The Blessed Repetition of Redemptive History

Jesus had to relive Israel’s history in order to bring about the spiritual reality of what the original exodus typified.

Why do we have a clear recapitulation of [Israel’s] history in the biblical record of the life of Jesus? The simple explanation is that Jesus came to do everything that Israel failed to do. He came to live as the perfect representative of His people.   Everyone loves the idea of new beginnings, as well... Continue Reading

What Will I Find When I Look at Christ?

Jesus Christ came into the world, so that you could come into a greater knowledge of God than was even given to Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob.

Whatever you have experienced in the Christian life, you ain’t seen nothing yet. You will see heaven opened and the angels ascending and descending—what the world longs to see, but cannot apart from Jesus Christ.   My invitation today to every person who is sincere in searching for the truth, but has genuine questions: “Come... Continue Reading

The Glory of the God-man: Who can Declare His Generation?

Indeed, we cannot comprehend this mystery.

When the Catechism introduces us to our Savior’s divine nature it describes Him as “the eternal Son of God.” In other words, it identifies Him with an attribute of God (“eternality”) and then identifies Him according to His distinct personal subsistence within the Godhead (“Son of God”). This description is rooted in Trinitarian categories. Both... Continue Reading

What Does “Faith Alone” Mean, and Why Should You Care?

In response to Rome’s perversion of biblical doctrine, the Reformers returned to the Scriptural truth that nothing we do can earn favor with God.

A common critique is that this doctrine makes for lazy Christians. The objection goes something like this: If I am justified merely by faith and not works, then there is no need for me to do good works. But the Reformers scoffed at that notion, because it misinterprets what God is doing for us through... Continue Reading

“The Expulsive Power of a New Affection”

The Life-Changing Insight of Thomas Chalmers

Chalmers poses for himself the question: How shall the human heart be freed from its love for the world? (How shall the air of world-love be removed from the soul-beaker?) This “love” is not a duty one performs. It is a delight one prefers. It is an affection before it is a commitment.   Christian... Continue Reading

To Whom Do We Entrust Ourselves?

The Biblical answer for the Christian is that we always entrust ourselves into the hands of God.

For pastors and ministers of the Gospel who keep watch over the souls of the flock, it is good for us to continually exhort our people to entrust themselves to the just judge. As the political climate in the US and abroad continues to heat up to a boil next November, the temptation for many... Continue Reading

On Faith, Works, the Lordship of Christ, and Assurance

Saving faith has legs that keep a Christian moving forward in obedience to Jesus.

Does genuine faith bear fruit?  Yes, that much is clear.  But how much fruit?  And how quickly does the fruit grow on the branches of a person’s life?  And does every kind of fruit grow on all of the branches all of the time?  The Bible simply does not ever go so far as to... Continue Reading

Paul’s Theology of Friendship

We find that Paul and the Philippians enjoy a fellowship of gift and suffering, with God as the divine source in a triangular friendship.

Two traits appear in Paul’s theology of friendship. The first is a reciprocity of gifts (immaterial and material) between Paul and the Philippians, which stems from a mutual phronesis—a way of thinking, feeling, and acting patterned after Jesus Christ (Phil 2:5–11).   A comparison between Paul and Aristotle on friendship may seem futile, at first... Continue Reading

There Once Was A Farmer

"May I ask—why was there no fruit?"

Now, the old farmer still rolls up his sleeves each morning, still picks up his tools, still swings the bag of seed over his shoulders, still asks the Master where he needs the seed sown. Harvests have come—and gone. Farming is not for the weak of heart or the soft in spirit.   There once... Continue Reading

Chick-fil-A to Stop Donations to Charities with Anti-LGBT Views

Chick-fil-A has been working on the new charitable structure since summer 2018, according to sources familiar with the process, and finally approved it in a board vote last week.

The new giving structure moves away from the multiyear commitments Chick-fil-A had with the Salvation Army and the FCA and focuses on annual grants, which Tassopoulos said will be reviewed and assessed each year. Future partners could include faith-based and non-faith-based charities, but the company said none of the organizations have anti-LGBT positions.   As... Continue Reading

Satan’s Strategy #4: Great Men Sin

"There is no avoiding sin," the Devil says. "Sin will happen to the very best of men."

When Satan tempts us in this manner, he neglects to tell us the rest of the story. He hides the tears, heartaches, misery, and painful repentance that result from yielding to temptation. David’s infamous sins with Bathsheba and Uriah were followed by his humiliating encounter with Nathan, his public disgrace, and his soul-wrenching repentance. We... Continue Reading

Robert Barnes – Early English Reformer

As a young Augustinian prior with a promising career in the academy and the church, Robert Barnes shared the hope and excitement for change.

As a prior, Barnes’s reforms included the introduction in the friars’ curriculum of a course on Paul’s epistles, in an attempt to bring Scriptures back to the center of their education. Another indication of his discomfort with Roman Catholic practices is the fact that, during his priory, the popular request for masses in Rome was... Continue Reading

What Is Your Only Comfort?

There is no other such comfort and assurance to be found apart from Christ.

As one of the authors of the catechism (Zacharius Ursinus) puts it in his commentary on the catechism, this comfort entails “the assurance of the free remission of sin, and of reconciliation with God by and on account of Christ, and a certain expectation of eternal life; impressed upon the heart by the Holy Spirit... Continue Reading

God’s Immutability and You

Seven practical applications of the immutability of God.

It is common for people to have doubts about God’s love, goodness, or power during difficult times. However, instead of allowing your mind to think such wrong thoughts of God, times of suffering, persecution, or trials should be a time when you focus more than ever on God’s immutability. Think of all that Job went... Continue Reading

The Reliability of the Gospels

Answering today’s skeptics and critics.

Skeptics’ questions challenge faith on the internet, in the media and in universities. Some of these questions arise even from scholars, though often speaking outside their disciplinary expertise. And while most New Testament scholars agree on a number of key elements of Jesus’ ministry, other details are more debated, depending on the particular scholar’s assumptions.... Continue Reading

Anatomy of the Problem

Gender reveal parties in the age of transgender wokeness.

Because the biggest terror in our times is to be declared not “woke,” gender reveal parties are dead as a doornail. Oh, they’ll lumber along for a while more till the faithful all get the memo, but honestly, what were the originators thinking a decade ago! A gathering to announce whether your newborn is a... Continue Reading

I Finally Wrote My Resignation Letter

Without exaggeration, I think that this past year may be the most difficult period of ministry I’ve faced.

This morning I was going to write my resignation. This afternoon I had an overdue deep sleep. Tonight I’m rehearsing the gospel anew and tearing lies out by the roots.   After putting it off for months, I finally got around to writing up my letter of resignation. Well, to be honest, I haven’t got... Continue Reading

A Response to Dr. Levinson On Critical Theory

The conflict between contemporary critical theory and evangelical Christianity is the center of our concern.

I fully admit that my understanding of Christianity is based on a historic, Protestant and evangelical reading of Scripture. Dr. Levinson is quite right to call attention to that fact. While contemporary critical theory is indeed compatible with various forms of Christian mysticism or liberation theology, my contention is that it is not compatible with... Continue Reading

Manage Your Household Well

The Tragedy of Distracted Dads and Pastors

One of the greatest needs wives and children have — and all the more in our relentlessly distracting age — is dad’s countercultural attentiveness. Perhaps human attention never has been more valuable. Today the largest corporations in the world no longer compete for oil, but for human attention. And when attention is short and scarce, one... Continue Reading

The Gospel and Your Money

Money is a gauge, an indicator that reveals a thousand data points about our hearts.

I learned long ago that what is important to Jesus ought to be important to me. If this principle is true, then we must think intentionally about money, just as he did. If Jesus died to redeem every aspect of us—as we mentioned before—then the gospel affects our pocketbooks. As his gospel transforms our life,... Continue Reading

Take Sin Seriously

Will you see your need for Christ if you have not seen your sin?

Why is the Son of God taken for granted in the visible church today? Only because sin is taken lightly. The rediscovery of the glory of Christ’s salvation is our most pressing need. The most mature man of God needs a fresh vision of Jesus Christ so that he cries out, “Hallelujah! What a Savior!”... Continue Reading

Are You This Kind of Christian?

Is it possible as a Christian that we function more undercover and quietly than we do as a light or salt?

My concern, of course, is that way too many of us function primarily undercover. We fail to engage often as followers of Christ. However, different than FAMs who function best and keep everyone else safer if they stay undercover, when we do that as Christians, we actually jeopardize those around us.   Federal Air Marshals... Continue Reading

Ebenezer Erskine – Preaching God’s Grace in Tumultuous Times

It was into the context of poverty and persecution that Ebenezer was born on 22 June 1680 in Dryburgh, Berwickshire.

Ebenezer harbored serious doubts about religion. When, after graduating from the University of Edinburgh, he was licensed to preach and ordained to the small rural parish of Portmoak, he could only do so mechanically and without passion, fixing his eyes on a stone on the wall in front of him. He found mentions of Christ... Continue Reading

5 Reasons Why We Should Sing Psalms and Hymns in Church

I want to offer up a balanced approach and give five reasons why we should be singing both psalms and hymns.

This important question deserves a much longer answer than the one I will briefly present in this article. Here I want to take up one particular aspect of this question, which will undoubtedly be asked at some point in the life of a Reformed church: should we only be singing the psalms? Certain church orders... Continue Reading

Humility in Ministry

Dear brothers, put off pride and posturing. Humble yourselves before God.

The Bible promises while God opposes those who are proud, He “gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6; cf. Ps. 138:6; Prov. 3:34; 1 Peter 5:5). Humility, then, is an emptying of self; it is a dying to self (see Luke 9:23; Gal. 2:20). Paul exhorted the Philippian church to manifest humility in their dealings... Continue Reading

Abounding In Thanksgiving

Your salvation was everything to do with grace, and nothing to do with works.

In a way, salvation has robbed me of everything except thanksgiving. All I am truly left with is the opportunity to say 1000 times a day, in a 1000 different ways, “Thank you”. When I do this, when I proclaim my dependant thankfulness. I magnify the name and worth of Christ.    Therefore, as you received... Continue Reading

How to Summarize the Gospel in 2 Words

Grace and peace.

Nothing in us is motivational, and nothing we can do can pay Him back. The only part we have in grace is the receiving of it: “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-10). And what... Continue Reading

My Joy Rose as Sorrows Fell

In sorrow I have learned the joy of God’s presence.

Before I can rejoice, I need to lament. This step is critical because it is only through acknowledging and grieving my pain that I’ve experienced God’s presence and comfort. Without this step, my words may sound spiritual and even eloquent, but they are disconnected from my life — I’m left feeling empty and alone. I... Continue Reading

What Does Paul Teach Us About Resolving Conflict?

How we resolve conflict will testify to the reconciling work of God in Christ by his Spirit in our lives.

It has been said that humility is standing at our full height next to God at his full height—and that means standing next to others at their full height too. When you are in a situation of conflict, are you ready to give due credit to your (actual or potential) opponents? Paul is clear that... Continue Reading

Dwelling on Death

The promise of Christ about death is the resurrection.

Run hard in this life. As it did for Paul, life now means the continuing opportunities of fruitful labor for the joy and progress in the faith of others to the glory of God (Phil. 1:22, 25-26). The worldly view would have you toiling now to enjoy only this life because if this is all... Continue Reading