Five years ago I could not have told you anything about the Reformed Faith. Oh, I knew who John Calvin and Martin Luther were, but nothing about their beliefs. It was a simple conversation about what it meant for God to be sovereign that started a process that brought me out of a state where I thought I was saved, into a new understanding of the Doctrines of Grace and what it means when God saves you. Over the past few years I have read, studied and listened to as much as I could get my hands on to learn more about the sovereignty of God in not only salvation, but in all things. With that, I have come across a gentleman by the name of Brian Borgman multiple times and he is an outstanding expositor and teacher of the Word. I highly recommend his 13 part series on an Introduction to Reformed Faith. I’ve included the links below.
The Fruit (of the Spirit), has its root in God’s Character. That leads me to believe, that ultimately, what God is doing in redemption is He is restoring and then fulfilling the original commission that He gave to Adam, that commission that Adam failed to accomplish.
So, if, in the age to come, the abundance of the Spirit is manifest by conforming us more and more to the image of God, why is that part of the future age? Well, it’s because when God created Adam and Eve and put them in the garden, God actually gave them this mandate which was to be fruitful, to multiply and fill the earth. So, as image bearers, Adam and Eve were supposed to image God in the creation. When we think of the image of God we think of something that is almost exclusively intrinsic, or internal to us; what I am as a human being. That is part of it, but there is a sense in which the image of God is a functional reality so that God actually created Adam and Eve and all of their posterity to image Him throughout the whole earth so that the whole earth would be filled with His Glory. Adam and Eve, of course, didn’t do that. They fell into sin. They marred the image of God. Therefore they didn’t image God in the creation. They imaged sin, self, and Satan far more than they imaged God.
So, what is happening? God actually promises that He is going to take this fallen humanity that was supposed to image Him and He is going to restore them so that they end up doing what they were originally supposed to do.
There is one glorious piece that is now so clearly expressed in the New Testament and that is, that the second Adam is Jesus Christ. He came into this world and imaged God perfectly because He is the image of the invisible God. Jesus could say, “When you have seen me, you have seen the Father,” (John 14:9). So, those whom He Foreknew, He predestined, and those He predestined, he predestined to do what? To be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.
God is taking this rag-tag collection of fallen human beings who follow sin and self and who are filled with filth and their own idols and He is saying, “I’m taking a people for myself.” That original purpose for which He created us will not be thwarted. It will not be thwarted because He will accomplish His purpose. He is going to accomplish His purpose because He sent His Son to redeem us and then sent His Spirit to conform us to the image in which we were originally created so that we can do what we were supposed to do.
What is happening is that God is doing the ultimate Adamic urban renewal project!
So, right now, in this “all-ready, not yet” tension, what’s happening is that we are being increasingly, progressively, conformed to the image of Christ by the Holy Spirit. When the consummation of all things happens, what will occur will be our perfect conformity to the image of Christ. The whole cosmos will be reconciled to the Father, and the whole New Heavens and New Earth will be filled with image bearers that glorify and reflect the glory of the Creator.
For Paul to talk about the fruit of the Spirit is no small thing. The Fruit of the Spirit has cosmic implications because God is renewing His character, Christ’s image, in us.
Friday I was listening to a sermon by Pastor Brian Borgman and he gave the following quote from Jonathan Edwards as Edwards refutes those who complain about parishioners listening to too many sermons:
“The main benefit obtained by preaching is by impression made upon the mind at the time, and not by an effect that arises afterwards by a remembrance of what was delivered. And though an after-remembrance of what was heard in a sermon is oftentimes very profitable; yet, for the most part, that remembrance is from an impression the words made on the heart at the time; and the memory profits, as it renews and increases that impression.”
When I went to google to look this quote up, I came across several sites that expounded on the quote in much the same way that Pastor Borgman did. Here is one that is well worth the read and that I agree with.
In good churches there tends to be a LOT of preaching. Sometimes it feels a tad overwhelming. Sermons come at you rapid-fire from all directions, like a paintball ambush.
Sunday morning and evening, Tuesday cell groups, Saturday men’s meeting, and now with the advent of MP3 players a barrage of world-class preaching is a screen-touch away. It can be a bit like drinking from a fire-hose.
And how much of this biblical truth is really going in? Am I honestly expected to beware of the 15 symptoms of hypocrisy in Luke 11, as well as the 3 tools God uses to save sinners, and the 6 steps to being a good steward of my money? And if I am supposed to remember this stuff, what about next week, and the week after that?
Is a photographic memory requirement for being a faithful Christian these days?
During the last several weeks, during my commute to and from work, I have been listening to a sermon series by Brian Borgman of Grace Community Church, Minden, Nevada. I have listened to many of Pastor Borgmans sermons in the last year, but I have never started an entire series until this one. So far I have listened to 17 of the 189 sermons that Pastor Borgman preached on this book from June 2006 until May of 2011. While it is obvious that there were breaks in the overall series for other topical sermons, I find it amazing that in today’s day and age, someone would spend that long in one book of the Bible because we have such short attention spans, right? I’m not buying that at all as I think it has more to do with just plain laziness and lack of commitment on our parts.
Anyway, here are 4 sermons that have made me stop in my tracks and change my mind on how, why and what I think about God.
Jesus, The Firstborn
Jesus, The Enthroned God
Jesus, The Eternal, Unchanging God (This one was an especially good message in thinking about the implications of God’s immutability)