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Common Slaves

Common Men; Uncommon Master

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April 2017

What a thing is sin!

What a thing is sin, what a devil and master of devils is it, that it should, where it takes hold, so hang that nothing can unclinch its hold but the mercy of God and the heart-blood of his dear Son! O the fretting, eating, infecting, defiling, and poisonous nature of sin, that it should so eat into our flesh and spirit, body and soul, and stain us with its vile and stinking nature: yea, it has almost turned man into the nature of itself… wherefore sin is a fearful thing, a thing to be lamented, a thing to be abhorred, a thing to be fled from with more astonishment and trembling than one would fly from any devil, because it is the worst of things… and because where it takes hold it so fasteneth that nothing, as I have said, can release whom it has made a captive, but the mercy of God and the heart-blood of his dear Son. O what a thing sin is!
-John Bunyan

many thanks to Dr. Ivan Fiske for the gift this evening of Bunyan’s works, from which this is taken. jr

As Little a While as Possible!

He arose as it began to dawn toward that day; as soon as it could be said that the third day was come, the time prefixed for his resurrection, he arose; after his withdrawings from his people, he returns with all convenient speed, and cuts the work as short in righteousness as may be. He had said to his disciples, that though within a little while they should not see him, yet again a little while, and they should see him, and accordingly he made it as little a while as possible.
– Matthew Henry

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
– John, echoed by the Saints of all the ages

Choosing Better, pt.7: It is Better to Attend a Funeral than a Party

It is better to go to a house of mourning
Than to go to a house of feasting,
Because that is the end of every man,
And the living takes it to heart.
Ecclesiastes 7:2 

Here is a seemingly morbid portion of Scripture, and hardly a common piece of advice: Better to go to a funeral than a party.

My Dad, who is far more gifted with acronyms and alliteration than I could ever be, summarizes the book of Ecclesiastes this way: ITIA –“I Tried It All.”

It’s good to read books, because in a matter of hours or a few days you can absorb material it took the author perhaps years to learn. It’s good to talk to elderly people, because if you’re willing to listen and learn, in a matter of a few conversations you can take graduate level courses from the school of their hard knocks and keep the bumps off your own head. Continue reading “Choosing Better, pt.7: It is Better to Attend a Funeral than a Party”

Of all the things that will surprise us in the resurrection morning, this I believe will surprise us most, that we did not love Christ more before we died.

-JC Ryle

How does my theology affect my understanding of salvation?

Last summer while teaching through 1 John, I wrote the following chart to help understand how some of the most popular broad theological categories understand some of the various aspects of salvation, particularly in regards to Assurance of Salvation.

I wrote this assuming genuine believers by faith alone in Christ alone in each of the three representative categories, so my aim here was not to demonstrate how one type of theology cannot result in genuine conversion, but rather to demonstrate how each system of thought affects how believers understand and relate to their salvation. Continue reading “How does my theology affect my understanding of salvation?”

The Completing Joy of Fellowship, pt.4

…these things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.
– 1John 1:4

I always (well, as a low-level hoarder I should say sometimes) like to ask the question: do I really need this? What is cake, and what is frosting? Here I’m asking the question in a church context: Do I really need brothers and sisters in Christ? I have Jesus, at the end of the day, aren’t other believers just icing on my spiritual cake? John wrote his first epistle not just for the sake of those to whom he was writing, but in order that the effect of the letter would grant to him a kind of joy he could only find in other believers: “These things we write that our joy may be made complete.” Continue reading “The Completing Joy of Fellowship, pt.4”

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