Thursday, November 14, 2013

What Would You Have Left?

Not sure about you, but the question that begs to be answered for me after watching this video is: what if you took away basketball?  Then what would you have left?  Unless I'm missing something, the naive assumption undergirding the message of this video (and--make no mistake about it--the worldview it represents) is that basketball could never be lost.  But what professional basketball player could be better positioned to ask and reflect on that question than Derrick Rose, who had basketball taken away from him for much of the past two years because of knee injuries?  Could it be that he missed out on the greatest opportunity to receive the most precious Gift (2 Corinthians 9:15) offered to him when he lost for a time what he embraces as most precious?

But, praise God, this next man didn't! Watch this football player reflect on and describe what is left--and cannot be lost--when everything else, including the game you love, is taken away:

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him...
Philippians 3:7-9
HT: Strawberry-Rhubarb Theology

Saturday, November 09, 2013

The Three-fold Ill in Us, The Three-fold Office in Christ

There are three main defects in man since the fall.

There is ignorance and blindness.
There is rebellion in the will and affections.
And in regard of his condition, by reason of the sins of nature and life, a subjection to a cursed estate, to the wrath of God and eternal damnation.

Now, answerable to these three grand ills, whosoever shall be ordained a saviour must provide proportionable remedies for these. Hereupon comes a threefold office in Christ, that is ordained to save man, to cure this threefold mischief and malady.

As we are ignorant and blind, he is a prophet to instruct us, to convince us of the ill state we are in, and then to convince us of the good he intends us, and hath wrought for us, to instruct us in all things concerning our everlasting comfort. He is such a prophet as teacheth not only the outward, but the inward man. He openeth the heart, he teacheth to do the things he teacheth. Men teach what we should do, but they teach not the doing of them. He is such a prophet as teacheth us the very things; he teacheth us to love and to obey.

And answerable to the rebellion and sinfulness of our dispositions, he is a king to subdue whatsoever is ill in us, and likewise to subdue all opposite power without us. By little and little he will trample all enemies under his feet, and under our feet, too, ere long.

Now, as we are cursed by reason of our sinful condition, so he is a priest to satisfy the wrath of God for us. He was made a curse for us, Gal. 3:13. He became a servant, that, being so, he might die, and undergo the cursed death of the cross; not only death, but a cursed death, and so his blood might be an atonement as a priest.

So, answerable to the threefold ill in us, you see here is a threefold office in Christ.

--Sibbes, R. (1862). The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes, Volume 1 (A. B. Grosart, Ed.) (16). Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; W. Robertson.

Friday, November 08, 2013

What Would You Stand to Lose?

If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:6-9

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.
John 3:19-21
What's the worst thing someone could possibly know about you?

Now, what if everyone in your church community knew that thing? What would you stand to lose? What you'd probably lose is (1) their approval and (2) your sense of righteousness. They would know the real truth about you (and perhaps not approve of you). And you would have to admit the truth about yourself (you couldn't pretend to be "righteous" anymore). In other words: walking in the light would directly confront your thirst for approval and your unwarranted self-righteousness. You avoid honesty because you're still striving to maintain your own identity and construct your own righteousness.

Read the rest here.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

No Matter What We Are In Ourselves

This is our comfort and our confidence, that God accepts us, because he accepts his beloved; and when he shall cease to love Christ, he shall cease to love the members of Christ. They and Christ make one mystical Christ. This is our comfort in dejection for sin. We are so and so indeed, but Christ is the chosen servant of God, ‘in whom he delighteth,’ and delights in us in him. It is no matter what we are in ourselves, but what we are in Christ when we are once in him and continue in him. God loves us with that inseparable love wherewith he loves his own Son. Therefore St Paul triumphs, Rom. 8:35, ‘What shall separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus?’ This love, it is founded in Christ, ‘therefore neither things present, nor things to come (as he goes on there gloriously), shall be able to separate us.’ You see what a wondrous confidence and comfort we have hence, if we labour to be in Christ, that then God loves and delights in us, because he loves and delights in Christ Jesus.  

--Sibbes, R. (1862). The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes, Volume 1 (A. B. Grosart, Ed.) (12). Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; W. Robertson.