Bought by the Blood

July 16, 2010

The Gospel Keeps Believers Believing

Filed under: Faith,Gospel,imputed righteousness,John Piper,Romans,Unbelief — cubsfan1980 @ 9:53 am
[16] For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. [17] For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
(Romans 1:16-17 ESV)

What saves is persevering faith (Mark 13:13Colossians 1:23). If that’s true, now it makes clear sense why verse 17 explains how God saves believers by saying that in the gospel God reveals a righteousness for us that is first perceived and embraced by faith, and then has the effect of awakening all the necessary future faith that we need in order to be saved. The gospel saves believers because the gospel keeps believers believing. (See 1 Peter 1:5.)

In Romans 8:13 Paul says, “If you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” But the problem is, we all know that in our war with sin we do not win often enough to have peace in our consciences. So if our life hangs on perfect winning in the war with sin, we are going to despair and not persevere to the end. We will simply give up, because there is no use trying.

What then will keep us going and fighting so that we will live?Romans 1:16,17 answers: the gospel is the power of God to save believers because in the gospel we can see revealed every day that our standing with God is not based on our own righteousness but on God’s, freely given to us by faith. And when we see that over and over in the gospel, day after day, as long as we live, our faith is renewed and sustained, and we press on in the fight. Our confidence that God will help us in life and save us from the wrath to come is based on our ever-renewed assurance that our acceptance with him is based on the gift of his own righteousness, not ours.

So every time the Bible demands you to do something do not think, “I must do this to take away my guilt or to get forgiveness or to get a right standing with God.” Rather think, “I will do this because my guilt is already removed, I am already forgiven, I already have the gift of God’s righteousness, and so I know that God is for me and will help me. So I will trust him and obey him and display by my radical, risk-taking obedience the glory of God’s grace. And I will draw nearer and nearer to him in the fellowship of his sufferings and the joy of his companionship.

December 2, 2009

More of Jesus

Filed under: Faith,Gospel — cubsfan1980 @ 11:03 pm
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Jesus Christ you are my reward
In you I glory and find strength.
You fill me with your Spirit
And give me access to the Father.

Jesus Christ you are my King,
The One who I live for
And seek to find myself worthy of.
In your kingdom is my hope.

Give me eyes of faith to keep this perspective.
This world can be filled with temptation,
I do not want to believe the lies
Which is why I need more of you,
For you are the way, the truth and the life.
By your atoning death I have joy to the full.

November 7, 2009

“V” and Christianity

Filed under: Faith,V — cubsfan1980 @ 11:00 am
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Christianity Today did an interview with the executive producer of the new TV show V and you can read it here.  Reading the interview definitely made me interested in the show and I thought this was an interesting snippet.

How did an Anglican priest end up as a central hero in an alien invasion tale?

In a story of devotion and belief, it makes sense to have a character who is all about devotion. For a priest, the arrival of this apparent savior forces a decision: Either everything he knows is wrong or this new information is a lie. It’s a great existential question for him. Is the faith and God he believes in really true? It’s a nice way to talk about the issues of faith, devotion, belief, and redemption.

November 2, 2009

Where The American Church Needs Reformation

Filed under: Faith,Matthew Henry,Repentance,Uncategorized — cubsfan1980 @ 9:19 am
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Image courtesy of Eternal Perspectives Ministry

“By repentance we must lament and forsake our sins, and by faith we must receive the forgiveness of them.  By repentance we must give glory to our Creator whom we have offended; by faith we must give glory to our Redeemder who came to save us from our sins.  Both of these must go together; we must not think either that reforming our lives will save us without trusting in the righteousness and grace of Christ, or that trusting in Christ will save us without the reformation of our hearts and lives. ” Matthew Henry

October 4, 2009

I Come Running

“You will enter Heaven as fully by grace as if you had never lived a godly life, nor had practiced a single virtue.” Charles Spurgeon

I have read this Spurgeon quote several times over and the first time it really shook me.  It definitely flies in the face of the legalistic tendency that we can be so prone to.  Spurgeon is not saying that there is no place for works.  Instead he is referencing what it takes to enter into Heaven.  Our entrance into Heaven is not based on anything that we do.  It is based on grace and not anything we do.  This statement by Spurgeon is in reference to Luke 18:16 “But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”  The way that parents unconditionally love their children is the same way that God loves us.  The Kingdom of God belongs to those who know that they can’t earn God’s favor.
Grace should motivate my obedience.  I follow God not out of obligation, but out of thanksgiving, as an overflow of how He has changed my heart.  I don’t obey God to earn His favor, because I am His adopted child, I can’t help but to want to live for Him.  My obedience can’t bring me any closer to God, so that frees me to live for Him without fear.

