Notable & Newsworthy

Here are the links and articles for the day…

Get Sidney Greidanus’ “Preaching Christ from Daniel: Foundations for Expository Sermons” for 50% OFF at Westminster Bookstore

Get 5-packs of New Growth Press’ minibooks for only $8 (over 50% OFF) at Westminster Bookstore (ends 05/28)

Enter to win a stack of books from Christian Focus and 20 Schemes

Enter to win a stack of books from Baker Publishing and Tim Challies

Take a survey and enter to win some autographed books and a $250 Gift Card to Lifeway from Thom Rainer

Get Calvin Miller’s “Letters to a Young Pastor” for FREE for Amazon Kindle

Get Kevin DeYoung’s “Crazy Busy” for just $3.99 for Amazon Kindle (sale ends 05/31)

Get Charles Quarles’ “Buried Hope or Risen Savior?” for just $0.99 for Amazon Kindle

Get R.C. Sproul’s “How Then Shall We Worship?: Biblical Principles to Guide Us Today” for just $2.99 for Amazon Kindle

Get R.C. Sproul’s “Pleasing God: Discovering the Meaning and Importance of Sanctification” for just $3.03 for Amazon Kindle

Get R.C. Sproul’s “God’s Love: How the Infinite God Cares for His Children” for just $3.03 for Amazon Kindle

Get R.C. Sproul’s “The Promises of God: Discovering the One Who Keeps His Word” for just $3.99 for Amazon Kindle

Get Paul Tripp’s “Broken-Down House: Living Productively in a World Gone Bad” for just $1.99 for Amazon Kindle

Get Tedd & Margy Tripp’s “Instructing a Child’s Heart” for just $1.99 for Amazon Kindle

Get Tedd Tripp’s “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” for just $1.99 for Amazon Kindle

Get J.I. Packer’s “Finishing Our Course with Joy: Guidance from God for Engaging with Our Aging” for just $4.99 for Amazon Kindle

Check out Ligonier’s $5 Friday sale featuring Richard Phillips’ “What’s So Great About the Doctrines of Grace?”

Tim Keller and D.A. Carson on the recent shake-ups at The Gospel Coalition

John Murray on justification and good works

David Helm on the dangers of the lectio divina approach to biblical interpretation

David Murray on evangelism according to the book of Proverbs

The benefits of developing a robust Christology

Tim Keesee on the advance of the gospel around the world

“You can drift into sin, but not into righteousness.” (Leon Morris)

”The kingdom of heaven is worth infinitely more than the cost of discipleship.” (D.A. Carson)

Please visit some of the other pages on this site (located in the tabs). You’ll find some excellent articles, FREE e-books, and book recommendations. Check out the Pastoral Theology page or Systematic Theology page first. Thanks!

Advertisements

Review: Life in Christ

The good folks at Cross Focused Reviews have blessed me with another book to review. I was really excited about the prospect of reviewing this book, as it deals with what I see as one of the most neglected aspects of the Christian life as represented in mainstream American evangelicalism: Discipleship. As the title implies, the book also covers the glorious doctrine of Union with Christ—which in its own right is a teaching that is largely overlooked. Jeremy Walker‘s “Life in Christ: Becoming and Being a Disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ” is a welcome addition to contemporary discipleship resources that is not only pastoral, but thoroughly biblical and theologically precise.

In the first chapter, “Looking to Jesus,” he instructs the reader as to how one comes to Christ for salvation. Walker examines the command and invitation of the gospel, as well as the purpose and promise of the gospel. Beginning with the contrast between human depravity and the necessity of regeneration, the author weaves biblical references in and through to help the reader understand the Bible’s teaching of conversion–repentance and faith–and the grace of being declared righteous according to the person and work of Jesus Christ.

