Monday, November 30, 2009

Our own "Isaacs"

The process of changing from a football player to a 'regular' civilian has been a difficult process; much more difficult than I had expected. Despite our best intentions, it seems we humans have a proclivity to making idols out of just about anything and everything in our lives. I know I do.

I found this excerpt from Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller both insightful and helpful.

Think of the many disappointments and troubles that beset us. Look at the more closely, and you will realize that most of the agonizing of them have to do with our own "Isaacs." In our lives there are always some things that we invest in to get a level of joy and fulfillment that only God can give. The most painful times in our lives are times in which our Isaacs, our idols, are being threatened or removed. When that happens we can respond in two ways. We can opt for bitterness and despair. We will feel entitled to wallow in those feelings, saying, "I've worked all my life to get to this place in my career, and now it's all gone!" or "I've slaved my whole life to give that girl a good life, and this is how she repays me!" We may feel at liberty to lie, cheat, take revenge, or throw away our principles in order to get some relief. Or we may simply live in permanent despondency.

Or else, like Abraham, you could take a walk up into the mountains. You could say, "I see that you may be calling me to live my life without something I never thought I could live without. But if you have, I have the only wealth, health, love honor, and security I really need and cannot lose." As many have learned and later taught, you don't realize Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have. (Keller, Timothy. Counterfeit Gods. Dutton: New York. 2009. p18-9)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

John Donne: Holy Sonnets XV



Wilt thou love God as he thee ? then digest,
My soul, this wholesome meditation,
How God the Spirit, by angels waited on
In heaven, doth make His temple in thy breast.
The Father having begot a Son most blest,
And still begetting—for he ne'er begun—
Hath deign'd to choose thee by adoption,
Co-heir to His glory, and Sabbath' endless rest.
And as a robb'd man, which by search doth find
His stolen stuff sold, must lose or buy it again,
The Sun of glory came down, and was slain,
Us whom He had made, and Satan stole, to unbind.
'Twas much, that man was made like God before,
But, that God should be made like man, much more.

John Donne

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ray Ortlund on Brothers Together in Christ

From Ray Ortlund's blog at The Gospel Coalition:

Intensely felt, openly demonstrated love between manly men of God – who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?  Three ways to create that culture in our churches:

One, “Outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:10).  No flippant put-downs.  No undercutting.  Not even waiting for the next guy to make the first move.  But me getting out of my self-concern to lift the next man up with high honor.  Doing this verbally, unashamedly.

Two, “Bear with one another” (Colossians 3:13).  Not trying to change one another.  Who appointed us to that role?  Our privilege is to bear with one another’s “weaknesses and oddities, which are such a trial to our patience, . . . to break through to the point where we take joy in [the other man’s quirkiness]” (Bonhoeffer, Life Together, page 101).

Three, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths but only such as is good for building up” (Ephesians 4:29).  Nothing could be more unAmerican than denying ourselves our right of free speech.  Men of God filter every word by a higher standard.  Even if the words wanting to come out of my mouth are factually true, the real question is, Are my words positively helping the man listening?

Manly men of God loving one another intensely and openly are a life-enriching social environment.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Gospel Coalition's Theological Vision for Ministry

From Justin Taylor's blog at The Gospel Coalition:

This week I’m highlighting the Gospel Coalition’s Theological Vision for Ministry and their characteristics for “gospel-centered ministry.”

The first was “empowered corporate worship,” the second was “evangelistic effectiveness,” the third was “counter-cultural community,” the fourth was the "integration of faith and work", and the fifth is the doing of justice and mercy.

God created both soul and body, and the resurrection of Jesus shows that he is going to redeem both the spiritual and the material. Therefore God is concerned not only for the salvation of souls but also for the relief of poverty, hunger, and injustice.

The gospel opens our eyes to the fact that all our wealth (even wealth for which we worked hard) is ultimately an unmerited gift from God. Therefore the person who does not generously give away his or her wealth to others is not merely lacking in compassion, but is unjust.

Christ wins our salvation through losing, achieves power through weakness and service, and comes to wealth through giving all away. Those who receive his salvation are not the strong and accomplished but those who admit they are weak and lost. We cannot look at the poor and the oppressed and callously call them to pull themselves out of their own difficulty. Jesus did not treat us that way. The gospel replaces superiority toward the poor with mercy and compassion.

Christian churches must work for justice and peace in their neighborhoods through service even as they call individuals to conversion and the new birth. We must work for the eternal and common good and show our neighbors we love them sacrificially whether they believe as we do or not.

Indifference to the poor and disadvantaged means there has not been a true grasp of our salvation by sheer grace.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Reading the Classics with Challies - Redemption Accomplished and Applied

Chapter III - The Perfection of the Atonement

In chapter three Murray contends that "the satisfaction of Christ is the only satisfaction for sin and is so perfect and final that it leaves no penal liability for any sin of the believer." (Murray, John. Redemption Accomplished and Applied.Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 1955. p51) Murray is writing against Roman Catholic doctrines as well as any other doctrine that might "allow the notion of human satisfaction to intrude itself in our construction of justification or sanctification" (51). In accepting any such belief, it would rob "the Redeemer of the glory of his once-for-all accomplishment."(51)

Murray proceeds to explain other features of the work of Christ which confirm it as final, perfect, and efficacious:

1. The Historic Objectivity - "In the atonement something was accomplished once for all, without any participation or contribution on our part. A work was perfected which antedates any and every recognition and response on the part of those who are beneficiaries...History with its fixed appointments and well-defined periods has significance in the drama of divine accomplishments. The historical conditioning and locating of events in time cannot be erased nor their significance under-estimated. And what is true of the event of the incarnation is true also of the redemption wrought. Both are historically located and neither is suprahistorical or contemporary." (52-3)

2. The Finality - "The atonement is a completed work, never repeated and unrepeatable...Our definition of atonement must be derived from the atonement of which the Scripture speaks. And the atonement of which Scripture speaks is the vicarious obedience, expiation, propitiation, reconciliation, and redemption performed by the Lord of glory when, once for all, he purged our sins and sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high."(53-5)

