J. Gresham Machen, one of the great proclaimers and defenders of the Christian faith in the early 20th century, went through a season of fearful doubt on his way to solid confidence. Remarkably, it was his mother who spoke one of the decisive words of rescue. He tells the story:
The question is not merely whether we can rest in our faith, but whether we can rest in the doubt that is the necessary alternative of faith. We pass sometimes through periods of very low spiritual vitality. The wonderful gospel which formerly seemed to be so glorious comes to seem almost like an idle tale. Hosts of objections arise in our minds; the whole unseen world recedes in the dim distance, and w…
The last 12 verses of Romans 8 (verses 28–39) are the biblical Himalayas, and Romans 8:32 is Mount Everest.
[God] did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Stand in awe at this summit. First step back and view the whole range, and then focus your gaze on the highest peak. And then reorient your thinking about life’s hardest times and deepest pains and God’s unflinching commitment to work for the good of those who love him.
The reason Romans 8:32 is so breathtakingly stunning is that it combines God’s most massive promises for his people with the (seemingly) simple reality of the gospel…
There is such a thing as unconditional love in God, but it’s not what most people mean by it.
- It’s not a saving love that he has for everybody. Else everybody would be saved, since they would not have to meet any conditions, not even faith. But Jesus said everybody is not saved (Matthew 25:46).
- It’s not the love that justifies sinners since the Bible says we are justified by faith, and faith is a condition (Romans 5:1).
- It’s not the love of working all things together for our good because Paul says that happens “to those who love God” (Romans 8:28).
- It’s not the love of the most intimate fellowship with the Father because Jesus said, “H…
This is the opportunity of a lifetime. I mean that. Don Carson, one of the most respected, faithful, competent, compelling, and understandable biblical scholars in the world will do what he has never done before and will probably never do again.
At the north campus of Bethlehem Baptist Church, over the next two weekends, starting at 6:30 P. M. Friday, February 20, Dr. Carson will lead a free 12 hour seminar that takes you through the whole Bible and puts the whole great story together.
If you are in or near the Twin Cities I encourage you to come. I promise you, you will never read the Bible the same after seeing how it all fits together with Dr. Carson’s help.
Ask your non-Chr…
It is important that we know the nature of the evil in our hearts.
Do you think the essence of your evil is disobeying commandments? That’s a good start. But it’s not the essence of our evil. Commands simply name the evil and its fruits, and tell us not to do them.
The essence of our evil is that we prefer anything to God (Romans 1:23; 2:23). Commands do not create the possibility of evil. Commands name it.
Long before we are told not to covet, we covet. Disobeying the command, “Thou shalt not covet,” is not equivalent to the evil of coveting. The evil of coveting is there first, and then is compounded by the transgression of the commandment not to covet.
Paul said, “I wou…
“He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3).
We know very little about Jesus’ childhood. But as I’ve been meditating recently on what it must have been like growing up having Jesus as a sibling, I can’t help but wonder what it must have been like for him.
We know that Jesus’ own brothers didn’t believe in him (John 7:5), possibly until after his resurrection (Acts 1:14). Could some of Jesus’ experience of rejection and grief possibly have resulted from estrangement he experienced in his own family simply because he was without sin?
He was a perfect child living with sinful parents, sinful siblings, and sinful extended relatives. The dif…
If you have two functional legs, imagine life without them.... Imagine life without them.... Imagine that your legs are gone so that you can have life.
That’s the story of my cousin, Mal. He was in a coma, almost dead, and his sons and daughter agreed to the one medication that might save his life, knowing that the loss of fingers or feet was a likely side effect.
Despite weeks of therapy, he did lose both legs below the knee. He says, “You would think that I would be angry and bitter. I can only say, God gave me two months [of therapy] to be prepared for this.”
Yes. Losing one’s legs is desperately difficult. But how might it change our perspective if losing legs meant keepi…
Last Thursday two judges pleaded guilty in Philadelphia to accepting more than $2.6 million from a private youth detention center in return for giving hundreds of youths and teenagers long sentences.
Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan admitted that for three years they took payoffs from two penal childcare institutions.
In this we move not just beyond the law of Christ (1 Corinthians 9:21), and not just beyond the law of Moses (Exodus 23:21), but beyond the law written on the heart before there was any law of Moses.
Before Mount Sinai, when Moses was overwhelmed with having to decide more cases in Israel than he could handle, his father-in-law told him he needed help. W…
A Love Poem of Hope
in Seven Languages
for my wife Noël
Valentines Day, 2009
My love, come listen as I seek
With seven tongues, and hope, on your
Sweet soul to let our Sovereign speak:
Je suis avec vous tous les jours.
He bids us come and learn to rest
Beneath his feather burden. Come feel,
He says, how light, how sweet, how blessed,
Porque me yugo es facil.
And if we fear what yet will be,
He tells us what we yet will see:
’al tiyra’ kiy ‘imkah aniy
temaktiykah biymiyn tsadkiy.
If darkness lingers on, and thus
Delays the precious light of dawn,
Fear not, because we know for us
God works panta eis agathon.
And if barbarians invade
The soul, and take our borderlands,
My favorite love letter (besides the ones I write for Noël and she for me) is from the 19-year-old Jonathan Edwards to the girl he was falling in love with in the summer of 1723. On the front page of his Greek grammar he wrote the only kind of love song his heart was capable of. Take a deep breath.
They say there is a young lady in [New Haven] who is beloved of that great Being who made and rules the world, and that there are certain seasons in which this great Being, in some way or other invisible, comes to her and fills her mind with exceeding sweet delight, and that she hardly cares for anything, except to meditate on him—that she expects after a while to be received up wher…