Tuesday, January 31, 2012

the gospel

John Piper posted:

The gospel is not just a sequence of steps (say, the "Four Laws" of Campus Crusade or the "Six Biblical Truths" of Quest for Joy ). Those are essential. But what makes the gospel "good news" is that it connects a person with the "unsearchable riches of Christ."

There is nothing in itself that makes "forgiveness of sins" good news. Whether being forgiven is good news depends on what it leads to. You could walk out of a courtroom innocent of a crime and get killed on the street. Forgiveness may or may not lead to joy. Even escaping hell is not in itself the good news we long for - not if we find heaven to be massively boring.

Nor is justification in itself good news. Where does it lead? That is the question. Whether justification will be good news, depends on the award we receive because of our imputed righteousness. What do we receive because we are counted righteous in Christ? The answer is fellowship with Jesus.

Forgiveness of sins and justification are good news because they remove obstacles to the only lasting, all-satisfying source of joy: Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is not merely the means of our rescue from damnation; he is the goal of our salvation. If he is not satisfying to be with, there is no salvation. He is not merely the rope that pulls us from the threatening waves; he is the solid beach under our feet, and the air in our lungs, and the beat of our heart, and the warm sun on our skin, and the song in our ears, and the arms of our beloved.

This is why the New Testament often defines the gospel as, simply, Christ. The gospel is the "gospel of Christ" (Romans 15:19; 1 Corinthians 9:12; 2 Corinthians 2:12; 9:13; 10:14; Galatians 1:7; Philippians 1:27; etc.). Or, more specifically, the gospel is "the gospel of the glory of Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:4). And even more wonderfully, perhaps, Paul says that the preaching of the gospel is the preaching of "the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Ephesians 3:8).

Therefore to believe the gospel is not only to accept the awesome truths that 1) God is holy, 2) we are hopeless sinners, 3) Christ died and rose again for sinners, and 4) this great salvation is enjoyed by faith in Christ-but believing the gospel is also to treasure Jesus Christ as your unsearchable riches. What makes the gospel Gospel is that it brings a person into the everlasting and ever-increasing joy of Jesus Christ.

The words Jesus will speak when we come to heaven are: "Enter into the joy of your Master" (Matthew 25:21). The prayer he prayed for us ended on this note: "Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory" (John 17:24). The glory he wants us to see is the "unsearchable riches of Christ." It is "the immeasurable riches of [God's] grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:7).

The superlatives "unsearchable" and "immeasurable" mean that there will be no end to our discovery and enjoyment. There will be no boredom. Every day will bring forth new and stunning things about Christ which will cause yesterday's wonder to be seen in new light, so that not only will there be new sights of glory everyday, but the accumulated glory will become more glorious with every new revelation.

The gospel is the good news that the everlasting and ever-increasing joy of the never-boring, ever-satisfying Christ is ours freely and eternally by faith in the sin-forgiving death and hope-giving resurrection of Jesus Christ.

May God give you "strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge" (Ephesians 3:18-19).


clique or small group

Great illustration posted by David Rudd on the difference between a clique and a small group.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

powerful worship

In Desiring God, John Piper writes:

The fuel of worship is a true vision of the greatness of God;

the fire that makes the fuel burn white hot is the quickening of the Holy Spirit;

the furnace made alive and warm by the flame of truth is our renewed spirit;

and the resulting heat of our affections is powerful worship, pushing its way out in confessions, longings, acclamations, tears, songs, shouts, bowed heads, lifted hands, and obedient lives.


mayonnaise jar

Mayonnaise Jar and Two Cups of Coffee

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the liquid into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things - God, family, children, health, friends, and favorite passions -- things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, house, and car.

The sand is everything else -- the small stuff.

"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "There is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you."

So…Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first -- the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

[I don't much care for the analogy but I like the punch line ...]

holiness and love

From Francis Schaeffer in The Church before the Watching World:

If we stress the love of God without the holiness of God, it turns out only to be compromise. But if we stress the holiness of God without the love of God, we practice something that is hard and lacks beauty. And it is important to show forth beauty before a lost world and a lost generation. All too often young people have not been wrong in saying that the church is ugly. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ we are called upon to show to a watching world and to our own young people that the church is something beautiful.

Several years ago I wrestled with the question of what was wrong with much of the church that stood for purity. I came to the conclusion that in the flesh we can stress purity without love or we can stress the love of God without purity, but that in the flesh we cannot stress both simultaneously. In order to exhibit both simultaneously, we must look moment by moment to the work of Christ, to the work of the Holy Spirit. Spirituality begins to have real meaning in our moment-by-moment lives as we begin to exhibit simultaneously the holiness of God and the love of God.


inaugurated eschatology

From Tony Reinke via Peter Cockrell - a portion of an interview published in 2008 in the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology with professor Dr. C. Everett Berry.

SBJT: How can the theological construct of inaugurated eschatology help us in forming a biblical understanding of Christian sanctification?

C. Everett Berry: The term inauguration essentially refers to an act of ceremonial observance whereby a given party officially inducts another newly designated party into a special position of authority. Note also that this practice typically alludes to a significant transition wherein the subject being inaugurated represents a new phase of leadership or service. And it is here where insight has proven helpful to evangelicals as they attempt to conceptualize the theological flow of the biblical storyline and delineate the hermeneutical symmetry between Old Testament promise and Christological fulfillment.

Specifically, the concept known as “inaugurated eschatology” highlights a theological tension in the New Testament between the temporary co-existence of two mutually exclusive realms. First there is “the present age,” which is marked by all the consequences of sin upon the world including the divine curse as well as Satanic oppression. This era continues to wreak havoc upon humanity but now with one crucial difference. It exists on borrowed time because of the beginning of another age established by the finished work of Jesus Christ. His act of redemption defeated death, made atonement for sin, thwarted the works of the devil, and provided a means whereby the kingdom of heaven might eventually become a full reality on earth. Consequently, the completion of his Father’s mission marked the dawning of a new eschatological era that would bring salvation and restoration from sin.

