The Cross Should Blow Our Minds

The grace of God extended to us at the cross should blow our minds.  We “stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene, and wonder how He could love me, a sinner condemned unclean.”

There is no way to understand what Jesus did for you, on a heart level, and not be radically changed.  Grace changes wee-little-stingy sinners into saints of magnificent generosity.

– Greear, J.D.; Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary; B&H Publishing Group; Nashville, TN; Copyright 2011; Kindle Edition; page 68

O the Comfort

O the comfort!  We are not under law but under grace.  The gospel is the dispensation for sinners, and we have an Advocate with the Father.  There is the unshaken ground of hope.  A reconciled Father, a prevailing Advocate, a powerful Shepherd, a compassionate Friend, a Savior who is able and willing to save to the uttermost.  He knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust; and has opened for us a new and blood-besprinkled way of access to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in every time of need.

– Duguid, Barbara; Extravagant Grace: God’s Glory Displayed in our Weakness; P&R Publishing; Philipsburg, NJ; copyright 2013; Page 227

Goodness Won For Him by Another

Not only was Joshua’s sin and guilt removed (Zechariah 3), but he was then dressed in the perfect and spotless garments of a goodness won for him by another.  With that move, the story goes from being wonderful to being spectacularly joyful.  Tullian Tchividijian calls this “the hilarity of unconditional grace.”  It is unimaginable and beyond reason that God could love filthy sinners so much.

– Duguid, Barbara; Extravagant Grace: God’s Glory Displayed in our Weakness; P&R Publishing; Philipsburg, NJ; copyright 2013; Page 201-202

Grace and Holiness – Its Not Either/Or but Both/And

It is not news to most Christians that the gospel of God’s grace is good news and that we also need to grow in our holiness.  The challenge is putting these two truths together in a biblical way.  Some have perhaps so emphasized God’s grace that people lose sight of striving toward the goal of holiness, while others put so much stress on the need for holiness that, for struggling sinners, Christianity seems hardly to be good news anymore.

– Duguid, Barbara; Extravagant Grace: God’s Glory Displayed in our Weakness; P&R Publishing; Philippsburg, NJ; copyright 2013; Page 13

The Prosperity Gospel Only Pays Lip Service to the God of the Bible

You simply cannot look at the cross and see the suffering of Jesus on behalf of rebellious sinners like you and me without also accepting that God sometimes ordains pain.  This is not to say that suffering is never the result of something you or I have done, that it can’t be related to some form of deserving.  Rather, it just means that there is no longer a one-to-one correlation.  In fact, there may not be any correlation at all!

So while the prosperity gospel pays lip service to the God of the Bible, it worships a God who waits for the suffering person to snap out of it and claim victory.  In other words, it posits a God who is powerless to save sinners.

– Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 89-90

Pure Grace

We are all sinners, but by the grace of God we have a savior and salvation through Jesus. Nothing that we did earned this. Pure grace. A hundred percent.

– Driscoll, Mark; Who Do You Think You Are? Finding Your True Identity in ChristThomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, copyright 2013; Page 170

The Gospel is Not Just “Fire Insurance”

To be sure, there is more to the gospel than salvation from hell.  The cross is not simply God’s way of forgiving sinners, but of conquering the demonic forces and structures that yield oppression and violence.  And it’s certainly true that the gospel has often been reduced to a simplistic and individualistic message that misses the sweeping grandeur, of Christ’s redemptive historical achievement.  It is not just “fire insurance”, but the way in which the Triune God fulfills his promise of a new creation in spite of human rebellion.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 93-94

We are in Serious Trouble in the Church

Simply put, we’re in serious trouble in the church. It isn’t because we are sinners or because we don’t know enough, pray enough, or read the Bible enough. Our problem isn’t about being more faithful or not living a supernatural life of victory. Our problem isn’t going to be fixed with more programs, better methods of evangelism and stewardship, or discipline. Our problem isn’t spiritual formation or that we are not missional.

Our problem is that we have taken the best news ever given to the world, run it through a “religious grid” and made something unpalatable out of it. In short we’ve taken the good news and made it bad news. Ad if you listen carefully, you can hear old Slew Foot (that would be the devil) laughing.

– Brown, Steve; Three Free Sins: God’s Not Mad At You; Howard Books; New York, copyright 2012; Kindle Edition; Location 332

Now That’s Evangelism

And insofar as I do “deal with it” (allow him to love me by accepting his gift of forgiveness – free sins), something strange happens to my attitude toward them.  I find myself (despite myself) loving the other sinners, robbers and scoundrels who need love as much as I do.  And when I let it show in places where one doesn’t expect a Christian to show up, its called evangelism.

– Brown, Steve; Three Free Sins: God’s Not Mad At YouHoward Books;  New York, copyright 2012; Kindle Edition; Location 2391