In chapter two, Walker seeks to unpack the doctrine of Union with Christ. He points to the teachings of the apostle Paul to explain the Christian’s position “in Christ” and the Christian’s nature as a “new creation.” (pp. 22–27) The author continues by rightfully expounding upon 2 Corinthians 5:17. He explains that for the Christian, “the old has gone and is gone for good; the new has come and keeps on coming.” (p. 28) Walker then closes out the chapter with an evangelistic appeal: “Whoever comes to Christ in faith–repenting of his sins, seeing his misery without Christ, seeking grace to be in Christ–and earnestly desiring that one day he might see and be with Christ–will find Christ to be his Savior and Lord and will enter into the blessed realities of the new creation in himself now and look forward to a life in a new heaven and new earth with Christ in days to come, the very heaven of heaven.” (p. 34)

Walker speaks of “The Unsearchable Riches of Christ” in the third chapter, and described the glorious riches of Christ. Surveying the book of Ephesians, he shows the reader the “unsearchable” love, grace, forgiveness, wisdom, power, joy, truth, assurance, hope, and mercy in Christ (pp. 38–44). The glorious person of Christ is next to be considered, as the author gives a Christological overview regarding the deity, humanity, agony, and glory of the Savior. The chapter concludes with an explanation of the glorious mystery of the gospel and the revelation of Jesus Christ. “The unsearchable riches of Christ are proclaimed in order that they might be known and enjoyed, received by sinners who have come to rest in the boundless resources of Jesus Christ as their Deliverer, the One given for the very purpose of meeting the needs of fallen people. That in itself is unsearchable!” (p. 48) All other pursuits leave something to be desired, but the knowledge and loveliness of Christ, which is inexhaustible, is satisfying beyond measure.

Chapter four is about the blessed doctrine of adoption. Rooted in the writings of the apostle John, the author presents the breathtaking reality of God’s love towards His children: “This is indeed a love that comes from God the Father, the God who does abiding good to the utterly undeserving, establishing an intimate relation with them in giving, as a gift of love, His own beloved Son. This is a love without measure flowing from the infinite heart of a good and loving God, an ocean without shore, a realm without frontier.” (p. 58) The author shows how the love of God is everlasting and unchangeable, abounding and unlimited, and undeserved and overwhelming. (pp. 58–59) He has given us a new nature and calls us His sons, and Walker beckons us to behold this truth for wonder and encouragement, for trust and confidence, for obedience and fortitude, for joy and thankfulness, and finally, for joy. (pp. 60–65)

Continuing with his examination of the apostle John’s writings, Walker addresses eternal security in chapter nine: “The Jewel of Assurance.” He points to the pastoral mindset of John in his first epistle and how he wanted his readers to know Christ and have life in Him (cf. 1 John 5:13). We see that assurance of salvation is definable, desirable, and possible. (pp. 67–76) The author closes the chapter with the pneumatological reality of assurance: “It is the Spirit of adoption who works in us faith and its fruits, implanting and stimulating graces which are the evidence of new life and witnessing with our spirit to their presence and reality and owning us by His sweet influences and by these means as children of God. The good grounds of confidence in the life of a saved person produce, through the Spirit’s witness, their full gift in our minds and hearts.” (p.77)

In what I see as the most important chapter of the book, “The Marks of God’s Children” seeks to present a framework of the Christian life. The author begins by laying to rest some common “inconclusive indications” of assurance of salvation like visible morality, head knowledge, and external religion. (pp. 80–84). He then devotes the rest of the chapter to showcase the marks of a true Christian. These “indispensable indications” of biblical assurance are repentance and faith, devotion to God, growth in holiness, and love for the saints. (pp. 85–108) This section alone is worth the cost of the book and is a spiritual gem for the newly converted and veteran Christian alike. I will certainly be using this material for disciple-making in the future.

“A Work in Progress” is the title of chapter seven, in which the author surveys the apostle Paul’s writings on sanctification. It is a masterful call to persevere; to press on in the Christian life. We should strive to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12) and not be passive in our pursuit of holiness. Walker rightly points out that Paul’s exhortation to put on the armor of God (Eph. 6:13–17) “is not a call to occasional endeavor but a command constantly and thoroughly to work at a task until the point of completion.” (p. 113) This is not works-righteousness… the indicatives of the gospel (what Christ has done) are prior to the imperatives of the gospel (what is expected of us). “Our joy and blessing as God’s children,” says Walker, “are bound up in God’s ultimate purpose for us, and he is sovereignly bringing it to pass.” (p. 125)

The final chapter focuses on the apostle Paul’s later writings, particularly those sections where we gain some insight into his impending death. “A Life in Review” is a heartfelt look at the apostle’s unending endurance in the fight and race of the faith. Paul looks around, looks back, and finally looks ahead to a great crown, a great Christ, and a great company of redeemed sinners in the consummation. (pp. 130–138)

Review

Jeremy Walker’s “Life in Christ” is a warm and encouraging explanation on what it means to be a Christian. With pastoral sensitivity and theological clarity, he presents a biblical faithful work on being a disciple and living life to the glory of God. Like a modern-day Puritan, Walker marries doctrine and practice to create a magnificent resource for instructing maturing disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

For more on this subject…

Jeremy Walker interviewed on the Janet Mefferd Show

Jeremy Walker interview with The Confessing Baptist

A Reader’s Review of “The New Calvinism Considered”

Recommended reading:

Effective December 1, 2009, Federal Trade Commission guidelines state that bloggers receiving any kind of compensation should disclose that information clearly on their blog when posting a review of the product… that being said: I RECEIVED A FREE COPY OF THE BOOK.

Justification

JUSTIFICATION

“Justification in its essence is a legal or forensic term, a term that belongs to the realm of the Law Court. It means ‘to declare just,’ and ‘to declare righteous.’ It is the opposite of condemnation. The Christian has moved from a state of ‘condemnation’ to one of ‘justification’… we do not justify ourselves before God. God justifies us… entirely apart from us and our works. It is not the result of any merit that is in us.” (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones)

For more on this subject, please visit the Systematic Theology page.

Recommended reading:

Covenant of Grace

COVENANT OF GRACE

“The origin of the covenant of grace was the unparalleled, incomprehensible love of God to sinners of the human race. The obstacles in the way of accomplishing the salvation of those, whose death was demanded by law and justice, were apparently insuperable. It may be presumed, that if the problem, how God could be just and yet justify the ungodly, had been proposed to a conclave of the brightest angels in heaven, they could not have worked out a satisfactory answer: it would have baffled their utmost intellectual efforts. That God cannot cease to treat his creatures according to the principles of eternal justice is most evident; and that justice required that the sinner should suffer, according to his demerit, is equally evident. Where, then, is there any foundation for hope in regard to those who have once transgressed? And not only the justice, but the truth of God stood in the way of the sinner’s salvation. God had threatened the penalty of death, interminable death; and the Ruler of the universe must maintain the truth of his word, as it respects his threatenings as well as his promises… But that which could not be discovered by the wisdom of creatures, was devised by the infinite wisdom of God. In the counsels of the adorable Trinity the plan was agreed upon. Between the Father and the Son, a transaction took place, which may strictly be termed a covenant, for, speaking after the manner of men, there were mutual stipulations entered into between the high contracting parties.” (Archibald Alexander)

For more on this subject, please visit the Biblical Theology page.

Recommended reading:

Before the Throne

BEFORE THE THRONE

“God has chosen us despite our unworthiness. He has sent Christ to die for our sins and raised him from the dead for our justification. He has called us to faith through the preaching of the gospel and he has confirmed those promises through the sacraments. And he has done all of this so that we might be numbered among the assembly of those who enter his presence on the Lord’s Day and add our voices to the heavenly choir, singing praises to the one who sits and the throne and to the lamb.” (Kim Riddlebarger)

For more on this subject, please visit The Riddleblog.