3. The Uniqueness - "Christ has indeed given us an example that we should follow in his steps. But it is never proposed that this emulation on our part is to extend to the work of expiation, propitiation, reconciliation, and redemption which he accomplished...From whatever angle we look upon his sacrifice we find its uniqueness to be inviolable as the uniqueness of his person, of his mission, and of his office."(55-6)

4. The Intrinsic Efficacy - "The atonement is the provision of the Father's love and grace. But there is equal need for remembering that the work wrought by Christ was in itself intrinsically adequate to meet all the exigencies created by our sins and all the demands of God's holiness and justice. Christ discharged the debt of sin. He did not make a token payment which God accepts in the place of the whole. Our debts are not canceled; they are liquidated. Christ procured redemption and therefore he secured it. He met in himself and swallowed up the full toll of divine condemnation and judgment against sin. He wrought righteousness which is the proper ground of complete justification and the title to everlasting life." (57-8)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Letter of Christ

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letters of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

"So, what do people discover when they “read” your life? If asked to describe what they learned from the “script of your soul”, would they compare it to the National Enquirer or some other cheap tabloid? Or would they point to evidence in you of a transcendent scribe, an author whose merciful and gracious penmanship has made himself known in how you speak and live and minister among others?"

Interesting commentary on this passage.


From The Doctrine of God by John Frame:

Support for the general aseity (independence, self-existence, self-sufficiency, self-containment) of God:
  1. God owns all things - Gen. 14:19, 22; Ps. 24:1; Ps. 50:10-12
  2. Everything possessed by creatures comes from God - Ex. 20:11; Neh. 9:6; Ps. 146:5-6
  3. When we give something back to God, we give him only what he has first given us - Luke 12:42, 16:1-8; Titus 1:7
  4. When we give something back to God, he is not obligated to recompense us- Luke 17:10
  5. So God owes nothing to any creature - Job 41:11; Rom. 11:35-36
  6. So God has no needs - Ps. 50:8-15; Is. 40:19-20, 44:15-17

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I am participating in a 'small group' studying the ordo salutis or, in English, the order of salvation. This week we are looking into regeneration. The doctrine of regeneration was one of the main 'arguments' that convinced me that reformed theology was in fact an accurate representation of the truth; at least more accurate than what I had believed before.

Our group's resources for this study are the mp3s of Scottsdale Bible Church's Christian Essentials class. These are lessons taught by Wayne Grudem in which he systematically, over the course of several years, works through his book entitled Systematic Theology. You can find the lesson on regeneration, delivered February 10th of 2008, at Scottsdale Bible Church's Christian Essentials website.

Early on in the lesson Grudem gives several examples from Scripture that refer to regeneration:
  • a new heart - Ezekiel 36:26-27, And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
  • born of God - John 1:12-13, But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
  • made alive with Christ - Ephesians 2:4-5, ButGod, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved
  • brought forth - James 1:18, Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
  • born again - 1 Peter 1:3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
  • born of the Spirit - John 3:5-8, Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Monday, November 23, 2009

The supreme object of that love is himself

From Redemption Accomplished and Applied:
...propitiation does not detract from the love and mercy of God; it rather enhances the marvel of his love. For it shows thew cost that redemptive love entails. God is love. But the supreme object of that love is himself. And because he loves himself supremely he cannot suffer what belongs to the integrity of his character and glory to be compromised or curtailed. That is the reason for the propitiation. God appeases his own holy wrath in the cross of Christ in order that the purpose of his love to lost men may be accomplished in accordance with and to the vindication of all the perfections that constitute his glory. (32)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

His own criterion

"Theologians have usually treated aseity as a metaphysical attribute, that is, one that focuses on the independence of God's being over against other beings. It seems to me, however, that the same basic concept is equally important in the epistemological and ethical areas. That is to say, God is not only self-existent, but also self-attesting and self-justifying. He not only exists without receiving existence from something else, but also gains his knowledge only from himself (his nature and his plan) and serves as his own criterion of truth. And his righteousness is self-justifying, based on the righteousness of his own nature and on his status as the ultimate criterion of rightness." (Frame, John. The Doctrine of God. New Jersey: P & R Publishing. 2002. 602)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Entering Into Temptation

From Triumph Over Temptation:

Entering Into Temptation

"First, to enter into temptation is not merely to face temptation. It is impossible for us to be so free of temptation that we never experience it. As long as Satan continues with his power and malice, and as long as the world and its lusts exist around us, we will face temptation." (143)

"Second, to enter into temptation refers to more than the ordinary work of Satan in our own lust. These are sure to tempt us all the time...It suggests something that leads specifically to the seduction of sin, either by attraction or fear." (144)

"Third, it does not imply being conquered by a temptation. It does not mean that we commit specific sin or evil that tempts us or neglect the duties that we know we must fulfill. A man may enter into temptation and yet not fall under temptation, for God makes a way of escape." (144)

"As long as temptation merely knocks outside the door, we remain free. But when it enters and parleys with the heart, reasons with the mind, and entices and allures the affections-either for a short or a long time, whether the soul is conscious of it or not-then we enter into temptation." (144)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Heading for home!

I am finally nearing the end of a journey I started early on in 2009. I am less than 50 pages away from finishing John Frame's book The Doctrine of God. With 742 pages, not including the appendices, this was a colossus of a read. I do not expect to ever learn more theology from any other individual book (other than the Bible). I think that speaks to 2 things: my incredible lack of understanding when I started the book and the excellence of the book itself. It has been an amazing journey. I have blogged often from the pages of this book and I hope it has been somewhat helpful. I'm sure it is a book that I will use regularly as a resource and a reference.

