The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

Not everyone who thinks he is forgiven is actually forgiven, but that is not because of a shortage of forgiveness with Christ.

When Christ spoke this parable, He was on His way to the cross. It’s only because of His one sacrifice on the cross that there can be forgiveness for any sinner. And from the crucified Savior flows the power to manifest this forgiveness to others in the community of faith. It is the good news of... Continue Reading

What Does It Mean To Be The Apple Of God’s Eye?

Because of the true Son of David, we become the apple of God's eye.

How can David claim to be the apple of God’s eye? Can he say this because it’s before his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah, her husband? Did he forfeit this claim after he committed such sins? And, what about us? Surely we couldn’t lay hold of this title. We know our sin.... Continue Reading

For the Hymnal

Having a hymnal in the pew and in the home helps join the sacred and the secular.

Having the physical hymnal in the pew and at the dinner table creates a beautiful resonance and harmony between church and home. A liturgy of life emerges that helps Christian piety and devotion extend beyond Sunday morning. This is especially well-facilitated in Lutheranism and other traditions where the hymnal also contains Scripture-saturated liturgical services, rites,... Continue Reading

Dear Memaw: A Letter I Wish My Great-Grandmother Could Read

I wish I could tell you about your piano, Memaw. It is quite the story. But since I can’t tell you, I tell Him, each day, and thank Him for it.

I guess I’m writing this letter more for me than for you. I guess I’m writing it because I needed to be reminded that God orchestrates even the tiniest details, like your old piano, to accomplish His perfect plan. Maybe that’s what comforts me the most when I sit on that creaky bench each day.... Continue Reading

The Spirit of Puritan Worship

The Puritans were zealous for pure worship, because God is zealous for the glory of His name.

Spiritual worship is not a passive experience; it requires concentration, exertion, diligence, and “striving” with all your might (Rom. 15:30) to serve God with a single-minded focus upon His glory (Col. 3:22).[13] David prayed in Psalm 86:11, “Unite my heart to fear thy name.” In worship God must be the center of our attention and... Continue Reading

Parenting Books: Moving From Formulas Back to Principles

You must be committed as a parent to long-view parenting because change is a process and not an event.

Many Christians would even say that the Bible isn’t a parenting book, because it doesn’t give practical day-to-day help. It is true that you won’t find verses about the terrible twos, the tween years, or helping your twenty-something child to “adult.” We can, however, miss the forest for the trees, forgetting the foundational principles from... Continue Reading

Repeated Sinning and the Hope of Forgiveness

When we return to God in brokenness and in confidence that he has already provided forgiveness in the blood of Christ, we will make it our renewed aim to be well-pleasing to him.

God has redeemed us so that we would walk in paths of righteousness. Jesus died to both the guilt and the power of sin so that those for whom he died can walk in newness of life. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,” writes the apostle, “training us to... Continue Reading

The Blessed and Only God: Part One

What Christ has done flows out of who God is.

Let’s be honest, the knowledge of God is a bit of an acquired taste. At first it seems too remote or intellectual, like a piece of classical music; but on closer inspection, after repeated exposure and listens, you pick up on the beautiful patterns, the intricate textures, the emotions and images that are provoked and... Continue Reading

The Parable of the Rich Fool

This parable is short and simple, but at the same time it is rich and profound.

The man is living like a fool, like someone who does not believe in God or as someone who lives as though God does not exist. “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’ ” (Ps. 14:1). He is oblivious to the sovereignty of God. “But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your... Continue Reading

Why Did the Pharisees Hate Jesus So Much?

The Pharisees were exposed, and because they were exposed by the true and authentic holiness of Christ, they hated Him.

A lot of things had happened between the day of the formation of the Pharisees and the time of Jesus’ incarnation, when they masqueraded as devotees of righteousness and obedience. In a word, they were counterfeit. They were fake. And nothing reveals a counterfeit like the presence of the genuine.    When you talk to... Continue Reading

How to Read Joel Theologically: Part One

Joel does not only call on people to return to the Lord and call on his name. His invitation to seek the Lord wholeheartedly is associated with a vision of God’s coming into his creation.

Joel begins with the awesome experience of the locust plague and transforms the experience into a transcendent message of the nearness and awesomeness of the Day of the Lord. Both the plague and the Day of the Lord occasion a renewed search for God without any pretense or self-justification. God promises his presence and vindication... Continue Reading

Don’t Just Live, Christian – “Walk”

We are to walk with God. That is the journey of intimacy.

There is a way you can live in which you don’t just live – you walk. And this is God’s intent for all of us who are in Christ. It’s to live in such a way that’s so different – so distinctive – that you can’t even describe it as “living” any more. The Hebrew word... Continue Reading

3 Good Things to Remember When People Let You Down

As much as it hurts when people disappoint us, it is important to remember that all of us have disappointed people as well.

Perhaps you expected something from a certain person that he or she didn’t give you. This does not necessarily mean the person has sinned against you. We all have expectations of the people in our lives, and this goes both ways. Maybe people close to you—your spouse, children, parents, friends—hoped you would treat them in... Continue Reading

Hell Will Not Unsettle Heaven

The horror of judgment and promise of joy.

When the clouds roll back, and we peek into heaven, we see martyrs cry out for justice: “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:10). We hear an angelic call to worship “because the hour of his judgment... Continue Reading

A Plea for Meekness

A meek person gives a wise, poised, and measured reaction.

I believe evangelical Christians would be wise to recover the lost trait of meekness during the upcoming political elections. Yes, there is a place for healthy discourse in the public square. Yes, there is a place for healthy dialogue across the political spectrum. Yet the modest question I raise to my fellow evangelicals is this:... Continue Reading

The Inspiration of Scripture

We see that Paul had a very high view of God’s Word.

What does it mean that “All Scripture is breathed out by God”? I translated as “God-breathed” the Greek word θεόπνευστος or theopneustos, which is a compound word comprised of θεός or theos, “God,” and πνέω or pneō, “to breathe hard, or blow.” What does this tell us? The word πνέω speaks of of a conscious... Continue Reading

Revisiting Revoice: Same-Sex Attraction in Sanctification

One cannot remain neutral with regard to whether SSA is morally culpable sin or a gift from God. Far too much is at stake.

The way forward in the journey of sanctification is not a selfish focus on sinful desire, but a freeing focus on the fatal wound dealt to our sin in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. As 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so... Continue Reading

The End of (Secular) Babies

The West is defined by its incredible shrinking families.

Having children, multiple amounts of them, will make your families outliers in the culture. In this late modern age having children—and plenty of them—is an increasingly outrageous, if not to say subversive and scandalous act.   Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior... Continue Reading

Taste Spoiled By Sweetness

Aesthetic immaturity is one of the reasons for a discrepancy in taste among people.

Since Scripture describes man’s propensity for self-deception, and his inclination towards self-worship, it is no surprise that sentimental art is popular and that unreflective people consider it their preference.   A discussion of taste is one of the most difficult (and unrewarding) ones to have, for most people are unreflective about their likes. “I know... Continue Reading

Rejoice Always

Obedience to this command is not accomplished by an act of the will.

The tribulations of life are inevitable. But they do not have the last word. The crucified and risen Christ is the world conqueror. The Lord Jesus Christ reigns over heaven and earth. This includes all of the blessings and burdens of your private world.   Do you know what the shortest verse in the New... Continue Reading

Why the cancellation of Franklin Graham should concern us all.

If we value our right to speak, and if we think free speech matters, we should be bothered about this case.

You may or may not agree with Graham’s politics. You may or may not agree with his religious views and the way he puts them across. But that he should be permitted to voice them was once a universally accepted basic right. But not any longer.   One of the difficulties of being a free... Continue Reading

PCA’s Defiant Greg Johnson Scheduled to Speak Revoice 2020 as PCA Splits

No denomination has grown in reach or numbers after embracing “gay Christianity” or gay marriage.

It appears the activists in the Revoice movement are excited that their movement is helping split one of the conservative denominations in America. PCA Pastor Greg Johnson may even be flaunting it.   Some Revoice History The idea of “LGBTQ Thriving in Historic Christian Tradition” is the theme of Revoice .The movement began in 2017... Continue Reading

5 Questions Your Listeners Will Have When They Hear You Preach

Your desire should be to be faithful to the passage at all costs, but understanding what goes through the minds of your hearers will help you in that endeavor.

Preachers tend to think about exegesis, appropriately relating the text to Christ, contextualization, and so on. This is all so very important. But most of your listeners don’t look for these elements; instead, they have much more simple and practical things on their minds.   As a preacher, your aim is to please God and... Continue Reading

The Gravity of Gravity

A Quick Look at Astronomy and Its Relevance

What was so amazing about Newton anyway? An apple falls, and he’s a genius? Everyone has always known that things fall. As one of my students said about something, “It’s as obvious as gravity.” And yet it was revolutionary? To understand a revolution, you have to understand from what it revolted.   Like most of... Continue Reading

John Gerstner’s Edwardsian Shadow

Put your ear to the ground in the PCA’s Ascension Presbytery in Western Pennsylvania, and you’ll hear people talking about the life and influence of Dr. John Gerstner.

There is a sense in which we can say that men like Gerstner, and Edwards before him, “lost” their battles with Culture. Edwards’ fear that orthodox Calvinism would one day be overrun by Enlightenment theologizing came true. Gerstner’s fear that the mainline denomination would veer towards the cliff of subjective relativism was likewise realized. But... Continue Reading

My Farewell to the PCA

A farewell statement from a long-time minister in the Presbyterian Church in America.

This article is now my farewell to the denomination in which I served for 43 years as teaching elder and as a candidate for the ministry from its very inception. I served in several capacities as a PCA minister—pastor of several churches; chaplain in the army reserves/army; veteran of Desert Storm; four terms on the... Continue Reading

Sanctified Minds and Bodies

Culture has increasingly accepted a sexual ethic in which nearly everything goes. Sex between unmarried people, premarital cohabitation, homosexuality, and a host of other practices enjoy societal approval.

Christians are not to be controlled by their sexual desires; rather, we are to practice self-control and abstain from all forbidden sexual activity, whether in thought, word, or deed (1 Thess. 4:4–5). Any professing believer who claims otherwise is in grave spiritual peril. The gospel sets us free from sin to honor God with our... Continue Reading

What is Necessary for a Christian to Believe?

What are the essentials?

The Christian faith has objective content that must be believed. Those propositions are more extensive than many might like to think, but all that content must be appropriated personally by faith or it remains only theoretical. The Spirit works through the proclamation of this gospel, these truths, to produce new life, true faith, and sanctity.... Continue Reading

Why We Shouldn’t Ditch the Traditional Sermon Just Yet

Many views agree that the sermon has had its day.

Most people manage perfectly happily with our 40-minute sermons. The only people who don’t are those who don’t really want to listen to the Word at all. Most people are quite happy to sit, listen and will even chat about stuff they’ve heard later in the week with other church members. It’s almost as if... Continue Reading

“Forgive Us Our Debts”: Getting Specific When Confessing Our Sins to God

We have to acknowledge our need of a savior, Christ, which means we are in need of salvation.

I think one of the more difficult parts of prayer is making a serious effort at confessing our sins. In my own personal prayers, I have no problem confessing my sin. I regularly pray, “Lord, please forgive me of my many sins.” Who of us can go but a few moments without sinning? Hence, I... Continue Reading