The grace of God sets biblical Christianity apart from all religious systems. It is at the very core of what it means to be a Christian. The grace of God is what makes biblical Christianity different from every other worldview, every other philosophy, and every other way of life. It is what makes biblical Christians, period.
I have long loved the definition of God’s grace that J.I. Packer gives in his classic book, Knowing God. There he writes, “The grace of God is love freely shown towards guilty sinners, contrary to their merit and indeed in defiance of their demerit.… Continue reading
I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13 ESV)
Do you struggle with finding contentment in the life God has assigned to you? I sure do. I, unlike the Apostle Paul, have not yet learned how to be content in whatever situation I am. Indeed there are days in my life when dis-contentedness so fills my heart that not a single pleasure in this world could even begin to drive it out.… Continue reading
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. (John 15:12-13 ESV)
Every church has its flaws. Significant ones, in fact, since even the best of churches are made up of and led by exclusively by sinners. As a result, if you are a member of a local church, you are bound to be regularly disappointed by something going on within it.
In the local church it doesn’t take long before you encounter people who don’t share your excitement for the particulars of your theology, or who don’t seem to be very zealous in evangelism or very excited about living in “community,” or who are just remarkably ordinary (unlike you, of course).… Continue reading
One of the foundational theological convictions of my life and ministry is the principle of Sola Scriptura, the biblical doctrine that Scripture is the only infallible authority of Christian faith and practice. Directly related to this conviction is my belief in the sufficiency of Scripture: the truth that in the Scriptures, we have every divine word needed to live a life that honors God. As Paul puts it so memorably in a letter to his student, Timothy: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, italics mine).… Continue reading
Planting and waiting. That, I am learning, is the essence of biblical ministry. It is perhaps the most important lesson I have been learning over the last few years, at least as it concerns my life as a pastor.
Of all the things that I long to see happen in, around, and as a result of my ministry, I have no power whatsoever to make happen. I cannot save a single soul. I cannot make a single Christian more like Christ. I cannot cause a single saint to endure to the end of his life in faithfulness to Christ.
Beyond these things, I cannot heal a single marriage. … Continue reading