Life Theology

A Colloquy on Rejoicing

What drew me to post this whole prayer was the single line: “For whatever a man trusts in, from that he expects happiness.” (By the way, a “colloquy” is a conversation or discussion.)

Remember, O My Soul,
It is thy duty and privilege to rejoice in God:
He requires it of thee for all his favours of grace.
Rejoice then in the Giver and his goodness,
Be happy in him, O my heart, and in nothing but God,
for whatever a man trusts in,
from that he expects happiness.

He who is the ground of thy faith
should be the substance of thy joy.
Whence then come heaviness and dejection,
when joy is sown in thee,
promised by the Father,
bestowed by the Son,
inwrought by the Holy Spirit,
thine by grace,
thy birthright in believing?

Art thou seeking to rejoice in thyself
from an evil motive of pride and self-reputation?
Thou hast nothing of thine own but sin,
nothing to move God to be gracious,
or to continue his grace towards thee.
If thou forget this thou wilt lose thy joy.
Art thou grieving under a sense of indwelling sin?
Let godly sorrow work repentance,
as the true spirit which the Lord blesses,
and which creates fullest joy;
Sorrow for self opens rejoicing in God,
Self-loathing draws down divine delights.
Hast thou sought joys in some creature comfort?
Look not below God for happiness;
fall not asleep in Delilah’s lap.
Let God be all in all to thee,
and joy in the fountain that is always full.

The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions


Some Reviews to Look Forward To…

I might be setting myself up for failure with this one, but I’d like to review a few books on the blog in the coming weeks.  In the past months I’ve finished reading Crazy Love, Finally Alive, Knowing God, and will soon finish The Masculine Mandate.  Here’s a quick note about the books:

  • Crazy Love by Francis Chan
    If you want to be challenged to be all-in in your relationship with Jesus, this book will do it. It’s nearly a newer version of Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life. Chan brings to light biblical Christianity and asks the reader to put away cultural Christianity as well as the Christian version of the American Dream.
  • Finally Alive by John Piper
    Being born again is the only way to see the Kingdom, Jesus said. In this book, John Piper takes a series of sermons from a few years ago and examines from Scripture why the new birth is important, what it is, what it accomplishes, how we can experience it, and what it means for every-day Christian life.
  • Knowing God by J.I. Packer
    This classic book is a systematic theology of God. Packer uses nearly every corner of Scripture to talk about who the God of the Bible is and how we can know him. He includes chapters on God’s most controversial attributes, Wrathful and Judge, as well as the most helpful treatment on Adoption that I have ever read.
  • The Masculine Mandate by Richard Phillips
    This is not your normal “man book” for Christians. Phillips contends that man’s identity and purpose can be found way back in the Garden, with God’s original command to Adam to be a builder and a keeper. Whether in relationships, work, play or spiritual discipline a man should always be building and keeping.

Pharisees (un)Anonymous

Session 2:

Too often, I’m more concerned about the external tidiness my relationships, public ministry, and quiet times instead of being vulnerable, admitting that there’s a bigger mess underneath than I’d like to admit.


What Does Justification Do? (Part 1)

Part 2 in an 8 part series. View series intro and index.

Justification provides the forgiveness of sins

The first thing that justification does is forgives sin. We cannot be declared righteous or given Christ’s righteousness until our sin has been pardoned. Paul says in Romans 3 that everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (v. 23), but that whoever receives Christ by faith is forgiven and “justified by his grace as a gift” (v. 24).

Further, Paul says in Romans 4:4-5, “Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.” In other words, God provides undeserving sinners a pardon for their sin. He does not justify their sinful behavior, thoughts, and motives. Rather, he justifies them so that they might be forgiven of all the wrong they have done.

Christ rose from the grave for our justification (Rom. 4:25). But if Christ remained dead, we would still be in our sins (1 Cor. 15:17). Therefore there is a connection between justification and life. Because Christ is alive, all those who are in him are spiritually alive as well. To have your sins forgiven means you are spiritually alive. All those who do not believe to Christ are unforgiven and are still “dead in…trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1).

To be continued.