Romans, Week 1

In this week’s class we faced a near impossible task—have a discussion through the main points of Romans chapters 1 through 4, and keep it within the 2-hour time frame for our class. We made it by the skin of our teeth. Whew! And now, similarly impossible, a blog post hitting the main points, without writing a book.

I think a fair summary, in brief, is that Paul has laid out as thoroughly as possible the sinner’s absolute inability to come to God on his own for salvation, and God’s gracious provision of Jesus Christ to save sinners. Continue reading “Romans, Week 1”

Hosea Week 11: Final Appeal

Oh, sisters, how refreshing it is to come at last to the final chapter of our study. Not because it means that our time is drawing to a close, no, but because we see in chapter 14 of Hosea a model of true, mindful, heartfelt repentance and the Lord’s turning from his anger as a result. The outline of true repentance in the first 3 verses are instructive, and the promises of God to his repentant people are precious. These point forward to Christ, because of whom, ultimately, God’s anger is turned from his people, our apostasy is healed, and God therefore loves us freely and blesses us abundantly. Continue reading “Hosea Week 11: Final Appeal”

Fellowship with God: Confidence in Christ, Lesson 4

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2)

 

In this, our fourth lesson, we will slow down a bit to consider the foundational doctrines of our faith which John here sets before us. But first, let’s orient ourselves to what has already been taught, what will yet be taught, and what this passage is not teaching. Simon Kistemaker opens his commentary on 1 John 2:1-2 by observing:

Except for Jesus, there is no one who is sinless. Even if we know God’s law and precepts, we still stumble and sin from time to time. What remedy is there for the person who has fallen into sin? John provides the answer by pointing to Jesus Christ, who is our helper.[1]

We need to keep this comforting reminder at hand because John, with pastoral affection together with apostolic authority, will spend much of this epistle encouraging believers not to sin in terms that, at first blush, are rather challenging. The vast testimony of Scripture assures us that those who are in Christ have been freed from bondage to sin—sin is no longer our master—and yet, we will battle with indwelling sin and temptations from the world and the devil until the moment we pass into glory. So, take heart, dear one, when (not if) you sin, God has provided a means for our cleansing, His own Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, as John will unfold for us in this passage of his epistle. Continue reading “Fellowship with God: Confidence in Christ, Lesson 4”