Bought by the Blood

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.

October 20, 2009

Be Filled with the Spirit

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, – Ephesains 5:18

I was talking to men in my small group about this verse recently and how I believe that Paul is trying to make a comparison and contrast with the Christian and the drunk.  The way that an alcoholic craves alcohol and is dependent should be the same way we seek the Holy Spirit.  We need to have an attitude of not being able to live without the Holy Spirit and seeking to have our lives constantly, every second of every day, being filled with the Holy Spirit.  We should thirst and crave after the Holy Spirit with an attitude that our lives are not complete unless we are more aware of His presence to strengthen and guide us.  Unfortunately that is not my typical attitude and it is more often than not that I am self-reliant.  On my own I can accomplish nothing, but God invites me to seek Him because He is a good Father that enjoys giving good gifts to His children.  I love the convicting questions J.C. Ryle asks based on Luke 11:9-13

Do we pray in the name of Jesus as needy sinners?  Do we know what it is to ‘ask,’ and ‘seek,’ and ‘knock,’ and wrestle in prayer, like men who feel that it is a matter of life or death, and they have must have an answer? Or are we content with saying over some old form of words, while our thoughts are wandering, and our hearts far away?

And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” – Luke 11:9-13

October 9, 2009

Fridays are for Fathers

Filed under: Charles Spurgeon,Come Ye Children,grace,Prayer,salvation — cubsfan1980 @ 7:05 pm
Tags: , ,

Currently I am reading “Come Ye Children” by Charles Spurgeon.  This book has a lot of encouragement about having faith for kids coming to Christ at an early age and what it looks like to take seriously the responsibility to train and teach them.  Below is one of my favorite quotes that I’ve come across so far in the book.

“Go on, dear teachers, and believe that God will save your children.  Be not content to sow principles in their minds which may possibly develop after years, but be working for immediate conversion.  Expect fruit in your children why they are children.  Pray for them that they may not run into the world and fall into the evils of outward sin, and then come back with broken bones to the Good Shepherd;  but that they by God’s rich grace be kept from the paths of the destroyer, and grow up in the food of Christ, first as lambs of His flocks, and then as sheep of His hand.”

October 8, 2009

When God Doesn’t Answer Prayer As We Desire

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. – Romans 8:26

Image courtesy of Reformation.org

Image courtesy of Reformation.org

Martin Luther on the above verse, taken from his commentary on Romans:

“O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. (Psalm 38:9)” It is not an evil sign, but indeed the very best, if upon our petitions the very opposite happens to us. Conversely, it is not a good sign if everything is granted to us for which we pray.

The reason for this is the following: God’s counsel and will tower high above our own counsel and will, as we read in Isaiah 55:8, 9:  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Hence when we ask anything of God and He begins to hear us, He so often goes counter to our petitions that we imagine He is more angry with us now than before we prayed, and that He intends not to grant us our requests at all.  All this God does, because it is His way first to destroy and annihilate what is in us (our own wisdom and will)  before He gives us His gifts; for so we read in 1 Samuel 2:6: “The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up..”  Through this most gracious counsel He makes us fit for us His gifts and works.  Only then are we qualified for His works and counsels when our own plans have been demolished and our own works are destroyed and we have become purely passive in our relation to Him.

The proud desire to be like God.  They want to place their thoughts not under God, but next to His, just as though they were perfect.  But that is much less possible than for the clay to tell the potter into what shape he should form it.  So we read in Isaiah 64:8 “But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” But those who have the Holy Spirit do not despair but have faith when they see that the very opposite of what they asked for happens to them.  The work of God must remain hidden in any other form than that which contradicts our thinking and understanding.  Thus God permitted St. Augustine to fall deeper and deeper into error, despite the prayer of his mother, in order to grant her much more in the end than she had asked. This he does with all his saints.

October 1, 2009

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.

