Gospel

339 posts

Your Identity As a Child of Grace

To become a Christian is to be given a new nature, a new identity. You don’t lose the old identity (yet), but you do receive a down payment on who you will be. Therefore, while it is vital to accept your identity as a sinner, it is not sufficient. You must also live out of a sure grasp of your identity as a child of God’s freely given and personally transforming grace. These two identities must be held in a healthy tension and balance. It is only the person who is deeply aware of his sin who gets excited about grace, and it is only grace that can give you the courage to humbly face the enormity of your sin. […]

Know Who You Are

If you are going to live the productive life that God’s grace can enable you to live, you need to stay very clear about who you are. We all tend to be quite adept at ignoring our own sin while being highly sensitized to the sin of others. It is hard for us to receive the loving criticism, confrontation, and rebuke of others because we tend to think of ourselves as more sanctified than we actually are. As the Bible invites us to look intently into it, as into a mirror, it invites a humbling and accurate self-assessment. The biblical doctrine of sin confronts each of us with the reality that we are not as good as we imagine we […]

Harsh Words, Harsh Reality

Great wickedness . . . only evil . . . no one who understands . . . worthless . . . open graves . . . deceit . . . poison . . . cursing and bitterness . . . swift to shed blood . . . ruin and misery . . . no fear of God . . . subjected to frustration . . . bondage to decay . . .  groaning . . . struggle . . . this dark world . . . evil. (Genesis 6:5; Romans 3:10-18; Ephesians 6:12) Perhaps you are so familiar with these verses that it is difficult to see their unflinching realism. But each of these passages is honest about what you […]

We Need Better Men

We need better men. No, we don’t need perfect men, but we do need better men. Even though Christ is the only perfect man and the sole head of the church, the body of Christ needs men of integrity and grit. Although this book is written with love and goodwill, it is a direct call to war. It is a call for Christian men to make war against the things that belittle the glory of God, wound their wives and children, and disqualify them from fruitful ministry. At the outset, I want to lay down a gauntlet by urging you to examine yourself. Has the gospel of Jesus Christ come to you in power? By God’s grace, have you come […]

The Painful Path of a Prodigal: Embracing Forgiveness

Parents of a prodigal wrestle with questions of how their own failures contributed to their child’s choice of a wayward path. It is natural to reflect on your parenting and identify things left undone, things you wish you did not do, or things you could have done better. Those who have a prodigal are especially prone to blame themselves, which inevitably harms other relationships in life. As a parent of a prodigal, how does one deal with these struggles? Acknowledge Your Imperfections No parent has always been exemplary in their actions towards their children. There were days when our words to them were wrong, perhaps even destructive. We missed teachable moments because we were preoccupied with lesser things. Does this […]

Loving Messy People: The Goal and the Gospel

Almost every system to deal with people’s messes caters to self-defined goals. Whether you want to be happier, calmer, more productive, more disciplined, or less stressed, there are countless self-help resources and professionals with the express purpose of helping you change in the exact ways you desire. We define our own messes, and so we also define our own goals of change. However, if we are going to follow God’s call to speak the truth in love to one another, we must first clarify what the goal of that love-filled truth is. More specifically, we must make sure that our goal is in line with God’s goal. Thankfully, God has communicated his goal for our ministry clearly and repeatedly in […]

Joy to the World: A Biblical Worldview, Part 4

He Rules With Truth and Grace (Part 4 of 4)   Verse four of “Joy to the World” completes the biblical worldview contained in this Christmas hymn. This last verse is a dynamic testimony to the power of the gospel. The King: who was anticipated in the first verse,  celebrated for his rule in the second verse,  and viewed as the Savior of this sin-cursed world in third,  now is praised for bringing a just judgment to the world. Life often appears to be unfair and unjust. Will evil people prevail? Will the hard things in your life ever be resolved?  Corruption and perversion are everywhere. The Holy Spirit says there is no need to despair at the apparent inequities […]

The Story of the Manger to the Cross

Christ’s birth was that of a peasant and his death was that of a criminal. He was born in the company of animals in a stable. He died in the company of thieves on a cross stained with his blood. The political leaders of his country tried to murder him as a baby. But it was the supposed Bible-believing religious leaders who finally succeeded where Herod had failed. His friends fled from him at his trial. His family fled to Egypt when he was a toddler. This is not exactly the story one would expect for the greatest life ever lived. If someone were to come to your church to speak and his bio read like Christ’s, you would be […]

Are You Santa’s Helper?

Your children know everything about you. They see when you are sleeping, they know when you have been good or bad, they know when you pout and when you shout. Your kids know all of this without you ever having to say a word. When you stumble and ask God for help — they learn. When you stumble and snap or make excuses — they learn from that, too. If you value your relationship with God above all else, your children will know that as well. What does this have to do with being Santa’s helper? Just this: in Psalm 72:18 we read that “God alone does marvelous things.” However, at Christmas time, for little children someone else is portrayed […]

Christmas for All

On a quiet night, the sky erupted with the praise of heaven to shepherds in a pasture with their sheep. In an age of global communication and media fanfare, it seems unsettling that the most important announcement ever made to humans was given to just a few shepherds. They had no political connections. They were not celebrities with social media connections. I don’t believe they even had a youtube channel. Yet the angels gave them the wondrous message of Christmas that was meant for all people.  Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he favors! However, this message was broadcast in ways quite different from the internet and social media channels. It was proclaimed […]