“The reminder of what we have become by grace is a constant defence against slipping back into what were by nature.” (Ferguson, Sinclair. The Christian Life. (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2006), 114)
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not merely the door by which we enter the Christian life. It is much more than that. It is the house within which we dwell as Christians. As Ferguson points out in his excellent work, The Christian Life, a regular reminder of the Gospel is the best defense against slipping back into old sinful habits. The Gospel needs to be preached weekly from the pulpit in our churches, returned to often in our small group Bible studies, and regularly remembered in our daily lives. Continue reading
In Galatians 4:6, Paul writes, “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” And Romans 8:15 says, “For you did nor receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’”
Never before have I noticed the exclamation points after both ‘Abba’ and ‘Father’ in both of Paul’s letters. This cry, enabled by the Spirit, is not a peaceful, tranquil address to our Heavenly Father. No, we have exclamation points! It is cry wrought with desperation, pain, anguish behind it. Sinclair Ferguson explains beautifully in The Christian Life (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2005):
Paul speaks here about the Christian crying ‘Abba! Father!’ The verb he uses is krazein, and in the New Testament it denotes a loud cry, often a cry or shriek of anguish. (cf. Mk. 15:39, our Lord’s cry on the cross; Rev. 12:2, a woman in childbirth). The picture is not that of the believer resting quietly in his Father’s arms in childlike faith, but of the child who has tripped and fallen crying out in pain, ‘Daddy, Daddy’. That cry is the mark of the presence of the Spirit of adoption, not least because it shows that in time of need it is towards our Father in heaven that we look. (p. 100)
Adoption is a great doctrinal truth that is often overlooked in the Christian faith. Over the past year, my wife and I have been seeking the Lord’s direction in our desire to adopt. Consequently, I have also taken the time to study what Scripture tells us about adoption. Adoption is a wondrous doctrine. That we, those justified in Christ, should be called the “children of God” sits at the heart of the gospel message. Continue reading
As a follower of Christ, doctrine and theology have been important to me, particularly in the most recent decade of my life as both a means to better understand and articulate what God has done for me through Jesus Christ and fan my zeal for the Lord. The concept of “already but not yet” has been a great help in gaining a more full perspective of God’s story and, most importantly, His plan of salvation for His people. I first encountered the concept in my years interning for Young Life immediately following college. My understanding has changed much and continues to expand. Continue reading
Our church began a new sermon series titled “Behold Our God” back at the beginning of September. We will be working our way, as a church, through the entire Bible for the next 15 months. It is a tremendous series. You can listen to any of the messages here. Given the title and theme of this new sermon series, we have adopted Sovereign Grace Music’s song, “Behold Our God”, from the “Risen” album. I have been hearing it a lot lately as my kids sing it regularly around the house. What a joy! The words are beautiful, powerful, and worshipful. Here is a video clip on YouTube for you to enjoy. Continue reading
Two Sundays ago (August 21st), Justin Taylor concluded a short sermon series at our church on our mission statement, which reads, “To bring glory to God through Spirit-transformed lives by the beauty and power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” His sermon covered the last point of the mission statement: the beauty and power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here’s an excerpt: Continue reading
I was reading Psalm 27 earlier today and verse 13 jumped out at me.
“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!”
David’s emphatic statement is full of conviction. He says this within a psalm where there are evildoers assailing him, adversaries and foes, an army encamped against him, and a war rising against him. (vv. 2-3) “Yet,” he says, “I will be confident.” Where is his confidence? It is in the Lord who his light, salvation, and stronghold. (v. 1) David confidently believes that his prayer in verses 4-6 to dwell in the house of the Lord, gaze upon His beauty, and inquire in His temple will be answered. And it will be answered in the “land of the living.” This he pronounces with confidence, “I believe!” Continue reading
In these days of economic turmoil, fears of a double-dip recession, and so many who are either unemployed or under-employed, it is vitally important as Christians not to give in to anxiety. Personally, my career is in the mortgage industry. Not the best field to be in the last few years. Anxiety over my family’s finances is a daily battle (with regular victories thanks to the Lord, my God). Turning to Christ in these times is the only answer as those in Christ have a hope and a promise beyond this life thanks to Jesus’ work on the cross. The trials of this life are just that: trials, which prepare us to enter the heavenly kingdom of Christ. Of course this principal applies to all anxieties arising from any type of trial. Continue reading
Wow! It is has been over four months since my last post. I have been working through figuring a lot out. Oh, and we moved, which was a huge answer to a yearlong prayer. All in all, in the last four months I have learned time and again that God is good!
I have been able to do some reading, too. I just finished, in less than a week, N.D. Wilson’s book, Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God’s Spoken World. Wide-eyed wonder is a great description of this book. Justin Taylor calls it “provocative”. Justin definitely gets it right. The book reads like a succession of random thoughts thrown together, but they all weave together to get his point across: This world (universe) we live in is amazing! Every part of it screams out at us that there is a Creator God that designed every corner, every microscopic organism and spoke into existence every sub-atomic particle. Continue reading
Of all the prophets in Israel’s history, Moses was arguably the most significant. After all, he led God’s people out slavery in Egypt and to the borders of the Promised Land. He wrote the first five books of the Bible. Yet, couched in Numbers 12, is a description of Moses I know I have read several times, but noticed for the first time recently. Continue reading