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Friday
Oct142011

The Cross of Christ: The Conquest of Evil

I’m trying to get my blogging back to normal, but it’s been a struggle. This week, instead of doing a summary of the week’s chapter from John Stott’s The Cross of Christ as part of Reading Classics Together at Challies.com, I’m simply going to quote a bit from it.  This is  from Chapter 9, The Conquest of Evil, on the relationship of Christ’s death to his resurrection in the efficacy of his work.

Of course the resurrection was essential to confirm the efficacy of his death, as his incarnation had been to prepare for its possibility. But we must insist that Christ’s work of sin-bearing was finished on the cross, that the victory over the devil, sin and death was won there, and that what the resurrection did was to vindicate the Jesus whom men had rejected, to declare with power that he is the Son of God,  and publicly to confirm that his sin-bearing death had been effective for the forgiveness of sins. If he had not been raised, our faith and our preaching would be futile, since his person and work would not have received the divine endorsement.  .  .  .

To sum up, the gospel includes both the death and the resurrection of Jesus, since nothing would have been accomplished by his death if he had not been raised from it. Yet the gospel emphasizes the cross, since it was there that the victory was accomplished. The resurrection did not achieve our deliverance from sin and death, but has brought us an assurance of both. It is because of the resurrection that our “faith and hope are in God” (1 Pet 1:3, 21).

Next up is chapter 10, The Community of Celebration.

Thursday
Oct132011

Thankful Thursday

You knew this little stink bug would be first on my list, right? (I have better quality photos, but I love this one with the little teddy bear.) She’s proving to be a vigorous little girl, awake for long periods, unable to sleep without someone touching her, and hungry, hungry, hungry. I’m thankful for that, too, because those things reassure us that everything is okay with her.

I’m thankful that she’s getting a double chin and chubby thighs.

I’m thankful for her parents, especially her mother, who has been a real trooper through everything that’s happened in the past couple of weeks.

I’m thankful that I’m feeling much, much better than I was last week at this time.

Throughout this year I’m planning to post a few thoughts of thanksgiving each Thursday along with Kim at the Upward Call and others.

Sunday
Oct092011

Natalie Grace

Meet little Natalie Grace, born October 1, my first grandchild. She gave us all a scare at first and had to be medevacked to Edmonton with breathing problems. But she’s home now and doing fine. 

Are you wondering why I haven’t written about her before this? Here’s the deal: I had a nasty reaction to amoxicillin. I’ve been sick in bed since last Monday. I’m improving, but I see a few more sick days ahead of me.

Sunday
Oct022011

Sunday's Hymn: Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above

Sing praise to God who reigns above, the God of all creation,
The God of power, the God of love, the God of our salvation.
With healing balm my soul is filled and every faithless murmur stilled:
To God all praise and glory.

What God’s almighty power hath made His gracious mercy keepeth,
By morning glow or evening shade His watchful eye ne’er sleepeth;
Within the kingdom of His might, Lo! all is just and all is right:
To God all praise and glory.

The Lord is never far away, but through all grief distressing,
An ever present help and stay, our peace and joy and blessing.
As with a mother’s tender hand, God gently leads the chosen band:
To God all praise and glory.

Thus, all my toilsome way along, I sing aloud Thy praises,
That earth may hear the grateful song my voice unwearied raises.
Be joyful in the Lord, my heart, both soul and body bear your part:
To God all praise and glory.

Let all who name Christ’s holy name give God all praise and glory;
Let all who own His power proclaim aloud the wondrous story!
Cast each false idol from its throne, for Christ is Lord, and Christ alone:
To God all praise and glory.

Jo­hann J. Schütz

Other hymns, worship songs, sermons etc. posted today:

Have you posted a hymn (or sermon, sermon notes, prayer, etc.) today and I missed it? Let me know by leaving a link in the comments or by contacting me using the contact form linked above, and I’ll add your post to the list.

Friday
Sep302011

The Cross of Christ: The Salvation of Sinners  

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve posted on a reading from John Stott’s The Cross of Christ as part of Reading Classics Together at Challies.com. This week’s reading was Chapter 7, The Salvation of Sinners

In this chapter, Stott examines four images of atonement: propitiation, redemption, justification and reconciliation. I’d heard the word metaphor used in regards to the different ways of viewing the atonement, but I’d not heard anyone use the term images. I like it, because these are all different ways of seeing one multi-faceted act, and describing them as images is a perfect way to express this.

I was also pleased to see that Stott relies on (and recommends) Leon Morris’s work when explaining what the four images of atonement tell us. Morris’s work is still one the best resources we have on the atonement and I’d like to see it read more.

Instead of giving a summary of the whole chapter, I’m going to focus on a few things this chapter teaches us about justification. Stott chooses four of the phrases Paul used in regards to justification and tells us what we can learn from them.

  1. Justified by his grace. This phrase explains the source of justification. It comes to us from God’s undeserved favor.
    Self-justification is a sheer impossibility (Rom 3:20). Therefore, “it is God who justifies” (Rom 8:33); only he can. And he does it “freely (Rom 3:24, dōrean, “as a free gift, gratis”), not because of any works of ours, but because of his own grace.
  2. Justified by his blood. This phrase shows us the ground of justification. Justification is based on Christ’s work.
    When God justifies sinners he is not declaring bad people to be good, or saying that they are not sinners after all; he is pronouncing them legally righteous, free from any liability to the broken law, because he himself in his Son has borne the penalty of their law-breaking.
  3. Justified by faith. Faith is the means of justification. “[F]aith’s only function is to receive what grace freely offers.” And since faith is only the means of justification—not the ground—it is the only means of justification.
    For unless all human works, merits, cooperation and contributions are ruthlessly excluded, and Christ’s sin-bearing death is seen in it’s solitary glory as the only ground of our justification boasting cannot be excluded.
  4. Justified in Christ. This phrase points to the effects of our justification. It “points to the personal relationship with him which by faith we now enjoy.” Justification “cannot be isolated from our union with Christ and all the benefits this brings.”

There you are, just a short summary of a section of what Stott teaches us about justification in this long and meaty chapter. Next up is chapter 8, The Revelation of God.