The key though is that the full realization of this telos [ultimate aim] is not instantaneous. The biblical writers understood the resurrection and ascension of Christ as events that set in motion, or inaugurated, the gradual ushering of “the age to come” into the present. Now the present age commences on a divinely-set stopwatch ticking down the last days until the impending kingdom of God arrives in its consummate form on the last Day, which is otherwise known as the Day of the Lord when the glorified Christ returns to save his people and judge his enemies. Furthermore, believers in the early church were taught that this future was certain because of promises made by Christ and his apostles regarding the imminent parousia. They were also assured of this reality by virtue of the fact that Christ was currently executing in preliminary form the power of the future kingdom amidst the very time of spiritual darkness in which they still lived. While they existed in a world blinded by Satan and cursed because of Adam’s sin, they were likewise experiencing many of the blessings of the eschatological age. The forgiveness of sins, the indwelling of the Spirit, and the gift of eternal life were soteric foretastes that were indicative of future realities not yet received, such as resurrection from the dead, the absence of sin’s carnal influence, and a new creation.

Theologically speaking then, the concept of inaugurated eschatology obviously has tremendous implications for interpreting numerous motifs in Scripture. Yet one theme often overlooked is its relationship to the doctrine of sanctification. One notices when reading the ethical sections of the New Testament that biblical writers frequently allude to believers’ identity as kingdom citizens of the age to come in order to exhort them to live out their faith in the world now. The portrait given in Scripture is that believers are a people who live in the hostile convergence of two antithetical ages that overlap, thus creating a kind of parallel universe. On the one hand, our redemption is not experientially culminated because we still struggle with temptation, sin, and spiritual immaturity. Yet on the other, we have been born again, empowered by the Spirit, and thereby become new creations in Christ.

The net result of these dual truths is a clash of loyalties because now we as believers are admonished to repudiate the immoral ways of our old identity as children made in Adam’s image by walking in the power of the Spirit so we can be continually conformed into the image of the second Adam. The theological irony, however, is that we do not reject our former way of life so we can gradually achieve a new spiritual rank. We recognize instead that at conversion, we forfeit our spiritual link to the present age and became full citizens and heirs of the future kingdom. Therefore, because of the dynamic of inaugurated eschatology, biblical sanctification does not focus on maintaining a certain life style in order to gain something we do not have yet. Rather we are to grow in grace in order to reflect the identity that is already fully ours. This is why believers in the New Testament are not described as sinners who should change in order to be called saints one day. It is because they already are saints positionally that they are to exhibit a certain life practically.

So in a sense each ethical mandate placed before us as believers entails an eschatological context that validates its authority. For instance, we seek those things that are Christ-honoring because it is there where we have already been seated (Eph 2:6; Col 3:1). We forgive those who wrong us because we have been forgiven (Eph 4:32; 1 John 4:11). We do not take fellow believers to civil courts because we are to be judges of angels (1 Cor 6:2-3). We live as loving servants in all social contexts because the ones exalted in the future are the ones who serve in the present (Matt 18:4-5; 19:28-30). We maintain physical purity because we are indwelt by the Spirit who is given to us as a promise of a future eschatological reunion (1 Cor 6:19; 2 Cor 5:5; Eph 1:14). Moreover, in the end we see that because Christ’s kingship is a reality now, sin in our lives is not only to be understood as rebellion against God our Creator. It is also contrary to who we are as Christ’s redeemed people because in the age to come, kingdom citizens will walk in full obedience to their Lord.

Friday, January 27, 2012

in christ

John Piper speaks to what it means to be "in Christ".

Being “in Christ Jesus” is a stupendous reality. It is breathtaking what it means to be in Christ. United to Christ. Bound to Christ. If you are “in Christ” listen to what it means for you:

  1. In Christ Jesus you were given grace before the world was created. 2 Timothy 1:9, “He gave us grace in Christ Jesus before the ages began.”
  2. In Christ Jesus you were chosen by God before creation. Ephesians 1:4, “God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world.”
  3. In Christ Jesus you are loved by God with an inseparable love. Romans 8:38–39, “I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
  4. In Christ Jesus you were redeemed and forgiven for all your sins. Ephesians 1:7, “In Christ we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses.”
  5. In Christ Jesus you are justified before God and the righteousness of God in Christ is imputed to you. 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake God made Christ to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
  6. In Christ Jesus you have become a new creation and a son of God. 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Galatians 3:26, “In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.”
  7. In Christ Jesus you have been seated in the heavenly places even while he lived on earth. Ephesians 2:6, “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” 
  8. In Christ Jesus all the promises of God are Yes for you. 2 Corinthians 1:20, “All the promises of God find their Yes in Christ.”
  9. In Christ Jesus you are being sanctified and made holy. 1 Corinthians 1:2, “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus.”
  10. In Christ Jesus everything you really needed will be supplied. Philippians 4:19, “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
  11. In Christ Jesus the peace of God will guard your heart and mind. Philippians 4:7, “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
  12. In Christ Jesus you have eternal life. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
  13. And in Christ Jesus you will be raised from the dead at the coming of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” All those united to Adam in the first humanity die. All those united to Christ in the new humanity rise to live again.

How do we get into Christ?

At the unconscious and decisive level it is God’s sovereign work: “From God are you in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:30).

But at the conscious level of our own action, it is through faith. Christ dwells in our hearts “through faith” (Ephesians 3:17). The life we live in union with his death and life “we live by faith in the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20). We are united in his death and resurrection “through faith” (Colossians 2:12).

This is a wonderful truth. Union with Christ is the ground of everlasting joy, and it is free.

trinity in a nutshell

C Michael Patton on the Trinity.

The doctrine of Trinity is a foundational cardinal truth in Christianity. All three major Christian traditions, Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox, throughout the history of the Church have been united on this doctrine. A denial of it constitutes a serious departure from the Christian faith and a rejection of the biblical witness to God as he has introduced himself to us. Sadly, many go astray from the faith due to their refusal to accept these truths. It is my purpose to give a brief “nutshell” overview of the doctrine.

Basic Definition: Christians worship one God who eternally exists in three persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, all of whom are fully God, all of whom are equal.

Now lets break each of these down.

One God:

Christians are monotheists. This doesn’t merely mean we worship only one God, but that we believe that there exists only one God. This is a basic teaching throughout the Bible (Deut. 6:4; Isa. 44:6; Isa. 45:5; Mark 12:29; 1Tim. 2:5; 1Cor. 8:4).

While this finds support in the Bible, the very definition of God demands that there only be one. In other words, “God” is not just who you pray to or to whom you ascribe great worth or value, but the transcendent creator of all things (Heb. 11:3). Romans 1:18-20 informs us that natural theology and rational thinking necessarily demand that their be a singular source for all things. Polytheism (which is the belief in many gods) must redefine the term “god” to mean simply “really powerful beings” since there cannot be many ultimate creators of all things. There can only be one Uncaused Cause, only one Unmoved Mover, and only one Uncreated Creator. God is the only non-contengent (not dependent) being in the universe. Therefore, his essence is necessarily one.

Eternally exists as three persons:

Christians do not believe in contradictions or logical fallacies. Rational thinking and harmony of truth are found in the essence of God’s being, therefore, God cannot exist as a contradiction. Christians do not believe in three God’s for reasons spoken of above. However, we do believe that Scripture has revealed that God, who is one in essence, is three in person. We often talk about this as “one what, three whos.” While this is a great mystery in the Christian faith, there are many mysteries that we are compelled to believe due to necessity and what has been revealed in Scripture. For example, we believe that God created all things out of nothing (Heb. 11:3; doctrine of creation ex nihilo). We believe that God is the sovereign first cause of all things, yet man is morally responsible for his actions. We believe that while Christ was complete in his humanity, he also remained complete in his deity (often called the “hypostatic union”). We believe that the Bible is the product of humans and the product of God. None of these, including the doctrine of the Trinity, are contradictions, but they are great mysteries.

While the Bible does not use the word “Trinity”, we believe that it is an accurate description of what the Bible teaches concerning God. After all, the Bible does not use the word “Bible” but we understand that we can legitimately use the word to describe a collection of books we believe to be inspired. The Bible does not use the word “Aseity” yet we believe that it accurately represents a Biblical attribute of God. God is “of himself” or in no way dependent upon humans for his livelihood (Ps. 50:7-12).

While there are many passages in the Bible which necessitate a Trinitarian understanding of God, there are a few that stand out more than others:

John 1:1; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God.” (NET)

Here we encounter two subjects, “the Word” (Jesus; John 1:14) and “God.” We see in this one verse the unity and plurality in what we call the “Godhead.” The Word “was fully God,” yet we also see that they were “with” each other. The Greek word for “with”, pros, implies not merely proximity, but is used to describe the context of relationship in which they exist. Jesus and God (in this case God is “the Father”) are both sharing in the same essence of deity, yet they are distinct in relationship (person).

Matt. 28:19; “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

This is often referred to as the “Great Commission.” Here Christ tells his disciples that they are to make disciples by baptizing them (as a sign of identification) in the name (singular describing God’s unity) of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Notice that all three members of the Trinity are united, yet distinct in this baptismal creed.

John 14:8-9; “Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be content.” Jesus replied, “Have I been with you for so long, and you have not known me, Philip? The person who has seen me has seen the Father! How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

This again speaks of the unity the members of the Trinity share with each other. To know Jesus is to know the Father. To know the Holy Spirit is to know Jesus and the Father. And to know the Father is to know Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They are all one. Yet in the very same section of Scripture Jesus demonstrates that He and the Father are distinct persons by praying to the Father (John 17:1-26). They have been united and distinct for all eternity.

All of whom are fully God:

Don’t see the sharing of the divine essence as some sort of sharing in a type of nature. For example, me and my daughter Kylee share in a similar nature in two ways: 1) we are both humans and 2) we are both blood related as part of the “Patton” family. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit do not merely have similar natures. It is not that they are from the same species called “God” or “Divine.” It is not like a pie that has been cut into three pieces or a three leaf clover that can be divided into three parts. It is that they all have the exact same nature. Kylee and myself are of the human species, but we do not share in the exact same essence. God’s essence is one and indivisible. All the members of the Trinity are all fully God since they share in the exact same nature..

All of whom are equal:

Christ’s essence is not lesser than the Father’s. Nor the Spirit’s lesser than Christ’s. They are co-equal, co-powerful, and co-eternal since the essence of who they are is the same. While their persons may have distinction in function and thus evidence a willing hierarchy in time (John 14:28) and in eternity (1 Cor. 15:23-28), this does not mean that one is greater than the other in essence. Just as a king may have authority over his subject, this does not mean the king’s nature is greater than the subjects. And just as a wife is to submit to her husband (Eph. 5:22) or as a pastor has authority over the congregation (Heb. 13:7), this does not mean in either case that the husband or pastor has more essential greatness or value than the wife or congregation. It simply means that in function, there is a hierarchy. Some Christians believe that the hierarchy in the Trinity was a temporal arrangement for the purpose of redemption and some believe that the subordination of the Son to the Father and the Spirit to the Father (and Son) is eternal. This is a valid debate in Christianity. However, all Christians have always believed that all three members of the Trinity are essentially equal.

Concerning the use of the word “Trinity”

Concerning the use of the name “Trinity” and other technical terms we often employ such as essence, ontos, ousia, substantia, persona, hypostasis and the like, the great theologian of the sixteenth century John Calvin writes:

“Where names have not been invented rashly, we must beware lest we become chargeable with arrogance and rashness in rejecting them. I wish, indeed, that such names were buried, provided all would concur in the belief that the Father, Son, and Spirit, are one God, and yet that the Son is not the Father, nor the Spirit the Son, but that each has his particular subsistence. I am not so minutely precise as to fight furiously for mere words. For I observe, that the writers of the ancient Church, while they uniformly spoke with great reverence on these matters, neither agreed with each other, nor were always consistent with themselves” (Institutes, 1.13.5).

