Posts Tagged ‘theology’

God’s grace. It really is amazing.

At the Bible study I attend, we’re currently going through a DVD that overviews the history of the doctrines of grace.

You’ve probably guessed that I believe in God’s predestination. However, I’m not here to get into theological debates, because there are countless resources that outline both sides of the predestination/free-will argument. Also, I hardly think that an argument for argument’s sake would be conducive to our mutual Christian encouragement.

But suffice it to say, I’m just blown away by the sheer magnitude of God’s grace to me, an undeserving sinner. I have brokenn all His laws and I totally don’t deserve His love. But God loves me unconditionally; so much so, He chooses to save me through the perfect sacrifice of His Son. Wow.

I’ve also been going through R. C. Sproul’s book, Chosen by God, that outlines the logical Biblical argument for the doctrine of election. It is a most excellent book. Again, the disclaimer in the 2nd paragraph above applies here. But Sproul just shows in a very straightforward and uncomplicated way how it’s only logical (and very Biblical) to believe in God’s sovereign act of choosing sinners to be His.

Arguably, the greatest thing I’ve benefited from at the Bible study is the fellowship I’m having, being able to encourage and be encouraged by those of us who attend. Watching God’s work in their lives is so encouraging. I’m blessed and undeserving to have such friends.

God’s good.

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Justification: Our legal standing with the Creator

A few weeks ago (the evening of the 6th of December, to be precise :P), I heard a great sermon on a passage in Hebrews. One of the points made about our justification before God was really eye-opening: our justification is not something that happens to us; it happens in God’s mind, or to put it a different way, it changes the way God views us. It is the bestowal of a status, or standing, not the generating within us of a new nature or character.

So needless to say, I was rather chuffed when I found the following article on Tim Challies’ blog a while later, elaborating on that idea of justification. Tim was (is?) going through John Murray’s book Redemption Accomplished and Applied.

I highly recommend reading the whole post, but this part was relevant for me:

Looking at justification in common usage (outside the Bible) Murray says it is “a declaration of pronouncement respecting the relation of the person to the law which he, the judge, is required to administer.” Justification, then, is forensic. “It has to do with a judgment given, declared, pronounced; it is judicial or juridical or forensic.” He looks quickly to regeneration again, saying “Regeneration is an act of God in us; justification is a judgment of God with respect to us. The distinction is like that of the distinction between the act of a surgeon and the act of a judge. The surgeon, when he removes inward cancer, does something in us. That is not what a judge does—he gives a verdict regarding our judicial status. If we are innocent he declares accordingly.” Murray says that “the purity of the gospel is bound up with the recognition of this distinction.” This means that justification is and remains the article of the standing or falling Church.

The question now arises, how can God declare a person to be righteous when that is so evidently not the case? How can a sinful, defiled man who is at enmity with God be declared righteous by God? “The peculiarity of God’s action consists in this: that he causes to be the righteous state or relation which is declared to be.” So God not only declares righteous but he first makes righteous. “What God does in this case is that he constitutes the new and righteous judicial relation as well as declares the new relation to be. He constitutes the ungodly righteous, and consequently can declare them to be righteous.” He says further, “Justification is therefore a constitutive act whereby the righteousness of Christ is imputed to our account and we are accordingly accepted as righteous in God’s sight.” And he offers these beautiful, soul-stirring words: “God cannot but accept into his favour those who are invested with the righteousness of his own Son.” First God makes a man righteous through the work of Christ and then he declares what is now the reality—that this man is, indeed, righteous.

[Originally posted as a note to my Facebook profile on 22 January 2010]

Your Hands – JJ Heller

I came across a tweet containing the line “When my world is shaking Heaven stands When my heart is breaking I never leave Your hands”. I googled those lyrics, and I found that they’re lyrics of the song Your Hands by JJ Heller.

When I listened to it, the combination of lyrics and amazing music blew me away (yeah I know that’s so clichéd, but whatever haha). So I’ve posted it here for your listening pleasure. (lyrics are in the “More info” link on the Youtube page)

Confession with the mouth, belief in the heart.

If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9)

There must be confession with the mouth. Have I made it? Have I openly avowed my faith in Jesus as the Savior whom God has raised from the dead, and have I done it in God’s way! Let me honestly answer this question.

There must also be belief with the heart. Do I sincerely believe in the risen Lord Jesus? Do I trust in Him as my sole hope of salvation? Is this trust from my heart? Let me answer as before God.

If I can truly claim that I have both confessed Christ and believed in Him, then I am saved. The text does not say it may be so, but it is plain as a pikestaff and clear as the sun in the heavens: “Thou shalt be saved.” As a believer and a confessor, I may lay my hand on this promise and plead it before the Lord God at this moment, and throughout life, and in the hour of death, and at the Day of Judgment.

I must be saved from the guilt of sin, the power of sin, the punishment of sin, and ultimately from the very being of sin. God hath said it—”Thou shalt be saved.” I believe it. I shall be saved. I am saved. Glory be to God forever and ever!

–Spurgeon (Faith’s Checkbook, 19th January)

[Originally posted as a note to my Facebook profile on 20 January 2010]

He is Lord – Hillsong

He is Lord – Hillsong, “This is Our God” (2008)

Have a listen to this radio station

Wretched Radio.

Former stand-up comedian Todd Friel hosts this daily 2 hour Christian radio show. You can download a free 15-minute podcast which has highlights from the show. Otherwise, you have the option of paying USD$5.95/month to download the full 2-hour show.

Even though it’s only 15 minutes long, I’ve learnt a lot from listening to the podcast, called The Wretched Segment of the Day. It consists of one or two subjects that were covered on that day’s show, and Friel has a great sense of humor which makes listening to him very enjoyable. I highly recommend it.

‘Tis the season for Christmas carols!

This evening, I went with my family to our friends’ church. Every year, their church runs a Christmas carols service. There was 45 minutes of singing/Bible readings/choir items and then a 10 minute Christmas message. The gospel was presented really well.

I will digress momentarily, and briefly mention something that’s bugged me: how did the song writer know that “the beasts…knew that all men He surpasses”? See verse 2 of “Unto us a Child is born”.

Cradled in a stall was he
With sleepy cows and asses;
But the very beasts could see
That He all men surpasses.

Seriously? How did the writer know that? Did it say so somewhere in the Bible? We shouldn’t think “wow, imagine the awesomeness if that really happened” or “I’m pretty sure this happened LOL”. Especially for Biblical matters. Just something I thought I’d share. What do you think?