Augustine on God's Love, Wrath, and the Cross

Michael Johnson
Augustine on God's Love, Wrath, and the Cross

How (and when) does God’s love for us relate to Christ’s death on the cross?

Augustine:

God’s love is incomprehensible and unchangeable. For it was not after we were reconciled to him through the blood of his Son that he began to love us. Rather, he has loved us before the world was created, that we also might be his sons along with his only-begotten Son—before we became anything at all.

The fact that we were reconciled through Christ’s death must not be understood... Continue Reading

Salt, Suffering, and Satisfaction

John Piper
Salt, Suffering, and Satisfaction

Try this interpretation of what it means for Christians to be salt.

I suggest that being salty as a Christian means at root being so profoundly satisfied by Christ as our eternal reward, we are freed from fear and greed for the sacrifices of love, while rejoicing at persecution.

Let’s see if that works in three texts.

Matthew 5:11-13

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for... Continue Reading

Packer on the Cross and Christ’s Love

Michael Johnson
Packer on the Cross and Christ’s Love

Luther gazed at Christ’s cross with steady joy and gloried in the fact that whoever trusts Christ can be assured of his love. He once wrote to a troubled friend, “Learn to know Christ and him crucified. Learn to sing to him, and say, ‘Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness, I am your sin. You have taken upon yourself what is mine and given me what is yours. You have become what you were not so that I might become what I was not.’” There has been an exchange, a great and... Continue Reading

Recovering a Theology of Martyrdom

Paul Miller
Recovering a Theology of Martyrdom

When I first read as a child about early Christian martyrs, I was fascinated but puzzled. I was fascinated by their willingness to follow Jesus to death, to witness (the meaning of martyr) through their deaths. I could see the necessity and even beauty of martyrdom, but I was puzzled by the early church’s treating it as a prize, as a kind of Academy Award, something to be sought after. It is one thing to have martyrdom happen to you, it is an entirely another to prize it.... Continue Reading

How to Live Like Christ

Josh Etter

In Ephesians 5:1 Paul tells us to be "imitators of God". How can we obey such a holy commandment? William Temple writes:

"It is no good giving me a play like Hamlet or King Lear, and telling me to write a play like that. Shakespeare could do it — I can’t. And it is no good showing me a life like the life of Jesus and telling me to live a life like that. Jesus could do it — I can’t. But if the genius of Shakespeare could come and live in me, then I could write plays like this. And if... Continue Reading

Stott on The Self-Substitution of God

Michael Johnson
Stott on The Self-Substitution of God

We strongly reject, therefore, every explanation of the death of Christ which does not have at its centre the principle of ‘satisfaction through substitution’, indeed divine self-satisfaction through divine self-substitution.

The cross was not:

a commercial bargain with the devil, let alone one which tricked and trapped him;

nor an exact equivalent, a quid pro quo to satisfy a code of honour or technical point of law;

nor a compulsory submission by God to some moral... Continue Reading

Luther on True Contemplation of the Cross

Michael Johnson
Luther on True Contemplation of the Cross

Let us meditate a moment on the passion of Christ....true contemplation is that in which the heart is crushed and the conscience smitten....You must be overwhelmed by the frightful wrath of God who so hated sin that he spared not his only begotten Son. What can the sinner expect if the beloved Son was so afflicted? It must be an inexpressible and unendurable yearning that causes God’s Son himself so to suffer. Ponder this and you will tremble, and the more you... Continue Reading

Women Increasingly Pursue Porn

John Piper

I think Jesus would say that internet pornography is one of Satan’s most powerful baits that he puts on the hook of hell. I say that because of how he connects hell and lust.

Everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. (Matthew 5:28–29).

Now we are seeing... Continue Reading

Make Holy Week Holy to the Lord

John Piper

The week between Palm Sunday and Easter is not intrinsically holy, except that all time is holy, since it belongs to God. But we can make it holy by setting it apart for sacred focus.

May I encourage you to do that, for the sake of seeing more of the greatness of Christ. He reveals himself through his word. Take up his word and focus your attention on him in his last hours. Set aside some time this week to fix your gaze steadily on him as he loves you to the uttermost (John... Continue Reading

How Awesome Is That Day to Me

Josh Etter

Ponder these words as Holy Week begins. You might consider using this poem in your personal or family devotions this week:

How awesome is that day to me-
O day of hallowed history!
Set time in God’s determined plan
To sacrifice the Son of Man.
What famous work that day was done
By Jesus Christ, His Perfect Son!
The Second Adam, sent to save,
Humbly obeying to the grave!

How savage is that day to me-
O day of pure brutality!
When Christ, the Son of God Most High,
Was... Continue Reading