Around the Interweb

The “Juice” Of Christianity

Mark Altrogge interacts with a quote from Walter Isaacson’s biography on Steve Jobs:

The “juice” of Christianity is not living like Jesus or seeing the world as Jesus saw it.  This is a works mentality. This is what “I” have to do to get to heaven.  I have to live a good life.  I have to see what is right and good and important and do it.  Then I get to go to heaven.  If this is the case, then Jobs is right – all the “different religions are different doors to the same house” because every other religion in the world teaches that we get into God’s house by living good lives.

Read the whole thing.


The End of Poverty and the Hope of Glory

My latest article, an overview of Awaiting a Savior, is up at the Gospel Coalition blog:

If you shouldn’t discuss politics and religion in polite company, no wonder it’s often hard to talk about poverty and social justice, even with other believers. But this isn’t a subject Christians can avoid. The Bible is explicit about our responsibilities to care for those in need. So what do those commands mean in practice, and how do we obey them to the glory of God?

I believe there are things we can do to serve the poor, that God will give us grace to do them, and that he will take pleasure in our efforts—where we succeed and where we fail. It begins with understanding the true nature of poverty.

Read the whole thing. (If you haven’t had a chance to order a copy, you can get one here.)


Also Worth Reading

Free Audio: This month’s free audiobook at ChristianAudio.com is The Heavenly Man: The Remarkable True Story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun.

The Occupy Movement & Christian Ministry: Does Calgary’s administration have a bias against Christian street ministers? Certainly seems so, based on how they’re handling the “occupiers” in Calgary’s Olympic Plaza.

The Occupy Movement & Christian Theology: What Hath Westminster to Do With Wall Street (And Its Occupiers)?

Marriage: Why the World Is Wrong about Marriage

Interview: Good Reading: A Conversation with Tony Reinke


In Case You Missed It:

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

Book Reviews—

(Cheap) Christian e-Books for Your Kindle!

Richard Seebes: It is No Easy Matter to Bring a Man From Nature to Grace

Mark Up, Mess Up, Beat Up Your Books

The Role of Prayer and Serving the City

Joel Beeke: Sanctification is Rooted in the Essence of God

The Backlist: The Top Ten Posts on Blogging Theologically

It is No Easy Matter to Bring a Man From Nature to Grace

The bruised reed is a man that for the most part is in some misery, as those were that came to Christ for help, and by misery he is brought to see sin as the cause of it, for, whatever pretences sin makes, they come to an end when we are bruised and broken. He is sensible of sin and misery, even unto bruising; and, seeing no help in himself, is carried with restless desire to have supply from another, with some hope, which a little raises him out of himself to Christ, though he dare not claim any present interest of mercy. This spark of hope being opposed by doubtings and fears rising from corruption makes him as smoking flax; so that both these together, a bruised reed and smoking flax, make up the state of a poor distressed man. This is such an one as our Saviour Christ terms `poor in spirit’ (Matt. 5:3), who sees his wants, and also sees himself indebted to divine justice. He has no means of supply from himself or the creature, and thereupon mourns, and, upon some hope of mercy from the promise and examples of those that have obtained mercy, is stirred up to hunger and thirst after it.

This bruising is required before conversion that so the Spirit may make way for himself into the heart by levelling all proud, high thoughts, and that we may understand ourselves to be what indeed we are by nature. We love to wander from ourselves and to be strangers at home, till God bruises us by one cross or other, and then we `begin to think’, and come home to ourselves with the prodigal (Luke 15:17). It is a very hard thing to bring a dull and an evasive heart to cry with feeling for mercy. Our hearts, like criminals, until they be beaten from all evasions, never cry for the mercy of the judge.

After conversion we need bruising so that reeds may know themselves to be reeds, and not oaks. Even reeds need bruising, by reason of the remainder of pride in our nature, and to let us see that we live by mercy. Such bruising may help weaker Christians not to be too much discouraged, when they see stronger ones shaken and bruised. . . . The people of God cannot be without these examples. The heroic deeds of those great worthies do not comfort the church so much as their falls and bruises do.

We must not pass too harsh judgment upon ourselves or others when God exercises us with bruising upon bruising. There must be a conformity to our head, Christ, who `was bruised for us’ (Isa. 53:5) that we may know how much we are bound unto him Ungodly spirits, ignorant of God’s ways in bringing his children to heaven, censure broken hearted Christians as miserable persons, whereas God is doing a gracious, good work with them. It is no easy matter to bring a man from nature to grace, and from grace to glory, so unyielding and intractable are our hearts.

Adapted from Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed (Kindle Edition)

(Cheap) Christian e-Books for Your Kindle!

Here are a few great deals I’ve found for Christian books for your Kindle—If you see any that I’ve missed, let me know in the comments!

New Additions and Updates—all under $5:

The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul—Free!

Leaders Who Last by Dave Kraft ($1.99!)

Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe by Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears

What Did You Expect? by Paul Tripp

Redemption by Mike Wilkerson

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan [Read more...]

Mark Up, Mess Up, Beat Up Your Books

Yesterday, Trevin Wax and Tony Reinke talked about marking up books in their interview about Tony’s new book, Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books:

Trevin Wax: You recommend marking up books. Why?

Tony Reinke: I certainly do. So many Christians treat books as taskmasters. Most Christians have a stack of unfinished books in their house, maybe on a desk or a bookshelf. Those unfinished books are often a source of low-grade guilt. We’ve been conditioned to think that if we buy a book, we must read it from cover to cover. That’s not true, and I’m trying to loosen Christians from this misunderstanding of what is really a subtle form of slavery to books.

Apart from Scripture, all other books are optional reading. In fact, all other books are tools for us to use in our lives as we see fit. We use books when we need them. This means that we can read books cover to cover if we wish. Or we can read one chapter, or one page. It’s our call. By writing in a book, I claim the book as a tool. I own it; it belongs to me; it was purchased to serve me, and its value to me as a tool far exceeds its resale value. This does not give me license to ignore the truth God teaches me in my reading, but it does liberate me to see books as gifts from God, not as taskmasters. And that’s a very important stage of development for Christian readers.

Of course, I mark all sorts of things in my books, but fundamentally it is a claim of ownership, a claim that reminds me that my books are my tools and that I am not enslaved to them.

Reading this made my day. When I’m reading a book, the worst thing I can do is NOT have a pen in hand. I wind up forgetting most of what I’ve read if I’m not interacting with the material—making notes, asking questions, underlining… It’s fun to have my own ongoing commentary with a book. There has even been at least one book where I’ve ended up crossing out entire pages because the content was utter nonsense.

But rather than just talk about what I do when I mark up a book, I thought I might show you (I know, it’s ridiculous, but it’s Friday!)—check it out:

From my very well-worn copy of What is Reformed Theology?: Understanding the Basics

Some of my commentary in Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?: Who They Were and Why You Should Care

A couple of notes from Church Planter: The Man, the Message, the Mission

So that’s what a typical book on my shelf looks like. They tend to be marked up, messed up and beat up. And if I didn’t care enough to mark up a book, then it wasn’t actually worth my time reading it.

Question: Do you mark up your books? Why or why not? 

The Backlist: The Top Ten Posts on Blogging Theologically

Let’s take a look back in time and see the most-read posts from October. Go check them out:

  1. Everyday Theology: God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle
  2. Everyday Theology: God helps those who help themselves
  3. John Piper on Mark Driscoll & John MacArthur
  4. His Name was Smeagol
  5. Book Review: Love Wins by Rob Bell
  6. Book Review: Innocent Blood by John Ensor
  7. Union with Christ and the Provision of the Spirit
  8. Everyday Theology: Preach the Gospel always, if necessary use words
  9. (Cheap) Christian E-Books for Your Kindle!
  10. Do Not Expect Peace Before The Prince of Peace Returns

