Tuesday, October 28, 2014

One of the "Sacraments" of Marriage



Several years ago my family and I had the joy of hosting R.C. Sproul, Jr. and his wife, Denise, for lunch one Lord's Day after worship.  They were a lovely couple, filled with the festive humor and the child-like wonder and the cheerful wisdom of lives well lived, under the Lordship of Christ.

I remember being impressed with their simple, humble faith.  I don't know what I was expecting exactly, but (foolishly, I'm sure) I must have been expecting something else.

In December of 2011 Denise left this world for the better country God has promised his people.

Since that time R.C. Sproul, Jr. has written beautifully about marriage and love, gain and loss, grief and hope.

Below is a link to a brief piece that every man ought to read.

Husbands, Hold Your Wife's Hand



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Science...



One of the great things about the Christian faith is how it so heartily commands and encourages the pursuit of science.  "Study every single inch of this big, beautiful world... search out its full potential... figure out how it all works and all the cool things you can do with it... enjoy its glory and image your Creator by being creative yourself, with the stuff of creation... take dominion."

In fact, the doctrine of creation and the orderly universe that comes with it is the very basis for the investigations of science.

Adam was doing the work of science way back in Genesis 2, when he classified the animals by this name or that. Science is one way of getting to know the mind of the Maker, more fully exploring and appreciating all that he has spoken into existence.

"God, who founded everything in the world according to the norm of quantity, also has endowed man with a mind which can comprehend these norms.... God wanted us to recognize them by creating us after his image so that we could share in his own thoughts."
~Johannes Kepler, amazing scientist of the 16th & 17th centuries, best known for articulating the laws of planetary motion

However... the image-bearers who should have been seeking more of God's eternal, inexhaustible mind fell into the ruins of sin.  And now, our "science" often develops along unbelievably destructive paths.  Rather than using science to serve humanity and bring glory to God, we use it to dehumanize humanity and usurp the authority of God.  We create efficient methods for euthanasia... we harvest human embryos for medical research... we remove the contents of their skulls as inconvenient babies are being delivered into this world.

But through the grace of Christ our Savior, we can once again pursue science with wisdom, with love for God, and love for neighbor... with holiness.

And one day, in the resurrection, when the heavens and the earth have been made new, can you imagine what discoveries of science await the people of God?  Shazam.

Below there is a link to an interesting article highlighting the wrong-headedness of how our culture often understands (or mis-understands) science.  I don't believe the author is writing from a Christ-centric point of view, but he has lots of good & insightful things to say.  "How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything"...

Click HERE.



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Power of God for... everything.



In Romans 1, the Apostle Paul writes: "I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes."

That's what the gospel is, in our experience: the power of God for salvation.

But as you begin to consciously live in such a way that you're seeking to bring all of your conduct in all areas of your life "in step with the truth of the gospel" (Galatians 2.14), you begin to realize more & more that the gospel is not merely the power of God for salvation.

The gospel is also the power of God for... marriage... for parenting... for being the church well... for leadership... for following... for serving... for being a friend... for participating in the world of sports well & wisely... for pursuing your vocation well... for loving your neighbor... for worship... for healthy intimacy of any sort... for repenting... for forgiving... for living well... for dying well... for godly sexuality... for joy in the midst of trial... for lamenting our griefs with holiness... for humility... for honesty in communication... for gratitude... for understanding the news... for dealing with enemies well... for processing life decisions... for praying... for stewarding money wisely... for godly leisure... for eating and drinking... for treating people—all people, even those very different from you—with dignity... for growing in wisdom and knowledge... for honoring your family... for obeying God... for understanding history... for honorably & rightly pursuing any & every human activity under the sun!

It's the gospel's unique ability to renew us every morning (even every moment!) that enables us to set our heart, mind, and hands to the task before us (whatever it may be) with true knowledge of who we are & true knowledge of who God is.  

If the gospel isn't continually revitalizing you, you will inevitably—as an unruly child of Adam—begin to corrupt and defile whatever it is you're doing.

And when that happens, you need the power of God to make things right.

"Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures."  
1 Corinthians 15 



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Two Sides Of The Same Coin



Have you ever noticed that sometimes in the gospels Jesus commands people to repent...
"repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand... bear fruit in keeping with repentance... the men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here... I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance...unless you repent, you will all likewise perish... there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents"... etc... 

...and then at other times, he commands them to believe...
"do not fear, only believe... all things are possible for one who believes... o foolish ones and slow of heart to believe... whoever believes in the son has eternal life... woman, believe me... truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life... How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?... if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.  But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?... This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent... whoever believes in me shall never thirst... you have seen me and yet do not believe... For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life... Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life... Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’...unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins....etc... especially etc. in John!... 

Well, which is it?... Of course, it's both.  Repent & believe, in the gospel, are functional synonyms.  They are two sides of the same coin—the coin of conversion.

Repentance-filled faith & faith-filled repentance.

And you see this throughout the Bible, actually.  Sometimes people ask Peter how they can be saved & he tells them to repent.  On another occasion a man asks Paul how he can be saved & he tells the man to believe.

It seems that these two ideas in the gospel cannot be fully distinguished from one other.  They must always exist together.  To turn away from self & sin is to turn to Christ.  And to turn to Christ is to turn away from self & sin.

This also helps explain why the Bible indicates that if one hasn't turned away from sin at all—in the sense of living in continual, ongoing, careless, habitual defiance of God—then one has not yet truly believed.
"Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.'"
~Mark 1