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Archive for January, 2011

Quotes

A man can no more give himself the new birth or regenerate himself than he could produce himself in his mother’s womb.

Spiritual life is the consequence of spiritual quickening. The baby cries because is is born; it is not born because it cries." — Erroll Hulse

It is the effectual working of the power of God that makes anyone a Christian. It means a rebirth, a regeneration. It is not the result of our decision, it is not something that you and I decide to do; it is what is done to us!"— Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Exposition on Ephesians

Exclude, therefore, O Christian, the article of sovereign predestination from thy ministry or from thy faith, and acquit thyself, if thou art able, from the charge of robbing God. — Augustus Toplady

Our idols both covet what we do not have and hold on for dear life to what we do have. — David Powlison

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This is a cut and paste from: http://www.competentcounseling.com/2011/01/17/who-pays-for-your-spouses-sin/

Let’s suppose my wife, Lucia, sins and I get angry with her as a response to her sin. In such a case, which sadly is how it goes in our home from time to time, I would be punishing her for her sin. I would be acting as “God” by demanding justice, while completely missing the Gospel. Christ bore the Father’s wrath, died, and rose from the grave in order to accomplish salvation for anyone who authentically believes this story. Thankfully, Lucia was regenerated by the grace of God many years ago. Her sin, past, present, and future has been paid for because of the Gospel.

When I respond in anger to her sin, I am making her do what Christ would never do. I am punishing her.

Sacrifice or Punishment?

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word. – Ephesians 5:25-26 (ESV)

Christ did not make me pay for my sin. He sacrificed for my sin by giving His life for me. If I truly understand the Gospel in the moment of my wife’s sin, my response would be a Gospel-motivated sacrifice rather than self-centered punishment.

Therefore, rather than choosing anger (punishment) as a response to her sin, I must choose an attitude of forgiveness (sacrifice) when she sins against me. Too often I choose anger and when I do, it distorts our relationship. Rather than serving my wife, by helping her get to Christ where she can be forgiven, I convolute the situation by sinning in response to her sin.

I become the judge and, thus, feel justified to make her pay for her sin. This is an emasculation of the Gospel. It mocks Christ’s death. I am saying in essence,

I don’t care that You died for her sin. She has sinned against me and I am going to circumvent what You did on the cross by making her pay right now. Sin demands a punishment and I feel it would be better if she received my punishment rather than allowing her to experience the cleansing power of the Gospel. Yes, You were bruised for her iniquities, but right now I feel the need to bruise her for her iniquities. (Isaiah 53:6)

However, when I am practically applying the Gospel in the moment of her sin I am living out Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 5:25-26. Our relationship is not distorted by my sin, while my wife is being sanctified, cleansed, and washed by God’s Word. Rather than me forcing sanctification through fear and intimidation, she experiences the freedom, favor, and power of the Cross in her life where true cleansing happens.

My goal is for my wife to walk in holiness. However, when I punish her rather than forgiving her for her sin, I am making it harder for her to accomplish the very thing that I desire the most for her.

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Forgiveness

To experience the profound liberation of forgiveness, one must simply go to God and confess the sin with a humble heart and a contrite spirit. Contrition involves a genuine and godly sorrow for having disobeyed God. It differs from the repentance of attrition, which is a false form of repentance motivated by a fear of punishment. Attrition is seen in a child who, when he sees a paddle in his mother’s hand, is sorry that he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. True repentance acknowledges the reality of the guilt and does not try to justify it. Anyone who approaches God with true humility, contrition, and an earnest resolution not to commit the sin again will surely receive the forgiveness of God…

Though what I have done cannot be undone, I can be forgiven. Forgiveness is one of the marvels of God’s grace. Its healing power is magnificent. If a woman has been involved in abortion, God does not require that she spend the rest of her life walking around with a red “A” on her chest. He does require that she repent of her sin and come to Him for the cleansing of forgiveness. When God forgives us, we are forgiven. When God cleanses us, we are made clean. That is a cause for great celebration.

source: R.C. Sproul, Abortion  http://www.ligonier.org/blog/experiencing-gods-forgiveness-guilt-connected-abortion/

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The whole passage ought always to be read with affectionate reverence. It contains words which have brought eternal life to myriads of souls.

We should notice … in these verses, what a mighty change our Lord declares to be needful to salvation, and what a remarkable expression He uses in describing it. He speaks of a new birth.

The change which our Lord here declares needful to salvation is evidently no slight or superficial one. It is not merely reformation, or amendment, or moral change, or outward alteration of life. It is a thorough change of heart, will, and character. It is a resurrection. It is a new creation. It is a passing from death to life. It is the implanting in our dead hearts of a new principle from above. It is the calling into existence of a new creature, with a new nature, new habits of life, new tastes, new desires, new appetites, new judgments, new opinions, new hopes, and new fears. All this, and nothing less than this is implied, when our Lord declares that we all need a "new birth."

This mighty change, it must never be forgotten, we cannot give to ourselves. The very name which our Lord gives to it is a convincing proof of this. He calls it "a birth." No man is the author of his own existence, and no man can quicken his own soul. We might as well expect a dead man to give himself life, as expect a natural man to make himself spiritual.

