Bought by the Blood

April 17, 2012

The Glorification of God and the Humility of Man

All we have we have from God as the fountain, and in and through Christ as the channel of conveyance. He is made of God to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption: all we need, or can desire. We are foolishness, ignorant and blind in the things of God, with all our boasted knowledge; and he is made wisdom to us. We are guilty, obnoxious to justice; and he is made righteousness, our great atonement and sacrifice. We are depraved and corrupt; and he is made sanctification, the spring of our spiritual life; from him, the head, it is communicated to all the members of his mystical body by his Holy Spirit. We are in bonds, and he is made redemption to us, our Saviour and deliverer. Observe, Where Christ is made righteousness to any soul, he is also made sanctification. He never discharges from the guilt of sin, without delivering from the power of it; and he is made righteousness and sanctification, that he may in the end be made complete redemption, may free the soul from the very being of sin, and loose the body from the bonds of the grave: and what is designed in all is that all flesh may glory in the Lord. Observe, It is the will of God that all our glorifying should be in the Lord: and, our salvation being only through Christ, it is thereby effectually provided that it should be so. Man is humbled, and God glorified and exalted, by the whole scheme.

-Matthew Henry on 1 Corinthians 1

God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

(1 Corinthians 1:28-31 ESV)

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life

Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me
Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You”

“All I Have Is Christ” by Jordan Kauflin

© 2008 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

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January 9, 2012

Soul Mate Myth

Filed under: Gospel,Meaning of Marriage,Tim Keller — cubsfan1980 @ 3:20 pm
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Tim Keller has a new book out that I am hoping to read this year called, “The Meaning of Marriage.” Here is an excellent from it that I copied from an article on the Relevant Magazine website.

The Gospel is—we are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared to believe, and at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope. This is the only kind of relationship that will really transform us. Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it. God’s saving love in Christ, however, is marked by both radical truthfulness about who we are and yet also radical, unconditional commitment to us. The merciful commitment strengthens us to see the truth about ourselves and repent. The conviction and repentance moves us to cling to and rest in God’s mercy and grace.

July 16, 2011

The Deep Things of God by Fred Sanders: A Review

In today’s evangelical culture where phrases like “Christ-Centered” are in vogue and topics of the Gospel and Christ finished work are common place, I found reading “The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything,” by Fred Sanders quite refreshing. Many of the books that I’ve read lately have been more on the topic of practical application, parenting and other assorted topics.  This was my first time reading a theology book in ages, and being a parent of a toddler my brain has limited bandwidth and I definitely noticed this book stretching my brain in ways that it hasn’t in a while.  With all of that said, I would not recommend this book if you are looking for a light read.

Starting the book, the first chapter was definitely intimidating.  Sanders lays out a philosophical argument for why the trinity should be important for Christians today. To be honest, this chapter was hard to read and my fear was that if the rest of the book was like that then it would be hard to finish.  I did finish the book and after the first chapter, the information became easier to process.  Sanders uses the first chapter to lay a foundation for the rest of the book, from there he spends the bulk of book talking about how the gospel finds its root in the trinity.  The book concludes with reflections on how the trinity relates to Bible reading and prayer.

Theology for theology sake is useless.  What Sanders excels in with this book is taking the reader past a knowledge of God and to the worship of God.  In chapter two I found myself worshipping God for who He is, particularly His self-sufficiency within the trinity and how He doesn’t need anyone or anything else to complete or satisfy Himself.  In chapter three I found myself worshipping God for all of His acts, particularly that of saving me.  In chapter four I found myself worshipping God for the access He has provided by adopting me through the work of the trinity.  In chapter five I found myself worshipping God for the specific roles He fulfills in the trinity and how He welcomes me to commune with each specific role.  In chapter six I found myself worshipping God for allowing me to encounter Him through His Word which is the breath of His Spirit.  In chapter seven I found myself worshipping God for how as His adopted child I get to each experience person of the trinity in prayer.

If you are wondering why you should buy this book, I will let  the author tell you why from a chapter called, “Into The Saving Life Christ,”

When evangelical Christians come to understand the trinitarian soteriology we have been describing in this book, they tend to describe it as a moment of insight that changes everything about their life and faith. At the very least, they see it as a breakthrough to a new level of depth in the things they had known before.

There is nothing wrong with being  Christ-centered, problems arise when this causes us to becomes Father-forgetting and/or Spirit-ignoring.  When we are Spirit-ignoring and Father-forgetting we shrink the size of the gospel.  The trinity is important because it expands our size the gospel.

A gospel which is only about the moment of conversion but does not extend to every moment of life in Christ is too small. A gospel that gets your sins forgiven but offers no power for transformation is too small. A gospel that isolates one of the benefits of union with Christ and ignores all the others is too small. A gospel that must be measured by your own moral conduct, social conscience, or religious experience is too small. A gospel that rearranges the components of your life but not put you personally in the presence of God is too small.

July 12, 2011

Your Gospel Is Too Small

A gospel which is only about the moment of conversion but does not extend to every moment of life in Christ is too small. A gospel that gets your sins forgiven but offers no power for transformation is too small. A gospel that isolates one of the benefits of union with Christ and ignores all the others is too small. A gospel that must be measured by your own moral conduct, social conscience, or religious experience is too small. A gospel that rearranges the components of your life but not put you personally in the presence of God is too small.

-The Deep Things of God, by Fred Sander

July 7, 2011

Casey Anthony and the Cross

Chris Brauns has some great insight on how Christians should respond to the Casey Anthony verdict.  Below are a couple of highlights, but you can read the rest here

  • Point people to the Cross. Situations like this are the opportunity for Christians to point to a balanced view of forgiveness that stresses love, justice, and grace. Casey Anthony is not the only one who will stand before her Creator. We are all sinners, and we will all be there. If we don’t know Christ, then the wrath of God abides on us (John 3:36).
  • Examine yourself. If you find yourself feeling terribly ungracious towards Casey Anthony, then perhaps it is because you haven’t been thinking enough about God’s grace in your life.  Indeed, this is what happened with the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35. Do you get more energized about the sin or perceived sin of someone else or your own? Consider 2 Corinthians 13:5.

June 23, 2011

Great Parenting Tips

Filed under: cross,Doug Wolter,God's Faithfulness,Gospel,Whining — cubsfan1980 @ 11:10 pm
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I am supposed to be asleep right now, but I recently found a great new parenting resource that I can’t get enough of.  It is from Doug Wolter and it called, 10 Teachable Moments as Parents.  They are built upon the principle that “God is parenting me as I parent my kids”One of my favorite ones that I’ve read is far is called, “When Your Kids Keep Whining.”  

“Stop whining!”  I’m sure you’ve said that to your kids at one time or another.  You may have even whined back at them showing them how silly they sounded.  But then all of a sudden it hit you.  You’re just like them.  You’re a whiner, too.

I admit it.  I’m still whining even though I’m 34 years old.  It just looks a little different now.  I may not have the annoying whiny voice, but when I don’t get my way I complain and wonder why God is taking so long to answer me.  I don’t like to wait.  I’d rather whine.  I don’t like to keep knocking on the door of my prayer closet.  I’d rather keep complaining to my spouse at the dinner table.  I forget God’s faithfulness in the past and wonder why he can’t speed up the present.  Instead of waiting, I’m whining.

If anyone had a right to whine it was Jesus. Condescending to us as a poor, humble man destined to die on a cross for selfish rebels like us, he had every right to whine and complain.  Instead he lived a life of submission to his Father and dependence on the Spirit.  Yes he was God.  And yes he was sinless.  But he was also human.  He was tempted.  And He could’ve complained.  But he didn’t.  He waited and relied on his Father.  He trusted and depended on the Spirit.

So the next time your kid whines, stop and remember that you’re a whiner too.  But in Christ you don’t have to whine.  You can submit to your Father’s will and quietly depend on the Spirit to lead you.

 

June 15, 2011

Exceedingly Good News

The following is taken from Chris Wright’s book, “The Missing of God’s People.”

