The Happiness That Godly Sorrow Brings: Ten Things About Psalm 32

10 thingsIn preparation for Sunday’s sermon on Psalm 32, here are ten things about David’s confession of sin that leads to joyful song.

1. Psalm 32 is a hybrid psalm containing elements of thanksgiving and wisdom.

Gerald Wilson calls Psalm 32 a “psalm of thanksgiving coupled with instruction encouraging the reader not to resist the guidance of Yahweh but to trust him fully” (Psalms Vol. 1544). Likewise, Peter Craigie concludes Psalm 32 is “a basic thanksgiving psalm [that] has been given literary adaptation according to the wisdom tradition” (Psalms 1–50265).

For those who read the Psalm devotionally, not academically, the classification of the Psalm does not matter as much as how the elements of thanksgiving and wisdom work together. In the flow of Psalm 32, thanksgiving leads to instruction and words of wise counsel arise from God’s forgiveness for which David is thankful. In this way, it is helpful to see how thanksgiving and instruction reinforce one another in Psalm 32 and our lives. Continue reading

I Believe in Free(d) Will: Humanity In Its Fourfold State

simeon-muller-3505Whenever the question ‘Do you believe in free will?’ comes up, I want to stop the conversation and step back about thirty yards. Too often that question is presented as if there are only two answers:

  1. Yes, I believe in free will (and therefore, righteously and obviously affirm the moral responsibility of humanity).
  2. No, I don’t believe in free will (and therefore deny the moral responsibility of humanity and foolishly make humanity to be a set of fated robots).

The trouble with this subject is the binary nature of the question. What if instead of asking, “Do you believe in free will? Yes or no?” We ask, what does the Bible say about humanity and our freedom? Though any answer that follows is still to be tainted by our own philosophical (and geo-political) prejudices, it might just get us a bit closer to a good set of questions and a more biblical answer.

But if we take time to consider this subject biblically, what kind of questions should we ask? And if Scripture doesn’t give us a philosphical treatise on the matter, what kind of passages can we find? The answer is that Scripture is filled with passages that address the inner psychology of the soul; the Bible regularly describes the mind, will, emotions, and heart—not to mention the image of God. And, in fact, it does so with regard to four different states of existence. Continue reading

Is God the Author of Sin?

stormIs God the author of sin?

This question has been asked often in the history of Christian doctrine. Some theologians, ostensibly embarrassed by God’s absolute sovereignty and what that means for sin deny his total control of the universe.  For instance, open theist Gregory Boyd writes,

Jesus nor his disciples seemed to understand God’s absolute power as absolute control. They prayed for God’s will to be done on earth, but this assumes that they understand that God’s will was not yet being done on earth (Mt. 6:10). Hence neither Jesus nor his disciples assumed that there had to be a divine purpose behind all events in history. Rather, they understood the cosmos to be populated by a myriad of free agents, some human, some angelic, and many of them evil. The manner in which events unfold in history was understood to be as much a factor of what these agents individually and collectively will as it was a matter of what God himself willed. (God at War:The Bible and Spiritual Conflict53)

By contrast, others like Augustine of Hippo (5th C.), John Calvin of Geneva (16th C.), and Jonathan Edwards of New England (18th C.) have affirmed that God who never does evil still permits, decrees, and even employs evil so that his larger purposes of grace and glory might be accomplished.  On this Edwards says in his treatise on The Freedom of the Will,

If by Author of Sin, be meant the Sinner, the Agent, or the Actor of Sin, or the Doer of a wicked thing; so it would be a reproach, to suppose God to be the author of sin. In this sense, I utterly deny God to be the author of sin. . . . But if, by Author of Sin, is meant the permitter, or not a hinder to Sin; and at the same time, a disposer of the state of events, in such a manner, for wise, holy and most excellent ends and purposes, that sin, if it be permitted or not hindered, will most certainly and infallibly follow: I say, if this be all that is ment, by being the Author of Sin, I do not deny that God is the Author Sin, (though I dislike and reject the phrase, as that which by use and custom is apt to carry another sense) it is not reproach for the Most High to be thus the Author of Sin.” (p. 246).

