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Archive for the ‘the gospel’ Category

We have heard the joyful sound:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Spread the tidings all around:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Bear the news to every land,
Climb the mountains, cross the waves;
Onward! ’tis our Lord’s command;
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

Sing above the battle strife:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
By His death and endless life
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Shout it brightly through the gloom,
When the heart for mercy craves;
Sing in triumph o’er the tomb:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

Give the winds a mighty voice:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Let the nations now rejoice:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Shout salvation full and free;
Highest hills and deepest caves;
This our song of victory:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!–Priscilla Owens

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AMEN!

“I have not personally a shadow of a hope of salvation from any other quarter: I am lost if Jesus be not my Substitute. I have been driven up into a corner by a pressing sense of my own personal sin, and have been made to despair of ever doing or being such that God can accept me in myself. I must have a righteousness, perfect and Divine; yet it is beyond my own power to create. I find it in Christ: I read that it will become mine by faith, and by faith I take it. My conscience tells me that I must render to God’s justice a recompense for the dishonor that I have done to His law, and I cannot find anything which bears the semblance of such a recompense till I look to Christ Jesus. Do I not remember when I first looked to Him, and was lightened? Do I not remember how often I have gone as a sinner to my Savior’s feet, and looked anew at His wounds, and believed over again unto eternal life, feeling the old joy repeated by the deed? Brethren, I cannot preach anything else, for I know nothing else. “

Charles Spurgeon, An All Round Ministry, p. 237

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Pastor Steve Lawson explains the gospel clearly here:

The transcript is here. 

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Rule-igion

Great post by Joshua Harris:

What is “rule-igion”?

We know the word “religion” is belief in and worship of God. “Rule-igion” is the idea that a right relationship with God is earned through rule-keeping. “Rule-igion” says that we have to climb our way up to God. In other words, it’s through our performance and obedience and good deeds that we earn God’s love and favor and blessing. We follow the rules, we live a good life and that puts God in our debt.

Rule-igion is the basis of almost every false religion in the world today. Sadly, it infects a lot of Christian churches.

But rule-igion is completely at odds with the good news of Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that salvation is a free gift. We are not saved by our works we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus.

This good news–what we call the gospel– is the opposite of rule-igion.

The gospel tells us that we can’t climb up to God, but God in love has come down to save us. Jesus has fulfilled the law for us. Jesus has paid for our sins through his death on the cross. Jesus has been raised from dead so that we can have eternal life. True salvation and right standing before God is something only Jesus can win for us–it is not a result of our works so that no person can boast.

And this is such awesome news that you have to wonder why. . .  Keep reading here

Listen to the full sermon titled “Rule-igion” from Matthew 12:1-14 here.

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Mike Wittmer in his post entitled “Salvation”:

Shin Dong-hyuk was born into a North Korean prison camp, where he lived until he was twenty-three. Shin never thought to escape, for he didn’t imagine that life was any different on the other side of the electrified fence. Then he met a new prisoner who had lived in Pyongyang and traveled to China. Park told Shin about the outside world, especially that people enjoyed pork and boiled chicken rather than the rats and insects Shin ate to survive. So one evening Shin and Park dropped the firewood they were collecting and ran toward the fence. Park arrived first, and was immediately electrocuted when he squeezed between the first and second wires. Shin crawled across his lifeless friend and scrambled to freedom. Today Shin lives in Seoul, where he calls attention to the barbaric conditions in the camps. . . .

True joy must come from the outside. A stranger must break into our world to tell us what we’re missing and then lay down his life so we can have it. Shin’s remarkable escape is too fantastic to believe, except that it’s happened before. It happened to me. Has it happened to you?

Read it all here.

 

 

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We are exploring the depths of  the doctrine of salvation on Wednesday evenings at Garden Heights Baptist Church in our theology class.  We have been learning more about election, justification, sanctification, calling and adoption.  So I found this quote by J. I. Packer appropriate as he explains how adoption is even better than justification!

Paul teaches that the gift of justification (i.e., present acceptance by God as the world’s Judge) brings with it the status of sonship by adoption (i.e., permanent intimacy with God as one’s heavenly Father, Gal. 3:264:4-7). In Paul’s world, adoption was ordinarily of young adult males of good character to become heirs and maintain the family name of the childless rich. Paul, however, proclaims God’s gracious adoption of persons of bad character to become “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17).

