Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gospel-Driven Sanctification

This is a quote from Sinclair Ferguson. I was really instructed and encouraged. 

The first thing to remember is that we must never separate the benefits (regeneration, justification, sanctification) from the Benefactor (Jesus Christ). The Christians who are most focused on their own spirituality may give the impression of being the most spiritual but from the New Testament’s point of view, those who have almost forgotten about their own spirituality because their focus is so exclusively on their union with Jesus Christ and what He has accomplished are those who are growing and exhibiting fruitfulness. Historically speaking, whenever the piety of a particular group is focused on OUR spirituality, that piety will eventually exhaust itself on its own resources. Only where our piety forgets about us and focuses on Jesus Christ will our piety be nourished by the ongoing resources the Spirit brings to us from the source of all true piety, our Lord Jesus Christ.

HT: Tullian Tchividjian

Monday, August 15, 2011

Do Not be Ashamed of Christ!

Hi, my name is Austin, and I have a burden. I have a burden for the gospel to explode more in our communities. I have a burden to see many people reconciled to God and to spend eternity worshiping Jesus. This should be the desire of every Christian, our only desire should be that the great name of our Savior be lifted up high. 

However, I've noticed myself and other Christians have a tendency to be ashamed of Christ. I am afraid to speak of Christ in public, I am afraid to put the "offense of the cross" that the apostle Paul spoke of out there for everyone to see, and sometimes I am scared to let everyone know I'm a Christian. 

Indeed it is sin to be ashamed of Christ, but it does encourage me that someone in the Bible struggled with this sin as well. In 2 Timothy 1:8, Paul writes to Timothy, "Do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God" (2 Timothy 1:8, ESV). It is clear from this verse that Timothy needed encouragement to persevere in proclaiming Christ. Furthermore, very few Christians have not struggled sometimes in this area.

Let's think now, for a moment, of how foolish it is for us to be ashamed of Christ. For one thing, when we were in our unconverted state, we were not ashamed to sin. We laughed and boasted in our sin. Some of us even made fun of other Christians, or silently in our head made fun of them. But now God has made us alive in Christ and we ashamed of bearing his cross?! Also Jesus was not ashamed of us, when he did the most humiliating sacrifice of all, bearing our sins. It is simply ludacris for us to be, in any way, ashamed of Christ.

What do we do? How should I, as a Christian, get over my fear of openly confessing Christ? 

We simply need to remember the gospel. We need to remember the great truth's of the gospel that humble us. We need to remember how bad we really are apart from God's grace. We need to remember how great a Savior Christ really is. We need to remember that God really does delight in saving sinners, for he saved us!! We need to remember that hell really is that bad. We need to remember that heaven really will be that good.

We must remember these truths, for it is in these truth's, that the gospel will begin to work in us, and we will feel convinced to share it with others. Nonetheless, we also will remember the great work that God has done for us, and we will rejoice in his grace given so richly to us. 

And lastly we must pray. 

Paul, for example, in the book of Ephesians, prayed for boldness, "and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel" (Ephesians 6:18, ESV). 

And so should we. We need to pray for each other. We need to pray that God would help us get over our fear, we need to pray that God would humble us, and therefore pray that God would raise up witnesses for the glorious gospel that we so love.