Ligonier Ministries is giving away Five Things Every Christian Needs To Grow in e-book format until the end of June. Grab your copy here.
Understanding The Times – For many who live in high alpine terrain, mountain sports like skiing are a way of life. As with any such sport, carnage comes with the territory.
When Evil Dug It’s Own Grave – When you’re in the middle of intense suffering, it’s easy to lose your bearings. Questions arise reflexively: Is God really in control? How can a good God allow so much pain? Is God good?
What’s Wrong With Producing A “Worship Experience?” – Is the Church becoming a consumer driven commodity?
Predestination: Don’t Say A Word About It Until… – There’s no more surefire way to create awkward silence among family and friends than to say, “Hey everyone, let’s talk about predestination.”
“What a wonder is it, that two natures infinitely distant, should be more intimately united than anything in the world; and yet without any confusion! That the same person should have both a glory and a grief; an infinite joy in the Deity, and an inexpressible sorrow in the humanity! That a God upon a throne should be an infant in a cradle; the thundering Creator be a weeping babe and a suffering man, are such expressions of mighty power, as well as condescending love, that they astonish men upon earth, and angels in heaven.” – Thomas Goodwin
The Issue Of Faith – Amen!
Does God Harden Hearts? – 6 underlying questions and answers that make up this one question.
Overcoming The World Conference Videos – You can watch the entire conference free of charge, head on over.
Caring Enough – A thought provoking article in light of Mark Driscoll’s apology.
I have always found it depressing to listen to the kind of people who, whenever you meet them, will always for sure tell you the story of their conversion many years ago. They tell you that story every time. I have known people do exactly the same thing with revival. There is always something about an initial experience that is remarkable and outstanding. And a time of revival is so amazing and wonderful that it is not surprising that people go on talking about it. But, if they give the impression that they have had nothing since that wonderful experience, that ever after they have been walking through a wilderness, and travelling through a desert, then it is absolutely wrong. Their idea of the Christian life is of a dramatic experience, perhaps at the outset, after which they just trudge along, living on the strength of that and partly keeping their eye turned backwards as they go forward. – Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Why Don’t Christians Care That They Sin? – A great question, and an even better answer from Alistair Begg and R.C. Sproul.
Reading The Bible Like Jesus – Reading the Bible is difficult work. Or at least it can be if we intend to do more than simply read it for enjoyment or duty.
Why Aren’t Christians Leaders More Discerning? – Right now in this day, and it’s been this way for a long time through this twentieth century, THE biggest problem in the church is its inability and unwillingness to distinguish true Christians from false. It’s…it’s literally killing the church.
Expelling Worldliness With A New Affection – The love of the world and the love of the Father cannot dwell together in the same heart. But the love of the world can be driven out only by the love of the Father.
Law-Lite leads to Gospel-Lite leads to a watered-down Faith in the very potent mercy of God in Christ – What we hear preached makes a huge difference in our view of God’s salvation.
Would We Know a Revival If We Say One? – J. I. Packer reflects on his longing to see a revival.
There is Nothing Common About Grace – Grace is a provision for men who are so fallen that they cannot lift the ax of justice; so corrupt that they cannot change their own natures; so adverse to God that they cannot turn to Him; so blind that they cannot see Him; so deaf that they cannot hear Him; and so dead that He Himself must open their graves.
Astronomy Images – I love images of the heavens as, for me, they remind me of the grandeur, magnitude, and shear intelligence of God. In this set, images 1, 5, and 7 are my favorites.
“There is one very serious defect to my mind in Christ’s moral character, and that is that He believed in hell.” So wrote the agnostic British philosopher Bertrand Russell in 1967. The idea of eternal punishment for sin, he further notes, is “a doctrine that put cruelty in the world and gave the world generations of cruel torture.”
His views are at least more consistent than religious philosopher John Hick, who refers to hell as a “grim fantasy” that is not only “morally revolting” but also “a serious perversion of the Christian Gospel.” Worse yet was theologian Clark Pinnock who, despite having regarded himself as an evangelical, dismissed hell with a rhetorical question: “How can one imagine for a moment that the God who gave His Son to die for sinners because of His great love for them would install a torture chamber somewhere in the new creation in order to subject those who reject Him to everlasting pain?”
So, what should we think of hell? Is the idea of it really responsible for all the cruelty and torture in the world? Is the doctrine of hell incompatible with the way of Jesus Christ? Hardly. In fact, the most prolific teacher of hell in the Bible is Jesus, and He spoke more about it than He did about heaven. In Matthew 25:41–46 He teaches us four truths about hell that should cause us to grieve over the prospect of anyone experiencing its horrors.
1. Hell is a state of separation from God.
On the day of judgment, Jesus will say to all unbelievers, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire” (v. 41). This is the same sort of language that Jesus uses elsewhere to describe the final judgment of unbelievers (see 7:23).
To be separated from God is to be separated from anything and everything good. That is hard to conceive because even the most miserable person enjoys some of God’s blessings. We breathe His air, are nourished by food that He supplies, and experience many other aspects of His common grace.
On earth even atheists enjoy the benefits of God’s goodness. But in hell, these blessings will be nonexistent. Those consigned there will remember God’s goodness, and will even have some awareness of the unending pleasures of heaven, but they will have no access to them.
This does not mean that God will be completely absent from hell. He is and will remain omnipresent (Ps. 139:7–8). To be separated from the Lord and cast into hell does not mean that a person will finally be free of God. That person will remain eternally accountable to Him. He will remain Lord over the person’s existence. But in hell, a person will be forever separated from God in His kindness, mercy, grace, and goodness. He will be consigned to deal with Him in His holy wrath.
2. Hell is a state of association.
Jesus says that the eternal fire of hell was “prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). People were made for God. Hell was made for the Devil. Yet people who die in their sin, without Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, will spend eternity in hell with the one being who is most unlike God. It is a tragic irony that many who do not believe in the Devil in this life will wind up spending eternity being tormented with him in hell.
3. Hell is a state of punishment.
Jesus describes it as “fire” (v. 41) and a place of “punishment” (v. 46). Hell is a place of retribution where justice is served through the payment for crimes.
The punishment must fit the crime. The misery and torment of hell point to the wickedness and seriousness of sin. Those who protest the biblical doctrine of hell as being excessive betray their inadequate comprehension of the sinfulness of sin. For sinners to be consigned to anything less than the horrors of eternal punishment would be a miscarriage of justice.
4. Hell is an everlasting state.
Though some would like to shorten the duration of this state, Jesus’ words are very clear. He uses the same adjective to describe both punishment and life in verse 46. If hell is not eternal, neither is the new heaven and earth.
How can God exact infinite punishment for a finite sin? First, because the person against whom all sin is committed is infinite. Crimes against the infinitely holy, infinitely kind, infinitely good, and infinitely supreme Ruler of the world deserve unending punishment. In addition to that, those condemned to hell will go on sinning for eternity. There is no repentance in hell. So the punishment will continue as long as the sinning does.
The dreadfulness of hell deepens our grateful praise for the salvation we have in Jesus Christ. Hell is what we deserve. And hell is what He experienced on the cross in our place.
Believing the truth about hell also motivates us to persuade people to be reconciled to God. By God’s grace those of us who are trusting Christ have been rescued from this horrible destiny. How can we love people and refuse to speak plainly to them about the realities of eternal damnation and God’s gracious provision of salvation?
Clearer visions of hell will give us greater love for both God and people.
The original post can be found here.
8 Rules for Growing in Godliness – Our growth in godliness is a grace from God, derived from our union with Jesus, and is a work of the Holy Spirit, and yet we are active throughout in both killing sin and living unto righteousness.
Elements of Productive Bible Study – Is studying the Bible hard? Do you not really know how to start studying the Bible? John MacArthur gives some tips on how to start.
Understanding the Times: An Interview with Carl Trueman – From the current issue of Table Talk Magazine.
2 Timothy 3:16, 17 and the Case for Sola Scriptura – A transcript of a debate by Dr. James White that took place 19 years ago on the sufficiency of Scripture.
People Prospering Under Ol’ Fashioned Preaching – No pastorate will be successful in the absence of biblical preaching. The faithful preaching of a humble, prayerful pastor is one of God’s greatest means for building up His people.
The knowledge that we all have the same creator and maker admonishes us not to harbor contempt for God’s work, whether in ourselves or in another, by asking “Why did he make it like this?” Thus we read in Isaiah, “Woe to anyone who, like an earthen potsherd, argues with its maker. Shall the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’” And in Proverbs, “Whoever disregards the needy insults their maker.” And so this faith, wherein we believe that we have been created by God, brings about these three things in our hearts: First, that with all our hearts we depend in all things upon God our creator. Second, that each of us be contented with our circumstances–indeed, that we embrace them with thanksgiving, given that God our creator has placed us in them. Third, that none of us view our neighbor’s circumstances with contempt, however vile and miserable they be, lest we thereby cast aspersions upon our common creator. – Wolfgang Musculus