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Originally posted on Literate Comments:
Posted June 17, 2014 at 6:43 pm | Permalink
By all means teach the Law. Christians need to know right from wrong. Hopefully when they hear the law they realize that they fail to keep it and look to Christ for help.
The problem comes when Christians who major on the Law inevitably try to come up with some new and improved system to try to keep it. This is where we get Doug Phillips, Patriarchy, Vision Forum, The Federal Vision, The Stay at Home Daughters Movement, Courting Not Dating, Radical Homeschooling, Bill Gothard, The Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts, and on-and-on.
Just let the Law stand on its own without trying to invent a method, organization, or career to assist people with their lawkeeping. What inevitably happens is that, in so doing, another aspect of lawbreaking that maybe you have not considered rises up and bites…
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Originally posted on For the Elect Alone:
The Holy Spirit does not impute Christ’s righteousness, so we cannot refer only to the Holy Spirit in the “application” of the accomplished atonement. Even though there is no justification apart from regeneration and faith, the righteousness of Christ has priority over the work of the Spirit, and legal imputation is not the work of the Spirit.
Romans 4: What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him unto righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is imputed…
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Helpful thoughts on Two Kingdoms Theology and the Third Use of the Law
Originally posted on Literate Comments:
Jason – Do you believe in the third use of the law?
Erik – I do, but I think of the law in the same way the Heidelberg does. Guilt-Grace-Gratitude. The law falls in the third (Gratitude) section.
I see far too many in Reformed circles taking the “Grace” section for granted and putting their focus on the “Gratitude” section. As in, “Yeah, of course we accept the gospel, but all the important action revolves around our piety, politics, how we are to reshape society, and what the magistrate should be doing to bring society in line.” I just don’t buy it. The emphasis is all wrong.
We used to have a couple in our URC church. The wife grew up in the CRC. Her dad was still in the CRC and was a retired faculty member from a Christian college (I think maybe he taught sociology). He was…
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Some of the most helpful resources on Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer are available here -
Originally posted on Church Is Messy (and that's a good thing):
I have been preaching for 20 years. Yesterday I did something that I have never done before in a sermon. I publicly called out false teachers and named them by name. I said,
If you listen to Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer, if you take what they teach seriously, it will not be good for you. It will be detrimental to your long-term growth as a follower of Jesus.
I used to think that their error was so blatantly obvious that they could just be ignored. I was wrong. They are massively growing in popularity in the evangelical world and are seen as credible and helpful. Before I’m inundated with questioning emails I want to share why I distrust these two and think you should as well. So, don’t shoot met–at least not yet.
This post will be long, very long. And…
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Originally posted on A Daughter of the Reformation:
Years ago, when our daughter Bethanne was born, I realized that when faced with difficult circumstances people often say stupid things. I know that most of the time the stupid comments come from good intentions. People mean to be kind, generally. They simply just don’t know what to say. Here’s a small sampling of things I’ve heard people say:
- It’s for the best.
- God needed another angel.
- You’re young. You can have another one.
- At least you know you can get pregnant.
- They’re in a better place.
- At least you have other children.
- It happened for a reason.
- I’m sure you’ll get pregnant again soon.
- It’s better than having a child born with problems.
My “favorite” one from when Bethanne was born was the mom who told me she understood what I was going through because her son had been born autistic. Apparently, having a child born with a…
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Originally posted on Sola Dei Gloria:
Late last night I read this article at the Christian Post and honestly felt sick by the time I finished it: Joyce Meyer Opens Up about Brother’s Tragic Death
If time permits read it all for yourself; afterward go to Internet Monk and read Chaplain Mike’s opinion: The Bad News of Self-Righteousness
What Joyce Meyer revealed at the C3 Conference frankly reveals more to me about her then it does her deceased brother.
Meyer said she learned about her brother’s death after Los Angeles authorities called her in December, about a week after Christmas, to inform her that they found him dead in an abandoned building in the city. He had been dead 30 days and his body was so badly decomposed that authorities needed his dental records to identify him…
A few days ago, she received his cremated ashes and a few personal effects that included a pocket knife…
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Originally posted on Gospel-Driven Blog:
In reply to my recent post on Beza’s distinction between law and gospel, Richard wrote (see comment section under Theodore Beza on the Law and Gospel, Part 2),
- “You know–I was just told by my (PCA) pastor that this distinction is a “Lutheran” thing (and that, by the way, is a way to write off the guys at Westminster West). This is what he was taught at RTS in Jackson. Do you sense a hostility to the Law/Gospel distinction in Reformed circles?”
