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Those that despair, by reason of the greatness of their guilt and corruption, do greatly dishonor and undervalue the grace of God, His infinite mercy, and the infinite merits of Christ’s blood, and power of His Spirit, and deserve to perish with Cain and Judas…
—How horrid and heinous soever our sins and corruptions have been, we should learn to account them a small matter in comparison to the grace of Christ, who is God as well as man, and offered up Himself, by the eternal Spirit, as a sacrifice of infinite value, for our salvation; and can create us anew as easily as He created the world by a word of speaking.
-Walter Marshall, The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification, p. 83.
Great words from pastor Ortlund,
Fear not, Abram. I am your shield; your reward shall be very great. Genesis 15:1
Last October 29, sitting in a deer stand in Georgia, I jotted down these thoughts about what to do with the promises of God in the Bible. More could be said about the hermeneutical filters to run the biblical promises through on their way to us today. But to get right to the point at a personal level:
1. Receive God’s promises by faith. Do not test them by sight. Do not take a “wait and see” stand-off-ish position. Embrace the promises as yours in Christ. Just believe God. And ask yourself, “Okay, how should I live right now as someone destined to inherit blessings only Almighty God could think up?”
2. Change your self-concept. See yourself not as doomed but as graced, a person of destiny and greatness, defined by the kindness of God. It doesn’t matter what others say about you. It doesn’t matter what you say about yourself. Everything has changed. What matters now is what God says about you, for the sake of Christ.
3. Look for the beginnings of fulfillment in this life. His promises are way too bigfor our little existence here. But you can expect previews of coming attractions. He will encourage you along the way.
4. Expect setbacks. You will encounter appearances directly contrary to his promises. When (not if) this happens, do not be robbed of your confidence. God tested Abraham too. You and I need to be deepened in our faith, more than we know.
5. Defy the present, defy even yourself, by rejoicing in God before the fulfillment comes. Even when life is hard to bear, there is a place in your heart that can rejoice in hope, because you know that God is not hemmed in by your limitations. They are, in fact, part of his strategy to catapult you forward. Only God can do that. And he will.
6. When God fulfills his promises, you will inherit something else too – a new responsibility to love him more, to praise him more, and to care for others who are still on their way. God will give you a story to tell to others for their encouragement. Get ready to tell it, though in some ways the narrative will humble you.
HT: Ray Ortlund
One of the most helpful books I have read on Justification and Regeneration was Charles Leiter’s book called Justification and Regeneration. It is simple and concise, yet it is substantial in its presentation of these two doctrines. Leiter cames from a pastoral standpoint where he has grasped the depths of these doctrines and gives them to the sheep in ways they can comprehend and appreciate. Also, his section on regeneration was very helpful when I read it. I had never given much thought to what regeneration entailed for me as a believer until I read this book. I would gladly past along this book to new and mature believers as a source of growing in their knowledge of these two doctrines.
And now the book can be downloaded and distributed for free. Challies has a link to the book if you want to download it.
What does it mean to love Christ practically? Erik gives J. C. Ryle’s answer to the question,
- If we love a person, we like to think about him.
- If we love a person, we like to hear about him.
- If we love a person, we like to read about him.
- If we love a person, we like to please him.
- If we love a person, we like his friends.
- If we love a person, we are jealous about his name and honor.
- If we love a person, we like to talk to him.
- If we love a person, we like to be always with him.