Saturday, April 26, 2014

Part 2: Do we know what repentance is?

Audio: 1m:12s

That's what repentance is ... It's recognizing [that] my righteousness can't fix this, only the grace of God can.

We too often are like the rich young ruler. I think the way that I'm going to repent to God is that I'm going to make it up to Him. Like the young man I'll get down on my knee. I'll pray more, I'll pray longer. I'll feel badder, longer ... surely God will appreciate it then. That's not repentance.

Repentance is not the substitution of one category of works for another category of works. Repentance is an emptying of self, saying, "Lord, I can't make this right." It is not so much a doing as a depending.

We make a mistake sometimes about talking about repentance as a turning from evil to a turning to good, as though the repentance itself is walking in a different path. Repentance is turning to God, but repentance is not just doing good. God calls to us to recognize the reality of the cross and the goodness of the blood and says, "I have made you well." If God has made me well, then He has made me glad.

-- Bryan Chapell

Friday, April 25, 2014

Do we know what repentance is?

Video ( < 1 minute )

And the result of this is, in fact, the purity of faith ... faith that has nothing to do but believe. Faith that has nothing to do but cling to Jesus. 
I preached this last Sunday about Peter's confession ... "Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." That at the end of the day the christian life is having nothing, sacrificing nothing, and bringing nothing. But falling at Jesus' cross and saying, "Lord I have nothing to give you. You have to do it all."

And somebody asked me after the service ... someone (a dear woman) said, "but we must have repentance, right?"  And didn't know even what to say. How can I fall at the cross and say, "Lord I have nothing to give you", and not have repentance? Who without repentance is going to do that?

I just don't even know that we know what repentance is. The purity of faith is the belief that I have nothing to give ... and that IS repentance. I'm not repentant if I come, saying, "Thank God I'm not like other men." [Rather,] It's the tax collector who sat in the back and beat his breast because he knew he wasn't worthy to stand in the sight of Jesus.

- Pastor Jonathan Fisk

Monday, April 14, 2014

What we need to be convinced of

Audio: < 2 min.

Why do we have this passage? In order to enable us to see that the wounds of Christ reveal the nature of what must fill them ... My sin, and your sin, and every child of God for whom the Son of God died.

We don't like being in this place. Where in humility we have to confess that it was for me my savior died. But this place of humility, where we do not want to be, where we resist being, is the very place where we are most blessed by God. For when we can in our hearts say it was for me my savior died. My sin nailed Him there. It's my sins that filled His wounds. When we can say that, then we recognize this... My sin He took, and I need to know that.

I think sometimes people believe it is the role of a preacher to help people be convinced that their sin needs forgiveness. I actually don't think that's the case. I don't think those in whom the Holy Spirit is working need to be convinced that they are guilty. We know that. We need to be convinced that the wounds of Christ were made for our sin to fit there. So that the guilt we have is not upon us, but as we turn to Christ in faith, our sin is on Him so that we could be free of it now and forever.

--Bryan Chapell
From his sermon on April 13, 2014: "I Am King, You Say" (John 18:37)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The only way to rid yourself of sin

Audio: about 2 min.

'But sin cannot be known in relation only to the law. It must be placed in relation to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.'

What he means by that is ... it's not enough to simply say that the law convicts of sin. You have to move to the next step and say, "Christ has become your sin." It's not that you are going to be working on your sin, to finally rid yourself of your sin. Your sin has been completely accounted for until the day you die.  "Upon Him was heaped the chastisement of us all. Surely He has born our griefs and carried our sorrows." That's what that means. "He became sin who knew no sin."

You have to think of Jesus as a sinner, the biggest sinner of all time, the sinner beyond all sinners ... Not a pretend sinner, not a fake sinner, not a sinner who just kind of went through the motions in order to fulfill some kind of divine formula.  But who became sin, and the wrath of God was poured out on Him on the cross, and He allowed the devil to take Him right down into the grave. That's how serious it is. That's how devastating sin is, how utterly beyond us it is.

But you see, if that picture of urgency is not present ... A world in the control of evil, a creature desperate to flee from God at every possible turn, and then a God who takes this muck of a world and covers Himself with it for our sakes ... If that isn't painted in clear terms, then this is just religion ... we do a little bit, God does a little bit, and everybody comes out good in the end.

(And that's what you want. That's what I want.)

--Pastor Mark Anderson

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I have good news for YOU. Period.

Sometimes even our popular christian leaders get it wrong.

It's rare that I post a negative example.  I only do so when the example illuminates, and strikes to the heart of,  "the subtle wonders of the Good News".

"But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
(Romans 5:8)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Luther: "The cross alone is our theology"

The cross is, in the first instance, God's attack on human sin. As an attack, it reveals that the real seat of sin is not in the flesh but in our spiritual aspirations, in our "theology of glory". Thus, the theology of the cross is an offensive theology. Unlike other theologies it attacks what we usually consider the best in our religion.

The most common overarching story we tell about ourselves is what we will call the glory story: We came from glory and are bound for glory. Of course, in between we seem somehow to have gotten derailed, but that is only a temporary inconvenience to be fixed by proper religious effort. What we need is to get back on "the glory road". The story is told in countless variations. Usually the subject of the story is "the soul." The basic scheme is what Paul Ricoeur has called "the myth of the exiled soul." The soul is exiled from its home, and its true destiny is to return.

Indeed, so seductive has the exiled soul myth been throughout history that the biblical story itself has been taken into captivity by it. The biblical story of the fall has tended to become a variation on the theme of the exiled soul. Adam, originally pure in soul, either by nature or by the added gift of grace, was tempted by baser lusts and "fell", losing grace and drawing all his progeny with him into a "mass of perdition." Reparation must be made, grace restored, and purging carried out so that a return to glory is possible. The cross, of course, can be quite neatly assimilated into the story as the reparation that makes the return possible. And there we have a tightly woven theology of glory!

One of the difficulties in the attempt to set the theology of the cross apart from the theology of glory is that the differences between the two are often very subtle. The theology of the cross arises out of the realization that it is simply disastrous to dissolve the cross in the story of glory. Jesus was crucified "outside the camp," not in the temple. The cross insists on being its own story. It does not allow us to stand by and watch. It does not ask us to probe endlessly for a meaning behind or above everything that would finally awaken, enlighten, and attract the exiled, slumbering soul. The cross draws us into itself so that we become participants in the story. Just as Jesus was crucified, so we also are crucified with him. The cross makes us part of its story. The cross becomes our story. That is what it means to say, as Luther did, "The cross alone is our theology."

-- Gerhard Forde
selected from his book:
On Being a Theologian of the Cross,  (Reflections on Luther's Heidelberg Disputation, 1518)