Saturday, October 27, 2007

gutsy guilt

Feeling guilty over sin? When your flesh, and the devil come to accuse you, here are some comforting words, and scripture from John Piper:

"You have a tremendous weapon against the Devil when you know your punishment for sin has already been paid in Christ and your righteousness before God has already been achieved in Christ, and you hold fast to these truths with heartfelt passion.

With this passionately embraced theology—the magnificent doctrines of substitutionary atonement and justification by faith (even if you don’t remember the names)—you can conquer the Devil tomorrow morning when he lies to you about your hopelessness.

What will you say to him? Micah 7:8-9 is a picture of what you say to your enemy when he scoffs at your defeat. I call this practice “gutsy guilt.” The believer admits that he has done wrong and that God is dealing roughly with him. But even in a condition of darkness and discipline, he will not surrender his hold on the truth that God is on his side."

Here is Micah 7:8-9 (NASB):

Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy
Though I fall I will rise;
Though I dwell in darkness, the LORD is a light for me.
I will bear the indignation of the LORD
Because I have sinned against Him,
Until He pleads my case and executes justice for me
He will bring me out to the light,
And I will see His righteousness.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

calvin on our good works

1. We have no good works which God rewards but those which we derive from his grace.

2. The good works which we perform by the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit, are the fruits of that adoption which is an act of free grace.

3. They are not only unworthy of the smallest and most inconsiderable reward, but deserve to be wholly condemned, because they are always stained by many blemishes; and what have pollutions to do with the presence of God?

4. Though a reward had been a thousand times promised to works, yet it is not due but by fulfilling the condition of obeying the law perfectly; and how widely distant are we all from that perfection!

Let Papists (and all "moral religions"*) now go and attempt to force their way into heaven by the merit of works. We cheerfully concur with Paul and with the whole Bible in acknowledging, that we are unable to do anything but by the free grace of God, and yet that the benefits resulting from our works receive the name of a reward.

* my addition

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Osteen on who's going to heaven

I got dizzy listening to how many times Osteen flip-flops on this question. He stands up on the truth for a second, but quickly steps down if it's perceived he's being intolerant. A great example of trying to please man and not God.

Friday, October 12, 2007

google recognizes c.h. spurgeon

I went to today and saw that they had an image of one of the greatest preachers in modern times - C. H. Spurgeon. Ok, not really. It's Pavarotti. But with a little Photoshopping, I can get pretty creative.

Here's some quotes from Pavarotti, er, I mean Spurgeon:

- The greatest enemy to human souls is the self-righteous spirit which makes men look to themselves for salvation.

- The Lord gets his best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.

- There is enough dust on some of your Bible's to write "damnation" with your fingers.

- Trials teach us what we are; they dig up the soil, and let us see what we are made of.

- A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.

- A sinner can no more repent and believe without the Holy Spirit's aid than he can create a world.

- A vigorous temper is not altogether an evil. Men who are easy as an old shoe are generally of little worth.

- Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.

- Beware of no man more than of yourself; we carry our worst enemies within us.

- By perseverance the snail reached the ark.

- Free will carried many a soul to hell, but never a soul to heaven.

- Giving is true having.

- Humility is to make a right estimate of one's self.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

ALL are fruits of grace

"And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,"
- 1 Corinthians 1:30 ESV

Below is a great commentary by Calvin on this passage. Basically, don't confuse justification (a judiciously declared right standing with God) with sanctification (holy living/set-apartness), but just as importantly, don't separate them either! What God declares, he absolutely brings out in our lives.

Calvin writes:
"...he (Paul) says that he is made unto us righteousness, by which he means that we are on his account acceptable to God, inasmuch as he expiated our sins by his death, and his obedience is imputed to us for righteousness. For as the righteousness of faith consists in remission of sins and a gracious acceptance, we obtain both through Christ.

Thirdly, he calls him our sanctification, by which he means, that we who are otherwise unholy by nature, are by his Spirit renewed unto holiness, that we may serve God. From this, also, we infer, that we cannot be justified freely through faith alone without at the same time living holily. For these fruits of grace are connected together, as it were, by an indissoluble tie, so that he who attempts to sever them does in a manner tear Christ in pieces. Let therefore the man who seeks to be justified through Christ, by God’s unmerited goodness, consider that this cannot be attained without his taking him at the same time for sanctification, or, in other words, being renewed to innocence and purity of life. Those, however, that slander us, as if by preaching a free justification through faith we called men off from good works, are amply refuted from this passage, which intimates that faith apprehends in Christ regeneration equally with forgiveness of sins."

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

adam's fall and mine

"Another difficult question that shrouds the doctrine of predestination is the question of how our sinful nature can be inherited from Adam. If we are born with a fallen nature, if we are born in sin, if we are born in a state of moral inability, how can God hold us responsible for our sins?" Read more

- Dr. R. C. Sproul

thunderclaps & explosions

continuing our home group study on Galatians...

Galatians 1:4 "Who gave himself for our sins."

"Paul sticks to his theme. He never loses sight of the purpose of his epistle. He does not say, "Who received our works," but "who gave." Gave what? Not gold, or silver, or paschal lambs, or an angel, but Himself. What for? Not for a crown, or a kingdom, or our goodness, but for our sins. These words are like so many thunderclaps of protest from heaven against every kind and type of self-merit. Underscore these words, for they are full of comfort for sore consciences.

How may we obtain remission of our sins? Paul answers: "The man who is named Jesus Christ and the Son of God gave himself for our sins." The heavy artillery of these words explodes papacy, works, merits, superstitions. For if our sins could be removed by our own efforts, what need was there for the Son of God to be given for them? Since Christ was given for our sins it stands to reason that they cannot be put away by our own efforts."

- Martin Luther

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

luther on galatians

"St. Paul wrote this epistle because, after his departure from the Galatian churches, Jewish-Christian fanatics moved in, who perverted Paul's Gospel of man's free justification by faith in Christ Jesus.

The world bears the Gospel a grudge because the Gospel condemns the religious wisdom of the world. Jealous for its own religious views, the world in turn charges the Gospel with being a subversive and licentious doctrine, offensive to God and man, a doctrine to be persecuted as the worst plague on earth.

As a result we have this paradoxical situation: The Gospel supplies the world with the salvation of Jesus Christ, peace of conscience, and every blessing. Just for that the world abhors the Gospel."