No Christian understands the doctrine of the Trinity fully. In fact, if people are not confused to some degree by this doctrine, is someone says, “Ohhhh, now I understand,” it probably means that they have slipped into heresy in their thinking. If we think about it too long, try to solve it, or nuance it according to our desire to comprehend things, we will find ourselves refusing the hand of God who has given the mysterious Trinity to us a description of Himself. While it is impossible that finite beings can fully comprehend an infinite God, we can understand him truly. The doctrine of the Trinity does not give us the full understanding of God, but it does give us a true understanding of God.

bethke on on marriage

Jeff Bethke is becoming more popular with these creative and pithy youtube videos. I gave his Rob Bell parody Jesus Wins a like, his Why I hate Religion, But Love Jesus a dislike (although it has some super points) and now his Sex, Marriage, & Fairytales a like.

Some lines that caught my ear:
  • God's first priority is to making you holy.
  • If your marriage rests on anything but Jesus, it's resting on something broken.
  • Put down the controller. How about you lead her with grace instead of trying to control her?
  • Become friends first before you ever become lovers. Pursue Jesus as your foundation before you get under the covers.
  • It's not the love that sustains the promise, it's the promise that sustains the love.
  • You don't fall out of love as much as you fall out of repentance.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

the new era

Doug Moo, in The Epistle to the Romans, writes:

Contrary to Jewish expectation, the Messiah has accomplished the work of redemption, the Spirit has been poured out, yet evil has not been eradicated, the general resurrection is still future, and the final state of God's kingdom has not been established.

In other words, the new era has begun--has been inaugurated--but it has not yet replaced the old era. Both ages exist simultaneously; and this means that 'history,' in the sense of temporal sequence, is not ultimately determinative in Paul's salvation-historical scheme. Thus, the 'change of aeons,' while occurring historically at the cross, becomes real for the individual only at the point of faith. The 'change of aeons' that took place in Christ is experienced only 'in Christ.' Therefore, the person who lives after Christ's death and resurrection and who has not appropriated the benefits of those events by faith lives in the old era yet: enslaved to sin, in the flesh, doomed to eternal death. On the other hand, Abraham, for example, though living many centuries before Christ, must, in light of Rom. 4, be considered to belong, in some sense at least, to the new era.

HT:DO via PC

Monday, January 23, 2012


In The Cross of Christ John Stott wrote:

All inadequate doctrines of the atonement are due to inadequate doctrines of God and man. If we bring God down to our level and raise ourselves to his, then of course we see no need for a radical salvation, let alone for a radical atonement to secure it. When, on the other hand, we have glimpsed the blinding glory of the holiness of God, and have been so convicted of our sin by the Holy Spirit that we tremble before God and acknowledge what we are, namely ‘hell–deserving sinners’, then and only then does the necessity of the cross appear so obvious that we are astonished we never saw it before.


new year

Happy Lunar New Year ... here for more great photos ...

Sunday, January 22, 2012


In Christianity and Liberalism, J. Gresham Machen writes:

The modern liberals ... say that Jesus is God not because they think high of Jesus, but because they think desperately low of God. ...

According to Christian belief, Jesus is our Savior, not by virtue of what He said, not even by virtue of what He was, but by what He did. He is our Savior, not because He has inspired us to live the same kind of life that He lived, but because He took upon Himself the dreadful guilt of our sins and bore it instead of us on the cross. Such is the Christian conception of the Cross of Christ. It is ridiculed as being a “subtle theory of the atonement.” In reality, it is the plain teaching of the word of God; we know absolutely nothing about an atonement that is not a vicarious atonement, for that is the only atonement of which the New Testament speaks.

They speak with disgust of those who believe “that the blood of our Lord, shed in a substitutionary death, placates an alienated Deity and makes possible welcome for the returning sinner.”

[note the quote against substitutionary death is of Fosdick in 1922]

TULIP club mix

I like this entitled Christian Hedonist Calvinism by John Piper.

What would the doctrines of grace sound like if every limb in that tree were coursing with the sap of Augustinian delight. (that is, Christian Hedonism)?

  • Total depravity is not just badness, but blindness to God’s beauty and deadness to the deepest joy.
  • Unconditional election means that the completeness of our joy in Jesus was planned for us before we ever existed as the overflow of God’s joy in the fellowship of the Trinity.
  • Limited atonement is the assurance that indestructible joy in God is infallibly secured for us by the blood of the covenant.
  • Irresistible grace is the commitment and power of God’s love to make sure we don’t hold on to suicidal pleasures, and to set us free by the sovereign power of superior delights.
  • Perseverance of the saints is the almighty work of God not to let us fall into the final bondage of inferior pleasures, but to keep us, through all affliction and suffering, for an inheritance of fullness of joy in his presence and pleasures at his right hand forevermore.

public displays

Copied below is Enough with the Anti-Tebow Prooftexting by SWNID. I love it. While using Tebowing as a jumping off point, this deals well with (1) those who are anxious to read something into what they ought not and (2) the tension between public and private displays of affection ... toward our God.

... one of the latest objects of such prooftexting is St. Tim Tebow. His sin is Tebowing: kneeling in prayer on CBS and Fox.

As an egregious case in point, we quote from a recent letter to the editor in WSJ: "The problem for many, especially those having more deep understanding of Scripture, is that they see the public display of religious beliefs as both anti-Biblical and anti-Christian . . . Jesus was clear in his condemnation of public religiosity. For example, in Matthew 6:5, Jesus says (King James Version), "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward." Does that not make clear the master's view of the public display of religiosity?"

Um, actually sir, whom we will not name as you are a private citizen, though your name and city will be viewed by far more who haven't read this blog than by those who have, this verse does not make the master's view as clear as that.

