difficult to love and love them as God does (1 John 4:7-8).

Without a doubt, one of the most powerful tools Satan has at His disposal is division. If he can divide God’s family from each other, then He wins. If the church can be so dedicated to unity, to shared purposes, and to a common goal of Heaven, nothing can divide us.

So, when you encounter a brother or sister in Christ who is difficult to love, take heart. God’s greater plan of unity can erase the past and provide a new path to healthy relationships. Get out there and love the unlovable! You may have to hug that porcupine very carefully at first, but in the end, God can bring unity of spirit.


Things Satan Cannot Do to Rob Your Faith

Satan cannot force you to sin, it is your choice. “It’s my own lusts, desires, and selfish wants that make sin appealing enough to cause me to step into it. The more I justify my desires and wants, the more I will want to sin in order to get them” (James 1:13-15, NIV). My free will enables me to sin. The devil can’t make me do anything. Satan may place a bad idea in front of me, but it’s my own fault if I step into it. Sometimes, I only see the full consequences after I fall.

Satan cannot take away your will to grow your faith. God will always give you the power to withstand temptation when you ask Him. But you need to remember to pray and ask God for that strength. I can sometimes think that I’m standing strong when I’m actually standing in my own pride and determination. Then, I will soon fall. But when I lean on God and His strength, He is faithful to help me to walk right on by any temptations that threaten me (1 Corinthians 10:12-13).

Satan cannot continue harassing your faith once you have rejected and resisted him. Satan can whisper that I deserve better; he can invite me to get what I want the quickest, easiest way possible. He can even make lies sound truthful. However, once I make up my mind that I’m going to do it God’s way, Jesus will give me the power to follow through with my commitment and Satan has to flee. James 4:7 says that when I submit myself to God and resist Satan’s schemes, he will flee.

Once I embrace Christ by faith, Satan cannot control me anymore. When I allowed God into my soul, He locked the door behind Him. I have to say yes to Satan’s whispers, lies, and temptations in order for them to have any power in my life. Unfortunately, sometimes I do still agree with those lies—at least in a particular moment. But even after I’ve stepped in the wrong direction, I can retreat, repent, and head back to the One that my soul really loves.

Satan cannot steal your faith. Job lost everything: friends, kids, wife, status, and health, but he never lost his faith in God. Sure, he had a lot of questions. He also didn’t understand why God had allowed such things. But he stayed faithful to God. When I put on the entire armor of God daily (Ephesians 6:13-17), I am protected by a belt of truth as well as God’s righteousness. Shoes of peace cover my feet and help me to share the good news. A shield of faith stops arrows of lies that come at me. A helmet of salvation gives me confidence to go forward. And God’s Word is given to me as ammunition. Then, I can stand firm against Satan’s lies.

Satan cannot rob you of God’s love and forgiveness. Although I am fighting in the great battle of good vs. evil, I am able to hold my ground because God is on my side. God gives me eternal life and I will never perish. Problems will arise in my life, but in the long run they will seem much smaller. No one can snatch me away from God’s love (including Satan), for my Father in Heaven is more powerful than anyone or anything. His Hand will hold me securely (John 10:28-29).


Ever feel like you were invisible?

Years ago, there was a popular television show called “The Invisible Man.” Each week the audience was treated to a fanciful narrative describing humorous anecdotes from the life of a man who actually lived his life in secret, or invisible. From this perspective, numerous jokes arose illustrating the life of an invisible person. Why did the invisible man flunk math at school? It was because he couldn’t count on his fingers! How many children does the invisible man have? None. He’s not “apparent!” How do you know if have just walked into an invisible man? You start to hear a voice saying, “Watch where you are going!” These silly questions and answers illuminate an altogether more significant concern. What if a person were to feel like they were actually invisible?

Paul, the Apostle, wrote to Timothy about one who is invisible, and it isn’t you or me. He emphasizes the invisible nature of God in 1 Timothy 1:17: “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (NKJV). It is a reality of course that God is “Spirit” and His being is invisible to the naked eye. But, is this always the case? Is God always invisible?

In context, we understand that an important distinction between our perception of being invisible to others, and God’s invisible nature, must be made. Are we invisible? Of course not! Is God invisible? Absolutely! But if God’s nature is invisible, how can anyone ever see Him, or more importantly, develop faith in Him?

