Monday, December 29, 2014

Live Through Faith

We live through faith, and we die through faith.  Everything else is garbage.  Even works of righteousness, if not done through faith, are works of self-righteousness and therefore filthy rags.  Be very careful about going to church, reading your Bible, saying prayers, doing good deeds, and reading books like this through anything but faith in the living Lord.  Because the result of all that is belief in a phony Jesus and inoculation to the gospel.  You can end up knowing the jargon and playing pretend.  Be very careful.  Watch your life and your doctrine closely. (1 Tim. 4:16).  ~ Matt Chandler, The Explicit Gospel 

Monday, December 22, 2014

God With Us, and We With Him!

"Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
Isaiah 7:14

Let us today go down to Bethlehem, and in company with wondering shepherds and adoring Magi, let us see him who was born King of the Jews, for we by faith can claim an interest in him, and can sing, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given." Jesus is Jehovah incarnate, our Lord and our God, and yet our brother and friend; let us adore and admire. Let us notice at the very first glance his miraculous conception. It was a thing unheard of before, and unparalleled since, that a virgin should conceive and bear a Son. The first promise ran thus, "The seed of the woman," not the offspring of the man. Since venturous woman led the way in the sin which brought forth Paradise lost, she, and she alone, ushers in the Regainer of Paradise. Our Saviour, although truly man, was as to his human nature the Holy One of God. Let us reverently bow before the holy Child whose innocence restores to manhood its ancient glory; and let us pray that he may be formed in us, the hope of glory. Fail not to note his humble parentage. His mother has been described simply as "a virgin," not a princess, or prophetess, nor a matron of large estate. True the blood of kings ran in her veins; nor was her mind a weak and untaught one, for she could sing most sweetly a song of praise; but yet how humble her position, how poor the man to whom she stood affianced, and how miserable the accommodation afforded to the new-born King!

Immanuel, God with us in our nature, in our sorrow, in our lifework, in our punishment, in our grave, and now with us, or rather we with him, in resurrection, ascension, triumph, and Second Advent splendour.

~ Charles Spurgeon, Morning by Morning

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Spirit, or Christian Snob?

In Knowing God, J.I. Packer puts the "Christmas spirit" in perspective for us: 
"The Christmas spirit does not shine out in the Christian snob.  For the Christmas spirit is the spirit of those who, like their Master, live their whole lives on the principle of making themselves poor - spending and being spent - to enrich their fellow-men, giving time, trouble, care and concern, to do good to others..."

Monday, December 8, 2014

Now, and Not Yet

The righteous standing of God's people has been accomplished through Christ's work, and the work of purification continues by the Spirit's work among us.

The Lord is daily at work in smoothing out wrinkles and cleansing spots.  From this it follows that the church's holiness is not yet complete.  The church is holy, then, in the sense that it is daily advancing and is not yet perfect.  Mark Dever, quoting John Calvin in The Church: The Gospel Made Visible

Monday, December 1, 2014

Led by the Spirit

Christians desire to be led by the Holy Spirit, yet many struggle with discerning the difference between the Spirit of God and other influences.  This helpful article entitled How to Distinguish the Holy Spirit from the Serpent outlines the way in which the Spirit operates in the life of the believer.