Have you ever thought about what saving faith is or what it does? God’s Word tells us that faith is a gift of grace: our faith has been obtained “by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:1) It is something given to us—without our having done anything to merit it. The theologian Thomas Boston describes our receiving faith this way: “We are born spiritually blind, and cannot be restored without a miracle of grace… There is, in the unrenewed will, an utter inability for what is truly good and acceptable in God’s sight.” Even elect souls attempt to resist “when the Spirit of the Lord is at work, to bring them from the power of Satan unto God.” God’s Word plainly declares our inability to create or conjure up spiritual life, including faith, from within. Continue reading
What is communion with God? In the first epistle of John we are told that Christians fellowship with “the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3) The Christians of John’s day were marginalized, despised, and persecuted. Why would anyone want to become a Christian? Yet, for all the apparent disadvantages, it was not only desirable, but honorable and glorious. “Truly,” John says, “our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
Due to our sin, no man, woman, or child, in their natural born condition has fellowship with God. God is light. We are darkness. What communion does light have with darkness? God is life. We are dead. God is love. We are enmity. So what friendship can there be between God and man? Continue reading
“One of the most significant growth points in the believer’s life is the dawning realisation that Christian doctrine matters for Christian living. How we live as God’s children will be shaped by the impact of God’s truth upon our minds and hearts. This is so basic; and yet it can hardly be denied that many Christians languish in the shadows of God’s love when they should be basking in the noon-day sunshine of his love, and all because they fail to make the connection between believing the truth and enjoying the truth.
This is perhaps nowhere more evident than in the lack of assurance that blights the lives of many Christians. Continue reading
My only comfort is “that I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who, with His precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation, and therefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready from now on to live for Him.” Continue reading
The first benefit of biblical Christianity is that the Christian is a person no longer a rebel and enemy, chasing futility and facing judgement. The Christian is reconciled to God in Christ, and brought to glorify and enjoy Him. God in his grace lavishes the Christian with this and innumerable other blessings. The benefits of a biblical Christianity also extend beyond the individual–to the church, family, and beyond.
Broken, distorted relationships in families and society are a painful, and to some degree, standard reality in our world. What difference does it make to be a Christian? While retaining natural family ties, the Christian receives the benefit of adoption into God’s family. He/she becomes a child of God, entering a new relationship with Christians around the globe, as well as those already in heavenly glory. Continue reading
Recently in our city a group of humanists and skeptics posted a billboard ad along a major freeway proclaiming, “Millions of Americans are living happily without religion.” Among other things, it begs the question, what difference does it make to be a Christian? Will those who become Christians live more happily? Are the benefits “worth it”?
Reconciled to God
The positive benefits of biblical Christianity are vast, both present and future. In the present, by faith and repentance in Jesus Christ, the person who has become a Christian is reconciled to the one true God, Creator of the heavens and the earth. He/she is now at peace with the God whom they were previously estranged from; whose eternal wrath they had faced because of a rebel life of sin and self. For the Christian, the penalty of impending, deserved punishment has been satisfied by Christ. Continue reading
“Here [in the suffering and death of Christ] we see the horrid and hateful evil of sin, which no other sacrifice could expiate but the blood of the Son of God. As the power of a disease is known by the strength of the treatment need to cure it, and the value of a good by the money needed to buy it, so it is here. The sufferings and death of Christ express the evil of sin far above the most severe judgments that any creature ever endured. The dying groans of our blessed Redeemer display the horrid nature of sin, and declare how hateful it is in the sight of an infinitely pure and holy God.
How much evil there must be in sin for Christ to have to groan and bleed to death to take it away. It is strange to imagine how rational humans would dare to commit such evil, so freely and openly, and for trifles and illusory things, of no lasting value. If God did not spare his own Son [who was pure and holy as our Substitute], how will sinners escape, who are deeply and universally defiled? Can they bear for ever, what was intolerable for Christ to bear for a few hours, who had all the strength of the Deity to support him? O what incredible madness it is for men to drink iniquity like water, as if it is a harmless thing, when it is poison so dangerous and deadly, and the least drop brings ruin. Continue reading
How would you answer that question? There have been many statements that answer it: some short and succinct, like the Apostles’ Creed, and some long and more substantive, like the historic Protestant confessions. Over at the Reformation21 blog they’ve started an excellent series on the Westminster Confession of Faith. I’ve been enjoying reading (and later writing, Lord willing) about the confession of faith I share with many in North America and around the world. If you want to be refreshed and challenged by this summary of the rich truths of God’s Word, check it out. It will help you “be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine…” (1 Timothy 4:6).