Rightly, God is not evil and thus in his creative agency cannot do evil. Yet, in his divine sovereignty over time and space, he can “permit,” “ordain,” and even “author” sin in a way analogous to the way Shakespeare blamelessly authored the death of Macbeth. An author is not morally culpable for writing into their script the acts of evil men—whether fictitious (as in the case of Shakespeare) or real (as in the case of our Triune God). Therefore, since God did declare the end from the beginning (Isa 46:9–10), he wrote into the Script—what theologians call “his will of decree”—a world created inestimably good, ruined by sin, restored by his Son. Continue reading

Five Truths About the Sinfulness of Sin

sinThe sinfulness of sin, to borrow Ralph Venning’s language, is beyond our natural comprehension. Born in sin (Ps 51:4), we are unable to see the sinfulness that engulfs our hearts, minds, decisions, and daily activities. Because we love sin so much, we do not even realize the way we manufacture and fondle our idols. Only with the light of God’s Word can we begin to see what sin is, and only as the Spirit illumines our minds do we begin to see our darkness.

Indeed, simply to know truth about sin does in no way eviscerate the presence of sin in our lives, but it is a start. Truth about sin is necessary for putting sin to death. Such knowledge is not sufficient to grow in holiness, but it is necessary for sanctification. With that hope in mind, I have listed out five points regarding the (1) prevalence, (2) power, (3) pervasiveness, (4) partnership, and (5) pleasure of sin.

May God use these biblical truths to help you and I understand the enemy that lives within that we might cry out with greater earnestness for the grace that pardons sin and the power to say no to sin. Continue reading

Without Holiness . . .

bushSunday I will begin a series of sermons on the holiness of God, namely his kindness and severity evinced in the stories of Old Testament Israel. Since the history and example of Israel has been given to Christ’s church, it is vital that we labor to know those men and women who walked with God in the Wilderness, and more, we must know the Holy One of Israel, whose holy love impelled the Father to send the Son to die for sinners.

In truth, we in the modern church are not comfortable lingering with God and meditating on the fact that he is a consuming fire (Heb 12:29). We are much more accustomed to bite-size theology, ten minute devotionals, and casual worship. And yet, what the church needs most today is a fresh encounter with the holiness of God.

Or maybe I just speak for me. I continue to be struck by how much my faith is influenced by the weightlessness of modern evangelicalism. I am not surprised at how my ambient culture has impacted me; I am surprised by how little the God of the Bible has impacted modern Christians. This is why I will be preaching on the kindness and severity of God found throughout the Bible (cf. Rom 11:22).

Without Holiness . . .

Most recently, this thought about our need to ponder the holiness of God was stirred afresh by David Wells in his book God in the WastelandHis soul-searching, heart-pulverizing disclosure of God’s holiness indicates what happens to grace, sin, God, and the gospel when churches overlook the holiness of God. In his survey of Scripture and church culture, he explains what has happened to the modern church who by and large operates without a sense of holiness.

Consider his words, which I’ve bullet-pointed to draw attention to the idea of holiness’s absence (pp. 144–45). Continue reading

Getting to Know Friedrich Schleiermacher (3): Theology Proper, Sin, Redemption, and Christ

Yesterday, we began to review the liberal theological approach of Friedrich Schleiermacher; today we will examine Schleiermacher’s view on theology proper, sin, redemption, and the person Christ.

Theology Proper

For Schleiermacher, God is unknowable.  Again, Kant’s influence is most evident in theology proper and cosmology.  He states that God is creator, and then defines creation as an ongoing preservation.  Because the world is absolutely dependent on God, he becomes the eternal, omnipotent cause of all things. These are the two greatest attributes of God, with omniscience and omnipresence working as corollaries (of omnipotence).   John Cooper has described Schleiermacher as a panentheist, and for good reason.  He does not make a clear distinction between Creator and creature: man is so dependent upon God, that the boundaries of God and human blur.  This is odd because of how Schleiermacher appropriates the phenomenal-noumenal divide.


