The Gospel Coalition

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1)


However deep and wide you think the freedom offered to sinners in the gospel is--it's more, not less. As my friend Dane Ortlund says, "It's time to blow aside the hazy cloud of condemnation that hangs over us throughout the day with the strong wind of gospel grace."

Robert Capon expounds on this:
Saint Paul has not said to you, "Think how it would be if there were no condemnation"; he has said, "There is therefore now none." He has made an unconditional statement, not a conditional one--a flat assertion, not a parabolic one. He has not said, "God has done this and that and the other thing; and if by dint of imagination you can manage to pull it all together, you may be able to experience a little solace in the prison of your days." No. He has simply said, "You are free. Your services are no longer required. The salt mine has been closed. You have fallen under the ultimate statute of limitation. You are out from under everything: Shame, Guilt, Blame. It all rolls off your back like rain off a tombstone."

It is essential that you see this clearly. The Apostle is saying that you and I have been sprung. Right now; not next week or at the end of the world. And unconditionally, with no probation officer to report to. But that means that we have finally come face to face with the one question we have scrupulously ducked every time it got within a mile of us: You are free. What do you plan to do? One of the problems with any authentic pronouncement of the gospel is that it introduces us to freedom.

So, what are you going to do now that you don't have to do anything? The secret of worship is that it's only when you deeply grapple with the pride-smashing fact that you can't do anything for Jesus, you begin wanting to do everything for Jesus. True discipleship happens when you come to terms with the fact that you are so unconditionally loved, forgiven, pardoned, and free that you say "yes" to whatever God wants.


Comments:

Susanne Schuberth (Germany)

March 8, 2012 at 11:19 AM

First and foremost, I think that everything that must have been said really has been said, and I take my hat off to Brandon, who remained calm, and was always meekly, humbly, and patiently pointing to the truth that can only be found in (an intimate relationship with) Christ alone.

Here are just a few thoughts concerning our behaviour towards each other as for commenting in general. Whatsoever we think who we are in Christ or how we evaluate ourselves and others as for our knowledge of the (true) gospel, we may never forget that knowledge without love for God and our brothers and sisters is absolutely worthless. The apostle Paul said,

“This ‘knowledge’ puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.” (1 Cor 8:1-3)

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.“ (1 Cor 13:1-8)

And the apostle John said,

“Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” (1 Jn 2:9-11)

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 Jn 4:7-8)

“We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (1 Jn 4:19-21)

As for the last Scripture – of course, we cannot “see” each other while merely commenting in written form, but we may never forget that Jesus gave us a clear warning about the words we choose,

“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Mt 12:36-37)

Now one could argue, “I’ll never be condemned because Jesus was condemned on my behalf.” This is absolutely true for every baptized believer (Mk 16:16). However, believing also means obeying Him,

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (Jn 3:36)

In my humble opinion, the only weapon we are allowed to use in defending the truth through commenting is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. “ (Eph 6:17)

Please, be kind to one another.

Thx

Brandon E

March 8, 2012 at 07:17 AM

Mitchell,

I agree being assured of God’s unconditional love and acceptance is an important matter. This is why John Bunyan commended Luther’s commentary on Galatians to the wounded conscience.

But it is up to God to grant each believer the assurance they need. If, brother, you’re concerned that blog comments will stumble these ones who would otherwise receive help through pastor Tullian’s writing, I don’t think that mocking the words of others, or posing them as great threats to assurance when it might not really be the case, is more likely to help than hurt the cause.

The thing is, assurance is not the only item relevant to believers in Christ, including those who read TGC blogs. Not every Christian has a lifelong, defining or all-encompassing struggle with feeling self-condemned and unapproved, at least not in the sense of their assurance being fragile or easily wounded, or in the sense of doubting their eternal salvation or the validity of the faith given to them. (E.g., I’m sure that some who read pastor Tullian’s blog think sanctification is a matter of gaining Jesus’ moral profile through their efforts at law-keeping, and may think they doing a passable job in comparison to others; and I am suggesting that there is another way that is not based on how hard we try to improve ourselves but on what of Christ do we see and enjoy). Hence it is not surprising that there are more things revealed in the Bible concerning Christ and the church than just what immediately concerns or is centered upon our individual need for assurance.

Pastor Tullian’s posts usually do emphasize assurance, but he broadens the scope of discussion when he makes claims about the means of sanctification and true discipleship. He basically says that sanctification and discipleship comes about through our believing and remembering what our Lord Jesus has done such that God has imputed righteousness objectively, and I affirm this. But I’m saying that growth also comes through seeing that Christ is our life intimately and inwardly. Although justification and freedom from the law are too wonderful and marvelous, the Bible is a book about Christ, whose work and person is not limited to the objective, forensic, legal redemption He accomplished on our behalf. We are justified and freed not as ends in themselves, but that--based upon our new, unearned position in Christ--we may know, experience and grow unto a full knowledge of the Son of God who is our Savior, our life and our life-supply and unto of the Body (Eph. 4:12-16; Phil. 3:10; Col. 1:24-29). And we live and grow by and unto the full knowledge, revelation and experience of Christ as revealed in His word, not simply, as John T. said, by the grasping justification.

--
Steve,

Since I’m not talking about earning assurance, I don’t believe that pointing out that the Bible reveals that Christ is the life of the believer (and hence the Lord’s instruction, “Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me” John 15:4) places an onus back on the believer any more than saying that others need to wake up and really believe the gospel and stop being a legalist or pietist who doesn’t really understand grace. Both imply a quality of living (of breathing) that issues from the response of faith to God’s word, which is our food (cf. Matt. 4:4). And, as I pointed out in the last comment, placing a question mark upon those whom you apparently think do not hear the gospel as good enough as you, suggesting that unless they “wake up” they may never have been meant to hear the gospel in the first place, is not helpful on this point.

What would really be refreshing here, is for there to be a really strong post on God’s grace and His work in us, without one person telling us afterwards, ‘now don’t forget to breathe!’


