Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Paul Tripp Quotes Part 6

It's called grace, meaning you'll never earn it, there's nothing to do to achieve it, you won't ever deserve it. You can quit trying.

The fact that the Son of God was found lying in a manger tells you volumes about the divine love that is your only hope of rescue.

Our need is so desperate an idea, a thing, a law can't help us. It took one thing, the gift of gifts, God in the flesh, to rescue us.

In Jesus' coming, sin would be defeated, life would be given, that's why the angels sang that glory song to the shepherds.

God greeted real life-destroying sin with real life-giving grace, in the person of the Son of Man, Son of God, Jesus.

Creation (God makes beautiful things), Fall (Sin messes them up) Redemption (God in grace restores) is the plot of the Bible and your life.

Whenever you defend what God says is wrong, you tell yourself that you're smarter than God and that you don't need the grace he offers you.

Our rebellion is so deep and our inability so comprehensive it's only the transforming grace of a powerful Redeemer that can rescue us.

Your job is to obey, God's promise is to enable, so get up with joy and get at it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

What Keeps Us Going?

Around a week ago I had a friend ask me, how do you stay happy in a world like this? His point was in the midst of all the chaos in this fallen world it sure is hard to stay afloat. I basically said to him that he was right, this world is fallen. Its not going to be perfect. We are sinners, rebels against God, so this world will not give us complete happiness.

On the other hand, I explained to him what keeps me going in the midst of the chaos. And it is this: The fact that Jesus, the eternal God, came to live on this earth for me. The fact that he lived a perfect life to give me righteousness that I so desperately need, that he died for me and rose again for me. (2 Cor. 5:21, Philippians 2:6-8, 1 Peter 1:24).

Every day we must come back to the gospel for encouragement. It is seeing and savoring the objective truth's of the gospel that keep us going. When we sin or when we see sin around us we must remind ourselves of our sinfulness, but also delight in the fact that there is a Redeemer-Jesus God's son. And put our trust in him, for he will come back to this earth again to judge unrighteousness.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Book Review: Everyday Prayers by Scotty Smith

I received Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith by Scotty Smith unexpectedly. It's funny how life works sometimes. Let me explain. I found a gift card in my dresser from a local Christian book store in my town. I figured it didn't have any money left on it, but to my surprise I found out I had $13 on it! After looking around the bookstore I decided to get this book. I'm so glad I did!

Everyday Prayers is also a book that Scotty did not intend to write. He started writing these prayers as a new way to do his "quiet times". Scotty then began to share his prayers with his friends, then some members of his church family asked him about his prayer devotionals, then he started a small email distribution list, and then a blog. Now we have this book.

The main point of all these prayers is what Scotty calls, "praying the gospel". This book is a passionate plea to understand and experience more of the gospel of God's grace. While many devotional books focus on what we need to do for Jesus, this book focuses on what Jesus did for us. To quote Scotty, "I intentionally always come back to who we are in Christ and who he is in us. Like Luther said, we need the basics of the gospel every day because we forget the gospel every day."

What I also loved about this book was that his prayers came out of meditating on a specific passage of Scripture. At the top of every page is a passage from God's word and then the prayer follows. I have benefited the most from this book when I actually get my Bible out and read the passage for myself first and then read the prayer.

I so agree with the other reviewer who said this book is a gift for the church. I have gone through Spurgeon's Morning and Evening devotional and it was a blessing, but I believe this book has the potential to do greater things.

I know we all live busy lives. But reading one of these prayers everyday will only take you 15 to 30 minutes depending on how deep you go with it. You will be encouraged in the gospel of Jesus, you will treasure Jesus more, and you will long for Jesus to come back triumphantly to reign forever with his bride!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Paul Tripp Quotes Part 5

Why would you look to others for your identity when Jesus has purchased your acceptance as a child of the Father?

Will you set your heart today on things that cannot satisfy or rest your heart on the eternally satisfying love of Jesus?

The DNA of joy is thankfulness. Have you noticed that entitled, complaining people don't happen to be very joyful?

Envy denies grace. The assumption of envy is that you deserve what another has been given, when in fact you and I deserve nothing.

If the story of your life is the chronicle of underserved favor, why would you boast or act like you're better than someone else?

If you look into the mirror of God's Word and see someone in need of grace, why would you be impatient with others who share that need?

Where is hope to be found? In six life-altering words, "I will be with you always."

Hope is not a thing, not a location, not a situation, not an experience. Hope is a person and his name is Jesus.

Today you can give way to fear producing "What ifs...?" or rest in the sovereign care of your wise and gracious Savior King.

If you underestimate the power of remaining sin, you'll under value your need for forgiving, rescuing, transforming grace.

By yourself you don't have what it takes to live in this broken world, that's why God hasn't left you to yourself.

Corporate worship is designed to expose your false hope and introduce you to the true hope that is Jesus.

Being a sinner means you have the perverse ability to look at what God says is horrible and see something attractive-for this there's grace.

Friday, December 9, 2011

My Early Mistake

When I first became a Christian I was so excited to learn and read anything I could get my hands on about the Christian faith. I was very hungry for the gospel. Thankfully God gave me (and he continues to give me) many great resources by faithful men of God: sermons, books, and blogs to learn the truth about the gospel of Jesus Christ. And most importantly a biblical church in town that proclaims the truths of the gospel every single week.

Looking back on that time in my life is very encouraging, however, there were some dangers in learning truth for a young Christian like me with no older mature Christians around to shepherd me. The biggest danger for me was pride. It was a tendency to look down on other Christians who did not agree with my convictions about what Scripture taught.  It was a tendency to have no patience whatsoever with people. It was a tendency to silently put down others in my own head. It was so bad. But the worst thing about it was I had no idea of my own sin. I thought that I was proclaiming truth and proclaiming what the Bible says. And that is good, but the problem was my wrong attitude.

It took about four or five years for God to slowly take away my pride with this issue. It started with my parents encouraging me to go to a local college group in town. They explained to me that it would be good to get to know some more Christians my own age. For about a year I resisted. I thought that the college group would be filled with professing Christians who had said the sinners prayer, but were not really following Christ.

I finally did end up going because a friend not involved in the group invited me to go. When I first went I had my doubts and I was closed-minded. I visited a couple more times, but never really got involved. During the next spring semester God used this college group to change my life in a way I never expected. I realized that these young people were true Christians, desiring to follow Christ with their whole hearts. Even if the doctrine or worship was not exactly as I would like.

God has been pleased to show me my sin and struggle in this area. Hopefully the following list will be helpful if you are struggling with pride.

1) We cannot expect everyone to be where we are. If we have come to a place in our Christian lives where we have learned some great truth (election, sovereign grace, gospel centeredness, etc) we should be thankful. We should be thankful that we can better serve Christ and others with that truth. However there is a tendency to totally despise other people because they do not understand it. Listen, we cannot expect everyone to understand these things at the same rate that we have. God works at different times and different levels with his people and he is a patient God. I'm afraid we don't imitate our God very well with being patient with others.

2) We cannot give ourselves any credit for what we learn. This is especially true for us who believe in God's sovereign grace. Meaning, that God rescued us when we were spiritually dead! Now that's funny that we affirm the sovereignty of God in conversion and totally forget it when we learn spiritual truth in sanctification! God has done this great work. Not us! We have learned to be gospel centered because God has been pleased to reveal that to us. We have no capacity to receive anything spiritual in our flesh.

3) We cannot be the final judge, only God is. I want to be careful though in this post. I don't want it to seem like there is no place for judging or correcting people who are in error. There is. We are to proclaim the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). However we are not the final judge in determining how other Christians are in learning truth or doctrine. I wonder if people who show no desire or rarely to learn the truth's of the Bible are Christians, but I must not pronounce a final judgement upon them. That is God's job. I must approach them humbly with the gospel and correct them lovingly. 

I remember watching a video of R.C. Sproul talking about reformed doctrine and the danger of becoming prideful. He basically said that shouldn't be the case at all. Reformed doctrine is in no shape form or fashion pride lifting. It is pride smashing! May God help us to continue to grow in humility with others Christians who may not look exactly like we would like them to be.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Jesus, Thank You!

This song called "Jesus, Thank You" by Sovereign Grace Music is one of my favorite songs. It helps to bring me under the gospel with a thankful heart. The lyrics are below. Enjoy!

