This I Believe: Last Things

Last Things
I believe in the personal, glorious, visible, and bodily return of Jesus Christ with his holy angels when he will exercise his role as Judge, and his kingdom will be established. I believe in the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust—the unjust to judgment and eternal, conscious punishment in hell and the just to life and eternal blessedness in the presence of him who sits on the throne and of the Lamb, in the new heaven and the new earth.

Matt. 16:27; Mark 14:62; John 5:25-29; 14:3; Acts 1:11; 1 Cor. 15:12-58; Eph. 1:12; Phil. 3:20; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; 4:15; 2 Tim. 4:1; Titus 2:13; Heb. 9:28; Rev. 20:1-22:5


This I Believe: The Gospel

The Gospel
I believe that the gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ, utter folly to the world but the power of God to those who are being saved. God first spoke the gospel to Adam and Eve in the Garden after they had sinned. The gospel is of “first importance,” for it states that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead according to the Scriptures. The gospel is to be spread throughout world and it commands everyone to repent and believe in Jesus. The gospel is God’s appointed way for humans to be reconciled to himself so that they may glorify and enjoy him forever.

Gen 3:15; Ps. 16:5-11; Matt. 28:19-20; 13:44; Mark 1:15; Luke 2:10; Rom. 1:16-17; 1 Cor. 1:18; 15:1-5; 2 Cor. 5:20; Eph. 1:3-17; Phil. 4:4; Col. 1:22; 1 Pet. 3:18; 2 Thess. 1:9; Rev. 14:6


Let Light Shine!

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6)

1. God has given light.
2. Light to see what?
3. Knowledge.
4. What kind of knowledge?
5. Knowledge that reveals God’s glory.
6. Where is that glory seen most fully?
7. In the face of Jesus Christ.


The Self-Substitution of God

From the Desiring God blog:

We strongly reject, therefore, every explanation of the death of Christ which does not have at its centre the principle of ‘satisfaction through substitution’, indeed divine self-satisfaction through divine self-substitution.

The cross was not:

a commercial bargain with the devil, let alone one which tricked and trapped him;

nor an exact equivalent, a quid pro quo to satisfy a code of honour or technical point of law;

nor a compulsory submission by God to some moral authority above him from which he could not otherwise escape;

nor a punishment of a meek Christ by a harsh and punitive Father;

nor a procurement of salvation by a loving Christ from a mean and reluctant Father;

nor an action of the Father which bypassed Christ as Mediator.

Instead, the righteous, loving Father humbled himself to become in and through his only Son flesh, sin and a curse for us, in order to redeem us without compromising his own character.

The theological words ‘satisfaction’ and ‘substitution’ need to be carefully defined and safeguarded, but they cannot in any circumstance be given up. The biblical gospel of atonement is of God satisfying himself by substituting himself for us.

John Stott, The Cross of Christ (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1986), 159-160.


The Church as the Ultimate Barrier Breaker

I often find myself forgetting that I am one individual member of an absolutely enormous body called the Church. Still more, I forget this Church is a Body that is incredibly diverse.  Spending 2009 in South Africa helped me in this, but I’m still learning to think outside of my own little kingdom.  This Body isn’t diverse just because it has hands and feet and ears.  It’s diverse because the hands are African and the ears are Latino and the feet are Asian, along with a thousand other races, people groups, and languages.

Wayne Grudem reminded me of this today in his Systematic Theology:

When Paul preaches the gospel both to Jews and to Gentiles, and they become unified in the one body of Christ (Eph. 3:6), the incredible “mystery” that was “hidden for ages in God who created all things” (Eph. 3:9) is plain for all to see, namely, that in Christ such totally diverse people become unified…If the Christian church is faithful to God’s wise plan, it will be always in the forefront in breaking down racial and social barriers in societies around the world, and will thus be a visible manifestation of God’s amazingly wise plan to bring great unity out of great diversity and thereby to cause all creation to honor him (emphasis added).

God is more glorified in redeeming a diverse people and bringing them to unity.  Yet God spares us from uniformity, unlike other religions.  That’s the great thing about the Church: oneness in the midst of difference.  And what is our unity centered upon?  None other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church.

I want to be more diligent in praying that the Church would be at the forefront of race reconciliation and social justice.  The world really is watching.

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