Entering into Mystical Union

The Christian life is lived in the context of mystical union with Christ. This union finds its initial origin in eternity. Our salvation is from the foundation of the world, resting in the grace of God’s sovereign election. Paul indicates this in Ephesians 1:3-6.

It is in the Beloved that our redemption is found. From eternity, God considers the elect to be in Christ. Before our mystical union is effected with us in time, it is already a present reality in the mind of God.

Just as Christ invaded time from eternity two thousand years ago, so our eternal union intrudes in time through the work of the Spirit. What has always existed in the mind of God in eternity becomes a time-bound reality in the heart of the regenerate. The result is that, in Christ, through the Spirit, we will behold the Father at our death and from there to eternity. We are sons and daughters of the Father, as it was in the beginning.

Our salvation is by Christ and in Christ. By His righteousness we are made just. By His atonement our sins are forgiven.

Coram Deo: Thank God for your salvation, His righteousness, and His atonement for your sins.

Ephesians 1:3-6: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.”

—Dr. R.C. Sproul

Via: Ligonier Ministries Blog

Climbing Out of the Mire

Our souls cannot climb out of the mire of sin because they are dead. Salvation comes not to those who cry out, “Show me the way to heaven,” but to those who cry, “Take me there for I cannot.”

Lest we see the sinner’s prayer as mere technique, we must remember that Christ raises the dead that they might walk. We do not mumble the magic words and then wait to die. Christianity is about spiritual growth as well. It is about work, the hard work of sanctification. Regeneration is monergistic, God’s work alone. Sanctification, the process by which we are made holy, is synergistic, God’s work with us.

God’s part is easy for Him. He needs no shortcuts because He never tires. We, though, must ever fight the temptation to seek the shortcut. No technique will make us holy. No technique of the Devil’s, though, can stop the process of Christ making us into His image. Those whom He calls He sanctifies.

Our sanctification requires the Spirit of God and, because He has so ordered His world, sanctification requires the disciplined and repeated use of the means of grace. Five minutes a day of Bible study smells like technique. Arid, it is sure to fail. We must immerse ourselves in the Word of God. Then, as Jesus promised, we will know the truth and the truth will set us free. Then we will be His disciples (John 8:31-32).

Coram Deo: Remember, God is at work in you. He never tires. Give thanks for the process that is underway.

John 8:31-32: “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.'”

John 8:36: “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

Psalm 40:2: “He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.”

—Dr. R.C. Sproul

Via: Ligonier Ministries Blog

Our Blessed Hope

Though we will not be like Him until the last day (1 John 3:2), we know that even now we enjoy a foretaste of that future in glory by the power of the Holy Spirit. Sin will be fully purged from our bodies at our resurrection. And we who rightly understand this truth also know that the Creator begins transforming us as we are sanctified in this present evil age; therefore, we are zealous for good works, knowing that by them we make the purity Christ has purchased for us more of a reality in our experience and taste more fully the sweetness of the life to come.

Jesus’ work in the past has liberated us from the bondage of sin in the present (Titus 2:14), so we need not submit to its power any longer. As we long for our Savior’s return, our desire to have a taste of glory today grows, and we pursue holiness in order to know better the blessing of the resurrection to come.

Tabletalk Magazine, October 2009

Justification and the Victory of Faith

Among all the realities of the invisible world, mediated to us by the disclosures and promises of God, and to which our faith responds, there is none that more strongly calls into action this faculty for grasping the unseen than the divine pronouncement through the Gospel, that, though sinners, we are righteous in the judgment of God. That is not only the invisible, it seems the impossible; it is the paradox of all paradoxes; it requires a unique energy of believing; it is the supreme victory of faith over the apparent reality of things; it credits God with calling the things that are not as though they were; it penetrates more deeply into the deity of God than any other act of faith.

—Geerhardus Vos
Grace and Glory: Sermons Preached in the Chapel of Princeton Theological Seminary

Via: Tony Reinke

Our Source of Strength

I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11b-13)

The Justice and Love of God

If God were not just, there would be no demand for his Son to suffer and die. And if God were not loving, there would be no willingness for his Son to suffer and die. But God is both just and loving. Therefore his love is willing to meet the demands of his justice.

—John Piper
The Passion of Jesus Christ

Via: Of First Importance

J.I. Packer on the Atonement

An evangelical theologian, dying, cabled a colleague: ‘I am so thankful for the active obedience (righteousness) of Christ. No hope without it.’ As I grow old, I want to tell everyone who will listen: ‘I am so thankful for the penal substitutionary death of Christ. No hope without it.’

—J.I. Packer

Update: The theologian that J.I. Packer referred to in that quote was J. Gresham Machen, founder of Westminster Theological Seminary and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. The colleague that Dr. Machen contacted via telegraph was Dr. John Murray, the noted Scottish theologian and faculty member at Westminster. More information about Dr. Machen and the founding of the OPC can be found here.

Via: Tony Reinke

Holy Living

Gratitude for what the Lord has done is the motivation for holiness, and the power for sanctification is the Holy Spirit who regenerates us, gives us faith in Jesus, and indwells us. Holy living is the fruit of salvation; it is not what moves God to redeem us (Galatians 2:15-16;5:22-23).

We begin to live rightly because of God’s grace towards us, and each time the Lord forgives us we grow more thankful for His mercy and thus more motivated to do His will. He is not required to pardon us once, much less repeatedly. Such abundant grace mercifully leads us to pursue holiness.

Tabletalk Magazine, October 2009

Whitewashed Tombs

Religious hypocrisy is pratically God-mocking atheism. To be a hypocrite you must praise God while pretending that God does not see or know the truth of your life. Moreover, hypocrisy is the great enabler of sin.

Therefore, the one way to escape the whitewashed death of hypocrisy is to admit the hypocrisy in our hearts and run without hypocrisy to the cross, where Jesus died to cleanse every sin, including this one. And then we can ask Jesus to shine His light in our hearts to show us the rotten bones and uncleanness, and then to exert His power in us by the Holy Spirit. For while in this life we will always be sinners needing God’s grace, we need no longer be hypocrites, those religious atheists who are hiding the truth of our sins, ruining our souls, and hardening other sinners against their only Savior.

—Richard D. Phillips
Tabletalk Magazine, October 2009

Hypocritical Hypocrisy

Although the superficial facade of Christian religiosity should make us sick, bringing us to tears and godly sorrow, it should also make us detest our hypocritical approach to hypocrisy, which Christ Himself detested. For He not only practiced what He preached, but He preached what He practiced — a life of genuine holiness before God and men. This is our calling as well, whether pastor or parishioner, relying on the grace of God and trusting Christ our holiness, knowing that the genuineness of our faith will be proven, resulting in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:7).

—Burk Parsons
Tabletalk Magazine, October 2009