Thursday, September 29, 2005

Work on your faith, not your legalism...

As I was listening to a sermon by John Piper on Romans 1:1-5, I was struck by something he said. Piper was discussing "the obedience of faith" and he stated that we as Christians attempting to live a godly life should focus on improving our faith. This will, in turn, improve our obedience. He went on to point out that if we simply try to improve our obedience, we will only grow in legalism; precisely what the Pharisees did. Is it any wonder why, when we are not focusing on Christ, that we miss the point of Christian living? We cannot earn God's favor; Christ did that with his obedient life and sinless death. We ask God, like the father of the boy with an unclean spirit in Mark 9:14-29, "if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us." Note Jesus' response: "If you can! All things are possible for one who believes." May our response echo the father's: "I believe; help my unbelief!"

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Welcome to the Reformation!

Several years ago I began to struggle with passages of Scripture regarding God's sovereign rule over creation. Isaiah 46:9-10 says, "I am God and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.'" Did these passages include my salvation? What implications did Acts 13:48 have: "as many as were appointed to eternal life believed."

As I worked through this issue I began to realize that the men who began the Protestant Reformation struggled with some of the same issues. Martin Luther, while studying Romans, realized that we could do nothing to help our relationship with God; justification (being righteous before God) is by grace alone.

Recognizing that only by the grace of God can one ever awaken from the spiritual dead, I invite you to join me in experiencing reformation.