At any rate, I will press on to the end of this trek. In discussing the divinity of the second member of the trinity, the Son, Frame presents examples of how, in the New Testament, the deity of Christ is taken for granted as opposed to positively asserted:

...Jesus in the Gospels never withdraws or modifies a statement, never apologizes or repents (though among human beings such is a mark of greatness), never seeks advice, and never asks for prayer for himself. He sometimes behaves strangely-sleeping in a boat during a storm(Matt. 8:24) and allowing Lazarus to die (John 11:37)-without explaining his actions. Such behavior can be considered virtuous only in God himself. Once again, these texts do not teach Jesus' deity; they presuppose it. (649)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Reading the Classics with Challies - Redemption Accomplished and Applied

Reading the Classics with Challies - Redemption Accomplished and Applied

Chapter 2

John Murray's second chapter in Redemption Accomplished and Applied is rich and deep. It is a chapter one could spend a long time investigating, understanding and applying to one's life.

I particularly liked the section dealing with Christ and His learning obedience:

Hebrews 5:8 - Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.

I guess I have sometimes found the concept of a perfect man needing to learn obedience difficult. I did not doubt Christ's perfection, however I couldn't articulate or even solve the dilemna in my mind. Murray provides some very helpful insight. Murray states:
When we examine the passages the following lessons become apparent. (1) It was not through mere incarnation that Christ wrought our salvation and secured our redemption. (2) It was not through mere death that satisfaction was secured. (3) It was not simply through the death on the cross that Jesus became the author of salvation. (4) The death upon the cross, as the climactic requirement of the price of redemption, was discharged as the supreme act of obedience; it was not death resistlessly inflicted but death upon the cross willingly and obediently wrought. (22)

Murray goes on to explain and summarize how a sinless man, indeed perfect, could be perfected:
It was not, of course, a perfecting that required the sanctification from sin to holiness. He was always holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. But there was the perfecting of development and growth in the course and path of his obedience-he learned obedience. The heart and mind and will of our Lord had been moulded-shall we say forged?-in the furnace of temptation and suffering. And it was in virtue of what he had learned in that experience of temptation and suffering that he was able, at the climactic point fixed by the arrangements of infallible wisdom and everlasting love, to be obedient unto death, , even the death of the cross. It was only as having learned obedience in the path of innerrant and sinless discharge of the Father's will that his heart and mind and will were framed to the point of being able freely and voluntarily to yield up his life in death upon the accursed tree. (23)

Murray goes on to say that Christ's learning obedience was a 'becoming equipped' with resources necessarry to meet the requirements he would face.

I'll conclude with one more quote from Murray:
It is obedience learned through suffering, perfected through suffering, and consummated in the suffering death upon the cross that defines his work and accomplishment as the author of salvation. It was by obedience he secured our salvation because it was by obedience he wrought the work that secured it. (24)

Piper Q & A

I came across this at Justin Taylor's blog (now found at The Gospel Coalition's website).

Here is his explanation:

I know no one better than John Piper at answering theological and practical questions. Below are the videos for the three-hour “Ask Pastor John.” You’ll hear his answers to questions like:

* what do you think of @FakeJohnPiper?
* why should I want to be a Christian?
* should marijuana be legalized?
* how does unbelief play into my need for porn?
* should I go on the mission field if it puts my wife at risk?
* should Christians use birth control?
* what would you say if you had two minutes with the Pope?
* how do you know Christianity is true?
* who really writes Piper’s tweets?
* what do you think about Halloween?
* why doesn’t Piper “name names” about prosperity gospel preachers?
* how should you confront those who have abused you when you’re younger?
* how do you respond to the idea that seeking accountability means Christ is insufficient?
* is it sin not to like the doctrine of election, even if one believes in it?
* what does Piper do to relax and unwind?
* what’s on the menu at Old Country Buffet? (Not a question that was asked, but one that was answered!)
* should local churches equip young men for ministry, or should they be sent to seminary?
* what hope would you offer to those addicted to cutting themselves?
* difference between confidence and presumption in risk taking?
* do you accept old earth?
* how is it ever right for God to slaughter women and children?
* how could God command others to slaughter?
* how important is it for preachers to preach Christ from every text?
* If you were a member of an Arminian church, what would you do if your pastor asked you not to talk about the doctrines of grace?
* what happens when infants die?
* how have you dealt with the fallout of your statements about your comments on the tornado and bridge collapse in Minneapolis?
* what do you think about the sinner’s prayer and asking people to “invite” Jesus into their heart?
* why not have one of your 30+ elders pastor a campus church rather than using video preaching?
* have you ever seen a vision or spoken in tongues?
* what do you think about Christians using anti-depressants?
* do Christians have permission to pray imprecatory prayers?
* how do I boast only in Christ when applying for a job?
* what books are you planning to write next?

You can find the sessions here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Unlimited Limited Atonement

"At first glance, unlimited and limited atonement appear to be in opposition. But that dilemma is resolved by noting two things. First, the two categories are not mutually exclusive; since Jesus died for the sins of everyone, that means he also died for the sins of the elect. Second, Jesus’ death for all people does not accomplish the same thing as his death for the elect. This point is complicated, but it is, in fact, taught in Scripture… 1 Timothy 4:10… “We have out hope set on the living God, who is the Savior for all people, especially of those who believe."
By dying for everyone, Jesus purchased everyone as his possession, and he then applies his forgiveness to the elect, those in Christ, by grace, and he applies his wrath to the non-elect, those who reject Christ. Objectively, Jesus’ death was sufficient to save anyone and, subjectively, efficient only to save those who repent of their sin and trust in him. This position is called unlimited limited atonement, or modified Calvinism." (Death by Love: Letters from the Cross pg. 171-172)

I've been really enjoying this book, although it seems like I've been reading it forever, but this is the first real issue I've taken with something that Driscoll has presented. I'm wondering what his view is on common grace. I'd only ever heard of unlimited or limited atonement, but never the two combined. Interesting thought, but I'm thinking this seems more like Arminianism than Calvinism.

