Desiring God has posted audio and video of John Piper teaching the doctrines of grace at the Bethlehem Institute. “In this seminar he goes through all five points—Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the saints. He identifies them from the Scriptures, considering the arguments against them, and explaining why this package called “Calvinism”—though controversial—is wonderfully good news,” announces Tyler Kenney.
Archive for May 3rd, 2008
Here’s some advice from Charles Drew for those struggling to find their lifework:
People in their twenties and thirties frequently ask me for advice on what to do with their lives. They may have no solid career plans, they may be struggling with whether to change from one career to another, or they may be struggling over their motives. Beneath the surface they are often afraid– afraid that time is running out, afraid that they will miss out on a fulfilling life, afraid that they will never discover who they are, afraid that God will punish them for their mixed motives.
I try to be practical—to talk about what they love to do, about what opportunities now exist, about training and educational opportunities. But I also try to get them to relax about the big picture and decide on whatever at the moment makes the most sense. I remind them that God never runs out of time and is far more patient than we are at unpacking who we are. I remind them that they are free to choose a career path that doesn’t look like a perfect fit, because whatever they lose out on in this life will be more than made up for in the next. I remind them that it is important to be aware of their mixed motives, but not to be paralyzed by them. Our motives will never be completely pure, and Jesus died to cover that problem so that we could get on with our lives. I remind them as well that they do not have to be afraid of failure—not because failure will never happen, but because God folds failure into his good agenda for us. This fact remains true, I remind them, even when failure arises not simply from their circumstances or limits, but also from their selfishness and idolatry. They must choose thoughtfully and with humility. But they can, and should, choose.
Ed Welch in Running Scared provides this great illustration of worrying about something before we actually have to face it. He writes,
Let’s say that you are taking a class, and the first thing the instructor does is hand out a test. As you scan it, you know nothing. Little signs and symbols, words you have never seen–your anxiety level rises with each question. You have failed the class before it has even begun!
Then the teacher interrupts, “Did I tell you that this will be your final exam? You don’t have to take this now, and you don’t know any of this now, trust me. By the time the class is over you will actually know this. You’ll be amazed at how well prepared you will be.”
Everyone breathes a sigh of relief. Nothing has really changed. There will be a final exam at the end of the course, and you would fail it if you took it now, but you have no worries. When the time comes to take the test, you will have received the “grace” that you need to do well.
Are you worried about the future? You are looking at tomorrow as if it was the final exam, and you haven’t yet taken the class. Of course, you panic at the thought. But you haven’t considered that you will go through the class before you have to take the final. You will be given all the grace you need when you need it.
The heir of heaven serves his Lord simply out of gratitude; he has no salvation to gain, no heaven to lose;…now, out of love to the God who chose him, and who gave so great a price for his redemption, he desires to lay out himself entirely to his Master’s service. O you who are seeking salvation by the works of the law, what a miserable life yours must be!…you have that if you diligently persevere in obedience, you may perhaps obtain eternal life, though , alas! none of you dare to pretend that you have attained it. You toil and toil and toil, but you never get that which you toil after, and you never will, for, “by the works of the law there shall no flesh living be justified.” …The child of God works not for life, but from life; he does not work to be saved, he works because he is saved.