WHY DID JESUS NEED TO DIE AND WHY DO WE CELEBRATE IT? 

(See bottom of post of additional resources)
As you may know, tomorrow is Good Friday, the day set aside by many to reflect on the death of Christ. I remember growing up and wanting to know WHY Jesus died. I’d ask and the answer given was always “because He loves you”. That didn’t make any sense to me. Lots of people love other people and I didn’t understand what dying had to do with love. Studying the Bible as a believer, I now understand some of the richness of that why. And yes, love is a big part of that why, but there’s so much more to it. So WHY DID JESUS NEED TO DIE AND WHY DO WE CELEBRATE IT? 


Here’s your Good Friday Crash Course: 
God is perfectly holy and cannot tolerate sin (Ps5:4). And man is completely sinful (Rom3:10). This creates a problem.

 God set forth the punishment for sin as death (Rom6:23). Every sin must be paid for because God is just and justice demands retribution. God is also loving and He graciously provided a payment for our sins(Jn3:16). 

The sins of man needed to be paid for by a man. But every man sins and therefore would never be able to pay for the sins of anyone else (Ps49:7-9). Only God is sinless and doesn’t need to pay for any sins of His own. 

This is why Jesus needed to be fully God (sinless) and fully man (able to pay the debt man owes). Jesus took the punishment we deserved and died for all who would believe (1Pet2:24). On the third day He rose in triumph. In His death, He fully paid our sin and gave us His righteousness(Phil3:9). 

Now we can be reconciled to a holy God. This is how God can be just and the justifier of many (Rm3:26) Christians celebrate the sacrificial death of Christ because He paid our immeasurable debt; because He made peace between us and God; because He freed us from the bondage of sin and gave us a new life. And that’s the short story of what makes Good Friday truly good. 

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2Cor5:21

As with anything, I hope you’ll take the time to look up each verse given, in their proper context and let this post be a starting  point  for your personal prayer and study time. 

Here is a sermon I found to be super helpful on the topic: https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/47-39

And here is a blog post with additional info: https://www.gotquestions.org/amp/why-Jesus-die.html

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HOW CAN I GLORIFY GOD?

 Last week we established that everything exists for God’s glory and that believers are to live for God’s glory. This week, I wanted to get specific. What does it look like? HOW CAN I GLORIFY GOD? 


As always, Scripture has the answer. But first, let’s go over the definition of “glorify”; to praise, magnify, celebrate, or to cause the dignity and worth of someone to be acknowledged and praised”. Now let’s see what the Bible tells us about how God is glorified.
In His Word, we read that God is glorified when believers bear fruit and do good works, proving that we are Christ’s disciples (Jn15:8, Col1:10). God is glorified when believers thank Him and praise Him for who He is and what He has done (Ps50:23, 1Chron16:28-29, 2Cor4:15). And God is glorified when His gospel is proclaimed (2Thes3:1). 

“Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” 1Cor10:31. It is possible to glorify God in our daily lives. The ability to glorify God is not exclusively given to some elite class of radical Christians. Every believer is able to glorify God right now, no matter their job or life situation. Teachers, students, moms, and CEO’s; the young and the old. If you are in Christ, you have the ability to glorify God wherever you may find yourself this day. 

We glorify God in our lives by living for Him and submitting to His Word in our actions. 

We glorify God in our speech by letting our words be kind and gracious, as we speak the Truth in love. 

We glorify God in our minds by thinking on what is true, lovely, right, pure, good and praiseworthy. 

We glorify God in our hearts by confessing our sins and keeping ourselves free from idolatry, by loving Him above all else and guarding ourselves against impurity. 

We glorify God in our relationships by sharing the gospel and loving sacrificially.

Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.1 Peter 4:11

#solideogloria!

WHAT IS SOLI DEO GLORIA?

Good morning, ladies! Today is the final segment of our 5 SOLAS series, WHAT IS SOLI DEO GLORIA? 

