Sunday, April 29, 2012

Praise Him!

Here are you and I, miserable worms in this world, miserable worms with our arrogance and our pride and our appalling ignorance.

We deserve nothing but to be blotted off the face of the earth. But what has happened is that before the foundation of the world this blessed God, these three blessed Persons, considered us, considered our condition, considered what would happen to us, and the consequence was that these Three Persons, God, whom man hath never seen, stooped to consider us and planned a way whereby we might be forgiven and redeemed.

The Son said, I will leave this glory for a while, I will dwell in the womb of a woman, I will be born as a babe, I will become a pauper, I will suffer insult in the world, I will even allow them to nail Me to a Cross and spit in My face. He volunteered to do all that for us, and at this very moment this blessed Second Person in the Trinity is seated at the right hand of God to represent you and me.

He came down to earth and did all that, and rose again, and ascended to heaven; and it was all planned ‘before the world’ for you and for me.

Martin Lloyd-Jones

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

One-Way Love by Tullian

We love the “if/then” proposition: “If” you do this, “then” I will do that; we are inveterate slaves (at worst) or grumpy employees (at best).

We militate against the freedom of inheritance and the dependency of sonship. We love living as though “what goes around comes around” conditionality were true. That kind of conditionality makes us feel safe. It’s easy to comprehend. It’s appropriately formulaic. And best of all, it keeps us in control. We get to keep our ledgers and scorecards. The equation: “If I do this, then you are obligated to do that” makes perfect sense to our grace-shy hearts.

Unconditionality, on the other hand, is incomprehensible. We are deeply conditioned against unconditionality because we’ve been told in a thousand different ways that accomplishment always precedes acceptance, that achievement always precedes approval.

When we hear, “Of course you don’t deserve it, but I’m giving it to you anyway,” we wonder, “What is this really about? What’s the catch?” Internal bells and alarms start to go off, and we begin saying “wait a minute…this sounds too good to be true.”

You see, everything in our world demands two-way love. Everything is conditional. If I achieve, we reason, only then will I receive everything I long for: love, approval, significance, respect, and so on. Be good. Bring home the bacon. Keep your act together….Then (and only then) will you have what you want. That’s how our world works. But grace isn’t from our world.

Read rest of post HERE

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Two for Tuesday - Theological Questions

From Monergism


What is Dispensationalism?

Dispensationalism is a relatively modern hermeneutic, or way of interpreting the scriptures, that has roots in the teachings of John Darby, was greatly popularized by C. I. Scofield, through the notes in his study bible, became influential through the establishment of Dallas Theological Seminary and many of its professors, including Lewis Sperry Chafer and Charles Ryrie, and has been greatly sensationalized and made influential at a popular level through the fiction and dramatic predictions and interpretations of authors such as Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye. Today, Dispensationalism is hugely influential worldwide, having a significant impact not just on the doctrine of the Church, but even on global politics, as the Dispensationally-driven Christian Zionist movement, championed by such men as John Hagee, has largely shaped America's Middle Eastern policies for many years.

Dispensationalism is by no means a monolithic school of thought, and ranges from some very extreme errors on the far right, such as the teaching that modern orthodox Jews who reject Christ may still be saved through the Torah, to the much more conservative and scholarly beliefs of the Progressive Dispensationalists such as Craig Blaising and Darrel Bock; but in essence, it may be summed up as the method of interpreting the scriptures which sees two distinct peoples of God, with two distinct destinies: Israel and the Church. The most common form of classic (sometimes called “revised”) Dispensationalism adheres to the following points of belief:

Read the 13 points HERE

What is Covenant Theology?

Covenant Theology is a framework for understanding the overarching storyline of the bible, which emphasizes that God's redemptive plan and his dealings with mankind are without exception worked out in accordance with the covenants that he has sovereignly established. Although the importance of the divine covenants has been realized since the time of the earliest church fathers, Covenant Theology was not articulated as a thoroughly developed system, taking into account the entire extent of biblical revelation, until the days of the sixteenth and seventeenth century reformers, such as the influential Johannes Cocceius and Herman Witsius.

The Westminster Confession of Faith is a landmark seventeenth century document that displays a robust, fully-developed Covenant Theology throughout.

Basically, Covenant Theology organizes biblical revelation around three unified but distinct covenants: the Covenant of Redemption, between the persons of the Trinity in eternity past, in which the Father promises to give a people to the Son as his inheritance, and the Son undertakes to redeem them; the Covenant of Works, which God enjoined upon Adam in the Garden, solemnly promising him eternal life if he passed the probationary test in the Garden of Eden (also, many covenant theologians see the covenant given on Mount Sinai as being in some sense a republication of the Covenant of Works); and finally, the Covenant of Grace, which God first entered into with Adam immediately after the Fall, when he promised to send a Seed of the woman, who would defeat the tempting serpent (Gen. 3:15).

In the Covenant of Grace, God promises a champion to fulfill the broken Covenant of Works as a federal representative of his people, and so to earn its blessings in their behalf. All the later covenants of the bible, such as those which God confirmed to Noah, Abraham, David, and the New Covenant which promises to fulfill these prior covenants in the prophecies of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, are all organically connected, essentially being different administrations of the one eternal Covenant of Grace, which build upon each other and are all brought to completion in the New Covenant which Christ inaugurated with his shed blood.

