Fear God so that you fear no man

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“The spill is a disaster for the president and his political philosophy”, Peggy Noonan argues in The Wall Street Journal. Her overall thesis:

When your most creative thoughts in the middle of a disaster revolve around protecting your position, you are summoning trouble. When you try to dodge ownership of a problem, when you try to hide from responsibility, life will give you ownership and responsibility the hard way.

Dave Doran points out that  this is something for all leaders to think about in whatever context we’re in. Whether the article by Peggy Noonan is true or not about the President, one thing is true of all of us and especially those who have the power of influence spiritually: The fear of man is a snare, but fearing the awesomeness of God is freedom.

The implications of accountability to One greater than you

 

See also Collision, a debate between Doug Wilson and Christopher Hitchens over the question, “Is Christianity good for the world?” It was far from dry and certainly entertaining and stimulating at the least to see the repercussions of one’s worldviews. 

Sometimes Spurgeon’s dogmaticism is just plain funny…

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Spurgeon:

I would not . . . judge men by their features, but their general physique is no small criterion. That narrow chest does not indicate a man formed for public speech. You may think it odd, but still I feel very well assured, that when a man has a contracted chest, with no distance between his shoulders, the all-wise Creator did not intend him habitually to preach. If he had meant him to speak he would have given him in some measure breadth of chest, sufficient to yield a reasonable amount of lung force. When the Lord means a creature to run, he gives it nimble legs, and if he means another creature to preach, he will give it suitable lungs. A brother who has to pause in the middle of a sentence and work his air-pump, should ask himself whether there is not some other occupation for which he is better adapted.

HT: Paleoevangelical

Pure Gold

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This post by Tullian Tchividjian is rich Gospel gold and reminds us that Christ has given us everything we need pertaining to life and godliness:

This morning, as I was re-reading a portion of her book Because He Loves Me: How Christ Transforms Our Daily Life, I was recaptured by a truth that I preached recently. In my sermon on Colossians 1:9-14, I said:

It’s important to note that in these verses Paul doesn’t pray for something the Colossian Christians don’t have. Rather, he prays they will grow in their awareness and understanding of what they do have. Christian growth doesn’t happen by working hard to get something you don’t have. Christian growth happens by working hard to live in the reality of what you do have.

I used to think that when the Bible tells us to work out our salvation, it meant go out and get what you don’t have—get more patience, get more strength, get more joy, get more love, and so on. But after reading the Bible more carefully I now understand that real gospel fruit happens, not as we “work harder” but only as we continually rediscover the gospel. You could put it this way: rediscovering the gospel is the hard work we’re called to.

You see, the secret of the gospel is that we become more spiritually mature when we focus less on what we need to do for God and focus more on all that God has already done for us. The irony of the gospel is that we actually perform better as we grow in our understanding that our relationship with God is based on Christ’s performance for us, not our performance for him.

With this same idea in mind, Elyse writes:

One reason we don’t grow in ordinary, grateful obedience as we should is that we’ve got amnesia; we’ve forgotten that we are cleansed from our sins. In other words, ongoing failure in sanctification (the slow process of change into Christlikeness) is the direct result of failing to remember God’s love for us in the gospel. If we lack the comfort and assurance that his love and cleansing are meant to supply, our failures will handcuff us to yesterday’s sins, and we won’t have faith or courage to fight against them, or the love for God that’s meant to empower this war. If we fail to remember our justification, redemption, and reconciliation, we’ll struggle in our sanctification.

I guess you could say that Christian growth does not happen first by behaving better, but believing better–believing in bigger, deeper, brighter ways what Christ has already secured for sinners. (full article here)

Again and again we see in the New Testament that sanctification is obtained by reaccessing what we’ve already been given from what has already been accomplished by the work of Christ.

Destroy and Restore

“The Bible is the story of God’s counteroffensive against sin. It is the grand narrative of how God made it right, how he is making it right, and how he will one day make it right finally and forever.”

– Greg Gilbert, What is the Gospel?

Certainty of unseen reality

Sanctification is a constant reaccessing the Gospel of grace (the finished work of Christ) and applying it and reapplying it. The Gospel is not the ABC’s of the Christian life, but the A-Z’s of it as Tim Keller says and Tullian Tchividjian nails it here:

I’m currently preaching a series of sermons from the book of Colossians entitled Jesus+Nothing=Everything. It’s really a series on how the gospel sanctifies Christians. Over and over again I’m making the point that I used to think Christian growth happened as we go out and get what we don’t have–if we’re going to grow we have to go out and get more patience, get more strength, get more joy, etc. But after reading the Bible more carefully I’ve learned that Christian growth does not happen by working hard to get something you don’t have; Christian growth happens by working hard to live in the reality of what you do have.

You could say that Christian growth does not happen first by behaving better, but believing better–believing in bigger, deeper, brighter ways what Christ has already secured for sinners. In other words, the hard work of sanctification that Paul talks about in Philippians 2:12 is a continuous, daily going back to the reality of your justification.

Mr. and Mrs. Perfect?

imageWake up, Princess!

Wake up, Prince  Charming!

He is tall, dark and handsome. He drives a nice car, possesses advanced degrees from leading institutions of higher education, fetches a six-figure salary. And, he boasts bloodlines that, from a purely human perspective, are impeccable. Likewise, she is from a prominent family, graduated as valedictorian at college, has a smile and overall bearing reminiscent of Lady Diane and has a winsome personality to match. They meet, they marry, they honeymoon in a tropical paradise and then they go home, both expecting to have a dream life together in their new house with its spacious lawn, its picket fence, its existence in an upper-middle class neighborhood and its conspicuous existence under perpetual blue skies.

But, Paul David Tripp argues that this new couple, Mr. and Mrs. perfect, have just entered into what might best be called round one of holy headlock. Inevitably, they will go to their separate corners. And they will come out swinging. The giddiness will fade. And the gloves will come off. Why? How did paradise so quickly evaporate like a desert mirage? In his new book, What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage (Crossway), Tripp tells us, and he puts a biblical finger on perhaps the single greatest factor that has troubled marriages for generations in the modern-day West …

I purchased Tripp’s book recently and look forward to gleaning from it.

Read the rest.