What God Cannot Do and a Few Other Lists

From John Frame's The Doctrine of God:

Six kinds of actions that God cannot perform:
  1. Logically contradictory actions - such as making a round square or ultimately saving and condemning the same person
  2. Immoral actions - such as lying, stealing, or coveting
  3. Actions only appropriate to finite creatures - like taking medicine for a cough
  4. Actions denying His own nature as God - such as abandoning His own attributes
  5. Changing His eternal plan - what has been decreed by God will happen
  6. Making a stone so large He cannot lift it - falls under several categories above (1, 3, and 4)

Ways in which Scripture tells us God is unchanging:
  1. In His Essential Attributes - Hebrews 10:1-12
  2. In His Decretive Will - Psalm 33:11
  3. In His Covenental Faithfulness - Psalm 89:34-37
  4. In the Truth of His Revelation - Isaiah 46:8-10

Conclusions on God's Incorporeality:
  1. God is not to be identified with any physical being, for he is transcendent over space and time.
  2. If God is simple, it is hard to imagine how he can be physical.
  3. If he is omnipresent he cannot be a particular physical being.
  4. If God had a physical existence, his body would have to be the entire universe; this is pantheism.
  5. Nor should we think of the world as part of God's being; this is panentheism.
  6. Nevertheless, God is present in the world he has made.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Grudem in the current issue of Themelios

Themelios is described at The Gospel Coalition: "Themelios is an international evangelical theological journal that expounds and defends the historic Christian faith." The description continues "Its primary audience is theological students and pastors, though scholars read it as well. It was formerly a print journal operated by RTSF/UCCF in the UK, and it became a digital journal operated by The Gospel Coalition in 2008."
Wayne Grudem authors an article in the current issue entitled The Perspicuity of Scripture. Here is his introduction to the article:
I was invited to present this lecture on “the perspicuity of Scripture.” But I do not find the term “perspicuity” to be particularly perspicuous today; therefore, I will at times depart from the wording of the assigned topic and speak of the doctrine of the clarity of Scripture, which I think means close to the same thing. Yet a third term that could describe this doctrine is the understandability of Scripture, as will be evident from what follows.

Here is Grudem's conclusion to his article:

The clarity (or perspicuity) of Scripture is no minor doctrine.

1. It provides the basis for giving us the Bible in our own language.

2. It provides the basis for thinking we can read the Bible and understand it.

3. It provides the basis for thinking that we even have a gospel-message to proclaim.

4. It provides the basis for thinking that we can know what God wants us to believe, and how he wants us to live.

5. It provides the basis for thinking that detailed study of Scripture, and even extensive academic study of Scripture, has great value, because it will eventually yield even fuller understanding of a Bible that is an infinite storehouse of wisdom and knowledge.

6. It assures us that our infinite Creator, whom we seek to know and to worship, has loved us enough to speak to us in words that we can understand—and understand not only with our minds but with our hearts. Through these words of God, we know and follow him. And thus we experience in our lives what Jesus tells us will happen: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).

You can read the entire article here at The Gospel Coalition website.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Owen on how God "tempts" believers

From Triumph Over Temptation by John Owen as edited by James M. Houston:

How God Tempts Believers

"Generally speaking, temptation merely means to test, to prove, or to experiment with. In this sense, God sometimes tempts men...When we speak of God "tempting" two things merit our consideration. First, God tempts man to show him what is in man, either of grace or corruption...

God alone can plumb the depths of our souls. His instruments are His trials. They penetrate the inmost parts of the soul and permit a man to see what lies there...

Second, God tests us to show Himself to man." (137-8)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Murray on Redemption

I am preaching at my church this morning. My topic is "Redemption". I found a John Murray article on the internet concerning the Atonement. The section on redemption, partially seen below, was very helpful.


No category is inscribed more deeply upon the consciousness of the church of Christ than that of redemption. No song of the saints is more characteristic than the praise of redemption by Jesus' blood: "Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" (Rev. 5:9).
Redemption views the atonement from its own distinctive aspect. Sacrifice views the atonement from the perspective of guilt, propitiation from that of wrath, reconciliation from that of alienation. Redemption has in view the bondage to which sin has consigned us, and it views the work of Christ not simply as deliverance from bondage but in terms of ransom. The word of our Lord settles this signification. "The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many" (Matt. 20:28; cf. Mark 10:45). There are three propositions that lie on the face of this declaration. (1) The work Jesus came to do was one of ransom. (2) The giving of His life was the ransom price. (3) This ransom price was substitutionary in character and design. It is this same idea, by the use of the same Greek root in different forms, that appears in most of the New Testament passages which deal with redemption (Luke 1:68; 2:38; 24:21; Rom. 3:24; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; I Tim. 2:6; Tit. 2:14; Heb. 9:12, 15; I Pet. 1:18). In some other passages a different term is used. But it likewise conveys the thought of purchase (I Cor. 6:20; 7:23; Gal. 3:13; 4:5; II Pet. 2:1; Rev. 5:9; 14:3, 4). Hence the language of redemption is that of securing release by the payment of a price, and it is this concept that is applied expressly to the laying down of Jesus' life and the shedding of His blood. Jesus shed his blood in order to pay the price of our ransom. Redemption cannot be reduced to lower terms.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Qutoes from Spurgeon via Miscellanies blog

One of the blogs I check regularly and enjoy with regularity is Miscellanies. It is a blog by Tony Reinke. This week he had two humorous quote by C. H. Spurgeon. I thought I'd pass them along:

“Everybody thinks himself a judge of a sermon, but nine out of ten might as well pretend to weigh the moon. I believe that, at bottom, most people think it an uncommonly easy thing to preach, and that they could do it amazingly well themselves. Every donkey thinks itself worthy to stand with the king’s horses.”

“Except a duck in pattens, no creature looks more stupid than a Dissenting preacher in a gown which is of no manner of use to him. I could laugh till I held my sides when I see our doctors in gowns and bands, puffed out with their silks, and touched up with their little bibs, for they put me so much in mind of our old turkey-cock when his temper is up, and he swells to his biggest. They must be weak folks indeed who want a man to dress like a woman before they can enjoy his sermon, and he who cannot preach without such milliner’s trumpery may be a man among geese, but he is a goose among men.”

—C.H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Practical Wisdom: Or Plain Advice for Plain People (Banner of Truth, 2009)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Why the shedding of blood?