Schleiermacher defines sin as a lack of God-consciousness.  He rejects a historic fall, and makes sin the product of every single individual.  Though a Reformed preacher, he does not address the issues of Covenant theology, and the imputation of Adam’s sin to all the human race because of his federal headship.  But he says enough to know that he denies the imputation of guilt to the human race.  Instead, he explains that in every man there is both animalisic and sensual desires and also a God-consciousness.  Both of these exist in humanity.  Sin is the employment of the former and the ignorance or disuse of the latter.  In the case of Jesus, he was ‘sinless’ because he was always conscious of God.

Based on his view of God, the cosmos, and sin, Schleiermacher has a hard time explaining the origin of sin.  Since God is causal in all ways, he will assert that God is responsible for sin; but then he takes that back to say that evil in the world is the result of sin, and that sin originates with men who do not absolutely depend on God.  In the end, he brings an unsatisfactory answer that God caused sin in the world in order to bring about grace, which for Schleiermacher is a large consideration.


In time, redemption begins with the conviction of sin which is the experience of pain over a lack of God-conscience.  It is not caused by the Holy Spirit (John 16:8), as much as it is encounter with the perfect Christ.  Since Christ as a perfect man reveals what true God-consciouness is, the message about Christ reveals to men how men have failed to be God-dependent.

Key for the idea of redemption is regeneration.  Like nearly all technical terms in Schleiermacher, regeneration is the corporate idea of regenerating all of humanity.  Like a pebble thrown into a pond, Christ, as the first true man, has the effect of bringing regeneration to all the human race.  He asserts that regeneration happens one-by-one, but it is more a force that hits the whole world that individuals being converted by God.

Christ himself is a Redeemer, but not as the divine Son who dies on the cross to pay for the sins of the world.  Rather, he is an utterly unique man, one who is perfectly God-conscious, who functions much like a charismatic, political figure (or Joel Osteen) who inspires people to live a more God-dependent life.

As it concerns sin and redemption, it is interesting to see the way Schleiermacher selectively chooses to interact with church history.  Under this loci, he denies Manicheeaism because sin and evil are not simply perceived; they are a real things.  And he also rejects Pelagianism, because man cannot save himself.  He needs effectual grace, which is deposited in the soul of a man in his election—which is another convoluted doctrine to be mentioned below.


For Schleiermacher, the person of Christ is never considered metaphysically.  Again, there is nothing metaphysical in his work.  He is a functional savior, who is part man, part God.  The God-part is simply the God-consciousness that he perfectly exhibits.  In this way, his nature just like the rest of humanity.  Schleiermacher admits that Christ could have sinned-there is nothing naturally impeccable about him—but he did not sin because he perfectly embodied dependence on God.  Schleiermacher is concerned heretical views of Christ—namely Docetism and Ebionism but he does not see how his own views contradict Chalcedonian Christology.

The Cross of Christ

On the Atonement, Schleiermacher advocates a moral exemplar view.  His work is prophetic not priestly.  Jesus shows the world his great love for God and his willingness to die in order to show how far he was willing to show his love for men.  However, he rejected Catholicism’s “wounds-theology” which focused too much on the suffering of Christ.  He also denied vicarious substitution (penal substitution), because it made God look like the one who ordained the death of his Son (which he did, Isa 53:10; Acts 2:23), and because it required retributive justice—something that Schleiermacher opposed, as is evidenced again in his assertion of eventual, universal salvation.

Schleiermacher’s doctrine of salvation is also reworked.  While maintaining language like justification by faith and union with Christ, his understanding of faith is not belief in some objective work done by God in Christ. Rather, it is the subjective appropriation or (self-generated) feeling that one is a child of God.  Once again, Schleiermacher shows incredible consistency in wrapping every doctrine around the personal subject.  Likewise, sanctification for Schleiermacher is never positional.  It is only progressive.  In one section, he makes a Romans 7-like case for an interior struggle for Christians, but this struggle is not the flesh and the Spirit (aka Paul), but the wrestling between God-consciousness and sense-experience.