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Greg Beale:

The OT storyline appears best to be summarized as: the historical story of God who progressively reestablishes his new creational kingdom out of chaos over a sinful people by his word and Spirit through promise, covenant, and redemption, resulting in worldwide commission to the faithful to extend that new creation rule and resulting in judgment for the unfaithful (defeat and exile), all of which issues into his glory; the NT storyline can be summarized as: Jesus’ life of covenantal obedience, trials, judgmental death for sinners, and especially resurrection by the Spirit has launched the fulfillment of the eschatological already-and-not-yet promised new creation reign, bestowed by grace through faith and resulting in worldwide commission to the faithful to extend this new creation rule and resulting in judgment for the unfaithful, unto God’s glory.

Kent Hughes:

God is redeeming his creation by bringing it under the lordship of Jesus Christ.

Doug Wilson:

Scripture tells us the story of how a Garden is transformed into a Garden City, but only after a dragon had turned that Garden into a howling wilderness, a haunt of owls and jackals, which lasted until an appointed warrior came to slay the dragon, giving up his life in the process, but with his blood effecting the transformation of the wilderness into the Garden City.

source: http://dogmadoxa.blogspot.com/2011/01/whats-message-of-bible-in-one-sentence.html

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1. Covenant of the defeated serpent (Genesis 3:14-15)

2. Covenant of the disarmed bow (Genesis 9)

3. Covenant of the double-edged knife (Genesis 15-17)

4. Covenant of lamb and law (Exodus 19-20)

5. Covenant of the everlasting king (2 Samuel 7)

6. The New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34; Luke 22:20)

1. Look through the serpent-shaped window and see a defeated devil

2. Look through the rainbow-shaped window and see the peace-making God

3. Look through the knife-window and see the Seed of Abraham that will cut off sin

4. Look through the lamb- and scroll-shaped windows to see the lamb of God and the law of God

5. Look through the crown-shaped window and see the everlasting king

6. Look through the bread, wine & fountain windows and see the body and blood of Christ that forgives and cleanses from sin.

source: David Murray http://headhearthand.posterous.com/covenant-theology-for-beginners

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note: In the quotes below Jonathan Edwards, the last of the Puritans, is not referring to husbands-wives but of loving Christian relationships generally. In the quotes below he describes the eternal love between God’s people.

“How soon do earthly lovers come to an end of their discoveries of each other’s beauty; how soon do they see all that is to be seen! … And how happy is that love, in which there is an eternal progress in all these things; wherein new beauties are continually discovered, and more and more loveliness, and in which we shall forever increase in beauty ourselves; where we shall be made capable of finding out and giving, and shall receive, more and more endearing expressions of love forever: our union will become more close, and communication more intimate” (Jonathan Edwards, Miscellanies, 13:198).

“Heavenly lovers will have no doubt of the love of each other. They shall have no fear that their professions and testimonies of love are hypocritical; they shall be perfectly satisfied of the sincerity and strength of each other’s love, as much as if there were a window in all their breasts, that they could see other’s hearts. There shall be no such thing as flattery or dissimulation in heaven, but there perfect sincerity shall reign through all. Everyone will be perfectly sincere, having really all that love which they profess. All their expressions of love shall come from the bottom of their hearts” (Jonathan Edwards, Yale, 8:378).

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New Covenant

Isaiah 44:3-5

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground;

I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. …

This one will say, ‘I am the LORD’s,’

another will call on the name of Jacob,

and another will write on his hand, ‘The LORD’s,’

and name himself by the name of Israel."

Jeremiah 31:31-34

Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD,

when I will make a new covenant

with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,

not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day

when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt,

my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband,

declares the LORD.

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel

after those days, declares the LORD:

I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts.

And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother,

saying, ‘Know the LORD,’

for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,

declares the LORD.

For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

Ezekiel 36:25-27

I will sprinkle clean water on you,

and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses,

and from all your idols I will cleanse you.

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.

And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh

and give you a heart of flesh.

And I will put my Spirit within you,

and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

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"Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. `Make no provision for the flesh.’ The flesh is there, you know. To deny or ignore the existence of an enemy is to give him a great chance against you; and the flesh is in the believer to the very end, a force of evil to be reckoned with continually, an evil force inside a man, and yet, thank God, a force which can be so dealt with by the power of God, that it shall have no power to defile the heart or deflect the will. The flesh is in you, but your heart may be kept clean moment by moment in spite of the existence of evil in your fallen nature. Every avenue, every opening that leads into the heart, every thought and desire and purpose and imagination of your being, may be closed against the flesh, so that there, shall be no opening to come in and defile the heart or deflect the will from the will of God.

"You say that is a very high standard. But it is the Word of God. There is to be no secret sympathy with sin. Although the flesh is there, you are to make it no excuse for sins. You are not to say, I am naturally irritable, anxious, jealous, and I cannot help letting these things crop up; they come from within. Yes, they come from within, but then there need be no provision, no opening in your heart for these things to enter. Your heart can be barricaded with an impassable barrier against these things. ‘ No provision for the flesh.’ Not merely the front door barred and bolted so that you do not invite them to come in, but the side and back door closed too. You may be so Christ-possessed and Christ-enclosed that you shall positively hate everything that is of the flesh.

"Make no provision for the flesh." The only way to do so is to `put on the Lord Jesus Christ’ I spoke of the heart being so barricaded that there should be no entrance to it, that the flesh should never be able to defile it or deflect the will from the will of God. How can that be done? By putting on the Lord Jesus Christ. It has been such a blessing to me just to learn that one secret, just to learn the positive side of deliverance-putting on the Lord Jesus Christ."

Source: An extract of an address by Rev. F. Webster, at Keswick, as quoted by Andrew Murray in The Two Covenants.

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I need to think more about this!

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