Bought by the Blood

August 20, 2009

Physical Boundaries Discussion Outlines

Conviction:  Safeguards and precautions that we have put in place by faith, to aid us in seeking God’s grace and guard us from sinning.
Legalism:  Adding anything to Scripture that isn’t there for the purpose of gaining favor with God for fear of losing our salvation and applying/enforcing that standard on all people everywhere.

Why is it better to form principles off of conviction instead of legalism?

  • Conviction leads to strength
  • Conviction leads to humility
  • Conviction leads to repentance
  • Conviction is based on the heart
  • Legalism leads to doubts
  • Legalism leads to pride
  • Legalism leads to condemnation
  • Legalism is based on action

How do we come to convictions?

  • God’s Word
  • Examples of Others
  • Fearing God
  • Input from others
  • Prayer
  • Impressions/Ministry of Holy Spirit
  • Walking through repentance of sin

Four principles that should guard physical boundaries in relationships
1)Satisfying our hearts in God
Job 31:1
“I have made a covenant with my eyes;
how then could I gaze at a virgin?

Q:NIV uses “lust” instead of “gaze.”  where does lust come from?
A: Lust comes from the heart.  The first place we need to be concerned with as we set up physical boundaries is our hearts. (Matthew 5:27-30)
Q:How should we be active with guarding our hearts?
A:We need to seek to find complete satisfaction in God alone because lust will never satisfy us. (Jeremiah 2:11-13 and Psalm 37:4)

2)Righteousness
Romans 6:12-14
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Q:How are we called to act?
A:As instruments of righteousness
Q:How do we define righteousness?
A: Doing right comes from God’s holy standard.  Therefore, we should interact physically with our significant with a mindset of God being present and aware of what is going on in our hearts (Proverbs 5:21)
Q:What motivates this?
A:Grace and Christ sacrifice on the cross.  We are empowered through Christ death and resurrection to live pure.  We have been called to holiness and purity and God will not call us to anything that He won’t enable us to do.

3)Contentment with purity
Philippians 4:11
for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
Proverbs 27:20
Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied,
and never satisfied are the eyes of man.

Q: Why is contentment important with physical boundaries?
A: We will never be satisfied with our level of intimacy.  We are wired to want more.  Just like the eyes are never satisfied, nor are the hands or lips.
Q:Why do we do if there is a problem with our boundaries not being fun?
A: There is never a problem with our boundaries.  The problem is always with our hearts.  We need to remember what Psalm 16 says about the boundary lines falling for us in pleasant places.  There is no place more pleasant to be than on the path to holiness.  Relationships aren’t about getting what we want and our pleasure, but giving God glory.

“We understood the progressive nature of sexual involvement.  Once you start kissing, you want to move on.  We didn’t want to start what we couldn’t finish.  When a man and woman’s lips meet, and their tongues penetrate each other’s mouths, their process of becoming one has begun.”Josh Harris

4)Defining proper context for physical intimacy.
Song of Solomon 2:7
I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
by the gazelles or the does of the field,
that you not stir up or awaken love
until it pleases.

Song of Solomon 3:5
I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
by the gazelles or the does of the field,
that you not stir up or awaken love
until it pleases.

Song of Solomon 8:4
I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
that you not stir up or awaken love
until it pleases.

Q:What does it mean to not stir or awaken love until it pleases?
A:Hold off on doing anything physically intimate that can strengthen or arouse the desire for making love
Q:What is the purpose of physical intimacy in marriage?
A:In marriage physical intimacy is worship.  Outside of marriage, physical intimacy is about pleasure and becomes about objectifying the other person.
Q:what is the best way to gauge if the physical boundaries in place are stirring and awakening love before the proper time?
A:The question to ask ourselves is how can certain physical acts (kissing, cuddling, front hugs) bring us closer to God.  It is helpful to remember no one ever says after marriage that they wish they had been more physically intimate before marriage.

“They often ask where to draw the line for sexual activity outside of marriage.  What they are asking is how close they can to sin while still being without sin.  But there is already sin in their heart because they are seeking to get closer to sin and not closer to God.  The Bible says, “But among you there must not even be a hint of sexual immorality (Ephesians 5:3).”  Thus, the issue is now where the line is, but when the time is. That is why the repeated refrain in the Song Solomon is a warning not “Stir or awaken love until it pleases.” ” Mark Driscoll

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.

