The Shape of Gospel Astonishment
BY JARED C WILSON
Sigh. I would love to enjoy fellowship with God, to receive his blessing and his righteousness. But I don’t have clean hands and a pure heart, and I have often lifted up my soul to falsehood and have sworn deceitfully. If that’s the standard for acceptance unto God’s favor, I can only hang my head in shame and sorrow.
The Gospel According To Noah
BY CHAD BIRD
Many children’s Bible Story books put it this way: “People everywhere were bad, but Noah was good.” But Noah was “good” not because he wasn’t “bad,” but because he believed in the good One whom his father had mistaken him for—the promised seed.
The Divine Drama
BY PAUL DUNK
If I don't preach Christ, then there's really no reason anyone should roll out of bed on Sunday to hear anything I have to say. Everything about "church," apart from Jesus, can be found elsewhere. Music that gives you the feels? Make a playlist. Kids programs? Get out and explore your city
Easter Revival Burnout
Every year they began the revival with the Easter service. Often with the: “I'm-not-going-to-tell-you-once-a-year-church-goers-the-Gospel-because-you-don't-come-often-enough-to-deserve-to-hear-it-and-instead-I'll-tell-you-how-worldly-you-are” sermon.
When The Old Adam Goes Church Shopping
If I’m going to join your church, there’s some things I’ll need to know first. I need to know whether you practice a Christianity that’s primarily a to-do list. Do you emphasize the Christian and his performance? After all, if I don’t do the right thing and avoid the wrong things how will I know what God thinks of me?
Stop Conflating Caesar With Jesus
Appealing to our religion to push our political and social sensibilities is not what Jesus died for. And when we make it about that, it becomes more exclusive than the very inclusive Gospel. It sets up dividing lines that God never put there; boundaries that He sent His Son to break, walls that were torn down in the death of Christ.
What Is Lacking In The Suffering Of Christ?
Did the Apostle Paul just say that “he fills up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ?" That seems a little at odds with Jesus statement "It is finished." Perhaps salvation isn't complete? Jesus suffered a lot, but maybe a little more suffering is required from each of us?
Behold Your King
BY MARTIN LUTHER
This Gospel pre-figures Christ coming with grace, and none may receive or accept save he who believes him to be the man, and has the mind, as this Gospel portrays in Christ. Nothing but the mercy, tenderness and kindness of Christ are here shown, and he who so receives and believes on him is saved.
Beggars Can’t Be Choosers
He was a beggar on the streets. And, he was as good as dead if he didn't receive a blessing. The words, "you're cursed" haunted his mind. He was cursed and it was his own fault. He took what wasn't his to take; he stole from the dead and, in doing so, he became eerily acquainted with the dead.
Of Works And Grace
“Son, be of good cheer; thy sins are forgiven." These words show and contain in brief what the kingdom of Christ is, namely, this sweet voice, these motherly and fatherly words penetrating our inmost soul: "Thy sins are forgiven." In no other sense are we to view the kingdom of Christ
How Luther Pointed Me to Christ in the Old Testament
Jesus is the Word of God. God’s Word—on two legs. I’d read it in the first chapter of John’s Gospel many, many times. God’s Word was born, suffered, bled, and died for the sins of the whole world. It was all there in the Gospels. It was testified to in the New Testament Epistles.
Jesus Loves Me, This I Know
I have been very busy lately, trying to understand things. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a deeper understanding of spiritual truth, but I have found that there is a pit on that path into which one can fall, and right now I feel like I’m sitting in that pit, too tired to climb back out.
I May Not Be A Smart Man, But I Know What The Gospel Is
BY TATE BARBER
I am not a good Lutheran. I have only been around reformation theology for a few years. I have trouble articulating why my son was baptized in a Lutheran church. I am terrible at exegesis. I fumble through discussions about the third use of the law, trying my hardest not to sound like an antinomian.
NOT The Gospel
There was a TV show back in the ‘90s called “Dinosaurs” that I used to sneak into the living room at night to watch. The reason I had to sneak-watch this show was that my loving and protective parents had a problem with the Baby in the show who was very disrespectful (albeit hilarious).
Why Confess Sin?
Why confess sin? Is it so we can get rewarded by God? A little extra grace or material good for our troubles, maybe. Maybe, if we make a good confession, we can earn forgiveness? But, how much sin must we confess before we get what's coming to us?
BY GERHARD FORDE
The law does not end sin, does not make new beings, it only makes matters worse. Where the old continuity is maintained, sin does not end. No matter how much religious pressure is applied, sin only grows. But, Paul has the audacity to say where sin abounded, grace abounded all the more.
The Breath of Forgiveness
Jesus' disciples locked the doors to their own prison. Fear, grief, and shame haunted the dark cold room in which they sat. Their beloved Lord, teacher, and friend had been crucified. Jesus had breathed His last. The One whose creative breath breathed into the lifeless clay bringing Adam to life had stopped breathing.
The New World
In elementary school, children are taught that America was a destination for Christians in search of religious freedom. But that’s not the truth. Not the whole truth anyway. The historic facts are a little less adventurous, a little less heroic. Many Christians came to the “New World” because they’d been declared heretics back home.
The Laughable Gospel
The Bible is full of ridiculous stories. Laughable stories. There, I said it. A Red Sea parting, a giant fish swallowing a man, a talking donkey, and the list goes on and on. It’s all a bit ridiculous.
My Deepest Awareness
BY BRENNAN MANNING
When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games.
What’s Missing From The Gospel
The question of, “What if?” can go off like an alarm in the dead of night. Scenarios play out like a broken record, but each with a different outcome. Two little words create a storm of confusion and doubt.
Love Is The Law's Interpreter
BY MARTIN LUTHER
Faith is here set forth in that this man, sick with the dropsy, looks to Christ and firmly believes he will help him. This faith he had as the result of his previous acquaintance with Jesus. He knows him as a kind, friendly and sympathetic man who always helps everyone and lets none go away uncomforted.
Chasing Broken Christians
Do we only want to be around people who want to be around us? We certainly like people who agree with us, and we love people who buy the same books, or saw the same movies as us. We want to be around people who are like ourselves. It's just more comfortable.