And here’s an explanation of the plan.
And here’s an explanation of the plan.
The Apostle Peter wrote that the angels desire to study salvation (1 Pet. 1:12). In his commentary, Grudem portrays these angels as standing on their tip-toes, craning their necks, trying to peer into the phenomenon of God’s saving sinners by grace. If angels who don’t need salvation have such a joy-filled interest in it, how much more should we, whose whole life and eternity depends on it?
Few of us can remember much of what we learned in High School. Some of us can hardly remember what we learned yesterday. However, it’s no big deal if I can’t remember the French for frog, or the number of ions in sodium phosphate. I can actually survive quite well without that knowledge. But I cannot survive or thrive if I forget the Gospel (Heb. 2:1-3).
That’s why we need to be constantly studying salvation. End-times prophecy, combatting the cults, church history, biblical languages, ethics, practical Christian living, etc, all have their place, but they must never displace salvation as our favorite topic of study.
It’s a vast subject with numerous ways of looking at it: justification, redemption, victory, reconciliation, atonement, adoption, etc. Perhaps you don’t recognize or understand some of these words, Yet if you’re a Christian you’ve experienced them! So why not take one of them every year, and explore it through sermons, books, articles, etc., and experience angelic delight as you expand your mind and heart with the joy of your salvation.
And don’t let the study of these salvation truths distract or divert you from Jesus. The great doctrines of the Bible are like majestic royal robes. But they must not be studied in the closet. Take them off the hangers and clothe Jesus with them. They fit Him perfectly and beautifully. It’s Jesus who justifies, it’s Jesus who redeems, it’s Jesus who reconciles, etc.
So we believe in Jesus and rejoice in His salvation. Then we sin; again.
Obvious isn’t it, we need to do something good to make up for it and then bring it to the table to ensure our forgiveness. Or maybe we should just set a reasonable period of time, a healthy and respectful delay, before confessing. Or perhaps we manufacture some tears and some really deep guilt pangs in order to prove how genuinely sorry we are. We need to do some deed, do some delay, or do some guilt, don’t we?
We need Jesus’ DONE! again. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Don’t do anything. Don’t do a deed, don’t do a delay, don’t do a despair. Do nothing and turn to Christ’s Done! Confess your sin without delay. Don’t wait even a minute. Don’t carry one miserable sin for one miserable second. Immediate sin, immediate confession, immediate forgiveness, immediate joy.
Begin and end the day with “Done!”
“Beep, beep, beep, beep….thump!”
The day’s agenda floods your mind and twists your stomach. So much to do. Too much to do.
Whisper, “It is finished!”
Repeat. “It is finished!”
Louder. “It is finished!”
Whatever you will complete or not today, rest in the only work that will never need to be done again. Rest in the fact that Jesus has done the most impossible job in the world, done it perfectly, and made it available. Take it. Enjoy it. Build your life on it. Let it change your whole view of your life and work. Use His work to put your work into perspective. Believe His work is counted as yours. Despite all that you fear and dread about the next 10 hours – a critical boss, a vicious competitor, a looming deadline, a complaining customer, an impossible sales target, unrelenting children, monotonous drudge – you have Christ’s perfect work credited to your account. Yes, it’s counted as yours, as if you did it. Are you humble enough to receive it?
And as you re-set the alarm clock at the end of each day of incomplete lists and unfinished business, rest again in Christ’s “It is finished.” The most important work has been done and covers all our laziness, all our foolishness, all our time-wasting, all our bad decisions, all our temper tantrums, all our losses, all our everything.
Christ offers us His perfect C.V. and says “Take this and put your name on it. It’s yours. Let this satisfy you, let this fulfill you. Let this calm your mornings and soothe your evenings!” It is finished!
We’re facing a moral cliff
In more ways than one.
Pilgrim’s Progress for the iPad
Looks like a good use of a Sunday afternoon.
Worth a look for the graph comparing the content of the Psalms to hymnals.
Don’t despise the day of small things
Gloria Furman doing what she does best, bringing Gospel refreshment into the gritty realities of everyday life.
Six reasons why Tabletalk is a great gift
How would you like to bless someone every month in 2013?
Macworld: Annual Editor’s Choice
WARNING: Severe risk of smashing the 10th commandment in pieces.
Yesterday we looked at four hindrances to believing the Gospel of Done, hindrances that keep us in miserable fear and darkness, and away from the joyful rest and peace of Christ’s finished work. However, God has provided four helps to get us there and keep us there. We’ll look at the first two today, and the remaining two tomorrow.
Re-believe the Gospel of Done.
The remedy for unbelief is belief. The Gospel of Done must be believed again, and again, and again.
And it must be preached again, and again, and again. Too often it is assumed. “Well, we all know that already.” But do we? Does the world?
Why don’t you take a survey, with a sample of unbelievers and believers, and ask them: “What is a Christian? What is the Christian faith? How does someone become a Christian?”
You’ll be stunned at how much misunderstanding and ignorance there is. The vast majority of people think that you become a Christian via do’s and don’ts, and you stay a Christian in a similar way. Little wonder that so few are attracted to our churches or that Christians experience so little joy and zest.
God’s Law and conviction of sin have an important place in our lives and ministries. They show us our desperate need of outside help. However, the greatest emphasis of our lives and churches must be the divine Done not the divine Demand. God’s deeds, God’s acts, must be kept ever in the foreground.
Our works are always waiting in the wings, looking for any opportunity to run onstage and replace “Done” with multiple do’s, don’ts, shoulds, oughts, and musts. Hogging the spotlight, their ugly costumes, stumbled lines, and ham acting changes the whole mood of the show, silencing the applause, emptying the theatre, arousing the ire of the critics, and bringing down the curtain on any hope of a long and prosperous run.
