Common Slaves

Common Men; Uncommon Master



I am of Flesh, pt1

I am of Flesh”
– Paul, Romans 7:14

Calvin famously opens his Institutes this way:

Our wisdom, insofar as it ought to be deemed true and solid wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes and gives birth to the other.

Much has been written expounding the boundless glories which necessarily rise when pondering what God has revealed to us concerning Himself. But I find it fascinating that Calvin should assert that true and solid wisdom consists not only in knowledge of God, but also in knowledge of ourselves. Continue reading “I am of Flesh, pt1”

What is Job Thankful for on Thanksgiving?

First published Nov. 24, 2016

Thanksgiving, because it’s a yearly holiday, sort of lends itself to reviewing the previous year and giving thanks for the good things the Lord has done in our lives. Often it’s a remembrance of physical ailments overcome, occupational transitions accompanied by increased income, or other assorted and sundry triumphs.

But life is hard, and sometimes one arrives at Thanksgiving worse off than the year before. The diagnosis wasn’t good, the job didn’t come through, the marriage fell apart, the loved one died. And what I’ve noticed in years like that is the uncanny ability for the afflicted, the disappointed, and the frustrated to still be able to give thanks. Continue reading “What is Job Thankful for on Thanksgiving?”

Christian, If You Must Fight Your Brother, Do So, but Fight Fair.

there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another” Acts 15:39

The most famous intramural Christian quarrel in the Bible is probably the quarrel between Paul and Barnabas over whether or not to take John Mark along on their next missionary journey. It became so heated and severe that they parted ways over it. Fighting happens between the greatest of men, the most gifted of men, the sweetest of men (the Son of Encouragement) and the most humble of men (“by the grace of God I am what I am…”).

This isn’t an article to deal with how to avoid quarreling, because I’ve no doubt there’s plenty of material available for that. This is some thoughts about how one might actually quarrel, and quarrel well, even if it ends up with picking a new partner in ministry, or heading to a Mediterranean island with a rejected one. Continue reading “Christian, If You Must Fight Your Brother, Do So, but Fight Fair.”

A Spoonful of Sugar: Thoughts on Limited Atonement

For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Heb. 2:16, ESV

It’s often said in Reformed circles that everyone is born Pelagian, and by extension Arminian. If that’s the default starting point, Reformed theology is something a person reaches over time, when he/she begin to understand that God doesn’t do things like I would do if I were God. This is an understanding that comes from, at least in my case and the case of many more like me, the study of the Scriptures first, and secondarily the refreshing discovery that we are not alone in our understanding of the Bible’s portrayal of the sovereign grace of God.

But admittedly, until the sweetness of these doctrines washes over like a mixture of refreshing wave and ocean tsunami, the doctrines of grace, as they’re called, or TULIP for short, can be a rather tough pill to swallow, especially to those who don’t understand them well. They seem to portray a God who seems rather unbothered by trampling all over the free will of man Continue reading “A Spoonful of Sugar: Thoughts on Limited Atonement”

The Messy Must

For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. -1 Corinthians 11:18-19

The church takes a lot of heat and often gains a rather poor reputation for her internal strife. After all, shouldn’t followers of Jesus be the most loving, kind, loyal, friendly, or, most of all, nice people in the world? It sure seems like it. Even the unbelieving world holds us to a higher standard of morality and loving our neighbor than they do themselves, and why shouldn’t they? Continue reading “The Messy Must”

Choosing Better, pt6

It is Better to Pursue Quality. Or Quantity.

For a day in your courts is better
        than a thousand elsewhere.
    I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
        than dwell in the tents of wickedness. Ps 84:10 ESV

Quality. Quantity. Which is better? Continue reading “Choosing Better, pt6”

The Prophet with the Hard Head

“…the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me. Because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart. Behold, I have made your face as hard as their faces, and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. Like emery harder than flint have I made your forehead. Fear them not, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house.” Ezekiel 3:7-9 Continue reading “The Prophet with the Hard Head”

Why Are You Cast Down, Soul?

Meditations on Psalm 43

Vindicate me, O God, and plead my case against an ungodly nation;
O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man!
For You are the God of my strength; why have You rejected me? Continue reading “Why Are You Cast Down, Soul?”

Tip One Back with Timothy

joe reed

(No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.) 1 Tim 5:23, ESV

First things first: This article isn’t an argument for or against Christians drinking alcohol. In part, it’s making a case that the morality of Christians drinking alcohol isn’t what the text is about in the first place.

Continue reading “Tip One Back with Timothy”

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