Building on Chris' post directly below this one, consider this verse:
Hebrews 9:22 - Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

I have no disagreement with what this verse seems to state in such an obvious manner. But I have often wondered; why? Why does there need to be the shedding of blood for the remission of sins. Why not the picking of flowers or the climbing of mountains? Why can't something much simpler, and let's be honest, less bloody, be sufficient to remove our sins? And more specifically, why did Jesus have to shed His blood for the remission of my sins?

The path I used to take when considering this went along the lines of attributing the reasons for Jesus' shedding of His blood to the following of a pre-set pattern. Since the Levitical rites had been implemented by God via Moses, Jesus was obligated to follow the pattern and sacrifice Himself for the forgiveness of our sins. But consider Hebrews 9:23:
Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

This seems to clearly suggest that it was the Levitical rites that were following a pattern; and so the idea of sacrifice precedes Moses as the prototypical method as opposed to following Moses as a copy.

John Murray puts it like this:
Hence the necessity for the blood offerings of the Levitical economy arose from the fact that the exemplar after which they were fashioned was a blood offering, the transcendent blood offering by which the heavenly things were purified. The necessity of blood-shedding on the Levitical ordinance is simply a necessity arising from the necessity of blood-shedding in the higher realm of the heavenly. (Murray, John. Redemption Accomplished and applied. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing. 1955. p15)

So, whatever the reason there must be shedding of blood, it is independent of the Levitical rites for the Levitical economy is contingent on the heavenly economy.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Nothing but the Blood

What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus;What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh! precious is the flow that makes me white as snow;No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
For my pardon, this I see, Nothing but the blood of Jesus;For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Nothing can for sin atone, Nothing but the blood of Jesus;Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
This is all my hope and peace,Nothing but the blood of Jesus;This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Now by this I’ll overcome—Nothing but the blood of Jesus;Now by this I’ll reach my home—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Glory! Glory! This I sing—Nothing but the blood of Jesus, All my praise for this I bring—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Reading the Classics with Challies - Redemption Accomplished and Applied

I needed an excuse to buy another book. Not that anyone other than myself required one. But I needed the excuse so I could justify the transaction to myself. Challies provided me with just such an excuse.

Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray was a book I wanted to read. I have read several articles by Murray and knew that this was a book that had to be a priority on 'my list'. And then Challies announced his decision to put forward Redemption Accomplished and Applied as his next classic to read for his online program "Reading the Classics with Challies". That was the kind of enablement I needed. So here we go!

Chapter 1: The Necessity of the Atonement

In chapter 1 there are two striking issues that, in particular, grabbed my attention and got me thinking. The first is clearly perceived in this quote:
No treatment of the atonement can be properly oriented that does not trace its source to the free and sovereign love of God. (9)

This is where it starts: God. Once again, in yet another issue, we are reminded that it is not about us; the world doesn't revolve around human beings. The epicenter of all things is the triune God of the Bible. He is central and we are peripheral; in all things and in all matters. And redemption is no different.
The love of God from which the atonement springs is not a distinctionless love; it is a love that elects and predestinates. God was pleased to set his invincible and everlasting love upon a countless multitude and it is the determinate purpose of this love that the atonement secures. (10)

God's sovereignty and His love, in fact all His attributes inseparable from His person, are the focal point of redemption. It is really about Him, not about us.
The atonement does not win or constrain the love of God. The love of God constrains to the atonement as the means of accomplishing love's determinate purpose. (10)

The second striking aspect of Chapter 1 was the argument Murray makes to support his belief the absolute necessity of the atonement to happen the way it did and involve those whom it involved. Consider these quotes:
In other words, there is stated a necessity thast can be met by nothing less than the blood of Jesus. But the blood of Jesus is blood that has the requisite efficacy and virtue only by reason of the fact that he who is the Son, the effulgence of the Father's glory and the express image of his substance, became himself partaker of flesh and blood and thus was able by one sacrifice to perfect all those who are sanctified. (14)

The only righteousness conceivable that will net the requirements of our situation as sinners and meet the requirements of a full and irrevocable justification is the righteousness of Christ. (16-7)

For these reasons we are constrained to conclude that the kind of necessity which the Scriptural considerations support is that which may be described as absolute or indispensable...If we keep in view the gravity of sin and the exigencies arising from the holiness of God which must be met in salvation from it, then the doctrine of indispensable necessity makes Calvary intelligible to us and enhances the incomprehensible marvel of both Calvary itself and the sovereign purpose of love which Clavary fulfilled. (18)

Our redemption, primarily, is not about us; it is about Him. It is a loving action of God based on His sovereign love, His unchanging holiness, and the absolute necessity of the person of Christ being our Redeemer.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

From an article I wrote several years ago:

I am faced with the difficult task of writing a “Rail from the Rail” with Remembrance Day looming a few days in the future. Though I believe it is a privilege and an honour to write about our soldiers, I also find it difficult. But, we must remember.
Allow me to start by sharing a paraphrase of a phone conversation between my stepfather and one of his brothers. My stepfather had several brothers who served in WW2 and he calls them every year on November 11th to thank them for their service and sacrifice. The crux of the conversation goes something like this:

Stepfather: “You know why I’m calling today, right?”
Step-uncle: “Yep.”
Stepfather: “I wanted to thank you for your service to our country and for the great sacrifice you made on behalf of our family and our country.”
Step-uncle: “You’re welcome.”
Stepfather: “I wanted to thank you for your bravery and for saving the world.”
Step-uncle: “Well, I didn’t do it alone you know.”
Stepfather: “Of course. But it could not have been done without courageous young men like you. Thank you.”

My step-uncle said, “I didn’t do it alone”. What a sense of humour! I wonder if that sense of humour served him well in the terrors of war. This man, my step-uncle, was hardly more than a child when he went to war. He was underage and lied about how old he was so he would not be left behind. I often wonder how many teenagers we could find today who would lie about their age so they would be allowed to fight for their country. I wonder what I would do if I were a teenager faced with the same situation. I can only hope that I would live up to the example set by him and so many other Canadians who have served our country. Thank you indeed!

