Bought by the Blood

August 13, 2011

Every Spiritual Blessing

By God’s grace, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, believers are assured of “every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

  • We are justified; that is, we receive here and now advance declaration by God of the verdict of his court on the day of judgment, that we are included among those whom he will declare righteous on account of our faith in Jesus and his obedience unto death.
  • We are saved; that is, we are delivered from the wrath to come, rescued from the anger of God against all wickedness and rebellion.
  • We are reconciled; that is, the enmity between us and God has been removed, because God himself bore our sins in the person of his own Son on the cross.
  • We are forgiven: that is, God chooses to “carry” (the Hebrew word usually translated “forgive” our sins, rather than repay them to us, because they have been “carried” by Jesus on the cross.  They will never be held against us.
  • We are redeemed: that is, God has achieved our liberation from all the bondage of sin, as he rescued the Israelites out of Egypt, through the sacrificial blood of Christ.
  • We are adopted: that is, God includes us among his children, or more specifically, treats us as firstborn sons (whether male or female) and thus as his heirs, sharing in the inheritance that belongs to Christ.
  • We are made alive: that is, from the death of sin we are given new life, the resurrection life of Jesus himself.
  • We have the Spirit: that is, the promise that God made to Israel, that would bring about their renewal and “resurrection” and obedience, is now poured out in us, bearing the fruit of transformed lives.

The above is taken from the book, “The Mission of God’s People” by Chris Wright

June 24, 2011

What I Will Tell My Kids About Gay Marriage

Here I Stand

The problem with the way that many conservatives, including evangelicals, defend marriage is that they’ve dumbed it down to a point where when it is stood up against society’s current redefining of marriage there is hardly any recognizable difference.  Marriage, as God designed it is to be a picture of Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:31-32). In a secular society, that is not always the case especially since everyone does not have the same worldview. Marriage, in America is quickly deteriorating from what God intended, with many people living together and having sex outside of marriage, the growing popularity of no-fault divorce and how pornography and infidelity run rampant.

In light of all of this, is it correct to say “anything goes”? Because of the separation of church and state should we just take the mindset that marriage is a state institution and it is up to individual states to decide? My fear is that if I do that, then I won’t be salt and light, which is why it is important to know what I believe and why.

The Bible is the solid ground on which I stand and form my convictions, all else is sinking sand. These convictions may make me sound judgemental and condemning, but my hope is that any judgement or condemnation someone sees me passing is the same judgement and condemnation that I deserve, but because of Christ free grace and rich mercy that all who seek to be crucified with Christ and find their life in Him may be free from any judgement or condemnation.

What’s Love Got To Do With It

Many people believe that marriage should be for two people who love each other and it doesn’t matter their gender.  I am not going to argue with that statement, because it is a great proposition.  Instead, ponder this, what does it matter if a person gains marriage, but loses their soul (Mark 8:36).  If we think that a couple, straight or homosexual, having the right to marry will complete them then we have set the bar far too low.  To quote C.S. Lewis “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”  If someone doesn’t have the opportunity to marry the person they love, then they may be momentarily missing out on something.  Ultimately, marriage is nothing compared to knowing Christ. “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:8).” By promoting any marriage not built on Christ, whether straight or homosexual, it does not matter how much love there is, there will be no eternal value in it.

The Culture Wars

Obviously, I would not stop a non-Christian couple from marrying.  I can imagine your reaction being that if a homosexual is born that way, then it is unfair that I would support laws that would stop them from marrying someone they loved.  In all honesty, I have trouble supporting laws that outlaw same-sex marriage because legislation is not the answer.  The law has no power to bring a person to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and without a relationship with Him how can I expect them to deny their desires?  I have friends that are homosexual and in same-sex relationships and marriages.  I have never told them that what they are doing is wrong.  Also, I have never outright supported their choice.

The media, our society and the political machine wants us to believe that a culture war is going on right now.  I believe that Jesus would scoff at the idea of a culture war.  I am not at war with any homosexuals who choose that lifestyle.  They do not need me telling them that they need to change.  They need to see the love of Jesus and that His grace is greater then all their sin.  If Jesus was walking the earth right now, it would probably be the homosexual couples and not the conservatives that He would spend His time with.

Jesus does not see people as straight or homosexual, but he sees all people as sinners who need a Savior.  Rules and laws will point out that we are sinners.  Rules and laws can go no further then bringing about shame and I fail as an ambassador of Christ if all I do is point to people’s sin without pointing to the Savior.  No one who comes to Jesus has to make a drastic life change before they come and as His representative I do not have to force people to change instantly when they come to Jesus.  The result of coming to Jesus is crucifying the flesh and no longer walking according to its passions and desires, but that always comes after faith and never as a condition (Galatians 5:24-25).  Straight people, homosexuals, all are free to come to Jesus and and find the satisfaction their soul has been longing for.

Does It Really Get Better

Many of you reading this, are probably familiar with the “It Gets Better” campaign.  Part of me wholeheartedly agrees with that campaign, with the ideal that people will grow up and mature so that others don’t have to fear being bullied, have the ability to visit a loved one in the hospital and not be ostracized by family and friends for being who they are.  Even if that day comes, things may temporarily be better, but ultimately there will be a day where we will all have to stand before God and give an account.  Hell is a real place, it is a place of eternal destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:9), a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 25:30), and torment (Luke 16:23).  Any human rights that homosexuals gain to make this life better will not compensate for God’s holy wrath that He will pour out on sinners in the life to come.

It isn’t just homosexuals worthy of burning of eternally, but it is everyone. No one does good, no one chooses God (Romans 3). Every single person is born with a heart that is sinful and no one deserves to go to Heaven, except for Jesus who lived a perfect and righteous life and died on the cross to atone for the sins of gays, straights, liars, murderers, thieves, gossips, etc. Yes, that is condescending and judgmental, but it is filled with hope. It is gloriously beautiful because it means that salvation is not up to us and that we don’t go to Heaven because we do good things or live a “right lifestyle” but it is only because of the merits another.

Former homosexual and current evangelist Sy Rogers once said, “People doesn’t go to hell because they’re gay; they go because they’re separated from God.  Heterosexuals don’t automatically go to heaven; they go to hell too.  The opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality; it’s devotion to God and a holy lifestyle.”

In the book, “An Arrow Pointing Towards Heaven,” about the life of Rich Mullins, Rich tells the following story and I believe it truly gets to the heart of the matter.

I remember one time Beaker and I were hiking on the Appalachian Trail, and he met some friends of his, so I walked into town.  It was about a five-mile walk from the campsite down the trail…,down into town.  And when I got there I went into a restaurant and I was having a steak, and this guy started talking to me and we had this great conversation.  We were having a good time, and he said, “Hey look, it’s dark and it’s five miles up to your campground. Why I don’t I drive you up there?”
And I said, “Hey, Great!”
And so we got in his car, and just as we pulled out from under the last light in that town, the guy said, “You know what, I should probably tell you that I am gay.”
And I said, “Oh, I should probably tell you that I am a Christian.”
And he said, “Well, if you want out of the car…”
And I said, “Why?”
And he said, “Well, I’m gay and you’re Christian.”
I said, “It’s still five miles and it’s still dark.”
Then he said, “I thought Christians hated gays.”
I said, “That’s funny, I thought Christians were supposed to love. I thought that was our first command.”
He said, “Well, I thought God hated gays.”
And I said, “That’s really funny, because I thought God was love.”
And then he asked me the big one. He said, “Do you think I will go to hell for being a gay?”
Well, I’m a good Hoosier, and I puckered up to say, “Yes, of course you’ll go to hell for being gay.” I got ready to say that, but when I opened up my mouth it came out, “No, of course you won’t go to hell for being gay.” And I thought to myself, Oh my God, I’ve only been in New Hampshire for one week and I’ve already turned into a liberal! What am I going to tell this guy now?
Then I said to him, “No, you won’t go to hell for being gay, any more than I would go to hell for being a liar.  Nobody goes to hell because of what they do.  We go to hell because we reject the grace that God so longs to give to us, regardless of what we do.”

What Will I Say

I titled this post, “What I Will Tell My Kids About Gay Marriage.”  Some time in the future my children will ask me about gay marriage and human rights.  I can’t tell you today what I will say, most likely I won’t repeat all 1,800+ words to them that you just read (if you did read all of this, thank you and I’d love your thoughts). I know that it will be a message of grace because that is what everyone deserves even when we don’t see eye to eye.  It will be a message of acceptance because homosexuals are not second class citizens.  It will be a message of love because “we love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19).” It will be the message of the cross because homosexuals need the cross just as much as I do.

[9] Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, [10] nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. [11] And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

June 14, 2011

Living Supernaturally

I don’t always appreciate the writing of Andrée Seu but I thought the following was really poignant

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
(John 4:10 ESV)

If you and I knew who Jesus was—really, really knew—would we pray differently? Wouldn’t it expand our imagination? Isn’t this what Jesus is saying to this Samaritan woman he has struck up a conversation with at the well: “Lady, if you really knew who you were talking to here, you and I wouldn’t be wasting our time in theological debate; you would be inundating me with requests for all your spiritual needs”?