Amazingly, God describes His very essence in terms of His relationship to us. He is “merciful.” Surely there is no need of mercy within the Trinity, for the Father, Son, and Spirit never do anything condemnable that one should need to exercise mercy. He is “gracious,” “slow to anger.” These qualities of God are only necessary in connection with creatures needing graciousness and slowness to anger and steadfastness, lest they die…

The mercy and graciousness of God also slice through any preconceived, hard-and-fast notions about what God can and cannot do in our New Testament age. He can do whatever He pleases. Therefore I will ask whatever I please, unhindered by man-made theologies that put God in a box. If my hair is falling out like mad (which it is), I will ask for him to arrest it. On what basis? Mercy. Graciousness. God will answer as He pleases. But there is no harm in asking, and no one will steal my hope. No one—no matter how fancy his theological proofs and paradigms—will hinder me from asking anything of a God who describes himself as the source of all “mercy” and “graciousness.”

via WORLDmag.com | Community | Blog Archive | An insomniac’s Psalm 103: Verse 8.

September 24, 2009

Confidence in Prayer Because of Election

Filed under: Charles Spurgeon,election,Prayer,Psalms — cubsfan1980 @ 9:29 am
Tags: ,

But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him. -Psalm 4:3

Image courtesy of marysanawim.wordpress.com/

Image courtesy of marysanawim.wordpress.com/

“Election is the guarantee of complete salvation, and an argument for success at the throne of grace.  He who chose us for himself will surely hear our prayers.  The Lord’s elect shall not be condemned, nor shall their cry be unheard.  David was king by divine decree, and we are the Lord’s people in the same manner; let us tell our enemies to their faces, that they fight against God and destiny, when they strive to overthrow our souls. O beloved, when you are on your knees, the fact of your being set apart as God’s own peculiar treasure, should give you courage and inspire you with fervency and faith…Since he chose to love us he cannot but chose to hear us.”  Charles Spurgeon on Psalm 4:3

September 10, 2009

The Gospel in Ezekiel

And while they were striking, and I was left alone, I fell upon my face, and cried, “Ah, Lord God! Will you destroy all the remnant of Israel in the outpouring of your wrath on Jerusalem?” Then he said to me, “The guilt of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great. The land is full of blood, and the city full of injustice. For they say, ‘The Lord has forsaken the land, and the Lord does not see.’ As for me, my eye will not spare, nor will I have pity; I will bring their deeds upon their heads.”- Ezekiel 9:8-10

I love Chris Wright’s exposition of the above passage.  It shows us who God us in His justice and compassion while pointing us to the cross.  In God’s judgment of Israel we see the true of sinfulness of sin.  Wright also uses the example of Ezekiel for showing us a model of God honoring prayer.  I highlighted some of my favorite parts and was definitely tempted to highlight the whole thing.  All of the last paragraph is highlighted because as I read it this morning during my quiet time I was led to worship and adoration of Christ atoning death for me on the cross and how great the sacrifice was to redeem me from my sins.

Ezekiel’s intercession, then, like that of Abraham and Moses, is based not merely on heart wrenching pity for those who were being slain, but on the ultimate purpose and glory of Yahweh among the nations.  In that respect, also like Abraham and Moses, it stands as a model for what ought to be the primary motivating force behind all our own intercession for the world, and especially for the church when, through hardness, disobedience and apostasy, it puts itself in the path of God’s imminent judgment. It is of course entirely right to pray out of compassion for others.  Jesus and Paul both did.  But Ezekiel models an even deeper foundation for intercession – passion for the glory and purposes of God in the world

It would be easy to, with all the surrounding scenes of armed execution and terrible carnage, to image God’s words being spoken with vicious coldness and implacable malice.  Actually we need to remember that they were being spoken by the God who longed more than anything else to show pity, by the God who had spent centuries with this people withholding the full extent of his wrath, by the God whose very name ‘Yahweh’ is defined as ‘compassionate and gracious.’   If there was steel in the voice, there were tears in the eyes and unbearable pain in the heart…