Different theologians, have proposed several different definitions of a biblical covenant; but perhaps the best is O. Palmer Robertson's phrase, “A bond-in-blood sovereignly administered” (The Christ of the Covenants, P&R Publishing, p. 15). Covenants are typically characterized by a visible sign and seal, which serves to “remind” God of his promises to those whom he has entered into covenant with. Some examples of these covenant signs are the rainbow, given to Noah; circumcision, given to Abraham; and baptism and the Lord's Supper, given to believers after the coming of Christ.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Stricken, smitten, and afflicted,
See Him dying on the tree!
’Tis the Christ by man rejected;
Yes, my soul, ’tis He, ’tis He!
’Tis the long expected prophet,
David’s Son, yet David’s Lord;
Proofs I see sufficient of it:
’Tis a true and faithful Word.

Tell me, ye who hear Him groaning,
Was there ever grief like His?
Friends through fear His cause disowning,
Foes insulting his distress:
Many hands were raised to wound Him,
None would interpose to save;
But the deepest stroke that pierced Him
Was the stroke that Justice gave.

Ye who think of sin but lightly,
Nor suppose the evil great,
Here may view its nature rightly,
Here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the Sacrifice appointed!
See Who bears the awful load!
’Tis the Word, the Lord’s Anointed,
Son of Man, and Son of God.

Here we have a firm foundation,
Here the refuge of the lost.
Christ the Rock of our salvation,
Christ the Name of which we boast.
Lamb of God for sinners wounded!
Sacrifice to cancel guilt!
None shall ever be confounded
Who on Him their hope have built.

Thomas Kelly, 1804

Friday, April 6, 2012

Happy GOOD Friday . . . Thank you Jesus!

If God has decided who He will save, why should we preach?

From The Calvinist Corner

Question: Simply stated, if God has already decided all that will choose Him, why preach? Why send missionaries into the world to preach share the gospel? If God has chosen me to go to heaven, then nothing you say can change that, and vice versa. If I have been predestined to NOT be saved, nothing you say can change that. At least that is what I understand from the website.

Answer: God tells us to preach. That is why we preach. We are being obedient to the Lord in proclaiming the gospel. Also, God uses the preaching of the gospel to bring his elect into the church. Furthermore, God works all things after the counsel of his will (Ephesians 1:11). This means that he works even our preaching and teaching concerning the person of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice on the cross, in order to bring his people to faith. We do not know the means by which God chooses his people.

From all eternity God has known whatsoever shall come to pass because he is redeemed it to be so. But this does not mean that we are robots. Christians, who were set free from the bonds of sin, have an influence with God in prayer (James 5:16). Though this is a paradox, we are able to influence God who from all eternity knows whatsoever shall come to pass. I like to say that God ordains that we influence by her prayers. Therefore, we should pray that God will save people and that he would use us in the preaching and teaching of his word.

Furthermore, Isaiah 55:11 says that the word of God will not come back empty without accomplishing what God desires. Romans 1:16 says that the gospel is the power of God to salvation. So, we need to preach the word of God and proclaim the gospel. Both of these truths about the power of the preaching means that there is something in the preaching of the word of God that has the ability to change people.

Therefore, we are to preach and teach the gospel much as we can because it is the power of the word of God that has effect on people.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Have Christians LOST Our Heart for the LOST? - Timothy Gray Muse

From All Things Reformed

After reading and being reminded again this past week how Jesus WEPT as he approached Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, I meditated, asking myself the question “Do I and other Christians today – WEEP over the lost – the way Jesus did?”

Sadly, as I survey my own present heart and much of what I see on the whole in the life of the church, I confess my answer is “No.”

I come to this conclusion after comparing Jesus’ example with my own recent thoughts and track record, with that which I observe in the lives of those I regularly read or communicate with, along with those things in the church as a whole which seem to consume our time, direct our attention, occupy our passions, fill our conversations, and form our service and labors of ministry.

While the things I speak of do not apply to all, it seems that while many of us in the church have become adept at doing things like doctrinally defending God’s justice against the non-elect while extending his redemptive mercies and grace to the elect, and preaching and explaining how the gospel is to be held out to all, and how the reach of missions is to extend to the ends of the earth, … that at the level of our hearts – we do not tend to be as broken, caring, warmhearted and concerned as Christ over those who lack peace either temporally and/or eternally and who experience difficulties of various kinds and measures on a daily basis because they fail to recognize God’s coming to them in Christ.

After meditating on this question this past week and praying, I went for a run to get some exercise on a bright and beautiful day.  In God’s providence in the course of my three mile run, I was interrupted and called over to talk to three individuals (one of which I never met before, another which I only spoke to once in passing on a former run, and the other a man of whom I had become aware of the presence of some personal issues but whom up until this day I had never spoken with directly about these problems) who ended up asking or accepting an offer for me to pray for them or a family member.

Read rest of post HERE

Monday, April 2, 2012

Quote of the Day - Michael S. Horton

"Within my own circles, I have seen a difference between churches composed mainly of those who have come either from non-Reformed or even non-Christian backgrounds and churches that have come gradually to take their doctrine for granted. The former tend to be animated by doctrine freshly discovered, while the other tends to assume, in a variation of the rich young ruler's response, "All this I have believed since my youth."

Losing the joy-the doxology-of our salvation is the result not of "dull doctrine," but of dull churches that have begun to forget the wonder of it all. They need to start over again with Paul's famous letter: moving from doctrine to doxology, yielding grateful lives.

I think if Paul wrote a letter to churches today that are only formally committed to orthodoxy, he would not begin, "Now, I realize that you know the truth, so I'm going to fast-forward to the exhortation." I think he would begin the letter, as he did all of his letters, with the assumption that if people understand the gospel better-which is to say, doctrine better, they would get caught up in it all and it would make a difference in their lives, their relationships, their witness, and their loving service to their neighbor."