My dullness about God tends to fall along two lines: Dullness about how powerful he wants to be in our lives and dullness about how involved he wants to be in our lives. I act as if forgiveness of sins is His entire gift, and not also the breaking of bondages, the bending of impossibilities, and the undoing varieties of the devil’s handiwork (1 John 3:8). You can read the rest here http://online.worldmag.com/2011/06/08/if-you-knew/

When God becomes dull the problem is never God, but always me.  I have a short sighted view and miss what God eternal big picture is and how He is working.  My perspective misses what He has already done on the cross and how He has solved my greatest need and triumphed over the greatest evil and displayed more power and love then humanly imaginable.  Often times my wisdom only looks back on human history, but God goes beyond the confines times, to before there was time, when He set me apart to be holy and blameless to the praise of His glorious grace, experiencing all of the blessings of being in the beloved (Ephesians 1:4-6). Now that is supernatural.  God is not dull, and even in the mundane, I am serving a supernatural God who is calling me to live supernaturally.   

When I get bored with my circumstances, work or any aspect of daily living I need to press into Jesus knowing that this is not all He has in store for me.  I need to remember that He is bigger then I can comprehend and even in the littlest things He is working.  Even though naturally I can’t see His hand and what He is doing in every instance, I know every second He is at work refining me.  Life is never dull, because God is never dull and has more then just forgiveness of sins for me, but life and life to the full.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
(John 10:10 ESV)

August 6, 2010

What is Biblical Male Headship

“Male headship is not about lording it over those whom we lead. Male headship is about being so Christ like that it is evident to everyone around us that we are the head of our home. Male headship is about being the spiritual priest, the spiritual prophet, the physical provider and the physical and spiritual protector of our households. That is what male headship is. Male headship is laying down your life for your wife. That is what male headship is. If she is afraid of you, you are not operating under biblical male headship. And if you are not mentoring and discipling your wife, you are not operating under biblical male headship. It is your responsibility according to Ephesians chapter five to wash her with the water of the Word.” – Voddie Baucham Jr.

February 24, 2010

The Meaning of Life

Filed under: ephesians,God's Glory,Matthew Henry,worship — cubsfan1980 @ 2:55 pm
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“We should live and behave ourselves in such a manner that His rich grace might be magnified, and appear glorious, and worthy of the Highest praise…For this we were made, and for this we were were redeemed; this is the great design of our Christianity, and of God, in all that he has done for us: unto the praise of His glory.” Matthew Henry

February 23, 2010

Nothing But The Blood Jesus

Filed under: cross,ephesians,Gospel,grace,Matthew Henry,Redemption — cubsfan1980 @ 9:11 am
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“No remission without redemption.  It was by reason of sin that we were held captive, and we cannot be realesed from our captivity but by the remission of our sins.  This redemption we have in Christ, and this remission through his blood.  The guilt and the stain of sin could be no otherwise removed than by the blood of Jesus.  All our spiritual blessings flow down to us in that stream.  This great benefit, which comes freely to us, was dearly bought and paid for by our blessed Lord, and yet it is according to the riches of God’s grace.  Christ’s satisfaction and God’s rich grace are very consistent in the great affair of man’s redemption.  God was satisfied by Christ as our substitute and surety; but it was rich grace that would accept of a surety, when he might have executed the severity of the law upon the transgressor, and it was rich grace to provide such a surety as his own Son, and freely to deliver him up, when nothing of that nature could have entered into our thoughts, nor have been any otherwise found out for us.” Matthew Henry

February 22, 2010

Holiness Is The Means To Happiness

“Chosen – that we should be holy; not because he foresaw they would be holy, but because he determined to make them so.  All who are chosen to happines as the end are chose to holiness as the means.  Their sanctification, as well as their salvation, is the result of the counsels of divine love.” – Matthew Henry

December 5, 2009

Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow

he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, – 1 Timothy 6:15

Q. 7. What is God?
A. God is a Spirit,in and of himself infinite in being, glory, blessedness, and perfection; all-sufficient, eternal, unchangeable, incomprehensible, everywhere present, almighty, knowing all things, most wise, most holy, most just, most merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.

