Hayden Hefner: I love the music of Keith Green. I love the intense, heavy-handed piano. I love the wordy lyrics. I love that it’s so early-1980s. I love that it’s Jesus People-ish. I love its passion. My dad originally introduced me to Green—often during our drives home from school. In my opinion, there is no better example of a Green song than “The Sheep and the Goats.” In this song, Green sings through Jesus’s parable in Matthew 25:31–46. In the passage, Jesus describes the final judgment of the world as a shepherd separating the righteous sheep from the unrighteous goats. The way the shepherd distinguishes between the two groups is by examining the sacrificial love they have shown toward the “least of these, my brothers” (Matt. 25:40, 45). Green stays remarkably close to the text. However, in the song’s last line, Green gives this final commentary on the passage: “And my friends, the only difference between the sheep and the goats, according to
Faith is not what some people think it is. Their human dream is a delusion. Because they observe that faith is not followed by good works or a better life, they fall into error, even though they speak and hear much about faith. “Faith is not enough,” they say, “You must do good works, you must be pious to be saved.” They think that, when you hear the gospel, you start working, creating by your own strength a thankful heart which says, “I believe.” That is what they think true faith is. But, because this is a human idea, a dream, the heart never learns anything from it, so it does nothing and reform doesn’t come from this ‘faith,’ either. Instead, faith is God’s work in us, that changes us and gives new birth from God. (John 1:13). It kills the Old Adam and makes us completely different people. It changes our hearts, our spirits, our thoughts and all our powers.
R.C. Sproul: I think the whole concept of faith is one of the most misunderstood ideas that we have, misunderstood not only by the world but by the church itself. The very basis for our redemption, the way in which we are justified by God, is through faith. The Bible is constantly talking to us about faith, and if we misunderstand that, we’re in deep trouble. The great issue of the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century was, How is a person justified? Luther’s controversial position was that we are justified by faith alone. When he said that, many of the godly leaders in the Roman Catholic Church were very upset. They said, “Does that mean that a person can just believe in Jesus and then live any way they want to live?” In other words, the Roman Catholic Church reacted fiercely because they were afraid that Luther’s view would be understood as an easy-believism in which a person only had
This post is adapted from Taking God Seriously: Vital Things We Need to Know by J. I. Packer. Watch a series of videos in which Dr. Packer reflects on his life, ministry, and key doctrines for the church today at JIPacker.com. J.I. Packer: What Is Faith? The word faith is used elusively and does in truth mean different things to different people, though this fact often goes unrecognized. Some churches—in an effort to be unitive—constantly refer to the faith as a common property held by all who worship, without defining or analyzing its substance, so that worshippers can go for years without any clear notion of what their church stands for. Theologians rise up to affirm that, in idea at least, faith goes beyond mere orthodoxy (belief of truth) to orthopraxy (living out that truth in worship and service, love to God and man)—and in saying this they are right so far. But when some think orthodoxy sanctions behavior that