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Archive for January 23rd, 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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