And yet, he had to do so because of their unchanged rebellion, and the northern kingdom was destroyed in 721 BC.  This is the same God whose mercy long to triumph over justice, whose love outlasts his punishment on a scale of 1,000 to 1, who is ‘slow to anger and rich in love’, and who is ‘good to all’ and ‘has compassion on all he has made’.  For such a God to be brought to the extermity of having to utter the terrifying words we read here speaks more loudly than anything else could of the horrific, detestable, and intolerable nature of human sin, and the moral necessity of its being finally and justly punished.

Rather than merely recoiling from the iciness of the words, we should reflect on what it cost the heart of the God of all love, mercy and pity to have to utter such words at all.  And such reflections will ultimately drive us to the cross, for only there do we find the mystery of the infinite justice of God fully exposed before human gaze.  For there, under the whips, swords, nails and torture of Roman rather than Babylonian enemies, God’s love absorbed God’s justice in God’s own self, and the words’ I will not…pity or spare’ were breathed again by the Father as, for our sake, he turned his eyes away from the agony of his own beloved son.

August 29, 2009

Boice on Prayer

Filed under: Boice,Prayer — cubsfan1980 @ 8:58 pm
Tags: ,

Image courtesy of Tenth Presbyterian Church

Image courtesy of Tenth Presbyterian Church

“In prayer the Christian can be absolutely certain that ohears and answers his requests so that whatever he asks he obtains, but with this qualification: that he prays not according to his own sinful wishes but rather according to what an all-wise, infinite, and holy God desires.” James Montgomery Boice

August 21, 2009

Fridays are for Fathers

Filed under: parenting,patience,Prayer,Trusting God — cubsfan1980 @ 11:32 am
Tags: , ,

Here is a prayer from Doug Wolter that every parent should pray when children are disobedient and wearing on patience.

“Father, I need your help right now.  I need your Spirit to give me patience and wisdom to talk with my child.  I can’t do it on my own.  I need you and my child needs you.  Without you, Jesus, I can do nothing.  So be with me now as I go.  Open up my heart and my child’s heart to you.”

This is a prayer of dependence, reliance and surrender.  It reminds us that ultimately our parenting is futile without God’s intervention.  You can read more here.

August 19, 2009

Doctrine of Adoption Discussion Outline

What two states do we see Adam and Eve?
A: Pre-fall and Post-fall

Describe the difference between their relationship with God before and after the fall?
A: Adam and Eve had an intimate relationship with God with nothing hindering their communion. Their was no sin and they were not ashamed to be seen as they are by God.

How is it possible for us to have that same kind of relationship with God?
A: Through adoption by means of redemption (you can’t have one without the other.)

for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Galatians 3:26-4:7

What have we been redeemed from?
A:The curse of the law, the power of satan and demons, the influence of our sinful flesh and spiritual death

What have we been redeemed to:
A:Living transformed lives by the power of the Spirit, forgiveness of sins, freedom from our sin nature, newness of life, hope of eternity and a resurrection body.

“What christ redeemed us from is the law, with its deadly curse. This is why it was necessary for him to be born under the law. What qualified him to redeem us from the law was the fact that he kept it perfectly. Indeed, everything Paul has said so far about Christ’s coming- his timely arrival, his eternal deity, his true humanity,and his perfect obedience – qualified him to be our redeemer. John Stott writes, “So the divinity of Christ, the humanity of Christ, and the righteousness of Christ uniquely qualified him to be man’s redeemer. If he he had not been man, He could not have redeemed men. If he had not been a righteous man, He could not have redeemed unrighteous men. and if He had had not been God’ Son, He could not have redeemed men for God or made them the sons of God.” But Christ did redeem us, and he did it as the perfect God-man who died on the cross to save sinners…Christ’s coming had an adopting purpose as well as atoning purpose. God sent his Son to make us all his sons and daughters. Christ accomplished our adoption as well as our redemption. It would be enough for God to release us from slavery, to rescue us from our captivity to the law, and so to redeem us from its curse. But God did not stop there. Once Christ had gained our freedom, he gathered us into his family. He went beyond redemption, turning slaves into sons.
-Phil Ryken

