Thermal column is an independent for profit publication launched in January 2023 by TS Elliott. The opinions on this site are not connected with nor speak for the US Army or US Department of Defense.
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Bible teaching podcast, devotional content, blog and training academy/coaching academy. We also have links to websites, podcasts, books, articles, newsletters, and reference resources. We also provide reviews of current web resources and books to serve as a quick reference for pastors and beginning and seasoned counselors.
About TS Elliott
TS Elliott is a veteran and a Chaplain with over 24 years of service; first as an enlisted sailor in the US Navy Reserve and then as a commissioned officer in the US Army Reserve. He grew up in Kentucky where he began his walk with Christ. He has lived in 10 states from one coast to the other.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History and English from University of Kentucky and a Master’s of Divinity from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry in Biblical Counseling from Southeast Baptist Theological Seminary.
After coming to faith in Christ at 17, he has devoted his life to helping others live out their faith. He has served in many pastoral roles (youth, assistant, and lead); worked as a school administrator/dean and teacher; and has been a counselor. Later in his ministry he joined the Army as a chaplain. During his Army career he has been awarded the Combat Action Badge, Meritorious Service Medal (3 awards), and Gold Recruiter Badge. He also graduated from Command and General Staff Officers Course.
Throughout his career TS has demonstrated a commitment to serving those in need and providing spiritual guidance to service members, civilians, veterans, and their families. He is passionate about using his gifts/abilities to help others find peace with Christ and develop a greater understanding of God through His word. His dedication to the gospel ministry reflects his deep belief that everyone should have access to spiritual support regardless of background or beliefs.
He has learned the importance of the Scripture in his Christian walk. He has dedicated himself to helping people live out their faith and grow in Christ through the Scripture. TS is married to Amy and they are the parents of four daughters; Kathryn, Lillian, Evelyn, and Margaret. They currently live in Southern California.
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Statement of Faith
The Bible is God’s Word. He is the Author through the minds and hands of the men He chose. The Bible is God breathed. The writers were used to communicate His words in a way that their personalities and emotions colored and shaded the words, but it is all of God’s doing. Paul describes the Scripture as “inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Peter is very clear when he writes, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:20-21). Men were used for God purposes in communicating His truth. Every word contained in the Bible is God’s Word. They are His thoughts, commands, insights and instructions.
The Scripture is the only and ultimate source for truth and life. Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life” (John 5:39-40).
The doctrine of the trinity is an expression of the oneness and the individuality of the Godhead. The three persons of God are the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These three are united into one united whole. They all are fully functioning entities but they unite to form the one God of Christianity.
Within the Godhead there are relationships and responsibilities. The relationships have submission as an integral part of their interacting. All three of the individuals within the trinity have the divine attributes.
The existence of more than one member of the Godhead is seen first in the Old Testament in the first chapter of Genesis “Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness" (Genesis 1:26). Also God asks the questions during Isaiah’s vision, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" (Isaiah 6:8). Both of these statements communicate the existence of more than one individual present.
The unity of the persons of God is found in Matthew, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). The three members are given equality in this statement. They are all three given equal importance and purpose.
That the persons of God are unified can be seen in Deuteronomy. The declaration is "Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” (Deut 6:4). God has declared Himself as One. The unity of God is not up for debate. He has ended the discussion with His own Words.
Sharing of the essence of life among the members of the trinity is seen specifically in the New Testament when Jesus says, "For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself” (John 5:26-27). The Spirit is the giver of life, “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (II Corinthians 3:6). Jesus also declares the Oneness of the Godhead, "I and the Father are one." (John 10:30).
The three are one, they all have the same life essence and they are active in the salvation of sinners and their growth to maturity in Christ. Jesus said “truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19). He goes on to describe the ministry of the Spirit “but the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name” (John 14:26).
The trinity is three individual entities that have existence as a coherent unified whole. They exist in oneness with their individuality intact. They are the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Jesus is fully God and fully man. He is one essence with the Father. He eternally exists and existed. He was incarnated, lived a perfect life, died a perfect death, and rose to life on the third day.
As the author of Hebrews writes, “He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people (Hebrews 2:17). Jesus not only can sympathize with our weaknesses, He put himself on this planet to understand from our perspective what we endure, so that he would be merciful and faithful. He endured our struggles, perfectly. We can now go to Him as one who knows our struggles in a real and intimate way.
Christ died because of the Father’s love, mercy and grace poured out on His sinful creation. Man was in need of salvation, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And this sin had death as its punishment (Romans 6:23).
God chose to provide salvation to humans out of His abundant love as Jesus said to Nicodemus, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17). God sent Jesus to suffer and die for the sake of humanity. This choice was not because of anything we had done as Paul states, “but God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Jesus’ death was necessary to secure salvation for God’s people, as Jesus stated, “was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?" (Luke 24:26).
Man was the crowing act of God's creation. He is the image bearer of God as Moses wrote, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). He has been created by God for His purposes. He has been given the image and many of the characteristics of God. The first man, Adam, was created perfect, given a perfect mate and put in a perfect world; however, he did not heed God’s rule and fell into sin. He separated himself from God by sin. His descendants are tainted with the sin that has been passed down through the generations.
Paul described, “...since by a man came death” (1 Corinthians 15:21), this death has been passed to all humans. So men are destined for death, “for as in Adam all die” (1 Corinthians 15:22). The psalmist observed: “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field, The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas” (Psalm 8:3-8).
Man is set apart from other created beings. He is the hallmark of intellectual gifting and sensitivity to the work of God. Even so, except for God’s desire to elevate man, there is a transient nature to his existence, “man is like a mere breath; His days are like a passing shadow” (Psalm 144:4). Man’s lost-ness is emphasized by Paul: “What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, "There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for god; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one." (Romans 3:9-13)
Even though we are completely lost, God planned for our redemption through His Son. Paul writes later in Romans: “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned-- for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law” (Romans 5:10-13).
Mankind’s sin separates him from God. This separation will be eternal if not for God’s gracious move in salvation. If a person finally and absolutely rejects Christ, the result will be his being judged and sentenced to eternal punishment in hell. Hell is a literal place of torment and separation. It is called the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14-15). It is a place of eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46) and darkness (II Peter 2:4).
Salvation/justification before God
Justification is a legal declaration based on Christ’s work by which Christians are declared forgiven of sins. Christians are declared just before God, because they have Christ’s righteousness. In the book of Romans, Paul writes, “so then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:18-19). Christ’s work on the cross secured righteousness for all who would come to Him. He secured this righteousness by sinlessly living, suffering and dying on the cross. The righteousness that is His can be given to those who follow him in faith.
We are guilty before God for the sins we have committed. Scripture is clear that all people have sinned before God. In Romans the Spirit has said, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and in the first epistle of John “if we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:10). Both of these passages indicate that humans are sinners. Sinners need to have justification, because they are guilty before God. He requires there be justice for sin.
Christ suffered the due penalty for sin on the cross. He obeyed God to the point of death as He sought to achieve our justification. As in Hebrews, “for consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself” (Hebrews 12:3). Through this endurance and His obedience He obtained justification for those who would follow Him. He gained our justification.
Followers of Jesus cannot earn the declaration of righteousness by working or doing ceremonial things. Paul wrote in Galatians that, “We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified” (Galatians 2:15-16). Works of the Law were religious ceremonies and behaviors that the people used to earn right standing with God. Today people attend church and do service projects to make them feel like they have earned a right standing with God. Right standing with God cannot be earned. It is by faith as Paul wrote, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is God’s gracious gift that is received through faith in Christ as the provider of salvation.
It is through faith in Christ that one gains right standing with God. By faith a person trusts in Christ’s finished work as entirely enough to satisfy God’s justice and gain Christ’s righteousness. According to the Scripture, “having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2). We could not earn His declaration of righteousness ourselves, but by His gracious act, Christ earned it for us and gives it freely because He loves us. We must trust His having accomplished justification and that He is faithful to attribute it to us. We can put our faith in this finished work on our behalf. We must not add works of the flesh to our faith. If we add anything to the faith that God requires of us it ceases to be faith.
We must trust in Christ alone, meaning that a person trusts in nothing else for this declaration of righteousness. To add some sort of religious work to Christ’s work is to invalidate His work on the cross as having been substandard. Paul told the Galatian Christians that, “nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified” (Galatians 2:16). It is by faith, not by what we do, that God gives us justification.
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is God. He is active in the life of each believer. He is the giver of life, “It is the Spirit who gives life” (John 6:63a). He is instrumental in our union with Christ. The psalmist pleads, “do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:11). We are given life and united to Christ by the work of the Holy Spirit.
He is the Helper and Comforter. When we are in need, the Holy Spirit is present to meet our needs and comforts us with the knowledge of God’s good intentions. Jesus talked about the comfort of the Holy Spirit in John’s gospel, “when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning” (John 15:26-27). In Acts, Luke records that “so the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase” (Acts 9:31).
Also the Holy Spirit is the source of power in the believer’s life. As a fulfillment of the promise of the Lord to His followers the Holy Spirit was sent to give power to us. As Luke writes, “He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth" (Acts 1:7-8). This power is for accomplishing His work in the world.
The Holy Spirit is the giver of spiritual gifts. These gifts are used for the building of the church to the glory of God. In 1 Corinthians 12, the gifts are given for the building of the body of Christ. Each believer receives gifting according to the Spirit of God, “but one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills” (1 Corinthians 12:11).
The Holy Spirit is the member of the Godhead that drives the Christian toward the image of Christ by giving the power to overcome in this world. It is the Holy Spirit that is instrumental in developing the fruits of the Spirit in the life of the believer, “if we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). Walking by the Spirit is observed by the development of spiritual gifts and fruit in the believer’s life.
The church exists in two aspects. First, the local body of believers that assemble for worship, fellowship and ministry together under the authority of Christ and following His Word, for His glory. The second aspect is the communion of all saints down through the ages who have taken the name of Christ all over the world.
The church is referred to by Christ in the gospels and developed in Acts under the leadership of the apostles. As the first missionaries spread the gospel they also established local groups or assemblies that encouraged and supported each other.
The head of the church is Christ. No matter where or when a church was established the headship never changes, according to Colossians 1:18, "Christ is the Head of the body." Believers are members of His body, “because we are members of His body” (Ephesians 5:30).
The church has the responsibility to evangelize the world and help believers live faithful lives before God. This is done by facilitating the ministry of the Word and the fellowship among believers. The church is also tasked with holding members accountable to Christ (Matthew 18:15-20).
I believe in a literal seven day creation. That the agent of creation was Jesus, Who created the earth thousands of years ago, not millions of years ago. God is still upholding and supporting His creation. These positions are based on the Genesis (1-3) account of creation, John’s account (John 1:1-5), Colossians (1:13-18), Hebrews (Hebrews 1:10) and the understanding of creation by both Jesus (Matthew 19:4-5) and Paul (Acts 17:22-28) as read in the Christian Scriptures.