John Piper: Colossians 2:15 tells us our Savior Jesus Christ ‘disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them.’ Great text! But what is here meant by ‘disarmed’? Was there something they were wielding then that they do not wield now? If so, what is the weapon Paul speaks of here in this text?” I love this question because I love the glorious truth, not only of Colossians 2:15, but the way verses 13 and 14 prepare for it and put a massive foundation under it. So let’s read the whole unit, and then I’ll give a couple answers to the question, In what sense did the death of Christ strip Satan and his demons of their weapons? Here are the verses: You, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him [Christ], having forgiven us all our trespasses [how?] by canceling the record of debt that
Christ our sin bearer
What Does Jesus Do With Sin?
By Jared Wilson: “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” – John 1:29 John the Baptist commands a beholding of the sin-taking-away Lamb. What do we see in this beholding? How exactly does Jesus take away our sin? Here are 6 things Jesus does with sin: 1. He Condemns It. Jesus puts a curse on sin. He marks its forehead. Romans 8:3 – “For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.” Jesus says to sin in no uncertain terms, “Sin, you’re going to die.” 2. He Carries It. Like the true and better scapegoat, Jesus becomes our sin-bearer. 1 Peter 2:24 – “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and
A mysterious exchange
“When we are united to Christ a mysterious exchange takes place: he took our curse, so that we may receive his blessing; he became sin with our sin, so that we may become righteous with his righteousness. . . . On the one hand, God declined to ‘impute’ our sins to us, or ‘count’ them against us, with the implication that he imputed them to Christ instead. On the other, God has imputed Christ’s righteousness to us. . . . We ourselves have done nothing of what is imputed to us, nor Christ anything of what is imputed to him. . . . He voluntarily accepted liability for our sins.” John R. W. Stott, The Cross of Christ (Downers Grove, 1986), pages 148-149. (HT: Ray Ortlund)
The only forgiveness that matters
“There may be some foul spot in our lives; the kind of thing that the world never forgives, the kind of thing, at any rate, for which we who know all can never forgive ourselves. But what care we whether the world forgives, or even whether we can forgive ourselves, if God forgives, if God has received us by the death of His Son? If we could appeal to God’s approval as ours by right, how bravely we should boast—boast in the presence of a world of enemies! If God knows that we are right, what care we for the blame of men? Such boasting, indeed, can never be ours. But we can boast in what God has done. Little care we whether our sin be thought unpardonable or no, little interested are we in the exact calculation of our guilt. Heap it up mountain high, yet God has removed it all. ‘I know not,’ the Christian says, ‘what my
Hillsong – At the Cross
For Mel and James.
“I flee afresh to the Mediator”
“…my obedience is neither the basis for my justification nor the ground of my approach to God as a sinner who has been besmeared by sin, and I flee afresh to the Mediator of the New Covenant. Every exposure of sin in the life of a true believer drives him afresh to his Saviour, and anything that drives him afresh to his Saviour makes his Saviour more precious.” From The Practical Implications of Calvinism By Albert N. Martin (HT: Monergism)
Are Christians Meant to Feel Guilty All the Time?
This is excellent from Kevin DeYoung: Read the whole thing here. So why do so many Christian feel guilty all the time? 1. We don’t fully embrace the good news of the gospel. We forget that we have been made alive together with Christ. We have been raised with him. We have been saved through faith alone. And this is the gift of God, not a result of works (Eph. 2:4-8). We can be so scared of antinomianism, which is a legitimate danger, that we are afraid to speak too lavishly of God’s grace. But if we’ve never been charged with being antinomian, we probably haven’t presented the gospel in all it’s scandalous glory (Rom. 6:1). 2. Christians tend to motivate each other by guilt rather than grace. Instead of urging our fellow believers to be who they are in Christ, we command them to do morefor Christ (see Rom. 6:5-14 for the proper motivation). So we see Christlikeness as something we
Three Precious Words
This piece from Todd Pruitt sums up the thrust of my teaching here in Rwanda. “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for fall have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” – Romans 3:21-26 Martin Luther refered to Romans 3:21-26 as, ““the chief point, and the very
The Three-Fold Gift of the Gospel
“In order for the Christian gospel to be good news it must provide an all-satisfying and eternal gift that undeserving sinners can receive and enjoy. For that to be true, the gift must be three things. First, the gift must be purchased by the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Our sins must be covered, and the wrath of God against us must be removed, and Christ’s righteousness must be imputed to us. Second, the gift must be free and not earned. There would be no good news if we had to merit the gift of the gospel. Third, the gift must be God himself, above all his other gifts.” – John Piper, God is the Gospel (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2005), 14. (HT: Of First Importance)
Jesus has done it all
“The gospel is saying that, what man cannot do in order to be accepted with God, this God Himself has done for us in the person of Jesus Christ. To be acceptable to God we must present to God a life of perfect and unceasing obedience to his will. The gospel declares that Jesus has done this for us. For God to be righteous he must deal with our sin. This also he has done for us in Jesus. The holy law of God was lived out perfectly for us by Christ, and its penalty was paid perfectly for us by Christ. The living and dying of Christ for us, and this alone is the basis of our acceptance with God” Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel and Kingdom, p. 86 (HT: John Fonville)
Why the Cross Matters
By Chris Tomlinson: Is it possible to talk too much about the cross? I ask this question only because some preachers and writers and teachers seem to talk about the cross a lot. Some do so almost continually. We can understand why they might carry on in this way because we know the primacy and weight of Calvary. But there are still times this thought crosses many of our minds: “Great, so I understand the cross is important. But can’t we move on to the next topic?” We say this sort of thing when we feel our faith is about more than Jesus. And in one sense, we can say this is true. Our faith is about God’s glory, and our joy, and loving others, and meeting the needs of the oppressed, and being made holy, and sojourning through life, and laying up treasures in heaven, and all sorts of other things. In this way, we are saying the expression
Faith in Christ is evidence of the New Birth
No more “. . . or else.”