But isn't this precisely what the apostle Paul did, for example, in his composition of Galatians? Gal. 1:1-4:31 contrasts the law with grace. Gal. 5:1-6:18 focuses on the walk of God's children.

God's word supplies us to live as God intends, whether it's "repent and believe in the gospel," or "ask [not, 'do nothing'] and you shall receive" (Matt 7:7-14, 21:22; Luke 11:9-13; Mark 11:23-24; John 14:13-15; 15:7-8, 16; 16:23-24; cf, 1 John 3:22-24), or "pursue...sanctification" (Heb. 10:14). Why not let others sow what the word of God has to say about pursuing Christ (Phil. 3:7-16) and pursuing sanctification and fruits of the Spirit, even with “diligence” (Heb. 12:14; 2 Pet. 1:3-11; 1 Tim. 2:22; 1 Tim. 6:11-12; cf. John 15:1-17), which words are plainly not designed to condemn forgiven believers but to admonish, strengthen and encourage?

In future posts I'll respect your wishes to not press the issue. I'm just somewhat puzzled as to why you find it so outrageous and anti-grace for others to mention verses and biblical themes that say what you paraphrase as "don't forget to breathe."

Brandon E

March 6, 2012 at 12:31 AM

Mitchell, see my last comment, which was approved after you had written more comments.

--
Steve,

Look, brother, you haven’t shown how anything I said should undermine anyone’s assurance. Moreover, you haven’t entered into conversation with what I am talking about from the biblical texts. In essence, I am saying that there is a pursuit of Christ and subjective experience of Him as grace that isn’t law-keeping or merely a matter of remembering our justification (though the latter, not our history of victories or defeats, is the basis for assurance), which is germane to pastor Tullian’s words about true discipleship.

I think that you are villainizing--and casting yourself as a defender of the pure gospel--before understanding.

And in fact, you are the one who is specifically accusing others of not having enough fruit (right thinking, right feeling as evidence of truly hearing the gospel), and implying that perhaps God is withholding from others the true understanding of the gospel that apparently you, in comparison to others, claim to have:

“If a little sarcasm won’t wake you up after all else has failed, then maybe you just weren’t meant to hear it…the gospel, that is.”


I share Chris Julien’s concerns. Claiming to "get grace" is not a license to apply our concept of apostolic sarcasm to those we think are not on the same level as us in their understanding of grace.

In Galatians 6:1, the apostle Paul said, “Brothers, even if a man is overtaken in some offense, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of meekness, looking to yourself lest you also be tempted.”

If anyone understands the gospel of grace it is the apostle Paul, and yet he said “looking to yourself lest you also be tempted.” Should we out him as a navel-gazer because he said “look to yourself”? Was he a pietist for saying “you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of meekness” rather than "sin boldly"?

I don’t believe so. He wasn’t talking about earning assurance. But I believe he was talking about discipleship and understanding grace. By grace we were called for freedom, but freedom can be turned to an opportunity for the flesh (Gal. 5:13), for "if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another" (Gal. 5:15).

Besides, in Galatians, which you cited, the apostle Paul was not merely fighting a battle for the doctrine of justification and freedom from law-keeping to earn God’s approval. He was fighting that the believers would be converted from the law as their rule of life to a full apprehension of the crucified and resurrected Christ who indwells them, in order that they would live not according to law but according to Christ by walking by the Spirit and the rule of the new creation, concerning which law and ritualistic observances would profit them nothing (Galatians 1:15-16, 2:19-20, 4:19, 5:2-6, 13-26, 6:1-10, 14-16). Grace includes unmerited favor but is not limited to it; grace is Christ in all His unsearchable riches for our participation and enjoyment.

Steve Martin

March 6, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Brandon,

It's a matter of focus and emphasis. We speak of God's grace so the onus is on Christ, and then we hear the chorus of 'yeah buts' that turn everything around around and place the onus back onto the believer.

Those efforts and good fruits will come, by God's doing. So in essence those who are telling people every two minutes, 'now don't forget to breathe!' are shifting the focus and emphasis back onto the self.

What would really be refreshing here, is for there to be a really strong post on God's grace and His work in us, without one person telling us afterwards, 'now don't forget to breathe!'

Just leave it alone. Nothing left for us to do...but live.

Anonymous

March 6, 2012 at 09:36 AM

The unloveliness of some of this tread seems to make a point, doesn’t it. Christ has bought us back from wrath. Such an incredible gift; such kindness leads to godly repentance; to great love for God; to the great desire to see His All-Surpassing Glory shine forth through His clay jars over all the earth.

Mitchell Hammonds

March 6, 2012 at 01:29 AM

Brandon,
You may have been inadvertently swept up into this. But I must say, as I have previously, assurance this side of glory is everything and assurance hangs by a "silk-thread." The third use of the law is inherent in hearing it... I personally don't see the need for the distinction but... whatever. Suffice it to say that the primary use of the law is to shut every mouth... end any bragging rights... kill us. Even the NT imperative to stand firm in the faith is tough to do... especially after these kinds of sessions. To borrow a quote "I don't predispose to alcoholism but some of these rants may get me there." Let folks alone and let the "Good News" actually ring true as the "Great News" that it is. The striving and struggling will happen... it's God's project and He'll complete it. This site is full of articles that do nothing but cause everyone who read them to question the validity of the very faith given to them. Tullian and a few others actually present the Good News in an effort to reassure that this is all going to turn out better than we can ever imagine. While others preoccupy themselves with causing the masses to question whether they're really in because they were sprinkled rather than immersed (thank you James Hamilton's silly article) or their "spiritual temperature" isn't what it use to be. You seem like a decent enough guy, let people hear the Gospel and die with confidence in what has been accomplished for them... you and I.

Mitchell Hammonds

March 5, 2012 at 12:35 PM

Chris Julian,
I pray that I continue to "believe" and remain firm in the faith once for all delivered to the saints...... and that I decrease my golf handicap by 5 strokes.

