By Lindsay Armstrong
Last Sunday’s sermon on Job impacted me, and I wanted to share and reflect upon the impact the sermon had on my perception of God, the world, and my own life. This was a humbling sermon, and it lifted a veil of darkness from my eyes and helped me to see more clearly what has been happening to me.
When I went to college, I had a strong faith in God that I thought could never be shaken. I learned to depend upon God early on in life. I experienced the closeness of his presence regularly during my quiet times. During those times, I would close the door to my bedroom, lay down on the floor or kneel by my bed, close my eyes, and let God talk to me through his word and through journaling.
Continue reading Opened Eyes to Wisdom, Doubt, and Cynicism
This morning I talked about some follow-up things for Isaiah 42. (Hear the sermon from this morning here.)
Perhaps the most famous Christian reading that takes up the topic of the bruised Reed is a book by that name- The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbs (1577-1635). You can find a good summary article on the content of the book here. You can find a free PDF copy of the book here. The whole book is only 69 pages. If you like it, most of his complete works are here.
Banner of truth publishing has published a Kindle version with some updated language. There are a few words in 17th century English that can puzzle you a little bit- and this version makes that a little easier. But reading 17th century theology is about a 70 page investment – once you’ve read that much you’ve pretty much picked up on the different ways they use certain words.
Continue reading Isaiah 42 and The Bruised Reed
Here is a great blog post done by Tim Keller (pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City) about how to use the Psalms for prayer.
The Psalms are in incredibly helpful resource in the Bible for how to deal emotionally with God in real life. This Psalm guide will help you do that.
Monergism.com is an incredibly great place to find all kinds of study resources. It’s one of the websites I frequent most.
Monergism refers to the reformed or Calvinist doctrine that salvation is the single action of God. God saves us, rather than a combination of the will of God and the will of human beings. That is referred to as “synergism.” So anyway, this is a website produced and overseen by reformed or Calvinistic Christians. However, even if you don’t like that, there are still some killer resources on here. Continue reading Tim Keller’s Sermons on the Psalms
1The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Continue reading The Passages on the Meaning of Abraham
Some people find the idea that we are counted righteous by God through believing his promise (Genesis 15:6) difficult to accept. Why should we be thought righteous for believing?
- We don’t have to prove how it works. Christianity is a revealed religion, not a derived religion. That means we think we know this because it has been revealed, not because we figured it out. In that case, so long as the view isn’t incoherent, and the revelation source is trustworthy, then you are warranted to believe something even if you can’t prove, or even explain it.
- Faith is the right ground to credit righteousness because it is the first step in being reoriented toward reality and what is good and just, which is embodies in God. Without faith in the true God, then no set of works can rightly orient a person towards reality- moral or otherwise. Without that reality reorienting faith, righteousness is implicitly refused. With faith, by accepting God’s righteousness, God opens us to be credited righteousness and as a vessel in which to develop that righteousness through faith.
- That’s not the point of this doctrine. The dynamic of promise-faith as the dynamic through which we are made right with God is not what MAKES it work. It works because of other supporting and related truths- imputation, union with Christ and others.
How does it work? 2 options:
- Use of debt metaphor. When people think of having righteousness credited to a criminal, they often struggle with the idea of a substitute sacrifice. Why is a criminal righteous because an innocent person took their punishment? But it depends on what metaphor of justice you use- criminal or civil. In civil cases, all crimes can be reduced to property and debt since all crime takes something from the person and the community. Justice requires the restoration of what was damaged or destroyed. That debt has to be paid by some kind of restitution. Sin is commonly treated as a kind of moral debt which is paid by Christ’s sacrifice.
- Union with Christ. Another way to think about it is that through faith God offers union with himself, namely in the person of Christ. The union of Christ with a believer goes all the way down to being and identity, and the one becomes part with the other- though the metaphysics of that is never explained in detail. This means that the moral status of both are shared. This means that the believing human truly shares in the righteousness of Christ, and is counted righteous “in Him”.
It’s important not to pretend we know more than we do. And it is also important to make clear when we are speculating and when we are explaining something scripture clearly tells us.