Archive for the ‘Theology’ Category

Socrates and Paul

” Let us reflect in another way, and we shall see that there is great reason to hope that death is a good; for one of two things-either death is a state of nothingness and utter unconsciousness, or, as men say, there is a change and migration from this world to another. Now if you suppose that there is no consciousness, but a sleep like the sleep of him who is undisturbed even by dreams, death will be an unspeakable gain. For if a person were to select the night in which his sleep was undisturbed even by dreams, and were to compare with this the other days and nights of his life, and then were to tell us how many days and nights he had passed in the course of his life better and more pleasantly than this one, I think that any man, I will not say a private man, but even the great king will not find many such days or nights, when compared with the others. Now if death be of such a nature, I say that to die is gain; for eternity is then only a single night.”

-Socrates (found in Plato’s “Apology”)

“It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.”

-Paul (in his letter to the Philippians)


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Thankfulness Enriched by Belief

“The more absorbed I am in the gospel, the more grateful I become in the midst of my circumstances, whatever they may be.

Viewing life’s blessings as water in a drinking cup, I know that I could discontentedly focus on the half of the cup that seems empty, or I could gratefully focus on the half that is full. Certainly, the latter approach is the better of the two, yet the gospel cultivates within me a richer gratitude than this.

The gospel reminds me first that what I actually deserve from God is a full cup churning with the torments of His wrath. This is the cup that would be mine to drink if I were given what I deserve each day. With this understanding in mind, I see that to be handed a completely empty cup from God would be cause enough for infinite gratitude. If there were merely the tiniest drop of blessing contained in that otherwise empty cup, I should be blown away by the unbelievable kindness of God toward me. That God, in fact, has given me a cup that is full of “every spiritual blessing in Christ,” and this without the slightest admixture of wrath, leaves me truly dumbfounded with inexpressible joy. As for my specific earthly circumstances of plenty or want, I can see them always as infinite improvements on the hell I deserve.

When I look at any circumstance that God apportions me, I am first grateful for the wrath I am not receiving in that moment (The empty part of the cup never looked so good!). Second, I am grateful for the blessings that are given to me instead of His wrath. (Life’s blessings, however small, always appear exceedingly precious when viewed against the backdrop of the wrath I deserve.) This two-layered gratitude disposes my heart to give thanks in all things and it also lends a certain intensity to my giving of thanks. Such a gospel-generated intensity glorifies God, contributes to peace of mind, and keeps my foot from the path of foolishness and ruin.”

From A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to see the Glories of God’s Love

By: Milton Vincent



I read this section to my family tonight before going to bed. You can buy the book here, it comes highly recommend by Ashton and I.

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From Matt Chandler’s DG address last year. 

HT: Justin Taylor

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HT: Joe Thorn

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“First, along with paedobaptist covenantalists, covenantal Baptists believe in the decrees of God and the Covenant of Redemption (Counsel of Peace) before the foundation of the world. The Covenant of Redemption is the unified plan between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to redeem the elect from their sins (2 Timothy 1:9). The Father created the planof redemption as Head of the Trinity, the Son agreed to come into the world as the Redeemer of God’s elect and the Holy Spirit agreed to regenerate the hearts of God’s chosen people in time (Ephesians 1:3-14). Some identify the Covenant of Redemption with another covenant, the so-called Covenant of Grace. There is little difference between the two positions.

Second, Covenantal paedobaptists and covenantal Baptists both believe in the Covenant of Works that God made with Adam as our federal head. Adam broke this covenant and brought all mankind into a state of sin, death, condemnation and misery (Hosea 6:7; Romans 5:12-21). We believe that all men are born under the condemnation of the failed Covenant of Works and remain condemned “under law,” until they are transferred into the historical Covenant of Grace by faith alone in Christ alone (Romans 3:19-20; 6:14).

Covenantal paedobaptist and Baptist both believe in the historical Covenant of Grace that God made with His elect. The Covenant of Grace is the fulfillment of that eternal Covenant of Redeption, worked out in history through its covenant Head, Jesus Christ (Romans 5:12ff.). It began with the promise of grace in Genesis 3:15, when Eve was promised a “seed” who would crush Satan on the head, even though He would be bruised on the heel. We believe that God’s promise in Genesis 3:15 was carried on in history through variously administered covenants of promise with Noah, Abraham, Moses and David in the Old Testament administration of grace through faith. It was fulfilled in the final New Covenant of Jesus Christ in the New Testament administration of grace when He came to earth and delivered the fatal blow to Satan upon the cross, thereupon rising from the dead. We believe that His death effectually purchased salvation for all those whom he represented as their Covenant Head (i.e., the particular redemption of all the elect in all of history through His New Covenant administration).

