Archive for June, 2011

Soul Shrinking

Posted: June 30, 2011 by doulos tou Theou in Uncategorized

“We grow small trying to be great.”

Eli Stanley Jones.

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You cannot merely decide to love classical music or country western music – much less God. The music must become compelling. Something must change inside of you. That change makes possible the awakening of a compelling sense of attractiveness. So it is with God. You do not merely decide to love Him. Something changes inside of you, and as a result He becomes compellingly attractive. His glory – His beauty – compels your admiration and delight. He becomes your supreme treasure. You love Him.

– John Piper,”Think – The Life of the Mind and the Love of God”, pg 87

What must we do, then, to be saved? To find God we must repent of the things we have done wrong, but if that is all you do, you may remain just an elder brother. To truly become a Christian we must also repent of the reasons we ever did anything right. Pharisees only repent of their sins, but Christians repent for the very roots of their righteousness, too. We must learn how to repent of the sin under all our other sins and under all our righteousness – the sin of seeking to be our own Savior and Lord. We must admit that we’ve put our ultimate hope in both our wrongdoing and right doing we have been seeking to get around God or get control of God in order to get hold of those things.

It is only when you see the desire to be your own Savior and Lord—lying beneath both your sins and your moral goodness—that you are on the verge of becoming a Christian indeed. When you realize that the antidote to being bad is not just being good, you are on the brink. If you follow through, it will change everything—how you relate to God, self, others, the world, your work, you sins, your virtue. It’s called the new birth because its so radical”

– Tim Keller. The Prodigal God

Isaiah 50

Posted: June 24, 2011 by doulos tou Theou in Biblical Studies, Christianity

by Don Carson

ISAIAH 50 HAS A TRANSITIONAL importance that belies its brevity. In Isaiah 50:1–3 God addresses the children of Israel in exile, especially those who think he has utterly abandoned them. He hasn’t. He has neither divorced their mother, i.e., Zion, nor sold them into slavery to pay off some creditor—so the way back to him is still open. In this light, the last two lines of Isaiah 50:1 should be read as irony: if the children were “sold” or the mother “sent away” in any sense, it was because of their sin, not because of some final legal action on God’s part. Moreover, the sovereign Creator is certainly capable of bringing them back (Isa. 50:2b–3). The real question is, why did none of them come to him when he called? (Isa. 50:2a).

Then the Servant speaks (Isa. 50:4–9), more to himself than to others, but so as to be overheard (Isa. 50:10–11). Who is he? There have been many suggestions: Isaiah, or a sixth-century disciple of Isaiah; Jeremiah; Israel, personified as an abused and suffering person (cf. Ps. 129:1–3). As the book unfolds, Isaiah will make the Servant’s identity clear. Even now, observe his characteristics: This Servant is a gifted counselor. His words sustain the weary, for he himself has an ear for all the Sovereign Lord says, and he has not been rebellious (Isa. 50:4–5—unlike Israel). Thus he is a perfect disciple, but of the Lord, not of Isaiah (compare John 5:18ff.). He does not draw back from obedience (Isa. 50:5), even in the face of implacable abuse (Isa. 50:6; cf. Matt. 27:30; Mark 14:65; 15:19). The Sovereign Lord sustains him in his mission, so he sets his face like a flint to complete the task assigned him (Isa. 50:7; cf. Luke 9:51), confident that God will finally vindicate him (Isa. 50:7–9; cf. Phil. 2:9–11).

How, then, does the second part of this chapter relate to the first? Surely in this way: those who are addressed in Isaiah 50:1–3 still seem alienated, distant, unresponsive, cynical, while here in Isaiah 50:10–11 a line is drawn in the sand, and this line concerns the Servant. On the one side is the person who “fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant,” who despite the terrible darkness that now engulfs him “trust[s] in the name of the LORD” (Isa. 50:10, italics added). On the other side is the person who tries to provide his or her own light, who lights fires of rebellion; God says to such a person, “This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment” (Isa. 50:11). Thus the identity of “the people of God” is undergoing subtle redefinition. In Isaiah 49:8–12 they embrace both Israelites and Gentiles; here one element that defines them is that they obey the word of the Lord’s Servant.

HT: For the Love of God

A great day

Posted: June 23, 2011 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship, The Christian Life

A day is coming when banknotes will be as useless as rags, and gold will be as worthless as the dust of the earth. A day is coming when thousands will care nothing for the things for which they once lived, and will desire nothing so much as the things which they once despised. The mansions and palaces will be forgotten in the desire of a “house not made with hands.” The favor of the rich and great will be remembered no more, in the longing for the favor of the King of kings. The silks, and satins, and velvets, and laces, will be lost sight of in the anxious need of the robe of Christ’s righteousness. All will be altered, all will be changed in the great day of the Lord’s return. – Bishop J. C. Ryle, Practical Religion pg. 40

The Trinity acts as one Savior

Posted: June 21, 2011 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity

From page 13 of his book, The Pillars of Grace, Steve Lawson writes:

“… divine sovereignty in salvation involves each of the three persons of the Godhead – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All three work in perfect unity to rescue the same undeserving sinners. Within the Trinity, there is one saving purpose, one saving plan, and one saving enterprise. Those whom the Father chooses are precisely those whom the Son redeems and those whom the Spirit regenerates. The persons of the Godhead act as one Savior. The Trinity is not fractured in its saving activity. It is not divided in its direction and intent, as if each person of the Godhead seeks to save a different group of sinners. Instead, each member of the Trinity purposes and irresistibly proceeds to save one and the same people – God’s chosen people.

Sadly, many believe otherwise. They insist that the Father saves only the few sinners whom He forsees will believe in Christ, this mistakenly confusing foreknowledge (Acts 2:23; Rom. 8:29-30; 1 Peter 1:2, 20), which means “forelove,” with mere foresight. They also imagine that Christ hypothetically died for all sinners – a different group from which the Father saves – naively assuming there is only one meaning for the scriptural words world and all. They further claim that the Spirit saves yet another group, that is, some sinners whom He woos. Sadly, they mistake His internal, saving call (1 Cor 1:2, 9) for a general, non-saving conviction (Heb. 6:4-5). According to this leaky scheme, the three persons of the Godhead are purported to be pursuing three different groups of individuals – fewall, and some. Thus, the persons of the Godhead are sorely divided in Their saving activity. Even worse, the sinner – not God – reigns as the determinative in his or her salvation.

But the Bible teaches otherwise. Scripture reveals a perfect unity within the Trinity, a perfect oneness between the Father, Son, and Spirit in Their saving activities. God’s Word teaches that the Godhead acts as one Savior in saving one people. The truth is that man is not sovereign in salvation – God is. All three members work together with absolute sovereignty and unwavering resolve to save the very same people for Their own glory. This is accomplished through the free exercise of the supreme authority of all three members of the Trinity.

(HT:EffectualGrace)

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preached by Rob Sturdy