Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sinner and Saint

I have been reflecting on being a sinner and a saint at the same time.  In doing some surfing on this topic, I came across an interesting quote from Cornelius Plantinga Jr., Beyond Doubt (p. 89) on Justin Taylor's blog:

People tend to make two mistakes when they think about the redeemed life.

The first is to underestimate the sin that remains in us; it’s still there and it can still hurt us.

The second is to underestimate the strength of God’s grace; God is determined to make us new.

As a result, all Christians need to say two things.

We admit that we are redeemed sinners.

But we also say boldly and joyously that we are redeemed sinners.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Church and Mission

The New Testament knows little of an individualized faith separated from Christian community. If we speak of evangelism, we must also speak of the church. In the book of Acts, we see God himself "adding" new believers to the church (Acts 2:41, 47; 5:14). One cannot read Acts without noting that nearly everywhere the gospel was preached, communities of believers are formed. Evangelism led to the establishment of churches under a local spiritual leadership and interrelated with other churches. To belong to Christ is also to belong to Christ's people (I Cor 12:13).
Craig Ott, Professor Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Encountering Theology of Mission, p. 118

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

An Uncertain Economic Future

Save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, alike a bird from the hand of the fowler.  Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.  Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.  How long will you lie there, O sluggard?  When will you arise from your sleep?  A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man (Prov 6:5-11 ESV).

I received my weekly 'Cabot Wealth Advisory' today that looked at the end of quantitative easing, the likelihood of higher interest rates, and an uncertain future.  I am not a fear monger but I am surprised we are not in a worse economic situation than we currently find ourselves in and I do not see things getting better any time soon.  This newsletter reinforces some of my concerns.  Here is a summary.

According to the U.S. Debt Clock (, one of the most widely cited tools to measure our nation's ballooning debt load, the U.S. government owes $14.3 trillion to our creditors.  That's nearly $130,000 per taxpayer.  In addition, according to the Federal Budget released by President Obama in mid-February, we're currently on pace to add $1.65 trillion to our national debt this year alone!

The Federal Reserve's ginormous quantitative easing program (QE) ended a couple of weeks ago.  This has effectively taken away major support from the Treasury market.  Not only that, the  financial problems in Europe are coming to a head and there is still a sluggish economic outlook. What will happen?  Many, if not most are predicting higher interest rates.  There is one other country in recent history that has attempted to bolster their economy with QE.  Japan introduced QE in 2001 and ended the program in March of 2006.  The country was able to flood the markets with liquidity and thereby keeping interest rates low, just as the Federal Reserve has done here.  But that was only as the program was in place.  When the cash flow stopped their stock market took a steep correction.  See the chart below:

 Nikkei chart

Notice that it turned sharply lower, then rebounded in the short term only to fall again and has not since recovered and five years later is 40% lower!  I am not predicting that what happened in Japan will happen here.  I am no economist but it does make me nervous.  Consider the ant . . .

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Difference between Justification and Sanctification

I found this helpful post on the distinction between justification and sanctification today from Justin Taylors blog dated June 20, 2007:

Tony Lane:
The Reformation doctrine makes a deliberate and systematic distinction between justification on the one hand and sanctification or regeneration on the other hand.
  • Justification refers to my status; sanctification to my state.
  • Justification is about God’s attitude to me changing; sanctification is about God changing me.
  • Justification is about how God looks on me; sanctification is about what he does in me.
  • Justification is about Christ dying for my sins on the cross; sanctification is about Christ at work in me by the Holy Spirit changing my life.
The Reformers were careful to distinguish these two–but not to separate them. One cannot have one without the other–as with the heat and light of the sun. The sun gives out heat and light. These two cannot be separated. When the sun shines there is both heat and light; yet they are distinct and not to be confused. We are not warmed by the sun’s light nor illumined by its heat. To use a modern illustration, justification and sanctification are like the two legs of a pair of trousers, not like two socks which may well become separated and, in the author’s experience, too often do become separated.
Anthony N.S. Lane, Justification by Faith in Catholic-Protestant Dialogue: An Evangelical Assessment, p. 18.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Differences between our Jusification and our Sanctification

This past Sunday, preaching through Galatians 3:1-5, I made the distinction between justification and sanctification.  I wanted to draw this out more fully here.  Much of my thought on this is dependent upon Wayne Grudem.

Justification is an instantaneous legal act of God in which he (1) thinks of our sins as forgiven and Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us, and (2) declares us to be righteous in his sight.

§         Justification includes a legal declaration by God (Rom 4:5; 8:1; 3:21-22).  God forgives our past, present, and future sins and gives us Christ’s perfect record.   

§         God declares us to be just in his sight.   He declares that we have been made positively righteous (Isa 61:10); Rom 3:21-22).  God can declare us to be just because he imputes Christ's righteousness to us (Rom 5:19; 1 Cor 1:30; Phil 3:9).     

§         Justification comes to us completely by God’s grace, not on account of any merit on our part (Rom 3:23-24).  Grace means it is the opposite of doing something for ourselves.

§         God justifies us through our faith in Christ.  

Sanctification is a progressive work of both God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and like Christ in our actual lives."   Outlines are some differences between Justifications and sanctification:

Legal standing
Internal condition
Once for all time
Continuous throughout life
Entirely Gods work
We cooperate with God
Perfect in this life
Not perfect in this life
Same in all Christians
Greater in some than others

  • There are three stages of sanctification:

§         Sanctification has a definite beginning at regeneration (Titus 3:5; 1 Cor 6:11).  At the moment of conversion, we are set apart unto God. He gives us a new heart with new desires and appetites to please Him.

§         Sanctification increases throughout life (Phil 3:13-14; Heb 12:14).  The older we get, the more we should be walking with Jesus.  

§         Sanctification is completed at death (for our souls) and when the Lord returns (for our bodies) (Heb 12:23). 

  • Sanctification is never completed in this life (Mat 6:11-12; 1 John 1:8; 1 Tim 4:12-15). 

  • God and man cooperate in sanctification (Phil 2:13).  Both God and the redeemed sinner have a role in sanctification.  God changes us, gives us the ability to obey.  And then we need to be active – we strive and work out our sanctification the strength which He supplies.

  • Sanctification affects the whole person.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The best Part about Knowing God.

The bible teaches that the best and final gift of God’s love is the enjoyment of God’s beauty.  “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that I will seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple (Ps. 27:4).”  The best and final gift of the gospel is that we gain Chris. “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ (Phil 3:8).”  God is the Gospel, p. 11; italicized mine.