The Quotable Round-Up #89

f11jjqtHowdy! It’s a great day to sit down, chill and sip your favorite drink! And while at it, add some awesomeness in your day by reading our latest collection of quotes.  This time we are featuring fresh quotes from the books “Know the Creeds and Councils” by Justin Holcomb and “The Potter’s Freedom” by James R. White. And if you got stoked with these quotes, please get the books at your nearest Christian bookstore or on Amazon.

“A catechism is a book or document giving a brief summary of the basic principles of Christianity in Q&A form. Catechisms represent the practical, “on-the-ground” application of the main teaching agreed upon at church councils and expressed through creeds and confessions. The word “catechism” comes from the Greek word katechein, which means “to teach” or “to instruct.” Catechisms are basic outlines of the teachings of the Christian faith, set forth in a way that those unfamiliar with doctrine can easily understand.” — Justin Holcomb

“Because creeds are bare-bones structures (the outlines of the sketch), it makes sense that the earliest statements of the church are creeds, while later statements of particular denominations are confessions. Creeds distinguish orthodoxy from heresy (or Christian faith from non-Christian faith). Confessions distinguish denominational distinctives (or one type of Christian faith from another type of Christian faith.” — Justin Holcomb

“Creeds aren’t dogmas that are imposed on Scripture but are themselves drawn from the Bible and provide a touchstone to the faith for Christians of all times and places.”– Justin Holcomb

“Christians of the past were no less concerned with being faithful to God than we are, and they sought to fit together all that Scripture has to say about the mysteries of Christianity — the incarnation, the Trinity, predestination, and more — with all the intellectual power of their times. To ignore these insights is to attempt to reinvent the wheel, and to risk reinventing it badly.”
— Justin S. Holcomb

“Grace is a wonderful word that speaks of God’s freedom and God’s power. I cannot earn grace, merit grace, purchase grace, or force grace. It is free or it is not grace. Yet the grace of God that brings His elect safely into eternal rest is not merely some persuasive power that may or may not accomplish the ends for which God intends it. Grace is no servant of man, dependent upon the creature for its success. No, saving grace is God’s own power. Saved, and kept, by grace. That is the Christian’s hope.” –James R. White

“Arminians teach that God sends his grace to “persuade” men to believe, but they deny that God can actually raise a man to spiritual life without his assistance and agreement. They deny that there is an elect people, based solely on the choice of God, to whom God will infallibly apply the benefits of Christ’s atonement. Grace is limited to being effective on the “willing,” i.e., it is submitted to the power and will of man and his decisions. It becomes a mere “wooing” force. The Reformed Christian who has sought to share the gospel of grace with Roman Catholics recognizes that this is the same view of grace found in the Roman communion, and it is deeply troubling to find it expressed within what is called Protestantism.” –James R. White

“The question is, Who, ultimately, is responsible for my union with Jesus Christ? God is both the one who is the origin and source of salvation in general, and the one who powerfully, purposefully, and perfectly draws His elect people into blessed union with Jesus Christ.” –James R. White

 

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The Quotable Round-Up #88

f11jjqtHowdy! It’s a great day to sit down, chill and sip your favorite drink! And while at it, add some awesomeness in your day by reading our latest collection of quotes.  This time we are featuring fresh quotes from the book “Know the Creeds and Councils” by Justin Holcomb. And if you got stoked with these quotes, please get the book at your nearest Christian bookstore or on Amazon.

“We are born in sin. We are naturally enemies of God and lovers of evil. We needed to be made alive (regenerated) so that we could even have faith in Christ. All of this is grace that we don’t deserve. Because we didn’t earn or attain this grace, we cannot lose it. God graciously preserves us and keeps us. When we are faithless toward him, he is still faithful.”

