NEW SELF: New Creation in Christ

“Old self” is dead, having been crucified once-for-all with Christ.

“New self” is the new life we now have in Christ: new heart, new mind, new spirit, and the Holy Spirit.

Forever forgiven.

Saved (made a new creation, through new birth in Christ) once-for-all in Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice and eternal priesthood.

All sin(s) forgiven; full fellowship now; no longer slaves to the reign of Sin (original Sin, Adam’s); now held captive by the reigning Lord of Life.

Forever are we reconciled…this is something we will reckon with daily.

As a people with new hearts/minds under a New Cov’t, we are therefore now bearing a new image (identity) that actually shapes our self awareness as Saints (no longer Sinners, in the NC sense).

Christendom: Applauding The Fall Thereof

Excellent program by the folks at The White Horse Inn:  Losing Our Religion

The boys explain how it is that the notion of “Christendom” gave birth to Atheism/Modernism/Romanticism/Etc.  How, as Christians, we can be thankful that the unbelievers (i.e., Jefferson, etc) who helped founded this country saw fit to separate the two spheres, ecclesiastical and civil, which had the effect of preserving both alongside one another.

New Covenant: Priority of Indicative

D. Martin Lloyd-Jones once wrote:

“[T]he Sermon on the Mount is a description of character and not a code of ethics or of morals. It is not to be regarded as a law- a kind of new ‘Ten Commandments’ or set of rules and regulations which are to be carried out by us-but rather as a description of what we Christians are meant to be” (D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, Vol.1, [IVP, 1966], 23).

Depths: Of Sorrow and Joy

Octavius Winslow once wrote:

 “As our deepest sorrow flows from a sense of sin, so our deepest joy springs from a sense of its forgiveness…This comfort have all the saints. Your sins, O believer, are forgiven. ‘I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins,’ says God (Isa. 44:22). You are not called upon to believe that God will pardon, but that He has pardoned you. Forgiveness is a past act; the sense of it written upon the conscience is a present one. ‘For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified’ (Heb. 10:14), has forever put away their sins…

“Thus, beloved, God comforts His conscience-troubled people. He loves so to speak to their hearts! Is it any delight to Him to see you carrying your burden of conscious sin day after day and week after week? Ah, no! He has procured the means of your pardon at a great price-nothing less than the sacrifice of His beloved Son- and will not the same love which procured your forgiveness, speak it to your heart?…Is sin your trouble? Does conscious guilt cast you down? Look up, disconsolate soul! There is forgiveness with God. It is in His heart to pardon you.”

Get over it…NOT!

Gerhard Forde wisely stated:

“In this life, we never quite get over grace, we never entirely grasp it, we never really learn it. It always takes us by surprise. Again and again we have to be conquered and captivated by its totality. The transition will never be completed this side of the grave. The Christian can never presume to be on the glory road, nor to reach a stage, which now forms the basis for the next stage, which can be left behind. The Christian who is grasped by the totality of grace always discovers the miracle anew. One is always at a new beginning. Grace is new everyday. Like the manna in the wilderness, it can never be bottled or stored. Yesterday’s grace turns to poison. By the same token, however, the Christian never has an endless process of sanctification to traverse. Since the totality is given, one knows that one has arrived. Christ carries the Christian totally.”

Pro-Life, Rhetoric, and Obama

For those who might be interested, here are four resources that speak to a Two-Kingdom perspective on our current political climate:

 

Mike Horton: How Pro-Life Are You?

 

Don Eberly: The Common Good and Common Grace

 

Jason Stellman: Tender Conscience of King Obamalech

 

Lee Irons: A Plea To Tone Down The Rhetoric

Vote! A Biblical Mandate?

Are we bound by a biblical mandate to vote?  If not, what place does the ecclesiastical sphere have in imposing such as a question of morality?  Personally, I suppose mine is at least an average interest in things political, yet, I have my doubts as to this being of the essence to one’s being a earnest disciple of Jesus Christ, witness to the Gospel itself.

Dan Bryant (a former assistant attorney general to the US Dept. of Justice and a theologically reformed brother) reasoned that, for the church to keep from “losing its way” and to be “relevant,” it needs “to precisely have a gaze beyond here and now.  There’s a kind of appropriate inattentiveness to the here and now because the church needs to be caught up with these unchanging great eternal questions and issues.  There is a God.  He is not silent.  He has revealed himself…  That revelation is profoundly relevant to every human on earth.  It [the church] has a lot to do with out trying to become relevant politically, and to try to become relevant politically is to ultimately lose its way.”
 
Bryant further remarked that, “Here’s the relationship.  When you grasp biblical Christianity in all its glorious and colorful highs and lows, and what God has actually done for sinners like us, it produces a humility you take out into the policy arena [or whatever calling you have], ready to acknowledge that you’re not sure what’s right; you’re not sure of the best way forward.  Let’s hear from different perspectives and people.  That’s the relationship perhaps: less of a certainty about the right policy agenda, and more of a proper circumspection and humility.”
 
Dogmatism beyond the bounds of biblical orthodoxy is always susceptible to making non-essentials, essential. 
 
Dan McBride (member of the Democratic Party and a theologically reformed brother) has this to say about “essentials.”  “The risk of trivializing the mission of the church and reducing it to just another civil society interest group is a risk we always have to keep our eyes on.  The risk of the gospel being trivialized and becoming just a kind of political plank is a horrible risk we must avoid at all costs.”  
 
McBride goes on to speak of the “key distinction: the church as the church, distinct from Christians in their this-worldly calling.  …[T]he church as the church has a specific mandate.  It’s in Holy Scripture, and its mandate is not to do politics.  It is to hold forth Christ as the only way that sinners can be reconciled to a holy God.  When it extends beyond that writ, that biblical mandate, it’s left its charter behind.” 
 
