When Following Jesus Means Going Home

Jon Bloom

We tend to think of following Jesus as leaving behind the familiar for the unfamiliar. But sometimes, like for the man in Luke 8:26-39, the more difficult call is to go back home.

For the first time in a long time he was in full control of his mind. He could think! No rage. No fear. No torment. Peace like the quiet sea. He actually wanted to keep his clothes on.

But the most strangely wonderful thing of all was his sense of cleanness. His soul was clean.

The tomb-man... Continue Reading

Make It Free: A Follow Up

Jon Bloom

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... Continue Reading

How Willingly Do People Go to Hell?

John Piper

C.S. Lewis is one of the top 5 dead people who have shaped the way Isee and respond to the world. But he is not a reliable guide on anumber of important theological matters. Hell is one of them. Hisstress is relentlessly that people are not “sent” to hell but becometheir own hell. His emphasis is that we should think of “a bad man’sperdition not as a sentence imposed on him but as the mere fact ofbeing what he is.” (For all the relevant quotes, see Martindale andRoot, The... Continue Reading

One of the Most Important Principles in Reading the Bible

John Piper

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... Continue Reading

Why Was Zedekiah Roasted in the Fire

John Piper

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... Continue Reading

Why We Love the Doctrines of Grace

John Piper

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... Continue Reading

Should Christians Say That Their Aim Is to Convert Others?

John Piper

First of all, why am I asking this question? Three reasons:

  1. 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.
  2. 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... Continue Reading

Amazing Grace in the Wreckage of Adultery

Jon Bloom

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... Continue Reading

God Gives the Equipment and Makes It Successful

John Piper

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... Continue Reading