Bought by the Blood

July 31, 2009

Friday is for Fathers

Filed under: Daddy Dates,Mark Driscoll,parenting — cubsfan1980 @ 10:01 pm
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Driscoll on Daddy Dates

“I can still recall one occasion when I was doing a wedding in the California Napa Valley. Before the wedding, I took some time to take my daughter Ashley on a shoeless walk through the vineyards as I was dressed in my suit and she was looking cute in a dress. She was nearly three years old at the time and as we held hands and walked, she looked at me and said, “Daddy, some day I will be married.” I said, “Yes, you will, sweetheart.” I then asked her, “How will you know who you are supposed to marry?” She said, “You and mommy will help decide,” and then she giggled. As her father, I am called by God to be the biggest man in her life until her husband earns her love and my approval. Every girl needs a Christian daddy who loves her, snuggles with her, encourages her, compliments her, protects her, and enjoys “daddy dates” with her where they go out to have fun together.”

-Mark Driscoll

Obviously, Miya is not old enough for daddy dates, but do any of the dads reading this blog have any favorite daddy dates they have done with their daughter(s)?

Our union with Christ

who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. – 1 Corinthians 1:8-9

The third reason that the Westminster Confession of Faith states for our assurance of salvation is because of our inseparable union with Christ, the proof text for this is 1 Corinthians 1:8-9.  Paul makes three points in this passage to give us assurance of our salvation.  First, God is sustaining us and it is by that sustaining that we are kept safe until glory.  Secondly, God has made us guiltless so that sinful creatures can be in communion forever with a holy God.  Lastly, God is faithful and because He is faithful we know that He will not deny us.

My union in Christ is not something that I can not undo.  If I could undo my union with Christ, then that would mean that I am powerful than God.  God would not be worthy of me placing my trust in Him to sustain me in the faith if that was case.  My union in Christ is not based on my righteousness, because I have none of my own.  The only way I can have union with Christ is if God washes my sin away.

One of the greatest comforts that I have is the fact that God remain faithful in spite of my faithlessness.  If God looked at my worthiness and all that I contributed to my relationship with Him as a factor in preserving our union then I would have no hope.  We read in Genesis 8:22, after the flood, that God has choosen to be faithful to His created order.  This should instill us with confidence that God will be faithful to His adopted children which He has purchased at the highest cost with the blood of His Son.

July 30, 2009

I will never leave you nor forsake you

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.  – Hebrews 13:20-21

The second reason why we can have assurance of our salvation stated by the Westminster Confession of Faith is because of God’s “decree and covenant to give them perseverance.”  There are three proof text used (2 Timothy 2:19, Hebrews 13:20-21 and 2 Samuel 23:5), but I only want to look at one and that is Hebrews 13:20-21.  To read more about God’s covenant with sinful man you can read a post I wrote called, “All We Need is Love,” today I want to focus on God’s decree and what He has decreed about us that give us confidence in our salvation.  The beauty of this doctrine that we see in Hebrews 13:21 is that it is about God’s glory.  If it was for our name sake and who we are that we have confidence in our persevering until we are glorified then we’d not have anything weighty to rest on.  Our salvation is not for the purpose of making much of us, but it is for God’s namesake (Psalms 106:8) and to make much of Him, therefore our foundation is not something imperishable, but the imperishable blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:23).  God is glorified in the fact that we can’t fall away because as Michael Horton states, “Of what sort of regeneration would the Holy Spirit be the author if those whom He he has resurrected and given eternal life are capable of dying spiritually again.”

What God has declared over us is peace, we are no longer at enmity with Him, the hostility that we had against God is over as we are now reconciled by Christ blood.  God is our peace and has made it so that no sin will ever come between us and him (Ephesians 2:14-18).  Once we were God’s enemies, but now He has adopted us into His family.   To borrow an illustration from Horton, no child can tell their parents that the mother did not give birth to them or that the dad is not their natural father.  As hard as we may try to run or fight against God, His love will always be victorious and secure those who He has called.  This is because of grace, it is by grace we have been saved and no good works of our own Ephesians 2:8-10).  What comfort we can draw from this truth of adoption by God’s grace, that there is no more striving but only feeding on God’s grace and living by His unmerited favor as He grows us.

Lastly, it is important to note that God is equipping and working in us, He is the One making it possible for us to persevere.  He has begun a good work and is faithful to bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6).  If He did not work in us, then we would have plenty of reason to worry, we can trust that if He brought us out of sin and into newness of life then He will sustain us and bring us home safely to glory.  When the Israelites escaped Egypt and backslid, God could have wiped them out, but He preserved them for His glory so that all would see His power (Deuteronomy 9:25-28).  It is the same with us, God has promised to be gracious to us, and in spite of our sin and continual failure, He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  Grace is not just the basis of our salvation, but it also enables us to keep on trusting on God and works in us to bring us home to Heaven. Jesus has decreed “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (John 10:28-29).”  Let us take Him at His Word and believe and rest in the grace that gives eternal life from start to finish.