 

Recommended reading:

The Foolishness of the Gospel

THE FOOLISHNESS OF THE GOSPEL

“Man’s part is only as the recipient of a gift, planned, purchased and provided by Divine initiative and action alone. When a sinner stands in the judgment, his only hope of salvation is found in the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, imputed to him apart from any human effort or work. Justification is not the result of man’s co-operation with the grace of God; it is rather a result of divine initiative. It is reliance on Jesus Christ alone for salvation, by faith alone obtaining salvation. We receive the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, his holy obedience to the Law of God, in utter dependence upon his sacrifice for our sins made at Calvary.” (Jim Renihan)

For more on this subject, visit The Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies.

 

Recommended reading:

 

Reformation Essentials

REFORMATION ESSENTIALS

“According to Scripture, God declares a person righteous before that person actually begins to become righteous. Therefore, the declaration is not in response to any spiritual or moral advances within the individual, but is an imputation of the perfect righteousness that God immediately requires of everyone who is united to Christ by faith alone. When a person trusts Christ, that very moment he or she is clothed in his perfect holiness, so that even though the believer is still sinful, he or she is judged by God as blameless.” (Michael Horton)

For more on this subject, visit Modern Reformation.

 

Recommended reading:

Union with Christ, Justification, and Regeneration

UNION WITH CHRIST, JUSTIFICATION, AND REGENERATION

“The special work of the Spirit is to apply the benefits of Christ’s mediation to the elect. There is a strict correspondence between Christ’s work and the Spirit’s work. For this reason, regeneration must never be considered apart from Christ; positively stated, regeneration must always be understood in relation to union with Christ… The risen Savior first apprehends the elect and makes them alive by His Spirit operating as the Spirit of Christ, so they can receive from Christ all the benefits of the work He accomplished on their behalf, as their mediator. Faith is only possible because Christ, through the Spirit, has joined Himself to the sinner. In response, the sinner exercises faith toward Christ, as an effect of regeneration. With the union complete, the sinner receives from Christ everything that Christ merited, including justification, adoption, and sanctification.” (Joel Beeke)

For more on this subject, please visit the Systematic Theology page.

Recommended reading:

The Doctrine of Justification

THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION

“There was a time, not so long ago, when the blessed truth of justification was one of the best known doctrines of the Christian faith, when it was regularly expounded by the preachers, and when the rank and file of church-goers were familiar with its leading aspects. But now, alas, a generation has arisen which is well-nigh totally ignorant of this precious theme, for with very rare exceptions it is no longer given a place in the pulpit, nor is scarcely anything written thereon in the religious magazines of our day; and, in consequence, comparatively few understand what the term itself connotes, still less are they clear as to the ground on which God justifies the ungodly… This blessed doctrine supplies the grand divine cordial to revive one whose soul is cast down and whose conscience is distressed by a felt sense of sin and guilt, and longs to know the way and means whereby he may obtain acceptance with God and the title unto the Heavenly inheritance. To one who is deeply convinced that he has been a life-long rebel against God, a constant transgressor of His holy law, and who realizes he is justly under His condemnation and wrath, no inquiry can be of such deep interest and pressing moment as that which relates to the means of restoring him to the divine favour, remitting his sins, and fitting him to stand unabashed in the divine presence: till this vital point has been cleared to the satisfaction of his heart, all other information concerning religion will be quite unavailing.” (A.W. Pink)

For more on this subject, please visit the Systematic Theology page.

 

Recommended reading:

Sola Gratia

GRACE ALONE

“The Reformers maintained that the sinner is saved by the grace of God, His unmerited favor, alone. This doctrine means that nothing the sinner does commends him to the grace of God, and that the sinner does not cooperate with God in order to merit his salvation. Salvation, from beginning to end, is the sovereign gift of God to the unworthy and undeserving. As Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians, who were inclined to boasting: ‘Who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?’ (1 Cor. 4:7). No one can ever stand before God and say, ‘Look at me and at what I have done!’ God is no one’s debtor, not least in matters of salvation (Rom. 11:35).” (Guy Waters)

For more on the subject, visit the Systematic Theology page.

Recommended reading: