Thursday, June 29, 2006

Preaching Colossians to Ourselves

Luther coined the phrase "simul iustus et peccator." This basically means we are simultaneously both righteous and a sinner at the same time. As I’ve been reading through Colossians, this doctrine is undeniable.

One area I have been most surprised by is my lack of preaching the full gospel to myself (for lack of a better phrase) that Paul commends to the Colossian church. He spends a large majority of the letter telling believers the half of the gospel I so often neglect—that we are righteous in Him.

I find it extremely easy to acknowledge that I’m a sinner—I find it very uncomfortable to acknowledge I’m righteous in Him—especially the way the Bible describes it! I might sheepishly acknowledge I’m righteous—but not without a stronger emphasis on my title as a sinner. Yet, Paul seems to do exactly the opposite! He does nothing short of "assault" sinners with their new identity of the imputed righteousness of Christ to kill gnostic, joy-killing, and proud legalism.

Here’s my list of the unashamed ways Paul wants the Colossian church to "feel" about themselves—and the way God wants me to preach the gospel to myself when my old flesh and all the devils of hell do nothing but preach the bad news.

"Simul Iustus" statements in Colossians that describe who we are in Christ.

Qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints in light (1:12)
Delivered from the domain of darkness (1:13)
Transferred to the kingdom of His beloved Son (1:13)
Redeemed (v. 14)
Forgiven of sins (v. 15)
Reconciled in his body of flesh by his death (1:22)
Holy (1:22)
Blameless (1:22)
Above reproach before Him (1:22)
Indwelt by Christ (1:27)
Received (2:6)
Filled in Him (2:10)
Circumcised with a circumcision made without hands (2:12)
Buried with him in baptism (2:12)
Raised with him (2:12)
Alive together with him (2:13)
Forgiven of all our trespasses (2:13)
Free from the record of debt that stood against us (2:14)
With Christ and alive in him (2:20)
Raised with Christ (3:1)
United to Christ in His death (3:3)
Hidden with Christ in God (3:3)
United to and owned by Christ (3:4)
You have put off the old self (3:9)
You have put on the new self (3:10)
Being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator (3:10)
Indwelt by Christ (3:11)
God’s chosen one (3:12)
Holy (3:12)
Beloved (3:12)
Forgiven (3:13)
Called to Christ (3:15)
Recipients of the inheritance (3:24)

Preaching the gospel to ourselves is not just recalling the saving events of Christ—but what those saving events mean.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Today is the Day

24 Weeks

A friend from work just showed me pictures of his 30 week premature son named Christian. He is doing a lot better and has just been taken off a ventilator, but is still in NICU. Please pray for Christian.

It's horrifying to think that Christian is just 6 weeks older than the legal limit of abortion. In fact, for $1795 on LBJ you can terminate a child the age and size of this picture.


"And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled (Luke 14:23 ESV)."

Friday, June 23, 2006

One Pure and Simple Passion

"But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ (2 Cor. 11:3 ESV)."

A Starbucks moment with my friend Josh Jordan has led me to this post. Along with solving the world problems we discussed practically how to keep our devotion to Christ "pure" and "simple."

Simplicity has not characterized my walk with Christ historically. More often than not, I’ve tended to overcomplicate my devotional life. In my devotion times I’ve either tried to do too many things (memorize for an allotted time, pray for certain things each day, read a certain number of chapters, journal etc.) or tried to accomplish too much with my mind to the neglect of my heart.

What this looks like is that I get consumed with "right thinking" to the neglect of "right burning" for the truths I’m thinking on. Since the Bible calls me to both (John 4:23; Luke 24:32; Matt. 22:37), I’m striving to learn from those who passionately (and ever-imperfectly) pursue the "radical middle." The Puritans called this logic on fire.

We all tend to lean one way or another on any given day (or hour!)—but this question is for those who (like me) are often tempted to love God with the mind to the neglect of the heart. How do you stoke your affections for Christ?

In the simplest of terms—what do you do when you find yourself thinking on Christ in the cerebral places of you mind, but you find your heart unmoved?

Be very practical—do you grab a Crowder cd? Do you go for walks? What do you do to maintain "simplicity and purity" in your devotion to Christ—such that the heat of your affections match the light of God’s grace?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Expulsive Power of a Correct Gaze

If you haven't read Storm's latest--you will need to email him to get it. Read and re-read.

In his latest devotion he points to Paul's remedy for the Colossian heresy of how to defeat sin. Rather than legalistic and gnostic rituals, that have "no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh (Col. 2:23 ESV)" we should set our affections on the risen Christ who is "before all things, and in him all things hold together (Col. 1:17 ESV).