August 14, 2009

Friday is for Fathers

Filed under: divorce,Ken Sande,marriage,reconciliation,Romans,The Peacemaker — cubsfan1980 @ 6:20 am
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“give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. (Romans 12:17)  This verse is true for both mother’s and father’s, but especially father’s as we are called to be leaders and our children will be looking to our example as we lead.  As father’s we are called to do what is right and worthy of honor as that is a great witness to Christ.  Our children will learn much about who God is through out actions.  As I read the following story from “The Peacemaker,” by Ken Sande, I found myself praying for the Gosselin family from “Jon and Kate plus 8” and wishing they could read this.

When John’s wife, Karen, divorced him and moved in with her high school sweetheart, John was devastated, especially when his church refused to do anything to try to save their marriage.  But he drew on God’s grace and resisted the temptation to give in to self-pity or bitterness.  He refused to criticize Karen, especially in front of their children.  He bent over backwards to accommodate their ever-changing visitation schedule.  Most of all, he continued to pray for Karen, and whenever they talked with each other, he asked God to help him speak to her with genuine love and gentleness.

After about a year, Karen and her boyfriend were fighting continually.  As she compared his behavior to John’s unfailing kindness in the face of her betrayal, she began to realize what a terrible mistake she had made.  With great trepidation she asked John if there was any chance they could get together again.  To her amazement, he said yes and suggested they start counseling with the pastor at his new church.  Eight months later, their children had the joy of seeing their parents renewing their vows and reuniting their family.

Whether Karen came back to him or not, John’s decision to keep doing what was right honored God.  His behavior was also a powerful witness to his children about the love of forgiveness of Crhist.  And he later learned that his example had helped some other divorced people respond to their ex-spouses graciously, even though none of them came back.  As John showed, doing what is right – even inthe face of unjust reatment – is always the safest path to walk.

August 10, 2009

The Lord is My Shepherd; I shall not want

The Lord is my shepherd;I shall not want- Psalm 23:1

As I proclaim with David that the LORD is my Shepherd, I am also proclaiming that I am a sheep.  To be called a sheep is not a compliment, but instead is humbling and self abasing, all sheep cry out with the John Baptist that I must become less and he must become greater (John 3:30.  This is because I am nothing and He is my everything.  I am making a statement about my weakness and need for a protector.  I am telling of my foolishness and that on my own I am prone to wander and easily get lost.  As a sheep, I am looking to my shepherd to be the one who provides for me, protects me and directs me.

In Christ, we have the Good Shepherd, the one who gladly protects and leads us back home to the Father.  He has laid down His life for you and I, taking our sin and curse, so that we may live through Him and have His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Through His atoning death for us, we have died to this world and our flesh so that we may live to God and have the hope of life forever in Heaven (Romans 6).  He has intimate knowledge of His sheep and will not leave one behind, but has died so that we may have no fear of death.  The Son is in perfect relationship with the Father and because we are in union with the Son and call Him our shepherd, the Father sees nothing hindering our relationship with Him, so that we can be adopted sons and daughters (John 10:14-15).

If we are adopted children of God, that then begs the question of how should we live?  We are to live as sojourners, we are to be people not of this world since we are just passing through (Hebrews 11:8-10).  There should be nothing in this world that captures our wants and desires because our greatest want is more of God.  If our hope is above then there is nothing in this life that can fulfill and satisfy us.  Any wants I have, I lay before the cross knowing that if it is of God then He will provide it for me (Hebrews 11:26).  It is not an issue of not wanting, but conforming my wants to God’s wants for me because I know if my desires are aligned with His then He will gladly give them to me (Psalm 34:4).

August 6, 2009

In The Grips of Grace

I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. – Jeremiah 32:40

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. – John 10:28

It’s been a nice two day break and we are back to our series on how a believer cannot lose their salvation.  I am skipping the sixth emphasis that the Westminster Confession of Faith makes because it is abiding by the strength of Spirit and I did several blog posts about this earlier this summer.  You can read those related post on abiding by doing a search for abide on the right hand toolbar of the blog.  This leaves me with two points of emphasis left and today’s is that we “can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace” and this is based off of Jeremiah 32:40 and John 10:28.  If anything, I feel like this point perfectly sums up the beauty of this doctrine.  We are in a state of grace and the grace that justifies and sanctifies is guaranteed to glorify (Romans 8:30).  In this state of grace we will wander from God because our hearts are prone to wander, but God’s grace is greater than our sin, therefore we cannot totally fall away from God’s grace.

