Calvinist Crowd Campaign

UPDATE

Les Lanphere, a fellow brother in Christ I know through the Facebook group the Reformed Pub, is seeking crowd funding support on Kickstarter to produce a professional documentary on Calvinism. So far the support pledged toward his 35k goal has been incredible as he has already surpassed his goal with 20+ days left in his campaign. He is now seeking to hit “stretch” goals which will further enhance the reach and quality of this film. It’s been an exciting ride in the pub as we’ve all watched this campaign soar; this project is going to happen!


Anyone who enjoys the reformed teaching available from the likes of Michael  Horton, Voddie Baucham, or James R. White will be pleased to know these men among others have agreed to participate in this documentary. The list of notable participating reformed elders, teachers and Doctors is growing as the campaign continues to gain steam. The current list of notable guests that will be a part of the film are as follows:

  • Kevin Deyoung
  • Ligon Duncan
  • Michael Horton
  • Tim Challies
  • Carl Trueman
  • Voddie Baucham
  • James R. White
  • R. Scott Clark
  • Joe Thorn

As you can see, this documentary will be an awesome opportunity to ask key questions of those most able to shed light upon what Calvinists actually believe. As Les puts it on his Kickstarter page, the film will be “seeking to explain Calvinism, celebrate its recent resurgence, and answer the question ‘what’s next'”.

No doubt there is an organic resurgence of Calvinism among the youth in today’s church. I’ve experienced the unexpected call to doctrinal purity and I surprisingly found myself finding the same passion in the pen of Calvin and other great theologians upon whose shoulders we stand.

The comfort learning the doctrines of grace brought to me was not controversial, it was a blessing from the Holy Spirit.

Among the Christian community I’ve learned that the title Calvinist can be perceived as either a compliment or an insult depending upon the nature and tradition of the church where that title is being thrown around. Being both informed and gracious should keep most of us out of that latter group. This film comes at a timely state where clarity on the subject of Calvinism is welcomed – I pray we in the reformed camp and our brothers and sisters outside of it can see how important it is for us all to remain teachable while we also all can show our combined support to this project.

Click the link below and join in the effort to support this film.
 https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1832273783/calvinist-documentary-film

 

 

Roaring Hills & Rain

The fact that God thought to sometimes mix in the rumble of thunder with rain storms is an awesome thing. Sitting in my study, on the 2nd floor of an old Dutch colonial type house, the thunder can sometimes feel as though it penetrates right into my chest. It’s like these old walls don’t even try to smother the sound as it enters into the room. Especially late at night when nothing else can be heard except the rain dripping outside or the occasional car passing by on the very wet road near my house. 

I was quickly brought outside of my self as I stopped and listened to the noise as it cracked the night sky and flooded over all the surrounding hills. The trees get no break, they’ve no insulation – they are completely exposed and they almost seem to amplify the effect. How far each wave of thunder reaches is incredible and I’m brought to thoughts of how small I am and how God’s powerful creation obeys and displays his rule; a rule that is beyond man’s capacity and which must be utterly terrifying to those who do not know the Sustainer of all things. 

The God of creation is terribly powerful indeed and I see that on display in such storms. Yet I also note that this natural order reveals that He also provides the rain through such awesome demonstrations of might. It is very much the case scripturally that the God of the Bible is revealed as one who brings salvation through judgement. It isn’t any wonder that the created order can be heard singing this tune also. A man may be struck with the fear of death at the horrid noise of thunder and raise his fist to the sky while at the same time another man raises praise for the life the rain of that same storm brings to his crop. 

While the storm parallel isn’t exact, the narrative fits: Christ who bore God’s wrath at the cross suffered terribly while at the same time completely gained salvation for His people. One can look at the cross and see only unnecessary violence and another can believe upon the Son, confess their sin and be brought to their knees in utter worship of the one who conquered death. The latter group rejoice to know that their Savior is also sovereign over such noisy affairs as thunder storms. The fear of the Lord trumps and subdues any fear common to humanity. Trust in Him and find rest. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. 

