We are currently in John’s Gospel at Harvest Jacksonville on Sunday mornings. One of the difficult things to comprehend (nay, humanly impossible) is the reality that Jesus Christ, as presented in the Gospels, is 100% God and 100% man. Phil Ryken explains:
Archive for the ‘Doctrine’ Category
“I chose to follow Christ because it made sense to me.”
Several years ago I was engaged in conversation with a close friend about the mystery of salvation, specifically why some people choose to follow Christ and some walk away from Christ, saying no. The quote above is from my friend that day. He said that it just made good sense to him and so he accepted Christ as His Lord and Savior.
Is this why people come to faith in Christ? Is this what the Bible teaches about why people come to saving faith in Christ?
I believe the answer is yes and no.
From A Tale of Two Sons by John Macarthur, page 78:
When we sin, we show disdain for God’s fatherly love as well as His holy authority. We spurn not merely His law, but also His very person. To sin is to deny God His place. It is an expression of hatred against God. It is tantamount to wishing He were dead. It is dishonoring to Him. And since all sin has at its heart this element of contempt for God, even the smallest sin has enough evil to unleash an eternity full of mischief, misfortune, and misery. The fact that the entire world of human evil all stemmed from Adam’s simple act of disobedience is vivid proof of that (Romans 5:12, 19; 1 Corinthians 15.21-22).”
Tullian Tchividjian, the grandson of Billy Graham, became the 2nd senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale yesterday. The new position consists of a merger between his current church, New City Church of Fort Lauderdale, with Coral Ridge. He succeeds the founding pastor, Dr. D. James Kennedy, who went to be with the Lord in 2007. Dr. Kennedy was well known for his television and radio ministries as well as being the author of Evangelism Explosion!, an evangelistic program that has been used to lead many people to a saving knowledge of Christ.
This merger will be interesting to follow since Coral Ridge is a large, established, aging traditional church, and New City Church, founded by Tullian, is a young, contemporary church. Say a prayer for Tullian and the two congregations as they seek to glorify God through what is sure to be a challenging, but hopefully very fruitful, transition.
Tullian embraces the doctrine of election, the truth I expounded yesterday at Harvest from the sixth chapter of John. In an interview with Justin Taylor some time ago he explained how he came to embrace this difficult doctrine:
I really wrestled with the doctrine of election. But after a long hard struggle with the Bible I came to the realization that I could choose not to believe this doctrine but I could not in good conscience say that the Bible doesn’t teach it. It was clear to me that from cover to cover Scripture highlights God’s sovereignty in salvation.
Tullian came to embrace the doctrine of election through a struggle in the Scriptures.
I recognize that many who heard the message at Harvest yesterday might have been surprised by the doctrine of election. For some, this doctrine can seem like it goes against everything they have ever thought or been taught. For others, it leads to a flood of questions. It is important that no matter what people are saying about the doctrine, no matter what feelings may emerge as one wrestles through an understanding of this doctrine, one must keep going back to the Word of God. Our thoughts do not naturally line up with God’s (Isaiah 55.8-9). We must conform our thoughts to His.
In my message this morning, I spoke about how a lot of people just cannot embrace the idea that God would actually send people to Hell. This afternoon I came across these two quotes from Charles Spurgeon (via Phil Johnson):
nrenewed persons find fault with God’s justice. Eternal punishment they cavil at; hell is such a bugbear to them, that, just as every culprit will, of course, find fault with the prison and the gallows, so they rail at the wrath to come, though that wrath is just as sure, notwithstanding all their objections to it.
But when the heart is really touched by divine grace, then it has no more to say for itself, but pleads guilty at the bar of God’s great assize; and if the Judge should put on the black cap, and condemn it to be taken instantly to the place of execution, that soul could only say, “Thou art righteous, O Lord, for I have sinned.”
I despair of ever finding a word of comfort for any man or woman among you, if you have not been brought to feel that you deserve the wrath of God. Come with the ropes about your necks, ready for execution, and you will find a God ready to forgive.
. . . . .
very sinner who has really come to Christ has been made to feel that however angry God may he with sin, He is not one whit too angry.
Until we know the power of divine grace, we read in the Bible concerning eternal punishment, and we think it is too heavy and too hard, and we are apt to kick against it, and find out some heretic or other who teaches us another doctrine; but when the soul is really quickened by divine grace, and made to feel the weight of sin, it thinks the bottomless pit none too deep, and the punishment of hell none too severe for sin such as it has committed.
This is not the emotion of a mind rendered morbid by sickness, but these are the genuine workings of God the Holy Ghost in the soul, bringing the man to stand guilty before the Lord, with his mouth closed, not able to say a word against the sentence of divine justice.