“We can stand before God only by his grace as he mercifully attributes to us the righteousness of Jesus Christ and attributes to him the consequences of our sins, which were judged on the cross. Declaring sinners righteous based on the work of Christ is called the doctrine of “imputed righteousness” — God declares a believer to be good, and even though the believer is not good in reality, this declaration is all that matters.”

“In Augustine’s scheme, grace is not a divine nudge but a power that frees people to love God for who he really is. It is this God-empowered love that destroys the rule of sin and bestows the ability to choose to sin or to choose not to sin (posse non peccare — “able not to sin”). However, until this grace is given, people cannot choose goodness. Though we might be in the grip of an evil power that we do not understand, we are still responsible for spending our time and energy on the things that we do wrong.”

“The Christian faith is not only a matter of the heart, an exercise in sentimentality, for “Christian faith is a matter of the mind as well as the heart and the will, and as thinking persons we must give intellectual expression to our faith.” Still it does not demand blind acceptance to empty propositions. It is concerned with the direction of our souls.”

The Definition of Chalcedon described Christ’s descent as a true incarnation of the Logos, the Second Person of the Trinity, while denying that a man was converted into God or that God was converted into a man. There was no confusion or absorption between the divine nature and the human nature of Christ; the two remained distinct. Similarly, the incarnation was not merely a divine indwelling of a human nor a connection between two persons. Instead, Chalcedon asserted that there was a real union between the divine and human natures that existed in one personal life: the life of Jesus of Nazareth, who was the eternal Logos.”

“If Christianity had agreed with Arius that Jesus could be a lesser god — if it had failed to defend monotheism, if it had fallen into the trench of professing three unrelated deities — it may have dissolved into the religion of Rome and its pantheons of false gods. If the early Christians had lost their nerve and conceded the “lesser divinity” of Jesus, whatever that might mean, then the work of God in Christ for our salvation would have been rendered meaningless. No mere man, nor half god, could possibly intervene to save fallen and sinful humanity, let alone restore all of creation. Only the Creator can enter creation to fix its brokenness and redeem its original, latent purpose.”

“The Nicene Creed is perhaps the most famous and influential creed in the history of the church, because it settled the question of how Christians can worship one God and also claim that this God is three persons. It was the first creed to obtain universal authority in the church, and it improved the language of the Apostles’ Creed by including more specific statements about the divinity of Christ and the Holy Spirit.”

The Quotable Round-Up #87

tpn6bjcHowdy! It’s a great day to sit down, chill and sip your favorite drink! And while at it, add some awesomeness in your day by reading our latest collection of quotes.  This time we are featuring fresh quotes from the book “The Potter’s Freedom” by James R. White. And if you got stoked with these quotes, please get the book at your nearest Christian bookstore or on Amazon.

“The religions of men, Roman Catholicism, and Arminianism, all share one thing in common: the deep desire to maintain the ability of man to control the work of God in salvation and always have the “final say.” The blunt assertion of Christ refutes this error. The fact is, outside of the divine action of drawing the elect to Christ none would come to Him. It is beyond the capacity of the fallen man.”

“All men would be left in the hopeless position of “unable to come” unless God acts, and He does by drawing men unto Christ. Outside of this divine enablement no man can come to Christ. No man can “will” to come to Christ outside of this divine drawing.”

“Why is one man raised to eternal life and another left to eternal destruction? The Scriptures offer an answer that is satisfying to the believer, but insufficient for the person unwilling to trust in God’s goodness. What is the basis of God’s act of predestination? It is “according to the kind intention of His will.” Each word is important. It is His will, not our will. And remember, this is speaking not of some general plan to “save” so that it is God who “initiates” but man who actuates. This is the specific predestination of individuals to sonship. The basis of this specific decree is God’s will. No mention is found of man’s will.”

“Synergism is the hallmark of man’s religions: monergism the mark of the biblical gospel.”

“When the Scriptures say that men are spiritually dead, we are not to understand this to mean that they are spiritually inactive. Men are active in their rebellion, active in their suppression of the truth, active in their sin. Instead, spiritual death refers to alienation from God, the destruction of the positive, active desire to do what is right in God’s sight, and most importantly, the ability to do what is good and holy.”

“Reformed theologians insist that for one to be free as a creature then one must have first and foremost a sovereign Creator. God is the free and sovereign Creator and acts freely in that realm that is His: we are mere creatures, never sovereign, never autonomous (i.e., without law, without a superior authority), but responsible within the realm of our createdness.”

“The Christian heart is glad to confess, “Salvation is of the Lord.” All of it. In completeness. In perfection. The God who decrees all things saves perfectly. Salvation is a divine act, a divine work. It is centered upon God, not upon man. It is God’s glory, not man’s, that is at stake. The God-centeredness of the gospel is what makes the biblical teaching so fundamentally different than all the religions of men.”

The Quotable Round-Up #86

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Howdy! It’s a great day to sit down, chill and sip your favorite drink! And while at it, add some awesomeness in your day by reading our latest collection of quotes.  This time we are featuring fresh quotes from the book “Good News: The Gospel of Jesus Christ” by John F. MacArthur Jr. And if you got stoked with these quotes, please get the book at your nearest Christian bookstore or on Amazon.

“The message of the gospel is the message of reconciliation. The alienated sinner can be reconciled to God. That’s what we pray for, it’s what we teach, and it’s why we live. Some even die for it. It is the unparalleled message of reconciliation with God through the work of Christ. We have been given the ministry of reconciliation.”

“The only reason God has kept us in the world is for the work of evangelism. Yes, we’re saved to worship, but God tolerates our imperfect worship on this side of eternity for the sake of adding to His kingdom. We’re also saved to be sanctified, but God tolerates our inadequate, incomplete sanctification to keep us here to evangelize. He endures all our consistent errors and failures because He has work for us here that we cannot accomplish in heaven.”

“The notion that God is a loving and compassionate Savior contradicts the core doctrines of the world’s religions. If you study the history of religion, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a savior god among them. When men and demons design gods, that’s simply not how they design them. Demonic religious systems don’t concoct deities anything like the God of the Bible. Instead, they generally range from indifferent to severely hostile.”

“We need to understand that reconciliation does not start with the sinner, or some cosmic cry that God responds to. We don’t have to ask God to accept the sinner—we don’t have to coax Him into it through pressure or praise. He is not reluctant to save. Reconciliation begins with God—it’s woven into His glorious nature.”

“We don’t sit in judgment of God’s judgment. The question is not, why did God send bears out of the woods to destroy a group of boys who yelled “bald head” at a prophet (2 Kings 2:23–24)? The question is not, why did the ground open up and swallow people whole for violating Old Testament law (Num. 16)? The question is not, why did God displace and destroy the idolatrous Canaanites? The question is not, why did God destroy the globe and preserve only Noah and his family? Those questions are easy to answer: the wages of sin—no matter how great or small the sin might seem to us—is always death (Rom. 6:23).”

“True reconciliation requires God’s forgiveness. The only way reconciliation can occur is if the offended party is willing to forgive and remove the barrier sin creates. The sinner cannot reconcile himself to God. Only the Lord can effect reconciliation by choosing not to count our trespasses against us.”

“We ought to cling to the vital doctrine of God’s sovereignty. But don’t ever let your view of sovereignty overwhelm or obscure the fact that sinners have a responsibility to respond to God—and we have a responsibility to beg them to do so. God accomplishes His reconciling work through—not in spite of—the obedience of faith from those He calls to be reconciled.”

 

The Quotable Round-Up #69

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Hey people here’s your favorite post. Hot and fresh quotes from the book “Long Before Luther” by Nathan Busenitz . If you enjoyed these quotes, please buy the book at your nearest Christian bookstore or on Amazon. Feel free to share this post over your social media. God bless you and enjoy your week!