The mystery of the cross I cannot comprehend
The agonies of Calvary
You the perfect Holy One, crushed Your Son
Who drank the bitter cup reserved for me 

Your blood has washed away my sin
Jesus, thank You
The Father’s wrath completely satisfied
Jesus, thank You
Once Your enemy, now seated at Your table
Jesus, thank You

By Your perfect sacrifice I’ve been brought near
Your enemy You’ve made Your friend
Pouring out the riches of Your glorious grace
Your mercy and Your kindness know no end 

Lover of my soul
I want to live for You

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Father's Bargain

This might be my favorite couple paragraphs ever written by any man. This is a conversation between the Father and the Son about the people of God. Amazing!
Here you may suppose the Father to say, when driving His bargain with Christ for you:
Father: My Son, here is a company of poor miserable souls, that have utterly undone themselves, and now lie open to my justice! Justice demands satisfaction for them, or will satisfy itself in the eternal ruin of them: What shall be done for these souls? And thus Christ returns.
Son: O my Father, such is my love to, and pity for them, that rather than they shall perish eternally, I will be responsible for them as their Surety; bring in all thy bills, that I may see what they owe thee; Lord, bring them all in, that there may be no after-reckonings with them; at my hand shall thou require it. I will rather choose to suffer their wrath than they should suffer it: upon me, my Father, upon me be all their debt.
Father: But, my Son, if thou undertake for them, thou must reckon to pay the last mite, expect no abatements; if I spare them, I will not spare thee.
Son: Content, Father, let it be so; charge it all upon me, I am able to discharge it: and though it prove a kind of undoing to me, though it impoverish all my riches, empty all my treasures, yet I am content to undertake it!” (Works, Vol.1, p.61).
John Flavel

Monday, November 28, 2011

CD Review:The Attributes of God by Shai Linne

For much of my unsaved life I was a big fan of hip hop. I listened to all the famous rappers and knew nearly every line. When God saved me, one of the things that changed was my dislike for worldly music that did not give him honor. So when I first heard of Christian rap I was a little skeptical given my past obsession with that kind of music.

But I can truly say that this CD by Shai Linne has been a tremendous encouragement and very edifying for my soul. Not only is this CD filled with fascinating lyrics and awesome beats, it is also really easy to understand what is being said. 

What is it about these lyrics that are so good? Shai Linne gives us a biblical perspective on who God is and what God has done. God is beautiful, holy, glorious, patient, loving, faithful, etc. God is also gracious in pouring out his grace and mercy to us who have sinned against him. So we can now get to know this God because of the work of the triune God in saving us.

I believe if you will listen and digest this CD about our glorious God you perhaps will learn more about God than most people who sit in church for a lifetime under shallow teaching.

Personal favorites: Faithful God, Mercy and Grace, and the Lord of Patience.

MP3 is currently $7.99 on Amazon.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Paul Tripp Quotes Part 4

If you love God's Word more than you love your own view of things, you know that grace has visited you.

If you willing say "no" to your selfish desires and joyfully do the will of the King, you know that grace has visited you.

If you've quit asking the creation to satisfy your heart and look to the Creator for meaning and purpose, you know grace has visited you.

If you've quit pumping your ego and daily look into the mirror of the Word to see yourself as you are, you know grace has visited you.

If your prayers are an act of submission and worship and not a catalog of self-focused requests, you know grace has visited you.

If you speak not to advance your own agenda, but to give grace to the hearer, you know grace has visited you.

If you rest in the acceptance of God and have quit living for the acceptance of those around you, you know grace has visited you.

The story of Scripture isn't a human effort story or a rules and regulations story. No, it's a GRACE story from beginning to endless end.

For your hope to be reliable it must promise the ultimate renewal of all that sin has broken and this you'll only find in Jesus.

If your God's child, it's grace in which you stand. Don't fool yourself, there is no solid rock but Christ Jesus.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

John Newton's Preface to Pilgrim's Progress

The Pilgrim is a parable, but it has an interpretation in which you are nearly concerned. If you are living in sin, you are in the City of Destruction. O hear the warning voice! “Flee from the wrath to come.” Pray that the eyes of your mind may be opened, then you will see your danger, and gladly follow the shining light of the word, till you enter by Christ, the straight gate, into the way of salvation. If death surprise you before you get into this road, you are lost forever.
If you are indeed asking the way to Zion with your face thitherward, I bid you good speed. Behold an open door is set before you, which none can shut. Yet prepare to endure hardship, for the way lies through many tribulations. There are hills and valleys to be passed, lions and dragons to be met with, but the Lord of the hill will guide and guard his people. “Put on the whole armor of God, fight the good fight of faith.” Beware of the Flatterer. Beware of the Enchanted Ground. See the Land of Beulah, yea, the city of Jerusalem itself is before you:
There Jesus the forerunner waits.
To welcome travelers home.

