How to Resolve Most Relational Conflict

Jon Bloom: Few things sap more of our joy, are as emotionally demanding and mentally distracting, as relational conflict. And few things wreak as much havoc and destruction on lives as relational conflict. And so much of it is avoidable. Of course, not all conflict is avoidable. Some disagreements are based on issues so fundamental to truth, righteousness, and justice that conscientious conviction demands we stand our ground, even if it shatters a relationship. After all, even Jesus made it clear that for some of us, his coming would result in the painful severing of the important and meaningful and intimate relationships in our lives (Matthew 10:34–36). But most of our conflicts in life are not over such fundamental issues. They erupt over secondary, or peripheral, or trivial, or even utterly selfish things. And there’s only one path to peace in these cases. Warring Passions James nails us when he says, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?

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How the New Testament Describes Salvation

Dane Ortlund writes: Here are the more important ones, noting which sphere of life from which they are drawn. Justification – the lawcourt metaphor (Rom 5:1; Titus 3:7) Sanctification – the cultus metaphor (1 Cor 1:2; 1 Thess 4:3) Adoption – the familial metaphor (Rom 8:15; 1 John 3:1–2) Reconciliation – the relational metaphor (Rom 5:1–11; 2 Cor 5:18–20) Washing – the physical cleansing metaphor (1 Cor 6:11; Titus 3:7) Redemption – the slave market metaphor (Eph 1:7; Rev 14:3–4) Purchase – the financial transaction metaphor (1 Cor 6:20; 2 Pet 2:1) Wedding – the marriage metaphor (Eph 5:31-32; Rev 21:2) Liberation – the imprisonment metaphor (Gal 5:1; Rev 1:5) New Birth – the physical generation metaphor (John 3:3–7; 1 Pet 1:3,23) Illumination – the light metaphor (John 12:35–36; 2 Cor 4:4–6) New Creation – the redemptive-historical metaphor (2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15) Resurrection – the bodily metaphor (Eph 2:6; Col 3:1) Union with Christ – the organic or spatial metaphor (Rom 6:1–14; 2 Tim 1:9) Inexhaustible richness. Luther was right– If a person

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6 Things Christ accomplished by his death

Here’s a very brief summary of the six core things Christ accomplished in his death, by Matt Perman: 1. Expiation Expiation means the removal of our sin and guilt. Christ’s death removes — expiates — our sin and guilt. The guilt of our sin was taken away from us and placed on Christ, who discharged it by his death. Thus, in John 1:29, John the Baptist calls Jesus “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Jesus takes away, that is, expiates, our sins. Likewise, Isaiah 53:6 says, “The Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on him,” and Hebrews 9:26 says “He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” 2. Propitiation Whereas expiation refers to the removal of our sins, propitiation refers to the removal of God’s wrath. By dying in our place for our sins, Christ removed the wrath of God that we justly deserved. In fact,

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Husbands: Headship means taking the lead in reconciliation

John Piper: Leadership means we must take the lead in reconciliation. I don’t mean that wives should never say they are sorry. But in the relation between Christ and his church, who took the initiative to make all things new? Who left the comfort and security of his throne of justice to put mercy to work at Calvary? Who came back to Peter first after three denials? Who has returned to you again and again forgiving you and offering his fellowship afresh? So husbands, your headship means: Go ahead. Take the lead. It does not matter if it is her fault. That didn’t stop Christ. Who will break the icy silence first? Who will choke out the words, “I’m sorry, I want it to be better”? Or: “Can we talk? I’d like things to be better.” She might beat you to it. That’s okay. But woe to you if you think that, since it’s her fault, she’s obliged to say the

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Mercy enough to cover ALL our sin

“…a Christian may be comforted, first of all, in respect of his former justification. His new sin does not cancel his former pardon, though it will interrupt and disturb his present peace and comfort from it. And secondly, he may be comforted in this, that there is mercy enough in God to cover all his sins, grace enough in Christ to cure this fresh sin. And further, in this he is to find comfort, that God does not suffer him to live in sin, but that He has revealed his sin to him, humbled him for it, and brought him back to Christ in whom he may renew his peace and regain his sense of comfort.” Samuel Bolton, The True Bounds of Christian Freedom, p. 154 (HT: John Fonville)

The Gospel – John MacArthur

“He [the Father] made him [the Son] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus was guilty of nothing. Yet on the cross, the Father treated Him as if He had committed personally every sin ever committed by every individual who would ever believe. Though He was blameless, He faced the full fury of God’s wrath, enduring the penalty of sin on behalf of those He came to save. In this way, the sinless Son of God became the perfect substitute for the sinful sons of men. As a result of Christ’s sacrifice, the elect become the righteousness of God in Him. In the same way that the Father treated the Son as a sinner, even though the Son was sinless, the Father now treats believers as righteous, even though they were unrighteous. Jesus exchanged His life for sinners in order to fulfill the elective plan

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What the gospel is and what it is not!

