Sanctification

The Giver God

BY NORMAN NAGEL

When the scriptures say "firstfruits" it means there are more gifts to follow. With every gift, God pushes our hands wider open to receive a still larger gift. The bother with us is that we often hold our hands open just enough for little gifts in fear that if the gifts get too big they may overwhelm us.

The Giver God

What If It’s None Of My Business?

BY BONNIE PETROSCHUK

I did not grow up in a church that had a rich understanding of grace. I was spoon fed a strict diet of law served on a bed of threats. I was told that I both could and should be perfect, because God provides all the help, through the Holy Spirit, that I need in order to do so. Therefore, if I do not reach that goal, it is only because I selfishly choose not to.

What If It’s None Of My Business?

The Advantages Of Praying Drunk

BY MATT JOHNSON

Think about it. God’s grace can quickly become theoretical and it plays out in our churchy practices and attitudes all the time. What if a homeless drunk began showing up to church services, but he’s really slow to change? He will need a lot of grace in order to live the sanctified life.

The Advantages Of Praying Drunk

God’s Not Looking For Spiritual Gurus

BY MATT JOHNSON

An honest faith recognizes that bad news always precedes Good News in the Christian life. Only by abandoning our own efforts to please God and throwing ourselves on God’s mercy will we begin to legitimately thirst for God’s kindness and grace. 

God’s Not Looking For Spiritual Gurus

When It’s Time To Give Up

BY MATT JOHNSON

In our democratic society we love to talk about freedom. But anybody out there ever tried to be perfect? Ah, shucks. Turns out we’re not as free as we thought. Freedom of the will is a thorny issue—but only theoretically speaking. The problem of the un-free will is not a philosophical problem.

When It’s Time To Give Up

The Myth of Christian Maturity

BY RYAN COUCH

In a world where science tells us that everything is deteriorating and we’re all one day closer to our physical death it’s nice to think that there might be something we are getting better at. The ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, taught that this is in fact the essence of ethics; to find purpose through habitual improvement.

The Myth of Christian Maturity

Good Works and Useless Burdens

BY MARTIN LUTHER

No Christian can boast that his own efforts have made him a member of Christ, with other Christians, in the common faith. Nor can he by any work constitute himself a Christian. He performs good works by virtue of having become a Christian, in the new birth, through faith, regardless of any merit of his own.

Good Works and Useless Burdens

Christ’s Gifts For Ingrates

BY RYAN COUCH

Have you ever received a gift for which you were less than thrilled, but you had to pretend you really liked it so as not to offend the giver? It is an awkward feeling, but despite your ambivalence, it is the right thing to do. When Christ gives us his gifts he is not as interested in our response as our human counterparts.

Christ’s Gifts For Ingrates

New Trees In An Old World

BY DONAVON RILEY 

All the verbs of our salvation are passive. God calls and gathers people to him through his Gospel. We don’t find him like an explorer finds the headwaters of a river. We are saved by Jesus’ death and resurrection. We don’t save ourselves.

New Trees In An Old World

Project Car Christianity

BY RYAN COUCH

Growing up my dad was always working on some project out in his shop. Much to my mother's chagrin, he would drag home some broken down vehicle or boat in need of a complete overhaul. Once he towed home a giant horse trailer that was completely rusted out and falling apart and we didn't even own horses!

Project Car Christianity

Sanctified By Faith

BY RYAN COUCH

As sinful humans, we are adept at taking what God gives as gift and making it into a work. Nowhere is this made more evident than in the universally misunderstood doctrine of sanctification. Scripture teaches that faith is not something we do but something that is created within us as the promise of Christ is heard.

Sanctified By Faith

Messy Saints

BY ERICK SORENSEN

The Corinthian Church was a mess. Factions, sexual immorality, lawsuits, false teaching, and a denial of the resurrection (!) are just a few of the issues this group of ragtag Christians were tangled up in. We would be reasonable to assume that the Apostle Paul’s interaction with them would begin with scathing rebuke and righteous anger.

Messy Saints

The Gift of Righteousness

BY ZACK JAMES COLE

Not that long ago the idea of the “gift of righteousness” was dreadful to me. Being gifted and able to live righteously was a righteous joke. The gospel got me in but I was taught that it’s my job to act like a Christian, grow spiritually, and work on providing evidence that I am saved through my better living and less sinning...

The Gift of Righteousness

I Still Need the Sacraments

BY JAY SAWRIE

Growing up, I dreaded the first Sunday of each quarter. Every time during the evening service, we would have Lord’s Supper after the sermon. It was clockwork, without fail. I dreaded these services because they seemed to always have the same emphasis...

I Still Need the Sacraments

Justification: One and Done.

BY PAUL DUNK

The protestant reformation took place 500 years ago this month as a result of false teaching that was sending the church running off to secure their salvation through good works – which not unlike my episode on that hike, starts you running down a path that proves utterly impossible to keep up.

Justification: One and Done.

Keep Looking, Desiring God

BY JAY SAWRIE

My parents will be the first to tell you, I can really put my foot in my mouth. I often don’t say the right thing. Often times, I can frustrate Allyson because I try to hunt for just the right words for the situation. Different people interpret words differently.

Keep Looking, Desiring God

The Goodness That Got You In

BY DANIEL EMERY PRICE

How did you become a Christian? This question is frequently asked in many Christian circles. Ask it and you will get one of a thousand different answers, but each will probably start with the same pronoun.

The Goodness That Got You In

Good News For Those Who Face-Plant

BY PAUL DUNK

Every Christian face-plants. It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been saved by grace, we still face-plant. It doesn’t matter if we have a diligent prayer life and are faithful in our scripture meditation, we still face-plant.

Good News For Those Who Face-Plant

The Wicked Way We Become More Like Jesus

BY DANIEL EMERY PRICE

I’m always surprised to hear people say, “If I could do it all again, I wouldn’t change a thing.” But we’re all sinners and we all sin every day. Some of us screwed up a lifetime ago and others fell short just last night.

The Wicked Way We Become More Like Jesus

The Lost Art of Abiding

BY DANIEL EMERY PRICE

Bearing fruit is something Christians spend significant amounts of time talking, writing, preaching, and even arguing about. For many, it has become a wellspring of vexation.

The Lost Art of Abiding

Law-Abiding Citizens

BY BRAD GRAY

Among the things that perturb me about modern Christianity is our residual clinging to a sort of “Christian-karma.” You’ve probably read this frustration from me before, but with some recent events in my own life, I feel as though Christians still just don’t get it. 

Law-Abiding Citizens