Here’s the theological underpinning of how our invisible God becomes quite visible:

From the very onset, there is with Paul an acknowledgement that he was a real jerk when he came to know Christ. However, God, according to Paul, “enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry” (NKJV). In the text he goes on to own his own “junk” revealing a greater work of grace on his life. “Although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (vs. 13-14).

Hence, Paul’s ignorance and unbelief caused his very visible traits, which in turn, ignited the grace of God. Where there is sin, there is a Savior. And, though our sins are very visible, our invisible God becomes extravagantly observable in the gifting of His grace. “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life” (vs. 15-16).

So, where does this leave us? We are not invisible, far from it. Our actions through ignorance or in willful sin, betray us every time. This is when God “shakes” His invisible nature and becomes visible in the redemption of our souls. He doesn’t overlook our sin, He forgives it by grace. In doing so, all eyes are directed at Him. It is no wonder we become like a “city that is set on a hill [which] cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14b, NKKV). I am visible. You are visible. And, most importantly, in the right circumstance, God is visible! This can only happen, of course, when we allow God to transform our lives revealing His, dare I say it, “visible” nature!


Making Amends: How God atones for the damages of sin.

Years ago a conscientious soul broken from the disease of alcoholism, established what we now refer to as Alcoholics Anonymous. His name was Bill Wilson, but around the “tables,” he was known simply as “Bill W.” He, along with his partner “Dr. Bob,” developed the “Twelve Steps” that millions hold dear to this day. Each step leading to the next is a milestone, but more precisely, a point of confession and action. These steps form a basis upon which a soul can first understand the gravity of personal responsibility, then move towards reconciliation with others, and then  with God (higher power). The end result is sustainable sobriety, but the alcoholic understands that making amends is essential to wholeness and reconciliation.

In Leviticus chapter six, we learn that God has also placed in reach of seekers a divine process of restitution. In this exercise, souls are described as not only harming themselves with the aftermath of sin, but also harming those around them.

“Suppose you cheat in a deal involving a security deposit, or you steal or commit fraud, or you find lost property and lie about it, or you lie while swearing to tell the truth, or you commit any other such sin. If you have sinned in any of these ways, you are guilty” (Leviticus 6:2-4, NLT).

This list of sin goes on and on and illustrates that the trail of spiritual indiscretion affects everyone, particularly those closest to us. How does a person go about making things right, or, make amends?

“You must make restitution by paying the full price plus an additional 20 percent to the person you have harmed. On the same day you must present a guilt offering. As a guilt offering to the Lord, you must bring to the priest your own ram with no defects” (Leviticus 6:5-6. NLT).

 This “payback” function of reconciliation involves personal accountability, but also a willingness to right the wrongs inflicted on others. Such is also the case in our lives. Without making amends, there can be no forgiveness. This also means there can be no healing.

Sometimes people think that grace provides an umbrella of forgiveness through which no amends are necessary. God’s grace covers ours sins, therefore we can “reboot” and move on, right?

The text offers a different process for redemption. Once the moral inventory of life illuminates our sin, responsibility causes the penitent soul to make things right first, then, seek the Lord’s forgiveness. In the Old Testament the process was clear: “Through this process, the priest will purify you before the Lord, making you right with him, and you will be forgiven for any of these sins you have committed” (Leviticus 6:7, NLT).

So, not a “twelve-stepper?” Perhaps you should start. In doing so, you might find yourself at the altar of God’s grace having fully made amends to others embracing a greater truth.


Four Steps to Forgiveness

A Sunday School teacher had just concluded her lesson and wanted to make sure she had made her point. She said, “Can anyone tell me what you must do before you can obtain forgiveness of sin?” There was a short pause and then, from the back of the room, a small boy spoke up. “Sin,” he said. The young boy got the picture didn’t he? He knew that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, NIV). This means we each are in the same condition-sinners in need of forgiveness.

The good news about forgiveness is that Jesus wants His people to be forgiven of sin and has done everything possible to accomplish this-even death on the cross. “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you” (Acts 13:38, NIV). Therefore, “blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered” (Psalm 32:1, NIV).

We each can gain access by faith into grace which makes God’s forgiveness possible. When we believe, confess, repent, and are baptized we accept by faith the free gift of God’s grace and are saved. However, our lives can, and do, become entangled in sin again. What do we do in order to access the continual cleansing God can provide?

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal every sin. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV).

Confess each sin specifically. “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13, NIV).

Make amends to others when necessary. “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).

Accept God’s forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, NIV). God assures us in this exercise of grace that we will be continually cleansed through the daily living out of faith. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7, NIV).