For in the same discourse the master says, "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16 ESV)

So does Christ demand public or private religiosity? The paradoxical clash of these texts has been cited by no less than Sinclair Lewis in his celebrated anti-revivalist potboiler Elmer Gantry as an example of the Bible's self-contradiction. But it better demonstrates how approaching the Bible with an agenda different from the Bible's is a sure way to misunderstand it.

That is, our distinction between public and private as an issue of religiosity has more to do with Enlightenment views on the limits of religious truth claims than as part of Jesus' teaching. Was Jesus trying to keep people from offending others' religious sensibilities by confining devotional activity to the private sphere? Nothing suggests that such a question was close to his agenda, least of all the contents of the Sermon on the Mount in its entirety.

So what was up? Approximately summarized, Jesus' Sermon on the Mount insists that the righteousness of God's kingdom as he was inaugurating it was at once humble, sincere, mission focused, and offensive.

For the first two characteristics: righteousness is humble because it is based in one's own receipt of God's grace. Those who are blessed in God's kingdom are weak and lowly (Mt 5.3-7). So there's no point in trying to look better than others.

Likewise, the kingdom is God's kingdom, formed by his action and having him as sovereign. He sees what others don't. So there's no point in trying to look better than others in front of others (Mt 6.1-18). That's the natural outcome of acknowledging that God is king and I'm a weakling who needs mercy from God, so why would I care about looking better than other sinners?

So no acting like the righteousness-for-social-status folk. Real righteousness exceeds theirs (Mt 5.13-20). The hackneyed statement is that God is the only audience, though it wasn't hackneyed when Kierkegaard said it.

Yet Jesus says that righteousness is still mission-focused and so outward-looking. God is taking back his world, and the subjects of his kingdom are his means of doing that. They are salt. They are light. They will look different in public than other folk. Together they constitute a shining city on a hill, beckoning those around to join them. When their light shines, God gets glorified.

Which isn't automatic. They get persecuted (Mt 5.10-12), for the sake of the very righteousness that the Sermon refocuses, which is to say for Jesus' sake. There's no taking the offense out of the gospel, and it's no use to try to aim the offense to hit only the people we don't like, like rich folks or religious folks or secular-humanistic folks or "tolerant" folks.

And in all that, righteousness doesn't judge (Mt 7.1-6). It looks first to self, where the log in the eye must be self-removed by God's grace. But then righteousness helps remove the speck in the sibling's eye. It's about taking the world back, one eye at a time.

What does Jesus' Sermon say about St. Tim? Well, he could be shining a salty light, kneeling in humility, or he could be seeking the praise of men. Or both: people now and then admit to mixed motives. Some cry, "Lord, Lord," (Mt 7.21-23) but don't do what the Lord says. The Lord, Tebow's judge, knows.

But Tebow didn't ipso facto break a dominical rule by taking a knee. Jesus didn't come simply to establish the definitive boundaries of religious observance. Like doing that would require a cross.

Note to all who want to discuss the Bible in public: don't start your discourse by claiming to have a "more deep" [sic] understanding of Scripture. But if you do, ask for mercy. Logs and specks: we've all got 'em.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

one sentence bible story

Greg Beale distills the Old and New Testament to one sentence each.

The OT storyline appears best to be summarized as: the historical story of God who progressively reestablishes his new creational kingdom out of chaos over a sinful people by his word and Spirit through promise, covenant, and redemption, resulting in worldwide commission to the faithful to extend that new creation rule and resulting in judgment for the unfaithful (defeat and exile), all of which issues into his glory.

The NT storyline can be summarized as: Jesus’ life of covenantal obedience, trials, judgmental death for sinners, and especially resurrection by the Spirit has launched the fulfillment of the eschatological already-and-not-yet promised new creation reign, bestowed by grace through faith and resulting in worldwide commission to the faithful to extend this new creation rule and resulting in judgment for the unfaithful, unto God’s glory.


a covenantal god

In holiness and sexuality, David Peterson writes this correct observation:

Under the Sinai Covenant, Israel was set apart by God to be his own ‘treasured possession among all peoples’, ‘a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Ex. 19:5-6; cf. Dt. 14:2). Holiness was a status conferred by divine promise and divine redemption. It was also a calling to be lived out in obedience to God’s voice and in keeping the covenant he had made with them. A common factor in the terms describing Israel’s vocation in Exodus 19:5-6 is the note of separation from the nations, so as to be uniquely at God’s disposal. As ‘a holy nation’, they were to demonstrate what it means to live under the direct rule of God, with God’s sanctifying presence in their midst. As ‘a priestly kingdom’, they were to serve the Lord exclusively and thus be a people through whom his character and will might be displayed to the world. In this way, God’s original promise to bring blessing to all the nations would be enacted (cf. Gen. 12:1-3).

It is important to dwell on this last point. Israel’s sanctification was meant to be for the blessing of the nations. As Israel fulfilled her holy calling, the attractiveness of being in a relationship with the one true God would be demonstrated to the whole world. God’s creation purposes, marred and obscured because of sin, would be enacted and thus made clear to all. But the rest of the Old Testament shows how Israel compromised her calling and adopted the beliefs and practices of the nations. Judgement, rather than blessing and salvation, was the consequence of a lack of holiness.

Under the Sinai covenant, pollution and sin were to be avoided in every aspect of life, and there was to be a complete break with every form of idolatry and false religion. Separation from the nations and consecration to God were two different facets of their exclusive relationship with the Lord.

consciousness of sin

J. Gresham Machen, in What is Faith, writes:

The companionship of Jesus is indeed a gracious thing for burdened souls; but it is a terrible thing for those who have any trust in a righteousness of their own. No man can call Jesus friend who does not also call Him Lord; and no man can call Him Lord who could not say first; ‘Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, Lord.’

At the root of all true companionship with Jesus, therefore, is the consciousness of sin and with it the reliance upon His mercy; to have fellowship with Him it is necessary to learn the terrible lesson of God’s law. 


the evolution heretic

I'm not on an anti-evolution kick. It's just that a couple of these things have come across my desk and I thought they were worthy of sharing with whoever is out there reading this.