Jeremiah Caughran

March 5, 2012 at 12:30 AM

This makes me think of something that one of my seminary professors has said: "We are free to wrestle with our sin, now." Such a wonderful reality we live in!

Steve Martin

March 5, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Chris Julien,

Is that why St. Paul told the Galatians that he (St. Paul) hoped they would slip with the knife when they were being circumsized?

Mitchell is right. Too much is at stake here and those who would take away people's assurance need to be put in their proper place. They might have the best of intentions, but we all know what that is worth. Nothing.

The gospel is at stake here, my friends.

If you desire to be pietistic, navel-gazers and fruit checkers and assurance destroyers, do so...but don't expect the rest of us to roll over and die for you. We will defend the pure gospel. If a little sarcasm won't wake you up after all else has failed, then maybe you just weren't meant to hear it...the gospel, that is.

More, Not Less | Time For Discernment

March 5, 2012 at 11:29 PM

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Brandon E

March 5, 2012 at 10:37 AM

Mitchell,

The things you listed are all noble and good aspects of being a human being, but the apostles in many passages I cited did not link our pursuit of righteousness, etc. firstly to what we do outwardly, but more intrinsically to the revelation, experience and enjoyment of Christ. In Phil. 3:7-16 Paul spoke of pursuing Christ and the knowledge and experience of Him. In 1 Tim. 6:11-12, he connected the pursuit of righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, meekness with laying hold of eternal life, i.e. Christ (John 14:6, 11:25). In Col. 1:10 and 2 Pet. 3:18 our bearing fruit and growing is through the full knowledge of God in Christ. In 2 Peter 1, Peter links being diligent to add all virtue, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly love and love with God granting us all things related to life and godliness, and our being partakers of the divine nature (vv. 3-4) that by practicing these things the “entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly and bountifully supplied to you” (v. 11). Etc.

To be clear, my interest in commenting on TCG is not to dissuade anyone from basking in God’s love and forgiveness, but it has been in part to share why I believe that law (third use) versus gospel (grace conceived simply as justification, approval, forgiveness) is a false dichotomy when it comes to sanctification or discipleship.

Mitchell Hammonds

March 5, 2012 at 08:31 AM

Brandon,
I think people are "pursuing righteousness" through simply living a quiet life, vocation, raising a family, helping those in need... the list goes on. But rather than let the Gospel actually ring in the ear as "Good News" you, less so than John T., resound the alarm of caution. Heaven forbid we actually bask in the light of forgiveness from God. Oh no... we have to reign in Grace... "cool the engines" before someone actually believes this. My point is many, with good intent, are acting in the place of someone's pastor, through a blog mind you, to curb confidence in the Gospel.

Chris Julien

March 5, 2012 at 08:04 AM

Well brother, I pray that you can grasp how the gospel makes us as meek as lambs and humble, even as we are bold in our declaration of the gospel, especially when we are attempting to correct brothers in the faith.

I also do not think that just because something is written in the Bible it is therefore normative for all believers. You may claim to take yourself less seriously than me, which seems to be an unnecessary ad hominem, but you actually just called your online-commenting a ministry equivalent to that of Paul's.

God bless.

Brandon E

March 5, 2012 at 07:58 AM

Mitchell,

Did I say anything that should strip anyone of their confidence in the finished work of Christ for one's eternal salvation or love, justification, forgiveness, acceptance, approval before God?

Mitchell Hammonds

March 5, 2012 at 07:53 AM

Sarcasm is used much in Scripture. I actually take myself much less serious than you do. I do take issue with anyone who attempts to make comments that will strip anyone's confidence in the 'Finished work of Christ' by adding one work to it. Paul was not the least bit gracious when dealing with people who wanted to add to the Gospel. In fact He tells them to 'mutilate themselves completely' in Galatians. This isn't the last time you're going to be shocked in here.

Steve Martin

March 5, 2012 at 07:42 PM

This is a really good and short (a few minutes long) audio, that may be helpful for some:

http://theoldadam.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/our-best-is-not-good-enough-1.mp3


.

Brandon E

March 5, 2012 at 05:15 AM

Mitchell, Steve,

No one is saying that anyone does a “good job” or “better job” in comparison to someone else. Moreover, notice that I didn’t say that one should make this a criterion to see if one is in the faith, or that the point is to become “alright.” We all have the flesh of sin, and thus will be vulnerable to sin until the transfiguration of our bodies into bodies of glory, and even then we will be ever-dependent upon Him.

To clarify, the point is that the Bible reveals the pursuit of Christ that we might know Him as our life. The Bible speaks of Christ making His home in our hearts through faith (Eph. 3:17). The Bible speaks of our being transformed from one degree of glory to another by beholding and reflecting Him (2 Cor. 3:18), of the law of the Spirit of life freeing us in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and of death (Rom. 8:2), of our growing up into Him in all things (Eph. 4:15). The Bible speaks of loving others in the inward parts of Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:8; Col. 3:12). Moreover, the Bible reveals that the issue and goal of this is not our own individual spiritual attainment but the growth and building up of the Body of Christ corporately (Eph. 4:12-16, Col. 2:19).

If you brothers feel you must condemn others for needing to climb a religious ladder and not understanding grace as well as you do, the first ones you should condemn are the apostles and writers of the New Testament.

The apostle Paul didn’t reduce the theme of the Christian life to merely a matter of sinning and being forgiven again and again (as if the only thing we should believe about the Lord Jesus is that He loves us, accepts us and paid our debt of sin). Rather, He spoke of the Christian life in terms of pursuing Christ that He might lay hold of Him, and he admonished others to follow his pattern (Phil. 3:7-16). “Not that I have already obtained or am already perfected, but I pursue, if even I may lay hold of that for which I also have been laid hold of by Christ Jesus.” “I pursue toward the goal for the prize to which God in Christ Jesus has called me upward. / Let us therefore, as many as are full-grown, have this mind; and if in anything you are otherwise minded, this also God will reveal to you.”

