Q. How are you right with God?
A. Only by true faith in Jesus Christ. Even though my conscience accuses me of having grievously sinned against all God’s commandments and of never having kept any of them, and even though I am still inclined towards all evil, nevertheless, without my deserving it at all, out of sheer grace, God grants and credits to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness and holiness of Jesus Christ, as if I had never sinned or been a sinner, as if I had been as perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me. All I need to do is to accept this gift of God with a believing heart.
Question 60 from the Heidelberg Catechism
Yes, Virginia, there is an unholy trinity!
The English Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon, often called the “prince of preachers”, had great insight into the dangers, toils, and snares of the Christian life. It’s no wonder that he is often referred to as the last of the Puritans. Like the Puritans of old, he not only had a grasp of the gospel and the Scriptures, but he also had an experiential and biblical understanding of the realities of the Christian life.
There are droves of sermons, books, and articles that speak of the Christian life in almost fairy tale ways. Most of them make the Christian life sound like something out of a movie. They tend to portray a life of abundance, happiness, prosperity, and freedom from any conflict. In fact, it wasn’t too long ago that one of the best selling books in most Christian bookstores described the Christian life as the best it gets right here and now. There are so many misleading resources that sadly Christians have become influenced by much of them. We need to get back to what Scripture says about the Christian life, not what the latest religious guru concocts to tickle the ears of the masses.
Continue reading The Three Worst Friends
“All suffering has a divine purpose from a loving heavenly Father.”
The Christian life is not easy. No matter what the rolex-clad television preacher tells you, Jesus makes it perfectly clear that the life of a believer is no walk in the park. (John 16:33) In fact, it’s pretty much impossible to find any instance in the Scriptures of faithful believers living their best life now. A quick perusal of “the hall of faith” in Hebrews 11 shows that believers suffer mightily as they live as pilgrims looking forward to the life to come.
The reason for suffering is something that is often debated among Christian circles. In my estimation, there really shouldn’t be much debating. I believe that God has spoken clearly in the Scriptures that suffering isn’t only expected, but is ordained by God. In his infinite wisdom, God uses suffering in the lives of believers to sanctify them and conform them more into the likeness of Jesus. For example, when Paul penned the letter to the Philippians he told them that they were not only appointed by God to believe but that they were also appointed to suffer. (Philippians 1:29) Knowing this truth, Christians can live their lives understanding that God is right in the middle of their suffering. Nothing is by chance. All suffering has a divine purpose from a loving heavenly Father.
Continue reading Darkness Ordained by the Physician of Light
“How shall we who have died to sin continue to live in it?” (Rom. 6:2)
We’d probably sin less if we spent less time thinking about our sins, sexual or otherwise, and more time meditating on the love and holiness of God.” – Kevin DeYoung
That quote by Kevin DeYoung is key to our battle again all types of sin. Sexual sin is often one of those “dragon” sins that is so difficult to slay. Sexual immorality is rampant in today’s culture and sadly it is a tremendous sin within the church. Statistics on pornography usage are so saddening – even among church leaders. According to Covenant Eyes, a respectable online accountability company, there have been over 3.1 billion searches for internet pornography since 2015. (covenanteyes.com/pornstats/)
One cannot help but be bombarded with sexual temptation given the amount of sex on television, movies, the internet and even on billboards. I know all too well the lure of sexual temptation through the internet, television, and magazines. I struggled with (or more like wallowed in) internet pornography for many years and know how wicked and evil this sin truly is. It’s first and foremost a sin against Christ and then against yourself and others. The Lord rescued me from the bondage of this sin and I can rejoice in Him that I have been free from it for quite some time now. But I also know all too well the reality of the remnants of the sinful flesh that believers continue to battle with. I’d be foolish to let my guard down! We are called to be ever-vigilant and set barriers to protect our eyes, hearts, and minds from the temptations that are common to all mankind. No one is immune to temptation! As Robert Murray-McCheyne put it, “The seed of every sin known to man is in my heart.”
Continue reading Battling the Lust Dragon
Brace yourself – all roads do in fact lead to God.
Ok, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking this guy has turned into a heretic. You’ve probably been taught and brought up being told that all roads don’t lead to God. Well, that’s true in one sense. But in another very important sense, it’s also true that all roads do lead to God. Let me explain.
You’ve probably been flipping the channel on your TV and stopped on a popular talk show featuring a panel of spiritual people—everyone from Christians to Atheists. Inevitably, someone either from the audience or the host will utter that dreaded phrase, “but all religions lead to God!” As a Christian, you probably cringe when you hear that and your inner instinct is to shout at the television, “there is only one way to God and that one way is Jesus Christ!” And, you’d be right if you qualify what “to God” means.
The Christian faith is clear that there is only one way to be saved. That one way isn’t a method or something that we do. That one way is a person. And that person is Jesus Christ. Jesus made it clear that he alone is the way, the truth, and the life and that no one comes to the Father except through him. But Jesus is speaking about something very specific— salvation. He is speaking about the way in which fallen humanity can come before God in complete forgiveness and the imputed righteousness required to enter his presence. Jesus is speaking of the narrow road that is salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. Oh, and that single road that is salvation is full of dangers, toils, and snares. It’s rocky and a hard path to tread. It’s a difficult road because a new heart that seeks to love God will now have to constantly battle (by God’s grace and strength) sin, the world, and Satan. So, when it comes to salvation and forgiveness, it is false to say that all roads lead to God.
However, in another very important and startlingly terrifying sense, all roads do lead right to God…
Continue reading All Roads Lead to God