The Epiphany

Calvin called the Magi “the first-fruits of the Gentiles” who would come to God’s Son.

Scripture presents the gift of God’s Son as a historic fact that demands a response. The coming of the Magi fulfilled ancient prophesies: “The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising” (Is. 60:3).  Matthew’s record of their interaction with Herod the Great roots the birth narrative in secular... Continue Reading

Hiding Behind Christ: Humility in Practice

What would it look like if we kept that desire and effort to hide behind Christ daily?

When we are called to Christ through the effectual work of the Holy Spirit, we no longer desire to be seen. Our belief in Christ’s work on the cross on our behalf and our profession of faith in Him is essentially saying that we want to hide behind Him. We don’t want the world and... Continue Reading

What Difference Will Prayer Make?

Why the sovereignty of God brings us to our knees.

“Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance,” says Martin Luther, “but laying hold of his willingness.” When we pray, we do not change the mind of God as if he might have chosen wrongly. We act out the infinite wisdom of God, in the midst of all the brokenness in front of us, and welcome the... Continue Reading

Access to God (Romans 5:2)

Peace with God creates access to God, so that we can stand before him fearlessly.

At great cost to himself, God removed our sin and guilt and made peace with us, so that we have access to him. Hebrews 4:16 states the application: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” We... Continue Reading

Recognizing Critical Theory

By subverting the true Law and true Gospel in favor of Marxist categories, the Christian form of Critical Theory endangers the soul.

Of course, not all those who use the language of CT fully embrace its tenets or understand the paradigm underlying the language they use. Its subtlety is part of its great strength. Many continue to hold an orthodox understanding of the Gospel while using CT as an “analytical tool.” But there are some, and their... Continue Reading

Can the Unconverted Rightly Interpret Scripture?

Because of the effects of the Fall on the entire being, the unregenerate man is both morally biased against the plain meaning of the text and intellectually incapable of embracing its message.

Ultimately, any thorough treatment of the topic of Bible interpretation must grapple with the implications of 1 Corinthians 2:14. If we take the Bible seriously and confess sola Scriptura, we cannot pretend Paul’s description of the unconverted is merely hypothetical, or assume it applies only to the illiterate or unscholarly. Paul’s statement—given by the inspiration... Continue Reading

Carve Your Eyeball Out of Its Socket

Free porn will cost you more than you really want to give.

If you think cutting off an arm or plucking out an eye seems harsh, consider what Christ says about daily following him: “You must take up your cross.” He’s talking about nothing less than death. To experience life in Christ we are to die to ourselves.   If the title makes you uncomfortable, now you... Continue Reading

God’s Ordinary Means of Grace are All You Need

One of the often under-discussed principles of the Reformation was that of simplicity.

Tragic things happen when we exchange God’s means of grace for our own—or when we misuse his means. Just ask Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu. While handling the sacred things in the worship of God, they rebelliously offered strange fire on the altar of God—a means of worship the Lord did not command. The result?... Continue Reading

“Not Simple or Absolute”

God decreed, and the incarnation followed.

Calvin affirms quite a few times the idea that God could have incarnated his Son without himself yielding to death for us, but God did not have done so because that would have been inferior to what in fact occurred. God would be free to, but this course would have been an impossible way to... Continue Reading

Foundations of Worship

God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden—the perfect sanctuary of God—to literally “worship and obey.”

Creation is the very basis of and foundation for worship. The central principle of biblical worship is the fact that it is God-initiated and based upon his self-revelation. God’s speaking the world into existence was in its very essence an act to create worship. God created the universe ex nihilo through his spoken word for the... Continue Reading