"Now someone asks, How has Christ abolished sin, banished the separation between us and God, and acquired righteousness to render God favorable and kindly toward us? To this we can in general reply that he has achieved this for us by the whole course of his obedience. This is proved by Paul’s testimony: “As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience we are made righteous” [Romans 5:19]. In another passage, to be sure, Paul extends the basis of the pardon that frees us from the curse of the law to the whole life of Christ: “But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, subject to the law, to redeem those who were under the law” [Galatians 4:4-5]. Thus in his very baptism, also, he asserted that he fulfilled a part of righteousness in obediently carrying out his Father’s commandment [Matthew 3:15]. In short, from the time when he took on the form of a servant, he began to pay the price of liberation in order to redeem us.
The "carnal Christian" doctrine or category (taught by some Dispensationalists) which claims that Christians can live in a permanent condition without Christ on the throne of their life (viz. the Holy Spirit booklet) is a false doctrine. The Apostle John, inspired by the Holy Spirit declares: "No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God." (1 John 3:9.) In 1 Corinthians 3 where Paul actually speaks of Christians being carnal he was speaking of the fact that they were acting carnally ... not promoting a permanent condition that Christians can choose to live in. We sin every day but those who sin have God's seed in them and the Spirit will therefore always convict Christians so that they mourn over their sin. Those who remain INDIFFERENT to their sin and have no care to change are simply not born again. God not only imputes Christ's righteousness to us but imparts his Holy Spirit to us that his commands would no longer be burdensome (1 John 5:1-4). In another place the Spirit says "when we judge ourselves we will not be judged by God but when we don't judge ourselves we are disciplined by God so that we may NOT BE condemned along with the world." (1 Corinthians 11:31-32).
Self on the throne, Christ at the feet. :(
In light of 1 John 3:9 the carnal Christian doctrine is a denial of the new birth.
The law demands what it cannot give; grace gives all it demands." - Blaise Pascal
The following resources were selected from among the most interesting and helpful of last week's new materials available on Monergism.com. May the Lord use them to richly bless and edify you and use them as you go out an minister to others.
Book or Sermon Excerpts
The Resurrection - God's Declaration - Acts 5:29-32 by Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones
Exposition of 1 Corinthians (MP3 Series) by Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones -
Includes some outstanding sermons on the resurrection
Humility by Wilhelmus à Brakel
Jonathan Edwards: We Are Inclined to Sin by R. C. Sproul
Athens Revisited An Exegetical Study of Acts 17 by D.A. Carson
On evangelizing in a postmodern world
The Books Opened, the Sentence Pronounced and Executed by Jonathan Edwards
The Girl Nobody Wanted - Genesis 29:15-35 by Dr. Timothy Keller
An Unpalatable, Unflatering, Pride-Striping Doctrine by A. W. Pink
Where is Your Faith? by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
"I exhort all, who reverence the Word of the Lord, to read it, and diligently imprint it on their memory." - John Calvin
"We can do nothing, it is all of God... If God had not quickened us we should still be dead. A dead man cannot give himself life. God quickened us, and because God has put new life into us we are alive in Christ Jesus, and in the realm of the Spirit." D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
"No sinner ever comes to Christ until the Holy Spirit first comes to him! And no sinner will savingly believe on Christ until the Spirit has communicated faith to him." - A. W. Pink
An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture by Andrew Davis ($0.99);
Multiply by Francis Chan ($4.99),
Erasing Hell by Francis Chan ($3.82),
Forgotten God by Francis Chan ($4.99),
Crazy Love by Francis Chan ($4.99).
Preaching the Cross by Together for the Gospel ($3.99);
Risen: 50 Reasons Why the Resurrection Changed Everything by Steven D. Mathewson ($2.99)
Atheism Remix by Al Mohler ($1.99);
If the people of this age really believed morality was relative they would not so passionately go out of their way to daily call those they disagree with "bigots", "homophobes" or fire someone from their job for their political contributions. They would rather, celebrate diversity. For if all morality is relative then there would be no person's belief or philosophy that is better or worse than another's. Each person's truth would be equally valid. But, as we all know, no one lives that way because God created us in His image and absolutes are unavoidable in His world. So next time you see this kind of reaction ask them how they know you are immoral or wrong? What standard or authority are they appealing to when they reach this conclusion? Their own? If there is no objective morality, then why is our view wrong?
Relativists often tell me they think that racism, genocide and torture is wrong and think everyone should think likewise .. to which I respond that this demonstrates that they believe in objective morality. To this they often reply:
Relativist: "If I say, 'A cooked egg is better than a raw egg. Would you reply, "You stated an opinion about eggs. You must believe in an objective standard of egg quality."
The following is a excerpt from a very helpful essay by Mark Webb. He goes through some Scriptural references that thank God for the faith of the saints, a practice which acknowledges God to be the source of all faith, not our natural ability, desires, will or affections.
Several patterns exhibit themselves in Paul's writings. One of these is his well-known practice of greeting the saints with a salutation of grace and peace , with the addition of mercy in some cases. Another pattern, not quite so common, but clearly established nonetheless, is what caught my attention. It is Paul's practice of thanking God for the saints. For instance, in Eph. 1:15-16 he states "Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers." In this statement, Paul does not directly state why he is thankful, though we might deduce that it must spring from the fact that the saints evidence faith and love. Neither does he state to whom he is thankful. However, the fact that his thankfulness is connected with his prayers makes it rather obvious that such is directed towards God.