  • Only in the cross is there forgiveness, justification and cleansing for guilty sinner.
  • Only in the cross stands the defeat of evil powers.
  • Only in the cross is there release from the fear of death and its ultimate destruction altogether.
  • Only in the cross are even the most intractable of enemies reconciled.
  • Only in the cross will we finally witness the healing of all creation.

The fact is that sin and evil constitute bad news in every area of life on this planet. The redemptive work of God through the cross of Chris t is good news for every area of life on earth that has been touched by sin – which means every area of life. Bluntly, we need a holistic gospel because the world is in a holistic mess. And by God’s incredible grace we have a gospel big enough to redeem all that sin and evil have touched. And every dimension of that good news is good news utterly and only because of the blood of Christ on the cross.

Ultimately all that will  be in there in the new, redeemed creation will be there because of the cross. And conversely, all that will not  be there (suffering, tears, sin, Satan, sickness, oppression, corruption, decay and death), will not be there because they will have been defeated and destroyed by the cross. That is the length, breadth, height and depth of God’s idea of redemption. It is exceedingly good news…There is no other power, no other resource, no other name, through which we can offer the whole Gospel to the whole person and the whole word, than Jesus Christ crucified and risen.

June 4, 2011

Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick – A Review

With some parenting books, it is hard to read them cover to cover.  Often times when reading a parenting book I’ll go to the table of contents and flip to the section that covers the age range of my child.  “Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids With The Love of Jesus” by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson is different, you will not only read it cover to cover, but also find yourself reading it again and again.  This book will help you to see that your child’s biggest problem isn’t their sinful action, but their sinful hearts.  When reading this book you will see that your parenting can never be good enough, but only God’s grace can make your parenting sufficient to transform your child.

This book is written without being divided into practical application for the age range of children.  The reason for this is because when dealing with toddlers, teenagers and even adults there is no difference with the root of issues that come up.  Kids, just like adults, don’t need more rules to make them good and bring them closer to God.  “Give Them Grace” does not ignore the need for rules, training and discipline but it gives the crucial reminder that all of that is meant to lead to kids to Jesus.  “We are commanded to give them the law so that they will be crushed by it and see their need for a Savior. The law won’t make them good. It will make them despair of ever being good enough and in that way it will make them open to the love, sacrifice and welcome of their Savior, Jesus Christ.”

It isn’t just kids who need Jesus, but also parents.  The task of parenting is impossible without God’s grace.  Our best effort at parenting might produce “good kids” but it won’t change their hearts.  “Raising good kids is utterly impossible unless they are drawn by the Holy Spirit to put their faith in the goodness of another. You cannot raise good kids, because you’re not a good parent. There is only one good Parent, and he had one good Son. Together, this Father and Son accomplished everything that needed to be done to rescue us and our children from certain destruction.” One of the things I appreciated about this book is the humility of the authors.  They don’t claim to have it down or be good parents.  They are in the same boat as all of us and write with humility as they proclaim their own need for grace.

I wish Crossway would allow me to give out one free chapter of this book for you to read because by just reading one chapter I know you’d be convinced to buy the whole book.  Even if Crossway would allow me to give away one free chapter to convince readers to buy the book, it would be hard for me to pick just one that I think people should read because they are all so good.  If you want to apply the gospel to parenting and have your parenting be saturated in the gospel then I could not encourage you enough to buy this book.

A quick note to the men: this is the first Elyse Fitzpatrick book I have ever read.  My wife has read me selections of “Because He Loves Me” and I thought that book sounds good, but the cover is to feminine for me, maybe I’ll read it when an edition comes out with a camouflage cover.  Next my wife shared portions of “Comforts From The Cross,” the cover was less girly, but I feared losing man points because this wasn’t “Strength From The Cross.”  Please don’t make the mistake that Elyse Fitzpatrick only writes for a female audience.  This book isn’t just for mom’s, but also for dad’s.