“The little child receives Christ humbly, for he never dreams of merit or purchase.  I do not recollect ever having met with a child who had to battle with self-righteousness in coming to Christ.” Spurgeon

If I am to be like a child I am to come empty handed.  When a child comes running to their father’s arms when the father comes home the child does not do it out of duty or out of believing they have earned the chance to be with the father, instead it is out of delight and a free relationship.  That is what it is like with communing with God, we come running to him excited to be with Him.  We don’t dread our sin impeding our relationship with Him because He sees us like He sees His only begotten Son because of Christ imputed righteousness through the cross.  This frees us to come not based on good we have done.

A child’s confidence for food and shelter isn’t in what they do and what they can provide.  Every child finds their hope for all that they need in their parents and what they provide.  The same goes for us.  Just as Miya is dependent on me, I am dependent on my Heavenly Father.  I can run to God as my refuge and ever faithful Father who gives my weary heart rest from all my troubles.

I Come Running
By: Mark Altrogge

Jesus, I am blind, be my light
Darkened in my mind, be my wisdom
Bend my stubborn will to Your own
Open up my ears to hear Your Spirit
Melt my conscience once again
Help me hate the slightest sin
And when Satan comes to tempt me

I come running to You, when I fear, when I’m tried
I come running to You, to Your blood, to Your side
And there my soul finds rest
There my soul finds rest in You

Shepherd of my soul, lead me on
To the pastures green in Your Scriptures
Make me to lie down by waters still
Fill me with Your peace in the tempest
I take my refuge in Your cross
By your sacrifice I’m washed
And when Satan comes accusing

Once I was Your foe, a slave to sin
A stranger to Your love, a hopeless outcast
But You have brought me near, I’m bought with blood
Now I’m Your precious child, an heir with Jesus
You pour heaven into my soul
Your wondrous love, it overflows
And I marvel how You love me

© 2005 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI).

October 3, 2009

Planting Seeds of Faith in our Children.

Filed under: Communication,Faith,parenting — cubsfan1980 @ 7:45 pm
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I just read an interesting article on one of the Focus on the Family blogs.  It talks about how technology has changed the way we communicate with infants and toddlers.  Since we have the world at our fingertips we are less likely to engage with our little ones and instead neglect them for other things.  This article is good as it talks about redeeming the time as it will help our kids develop and also plant seeds of faith.

preverbal children will often understand what we’re telling them long before they can articulate a formal response to what’s been said. It’s a fact that babies and toddlers mimic our sounds and style and need to hear our voices in order to learn how to communicate.

Indeed, much to our chagrin, sometimes the kids are listening!

The rapid evolution and explosion of technology presents a new challenge for moms and dads. Ten—or even five—years ago, parents weren’t tempted to “text” a friend while pushing a stroller or talk on the cell phone while driving to the market with Junior in the backseat.

I wonder if we shouldn’t reevaluate exactly how we’re managing the use of technology around our toddlers. I wonder if our children might be well served if we refrained from using the cell phone in the car and, instead, engaged them in some baby talk. Why not take advantage of your captive audience and begin a simple conversation? It doesn’t have to take a lot of extra effort—have some fun, sing a few songs, or tell them what you love. And why not begin to plant those seeds of faith? Reciting a simple scripture verse or reminding them how much God loves them is any easy thing to do.

In time, I’m convinced we’ll reap a harvest from these intentional investments of connecting and bonding with our kids.

You can read the rest at Focus on the Family Community: Finding Home: Baby Talk.

October 1, 2009

Faith and Works

Filed under: ephesians,Faith,grace,J.C. Ryle,John,obedience — cubsfan1980 @ 8:30 pm
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“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” – John 14:21

We are not to suppose for a moment that “keeping Christ’s commandments” can save us.  Our best works are full of imperfection.  When we have done all we can, we are feeble and unprofitable servants.  “By grace you are saved through faith-, not of works. (Ephesians 2:8)” But while we hold one class of truths, we must not forget another.  Faith in the blood of Christ must always be attended by loving obedience to the will of Christ.  What the Master has joined together, the disciple must not put asunder.  Do we profess to love Christ?  Then let us show it by our lives.  The Apostle who said, “Thou knowest that I love Thee!” received the charge,  “Feed my lambs.”  That meant, “Do something. Be useful: follow my example. (John 21:17)” J.C. Ryle

August 12, 2009

How to walk through the valley of the shadow of death

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me. – Psalm 23:4

Take a moment to consider what is your shadow of death.  Is it the potential of financial hardships? Does the prospect of gloom come from some relational unknown like your kids not walking with the Lord?  Have health concerns made you downcast and uncertain about God’s control of good and evil.  If we call God our shepherd we have no need to fear these things.  The essence of living by faith is knowing that even though we may walking in the midst of the valley of the shadow of death that God is with us, His Son has already gone before us, and we have no need to fear because He is faithful and trustworthy.

