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Dr. Fred Chay

Grace, Grace Theology Press, Dr. Fred Chay

Eternal Relevance

As a seminary professor and publisher, I am committed to the idea that Theology must never be half-hearted or hesitant. The simple reason is that the nature of the subject and the consequences of its study concern nothing less than the Glory of God and the eternal destiny of people.

This being the case, seminary should not be a sanctuary of comfort but a crucible for confronting ideas. The same is true for the publishing of books. The title of Richard Weaver’s 1944 landmark book says it all, “Ideas Have Consequences.” Ideas expressed in words are powerful tools. The fulcrum of a clearly expressed idea can leverage people to action and to change.

Our desire at Grace Theology Press (GTP) is to provide ideas that can lead to change.

Our commitment is to education, not indoctrination. We believe thinking is a good thing and that people should critically consider concepts that might run counter to their thinking. Remember, as James Russell Lowell said, “Only fools and dead people never change their opinion. Fools won’t and the dead can’t.” And wishing to be neither, we must demand the time to think and develop the habit of thought. A good book expressing clear ideas can do just that.

Our goal at GTP is that we heed the advice of Sir Lancelot Andrews who said, “I do not wish to preach what men wish to hear, but what one day they will have wished they would have heard.”

For those who cry out that in today’s book-world we must bow to the pressure of the people and accommodate the desire to be relevant, I say speak and write about things that are eternal and you will always be relevant.

Coming Soon!


Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,
Fred Chay, PhD
Managing Editor,
Grace Theology Press
Grace, Grace Theology Press, Dr. Fred Chay

Position and Condition

After the magisterial exegetical commentary by Dr. Harold Hohner on the Book of Ephesians, most thought that it was the last word on all things Ephesian. But although it is the best technical exegetical commentary on the book of Ephesians, let me give you a sneak preview of Dr. Dave Anderson’s commentary, soon to be made available through Grace Theology Press. It provides not only exegetical details and argumentation but also a smooth exposition that will benefit both pastor and student, and lead them to an in-depth understanding and appreciation of Ephesians.

“ Through my years of teaching both in church and at a seminary level, I have seen more confusion on the difference between our Position in Christ and our Condition on earth than any other doctrine. Without thinking in categories and keeping these categories distinct, both the Bible and the Christian life wind up like tangled underbrush. It is incredibly important that we understand Luther’s famous statement: simul iustus et peccator(simultaneously justified and a sinner). This paradoxical statement makes sense when we realize he is making a statement about both our Position and our Condition. In our Position in Christ in heavenly places (Eph 1:3ff), we are completely justified before God—declared righteous. And nothing in our Condition on earth can change our Position in heaven. But even though we are completely “ accepted in the Beloved” (Eph 1:6) in heaven with His perfect righteousness credited to our account, our Condition on earth can be quite riddled with sin. The contrast between our Position and our Condition can become depressing . . . if we keep focusing on our miserable Condition. But when we learn to focus on our Position in Christ with all of its attendant circumstances, our Condition will actually improve. Why? Because “ as a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov 23:7). We become what we think about. As we think about (dwell) on who we are in Christ (our Position), our Condition will slowly but surely conform to our Position. The first three chapters of Ephesians is about our Position in Christ; the last three are about our Condition on earth. But the two are not disconnected. In the last three chapters we are called to walk (our Condition) worthy of our calling (our Position)—Ephesians 4:1. The last three chapters begin with “ therefore.” In other words, based on all Paul has just taught them about their current Position in heaven, a certain type of behavior (Condition) should ensue. This order (Position before Condition) is crucial. It’s when we think our Position is dependent on our Condition that the fog sets in. Nothing in our Condition can affect/change our Position. This works in two ways: 1) No matter how good an unbeliever is (Condition), it will not open the gates of heaven for him (Position); 2) No matter how bad a believer might be (Condition), it will not close the gates of heaven for him. Can you handle that statement? If not, there is much to learn about God’s grace and His ways of dealing with mankind. To learn more, read on.”

I hope you want to read on. I believe you will find it a very helpful resource for anyone who wishes to study, understand and apply this most significant book of the bible.

Coming Soon!


Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,
Fred Chay, PhD
Managing Editor,
Grace Theology Press
Grace, Grace Theology Press, Dr. Fred Chay

Forewarned is Forearmed

I have been called many things in my life but the most treasured description given to me was to be called a “White Crusty Corpuscle.” I’m not sure what the “crusty” referred to but as for the White Corpuscle, it is a badge of honor. White blood cells are “the cells of the immune system that are involved in protecting the body against both infectious disease and foreign invaders.”

In ministry and especially in theological publication, it is always important to be on the lookout for theological ideas and books that expound those ideas that are significantly disturbing and  clearly dangerous. Let me make you aware of such a book—Salvation by Allegiance Alone, by Matthew W. Bates, published by Baker Academic press, March 2017. This book is very new and crystal clear as to the author’s theological viewpoint regarding grace.

Dr. Bates recently received his PhD from the University of Notre Dame and teaches at Quincy University, a Catholic school of the Franciscan order. Dr. Bates is a protestant in his faith tradition, having been raised in a King-James-only church.

The thesis of the book is that both the Protestant Reformation and Catholic traditions, to a lesser degree, have not got it right regarding the meaning and method of salvation and faith or justification and assurance.

Dr. Bates believes that Faith should not be defined as belief or trust but as allegiance. Total, continual, obedient actions, embodied activity and enacted fidelity and loyalty are not optional but essential and required as a part of the definition of faith, which is why allegiance-faithfulness is a more preferred term. In fact, Dr. Bates states that this is a more accurate translation of the term based on the use during the first century in Romans (pg. 78-80). Thus, commitment seen in obedience and confessional loyalty are essential as an ongoing part of saving allegiance.

As a result, there is no presumptive assurance of salvation until the end. The one who has allegiance to Jesus must persevere to the end and with God’s help, they will. But if they do not, then they never had the gift of eternal life. He states, “No member of the body of the Christ can be unwillingly fired or forced out by external pressures, but if a person were to entirely cease giving allegiance to the Lord (and the Lord’s people) then she or he would be denied the benefit secured through Jesus’ contract” (pg. 173). In fact, the final judgment is rendered at the end and is based to some degree on the works that one has done in this life (Rom 2). He states “it is necessary for an individual to persevere in pistis throughout the course of her or his lifetime in order to attain final salvation (pg. 191).

In fact he states, “ …in other words initial declared allegiance (pistis) to Jesus the king causes a union with the king and his body, and the maintenance of this union is in embodiment of allegiance and a lived obedience that includes good deeds with in its purview. So there is not a simple cause-and-effect relationship between faith and works, rather, pistis is quite simply not pistis at all if it is not embodied and embedded in the allegiant community” (pg.121).

It is his view that a gospel that asks a person to believe that Jesus died for his sin and that He will give him eternal life is very deficient. “A better gospel presentation will not give total assurance of the security of final salvation on the basis of the acceptance of the gospel invitation. It may be pastorally pleasant to say ‘if you prayed this prayer with me and you sincerely asked Jesus into your heart then you can have complete confidence that you are now eternally saved and on the road to heaven’. This sort of comfort is precisely what the audience loves to hear making it tempting to give it but unfortunately it is a false assurance. To suggest otherwise is dangerous.” (pg. 203)

This is a “Bold Provocative Book” says one endorsement. It is a book that runs Calvinism out to its logical conclusions and shows that it did not disentangle itself enough from the dangers of Rome. The author interacts with TULIP, N.T. Wright and the New Pauline Perspective and the high and low points of the theology of the Council of Trent. In terms of the content of the gospel, you will need a large piece of paper to list what is the content of what one is to have allegiance to. It involves corporate election and the enthronement of the cosmic King and His mission to rule the world and the universe.

This book is the latest articulation of Lordship Salvation unleashed upon the church. If you are a Seminary or Bible college teacher, you must read this book. If you are a pastor, you should read this book. I say this for the simple reason that this is a dangerous book for if it is believed, it will cause confusion to your students or parishioners.

 

In case you wonder how we who hold to Free Grace come off in the book, there are two references to Zane Hodges, one to Charles Stanley and one to Robert Wilkin in footnotes. The other reference is to those who are part of “the so called free grace movement” (pg. 25) and “free-gracers” (pg. 26). Let’s just say we do not come off sounding reputable. Of course, what really matters is not if we are reputable in the mind of man but if we are right in the sight of God!


Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,
Fred Chay, PhD
Managing Editor,
Grace Theology Press
Grace, Grace Theology Press, Dr. Fred Chay

Are You a Verbivore?

