The New Testament makes essential things crystal clear: "there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name [besides Jesus] under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Deny that and you deny the gospel.
But the New Testament also has a category of gospel-informed convictions which are deeply held, sometimes strongly commended, yet are not universal mandates. These are intended by God to shape our kingdom mindset, guard against temptation, and test our hearts. But they are also meant to be adaptable to our particular calling and context.
One example was Paul's conviction that he should go to extraordinary lengths to keep money from being a hind…
Posting all of our content online for free is something we love to do. There is also a theology behind it. We made this video to talk a bit about that. In it I discuss three reasons we post everything for free:
- It reduces friction
- The gospel is free
- We exist first to serve, not be served
You might also be interested in a couple of articles I wrote about this:
C.S. Lewis is one of the top 5 dead people who have shaped the way I see and respond to the world. But he is not a reliable guide on a number of important theological matters. Hell is one of them. His stress is relentlessly that people are not “sent” to hell but become their own hell. His emphasis is that we should think of “a bad man’s perdition not as a sentence imposed on him but as the mere fact of being what he is.” (For all the relevant quotes, see Martindale and Root, The Quotable Lewis, 288-295.)
This inclines him to say, “All that are in hell choose it.” And this leads some who follow Lewis in this emphasis to say things like, “All God does in the end with people is give them w…
Sometimes readers of the Bible see the conditions that God lays down for his blessing and they conclude from these conditions that our action is first and decisive, then God responds to bless us.
That is not right.
There are indeed real conditions that God often commands. We must meet them for the promised blessing to come. But that does not mean that we are left to ourselves to meet the conditions or that our action is first and decisive.
Here is one example to show what I mean.
In Jeremiah 29:13 God says to the exiles in Babylon, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” So there is a condition: When you seek me with all your heart, then you w…
The horrors of physical suffering correspond to the horrors of moral and spiritual outrage. Sometimes this means that people’s suffering is directly correlated with their immorality and belittling of God. This will be the case, for example, with the eternal suffering of hell. It will correspond in perfectly just measure with the outrage of an individual’s sin.
But often the correlation is indirect. Everyone suffers physically because of the outrage of Adam’s sin, and because of God’s subjecting all of creation to futility (Romans 8:20). But these sufferings do not all correspond to an individual’s particular sins. All physical suffering corresponds to moral and spiritual outrage, but n…
Unconditional election delivers the harshest and the sweetest judgments to my soul.
That it is unconditional destroys all self-exaltation; and that it is election makes me his treasured possession.
This is one of the beauties of the biblical doctrines of grace: their worst devastations prepare us for their greatest delights.
What prigs we would become at the words, “The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 7:6), if this election were in any way dependent on our will. But to protect us from pride, the Lord teaches us that we are unconditionally chosen (7:7-9). “He made a wretch his tre…
First of all, why am I asking this question? Three reasons:
- Because in our delicate and dangerous setting of global religious pluralism, how we speak about our aims can get us kicked out of a country or worse.
- Because we want to follow Paul’s pattern of honesty: "But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Corinthians 4:2).
- Because we need biblical clarity about our role in converting others to Christ, lest we shrink back from the aim of conversion for mistaken reaso…
In staff devotions recently we were in Proverbs 6. Solomon warns his son against the devastation of adultery. In verses 32-33 he writes,
He who commits adultery lacks sense;
he who does it destroys himself.
He will get wounds and dishonor,
and his disgrace will not be wiped away.
For Solomon, every warning against adultery must have been haunted by the memory of his father and mother, David and Bathsheba. Imagine what he must have felt. He was the product of a marriage that never should have been.
He watched the royal family, in the middle of Israel's golden age, implode because this union that brought him into existence had come into exis…
What does the blood of the eternal covenant secure for us? It secures both God’s equipping of us and the successful use of that equipment to make our lives pleasing to God.
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,
- equip you with everything good that you may do his will,
- working in us that which is pleasing in his sight,
through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21)
Christ shed the blood of the eternal covenant. By this successful redemption, he obtained the blessing of resurrection from the dead. He is …
Grace is not only God’s disposition to do good for us when we don’t deserve it. It is an actual power from God that acts and makes good things happen in us and for us. For example, Paul says,
By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10)
God’s grace was God’s acting in Paul to make Paul work hard. So when Paul says, “Work out your salvation,” he adds, “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Grace is power from God to do good things in us and fo…