And just for fun, here’s the next ten:

  1. Who Writes This?
  2. The Terrible Danger of Trusting Your Faith, but Not Jesus
  3. Bringing Back a Sense of Balance
  4. Book Review: Erasing Hell by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle
  5. Love is the Grand Secret of True Obedience
  6. Book Reviews
  7. Book Review: Uneclipsing the Son by Rick Holland
  8. Book Review: The World-Tilting Gospel by Dan Phillips
  9. Everyday Theology
  10. Faith and Grace: Tullian Tchividjian #T4ACon

Continuing to see the usual mix of most-read posts in the top five; glad to see new material filling out most of the bottom five (and next ten). Blogging at Together for Adoption was a great time a couple weeks back and gave me a whole whack of new books to read from Tim Chester (there are four on my pile right now). I’m extremely thankful for fellow Cruciform author Nate Palmer lend a hand this month and write about the importance of Christ’s Ascension (something that we have a great tendency to overlook). I also love how you all seem to share my love for the saints of old; the strength of their work is a true testimony to the timelessness of glorious gospel truth. I hope you’ll take some time to dig around these posts and that you’ll find the content helpful!

That’s enough from me—now it’s your turn: If you have a blog, what were a couple of the highlights for you in the past month?

The Role of Prayer and Serving the City

As I’ve been continuing to process For the City along with a number of other books on engaging our cities and culture there’s something that’s been bugging me.

Is it my imagination or does the conversation tend to overlook the importance of prayer?

A lot of time is spent discussing techniques and programs designed to engage people (which is good), but little time is spent discussing prayer’s role. Perhaps it’s simply assumed that we would be praying for our cities, because, well, why on earth would we not? (But you know what they say about assuming…) Is it possible, though, that by assuming that we’re praying for our cities, we might actually forget to do it? Do we really get the importance of prayer to all we do to reach our communities?

In Acts 1:14, we find the early church (then perhaps 120 people), gathered in the upper room where they were “devoting themselves to prayer,” and waiting for the Holy Spirit to come. When He did descend upon them (Acts 2:1-4), they were again together and in prayer. The apostles themselves were devoted to prayer and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:4). When Peter was imprisoned, the church made “earnest prayer” for him (Acts 12:5). Prayer and fasting guided the appointing of elders (Acts 14:23).

In Paul’s epistle to the Romans, we see him command that they “be constant in prayer” (Rom. 12:12). To the Colossians he says, “Continue steadfastly in prayer” (Col. 4:2) and he says the Thessalonians are to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). And, of course, Jesus Himself commands that we “pray for those who persecute [us]…” (Matt. 5:44).

The point, obviously, is not to just chuck a pile of verses, but we do have to recognize this pattern that appears throughout Scripture. What made the Church’s ministry so powerful and effective in its early days was not programs or technique, but a commitment to prayer. It’s not that programs, starting non-profits, appropriate contextualization or any number of points made in any of the “being missional” books are bad things (they’re not), but we always need to be careful of the snare they can represent. Our hearts are so easily turned away from the truth of the gospel, “prone to wander” as the song says, that we can turn to these good things and see them as the secret to being for our communities—that we become dependent upon technique for success instead of God and His grace for fruit.

That takes me back to these commands to “be constant in prayer,” to “pray without ceasing…” Could this be the reason why the Church has in the West has floundered so greatly in the last century? Not because we’ve not kept up with the times, but because we’ve failed to rely upon the power of God and His gospel?

This is not a post pointing fingers at anyone, expect probably myself. I’m certainly no expert in this matter; in fact, I’d say my prayer life is pathetic. But when I see what’s going on in my city, with a population that’s increasingly hostile to the gospel, I don’t find myself trying to figure out how some new technique—I find myself desiring to pray more. To pray that the churches in our city would be faithful to the gospel, which is “the power of God for salvation” (Rom. 1:16), and that our congregations would not just being people that say they are for the city, but people who are praying for the city.