From Ray Ortlund: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” Galatians 3:13 What is the curse of the law? It is the or-else-ness of the law: “Do this, or else.” Christ took the or-else-ness of the law onto himself at the cross, so that there is no more or-else for anyone in Christ, as God looks upon us now. Or-else is gone forever from your relationship with God. “We, being delivered from these everlasting terrors and anguish through Christ, shall enjoy an everlasting and inestimable peace and happiness.” Martin Luther, commentary on Galatians 3:13.
As evangelical faith becomes secularized, its interests have been blurred with those of the culture. The result is a loss of absolute values, permissive individualism, and a substitution of wholeness for holiness, recovery for repentance, intuition for truth, feeling for belief, chance for providence, and immediate gratification for enduring hope. Christ and his cross have moved from the center of our vision. We reaffirm that our salvation is accomplished by the mediatorial work of the historical Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our regeneration, justification and reconciliation to the Father. We deny that the gospel is preached if Christ’s substitutionary work is not declared and faith in Christ and his work is not solicited…God’s grace in Christ is not merely necessary but is the sole efficient cause of salvation. We confess that human beings are born spiritually dead and are incapable even of cooperating with regenerating grace. We reaffirm that in salvation we are
The Father’s two greatest gifts
“When God planned the great work of saving sinners, he provided two gifts. He gave his Son and he gave his Spirit. In fact each person of the Trinity was involved in the great work of salvation. The love, grace and wisdom of the Father planned it; the love, grace and humility of the Son purchased it; and the love, grace and power of the Holy Spirit enabled sinners to believe and receive it. “The first great truth in this work of salvation is that God sent his Son to take our nature on him and to suffer for us in it. The second great truth is that God gave his Spirit to bring sinners to faith in Christ and so be saved.” —John Owen, The Holy Spirit, ed. RJK Law (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1998), 1 (HT: Of First Importance)
What Is the Biggest Upcoming Theological Battle?
In this video Mark Driscoll asks R.C. Sproul, “What is the biggest theological battle the next generation will face?” (HT: Symphony of Scripture)
RC Sproul – Defining The Gospel
There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the Gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the Gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the Gospel. The Gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own
The Cross as Fulfillment of God’s Law
William Farley from Outrageous Mercy The cross demonstrates the permanent, immutable nature of God’s law. To save us, Jesus did not go around the law. He did not remove it. Rather, he fulfilled it. Taht is because the law is the eternal standard by which we will all be judged, and God is passionate about it. Every jot and tittle of the law must be fulfilled, promised Jesus (Matt. 5:17-20). The cross says, “There will be no lawbreakers in heaven.” The cross says, “God is fervent about his law.” Verses such as “Now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law” (Rom. 7:6) have convinced many that law does not apply to Christians, that in some mysterious way it is no longer relevant or important. In one sense they are right. The law no longer enslaves Christians. We could not keep the law, so Jesus kept it for us. God has released all who put
GOLLUM AND SLAVERY TO SIN
From Josh Harris: I’m reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring to my two older kids. Last night we read the passage in which Gandalf explains the history of the pathetic Gollum as well as story of the One Ring to Frodo. I thought the following description of Gollum’s wretched state as a slave to the ring was an apt description of what it’s like to be a slave to sin: “All the ‘great secrets’ under the mountains had turned out to be just empty night: there was nothing more to find out, nothing worth doing, only nasty furtive eating and resentful remembering. He was altogether wretched. He hated the dark, and he hated light more: he hated everything ,and the Ring most of all. “What do you mean?” said Frodo. “Surely the Ring was his precious and the only thing he cared for? But if he hated it, why didn’t he get rid of it, or go away
What can be a greater honour than this?
“How great an honor will it be to a person to have God at the day of judgment owning a person, declaring before all men, angels and devils that that person is before his all-seeing eyes and that he stands innocent and perfect in his sight, clothed with perfect righteousness and entitled to everlasting glory and blessedness. How honorable will this render them in the eyes of all that vast assembly that will be together at the day of judgment. That will be an infinitely greater honor than any man or any angel declaring that they judge him upright and sincere and that eternal life belongs to him. What can be a greater honor than this — to be owned by the great King and Lord of all things?” Jonathan Edwards, The Glory and Honor of God, edited by Michael D. McMullen, page 61. (HT: Ray Ortlund)