The ultimate gift of the Gospel is NOT the new heavens and new earth. The ultimate good of the Gospel is NOT the redeemed body. The ultimate good of the Gospel is NOT forgiveness of sins, NOT redemption, NOT propitiation, NOT justification… These are all means!!
The ultimate good of the Gospel is God Himself beheld in the Glory of His crucified and risen Son, enjoyed because of His infinite beauty, treasured because of His infinite worth, and reflected because we’re being conformed to the image of his son. Christ suffered once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God… There is no end after that… Everything before that is means.
“Just as the rails of a train (track), which run parallel to each other, appear to merge in the distance, so the doctrines of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility, which seem separate from each other in this life will merge in eternity. Our task is not to force their merging in this life but to keep them in balance and to live accordingly.”—Joel R. Beeke
“Side by side with the immutability and invincibility of God’s decrees, Scripture plainly teaches that man is a responsible creature and answerable for his actions. And if our thoughts are formed from God’s Word the maintenance of the one will not lead to the denial of the other. That there is a real difficulty in defining where the one ends and the other begins, is freely granted. This is ever the case where there is a conjunction of the Divine and the human.”—A.W. Pink
“I liken them to two ropes going through two holes in the ceiling and over a pulley above. If I wish to support myself by them, I must cling to them both. If I cling only to one and not the other, I go down. I read the many teachings of the Bible regarding God’s election, predestination, his chosen, and so on. I read also the many teachings regarding ‘whosoever will may come’ and urging people to exercise their responsibility as human beings. These seeming contradictions cannot be reconciled by the puny human mind. With childlike faith, I cling to both ropes, fully confident that in eternity I will see that both strands of truth are, after all, of one piece.”—R.B. Kuiper
“A constant view of the glory of Christ will revive our souls and cause our spiritual lives to flourish and thrive… the more we behold the glory of Christ by faith now, the more spiritual and heavenly will be the state of our souls. The reason why the spiritual life in our soul withers and decays is because we fill our minds with other things. But when the mind is filled with the thoughts of Christ and his glory, these things will be expelled (Col. 3:1-5, Eph. 5:8).”—John Owen (via drquote)
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
(Matthew 6:24 ESV)
But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs
(1 Timothy 6:6-10 ESV)
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Saw the Occupy Rapid City people on Main Street Square. I have never seen more spoiled white people whining before. You know, I saw no Native Americans protesting. They probably have a greater ability to claim poverty around here. Sorry, but I have pretty much never had a lot of money in my life. I have better things to do with my time than protest aimlessly. Most people are like that, they are too busy trying to provide to worry about all this nonsense.
Yes, the banks were greedy to an extent, but they would never have started giving out bad loans if the government hadn’t made them do it. Once they did, they tried to figure out ways to make money on it and did wrong themselves.
But, what about personal responsibility. This all came about also because of personal greed from actual people. People that want more and more and are always trying to keep up with the Joneses. We as americans have lost our way and think the american dream is better than anything else and too be pursued at all costs. Then the economy tanks and people want to blame everyone, but themselves.
I am sure the 1% hold some blame, but the 99% also do!
We need to repent of our greed in this nation, both corporately and personally and seek the LORD!
The problem doesn’t lie with the 1%. It’s with us.
The crisis has spiritual roots. Jesus warns his followers, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:15, NIV). But a syncretistic form of Christianity has emerged in our country, a syncretism that mingles genuine New Testament Christianity with the consumer materialism of the American Dream.
I just finished Francis Chan’s newest book Erasing Hell: What God Said About Eternity and The Things We Made Up. In complete honesty, I purposed my read in locating and executing a Biblical defense to Rob Bell’s latest controversy exposed in his book Love Wins. For me, It was all about exposing…
Do any of these sound familiar to you? “I’m scared.” “I hate myself.” “I hate this job.” “No one loves me.” “I’m tired. I don’t want to do this anymore.” “Maybe I should just give up.”