I want to use something from the current conflict our country finds itself in to cause us to stop and remember the many that served and died in past conflicts. I decided to look at some of the common complaints that are raised in the press and in our daily conversations about our country’s involvement in Afghanistan and use those as a springboard to recollect and revere our fallen soldiers. Now please understand, I am not writing so as to discuss the merits of the complaints. Whether the complaints are valid or not is not the issue that concerns me. Rather, I think the complaints will reveal some things about the past of our Armed Forces. We can remember the past with gratitude. There are two complaints about the Afghan mission that I hear most frequently: first, the Canadian soldiers are playing the hardest and most dangerous part; second, the Canadian forces are playing a role that is disproportionate in terms of our resources (human, military, financial, etc.) when compared to other NATO countries. Let’s consider what we can glean from both these objections.

I agree that, by and large, our Canadian troops are participating in the mission in Afghanistan in very difficult, dangerous, and deadly situations. It seems that there is some consensus on this. The frequency of fighting in which the Canadians are involved and the resulting casualties seem to bolster this assertion. At any rate, it is not the first time that Canadian soldiers have carried the burden of being in the gravest situations of a mission. Consider the valiant fighting of our forces in World War 2 at Normandy. This excerpt from the Veteran’s Affairs Canada website ( says it all:

  • Canadians had figured prominently in the defeat of Hitlerism. In Normandy they had been in the vanguard of the Allied victory. The Nazi losses there were horrific – 300,000 men. Moreover, most of the enemy's equipment had been destroyed, including more than 2,000 tanks. The backbone of the German Army in the west was broken in Normandy, and the Canadians had played a monumental role.
  • Allied casualties during the battle had also been heavy, including 18,444 Canadians, of whom 5,021 would never see their homes again. Of all the divisions which formed part of Montgomery's 21 Army Group, none suffered more casualties than the 3rd and 2nd Canadian.
  • Like their British and American allies, the Canadians made mistakes in command and in training and their inexperience often came back to haunt them. But their high casualty rate also reflected the specific tasks of the Canadian Army during the campaign and the fact that it continually faced the best troops the enemy had to offer. It was a bloody process, but once they learned the harsh lessons of battle, Canada's amateur soldiers proved to be a match for the professional forces they faced. Often in the forefront of the Allied advance against determined opposition, the Canadians took on tasks out of all proportion to their real power. And they accomplished them sometimes amidst hesitation and confusion, – and always courageously.

Normandy is one example of many. Canadian soldiers have not blinked while staring into the eyes of perilous situations. If indeed our soldiers in Afghanistan are facing the most severe and deadly tasks, then at least they know their military heritage includes such situations. Perhaps it could even be considered a compliment that the coalition has asked Canada to play the part they have. Maybe Canada’s history of producing courageous and determined soldiers led to our forces being in the situation they are now in. It is far from a desirable situation, but I believe our soldiers are continuing a legacy of bravery and sacrifice that they have inherited from those we are remembering. I am proud of them - proud and grateful.

The second complaint has to do with Canada carrying a burden in Afghanistan that is disproportionate to other NATO countries. I think this is likely true as well. When one considers our population, our military resources, and our finances, I think a case could be made that we are doing more than our fair share when compared with other countries. We have been warned that our military is being stretched thin by our work in the Afghan mission. Again, I encourage the reader to remember that this is not the first time we have been in a situation like this. I sincerely believe from the little history I have learned that in the past world conflicts, Canada has done more than what can be expected from a country of our size. We have fought with allies whose populations dwarf our own. We have fought alongside countries whose military might was considerably greater than ours. Our soldiers shouldered their loads, and then some. So if our part in Afghanistan is bigger than it ought to be, we might forgive the other countries this oversight. Perhaps they have come to expect this due to the legacy of our fighting men and women. It seems to me that our brave forces of days gone by have set that standard
The complaints of a current conflict remind us that we live in a country that has been served by soldiers of great courage, valour, and determination. And we ought to remember - remember and be grateful.
From Chapter 6 of Triumph Over Temptation by John Owen as edited by James Houston. The Chapter is entitled The Effects of Indwelling Sin.

Tests to determine the extent of our moral decline.
  1. Evaluate your zeal for God. "Is our zeal for God what it used to be-warm, living, vigorous, and effective? Or has the abundance of iniquity dulled us and made our hearts cold?" (121)
  2. Examine your delight in the worship of God. "Are we irked by duties and obligations that we once rejoiced in doing?" (121-2)
  3. Inspect your sensitivity to sin. "All decline comes from indwelling sin." (122)

What are the sources of God's power for overcoming sin?
  1. His gifts to the body of Christ.
  2. His commands, exhortations, and promises in the Scripture.
  3. Supplies that come from the grace of Christ.

"The fresh taste of spiritual things keeps Christians from worldly contentments...But the process of decay begins with the tainting of these fresh springs." (124)
  1. The development of sloth and negligence of God's grace.
  2. The loss of reverence for God.
  3. The loss of the simplicity of the gospel.
  4. The lack of vigilance against Satan.
  5. The imitation of the poor example of professing Christians.
  6. The enjoyment of some secret lust in the heart.
  7. The negligence of private communion with God.
  8. The increase in knowledge without answerable practice.
  9. The growth in worldly wisdom.
  10. The failure to repent of some great sin.

"Theoretical knowledge swells to undue a plant with much greenery but no fruit. When believers view evangelical truths as mere head knowledge, they become empty and barren. Those who ere once humble and walked closely with God become mere talkers. Their empty knowledge becomes food for sin. It produces vanity in the mind without any rebuke from the conscience.

When Christians enjoy merely talking, writing, and studying about religion, their conscience becomes pacified. It lodges no protest in the soul. Thus men content themselves with notions of truth, without laboring to experience the power of truth in their hearts. They bring forth no fruit in their lives. Decay ensues. (128)

Children of God

So tonight my girlfriend Jacki and I went out for sushi with friends of ours, Chris and Leah, who have recently had a beautiful baby boy named Jackson. We all had a great time just chatting, food was great, just an overall good night.

