Church Becomes a Glorified Costume Party

Instead of a hospital for sufferers, church becomes a glorified costume party, where lonely men and women tirelessly police each other’s facade of holiness.  The higher up in the pecking order, the less room for weakness.  Perhaps it should come as no surprise when we read headlines of pastors of legalistic churches acting out in self-destructive ways (Romans 5:20).

– Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 65

Some Still Struggle to the Point of Despair

Even in broader evangelical circles, some Christians struggle to the point of despair over whether the quality and degree of their repentance is adequate to be forgiven as if repentance were the ground of forgiveness and the former could be measured by the intensity of emotion and resolve.

However, according to Scripture it is not our tears but Christ’s blood that satisfies God’s judgment and establishes peace with God (Romans 5:1, 8-11)

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 120

Only Then Was Paul Cheered

The same apostle who said that we are justified (Romans 3-5) and have already been buried and raised with Christ in newness of life (Romans 6) goes on to relate his own experience of persistent failures in the Christian life (Romans 7).  Only when he takes his eyes off of himself and gives his ear again to Christ and his Word is the apostle once again cheered (Romans 8)

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 107

Three Principal Characteristics of Divine Grace

There are three principal characteristics of divine grace.  First, it is eternal.  Grace was planned before it was exercised, purposed before it was imparted (II Timothy1:9).  Secondly, it is free, for none did ever purchase it (Romans 3:24).  Thirdly, it is sovereign, because God exercises it toward and bestows it upon whom He pleases (Romans 5:21).  If grace “reigns” then it is on the throne, and the occupant of the throne is sovereign.  Hence the “throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16).

Pink, Arthur W.; The Attributes of God; Kindle Edition; page 66

This is What We Mean By Justification

To make a way for us to be saved, God sent Christ to live a perfect divine-human life and die an obedient death.  In this way Christ became both the substitute punishment for our sins (Matthew 26:18; I Corinthians 15:3; I Peter 3:18) and the substitute performer of our righteousness (Romans 5:19, 10:4; II Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9).  Therefore, in the courtroom of God, my guilt for sin is removed by Christ’s blood (Ephesians 1:7) and my title to heaven is provided by Christ’s obedience (Romans 5:19).  I am declared just – freed from the punishment of sin and now possessing a title to heaven.  This is what we mean by justification.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 83

Every Need We Have, He Supplies

But we are not without a Savior, Jesus Christ has come.  And he is a great Savior.  Every need we have, he supplies.  And his death on the cross is the price that purchases every gift that leads to deep and lasting joy.

  • Is there wrath and curse hanging over us? (Galatians 3:13)
  • Is there condemnation against us in the courtroom of heaven? (Romans 8:33-34)
  • Are there innumerable trespasses mounting up against us? (Ephesians 1:7)
  • Is righteousness required that we cannot produce? (II Corinthians 5:21; Romans 5:19)
  • Are we cut off from eternal life? (John 3:16)
  • Are we trapped in the dominion of sin that ruins our lives? (I Peter 2:24; II Corinthians 5:15)
  • Will all the follies and failures of our past drag us down with irrevocable, destructive consequences?  (Romans 8:28)
  • Have we lost all the good things God planned for his Children? (Romans 8:32)
  • Is there any hope that sinners like us could spend an all-satisfying eternity with God?  Can I ever come home to God? (I Peter 3:18)

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 73-74

And In This Hope, We Rejoice

This connection between God’s glory and our seeing demands that we understand the two kinds of seeing we have spoken about.  For in one sense the glory of God is not yet visible, and in another sense it is (Romans 8:18).  This means that the glory is not yet here to see (Romans 8:24).  And in this hope we rejoice (Romans 5:2)

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 60