Jonathan Edwards viewed heaven as a place where the joy of God's people will only increase forever and ever. (Sam Storms passionately unpacked this grand vision at our 2003 National Conference in his message "Joy's Eternal Increase: Edwards on the Beauty of Heaven.")
But why did Edwards think this? What will cause the saints' joy to constantly overflow and expand again and again into eternity? Edwards explains in Miscellanies #137:
The object of their thought shall be the glory of God; which they shall contemplate in the creation in general, in the wonderful make of it, particularly of the highest heavens, and in the wonders of God's providence. It shall most clearly and delightfully…
Greg Lucas is a dear friend who has contributed a gift to the Church in his new book Wrestling with an Angel: A Story of Love, Disability, and the Lesson of Grace.
Here's my endorsement of the book:
It is a rare book that makes much of God and our dependency on Him while also celebrating His goodness through hard things. Using his own example of parenting a child with significant disabilities, Greg demonstrates what relying on a sovereign God through extreme difficulty and suffering looks like. This book is a gift to the church, and particularly to men who need an example of masculine, Biblical leadership in the face of complex, confusing, and overwhelming circumstances. If you have eve…
"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant,being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."
This text is set apart in its description of Jesus becoming a human being. It seems that often readers focus so much on the humility of Christ detailed in verses 6-8 that the exaltation of Christ in verses 9-11 only plays the part of an exegetical crescendo. The grammatical connection between verses 6-8 a…
In Evil and the Cross, Henri Blocher writes about the tension that exists for the Christian regarding the existence of evil:
The evil of evil, the lordship of the Lord, the goodness of God: these three immovable propositions stand together as the basis of biblical doctrine. We can picture them as a capital T: the sovereignty of God forms the stem, the two branches being the denunciation of evil and the praise of God in his goodness. But the great difficulty lies in holding all three together (100).
Blocher then considers the cross of Jesus Christ:
In the light of the cross, how could there be any doubt about the three propositions at the heart of the Christian position?
The sheer a…
1 Corinthians 15:1-5:
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the salvation of those who trust him is old news. It is really old, really good news. So what are we aiming for in hearing again and…
Both of my hands are gently gripped on the shoulders of my toddler. As I try to square up our eyes, she squirms and looks away. I say with a Spirit-empowered tenderness, “Elizabeth, obey your daddy.”
She doesn’t get this yet, but I am really calling her to faith in Jesus.
It goes this way: I tell her to not grab random cups off the table and drink out of them because I want to protect her from pouring hot coffee on herself. When she grabs cups off the table then I discipline her. It is a necessity. My disciplining her is protecting her from burning her face. I want to protect her because I love her. I want to protect her because Jesus gave her to me as my daughter, and me to her as her…
The way we understand the occasion of such a thing as " neighbors" fundamentally changes our actions toward them. Here is one of the most helpful things I've read on the simple idea—we have neighbors.
In his book Holiness, John Webster writes:
Love involves my acknowledgement that I am obliged by my neighbor as a reality given to me by God, a reality which I would often like to evade but which encounters me with a transcendent imperative force.
Why is this 'transcendent' ground for works of human fellowship theologically decisive? Because thereby my neighbour, the one with whom I stand in relation, is given to me, forming part of my destiny in the company of the saints. My neighbour is…
In his essay "The Gospel as Prisoner and Liberator of Culture," Andrew Walls introduces two principles of the gospel's impact upon culture. These two principles express an aspect of the gospel's wonder that we should celebrate. There is nothing else like this in the universe.
The Indigenizing Principle
Church history has always been a battleground for two opposing tendencies; and the reason is that each of the tendencies has its origin in the Gospel itself. On the one hand it is of the essence of the Gospel that God accepts us as we are, on the ground of Christ's work alone, not on the ground of what we have become or are trying to become. But, if He accepts us "as we a…
Where sin abounds with Achan at Jericho, grace abounds all the more at the defeat of Ai. And that abundant grace "spoils" the Israelites.
When God brings Israel back to Canaan to take possession of it, after being gone for 400 years in Egypt and 40 years in the wilderness, the first city they come to is Jericho. There God promises that he will give them victory: "See, I have given Jericho into your hand" (Joshua 6:2).
But there is one caveat to their destruction of Jericho:
The city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction. . . Keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction. (6:17-18)
When the day arrives and the wall falls down, the Lord is…
I really wasn't very thankful and I should have been. My mom was very consistent and persistent in doing two things with me again and again; warning and rebuke. Again and again, as I was getting ready to leave the house as a teenager, mom would warn me about the dangers and temptations of life in a fallen world. I didn't really appreciate her moral mini-lectures. I would stand there impatiently or remind her that she had said the same thing to me many times. I saw these times as an imposition, a hassle that stood between me and the planned activity of the evening.
She was also very committed to rebuke. The word itself doesn't sound very kind. But it is. Rebuke is meant to help you…