He spoke of “being determined...to gain the honor of being well pleasing to Him” (2 Cor. 5:9) and prayed that the Lord would fill the believers with a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of His will that they might “walk worthily of the Lord to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and growing by the full knowledge of God” (Col. 1:10).

He spoke of the Christian life as running a race, and said we should run in such a way as to receive the prize (1 Cor. 9:24-27). “Run in this way, that you may lay hold.” “ I therefore run in this way, not as though without a clear aim; I box in this way, not as though beating the air. But I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest perhaps having preached to others, I myself may become disapproved.”

He wrote “I exhort you therefore, brothers, through the compassions of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:2). Our reasonable service and the proper response to the compassions of God is not simply to feel loved unconditionally but to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, well pleasing to God.”

He said “pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Tim. 2:22), and “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, meekness” (1 Tim. 6:11).

The writings of John, which include the words of the Lord Jesus Himself, speak of our need to pay attention to the matter fruit-bearing and to desire fruit, not for our self-interests but--if the Lord’s word is to be believed, for the Father’s glory. John 15:1-17 speaks of abiding in Him so that His word will abide in us, such that we such that we ask the Father in His name for much fruit that will remain. 1 John 3:22-23 says “And whatever we ask we receive from Him because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. /And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, even as He gave a commandment to us. / And he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him.” 1 John 2:27-28 speaks of our need to abide in Him, “And now, little children, abide in Him, so that if He is manifested, we may have boldness and not be put to shame from Him at His coming. / If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness also has been begotten of Him.”

The apostle Peter said that God has “granted to us all things which relate to life and godliness, through the full knowledge of Him” and then admonished the believers to add all diligence to supply to their faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly love and love for “these things, existing in you and abounding, constitute you neither idle nor unfruitful unto the full knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” and “he in whom these things are not present is blind, being shortsighted, having forgotten the cleansing of his past sins.” He said, therefore “be the more diligent to make your calling and selection firm, for doing these things you shall by no means ever stumble.” (2 Pet. 1:4-11).

That being said, do you understand grace better than the apostle Paul? Was John a legalist and pietist for saying that we should abide in Him lest we be put to shame from Him at His coming, and writing that the Lord Jesus said that we should ask the Father for much fruit that remains? Was he a self-righteous Pharisee for saying, “And whatever we ask we receive from Him because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight”? Was Peter climbing the religious ladder and admonishing others to do the same? Would you condemn them all as pietists, and ask them how their religious project is going?

If not, why not?

And, if Paul is less than the least of all saints, and yet he spoke of pursuing Christ and the things of Christ becoming our life--such as righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, meekness, and other the fruits of the Spirit--why be so quick to condemn and ridicule anyone and anything that affirms what he said?

Yes, a person who is struggling with discouragement and introspection needs to hear, above all, that Christ loves them unconditionally and forgives and accepts them not on the basis of their merits but on the blood of Christ.

However, this does not mean that we should revile and censure the pursuit of Christ, the Christ-ward pursuit of the things of Christ, and the reality of growing in Christ, as Phariseeism, legalism and pietism. If there is no room for this in our prided theology, then our theology is the problem. If our self can’t conceive of it in a way that doesn’t lead to self-righteousness or self-condemnation, then our self is the problem.

When pastor Tullian says “True discipleship happens when you come to terms with the fact that you are so unconditionally loved, forgiven, pardoned, and free that you say ‘yes’ to whatever God wants” I agree. I’m simply saying that our saying “yes” to God is also motivated by seeing and believing that God’s pleasure is that we would pursue and know Christ as our life. This too is grace to us.

Chris Julien

March 5, 2012 at 04:45 AM

I've mentioned this before, and I'm equally shocked again. I cannot believe that I just read 5 sarcarstic, biting comments that were written in the name of the the grace of God.

Again, and this is directed towards Steve and Mitchell more than others, if you think you understand God's grace more than other people who profess to know Christ, why doesn't that show in your comments and how you conduct yourselves online? Wouldn't a greater understanding of the love and grace of God mean that you are more gentle, more gracious, slower to anger and slower to wrath, and more willing to teach others what God has revealed to you than those who don't understand God's grace?

You may say you understand grace and the free gift of faith, but through these comments you act as if you've earned salvation because you appear to have such disdain and impatience for those who aren't on your level.

Please, Tullian, or some blogger, write about graciousness in comments and loving others online\through blogging. Because graciousness not happening on this blog. And it's an ugly, glaring scar on an otherwise lovely picture of grace.

John 17:20-21
"I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me."
I would cringe for an unbeliever to read these comments and perceive the bitter, biting comments that are written here between believers!

Proverbs 15:1-4
A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
keeping watch on the evil and the good.
A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

James 1:26-27
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and wisdow in their affliction, and to keep oneself untained from the world.

Matthew 12:33-37
"Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

God bless.

Mitchell Hammonds

March 5, 2012 at 02:04 PM

Jim,
Haha! Nice one. Those insults aren't for the faint of heart by any means.

Mitchell Hammonds

March 5, 2012 at 02:02 PM

Chris,
Sarcasm is not lacking grace. Heated exchanges can be done with graciousness. I have heated arguments with my spouse over many issues and we are both sarcastic at times. As I said before you will be shocked many times over. Expect it. I would advise you to actually read the comments before you chime in... it might help to put the "sarcasm" in it's proper context next time.

Jim McNeely

March 5, 2012 at 01:54 PM

As a helpful addition, I thought I would add a link to the Lutheran Insulter. Refresh to get a new fresh insult from Luther's writings, a handy dandy tool whenever you are fresh out of insults on some comment thread!

http://ergofabulous.org/luther/

:-)

Chris Julien

March 5, 2012 at 01:50 PM

Absolutely defend the gospel. Absolutely defend what is written in the Word and the only way to salvation- by grace through faith, because of the completely finished work of Christ.