“Lexophile” clearly comes from the Greek and is a word used to describe those that have a “love for words,” such as “you can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish” or “to write with a broken pencil is pointless.” Each year a competition to see who can come up with the best “lexophiles” provides creativity if not comic results. Here is a selection of submissions:

  • When fish are in schools, they sometimes take debate.
  • A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.
  • When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U.C.L.A.
  • The batteries were given out free of charge.
  • A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail.
  • A will is a dead giveaway.
  • With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.
  • When you’ve seen one shopping center, you’ve seen a mall.
  • Police were summoned to a daycare center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.
  • Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off? He’s all right now.
  • A bicycle can’t stand alone; it’s just two tired.
  • When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.
  • The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine is now fully recovered.
  • He had a photographic memory which was never developed.
  • When she saw her first strands of grey hair she thought she’d dye.
  • Acupuncture is a jab well done. That’s the point of it.
  • Those who get too big for their pants will be totally exposed in the end.

Words can be fun, and they are often flexible. But when we are dealing with theology, words are not usually amusing; they must be accurate. They must not entertain at the expense of being exact. In writing biblical and theological studies, we must be precise and accurate. This is also true in our theory of textual transmission and translation, which allows the Word to retain the power for transformation.

Interpretation in biblical matters is focused upon discovering and determining meaning. Many look for the meaning of the Bible in what they feel or how they respond to the words of scripture. For others, meaning is in the document itself. But full meaning can only be detected as we seek the authorial intent of the Bible expressed in the text. Hence, we are looking for the meaning in the coded message (the text) from the encoder of the message (the author) as we read the author’s words and apply the laws of language and the laws of structure to the genre utilized to communicate. Hence, we focus on the container of transmission which communicates the content of the text.

It seems that many churches have forgotten “Hermeneutics 101.” Many sermons and many books have allowed the desire to be relevant to replace the need to be accurate. We must be both culturally relevant and biblically accurate. However, many, in their use of narrative theology, replace exegetical theology as the basis of biblical theology. And when biblical theology is supplemented with historical theology, it produces a fully orbed systematic theology.

At Grace Theology Press (GTP), we strive to produce books and products that provide words, based on and built upon The Word. Whether it is in our biblical commentary literature or our theological studies or in our thematic and topical books, each and every book is to be in submission to the infallible and inspired word of God. And it is His Words that cause us to be Lexophiles!


Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,
Fred Chay, PhD
Managing Editor,
Grace Theology Press
Grace, Grace Theology Press, Dr. Fred Chay

Christian Confusion – Concerning the Gospel

We would think that after 2000 years, the church would be able to speak clearly what the saving message is about. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The following statement from my friend Bruce Bauer helps to clarify the confusion and correct the all-too-common errors or additions to the saving message.

Eight Ways That Christians Misrepresent the Gospel
By Bruce Bauer, Lancaster, CA

There is much confusion in the Christian community today as to the basic plan of salvation, often called, “the gospel,” as spelled out clearly in the Bible. If you doubt this assertion, simply check out the websites of a large cross section of Christian churches in America and read their doctrinal statements on salvation (or read their published tracts). You will, undoubtedly, discover many varied and conflicting affirmations of belief regarding salvation. The following list is a sampling of common calls to salvation in the Christian community. Let’s examine whether they hold up to biblical scrutiny.

  1. “Give Jesus your heart!”

    What does that command even mean? Pretty nebulous isn’t it? I heard an actual story of a child who was frightened by this statement, fearing that he might have to forfeit his own physical heart. Christians need to be much clearer when presenting the gospel. Read on.

  2. “Walk the straight and narrow path.”

    Living a relatively clean life will save no one. Eternal life comes only through believing on Christ Jesus and what he accomplished for you on the cross (more on this later).

  3. “Become a follower of Christ.”

    This call sounds noble, but what is it lacking? There is no appeal to believing in Jesus Christ to become saved, which is, the only way to become saved. In Acts 16:30-31, a Philippian jailer, fearing that his prisoners had all escaped due to a great earthquake, nearly killed himself and then cried out to Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied immediately and without hesitation, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” Now, is there anything wrong with following Christ? Of course not! Christians should follow Christ and serve him faithfully, but these actions are not what bring salvation. When Jesus walked on earth in the first century, there were many, many people who followed him, some for the free meals, others to see miracles, still others to seek physical healing. Some became believers in him, most did not. Jesus warned of unbelieving followers in Matthew 7:23: “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evil-doers’!”

    Judas was, of course, the ultimate “fake-follower” of Jesus. As a member of the inner circle of disciples, he was a follower for three years. But he never was a true believer in Christ Jesus, as evidenced by his betrayal of Jesus and by his ensuing suicide.

  4. “Make Jesus the Lord of your life!”

    What a presumption! Jesus Christ is Lord of all creation, Lord of the universe, Lord of heaven, Lord of the earth, Lord of redemption, Lord God of ALL, in spite of any puny declaration that you or I might choose to make. We can’t make Christ Lord. He IS Lord! Now, once we have become believers—we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ Jesus alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), then by all means serve him joyfully and faithfully as we submit to his leading, as this is pleasing to God and the right thing for a believer to do.

  5. “You must first count the cost.”

    This demand originates from a wrongful understanding of Jesus’ proclamations in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke). Jesus warned the people of the costs of discipleship (the process through which believers grow and mature in Christ as they serve him faithfully, which can be difficult at times), NOT the costs of salvation.Salvation is an absolutely free gift of God through his son Christ Jesus; it can never be earned or merited–“not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:9). “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5-6).

  6. “You must first repent of your sins (sometimes called, ‘turn from your sins’) and then come to Jesus.”

    This demand is very common indeed. What’s wrong with it? First, it misapplies the term “repent.” From an English dictionary, the term might be defined as sincere regret or remorse, contrition, shame or penitence. But this is not the biblical meaning of the word “repent.” It has commonly (and incorrectly) come to mean in Christian circles, “a work that must be performed before coming to Christ.” Essentially, what its purveyors are saying is that one must first “clean up her act or her life” in order to be presentable to Christ and then be allowed to become saved. This understanding of repentance is unbiblical! There is absolutely no work that one must do to become presentable to Jesus.From the New Testament Greek, repentance, metanoia, simply means, “change your mind.” When applied to salvation, it means, “to change your mind and realize that your own relative good works will never be good enough to earn eternal life.” (ed. Not all who affirm free grace theology would agree with this view of repentance but many do.) You must come God’s way by grace alone through faith alone in Christ Jesus alone. Biblical repentance in no way demands a change of conduct to obtain salvation. God will accept you, just as you are, warts and all, if you simply place your faith in Christ alone for salvation. As the hymn writer Charlotte Elliott put it so aptly, “Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me, and that thou bid’st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!”

  7. “You must surrender your will to Christ (sometimes referred to as, ‘surrender and serve’).”

    While speaking at the Passion 2012 conference in Atlanta, GA, John Piper labeled this approach as, “waving the white flag of surrender.” In his speech, Piper implied strongly that many in the audience of 40,000 Christian youths may not really be saved if they were merely relying on a one-time decision to believe in Christ Jesus, yet have not followed up on that decision with a lifestyle in which the realities of salvation must be apparent in their actions.

    So, what’s wrong with this way of thinking? It puts the onus of salvation back on the individual instead of on a complete trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross of Calvary. This has been referred to as, “a backloading of the gospel.” Backloading of the gospel, in essence, means that it’s not good enough, i.e., it’s not efficacious or meritorious enough, to trust in Christ alone for salvation. One must, in effect, prove the reality of her salvation through a lifestyle of good works. A one-time decision to place one’s belief in Christ alone for salvation, if not followed up with, as some would say, “an on-fire lifestyle for the Lord,” in this way of thinking, means that the person is probably not saved. This assessment is unfair in that it is completely arbitrary. And it decimates assurance of salvation as trust is removed from the promises of God to protect our salvation (John 10:27-30) and placed on the failings of man. It takes no account of differing levels of Christian maturity or circumstances. How long must one serve to “prove” the reality of salvation? One year? Five years? Ten? What about biblical examples of believers in the Lord who experienced extensive periods of failing?

    Jacob, Solomon, David, Lot, and Samson, all believers, come to mind instantly.

  8. “You must make a public confession of Christ to really be saved.”

    This wrongful thinking originates from a common misunderstanding of Romans 10:9: “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” In Chapter 10, Paul is addressing believers (he calls them “brothers”) about how to live out the Christian life. The issue of justification has already been dealt with in the early chapters of Romans. The Greek word for “saved,” sozo, may refer to justification at times, but it has a much wider array of meanings, such as, “kept safe,” “protected,” “rescued from danger,” or “made whole.” 1 Timothy 2:15, for one example, says that women are saved (kept safe, sozo) through childbearing. Obviously, this verse does not mean that women obtain justification from sins through bearing children. Looking at the immediate context of Romans 10:9, we see Paul’s confirmation to his believing audience that the way of justification is simply by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ (by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone)—no strings attached! Verse 10:13 reads, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (a direct quotation from Joel 2:32).

Concluding Thoughts: The Bible is abundantly clear that simply by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ and what he has accomplished on the cross on our behalf (Acts 16:30-31, John 5:24, John 6:29 & 40, John 3:16-18, John 11:25-26, many other verses in John, 1 Corinthians 15:1-8) a person can become saved (justified, receiving eternal life which, by definition, can never be taken away). Let’s all, in the Christian community, strive to keep the message of salvation simple, straightforward, clear and uncomplicated, and always biblical!


Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,
Fred Chay, PhD
Managing Editor,
Grace Theology Press
Grace, Grace Theology Press, Dr. Fred Chay

They Call It I.T.

The intelligence community has been in the news lately and has revealed to the American public that there are many revelations being disclosed and divulged. Intelligence, in both a governmental agency and an individual mind is a combination of Information and Insight. Information is the raw knowledge, the data points. Insight is the wisdom deduced and extracted from the interpretation of the data.

A good book is built upon information or knowledge that then bequeaths insight for living, which we call wisdom. It is proverbial to note that we live in an “information society.” It is also true what Marshall McLuhan declared, “the medium is the message.” However, it is evident that insight seems to be in short supply. The abundance of knowledge is manufactured through a variety of media outlets, stored in the venerable “Cloud” and retrieved by a variety of electronic devices. But knowledge needs to be framed and focused into insight that can be applied, which we call wisdom.

Most companies have an Information Technology department; “I.T.”  As a theological publishing company, we also have an Insight & Truth department.  For truth is to be discovered not created. At Grace Theology Press, our goal is that each one of our publications better enables the reader to discover and apply truth for the glory of God.

The best books both examine and explain an idea or a truth, and then correlate and apply to life situations. It is our desire to provide books and theological resources that help to discover the truth based on the Word of God, and then demonstrate how this truth impacts our intellectual life and our individual lives all for the glory of God.


Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,
Fred Chay, PhD
Managing Editor,
Grace Theology Press
Grace, Grace Theology Press, Dr. Fred Chay

Do You Have the Right Connections

We live in a world of networks. It is almost impossible to be isolated. All of us are connected to people in some way and with today’s technology we all leave a digital imprint and footprint somewhere.

To be human is to be in a relationship. It was that way in the Garden of Eden and it is still true today. One network and nexus of relationships that I would encourage you to become a part of is the Free Grace Alliance. As you have guessed or already know, the FGA is an alliance of folks who hold to a free grace theological perspective.

FGA hosts an annual national conference in Dallas every October and a variety of regional conferences across the nation that allows theologians, pastors, missionaries and other leaders to gather and become informed and inspired of how and what the Lord is doing in our world to spread the gospel of God’s grace. The speakers are excellent and the workshops are very helpful. Grace Theology Press is always there to provide books and updates on the latest theological issues.

As an Alliance, it allows you to get connected to a variety of ministry venues and become aware of opportunities for you to connect with and create ministry synergism both in the USA and internationally. I encourage you to go the FGA website and see what resources are available and what relational opportunities are offered.

May I also prevail upon you to pray for Grace Theology Press. We are close to finishing a new book by Drs. Dave Anderson, Jody Dillow and myself as a critical response to Dr. Wayne Grudem’s critique of free grace theology. Dr Grudem’s book is called, Free Grace Theology: Five Ways It Diminishes the Gospel (Crossway Books). I would ask you to pray that our new book be written with grace and truth, and that it is received by the Free Grace community as a helpful theological resource, and that our reformed brothers would read it and realize what we believe and why we hold to our views.

It will only be by the power of the Holy Spirit that those who hold to Lordship Salvation and an unbalanced doctrine of assurance will ever listen to our views. So please pray for the Lord to open their ears that they may hear and their eyes that they may see. It can happen. It happened to me.


Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,
Fred Chay, PhD
Managing Editor,
Grace Theology Press
Free Grace Magnifies the Gospel, Dr. Fred Chay, Grace School of Theology

Defending Our Hope

Free Grace Theology has always been under scrutiny or attack by reformed theologians. Many of you are familiar with the latest critique by reformed theologian Dr. Wayne Grudem in his book, Free Grace Theology: Five Ways It Diminishes the Gospel, Crossway Books 2016. It is a short creedal attack on all things Free Grace. The Free Grace community has responded with a variety of articles or reviews, but there is a new book that has been written with the catchy title Free Grace Theology: 5 Ways it Magnifies the Gospel. It includes chapters by Drs. Jody Dillow, Roger Fankhauser, Charlie Bing, Jeremy Edmonson, and Grant Hawley, who also serves as the editor of the book, which is published by Bold Grace Ministries. I would encourage you to buy this book to hear a helpful presentation of the Free Grace Theology defining elements. This book is not a point-counterpoint critique of Dr. Grudem, but it does interact with some of his arguments.

I would also like to make you aware that we at Grace School of Theology and Grace Theology Press are close to publishing a book that will engage Dr. Grudem on many of his points of disagreement with our theology. It is written for pastors, seminary students and theologians, and we hope to provide a clear exegetical, theological and historical refutation of Dr. Grudem’s concerns.

I ask you all to pray that the Lord would use these theological resources to clarify and convince our reformed brothers and sisters of the error of their theological way. I also ask that you pray that the Lord would use these theological resources to provide clarity and conviction for the Free Grace community and provide a defense for the hope that is in us.


Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,
Fred Chay, PhD
Managing Editor,
Grace Theology Press
Have You Shared the Good News?, Grace Theology Press, Fred Chay

Have You Shared the Good News?

One of the dangers for us in the grace movement is to find ourselves arguing and defending our theology of rewards and the doctrine of assurance, not to mention defending the clarity of the gospel. These topics are vital and we must define and defend these issues. But are we in danger of working so hard on these that we forget to engage in the main thing—personal evangelism! I feel a twinge of guilt at asking this since I am not always sharing my faith. I don’t hide from it but I do not look for opportunities enough in my daily life encounter. Perhaps it is the same for you?

One of our recent releases is a resource that you can use personally or in small groups to keep your focus on sharing the good news. Dr. Larry Moyer, President of EvanTell, endorsed this book as a tool to help you interact with key passages in the gospel of John and help you share the gift of eternal life.

In John, Jesus, and Me, Jeremy Vance explores and unpacks passages in the gospel of John that will help you and others to know Jesus.


“Have you ever been at a sporting event, or watched them on television where someone in the crowd is holding up a sign that reads, “John 3:16”? Most people know that person who got himself or herself in the eye of the camera is trying to tell the world about Jesus. That reference on their sign has become probably the most famous quote from Jesus. There are slight variations in our English translations of the Bible, yet here is that quote straight from the mouth of Jesus, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” There is a lot packed into that single verse.
Years ago I was at a Billy Graham crusade in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the Reverend Billy Graham preached on this very quote from Jesus. He said in his powerful Southern accent, “Where the word ‘world’ is in that verse, put your name in there. God so loved you that He gave His one and only Son.” Billy went on to describe how we are separated from God because of sin in our lives. “Sin” is the wrong we think, feel, and do in our lives. “Sin” is not being perfect and holy as we measure ourselves against a perfect and holy God. In another verse in the Bible it says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” The “wages” or the cost of sin is “death.” This “death” is the death of our relationship or connection with God. It is a separation from God. It has resulted in a lack of knowing Him and knowing His love for us.

John, Jesus, & Me
God so loves you and me that He sent His one and only Son to mend this relationship through His death. Jesus paid the “wage” for our sin. He paid the penalty for our sins so that they would be forgiven and we then could know God and his love for us, and be with Him forever.
When Billy Graham told us in the audience sitting in the County Stadium (where the Milwaukee Brewers used to play) so many years ago that God loved each of us and He sent his Son to mend our relationship with Him, I felt like he was talking directly to me. He described the truth that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty (or wages) for my sins, and what I needed to do was to believe in Him, to put my faith in Him, to trust in Him to save me through what He did for me. Way back then, as a teenager, I put my faith in Jesus as my personal Savior—He saved me from eternal separation from God and brought me into a relationship with Him that started that day and continues to this day. And I know it will last forever.
What Jesus did for me, He wants to do for you. He wants to save you and give you the free gift of eternal life, which is a relationship we enter into with Him that can start today and lasts forever. I would suggest to you to put your name into the verse John 3:16, where it says the word “world,” because it is true—God so loves you.
To understand His love for each of us and the difference He wants to make in our lives, take some time to work through the pages of this short book. Go through it with a friend, a family member, a co-worker, someone you feel comfortable enough with to open your heart and mind to and to talk about what just might become the most important part of your life—to know God and to be known by Him.
We begin by unpacking the story that surrounds that famous verse—John 3:16. Turn to chapter one of John, Jesus, & Me, and let’s begin a journey together through the Gospel of John, talking about Jesus, and sharing with each other what is happening in our own lives. Let’s have a conversation about the gospel of John, the Messiah Jesus, and you and me.”


Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,
Fred Chay, PhD
Managing Editor,
Grace Theology Press
A View for the New Year , Grace Theology Press

A View for the New Year

Happy New Year! This is the time we start again, make plans, set goals, and see every day as a new day and a new chance to excel. We often start off the year with a sense of optimism in hopes that this year, the world will be a better place and that peace might reign. This year you might have the additional hope that a new political administration might just make the big difference.

However, we must have a perspective that is larger than any regional or national perception. It is essential that we understand the rules of engagement and the enemy we face.  If we are to have a day, a year, or a life of victory it is essential, not optional, that we understand the world we live in.  The Apostle Paul exhorted all believers, “Do not be conformed to this world.”  Being “conformed” is to be molded to a way of life or a system or a scheme. In fact the Greek term for “conformed” is from the word that we get “schematic.”  The “present age” is the term that he uses instead of the better-known term “cosmos”—world. Both terms convey to us the reality of a system of thought, a mindset, and a motive that lies behind it. What is the mindset and motive of this present age and time period? It is not at all what the world desires us to think. It spends billions of dollars trying to convince us or deceive us from viewing the actual truth and to provide a counterfeit—a lie!  That is why we are exhorted not to love this world. (I John 2:15) The present age is a counterfeit and a lie to what God desires for it is under the rulership of the great father of lies, the deceiver, the angel of light—Lucifer!

Allow me to clarify or perhaps to reframe your perspective. We must first understand that everything is wrong. It is all backwards. Today we live under the times of the gentiles. The gentile nations rule the planet, create societies that are under the authority of Satan, the god of this world, and are typically hostile to Israel. (II Cor 4:4, Luke 4:4-6) In this present age, fallen man lives under a sin-cursed world. (Gen 3, Rom 8) We are ruled by Satan from a heavenly sphere. (Ezk 28:14, Dan. 10:13-20)  As John the Apostle explains it: The whole world lies in the lap of the evil one. (I John 5:19) And the struggles in the world are actually a struggle against the forces of the prince of the power of the air. (Eph 6:11-12) Peter reminds us that this is not to be a surprise to us (I Peter 4:12) for it is actually the devil himself that seeks to devour us, but we can have the victory through our faith. (I Peter 5:8-9)

One’s theological system built from sound exegesis is meant to provide hope for the future. Mt preterits friends tell me that we are living in the kingdom right now. My classic reformed friends, building off of Oscar Cullman and George Eldon Ladd, tell me that the kingdom is already (here) but not yet (here). (I have always struggled with that form of logic.) My Progressive Covenantalist tell me that all is covered under the New Covenant and typology fills in “the rest.”  My progressive dispensational friends tell me that the kingdom has been inaugurated but not culminated. And some of my older dispensational friends tell me that this is the mystery form of the kingdom that is called the church.

The fact is the devil rules, the world is cursed, all of creation groans, and mankind is condemned.  And here we are ready to start a new year. But take heart. There is coming a new day when Jesus will rule from heaven through Jerusalem in Israel over the earth. The angelic host will glorify the true King of the earth and all of the cosmos and they will serve glorified man who will rule and reign with Christ over the redeemed nations of the earth. The curse will be lifted, the Christ will reign, the church will co-rule and rejoice and worship the King.  Every knee will bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and give praise to the Lamb of God.

But what are we to do today until that day? Make disciples, do all to the glory of God, and live with holy conduct as we wait with a heavenly outlook.

He is coming again!


Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,
Fred Chay, PhD
Managing Editor,
Grace Theology Press