Moreover, McBride explains, that: “Folks may recall the old expression that said, “In essentials, unity; in the nonessentials, diversity; and in all things, love.”  Today, those have been inverted.  The Christian right or the Christian left now define the essentials often in political terms and they demand unanimity of view on their pet political prescriptions.  The nonessentials have become doctrine.”
 
Bryant and McBride were both part of a round-table on the White Horse Inn program with Mike Horton. 

Gospel Truth precedes Godliness

Gabriel Wilson once wrote: “I heartily with you regret the great decay of practical godliness, but wonder the less of it, seeing truth is a-going; and you may believe it is vain to talk of the recovery of religion in its practice and power, in order to the revival of truth, and setting matter of doctrine to rights, for this I humbly conceive is not the due order. It will be but a perfuming and supporting a dead carcase, or forcing water forth a flint, to essay (i.e., to perform or attempt something) holiness of heart and life, without the knowledge and belief of the truth.

The gospel is a doctrine according to godliness. The love of the Spirit, and the belief of the truth, are inseparable. The doctrine of Christ being once believed and received, then, and not till then, will godliness natively and inseparably result from, and accompany it; and this, if you look back, has been the blest order in all times of reformation in the church, the light of truth coming in, the Spirit of God coming along, making it effectual to change the hearts and lives of men. O that the Sun of righteousness would return, and rise on us with his life-giving, healing light and heat!”

Casting off Law as Covenant

Ralph Erskine:   “…the believer is delivered from the power of the law, and the power of sin too; having cast off the law as a covenant, and finding nothing to satisfy and still his conscience but the blood and righteousness of Chirst, that satisfies divine justice; as in this way he finds rest from the curse of the law, so also some rest from the rule and dominion of sin; the faith of God’s love in Christ does purify his heart, and kill his natural enmity, insomuch that he can attest, to his sweet experience, that the faith of the love of God in Christ is so far from leading him to licentiousness of life, or encouraging laziness, that he finds it the hottest fire in the world, to melt his heart for sin; and the strongest cord in the world, to bind him to duty, while the love of God is shed abroad upon him.”

 

Dead to…Alive in

May God enable us to clearly and consistently consider (reckon) our already being dead to sin/the world/the Law/and ourselves, but alive now toward God in Christ Jesus (Rom.6.11).  For, in having this mind of Christ (1Cor.2.16), a mind set upon that Ultimate heavenly thing which is worthy of praise (Rom.8.6; Col.3.1; Phil.4.8), we are by God’s power being guarded; yes, through faith in this Strong object—Christ resurrected from the dead—the
Gospel (1Pt.1:3-5).

Dead to the Law in Christ

The gist of it…Gentiles don’t have THE “written code” (Rom.2:27) but have THE “work” of the law on their heart, that is, no codified law of words but a functionality of right/wrong at work. There is a momentum within each and every person that reflects something of His maker’s original design, which is testified to by even their conduct (albeit not perfect) as its natural reaction to common injustice is retribution. Their consciences also bear witness to this reality in their inner man, though they do not credit God for such.

Those in Adam continue living according to the remnants of the first covenant made with man, that broken covt of works. Hence, fallen humanity limps along a path with some semblance of righteousness, and yet no law of Canaan or conscience will provide what it demands. These laws do not grant life but relentlessly demand what sinners cannot possibly render. Thus, *God did what the Law could not*, and He keeps on doing something within His people, even when they needlessly turn back to shadows and faded glory in hopes of becoming what they are.

God help us to understand that, what is obsolete (Mosaic covenant) is never to be resurrected, for it finds it’s end and incarnation in Chirst himself, the mediator of a better covenant.

 

Sojourn (def)

sojourn \SOH-juhrn; so-JURN\, intransitive verb:
1. To stay as a temporary resident; to dwell for a time. 

1Pe 1:17-21  And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God

* Our sojourning here is in the context of the Gospel and with feet shod with said Gospel.  (G’M)

Gospel-purging

Ralph Erskine:  “Gospel-mortification is from Gospel principles, viz.,

(1)    The Spirit of God, “If ye through the Spirit mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Rom.8.13).

(2)   Faith in Christ, “Purifying their hearts by faith” (Acts15.9).

(3)   Love of Christ constraining, “The love of Christ constraineth us” (2Cor5.14). 

[1685-1752]

Crucified with Christ

Ralph Erskine:  “The strength of sin remains where there has been no Gospel-mortification…Yea, what great reformations have taken place among some, so as by their life you would think they were real converts because of their exactness and tenderness.  Yet they are enemies of grace and strangers to the Gospel, and consequently to true mortification, which cannot be by the Law, it being the strength of sin (1Cor15.56).   [1685-1752]

Gospel, essential to Discipleship

M. Bird:  The place of the gospel in theology is no mere academic exercise but has real outcomes in terms of Christian life and ministry.

(1)   The process of discipleship is largely the process of gospelization that is beginning to reflect in one’s life the realities which the gospel endeavours to create.  Paul had intended to come in persons to Rome so as to impart some spiritual gift to the saints in Rome, but in lieu of that he decides to encourage them and put them in his debt by explicating his gospel to them in hope for transforming their potentially fractious cosmopolitan community to one where Christian Jews and Gentiles were united in a common worship and by a common gospel (Rom. 1.11-12). Paul aspires to gospelize the Romans so that the truth and ramifications of the gospel works itself out in relations among the community.

(2)   Discipleship is the process of gospelizing our brothers and sisters so that they attain the full measure of maturity in Christ and walk in the footsteps of Christ in their own lives.