God has made an everlasting covenant with you and I.  God is eternal and knows the beginning and end of all things, therefore He is able to ensure that nothing can stop His plan for being in relationship with us for all eternity.  If God didn’t have a foreknowledge that looks into all of time, then there would be reason to doubt our eternal security since there might be something God doesn’t know.  We can also take comfort in the effectiveness of God’s will, when God wills something nothing can deter his will.  If God desires that we not turn from Him, then His giving us a fear of Him will be effectual and sure (Isaiah 46:10 and Daniel 4:35).  Lastly, God is committed to doing good for His children, His ultimate good is our salvation and no amount of sin in our lives can separate us from the Father’s love because His commitment isn’t based on our performance but Christ finished work.

Jesus came to give us life and life to the full (John 10:10).  His mission was accomplished on the cross (John 19:30).  If after receiving new life we can die spiritually then Jesus did not succeed in giving us eternal life, that would have been more like “life with the hope of eternity if we don’t mess up.”  The cross would have only made partial atonement if any amount of sin could outweigh the righteousness that was given to us by Christ death in our place.  The basis of my salvation is not how tight I am holding onto God, but how tight He is holding on to me.  Theologian J.I. Packer said in Knowing God: “Your faith will not fail while God sustains it; you are not strong enough to fall away while God is resolved to hold you.”

August 1, 2009

A.W. Pink on God Glorifying and Preserving the elect

Image taken from http://www.bythewayministries.ca/

A.W. Pink on Perserverance of the Saints

“God is faithful in preserving His people. “God is faithful, by whom ye are called unto the fellowship of His Son” (1 Cor. 1:9). In the previous verse promise was made that God would confirm unto the end His own people. The Apostle’s confidence in the absolute security of believers was founded not on the strength of their resolutions or ability to persevere, but on the veracity of Him that cannot lie. Since God has promised to His Son a certain people for His inheritance, to deliver them from sin and condemnation, and to make them participants of eternal life in glory, it is certain that He will not allow any of them to perish…

God is faithful in glorifying His people. “Faithful is He which calleth you, who also will do” (1 Thess. 5:24). The immediate reference here is to the saints being preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. God treats with us not on the ground of our merits (for we have none), but for His own great name’s sake. God is constant to Himself and to His own purpose of grace whom He called. . .them He also glorified (Rom. 8:30). God gives a full demonstration of the constancy of His everlasting goodness toward His elect by effectually calling them out of darkness into His marvelous light, and this should fully assure them of the certain continuance of it. The foundation of God standeth sure (2 Tim. 2:19). Paul was resting on the faithfulness of God when he said, I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day (2 Tim 1:12).”

July 30, 2009

Spurgeon on Eternal Salvation

“Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
John 6:37

No limit is set to the duration of this promise. It does not merely say, “I will not cast out a sinner at his first coming,” but, “I will in no wise cast out.” The original reads, “I will not, not cast out,” or “I will never, never cast out.” The text means, that Christ will not at first reject a believer; and that as he will not do it at first, so he will not to the last.

But suppose the believer sins after coming? “If any man sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” But suppose that believers backslide? “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.” But believers may fall under temptation! “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” But the believer may fall into sin as David did! Yes, but he will “Purge them with hyssop, and they shall be clean; he will wash them and they shall be whiter than snow”; “From all their iniquities will I cleanse them.”

“Once in Christ, in Christ for ever,
Nothing from his love can sever.”

“I give unto my sheep,” saith he, “eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” What sayest thou to this, O trembling feeble mind? Is not this a precious mercy, that coming to Christ, thou dost not come to One who will treat thee well for a little while, and then send thee about thy business, but he will receive thee and make thee his bride, and thou shalt be his for ever? Receive no longer the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the spirit of adoption whereby thou shalt cry, Abba, Father! Oh! the grace of these words: “I will in no wise cast out.”

-Taken from “Morning and Evening,” July 30th evening reading by Charles Spurgeon http://www.heartlight.org/spurgeon/0730-pm.html

July 29, 2009

Once Saved, Always Saved

I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
-Jeremiah 31:3

The first reason that the Westminster Confession of Faith states that we can’t lose our faith is because of the unchangeable love of God.  The proof text for this is Jeremiah 31:3 which proclaims the everlasting love of God that is based on nothing other than God’s faithfulness.  The Jesus Storybook Bible defines God’s everlasting and unchangeable love with these words, “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.”  It is because God is love that He is able to love fallen and sinful people like you and I.  God’s love for us is most clearly seen at the cross where His Son’s blood was shed to purchase sinners for Himself so that we can be in relationship with Him.  James Montgomery Boice said on Ephesians 1:7, “Having been purchased at the infinite cost of the blood of God’s own Son, there is no one who can possibly top the price and thus purchase us away from Him.”

An example of this love that God has for us is the metaphor of marriage that the Bible uses to illustrate God’s relationship with us.  This love in all of its extremes and glory is seen in the story of Hosea.  God commands Hosea to marry Gomer a woman he know would be unfaithful so that he could illustrate His love for a people that are spiritually unfaithful.  We all play the role of Gomer because of our hearts that always wander to sin.  God plays the role of Hosea who goes to the auction block and purchases us back from slavery for Himself.  We have done nothing to deserve Him redeeming us from the power of sin and death through Christ blood.  Despite the fact that we were dressed like a whore seeking to continue a life of spiritual adultery, God has bought with Christ blood and clothed us in His righteousness.

In the New Testament there are three words used to convey this idea of redemption.  Two of the words, agorazo and exagorazo respectively mean “to buy in a marketplace” and “to buy out of the marketplace.”  This second word in particular is of great encouragement to all believers because it shows the effective and permanent nature of redemption.  God did not buy us out of slavery to send us back and He is faithful to keep and sustain us.  The other word used for redemption is “luo” which means “to loose, set free or deliver.”  This term denotes the idea that we have bought free from sin to never return, sin and death can never make any claims to us.  If have been redeemed by the lamb then “I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).”

July 24, 2009

Friday is For Fathers

“The thoroughness of Paul’s mission practice is that he was not content merely with evangelism and church planting but was concerned to build mature communities of believers who could think biblically through the ethical issues they faced in the ambient religious culture.  His pastoral and ethical guidance to his churches was thus as much part of his missional task as his evangelistic zeal, and just as theologically grounded to.” Chris Wright

According to Mark Driscoll in his free e-book “Pastor Dad,” every dad is a pastor to his family.  Therefore, the above quote, although it is directed to church planters, missionaries and pastors can have very real application to fathers.  If I am in paid ministry I should never view the job complete if someone gives a verbal commitment to Christ.  Anthony Bradley shares in the book Glory Road his testimony of how there was much confusion for him early on as he had no discipleship.  The same is true for father’s, our kids must be discipled and this is not a task that we should leave up to the church, but do ourselves as the church equips us for this work.

Paul didn’t want his converts to just attend church.  Actually, in the New Testament church there would be no casual attenders because just to do that would be risking their lives.  A Christian father’s vision shouldn’t be for his family to be casual church attenders.  Instead they should be taking part in community to grow in spiritual maturity so that they can discern what is God’s good, acceptable and perfect will by being transformed by the renewing of their mind through the preached word (Romans 12).  The father must lead in example by applying the word and and standing up for Biblical truth.

Father’s let us not be content to have our family be lukewarm even if we are on fire.  May God give us hearts like Paul’s for those that we are called to shepherd, hearts with a zeal for seeing lives transformed by the power of the Gospel.

July 23, 2009

Martin Luther on Imputed Righteousness

Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; – Romans 4:7

Believers inwardly are always sinners; therefore they are always justified from without.  The hypocrites, on the other hand, are alway righteous inwardly; therefore they are always sinners from without.  By ‘inwardly’ I mean, as we appear before judgment and opinion; by from ‘without,’ as we appear before God and His judgment.  We are righteous ‘outside ourselves’ when our righteousness does not flow from our works; but is ours alone by divine imputation.  Such imputation, however, is not merited by us, nor does it lie with our power, as the prophet says in Hosea 13:9: ‘O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.’ Of ourselves we are always wicked, as the Psalmist says in Psalm 51:3 ‘My sin is ever before me.’ But the hypocrite, say: ‘My righteousness is ever before me, and blessed are they who do works of righteousness.’

The text says: ‘Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven’; that is to say: Blessed are they who by grace are freed from the burden of iniquity, namely, of the actual sins which they have committed.  That, however, is not sufficient, unless also their ‘sins are covered,’ that is unless the radical evil (original sin) which is in them is not charged to them as sin.  That is covered when, though still existing, it is not regarded, considered and imputed by God; as we read: ‘Blessed is the man to w home the Lord will not impute sin.'”

Martin Luther

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