Blog Posts on The Grace of God

When It Feels Like God Is Punishing You

Jon Bloom

As a Christian, when you experience a painful providence like an illness or a rebellious child or a broken marriage or a financial hardship or persecution, do you ever wonder if God is punishing you for some sin you committed?

If you do, there is some very good news from the letter to the Hebrews.

The original readers of this letter had been experiencing persecution and affliction for some time. They were tired, discouraged, and confused — why was God allowing such... Continue Reading

He Knows Me

Josh Etter
He Knows Me

J. I. Packer:

What matters supremely is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it — the fact that he knows me. I am graven on the palms of his hands. I am never out of his mind.

All my knowledge of him depends on his sustained initiative in knowing me. I know him because he first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, one who loves me; and there is not a moment when his eye is off me, or his attention distracted from me, and... Continue Reading

What the Lilac Preached to Me

Jon Bloom

The man at Home Depot said I had to choose between having kids and having a yard.

I have five kids. And our friends next door have five kids. Inner-city living means that most of the biking, digging, running, building, light saber wars and ball games occur inside the fenced confines of our little yard.

Choice made, I guess.

Spring’s advent has resurrected my fantasy of a lush, well-kept lawn with trimmed bushes, weeded flowerbeds, and drainpipes that don’t get stamped flat. That... Continue Reading

What’s the Difference Between Jesus and the Lawyers?

John Piper
What’s the Difference Between Jesus and the Lawyers?

Jesus said, “Woe to you lawyers! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers” (Luke 11:46).

How is Jesus different from that? (Be careful.)

Does he give us no burden to bear? That is not the difference. He does give us a burden to bear.

Is it a lighter burden? The question is ambiguous. Does it mean: Is the burden objectively lighter? Or does it mean: Though objectively heavier, is the... Continue Reading

Don’t Focus on Your Strengths

Jon Bloom

The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation (Exodus 15:2).

For the past decade or so, discovering our strengths has been the buzz in North America, particularly in leadership and management circles. Lots of books have been published and numerous tests developed to help us identify our strengths.

The closest biblical parallels are texts like Ephesians 4:11, 1 Corinthians 12:28, Romans 12:6–8, and others where we are given lists of gifts “that differ... Continue Reading

Be Fascinated with Grace

David Mathis

We’re all too prone to take God’s grace for granted. Perhaps especially as we perceive ourselves to be climbing the ladder of formal theological training.

At the heart of the danger of seminary is coming to treat lightly the grace of God. But a healthy experience of seminary will do precisely the opposite.

The Centrality of Grace

Grace is no peripheral thing in Christianity. God’s astoundingly lavish favor toward us terribly undeserving sinners, because of Jesus, is at the very... Continue Reading

Do You Dread a False Deity?

Jonathan Parnell

Samuel Bourn:

All true fear of the Supreme Being can only spring from a right knowledge of him. And it consists, first and fundamentally, in conceiving and believing him to be what he is, most powerful indeed, but at the same time, most wise, just, and benevolent. . . .

The character and title most certainly ascribed by our Savior and his Apostles to the Supreme being is The Father: the appellation [or name] by which we are taught to address him, [is] Our Father in heaven. . . .... Continue Reading

A Word for Those Who Have Forsaken Jesus

John Piper
A Word for Those Who Have Forsaken Jesus

How eager Jesus was to restore broken fellowship with his apostles after the resurrection! Surely this is a sign of how eager he is to restore us when we have drifted (or bolted) away.

All the apostles had forsaken him. In the garden, at his most sorrowful hour, "They all left him and fled” (Mark 14:50).

Now he was raised. What would he say to those who had abandoned him? Three healing things:

  1. To Mary at the tomb: “Go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to... Continue Reading

That Crazy Star of Bethlehem

David Mathis

Behold, the star that they had seen when it rose
went before them until it came to rest
over the place where the child was. (Matthew 2:9)

The star moved. Really?

This is already the second time in this short section that Matthew’s making sure he has our attention. “Behold” is his effort to make sure we’re tracking with him.

First it was verse 1: “Behold, magi from the east came to Jerusalem . . . .” We’re supposed to be surprised that pagan astrologers came to see baby Jesus. (For... Continue Reading

When the Whispers of Discontent Have No Chance

John Knight
When the Whispers of Discontent Have No Chance

As the father of a child with severe disabilities, one of the things I am asked frequently is "what can I do for you?" I can understand that. We are oriented toward action. And if we can’t be doing something for another person, then it can feel like we aren’t really expressing our care.

But sometimes the "doing" is actually trusting and resting in something other than ourselves.

Like the word of God.

A Thanksgiving Reflection

Last week Joe Scheumann, Development... Continue Reading