Archive for August, 2011

Put what you received into practice

Posted: August 31, 2011 by doulos tou Theou in Discipleship, The Christian Life

“Just as we are justified by Christ’s righteousness worked out by Him and imputed to us, so we are sanctified by holiness accomplished in Christ, then imparted to us. As our corruption was produced in the first Adam, then passed on to us, so our holiness is first produced in Christ, then passed on to us. We don’t actually work with Christ in producing holiness, but we receive holiness from Christ. We put holiness into practice by using what we already received from Christ.… The only way to be holy is to receive a new nature out of the fullness of Christ, then practice holiness out of Christ’s holiness.”

— Joel Beeke, Introduction
Walter Marshall, The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification
(Grand Rapids, Mi.: Reformation Heritage Books, 1999), x

(HT:OfFirstImportance)

Jesus is the strength in your faith

Posted: August 31, 2011 by doulos tou Theou in Uncategorized

“God justifies the believing man, not for the worthiness of his belief, but for the worthiness of Him in whom he believes” – R. Hooker

“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 salvation 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.”

— John Stott
The Cross of Christ
(Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1986), 109

(HT:OfFirstImportance)

Deal directly with Jesus

Posted: August 26, 2011 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity

“He that… wants relief must come to Christ himself. He must not be content with coming to His Church and His ordinances or to the assemblies of His people for prayer and praise. He must not stop short even at His holy table or rest satisfied with privately opening his heart to His ordained ministers. Oh no!… He must go higher, further, much further than this. He must have personal dealings with Christ Himself. All else in religion is worthless without Him. The King’s palace, the attendant servants, the richly furnished banqueting house, the very banquet itself — all are nothing, unless we speak with the King. His hand alone can take the burden off our backs and make us feel free… We must deal directly with Christ.”

– J. C. Ryle, Holiness (Old Tappan, n.d.), pages 266-267.

(HT:JohnSampon)

“We are all by nature separate and far off from God. Sin, like a great barrier-wall, rises between us and our Maker. The sense of guilt makes us afraid of Him. The sense of His holiness keeps us at a distance from Him. Born with a heart at enmity with God, we become more and more alienated from Him, by practice, the longer we live. The very first questions in religion that must be answered, are these–

”How can I draw near to God? How can I be justified? How can a sinner like me be reconciled to my Maker?”

The Lord Jesus Christ has provided an answer to these mighty questions. By His sacrifice for us on the cross, He has opened a way through the great barrier, and provided pardon and peace for sinners.” – J.C. Ryle

from an article by J.I. Packer here.

Biblically, the difference between these two conceptions of how God in love relates to fallen human beings may be pinpointed thus. Arminianism treats our Lord’s parable of the Supper to which further guests were invited in place of those who never came (Luke 14:16-24; cf. Matt. 22:1-10) as picturing the whole truth about the love of God in the gospel. On this view, when you have compared God’s relation to fallen men with that of a dignitary who invites all needy folk around to come and enjoy his bounty, you have said it all. Calvinism, however, does not stop here, but links with the picture of the Supper that of the Shepherd (John 10:11-18, 24-29) who has his sheep given him to care for (vv. 14, 16, 27; cf. 6:37-40; 17:6, 11f.), who lays down his life for them (10:15), who guarantees that all of them will in due course hear his voice (vv. 16, 27) and follow him (v. 27), and be kept from perishing forever (v. 28). In other words, Calvinism holds that divine love does not stop short at graciously inviting, but that the triune God takes gracious action to ensure that the elect respond. On this view, both the Christ who saves and the faith which receives him as Savior are God’s gifts, and the latter is as much a foreordained reality as is the former. Arminians praise God for providing a Savior to whom all may come for life; Calvinists do that too, and then go on to praise God for actually bringing them to the Savior’s feet.

So the basic difference between the two positions is not, as is sometimes thought, that Arminianism follows Scripture while Calvinism follows logic, nor that Arminianism knows the love of God while Calvinism knows only his power, nor that Arminianism affirms a connection between believing and obeying as a means and eternal life as an end which Calvinism denies, nor that Arminianism discerns a bona fide “free offer” of Christ in the gospel which Calvinism does not discern, nor that Arminianism acknowledges human responsibility before God and requires holy endeavor in the Christian life while Calvinism does not. No; the difference is that Calvinism recognizes a dimension of the saving love of God which Arminianism misses, namely God’s sovereignty in bringing to faith and keeping in faith all who are actually saved. Arminianism gives Christians much to thank God for, and Calvinism gives them more.

… All That the Father has given to the Son will come to him, and the Son will lose none of them, we are told, because he came down from heaven to do the Father’s will – and this is the Father’s will, that he should lose none of those the Father has given him ( John 6:37-40).

In other words, for the Son to lose any of those the Father has given, him he would have to be either unable or unwilling to obey the Father’s explicit command. Small wonder, then, that we read that Jesus knows his own sheep, and no one shall pluck them out of his hand.

D.A.Carson “The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God” pg 51

Solely an act of His grace

Posted: August 19, 2011 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity

Man could not
be united with God, only God could unite Himself
with man.
As a nightingale suffers thorns and bloodshed to
reach the rose it loves, so God our Saviour laid aside
His heavenly glory and humbled Himself, suffered
thorns and bloodshed to save us. Out of His great
love, He endured the cross for us to free us from
the powers of evil, sin and death and reconcile us to
Himself.
By His death and resurrection He paid the penalty
for our sin, only He could do it.
He freed us from the power of sin and death, delivered
us from the kingdom of Satan, and transferred
us to His own glorious kingdom.
This was solely an act of an act of His grace. We did not earn
it, we could not earn it.

from an excerpt of “Unveiling God: Contextualizing Christology for Islamic
Culture” in an article here

from Mr. Packer here for more insight into these points read here

The Reformers’ doctrine of justification can be summed up in the following seven points:

(1) Every man faces the judgment-seat of God, and must answer to God there for himself; nothing can shield him from this.

(2) Every man is a sinner by nature and practice, a nonconformist so far as God’s law is concerned, and therefore all he can expect is God’s wrath and rejection. Thus far the bad news; now the good news.

(3) Justification is God’s judicial act of pardoning a guilty sinner, accepting him as righteous, and receiving him as a son and heir.

(4) The sole source of justification is God’s grace, not man’s effort or initiative.

(5) The sole ground of justification is Christ’s vicarious righteousness and blood-shedding, not our own merit; nor do supposed works of supererogation, purchase of indulgences, or multiplication of masses make any contribution to it; nor do the purgatorial pains of medieval imagination have any significance, or indeed reality, in relation to it. Justification is not the prize to work for, but a gift to be received through Christ.

(6) The means of justification, here and now, is faith in Christ, understood as a pacifying and energizing trust that Christ’s sacrificial death atoned for all one’s sins.

(7) The fruit of faith, the evidence of its reality and therefore the proof that a man is a Christian as he claims to be, is a manifested repentance and life of good works.

“Cursed is the ground because of you [says the Lord]; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life” (Genesis 3:17).

Rom 8:20  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

Why did God subject the natural order to such futility because of the sin of human beings? The natural order did not sin. Humans sinned. But Paul said, “The creation was subjected to futility.” The creation was put in “bondage to corruption.” Why? God said, “Cursed be the ground because of you” (Genesis 3:17). But why? Why are there natural disasters in creation in response to moral failures in man? Why not just simple death for all the guilty offspring of Adam? Why this bloody kaleidoscope of horrific suffering century after century? Why so many children with heart-wrenching disabilities?

My answer is that God put the natural world under a curse so that the physical horrors we see around us in diseases and calamities would become vivid pictures of how horrible sin is. In other words, natural evil is a signpost pointing to the unspeakable horror of moral evil.

God disordered the natural world because of the disorder of the moral and spiritual world—that is, because of sin. In our present fallen condition, with our hearts so blinded to the exceeding wickedness of sin, we cannot see or feel how repugnant sin is. Hardly anyone in the world feels the abhorrent evil that our sin is. Almost no one is incensed or nauseated at the way they belittle the glory of God. But let their bodies be touched with pain, and God is called to give an account of himself. We are not upset at the way we injure his glory, but let him injury our little pinky finger and all our moral outrage is aroused. Which shows how self-exalting and God-dethroning we are.

read the whole sermon here

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

Bunyan quote on prayer

Posted: August 15, 2011 by doulos tou Theou in The Christian Life

“You can do more than pray, after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.” – John Bunyan

“Father”, that One Word

Posted: August 15, 2011 by doulos tou Theou in Uncategorized

The Gospel for everyday

Posted: August 12, 2011 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship, The Christian Life

Scripture is of no use to us if we read it merely as a handbook for daily living without recognizing that its principle purpose is to reveal Jesus Christ and his gospel for the salvation of sinners. All Scripture coalesces in Christ, anticipated in the OT and appearing in the flesh in the NT.

In Scripture, God issues commands and threatens judgment for transgressors as well as direction for the lives of his people. Yet the greatest treasure buried in the Scriptures is the good news of the promised Messiah. Everything in the Bible that tells us what to do is “law”, and everything in the Bible that tells us what God has done in Christ to save us is “gospel.”

Much like medieval piety, the emphasis in much Christian teaching today is on what we are to do without adequate grounding in the good news of what God has done for us in Christ. “What would Jesus do?” becomes more important than “What has Jesus done?” The gospel, however, is not just something we needed at conversion so we can spend the rest of our Christian life obsessed with performance; it is something we need every day–the only source of our sanctification as well as our justification.

The law guides, but only the gospel gives. We are declared righteous–justified–not by anything that happens within us or done by us, but solely by God’s act of crediting us with Christ’s perfect righteousness through faith alone.

by Tullian Tchividjian from here

A precise God

Posted: August 11, 2011 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Puritan Faith

J.I. Packer:

Richard Rogers, the Puritan pastor of Wethersfield, Essex, at the turn of the sixteenth century, was riding one day with the local lord of the manor, who, after twitting him for some time about his “precisian” ways, asked him what it was that made him so precise. “O sir,” replied Rogers, “I serve a precise God.”

If there were such a thing as a Puritan crest, this would be its proper motto. A precise God–a God, that is, who has made precise disclosure of His mind and will in Scripture, and who expects from His servants a corresponding preciseness of belief and behavior–it was this view of God that created and controlled the historic Puritan outlook. The Bible itself led them to it. And we who share the Puritan estimate of Holy Scripture cannot excuse ourselves if we fail to show a diligence and conscientiousness equal to theirs in ordering our going according to God’s written Word. (Puritan Papers Volume 2, 246-47)

(HT:KevinDeYoung)