Limited Atonement: A Look at Isaiah 53

There are several points in these verses that help us develop a doctrine of effective atonement

First, limited atonement does not mean that the gospel announcement should not go to all people. The call of the gospel is “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” We announce that to all people.   The concept of “limited atonement” does not mean that we limit the power of the... Continue Reading

Are You Allergic to God’s Judgment?

Many of us do have at least a mild allergy to God’s judgment, especially in preaching

“Declawing the Bible of its warnings against and judgments upon sin is not good for the church. In other words, being allergic to God’s judgment is unhealthy for both the preacher and the church.”   I have a lot of allergies. My allergies are enough for me to be reminded and for others to notice. I... Continue Reading

Sweet Promises of Blessing, Terrible Threats of Judgment

When it comes to the relationship of children to their parents, the Bible holds out sweet promises of blessing but also terrible threats of judgment

What happens to those who heed nature, law, and gospel to honor their parents? God blesses them: “…that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” God’s blessing for those who obey the fifth commandment takes shape in two forms: a long life and a good life. These... Continue Reading

Jesus Isn’t Threatened by Your Christmas Gifts

We don’t threaten the wonder of the incarnation when we give nice gifts to the ones we love and when we look forward to receiving them.

Jesus isn’t threatened by Christmas gifts. He doesn’t get better when we diminish or downplay them, either by eschewing them altogether or by contenting ourselves with gifts that are frugal, that cost us nearly nothing and really aren’t that good. We don’t threaten the wonder of the incarnation when we give nice gifts to the ones we love and when we look forward to receiving them. We don’t need to spiritualize these gifts by assuring ourselves that Jesus is the greatest gift of all.

The Soul Felt Its Worth

Every human being, no matter their gender, race, appearance, accomplishments, etc., is created in God's image, and as such has unique value

But Christian doctrine also, I think, prompts us to discover our value in the lengths that our Triune God went to in order to rescue us from sin, death, and hell. This truth is captured by that gripping line in the nineteenth-century Christmas hymn O Holy Night: "He appeared, and the soul felt its worth." The worth discovered, or felt, by virtue of Christ's incarnation is the simple yet profound worth of being simply and profoundly loved by another. It is the recognition that "he" appeared not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many, of whom, for reasons I will never fully fathom, I am one.

Sorrow, Depression, & the Holidays

Here are 11 truths for strength in sorrow

It’s not abnormal to feel depressed at times. A bout with depression is less a clinical thing, and more a normal thing. That is not to say that everyone experiences the same level of depression, but everyone experiences some level of it. For the most part, depression is somewhat normal because we all live somewhere between Genesis 3 and Revelation 20. Since we are all fallen human beings living in fallen bodies on a fallen earth, then the presence of sorrow means that things are probably pretty normal. It just means that you’re alive.

Which Jesus?

Many people say they believe in "Jesus," but sadly we live in a day when we need to press the issue and ask "Which Jesus?"

In the 1st century, one heresy that crept into the church was Docetism. According to this teaching, Jesus only appeared to have a physical body. Thus there was no problem with His deity but a rejection of His humanity. This fit in well with the Gnostic idea that the physical and material was evil, and the metaphysical and immaterial was good. But the implications for the gospel are dire.

I’m OK, You’re OK, Only Because He’s OK

We are like chameleons always seeking how we might best fit in.

The Gospel declares us to be perfect. Our performance is over and graded, and now we perform because we desire to — we have new hearts. We can now relax in Christ as we labor to keep his good Law. We can enjoy his sovereign grace while we partner with the Holy Spirit to work out our salvation. The world and... Continue Reading

“Just Keep Quiet, Sister”

Recently I’ve been meditating on the rape of Tamar and the coming of the Christ. These two are connected.

Do you see? Do you see that Isaiah is giving the answer to Tamar’s question? Do you see those for whom Jesus came? He came into this world in the womb of another virgin daughter of Israel. He came for all who have been broken, bowed, and afflicted. He came for those who have been abused, raped, and humbled. He calls to the broken-hearted, those with no strength, and those who have been the victims of every Amnon of this present world. His gospel is for the weak, the downtrodden – those who mourn.

Christmas is a Time for Peace

We are called to be at peace all of the time with all men because of the very fact that we have experience peace with God.

We understand peace like no one else. We have experienced the greatest reconciliation this world has ever seen and it happened in our very own hearts. So, we must be known as peacemakers. Sometimes we think that reconciliation with people we have fought with is impossible, but God has enabled us through our experience of reconciliation to be able to do the impossible.