How Do I “Count It All Joy” ?
Trials are not evidence that the Lord has forgotten or forsaken; rather, trials are sure proof that the Lord is performing His redemptive work in us.
Take cheer, troubled one—the Lord’s work is not done. The same Lord that used the cross for the redemption of the world is at work in your trials for His greater purposes. In this, we can have joy. Like the inhospitable cold corridors of the emergency hallways we entered, so were the years of trials... Continue Reading
The Escape: God’s Wrath and the Shorter Westminster Catechism
The Catechism also alerts us to our lostness in the face of a rapidly approaching night.
The Catechism summarizes for us the high expectations of the holy God and lays those expectations on all. There are none who do not sin. Though some sins are more heinous than others, no sin, no matter how seemingly inconsequential to us, escapes the judgment of God. This brew has a bitter, terrible taste. And... Continue Reading
The Good American: What Samaria Says About Racial Hostility
Jesus knew, very personally, the pain and strain of ethnic hostility.
“The ethnic and cultural boundary between the Jews and the Samaritans,” J. Daniel Hays writes, “was every bit as rigid and hostile as the current boundary between Blacks and Whites in the most racist areas of the United States” (From Every People and Nation: A Biblical Theology of Race, 163). Hays’s excellent book alerted me... Continue Reading
Children, Education, and the Future of the West
Schools today are more about indoctrination than education.
If you want to know why the West is in such bad shape, and why so many folks seem to have no clue as to what is going on, this is a big part of the reason. We have turned our schools over to the activists and the secular leftists for the most part. And... Continue Reading
Why Your Organization Should Not Do Diversity Training
“Diversity” training is not likely to create the harmonious, diverse working environment its advocates advertise.
“Diversity” activists have two goals in mind, and those are both of the most likely outcomes of your organization’s “diversity” civil war. Either the organization folds to their pressure and becomes a “diversity” activist organ that diverts the maximum amount of resources to “diversity,” or it collapses, which will be rationalized as another racist organization... Continue Reading
Three Reasons We Must Preach On the Image of God
I am convinced that in 2020, no doctrine is more under attack in our world than this.
Brilliant theological minds have differed on the precise definition of the image, but I think it’s best to contend for a holistic view. The image of God is structural, relational, and functional. To put it concisely, the image of God is the essential and unique quality of human beings whereby we reflect and represent God in the context of meaningful relationship with... Continue Reading
The Character of a Theologian
Witsius sketches a portrait of the theologian as a student, a teacher, and a Christian.
The point of the lecture is to outline the traits of a true theologian (vero theologo). “By theologian,” he explains, “I mean one who, imbued with a substantial knowledge of divine things derived from the teaching of God Himself, declares and extols, not in words only, but by the whole course of his life, the... Continue Reading
False Gospel: “Cut Off Toxic People”
The problem with this false gospel is that it maintains a proud view of oneself, a shallow view of sin, a blunted remedy, and a worldly hope.
So we look to Jesus. Carefully choose your friends. Surround yourself with people who build you up in Jesus, not simply you. Yet, love the broken and the lost. Remember, Jesus hung with outcasts, forgave sinners, and selflessly served others. It doesn’t take a devil to drain me. It just takes one exhausting person. My... Continue Reading
What Christians Can Expect From Joe Biden And Kamala Harris
The incoming administration will impose moral positions on Christians that are repugnant to us and infringe upon the exercise of religious faith in the public square.
Biden has also indicated he supports the so-called “Equality Act,” which has passed in the House and been championed by Harris in the Senate. This legislation is designed to impose gender ideology even beyond schools and other institutions that receive federal funding. Its purpose is to force businesses and other public institutions not merely to... Continue Reading
Why ‘No Matter Who Wins, Jesus is Lord’ Isn’t Just a Cliché
“Jesus is Lord” means that the Lord Jesus Christ is subduing this fallen world and spreading a better kingdom.
There is indeed a future, “not yet” element of Jesus’ kingdom. But there is also a present, “already” element. Believers may suffer and even die, but the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. The cross precedes the crown. Death precedes resurrection. This blessed hope allows the Christian to live in spiritual... Continue Reading
“United Adoration”: Spurgeon and Congregational Singing
Spurgeon regarded singing as an excellent exercise for internalizing the truths of Scripture.
This was not a legalistic requirement. Rather, for Spurgeon, God’s salvation was the reason for our singing. Singing was not just another thing to pass the time, more entertainment to indulge the senses. No, singing was an appropriate and responsive act of praise to the God who accomplished salvation for his people in Christ Jesus.... Continue Reading
Does Heaven Have Suburbs?
Rutherford’s quote reminds me that the real joy and lasting pleasure of the “suburbs” is mine for the taking.
To “live in Christ,” then, is to live in continual repentance, to keep our affections fixed upon Christ. This is the road that leads to real joy and lasting pleasure, as we can see in the following example taken from marriage. The pathway to my joy in marriage is for me to keep my heart... Continue Reading
Proven Faith Is More Precious than Gold
When the goldsmith can see the reflection of his face clearly mirrored in the surface of the liquid, he knows that the contents are pure gold.
The teaching of Scripture is clear. In order to produce a godly, mature Christian, God increases the temperature of life in order to turn our hearts more devotedly toward him. He melts our faith in order to bring to the surface the remaining sin and unbelief in our hearts, but which we may be blinded... Continue Reading
Wokeness Threatens the Rule of Law
The “applied postmodern” ideologies that we refer to as “Wokeness” or “Critical Social Justice Theory” posit a concept of radical subjectivism and socialization into power-laden biases.
It should be enough, then, to point out merely that the Woke ideology is both gaining significant amounts of power on nearly all levels — social, cultural, institutional, and legal — and is wholly inimical to the legal foundations of a free, liberal society filled with citizens who are equal under and before the law.... Continue Reading
Addressing Fraternal Disagreements in the Body of Christ
Our unity does not come from uniformity of thought, but from having the same Savior, the same mission, and the same love for one another.
Whenever we publicly express disagreement with a brother in Christ, we should ask two questions. First, we must ask if our response builds up the other person or tears him down. Does this response merely prove I am right or is it a gentle, loving correction? Second, does our response model the kind of God-glorifying... Continue Reading
What Does the Church Most Need Today?
“O Israel, if you would but listen to me!”
The failure of Israel to hear the Word of God was rectified by God’s own Son. Jesus always heard and honored God’s Word. His Father delighted in Him for that reason: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 17:5). Jesus perfectly listened and followed so that His people would have... Continue Reading
Responses to Crumbling Foundations
The Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face. The destiny of the righteous is certain.
Three correct responses of God’s people when the foundations of righteousness around them are crumbling: In the Lord I take refuge. The Lord is in his holy temple. The Lord has determined the destiny of the wicked and the righteous. When the foundations of society appear to be crumbling around us, what should the... Continue Reading
Why We Work
Why it’s good, why it’s hard, why it’s still worth doing, and when it will be redeemed.
God makes humans and then he invites humans into the work of creating other humans. God calls us to himself as disciples and then invites us into the Great Commission work of making other disciples. The same is true of the other, more mundane work that fills our days. In one sense, it has inherent... Continue Reading
The Leaven of Patience
Patience belongs to the well-being of relationships, providing an elasticity instead of a brittleness that easily breaks.
It is interesting that the apostle reinforces patience with the phrase of bearing with one another. Patience suggests purposeful restraint. We find this illustrated in God, who in His divine forbearance did not impose His wrath prior to the incarnation of Christ (Rom. 3:25-26) and even now tarries in patience, “not wishing that any should... Continue Reading
Exemplary Prayers-Acts 4:23-30
The more Scripture gets into our prayer, the more we can be sure we are praying according to God's will.
I want my prayers to be more like this: diving more deeply into the beauty of God’s character, the power of His promises, and the perfection of His will. Surely prayers like this will be the ones most honoring to Him, most helpful for my own soul, and most rewarded with God’s blessing. When... Continue Reading
The Surpassing Worth of Knowing Christ
Paul gave up everything he had gained in the Jewish world for the Christ he sought to destroy.
How do you explain this? Only one explanation will work—he saw something that had more value. God revealed Christ to him in a vision. After that he was as gentle and submissive as a newborn. Meeting Christ was just that powerful. It was the surpassing value that turned everything upside down in a moment. ... Continue Reading
The Laborers Multiply
Who knows what the Lord will do as we serve Him in the variety of callings He gives.
Perhaps as we are laboring in uncommon ways, God may even make iron to float. May the Lord help us to labor diligently in His kingdom in whatever form that labor may take so that we may see many converted and entering the Kingdom. And the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “See... Continue Reading
Jesus Is the True and Faithful Gardener Who Cares for Your Soul
Consider the theological significance of the following two Garden settings in which Christ carried out the work of redemption.
Adam was called to guard and keep the Garden. This certainly included his need to protect his bride from the temptations of the evil one. When Jesus entered into his sufferings on the cross, he did so with His bride—the church—with him there in the Garden. As Adam should have warned Eve to “watch and... Continue Reading
Learning to Wait Well
Those who trust in God while they wait can be sure they are never out of his sight.
Because our joy and gladness come from our Lord more than from specific answers to our prayers. Because we love his salvation and experience his goodness again and again as a result of it. He is always writing new chapters, new stories, giving us fresh reasons to declare his steadfast love and faithfulness. And as... Continue Reading
A Friend in High Places
Christian prayer is about using our connection with Jesus to gain access to a space we would otherwise be unable to access on our own.
One of the most important things for us to understand about what it means for us to pray as Christians is this: of all the special places in creation to which we might have access because of our connection to someone, the most precious is the access we have to the heavenly throne room of... Continue Reading
The Foundations Are Not Destroyed
Man’s foundations may crumble, but the bedrock foundations that God laid are established forever.
In Psalm 11, David is reaffirming the foundations that God set out in Psalms 1 and 2. He’s readjusting his image of reality with God’s image of reality. The foundations look like they’re crumbling, and they may be in the societies of men, but those foundations are still there, because God laid those foundations, and... Continue Reading
Getting John 1:12 Right: Should You Invite Jesus Into Your Heart?
When we use the concept of “inviting Christ into the heart” we are robbing faith of its richness.
The wrong use of John 1:12 has to do with the use of the word “receive” which is taken to mean that an unconverted person is to “ask Jesus into his heart” as the invitation of the gospel. The wrong use of this word, in tandem with Revelation 3:20 (“Behold I stand at the door... Continue Reading
What is the Meaning of Life?
If you want to know why you are here, you have to start in the beginning. And in the beginning, there was God.
Think about that! The God whom we sinned against, paid the price to reconcile us to Himself! What an amazing act of love! What kind of God turns His wrath upon His own Son so that His people might not perish under it? A God worthy of your submission and worship, that’s what kind of God.... Continue Reading
Three Words to Remind You of the Goodness of God
How. Much. More.
Now there is a question, in the midst of all the questions of the day, to lift the soul of the Christian. Ask yourself today, then, when you encounter a shadow. A shadow of joy, a shadow of comfort, a shadow of friendship, a shadow of grace. Bask in the shadows that give relief from... Continue Reading
To the Pastor Who Feels Inadequate
If we felt sufficient for these days and this calling, then something would be terribly wrong.
And yet, as inadequate as we most certainly are—the Lord has made us more than adequate to fulfill our calling. Isn’t that what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:5–6? “Not that we are adequate in ourselves … but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant.” We... Continue Reading