My thanks to James Grant for this. I recommend you read the whole article by Carson. D. A. Carson’s recent editorial for Themelios is well worth your read. In it, makes a fundamental distinction about the gospel that is being lost in our current theological climate. Carson explains: It is this: one must distinguish between, on the one hand, the gospel as what God has done and what is the message to be announced and, on the other, what is demanded by God or effected by the gospel in assorted human responses. This is fundamental. The gospel is about what God has done and not about what I have done. Growing up, this was confused by saying that gospel is believing on Christ. Now this is confused by saying that the gospel is life. The current situation is a reaction to the former. We (at least in evangelicalism broadly speaking) have moved from describing the gospel as conversion to describing

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For Whom Did Christ Die? – John Owen

The Father imposed His wrath due unto, and the Son underwent punishment for, either: All the sins of all men. All the sins of some men, or Some of the sins of all men. In which case it may be said: That if the last be true, all men have some sins to answer for, and so, none are saved. That if the second be true, then Christ, in their stead suffered for all the sins of all the elect in the whole world, and this is the truth. But if the first be the case, why are not all men free from the punishment due unto their sins? You answer, “Because of unbelief.” I ask, Is this unbelief a sin, or is it not? If it be, then Christ suffered the punishment due unto it, or He did not. If He did, why must that hinder them more than their other sins for which He died? If He did

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Redeeming love and retributive justice

“God’s wrath is his righteousness reacting against unrighteousness; it shows itself in retributive justice. But Jesus Christ has shielded us from the nightmare of retributive justice by becoming our representative substitute, in obedience to His Father’s will, and receiving the wages of our sin in our place.” […] “Redeeming love and retributive justice joined hands, so to speak, at Calvary, for there God showed Himself to be ‘just, and the justifer of him who hath faith in Jesus’. Do you understand this? If you do, you are now seeing to the very heart of the Christian gospel. No version of that message goes deeper than that which declares man’s root problem before God to be his sin, which evokes wrath, and God’s basic provision for man to be propitiation, which out of wrath brings peace.” – J.I. Packer, In My Place Condemned He Stood (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2008), 40-41. (HT: Of First Importance)

Getting Substitutionary Atonement Right

“The penal substitution model has been criticized for depicting a kind Son placating a fierce Father in order to make him love man, which he did not do before. The criticism is, however, inept, for penal substitution is a Trinitarian model, for which the motivational unity of Father and Son is axiomatic. The New Testament presents God’s gift of his Son to die as the supreme expression of his love to men. ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son’ (John 3:16). ‘God is love, . . . Herein is love, not that we love God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins’ (I John 4:8-10). ‘God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us’ (Rom. 5:8). Similarly, the New Testament presents the Son’s voluntary acceptance of death as the supreme expression of his love to men. ‘He loved me,

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“Alive to God”

“The atoning death of Christ, and that alone, has presented sinners as righteous in God’s sight; the Lord Jesus has paid the full penalty of their sins, and clothed them with His perfect righteousness before the judgment seat of God. But Christ has done for Christians even far more than that. He has given to them not only a new and right relation to God, but a new life in God’s presence for evermore. He has saved them from the power as well as from the guilt of sin. The New Testament does not end with the death of Christ; it does not end with the triumphant words of Jesus on the Cross, ‘It is finished.’ The death was followed by the resurrection, and the resurrection like the death was for our sakes. Jesus rose from the dead into a new life of glory and power, and into that life He brings those for whom He died. The Christian, on

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Easter Explains Everything!