But please, do so in gentleness and respect when you're commenting on Christian, reformed, online blogs. That is all I'm asking. Remember your context, who you're talking with (ie. brothers in the faith), and the unconditional, eternal love of the Father that binds us all together. We are a family, and it pains me when we seem to neglect that.

I'm not here to argue with the issues that have been raised in the comments. I didn't actually read all the comments in-depth. I'm merely asking that our speech would be sweet to those who are confused, that we would be gentle in our responses, generous in our love, and that'd we'd be slow to jump to judgment.

As far as comparisons to St. Paul, I would just again repeat that commenting on Reformed blogs is a bit different from writing to the 1st century church, don't you think? What Paul did is not normative for believers unless it's stated that it is- that's what I usually go by, maybe that's wrong.

And I'm still shocked that you, Mitchell, would mock a genuine prayer and thought from one of your brothers. Truly just a sad sight to see..

God bless.

Theologica › Romans 8:1

March 5, 2012 at 01:04 PM

[...] Tullian Tchividjian, More, Not Less Posted on Monday, March 5, 2012, at 12:00 pm. Filed under Bible Study: Romans, Glory, Quotes, [...]

Steve Martin

March 4, 2012 at 10:27 AM

Well, Mitchell...maybe you need to look at all this stuff a little more closely then.

Maybe you are quite taking the Christian life seriously enough.

Maybe if you prayed more and more fervantly. Or read the Bible more or worked at the soup kitchen more or were to cut out some of your more 'serious sins'.

Maybe a bit more Bible study. Maybe stop laying everything on Christ and reserve a little bit for yourself that you and others around you can really 'tell' if there is good fruit...or not.

Then maybe there'd be some tears (I'm sure there would be).

Steve Martin

March 4, 2012 at 10:02 PM

Mitchell,

You would be right, but I watch those games while I am visiting the prisoners in the Orange County Jail.

So, I think I'm alright.

Mitchell Hammonds

March 4, 2012 at 09:58 PM

Steve,
Really... the Kings, Dodgers and Angels... I mean come on man. You need to be examining yourself to see if you're in the faith (just not too much remember). Not watching t.v.
Reaffirm to yourself how much you love your enemies, love God with all your heart (no no... not that heart the other one that feels with real feelings) and how you love all the world as yourself.
Sorry if I'm laying it on thick... my moment of weakness!

Mitchell Hammonds

March 4, 2012 at 09:48 AM

And the pietists will set the bar as to how much everyone should be looking at themselves. Always just a little short or too long of reaching that fine line between navel-gazing and ignoring that habitual pattern that may be developing. What a life!
I have judged myself rightly in this life when I agree with God that I am sinful and need mercy. And that I have life through no other name than Christ and by His blood has propitiated God's just wrath against me. That is repentance... and I didn't shed one tear while doing it.

Steve Martin

March 4, 2012 at 08:55 PM

Mitchell,

Happy golfing, my friend!

I happen to enjoy watching the L.A. Kings on t.v.. And the Dodgers and Angels.

I also enjoy exposing the modern day Pharisee wearing the pietistic Christian mask. And then pouring the law on them, and watching them squirm, or lie, or both.

It's for their own good (but Lord forgive me...I do enjoy it so).

Mitchell Hammonds

March 4, 2012 at 07:43 PM

Hopeless... absolutely hopeless! Time for another long break from blogging so I can play an obscene amount of golf... while I work out this whole "self-denial" paradigm. Maybe that's it... I love golf in such a different way than sinners. It just "flows" out of me so naturally... by golly I think I've got it!

Great post Tullian! You are welcome at my fire anytime my friend.

Brandon E

March 4, 2012 at 06:31 PM

What we have in the gospel is a WHOLE Christ. A Christ for our justification and for our sanctification and every other need we have. Everything we need is in Christ and nothing we need is outside of Christ.

Christianity is a life lived in Christ. We have not grasped Christ simply by grasping justification. We have grasped Christ when we find in him all things. He is made unto us wisdom, sanctification and redemption and everything else too. Christ is our life. This is Christianity.


I amen what John T. said here. This realization is crucial because it ties fruit-bearing to abiding in Christ who is our life (John 15:4-5, Col. 3:4). It is a different mentality than trying to keep the law in order to please God (the so-called “third use of the law”). It is also different from complete passivity.

To use an illustration: One of the fruits of the Spirit is love (Gal. 5:22) and suppose that a believing husband encounters trials in which he finds himself having trouble loving his wife. Formerly he found it so easy, now he finds it so difficult. He wants to love his wife, but the harder he tries to improve (in other words, tries to keep the law) the harder he fails (Rom. 7).

Now certainly the Bible reveals that Christ loves and forgives us. But the Bible also reveals that He is our life. He desires to be revealed in us (Gal. 1:15-16), to live in us (Gal. 2:20), to be formed in us (Gal. 4:19), to make His home in our heart through faith (Eph. 3:16-17), to supply us bountifully through His Spirit that He would be magnified in our body (Phil. 1:19-21), that we would be conformed to His death by the power of His resurrection (Phil. 3:10), that we would grow up into Him in all things and not just some things (Eph. 4:15), so that He would live in and with us--a grafted life. This too--not just unearned forgiveness and acceptance--is a blessing of the new covenant, of what it means to be in Christ Jesus and Him in us, of what it means to receive the Spirit as the blessing promised to Abraham long before the law was given through Moses (Gal. 3).

The fact that the husband is struggling by his own strength to do something shows that he is still the one living. “It is no longer I that lives but it is Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20) may be a doctrine to him but it is not his experience (just as “forgiveness” and “unconditional love” may be a doctrine to us but not our experience). However, suppose the husband sees and believes that Christ not only forgives him but desires to live in him. Through his failure and inability, he realizes in a deeper way that it is not up to him to “try to be a better husband” so to speak (for the old man is so hopeless that God’s valuation was that he should be crucified and buried), and that his real need is to know Christ as his life by pursuing Him, gaining Him, beholding Him, enjoying Him, that Christ would make His home in all the chambers of his heart, which includes the chambers that concern his wife. As he pursues Christ in such a way, spontaneously and effortlessly--and to some extent, somewhat unconsciously--the husband may gradually love his wife in a way he did not know before, that is, with Christ as his love (Phil. 1:8; Col. 3:12), a love that depends not upon his own strength but is based on an increasing dependence upon Christ with the unsearchable riches of His life.