Soli Deo Gloria, “Glory to God Alone”, is the issue that was at the very heart of the Reformation. It is the teaching that all glory is to be given to God alone. 

In a man-centered, self-obsessed culture, full of man-centered, man-glorifying theology, a biblical understanding of this concept is sorely needed for the body of Christ.
▶️ Every point of a believer’s walk, from justification to sanctification to glorification, is accomplished by God’s will. Therefore, He alone is worthy to receive glory.

2 Peter 3:13 says that God has called us by His own glory and excellence. 
▶️ I like the way Michael Horton explains this concept, “Because we are saved by grace alone on account of Christ alone through faith alone, there is no place where we can make a claim and say, “Ah! See, there it is! I did do something. I did cooperate with God for my own salvation.”
▶️ In Isaiah 43:7,God reveals that He has created His people for His glory. later in this same chapter, v25, we see that He wipes out our transgressions for His own sake. So believers were created for and forgiven for the Lord’s own purposes. Shouldn’t He receive all the glory?
▶️ The entire purpose of the life of a believer is to bring glory to God. The Westminster Catechism asks, “What is the chief end of man?” and then answers, ‘Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

We as believers are instructed to do everything for God’s glory, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). 
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. AMEN! Romans 11:36
Next week, Lord willing, we will talk about what glorifying God looks like practically, in our daily lives. I hope to see you back again!

WHAT IS SOLUS CHRISTUS? 

I hope you’re enjoying our 5 SOLAS study as much as I am. 

WHAT IS SOLUS CHRISTUS? 


Solus Christus (or Solo Christo), “through Christ alone”, is the biblical teaching that Christ is the only mediator between God and man (1Tim2:5) and that there is salvation in no one else (Acts4:12). Salvation comes by grace alone through faith alone and is only possible by the finished work of Christ alone. Salvation is not achieved by living a good life or by being a member of a particular church. 

Salvation can only be given by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ. He is the only way to salvation and the only way one may have access to the Father. He clearly made this claim about himself, as recorded in John 14:6, when he said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Because of Christ’s perfect life and sacrificial death, man can be reconciled to God. 
‘God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them… He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him’. (2 Cor 5:19,21) 

We don’t need others to plead our case before the Father, whether they be spiritual leaders or godly saints who have gone before us. All believers have free access to God through Christ. Christ is our mediator, the only mediator necessary, as 1Tim2:5, there is “one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” And He is our Great High Priest. Those who put their trust in Him can draw near to God’s throne to receive mercy, grace, and help in times of need (Heb4:14-16).

 “We must come in the name of Jesus,—standing on no other ground,—pleading no other plea than this, Christ died on the cross for the ungodly, and I trust in Him. Christ died for me, and I believe on Him.”” – JC Ryle
#solideogloria

WHAT IS SOLA GRATIA?

 Today is Part 4 of our SOLAS series, WHAT IS SOLA GRATIA?

Sola Gratia, Grace Alone, was a key issue of the Reformation, and is a distinguishing characteristic separating the true gospel from the false.

Our salvation is all of grace, a gift from God in every sense, from start to finish. We are absolutely and completely saved by grace and grace alone. We contribute nothing to our salvation but the sin which makes it necessary. Even our faith is a gracious gift from God. He has dealt each one a measure of faith, according to Rom12:3. As Paul says in 1Cor13:2, “What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” Everything we have is a gift from God. 

Left to our own devices, no one seeks after God (Rom3:10-11). There is but one seeker, God. In fact, Jesus came to seek and to save the lost (Lk19:10). He is the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb12:2).

Salvation isn’t a result of our own desires or a decision we’ve made or a prayer we’ve prayed or the works we’ve done.

God saves us because of His mercy and goodness, not because of our awesomeness. It isn’t that we are irresistible, or special, or that He couldn’t bear eternity without us, not because we are worthy or because He saw something in us worth saving, but because of who He is. He is a Savior. 

Without Sola Gratia, we are standing on shaky ground. How could we ever be confident that we have done enough or gotten it right or that we’ve had enough faith for salvation? Sola Gratia puts our focus on Christ and the grace that we have been given freely because of His perfect life and sacrificial death on behalf of believers. That is what we trust in and where our salvation safely lies. 

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”‭‭ Eph2:8-9‬ ‭

WHAT IS SOLA FIDE?

Today is Part 3 of our 5 SOLAS series. 

WHAT IS SOLA FIDE?


 Sola Fide, Faith Alone, answers the question of ‘on what basis can sinful man be declared justified by a Holy God?’

 Sola Fide declares that a believer’s justification is through faith ALONE. As Galatians 2:16 says, man is “justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law”. In Philippians 3:9, Paul speaks of being found in Christ, “not having a righteousness of [his] own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith”.

 Salvation has always through faith, even way back in Genesis when Abraham believed God and his belief was counted as righteousness (see Genesis 15:1-6 & Romans 4). “…Man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified”(Galatians 2:6)

Luther described Sola Fide as “the article with and by which the church stands and falls”. Indeed, Sola Fide is the doctrine which separates Christianity from the cults. Most every aberrant religion fails the test of sola fide, veering off the path of salvation through faith alone and adding works to the equation. Galatians 5:4 clearly speaks against this, stating that those who seek to justify themselves by obedience to the law are actually severed from Christ and have fallen away from grace. Salvation can only be given through faith.

WHAT IS SOLA SCRIPTURA? 

 Today we are covering Part 2 of our FIVE SOLAS series. 

WHAT IS SOLA SCRIPTURA? 

Sola Scriptura, Scripture Alone, the idea that scripture is the only authority for salvation and life of a believer, was the basis of the Reformation. During the middle ages, extra biblical practices and teachings, based on empty philosophy and the traditions of men, had taken over the church. The purity and simplicity of the gospel was hidden from the people. Reformers cried out for a return to Sola Scriptura. 

On past Thursdays, we have covered both the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. Sola Scriptura is based on these principles. 

Scripture is the Word of God, and therefore the ultimate authority. Scripture is completely sufficient, containing everything a believer needs to live the Christian life. 

2 Tim 3:16,17 tells us “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work”.

 Nothing should be added to or subtracted from God’s Word. “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.” (Prov30:5,6). 

As Paul warns, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Col2:8). 

Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for their elevation of tradition and demotion of God’s Word, saying, “why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?..You have nullified the word of God, for the sake of your tradition” (Matt15:3,6). 

Jude opens his letter mentioning “the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (v3), and in doing so, makes clear that the faith has already been delivered to us. 

No other writings or revelations are to been seen as necessary, equal to, or competing with God’s Word. The Reformers were against the unbiblical, extra biblical, and anti biblical doctrines of their day, as we ought to be today.

WHAT IS THE DOCTRINE OF PROGRESSIVE SANCTIFICATION, Part 2

 WHAT IS THE DOCTRINE OF PROGRESSIVE SANCTIFICATION? Part 2.


 

▶️ Myth number three is that believers are already perfect and flawless (come on, admit it, you’ve probably even sung a pop Christian song about this one without giving it much thought). 

This error confuses our position of justification with sanctification. Though, because of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, our Heavenly Father accepts us completely and we are positionally perfect, we are not practically perfect. We still struggle with sin. We still need sanctification. We are not flawless, yet. 

Paul himself was open about the fact that he had not yet achieved total sanctification when he said “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” Philippians 3:12. Paul knew what many of today’s Christian’s need to learn – this side of eternity is a battle against the flesh and requires our every effort, in the strength that the Lord supplies us.

In the process of progressive sanctification, believers are growing to be more and more like Jesus. Before we were believers, our minds and behaviors were conformed to the patterns of this world, and now as believers, we are being conformed into the image of Christ. 

