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Archive for December, 2014

Regeneration

"Regeneration is the gift of God’s grace. It is the immediate, supernatural work of the Holy Spirit wrought in us. Its effect is to quicken us to spiritual life from spiritual death. It changes the disposition of our souls, inclining our hearts to God. The fruit of regeneration is faith. Regeneration precedes faith"

Source: "The Reformation Study Bible" (ESV) p.1514

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Obedience

"[Obedience] is the submissive performance of the will of God for the glory of God.  It holds the will of God as a pattern and a rule, as shown by the words of Christ which both describe our observance (Mt. 6:10) and explain his own (Mt. 26:39, 42)."

"The principle efficient cause of [obedience] as an inner, abiding principle is indirectly faith and directly sanctifying grace."

"Our [obedience] is nothing else than gratitude owed to God, and is rightly explained by theologians under that title."

"The law of God …does not have the justifying power it had in the original state of integrity nor the condemning power it had in the state of sin.  But it does have the force and vigor of a directing power; and it also retains a certain force of condemnation, for it reproves and condemns sin in the faithful (although it cannot wholly condemn the faithful themselves because they are not under the law but under grace.)"

Source: William Ames The Marrow of Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1997), 219-221.

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God calls us to obedience, but does not immediately remove our sinful natures at the time of salvation. Although he plants his unstoppable Spirit within us to begin the work of new creation, he tells us that we have this treasure in jars of clay. In other words, he calls us to try hard to obey him but tells us that we will be very weak and fail a lot. Why would our loving heavenly Father leave us weak and sinful? He desires to humble us and to show that the surpassing greatness belongs to Christ and not to us! The sovereign God is thus not surprised by our sin; he planned it this way. Though our sin grieves him, it does not anger or shock him. Instead, he uses the sin that he hates to point us to our great Savior, who took all his anger for our sin. Our Father has loving purposes for letting us wander into the far country many times each day, and he always welcomes us back with great rejoicing. In this way, he shows us the depravity of our hearts, so that we will cherish our Savior more and grow to live in humble dependence on him.

Source: http://www.challies.com/sponsored/freaked-out-by-ordinary-sin

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Vindication

If people judge us falsely then we may know that God will act according to his righteousness such that he will vindicate us for the sake of his glory. Thus the scorn of man contributes to our glorious vindication. In not acting for one’s own vindication, the following is affirmed:

In not acting I humble myself by listening to the wisdom of God-given people, demonstrating a submissive spirit while giving genuine thanks to God for these advisors.

In not acting I commit myself to God’s judgment rather than the options of men. I trust him to vindicate in ways better than I could bring about as he has so many times before. In this way I acknowledge his past acts of vindication and by faith await his grace.

In not acting I affirm the gospel that Jesus died for the sins of those who harmed me and they are forgiven in his name. The wrongness of the actions of others is satisfied in God’s justice at the cross and therefore I too am to be satisfied with God’s justice.

In not acting I acknowledge and confess my sin, knowing that I am unable to act simply for justice but that intermingled is the glorification of my ego.

In not acting I die to self in some way.

In not acting it reflects strength and not only weakness.

In not acting I accept the humiliation and discipline of my Heavenly Father without grumbling or complaining.

In not acting I call on God to look upon my humble state and in his timing raise me from the ash heap. In not acting I pray the Psalms.

In not acting I affirm the glory of God as my greater desire.

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