I had a few people raise this question: "Once God saves us and the Spirit begins his renewing work in our lives, shouldn't that work of inward renewal become a source of our assurance? Isn't that at least one way we can know we're right before God?"
As I mentioned in my last post, I had the privilege of speaking at the 6th annual Mockingbird Conference in NYC a few weeks ago. Below is my opening talk on the subject of our exhaustion and how God's inexhaustible grace is the only hope for our inescapable weariness.
Long before the recent resurgence of interest in "gospel-centrality", Brennan was a voice calling out in the wilderness–a voice reminding us that we are great sinners but God is a greater Savior.3 comments
Urban Meyer's story may be a bit extreme, but perhaps you can relate. Perhaps you had a demanding father or mother, for whom nothing was ever good enough. Perhaps they are long gone but you still hear their voice in your head. Perhaps you have a spouse that never seems to let up with the demand, for whom successes are not really successes; they're simply non-failures.1 comments
Of the book, Michael Horton writes, "Aside from a few slogans and provocative quotes, Luther's theology is largely unknown in the land that Bonhoeffer called 'Protestantism without the Reformation.' Christianity in America desperately needs the wisdom and penetrating insight into gospel logic that is winsomely introduced in this rewarding volume." I couldn't agree more.2 comments
When talking about "the law," we need to make an important distinction. We can call it big "L" Law and little "l" law. Big "L" law comes from God and is outlined in the Ten Commandments, reiterated in the Sermon on the Mount, and summarized by Jesus as the command to "Love the Lord with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength…and love our neighbor" (of course, one could say more but that's the gist of it). But there's another law (little "l") that plays out in all kinds of ways in daily life.42 comments
Thankfully, when it comes to God's grace, there is not even a hint of exchange. No suggestion of payback, or pay it forward. There are no strings attached. Only grace can change a heart and produce law-fulfilling works of mercy, but grace is not dependent on a changed heart or law-fulfilling works of mercy.4 comments
The ironic thing about legalism is that it not only doesn't make people work harder, it makes them give up. Moralism doesn't produce morality; rather, it produces immorality.8 comments
The gospel announces that it's not on me to ensure that the ultimate verdict on my life is pass and not fail. But doesn't this unconditional declaration generate apathy – an "I don't care" posture toward life?18 comments
For every head-scratching page that Robert Capon writes, he pens a a mind-blowingly insightful one. Some of the best paragraphs I've ever read on grace come from Capon. As far as I can tell, he holds some wild ideas about the atonement. So, as with anyone, you have to discern the meat from the bones.29 comments
A shift has taken place in the Evangelical church with regard to the way we think about the gospel and it's far from simply an ivory tower conversation. This shift effects us on the ground of everyday life.13 comments
This is the year. It all starts now. We resolve to turn over a new leaf–and this time we're serious. What I'm most deeply grateful for is that God's love for me, approval of me, and commitment to me does not ride on my resolve but on Jesus' resolve for me.6 comments
For Javert (as with all of us), the logic of law makes sense. We love the "if/then" proposition: "If" you do this, "then" I will do that. We love "what-goes-around-comes-around" conditionality. It makes us feel safe. The logic of grace, on the other hand, is incomprehensible to our law-locked hearts.45 comments
Pertinent to any discussion regarding justification and sanctification is the question of effort. Any talk of sanctification which gives the impression that our efforts secure more of God's love, itself needs to be mortified.
There is, in the end, only two ways to read the Bible: is it basically about me or basically about Jesus? In other words, is it basically about what I must do, or basically about what he has done?37 comments