In the midst of one of our conversations Leah mentioned what effect having Jackson has had on her life. She explained that having him has really helped her to understand what it means to be a child of God........ that got me thinking.

I watched Chris swinging baby Jack back and forth, smiling at him, loving him, and just enjoying his creation. I've heard it before on a few separate occasions, but what an incredible gift of God it is to us that we are able to share in creation with our God. That there must be something so special in that for the parents. Assisting them to really understand what it means to be a child of God. To have that love for something so much smaller than you, that doesn't understand why things work the way they do, something that needs protection and caring for everyday, something that the parents know when it gets older is going to make mistakes, but they'll love him nonetheless.

Unconditional love.

I'm understanding it more and more, but it's a tough process. But it's experiences like this one tonight, small ones that seemingly come from nowhere, that cause me to thank God that He can use anything, any circumstance or situation to help me to understand His character more and more.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Exercise of self-deception

Faith, in itself, does not remove sins. For forgiveness to take place something objective must happen; we cannot just talk ourselves or reason ourselves into being forgiven...A concern for right inner attitude is legitimate, but if there is no more than this we are caught up in futility. There must be a factual basis for the central tenets of Christianity, and specifically for Christ's atoning death and resurrection or the believer has been engaging in a futile pursuit. He has embraced a faith that is completely worthless, barren of results. He has occupied himself in an exercise of self-deception. (Morris, Leon. The Cross of Jesus. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 1998. p44)

Monday, November 9, 2009


"If you know you are needy and believe that God helps the needy, you will pray. Conversely, if we seldom pray, the problem goes much deeper than a lack of organization and follow through. The heart that never talks to God is the heart that trusts in itself and not in the power of God. Prayerlessness is unbelief."

Leon Morris on the cross

In the modern world this [the cross] is not always understood as clearly as it might be. Today it is not uncommon to be told that the essence of Christianity is to be found on the Sermon on the Mount, in Jesus' ethical teachings generally, in the idea of liberation, in the thought that God came near to his creation in the idea of liberation in the incarnation, in "peace on earth", in brotherly love, in newness of life, or the like. I do not wish to denigrate such ideas. Christianity is a profound religion and its teaching has many aspects. But if we are to be true to the New Testament we must see the cross at the very heart of it all. These other suggestions may have truth in them, but that truth arises from the fact that the cross brings about many changes. New Testament Christianity centers on the cross. (Morris, Leon. The Cross of Jesus. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 1998. p2)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Words I hope to hear from my children some day

I will know that I have been a good steward if I hear something along these lines from my children one day. From Luke 4:42:

“It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

The forgiver and the avenger

God is both the forgiver of our sin and the avenger of that sin. Again, we see that God's justice and His love must be expressed. In this Psalm from the English Standard Version the emphasis is mine:

Psalm 99

The Lord Our God Is Holy

99:1 The Lord reigns; let the peoples tremble!
He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
2 The Lord is great in Zion;
he is exalted over all the peoples.
3 Let them praise your great and awesome name!
Holy is he!
4 The King in his might loves justice.
You have established equity;
you have executed justice
and righteousness in Jacob.
5 Exalt the Lord our God;
worship at his footstool!
Holy is he!

6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
Samuel also was among those who called upon his name.
They called to the Lord, and he answered them.
7 In the pillar of the cloud he spoke to them;
they kept his testimonies
and the statute that he gave them.

8 O Lord our God, you answered them;
you were a forgiving God to them,
but an avenger of their wrongdoings.
9 Exalt the Lord our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for the Lord our God is holy!

God's love and the atonement

From Redemption accomplished and Applied by John Murray:

No treatment of the atonement can be properly oriented that does not trace its source to the free and sovereign love of God...

The love of God from which the atonement springs is not a distinctionless love; it is a love that elects and predestinates. God was pleased to set his invincible and everlasting love upon a countless multitude and it is the determinate purpose of this love that the atonement secures...

Truly God is love. Love is not something adventitious; it is not something that God may choose to be or choose not to be. He is love, and that necessarily, inherently, and eternally...Yet it belongs to the very essence of electing love to recognize that it is not inherently necessary to that love which God necessarily and inherently is that he should set such love as issues in redemption and adoption upon utterly undesirable and hell-deserving objects. (9-10)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Accumulating evidence or the exhibition of evidence

Jonathan Edwards explains that God does not test men so He can find evidence they are indeed sincere. Rather, He test them, already knowing their response to the test, so that He can show them where their hearts are.

For when God is said by these things to try men, and prove them, to see what is in their hearts, and whether they will keep his commandments or no; we are not to understand, that it is for his own information, or that he may obtain evidence himself of their sincerity (for he needs no trials for his information); but chiefly for their conviction, and to exhibit evidence to their consciences. (Edwards, Jonathan. A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections. United States: Kessinger Publishing. 2003. p278)

Friday, November 6, 2009

The spectacle that confronts us

From the preface of Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray:

On so great a theme as Christ's redemptive accomplishment I am profoundly conscious of the limitations that encompass our attempts at exposition. Thought and expression stagger in the presence of the spectacle that confronts us in the vicarious sin-bearing of the Lord of glory. Here we must realize that we are dealing with the mystery of godliness, and eternity will not reach the bottom of it nor exhaust its praise. Yet it is ours to proclaim it and continue to expound and defend its truth.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Reconcilable "apparent contradictions"

The doctrines that are most often described as "apparently contradictory" are divine sovereignty and human freedom, the problem of evil, and the Trinity. Cornelius Van Til believed that these doctrines involve "apparent contradictions" that can never be reconciled by the human mind. However, I don't think Scripture tells us which apparent contradictions are reconcilable by men and which are not...Some apparent contradictions can be removed by careful study of God's Word. Others, perhaps, await future increases in our Bible knowledge, or even, perhaps, future developments in the science of logic itself. Others, perhaps, await the vastly increased knowledge of God (1 Cor. 13:1-12; 1 John 3:2) that we will gain when we meet him in glory. And some may be such that creaturely minds can never reconcile them.