“The church fathers speak of the sinner’s need for a righteousness that cannot be found in either his own merits or the law. Speaking of the unattainable standard of God’s perfect righteousness, Origen explains that to be justified before people is different from being justified before God. “In comparison with other people,” he writes, “one person can be deemed just if he has lived relatively free from faults; but in comparison with God, not only is a person not justified, but even as Job says, ‘But the stars are not pure before him.’” Origen explains that while we may seem pure in comparison to other people, and vice versa, we can never be pure in comparison to God, who is perfectly pure.”

“The forensic nature of justification in the patristic literature can be seen in at least two ways: through the use of law court terminology and through the contrast drawn between justification and condemnation.”

“The Reformers recognized that Jesus did not actually become a sinner on the cross; yet God punished Him as if He were a sinner so that, in Christ, believers might be treated as if they were righteous. The sins of believers were imputed to Christ at the cross so that, because He bore the punishment for those sins, His righteousness might be imputed to those who believe in Him.”

“The Reformers taught that justification occurs at the moment of salvation, which means the believer is immediately declared righteous and restored to God’s favor. Sanctification, by contrast, takes place progressively over a believer’s entire life, and results in his or her growth in personal holiness through the power of the Holy Spirit. The regenerated heart, having received new life in Christ, is able to respond in obedience. to God and grow in godliness.”

“When justification and sanctification are confused, the inevitable conclusion is that the believer’s personal holiness contributes, at least in part, to his or her right standing before God. This legalistic notion was something the Reformers passionately sought to guard against.”

“Melanchthon and Calvin give us two clear examples of a Reformation understanding of the forensic nature of justification. In the court of heaven, sinners are guilty and worthy of condemnation. Even their self-righteous works are like filthy rags in the sight of a holy God (see Isa. 64:6). Yet by grace through faith in Christ, sinners are pardoned by the heavenly Judge and declared to be righteous. Being justified, therefore, means to be acquitted of sin and accepted by God as if we were righteous, because we are clothed in the perfect righteousness of Christ.”

“Most Roman Catholics viewed justification as a formative process that involved sinners being “made righteous” over the course of their entire lives. Consequently, in the Roman Catholic view, believers contributed to their justification through the acts of penance and good works they performed. The Reformers rejected that notion, arguing instead that justification is an immediate change in the sinner’s status before God, to which believers contribute nothing. It is entirely a work of God.”

The Quotable Round-Up #68

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On this edition of “The Quotable Round-Up”, we commemorate the 500th year of the Reformation. The following quotes are from the book “A Little Book on the Reformation” by Nathan Busenitz. What’s cool is that you can get the book for free just by following this link: https://www.tms.edu/reformation-ebook-giveaway/. But before you download the book, enjoy some snippets from the book:

“Fueled by their study of the Bible, the Reformers proclaimed the truth that salvation is not based on good works. Rather, it is the free gift of God, given to undeserving sinners by grace alone (sola gratia) through faith alone (sola de), on the basis of the nished work of Christ alone (solus Christus). Recognizing that believers can take no credit for their salvation, the Reformers responded to the wonder of redemption by giv ing God all of the glory. Soli Deo gloria summarizes the triumphant cry of sinners who recognize they are saved solely by grace.”

“The Reformers contended that, because Christ is the Head of the church, His Word is the final authority for the church. Papal decrees and church traditions must be subjected to the authority of Scripture alone (sola Scriptura), not the other way around. is commitment to biblical authority led the Reformers to boldly denounce the works-based sacra mental system of medieval Catholicism, recognizing that the true gospel ran contrary to the so-called gospel of the Roman church.”

“Why did Catholic authorities at the Council of Constance condemn John Huss as a heretic? Why did they deem him worthy of death? e answer to those questions revolves around the issue of authority. Based on his study of Scripture, Huss boldly proclaimed that Christ alone is the head of the church, not the pope.”

