Monday, May 13, 2013

Are You Wearing Your Armor?

Bryan Chapell gives this wonderful picture of what it is like to put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6):

The way I visualize this truth—that we are enabled by confidence in the armor God provides—follows very precisely the imagery of Paul. I can imagine looking out through the faceplate of the helmet of salvation that God has given me. Coming toward me I see the assaulting forces of the Evil One with all his dominions, powers, and authorities. Simply seeing the approaching cloud of darkness from this mighty enemy, I fear that I cannot stand. The ground shakes, and my knees begin to buckle.

Then, the apostle Paul—like a general on the field of battle—calls out, “Steady now. Do not retreat. Take your stand. Be strong, in the power of his might. Forget the strength you thought you could provide. Remember the might of the armor God has given you. Resurrection power has given you a breastplate of his righteousness, the shield of faith, feet that are shod with readiness that comes from being at peace with the Sovereign of the universe. Beyond all of these defenses, he has given you an ultimate weapon, the sword of the Spirit that is the Word of God. Now, confident of the strength and integrity of the armor that you have been given, stand firm.”  

Is there any degree of human effort in resisting sin? Yes, of course there is.17 Already we have discussed the faith, church, and family patterns that are God’s means of nurturing Christian health. In addition, study of God’s Word, commitment to righteousness, and the proclamation of the gospel are means by which we are readied to repel Satan. Richard Foster personally articulates the responsibility that every maturing believer assumes:  

"[T]hrough the Holy Spirit’s guidance and strength, I will order my life according to an overall pattern that conforms to the way of Christ. Over time this process will develop deeply ingrained habits in me so that, at the moment of crisis, inner resources to act in a Christlike manner are available."

Chapell, Bryan (2003-02-10). Holiness by Grace (pp. 148-149). Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Why a High View of Grace is Essential to Holiness

Bryan Chapell's book Holiness by Grace is one of my favorite books on how to grow in Christ. In this quote, Bryan cites one of my other favorite teachers on grace, Jerry Bridges.

"With much wisdom Charles Spurgeon said, 'While I regarded God as a tyrant I thought my sin a trifle; but when I knew him to be my Father, then I mourned that I could ever have kicked against him. When I thought God was hard, I found it easy to sin; but when I found God so kind, so good, so overflowing with compassion, I smote upon by breast that I could ever have rebelled against One who loved me so, and sought my good."

"Another church leader echoes, '. . . the man who comes to obey God will love him first . . . the love of God is the beginning of religion.' Love of the Savior draws us from the lure of temptation.

"Faith in the love that paid the penalty for our sin also provides powerful motivation to flee temptation. Were God merely a frowning tyrant—if all I feel when I face him is guilt and defeat—then I will never have the joy of my salvation that is spiritual strength. Yet because he has provided a way of escape from my guilt, I have reason to go to him in prayer to ask his forgiveness and to seek his aid. Gazing upon the cross, not fearing or fleeing from “the ogre in the sky,” destroys the power of temptation. Its allures lose their power over me when I am resting in the arms of a Savior who makes me eternally secure in his love.

"Jerry Bridges writes with deep insight into the power our security in Christ provides for our continuing sanctification:   'A legal mode of thinking gives indwelling sin an advantage, because nothing so cuts the nerve of the desire to pursue holiness as much as a sense of guilt. On the contrary, nothing so motivates us to deal with sin in our lives as does the understanding and the application of the two truths that our sins are forgiven and the dominion of sin is broken because of our union with Christ.

"'Robert Haldane in his commentary on Romans . . . said, “No sin can be crucified in heart or life, unless it is first pardoned in conscience. . . .'"

Chapell, Bryan (2003-02-10). Holiness by Grace (pp. 108-109). Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Monday, May 6, 2013

How to Have a Meaningful Life

"Nothing within this world is sufficient basis for a meaningful life here. If we base our lives on work and achievement, on love and pleasure, or on knowledge and learning, our existence becomes anxious and fragile— because circumstances in life are always threatening the very foundation of our lives, and death inevitably strips us of everything we hold dear. Ecclesiastes is an argument that existential dependence on a gracious Creator God— not only abstract belief— is a precondition for an unshakeable, purposeful life."

Keller, Timothy (2012-11-13). Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God's Work (p. 100). Dutton Adult. Kindle Edition.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

True Repentance vs. False Repentance

A while back, I preached on King Saul's false repentance. Dr. Bryan Chapell sums up the difference between true and false repentance well here:

"False repentance is less concerned with the spiritual contamination of sin than it is with the personal consequences of sin. True repentance is chiefly concerned with the wrong we have done to our Savior and to others. Repentance of the first kind is self-preoccupied; true repentance is a selfless seeking of spiritual fellowship and renewal. False repentance flees correction; true repentance seeks it."

Chapell, Bryan (2003-02-10). Holiness by Grace (pp. 79-80). Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition.