Sunday, January 31, 2010

glory begun and to come

Some miscellaneous quotes on the glory begun and to come...

“Grace is but glory begun, and glory is but grace perfected.” (Jonathan Edwards)

“To believe in heaven is not to run away from life; it is to run towards it.” (Joseph D. Blinco)

“Heaven is the perfectly ordered and harmonious enjoyment of God and of one another in God.” (Augustine)

“Christians are not citizens of earth trying to get to heaven, but citizens of heaven making their way through the world.” (Vance Havner)

“There are three things which the true Christian desires in respect to sin: justification, that it might not condemn; sanctification, that it may not reign; and glorification, that it may not be.” (Richard Cecil)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hitchens on liberal Christianity

This is priceless, and one of those areas where I would agree with renown atheist Christopher Hitchens. He is being interviewed by Unitarian minister, Marilyn Sewell:

Sewell: "The religion you cite in your book is generally the fundamentalist faith of various kinds. I’m a liberal Christian, and I don’t take the stories from the scripture literally. I don’t believe in the doctrine of atonement (that Jesus died for our sins, for example). Do you make any distinction between fundamentalist faith and liberal religion?"

Hitchens: "I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian."

Would that more people understood this! The Hitchens Transcript is here.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I love the quote David shared at the end of his message today. He explained...

Baptism gives us a touchstone to look back on. Our Lord knows our weaknesses and our tendency to forget. I believe that is a part of the reason He gave us both baptism and the Lord’s Supper; two outward acts that among other things serve as visible reminders of our faith and of His death and resurrection. And so as we close I leave you with this baptismal confession that Philip Henry (father of the Bible Commentator Matthew Henry) prepared for his children:
I take God to be my chief end and highest good;
I take God the Son to be my Prince and Savior;
I take God the Holy Spirit to be my sanctifier, teacher, guide, and comforter.
I take the Word of God to be my rule in all my actions and the people of God to be my people under all conditions.
I do hereby dedicate and devote to the Lord all that I am,
All that I have,
And all I can do.
And this I do deliberately, freely, and forever.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

This Parker 51 aerometric in navy gray has become one of my favorite daily users. Clutch cap; m/f nib always wet; smooth writer; great for note-taking.

This one was made in the UK in 1957. With its hooded nib, the Parker 51 was perhaps the most successful and popular fountain pen of all time.

Here is an old ad for the Parker 51 aerometric...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

This week I'm enjoying using this Aurora Ipsilon Deluxe (a "turtle brown" lacquer finish, M nib), a special gift from very good friends in NYC. Filled with Noodlers' Dutch Colony Sepia ink.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

preparing for glory

Application questions: Knowing that God's glory is coming, how do we prepare?

1) Is God my glory, my security and highest joy now?

Psalm 3:3...
“But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.”
Isaiah 41:16...“And you shall rejoice in the LORD; in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.”

[If eternity will be enjoyment of God to the full, have we begun to experience that now? 2 Cor 3 teaches us that glorification begins now in progressing stages of growth.]

2) Am I seeking glory from God rather than man?

John 5:44...
“How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?”
John 12:42-43...“… many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”

[Undue fear of man is fear of being dishonored by others, which shows we value their honor above that of God's.]

3) Am I willing to go down in order to go up?

John 12:25-26...
“Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.”
Philippians 2:5-7..."Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant..."

[Adam and Eve, and Lucifer before them, though unequal to God sought to grasp the glory of God. Jesus, equal to God, did not grasp, but emptied himself. God's reasoning is often counter-intuitive. Jim Elliot, who gave his life reaching the Waorani Indians, wrote in his journal: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”]

4) Am I willing to endure some pain to receive eternal pleasure?

Romans 8:16-17...
“we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”
2 Corinthians 4:17-18... For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

[Satan like a dishonest salesmen who promises pleasure but hides the pain that will follow. Jesus tells us the truth, he’s the good Shepherd: he tells us of the pain and difficulty that will entail in following him, and the eternal pleasure to follow. Also, don't focus on the difficulties. Don’t be like Eeyore who “who finds the thistle in the pasture and then sits on it.”]

5) Am I seeking God’s glory for others?

Romans 15:7...
Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
1 Thessalonians 2:20... “For you are our glory and joy.”

[See also 2 Timothy 2:10 “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” God's glory will be upon the City of God, not just individuals. Glorification by the grace of God through Jesus Christ means that I do not need to glorify myself, or decrease the glory of others that I might look better. Just like self-justification leads to divisions in God’s community, so too does self-glorification. This affects how we view and treat others, even in our childrearing. We should deal with our children respectfully, knowing that one day they will stand as our glorious equals in the Kingdom.]