It is not simply a matter of God’s unconditional love causing a believer to love others in the same way that unregenerate persons can, save that the believer does it out of a thankful heart without trying to please God with good works. Rather, it is a matter of our natural love being put to death by His cross so that Christ in resurrection may live and be expressed in us and with our loving as a fruit of the Spirit.

This isn’t a religious project of the self. It is the denial of the self to pursue Christ and to know Christ as our life in our daily living, according to God's good pleasure that Christ would be all in all.

Matti

March 4, 2012 at 05:26 AM

I think the problem here is the Reformed definition of faith: "faith is never without works." So the works and faith are mixed together, but Dispensationalists and Free Grace folks helpfully distinguish faith from the fruits of sanctification.

Fruit is a result of abiding in Christ and abiding in His word, not an automatic result of faith though faith is necessary so that the Holy Spirit will indwell the person.

Tullian in championing for a great cause here. Without a clear vision of justification by faith we will always sink into moralism and try to merit our salvation by works.

John Thomson

March 4, 2012 at 04:45 AM

Mitchell

'Navel-gazing' does no not mean never examining self it means always examining yourself. To be human one must be self-aware and self-judging. In fact Scripture is clear that if we judge ourselves (recognise our sin and put it to death) than we will not be judged of the Lord.

I wish, however, to stay in line with the sentiment of the post: no condemnation leads to joyful service which self-awareness and self-judging does not deminish but in fact enhances.

Steve Martin

March 4, 2012 at 04:35 AM

Great point, Mitchell.

Looking for fruit is akin to looking for a pulse in the believer.

Are you still breathing? Then the Holy Spirit is at work in you bringing about whatever "fruit" He wills to bring about.

__________

'yeah but'...

John Thomson

March 4, 2012 at 04:29 AM

John 15:1-17 (ESV)
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

PAUL

March 3, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Jim said: "We look at behavioral virtue as a product of one-way love. Fruit-checking is simply seeing if belief in the one-way love of God has penetrated enough areas to allow the blessing of virtue to bear fruit".

So are we...who ever we are...to go around Fruit-checking each other? What if my fruit is not visible to you? What would be your conclusion about me? Could you explain what "the blessing of virtue to bear fruit" means? Thanks and God Bless

Steve Martin

March 3, 2012 at 12:05 AM

jeremiah,

My comments were meant to say that God's grace will NEVER be good enough for many who love the religion project of self. They just can't leave it alone. They always shift the onus BACK to the sinner. It may be a circuitous route...but that's where it always goes.

And why is this so important?

Assurance...or the lack of it.

Jim McNeely

March 3, 2012 at 09:46 AM

This is such a great post, I love Robert Capon! My whole ministry is named after Romans 8:1.

I think that people who are still in one way or another still living in the universe of the law look at the freedom of radical grace and interpret it from that perspective. Their whole concern is, "that may be true, but how will that make you be good?" Then you ask, "being good - how is that working for you?" They will possibly respond with some form of "sanctification is a process - you have to keep trying!" They inevitably interpret grace not as one-way love or unmerited favor, blessing beyond deserving, but as empowerment to do the law. That is because the behavioral virtue is their idee fixe, the god of their universe. Like Plato's Euthyphro dialog illustrates, in the universe of law even God bows the knee to behavioral virtue.

In the universe of grace, this is all turned around. We look at behavioral virtue as a product of one-way love. Fruit-checking is simply seeing if belief in the one-way love of God has penetrated enough areas to allow the blessing of virtue to bear fruit. The aim is not behavior, it is belief. It is more romance between us and Christ the groom. Sanctification is walking around more of the time grinning like a fool in love, knowing that He greatly loves you.

PAUL

March 3, 2012 at 09:26 AM

"We confess our sin fully assured that our sin will be forgiven" Do we ask forgivness for each and every sin or are we already completely forgiven for all sins past, present and future?
God Bless

Mitchell Hammonds

March 3, 2012 at 08:17 PM

It is a requirement that one must "navel-gaze" in order to look for fruit. It is inherent in the act of looking for "it"... the fruit. If you "believe in the One who is sent" you are a "good tree that has fruit" so stop quibbling about it. The moment we begin looking for fruit that becomes our "ultimate end" over and against simply "believing." Only... and I mean only... when we can get nothing out of a "work" can that work be "good." And the only way we get nothing out of a work is to believe in Christ. That He has settled the debt we owe and can never pay. Now live... confess... be forgiven... live... confess... be forgiven. This is the Christian life.
In music there is an acronym "K.I.S.S." Keep It Simple Stupid. I don't think we can handle anything more as fallen creatures. God has truly made it more simple than we make it.

Matthew Morizio

March 3, 2012 at 08:16 PM

But...but...but! How can this be!? Can we be this free; NO condemnation? Can God really be this powerful, sanctifying us thru the Truth of the Gospel by the Holy Ghost? Come on! Don't con me. It's too good to be True! Do you realize how impossible it is for us to believe that in beholding Christ's face (in all of Scripture) we are both justified and sanctified? It would require God taking possession of us for something like that to happen...for those who are justified to continue walking by faith.

Amen, brother Tullian! Thanks for posting this! (:

Pam

March 3, 2012 at 07:49 AM

"Whom the Son sets free is free INDEED!" It is human nature to want to somehow make this about us and what we should or shouldn't do. I think I'm finally getting it after almost 40 years of knowing the Lord. I've always been tagged a "rebel" of sorts in Christian circles over the last 4 decades because of daring to think differently and interpret scripture differently, but I 'get it' now, and that leads to such freedom and peace.

My response to the Oswald Chambers quote that was posted earlier is that my greatest spiritual blessing was when I realized that, because of Christ, I am not destitute and have been blessed with every spiritual blessing as well as being the recipient of all that He has promised.

Tullian, this post also reminds me a bit of how I'd love my children to think as far as the parent-child relationship. Quite a while ago you posted about a grace oriented parenting book. Could you give the title and author again? Thanks! I have 2 teenagers!!!

Steve Fuchs

March 3, 2012 at 06:10 PM

Beautiful. We can even say 'Yes Lord, I'm guilty of lying, or lust, or vengeance, or not forgiving (or whatever my sin is at the moment) but I long not to be. Yes, I can stand in the Light and have it exposed and washed away by you. Yes, I believe you are changing that in me now (Halleluyah)through this difficulty, and I trust you will take it away thru my union with Christ. Yes, I will take the difficult step into the light and away from the dark my flesh wants right now. Yes, I have hope in the midst of my temptation. Yes Lord, I live in the hope of your promised righteousness. Yes, I have everything to hide BUT no need to hide it bc Yes I believe you.'

John Thomson

March 3, 2012 at 05:28 PM

Jim McN

There is a great deal that I agree with and amen in what you have written. In fact the overall thrust I totally amen. My quibbles lie in some of the detail.

'Under the law we must be perfect but under grace we can be imperfect but bearing fruit. Our fruit is not invalid because we are imperfect, because we are under grace and there is no condemnation. Fruit comes from the nature of the tree, not from external demands to bear fruit. In Christ our nature is transformed.'

My only point here is that in one sense under grace we are already perfect. By one offering he has perfected forever those who are sanctified (set apart in Christ). I accept though that there is a sense in which we have yet to obtain perfection.

I understand your worry about navel-gazing and looking for fruit. As I've said before, and as others have said, the pastoral situation must determine our reaction. I say this because God does expect, even demand fruit (Jn 15). It is precisely because he saw no fruit in Israel - a cultivated vine - that she is cut off. The glory of grace however is that what God demands he supplies. I do not describe this empowerment as 'empowerment to do the law' as believers we are forever free of the law (which was sub-christian in all sorts of ways). What Johnny Cunnuck writes seems to me to be spot-on.

Johnny Cannuck

March 3, 2012 at 05:09 PM

Kathy, you are right. Only those who are sick (and acknowledge it) are in need of a Physician. But those who are at once in Christ by a living faith-union are a new creation! No more going back to grovel in the old man . . . he's dead. Crucified with Christ, buried with Christ, and raised to new resurrection-life with Christ - seated with him in the heavenly places of his resplendant exaltation (Eph 2:6). The old marriage union to Old Covenant Law and its condemnation is ended - we, His redeemed Bride, are now empowered to serve Him in the new way of the Spirit and not the old way of the written legal code (Rom 7:1-6). His new eschatological 'law' is written upon our hearts (2Cor 3:3) so that we may serve Him in faithful covenant-marriage love from the heart.

Kathy Morse

March 3, 2012 at 04:35 PM

In my own personal experience the need first had to be created (I remember it being terribly offensive at the time) but the Good News is the One who creates the need is also the One who satisfies the need.

Moe Bergeron

March 3, 2012 at 03:16 PM

It is good to hear some of you folk speak of the liberating power of God's Gospel in Jesus Christ. Union with/in Jesus Christ does not lead to the old slavery that's been coated over with cheap make up, "third use" or moralism, born out of legalism.

Much love and thank you!

John Thomson

March 3, 2012 at 02:20 PM

Paul

I should emphasize it is sin THAT I AM AWARE OF that I confess. Nor am I saying we rake around in our consciences looking for sin. I am not advocating some kind of meritorious soul-searching. I am not advocating navel-gazing.

Yet, as we walk in the light (as we focus on Christ) we become aware of our shortcomings and failures and this leads us to confession.

What we have in the gospel is a WHOLE Christ. A Christ for our justification and for our sanctification and every other need we have. Everything we need is in Christ and nothing we need is outside of Christ.

Christianity is a life lived in Christ. We have not grasped Christ simply by grasping justification. We have grasped Christ when we find in him all things. He is made unto us wisdom, sanctification and redemption and everything else too. Christ is our life. This is Christianity.

Johnny Cannuck

March 3, 2012 at 02:07 PM

Jim, nail hit firmly on head!

"They inevitably interpret grace not as one-way love or unmerited favor, blessing beyond deserving, but as empowerment to do the law. That is because the behavioral virtue is their idee fixe, the god of their universe."

Most traditional (moral-)Reformed thinking is fixated on personal moral betterment and law-empowerment when it comes to living the Christian life. Rather, true Gospel living is believing . . . it is a believing into the fulness of Christ's resurrection power and grace already accomplished for us, and ever available to us by the immeasurable greatness of the Spirit's power in us!

John Thomson

March 3, 2012 at 02:02 PM

Paul

'“We confess our sin fully assured that our sin will be forgiven” Do we ask forgivness for each and every sin or are we already completely forgiven for all sins past, present and future?'

That is a good question and the crux of things. The truth is of course we must live with a measure of tension. Firstly we are completely and totally forgiven - sins past, present and future. In this sense there is no condemnation. We constantly live from the position of being accepted. We are no longer rebels but reconciled. We are not enemies but children.

Yet we sin.

We sin, however, as children not rebels. We are not sinners who are becoming holy but saints who sin. Our identity is saint/child/in the Spirit/in Christ. What happens when we consciously sin? We are not condemned (union is not broken) but we are aware of guilt and pollution (communion is broken). We feel the loss of communion, the loss of intimacy with Christ.

1John 1:7-9 (ESV)
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Precisely because we are aware we are not condemned but accepted we 'confess our sin' knowing that he is 'faithful and just to forgive us our sin' (because forgive is what the cross demands of God for all in Christ - it is not out of love he forgives but out of his righteousness and faithfulness)and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

When we confess communion (not union) is reestablished and we enjoy fellowship with God in the light.