Without question, a law/gospel distinction is very prominent in Lutheran theology. But, it is simply wrong to suggest that a law/gospel distinction is uniquely Lutheran. This common but misguided notion is one reason (to be sure not the only reason) why I posted Beza’s teaching on the law and gospel. And it is without question that the law/gospel distinction has come upon hard times within Reformed circles…
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Originally posted on Baker Book House Church Connection:
Michael Horton’s forthcoming book, Ordinary, looks to be fascinating and I think a healthy balance to the glut of books calling for some kind of radical life change. The catalog description is perfect:
“Radical. Crazy. Transformative and restless. Every word we read these days seems to suggest there’s a ‘next-best-thing,’ if only we would change our comfortable, compromising lives. In fact, the greatest fear most Christians have is boredom–the sense that they are missing out on the radical life Jesus promised. One thing is certain. No one wants to be ‘ordinary.'”
“Yet pastor and author Michael Horton believes that our attempts to measure our spiritual growth by our experiences, constantly seeking after the next big breakthrough, have left many Christians disillusioned and disappointed. There’s nothing wrong with an energetic faith; the danger is that we can burn ourselves out on restless anxieties and unrealistic expectations. What’s needed is not another…
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Michael Horton explains that when teaching the biblical doctrine of eternal security for the Christian, The Perseverance (or Preservation) of the Saints is a more accurate term than “once saved, always saved”:
Some who believe that Christians are eternally secure give their doctrine the slogan “once saved, always saved,” but that slogan is very misleading. The slogan suggests that once persons make a decision for Christ, they can then go off and do their own thing, fully confident that no matter what they do or how they live, they are “safe and secure from all alarm.” That simply is not biblical.
The new birth, to be sure, is an event. In other words, at some point in your life, the Holy Spirit moves and creates new life in your soul. But salvation is more than that. Justification, too, is a one-time declaration, but salvation also involves a process of, over time, becoming righteous, which is called sanctification.
Sanctification is the Christian life, the daily pursuit of God and the transformation of the heart, mind, and will. Our priorities and our view of life are drastically altered, revolutionized, and reversed. We did not cooperate in our justification. But we must cooperate with God in our sanctification.
Some Christians have the idea that they must sit back and let the Spirit do everything. But…the process toward maturity in Christ is not based on a passive view of life. Another way of saying sanctification is “taking the bull by the horns.” We do not wait for the Holy Spirit to perform some supernatural number on our lives: he already has done this for us! We actively pursue holiness and Christ-centeredness in our lives, recognizing that the same One who commands us to work, persevere, and obey gives us the supernatural ability to do so. Just do it! You do the work; but recognize that, if the work is done, God has done it in and through you.
So then, when we speak of “once saved, always saved,” we are not taking into account the full scope of salvation. We have been saved (justified), we are being saved (sanctified), and we will one day be saved (glorified). You cannot claim to have been “saved” (justified) unless you are being sanctified. Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord.
Jesus made it plain throughout his ministry that one could not become his disciple (and, therefore, could not receive eternal life) unless that person was willing to “take up his cross daily” and follow Jesus. The New Testament emphasizes denying yourself, dying to sin, and deferring to others.
These terms identify a concept that is not in vogue today. When even many church leaders are telling people to “believe in yourself” and are preaching a gospel that is more concerned with fulfilling our desires than God’s, we have difficulty falling unreservedly into the arms of the Savior in whom we find our only confidence. But of course, we cannot ever tailor-make the gospel to fit our self-serving expectations.
Romans 8:30 makes clear the chain of salvation, a chain whose links cannot be broken: “And those he predestined, those he also called; those he called, he also justified; he justified, he also glorified.” Can one be predestined, called, justified, and lost? This verse teaches us that when God starts something, God finishes it. Did you grant yourself salvation? Did you gain it yourself in the first instance? No, salvation was a gift. Remember, God justifies and condemns: “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? (Rom: 8:33-34). God never plants trees that do not bear fruit: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last” (John 15:16). And the conclusion we can draw from James is, if you don’t have the fruit, check the root!
Since God initially gives us the grace to believe in him and to turn from self, why would he not give us the grace to keep on trusting in him? One simply cannot believe in the possibility of losing salvation through moral failure and in salvation by grace at the same time.
We have the responsibility to “go onto maturity” (Heb. 6:1). So we are responsible to persevere, but not for our perseverance. We are responsible to be saved, but not for our salvation.
To lose our salvation, we would have to return to a condition of spiritual death. Of what sort of regeneration would the Holy Spirit be the author if those whom he has resurrected and given eternal life are capable of dying spiritually again? “Well, can’t you commit spiritual suicide?” one might ask. Not if we take seriously the claim of 1 Peter 1:23: “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable.”
Michael Horton, Putting Amazing Back into Grace (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003), pp 170-174.