Rule #1: Trust the Means of Grace (8 Rules for Growing in Godliness)

The great goal of the Christian life is to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. The Christian longs to be influenced by Christ to such an extent that every thought is one Jesus would think, that every action is one he would take. Such conformity depends upon a renewed mind, for it is only once our minds are renewed that our desires and actions can follow (Romans 12:2). The Christian life, then, is one of taking off the “old self with its practices” and putting on “the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Colossians 3:9-10).

So noble a goal can only be achieved with great effort and lifelong commitment, for we are sinful people, only recently liberated from our captivity to the world, the flesh, and the devil. The Christian life is not a leisurely stroll but a purposeful journey. Jesus tells us we must “strive to enter through the narrow door,” knowing that the Christian life permits no complacency, that salvation must be “worked out,” not waited out (Luke 13:24; Philippians 2:12). The Christian is not a passive spectator in sanctification but an active participant.

We are looking at “8 Rules for Growing in Godliness,” a series of instructions for becoming increasingly conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. (Here’s the Introduction to the series.) The first rule for growing in godliness is this: Trust the means of grace. Every Christian is responsible to diligently search out and discover the disciplines through which God grants increased godliness. Then he is to make a lifelong, whole-hearted commitment to each of them.


Our effect on the world


The present age

This was some time ago, too.present age

The highest form of unselfishness

Image 3-25-17 at 7.46 AM

4 Ways To Have Assurance In Your Salvation

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The Doctrine of Justification and Social Justice

Below is a very good article written by Charles Holmes Jr. on the connection between the doctrine of justification and social justice.  It was published via the Jude 3 Project:
The Justice of God
The doctrine of justification is a doctrine about our glorious salvation. It is an essential part of the message of the Bible. This doctrine, although is directly about Christ atoning for our sins, is foundationally built on the justice of God. God is an infinitely holy God, and there is nothing and no one on earth or in Heaven like Him (1 Samuel 2:2). God is a completely righteous God and can’t even look upon sin or have sin in His presence. When sin entered the world, we offended the rule and reign of God, and we followed our own way and trusted in our own ability for life and happiness. (Romans 1:22-23). For this reason, our disobedience to God must be punished eternally because our sin was against an infinite and holy God. God is a God of justice, so justice must be sought out by God for His glory (Psalm 89:14) in order for sin not to go without punishment. By the grace of God, God is not only a just God, but simultaneously a merciful and gracious God. All throughout the Bible God displays His mercy and justice as He intervenes in the world. The best display of this was on the cross where Jesus, the Son of God, went to bear the sin of world bringing justice to God, but also bringing mercy to a wicked people (1 Peter 2:24). As believers, because we have received the mercy of God and have seen the justice of God poured out on the person of Jesus, our understanding of justice should be shaped by this beautiful Gospel message.

Reading the Bible for Devotion

Recently I have read the Bible more than I usually do. Now this may come as a surprise to some, since I actually read the Bible more often. What could I mean by this seeming contradiction? When I read, I normally read the Bible as a text to study. Now this is not bad. In fact, it is part of loving God with your mind, which is something we should all strive to do (cf. Matt. 22:37). However, I had not been reading it as a devotional—I had not been reading it as something that can and should penetrate my heart and lead to life change.

It is certainly true that academic study should and often does lead to devotion. Sometimes, as in the case of Anselm and his development of the ontological argument, devotion just is the object of academic study or reflection on God. However—and this is especially true for seminary students—it is far easier to focus on word meanings, theme, immediate context, ancient setting, and theological and philosophical systems.

Reading devotionally has been really refreshing. And I don’t mean to suggest that I turn my brain off while I read. I still try to take note of the overall message and briefly scan the margins to see what alternate translation is. But I try to avoid the full academic side for a moment, gain the basic understanding of the context, and see what applications I can make.