6) Do I myself see the glory of Christ?

2 Corinthians 4:4, 6...
“…the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. …For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

[Conversion brings a change in our view of Christ, not just intellectually but morally and aesthetically. Have we begun to see and taste the actual goodness of Jesus Christ in this life? This IS salvation, to know Christ.]

on the future glory of believers

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?” (Romans 8:18-24 esv)

God’s glory is that which is impressive, great, weighty, powerful, beautiful and awesome about God. We ourselves, made in the image of God, are attracted to glory, though – like Lucifer and Adam – we seek an autonomous glory rather than reflective glory, through glorifying self rather than God. Salvation comes when we begin to see the hidden glory of Jesus Christ, and by faith we are united to him. Thus we shall see and share in his glory when it is manifested to all creation at his coming. Then, like the moon reflects the glory of the sun, we too – along with all renewed creation—will reflect the full, manifest glory of God. It is almost inconceivable, but we will be taken up into the glory of God. For the believer this involves a perfected soul and spirit, without sin, a resurrected and incorruptible body like Jesus’, and a calling to rule and relate with others in fruitful activity within God’s kingdom in a new heaven and earth. Before then, a glorious body must first have a glorious personality,
which is the inward glory of Christlikeness, whereby we grow in character and spiritual grace to be fitting for that day. By faith we follow the footsteps of him who humbled himself to serve the glory of his Father by obedience and suffering. Future glory is coming: if God created the universe, and if God raised his Son to glory, then God can and will resurrect the universe.

Some "--tion" words...

--Justification… God removes the guilt and penalty of my sin. [declared righteous - past]
--Sanctification… God enables me to overcome the power of sin. [growth in righteousness - present]
--Glorification… God removes me from the presence of sin altogether. [perfected in righteousness - future]

The believer's glorification includes:
  • An eternal, imperishable, resurrected body.
  • Removal of all evil and sin, in self and others.
  • God’s approval of and delight in us.
  • Full experience of God’s manifested glory.
  • Kingdom rule with Jesus Christ.
  • Life in a perfected, loving community.
  • Creative, fruitful activity with others.
  • All creation made new and incorruptible.
(Isa. 58:8; 62:2-3; Dan. 7:14; Hab. 2:14; I Cor 13:13; 15:41-43
Phil 3:21; 1 Peter 1:7; Rev 3:21; 21-22.)


“Grace is but glory begun, and glory is but grace perfected.” (Jonathan Edwards)

“To believe in heaven is not to run away from life; it is to run towards it.” (Joseph D. Blinco)

“Heaven is the perfectly ordered and harmonious enjoyment of God and of one another in God.” (Augustine)

“Christians are not citizens of earth trying to get to heaven, but citizens of heaven making their way through the world.” (Vance Havner)

“There are three things which the true Christian desires in respect to sin: justification, that it might not condemn; sanctification, that it may not reign; and glorification, that it may not be.” (Richard Cecil)

“Remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.” (--C. S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”, 1942)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

sermon notes

“Sanctification is the progressive work of God in man that makes us more and more free from sin and like Christ in our actual lives.” (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology) Or, “becoming what you already are.”

On justification...
“By his blood" (Romans 5:9)

Through the principle of representation and substitution, Jesus Christ (like Adam) represents the human race that follows (and is united to) him. As Adam was our representative and we were plunged into darkness and sin because of his action, so now those who are related by faith and new birth to Christ, are lifted to light and righteousness because of his actions. Jesus' death is a propitiation, which satisfies God's justice. His death is so excellent and effective that it can remove the guilt and sin of an entire world. Through substitution Christ gets what we deserve (judgment), we get what he deserves (eternal riches and blessing). Our relationship with God is built upon this priceless work.

The “solas” (solus, -a, -um, Lat., “alone, only”)

--Sola Scriptura … Scripture alone is the final authority on our salvation. Augustine, Aquinas and church leaders can help us, but the ultimate authority lies in the Word.

--Solus Christus … our salvation is accomplished solely and completely by Christ.

--Sola gratia … only by his grace are we saved-- we could not come to him, but he came to us.

--Sola fide this received by faith alone. This faith will produce works like fruit from a tree, but Christ's work is so complete it can only be received and lived in.

--Soli Deo gloria … to God alone be the glory!

