Archive for the ‘Soteriology’ Category

The Great Sacrifice

I’ve finally come to the majestic “song of the redeemed” (Revelation 5:9-10) as I work my way through the book of Revelation.  As I prepare for Sunday morning’s sermon I marvel again at the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.   That you my King, Heaven’s Hero, would die for me?

The most helpful book I’ve read on this subject (outside sacred Scripture) has been R.B. Kuiper’s work, For Whom did Christ Die?  A Study of the Divine Design of the Atonement.  I read through large sections of it again today and would suggest you purchase and read this book if you have never done so before. 

My humble human response to this wonderful reality is expressed quite well in an old song written by the great hymn-writer, Isaac Watts.

 How sweet and awful is the place
With Christ within the doors
While everlasting love displays
The choicest of her stores.

While all our hearts and all our songs
Join to admire the feast
Each of us cry with thankful tongues,
“Lord, why was I a guest?”

“Why was I made to hear thy voice
and enter while there’s room,
When thousands make a wretched choice
And rather starve than come?”

‘Twas the same love that spread the feast
that sweetly drew us in;
Else we had still refused to taste
and perished in our sin

Pity the nations, O our God,
Constrain the earth to come;
Send thy victorious Word abroad
and bring the strangers home.

We long to see Thy churches full,
that all the chosen race
may with one voice and heart and soul
sing Thy redeeming grace.

To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing, and honor, and glory, and dominion, forever and ever.  Amen

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Here We Go Again

In a recent interview in Christianity Today, Charles Colson makes the claim that Pope Benedict affirms a biblical understanding of the doctrine of justification, pointing as evidence to a homily delivered by the Roman pontiff on November 19, 2008, in St. Peter’s Square. Toward the end of that homily, Pope Benedict says this:

 

Luther’s phrase: “faith alone” is true, if it is not opposed to faith in charity, in love. Faith is looking at Christ, entrusting oneself to Christ, being united to Christ, conformed to Christ, to his life. And the form, the life of Christ, is love; hence to believe is to conform to Christ and to enter into his love. So it is that in the Letter to the Galatians in which he primarily developed his teaching on justification St. Paul speaks of faith that works through love (cf. Gal 5:14).

 

In other words, according to the pope, Luther’s phrase “faith alone” is true as long as “faith” is defined in such a way that it includes being conformed to the life of Christ, which is love.

 

So my question is this: Do people like Colson just not understand what it means to be justified through faith in Christ? Or do they simply pretend that the pope has it right even though they know he doesn’t?

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