Wednesday, January 31, 2007

how am i righteous before God?

Here's my analysis of Heidelberg #60 -

Question 60. How are you righteous before God?
Answer: Only by a true faith in Jesus Christ.

Even though:
A. My conscience accuses me.
B. I have grossly transgressed all the commandments of God, and kept none of them, and
C. The fact that I am still inclined to all evil.

Nevertheless, God, without any merit of mine, but only of mere grace:
C. Grants and imputes to me, the perfect satisfaction, righteousness and holiness of Christ, as if I had never committed any sin. More than that, as if I had fully accomplished all the obedience which Christ has accomplished for me.

Conclusion: I benefit from C. simply and only because I embrace these benefits with a believing heart.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

christianity - what it's not, what it is

"Christianity is not a religion of ethics, morality, or politics. Its central message is the proclamation of the death of God’s Son, under God's curse, dying in unspeakable anguish to turn aside God’s holy hatred of sin, so that all who trust in him and in him alone can be saved from God’s wrath and be assured of God’s favor toward them. If we lose that message we have lost Christianity itself."

- Dr. Kim Riddlebarger

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

the law is spiritual

-from Martin Luther's Intro to Romans

"In chapter 7, St. Paul says, "The law is spiritual." What does that mean? If the law were physical, then it could be satisfied by works, but since it is spiritual, no one can satisfy it unless everything he does springs from the depths of the heart.

But no one can give such a heart except the Spirit of God, who makes the person be like the law, so that he actually conceives a heartfelt longing for the law and henceforward does everything, not through fear or coercion, but from a free heart.

Such a law is spiritual since it can only be loved and fulfilled by such a heart and such a spirit. If the Spirit is not in the heart, then there remain sin, aversion and enmity against the law, which in itself is good, just and holy."

Thursday, January 11, 2007

faith is defiance

Faith is defiance. Abraham’s faith defied every possibility that he saw, in favor of the “impossible” word that he heard. This is why “faith comes by hearing … that is, the word of faith which we preach” (Rom. 10:17). To trust in God is to distrust every other promise-maker. The world makes a lot of promises: “Try this product and you’ll be ….” Constantly buying into new fads or makeovers as so many fig leaves to hide the seriousness of our condition, we hand ourselves over to marketers who persuade us that we can attain salvation, however we define that. Even the church can become a place where people get the idea that they exist merely to usher in the kingdom by serving on committees and being involved in a thousand programs. We have a lot of purposes, a lot of goals—some of them noble. Desperate to save ourselves and our kids from everything but the wrath of God, we fail to realize that, however watered down, these are all nothing but law rather than promise. Eventually, we will become burned out on good advice. What we need is good news.

- Michael Horton
- excerpt from The Promise Driven Life

Monday, January 08, 2007

ready to forgive

As Spurgeon once wrote, salvation is "all of grace". Yet, we need to be reminded also, that sanctification - the Christian life - is all of grace too. I'm more and more convinced that the evidence of sanctification is not primarily victory over sin, but an ever brightening realization of the depths of sin in one's own heart, and at the same time, an ever leaning trust in the life and death of Christ on our account.

Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to thy cross I cling.

"That he (God) is ready to forgive appears in this yet more glorious fact, that what God demands of man by the gospel he also works in him by his spirit; as for confession of sin he puts the words into the sinner's mouth, repentance he works in the sinner's heart, and saving faith his own Spirit creates in the sinner's soul. Is he not ready to forgive when even what might be called the condition of pardon in one light is under another aspect a gift of free grace?" - C.H. Spurgeon

Friday, January 05, 2007

luther on the mosaic law

The Law of Moses Binds Only the Jews and Not the Gentiles

"Here the law of Moses has its place. It is no longer binding on us (New Testament believers)
because it was given only to the people of Israel. And Israel accepted
this law for itself and its descendants, while the Gentiles were
excluded. To be sure, the Gentiles have certain laws in common with
the Jews, such as these: there is one God, no one is to do wrong to
another, no one is to commit adultery or murder or steal, and others
like them. This is written by nature into their hearts; they did not
hear it straight from heaven as the Jews did. This is why this entire
text does not pertain to the Gentiles. I say this on account of the
enthusiasts. (2) For you see and hear how they read Moses, extol
him, and bring up the way he ruled the people with commandments. They
try to be clever, and think they know something more than is presented
in the gospel; so they minimize faith, contrive something new, and
boastfully claim that it comes from the Old Testament. They desire to
govern people according to the letter of the law of Moses, as if no
one had ever read it before.

But we will not have this sort of thing. We would rather not preach
again for the rest of our life than to let Moses return and to let
Christ be torn out of our hearts. We will not have Moses as ruler or
lawgiver any longer. Indeed God himself will not have it either. Moses
was an intermediary solely for the Jewish people. It was to them that
he gave the law. We must therefore silence the mouths of those
factious spirits who say, "Thus says Moses," etc. Here you simply
reply: Moses has nothing to do with us. If I were to accept Moses in
one commandment, I would have to accept the entire Moses. Thus the
consequence would be that if I accept Moses as master, then I must
have myself circumcised, (3) wash my clothes in the Jewish way, eat
and drink and dress thus and so, and observe all that stuff. So, then,
we will neither observe nor accept Moses. Moses is dead. His rule
ended when Christ came. He is of no further service."