Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Cor. 5:17
There is a specific focus throughout Scripture on the fact that those who have been redeemed by God have become new creations. In Ezekiel, God promises to replace our “heart of stone” with a “heart of flesh.” It’s not just a New Testament idea; God has been in the business of radically and totally transforming His people for His glory for all of time.
People throw around the name of Christ rather flippantly and without regard, showing no sign of a true devotion to Him. I don’t intend to go on a diatribe on lukewarm Christianity and the sort, but it is important for those who claim Christ to live and breath as new creations, not as those shaming Christ and bringing glory to everyone and everything but Him.
This verse along with the rest of the narrative of Scripture reminds us that salvation is both extremely simple and entirely complex: we are simply saved by faith alone in Christ, but called to represent and glorify God with the entire complexity of our being - with every word, action, and thought.
The excuse, “I can’t help it, I’m just a sinner” is not an excuse for the redeemed people of Christ. You are a new creation, a sometimes terrifying and difficult yet wholly beautiful calling.
If we commune with Christ, we possess in Him all the heavenly treasures and gifts of the Holy Spirit which lead us to salvation. We never attain these except by a true and living faith. We likewise recognize that all of our good is in Him, and that we are truly nothing except in Him. … Although our mind cannot apprehend God without rendering some honor to Him, it not suffice simply to hold that there is One whom all ought to honor and adore, unless we are also persuaded that He is the fountain of every good, and that we must seek nothing elsewhere than Him.
- John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion
Let us not lift our souls to another.
There are times that I feel myself drifting from God. Not because of Him, but because of me. I am always hungry for more knowledge of Him, but at times it takes a good deal of effort to get away from my laptop and read a little Scripture.
We can’t really experience the true essence of God with the five senses that we are so used to experiencing the world with. Man is so accustomed to the world that he understands that even Peter, who walked right beside Jesus for years, still had a hard time putting his entire faith in Him. At some point, we need to get over ourselves and give Him everything He deserves.
Let’s take a second today and remember who our God is. God should in no way be put on the outskirts of our living. God will not force obedience on us, and we take that for granted. He requires that we seek, love, and obey Him daily so that we may experience all of the love, joy, and blessings that He provides.
I cannot take away from God, but He can take away from me. How humbling is that?
“A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.” – C.S. Lewis
For all the flack he receives, this entire interview shows time and again that Rick Warren is extremely solid doctrinally.
For the full interview with John Piper, click here.
Here is a clip:
No front hugs and no kissing!
Why have I not seen this book on the New York Times Best Sellers list?
At the G5 summit in 2009, Dallas Baptist University professor and award-winning author Dr. David Naugle was asked:
Why is Calvinism increasing in popularity, especially among younger pastors?
(1.) Because it satisfies a deep longing for transcendence found in the sovereign God and His glory in the context of a culture swamped with purely immanent, this worldly cares and concerns.
(2.) Because it provides a solid biblical and theological basis for counter-cultural cultural engagement and transformation, so that adherents can be against the world and yet for the world.
(3.) Because it possesses an intellectual appeal and spiritual depth over-against a reigning Christian anti-intellectualism and general evangelical superficiality.
(4.) Because it is a high commitment Christianity, an intense, biblical/theological serious, morally rigorous, spiritual mature version of the Christian faith.
(5.) Because it offers cogent explanations for our wonder at the natural world in creation, for understanding the depth of our brokenness and pain because of our sin, and our hope for restoration and renewal through Christian redemption.
(6.) Because it provides for a deeper connection to the history of the church, a sense of communion with the saints across generations, and participation in one of the great traditions of the church.
For the full text of his balanced critique of Calvinism in Baptist life, click here.