Self-talk. Everyone does it. From the youngest child to the oldest adult, we all talk to ourselves. Much of what we say to ourselves is not very helpful. It can be degrading or demoralizing.
Much of what we say is not verbalized… it just mockingly rolls around in our heads. Paul Tripp has noted: “No one is more influential in your life than you are because no one talks to you more than you do. You are in an unending conversation with yourself. You are talking to yourself all of the time.”
Many years ago, the psalmist wrote about his difficult life (Psalm 42-43). Men mocked him. His enemy was deceitful and wicked, and was oppressing him. His suffering was so great that his bones cried out in mortal agony as his foes taunted him. His life was so overwhelming that it felt like he was in the middle of a treacherous storm, with waves and breakers sweeping over him. He was left only to wonder if God was rejecting him.
Yet, a glimmer of hope still existed. Three times the psalmist asked himself the same question: “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?” (42:5, 11; 43:5).
This struggling man was depressed. Yet God gave him the grace (James 4:6) to answer his own question: “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him my Savior and my God.”
Three times he asked himself the same question, and each time he responded with the same answer: O my dear soul, put your hope in God. In the midst of his sadness and suffering, he proclaimed to himself a message of hope. He reminded his own soul to not be overwhelmed, but to cast his gaze upwards to heaven.
Preaching to himself just once was not enough. He needed to preach the same message to himself over, and over, and over again. He had a callous, hopeless heart that needed to hear a message of hope. So he repeated the question and answer three times until he broke through the tough exterior of his unbelieving heart.
The Life-Giving, Daily-Sustaining Gospel
As biblical counselors, one of the most important life skills we can teach struggling Christians is to preach the gospel to themselves. They are always talking with themselves. So why not teach them to preach truth to themselves? The best kind of self-talk is centered on the gospel.
The gospel gives life not only to the unbeliever who turns from his wicked ways, but also to the believer, who needs to hear this life-giving, daily-sustaining truth every day of his life.
So preach the gospel to yourself… today… tomorrow… and every day of your life…
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How could you become your own biblical counselor by speaking truth to yourself?
I have struggled with that last piece of scripture ever since reading Francis Chan’s book “Erasing Hell.” It used to be that I exclusively believed only in the free will of man. It was to me only logical or else we were robots. Sometimes you have to throw away your notions of what makes sense and listen to scripture. It is obvious from scripture that God elects or predestines some to come to him. In denying this obvious thing that is in scripture, I was more the fool and just placing my ideas of God ahead of what God says about himself.
That said, I also believe that man has free will and is held responsible for his actions while here on Earth.
How can we pretend to understand God fully. We are bound to a linear existence in time; He is not bound by time, space, matter or anything that He has created! He is perfectly Holy and knows all and we are sinful beings who think we know all.
I do not pretend to understand how this all meshes together and I think we won’t until we are made perfect and see him face to face. I agree with what my pastor says about the matter.
But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? As indeed he says in Hosea,
“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
“And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”
“A praying life isn’t simply a morning prayer time; it is about slipping into prayer at odd hours of the day, not because we are disciplined but because we are in touch with our own poverty of spirit, realizing that we can’t even walk through a mall or our neighborhood without the help of the Spirit of Jesus.”—Miller, Paul (2009). A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World (p. 62). NavPress. Kindle Edition.
“If you are not praying, then you are quietly confident that time, money, and talent are all you need in life. You’ll always be a little too tired, a little too busy. But if, like Jesus, you realize you can’t do life on your own, then no matter how busy, no matter how tired you are, you will find the time to pray.”—Miller, Paul (2009). A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World (p. 42). NavPress. Kindle Edition.
“And when we fail, it is the gospel which brings comfort by reminding us that God’s infinite approval of us doesn’t depend on our keeping of the law but on Christ’s keeping of the law for us.”—Tullian Tchividjian from his blog.