How to Share the Gospel

15 Dec

Wow. Probably going to need a few days to process all the good stuff here.

[HT: Z]

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How Do We Grow in Love and Affection for God?

14 Dec

I’ve started reading J. Gresham Machen’s book, What is Faith? and it is packed with all these great gems of truth. Well, to answer the question, he first writes (contrary to the non-theological emotionalism of his day and ours) the following:

The devout man may indeed well do without a complete systematization of his knowledge… but some knowledge he certain must have.

In other words, he writes that in order to love somebody, we must know some things about them. And one of the ways (along with nature and our conscience) that he identifies that we get to know God is through the Bible. He writes:

… we rise from the Bible… with a knowledge of the character of God. There is a real analogy here to our relation with an earthly friend. How do we come to know one another? Not all at once, but by years of observation of one another’s actions.

And then he goes on to list some of those actions by a friend that helps us to grow in love and trust for them:

We have seen a friend in time of danger, and he has been brave;

we have gone to him in perplexity, and he has been wise;

we have had recourse to (sought help from) him in time of trouble, and he has given us sympathy.

So, gradually, with the years, on the basis of many, many such experiences, we have come to love him and revere him. And now just a look or a word or a tone of his voice will bring the whole personality before us like a flash; the varied experiences of the years have been merged by some strange chemistry of the soul into a unity of affection.

Then, Machen, compares that now to the knowledge of God and growing in affections toward Him:

So it is, somewhat, with the knowledge of God that we obtain from the Bible.

In the Bible, we see God in action;

we see Him in fiery indignation wiping out the foulness of Sodom;

we see Him leading Israel like a flock;

we see Him giving His only begotten Son for the sins of the world.

And by what we see we learn to know Him. In all His varied dealings with His people He has never failed; so now we know him and adore Him. Such knowledge seems to be a simple, an instinctive thing; the varied dealings of God with His people have come together in the unity of our adoration. And now He is revealed as by a flash by every smallest dispensation of His providence, whether it be in joy or whether it be in sorrow.

 

 

What Literally is the Best Medicine?

13 Dec

Watch the video below and find out.

[HT: 22]

Clowns Storming Normandy

12 Dec

Haven’t had time to update in a while because of finals, but now that they’re over, enjoy this video.

[HT: Everywhere]

Credo Mag Giveaway: The Christian Faith (by Michael Horton)

5 Dec

Here’s another great giveaway from CredoMag. This time it’s Michael Horton’s systematic theology, The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way (valued at $31.49 on Amazon).

Again, here are the detailed rules to be followed in order to be placed in the drawing:

To enter the giveaway leave a comment on this post. For additional entries “like” Credo Magazine on Facebook, “like” this post on facebook, share this post on Twitter, follow us on twitter, or blog a link to this post. Be sure to leave a separate comment for each thing that you do. Hurry! You have until Friday, December 2nd at 3 pm EST to enter. The winner will be announced at 5 pm on Friday.

What is Unbelief?

5 Dec

Justin Taylor:

St. Hilary of Poitiers (c. AD 315-67):

“All unbelief is foolishness, for
it takes such wisdom as its own finite perception can attain,
and measuring infinity by that petty scale,
concludes that what it cannot understand must be impossible.
Unbelief is the result of incapacity engaged in argument.”

De Trinitate, III.24, cited in Douglas Kelly, Systematic Theology, vol. 1, p. 19.

Each word in this quote is so deliberate.

For Those Who Doubt Their Salvation Because They Struggle with Doubt

1 Dec

I recently listened to this podcast by the White Horse Inn guys (e.g., Michael Horton, Kim Riddlebarger, Ken Jones, and Ron Rosenbladt).

Many Christians, though we say and may sincerely believe that we are saved by grace apart from our works, we oftentimes – whether we’re aware of it or not – make faith itself into a work that merits salvation.

For example, so often – perhaps from the upbringing that we have had – we are tempted (and too often give into that temptation) to look inside ourselves and see if we have “enough faith,” or whether or not we “trust God enough.”

Thus, if we look inside ourselves and feel that we have enough faith, we believe that “God loves me.” But when we look inside and see that we don’t have enough faith – or that we don’t trust God enough, then we believe that “God must not love and accept me anymore.”

I am starting to become convinced that this is why so many genuine believers struggle with their doubts. That is to say, those who have placed their trust in Jesus, but were taught to constantly base their relationship with God by looking inside themselves to see if they had “enough faith,” are all but crushed under the weight of condemnation when – for whatever reason, in the providence of God – they begin to doubt.

Here’s what the WHI guys had to say on the issue (note: I edited it a bit in order to make it more readable):

This is what many evangelicals believe: “The soul makes a free will decision and accepts Christ. Then, God seeing the presence of faith in the heart, He reckons that faith as though that were righteousness.”

The problem with this understanding is it completely removes Jesus Christ from the equation. Jesus is missing. Rather, what justifies us is not faith; what justifies us are the merits of Christ. And we receive those merits of Christ through faith.

And so the question is: “Am I saved because of my conscious awareness that I have faith in my heart?” Or, “Am I saved by Jesus Christ who will save me even if my faith be the size of a mustard seed?”

This is a world of difference. Here, you have the difference between trusting in yourself – whether it’s works or faith – versus trusting in Christ through faith.

Here’s how Tim Keller puts it in The Reason for God:

The faith that changes the life and connects to God is best conveyed by the word “trust.” Imagine you are on a high cliff and you lose your footing and begin to fall. Just beside you as you fall is a branch sticking out of the very edge of the cliff. It is your only hope and it is more than strong enough to support your weight. How can it save you? If your mind is filled with intellectual certainty that the branch can support you, but don’t actually read out and grab it, you are lost. If your mind is instead filled with doubts and uncertainty that the branch can hold you, but you reach out and grab it anyway, you will be saved. Why? It is not the strength of your faith but the object of your faith that actually saves you. Strong faith in a weak branch is fatally inferior to weak faith in a strong branch (pp. 244-245).

To those who, like me, are tempted to look inward and evaluate our relationship with God on the basis of whether or not we have “enough faith,” please realize that this is an exercise in futility, for how much faith do we need to muster up in order to have “enough faith”? At what point do we say, “Okay, that’s enough faith”?

No – rather, look outward, even in spite of your doubts and seemingly absent faith, and trust the One who says to you:

31 “Simon, Simon, look out! Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32)