Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Reformation Day 2008

From my family to yours, we pray you a healthy and blessed Reformation Day as we focus our continued attention on Jesus Christ, celebrate Him and His work; and the truths of His Solas as revealed in Scripture!

Sola Scriptura ("by Scripture alone")
Sola Fide ("by faith alone")
Sola Gratia ("by grace alone")
Solus Christus ("through Christ alone")
Soli Deo Gloria ("glory to God alone")

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Propitiation: Evoking Our Worship!

Our pastor, Craig Cabaniss (Grace Church, Frisco, TX), gave a wonderful message this past Sunday in his series on The Atonement. Pastor Cabaniss reminded us that to fully understand God’s love for his people, we must first understand His wrath from which we were saved (i.e., God sending His son to be the propitiation for our sins).

Hallelujah! What a Savior
(Philip P. Bliss, 1875)

Man of Sorrows! what a name; For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude, In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we; Spotless Lamb of God was He;
“Full atonement!” can it be? Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die; “It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in Heav’n exalted high. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King, All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing: Hallelujah! What a Savior!
(Sovereign Grace Ministries)

More on Propitiation -

"This means the turning away of wrath by an offering. It is similar to expiation but expiation does not carry the nuances involving wrath. For the Christian the propitiation was the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. It turned away the wrath of God so that He could pass 'over the sins previously committed,' (Rom. 3:25). It was the Father who sent the Son to be the propitiation (I John 4:10) for all (I John 2:2)." (Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry)

"It is God Himself who in holy wrath needs to be propitiated, God Himself who in holy love undertook to do the propitiating, and God Himself who, in the person of His Son, died for the propitiation of our sins. Thus God took His own loving initiative to appease His own righteous anger by bearing it His own self in His own Son when He took our place and died for us. There is no crudity here to evoke our ridicule, only profundity of holy love to evoke our worship." (John Stott, The Cross of Christ, InterVarsity Press, 2006)

“The gospel tells us that our Creator has become our Redeemer. It announces that the Son of God has become man and has died on the cross to save us from eternal judgment. The basic description of the saving death of Christ in the Bible is as a propitiation, that is, as that which quenched God’s wrath against us by obliterating our sins from his sight. God’s wrath is his righteousness reacting against unrighteousness; it shows itself in retributive justice. But Jesus Christ has shielded us from the nightmare prospect of retributive justice by becoming our representative substitute, in obedience to his Father’s will, and receiving the wages of our sin in our place. . . . If you [understand this], you are now seeing to the very heart of the Christian gospel. No version of that message goes deeper than that which declares man’s root problem before God to be his sin, which evokes wrath, and God’s basic provision for man to be propitiation, which out of wrath brings peace. Some versions of the gospel, indeed, are open to blame because they never get down to this level.” (J.I. Packer, Knowing God, InterVarsity, 1993)

Resources -

Of Propitiation, Atonement, and Reconciliation, as Ascribed to Christ (John Gill, A Body of Doctrinal Divinity, Book 6, Chapter 6)

Pierced for Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution
(Steve Jeffery, et. al., Crossway, 2007)
(Free Copy of Chapter 1)

The Truth of the Cross
(R.C. Sproul, Ligonier Ministries, 2007)

The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross
(Leon Morris, Eerdmans Publ., 1955)

The Atonement
(Leon Morris, InterVarsity, 1984)

In My Place Condemned He Stood: Celebrating the Glory of the Atonement
(J.I. Packer & Mark Dever, Crossway, 2008)

Introductory Essay to John Owen’s Death of Death in the Death of Christ (J. I. Packer)
(John Owen, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, Banner of Truth, 1959)

More on the Atonement.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Biblical Confession: Great Sinner, but Greater Savior!

John Newton, English pastor and hymn writer (including Amazing Grace), said this at the age of 82, just before his death,

"My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things, that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour."

And his self-written epitaph reads in part,

"John Newton, Clerk, once an infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves in Africa, was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith he had long labored to destroy."

And the Apostle Paul. He identified himself as a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God (Romans 1:1); a prisoner of Christ Jesus (Philemon 1); and the chief of all sinners (I Timothy 1:15). In fact, note Paul's apparent progression of matured God/self-awareness from the least of the apostles (I Corinthians 15:9, written AD 55) to the very least of all the saints (Ephesians 3:8, AD 60) to the foremost of sinners (I Tim. 1:15, AD 63-64) as he grew in Christlike character. (See, Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate, NavPress 2007, Ch. 4)

What a difference, and what an antithesis to what we have (too often!) seen and heard today from our pulpits or in the "positive confessions" of popular televangelists!

For example:

"When you were born again the Word was made flesh in you. And you became flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone. Don't tell me you have Jesus. You are everything He was and everything He is and ever He shall be. . . . It [the new man] says, 'I am as He is.' That's what it says. As He is, so are we in this world. Jesus said, 'Go in my name, go in my stead.' Don't say, 'I have.' Say, 'I am, I am, I am, I am, I am.' That's why you never ever, ever, ever ought to say. 'I'm sick.' How can you be sick if you're the new creation? Say, 'I'm healed!' Don't say, 'I'm a sinner.' The new creature is no sinner. I'm the righteousness of God in Christ." (Benny Hinn, "Our Position in Christ #2--The Word Made Flesh" [Orlando, FL: Orlando Christian Center, 1991], audiotape #A031190-2, side 2)

KING: You don't call them sinners [speaking of abortion, same-sex marriage]?
OSTEEN: I don't.
KING: Is that a word you don't use?
OSTEEN: I don't use it. I never thought about it. But I probably don't. But most people already know what they're doing wrong. When I get them to church I want to tell them that you can change. There can be a difference in your life. So I don't go down the road of condemning.
(Larry King Live, Interview with Joel Osteen, CNN, June 20, 2005)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Pet Peeve Phriday: Honest!

Honestly, to tell you the truth, it drives me crazy when people preface what they say with, "to be honest with you . . . " or "to tell you the truth . . ." What? You've been lying to me the rest of the time?

Stop it! Just tell me the truth, and be honest, all the time.

What say you? Do you agree? Please, you can be honest with me (pun intended)!

And while we're at it, what are your pet peeves?

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. (
Matthew 5:37 [ESV])

The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them. (Proverbs 11:3 [ESV])