Justified – “Just As If I’d Always Obeyed”

I love this: “For He has made Him who knew no sin to become sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor 5:21 Picture a moral ledger sheet with every word, thought, deed and motive of yours entered on that sheet. Most hope the good will outweigh the bad. The problem is that all of our deeds are stained, all are unclean and impure. There is no such thing as a positive ledger sheet – except in the case of Christ. His ledger sheet was perfect. So at the cross, our ledger sheet was charged to Christ, all our sin; and so His ledger sheet is credited to us. “Justified” is not “Just as if I’d never sinned.” That is a great truth. But it is actually better than that: “Just as if I’d always obeyed.” God has credited the very righteousness of Jesus Christ to every believer. – Jerry Bridges (from

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Does God hate the sin but love the sinner?

“The cliché, God hates the sin but love the sinner, is false on the face of it and should be abandoned. Fourteen times in the first fifty Psalms alone, we are told that God hates the sinner, His wrath is on the liar, and so forth. In the Bible, the wrath of God rests both on the sin (Romans 1:18ff) and on the sinner (John 3:36).” -D.A. Carson The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God, Crossway, 2000, p. 70. (HT: Reformed Voices)

From Protest to Praise

By: David Mathis An amazing progression occurs in the 3 short chapters of Habakkuk. The book begins with the prophet protesting that God seems to be standing idly by while his people in Judah plummet into rampant evil and injustice (1:2-5). God responds that it’s not going unnoticed, and, to Habakkuk’s surprise, God’s already attending to it—by raising up the wicked Chaldeans, “that bitter and hasty nation,” to punish Judah (1:5-11). Habakkuk protests the justice of punishing a wicked people with a people even more wicked! (1:12-2:1). The prophet is confident that God can’t answer him on this score, and so he will “look out to see what [God] will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint” (2:1). Habakkuk is optimistic that he can rebut whatever answer God has to give for this. God answers and again Habakkuk is floored: God will punish the Chaldeans in due course and bring destruction to their home in Babylon

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Substitution

The concept of substitution may be said, then, to lie at the heart of both sin and salvation. For the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man. Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices himself for man and puts himself where only man deserves to be. Man claims prerogatives which belong to God alone; God accepts penalties which belong to man alone. ~ John Stott, The Cross of Christ (HT: Rick Ianniello)

The Essence of the Gospel

Succinct and comprehensive, from John Fonville: God created man in a perfect place, with perfect relationships, both vertically and horizontally. He ruled His kingdom by His Word. By creation, Adam was the son of God (cf. Lk. 3:38) bearing His Father’s image (Gen. 1:26) and God was his Father. Man, then, was created to enjoy unbroken fellowship with God his Creator and Father. Tragically, this intimate, familial relationship was destroyed by the Fall (Gen. 3). Rather than believing God’s Word, Adam believed the lies of satan, disobeyed and forfeited God’s blessings as Father for God’s cursings as Judge. As a consequence, Adam, along with Eve, was banished from the garden, where God’s presence and blessings resided. No longer God’s obedient son, Adam was now a disobedient son (Eph. 2:2), a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3). He was a member of an alien family, estranged and cut off from his Father’s household. Now subject to death and corruption, Adam and all

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Technique or Truth?

“Sometimes as I have gone witnessing with a group of people, I have wondered whether I’m sharing Christ or selling a line of products. It is interesting to see how some of the airport cults have picked up on some of our successful formulas and patterns of communicating. These cult members are so predictable we can see them coming a mile away. Like us, they tend to offer simplistic pitches. Because of election, we realize that we as Christians do not have to resort to such packages of last-chance tactics. We know that, in the final analysis, only God’s electing, redeeming grace, and not Madison Avenue or the latest fads of pop psychology, will bring lasting reconciliation between humans and God. With this knowledge we can be more comfortable with the biblical message and biblical methods. We can approach unbelievers as human beings rather than targets, consumers, numbers, and converts. I am tired of evangelical conferences where more time is

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The glory of the cross

The glory of the cross The great crescendo of the gospel By James Philip, for Evangelicals Now. We may not feel guilty, but the Scriptures speak of our guilt before God as an objective reality (Romans 3.19,20). Some people have less sensitive consciences than others, but how we feel does not change how God sees us. Guilt is an objective reality and justification, which deals with it, is also objective. It is something God does; it is a declaration God makes about us. It is, as the 17th-century Shorter Catechism of the Church of Scotland says, ‘an act of God’s free grace, in which he, the Judge of all the earth, acquits the guilty sinner, and declares him to be righteous, and accepts him as righteous in his sight’. Justification and sacrifice The Greek word translated ‘justify’ (dikaioun) means ‘to count, or treat, as righteous’, not to make righteous in any ethical sense. Justification is not something that is done

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What is the Gospel?

by R.C. Sproul “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

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The Kiss and The Blood

After years of struggling, doubting, and searching, the darkness lifted for John Bunyan. Here is how he states it: “I remember that one day, as I was travelling into the country and musing on the wickedness and blasphemy of my heart, and considering of the enmity that was in me to God, that scripture came into my mind, He hath, ‘made peace through the blood of his cross.’ Col. 1:20. By which I was made to see, both again, and again, and again, that day, that God and my soul were friends by this blood; yea, I saw that the justice of God and my sinful soul could embrace and kiss each other through this blood. This was a good day to me; I hope I shall not forget it.” Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, pages 19-20 of volume 1 of Bunyan’s Works. Notice 2 things: -Bunyan was pondering the weight of his wickedness (when is the last

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Charles Wesley’s Radical, Fruitful Risk

I love this from John Piper: On July 18, 1738, two months after his conversion, Charles Wesley did an amazing thing. He had spent the week witnessing to inmates at the Newgate prison with a friend named “Bray,” who he described as “a poor ignorant mechanic.” One of the men they spoke to was “a black slave that had robbed his master.” He was sick with a fever and was condemned to die. Wesley and Bray asked if they could be locked in overnight with the prisoners who were to be executed the next day. That night they spoke the gospel. They told the men that “one came down from heaven to save lost sinners.” They described the sufferings of the Son of God, his sorrows, agony, and death. The next day, the men were loaded onto a cart and taken to Tyburn. Charles went with them. Ropes were fastened around their necks so that the cart could be driven

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The Gospel in a Paragraph… and a Sentence

In a paragraph: “The most terrifying news in the world is that we have fallen under the condemnation of our Creator and that he is bound by his own righteous character to preserve the worth of his glory by pouring out his wrath on the sin of our ingratitude. But there is a fourth great truth that no one can ever learn from nature or from their own consciences, a truth which has to be told to neighbors and preached in churches and carried by missionaries: namely, the good news that God has decreed a way to satisfy the demands of his righteousness without condemning the whole human race. He has taken it upon himself apart from any merit in us to accomplish our salvation. The wisdom of God has ordained a way for the love of God to deliver us from the wrath of God without compromising the righteousness of God. And what is this wisdom?” In a sentence:

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6 Ways to React to the Cyclone

By John Piper. As the carnage from Cyclone Nargis moves toward 50,000 dead and beyond, there is a way to pray and act: 1. Be softened to the pain nearby. The Good Samaritan knew nothing of the calamities in first century Burma, but was commended by the Lord for mercies at hand (Luke 10:25-37). 2. Pray for the followers of Christ in Myanmar: That they would be still and know that God is God (Psalm 46:10; 100:3). That they would be awakened from the illusion that this life is long or sure or the main point of eternal existence (James 4:14). That they would be given a new vision of the supreme value of Christ who promises his followers that famine, nakedness, and death will not separate them from his love (Romans 8:35). That God would meet their needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus, so that they might have to give to those in need (Philippians

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McLaren Advocates “Rethinking” Second Coming

From Stand to Reason blog: At a recent youth ministry conference at Willow Creek Community Church, while discussing his latest book, Brian McLaren talked about the need to change our understanding of Jesus’ second coming because Simply put, if we believe that God will ultimately enforce his will by forceful domination, and will eternally torture all who resist that domination, then torture and domination become not only permissible but in some way godly. . . . [And from the book:] This eschatological understanding of a violent second coming leads us to believe (as we’ve said before) that in the end, even God finds it impossible to fix the world apart from violence and coercion; no one should be surprised when those shaped by this theology behave accordingly. First, this suggestion reflects a great misunderstanding of justice. Justice is not mere violence, coercion, and domination. The final judgment of all that we’ve done to hurt others is a desirable and good

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Horatius Bonar on the Cross

. My thanks to Tony Reinke for this. . The Shed Blood of Christ: The Foundation of Christianity. What is Christianity? Not metaphysics, not mysticism, not a compilation of guesses at truth. It is the history of the seed of the woman—that seed the Word made flesh—the Word made flesh, the revelation of the invisible Jehovah, the representative of the eternal God, the medium of communication between the Creator and the creature, between earth and heaven. And of this Christianity, what is the essential characteristic, the indispensable feature from first to last? Is it incarnation or blood-shedding? Is it the cradle or the cross? Is it the scene at Bethlehem or at Golgotha? Assuredly the latter! “Eh, Eli, lama sabachthani,” is no mere outcry of suffering nature, the cross is no mere scene of human martyrdom, and the great sepulchre is no mere Hebrew tomb. It is only through blood-shedding that conscience is purged; it is only at the cross

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Why we celebrate Easter!

by Tony Reinke The power and implications of what the church celebrates this weekend are well captured in this moving trailer for an upcoming Resolved conference. But beyond its use to promote a conference, this short film provides a capsule of the horrors and implications of the cross of Christ. At the cross the Father crushes his Son with his wrath for our sin. At the cross we see the Son’s death as our substitute. By faith his blood and sufficient atonement brings full forgiveness, unshakable hope, and eternal joy.