The reason we can fear no evil is because of the cross.  At the cross we see God providing for our greatest need by atoning for our sins and sending Christ to take the punishment that we deserved.  God could have kept His Son out of harm’s way, but instead made Him drink the cup of His wrath, so that we wouldn’t have to.  If God would do that for undeserving sinners like us, then we can be confident that He will protect us from all evil.  when the circumstances of life have us down we need to immediately run to the cross as our comfort and refuge.

Note that the Psalmist walks through the valley of the shadow of death, he walks calmly at an even pace and is not frantic or running because He can rest in God.  His rest in God is based on the fact that sin has been defeated through Christ victory on the cross.  The Psalmist does not state that there is no evil, but he knows that evil exists and is well aware of the force of evil against him.  Even more than evil, He is aware of the God who is sovereign over evil and will let any trial come to him that will not work for his good or God’s glory.  The Psalmist knows that God is wise and has a plan to bring him through this valley to the mountain where he will see more of God’s glory and love for him.

August 7, 2009

a conversation with Luther on eternal salvation

who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. – 1 Peter 1:5

Me: Martin, can you explain to me how based on the above verse I can be assured of my salvation:?

Martin Luther: You have a strong rear-guard and helper, whose name is God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He has begun a good work in you, and he must also complete it or all is lost.  He will guard you through His divine almighty strength and power that you may continue steadfast in the faith of his word and await the salvation in the living hope through patience prepared for you from the foundation of the world, lying yet hidden and mantled, reserved and sealed, so that it remains indeed invulnerable and sure.  However in due time it will, in the twinkling of an eye, be opened and uncovered so that you may view it forever and possess it as your joy.

Me: Wow, that is really deep.  How do I know that my faith steadfast and real?

Luther:Faith is a divine power.  When God produces faith, man must be born in another way and become a new creature; good works flowing from a purified nature must follow faith.  So that we dare not say to a Christian who has faith, Do this or that work, for he performs of himself and unbidden nothing but good works.  But this must be said to him, that he is not to deceive himself with a false, imaginary faith.

Me: Luther you are one smart dude.  I am sure glad you started the protestant reformation.  Do you have anything else you’d like to add?
Luther: The secure and false Christians, who are always more than the true believers, have no correct information concerning faith, for they think if they straightway fall into and continue in sin – yet they only believe – then there is no danger, for faith alone justifies without any good works.  In that, they rest.  They do nothing good, yea, only evil, and for all that, they wish to be Christians.  But they are worse than the heathen.  However, we heard above that faith begets new men and makes all things new in the heart, mind and senses.  These new men then as good tree, bear good fruit, and lead a holy life.  Where this is not the case, there is no true faith.

All of Luther’s answers were taken from his commentary on the epistles of Peter.

Soli Deo Gloria

who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. – 1 Peter 1:5

We now come to our conclusion on our confidence in our eternal security, based on the Westminster Confession of Faith.  If you want to read more, the larger catechism does expound upon this topic more in questions 80 and 81.  The last statement we find in question 79 on why we can be assured of salvation is because we “are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation,” and this is based on 1 Peter 1:5.  One of the five solas of the protestant reformation is sola fide, which in English is “By Faith Alone.”  If our salvation was by works and not faith then we’d have plenty of reason to think we could fall away.

It is faith that guards us and this faith is a gift of God .  It is important that we never forget that faith comes from outside of us and is not a muscle that we flex to impress God and so that He grants us salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9).  The faith that saves us is a like a shield protecting us from satan who wants to steal us away from God and our flesh which wants to lead us to death.  Faith keeps us safe until the last time when our inheritance is revealed in the last day and there is no more sin to battle with and satan is no more.  The strength of this shield is based on the power of God and all other powers are less than nothing when compared to the power of God.

The protestant reformers preached, “Once saved always saved,” and that salvation is by faith alone for the purpose of another sola, sola deo gloria, or as translated in English means “Glory to God Alone.”  The purpose of our salvation and our hope for eternity isn’t to make much of us, but instead to make much of God.  Salvation has been accomplished by God for His glory, so our proper response is to glorify Him.  We don’t talk about these doctrines to make much of ourselves and our knowledge of the Scriptures, but instead to make much of God and to give Him the glory He rightly deserves.  For the Christian whose eternal state is secure in Christ, this life is preparation for eternity where we will be under the face and authority of God, so we should live for His glory now as we will continually in the last time.

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