04 May 2015

Peace with God

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)
The cross is the door that leads to all blessings. Without it there is nothing. Without the cross and all it means, we have no blessings from God at all. But the cross opens the possibility to all of the endless blessings of the glorious God.

What are they? The apostle Paul never got tired of saying these things. Read what he says in Romans. He puts it like this: "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." "Justified by faith" means that the moment you believe in what happened on the cross and see that is God's way of reconciling you unto Himself, you are immediately regarded as just, your sins are all forgiven and blotted out, and you are clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

"Therefore," says Paul, "being justified by faith, we have peace with God." That is the first thing that comes out of this belief. There is no more important word in the letter of Paul than the word therefore. Note it. He always brings in this word "therefore" at a point of this kind. He has been laying down the doctrine, and especially the doctrine of the cross, and then he says, "therefore"—in the light of that, because of that, this is what follows.

And here is the first thing that follows. "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God." Do you realize what that means? Do you realize that is the most important and most wonderful thing that can ever happen to you, that you are given peace and made at peace with God? All our troubles in this life as human beings are due to the fact that we are in the wrong relationship to God. It is as simple as that.

— Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Further Reading
Sweep the House of the Leaven of Worldliness
The False Convert's Approach to Scripture
Nurturing Perversion

01 May 2015

This 'n' That

I recently attended a simulcast event for a popular women's 'Bible teacher.' Not long after I settled into my seat, a woman from the host church stood up to welcome us and to share with us her 'life verse.' The divine irony of this was that the most recent episode of Equipping Eve, in which I discussed the life verse craze, was airing that very same day. I couldn't help but smile, but my amusement was short-lived as I heard this woman say, "Now, what this verse means to me is…"

I wanted to scream. I wanted to throw a fruit danish at her. Anything to make her stop talking. She had just perfectly illustrated one of the biggest problems with the 'life verse' fad. Grab a verse—any verse—that 'speaks' to you and meets your need. Context? Who needs it! Is the verse no longer relevant to your life and its immediate, fleeting whims? No problem, just grab another one! After all, whatever that verse means to you is all that really matters, right?

Wrong. So terribly, horribly, grievously wrong. Quite frankly, nobody cares what that verse means to you. That is exactly what I wanted to say that day but, of course, I held my tongue. After all, I didn't want to be prematurely removed from the premises, nor did I want to disrespect any person or church. But as I watched women's heads bobbing in agreement, I couldn't help but think about the death of discernment. And I couldn't help but think that, had I stood up and declared to those women that it doesn't matter what that verse means to them, rather what matters is what God meant when He wrote the verse, that I would have received one of two reactions: 1. Nodding in agreement while staring blankly and cluelessly ahead, or 2. Anger.

So, let's forgo this whole 'life verse' thing, shall we? That catchy, pithy verse you've selected is no substitute for the whole counsel of God. Sure, you may never memorize all 66 books, but don't let that stop you from reading them, studying them, and letting them transform you.

With that, what else is there to say except to request that you sit back and enjoy your week in review (kind of):

25 April 2015

Equipping Eve: Life Verses and Labyrinths

One website defines a life verse as "the scripture quote that seems to speak to you directly – the one that holds a personal meaning for you." What is the danger of committing yourself to one "life verse" that has been divorced from its broader context? Also—what is a prayer labyrinth and are they biblical?

Click here to listen to the latest episode of Equipping Eve.

Click here to access additional resources from this episode of Equipping Eve.

Further Listening

24 April 2015

This 'n' That

Follow the Good Shepherd.
I was reading an article this week, presumably written by a believer, that presented a rather lengthy description of a Christian. "Jesus-following, church-going, Bible-believing Christians…," it said. At first I thought little of it, but then it hit me…is there any other kind of true Christian?

Is there a Christian who does not follow Christ? No, there cannot be:
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me… (John 10:27)
Is there a Christian who does not seek to fellowship with his brothers and sisters in Christ? There should not be:
…and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24–25)
Is there a Christian who does not believe the Bible? It is through the Bible that Jesus Christ is revealed, and it is only through Jesus Christ that men can be saved. A Christian must by definition believe God's Word precisely because it is God's Word:
All Scripture is inspired by God an profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness… (2 Timothy 3:16)
So why is it that we feel we need to qualify our definition of a Christian? Aren't these adjectives more than a little redundant? Or does it reveal a deeper problem? Does it mean that we are accepting of those who don't believe the Bible, and those whose lives don't demonstrate the regeneration of the Holy Spirit that results in a life of following Christ? Things to ponder.

But while you ponder, why don't you multitask and also peruse through your week in review (kind of):

20 April 2015

The Cross and the World

What is a Christian? Paul tells the Colossians that a Christian is a person who has been translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son. I no longer belong to the world—I belong to the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of light, the kingdom of glory, the kingdom of God. Here I am, and the world has nothing to do with me. I am not of it. I am in this other kingdom. Oh, I am still existing in this world, but I no longer belong to it. I have been translated. And my citizenship is now in heaven, from whence also we look for the Savior, and we know that we shall ever go on and be with the Lord. He, by dying on the cross, separates me from the world, puts me into His own kingdom, introduces me to God, and makes me a child of God and an heir of eternal bliss.

He delivers me from the world. He died so that "whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." He does more—He gives me a power that is greater than the world. Listen to John: "…greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world," and, "this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith," our faith in Him (1 John 4:4; 5:4).

And thank God, He gives us occasional glimpses of that other world, that real world, that pure, holy world that is yet going to be. This old world can never be improved and reformed. He will set up a new world: "new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness" (2 Peter 3:13). A renovated cosmos, a perfected universe, with glory everywhere. The glory of the Lord shall cover everything as the waters cover the seas.

— Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Further Reading
Justification and Sanctification
The Narrow Gate
Equipping Eve: What Is Truth?

17 April 2015

This 'n' That

For the ladies who listen to Equipping Eve (notice I said 'ladies'. Guys, are you listening? Stop it!), you know exactly what I'm talking about when I refer to what is affectionately known by the EE audience as the 'Just Be Awesome' daily calendar. This is a devotional calendar that gives you a narcissistic, man-centered, unbiblical thought upon which to reflect every day. Of course, it's not actually titled 'Just Be Awesome,' but it may as well be:

I was just flipping through the entries for this week and came across something that I thought all my readers ought to know: "Jesus was secure in who he was and whose he was and that enabled him to freely serve."

Yep, you're welcome. Now you know the truth about Jesus' self-confidence and self-esteem. Yes, I know the Bible talks about His obedience to the Father, but the reality is, He apparently was obedient because He was so confident in His identity. What's the moral of the story? Go out. Be confident. Be awesome. Just like Jesus.

Okay, are you done slamming your face into your desk now? Good. If you haven't thrown your computer across the room out of desperate frustration, then take a deep breath, relax, and try to enjoy your week in review (kind of):