Tomorrow, we will look at Schleiermacher’s view on the church, eschatology, and the Trinity

Soli Deo Gloria, dss

Between Darkness and Light: The Lord Who Ordained the Darkness

On Monday, we observed seven ways in which the setting for Christ’s birth was full of darkness.  Today, we will continue to look at the birth of Christ, but now from the angle that it was the Lord who creates light and darkness (Isa 45:7) that brought about the darkness so that the light of Christ might be ever more brilliant. Notice how in each of these instances, God is the sovereign author behind the darkness.

1. God is the only free person in the universe.  Our free will is limited and confined by innumerable factors; location, money, knowledge, and most importantly spiritual life effect our freedom. Not so God, nothing inhibits him.  He is in heaven and he does as he pleases (Ps 115:3).  Since Malachi, he chose to be silent.  No one muffled his voice. Conversely, God is never forced to speak, and so the spiritual darkness of the Intertestamental Period is a result of God’s free choice.

There is a lesson in this. God does not create darkness, so much as he pulls back the light.  In this case, the spiritual darkness is not something God speaks into existence; it is his intentional lack of speech.  This is often how God controls calamity and evil.  He never does evil, but he will permit evil men or evil spirits freedom to act according to their natures.  This is different from every aspect of goodness in the world—in that God is the active speaker.

2. God put Israel under Roman rule.  Israel’s captivity was in God’s full control.  As the one who raises exalts and humbles nations (cf. Ps 33:10-11; Isa 40:15, 17, 22-23), God placed Israel in the darkest period of their history.  This was in part due to his judgment upon their idolatry; this was in part to prepare the way for Jesus; and this was in part preparing the way for the gospel to travel along the Roman roads. Israel could not see it at the time.  Neither could the Roman Emperors.  But one major reason why Rome flourished as it did was because God himself was building the infrastructure necessary for the message of the gospel to travel.

I wonder if we think like that?  Do we think that giftedness of men like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates was only for their Silicon Valley companies? No, even though men like them may deny the Lord, God gifts them so that their innovations and productivity can be used for the advancement of the gospel.  This is how God works in history.  One way that advances in technology are being picked up and used for the gospel ministry is found in the ministry of Mark Overstreet and T4 Global ministries.

3. Even in the case of the false religions in Israel, it was God who permitted it.  His spiritual absence, created a vacuum where all kinds of Jewish religions rose up.  Many in Israel, instead of simply trusting God’s word—like Mary, Joseph, Anna, Simeon—came up with all kinds of contrived ways to gain God’s favor—Pharisees, Saducees, Essenes, Zealots were all human solutions to the spiritual and political problems of the day.

4. It was God’s eternal intention to bring Jesus into the world through a virgin.  In order for God to take on flesh, a natural union could not take place.  The virgin birth is necessary, because without it Jesus could in no way be divine and human.  So from Isaiah 7:14 on (maybe even before if you read Genesis 3:15 as promising a virgin birth), God’s word predicted that a virgin would give birth to a child.  Isaiah 9 explains the kind of child this would be—one born in darkness who would bring light, one that would bring peace, the kind that would never be taken away.  Thus, the near divorce of Mary, the isolation from her family, the insults from strangers, and the lifelong accusations that Jesus mother incurred was God’s doing!  God blessed Mary by afflicting Mary with this child.  He does the same in our lives, too (2 Cor 1:3-7).

5. In order to fulfill all the Old Testament prophecies, God moved Mary and Joseph by way of Caesar’s census.  There is great irony in God’s redemptive story.  In this case, it is a king who takes count of his kingdom, all the while the king of kings comes with no accounting from the world (John 1:9-11).  In Caesar’s census, this mighty king thought that he was proving his power to the world.  But really, he was taking a census because God wanted to move two people from Nazareth to Bethlehem.  The prophecy in Micah 5:2 needed to be fulfilled, and God used the mightiest man and the world as a pawn, in order to bring his scepter-wielding Son into the world in the right place.