Here's an interesting short biography of Alfred Russel Wallace colleague and friend of Charles Darwin.

More information here.


Friday, January 20, 2012

ascertain assurance

J.C. Ryle wrote:

Leave no stone unturned in order to ascertain your own spiritual state. Be not content with vague hopes and trusts. Rest not on warm feelings and temporary desires after God. Give diligence to make your calling and election sure. Oh, allow me to say that if you are content to live on, uncertain about salvation, you live the maddest life in the world! The fires of hell are before you—and you are uncertain whether your soul is saved. This world below must soon be left—and you are uncertain whether you have a mansion prepared to receive you in the world above. The judgment will soon be set—and you are uncertain whether you have an Advocate to plead your cause. Eternity will soon begin—and you are uncertain whether you are prepared to meet God. Oh, sit down this day, and study the subject of salvation! Give God no rest until uncertainty has disappeared, and you have got hold of a reasonable hope that you are saved.


I'm thinking Hebrews 10.19-25 ...

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Some thoughts from David Berlinski on why the evolution dog just doesn't hunt ...


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

danger of hell

Mark Driscoll on Heaven and Hell ... well, in this section mostly hell ... so what about you? Are you in danger?

Jesus is exclusive ...

i'm against hurting women too

Interesting (and helpful) exchange shared by Sam Crabtree.

“What do you say to the person who does have that information—the person who knows approximately how many women have been injured by coat hanger abortions in the United States and how many young women have been injured by legal abortions—what do you say to the person who has that information and knows that the number of woman inured by coat hanger abortions is less than one percent of the women who have been injured by legal abortions?”

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I love this kind of stuff ...

grace, happiness, christ, and the bible

Dane Ortlund has suggested that the grace of God can be found in every book of the Bible. I agree.He writes:
... while the Bible is not uniform, it is unified. The many books of the one Bible are not like the many pennies in the one jar. The pennies in the jar look the same, yet are disconnected; the books of the Bible (like the organs of a body) look different, yet are interconnected. As the past two generations' recovery of biblical theology has shown time and again, certain motifs course through the Scripture from start to end, tying the whole thing together into a coherent tapestry--kingdom, temple, people of God, creation/new creation, and so on. Yet underneath and undergirding all of these, it seems to me, is the motif of God's grace, his favor and love to the undeserving.
Read his post for his insight to grace.

On a different but related point, The Old Guys posted this from John Calvin's Commentaries on Ephesians:
The full certainty of future happiness rests on the revelation of God’s love to us in Christ, which He makes in the gospel.
And then Erik posts this insight from J.C. Ryle:
The true Christian is not justified because of any goodness of his own. His peace is not to be traced up to any work that he has done. It is not purchased by his prayers and regularity, his repentance and his amendment, his morality and his charity. All these are utterly unable to justify him. In themselves they are defective in many things and need a large forgiveness. And as to justifying him, such a thing is not to be named. Tried by the perfect standard of God’s law the best of Christians is nothing better than a justified sinner, a pardoned criminal. As to merit, worthiness, desert, or claim upon God’s mercy—he has none. Peace built on any such foundations as these is utterly worthless. The man who rests upon them is miserably deceived. The true Christian is counted righteous for the sake of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He is justified because of the death and atonement of Christ.
Which leads me to this excellent reminder posted by Of First Importance quoting Peter Leithart:
Scripture everywhere teaches about Christ. His life, death, and resurrection are the hinge on which the drama of Scripture turns.

Monday, January 16, 2012


"Now it is your turn! Drink and let your nakedness be exposed!" Hab 2.16a (NIV)

holiness and sexuality

In his writing on holiness and sexuality, David Peterson posits "To allow the legitimacy of homosexual acts would frustrate the divine purpose and deny the perfection of God’s provision of two sexes to support and complement one another." His start point for argument is two-fold. I agree with him and I've copied them below:

Holiness and sexuality

We live in a culture that has abandoned traditional sexual values, many of which were informed by Scripture. Even church leaders regularly endorse cultural, rather than scriptural standards. Engaging in debates about sexuality, we find ourselves confronted with fundamental questions about the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. We are challenged to explain why the Bible’s teaching on sexuality has any relevance to our world today.

This article focuses on homosexuality because it is currently so contentious in Christian circles. Theologically and pastorally, however, homosexuality cannot be considered in isolation from human sexual behaviour more generally. What we conclude with regard to homosexuality has profound implications for what we say about every other form of sexuality. Similarly, biblical teaching about homosexuality must be understood in relation to the broader perspectives of Scripture on sexuality. One of the most serious errors in the current debate is the isolation of homosexuality from this wider context.


In addition to such arguments, the issue of justice for homosexuals is also brought into the discussion by many pro-gay church leaders. But the language of holiness is rarely heard. This is remarkable since holiness is the theological context and motivation for the teaching of the Mosaic law about sexual behaviour (Lev. 18:1-30; 20:7-26). Holiness is similarly the basis of Paul’s appeal for distinctive sexual behaviour in several key passages (e.g. 1 Thes. 4:1-8; 1 Cor. 6:9-20; 2 Cor. 6:14 – 7:2). How law and gospel differ in this connection remains to be explored. However, in terms of biblical theology, holiness rather than justice, love, tolerance, unity or personal fulfilment should be our first consideration. Holiness is a gospel issue that cannot be side-stepped.

The consistency of Scripture

In this article, I want to approach the relevant biblical material on holiness and sexuality, to demonstrate the overall consistency of Scripture on this subject. Beginning with the law of Moses, I will expose the framework and purpose of the teaching in Leviticus about sexuality. In so doing, I will show links with the fundamental purposes of God in creation, as revealed in the early chapters of Genesis. Turning to the teaching of Jesus, I will show how he similarly highlights the foundational purposes of God in creation when considering issues of marriage and sexuality. Jesus endorses the essential teaching of the law in this area, while enunciating the radical holiness which is at the heart of the New Covenant he inaugurates.

