Bought by the Blood

February 24, 2012

Grace and Glory

Such a great truth from Matthew Henry on God’s two greatest promises!

The Lord will give grace and glory. Grace signifies both the good-will of God towards us and the good work of God in us; glory signifies both the honour which he now puts upon us, in giving us the adoption of sons, and that which he has prepared for us in the inheritance of sons. God will give them grace in this world as a preparation for glory, and glory in the other world as the perfection of grace; both are God’s gift, his free gift. And as, on the one hand, wherever God gives grace he will give glory (for grace is glory begun, and is an earnest of it), so, on the other hand, he will give glory hereafter to none to whom he does not give grace now, or who receive his grace in vain. And if God will give grace and glory, which are the two great things that concur to make us happy in both worlds, we may be sure that no good thing will be withheld from those that walk uprightly. It is the character of all good people that they walk uprightly, that they worship God in spirit and in truth, and have their conversation in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity; and such may be sure that God will withhold no good thing from them, that is requisite to their comfortable passage through this world. Make sure grace and glory, and other things shall be added. This is a comprehensive promise, and is such an assurance of the present comfort of the saints that, whatever they desire, and think they need, they may be sure that either Infinite Wisdom sees it is not good for them or Infinite Goodness will give it to them in due time. Let it be our care to walk uprightly, and then let us trust God to give us every thing that is good for us.

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November 24, 2011

The Source of A Thankful Spirit

“Let us pray for a deeper sense of our own sinfulness, guilt and undeserving. This, after all, is the true secret of a thankful spirit.  Iy is the man who daily feel his debt to grace, and daily remembers that in reality he deserves nothing but hell, – this is the man who will be daily blessing and praising God. Thankfulness is a flower which will never bloom well excepting upon a root of deep humility.”

-J.C. Ryle

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 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.

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

October 28, 2010

Where sin abounded, grace abounded all the more. (Romans 5:20)

While our sin reaches far, God’s amazing grace reaches farther, and God’s willingness to forgive is infinitely bigger then our willingness to sin. – Tullian Tchividjian

July 28, 2010

Anxiousness Vs. Restfulness

My next several tweets and facebook updates are from a Paul Tripp article called, “The Nowism of The Gospel,” which you can read for yourself here The Nowism of the Gospel :: Desiring God

The article is about being a grace amnesiac and not taking advantage today of the grace that God has available to believers.  Tripp wants us to live in the beauty of the gospel every day and for it to have vibrant and practical application.

Four ways which Tripp gives us that grace radically transforms we live are as follows:

  1. Grace will decimate what you think of you, while it gives you a security of identity you’ve never had.
  2. Grace will expose your deepest sins of heart, while it covers every failure with the blood of Jesus.
  3. Grace will make you face how weak you are, while it blesses you with power beyond you ability to calculate.
  4. Grace will take control out of your hands, while it blesses you with the care of One who plan is unshakable and perfect in every way.

The article was really helpful for me because I can easily view myself as similar to “Jason” in the article as someone who knows all the rights answers, but not taking full advantage of “life before death.”

Here is one of my favorite quotes that was too long to tweet and felt I wanted to capture in a blog instead of a facebook status

He (Jason) spent way too much time calculating the “what ifs” and regretting the “if onlys.” He seemed like he did not know that his security and rest were not to be found in his ability to predict the future and control the present, but in the faithful love and expansive wisdom of his sovereign Savior, Jesus, so his living always was more anxious than restful.

March 24, 2010

A Couple of Gems From Spurgeon

Filed under: Charles Spurgeon,Condemenation,cross,grace,heaven,Joy — cubsfan1980 @ 9:16 am

“All that God can demand of a believing sinner, Christ has already paid, and there is no voice in earth or heaven that can henceforth accuse a soul that believes in Jesus.” Read the rest at Because He Was Made A Curse For Us.

“Heaven is our portion, and the thoughts of its amazing bliss should cheer us on the road. Christ has given to us such large and wide domains of grace and glory, that it would be altogether unseemly that there should be a poverty of happiness where there is such an affluence of possession.” Read the rest at Why Shouldn’t We Praise The Lord

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

November 29, 2009

Being Where Jesus Would Have Us to Be

“The place that Christians wish to be in, is not always the place which is best for their souls…What we like best is not always best for our souls, that the seed of grace needs winter as well as summer, cold as well as heat, to ripen it for glory…That place and position is most healthful for us in which we are kept most humble-most taught our own sinfulness-drawn most to the Bible and prayer-led most to live by faith and not by sight.  It may not be quite what we like. But if Christ by His providence has placed us in it, let us not be in a hurry to leave it.  Let us therein abide with God.  The great thing is to have no will of our own, and to be where Jesus would have us to be.”

J.C. Ryle

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