Getting Grace and Faith Right
If you are a Christian, you are trusting in the One who is truly trustworthy. Jesus is the only One who really is. He really did pay for your sins. There are many people in this world who have faith in something, probably stronger faith than you do, yet they are trusting in the wrong thing.
Christians love to use the words ‘grace’ and ‘faith’. You would be hard pressed to listen to a Christian sermon or sing a Christian song without mention of one of these words. But what do they mean? Can you come up with a short and simple definition of each one? Sometimes we assume we know what words mean but cannot explain them well; these are words we need to be crisp and clear about.
Grace is getting something good that we don’t deserve. When it comes to God, this word is especially applied to what God has done for us in Jesus. If we trust in Jesus, we do not only have our sins forgiven (though that is terrific!), we also get incredible blessings we don’t deserve. We get adopted into God’s family, we get God’s favour not his anger, and we get a certain hope, only to name a few.
Faith is the companion word to grace. Having faith in something or someone is simply to trust them. It is a relational word. So, when we say that we have faith in Jesus, we are saying that we trust that Jesus is who He says He is, and He has done what He says He has done. Faith is our response to God’s grace. God gives us what we don’t deserve, and we receive it by faith.
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Deceived?By T.M. Moore — 11 months ago
Written by T.M. Moore |
Thursday, April 28, 2022
All who ignore or resist the Word of God are deceived and living in the darkness of unbelief – even many who profess faith in Jesus Christ, as Spurgeon insisted. But when Jesus Christ opens the mind of people, nothing can keep them from seeing the light of truth, so that their hearts burn within them, and they want to know more of this life-changing Good News, and share it eagerly with others. All who have the mind of Christ, and who are pressing on toward maturity in that mind, are called to proclaim to our unbelieving age – and our complacent fellow believers – the full meaning of Christ’s resurrection and the truth of His Kingdom.
And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Luke 24.45
More than Enthusiasm
In the 19th century, well-known preacher Charles Spurgeon attracted great crowds to the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London. People were enthusiastic about his powerful and eloquent preaching, and his renown as a herald of God’s truth spread far and wide.
Spurgeon was one of several preachers in his day who drew many to their services of worship. But Spurgeon was skeptical. He put no stock in numbers. He understood just how easy it can be for people to be deceived into thinking they know the truth, when in fact, their minds have never been opened to the Word of God. A person in whom the mind of Christ is operating in a mature manner doesn’t just get excited about hearing the Word; the mature believer is moved to act in obedience on what he hears (cf. Phil. 3.7-15).
As Spurgeon explained to his students, “Thousands are congratulating themselves, and even blessing God that they are devout worshippers, when at the same time they are living in an unregenerate Christless state, having the form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.”
Spurgeon knew that mere enthusiasm for the things of Christ – worship, church, eternal life, the Bible, and all the rest – does not necessarily indicate a mind that is growing to maturity. Only Jesus Christ can open a person’s mind to the truth, and only when He does will that person hear the Scriptures and the saving message of the Kingdom of God, so that the mind of Christ is quickened in him, and growth toward maturity begins.
A strong soul requires a well-kept heart and a mature mind which is continuously open and obedient to the things of Christ.
A New World
When Jesus opened the minds of His disciples to understand the teaching of Scripture, theirs became a new and vastly more interesting world. They became new people, with new priorities and power, and a new commitment to pursue eternal horizons stretching out in every direction in their lives.
For three years, the disciples followed Jesus, watching His works and listening to His words; but, in the end, they all abandoned Him. Even after the resurrection they didn’t understand the significance of what had happened, and they seemed ready to return to the lives they’d known before following Jesus. We find many of them, in John 21, heading back to their old lives as fishermen, filled with wonder and confusion over the resurrection of Jesus, but clueless as to the real implications of that world-changing event for their lives.
Their minds were full of information, experiences, and fond memories of Jesus; but their minds had not yet been opened to the reality of the Kingdom of God.
