The Christian and the Bible, Part 2: The source

Author’s Note: If you are just joining us I encourage you to read Part 1 of this series.

Having established the Scriptures are inspired by God, inerrant, supremely authoritative, and sufficient for everything pertaining to our faith and practice, in this post I wish to explore some ways in which God uses His word in the everyday lives of His people (those who have come to Jesus by grace alone through faith alone).

The Bible is the source of truth.

In a post-postmodern age in which truth isn’t merely relative any longer, but feelings have been elevated so that they are equal or above perceived truth, the Christian takes comfort and gains confidence in the words of Christ: “Sanctify them in the truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17).

Jesus spoke those words to His Father in Gethsemane, mere minutes (or at the most hours) before He was arrested, tried, and crucified. In a moment which could fairly be described as His deepest human crisis, He was praying for His disciples in the world that they would hold fast to that which God had revealed.

The Lord knew full well the value He wanted His people to place upon Scripture, because throughout His earthly ministry His disciples had seen Him value Scripture. Matthew and Luke both record the wilderness temptations of the devil himself, to which Jesus responded each time with biblical texts, notably from Deuteronomy. The one which screams to us as it pertains to this topic is, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matt 4:4; c.f. Deut 8:3; Luke 4:4).

The God of the word, in the flesh, relied on, obeyed, and trusted in the word of God. The One who is the way, and the truth, and the life pointed to what God has revealed (Scripture) as the truth which sanctifies, or makes us holy.

Practically speaking, we do not reconcile the Scripture to the world (rather it be history, science, or any other discipline), but we start with the word of God and reconcile everything else to it. And time and time again, the Scriptures have been proven to be exactly what Jesus said they were: the truth. Continue reading “The Christian and the Bible, Part 2: The source”

Semper Reformanda (1 Cor 1:30-31)

The following are edited notes of a sermon preached at Covenant Baptist Church on October 31, 2010:

While many in our culture are tonight basking in the orange glow of Halloween weekend, I count it as a blessing that believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have something much better to celebrate. It is enough that we have Jesus Christ. More than enough, really. More than enough that He has chosen us from before the foundation of the world. More than enough that He became a man and saved us through His righteous life, His atoning death on the cross, and His resurrection from the dead. We have no need of filling our minds with the images of death that supersaturate us this time of year, because we have been given the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Today is Reformation Day, the 493rd anniversary of the day on which Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenburg, an act that didn’t start the Reformation, but certainly blew the doors off of it. The fact that I’m writing this is a wonderful blessing that comes as a result of what happened in 1517.

Martin Luther was a German Roman Catholic monk, a professor of theology, and a pastor of the Castle Church. Anyone looking at him from the outside might have thought that this was a very godly man who had it all together. But in his heart Luther was in constant turmoil because he knew that he was a sinner and he could not understand how he could stand before a holy, just God. Today we wouldn’t hesitate to tell someone to read their Bible and see the good news, but in the early 1500s the Scriptures were rarely read in Roman Catholic Europe. By God’s grace, though, Luther, as a professor and pastor who had access to the Word, finally turned to the Bible. Continue reading “Semper Reformanda (1 Cor 1:30-31)”

Book Review: “You Can Change” by Tim Chester

Chester, Tim. You Can Change: God’s Transforming Power for Our Sinful Behavior and Negative Emotions. Wheaton: Crossway, 2010. 192 pp. $15.99.

You can change. You can change. You can change.

It’s a message so simple and promising, bandied about in various forms by psychologists, counselors, TV hosts, politicians, and authors (yes, even those espousing to be followers of Christ). Yet, for all its simplicity, the majority of discussion, advices, and words written on the subject are nothing but emptiness. One can understand, then, why a reader might be skeptical about opening a book with this particular title. Such was the case when I bought and opened You Can Change: God’s Transforming Power for Our Sinful Behavior and Negative Emotions by Tim Chester.

That skepticism, as it relates to this book, is completely unfounded.

You Can Change is, I think, the best book I have read in years, and maybe the best book I’ve ever read regarding sanctification (or, as Chester helpfully defines it, tranformation). This short review is intended to let you know what to expect should you, hopefully, pick it up your yourself. Continue reading “Book Review: “You Can Change” by Tim Chester”