Spurgeon on Eternal Salvation

“Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
John 6:37

No limit is set to the duration of this promise. It does not merely say, “I will not cast out a sinner at his first coming,” but, “I will in no wise cast out.” The original reads, “I will not, not cast out,” or “I will never, never cast out.” The text means, that Christ will not at first reject a believer; and that as he will not do it at first, so he will not to the last.

But suppose the believer sins after coming? “If any man sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” But suppose that believers backslide? “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.” But believers may fall under temptation! “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” But the believer may fall into sin as David did! Yes, but he will “Purge them with hyssop, and they shall be clean; he will wash them and they shall be whiter than snow”; “From all their iniquities will I cleanse them.”

“Once in Christ, in Christ for ever,
Nothing from his love can sever.”

“I give unto my sheep,” saith he, “eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” What sayest thou to this, O trembling feeble mind? Is not this a precious mercy, that coming to Christ, thou dost not come to One who will treat thee well for a little while, and then send thee about thy business, but he will receive thee and make thee his bride, and thou shalt be his for ever? Receive no longer the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the spirit of adoption whereby thou shalt cry, Abba, Father! Oh! the grace of these words: “I will in no wise cast out.”

-Taken from “Morning and Evening,” July 30th evening reading by Charles Spurgeon

July 29, 2009

Once Saved, Always Saved

I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
-Jeremiah 31:3

The first reason that the Westminster Confession of Faith states that we can’t lose our faith is because of the unchangeable love of God.  The proof text for this is Jeremiah 31:3 which proclaims the everlasting love of God that is based on nothing other than God’s faithfulness.  The Jesus Storybook Bible defines God’s everlasting and unchangeable love with these words, “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.”  It is because God is love that He is able to love fallen and sinful people like you and I.  God’s love for us is most clearly seen at the cross where His Son’s blood was shed to purchase sinners for Himself so that we can be in relationship with Him.  James Montgomery Boice said on Ephesians 1:7, “Having been purchased at the infinite cost of the blood of God’s own Son, there is no one who can possibly top the price and thus purchase us away from Him.”

An example of this love that God has for us is the metaphor of marriage that the Bible uses to illustrate God’s relationship with us.  This love in all of its extremes and glory is seen in the story of Hosea.  God commands Hosea to marry Gomer a woman he know would be unfaithful so that he could illustrate His love for a people that are spiritually unfaithful.  We all play the role of Gomer because of our hearts that always wander to sin.  God plays the role of Hosea who goes to the auction block and purchases us back from slavery for Himself.  We have done nothing to deserve Him redeeming us from the power of sin and death through Christ blood.  Despite the fact that we were dressed like a whore seeking to continue a life of spiritual adultery, God has bought with Christ blood and clothed us in His righteousness.

In the New Testament there are three words used to convey this idea of redemption.  Two of the words, agorazo and exagorazo respectively mean “to buy in a marketplace” and “to buy out of the marketplace.”  This second word in particular is of great encouragement to all believers because it shows the effective and permanent nature of redemption.  God did not buy us out of slavery to send us back and He is faithful to keep and sustain us.  The other word used for redemption is “luo” which means “to loose, set free or deliver.”  This term denotes the idea that we have bought free from sin to never return, sin and death can never make any claims to us.  If have been redeemed by the lamb then “I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).”

July 28, 2009

Can a believer lose their salvation

Currently I am doing a read through the Bible in a year plan.  One of the things I’d like to do someday is really study and meditate the Westminster Confession of Faith since there are so many proof texts.  Here is an example of how solid it is and in the coming days I will be expounding on this.

Q. 79: May not true believers, by reason of their imperfections, and the many temptations and sins they are overtaken with, fall away from the state of grace?

A. True believers, by reason of the unchangeable love of God, and his decree and covenant to give them perseverance, their inseparable union with Christ, his continual intercession for them, and the Spirit and seed of God abiding in them, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

July 25, 2009

Who Do You Say That I Am

Filed under: Glory Road,Islam,Jesus Christ,Thabiti Anyabwile — cubsfan1980 @ 8:52 pm
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He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. – Matthew 16:15&16

I am currently reading Glory Road and I am about halfway through am really enjoying it.  One of the essays is on Thabiti Anyabwile and his journey from Islam to Christianity.  If you haven’t heard Thabiti’s testimony you can listen to it on the CLC website.    In Glory Road Thabiti tells about his struggle with what Islam says about Jesus:

The Qur’an tuaght the Jesus was virgin born (Surah 3:45-48; 19:20ff) and that he was helped by the Holy Spirit (Surah 2:87, 253).  The Qur’an and the Hadith taught that Jesus was faultless.  And some eleven times the Qur’an referred to Jesus as “The Messiah.”

How could Jesus be virgin born, helped by the Holy Spirit, faultless, the Messiah, and not the Son of God, a member of the Trinity, and the Savior that the Old Testament prophets looked for?  Every Muslim believes that Jesus is a prophet, and that a prophet speaks the very words of God, and that the Torah, Psalms of Davd, and the Gospels were revelations from Allah.  How could I consistent hold that view and reject Jesus’ teaching about himself and the way to eternal life?

In case you are wondering, this is not the turning point where Thabiti accepts Christ.  If you want to know more you have to read the book or listen to the message that I linked to above.

July 24, 2009

Friday is For Fathers

“The thoroughness of Paul’s mission practice is that he was not content merely with evangelism and church planting but was concerned to build mature communities of believers who could think biblically through the ethical issues they faced in the ambient religious culture.  His pastoral and ethical guidance to his churches was thus as much part of his missional task as his evangelistic zeal, and just as theologically grounded to.” Chris Wright

According to Mark Driscoll in his free e-book “Pastor Dad,” every dad is a pastor to his family.  Therefore, the above quote, although it is directed to church planters, missionaries and pastors can have very real application to fathers.  If I am in paid ministry I should never view the job complete if someone gives a verbal commitment to Christ.  Anthony Bradley shares in the book Glory Road his testimony of how there was much confusion for him early on as he had no discipleship.  The same is true for father’s, our kids must be discipled and this is not a task that we should leave up to the church, but do ourselves as the church equips us for this work.

Paul didn’t want his converts to just attend church.  Actually, in the New Testament church there would be no casual attenders because just to do that would be risking their lives.  A Christian father’s vision shouldn’t be for his family to be casual church attenders.  Instead they should be taking part in community to grow in spiritual maturity so that they can discern what is God’s good, acceptable and perfect will by being transformed by the renewing of their mind through the preached word (Romans 12).  The father must lead in example by applying the word and and standing up for Biblical truth.

Father’s let us not be content to have our family be lukewarm even if we are on fire.  May God give us hearts like Paul’s for those that we are called to shepherd, hearts with a zeal for seeing lives transformed by the power of the Gospel.

July 23, 2009

Martin Luther on Imputed Righteousness

Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; – Romans 4:7

Believers inwardly are always sinners; therefore they are always justified from without.  The hypocrites, on the other hand, are alway righteous inwardly; therefore they are always sinners from without.  By ‘inwardly’ I mean, as we appear before judgment and opinion; by from ‘without,’ as we appear before God and His judgment.  We are righteous ‘outside ourselves’ when our righteousness does not flow from our works; but is ours alone by divine imputation.  Such imputation, however, is not merited by us, nor does it lie with our power, as the prophet says in Hosea 13:9: ‘O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.’ Of ourselves we are always wicked, as the Psalmist says in Psalm 51:3 ‘My sin is ever before me.’ But the hypocrite, say: ‘My righteousness is ever before me, and blessed are they who do works of righteousness.’

The text says: ‘Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven’; that is to say: Blessed are they who by grace are freed from the burden of iniquity, namely, of the actual sins which they have committed.  That, however, is not sufficient, unless also their ‘sins are covered,’ that is unless the radical evil (original sin) which is in them is not charged to them as sin.  That is covered when, though still existing, it is not regarded, considered and imputed by God; as we read: ‘Blessed is the man to w home the Lord will not impute sin.'”

Martin Luther

July 22, 2009

Only with the cross can we esteem God’s Word rightly

As Jehudi read three or four columns, the king would cut them off with a knife and throw them into the fire in the fire pot, until the entire scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the fire pot. Yet neither the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words was afraid, nor did they tear their garments. – Jeremiah 36:23-24

King Jehoiakim had no regard for God’s Word.  For those who live in reverence to God’s Word it is more delightful than all riches (Psalm 119:14).  To king Jehoiakim the Word of God was worthless and he used it to cut it up and as fuel for a fire.  In cutting up the Word of God he was cutting up his own soul and committing suicide of the soul.  He could have used God’s word to burn away the sin in his life, but instead by  neglecting it he made the wrath of God burn hotter towards him.

The proper response to God’s Word would have been one of fear.  Through God’s Word we see ourselves more clearly and also see God more clearly.  By the Word of God we are able to see more clearly His holiness and glory.  Scripture is also a mirror and we see ourselves in light of who God is we are made aware of our sin and our separation from God.  This is a very fearful thing as it shows that no one has lived up to God’s standard and all are worthy of punishment (Romans 3:23 and 6:23).  When we see the debt that we owe God, as it is one that we could never repay, we should have the opposite reaction of Jehoiakim and be humbled.

To be honest, I don’t always prize God’s word as I should approach it with humble gratitude.  It is a fight to esteem God’s Word rightly.  Thankfully this is not a battle that I fight on my own.  I have the Holy Spirit to empower me to deny my self so that I can seek God through His Word.  This is not something that I do to earn God’s favor, but it is because I have God’s favor through Christ death on the cross for my sins that my response is to commune with Him through His Word.  The cross isn’t just the means by which I am saved, but it also is the process of my sanctification.  If the cross is not at the center of my sanctification then I am not seeking to exalt Christ, but to exalt myself.  Not only can I not save myself, but I can’t continue to make progress in my relationship with God unless He is working in me and carrying me along the process.  Therefore, I do not feel condemned when I fail to have the right attitude towards God’s Word, but instead remember it is all of grace and seek Him to pour out more grace because without His undeserved favor I am in the same boat as Jehoiakim.

Josh Harris gave a great message at Covenant Life Church on this passage which you can listen to here.

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