Category: Sin and Salvation

An Invitation

How many of us grew up with a “grumpy God” syndrome. I’m thinking mainly of those among us who have a rigorous religious heritage. So that the child’s Christmas question of “who’s been naughty or nice” is a year-round preoccupation. And God is the great moral inspector in the sky. If that’s you, consider having …

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“Anthro…what?”

Last week I used some ordinary jargon in a conversation: “Churches seem more anthropocentric than ever.” My friend was puzzled, “anthro…what?” “Sorry,” I said, “they seem more human-focused and less God-centered—‘theocentric.’” Why the jargon? Using obscure terms when normal speech works is a bad habit. And that, in turn, can fog a conversation. If, for …

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The Liar

James Warren, after the recent US election, cited President Obama as saying, “Trump understands the new ecosystem, in which facts and truth don’t matter.” In the same week we learned that a widely circulated Facebook news item—about Pope Francis endorsing Trump for president—was a bold lie. And, elsewhere, news is now out that the Volkswagen …

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Don’t be troubled

Only hours before his crucifixion Jesus was still reassuring his followers about the future. Twice over dinner he repeated his call, “Let not your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1&27). This even as he knew Judas Iscariot was arranging for his immanent arrest. So, was Jesus having a Pollyanna moment? Or was he the ultimate promoter …

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Sibbes on Jesus

Richard Sibbes (1577-1635) loved Jesus. It spilled out in his life and sermons as an infectious joy. And today more and more kindred hearts are hearing of Sibbes. So what did Sibbes offer? The records of Gray’s Inn offer a tease. The Inn was an important residence hall and training center in central London, set …

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In Heaven?

Let me start by telling a true story but with some particulars changed to honor privacy. Gary’s comment caught my attention at the funeral of his father, Ricky: “I’m glad he’s finally at peace and together again with Linda.” Linda, his mother, died of cancer six years earlier. As context, I knew Linda from church. …

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Resisting Grace

Jesus wept over Jerusalem—“because you did not know the time of your visitation.” So, given the Son’s presumed power to grant salvation to the elect why was he weeping? Let me poke this question with a pair of affective insights—insights that recognize the heart as the defining motive center of both God and humans. Earlier …

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Easter

The Provost spoke the traditional words, “Christ is risen!” and the hundreds of students responded in full voice, “He is risen indeed!” It was the Thursday chapel before Easter—just before the students left for home to attend Good Friday services. I was in Nigeria at the Gindiri Theological Seminary—both far from home but still at …

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Moral Sight

Sin is ironically powerful. It has all the power of a runaway human ego. It can undermine great rulers, break the strongest vows, blind the most able scholars, and even crucify God himself. But ironic? Yes, ironic because sin has no extrinsic power over the sinner. Sin, instead, is an inner ambition of the soul. …

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