A parallel example is found in Col. 1:3-4. Here Paul declares "We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints." Here Paul is more explicit. It is indeed God to Whom he is thankful, and, once again, his thankfulness springs from the fact that the Colossian saints are evidencing faith and love. Methinks I see a pattern developing here!
Can You Be More Explicit?
Legalism could be defined as any attempt to rely on self-effort to either 1) attain or 2) maintain our justification before God. In Paul's Epistle to the Galatians he warned them sternly about such false understandings of the gospel when he asked the offenders: "After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?" (Gal.3:3). Legalism always seems to have one thing in common: it's theology denies that Christ is sufficient for salvation. That some additional element of self-effort, merit or faithfulness on our part is necessary. As an example, those who erroneously teach that a Christian can lose his or her salvation are, in essence, denying the sufficiency of Christ to save to the utmost. They believe their effort has some merit in contributing toward the price of their redemption. They also believe certain sins to be greater than Christ's grace. But Christ's righteousness which he counts toward us is not only efficient for our salvation, but sufficient. His once for all sacrifice put away sin for all time in those He has united to Himself (Heb 10:10). His salvation includes not only saving us at the beginning but preserving us to the end, sealing us in His perfect righteousness and whose blood "reminds the covenant God" not to treat us as our sins justly deserve. Any attempt to add our covenant faithfulness as part of the price of redemption after regeneration and justification is an "attempt to attain our goal by human effort" and thus a complete misapprehension of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must, therefore, reject any and all attempts to maintain a judicial standing before God by any act on our part. Salvation is of the Lord.
God wants all people to obey his summons to repent and believe the gospel, and so be saved (Acts 17:30; Ezek. 18:23). In light of this, the church is called to preach the gospel indiscriminately to all people ... to the ends of the earth (Matt 28:18). But sadly, all men without exception have a heart of stone, and in their willful blindness, turn a deaf ear and refuse to believe and follow Christ (Rom 3:11, 8:7; 1 Cor 2:14). He has no pleasure in seeing a humanity so unyielding and inflexible in their rebellion against Him.This saddens God and indeed angers Him. But even though all natural men reject this call to faith in Christ, God is yet still merciful. Instead of giving all of us what we justly deserve (His wrath), He still gives life and pardons more ill-deserving sinners than any man can count (Eph. 2:5; Rev. 7:9).
One of the elements that makes the Bible have such a ring of truth about it is its brutally honest assessment of human nature. Your résumé has value in every other worldview because each focuses on a belief in human attainment ... on human progress. In other words, the natural tendency of mankind is to teach views which say if you do this, and if do that, you can progress and please your god and win brownie points. This idea is one we naturally gravitate to since it gives people a sense of their self-importance. Even in secular culture each generation thinks of themselves more enlightened than the last.
But from the beginning, the Bible has been more forthright and accurate about who we are. God sent the Prophets to Israel to testify against each generation, flatly exposing their wickedness. Even when God went after other nations, he continually reminded Israel that they deserved the same, and that it was God's mere unmerited favor that upheld them. And He kept sending His messengers up to the time of the Great Prophet, Jesus Christ who testified against His own generation. Not only did Jesus confront openly wicked people to repent of their evil, but Jesus spent even more time exposing the sin of the so-called good people, calling them to repent of their goodness. Of course, He was not calling them to repent of doing good, but of trusting in it, since our deeds fall so woefully short of any real good. In the Bible, it is strikingly clear that religious people have nothing over irreligious people - they are not more righteous or deserving of God's redemptive favor because of something they do better than others. Salvation is granted, rather, in spite of ourselves, by the sheer mercy of God and nothing else, for if our hope were based on what any of us deserved (even partly), then none of us would have any future to look forward to.
It's called "the Armor of God" because its components are not of our own making, but are the gift of God. Some wrongly credit the "shield of faith" to themselves, but this is a recipe for defeat against the flaming arrows of the evil one. Only a supernatural, God-given faith can withstand those assaults. We rob God and indeed even rob ourselves of great resources in the Christian life when we ascribe any of them to ourselves and not to Christ alone. (Eph 6:10-18)
Scripture frequently refers to the the LORD as our shield (Gen. 15:1; Ps. 5:12; Prov. 30:5), so when we take up the shield of faith it means we rest in the Lord ... in Christ Himself.
The Holy Spirit has joined us to Christ and our supernatural faith is like a shield because it continually lays hold of Christ who covers us with His righteousness which makes us immune to the attacks of Satan. Satan paces around the earth hoping to falsely accuse the brethren as being not worthy of the kingdom of God. Of course if we remembered our own record, he would be right, Of ourselves, in armor of our own crafting we have no defense against Satan's fiery darts. And if we ascribe the shield of faith to something we muster up in the flesh we would be unprotected and completely open to his attacks. But the shield of faith is not something we have to muster up ... it is a piece of armor the Lord has given us to use Only Christ our shield protects us.