I love this from Marcus Honeysett: Easter explains everything. Because the cross of Jesus Christ is the centre of everything. And I mean everything! Most amazingly it explains creation. Why creation? So that God can display the glory of his grace for his praise. And he does that in clearest and most extreme splendour at the cross. Picture the vast expanse of creation in all its magnificence with a searing white hot focal point to all time and space. A singularity, a coalescence of all the eternal purposes and infinite power of God in one place and instance.  That focus is the cross It explains why the world is the way it is – rebellion that needs atonement; creation subjected to decay and groaning waiting for the glorious liberation of the children of God, supremely accomplished through the cross It explains the depths of distress and degradation in the human heart – the ultimate expression of human evil is the

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Christ’s Glory in Humiliation

From Jonathan Edwards’s sermon, “The Excellency of Christ” (which can also here in audio), where he argues that Christ’s “admirable conjunction of excellencies remarkably appears, in his offering up himself a sacrifice for sinners in his last sufferings.” Then was Christ in the greatest degree of his humiliation, and yet by that, above all other things, his divine glory appears. Christ’s humiliation was great, in being born in such a low condition, of a poor virgin, and in a stable: his humiliation was great, in being subject to Joseph the carpenter, and Mary his mother, and afterwards living in poverty, so as not to have where to lay his head, and in suffering such manifold and bitter reproaches as he suffered, while he went about preaching and working miracles: but his humiliation was never so great, as it was in his last sufferings, beginning with his agony in the Garden, till he expired on the cross. Never was he subject

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“Those wounds, yet visible above”

Crown Him the Lord of love, behold His hands and side, Those wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified. No angel in the sky can fully bear that sight, But downward bends his burning eye at mysteries so bright. This verse from the wonderful hymn, Crown Him With Many Crowns, speaks of the abiding signs of Christ’s atoning death in heaven. His post resurrection appearances and Revelation 5:6 certainly suggests that Jesus bears an eternal reminder of the cost of our redemption. In a meditation on the cross this morning, my good friend, Pastor Roydon Hearne, shared a thought that blew me away. He remarked on the fact that the only man-made thing on Earth that can be seen from space is the great Wall of China. He then said, “and the only man-made thing that can be seen in heaven, are the wounds of Christ.” Think about it! Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

“He plunged into the waters Himself.”

Christ saw us ruined by the fall, a world of poor, lost, ship-wrecked sinners. He saw and He pitied us; and in compliance with the everlasting counsels of the Eternal Trinity, He came down to the world, to suffer in our stead, and to save us. He did not sit in heaven pitying us from a distance: He did not stand upon the shore and see the wreck, and behold poor drowning sinners struggling in vain to get to shore. He plunged into the waters Himself: He came off to the wreck and took part with us in our weakness and infirmity becoming a man to save our souls. As man, He bore our sins and carried our transgressions; as man, He endured all that men can endure, and went through everything in man’s experience, sin only excepted; as man He lived; as man He went to the cross; as man He died. As man He shed His blood, in

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The Great Exchange

John Flavel: Lord, the condemnation was yours, that the justification might be mine. The agony was yours, that the victory might be mine. The pain was yours, and the ease mine. The stripes were yours, and the healing balm issuing from them mine. The vinegar and gall were yours, that the honey and sweet might be mine. The curse was yours, that the blessing might be mine. The crown of thorns was yours, that the crown of glory might be mine. The death was yours, the life purchased by it mine. You paid the price that I might enjoy the inheritance. John Flavel (1671), from his sermon, “The Solemn Consecration of the Mediator,” in The Fountain of Life Opened Up: or, A Display of Christ in His Essential and Mediatorial Glory. (HT: Justin Taylor)

The trial of Christ – Why?

From Adrian Reynolds: Have you ever stopped to think why Jesus needed to be tried by the Sanhedrin, Pilate and Herod? Why couldn’t he, for example, have cried out in the Garden, “I’m ready. Punish me now.” What do the trial narratives add to the theology of this moment (aside from the obvious fact that they are describing historically what happened)? I think it works on a number of levels. To display Jesus’ perfection The injustice of the trial scenes reinforce Jesus innocence and perfection. True, you would see this otherwise from the Gospel accounts themselves, but the injustice of the trials and the system makes the perfection of Christ stand out in stark relief. “He who knew no sin became sin for us, that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” To explain Jesus’ substitution This last verse (2 Cor 5.21) introduces another idea which is graphically displayed in the trial accounts – that of substitution. All

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