Election is not the problem…sin is (part ii)

4 11 2006

In Romans chapter 1 the apostle tells us that humanity is ‘without excuse’. There has been much discussion on this post relative to what and how this could be. I thought it might be better to take this text insert it in another post and make some comments relative to the verse. Hopefully this serves as helpful.

In Romans 1 God is clearly angry as “the wrath of God” is being revealed from heaven. Notice the object of this justified anger: “men”. Humanity is in the cross hairs of divine wrath.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness /18

And why? It is because they “suppress the truth in unrighteousness”. Notice that the immediate reason given for unleashing heaven’s judgment upon man is that they are actively suppressing the truth. God is angry because of humanity’s rejection and suppression of his revelation (much more could and probably should be said here…).

Paul goes on to demonstrate how this revelation has been given and the persistent and dedicated truth suppression or rebellion that ensues:

because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them /19

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Who’s bad?!

27 10 2006

Definitely no disrespect intended to John Piper (or Edwards, Calvin or Luther…) but this is funny, creative and true. Though I think John Piper and Michael Jackson would have different views on depravity and certainly on the meaning of ‘bad’.

So to be clear, the bad here is the Rom. 3.9-18 sinfully depraved, wickedly enslaved, workers and fountains of iniquity who can do nothing on their own accord to merit the favor of a holy and righteous God, but rather wholly and entirely enslaved to sin’s lusts and desires apart from the grace of God in Christ.

The Enemy Within Conference Audio

17 10 2006


The audio for this weekend’s conference at Omaha Bible Church is now available. Kris served us well in explaining mortification (how to biblically put sin to death) and exhorting us unto its regular practice. The audio is well worth your time.

Props to Tony Reinke for taking the pics (see here for more)

Charnock on Sin

15 09 2006

charnck.jpg“How sinful is sin that God must bleed to cure it?!” (Stephen Charnock)

How to live a miserable Christian life (part i)

9 08 2006

There is truly nothing that brings more joy to the human heart than to know and live in the reality of being forgiven in Christ and enjoy the delicious fruit of grace. Sadly many struggle with living in this joy as a characteristic of their lives. Instead many settle for sub-glorious moments, hours, days and eventually lives as followers of joy incarnate, the Lord Jesus Christ.


What follows is my humble attempt to serve you. In the next three days I want to outline 10 ways that you can live a miserable Christian life. Perhaps you can identify with some of these.

I have written these to myself first and foremost and desire to share with you. My prayer would be that you would inspect your life, heart and motives for unsuspecting parasites that serve to suck out your joy in Christ that you might pluck them out and hopefully be edified together with me.

1. Try to Repay Jesus for the Cross

The sure-fire way to short circuit joy in Christ is to undervalue him and overvalue yourself. It is really a subtle shift into idolatry. Instead of living your life in complete dependence upon and appreciation to Jesus for everything you have, you find yourself depending upon yourself to repay the glorious gift of salvation and life. What could be more frustrating than this?

This takes the form of practicing disciplines of grace (Bible reading, prayer, meditation, etc…) for the purpose of repaying Jesus. In this posture you see these post-salvation works as somehow meritorious to diminish the eternal debt that was born by the Savior. I don’t know about you but for me the reality of the debt that was born by Jesus compels even more hearty praise and appreciation.

Do you see the offensive shavings of idolatry here? You end up saying that Jesus gave you a good spiritual boost to your feet and now you’ll take it from here. It sounds like an evangelical hybrid with Rome. Instead we need to realize that it is grace that saves sinners, it is grace that sanctifies sinners, it is grace that keeps sinners, and it is grace that will ultimately present sinners as blameless before the throne of God. Our constant dependence upon the grace that is ours in Jesus reminds us of his richness and our neediness; this reality brings joy and intensifies our appreciation of the cross of Jesus. For the sacrifice of the Son of God was never intended to be offensively repaid but rather it is to be valued for its supremacy and efficacy.


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Introducing Rev. Raven

27 06 2006

raven.jpgI heard an impressive sermon this morning as I was running. The preacher was not in my MP3 but instead on top of the ledge at the bank around the corner from my house.

As I was providentially detoured by the wet sidewalks from the sprinklers, I cut through the bank parking lot, only to be encountered by a raging raven with much to say to me.

No doubt I startled the bird as he comfortably sat upon his ledge at o’dark thirty.


What followed was a terrific and timely reminder of the pervasive effects of the fall of man.

This bird squawked and flapped his wings with enough passionate urgency to make any ask, “man! what is that bird’s problem!?” But for the biblically literate his message is painfully relevant.

This bird freaked out because he knows something of the sinfulness of sin. He has an accurate and biblical harmartiology (the study of sin) and anthropology (the study of man).

It is as if this bird said, “Whoa, son of Adam! That is far enough! Don’t you come running up here on me with that evil, perverted, and contrary heart of yours! Do you not know that that which gives you life is the cause of death in all of the earth!! Your heart is more deceitful than anything else!!”

Why didn’t the bird just tip his beak and raise a feather to me in a similar manner to the elderly man who was walking his dog? It is because all of creation is groaning in eager anticipation of the redemption of this earth, having been subjected to a sub standard earth due to the pollution and plague of Adamic rebellion that has long since beset our world.

I love to explain sin to my children in this manner. It is so illustrative to instruct my 4 year old daughter to go over and pick up the bunny rabbit in the yard or the little robin on the driveway. So of course she, being the cutest 4 year old ever, runs over, pig-tails flying, calling the animal by some sweet name only to see the birds and rabbits flee like she was wielding a hatchet.

When my daughter asks why they run I can tell her that it is because she is a sinner. That God created the world good, with animals and humanity ‘playing together’ with man ruling (Gen. 1.28) them. But instead of ruling animals, we all wanted to rule God, we were not happy with the crown he gave us, we were only content with taking his crown.

There is a day coming when the animals will again trust man. This of course comes when the Second Adam reigns on the throne of David, in his glorious kingdom. It is on that day when Jesus Christ shall reign where the little boy may play with cobras and vipers without fear, for the righteous judge will reign! (cf. Is. 11)

It does not matter how cute or good we look on the outside the heart of man is more deceitful than all else (Jer. 17.9). Therefore, I wonder why I hear a better sermon on the sin and rebellion of man from a bird on a bank than I would if I walked into an average evangelical church today. Sin is downplayed, conciseness are comforted, and Christ’s powerful crosswork is, regrettably, devalued.

There is a day coming when sin will be dealt with finally and swiftly. And birds will be there feasting and watching as those who would never submit to the gospel of the Savior are destroyed and fed to the hungry birds (Rev. 19.17-18).

If you are a believer, remember that you would be bird feed if it were not for the grace of God, arresting your unwilling heart to make you a child of God to the praise and glory of divine grace in accordance with the kind intention of his will. If you are not a believer find comfort and grace in the pierced Savior who demonstrated God’s unwillingness to compromise over sin and instead punished Jesus in the place of sinners, so that he could justly forgive sinners like me and you.