Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Faith in ROMANS is the key to how someone becomes right with God. That is precisely what Paul was articulating in chapters 1-4. We are justified by faith alone, apart from works of the Law.

Faith in HEBREWS is what grants us endurance to stay right with God. We are not of those who shrink back, but of those who persevere [10.35-39] in "the assurance of things hoped for" [11.1].

Faith in JAMES is the conduit for good works in the Christian life. This is why faith without works is useless [Js 2.20]: because faith is descriptive of the life of a Christian and not just of the hoop one jumps through to become a Christian.

So, why is it so hard to see that these three do not contradict one another but are instead inextricably linked as a whole. Different situations call for preaching and teaching faith in different ways. But without this framework, legality, Antinomianism, and the faith healing prosperity gospel are "crouching at our door" [Gen 4.7]. Furthermore, none of this is ever divorced from the Holy Spirit graciously and sovereignly working in sinners "as He wills" [1 Cor 12.11, 18] to draw us, sustain us, empower us, and cause to serve the King for the kingdom.


Esther Meek is genius in this book. Its flow and tangible illustrations provide her argument with substance. She asks Can we know God?, Can we know anything for sure?, and How can we know if we can know anything at all? She discusses how any kind of knowing is not static, but a process. Our subjective involvement in knowing does not necessarily determine the truths we know, but molds how we know, live, and think about them.

oh, blessed self-forgetfulness!

Never in my life have I heard Christian character and Gospel humility articulated like Tim Keller does here. He paints a picture of humility from the Apostle Paul that is drastically against modern culture and even against what mainline Christianity has posited as walking humbly. You must listen and be challenged.


10 reasons free will doesn't exist in the way you think it does

1. Most importantly, it is not in the Bible. Any imperative in the NT calls for the activity of the will, not its freedom. Philemon 14 in the NASB and ESV are translated using the words "free will," but the context indicates a meaning far from a self-autonomous libertarian freedom.

2. It contradicts scores of Bible verses that talk about God being over the human will [Ex 4.21; Prv 16.33, 21.1; Ac 16.14; Rom 9.16; and others].

3. If I had a free will I would never want to employ it. This is just to say that if man is really sinful, then our will, our emotions, our desires, and our thoughts are all sinful. "Your kingdom come, Your will be done."

4. It is different than moral responsibility.

5. It is a philosophical impossibility. We live in a cause and effect universe. Therefore, when you choose to drink orange juice, it is because you were thirsty. You were thirsty because you ate too many saltines. You ate too many saltines because you were hungry. You ate saltines because that's all that was in your house. And so forth. Also, culture, family, social status, race, age... all of these are what cause us to choose what we choose.

6. If free will exists in a theistic worldview, it can only be possessed by one Being. Principally, this is also what makes truth absolute as well. Free will cannot be innate to more than one being at a time; it is the nature of free will.

7. It is different than eternal accountability.

8. Free will has become the center of the application of evangelical teaching and preaching and this is far from biblical. The cross, the glory of God, the grace of God, hope, peace... these should be held out to souls. People should not be told it is all up to them; eternity hinges on their volition; their choice is all God is waiting on; and other sappy anthropocentric nonsense.

9. It implies an impotence in God, not a tolerance in His love. If man has free will, then God necessarily is impotent to that will and He can only cross His huge fingers and hope that we do what He wants.

10. We are always bound to do what we want to do. We can never do what we don't want to do. In other words, the will is free in the same way that it is bound if you want a real migraine... it always carries through with what it most desires at any given time. Go read Jonathan Edwards on this.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

ROMANS 5.10 and 8.7

By yourself, you hate God. On your own, you would seek to destroy God if you could. Apart from Christ, you would be God's most virulent foe. To even think that this is overstating our sin problem is to highlight the truth of our stiff-necked disposition. This is not hell/fire/brimstone preaching or deranged spiritual pessimism, it is the picture the Apostle Paul hints at in Rom 5.10 and 8.7. He uses language in these two verses that paints the picture of sinners as God's enemies who are hostile and actively opposed to Him. But... He justifies the ungodly. And if "while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, how much more will we be saved through His life" [Rom 5.10].

Thursday, September 13, 2007

JOHN NEWTON from 1779

as by the light of opening day
the stars are all concealed
so earthly pleasures fade away
when Jesus is revealed

creatures no more divide my choice
i bid them all depart
his name and love and gracious voice
have fixed my roving heart

Monday, September 10, 2007


So how does "justified by faith" [Rom 5.1] relate to "justified by his blood" [Rom 5.9]? Moreover, in broader Pauline thought, how do the above two relate to "justified by his grace" [Titus 3.7]? All three of these are the same in Greek [aorist passive participles from dikaiow]. It is clear that both the blood and the grace are acts of God. The context of Romans 5 shows that faith is an act of man. Another way to view it is that the blood is objective and historical; in slight contrast, genuine faith is ongoing and subjective. At what point do all three of these converge? It has to be the cross. I do not know how intricately it all works together, but God forbid if I boast in anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ [Gal 6.14]. Paul wished to know nothing among the Corinthians except the cross [1 Cor 2.2]. It is here that faith can be grounded on blood that was spilt and both can find their source in the grace that saves.

