Eric J. Bargerhuff Quotes
“So the popular notion that “God will never give us more than we can handle” is in reality a blatant falsehood—a lie. He will give us more than we can handle, and this for the express purpose of bringing us to the end of ourselves so that we realize our very life, breath, and sustaining power comes only from God all the time. Jesus clearly said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).”
“So the idea of being “lifted up” has everything to do with Christ’s crucifixion, a crucifixion that surely has in view his resurrection and ascension into glory that has come by way of the cross. And it is through this great work (atoning sacrifice) on the cross that Jesus will draw “all men” to himself, meaning that he will draw to himself men from every tribe, tongue, and nation (both Jew and Gentile), which is a common theme in this gospel account (cf. 6:44).”
“So even if great suffering and tragedy come to your door, please know that as a believer in Christ, God is orchestrating something for his and your good. And as he weaves his plan, we can rejoice in knowing that his plan is tailor-made for each of us as he seeks to make us more like him. Life for the believer may not always feel safe, but it is good (both in this life and in the life to come). There is no greater security than knowing this.”
“At the heart of all human sinfulness is lawlessness and the prideful appeal to be our own god. To determine our own destiny. To have our own way. To throw off restrictions and doubt the integrity of God’s goodness. To doubt the trustworthiness of his Word. And all we need to do in order to start down that path is to give Scripture a new context, twist its meaning, or interpret it in a way that appeals to the supremacy and glory of man.”
“Now, this does not negate the fact that God might choose to bless us with a great paying job, a beautiful family, and a healthy life on account of his grace. But the bottom line is we should never expect those things to happen or seek to appeal to the promise of Jeremiah 29:11–13 in order to substantiate our expectations. We have no right to hold God hostage to a promise that we have misunderstood. Friends, in the end, we should never be looking and living for our own glory in this life. Instead, we should be living for God’s glory now and waiting for the glory that we will receive from him in the life to come. The Bible says we should consider ourselves as aliens and strangers in this world. God will fulfill his promises, yes, but not all of his promises were meant to be fulfilled the way we want them to be fulfilled in this life, and we cannot twist Scripture around in order to make that happen, or to make Scripture work for us the way we want it to. We have to live by faith. And those who do will receive what he promised. And when we seek him with all of our heart, we will certainly find him. I’ve grown up a lot since church camp, and I still believe that it’s permissible for someone to choose for themselves a life verse. But let’s agree to study it in context first, lest we make the catastrophic mistake of misusing and misapplying it. Jeremiah 29:11–13 contains some great promises, but if I use it to demand the American Dream from God, then perhaps I should also be willing to literally endure seventy years of captivity first (if that’s what God should choose). I think it’s better to use it to inspire us to look for the spiritual life that is truly life now, while trusting in the future hope of the life that is yet to come.”
“To be sure, times change and applications may vary, but the original author’s meaning and intent and the subsequent principles derived from that are fixed and eternal. It is therefore necessary that we understand what these excerpts actually meant when they were written so we can apply them properly today.”
“The richest and greatest fulfillment of this prophecy is to be realized in a spiritual way. This promise ought to bring a great sense of joy to the believer who longs for the “future hope” of experiencing eternal life with God, a restoration that will be experienced in the fullest sense. It is there where we will experience prosperity and protection in abundance, as we are “gathered back” to him.”
“What if it was God’s will for me to have a terrible life by human estimations and standards (like they were going to have) only to be rewarded abundantly with a glorious eternal life later after I’m dead? Could I handle that? And would I still love, serve, and seek after God with the same intensity?”
“I had no problems manipulating the biblical text to suit my own preconceived notions of “blessing” while at the same time giving God my timetable for these things to be realized. But in doing this, I was violating the context and completely missing the fact that God was talking to a nation (not an individual), a nation that had to go through seventy years of heartache and exile before there was any hope of freedom from captivity. And if it could not be used as a promise for the immediate future of those who first heard it, then it should not be used for my immediate future either.”