Jim McNeely

March 3, 2012 at 01:27 PM

@Paul: No, that's a good point. I hate fruit checking in that way. That's kind of my point. There is so much legalism going on in the name of fruit-checking. My wife came home from a Bible study the other day and said, "I've never seen so much 'fruit-checking' going on."

I think in a lot of ways 'fruit' is meant as a comfort to us, that we see some evidence of change in our lives, and so we know that the Holy Spirit is active and working in us. In other words under grace we believe first, and fruit is a gift, evidence of works prepared beforehand that we would walk in them (Eph 2:10). Under the law we must be perfect but under grace we can be imperfect but bearing fruit. Our fruit is not invalid because we are imperfect, because we are under grace and there is no condemnation. Fruit comes from the nature of the tree, not from external demands to bear fruit. In Christ our nature is transformed.

Good works are a gift, not a requirement; all things are lawful but not all things are profitable. Profit, the desirableness and beauty of the thing, is far more powerful and sustainable a motivator than obligation and requirement. Thus it can only come when it is desired but not required as by the coercion of the law (1John 4:18). You cannot demand fruit. Grace, in kindness, can look at someone over time and prayer and say that perhaps here is someone who does not walk thinking that they are the object of Jesus' affection and propitiation. They are operating poorly under law, under obligation, and are being led by shame and weird ways to escape it. So, you can't throw out the baby with the bathwater, but there is a cruel selfish legalistic way to check fruit, and there is a kind way that is looking for ways to open the door to grace and one-way love in a person's secret mind. There are guys I have been working with for years who are obviously still not there. I am watching for fruit, like Elisha's assistant saw a cloud like a man's hand, and just starting to see it after years of ministry. I don't see anything at all wrong with that!

John Thomson

March 2, 2012 at 12:32 PM

'The secret of worship is that it’s only when you deeply grapple with the pride-smashing fact that you can’t do anything for Jesus, you begin wanting to do everything for Jesus. True discipleship happens when you come to terms with the fact that you are so unconditionally loved, forgiven, pardoned, and free that you say “yes” to whatever God wants.'

Now that's a message I can 'amen'.

On the topic of condemnation we should mention that there is a difference between condemnation and guilt. When we become aware of our sin, we rightly feel guilt and grieve that we have let our father down. But we should never feel condemned. We should never feel that we are not accepted or loved. We confess our sin fully assured that our sin will be forgiven. We should recognise too that this sin is not the real me. It is the 'Me' that has been put to death on the cross. The real 'me' is the new person I am in Christ. This sin is mine but it doesn't define me or identify me.

MarkO

March 2, 2012 at 12:03 PM

this is magnificent!
Recently I was talking with a brother (who like myself) grew up hearing a Finneyist approach to Christian living. We talked about this very portion of Scripture - Rom 8:1.

"in Christ" = no commendation

Free --> totally free

I am thrilled to finally "get it"

jeremiah

March 2, 2012 at 11:36 PM

Steve, John's comments were encouraging about the unconditional love of Christ. Just because he mentioned us as believer's being a new creation I do not know why that is so threatening to you. Are you frightened when you read John 3:16? Is that a man centered verse?
I think you were trying to read a 'yeah but' into John's comments. If you are looking for 'yeah but' people and comments I am sure you will find them but you may miss a lot of things too.

Susanne Schuberth (Germany)

March 2, 2012 at 11:31 AM

With this posting you obtained highest score, Mr. Tullian Tchividjian! :)

Paul St

March 2, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Pastor
Yes it is done. He said and I believe it.
I read this cartoon and the Judge was siting in his chair telling a man he is acquited, but also said he will hold him five years for questioning.
we still live in an unbelieving world.

Steve Martin

March 2, 2012 at 08:51 PM

Yes...all that is fine and dandy...

But let's get back to what really is important...'ME', and what I should be doing!

Kathy Morse

March 2, 2012 at 08:29 PM

"The greatest spiritual blessing we receive is when we come to the knowledge that we are destitute. Until we get there, our Lord is powerless. He can do nothing for us as long as we think we are sufficient in and of ourselves. We must enter into his kingdom through the door of destitution." Oswald Chambers Rev. 3:17
Now that's true freedom!

Johnny Cannuck

March 2, 2012 at 08:23 AM

What a glorious heaven-rending truth! And let me be so bold as to add, the instrument of my condemnation has been forever nailed to my Saviour's cross (Eph 2:15; Col 2:14). No condemnation means that there is not a single jot or tittle more that the Law has to say to me anymore. My righteousness is in Christ alone, who writes his new living law upon my heart - the Spirit of the living God (2Cor 3:3) - and by whom I am being transformed into Christ's glorious image from one degree of glory to another! Praise God we are gloriously alive from the dead and gloriously free!

Steve Martin

March 2, 2012 at 08:14 AM

Indeed.

The Word of God is done to us. It's not something that 'we apply'.

It's applied to us.

.

But we still have trouble believing it. So He applies more gospel Word to us. Some in visable form...that we might have asurrance.

Isn't that what we really desire...some asurrance?

I have it. Thanks be to God.

Thank you, Pastor Tullian.

Susanne Schuberth (Germany)

March 10, 2012 at 07:30 PM

Okey-dokey, Mitch.

But as for me, I’d like to say, using my favorite weapon ;) ,

“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. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.” (Phil 3:12-16)

Bye.

Mitchell Hammonds

March 10, 2012 at 06:24 PM

Susan,
The fact that I am sarcastic does not mean I am unloving. I'm not wishing ill or hoping for some tragic accident to befall on those with whom I disagree with. I simply disagree. Stating that fact isn't unloving. Stating that fact while using conversational tactics... be it sarcasm or comedy or ridiculing ideas that I don't agree with doesn't mean I'm unloving.
I'll also say that "Loving one another" is the very area where we ALL miss the mark considerably. It doesn't take much effort of thought to begin to realize how often we fail at this. Simply read the Law of God it will get you as well.

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