Hindrances to Obedience
What hinders people from hearing the Word of God so that they are moved not just to enthusiasm but to obedience?Read More
Too Busy to Read? Read More, Not LessBy Robert Zink — 1 year ago
There is value in reading for sustained periods of time, and we should all be reading more like this, but in the midst of busyness, take 15 minutes instead. I find reading essential to the quality of life. While being busy may detract from that quality, reading adds to it. Therefore, don’t read to be busy but rather read because you are busy.
Ask someone why they don’t read, and the likely answer you will receive is a variation of, “I am too busy” or “I don’t have the time.” I don’t appreciate that answer. I certainly understand it, but I still do not like it because the answer implies that reading merely adds to the busyness of already hectic lives. My perspective is different; I would say reading done well does not increase busyness but instead decreases it.
Now, because you’re a reader, you appreciate authors who utilize logic and order to convey arguments. Therefore, you know that the last paragraph is irrational. I’ll admit that, but I’ll stand behind a critical principle: reading neutralizes (or at least stabilizes) busy lives. Therefore, the answer to busyness is not to read less but to read more.
Reading Encourages Relaxation
There is a reason that so many people utilize reading as a tool for relaxation. A busy lifestyle is not often characterized by excessive activity only. Instead, it is also associated with additional aspects such as stress, tension, and anxiety. Reading offers a reprieve, an opportunity to disengage.
Long-term stress and anxiety are unhealthy, often leaving residual effects for the long-term if they continue at sustained levels. By instilling habits of reading into our lives, we create natural breaks to the busyness and thus the unhealthy effects of it. Hence the need to read more, not less.
You’re Fearfully And Wonderfully WhiteBy Samuel Sey — 5 months ago
Therefore, just as I’m fearfully and wonderfully black, if you’re white—you’re fearfully and wonderfully white. Your identity is shaped by your creator, not critical race theorists. A positive white identity is only an impossible goal if you believe (white) people are not made in the image of God. But since white people—like all people—are made in the image of God, all white people should have a positive identity.
Just as white supremacy made some black people ashamed of their skin colour, critical race theory has made some white people ashamed of their skin colour.
In her best-selling book, White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo said “a positive white identity is an impossible goal. White identity is inherently racist; white people do not exist outside the system of white supremacy.”
The ramifications of that kind of racist rhetoric from authors, social media influencers, teachers, and imposter pastors cannot be understated. Critical race theory has altered many white people’s perceptions of themselves, especially young white people.
You’ve probably come across stories of children telling their parents they wish they weren’t white. You might not know, however, that critical race theory’s impact on young white people is significantly worse than that.
Young white people, especially young white women have been made to believe that though they can’t change their skin colour—they can change other parts of their body in order to achieve a positive identity.
White supremacy made some black people harm their bodies through skin bleaching. But worse, critical race theory is making some white people harm their bodies through transgenderism.
Many detransitioning white teenagers have admitted that one of the reasons why they once identified as transgender is because they didn’t think they could have a positive identity as white people.
For instance, a detransitioning woman named Helena Kerschner recently said, “I was just going through this period of like I don’t like how I’m treated as a cis person. I don’t want to be cis because cis means you’re uncool, and you’re privileged, and you’re an oppressor, and you’re bad. I don’t want to be bad. In that way I really incentivized to try to figure out a way to make my voice heard in these communities…Obviously I can’t change my race…so the only thing left was to start playing around with the gender stuff.”
Therefore, just as the civil rights movement used the phrase “black is beautiful” to affirm black beauty in the era of white supremacy, I’ll paraphrase the eternal words of our creator in this era of critical race theory and say: if you’re a white person, you’re fearfully and wonderfully white.
You’re wonderfully white because you’re wonderfully made by God. Your skin colour is just as beautifully painted by God as my black skin.
When King David said in Psalm 139 that he is fearfully and wonderfully made, he was speaking of every single part of his body, including his (probably) light brown skin—and he was also speaking of everyone with different shades of skin.