"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus by D.A. Carson Part 1

In the passage in front of us, Paul talks about the solution, how we are just before God. The controlling expression in this paragraph is “the righteousness of God” . The expression, which would be rendered “the justice of God or “the justification of God”, occurs four times in these six verses. The verb to justify occurs an additional two times, and the adjective just or righteous occurs once. This whole passage has to do with how a person can be considered just before this hold God, granted that our condition is miserable as it is made out of to be in the first two and half chapters. To get at the heart of Paul’s solution, we will reflection on the four steps that he establishes in his argument.

“But now” introduces something new into Paul’s argument. This is not just a logical transition: “but now, at this step in the argument…” Paul can use “but now” in diverse ways, but in this context the expression means, “But now, at this point in the stream of redemptive history”. Something new has come along.

What is the nature of the change that Paul here envisages? In the past there was something else, “but now” what is there? A popular but misguided view is that in the OT God was especially wrathful, “but now” in the NT God is especially love and gracious. The argument runs like this: in the old covenant, God demonstrated himself in righteous wrath, not least in famines, plagues, and war. Now, however, under the terms of the new covenant established by the cross, God displays a gentler side to his character in the gospel. Many Christians think that in the OT God is almost bad-tempered, while in the NT Jesus tells his followers to turn the other check—and he himself goes to the cross on our behalf. So when Paul introduces his paragraph with the words “but now”, he is preparing to paint a portrait of God that is a little softer than what is found in the NT.

October 27, 2014  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

The Trinity and Worship

Graham Kendrick shares some thoughts as a worship leader about the doctrine of the Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Access all areas! Sometimes we can lose the wonder and the awe of the fact that we can worship God at all - that we are welcomed into His presence. We must understand that our only access to be able to come before God is through Christ - The Worship Leader.

October 24, 2014  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

When People are Big and God is small By Ed Welch

Pg. 128

There are many other biblical themes and passages that direct us to the fear of the Lord. The gospel of Mark, however, is the book of amazement. It is constantly saying that Jesus amazed those who witnessed his ministry. This amazement did not always lead to reverent submission, but it is Mark’s way of teaching us that Jesus is the Holy one, God in the flesh.

Mark’s basic them is that Jesus amazed people by both his teaching and his miraculous deeds. He starts this immediately: “The people were amazed at his teaching” (Mark 1:22). Mark’s gospel proceeds to show Jesus’ demonstrating authority over evil spirits (1:27). Then, when Jesus told the paralytic that his sins were forgiven and he could walk, everyone was amazed and praised God (2:12).

The next story of amazement took the disciples back to the creation account and the creative word of God. Crowds were already following Jesus to the point where a boat was one of the few places he could rest. “Let us go over to the other side,” Jesus said to his disciples. After they rowed beyond view of the shore, a furious storm came up, threatening to capsize the boat. Waves were already breaking over the sides and the boat was filling up with water. How Jesus could ever sleep through such an even seems superhuman in itself, but that is not what caused the amazement. When the disciples could finally shake him awake, Jesus spoke to his creation, “Quite! Be Still!” And the water became flat as grass.

Prior to this time, the disciples had seen and heard many things. They had witnessed many miraculous healings, and they had heard teaching that elicited as much awe from the crowds as did the miracles. But this is the first time that Mark talks about the disciples responses. How would you respond if you were standing next to the Creator God and heard him speak to his creation? Don’t forget, even the words of the seraphim could shake the temple. “They were terrified”, Mark says about the disciples. They did not feel relief or happiness that they would live and not even lose their boat. They were terrified. What a wonderful response. It was ideal for people being schooled in the fear of the Lord.

October 15, 2014  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Two Hours on Justification

As a guest host on the Dividing Line, I taught for two hours on what Martin Luther described as "the article upon which the Church stands or falls," the doctrine of justification by faith alone. - John Samson

Hour 1: Justification and the Three Transfers

Hour 2: The Active and Passive Obedience of Christ, how Paul and James compliment each other on the matter of justification and why Rome's 'gospel' cannot save.

October 10, 2014  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

An Historic Door Opened for the Gospel

JS - Over the last two weeks, I have had the privilege of guest hosting Dr. James White's dividing line broadcasts while he has been on a ministry trip to South Africa (the 4th of these shows at 2 p.m. later today). Dr. White shares here about one of the events on his trip and it is TRULY HISTORIC! God has opened a very significant and unexpected door for the gospel and it thrills my heart. Please continue to pray for Dr. James White and Alpha and Omega Ministries.

DrWhite-DurbanSAJames White writes:

"As I wait here in London for my flight back to Phoenix, I am still processing what took place this past Tuesday evening in Durban. As the attached picture shows, I stood once again in a masjid---not just a room associated with a mosque, but in the masjid itself, and had the unfettered freedom to proclaim the full truth of God. If I can figure out how best to link an audio file, I might have time before my flight to post a portion of my presentation on John's Christology, but I can tell you this: I had the opportunity (indeed, the necessity, given Yusuf's presentation), of delving into John 1:1-18, John 8:24, 58, 13:19, 18:5-6 (the I Am sayings of Jesus) and of course John 20:28. That is certainly not unusual---but to do so in a historic masjid, the first Christian to speak there---that's amazing. But now add in the real kicker: I was standing where Ahmed Deedat often stood in denial of those very truths. That's what I am still processing. Only God could open a door like that, give an opportunity like that. I thank Him for using means (specifically, Rudolph, Adrian, etc. there in South Africa), but they will tell you the same thing: the Lord has granted favor to our interactions with our Muslim friends in South Africa. No doubt about it."

October 10, 2014  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

The article upon which the Church stands or falls

Sola Fide: On today's Dividing Line broadcast I taught on the doctrine of justification by faith alone and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the believer's account, highlighting Romans chapters 1-4. - JS

October 07, 2014  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Acts 10 - Part 2

Yesterday, as a guest host of the Dividing Line broadcast, I continued walking through Acts 10, seeking to explain why it is one of the most important chapters in the entire New Testament. - JS

October 03, 2014  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

When People are Big and God is Small by Ed Welch

Pg. 76

God was still part of this culture. In fact, most people, both then and now, would say that God exists and that the soul is immortal. That sounds pretty good—a little basic, perhaps, with no explicit statements about Jesus, but it seems essentially Christian. But jump to the present for a moment. How do you react to news poll indicating that the vast majority of Americans believe in God, an afterlife, and even the existence of angles? Are you encouraged to think that American is a Christian country? Or are you somewhat suspicious, left wanting to ask a few more questions? You can probably guess my reaction.

We live in a times when there is a resurgence of God-talk and spiritual language, but conversations rarely get to the thing of “First Importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter and then the Twelve” (1 Cor. 15:3-5).

The last two centuries have introduced God language that sounds fine but is divorced from biblical content. For example, the French philosopher Rousseau talked about God, but he found his god in nature. His god was all peace and goodness, and he moved to a feeling of worship. Rousseau shifted the focus from objective revelation (the Bible) to the subjective experience (feelings), from other people to the inner life and from loving God and neighbor to loving self.

October 02, 2014  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink