Law & Gospel

Agree With Your Enemy

BY MARTIN LUTHER

Paul describes this faith in most significant words, namely, when we cry Abba! Father! For in the spirit of fear it is not possible to cry, for we can scarcely open our mouth or mumble. But faith expands the heart, the emotions, and the voice, but fear tightens up all these things and restricts them, as our own experience amply testifies.

Agree With Your Enemy

Whenever Our Heart Condemns Us

BY BRANDON HANSON

He looked me straight in the eye and said these words, almost in a challenging way, “I hate God. I do. I try to love and obey Him, yet whenever I’m alone, when my mind has a chance to think, it constantly and consistently points me to the fact that I am not innocent of sinning against God.

Whenever Our Heart Condemns Us

I Am A Fake Christian

BY RYAN COUCH

What is a fake Christian? I think the answer depends upon how you define “Christian”…the Bible says that a Christian is one who has faith in the person and work of Christ as his/her only means of salvation; that is that they’ve been put to death and raised into new life with Christ.

I Am A Fake Christian

Stop Conflating Caesar With Jesus

BY BRANDON HANSON

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.

Stop Conflating Caesar With Jesus

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

Jesus – The De-Motivational Speaker

BY MATT JOHNSON

Americans love the vicarious sense of pride they get from the odds-defying underdog myth. But often, all the attaboy-ing translates to spiritual performance and a definition of sin that is closer to good intentions gone awry than war against the maker of the universe.

Jesus – The De-Motivational Speaker

The Advocate

BY JESSICA THOMPSON

If you are going to memorize a passage of Scripture, can I suggest these two verses? My guess is you are going to need the good news they deliver every day of your life, multiple times a day. I love the tone that John is taking here, “My little children” is such a sweet term of endearment.

The Advocate

Why Rules Alone Never Work

BY MATT JOHNSON

Your eternal salvation isn’t dependent on performance or effort. Well, not your performance anyway... We Christians are a dull bunch. Tie a string around your finger if you have to, but whatever you do, remember this: spiritual performance inventories are futile. Luther knew this, and the Apostle Paul backs him up.

Why Rules Alone Never Work

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

The Dung-Slinging God

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

The prophet Jonah longed for one thing: to see the Assyrian city of Nineveh utterly destroyed by the wrath of God. His wish eventually came true. The later prophet, Nahum, describes in terrible and graphic detail the fall of the city. Nahum is a book almost entirely devoted to the horrors of the wrath of God.

The Dung-Slinging God

What The Law Can And Can't Do

BY MARTIN LUTHER

The youth under a tutor follows not his own will; but, from fear of the rod, his master’s will. While under control of his master, his real character cannot be detected. Were he free, his true self would be apparent, for he would manifest his natural disposition and his works would be his own.

What The Law Can And Can't Do

The Final Review

BY ZACK JAMES COLE

With a new year comes many new things. In the corporate world, we again introduced to our yearly performance review. This might be exciting for some, but for me, it is always filled with anxiety. Sweaty palms, cottonmouth, an increased heart rate and loose bowels might all be present leading up to the review.

The Final Review

The Law Cannot Enter The Promised Land

BY DANIEL EMERY PRICE

There was a time when I struggled to understand why God didn’t allow Moses to enter the Promised Land. Moses didn't ask to lead Israel. Moses didn't ask to deal with God's rebellious and idolatrous people. He was perfectly happy tending sheep and being a husband and father.

The Law Cannot Enter The Promised Land

Disappointing People

BY GRETCHEN RONNEVIK

I have always felt I have a knack for disappointing people.  It sometimes feels like everyone in my life thinks I'm more capable than I am.  Five years into my chronic pain, I think my family is starting to catch onto my limitations.  I still disappoint my kids all the time. That's probably true of many parents.

Disappointing People

Jesus The Antinomian?

BY ERICK SORENSEN

When one preaches the law the way the Bible does (unattainably high for the sinner), it doesn’t leave one shred of hope that we’re somehow going to cut the mustard. It strips away any illusions that our obedience or lack thereof is what will make us acceptable before a holy God.

Jesus The Antinomian?

I Am The Reason For The Season

BY DOMINICK SANTORE

I apologize to you, all the people of the world. I apologize for my part in making Christmas necessary. I have learned that Christ is NOT the reason for the season, I am. It's true. All the sin and shame I bear for all my wrongdoings have made it a necessity for Christ to come in the form of a man, being born of a virgin.

I Am The Reason For The Season

Grace & Mercy? Who Needs It!

BY DONAVON RILEY

God's grace and mercy in Jesus Christ calls all sinners to a celebration. A "those who sat in darkness have seen a great light" kind of celebration. A "come to Bethlehem and see the new-born Savior" revelry. Like two divine sheepdogs, God's grace and mercy hound every person in the world to join the festivities.

Grace & Mercy? Who Needs It!

Who Gets the Gifts?

BY BONNIE PETROSCHUK

At this time of year a lot of emphasis is placed on being good. Elves on Shelves everywhere are watching our behavior and snitching to Santa, who is making up his all important list of those who have been naughty and those who have been nice. The parable above, however, sets forth something so counter to that way of thinking that we all have a very difficult time wrapping our minds around it.

Who Gets the Gifts?

Are We Reading The Old Testament The Wrong Way?

BY DONAVON RILEY

Often, when we talk about the Old Testament, we talk about God's promises and work for his chosen people, Israel. We talk about God's redeeming promise to Adam and Eve. God calls Abraham out of the Haran into Canaan. God sends Moses to Pharaoh with a message of liberation.

Are We Reading The Old Testament The Wrong Way?

Beggars Can’t Be Choosers

BY KATHY STRAUCH

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. 

Beggars Can’t Be Choosers

Christianity: The End of Religion

BY DONAVON RILEY

In the beginning, we read about the invention of religion. It begins simply enough in Genesis 3 [6-13]: The woman saw that the tree had fruit that was good to eat, nice to look at, and desirable for making someone wise. So she took some of the fruit and ate it.

Christianity: The End of Religion

Christ Is Enough

BY JESSICA THOMPSON

There are mornings I wake up beleaguered by my past sins. It is almost as though my conscience waits until I am too tired to fight it, and then it wages its war against me. Concerning the battle of the ever-accusing conscience, Horatius Bonar says…

Christ Is Enough

Of Works And Grace

BY MARTIN LUTHER

“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

Of Works And Grace

How Luther Pointed Me to Christ in the Old Testament

BY DONAVON RILEY

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.

How Luther Pointed Me to Christ in the Old Testament