We do this by abiding in Christ, being in His Word and in communion with God through prayer, submitting to biblical teaching, leaning on Him for strength, saying no to our sinful desires, being faithful in the good works that God has prepared for us, and being in fellowship with and accountable to other believers. Knowing all the while that we are only able to obey and to grow because of the Holy Spirit living within us. So now that we are saved, we work to please God in everything we do, with the enabling and empowering that He alone provides. 

Philippians 2:12,13 sums up this idea beautifully, saying, “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

WHAT IS THE DOCTRINE OF PROGRESSIVE SANCTIFICATION?

Good morning, ladies.  Today we are going to be talking about one of my favorite topics – progressive sanctification. It’s a topic that, unfortunately, is the subject of lots of confusion and wrong teachings recently. But it’s so critical for our Christian walk. Hopefully I can bring some clarity and understanding. So WHAT IS THE DOCTRINE OF PROGRESSIVE SANCTIFICATION?  

The doctrine of progressive sanctification is, in a nutshell, the life of a Christian. As believers, we are to be growing, maturing, and progressing in our Christian walk. Our sanctification is the will of God, as stated in 1 Thessalonians 4:3. 

The Word “sanctify” is defined as “to set apart as or to declare as holy; to consecrate, to free from sin”.

 Justification (when we were made right with God at salvation) is instantaneous and entirely a work of God. We contribute nothing to our salvation but the sin that makes it necessary, as Jonathan Edwards said. 

Sanctification, on the other hand, is a process and it requires human effort, stemming from God’s enabling. And it only comes AFTER, being made possible by, conversion. 

There are a few sad and troubling myths I see in the church surrounding the idea of sanctification. 

▶️One is that Christians can’t or don’t need to change because grace covers everything. Paul crushed this idea when he said, “ Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1b,2).

 ▶️Another error involves the mistaken idea that sanctification just happens, that we are passive while the Lord does His work on us – let go and let God. But again, Scripture tears down this falsehood by repeatedly exhorting us to strive, to make every effort, to put to death the deeds of the flesh, to press on, to run with endurance. We’ll talk about the third popular sanctification myth later on today!

WHAT IS DOCTRINE

Happy Thursday, ladies! Today we are going to talk about a word that has been given a bit of an undeserved bad rap lately – Doctrine. Maybe you’ve heard the saying “doctrine divides”, or “we have no doctrine but Jesus”. Once you have a better understanding of what doctrine is, I’m sure you’ll see how silly statements like that truly are. But WHAT IS DOCTRINE? 


Doctrine is instruction on a set of beliefs from an authoritative source. Believers should get their doctrine from the Bible. Romans 15:4 tells us that “whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope”. 

The Bible says of itself that it is profitable for doctrine in 2 Timothy 3:16. Believers are called to study and know the Word well, to grow in wisdom and knowledge. And in 1 Timothy 4:16, we are warned to watch our lives and doctrine closely and to persevere in them. Doctrine is part of every believers’ life. 

But can we have no doctrine but Jesus? Well, not really. Doctrine tells you who Jesus is and why He is important. Without a biblical doctrine of Jesus, that “Jesus” could be anybody. 

And does doctrine divide? Actually, yes, it can. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Truth should separate from error. Division is a natural consequence of wrong teaching – false doctrine. 

In fact, believers are warned against those who would teach false doctrine, which shows that believers need to be able to recognize (discern) truth from falsehood. For those encouraged to further develop your own doctrine: Remember to build upon nothing but the whole counsel of God (the entirety of His Word). 

When we attempt to build a doctrine on a single passage, error is almost certain. And remember to let the scriptures speak for themselves and let Scripture interpret Scripture. God has spoken and His Word has an intended meaning. In developing our doctrine, we want to get to that intended meaning, keeping in mind that “no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation” as 2 Peter 1:20 says.