Friday, April 25, 2008

Personal Relationship With God: We All Have One

"In actual fact, isn't it true we are all born into this world in a relationship with God. Everyone has a relationship with God. Atheists have a personal relationship with God. God is not separated from any of us. The question is whether the God who is near is near in wrath or forgiveness. . . . If your way of explaining the Gospel doesn't get you within two seconds to Jesus Christ and His work on the cross, it is not a biblical way of presenting salvation. . . . You do have a personal relationship with God. Now, the question is do you have a mediator - Jesus Christ? If you don't, than that relationship is one of wrath, and it's judgment."
- Dr. Michael Horton, White Horse Inn, The Gospel of Personal Relationship, Aired: Sunday, April 20, 2008)

Ephesians 2:1-3
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience - among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

I Timothy 2:5
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:1
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

"Divine love triumphed over divine wrath by divine self-sacrifice."
John Stott, The Cross of Christ (InterVarsity, 1986), pg. 15.

What wisdom once devised the plan, Where all our sin and pride
Was placed upon the perfect Lamb, Who suffered, bled, and died?
The wisdom of a Sovereign God, Whose greatness will be shown
When those who crucified Your Son
Rejoice around Your throne

[Chorus] And, oh, the glory of the cross
That You would send Your Son for us
I gladly count my life as loss
That I might come to know
The glory of, the glory of the cross

What righteousness was there revealed, That sets the guilty free
That justifies ungodly men, And calls the filthy clean?
A righteousness that proved to all, Your justice has been met
And holy wrath is satisfied
Through one atoning death


What mercy now has been proclaimed, For those who would believe
A love incomprehensible, Our minds could not conceive?
A mercy that forgives my sin, Then makes me like Your Son
And now I’m loved forevermore
Because of what You’ve done


Bob Kauflin, The Glory of the Cross, Songs for the Cross Centered Life (© 2000 Sovereign Grace Praise [BMI])

Friday, April 18, 2008

George Whitefield: Man, Dead in Sin

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. John 6:44a (ESV)

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience - among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:1-5 (ESV)

All are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3:9b-18 (ESV)

George Whitefield, the great Calvinistic Methodist, preaching from Ephesians 2, gave the following description of the spiritual condition of man:

“Come, ye dead, Christless, unconverted sinner, come and see the place where they laid the body of the deceased Lazarus; behold him laid out, bound hand and foot with graveclothes, locked up and stinking in a dark cave, with a great stone placed on top of it. View him again and again; go nearer to him; be not afraid; smell him, Ah! how he stinketh.

Stop there now, pause a while; and whilst thou art gazing upon the corpse of Lazarus, give me leave to tell thee with great plainness, but greater love, that this dead, bound, entombed, stinking carcase, is but a faint representation of thy poor soul in it natural state;...thy spirit which thou bearest about with thee, sepulchered in flesh and blood, is literally dead to God, and as truly dead in trespasses and sins, as the body of Lazarus was in the cave. Was he bound hand and foot with graveclothes? So art thou bound hand and foot with thy corruptions; and as a stone was laid on the sepulchre, so there is a stone of unbelief upon thy stupid heart.

Perhaps thou has lain in this estate, not only four days, but many years, stinking in God’s nostrils. And, what is still more effecting, thou art as unable to raise thyself out of this loathsome, dead state, to a life of righteousness and true holiness, as ever Lazarus was to raise himself from the cave in which he lay so long.

Thou mayest try the power of thy boasted free will, and the force and energy of moral persuasion and rational arguments (which, without doubt, have their proper place in religion); but all thy efforts, exerted with never so much vigor, will prove quite fruitless and abortive, till that same Jesus, who said 'take away the stone' and cried 'Lazarus, come forth,' also quicken you."

Friday, April 11, 2008

Paradigm Shift In Scripture Reading

Sinclair Ferguson -

There's a "difference between reading the Bible for what you can get out of it and reading the Bible for what is actually in it."

It's the paradigm shift from, "Let me read Mark's gospel to find out what Mark is saying about Jesus and the Gospel," rather than, "What is this doing for me today to get me through the day?"

So here's the challenge:

Take a book of the Bible and read it for what it's saying, i.e., what God is saying about Himself and His Gospel in Christ Jesus. Ask yourself, "What is Jesus doing here?" rather than, "Where am I in this story?"

Friday, April 04, 2008

Let No Tongue Be Silent: Early Church Prayers

Have recently come across a couple of prayers/hymns from early in the life of the church; the latter espousing the truths later affirmed in the Chalcedonian Creed decades later - Jesus Christ, born, fully human, fully divine, coequal with the Father.

May none of God's wonderful works keep silence
May none of God’s wonderful works keep silence,
night or morning.

Bright stars, high mountains, the depths of the seas,
sources of rushing rivers:
may all these break into song as we sing
to Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

May all the angels in the heavens reply: Amen! Amen! Amen!
Power, praise, honour, eternal glory to God, the only Giver of grace.
Amen! Amen! Amen!
(Third-Century Hymn, A. Hamman, ed., Early Christian Prayers (Chicago, Henry Regnery, 1961, pg. 69)


Of the Father’s love begotten, ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega, He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see, evermore and evermore!

O that birth forever blessed, when the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving, bare the Savior of our race;
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face, evermore and evermore!

O ye heights of heaven adore Him; angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him, and extol our God and King!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert sing, evermore and evermore!
(Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, Corde Natus Ex Parentis [348-413])