Daily Roundup

What Does Your Church’s Statement of Faith Protect? – Thabiti Anyabwile lists 6 things a Church’s statement of faith should protect.

Watch Over Your Heart – Why is this so important?  We are justified and made right before God, right?  But it is still an ongoing process.

The Case for Hate – Without hate we are no longer moral.

Falling Asleep – For a Christian to die, it’s as natural as falling asleep at night.

Quote:

“For two hours they cried out, ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!'”  Acts 19:34.  Mere enthusiasm and persistence is worthless. – John Piper

 

Justification, Sanctification, Holiness, & Legalism

This is a hard blog post for me to write for the following reasons:

  • Few want to talk about, let alone understand, what justification is.
  • Fewer still seem to want to work out what it means to go through the process of sanctification.
  • Even less want to understand that a life of holiness is a conscious decision to walk in the light of God’s sanctifying grace.
  • If you choose to delve into the above with your heart, soul, mind, and being, you will most likely be labeled as legalistic.

Several months ago, I sat with a group of individuals who were talking about how great the latest Batman movie was. I was just listening to their conversation as I really wasn’t interested in the conversation because I was trying to prepare my heart for the upcoming Sunday School lesson. Then they started talking about who was the best actor to portray Batman. Somehow the conversation drifted to video games and how much one guy spent on his game collection and how much time he played them. Then things quieted down and we began our lesson.

Low and behold, the lesson was over the following passage:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21 ESV)

We talked about this in the class for a moment and then I raised my hand to speak. I mentioned that the pre-class discussion was kind of a reflection of what seemed to be the most important thing that week in several lives. I wasn’t condemning as I even mentioned that I wasn’t always focused on Christ like I should have been through the week. But you would have thought I had called everyone heathen sinners or something from the blow back I got. “Well, you may not go to the movies, but you can’t pin that on me, I don’t think it’s wrong.”

That day has troubled me for quite some time now.  But lately, I’ve been reading The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges as well as listening to When Christians Sin by Tim Conway (links to the 3 part sermon series) and I’ve come to the conclusion that most people that call themselves a Christian do not want to progress in holiness.  Oh, they want the benefits of being a Christian, but they don’t want to put in the discipline that comes along with it.  What?  You mean to say that I have to work for my salvation?  No, that is not what I’m saying at all.  Our salvation is as complete as it will ever be when our hearts are regenerated and we come to hate the sin we used to love and love the righteousness we used to hate.  But, there is a caveat included.  As we delve deeper and deeper into the Word of God, we begin to see His holiness and righteousness in a new light and the Word exhorts us to “Be holy as I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).  In this life we will never attain that in it’s entirety, but that does not mean we can just skate by and not even try.  Sure, we will fail, sometimes spectacularly.  But that does not mean we are not to strive by the power of the Holy Spirit that now lives within us and has made us a new creature.

I guess what I see is the biggest shortcoming is that very few preachers, and even fewer laity because so few preachers preach it, understand what it means to be holy. Hagios is the Greek word from which we derive the word holy.  The connotation is hard for us today because we don’t understand the temple of the Old Testament much.  But in the temple, there were items set apart as separate from the common things.  There were tables, lampstands, even garments that the High Priest wore that were separate from your run of the mill, everyday clothing.  That is a picture of God.  He is separate or ‘other’ if you will.  He is not like us and no matter that since the first man, Adam, tried to be like God, mankind is still trying to make God in our image, He will never be like us and we are certainly not like Him.  Continue reading

The Dead Still Speak

J. C. Ryle speaks today.
The Quotes below are from HOLINESS: ITS NATURE, HINDRANCES, DIFFICULTIES, AND ROOTS

True holiness does not consist merely of believing and feeling, but of doing and bearing, and a practical exhibition of active and passive grace. Our tongues, our tempers, our natural passions and inclinations—our conduct as parents and children, masters and servants, husbands and wives, rulers and subjects—our dress, our employment of time, our behaviour in business, our demeanour in sickness and health, in riches and in poverty—all, all these are matters which are fully treated by inspired writers.

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When people talk of having received “such a blessing,” and of having found “the higher life,” after hearing some earnest advocate of “holiness by faith and self-consecration,” while their families and friends see no improvement and no increased sanctity in their daily tempers and behaviour, immense harm is done to the cause of Christ.

Continue reading

Spurgeon Thursday

Excerpts from Justification By Grace, A sermon delivered on Sabbath morning 5 April, 1857

“The hill of comfort is the hill of Calvary.  The house of consolation is built with the wood of the Cross.  The temple of Heavenly cordials is founded upon the split Rock, split by the spear which pierced its side.  No scene in sacred history ever gladdens the soul like the scene on Calvary…

Let me just endeavor to show you some qualities of the Redemption that is in Christ Jesus. You will remember the multitude He has redeemed. Not I, alone, nor you, alone, but “a multitude that no man can number.” A number which shall as far exceed the stars of Heaven, as they exceed all mortal reckoning! Christ has bought for Himself some out of every kingdom and nation and tongue under Heaven! He has redeemed from among men some of every rank, from the highest to the lowest, some of every color—black and white—some of every standing in society, the best and the worst, for some of all sorts has Jesus Christ given Himself a Ransom that they might be redeemed unto Himself!   Now, concerning this Ransom, we have to observe that it was all paid and all paid at once. When Christ redeemed His people, Continue reading

Daily Roundup

10 Tips on Solving Mysterious Bible Passages from Sherlock Holmes – After reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Eric McKiddie came up with these 10 outstanding tips on reading and studying the Bible.

100 Quotes on Sanctification Contest – Here is a collections of 100 quotes regarding sanctification.  The contest winner was Andrew Donth and this is the quote he submitted, “If he gives you the grace to make you believe, he will give you the grace to live a holy life afterward.” (Sermon, “Justification by Grace” by Charles Spurgeon)

Organized Religion? – John Samson responds to those who say they aren’t into “organized religion.  This is an insightful article and I love his opening response, I’ll certainly use it myself.

Justification and Sanctification: How do they Differ? – An article by J. C. Ryle.

How does a pastor wisely choose battles when he wants to make changes in a church – Pastor Brian Croft lays out 3 things to consider.

Stripping Off the Mask – The Reverend Roger Salter writes, “Adam and Eve began the business of making excuses before God, and when he summons us we naturally incline to make our excuses also. We have preferences that preclude wholehearted devotion to God. We have pursuits that clash with his purpose. There is an ineluctable reluctance in human nature to go God’s way.”

6 Traits of a Pastor in Awe of God – Paul Tripp lists 6 of the traits a Pastor needs.  One of these traits is “rest,” which in this day and age is probably the most overlooked.

God & Sinner Reconcile

Ran across the album called God & Sinner Reconciled by Stephen Miller this morning and thought I’d share the link to it.  If you don’t know who Stephen Miller is, don’t feel like you are all alone.  I had never heard of him before this morning either.  After a little digging, I found out Stephen is a Staff Elder and Worship Leader at The Journey in St. Louis, Missouri.

I really like the title of this album.  When I first glanced at it I read it as “God and Sinners”, as in plural, but then I looked at it again and saw that it was just “Sinner” and that is the way it truly is.  Each of us will stand before the throne of God individually and be judged individually.  Even the titles of some of the songs seem to show a distinct slant towards the doctrine of God’s sovereignty and the work of justification.

O My Soul is my favorite song from this album thus far.  It is a lot like some of the Psalms in that the singer is encouraging his own soul to lifted up in praise and adoration to the the God who lives forever.

The album, at least at the moment, is free to download and I recommend you give it a listen and if you like it, download it.