What are 5 benefits of adoption that we see in this passage

Benefit 1
V.27 All are on in Christ!
What are the implications of this?
-God does not play favorites. He doesn’t look at our works and love us more or less based on what we accomplish. He loves unconditionally because of what Christ accomplished for us. Our standing before God is secure and will never change. We cannot disappoint God or lose His love, He is committed to us and loves us with an unfailing love!
-We are defined by being in Christ. We are not defined by what we do for a living, how much money we make, our appearance, our sex, etc. The only thing that defines us is our unity in Christ.
–> Ask people where they are tempted to find their identity?
–>Followup by asking how being one in Christ helps to fight that temptation

Benefit 2
v. 29 Recepients of the promise of Abraham
What is the promise of Abraham
-We are justified and made right with God. Our greatest need is taken care of.

Benefit 3
V. 4:3 No longer under bondange
Does anyone still in feel bondage to any reoccurring or besetting sin in their life? If they do, then take time to pray for them, encourage them to either share tonight or in their next accountability meeting

Benefit 4
V. 4:7 We are heirs
What are we heirs of?
All the promises of God are yes in Christ, we receive all blessings through Him and the hope of Heaven and the new earth where we rule and reign with Christ.

Benefit 5
v. 4:6 We have the Spirit
What role does the Spirit play in our adoption
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
-Romans 8:14-17

-The Spirit leads us in holiness by directing us to Christ
-The spirit reminds us of our standing before God and His love for us.

“The Galatians had indeed received the Spirit; and when they did, they also received the assurance that they were God’s sons. For God sent his Spirit as well as his Son. First, he sent His Son to make us hils children; then he sent us his spirit to let us know that we really are his children. The adoption that was accomplished by the Son is applied by the Spirit.
Here we are drawn into the mystery of the trinity. The one true God exists in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Adoption is the work of the Triune God. God the Father, just because he is the Father, is the one who adopts us. He did this by first sending His son to redeem us from bondage, so that we are no longer slaves but sons. Then the Father sent His spirit to convince us that we are indeed the sons and daughters of God.”
-Phil Ryken

Application 1
Romans 8:14-17 –> What practical application do people see in this verse Answer: Self image
How does the doctrine of adoption affect self image?
– Spirit testifies who we are. It speaks to truth to combat the lies that satans wants us to believe. Whenever we are more aware of our sin or circumstances we need to remember who we are in Christ, adopted as Sons and daughter of God.
–>Have someone read 1 John 3:1 When discouragement sets in take time to marvel and be amazed at the love that God has for you.
–>Based on Genesis 2:25 what can we discern about Adam and Eve’s self image?
-There was no shame and they see themselves as God saw them.

Application 2
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”

7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
-Hebrews 12:6-11

What practical application do people see in this verse Answer: suffering and trials prove God’s love for us.
What is God’s purpose in suffering and trial as His children?
-His discipline makes us holy and helps us to cultivate righteousness
-It reassures us of His love because he only disciplines those he loves
–>How do we see Adam and Eve in this application?
-They were image bearers and before the fall they perfectly bore God’s image. God uses trials and suffering to conform us more to His image.

Application 3
Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.

-Matthew 6:9

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
-Matthew 7:7-11

What application do we see in this verse Answer: As children of God we have confidence that He answers our prayers
How does the doctrine of adoption affect prayer?
-We have that same relationship with him that Adam and Eve did. There is no shame and we can approach him freely.
-If we ask, seek and knock then he will answer us. He is a good, powerful and wise father and has the power to answer our prayers and give us the best according to our infinite wisdom.

Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.