Category: The Gospel and the Christian Life

The sweetness of the grace of God

Do you believe and live out the truth of the sweetness of the grace of God? Often times I find myself whether I am working on homework, reading a stack of books or walking around my neighborhood thinking about the sweetness of the grace of God. As I do this I often think back to previous mistakes and circumstances in my life and also to the present about what the Lord is doing in my life. In Ephesians 1:18 Paul says this, “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.” Paul teaches this in the context of Ephesians 1:15-23 a section in which Paul is giving a prayer of thanksgiving. Paul is praying that the church will gain deep insight into the Lord’s powerful working and rich gifts in Christ. When I think of the sweetness of the grace of God I cannot help but turn to Ephesians 3:16-19. In Ephesians 3:16 the Spirit applies to believers the presence and power of God. The inner man refers to one’s inner self as a human being. Christ already dwells in Christian but Paul prays here for his indwelling with power. In v.16 Paul speaks of the indwelling “Spirit” and here of the indwelling Christ teaching about...

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The Meaning of New Covenant Ministry

2nd Corinthians 3:1-8 describes Paul’s ministry of the New Covenant as a ministry of the Spirit. In 1:3-2:17, Paul defended his legitimacy as an apostle on the basis of his suffering as the means by which Christians are comforted (1:3-11) and God is made known to the world (2:14-17). Now he does so based on the reality of the life transforming Spirit being preached through his apostolic ministry of the New Covenant. Paul in (2nd Corinthians 3:1-6) describes the reality of the Spirit in Paul’s ministry. Paul begins this section by making it clear that as an apostle, he was called to mediate the Spirit in fulfillment of the New Covenant. 2nd Corinthians 3:1, “Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you?” Paul expects a negative answer to his two rhetorical questions since his claim to be an apostle is not an empty boast (he does not commend himself) but is supported by the Spirit and by his ministry of suffering. 2nd Corinthians 3:2-4, “You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts....

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The Christ-Centered nature of Scripture

The Gospel is Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. When this is  confused or muffled as it has disastrous consequences for Churches locally, globally and for Christians individually. Dr. Goldsworthy points out that the meaning of Scriptures is unlocked by the death and resurrection of Christ. Luke 24:13-35 points to the need for Christian leaders and believers to understand the Christ-centric nature of Scripture in order to properly interpret the Bible. Jesus by explaining the Scriptures was engaging in the task of hermeneutics. The words “gospel-centered” and “Christ-centered” have become buzzwords in Reformed and evangelical circles much the same way that the emergent church became popular many years go. Words such as “Gospel-centered” and “Christ-Centered” are biblical and therefore should be defined and explained biblically. It is far too common in evangelical circles today to attach a “label” to such buzzwords and then the meaning is lost. The Christ-Centered nature of the Bible should never be assumed but explained and upheld by every evangelical believer. The phrase “Gospel-Centered” should never be treated lightly because the death, burial and resurrection of Christ form the basis for the Gospel. Christ-Centered means just hat keeping Christ at the center of the explanation of the passage. Being Christ-Centered does not mean forcing a biblical text into saying “this is about Christ” but explaining how it relates to Christ. Being “Gospel-Centered” like being “Christ-Centered” does...

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Submission to Government and Leaders

Romans 13:1-7 addresses the responsibility of Christians to governing authorities. They are to “be subject to” (which means to obey 1 Pet 3:5-6). The government has been ordained by God. Paul is speaking here of the general principle of submission to government. Several other passages show that God approves of Christians disobeying government, but only when obedience to government would mean disobeying God (Ex. 1:17, 21; 1 Kings 18:4-16; Est 4:16; Dan 3:12-18; 6:10; Matt 2:12; Acts 5:29; Heb. 11:23). There were even times when God raised up leaders to rebel against the government and deliver his people from evil rulers (Exodus 1-14; Judg. 2:16; Heb. 11:32-34). Dr. Seifrid (Seifrid, pp. 681) said, “Paul here emphatically underscores the eschatological nature of the gospel. Faith in this gospel brings with it rejection and persecution from the fallen world, which remains in rebellion against its Creator. Paul’s affirmation that God has ordained earthly government is to be understood in this context; otherwise, his readers mighty falsely understand the gospel to enjoin the rejection of all secular authority, potentially leading to rebellion or sedition.” Dr. Schreiner (Schreiner, pp. 677) said ,”Romans. 12:1-2 is the thematic introduction for the whole section. Giving oneself wholly to God and being transformed in one’s thinking are also expressed in how one relates to governing authorities. The total dedication called for in 12:1-2 does not relate to...

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Put Off the Flesh Put on Christ

Introduction Colossians 3:5-17 falls within the broader section of Colossians 3:5-4:6 in which Paul gives instructions on living the Christian life. Based on their death and resurrection with Christ and the hope of future life with Him, Paul encourages the Colossians to continue eliminating sinful behaviors from their lives and cultivating Christian virtues. In Colossians 3:5-11 Paul is dealing with the sins of the past. Here Paul calls the Colossians to make a decisive break with the sinful tendencies they have carried with them in their Christian lives. In Colossians 3:12-17 Paul calls the Colossians to a holy lifestyle, consistent with their new identity in Christ. Believers have been chosen by God and stand before him as his beloved holy ones. They are to live up to what they are in Christ. Explanation of Colossians 3:5-16 “Put to death what is earthly,” in Colossians 3:5, is possible because believer have died with Christ (2:20; 3:3), so they can get rid of sinful practices (Rom. 6:11; 8:13). The language of putting to death indicates that Christians have to take severe measures to conquer sin. Calvin calls this putting to death mortification.[1] Watchfulness and prayerfulness against it will be the first steps (Matthew 26:41), with self-discipline following (Matthew. 5:29-30). Sexual immorality refers to every kind of sexual activity outside of marriage. Five of the items that Paul lists have to do with...

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