Grace: the motive for sanctification

“Grace is the daily motivation for us to press closer toward Christ, to ‘be daily hungering and thirsting after him, and daily receiving from his fullness, even grace for grace; that you may rejoice in his all-sufficiency, may taste his love in every dispensation.’ We seek more grace by seeking to experience more Christ.” [Tony […]

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Are we not sinners?

John Newton: Are we not sinners? Were we not rebels and enemies before we knew the gospel? And have we not been unfaithful, backsliding, and unprofitable ever since? Are we not redeemed by the blood of Jesus? And can we stand a single moment except he upholds us? Have we anything that we have not […]

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Questions to Unbelief

If to Jesus for relief My soul has fled by prayer; Why should I give way to grief, Or heart-consuming care? Are not all things in his hand? Has he not his promise past? Will he then regardless stand And let me sink at last? While I know his providence Disposes each event; Shall I […]

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When suffering

While most know the story of John Newton as the author of the hymn, “Amazing Grace,” most are unaware of all the variety of struggles he endured in his life. For instance, after believing God had called him to vocational ministry as a pastor, it was seven years before he was able to be ordained.  […]

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Grab bag

Some helpful articles spotted recently: The timeline for the transition between John Piper and Jason Meyer as pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church has changed again.  Read the plan and rationale from John’s pen. Addressing the same theme that I did in the post, “Satan and sin — two defeated foes,” Mike Riccardi writes about “Freed from […]

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Making mountains out of molehills

I needed this reminder from John Newton today: The hour is coming when we shall be astonished to think what mere trifles were once capable of discouraging us; for though many things we now meet with have a kind of importance respecting the present life and our natural feelings, yet when we come to see […]

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Grab bag

Helpful resources for the growing Christian: Have you ever heard the statement, “I love him, but I don’t like him”?  Me too.  Too often.  Rick Thomas demonstrates the idol behind the statement and how to address it in “Marriage problems.” How to handle public debate among Christians is a growing question and concern, though not […]

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Grab bag

Some helpful articles seen recently: John Newton, writing his troubled friend William Cowper, notes the hardness of the Christian life — and the grace of Christ:  “For every day shows us some new thing in the heart, or some new turn in the management of the war against us which we were not aware of; […]

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Grab bag

This week I counted the number of open tabs in my web browser.  It was over 40.  Time for a Grab Bag, me thinks. Many more churches are being proactive in providing biblical counseling for their people and the community (check out the GBCM webpage and the GBC biblical counselor training page as examples).  Capitol […]

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Knowing the will of God

How can one know the will of God?  That question is not only frequently asked in our day, but has often been asked by followers of God throughout much of, if not all of, history. Here is an answer from pastor John Newton in one of his many letters.  Though written a couple of centuries […]

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Christ is all

In Colossians 3:11, Paul says (echoing v. 4 — “Christ, who is our life…”), “Christ is all, and in all.”  That is, Christ is all-sufficient.  He is everything a believer needs and He is everything to that believer.  And He is in all believers equally — no one gets an extra dose of Jesus.  His […]

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The necessity of trials

Several times recently I have had occasion to encourage people with the statement, “you need to have a category in your life that believes when you experience the sins of others against you, it is a grace in your life (because your responses will expose either your own sinful desires and idols or they will […]

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Newton on the benefits of affliction

Few people have cultivated satisfaction in suffering.  It is difficult to see the blessing of hardship.  Even believers can develop an unbiblical worldview that assumes that suffering is the signal of God’s absence and maybe even of His displeasure.  Yet if there is no suffering, how will we ever demonstrate to the world that God […]

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Prayer Answered by Crosses

Echoing the same theme that I found yesterday in John Donne’s poem, “Batter My Heart” (aka “Holy Sonnet XIV”), John Newton penned “Prayer Answered by Crosses.”  It is yet another testimony that grace is found in burdens.  God’s favor is evidenced in the revelation of “the hidden evils of my heart.”  These devices and more […]

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