Covenantal paedobaptists and Baptists both believe that the way of salvation has been by grace through faith in God’s provision of that “seed of the woman” since the fall of man. This is the historical Covenant of Grace which is the same way of salvation through all ages. It is the unifying thread between the differing Old and New Testament administrations of grace. The Sinai Covenant was never given as a renewed Covenant of Works for salvation, although it was mistakenly so interpreted by the Pharisees in Jesus’ day. It was “added for the sake of transgressions” (Galatians 3:19) to the Abrahamic Covenant in a subordinate or supplementary way until the seed of the woman and of Abraham came to whom the promises had been made (Galatians 3:16,19). The conditional elements of the Sinai Covenant referred to Israel’s possession of the land of Canaan as long as God’s commandments were obeyed, not to a personal salvation of works (Galatians 3:21). As a result, that Sinaitic Covenant ende historically at the coming of the seed to whom the promises were made, namely, Jesus Christ.

Finally, Covenantal paedobaptists and Baptists both believe that the New Covenant of Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant and is the clearest and final fulfillment of the historical Covenant of Grace. The New Covenant administration is therefore the fulfillment of that eternal Covenant of Redemption to save God’s elect people (2 Timothy 1:8-10).”

From the book The Baptism of Disciples Alone: A Covenantal Argument for Credobaptism Versus Paedobaptism by Fred A. Malone

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Believers Ought to Make the Mortification of Indwelling Sin their Daily Work:

The choicest believers, who are assuredly freed from the condemning power of sin, ought yet to make it their business all their days to mortify the indwelling power of sin. So the apostle, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth” (Col. 3:5). To whom does he speak? Such as were “risen with Christ” (v. 1); such as were dead with him (v. 3); such as whose life Christ was and who should “appear with him in glory” (v.4).

Do you mortify;
do you make it your daily work;
be always at it while you live;
cease not a day from this work;
be killing sin or it will be killing you.

Your being dead with Christ virtually, your being quickened with him, will not excuse you from this work. And our Savior tells us how his Father deals with every branch in him that bears fruit, every true and living branch. “He purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit’ (John 15:2). He prunes it, and that not for a day or two, but while it is a branch in this world. And the apostle tells you what was his practice: “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection” (1 Cor. 9:27). “I do it,” says he, “daily; it is the work of my life: I omit it not; this is my business.” And if this were the work and business of Paul, who was so incomparably exalted in grace, revelations, enjoyments, privileges, consolations, above the ordinary measure of believers, where may we possibly base an exemption from this work and duty while we are in this world.?

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Here is a wise word from Jerry Bridges to all of us from his great book, The Pursuit of Holiness. I read this book soon after being converted and found in immensely helpful and encouraging. This is a portion dealing with why Christians might not be experiencing holiness in their daily living, and why they might feel defeated in their struggle with sin. Here, Jerry addresses the first problem; he writes

“Our first problem is that our attitude toward sin is more self-centered than God-centered. We are more concerned about our own “victory” over sin than we are about the fact that our sins grieve the heart of God. We cannot tolerate failure in our struggle with sin chiefly because we are success-oriented, not because we know it is offensive to God.
W.S. Plumer said, “We never see sin aright until we see it as against God. . . .All sin is against god in this sense: that it is his law that is broken, His authority that is despised, His government that is set as naught. . . .Pharaoh and Balaam, Saul and Judas each said, ‘I have sinned’; but the returning prodigal said, ‘I have sinned against heaven’ and before thee’; and David said, ‘Against thee, Thee only have I sinned.'”
God wants us to walk in obedience–not in victory. Obedience is oriented toward God; victory is oriented toward self. This may seem to be merely splitting hairs over semantics, but there is a subtle, self-centered attitude at the root of many of our difficulties with sin. Until we face this attitude and deal with it we will not consistently walk in holiness.
This is not to say God doesn’t want us to experience victory, but rather to emphasize that victory is a byproduct of obedience. As we concentrate on living an obedient, holy life, we will certainly experience the joy of victory over sin.”
Other Books by Jerry Bridges:
1. The Discipline of Grace – (Highly Recommended)
2. The Gospel for Real Life
3. Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate
4. The Great Exchange: My Sin for His Righteousness

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