"The reason we must seek the things above is because that is "where Christ is" (v. 1). He is the exalted center and supreme sovereign of the eternal and heavenly realm. Why would we want our lives and thoughts and actions fixed anywhere else? The appeal of heavenly things is the presence of Jesus. It is the glory and beauty and multifaceted personality and power and splendor of the risen Christ to which Paul directs our attention."

As often when I read Storms, I project the amen---Yes!

Incidently the title is "expulsive" and not "explosive." Not a spelling error--you have to read the devotion.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Sin as Affections

I was reminded today that before my sin becomes an offense to my wife or child, it is an offense to God—for before it takes place with my hands or mouth, it takes place in the affections of my heart. This, from an unlikely source—a quote from the newly appointed Episcopal Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori when asked if homosexuality was a sin.

She said, "I don’t believe so…some people come into this world with affections ordered toward other people of the same gender and some people come into this world with affections directed at people of the other gender."

I was amazed that "ordered affections" do no not qualify as sin to her. Especially when Jesus defined evil as having affections for that which is unholy and not loving that which is supremely lovely.

"And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil." (John 3:19 ESV emphasis mine)

I have more in common with Katharine than I would ever like to admit. I am often more aware of sin as it floats down the rivers of my actions, than the melting ice atop the mountain of my heart.

True religion, in great part, consists in holy affections. --Jonathan Edwards

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Pursuit of Holiness

In the winter of 2001 I was experiencing an incredible spiritual dryness that I couldn't seem to shake. I was immersed in studies at seminary and regularly practicing spiritual disciplines, but was aching for joy and passion for things that had become cerebral and merely academic.

My friend Justin gave me Sam Storms' book Pleasures Evermore because of Pipers thundering endorsement. What I discovered as I read was the theology of Edwards and Piper put to illustrations that seemed to beam light on my darkening understanding of God's passion for my passion for God. My heart began to reawaken and stir and hunger for Jesus. I discovered that I had begun to leave my first love and that God was calling me back to a passionate pursuit of Jesus.

The single-most profound statement that Dr. Storms hammers home chapter after chapter is that "holiness is falling in love with Jesus."

This phrase will serve me until my body is transformed into the likeness of the One I will enjoy in an everlasting and ever-increasing way forever.

"Human holiness is nothing other than a God-besotted life." John Piper

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Filling Up What is Lacking

My friend Tim pointed out the controversial passage of Col. 1:24. Over lunch this led to me reading Piper's story he uses to illustrate this call to suffer for the gospel.

"While I was working on the missions book in May, I had an opportunity to hear J. Oswald Sanders speak. His message touched deeply on suffering...He told the story of an indigenous missionary who walked barefoot from village to village preaching the gospel in India. His hardships were many. After a long day of many miles and much discouragement he came to a certain village and tried to speak the gospel but was driven out of town and rejected. So he went to the edge of the village dejected and lay down under a tree and slept from exhaustion.
When he awoke people were hovering over him, and the whole town was gathered around to hear him speak. The head man of the village explained that they came to look him over while he was sleeping. When they saw his blistered feet they concluded that he must be a holy man, and that they had been evil to reject him. They were sorry and wanted to hear the message that he was willing to suffer so much to bring them.
So the evangelist filled up the afflictions of Jesus with his beautiful blistered feet."

Monday, June 12, 2006


“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." (John 14:18 ESV)

Friday, June 09, 2006

What's Wrong with this Definition?

"Through His suffering, death and resurrection Jesus Christ, merited grace for mankind. Grace is a power or virtue or quality, which is infused by God, or poured by God, into the human being. This grace which is a quality or power from God and is a pouring into the human heart of faith, hope and charity, gives humans the ability to please God with their good works and thus merit His favor. Thus, justification takes place within the human being."

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Hide Us from Him

"Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Rev. 6:15-17 ESV)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Billion Dollar Industry

Aaron Women's Clinic

Surgical Abortion Fees:
thru 11 weeks.............................. $325.00
thru 12 weeks................................. $425.00
thru 13 weeks................................. $495.00
thru 14 weeks................................. $520.00
thru 15 weeks................................. $595.00
thru 16 weeks................................. $795.00
thru 17 weeks................................. $895.00
thru 18 weeks................................. $1395.00
thru 19 weeks................................. $1595.00
thru 20 weeks................................. $1695.00
thru 21 weeks................................. $1995.00
thru 22 weeks................................. $2195.00
thru 23 weeks................................. $2495.00
thru 24 weeks................................. $2995.00

Pour Out

Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the night watches! Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord! Lift your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint for hunger at the head of every street.” (Lam. 2:19 ESV)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Life is War

In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. Heb. 12:4