Kevin DeYoung: Sometimes Christians can give the impression that pleasing God is a sub-biblical motivation. “We’re totally justified,” someone might say. “We’re totally accepted. If we tell our kids to please God, we are just giving them more law. We are training them to be little moralists. We’re discipling them to think of God as a kind of Santa Claus keeping a naughty-and-nice list.” Obviously (or maybe not so obviously), that’s not how God wants us to parent, because that’s not what God is like with his children. But don’t let the potential abuse of this “pleasing God” language lead you to suppress what Scripture clearly says. One of the principal motivations for holiness is the pleasure of God. Colossians 1:10: Those who bear fruit in every good work and increase in the knowledge of God are pleasing to God. Romans 12:1: Presenting your body as a living sacrifice pleases God. Romans 14:18: Looking out for your weaker brother pleases
Jesus Died To Make Obedience Possible, Not Optional
Matt Moore: Justification—being declared righteous before God—is possible only by grace through faith. You can heap all your good deeds upon one another and climb them to heaven, but if you aren’t clothed in Christ’s righteousness, God will toss your self-righteous self right out of his presence. Our sinfulness runs too deep for any of our deeds to be purely righteous (Isaiah 64:6), and the guilt we bear for our trespasses is beyond our ability to absolve. The blood of Jesus is the only hope any of us has. Seeing all that Christ is for us and trusting in him to save us is the only means by which we can be declared blameless. Christians glory in being justified as a gift by the grace of God alone—not their own works or morality (Ephesians 2:8-9). However, in every generation there have been ignorant and unstable people that take the message of God’s grace through Christ and, as Peter wrote, “twist it
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3 Degrees of God’s Pleasure In His Children
Tony Reinke: Does God find pleasure in you? When he looks at you, does he smile? In short, if you’re in Christ, the answer is yes. But the answer to how and why and on what basis needs some explaining. We can break God’s delight for the redeemed into three categories: (1) a delight in election, (2) a delight in redemption, and (3) a delight in holiness. 1. Delight in Election First, God has expressed delight in his children in the election. Unconditionally and freely, without a hint of injustice or unfairness, God chooses to set his delight on certain human souls, and this delight is an expression of the delight of the triune God (Luke 10:21). God freely delights in electing children for redemption and for adoption into his family (Romans 9:10–18, Ephesians 1:3–6). Such a predestined delight over us in election is unconditional to anything in us. 2. Delight in Redemption Second, God delights in the redemption
Fully pleasing to him
Ray Ortlund: “. . . so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him.” Colossians 1:10 We should not be afraid of this clear biblical teaching. It does not counteract the gospel in our lives; it is the sweet fruit of the gospel in our lives. The good news of justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, apart from all our works, is thrilling. The message of forgiveness, acceptance, adoption, all by radical divine grace — I never get tired of hearing it and preaching it. It is oxygen to me. Every day. I hope it means that to you too. But this grace is also a power that transforms. It both reassures us and changes us. Both/and. How else can we account for the New Testament? “Try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:10 “We ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how
Legalism or Obedience?
Fred Zaspel: Try to imagine it. You are playing a game of Monopoly, and your opponent throws a ten with the dice. Then he picks up his player marker and begins counting his steps. Immediately you realize he will land on the corner — “Go to Jail!” Well, he doesn’t want to land there, so he stops just one step short, on New York Avenue. Immediately you cry foul. But he responds indignantly, “I only stopped one step short. What’s the difference? Don’t be such a legalist!” Will you feel ashamed? Will you now feel that you have been too persnickety and legalistic? Too careful to obey the rules? Or will you feel that you have been cheated? To make the point another way, I have never yet met a parent who complained that his child was a legalist because he obeyed too much. In fact, it would be impossible for any parent to imagine how his child could obey too much. Yet,
How to Fight Covetousness
John Piper shows how to use the acronym A.P.T.A.T. when we’re tempted to covet:
Obedience Formed by the Cross
“All our obedience, every resolve to do good, and every work of faith is ‘by his power’ and so that the Lord Jesus would be glorified because of the grace he gives. Yes, we must pursue obedience, but that obedience must always be cruciform, formed by Christ’s cross. We must seek to obey because of the cross, find the grace to obey because of the cross, and live free from condemnation whether we succeed or fail in the light of the cross. The cross must be our only story, as Paul boldly proclaimed: ‘For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified’ (1 Cor. 2:2).” – Elyse Fitzpatrick and Dennis Johnson in Counsel from the Cross(Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2009), 171-172. (HT: Of First Importance)
Would You Pray This Prayer?
From The Gospel Coalition Blog: Francis Chan offers the following video devotional based on Proverbs 30:7-9. Two things I ask of you;deny them not to me before I die:Remove far from me falsehood and lying;give me neither poverty nor riches;feed me with the food that is needful for me,lest I be full and deny youand say, “Who is the Lord?”or lest I be poor and stealand profane the name of my God.
How obedience is born
“For, until men feel that they owe everything to God, that they are cherished by his paternal care, and that he is the author of all their blessings, so that naught is to be looked for away from him, they will never submit to him in voluntary obedience; no, unless they place their entire happiness in him, they will never yield up their whole selves to him in truth and sincerity.” – John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion, Bk I, Ch. 2 (HT: Of First Importance)