Justification is the basic blessing, on which adoption is founded; adoption is the crowning blessing, to which justification clears the way. Adopted status belongs to all who receive Christ (John 1:12). The adopted status of believers means that in and through Christ God loves them as he loves his only-begotten Son and will share with them all the glory that is Christ’s now (Rom. 8:1738-39). Here and now, believers are under God’s fatherly care and discipline (Matt. 6:26Heb. 12:5-11) and are directed, especially by Jesus, to live their whole lives in light of the knowledge that God is their Father in heaven. They are to pray to him as such (Matt. 6:5-13), imitate him as such (Matt. 5:44-486:1214-1518:21-35Eph. 4:32-5:2), and trust him as such (Matt. 6:25-34), thus expressing the filial instinct that the Holy Spirit has implanted in them (Rom. 8:15-17Gal. 4:6).

Adoption and regeneration accompany each other as two aspects of the salvation that Christ brings (John 1:12-13), but they are to be distinguished. Adoption is the bestowal of a relationship, while regeneration is the transformation of our moral nature. Yet the link is evident; God wants his children, whom he loves, to bear his character, and takes action accordingly.

—J. I. Packer, Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993), 167-168.

HT: JT

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Ron Brown, running back coach for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, shares the gospel using this football analogy.

[vimeo 45212284]

HT: Chris Brauns

 

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There’s good news.

And then there is the best news.

This is the best news about the good news (from Romans 6).

  • How shall we who died to sin still live in it? (v. 2)
  • Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. (v. 4)
  • For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; (vv. 5-6)
  • for he who has died is freed from sin. (v. 7)
  • Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (v. 11)
  • Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. (vv. 12-13)
  • For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (v. 14)
  • But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. (vv. 17-18)
  • But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. (v. 22)

Terry Enns at Words of Grace

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I think this will be my last post on the Olympics (until the 2014 Winter Games).  But Theologically Driven shared a lesson from the Olympics I think worth passing on. It has to do with those gymnasts who have to stick the landing or they suffer a deduction in their score.

Matt Owen shares two lessons briefly from the perfection demanded at the Olympics:

1.  Success Does Not Depend on Our Performance

We can be glad that our performance is not the criterion by which we will be judged. Though the Olympic quest is the pursuit of perfection, that pursuit, in most cases, is never fully realized. For the gymnast, even the slightest variation from the routine—an arm extended to regain balance or an improperly pointed toe—results in a deduction. Success or failure is judged based on that single performance, and even the most brilliant of routines can be undone by the slightest hop on the dismount. When it comes to our moral performance, our standing before God, the hard truth is that none of us can stick the landing. Many people, including Christians, live their lives trying to earn, through the strength of their performance, the favor of the only Judge who really matters. Yet, mercifully, this Judge will not render a verdict based on our performance; after all, he employs a standard that demands a flawless performance, every time, for a lifetime. The holy standard to which we are held does not take into account our moral performance as it relates to the difficulty of our circumstances or our rank in the field. The standard is the holy Judge himself and with that standard we all miss the mark (Rom 3:23). There is good news in all this, however: Jesus hit the mark; he stuck the landing for you. You can take heart because your reward from this Judge is not based on your performance, but on the perfect righteous character of Jesus who grants that perfect record to all who receive it in faith.

2.  Jesus’ Success Encourages Our Performance

Not only does Jesus impute his perfect score of righteousness to us, but his success is the very thing that presently fuels our performance. Imagine the difference in approach if an Olympic gymnast took the floor, knowing that she had already been awarded a perfect score. No longer would she fear the deductions of the judges, the expectations of the crowd, or the presence of her own shortcomings. She could perform with confidence, knowing that the outcome had already been determined. While it would be ludicrous for the Olympic judges to render a score prior to the athlete’s performance, this is precisely the promise of the gospel. Only in this message of good news does the Judge render a verdict prior to the performance. How different a situation it is when we perform, not to earn the favor of the Judge but in the freedom of knowing we already have that perfect score. Knowing this frees us from the debilitating fear of failure. No longer do we labor under the harsh view of a Judge deducting point after point for every misstep. With the perfect score already given, we are freed to do with confidence the “good works which God has prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph 2:10). We can yield “every part of [ourselves] to him as an instrument of righteousness” (Eph 2:13) because we have already received “God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness” (Rom 5:17).

Olympic success or failure is often measured on the strength of a single performance. So it is for us, but that performance is not our own; it belongs to the one who lived the life we should have lived. How disheartening it must be for some of these competitors who ultimately fail at their only opportunity for Olympic success. You and I will never stick the landing, but due to Jesus’ success, we can run the race set before us and, in time, become like the One who has already run ahead (Heb 12:1–2).

Read more at “Could You Stick that Landing?”

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