When the letters of Paul are studied against this background, it is clear that the foundational purposes of God in creation are the basis of his thinking about sexual matters. At the same time, he makes a clear link between holiness and sexuality, as in the Mosaic law. However, the newness of the situation is that sanctification is achieved for us through the redemptive work of Christ. The outcome of that redemption is the present work of the Spirit, empowering God’s people for holiness, and ultimately the resurrection of the body. All this is the context for the apostle’s teaching about the way we use our bodies now.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

inviting confidence

In Christianity and Liberalism, J. Gresham Machen writes:

Jesus did not invite the confidence of men by minimizing the load which He offered to bear. He did not say: “Trust me to give you acceptance with God, because acceptance with God is not difficult; God does not regard sin so seriously after all.” On the contrary Jesus presented the wrath of God in a more awful way than it was afterwards presented by His disciples; it was Jesus— Jesus whom modern liberals represent as a mild-mannered exponent of an indiscriminating love—it was Jesus who spoke of the outer darkness and the everlasting fire, of the sin that shall not be forgiven either in this world or in that which is to come. There is nothing in Jesus’ teaching about the character of God which in itself can evoke trust. On the contrary the awful presentation can give rise, in the hearts of us sinners, only to despair. Trust arises only when we attend to God’s way of salvation. And that way is found in Jesus. Jesus did not invite the confidence of men by a minimizing presentation of what was necessary in order that sinners might stand faultless before the awful throne of God. On the contrary, he invited confidence by the presentation of His own wondrous Person. Great was the guilt of sin, but Jesus was greater still. God, according to Jesus, was a loving Father; but He was a loving Father, not of the sinful world, but of those whom He Himself had brought into His Kingdom through the Son.

The truth is, the witness of the New Testament, with regard to Jesus as the object of faith, is an absolutely unitary witness. The thing is rooted far too deep in the records of primitive Christianity ever to be removed by any critical process. The Jesus spoken of in the New Testament was no mere teacher of righteousness, no mere pioneer in a new type of religious life, but One who was regarded, and regarded Himself, as the Savior whom men could trust.

But [the modern liberal] does not stand in a religious relation to Jesus. Jesus for him is an example for faith, not the object of faith. [He] tries to have faith in God like the faith which he supposes Jesus had in God; but he does not have faith in Jesus.

the law

Joe Thorn in Note to Self; "God’s revealed will and standard of righteousness … Essentially, the law shows us three things: it shows us what’s right, what’s wrong, and what’s needed."

On what is right, Thorn proffers:

He has not left us with unclear generalities about loving God and neighbor, but he has told us what he wants from us with great specificity. God commands us to care for the poor, the fatherless, and the widow. He calls his people to give generously, and to be kind and hospitable to the sojourner among them. He tells husbands how to love their wives, wives how to honor their husbands, children how to honor their parents, and parents how to raise their children. God’s law tells us what sin is, and that we must reject it and pursue the righteousness reflected in his commands. The law shows us what is right.

This is grace, that God has given us his clear and understandable Word.


"My breath disgusts my wife; everyone in my family turns away." Job 19.17 (CEV)

that's a lot of people

John 3.16 from the folks at Focus on the Family ...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

imitating jesus

In Christianity and Liberalism, J. Gresham Machen writes:

Jesus was not for Paul merely an example for faith; He was primarily the object of faith ... imitation of Jesus, important though it was for Paul, was swallowed up by something far more important still. Not the example of Jesus, but the redeeming work of Jesus, was the primary thing for Paul. The religion of Paul was not primarily faith in God like Jesus’ faith; it was faith in Jesus; Paul committed to Jesus without reserve the eternal destinies of his soul. That is what we mean when we say that Paul stood in a truly religious relation to Jesus.


David Peterson writes:

In both biblical testaments, holiness is first a status conferred by God on those he has redeemed and drawn to himself (e.g. Ex. 19:4-6; 1 Cor. 1:2, 30; 6:11). It is also a calling to be lived out in obedience to his word, in separation from the world and its values (e.g. Lv. 19:1; 1 Thes. 4:1-8). Holiness is an expression of the covenant relationship in which God has placed us. We are to bear witness to a fallen world of God’s character and intentions for humanity by our distinctive, God-determined lifestyle (e.g. 1 Pet. 2:9-12).

road map or ?

Matt Chandler explains the difference between the "road map to life" approach to reading the Bible as opposed to what God has done through Christ to bring reconciliation and glory to Himself. Here he uses the story of David and Galiath to demonstrate.

we are saints

There's a popular notion that we, the redeemed are "sinners who are forgiven". I don't agree. We are saints and sadly we sin. But we are no longer slaves to sin. We are the righteousness of Christ. Michael Patton posts an excellent article by Robert Suacy here. It's long but if you wrestle with this concept, worth reading.

Regarding our identity however, I loved this part ...

Consideration of the scriptural description of the believer and his activity obviously reveals a mixture of sin and holiness. But when the focus is on the actual description of the person’s identity, the picture is decidedly positive. Even in the Old Testament, believers are described as living with a heart of integrity, soundness, and uprightness (e.g., 1 Kings 8:61; 9:4 {1 Kgs 9:4}; Pss. 78:72 {Ps 78:72}; 119:7 {Ps 119:7}). This of course does not mean that they were sinless or unaware of their sin. But they had a heart and life that was fundamentally devoted to God. Turning to the New Testament, Christians are frequently addressed as “saints” (e.g., Acts 9:32; Eph 1:1; Col 1:2). This surely has reference to their status in Christ, but other descriptions reveal that it also denotes something about their nature. Believers in the Lord are “sons” and “children of God” which, along with speaking of position or status, also depicts something of the nature of believers who are now oriented toward righteousness (1 John 2:29-3:2 {1 John 3:2}). Those in Christ are also called “light” (Eph 5:8) and “sons of light” (1 Thess 5:5), which means “they are characterized by light” as a result of the “transformation that takes place when anyone believes.”

The believer is part of the “new creation” (2 Cor 5:17). He has put off the “old man” and put on the “new man” (Col 3:9-10; cf. Rom 6:6). This transition refers to the believer’s transference from the old corporate humanity under the headship of Adam to the new humanity with Christ as Head. But it also has reference to a change in the individual.6 Pointing to the imagery used of putting off and putting on clothing, Lincoln rightly explains that this “change of clothing imagery signifies an exchange of identities, and the concepts of the old and the new persons reinforce this.” Since the appellation “new man” also has reference to the individual, the descriptions of it as “created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Eph 4:24) and “being renewed according to the image of the One who created him” (Col 3:10) both have reference to the individual believer. Thus Bruce says, “The new man who is created is the new personality that each believer becomes when he is reborn as a member of the new creation whose source of life is Christ.” Putting off the old man and putting on the new are related to the teaching of the believer’s death and resurrection with Christ (Rom 6:4-6).9 In codeath and coresurrection the individual’s identity is radically changed. The old “I” dies and the new “I” rises in newness of life (Gal 2:20).

These descriptions of the Christian clearly indicate a positive identity and refer not only to status but also to the nature of the believer. This conclusion is borne out by the fact that the apostolic exhortation to new ethical behavior is made directly on the basis of the believer’s new identity. The apostles were not grounding their hope for a new behavior simply on a new position or status, but on a new nature which can produce new actions. True, these actions are due to the life of God in the believer and are called “the fruit of the Spirit.” But at the same time they are the product of the believer even as the fruit of the vine is the fruit of the branches (John 15:2-5,16). The exhortations to new ethical life are based on the principle Jesus taught that “good fruit” is borne by “good trees” (Matt 7:17). The nature as well as the identity of the believer is therefore seen as primarily “good.”

These descriptions of the believer point in the direction of the root identity of the Christian as “a saint who sins,” rather than “a sinner who is saved.”


Since everyone else is doing it, so shall I...

There's a video from Jefferson Bethke (based on his poem) that has gone viral. It has a lot of good in it ... but I didn't like it.

Jared Wilson and Kevin DeYoung have written excellent posts on what is good and what is not good ... or more precisely, what is not true and perhaps misleading.

I'll not repeat these. I'll only say read the posts and ask yourself, have you joined the I hate religion/the church bandwagon or do you love the Bride of Christ? Do you propagate the notion that all religion is the same or speak-out against false-religion (of all forms - not just false christian religion) and pronounce the truth of the Gospel into those gaps? Do you contribute to the idea that religion is inherently bad or do you teach as Christ that true religion is good and that we are to love and obey Him and His commands - implying that we must learn and understand these?

Anyway, enough said, read Wilson and DeYoung ...

Oh, and this is not a new thing, we also struggled with keeping the differentiation clear when we were young.

Update: DeYoung and Bethke exchange emails. Bethke impresses me.

Update 2:


Thursday, January 12, 2012

slavery as an excuse

Just today I heard someone reinforce the popular notion that the Bible supports slavery (e.g., President Obama here at 0.23 ... not sure the rest is really worth listening to). We have been enlightened to know that is not right, so we should also be ok with homosexuality. No.

First the Bible does not endorse slavery.

Second, it explicitly calls homosexuality among other things sin.

Third, there's no logical connect.

ordo salutis

Hey, if you like latin phrases such as Ordo Salutis as I do, and you're a Calvinist as I am, and you appreciate charts as I do, then you will really like this by Tim Challies.

the evolution of beards

Thanks to Joe Thorn for sharing this hierarchy of beards (larger version here).

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

melinda explains ...

Melinda at STR writes this on faith:
... Faith isn't a way of knowing. It's trusting in what we have come to know to be true. Faith is laying hold personally of what is true in the Bible. Knowledge is the first step and it's no different than coming to know about anything else. So it can be discussed between those who have faith and those who don't because they're both operating in the same way to evaluate truth claims. Faith comes after knowing. ...
And this on proclaiming it:
... essential to the what the Bible teaches is that it's not subjective or relative. It's true for all people. Things happened in history that were witnessed and reported. And what the Bible teaches is for all people. ...

eternal security

J.C. Ryle wrote in Old Paths:

When I speak of the doctrine of perseverance, I mean this. I say that the Bible teaches that true believers, real genuine Christians, shall persevere in their religion to the end of their lives. They shall never perish. They shall never be lost. They shall never be cast away. Once in Christ, they shall always be in Christ. Once made children of God by adoption and grace, they shall never cease to be His children, and become children of the devil. Once endued with the grace of the Spirit, that grace shall never be taken from them. Once pardoned and forgiven, they shall never be deprived of their pardon. Once joined to Christ by living faith, their union shall never be broken off. Once called by God into the narrow way that leads to life, they shall never be allowed to fall into hell. In a word, every man, woman, and child on earth who receives saving grace, shall sooner or later receive eternal glory. Every soul who is once justified and washed in Christ’s blood, shall at length be found safe at Christ’s right hand in the day of judgment.


love and wrath

Sam Storms in The Hope of Glory:

If the Father truly loved the Son, surely he would not have exposed him to such horrific suffering. How can the Son be ‘beloeved’ of the Father and yet also the object of his wrath and judgment? Such is the glorious, soul-saving, redemptive mystery of penal substitutionary atonement.

It is possible because the Son and the Father are united in their love for the elect and together entered into a covenant to redeem them from their sins. This could only be accomplished by the Son’s willingly and freely offering himself as a substitute who would wholly absorb the wrath of the Father, which those for whom he died deserved.


Saturday, January 07, 2012

preach to self

Joe Thorn, in Note to Self, wrote:

Preaching to ourselves is the personal act of applying the law and the gospel to our own lives with the aim of experiencing the transforming grace of God leading to ongoing faith, repentance, and greater godliness.