HT: Tony Reinke 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

5 Dangers for Young Men

1. Pride

“Young men, do not be too confident in your own judgment. Stop being so sure that you are always right, and others wrong. Don’t trust your own opinion, when you find it contrary to that of older men, and especially to that of your own parents. Age gives experience, and therefore deserves respect.”

2. Love of Pleasure

“Youth is the time when our passions are strongest—and like unruly children, cry most loudly for indulgence. Youth is the time when we have generally our most health and strength: death seems far away, and to enjoy ourselves in this life seems to be everything. ‘I serve lusts and pleasures’, that is the true answer many a young man should give if asked, ‘Whose servant are you?’”

3. Thoughtlessness

“Not thinking is one simple reason why thousands of souls are thrown away forever into the Lake of Fire. Men will not consider, will not look ahead, will not look around them, will not reflect on the end of their present course, and the sure consequences of their present days, and wake up to find they are damned for a lack of thinking. Young men, none are in more danger of this than yourselves. You know little of the perils around you, and so you are careless how you walk. You hate the trouble of serious, quiet thinking, and so you make wrong decisions and bring upon yourselves much sorrow.”

4. Contempt of Religion

“This also is one of your special dangers. I always observe that none pay so little outward respect to Christianity as young men. None take so little part in our services, when they are present at them—use Bibles so little—sing so little—listen to preaching so little. None are so generally absent at prayer meetings, Bible Studies, and all other weekday helps to the soul. Young men seem to think they do not need these things—they may be good for women and old men, but not for them. They appear ashamed of seeming to care about their souls: one would almost fancy they considered it a disgrace to go to heaven at all.”

5. Fear of Man’s Opinion

“It is terrible to observe the power which the fear of man has over most minds, and especially over the minds of the young. Few seem to have any opinions of their own, or to think for themselves. Like dead fish, they go with the stream and tide. What others think is right, they think is right; and what others call wrong, they call wrong too. There are not many original thinkers in the world. Most men are like sheep, they follow a leader. If it was the fashion of the day to be Roman Catholics, they would be Roman Catholics, if it was to be Islamic, they would be Islamic. They dread the idea of going against the current of the times. In a word, the opinion of the day becomes their religion, their creed, their Bible, and their God.”
~ J.C. Ryle

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Man! Think!

I came upon a sermon by C.H. Spurgeon, called Without Money And Without Price. Spurgeon was talking about the surprising nature of free grace to us. We have it so innately in us that we must do something to get something. We often take this attitude with us with regard to God's grace. But Spurgeon makes a great point that if we think a little bit, we wouldn't be nearly suprised about God's radical grace to us in the gospel:

"Thus I have spoken upon the surprising nature of this fact (free grace). But I need to add that though I have thus shown grounds for our surprise, yet if men would think a little they might not be quite so unbelievingly amazed as they are. For, after all, the best blessings we have come to us freely. What price have you paid for your lives? And yet they are very precious. 
Skin for skin, yes, all that you have would you give for them! What price do you pay for the air you breathe? What price does a man pay for the blessed sunlight? Tonight when we lay our heads down upon our pillows the poor man’s sleep shall be as sweet as the sleep of him who reclines on down. Sleep is the unbought blessing of Heaven, you cannot purchase it! It is clear, then, that some of the best blessings we possess come to us by the way of free gift."

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Author of Hebrews

It is a pretty big debate among Christians on who wrote the book of Hebrews. Some think it was Barnabas or Apollos, many others disagree. Regardless, I was encouraged by this quote that I read from Peter O'Brein's commentary on Hebrews:

"The most important thing Hebrews tells us about the author, whoever he was, is that in the first decades of the Christian movement, another remarkable mind and heart besides Paul's was at work in interpreting the significance of the crucified and raised Messiah Jesus for the understanding of Scripture, of the world, and of human existence."

Monday, October 31, 2011

Paul Tripp Quotes Part 3

These are all from Tripp's Twitter

If you have come to rest in the righteousness of Christ and have quit trying to parade your own, you know grace has visited you.

If you've quit asking people, things and places to give identity and now rest in your identity in Christ, you know grace has visited you.

If you're God's child, you can live with hope and courage because your Savior rules over all things for his glory and your good.

You have one place of hope, security and rest. It is found in these words, "GOD IS LOVE."

God's grace never moves you be casual about sin. If sin was something less than deadly and serious, there would be no need for God's grace.

The grace you've been given is not just the grace of forgiveness and acceptance, it's also the grace of empowerment. So, get up and follow.

If you look for life in the people and places of the here and now you'll always be disappointed. This broken worked can't be your messiah.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling

Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me;
See, on the portals He's waiting and watching,
Watching for you and for me.

Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading,
Pleading for you and for me?
Why should we linger and heed not His mercies,
Mercies for you and for me?
Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing,
Passing from you and from me;
Shadows are gathering, death's night is coming,
Coming for you and for me.

O for the wonderful love He has promised,
Promised for you and for me!
Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon,
Pardon for you and for me.

Come home, come home,
Ye who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Christian Worldview

This was written by Kevin DeYoung on his blog.
One God. We worship one, personal, knowable, holy God. There are not two gods or ten gods or ten million gods, only one. He has always been and will always be. He is not a product of our mind or imagination. He really exists and we can know him because he has spoken to us in his word.

Two kinds of being. We are not gods. God is not found in the trees or the wind or in us. He created the universe and cares for all that he has made, but he is distinct from his creation. The story of the world is not about being released from the illusion of our existence or discovering the god within. The story is about God, the people he made, and how the creatures can learn to delight in, trust in, and obey their Creator.
Three persons. The one God exists eternally in three persons. The Father is God. The Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, is God. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Father and the Son, is also God. And yet these three—equal in glory, rank, and power—are three persons. The doctrine of the Trinity helps explain how there can be true unity and diversity in our world. It also shows that our God is a relational God.
For us. Something happened in history that changed the world. The Son of God came into the world as a man, perfectly obeyed his Father, fulfilled Israel’s purpose, succeeded where Adam failed, and began the process of reversing the curse. Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world. He rose again from the dead on the third day. By faith in him our sins can be forgiven and we can be assured of living forever with God and one day being raised from the dead like Christ.
Obviously, this doesn’t say everything that needs to be said about the Bible or Christianity. But I find it to be a helpful way to get a handle on some of the most important distinctives of a Christian worldview. Feel free to steal it and use it for yourself. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Paul Tripp Quotes Part 2

These are all from Tripp's Twitter. He usually has three every day. Good reminders to chew on:

You've not been left to secure your own future because God in grace has secured an end to your story more glorious than you can grasp.

Corporate worship is designed to remind you that no matter how brilliant or regrettable your track record is, it's grace in which you stand!

We never get the freedom and long-term satisfaction we thought self-rule would bring. Ignoring God is never a pathway to blessing.

The Bible is not about learning how to be likable in God's eyes, but how God in grace rescues and forgives otherwise unlikeable people.

You stand in the right because grace atones. You desire what is right because grace transforms.You do what is right because grace empowers.

We lose sight of what's truly important in life. The resurrection of Jesus and our future resurrection tells us what's important.

God questions us, "Why spend money on what's not bread and labor on what doesn't satisfy." Sadly, many of us do that day after day.

What makes eternity wonderful is that God is restored to his rightful place at the center of all things.

Sin causes us to forget God and live as little self-sovereigns, wanting to reign for our own glory. For this there is the grace of Jesus.

When we ask now to give us what only eternity can give, we end up driven, frustrated, discouraged, and ultimately hopeless.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Prayer About Being With Jesus

This is a prayer from this book and has been very encouraging.

"When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus."  Acts 4:13

Lord Jesus, this simple story is simply what I need this morning. Peter and John, two unschooled, ordinary fishermen were radically changed and wondrously engaged in life because “these men had been with Jesus”—with you, the same Lord who lives in my heart and rules all things from heaven. Today, right now… more than anything else I need to connect with you, Jesus.
It’d be nice to hear others say, “He’s obviously been with Jesus. What else could explain his merciful heart for the broken… his outrage in the face of injustice… his calm in the midst of all kinds of provocations. What other motivation and reason would he have for loving so boldly, forgiving so deeply and giving so generously? Yeah, he’s been with Jesus, alright, because that’s surely not the guy we remember from a while back.” Jesus, as “nice” as that would be, that’s NOT AT ALL what I’m thinking about and longing for this morning.