May 9, 2011

A Review of The Greener Grass Conspiracy by Stephen Altrogge

As I was reading “The Greener Grass Conspiracy: Finding Contentment On Your Side Of The Fence,” by Stephen Altrogge my first thought was that this is a book that the devil does not want you to read.  Satan is the father of lies and he has created a conspiracy based on the lie that God is not good and that someone else has a better life then you.  Stephen Altrogge’s aim in this book is to equip the reader with gospel truths to be on guard against Satan’s lies.  Altrogge does not write as someone who has it all together or as someone who has vanquished the sin of discontentment in his life.  The attitude of Altrogge is that of a seasoned soldier who has been to war with discontentment and has the battle scars to prove it, as well as strategies from battle that have kept him alive.

The truths that Altrogge presents the reader with to help them fight for contentment are not psychological, self-help, therapeutic answers to tickle your ears.  The key to contentment is found in worship and understanding how the great the God is that we are called to worship and how little we are. “Content is created in the shadow of the majesty of God. I become content when I see and treasure and embrace the glory of God. I find contentment when I grasp the fact that life is not primarily about me and my comfort and my happiness. My soul is satisfied when I stop trying to elbow my way to the center of the universe and instead rejoice in and worship the God who really is at the center of all things (P.23)”

Altrogge goes on in the book to flesh out what contentment is and what contentment is not.  Using the example of King Solomon, the man who had every reason to be content Altrogge presents a character study of how all in this life is vanity and can provide no true satisfaction.  Later on Altrogge presents another character study using the apostle Paul and how he learned contentment.  Learning contentment isn’t easy, but it is a requirement for all who have Heaven as their home and desire to be transformed to be like Christ.

For those unfamiliar with Altrogge, definitely pause from reading this to get familiar with him through his blog, twitter and facebook.  Blog: www.theblazingcenter.com/ twitter: twitter.com/stephenaltrogge facebook: www.facebook.com/StephenMAltrogge One of the first things you notice as you become familiar with him is his amazing use of wit and humor.  Sometimes he may appear over the top, but if you like Brian Regan and Jon Acuff then you will definitely appreciate his musings.

This book is written in an accessible fashion for anyone to be able to grasp and benefit from.  Each chapter ends with application questions that make it great for a group study or to read in your own personal devotional times.  A chapter that is worth its weight in gold is the one on the sin of complaining.  Complaining is a fruit of discontentment and does not get enough discussion in most Christian circles.  That chapter is worth the price of the book alone.

Here are a couple more prize quotes from this book to whet your appetite:

“True contentment is found in a Person. It’s not found in getting what we want or in having difficulty removed from our lives. Contentment isn’t the result of the absence of pain or the presence of material blessing.  It’s found in Jesus Christ. Period. Without Christ we can never be truly content, regardless of the blessing that surround us. And with Christ we can be content in the midst of every circumstance. (P. 87) “

“Every event that occurs in our lives has been ordained by God for our good. God is moving all things – singleness, sickness, riches, poverty, children, and infertility – toward one destination: our good and his glory. God is using your constant headaches for good. He’s weaving together your recent job promotion, sick daughter, and inability to fix your flooding basement into something glorious and good. There is nothing us to us that God won’t use for our good. In fact, the very things that tempt us to be discontent are being used by God for our good (P. 92).”

November 30, 2010

He Must Become Greater and I must become Lesser

When we realize that he’s God and we’re not- that he’s massive and we’re minute – that’s all it takes for us to become a part of great and powerful God things…God does everything through those who understand they are nothing, and God does nothing through those who think they are something. As G.K. Chesterton put it, “how much larger your life would be if yourself could become smaller in it.”

This makes Christianity a unique and liberating breath of fresh air. Why? Because this world values the dominant, not the defeated.  Everything in this world cater to the beautiful people.  Our world says that for you to be valuable you must be healthy, attractive, prosperous and influential.  To be useful, you must become powerful.  The world and all its religions says, “you must become great before you can do great.” But the story of Jonah shows us that in God’s eyes, and in Christianity, weakness precedes usefulness.– Tullian Tchividjian

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