The Shattering of Jars of Clay

Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

Yet another one bites the dust. Brown’s remarks are spot on. This issue will prove the defining issue of church and culture. Christians, take a stand! Speak the truth – in love. Plead God’s mercy and grace. BUT do not tolerate ignorance like that of Haseltine. Genesis 1 & 2 alone are enough to refute his claims about sexuality and marriage.

Tetelestai – “It is finished”

Posted: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 in Repentance, Scripture, Seasonal

Tetelestai – the sixth word from Jesus on the Cross of Calvary. The tense in the Greek (perfect) is difficult in English, but it refers to an event in the past that is complete in full but has implications in the present. It was a common word in Roman times. As an accounting term it was used to mark a debt that had been paid in full. As a slave term it was used to show that a slave had fulfilled his obligations to his master and was no longer in bondage to him. As a military term it was shouted as full and final victory over the enemy was accomplished. That is what tetelestai means for us as well. “It is finished” means that our sin debt has been paid in full. “It is finished” m that we have been delivers from the bondage of sin. “It is finished” means that Satan, sin, and finally death have been conquered forever. “It is finished!”

The power of forgiveness is something that we continue to learn as we grow in Christ and as we are more conformed to his image. The truth that when we repent, when we confess our sin, then we are cleansed of all unrighteousness is marvelous grace indeed. Tetelestai (it is finished) for us means in part to be delivered from the bondage of the law and the bondage of sin – we are no longer under law or under sin – neither has any power over us or in us. GRACE!

And yet, we might often remain in bondage, not to the sin itself, but to the guilt from which we have also been set free – PAID IN FULL means redemption is complete. When we allow the guilt and/or shame to burden us, we might be in a state where we know that God forgives us but we are slow to forgive ourselves. We condemn ourselves where He has promised no condemnation. We place ourselves back into the courtroom when the verdict has already been declared. And the verdict is not based on our performance, but Christ’s. So, if we truly receive Christ and His performance, His finished work of atonement for us, then we must receive the forgiveness else we are not receiving Him and the work of Calvary is diminished. Remember today – TETELESTAI – “It is finished.” Sin is buried with Christ, the verdict is in, and we have risen in newness of life to walk with Him. Forgiveness is amazing – IT IS FINISHED!

Morris on Atonement

Posted: Friday, April 18, 2014 in Gospel, Theology

Leon Morris in his excellent book “The Atonement” states the following in the Epilogue. May it provide us who are in union with Christ encouragement and hope this Good Friday.

There are many facets to the atonement. It may be viewed from any one of a number of angles, each which brings to us an individual insight into the way of salvation. Some of them emphasize that Christ took our place. We are the sinners. We deserve the punishment. But we do not undergo it. Christ stood in our place and we are free. The New Testament witnesses to a multi-faceted salvation, one which may be regarded in many ways and which is infinitely satisfying. In whatever way our need be viewed, Christ met it fully.

The great thing about the cross is that God saves us by his grace. We do not merit salvatuon, but receive it as a free gift… The cross is the making of a new covenant, but this means that we are to live as the people of God. It is the perfect sacrifice, but we are to present our bodies as living sacrifices. If Christ died for us, we are to live for him. He has carried our sins away, as the Day of Atonement reminds us, and won for us access into the presence of God. And this means we have a great privilege. We must neither neglect it nor use it carelessly. Christ our Passover has been offered for us so that we, the church, constitute the people of God, and so that we should cleanse out every evil thing. Passover warns against complacency. The Lamb of God brings us back to the thought of the perfect sacrifice with all that that means.

Music and Meaning | 9Marks

Posted: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 in Church, Music

Excellent interview on music in the church.

Who’da Thunk It!

Posted: Monday, April 14, 2014 in Church, Culture

Current New York City mayor Bill De Blasio has received his share of scorn from those on the right, evangelical and/or otherwise. And much of it has been brought on by his often radical views.

However, we must give kudos when deserved. I was out of the loop last week at Together for the Gospel Conference in Louisville and missed this initially. Last week Mayor De Blasio said that he would work with faith-based organizations (churches!) that use public places (schools!) as places of worship. Previous to this the courts had upheld a ruling that the city had the right to ban such meeting in public places. De Blasio’s decision means that the city is permitted but not required to enforce the ban. Or… the city is permitted, though not required, to allow churches to meet in their schools.

Needless to say, this is significant given the number of churches who start in schools. De Blasio’s decision was based on common sense – if one sector of the public is granted use, then any public sector, religious or otherwise, should be granted the same use. In other words, what’s fair is fair!

Kudos, Mayor De Blasio! You can read more here.

Edwards’ Resolution #27

Posted: Monday, April 7, 2014 in Resolutions

download27. Resolved, Never willfully to omit any thing, except the omission be for the glory of God; and frequently to examine my omissions.

In other words – remove the worldly clutter. By this I mean (and I think this was Edwards’ intention as well) that we should examine if we “omit,” what we “omit,” and why we “omit” it. For example, I might feel convicted to give up a television program or a good sit down reading. The conviction could come because I need to spend more time with family or use the time in some other way to glorify God. If we aren’t careful here, our omissions could become merely moralism and/or legalism – hence the importance of “except the omission be for the glory of God.” And then, we need to frequently examine not only our omissions and their purpose, but also examine whether we are imposing these things on others and in the course of things imposing legalism on them.

I know in the course of my own life I try to make sure that on the essentials I stand firm but on non-essentials or preferences I do not make my own life the rule for everyone. I have found that when I fail in this regard it becomes easy to judge others unfairly or wrongly – and this is sin. So, our call is to faithfully omit those things that the writer of Hebrews (12:1) calls “every weight,” things that slow us down in our race, along with the sin that causes us to run the race in the wrong direction – all the while keeping in mind that what slows you down, your “weight,” may not be a “weight” or a burden to another.

This is a wonderful story of God’s grace.