If there are some apparent contradictions that we cannot reconcile (now, or in the future, or ever), we should try and hold both sides of the paradox, as best we can, and walk by faith. If divine sovereignty and human responsibility seem contradictory to us, we may and should, nevertheless, both continue to regard God as sovereign and acept responsibility for our thoughts and actions. And in this case, we should be careful not to adopt any apparently logical inferences from divine sovereignty that compromise human responsibility, or vice versa.

Our faith does not depend on our being able to reconcile all apparent contradictions. Rather, it rests on the solid foundation of God's revelation of himself-in creation, in Scripture, and in Christ. So we will walk by faith, rather than by sight. (Frame, John. The Doctrine of God. New Jersey: P & R Publishing. 2002. 512)

Piper on the prosperity gospel

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Could God be wrathful, jealous, AND even bring disaster?

Many would say "No Way!"

Zechariah would say otherwise:

Zechariah 8:1-2 - And the word of the Lord of hosts came, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath. (ESV)

Zechariah 8:14-15 - For thus says the Lord of hosts: “As I purposed to bring disaster to you when your fathers provoked me to wrath, and I did not relent, says the Lord of hosts, so again have I purposed in these days to bring good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah; fear not.

Some good thoughts to start the morning

Psalm 95:1-6
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

As he is righteous, so he is logical

So God acts and thinks in accordance with the laws of logic. This does not mean that he is bound by these laws, as though they were something "above" him. The laws of logic and rationality are simply the attributes of his own nature. As he is righteous, so he is logical. To be logical is his natural desire and pleasure. Nor does he create the laws of logic, as if they were something he could change at will. Rather, they are necessary attributes, inalienable qualities of all his thinking and acting. (Frame, John. The Doctrine of God. New Jersey: P & R Publishing. 2002. 511)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Conception of Indwelling Sin

From the fifth chapter of Triumph Over Temptation by John Owen entitled The Conception of Indwelling Sin:

Four aspects of this conception for consideration.
  1. The will is the cause of obedience or disobedience. "The will actualizes sin or disobedience." (105)
  2. The will consents to sin. "The will does this in two ways. Sometimes...the will becomes wholly convinced, weakened, or conquered...On the other hand, someone's will to sin may come in conflict with his other desires." (105-6)
  3. The will may not completely consent to sin. "No Christian will absolutely and fully consent to sin, because within his will resides the principle to do good...The principle of grace within a Christian inclines him to do good. Grace rules, not sin, in the believer. (106)
  4. The will may be conditioned by tendencies. "Repeated acts of the will to sin often produce a disposition and inclination toward sin. This proneness leads to easy consent." (106)

How does the deceit of sin lead to the consent of the will?
  1. The will consents to sin as a result of sin's deception. "The conception of sin always occurs as the result of some deception. Sin seeks to mix up the emotions, or mislead the reasoning, or weaken the will in some way." (107)
  2. The will chooses the good and consents to nothing unless it has the appearance of good. "This may be an immediate good, or a temporary good, or the appearance of goodness, or the circumstances of what is good...But when sin deceives the mind, it paints what is absolutely evil as having as apparently good appearance." (108)
  3. The will operates as a rationale appetite. "Rationally, it is guided by the mind. As an appetite, it is also excited by the emotions. It is influenced in its exercise by both of these faculties." (109)

Ways God prevents the fruition of sin.
  1. God's providence in outward acts obstructs the power of sin.
  2. God's grace in inward changes diverts the will to sin.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Enticement of Indwelling Sin

From the fourth chapter of Triumph Over Temptation by John Owen as edited by James M. Houston:

The Enticement of Indwelling Sin

The affections are snared when they are aroused by sin. For when sin prevails, it captures the affections completely within it. Sin continually obsesses the imaginations with possessive images. (99)

The enticement of sin is heightened when the imagination dominates over the mind. It implants vain thoughts within the mind and delights secretly i its complacency. when we indulge with delight in thoughts of forbidden things, we commit sin, even though our will has not yet consented to perform the deed. (100)

As we have seen, sin always seeks to extenuate and lessen the seriousness of sin to the mind. "It is only a small offense," it says. "It will be given up shortly." With such excuses it speaks the language of a deceived heart. When there is a readiness on the part of the soul to listen to these silent voices-secret insinuations that arise from deceit-it is evident that the affections are already enticed. (100)

How does sin deceive to entice and entangle the affections?
  1. It makes use of the tendency of the mind.
  2. It takes advantage of the phases of life and proposes sin to be desirable.
  3. It hides the danger associated with sin.

But it[sin] so takes up and possesses the mind and affections with the attraction and desirability of sin, that it diverts the soul from realizing its danger. (101)

What are the remedies for avoiding such deception?
  1. Guard our affections by mortifying our members.
  2. Fix our affections on the cross of Christ.

When someone sets his affections on the cross and the love of Christ, he crucifies the world as a dead and undesirable thing. The baits of sin lose their attraction and disappear. Fill your affections with the cross of Christ, and you will find no room for sin. (102-3)

Remember also that the vigor of our affections toward heavenly things is apt to decline unless it is constantly looked after, exercised, directed, and warned. God speaks often in Scripture pf those who lost their first love, allowing their affections to decay. Let us be jealous over our hearts to prevent such backsliding. (103)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Transforming the mind

The key method Paul underscores as the means to the transformed life is by the "renewal of the mind." This means nothing more and nothing less than education. Serious education. In-depth education. Disciplined education in the things of God. It calls for a mastery of the Word of God. We need to be people whose lives have changed because our minds have changed.

True transformation comes by gaining a new understanding of God, ourselves and the world...

To be conformed to Jesus, we must first begin to think as Jesus did. We need the "mind of Christ."...

That cannot happen without a mastery of His Word. The key to spiritual growth is in-depth Christian education that requires a serious level of sacrifice. (Sproul, R. C.The Holiness of God. Illinois: Tyndale.1998. 164, emphasis mine)