Category: The Gospel and the Christian Life

Assurance, Perseverance and the High Priestly Ministry of Jesus

Jesus Christ meets the qualifications to be mediator and high priest to His people. Someone may be qualified for a position without actually having the authority to hold it. Qualification is a prerequisite, but there must be an appointment to the office if the work is to be acceptable and binding. Hebrews 5:4-6 teaches that Jesus is not only qualified to be high priest but that God has also appointed Him to this office. This matter of appointment is important for two reasons: the first is that it determines the way the office is carried out. Verses 4 and 5 make this point, “And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was. So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you” A true priest is not one who has acted to elevate himself in the eyes of men or God. A true priest is motivated solely by a desire to honor God and serve men, without concern for personal advancement. Jesus did not come to earth seeking glory for himself but to do the will of his Father in heaven. “If I glorify myself,” he said, “my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me” (John 8:54). Philip Hughes observes....

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Confidence, Perseverance, and the High Priestly Ministry of Jesus

In Hebrews 2:14 the writer says it is “our confession” that Christians must hold fast to. The early church employed theological formulas to express the faithful’s confession, like the Apostle’s Creed. These confessions remind believers that there is true content to their profession of faith. Some people say they are against creeds, but creeds are simply summaries of biblical teaching. The Latin word credo means, “I believe.” It matters what Christians believe– there is content they cannot let go of without letting go of salvation in Christ: things like who Jesus is and what He has done to save His people from their sins. J.C. Ryle explains:  A Religion without doctrine or dogma is a thing which many are fond of talking of in the present day. It sounds very fine at first. It looks very pretty at a distance. But the moment we sit down to examine and consider it, we shall find it a simple impossibility. We might as well talk of a body without bones and sinews. No man will ever be anything or do anything in religion, unless he believes something. No one ever fights earnestly against the world, the flesh and the devil, unless he has engraven on his heart certain great principles which he believes.[1] The writer of Hebrews goes on to give God’s people a doctrinal reason why they are to persevere....

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Self-Control, Serving, and a Christmas Thunderdome

  I kind of dread Christmas morning because I know that my kids will get gifts that will require some assembly. Rather than reading the Spanish/Chinese/English directions, I will inevitably just plunge right in. How hard can a kid’s bicycle be? Of course, this is why I always have to apologize to my daughter when her bike winds up looking like something out of a Mad Max movie complete with tassels. Like any process, sanctification involves steps. Try to bake a cake or assemble a bike without following the steps and your kid winds looking like they are about to enter the Thunderdome. Yet, when it comes to becoming more Christ-like, many us just wing it as if we are experts who have done this a million times. For as much as I have read on sanctification, I have never tried to actually follow the process. This is inexcusable because the process steps are clearly laid in the Bible in 2 Peter 1:3-7: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful...

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“In all your ways acknowlege him…”

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6) “In all your ways acknowledge Him…” When I was reading through this well-known passage the other day, that six-word phrase struck in a way that it never had before. Think about it: “In all your ways acknowledge him…” Do I really do this? In all my ways? Imagine what the day would look like if we did: When you wake up – acknowledge Him. When you get out of bed – acknowledge Him. When you open your Bible – acknowledge Him. When you get ready to go to work – acknowledge Him. When you eat your breakfast—the first meal of the day—which God Himself provided – acknowledge Him. When you step outside and take in the first breath of fresh air – acknowledge Him. When you sit down at your desk (or wherever it is that you work from) – acknowledge Him. Whether He goes acknowledged or not, we are still dependent on God. Even with these common graces of life, we are utterly dependent on God. Every moment we live and every step we take is given under divine warrant and direction.That is why we are to trust the Lord with our entire heart and being. “Trust...

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Serving – A Trinitarian Reflection

Humans are only personal because God is personal. Not only does He create us to have a relationship with him (otherwise how can it be a relationship), but in Genesis 2 God shows Adam how he can have one with other humans, namely his new wife Eve. In Genesis 2:24, God tells Adam and Eve just how deep this relationship between them should go, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” However God is capable of having far deeper and more meaningful relationships that we cannot even begin to fathom. As Louis Berkhof states, “The original form of personality is not in man but in God…, what appears as imperfect in man exists in infinite proportion in God.”[i] No matter how hard I try, I could never know anyone as intimately and completely as God could – just read Psalm 139. In addition to fellowship with God, we also come into union with God’s people. Christ brought us not only individually to him but he also created a people – bound together through his blood, see Eph 2:18-22. Our new fellowship and relationship with God’s people serves as the basis for relationships with others, especially other Christians – since we are one body together. Pastor John Stott writes, “Thus the very purpose of his...

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