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Showing posts from December, 2012

you are accepted

"Only a fraction of the present body of professing Christians are solidly appropriating the justifying work of Christ in their lives. Many… have a theoretical commitment to this doctrine, but in their day-to-day existence they rely on their sanctification for justification… drawing their assurance of acceptance with God from their sincerity, their past experience of conversion, their recent religious performance or the relative infrequency of their conscious, willful disobedience.  "Few know enough to start each day with a thoroughgoing stand upon Luther’s platform: you are accepted , looking outward in faith and claiming the wholly alien righteousness of Christ as the only ground for acceptance, relaxing in that quality of trust which will produce increasing sanctification as faith is active in love and gratitude…  "Much that we have interpreted as a defect of sanctification in church people is really an outgrowth of their loss of bearing with respect to justificati

on the incarnation

Below is a lightly edited excerpt from the second section of Athanasius' writing, On the Incarnation , written about AD 320.   "The Divine Dilemma and Its Solution in the Incarnation" Now He [ the Word ] entered the world in a new way, stooping to our level in His love and Self-revealing to us.  He saw the reasonable race of men that, like Himself, expressed the Father's Mind, wasting out of existence, and death  reigning over all in their corruption. He saw that corruption held us, because it was the penalty for the transgression.  He saw how unthinkable it would be for the law to be repealed before it was fulfilled.  He saw how unfitting it would be for the very things which He Himself made should disappear. He saw how the surpassing wickedness of men was mounting up against them.  He saw their universal bondage to death.  All this He saw. And He pitied our race.  He was moved with compassion for our limitation, and was unwilling that death sh

the cradle, cross, and crown

At the center of the history of redemption is a cradle, a cross, and a crown.   All of the Old Testament, from creation to the fall of the first Adam, from the calling of Abraham and God's purposes for Israel, and including all the prophets, spoke in preparation and in foreshadowing of the Coming One, the last Adam, the God-man who would make all things right.   "When we could not come to him, he came to us."  The truth of the incarnation is vital to the gospel: unless the Messiah would be both man and God he could not accomplish what he needed to accomplish.  He must be infinitely strong to save (God) and he must be a perfect Substitute for us (fully human).  Then his death could be a full atonement, a completely gracious redemption.  We could not come to him unless he came to us. This is the center of history: the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. An accomplished salvation at his initiative.  A Savior in every sense of the word.   Now in the New T

the first rejection

"And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no  place for them in the inn." (Luke 2:7) In my reading recently I pondered this passage in 1 Peter... "As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious , you yourselves like living  stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God  through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: 'Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious , and  whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.' So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, ' The  stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone ,' and 'A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.'  (1 Peter 2:4 -8a ESV) Being born in a stable was just the first of many rejections.  Jesus was born in a b

what brings the glory down

Finished reading James MacDonald's Vertical Church .  The church is first and foremost about God's glory and manifested  presence.  People should sense this, and even the outsider  "...falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you." (1 Corinthians 14:25) The Pillars of a vertical church (what brings the glory down): Unapologetic Preaching Unashamed Adoration Unceasing Prayer from God's people Unafraid Witness by God's people A couple of final quotes... On relational evangelism : “The power of the gospel is not in the relational capacity of the witness but in the message itself.  Friendship evangelism, lifestyle evangelism, relational evangelism—all of it flows from our desire to avoid what cannot be avoided.  I will say it again, if you are not willing to be the aroma of death to those who are perishing, you can’t be the aroma of life to those who are being saved.  The idea of having conversations with a pe

theology as worship

We should only speak about God when we speak from and through him.  Theology should be formed as a fire within us... "Religion, the fear of God, must therefore be the element which inspires and animates all theological investigation. That must be  the pulse-beat of the science. A theologian is a  person who makes bold to speak about God because he speaks out of God and through  God. To profess theology is to do holy work. It is a priestly ministration in the house of  the Lord. It is itself a service of worship, a consecration of mind and heart to the honor  of His name." (--Herman Bavinck, Inaugural Address at the Free University of Amsterdam, 1902.)

the folly of the Lord

O Simplicitas  An angel came to me And I was unprepared  To be what God was using. Mother I was to be. A moment I despaired, Thought briefly of refusing. The angel knew I heard. According to God's Word I bowed to this strange choosing. A palace should have been The birthplace of a king (I had no way of knowing). We went to Bethlehem; It was so strange a thing. The wind was cold, and blowing, My cloak was old, and thin. They turned us from the inn; The town was overflowing. God's Word, a child so small, Who still must learn to speak, Lay in humiliation. Joseph stood, strong and tall. The beasts were warm and meek  And moved with hesitation. The Child born in a stall? I understood it: all. Kings came in adoration. Perhaps it was absurd: The stable set apart, The sleepy cattle lowing; And the incarnate Word Resting against my heart. My joy was overflowing. The shepherds came, adored The folly of the Lord, Wiser than all men's knowing.