Fruits of Justification: Hope of Glory

A Broadcast with R.C. Sproul

Jesus’ redeeming work cannot fail. From his expositional series in the book of Romans, R.C. Sproul considers the gospel hope that carries us through all the struggles of life.

All My Hope – music video

3 Ways Hope Brings A Miracle

After the Wise Men Leave – podcast

Why Jesus Wants You To Lose Hope

In Mark 10, a young rich man eagerly comes to Jesus. He is a winner who does not want to give up trying to win.

The good thing about him is that he has a desire for something more, something beyond worldly winning. He asks, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

It is good to ask about eternal life, but his question reveals a deep flaw. You see, as Robert Capon notes, while he wants something more, he can’t imagine pursuing it in any other way than doing through more winning and striving. His question shows he believes there are techniques for inheriting eternal life.

Breaking the Law

Jesus knows the man’s mindset. He responds, “You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” Jesus is showing him that the law can save no one because the law can be kept by no one. He’s bringing up the law so the young man will take an honest look at how unsuccessful he’s been at practicing the righteousness he thinks is the answer to his problems.

But instead of recognizing his shortcomings as measured by these basic commands, this guy cuts Jesus off with, “I’ve done all those things perfectly since I was a kid.” In effect what he’s saying is, “Why don’t you give me a harder, more grown-up spiritual assignment?”

And how does Jesus respond? This is good for us to see. After being cut-off and ignored, Jesus looks at him and loves him. That’s what he does to us.

Jesus loves us when we don’t get it, when we rebel, when we rely on our own selves and not him. He is the picture of perfect, patient love.

So, with patient love and cosmic understatement, Jesus presses the law even further. “You only have to do one simple little thing.” The man’s eyes widen with anticipation. “Sell all that you have and give to the poor . . . and follow me.”

Jesus has really just applied the first of the Ten Commandments to this rich guy: Worship no other gods but God. Serve nothing but God. Jesus is revealing to him how much he fails to fulfill the commandments because he worships his wealth so much and asking him to give it up.

Jesus does the same thing to us, too. It might not be riches, but it could be anything you love more than God. Your idol is whatever you rely on to justify your existence. This text is not really about wealth, but idolatry. We are all guilty of loving something more than God, so Jesus turns the law on us, too.

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Good News: Blue Christmas

Advent is one of my favourite seasons of the year. It allows us to prepare ourselves for the birth of Jesus at Christmas. Last year we started at Queen Street Baptist Church to observe something called Blue Christmas.

Blue Christmas is about acknowledging that Christmas is not joyful for everyone. For many, Christmas is a reminder that some of our loved ones are no longer with us. They may have died close to Christmas or at least their absence is felt more deeply at this time.

With Blue Christmas, we take an opportunity to light a candle as we remember those we miss. This is not about lighting a candle for the dead, it is about lighting a candle for the living. It is an invitation for God to shine his light in our darkness.

It is a powerful experience for me to watch my congregation participate in this. It is also meaningful for me personally, as I think about my parents. Christmas is a time that I really feel the absence of my mom and dad. The years have not taken that away.

Blue Christmas is an emotional experience but it is also a good one. It helps me to refocus my emotions and to be able to dwell on the good memories.

This is my Good News.

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Hold Unswervingly To The Hope

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

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