“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)
This past Sunday, my pastor preached from Exodus 20, the giving of the Ten Commandments. As this was God’s inauguration of the Mosaic covenant, I found the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews description interesting as compares the old covenant to God’s new covenant established through the blood of Christ and His resurrection. 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
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
Would God punish someone for eternity in hell because of a bunch of sins committed in a few short years of life? That is a popular question being raised today. The question behind this question is, “Would a good God be fair or good to punish someone for eternity for that which was done in a finite life?” Seems like a good question. Let’s look at Genesis 3, just after Adam and Eve ate of the apple.
And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:17-19)
Was it fair for God to curse the ground for the rest of this age because of one sin, one instance of disobedience by Adam and Eve, something as simple as eating an apple? This question, just like the first one, is shortsighted and misses the point. It confuses and misunderstands the entire doctrine of sin. Continue reading
Filed under Faith, Gospel
“Faith is not believing in something you can’t prove, as so many people define it. It is, biblically speaking, reliance. A rock-solid, truth-grounded, promise-founded trust in the risen Jesus to save you from sin.” (Gilbert, Greg. 2010. What Is the Gospel? Wheaton, IL: Crossway. 74)
I came across this statement recently while reading Greg Gilbert’s book together with my wife. It stood out to me because I thought of a few close people in my life who view faith similarly…as checking your brain at the door, or that believing in Santa Claus is no different than believing in Jesus Christ. Continue reading