For God to be blessed means that He is infinitely happy. He is sovereign and all that He purposes is accomplished (Isaiah 46:9-10).  All that God does is for His pleasure and delight (Psalm 115:3).  Even if something He ordains does not seem like it would please Him we have to remember we only have a limited perspective and the  ultimate end that He has in mind will glorify Him.  God does not need you or I for Him to blessed, we are not a blessing to God, He has all He needs in the Godhead to be supremely happy for all eternity (Isaiah 42:1).

We call God blessedness because He is the greatest blessing that we have.  The greatest joy that we can have is to be found in God, no other joy compares to knowing Him.  He is our great reward and His love is better than life (Psalm 63:1).  There is no human being that has lived who was happier than Jesus.  Jesus gave us the description of happiness in the beatitudes when he said who the blessed are and only He has perfectly lived out the beatitudes.

Only through Jesus can we have joy and have it to the full.  James Montgomery Boice once stated, “The blessing of God in an individual life begins with the forgiveness of sin.”  The Gospel is the good news that Christ has paid the penalty for our sins, there is no more striving or work that we must do to earn God’s blessing, but it is freely given to us  (Romans 9:16).  The Gospel opens our blinded eyes so that we can see God as the jewel of great worth (Matthew 13:45-46).  The greatest good and highest enjoyment we can have is knowing God and this is only possible through Christ death bringing us near to God by His blood (Ephesians 2:13).

November 19, 2009

Spurgeon on the mission of parents

Elisha had to deal with a dead child (2 Kings 4:29-37). It is true that, in his instance, it was natural death; but the death with which you have to come in contact is not the less real death because it is spiritual. Boys and girls are as surely as grown-up people, “dead in trespasses and sins.” May none fail fully to realize the state in which all human beings are naturally found. Unless you have a very clear sense of the utter ruin and spiritual death of children, you will be incapable of being made a blessing to them. Go to them, I pray you, not as to sleepers whom you can by your own power awaken from their slumber, but as to spiritual corpses who can only be quickened by a power divine. Elisha aimed at nothing less than the restoration of the child to life. May you never be content with aiming at secondary benefits, or even with realizing them; may you strive for the grandest of all ends, the salvation of immortal souls. Your business is not merely to teach children to read the Bible, not barely to inculcate the duties of morality, nor even to instruct them in the mere letter of the gospel, but your high calling is to be the means, in the hands of God, of bringing life from heaven to dead souls.

Resurrection, then, is our aim! To raise the dead is our mission! How is so strange a work to be achieved? If we yield to unbelief we shall be staggered by the evident fact that the work to which the Lord has called us is quite beyond our own personal power. We cannot raise the dead. We are, however, no more powerless than Elisha, for he of himself could not restore the Shunammite’s son. Need this fact discourage us? Does it not rather direct us to our true power by shutting us out from our own fancied might? I trust we are all of us already aware that the man who lives in the region of faith dwells in the realm of miracles…

You are sent into the world not to do the things which are possible to man, but those impossibilities which God worketh by His Spirit, by the means of His believing people. You are to work miracles, to do marvels. You are not, therefore, to look upon the restoration of these dead children, which in God’s name you are called to bring about, as being a thing unlikely or difficult when you remember who it is that works by your feeble instrumentality.

-Charles Spurgeon: read the rest at The Spurgeon Archive

October 28, 2009

The Fatherhood of God

Filed under: ephesians,Fatherhood of God,Pete Wilson,promises of God,Psalms — cubsfan1980 @ 10:26 am
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Blogs that have caught my interest lately are those relating to parents and fatherhood.  It is neat to think about how fatherhood is directly related to the character of God, as God is the father from which father his name (Ephesians 3:14-15). I love this picture of the fatherhood of God and his promises by Pete Wilson.

Let’s just be honest here. Time and time again in your life you’re going to feel as if God isn’t showing up. You’re going to feel as if God isn’t healing, He isn’t restoring, He isn’t releasing His mighty power. You’re going to feel like He doesn’t know or care and you’ve been completely abandoned on the bridge.

Do you know what the most frequently stated promise from God in Scripture is? God promises us over and over, “I am with you.”

You may feel all alone, but please know you’re not. Despite you’re feelings He’s right there with you. He’s ready to snatch you should you fall.

You can read the rest at Right There | WithoutWax.tv by Pete Wilson.

The neat thing about God being the ultimate Father is that He does way more than just snatch us when we fall.  He widens the ground beneath us so that we can’t fall.  He delights in us and has secured our rescue by bringing us to a broad place where we are safe from harm and danger despite what our feelings tell us (Psalm 18:19&36).

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