I don’t really care what people think or don’t think about me right now… what they say or don’t say about me. I crave fresh fellowship with you in the core of my being. Union with you by faith is one thing, but vital heart engaged communion with you is quite another, Jesus.

Doing things for you is not the same thing as spending life-giving time with you. Thinking great thoughts about you is not the same thing as connecting intimately with you. Helping others understand the gospel is not the same thing as crying out from my unfettered refreshed heart…
Who do I have I in heaven but you, Jesus? And being with you, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but you, Jesus, are the strength of my heart and my portion forever… It is good, and it is enough, for me to be near you… my sovereign savior and my loving refuge.

Come, Holy Spirit, come. Ignite within my heart renewed affections and life-changing communion with Jesus. That’s what I need and want more than anything else. So very Amen, I pray in his most gracious name.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

October Gospel Books

In the month of October there are three gospel centered books that are coming out. Just click on the book titles for more info.

1) Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian (Releases Oct. 31st.)

2) Gospel Wakefulness by Jared Wilson (Releases Oct. 31st.)

Certainty we can rejoice at what God is doing in many minds and hearts in rediscovering the gospel of Jesus. I'm looking forward to diving into one of these books for encouragement in my Christian walk. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Centrality of Jesus' Death and Resurrection in the Bible

"Nothing is more central to the Bible than Jesus' death and resurrection. The entire Bible pivots on one weekend in Jerusalem about two thousand years ago. Attempts to make sense of the Bible that do not give prolonged thought to integrating the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus are doomed to failure, at best exercises in irrelevance.

Jesus' own followers did not expect him to be crucified; they certainly did not expect him to rise again. Yet after these events their thinking and attitudes were so transformed that they could see the sheer inevitability that Jesus would die on a cross and leave an empty tomb behind, and absolutely everything in their lives was changed."

-D.A. Carson Scandalous

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Gospel is Outside Us!

I once read a story about Martin Luther and a friend of his. They were writing to one another and Luther's friend had some concerns about whether or not he was trusting Christ enough. The story goes like this:

Martin Luther was translating the Bible into German at the Wartburg castle and could only have contact with his colligue Phillip Melanchthon by courier. Melanchthan had a different sort of temperament than Luther. Some would call him timid; others of a less generous bent might call him spineless. 

At one time, while Luther was off in the Wartburg castle translating, Melanchthon had another one of his attacks of timidity. He wrote to Luther, "I woke this morning wondering if I trust Christ enough." Luther received such letters from him regularly. He had a tendency to naval-gaze and to wonder about the state of his inner faith, and whether it was enough to save. Finally, in an effort to pull out all the stops and pull Melanchthon out of himself, Luther wrote back and said, "Melanchthon! Go sin bravely! Then go the cross and bravely confess it! The whole gospel is outside of us."

A couple things to point out here:

1) Luther was not encouraging sin. If you read the account carefully, Melanchthon often had these feelings of doubt about his state before God. Luther was just responding to him based upon what he knew about his friend. And it did seem that he was focusing too much on his inner faith. So please do not take this account to mean Christians are supposed to not care about their own sin. Of course that's not true. But when we do sin, because of the work of Christ, we can and should go to the cross boldly. 

2) Luther was encouraging gospel confidence. I know from my own Christian life that two or three years ago I would've looked a lot like Melanchthon. I often looked to myself for assurance of my salvation. In other words, even though I knew Christ paid it all on the cross, I still had second thoughts about my state before God. I was somehow undermining the work of Christ by clinging to my own supposed righteousness. I had forgotten a simple truth that Luther rightfully stated, "The whole gospel is outside of us." In other words, even after we become Christians it is still by grace alone! Any progress that we make in obedience to God's commands is still by grace alone! And the great result of this mindset is that, in the end, we will end up living a more obedient Christian life.

Even today I greatly struggle with this truth that my acceptance before God is based solely upon the work of Christ alone. Yet keeping this truth in mind we can live in great freedom knowing our standing before God is perfect because of our Savior Jesus! We are free.