Sunday, September 9, 2007


To Him who made great lights, His steadfast love endures forever. The sun to rule over the day, His steadfast love endures forever [Ps 136.7-8].

From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord be praised. The Lord is high above all nations, and His glory above the heavens [Ps 113.3-4].

Thursday, September 6, 2007


It plagued my heart and humbled my mind for at least three years. It is now being discussed again here, here, here, and elsewhere.

Is God sovereign over sin?

Before a definitive "yes" or "no" one must consider the theological ramifications of their answer. If you submit that He is then you might jump to the unbiblical conclusion that He is the immediate or primary cause of sin in the universe. Or, if you answer negatively then you could suggest that He can do nothing about sin because He is not sovereign over it. So, the following is a very brief biblical survey concerning this issue.

Every time the phrase "evil spirit" appears in the OT, it says that it is from God [Jdg 9.23; 1 Sam 16.14, 16.15, 16.16, 16.23, 18.10, 19.9]. Job declares that YHWH gives and He takes away in 1.21. He also asks if we should accept good from God and not "calamity" [
rah in Hebrew] in 2.10. Isaiah says that God creates this same "calamity" in 45.7. In a very summative fashion, Elihu says that "whether for correction, or for His world, or for lovingkindness, He causes it to happen" [Job 37.13]. Peter doesn't hesitate to say that Herod, Pilate, and all those responsible for Jesus' bloody death were to accomplish "whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur" [Ac 4.28]. These texts barely scratch the surface of the biblical data that should be considered when these questions are in view. Others include: Ps 33.14-15, 105.25, 115.3, 135.6; Pro 16.1-4, 16.33, 21.1; Is 29.16, 63.17; Rom 9.11-24; Ex 4.21, 7.3, 9.12, 10.20, 10.27, 14.4, 14.8, 11.10; Mt 10.29; Heb 1.3; 1 Kgs 11.23; Lam 3.37-38; Amos 3.6; Ac 2.22-24; 2 Ths 2.11-12; 1 Pe 2.8; and more.

Brothers from a Catholic, Wesleyan, or Arminian background generally attempt to explain this by turning to man's free will. However, this line of argument simply restates the issue at hand and is also another discussion that is not as closely related as they think.

To ask the question in another way: What verb should be used to feebly attempt to express God's relationship to sin?
Did He cause it? Allow it? Decree it? Permit it? Ordain it? Take your pick and ground it on the objectivity of God's Word. The reality is that our Lord and King does not sit upon His throne in the heavens and scratch His head over the extent of His sovereignty. It is our finiteness, our sin, and our creatureliness that gives way to our ignorance.

So, what does all this entail for the believer? It means that we must bow before "the only wise God" [Rom 16.27] and the mystery of His providence. It means that we get to trust and know that His ways aren't like ours and still be a part off His plan. It means that the contrition and humility with which we walk should be evident to those around us. Lastly,
we must know that we are always accountable before Him and that He is always reigning and governing all things as "the King eternal, immortal, invisible" [1 Tim 1.17; also see Eph 1.11, Col 1.16-17; Rom 11.33-36].

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

no other gospel

Please go listen to the gospel. This is Charlie Boyd from Southside Fellowship on Galatians 1.6-12. Brothers and sisters, grace is free and unmerited.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


My uncle-in-law went to Bob Jones and is now a Catholic Priest. He's a good man and a delight to talk with. He recently posted a unique approach to why their is such a deficiency of art in evangelical circles. Please read. Here's a sneak:
"Evangelicals find it difficult to produce great art because they do not have a sacramental theology, and without a sacramental theology they cannot have a sacramental worldview, and without a belief that grace is coming to us through the physical world, how can you possibly produce great art?"


Richard Baxter's book The Reformed Pastor must be read by pastors. The "reformed" in its title is not indicative of Calvinism, but of needed transformation. Here are some excerpts:

"Self-denial is of absolute necessity in every Christian, but it is doubly necessary in a minister, as without it he cannot do God an hour’s faithful service. Hard studies, much knowledge, and excellent preaching, if the ends be not right, is but more glorious hypocritical sinning."

"Reverence is that affection of the soul which proceedeth from deep apprehensions of God and indicateth a mind that is much conversant with him."

"I must say, though I condemn myself in saying it, that he who readeth but this one exhortation of Paul to the elders of the church at Ephesus, and compareth his life with it, must be stupid and hard-hearted, if he do not melt under a sense of his neglects, and be not laid in the dust before God and forced to bewail his great omissions, and to fly for refuge to the blood of Christ, and to his pardoning grace."