Why the Gospel is Needed For Believers

The gospel is essential for Christians to cherish in their lives.  It is not something that served a purpose when you met the Lord and now no longer matters.  If that is the case you will become either legalistic (an improper fixation on law or codes of conduct for a person to merit) or antinomian (Christians are under no obligation to obey the law). As Tim Keller says, “the gospel is not the ABC’s of the Christian faith but the A to Z”.  It’s not just something that’s needed at the ‘beginning’ and then move onto something else.  We grow by reapplying and re-grasping the reality of the gospel in every area in our lives.

“There is nothing in us or done by us, at any stage of our earthly development, because of which we are acceptable to God. We must always be accepted for Christ’s sake, or we cannot ever be accepted at all. This is not true of us only when we believe. It is just as true after we have believed. It will continue to be true as long as we live. Our need of Christ does not cease with our believing; nor does the nature of our relation to Him or to God through Him ever alter, no matter what our attainments in Christian graces or our achievements in behavior may be. It is always on His “blood and righteousness” alone that we can rest.”  -BB. Warfield, Perfectionism, Part One, vol. 7 of The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, pg 113

Let me illustrate it this way.  I’m not a patient person by nature.  I struggle with impatience.  However, this has been something I’ve actually been growing in.  Years ago, I would go through cycles of being “more” or “less” patient.  And even when I was more patient I would just act out or struggle in another area.  The problem was I just said “I need to be more patient I’m a Christian leader.”  Well, guess what?  It never lasted and I didn’t really change.  It wasn’t until I lived in and moved out of the new life I have in Christ that I grew in areas like this.

Categories: avoidance, BB Warfield, Christ, discipleship, encouragement, family, God promises, gospel, Holiness, idolatry, perfectionism, Tim Keller | Leave a comment

Advantages of Remaining Sin

godly sorrowJohn Newton, who you might know as the author of Amazing Grace…was also a pastor.  He would write letters to members of his church to encourage them throughout his ministry.  Someone took all these letters and compiled them together and called them, real creatively, “the letters of John Newton”.

I think most people who are Christians think of sin very negatively and rightfully so.  But I want you to think for a minute about the advantage of remaining sin.  I know that just sounds weird but listen to what John Newton says in that regard.

One of the letters that was compiled is called the ‘advantages of remaining sin’.  Here is an excerpt from it,

“…when, after a long experience of their own deceitful hearts, after repeated proofs of their weakness, wilfulness, ingratitude, and insensibility, (after all these things) then you find that none of these things can separate them from the love of God in Christ, Jesus becomes more and more precious to their souls. You love Him much, because much has been forgiven them.”

He goes on to say, “As to the remedy, neither our state nor his honor are affected by the workings of indwelling sin, in the hearts of those whom he has taught to wrestle, strive, and mourn, on account of what they feel. Though sin wars, it shall not reign; and though it breaks our peace, it cannot separate from his love. Nor is it inconsistent with his holiness and perfection, to manifest his favor to such poor defiled creatures, or to admit them to communion with himself; for they are not considered as in themselves, but as one with Jesus, to whom they have fled for refuge, and by whom they live a life of faith….These are some of the advantages and good fruits which the Lord enables us to obtain from that bitter root, indwelling sin.”

The more bitter tasting your sin is to you the sweater Jesus will be.

If you want to check out the book there has a kindle version for $4.99 on amazon http://amzn.to/15xIhlL

Categories: despair, discipleship, encouragement, God, gospel, Holiness, hope, idolatry, love, pain, perfectionism, sin | Tags: | Leave a comment

Eternity

eternityI really enjoy C.S. Lewis.  I find his imagination captivating.  I continually find myself being drawn back to the Scriptures as I read his works of fiction.

“And as [Aslan] spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before” (C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle, 183)”

As I read this the parallel that flood my mind is from Revelation 21:1-5,

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”  And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

I long for the day where this becomes my reality.  But until then the Lord has me here to proclaim the good news of the gospel.  To speak of this hope that I have…that the one who is seated on the throne is “making all things new”!  So, till God calls me home or Christ returns I’ll continue to speak of the grace and mercy there is in Christ.

Categories: C.S. Lewis, discipleship, encouragement, eternity, Evangelism, God, Heaven, hope, revelation | Leave a comment