The Heart of the Gospel

But God commends His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Rom 5:8-10)

I believe the above text of Scripture captures the very essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ. All of human history finds its pinnacle in the death and resurrection of the Son of God. I’ll attempt to break down the heart of this glorious gospel verse by verse.

But God commends His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

The Gospel always begins with God. God is the giver and sustainer of life and of all creation. I wouldn’t be sitting here telling this most wonderful tale if not for the God, who upholds all things by the word of his power. All men everywhere owe God a debt of gratitude for every single breath of life they have ever enjoyed. God is due all glory from his creation. If men will not cry out his praise then the rocks we stand upon surely will. God is glorified in his creation.

God’s glorious attribute of love lies at the golden gates of the gospel message. God is love. He so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him shall never perish but have everlasting life. God’s love is incomprehensible, its borders cannot be defined. His love is manifested in his grace to all men. God’s grace is about his mercy and compassion on lost sinners who cannot do anything to save themselves.

Sin is the reason the relationship between God and man has been severed. Sin is why we need a savior. Yet the inspired Apostle Paul says here that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Men do more than commit occasional sins, sins that are an affront to a Holy God. Men are sinners. We are depraved in every part of our being. We were born in this fallen, corrupt state. Every thought of our minds and desire of our souls is sinful. We are an affront to a holy God, a stench in his nostrils. Continue reading

The Theology of Redemption: Syllabus

Below, I have posted the curriculum for my study on the doctrine of Redemption through Jesus Christ.  My first study will appear tomorrow morning, followed by weekly updates.  Note:  I may break up a single study into multiple posts, depending on the length. I pray that this study will bless, inform and edify my readers as well as bring glory to God.

The Theology of Redemption

Study One: Introduction – The Necessity of Theology.

Part One: Man’s Need of Redemption

Study Two: Creation and the Fall

Study Three: The Effects of the Fall

Part Two: God’s Plan of Redemption

Study Four: Election and Predestination

Study Five: Jesus Christ the Redeemer

Part Three: Christ’s Accomplishment of Redemption

Study Six: The Nature and Triumph of the Atonement

Study Seven: The Extent of the Atonement

Part Four: God’s Application of Redemption

Study Eight: The Ordo Salutis (Order of Salvation)

Study Nine: Union with Christ

Study Ten: Calling

Study Eleven: Regeneration

Study Twelve: Conversion (Repentance and Faith)

Study Thirteen: Justification

Study Fourteen: Adoption

Study Fifteen: Sanctification

Study Sixteen: Perseverance

Study Seventeen: Death and Glorification

Note:  I reserve the right to add, delete, rearrange or otherwise alter studies listed in this curriculum as I see fit.

A Brief Discourse on the Heart of the Gospel

lighthouse.jpgBut God commends His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Rom 5:8-10)

I have two student workers who help me out a couple of days during the week, doing various technology related tasks. They are generally enthusiastic and energetic workers. They are also neither one Christians. One is a sort of agnostic who is considering Judaism. (I don’t get it either.) The other is a practicing Hindu. I have spent the last year witnessing to these young gentlemen. I have sat down with them and taken them systematically through the full scope of the gospel message, from law to grace, from hell to heaven, from death to life, from the depravity of man to the glory of God. As of yet, neither has put their faith in Christ. One has hardened himself against the message and generally mocks God and his word. The other is more respectful and appears to have a general interest in what I have to say.

So I keep teaching. One tool I frequently utilize is the white board I have in my office. Every week I put up a few scripture verses. When they come in to work, I often take a moment to quickly expound the text for their edification. The student who actually pays attention to me has come to eagerly await a new nugget of wisdom from God’s word every week. He is quick to rebuke me whenever I fail to post a new scripture. I can sense that he is digesting the milk I am feeding him. Encouraged by his hunger for knowledge, I keep at it, praying that God will cause the seed I have planted to take root. My hope is that someday it shall sprout into a tree of life.

Last week as I searched for a scripture to display I came across the text from Romans posted above. As I read through it I realized the Apostle Paul here succinctly summarizes the core of the gospel message in these three short verses. I will attempt to expound these verses just as plainly as I explained them to my student workers a few days ago. Continue reading

Preachers In the Pulpit: Paul Washer

I feel compelled to spotlight a preacher of God’s word that the world probably knows little about. He doesn’t have a large church congregation, nor has he written any Christian bestsellers. He doesn’t ooze with charm and charisma nor does he have a pleasantly melodious voice. What he does do extremely well is passionately preach Christ and him crucified. He has become quite well known throughout the Reformed and discernment spheres of Christian blogdem, and I want to dedicate this post to the outstanding work of God he is laboring hard for each and everyday. His name is Paul Washer and he is the founder and director of HeartCry Missionary Society. He also serves as an itinerant preacher and speaks at churches all over the country. You can read a brief biography of his life and ministry here.

I first became aware of Paul Washer through a message he preached to a youth gathering a couple of years ago. The sermon blazed like wildfire through the blogosphere and I listened to it from a link at Slice of Laodicea. I couldn’t believe my ears. He broke every rule of seeker sensitivity without blinking an eye. He shattered the myths of easy-believism ‘I said a prayer’ evangelicalism without mercy. He preached the hard message of the gospel; that of dying to self, taking up the cross and following Christ. He didn’t promise the kids health, wealth and prosperity. He spoke from experience the true reality of facing death on a daily basis for the cause of the gospel while working as a missionary in the jungles of Peru. He then rebuked the youth for thinking a radical Christian as someone who wears a Christian t-shirt! Continue reading

The State of Modern Evangelicalism

“If I see aright, the cross of popular evangelicalism is not the cross of the New Testament. It is, rather, a new bright ornament upon the bosom of a self-assured and carnal Christianity. The old cross slew men; the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it.” AW Tozer

This is perhaps my favorite quote concerning the postmodern trends in the church. It eloquently and succinctly sums up the man-centered apostasy of this age. Today’s popular evangelicalism diminishes the cross of Christ, while exalting man’s efforts to attain its benefits. Surprisingly, this was written over 50 years ago. Imagine what Tozer would think of the circus church acts so prevalent in our congregations today!

In modern American society, we have been desensitized by all the forms of amusement we give ourselves over to on a day-to-day basis. For us, witnessing this sort of worldly entertainment in the church appears perfectly natural. We are quite comfortable disengaging our intellect, and by extension our discernment, to enjoy a good show. The church needs a wake-up call from the Holy Spirit to snap us out of our half-conscious media-induced zombie state, making us keenly aware of God’s Holiness. Once we understand the righteous character and majestic nature of God through the lens of the holy scriptures, we should bow our knees in reverence, fear, and awe. After an experience like that, we should all grieve at the foolishness we have wrought in the House of God.

Oh Lord, reveal yourself to us in all your glory that we may see the error of our casual, irreverent approach to your throne as we enter into the Holy of Holies. May we all repent and glorify your name with thankful, grateful hearts.