The most successful Christian lives are those that manage to keep the spotlight on Jesus Christ, the incarnation of the divine “Done!” But how do I get in to enjoy this show?
Faith in Jesus is the entrance fee. Faith carpets the foyer. Faith unfolds the seat. Faith’s program notes list Him as the only actor in this one-man-show. Faith’s spotlight fixes on Him alone and refuses to allow anyone or anything else onstage. Faith’s ears hear the show’s final line, “It is finished” and says “Amen!” Faith’s hands clap, applaud, and praise Christ alone. The noisy and cantankerous old critic, Mr Conscience, is nowhere to be found in this scene of unmixed peace and joy. No encores are called for. None are required. It is done. It is finished. The End!
Re-focus your Bible Reading
Here’s another survey question for you: What’s the Bible all about?
Most popular answer: “How to help us live better lives.”
In other words, it’s all about ME. I am the main subject of the Bible. Hate to disillusion you – no, actually I’m glad to – but the Bible is all about God. He is the subject, and the object, and every other grammatical term in between. As a book about God, our first question when reading it is not, “How does this apply to me?” but “What does this reveal about God?”
Although I sometimes imagine that if only I can get the whole world, including God, to orbit around me as the center of the universe I will be happy, that’s the way to end up in a black hole.
By putting God’s Word and works at the center of our religious experience, especially of our personal Bible reading, we will begin to orbit around the heat and light of His divine Son.
The night my life was changed forever
A number of years ago, my friends, Dean and Carol Prince, adopted three babies from Korea. In this beautiful piece, Christina, one of those now grown-up children reflects on the joy and grace of her adoption.
More love than I could ever imagine
And here’s Christina’s sister, Nicole, with a heart-warming piece on how for her parents her “Arrival Day” is better than her Birthday.
Never done cleaning
I can vouch for the accuracy of this one. Those of a sensitive disposition might want to turn away now: Teeth planing!
I’ve tried countless different kinds of To-do lists. I’ve experimented with colorful cards, complicated mind-maps, sophisticated software, and innumerable Apps. And none of them ever gets me closer to “Done!” I keep hoping that somehow the right technique, the right method, or the right program will get my Inbox to zero, my desk trays to empty, and my latest To-do list all ticked off.
All in vain. Emails keep arriving, reports keep dropping, To-dos keep multiplying. An insatiable cacophony of “Do, Do, Do,” taunts me as I reluctantly come to the depressing conclusion that I will never be finished, that I’ll never be done.
Then I turn to Christianity and, to my unutterable and indescribable delight, I encounter the rare and refreshing words: “It is finished” (Jn. 19:30).
It is done. All done. Nothing in my spiritual Inbox. Nothing on my desk. No To-dos to be done. It is finished!
That’s the foundation, the starting point, the beginning of all true Christianity. Done! Done! Done!
And yet it’s so difficult to believe, isn’t it? Can it really be totally finished? Nothing left to do? What a difference it would make to our lives if we could really, really believe that. So why is it so difficult to believe the Gospel of “DONE”? There are four main hindrances.
It’s difficult to believe because we all have a loud inner voice that keeps saying, “Do! Do! Do!” We’re born with a prodding, needling conscience, a gnawing innate sense of God’s demands upon us, and in our own way we try to meet those demands and quiet our conscience.
We do what we can, when we can, as we can, and hope we have enough in the can. And yet our can is still rattlingly empty, isn’t it?
We hear “Do!” We do. We hope to hear “Done!” Instead, we hear, “Not done…do more.” The relentless, merciless, grueling, harrowing, voice of God’s law burrows deep in our souls. We yell, “Quiet!” “Give me peace!” “Go away!” Will you never be satisfied?” But the “Do’s” keep coming, adding, multiplying, and expanding.
Is Christ’s conclusive cry loud enough to silence this depressing, demoralizing, and discouraging cacophony?
It’s difficult to believe “It is finished” because of the church.
Most sermons major on, “Do this, do that. Don’t do this, don’t do that.” And if “Duty, duty, duty,” is the preacher’s demanding message, “Disobedience, disobedience, disobedience,” is the hearer’s condemning conviction.
Check the most common preaching topics in most churches: Christian parenting, Christian finances, Christian marriage, Christian vocation, Christian citizen, Christian communication, etc. Do, do do! Sermon upon sermon, each demanding more money, more time, more commitment, more zeal, and more doing. Do, do, do! Fail, fail, fail! Down, down, down we go.
Is Calvary’s decisive cry preached enough to ensure that His “Done” is heard above the preacher’s “Do”?
It’s difficult to believe “It is finished” because it contradicts the most basic rule of life in this world: Work = Reward. From our earliest days to our latest days, this is the law that governs everything. Do = Dollars. You work, you get rewarded. You don’t work, you don’t get paid.
That societal norm can make it so difficult to believe the core idea at the heart of the Gospel: Christ works and I get the reward. I don’t work, but I get paid! That turns our culture upside-down, back to front, and inside out. It’s hard to get our heads around it.
Is Calvary’s counter-cultural cry convincing enough to break this unbreakable rule?
It’s difficult to believe “It is finished” because we keep on failing even after believing it. I mean God might let us into the Christian faith through His divine done, but we’ve got to stay in by our own doing, don’t we? Only fair, isn’t it?
If so, we’re done in, because our own doing is never going to do enough, even after believing in Jesus. We get in by His “Done!” We stay in by His “Done!” We finish by His “Done!” If not, we’re done.
Is Calvary’s successful cry long enough to not only get you into faith but to keep you in faith, keep you believing in Him rather than in yourself, and keep you looking to His Done rather than your doing?