The Hope of Rightousness

“For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” – Galatians‬ ‭5:5-6‬ ‭ESV‬

The hope of righteousness that comes by faith produces an eager anticipation of the eternal life obtained in Christ…a hope which is longed for by every believer. A hope worth fighting for and keeping secure in ones heart. Paul warns here that the circumcision party was adding works to the equation of justification (beware any teaching other than that of faith alone in Christ for justification) and therefore was robbing the hope that is so precious to every ‘child of promise’ (those who have faith in Christ). 

How does this righteousness produce hope? First by recognizing that it is not ones own righteousness that the one who has faith tastes, but that of Christ’s. This recognition comes to light by the grace of God when humility speaks honestly to ones own sinful nature; that ones best deeds done in the flesh are equaled to nothing more than that of filthy rags (scripture says that man’s ‘good’ works = menstrual rags). It is His Spirit working in the believer, through faith, that one performs true works of Godly love. Such works will not feed a self righteous mindset, but these are those that can only result in the believers ascribing glory to God…because such works are completely by His grace and granting from start to finish and the believer praising God will sense this to be true both in the experience of it or upon reflection of it as we do now. 

In His providence I suppose these works can and often do go unnoticed by the believer; perhaps so that the right hand not know what the left is doing…thereby pride would continuously be slain at its roots. I also wonder how often these works are left undone by believers and what type of judgement awaits us who through slack and apathy stall our Lords call to serve. I fear this for many Christians, myself included. 

I can speak for myself as I know I’ve turned aside many times from opportunities from His works. What comforts me though is that my Lord is faithful when I am not; that He is Lord and I am not; that He is the perfect Teacher and I His student; I am His subject and He is my kind Ruler; I am his adopted son and He my loving Father; that He saved me a sinner, not as a righteous man and has committed to conform me to Himself; that He will finish what He started; that He is mighty to save. Oh goodness! He has dealt ever so kindly to me, even when my heart condemns me and my accuser screams my list of sins at me, He has not forsaken me and He leads me to repentance…He restores my soul. Praise God, grace is mine as a son, eternally!

Let me not lose sight of the hope of righteousness; let me let go of the elemental powers of this world; let me fully trust in my Lord and walk in His ways. I know that when I walk in His righteousness I am eternally minded; the temporal is enjoyed and used for His purposes but it becomes necessarily secondary. I pray to do more and more of His works to know the joyous laughter of His praise and glory. May it be so. Amen. 

A Savior for Sinners

You may have heard someone say, “God helps those who help themselves,” and then thought to yourself how many times you’ve been a helpless failure. Is there any hope for those of us who seem to have a persistent proneness to failure and of weakness? 
Good news, God saves the helpless, the lost, the rebel, the sinner to the uttermost! Christ came to save sinners not the self righteous. Jesus hung out with sinners teaching them His ways while rebuking and condemning the self-righteous Pharisees. 
Beware of the form of legalistic teaching that clothes itself in light while telling you that you must help yourself before God will help you. Who can truly do this who is not blindly self righteous? Only God is truly good and not a single man to ever walk this earth other than Christ is without a sin deserving of death (this is why we all are headed to our graves by the way…”the wages of sin is death.”)
No, it starts with an honest confession of sin and a request for mercy; this is God in His grace lifting the sinner’s soul to see the cross and what the only Son of the Father accomplished at it: complete salvation for all who believe. He came to heal the sick, not the healthy. 
Recognizing ones own sickness is to truly see ones own sin for what it is: cosmic treason against ones own Maker. Yet He is kind to sinners leading them to humble repentance. He grants them new hearts, hearts that actually long for Him and desire to please Him. He faithfully teaches them His ways. He promises them He will never leave or forsake them and that He will finish the work He began in them. He promises resurrection of the body in a world to come that is without sin! Oh the peace in Christ; in Him alone there is rest for the weary and a living hope for all eternity.

Ecclesiastes: An Apology of Wisdom

A term paper I recently submitted in my OT Survey Class. I hope you enjoy:

As with any question of interpretation or of origin to any biblical text, many variants are sure to present themselves. There is no shortage of variables when it comes to the discussion of the book of Ecclesiastes. This paper seeks to find balance by accurately portraying some of the prominent differing views while offering a position that postulates the purpose of the book to be the ancient equivalent of a  modern day apologetic work created for a specific group of people. That specific group would consist of ancient Jewish sage-like self-professed disciples of Solomon. The overall purpose of the book is meant to invite the reader into the knowledge of the peace of God by knowing the fear of God which transcends the vanities incumbent of mortal beings by producing hope and meaning of eternal significance.

Much can be learned about the nature of the book of Ecclesiastes by asking questions of its authorship. No final consensus exists as to who wrote the book. For most of church history, many have placed Solomon as its author because of the clear appeal to royalty found in the opening chapters. There is also a strong desire on the part of the ancient church and Jewish rabbis to tie all the wisdom literature directly to that which comes from Solomon’s pen, and rightfully so. Seemingly direct references to Solomon’s authorship appear in verses 1:1, 1:12, 1:16, and 2:9. In these verses are found phrases like “the son of David, king in Jerusalem,”1:1;  “king over Israel in Jerusalem,”  v.12; “surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me,” v. 16; cf. 2:9. It would be hard for any reader to read these passages and not come to the conclusion that Solomon is the author as these titles would fit nicely with his office in Israel’s history. Although, conflicts arise in later portions of the text where the speech used doesn’t seem to fit well with the historical setting in which the king would have wrote. For those who seek to keep Solomon as the author, there are reasonable explanations for the style differences that are found between the unique form utilized in Ecclesiastes in contrast with other of Solomon’s wisdom literature. Some propose possible explanations theorizing that Solomon was in his elder years when he wrote Ecclesiastes; this supposedly speaks either to the skeptic tone that can be traced through the text as well as to the profound insight in the author’s capability to cast the complexities of life compatibly with the fear God while still promoting the enjoyment of life. Another proposal for giving reason to the different styles while maintaining Solomon authorship comes by analyzing the purpose and occasion for taking up the writing of Ecclesiastes itself. This paper takes the stance that the work is apologetic and not so much written in the same way a proverbial/poetic book serves the believing community. It is no wonder that each work one writes carries certain presuppositions which directly affect the tone and approach of his work; each varying purpose of writing demands a unique writing style and the tone the Preacher takes is one of argumentation.

Solomon’s authorship comes into question by skeptics mainly in their historical dating approach of the book and in their rigid analyzing of its lyrical form. Many argue that the content used strays further than most other forms of pre-exilic text and this conclusion forces such form critics to normally place the date somewhere around the 300BC period, thereby throwing away the idea that Solomon could be the author. Lasor puts it this way: “Protestant scholars since Luther’s time have tended to date Qoheleth [Preacher] much later than Solomon. The rabbis’ view of Solomon’s authorship was based on their literal interpretation of 1:1 and their tendency to tie Solomon’s name to all wisdom literature: he was viewed as master sage” (Lasor, 498). Lasor sides with the textual critics for a most interesting reason. He asserts that Qoheleth clothed himself in “Solomon’s garb” to grab the attention of those who would claim to be followers of Solomon; then he digs in and challenges these followers through his  most unique form of argumentation (Lasor, 500). Such a motive resounds with the likeness of much of the New Testament’s call to professing believers to test themselves, to make their calling and election sure…such is the motive of any good and weighty apologetic work. There is much to be said in terms of form criticism and what can be learned from that process when it comes to engaging the text of scripture. Indeed, much effort has been spent toward these ends and “While these redactional observations advance our understanding of the literature, the larger theological implications for interpreting Qoheleth remain relatively unexplored” (Shepherd, 182).

Putting questions of authorship aside and looking closely at the way the author speaks, one can begin to better determine its purpose. Douglass Miller, in his paper The Rhetoric of Ecclesiastes provides a useful summery that speaks to five different views on the purpose of the book of which I analyze and breakdown below, I also add the apologetic method of understanding not found in his list:

  1. A Repentant King. A very early understanding of the book’s purpose. In line with Solomon’s own story, this approach of understanding assumes Solomon writes the book with a repentant heart and warns of the folly and consequence of the mistakes he himself had made.
  2. The Ascetic. Also a very early understanding. This view is one that seeks to correct perspectives onto the right view of humanity in its own mortality and how eternity is right around the corner. Using that weight of mortality then to call its readers to deny themselves in preparation for the afterlife. The challenge for some with this view is in seeing the emphatic call of Qoheleth to enjoy life on the earth. The rejection mentioned here seems to be a rigid form of complete self-denial of pleasures in this life; a theme the Preacher heavily contradicts.
  3. The Bitter Skeptic. A new understanding developed within the past two centuries. This view sees Qoheleth as a cynic rambling his frustrations with a world not as it should be. This method forces the placing of any positive affirmations of Qoheleth’s views on life, which directly contradicts this thesis, to be of later editing. Though appealing to post-modern scholars, this understanding is not at all viable for God-fearing scholars.
  4. The Preacher of Joy. This view is also a new understanding which attempts to be compatible with the problems that arise from the purely skeptic approach. While the author is still a cynic, his purpose is to encourage others to see the joy in life by realizing the absurdities (vanities) that come with life. The problem remains though that life itself is said to be vain in the book and this approach doesn’t seem to capture that complexity.
  5. The Realist. A more modern nuance to the earliest two forms of understanding. This approach seeks to allow for the complexities of life to enter into the whole of human experience not subjected to cynicism. It also gives the repentant king and the ascetic voice their own valid rhetorical framework (Miller 216-221). This view also fails to bring into balance the sovereignty of God over time and over mankind who operate under the sun as His creatures.
  6. The Apologist. Many scholars believe that the book itself is apologetic in nature, as Dr. Sproul’s commentary on the book suggests:

“Ecclesiastes has been understood as an apologetic work, an attempt to recommend faith in God to unbelievers by               way of answering negative arguments. While the book’s teaching may be used in evangelism, most Jewish and                     Christian interpreters have understood Ecclesiastes to be addressed to God’s people, rather than to those who are               ignorant of God or in rebellion against Him. The book is God’s wise counsel to those who know His ways but have                 found them at times to be frustrating and perplexing” (Sproul,1074).

Lasor further draws such an apologetic parallel when he writes:

“His strategies [the Preacher’s] are to capture his reader’s attention and to use the circumstances of Solomon to                   probe ironically the weaknesses in his fellow sages’ teachings. (Lasor, 500).

As is much of the tradition of the inspired writers of God’s Word, the force by which the books come down to us is meant to shatter man-centered views of the position of God in the universe. God’s Word consistently places God at the center of His creation and commands men everywhere to get off the throne of their own hearts. In his own commentary, Dr. Constable comments that this is the very purpose of the book, that the reader would “develop a God-centered worldview and recognize the dangers of a self-centered worldview” (Constables, 3). Truly, most misunderstandings of the Word of God fall into this dilemma: man’s underestimation of God and man’s overestimation of man. I thought it interesting how much the proposed Ascetic purpose resonated with me in light of how the whole testimony of scripture speaks to man’s frailty in the scope of eternity, and how we are but a breadth, a vapor. I agree with Miller’s observation that this construct, in its rigid form of abstaining from pleasure to prepare for the next life misses the book’s call to also enjoy this present life; but at the same time I hear the consistent scriptural emphasis to repent, for the time draws near. Death and pleasure are both unapologetically on the lips of the Preacher in order to bring a much needed sense of urgency to the reader’s heart. As Ringe rightly points out in his journal article entitled Enjoyment and Mortality: The Interplay of Death and Possessions in Qoheleth, “Qoheleth displays an intense interest in the interplay of death and possessions. No other book in the Hebrew Bible gives as much attention to the intersection of these two motifs” (Ringe, 265).

To reflect on the word vanity in the context of my own life in general is a complex process. As one who is redeemed in Christ, who knows the weight of Paul’s arguments that “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Plil 1:21), there is a temporary lens one can look through and observe that indeed, much of life’s ordinary experience could be construed as prospects of vanity. One who is not delighting in the Lord, who is not refreshed by His infinite Word, can easily look upon the functions on earth and tire of its repetition. I look at my book shelf and think, “what good will attaining an abundant wealth of knowledge be to me 3,000 years from now.” Yet a calm fear sets in knowing that God has the answer to that question, and that there is purpose in it. Everyone, to one degree or another has at one point had a mother. Mothers are so common that one can tire of seeing mothers do the things that mothers do. Yet, a mother who trusts in the Lord and not in her understanding, though she may observer her labor is near exactly mirroring 4,000 other mothers in the same way, and in the same time all throughout the world, she will see the purpose and meaning in what she does even if it is extremely frustrating at times. Why? Because the Lord who determined that there be motherhood in the human experience opens her eyes to see its value and the dignity that is intrinsic to that office. This same Lord opens my eyes to see the value in growing in knowledge and understanding though at times I grow weary and struggle with an extremely frustrating proneness to laziness.

It is interesting that much time is spent by the preacher on the subject of time, and of the position “under the sun.” Us creatures who live under the sun are bound by time, we are governed by it and we measure time by the sun. The sun itself provides guidance and light to the human family completely apart from man’s own control. It is no coincidence that “The Preacher teaches that man’s activities are ordered by God’s timing” (Sermon 1). Who is under the sun if not all who walk upon the entire earth? Does one who walks in the righteousness of Christ walk under the sun in the same way that an unbeliever does? Yes & no. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. Yet the just have knowledge that the unjust do not. Coming to grips with the brevity of God’s sovereignty over creation, even over the salvation of men’s souls is most beneficial when trials come the Christian’s way. Shane’s online article draws from a classic commentary on Ecclesiastes which speaks to this awesome sovereign trait of God working through life’s complexities: “This awareness coexists with a firm belief in God – whose power, justice, and unpredictability are sovereign” (Lems citing Fox’s commentary).

Faith in the God of the Bible is not always best kept to a simple and surface level understanding; Qoheleth’s seemingly realist slant is meant to guide teachers of the believing community to acknowledge and allow for the inevitable complexities and frustrations bound to challenge one’s faith. One could be sure that this preacher would agree with the Apostle Paul, whose theology drove him to use a phrase like “rejoice in our sufferings,” a joy that believers must tap into if they hope to weather the storms that are sure to come (Romans 5:4 ESV). The fear of the Lord is of the greatest value, for it puts into perspective the greatness of God and the futility of man. The sage wisdom that permeates from the Preacher is not that man is purposeless in all his thriving and suffering, but that he ought find all his purposes ultimately in his Maker.

Works Cited

ESV: Study Bible : English Standard Version. ESV Text ed. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Bibles, 2007. Print.

Lasor, William Sanford. Old Testament Survey. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1996. Print.

Lems, Shane. “The Reformed Reader.” The Reformed Reader. 9 May 2015. Web. 15 June 2015.

Miller, Douglas B. “What The Preacher Forgot: The Rhetoric Of Ecclesiastes.” Catholic Biblical   Quarterly 62.2 (2000): 215. Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 June 2015.

Rindge, Matthew S. “Mortality And Enjoyment: The Interplay Of Death And Possessions In Qoheleth.” The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 73.2 (2011): 265-280. ATLA Religion   Database with ATLASerials. Web. 14 June 2015.

Sermon 1 by unknown author. “God Made Everything Beautiful in Its Time.” Pasig Covenant Reformed Church. 13 Jan. 2011. Web. 15 June 2015.

Sheppard, Gerald T. “Epilogue To Qoheleth As Theological Commentary.” The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 39.2 (1977): 182-189. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials. Web. 14 June 2015.

Sproul, R. C. The Reformation Study Bible; ESV. Orlando: Ligonier Ministries ; Reformation Trust, 2015. Print.

Stress – A Threaded Discussion

So, I just posted in a threaded discussion and before I forget about it I thought I’d share it with the blogoshpere as I haven’t posted in over a month. The context for this post was in response to an evaluation where I scored super high on a stress test…I hope you enjoy 🙂

I scored a stress level of 26 on the report! Well, it must have to do with the timing I find myself in my career. I wear a lot of hats in my current profession, and at times the task I’m responsible to complete do overwhelm me. Currently, something that has been weighing heavily on my mind is a sequence that I need to coordinate where I order (62) pre-fabricated wall panels (roughly 19′ tall x 8′ wide) to be shop fabricated in a warehouse in northern NY and delivered to my job-site in Eastern CT. These panels will then have to be lifted by crane along with my 6 man crew (who truly need to be on their toes as far a safety measures are concerned) on a very busy job-site with other trades trying to get their work completed. I’m super excited about this task, but unfortunately, it is only one of at least 15 others that I could probably rattle off the top of head. Stressed? Yes! In my opinion, this is why we have beer, (I just took a sip).

In all seriousness though, when I read the article regarding how the practicing of religion in general supposedly helps aid in reducing the effects of stress I couldn’t help but feel unsettled. True religion is to look after the voiceless and the broken, to bring the offensive message of the cross before a crown, one of repentance before acceptance, this too can be stressful and darn right ought to lead to persecution from this ungodly world. God’s grace is sufficient for me, and His yoke is easy and His burden is light. I don’t deny that I get stressed, but prayer is powerful and God truly does give me the grace to siphon through and prioritize my life so that I don’t go crazy. My flesh constantly warns me of burn out, yet when I dwell on the things of God (mainly by filling my crazy amount of driving time between jobs to listen to sermons in my car) God sustains me and in my weakness He is my strength.

A Child’s Witness

A child’s unrestrained unction will test an adults perception of their own boldness. What do I consider bold? I’m a grown man now, and I sometimes think myself bold for sharing my faith in public. My oldest son Abe, who is now 4, is challenging me on this issue. I try to teach my children about God’s character, not just some of them but all of the characteristics of God revealed in scripture. His Holiness, perfection, law, mercy, patience, grace and love, etc. I teach them that Christ came to save sinners from hell and gives the only true hope for eternal life. I have tracts around the house that I bought from Ray Comfort’s Living Waters ministry that challenge people to consider if they think they are good when compared to God’s law. Abe is fascinated with these tracts and asks me to read them to him often. 

Abe talks loudly.  Sometimes he asks questions about the fear of God, death, sin, the unseen and a whole litany of other subjects because we constantly talk about them. My younger boy is starting to do the same, he is about to turn 3. Sometimes these discussions will erupt in public places, recently one did at the local diner. I have to be honest, there is an impulse of the flesh that wants to silence a loud child who is talking of any uncommon subject in public, especially when the subject is about God. Most grown people honestly just don’t want God in their thinking. A lesson I’m learning is that a child who is taught of God will not hesitate to talk about Him aloud, anywhere. As Christ reminds the believer in the scriptures, let the little children come to me. Holy Spirit subdue this flesh that strives to remain passive along with the rest of culture. 

So I find myself asking the question, is this phenomenon a coincidence? Is this not an exceptionally well timed testing of my faith? Here is the reality, my child’s faith challenges me to always be ready to talk to my neighbor about the hope that is in me; I can see this child will not hesitate to bring Him up in public discourse at anytime and in any place. Will I brush my boys’ comments to the side and choose to talk about the whether or will I use them as an opportunity to witness to Christ, teach them in public and proclaim the forgiveness of sins to this world? Lord have mercy, for if I’m honest I’ve probably elected to do the former 9 times out of 10. Not necessarily due to unbelief but most likely due to my own laziness. 

Abe has been invited by a friend from his nursery school to a birthday party. Of his friends from school, this will be Abe’s very first party he attends and he is super excited. He wants to give his pal those gospel tracts as part of his gift. He is super enthusiastic about giving these tracts to his friend because he considers the message contained in there to be good news. Abe has told me that I might need to read them to his friend because he can’t read yet. So my teaching my boy is producing fruit and now opportunity is presenting itself to me in that I have been given an objective witness to my son’s friend’s parents. I am encouraging him to give the tracts and am now praying for boldness to share the gospel at this birthday party when I go with him. I do sense the flesh wanting to object at so many points here, but it must be slayed at every one of them and I will not even give rise to its arguments. God willing, these parents of Abe’s friend will get the gospel through my son’s witness, through me and through those tracts. 

As I reflect on a child’s faith, which both Abe and Caleb are starting to display more and more, they are not quick to hesitate to have God in their thinking or on their lips like most adults are. They are coming to Christ and I can see that Christ doesn’t turn the little ones away. I know this world will certainly challenge them to be silent as it does me, but I better not do such a thing. Just the other day Caleb pointed to the moon when we got out of the car and shouted, “look daddy, God put that there!” I am thankful to see that my children hear me when I speak and understand what I say in the privacy of our home. The duty given to me now is to continue the discussion whenever and wherever we find ourselves, inviting whoever into it. They aren’t afraid to ask questions in my house or in public and I intend to keep it that way. The easy thing to do would be not to give real answers but to silence their inquiries and avoid the work of finding real responses. To hush their excitement. 

As a Christian father, I now see parenting partially designed to help parents grow in the area of witnessing. Will we have faith like a child? Will we be excited to talk about God wherever the opportunity arises? I pray that me and my wife will be enabled to do so by God’s grace, for in this work is wisdom, joy and blessing. 

The Offense of God’s Commands

What was God’s intention in giving the law? What is Christ’s intention in calling all to repentance? Both are intended to display the Godhead’s eternal characteristics and qualities in nature. We ought to see primarily God’s holiness displayed in these two realities, given by God’s graciousness to all creation.

The problem with us sinners is that in our fallen condition we are offended by these displays. Until our hearts are changed, we cannot please God, nor would we truly want to because by nature we hate him…hence our sending Him to the cross. To those who hate their sin, there is One who is able to save, who is worthy to take your place for your cosmic treason, and has done so already at the cross! Jesus Christ alone is able to save sinners, He is risen for our justification. Repent and believe in Him and your salvation will be secure!

God’s Gift to Give

Justification is a gift of God’s grace to sinners. This gift isn’t like a Christmas time gift that one opens in order to receive; it is the forgiveness of sins and new life which only God can unwrap inside the stony hearts of men. The gift is His granting apart from any and all works. Do not confuse salvation with sanctification here, God’s will to SAVE sinners trumps man’s refusal; all of mens’ will in the 1st Adam are by nature in bondage to sin and cannot please God, these enslaved wills are transformed by the new birth which is completely wrought by Gods own doing. Even repentance is only granted by God’s kindness to the sinner.

In Romans 3 is seen an inditement on all mankind, that no one seeks God, and that He alone is righteous. So if all are judged and all will be, none have an excuse. But God being rich in mercy, under no obligation to do so, determined to grant pardons and makes them known to both Jew and Gentile as He chooses. If the objection is raised “why doesn’t he save all” the scriptural response is, “why does He save any?”

If you haven’t tasted and seen the The Lord is good, pray for mercy, the He might enable you to taste, to see His glory, and there bend your knee to His Lordship and great love.

To the person who has faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins, give credit where credit is due. It isn’t because you said yes, it is because He drew you, He called you, He took out your heart of stone and caused you to hear and believe. He began this good work in you and He will finish it. Some might object and say, “doesn’t this make us mere robots”…a regenerated man is an object of the grace of God who still eats, drinks, sleeps, loves, hates (sin), plays, etc; only now he worships rightly…this is anything but robotic, it is organic and it is glorious. Salvation belongs to The Lord.

“For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.” (‭Romans‬ ‭3‬:‭28‬ NASB)