The blessings of justification (Romans 5:1-11)

--Peace with God / reconciliation (5:1, 11)

--A Position / standing in God's grace (5:2)

--The certain hope of future glory (5:2, 9-10)

--Suffering which produces character (5:3-4)

--The Holy Spirit who reveals God's love (5:5-8)

--Joy in the Lord himself (5:11)

“When I say that God Is the Gospel I mean that the highest, best, final, decisive good of the gospel, without which no other gifts would be good, is the glory of God in the face of Christ revealed for our everlasting enjoyment. The saving love of God is God’s commitment to do everything necessary to enthrall us with what is most deeply and durably satisfying, namely himself. Since we are sinners and have no right and no desire to be enthralled with God, therefore God’s love enacted a plan of redemption to provide that right and that desire. The supreme demonstration of God’s love was the sending of his Son to die for our sins and to rise again so that sinners might have the right to approach God and might have the pleasure of his presence forever.” (John Piper, God Is The Gospel [Crossway, 2005], pp13-14)

The relevance of justification (Luke 18:10-14) destroys self-justification.

--how we approach God. With our own works / self-righteousness, or with empty hands, trusting God to be "propitious" (to provide the sacrifice of atonement, which he did in Christ)?

--how we walk with God. Motives are important. Both men are praying, both men are in the temple, both men are sincere. Yet only one man's prayer is acceptable.
Are we worshiping in a self-justifying manner, or in a manner befitting grace?

--how we relate to others. The tax-collector is aware only of his sin and his need of God's forgiveness; the Pharisee is aware of God but also is comparing. The Cross and justification by grace through faith removes any sense of superiority or inferiority. God's community is built on level ground.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"take heart"

I'm reading through the ESV One Year Bible this year. I have it in book form at home, and if I miss the morning, it's on my iGoogle page at a click.

Today these words stood out to me:

And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men. (Matthew 9:1-8)

When we think of the authority of Jesus and his words we are apt to think only about his commands. We need to remember his authority to tell us to "take heart" and "your sins are forgiven".

This is a word I need every day from the Lord:

“Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.”

Thursday, January 7, 2010

today's quotes

Here are two quotes I found interesting today:

The ways of destroying the church are many and colorful. Raw factionalism will do it. Rank heresy will do it. Taking your eyes off the cross and letting other, more peripheral matters dominate the agenda will do it-admittedly more slowly than frank heresy, but just as effectively over the long haul. Building the church with superficial ‘conversions’ and wonderful programs that rarely bring people into a deepening knowledge of the living God will do it. Entertaining people to death but never fostering the beauty of holiness or the centrality of self-crucifying love will build an assembling of religious people, but it will destroy the church of the living God. Gossip, prayerlessness, bitterness, sustained biblical illiteracy, self-promotion, materialism-all of these things, and many more, can destroy a church. And to do so is dangerous: ‘If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple (1 Cor. 3:17).” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (--D.A. Carson, The Cross and Christian Ministry: Leadership Lessons from 1 Corinthians, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993, pp. 83-84.)

I don’t want to practice a faith that I’m afraid to proclaim. I don’t want to be a closet Christian. I’m not going to stand on the street with a megaphone. My principal responsibility at Fox News isn’t to proselytize. But occasionally a mention of faith seems to me to be appropriate. When those occasions come, I’ll do it. (Christianity Today Q&A with Brit Hume)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

if God is for us

"If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31 ESV)
Do not be discouraged at the difficulties and oppositions that will rise up before you when you begin resolvedly to walk with God. Discouragements turn multitudes from religion, and provide a great temptation for many young beginners to turn back. Israel in the wilderness was ready to retreat to Egypt. God himself will have his servants and his graces tried and exercised by difficulties, and Satan, will quickly raise up storms before us, as soon as we are set out to sea. But God is on your side and has all your enemies in his hand, and can rebuke them, or destroy them in a moment. O what is the breath or fury of dust or devils, against the Lord Almighty! In the day you entered into a covenant with God, and he with you, you entered into the most impregnable rock and fortress, and covered yourself in a castle of defence, where you may (modestly) defy all adverse powers of earth or hell. If God cannot save you, he is not God. And if he will not save you, he must break his covenant. Indeed, he may resolve to save you, not from affliction and persecution, but in it, and by it! But in all these things you will—‘Overwhelmingly conquer through him who loved us’ (Rom. 8:37). It is far more desirable and excellent to conquer by patience, in suffering for Christ, than to conquer our persecutors in the field, by force of arms. O think on the saints’ triumphant boastings in their God: ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble’ (Psa. 46:1). If all of the world were on your side, you might yet have cause to fear. But to have God on your side is infinitely more! Christ the Captain of your salvation has gone this way before you, and now he is engaged to make you a conqueror! Do not be afraid where Christ is leading the way. Do not draw back when you see his steps and his blood!
January 1 reading by Richard Baxter (A Christian Directory, i:43) in Voices from the Past: Puritan Devotional Readings, by Richard Rushing. I'm really enjoying these daily readings-- very rich soul food.