“It was ignorance of Scripture that made the Reformation necessary. It was the recovery of Scripture that made the Reformation possible. And it was the power of the Scripture that gave the Reformation its enduring impact, as the Holy Spirit brought the truth of His Word to bear on the hearts and minds of individual sinners, transforming them, regenerating them, and giving them eternal life.”

“Tyndale lived at a time when those who dared to translate the Word of God, and thereby unchain it from its Latin coffin, faced the possibility of being burned alive. But the seeds of Protestantism, im planted in English soil a century-and-a-half earlier by John Wycliffe, had come to sprout green shoots that gave fruit in the form of Tyndale’s Bible. For his efforts, the gifted linguist would suffer greatly for the sake of Christ, being thrown into a dungeon and put on trial for his life.”

“There is no part of our life, and no action so minute, that it ought not to be directed to the glory of God.” Those words, penned by John Calvin in his commentary on 1 Corinthians, aptly summarize the life and ministry of this notable Reformer. For Calvin, soli Deo gloria was more than a slogan. It was the primary goal of his life.”

Book Review: Why We’re Protestant by Nate Pickowicz

u6zfemtWhen writing reviews, there are lots of thing you can say about a thick book. This is because a bulky volume can cover lots of grounds in a given topic. However in this new book of Nathan Pickowicz it’s not just an introduction to the 5 Solas we affirm. But it’s a mix bag of everything for everyone’s need done in a clear, understandable and orderly manner.  This book is for a.) A believer who is confused with what he believes b.) A Catholic who wants to know the difference doctrinally between a Protestant and Roman Catholic church c.) A believer who wants to know the historic background of the 5 solas d.) A believer who wants a concise biblical response to Roman Catholicism’s beliefs and e.) A seeker who wants to know how to get right with God. That’s why I love reading this short book of because every angle is covered to satisfy different readers.

Reading this as we celebrate the 500th of the Reformation will reinforce the biblical and historical belief that we hold as a Christian. And it’s a gentle reminder for us that we should not compromise what believe. I highly recommend this book.

My verdict:

5 out of 5

The Quotable Round-Up # 67

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Hey people here’s your favorite post. Hot and fresh quotes from the book “Why We’re Protestant” by Nate Pickowicz . If you enjoyed these quotes, please buy the book at your nearest Christian bookstore or on Amazon. Feel free to share this post over your social media. God bless you and enjoy your week!

“One of the most common practices of Catholics is to entreat the help of saints who have passed on, in hopes of obtaining grace through the benefits of their extra works. However, if we understand that “none are righteous” (Rom. 3:10; cf. Isa. 64:6), and the only righteousness available to the believer is the imputed righteousness of Christ, then all the “merit” possessed by the saints of church history is not their own; it all belongs to Christ, because the good deeds done are done in Christ (Eph. 2:10; cf. 1 Cor. 6:19-20).”

“The distinguishing mark of Martin Luther’s theology was what he called “the theology of the cross.” In short, it was a biblical worldview built on the notion that all of life, all of theology, all of existence, all of our knowledge of God, and all of salvation must be viewed through Christ’s work on the cross. Similarly, the apostle Paul declared, “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified ” (1 Cor. 2:2).”

“Christians are those who are declared righteous by God, although they are not righteous themselves. “Sins remain in us, and God hates them very much,” said Luther. “Because of them it is necessary for us to have the imputation of righ teousness, which comes to us on account of Christ, who is given to us and grasped by our faith.” It is an astounding reality, and it is all of grace.”

“But people say, “That ’s not fair!” or “I don’t like that God chooses who will be saved”—as if it impugns the character of God. Erasmus used to say, “Let God be good.” But Luther replied, “Let God be God!” This doctrine is not from men, otherwise we could mutiny against it. Rather, it’s from the Lord.”

The heart of the battle over sola Scriptura is a battle over the issue of authority. Who has the right to tell people what to believe and what to do? If the Bible is inspired by God, and thereby, inerrant, then it is also authoritative. In other words, the revealed commands of God in Scripture are binding on the believer. When Scripture speaks, God speaks.”

“What was the message of the Reformation? In essence, the main question asked and answered was: How does a person get right with God? This was the central issue. For Rome, sinners are saved by faithfully adhering to the dogma of the Catholic Church. But when the Reformers began to examine the Bible, they saw that salvation came by God Himself through the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

 

Nicholas Sparks and the Grace of God

When asked by Catholic Digest how faith guides his writings, best-selling author and Catholic Nicholas Sparks replied:

“In many ways. There are certain rules, largely part and parcel of my Catholic upbringing that I don’t cross. I don’t use profanity in my novels, most of my characters are grounded in their faith, and in fact, in certain novels faith plays a tremendously strong role in guiding their morality in things they are willing to do. Certain things I don’t write about, like adultery; while you might think it might be easy in my genre, love stories, it isn’t.” (Catholic Digest, April 2010, Vol. 74, No.6, pg. 41 or you can read the entire interview following this link:http://www.catholicdigest.com/articles/food_fun/books/2010/04-06/faith-family-and-fiction-a-qa-with-best-selling-novelist-nicholas-sparks).

 

This interview made me think that of a friend who shared something to me.

A friend of mine enthusiastically shared a video of a musical group to me. I’ve already watch their videos on Youtube and they were amazing. The video drips with such gift in playing musical instrument that the video garner many views.  My friend really loved it that’s why she suggested checking it out. She adds something that made me thinking.  “Kung Christian lang sana sila ‘no? (If only they where Christians).” I sympathize with my friend. I’m also bother with that thought too. Sometimes us Christians goes to this thought, that we wish great and talented people are in God’s side.  And who wouldn’t want people that made a difference in the world work for God?  Who doesn’t want a great leader like Gandhi or Mandela, a computer genius like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, or scientist like the ones who discovered DNA to be a Christian, see them someday in heaven and not go to hell? That will be great isn’t? Let’s include those who we see that are sincere, nice and good people for us should be included in God’s family. We hope them to be saved so that their talent or personality will be used for God’s purpose.

 

The doctrine of Common Grace is a gift bestowed by God to both saved and unsaved humanity. Scriptures verifies this doctrine (see Romans 2: 14, 15, 1:24, 26, 28; Luke 6:33, Psalms 145:9, Matthew 5: 44, 45; 1 Timothy 4:10, and Hebrews 6:4-6). This gift includes such vital things like our breathing, food, water, animals, friends, talents, knowledge and resources all from the providential hands of the Lord. It is also a blessing to men by the Holy Spirit to practice moral, civil and religious activities and even apply restrictions without the renewing of the heart and seeking salvation from God. As a gift it is free it can be enjoyed, cultivate and the advancement of himself or for the sake of the world. God gave common grace for humanity as a testimony of His goodness and for the exaltation of His glory. Romans 1: 20 adds that mankind knows through common grace, that there is a God yet, despite the obvious, they deny His existence.

 

Common grace, since it covers the ability to be religious even if a person is not saved, also doesn’t restrict unbelieving people to even acknowledge his talents to his faith, church or God as we have read the interview with Nicholas Sparks by Catholic Digest. His faith may have helped him write great novels but unless the Holy Spirit bestow saving faith, this writer is not glorifying God. Unless he sees the biblical gospel his talents only served him here but not for the life to come. It’s a sobering thought, right? Yes, some of his books influence us readers. It touched our lives. It even inspired us write.  For me it will be a dream to have a chat with him and talk about writing. I would love to learn from this author and I think you would to. Should we not savor this gifted author’s influence to us even if he will not be saved? Should we not deny praises to God to things that benefited us even it’s from an unbeliever? If it’s in line with the biblical and moral principle we uphold why not.  But Christians should know better. All his talents are from God and enjoying it lets keep it in mind how wonderful God towards us. Further, we should ask ourselves if unbelievers became exceptional in their craft, should we not endeavor to aim for the best in terms of our talents and abilities also.

 

I don’t know what’s in Nicholas Sparks’s heart. I can only speculate and give an opinion. If he received Christ as Lord and personal Savior (I don’t know if he is claiming it or not) he is indeed saved, no question about it. But as you can see, he is in a religion that rejects the biblical salvation. That’s a hint of where he is banking his salvation. I believe if you’re truly saved you will get out of that religion that contradicts Scripture and follow Christ. It will do you no good, won’t be useful for the Kingdom of God and it will cast doubt on your salvation if you remain in error.  Nicholas Sparks will face God’s judgment. But as long as he is alive he has hope. The gospel is still open for him to accept it.  Except God opens Sparks spiritual eyes to the biblical salvation, he is just another human being enjoying God’s common grace bound to hell.

 

With that in mind we don’t know who are yet to be saved. We don’t know yet whom God’s elected. Only God knows. That’s why we are given the Great Commission. We are commanded by God to reach those people with the gospel no matter who they are. Whether it’s Nicholas Sparks or your next door neighbor we are obliged to tell them the love of Christ. Isn’t it an incentive for us to know God goodness to all men through His common grace then for us Christians act to secure them to look beyond it and be saved by sharing the gospel? Isn’t  the unbelievers impact to the world is done by making use of the gift of common grace, therefore should we not use it also to reach them? By knowing the doctrine of common grace may we excel as witnesses for Christ and offer unrepentant sinners the gift of salvation by grace.

Source:

http://www.theopedia.com/Common_grace

http://www.gotquestions.org/common-grace.html

 

For Further Study:

Divine Compassion in Common Grace by John MacArthur Jr.

http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/42-117/divine-compassion-in-common-grace

Did the Death of Jesus Accomplish Anything for the Non-Elect? by John Piper

http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/ask-pastor-john/did-the-death-of-jesus-accomplish-anything-for-the-non-elect

James Montgomery Boice on Christian Love

In chapter 13 of his book “Two Cities, Two Loves”, the late James Montgomery Boice writes about love:

We understand the preeminence of love if we see it in reference to the other marks

of the church. What happens when you take love away from them? Suppose you

subtract love from joy. What do you have? You have hedonism, an exuberance in

life and its pleasures, but without the sanctifying joy found in relationship to the

Lord Jesus Christ.

Subtract love from holiness. What do you find then? You find self- righteousness,

the kind of sinful self-contentment that characterized the Pharisees of Christ’s day.

By the standards of the day the Pharisees lived very holy lives, but they did not

love others and thus were quite ready to kill Jesus when he challenged their

standards.

Take love from truth and you have a bitter orthodoxy. The teaching may be right,

but it does not win anyone to Christ or to godliness. Take love from mission and

you have imperialism. It is colonialism in ecclesiastical garb.

Take love from unity and you soon have tyranny. Tyranny develops in a

hierarchical church where there is no compassion for people or desire to involve

them in the decision-making process, only determination to force everyone into

the same denomination or to get them to back the “program.”

Now express love and what do you find? All the other marks of the church follow.

What does love for God the Father lead to? Joy. We rejoice in God and in what he

has done for us. What does love for the Lord Jesus Christ lead to? Holiness. We

know that we will see him one day and will be like him. “Everyone who has this

hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure” (I Jn 3:3). What does love for the

Word of God lead to? Truth. If we love the Word, we will study and therefore

inevitably grow into a fuller appreciation of God’s truth. What does love for the

world lead to? Mission. We have a message to take to the world. Where does love

for our Christian brothers and sisters lead? To unity. By love we discern that we

are bound together in the bundle of life that God has created within the Christian

community.

 

In what ways can you show Christian love? Please post it on the comments.