Thursday, April 21, 2005
THE COMPREHENSIVE LORDSHIP OF CHRIST
American Christianity is a fake. It has the form of godliness, but denies its power. Why? Because it thinks that Christ is less than Lord.
What do I mean by this? I mean simply that we fail to apply the lordship of Christ in every area of life and thought. I know we are all guilty of this. In fact, every time we sin, we are failing to apply Jesus' lordship to our lives. But it seems that we are not being transformed by the renewing of our minds.
Right now, I am extremely frustrated with the "Christian" school I work for. We have people on the board who makes rules, but do not follow them. We have compromise all over the place. Why make rules if you won't follow them yourself? Furthermore, there is a tremendous lack of discipline at the school I work for, and especially at the "church" that the school is associated with.
Are we striving to obey in our sanctification? Are we grieved by our sin and our sinfulness? Is sin utterly sinful to us? Do we long to become more holy?
Jesus is Lord over every area of life and thought. We need to strive to be hard workers at our jobs, to be excellent husbands and wives to our spouses, to be wonderful and exemplary fathers and mothers to our children, and to set godly examples.
We need to furthermore be bold when compromise comes. I know we need to balance this with patience and love when it comes to fellow brethren. I know I need to grow in this area. But when compromise is pervasive, when lack of discipline is pervasive, and then when others try to deceive you (and themselves) into thinking that everything is all right--that is when it is time to be bold. "The righteous are as bold as a lion."
We need to rigorously apply the Bible to all of life. There is an antithesis between unbelieving thought, and believing thought. It touches upon every aspect of our being and life. There will always be a clash between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent.
We should be utterly disturbed by compromise.
May Christ be exalted in our lives, in every area, and in every thought. May we be jealous for His lordship.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
WHY WE MINIMIZE SIN
Woe to us, because we live in a culture that minimizes sin. It is the prideful human tendency to make sin lighter than it really is. We all do it. But especially here in America.
Especially among evangelical Christians, there is a tendency to look at sin as less serious than it really is. We willingly lie to ourselves and teach ourselves that it is OK, because at least we're not like that other person over there. "Sure, I've stolen, but at least I haven't murdered." Then the murderer says, "Sure, I've murdered, but at least I haven't murdered like a serial-killer." Then the serial killer says, "Sure, I have serially-murdered, but at least I didn't torture them." And then, my friends, Hitler says, "Sure, I killed and tortured six million of them, but at least they were Jews." Where does it all end?!
We need to see sin for what it is. The only way this will happen is if the Word of God is applied to our hearts. We need to read it and study it prayerfully, asking the Holy Spirit to transform us by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). We need to be slain by the Law of God, and transformed by the gospel of Christ. Read Romans 7 and Paul's description of sin. The Law came that sin would become utterly sinful.
Notice, please, that it is the Law that condemns and convicts, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Have you lusted after a woman? Then you've committed adultery with her. Have you hated someone? Then you've murdered them. Have you coveted something? Then you've stolen it. Paul says that the Law is spiritual! Romans 7:13 says that "in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good [the Law], so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful."
The holy Law of God displays God's holy character. As we study the Law, we begin to see, by God's grace applied, our utter sinfulness. We begin to see the utter holiness of God. Christianity today has too low a view of God and too high a view of man. We are so trapped in our sinfulness, that our sinfulness permeates to the very core of our being. It takes a miracle of sovereign grace to free us from our sin. And even after we have been freed, regenerated, and born again, we still are slowly being released from the power of sin as we are being transformed more and more into Christ's image.
Let us stop deceiving ourselves. Our sin is wickedly evil and disgusting. It makes a mockery of the holiness of God. It breaks His holy Law. It nailed Christ to the cross.
May God grant us the eyes to see our sinfulness, and to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Jesus is indeed the true Savior--He saves us not only from sin's penalty, but also from its power in our lives as well!
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
THE ACTIVE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST A NECESSITY
Brothers and sisters in Christ, is it not extremely hard to believe what is going on in Reformed circles these days? Can you believe that people who are calling themselves "Reformed" are denying the imputation of Christ's righteousness? The imputation of the righteousness of Christ is essential to biblical and Reformed doctrine.
The active obedience of Christ is the fact that Christ perfectly fulfilled the Law of God by obeying it in its every aspect. He did this for His elect. God the Father imputes Christ's Law-keeping to us, and regards us as if we kept the Law of God perfectly. The active obedience was necessary for His passive obedience, which is Christ's death on the cross. So in justification, we are imputed Christ's righteousness and His death on the cross, forgiving our sins.
However, those who are denying active obedience are saying that all justification is is merely the forgiveness of sins. But, as Sproul has rightly said, if that is all justification is, then we would be like Adam in the Garden again. We would be back to square one. But what positive righteousness would we have to commend us before the Father?
Granted, I believe that in justification, much more than just Christ's fulfilling of the Law and His death on the cross is imputed to us. In fact, all of Christ's life, death, and resurrection are imputed to us. In fact, it is the entire work of Christ that is imputed to us. But I still think the active/passive obedience distinction is helpful, because Christ did indeed come to obey the Law. There are several passages which mention this. Scripture mentions that Christ had to be "under the Law" to redeem those under the Law. Our Lord tells John the Baptist that it is proper to baptize Him "so as to fulfill all righteousness."
I believe that those who are denying active obedience are on deadly ground spiritually. They have a low view of their own sinfulness. We need to love the truth in order to be saved. We need to get a glimpse of our utter sinfulness, and the utter holiness of God. When we, by God's grace, see it, then we will cling to justification by faith alone by the imputed righteousness of Christ alone with all of our being.
May the Lord bring to repentance those who are denying the work of Christ. May He open their eyes to the glory of Christ and to the utter beauty of His redemptive work.
Thursday, March 31, 2005
THOUGHTS ON TERRI SCHIAVO
Today, Terri Schiavo has died. It is an extreme tragedy that we have added to our holocaust here in the U.S.A., the land of the oppressed and the home of the cowardly. We have come so far from what our founding fathers' ideal was.
However, something struck me recently. I was talking to a brother in Christ recently. I said to him, "Doesn't this whole Terri Schiavo thing anger you?" I'll never forget his response. He said, "Of course--but it's no different than all the murdering of babies that our nation has done for a long time." In other words, he has a good point. Why are we Christians suddenly becoming outraged and jumping on the frustration bandwagon now, when we should have been outraged and determined to fight injustice ages ago?
Folks, it's not just Terri Schiavo. Every day, thousands of babies are killed. Our nation legalized this thirty years ago. This is a legacy of autonomy. Man suppresses the truth of God's Law, which is written on his heart, and he replaces it with self-law. It is not up to the courts to decide what is right and what is wrong. Ethics reflects God's character. God is the standard of goodness. I know He is outraged with this country. How do I know this? Because He is a God of justice and wrath. Scripture says He by no means clears the guilty, but Has mercy on those who call upon His Name.
Brothers and sisters in Christ: It is the Church that is the glory of the world. God restrains evil primarily through the influence of the Church. But the Church is sitting on her thumbs. She is doing nothing. She is ignoring the Great Commission. But when she seems to obey the Great Commission, she preaches a man-centered gospel of "Jesus can make you happy."
People need to be crushed by the Law of God, so that sin becomes utterly sinful, as Paul says in Romans 7. They need to know that they are under God's holy wrath and displeasure. They need to be told that Christ is their only remedy, not only from the penalty of sin, but also from the power of sin (and ultimately from the presence of sin). They need to be told that Christ is the Only One Who can save them from their willing self-deception. They need to be told to love the truth, so as to be saved.
We need to learn to think God's thoughts after Him, to be transformed through the renewing of our minds, to test and approve what God's good, pleasing, and perfect will is. And we need to teach others repentance, and preach repentance.
I believe that the Bible teaches that the Church will succeed in her task in history--but not until she gets off of her thumbs and preaches the gospel of no compromise. Christ is Lord over every area of life and thought, whether someone is a believer or an unbeliever. This is absolutely true, for everyone, whether believer or unbeliever. The absolute fact is, that the only way of salvation is in Christ alone, by faith alone, and by God's grace alone.
May God open up the Church's eyes to her task, and grant her repentance to perform it.
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
WELCOME TO THE U.S.A.: THE LAND OF THE OPPRESSED AND THE HOME OF THE COWARDLY
I am extremely outraged at what is going on with the Terri Schiavo case. Isn't it obvious that man's standards of good and evil are arbitrary? What makes man the final determiner of what a life is and what isn't?
We live in a society that only cares about itself. To illustrate this, consider the fact that my wife and I have decided to be a "full quiver" family. (That is, we want to have as many children as the Lord gives us, and we do not practice birth control.) My wife has agreed to not have any alcoholic drinks while she is breastfeeding or pregnant. Recently, one of our family members said to her, "So you're not going to have any drinks unless you're not pregnant or breastfeeding?!" He asked the question in a way that just thought that was so tough. Poor her, he seemed to say.
But my wife and I see it differently. It is a small sacrifice to make for the joy of raising children. But our society is cowardly when it comes to having children. They do not see children as the precious gift from the Lord that they are. Scripture tells us that they are a heritage, and that he who has a quiver-full of them is blessed. (A quiver is what holds arrows for an archer. It can hold a lot of arrows!) Scripture also tells us that children are arrows in the hands of a mighty warrior.
When I first got married, my dream was to finish seminary, go to Philadelphia to finish my doctorate in theology, and then go to Spain and serve there. But the Bible says, "In a heart a man plots his course, but it is the Lord that determines his steps." God had a different plan. Since then I have grown immensely in my understanding of doctrine and practice, and the Lord has blessed us with two children. He has shown me the need to work hard to support my family.
So we moved to Georgia to teach at a classical Christian school. But our understanding of the vitality of the Lord's Supper and the necessity of a biblical church has grown as well. So we are moving back to California to return to our church.
I will be teaching in another Reformed school in California. For how long? Only the Lord knows. The main thing is that I need to support my family. This may mean I'll only work in the Reformed school world for only a time, or it could mean that I will end up teaching in public schools. I will be going for my credential as well. But the Lord determines my steps.
Through all of this, what have I learned? I'll tell you.
Do you know what my dream is? To love my wife and family and to support them. To serve in the true church of our Lord and enjoy the means of grace. To persevere until the end, along with my family. My dream is to serve the Lord wherever He has me. May He be praised in my life.