“Unfortunately, much damage has been brought to the reputation of the church by Christians who say one thing and do another. This is not to say we can ever be perfect, but it is of utmost importance that we live lives of consistency and integrity in order to safeguard the name of Christ, whom we represent, as well as the reputation of his church. The truth of the matter is we should all be grieved about sin in our lives. And when we see it, we should address it, confessing it and forsaking it out of reverence for God. It is only when we are consistently doing this ourselves that we are qualified and able to address the sins in the lives of our brothers and sisters in the church, which we must do as well.”
“those who repent and place their faith and trust in Jesus alone for their salvation become “children of God,” are adopted into God’s family, and become members of the spiritual kingdom he has established on earth. Believers who live in this kingdom are called to live differently, and Jesus is explaining what that looks like in a very practical sense. His words are not hard to understand as he sets up a strong moral ethic that reflects what it means to love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. It is here that Jesus addresses the issue of hypocrisy.”
“Jesus said that judgment always reciprocates. In other words, the measuring stick they used to measure the lives of others will be the same measuring stick held up against their lives by God himself. Consider this: It is one thing to be judged by your fellowman, but quite another to be judged by God himself. The hypocritical Pharisees were in danger of the latter.”
“The church would have no choice but to formally remove them from the fellowship. This doesn’t mean that everyone who remains in the church is perfect. We’re all sinners. But that’s not the issue. The issue is about the one who hardens his or her heart toward their sin and refuses to acknowledge and turn from it. When that happens, the church is obligated by none other than Christ himself to dismiss them from the recognized community of faith. This is a somber and humble but necessary step. As Christians, our goal should be never to give up on someone. So even if the church has to move to exclude someone from the fellowship, they should still be attempting to reach out to that person and win them to the Lord.”
“But when it comes to life’s hardships and difficulties, we should be prepared to receive more than we can handle so that we learn to rely on God and not ourselves. Either way, whether it is in great trials or in moments of great temptation, looking to and leaning on God is the answer. He is faithful.”
“Even Jeremiah, the prophet who delivered these words, had a life that was less than stellar according to our mindset. He was hated, forced from his home, thrown into prison, and tossed into a mud pit. So even for him, this magnificent prophet, the hope for a prosperous and glorious future was more to be realized in the hope of heaven itself than it was to be experienced in the temporal life of the here and now. Reading Hebrews 11, you can see that many of God’s people in history had to have the same kind of future hope.”
“in his name” means that we do them in a manner that is consistent with who Christ is, what he taught, and all that he stands for (his kingdom purposes). It is to do them in accordance with God’s will, and ultimately for his glory. This is very important for us to remember as we approach the text where Jesus spoke about asking for anything “in my name.”
“But this doesn’t mean that everything about it is reserved for our future in heaven. I would also argue that a whole host of blessing and prosperity can come to us in the here and now. But these are primarily spiritual blessings—blessings like reconciliation, forgiveness, peace with God, fellowship in the church, and love. Blessings like the fruit of the Spirit, answers to prayer, and joy in worship. But if we make the mistake of redefining the phrase “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” with our own preconceived notion of what that ought to look like for our lives today in the material sense, then we’ve overlooked and hijacked the context to suit our own human needs and desires.”
“With this context, there are a few things we should notice right away. First, God is speaking to the Israelite nation of Judah here. This is his plan for the nation, not necessarily a personal promise that is directed to any one person per se. It is a “corporate” promise. Therefore, we should be cautious about grabbing it out of its context and inappropriately applying it to individual believers in the twenty-first century.”
Eric J. Bargerhuff
- Description: Eric J. Bargerhuff, PhD, has served in pastoral ministry in churches in Ohio, Illinois, and Florida. He received his doctorate in biblical and systematic theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. His passion is to write systematic and practical theology for the purposes of spiritual growth and reform in the church. He is a member of the Society for the Advancement of Ecclesial Theology (SAET) and the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS).
His first publication, Love that Rescues: God's Fatherly Love in the Practice of Church Discipline, explores the grace and fatherly love of God that should be embodied in a church's efforts to restore a brother or sister in Christ who has gone astray.
Eric and his family presently live in Palm Harbor, Florida.