There are so many lessons in this.  For one thing, what we think is important in our lives, may be the most meaningless thing that we do.  Likewise, what the world deems as important may not be.  The way God works in history should free us from the approval of men, and should recalibrate our lives to live for his purposes. After all history is His Story, and the only lasting part we have is what comes from him.

6. Mary and Joseph’s poverty was ordained by God, so that it would accentuate the gift of the wise men. Matthew 2:10-11 records the exceeding joy of the wise men, and how when they found the babe, they offered gifts—gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  But these are not just gifts like we give on Christmas morning, they are sacrifices of praise. Matthew records that these travelers came from a far to worship the king of kings.

And the gifts they give are significant.  For one, it is likely that the gifts would finance the travels that Jesus’ family would make to Egypt in the coming months.  But even more significant, they fulfill prophecy.  In Isaiah 60, the great prophet gives an oracle describing the nations coming to worship at God’s dwelling place, and it just so happens that Isaiah develops the them of light coming into the darkness–darkness ordained by God, so the light of the world would be perceived by all nations.  Listen to what Isaiah says in verses 1-6

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried on the hip. Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult, because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. A multitude of camels shall cover you, young camels of Midian & Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold & frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the LORD.

The picture of light dawning on God’s Holy Dwelling Place includes men (and women) coming from the nations, bowing down before the Lord, and offering gifts.

7. Finally, even the killing of the infants was part of God’s plan.  Oh, don’t misunderstand.  God is not the cause of such evil.  He is never tempted to do evil, nor does he ever do evil.  However, that is to say that in his blameless holiness, he has not ordained evil to be done.  Just think of the murder of Jesus on the cross, Acts 2:23 and 4:27-28 records that this was God’s plan and purpose.  So, according to God’s inspired word, do we find that God blamelessly ordains the slaughter of infants, such that all that Herod does is according to the  Script that was given to him.

To say it another way: Herod is not acting outside of God’s jurisdiction.  Oh yes, he is breaking God’s commandment—thou shall not kill.  But in another way, he is fulfilling the will of God. Like Satan in the book of Job, Herod only does what God permits him to do. He is on God’s leash, and cannot extend his hand any further than God allows. Like the lying spirit in 1 Kings 22, the one that God sent out to deceive Ahab, king of Israel—God does not lie, but apparently he does send out lying spirits.  In the same way, Herod does what is in his nature to do—to deceive, manipulate, and kill.

Still unsure?  Consider the fact that Matthew shows us that Herod’s fanatical attack on the children in Bethlehem actually fulfills Scripture, and thus at the same time that Herod is breaking God’s will, he is in another sense fulfilling God’s unfailing Word. Matthew 2:16-18 records,

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

In the end, the fulfillment of this prophecy shows how dark the period was.  Israel’s sin brought God’s judgment, and thus they lived in gloomy darkness.  Yet, in his covenant love, he had not abandoned his elect people.  Rather, he was quietly working behind the scenes to bring his Son into the world.  The birth narrative of Jesus shows us this, and as we will see in our next installment how God’s light shines brightest when it is contrasted with the darkness.

Soli Deo Gloria, dss

What Can Make Me Walk Away From Sin?

[This article was originally featured in our hometown newspaper, The Seymour Tribune].

“What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

Encapsulated in these words is the profound truth that the God of heaven and earth has made forgiveness possible through the death and resurrection of his Son.

But this raises a question: “If Jesus’ blood can wash away my sin, what can make me walk away from sin?” On this thanksgiving weekend, I give thanks for my forgiveness, but I wonder out loud, “Is the Christian life only about getting a ticket into heaven? Or does how I live matter?” Let me answer in two ways.

First, those who have had their sins washed away are those who have been born again. And as 1 John says, those who are born again must practice truth, walk in light, confess their sins, strive to obey God’s commandments and turn from sin. In his epistle, John does not teach perfectionism. He simply asserts that those who have been forgiven will lead transformed lives.

Second, when someone’s sins are washed away, the Holy Spirit gives that person a new appetite for Christ. This is what it means to be born again. Whereas before, this person might see Jesus as irrelevant or unattractive, now, in Christ, the same person sees Jesus as the most attractive person in the universe. Obeying God’s commandments is not burdensome because they love God and his Word. In truth, those who are forgiven delight in God, God’s Word and God’s people.

Such an experience is recorded in the Psalms: “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” David’s words express the Christian’s heart. Those who know God’s pardon, simultaneously have a passion for his presence. While the blood of Christ washes away our sin, it is his beauty that makes men and women walk away from sin.

What about you? Have you beheld Christ’s beauty? Or have you encountered only the ugliness of some false imitations? Don’t be fooled. Christ is gloriously beautiful, to those who have eyes of faith. Don’t miss him because of a bad experience. For he alone can wash away your sin; he alone can make you whole again; he alone can make loving him an easy duty; because he alone can show you his beauty.

Soli Deo Gloria, dss

Sin Boldly: Because Only Sinners “Get” Amazing Grace

I am preaching on Luke 7:36-50 this Sunday, a message entitled, “Only Sinners ‘Get’ Amazing Grace!”  In preparing, I was struck again by the radical nature of grace and the very fact that what qualifies us for grace is sin (cf. 1 John 1:9).  In fact, if you are not a sinner, you won’t “get” grace.  Only sinners get it!

As Jesus said in Luke 7:34, He is a friend of sinners!  Earlier in Luke, Jesus said “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (5:31-32).  The wonder of Jesus and the appeal of his ministry, was that he knew how to pierce hearts and heal them with the grace of God.

Oh what good news, that my sin does not have to drive me away from God (cf. Psalm 103:9-10).  Rather, in this age, it is the very thing that qualifies me for grace.  As Paul said, Paul who was a murderer of Christians, “Where sin has increased, grace has increased all the more” (Rom 5:21).  Grace is truly amazing, but only for sinners!

Law-keepers do not get grace, because law-keepers do not need grace.  Only law-breakers get grace, because only those who have stopped trying to justify themselves see their need for it.  As the publican said, “Have mercy on me, THE sinner!” (Luke 18:13).

Meditating on God’s amazing grace reminded me of Martin Luther’s quote on the subject of man’s sin and the Messiah’s mercy.  Consider his words, place your faith in God’s grace, if you are a preacher proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ this Sunday, and sin boldly!  You have a sufficient savior, who is a friend of sinners!

If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong (sin boldly), but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter (2. Peter 3:13) are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign.

It suffices that through God’s glory we have recognized the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day. Do you think such an exalted Lamb paid merely a small price with a meager sacrifice for our sins? Pray hard for you are quite a sinner. (“Let Your Sins Be Strong: A Letter From Luther to Melanchthon,” Letter 99, Paragraph 13. Erika Bullmann Flores, Tr. from: Dr. Martin Luther’s Saemmtliche Schriften, ed. Johann Georg Walch (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, N.D.), Vol. 15, cols. 2585-2590).

Hallelujah!  What a Savior!

Soli Deo Gloria, dss

Pascal on the Glory and the Garbage of the Universe

Graham Cole quotes Blaise Pascal in his chapter, “The Glory and Garbage of the Universe” (God the Peacemaker).  With arresting language, Pascal bemoans of our condition:

What sort of freak then is man!  How novel, how monstruous, how chaotic, how paradoxical, how prodigious!  Judge of all things, feeble earth-worm, repository of truth, sink of doubt and error, glory and refuse of the universe… Man’s greatness and wretchedness are so evident that the true religion must necessarily teach us that there is in man some great principle of greatness and some great principle of wretchedness!  (Quoted in from Pascal’s Pensees in God the Peacemaker: How Atonement Brings Shalom [Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2009], 53).

So too, the ‘true religious’ preacher must preach on the wages of sin that lead to death and deform our lives, and the glorious possibilities of life found in Christ, led by his re-creative Spirit.  May we consider Pascals words and grow downward in humility and upward in adoration of the God who made us and makes us anew in Christ.

Soli Deo Gloria, dss