• Adopted Sons and Daughters Article by Kim Riddlebarger

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2009

    Q. Why did Christ command us to address God thus: “Our Father?” A. To awaken in us at the very beginning of our prayer that childlike reverence for and trust in God, which are to be the ground of our prayer, namely, that God has become our Father through Christ, and will much less deny us what we ask of Him in faith than our parents refuse us earthly things.(Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 120) It is not uncommon to hear critics of Reformation theology complain that Martin Luther, John Calvin, and those who followed them, were so preoccupied with … View Resource

  • Basking in the Benefits Article by Kim Riddlebarger

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2009

    Q. What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification?  A. The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification, are, assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end.(Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q&A 36)  Many of us take for granted how wonderful it is to place our heads on the pillow at night and know deep down inside that it is well with our souls. There are other times when our … View Resource

  • The Cause and the Effect Article by Kim Riddlebarger

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2009

    Q. What is sanctification? A. Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.  (Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q&A 35) Several times I have heard Christians recite the following formula: “Christians are saved by grace, justified by faith, and sanctified by works.” On first hearing, this sounds right as the slogan attempts to capture three important biblical emphases. Yes, we are saved by grace and not by our works (Rom. 6:14; Eph … View Resource

  • Christ Our Church Article by Kim Riddlebarger

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2010

    There are a number of Old Testament passages that figure prominently in the New Testament. In Galatians 3:10–14, several of them are quoted by the apostle, and he uses these Old Testament passages as proof texts for the doctrine that sinners are justified through faith alone. Those who trust in Jesus Christ to save them from their sins understand that it was Jesus’ suffering upon the cross that turned aside God’s wrath and anger. But this was not yet clear in the Old Testament when these passages first appeared. The first passage cited by Paul in this section is … View Resource

  • Fear and the Sovereignty of God Article by Kim Riddlebarger

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2013

    God is in control.” These words can be a wonderful comfort to people struggling with common phobias, natural fears, or even deep-seated terrors. The reminder that God is in control often brings great relief. But there are times when the words “God is in control” might make matters worse. A terrified Christian may have already wrestled with the fact that God is sovereign, and come to the misguided conclusion that God is punishing him, or worse, that God has abandoned him. At the root of such fear and anxiety is not likely the issue of whether God is in control … View Resource

  • Future Joy Article by Kim Riddlebarger

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2017

    When writing to Christians in the city of Thessalonica, the Apostle Paul instructs them, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:16–18). These words are instruction to a church newly founded by Paul, composed of people who left Greco-Roman paganism to embrace Jesus Christ by faith. Rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks in all circumstances should characterize the lives of these new Christians in the face of heated opposition from those who do not understand why people would worship a Jewish rabbi from … View Resource

  • I Will Build My Church Article by Kim Riddlebarger

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2005

    Jesus Christ came to earth to establish His church, not to build an empire. At no point in our Lord’s messianic ministry is this made any clearer than in those days immediately after our Lord’s death and resurrection, but before His ascension. In the final chapter of Matthew’s gospel, we read of how our Lord’s disciples went to the mountain in Galilee where Jesus had directed them to go (Matt. 28:16). When they saw Jesus there they worshiped Him and then they received His final words of instruction. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to … View Resource

  • Joseph’s Faith in Death Article by Kim Riddlebarger

    A key figure in the closing chapters of the book of Genesis, Joseph is known for several things: his “coat of many colors,” being sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, and his remarkable ability to interpret the dreams of the Egyptian pharaoh. But when the author of Hebrews looks back on the life of Joseph in chapter 11 (the so-called “hall of faith”), Joseph is remembered for something else. “By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones” (v. 22). Joseph was the eleventh … View Resource

  • Marching Orders Article by Kim Riddlebarger

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2009

    Q. What are the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption? A. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption are, his ordinances, especially the Word, sacraments, and prayer; all of which are made effectual to the elect for salvation. (Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q&A 88) Presbyterian and Reformed churches are ruled by elders. In fact, the term Presbyterian comes to us from the Greek word presbyteros, meaning “elder.” It is closely related to the term episkopos, often translated “overseer” (as in the ESV). Both Presbyterian … View Resource

  • One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church Article by Kim Riddlebarger

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2004

    I hope this does not come as a shock, but the Christian church wasn’t founded by the Jesus People in the 1960s. Nor was the church founded by Billy Graham or even by Charles Finney a century earlier. The church was not founded by Jonathan Edwards or George Whitefield during the First Great Awakening. The church was fifteen centuries old when Martin Luther and John Calvin sought to reform it at the time of the Reformation. Yes, there is a sense in which the church is as old as Adam and Eve and the first family. And Calvin was correct … View Resource

  • Open and Shut Article by Kim Riddlebarger

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2009

    Q. What is the Office of the Keys?  A. The preaching of the Holy Gospel and Christian discipline; by these two the kingdom of heaven is opened to believers and shut against unbelievers. (Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 83) Church discipline is one of those topics no one really wants to talk about. Not only do people fear that such discipline entails church officers snooping around in their private business and then outing their private sins to others in the church, church members also don’t want to be perceived as being judgmental toward others. If snooping is what biblical church … View Resource

  • Our Only Mediator Article by Kim Riddlebarger

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2009

    Q. But who now is that Mediator, who in one person is true God and also a true and righteous man? A. Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is freely given unto us for complete redemption and righteousness. (Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 18) Christians believe that the human race is fallen in Adam. It is not as though the human race is sick and faces imminent demise because of the effects that sin will have upon us if we do nothing about it; rather, Scripture teaches that we are already dead in sins and trespasses (Rom. 5:12–19; Eph. 2:1 … View Resource

  • Protestants and Creeds Article by Kim Riddlebarger

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2009

    Q. What is then necessary for a Christian to believe?  A. All that is promised us in the gospel, which the articles of our catholic, undoubted Christian faith teach us in sum.  (Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 22) I’ll never forget the first time I worshiped in a Presbyterian church. I had been raised in independent Bible churches where it was a given that Christians believed the Bible, while Roman Catholics relied on tradition. We had “no creed but Christ.” You can imagine how I was taken aback when the Presbyterian faithful recited the Apostles’ Creed with great gusto … View Resource

  • Revelation for All Time Article by Kim Riddlebarger

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2011

    The book of Revelation is the last book in the Bible and completes the New Testament canon. It is Jesus Christ’s final word to His church. This easily overlooked fact suggests that Revelation is one of the most practical and important of the New Testament epistles. Likely written near the end of the first century, Revelation comes in the form of a circular letter addressed to seven churches in Asia Minor. But it is much more than a mere letter. This book is prophetic in content (describing the course of human history in highly symbolic terms) and apocalyptic in style … View Resource

  • Seeing God Face to Face Article by Kim Riddlebarger

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2010

    I suppose that if you were to ask Christians whether or not they would like to “see” God, most would say “yes.” Human curiosity often wins out over our knowledge of biblical passages such as Hebrews 12:29, which informs us that “our God is a consuming fire.” While Scripture promises that the pure in heart will see God (Matt. 5:8), Paul makes it clear that such sight cannot come until death, when believers enter God’s presence. It is God alone who “has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can … View Resource