The gospel is…the word about Jesus Christ and what he did for us in order to restore us to a right relationship with God. – Graeme Goldsworthy

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Start Over

Are you discouraged by your sin? Weighed down by the battle of fighting fallenness within? Are you stuck, refusing to move towards God’s grace in Christ because of personal regret and the condemnation of conscience? Have you stumbled into that same transgression and think the Scripture’s truth about the Savior’s sacrifice no longer applies to you?

Look to the person, perfection, and propitiation of Jesus Christ today! Start over.

Everybody’s got a blank page
A story they’re writing today
A wall that they’re climbing
You can carry the past on your shoulders
Or you can start over
Regrets, no matter what you’ve gone through
Jesus, He gave it all to save you
He carried the cross on His shoulders
So you can start over

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Is Christ Alone in All the Clauses of the Apostles' Creed?

In the following passage, John Calvin penned an absolutely beautiful piece of prose in his Institutes of the Christian Religion. Closing out his exposition of the Apostles’ Creed, he answers his own question, “[Is] Christ alone in all the clauses of the creed?” His answer is majestic, thorough, convicting, and instructive. Wisdom for the Church throughout the ages is found here. We would do well to linger long in meditation on it.

We see that our whole salvation and all its parts are comprehended in Christ [Acts 4:12]. We should therefore take care not to derive the least portion of it from anywhere else. If we seek salvation, we are taught by the very name of Jesus that it is “of him” [I Cor. 1:30]. If we seek any other gifts of the Spirit, they will be found in his anointing. If we seek strength, it lies in his dominion; if purity, in his conception; if gentleness, it appears in his birth. For by his birth he was made like us in all respects [Heb. 2:17] that he might learn to feel our pain [cf. Heb. 5:2]. If we seek redemption, I lies in his passion; if acquittal, in his condemnation; if remission of the curse, in his cross [Gal. 3:13]; if satisfaction, in his sacrifice; if purification, in his blood; if reconciliation, in his descent into hell; if mortification of the flesh, in his tomb; if newness of life, in his resurrection; if immortality, in the same; if inheritance of the Heavenly Kingdom, in his entrance into heaven; if protection, if security, if abundant supply of all blessings, in His Kingdom; if untroubled expectation of judgment, in the power given to him to judge. In short, since rich store of every kind of goods abounds in him, let us drink our fill from this fountain, and from no other. Some men, not content with him alone, are bourne hither and thither from one hope to another; even if they concern themselves chiefly with him, they nevertheless stray from the right way in turning some part of their thinking in another direction. Yet such distrust cannot creep in where men have once for all truly known the abundance of his blessings. John Calvin

Friday, October 2, 2015

The River (by Jordan Feliz)

Some songs just grab my heart and won’t let go. The ones that do often have a blend of truth, melody, and soul-stirring rhythm -- forging into an auditory powerhouse that captivates the soul for Christ. The River by Jordan Feliz is just such a song! I providentially stumbled upon this song today. I couldn’t help but play it over and over again. The same thing occurred at home when I introduced it to my small tribe after dinner. The repeat button was continually pressed as dancing and air-band imitations ensued for the better part of an hour in our kitchen.

Your spiritual -- and physical pulse -- will be quickened for our precious Savior whose work of salvation at Calvary offers to cleanse from the deepest sin, the greatest rebellion, and the deepest bondage. As Jordan says about The River:

“The song itself is an invitation to anyone who hears it—whether they’re stuck in pride and legalism or wallowing down in the mess they’ve made of their lives—it’s an invitation to take whatever we have and to run to Jesus. It’s an invitation to go down in amazing grace and to rise up being made new.”

The simplicity and profundity of this song -- both musically and lyrically -- remind me of precious Scripture passages that reflect the same combination. Read them as you listen to this heart-pounding song, and may its invitation drive you to the river of God’s eternally refreshing and forgiving gospel this weekend!

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High. Psalm 46.4

Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple…Then he led me back to the bank of the river. As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other. And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing. Ezekiel 47.1, 6, 12
And in that day
       the mountains shall drip sweet wine,
and the hills shall flow with milk,
       and all the streambeds of Judah
shall flow with water;
       and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the Lord. Joel 3.18

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” John 4.10

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4.13-14

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Revelation 22.1

And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. Revelation 21.6

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Cross Must Calm Our Guilty Fears of Judgment

“This is our acquittal: the guilt that held us liable for punishment has been transferred to the head of the Son of God [Isa. 53:12]. We must, above all, remember this substitution, lest we tremble and remain anxious throughout life – as if God’s righteous vengeance, which the Son of God has taken upon himself, still hung over us.” John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Satan's lie: "God's mercy is a reason to sin."

“When Satan attempts to draw you to sin by presenting God as a God all made up of mercy, then reply that though God’s general mercy extend[s] to all the works of His hand, yet His special mercy is conformed to the ones who are divinely qualified, to the ones who love Him and keep His commandments, to the ones who trust in Him, whose hope hang upon Him and fear Him.” Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices