Posts tagged “Grace

Sermo Dei: Sexagesima 2018

Posted on February 7th, 2018

Sexagesima 2 Corinthians 11:19—12:9 (Isaiah 55:10-13; Luke 8:4-15) February 4, 2018 It’s hard to believe the Gospel. It’s hard to believe that my sins are really absolved, removed, atoned for, forgiven, forgotten because of who Jesus is and what He did. There’s always something pulling us back, making us think that what we really need is the performance of certain actions, or the gift of money and time, to truly please God. Besides this, it’s human nature—fallen human nature—to assume that I need something besides Jesus for my life to be joyful and satisfying. Hence people are drawn to those who say they have the answers, from self-help authors to preachers who will give you the steps to your best life now. Preachers of…

The role of works in the last judgment

Posted on March 28th, 2014

Jesus clearly speaks about a salvation based upon works (e.g., Mt. 25). How can we reconcile this with the clear statements of Scripture that attribute salvation to the grace of God? Matthew Levering helpfully observes, Works of love have this role in the last judgment because they show that we share in the grace of the Holy Spirit, who makes us adopted children of God. Jesus and the Demise of Death: Resurrection, Afterlife, and the Fate of the Christian (p. 94). Baylor University Press. As Luther would put it, “Works serve the neighbor and supply the proof that faith is living.”

Corruption has been banished

Posted on April 1st, 2013

Now that the common Saviour of all has died on our behalf, we who believe in Christ no longer die, as men died afore time, in fulfillment of the threat of the law. That condemnation has come to an end; and now that, by the grace of the resurrection, corruption has been banished and done away, we are loosed from our mortal bodies in God’s good time for each, so that we may obtain a better resurrection. Like seeds cast into the earth, we do not perish in our dissolution, but like them shall rise again, death having been brought to nought by the grace of the Saviour. St Athanasius, On the Incarnation

Brief Review: Grace upon Grace

Posted on November 13th, 2012

After picking up John Kleinig’s Grace upon Grace: Spirituality for Today (CPH, 2008) shortly after it was published, my sabbatical has finally afforded me the time to read it. Kleinig is Australian, recently retired as a professor at the Lutheran seminary in Adelaide. I’ve had the privilege of taking two intensive classes with him; one in 1998 on 1-2 Chronicles (the focus of his doctoral thesis, published as The Lord’s Song), and one just this past September on Exodus. I’ve also heard him speak at three conferences, one several years ago at the Paul Gerhardt symposium at St. Catherine’s seminary (near Niagara Falls) and twice at Doxology “Spotlight on Ministry” conferences. I will travel far and put everything else on hold to hear him, because Kleinig points…

Resentment sabotages prayer

Posted on November 5th, 2012

Prayer requires faith. But strong faith is not willpower. In Grace upon Grace, John Kleinig highlights one of our primary weaknesses in our prayer life: Hesitant and uncertain prayer is the mark of a troubled conscience. It usually stems from resentment against those who have hurt us, and our reluctance to forgive them. Resentment and anger sabotage faith and prayer (see also 1 Timothy 2:8) and must therefore be rectified. So the power of prayer rests not only on our confidence in the grace of God but also on our graciousness to those who have hurt us. Wisdom. Let us attend.

Terrifying preaching

Posted on November 23rd, 2011

The “lawful use” of the law, as Augustine puts it in terms borrowed from 1 Timothy 1:8-9, is a form of preaching whose effect is “to terrify the unrighteous … so that they flee by faith to justifying grace.” -Phillip Cary, “From Augustine’s Grace to Luther’s Gospel,” Logia XX.4