Welcome to another collection of links that have impacted me this past week. Hope you find them enlightening and encouraging.
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Christianity Is Not for Everyone
Christianity isn’t for everyone. If you feel like you’re checking all the boxes; if you presume that this whole holiness thing is a walk in the park; if you love showing off your robe of good deeds; if you pretend to have everything together — then the gospel isn’t for you. So long as your own spiritual bank account is full the gospel will mean nothing to you. Because the gospel can only be grasped by those who realize their utter spiritual bankruptcy. The gospel is for losers, for lawbreakers, for those not making it and know they never will. Grace is for the vagabonds, the mess ups, and rag-clothed beggars who have nothing to offer but their desperate need. As Chad says so well, “Jesus calls poor, miserable sinners, not those who sport homemade halos.” Great words, as usual, from Chad Bird. continue reading→
Is Grace Too Good To Be True?
It is, perhaps, the longest running criticism of the gospel. It is the oldest slight of those who believe in Jesus’s forgiveness by grace alone. “That’s too good to be true.” It seems that way, doesn’t it? The idea of the Creator coming down for His creatures in love to rescue them from the very wreckage they had made for themselves and made of His creation seems too good to be true. That’s what the psalmist was expressed when he exclaims, “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Ps. 8:4). “What in the world, God? Why is this grace, this freedom, this gospel so free, so good? This is too good to be true!” Our addiction to getting better robs the gospel of its effectiveness at times. Because when we’re so focused on being better we forget the truth that God loves us and died for us as we are, not as we should be. While we were His enemies, Jesus bled for our sins. That’s grace. And it’s true. “It is that good. And it doesn’t stop there. It is even better than you ever dreamed.” Wonderful words from Steve Brown, here. continue reading→
Who Is the Last Puritan?
The moniker “Puritan” doesn’t always have the best connotation nowadays. For some, it’s the equivalent of “Pharisee,” and given to those who have nothing better to do than to nitpick their own spirituality and the religiosity of others. They’re seen as almost pseudo-monks that put everything under a religious microscope, hoping to find something to squash. For some, still, a “Puritan” is one who is wholly invested in the Word of God as sole directive for life. It’s a shame that such a word would cause such a divide, especially as we apply revisionist history to the accounts of Christianity’s most storied defenders of the faith. But regardless what you think about them (or what you think you know about them), the Puritans were intrepid stalwarts of the Scriptures and the orthodox faith of the gospel. And they put their lives on the line to this end. This was an enlightening read from Obbie. Great stuff. continue reading→
The Fairness of God?
We are a people of justice. We demand that criminals get the punishment they deserve and the offenders pay for their offenses. We are addicted to our own laws of fairness and reciprocity. Which is why we baulk at the first sign of grace. Grace always flows to the lowest point to find neediest person to save. This isn’t fair to us. How can God be just and yet save the drunkard and the prostitute and the drug dealer? How is that fair? But, as Mark says so well here, “Fairness is the last thing we want — mercy from the King is what we need.” Great piece from Mark Loughridge and Gentle Reformation. continue reading→
God’s Grace Has a Timing of His Own
As we are familiar with Scripture, we know that God is all-knowing. He is Alpha and Omega, He knows the end from the beginning. But knowing that God is omniscient conjures up curious thoughts when we read such phrases as that in Genesis 8:1, where it says, “But God remembered Noah . . .” If God knows everything, how can He remember? Does God forget? Surely not. You see, God remembering you is the Bible’s way of saying that God’s about to take action. God’s remembrance is active reality. You are always at the forefront of His remembrance. As Jared says, “In all of the apparent chaos, in the torrent, the danger, the death and destruction, there is therefore now no condemnation for those whom God is pleased to remember.” continue reading→
Song of the Week
“This We Know” by Passion, featuring Kristian Stanfill.