Another Great Book Giveaway!

Today I’m giving away a couple of great books published by Shepherd’s Press:

Red Like Blood by Joe Coffey and Bob Bevington &

Christ Formed in You: The Power of the Gospel for Personal Change by Brian G. Hedges

 Want to win these books? Enter using the PunchTab app below (RSS readers, you’ll need to click through to the post to enter) and tell me why you want to read these books in the comments.

Contest ends Friday, November 4th at midnight (Eastern Time). The winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email on Saturday.

 

Sanctification is Rooted in the Essence of God

Holiness is God’s essence (Isa. 57:15); it is the heart of everything the Bible declares about Him. His justice is holy justice; His wisdom is holy wisdom; His power is holy power; His grace is holy grace. Among God’s attributes, only His holiness is celebrated before the throne of heaven. In the prophet Isaiah’s vision of the heavenly throne room, the seraphim cry, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts” (Isa. 6:3). Isaiah calls God “the Holy One” twenty-six times. Stephen Charnock notes that the word holy precedes God’s name more than any other attribute (Ps. 99). God’s holiness is “a transcendental attribute that, as it were, runs through the rest, and casts lustre upon them,” John Howe writes. “It is an attribute of attributes … and so it is the very lustre and glory of His other perfections.” God reveals majestic holiness in His works (Ps. 145:17), in His law (Ps. 19:8-9), and especially at the cross of Christ (Matt. 27:46). Holiness is His permanent crown, His glory, His beauty. Holiness is “more than a mere attribute of God,” says Jonathan Edwards. “It is the sum of all His attributes, the outshining of all that God is.”‘ God’s holiness suggests two truths about Him. First, it shows the separateness of God from all His creation and from all that is evil. God’s holiness testifies of His purity, His absolute moral perfection, His separateness from everything outside of Himself, and His complete freedom from sin (Job 34:10; Isa. 5:16; 40:18; Hab. 1:13).

Adapted from Joel R. Beeke, Living for God’s Glory: An Introduction to Calvinism (Kindle Edition)

Book Review: For the City by Darrin Patrick and Matt Carter

What does it mean for a church to be “for the city”? As humanity increasingly becomes more urbanized, this question grows in importance. Pastors Darrin Patrick and Matt Carter have spent the last several years of their ministries trying to figure out what that means and what it looks like for the church to serve the city to the glory of God. And in their new book, For the City: Proclaiming and Living Out the GospelPatrick and Carter share what they’ve learned along the way, both from their successes and their failures.

For the City is divided into two parts, with each author largely handling their own topics (although they do come together in a few chapters). The first part of the book, “A Tale of Two Cities,” deals with Carter and Patrick’s vision for planting a church that exists to be a blessing to the city and the stories of planting The Journey in St. Louis (Patrick) and Austin Stone Community Church in Austin (Carter). These stories are incredibly encouraging as the authors do a wonderful job communicating the vision of gospel-centered city ministry. Carter shares how Metropolitan Tabernacle, where Charles Spurgeon ministered in the latter half of the 19th century, inspired his call to plant a church for the city.

Imagine an urban church so influenced by the power of the gospel that it seized every opportunity to proclaim and live out the gospel for the good of the city. Imagine that this church physically and spiritually served the poorest of the poor, but also lovingly rebuked the wealthy. Imagine this church as the epicenter of straight-up, God-fearing, Spirit-filled revival, leading thousands of people to eternal life in Christ in just a few years. Imagine a church that built elderly housing, housed all the orphans in the city, and taught wealthy business people to have a ‘double bottom line’ so they could run a profitable business in order to support the work f the church and meet the needs of the city. In other words, imagine a church that boldly preached the gospel and lived out the values of the kingdom.(pp. 20-21)

The vision is captivating and something that all our churches, whether urban, suburban or rural, should strive to attain. We should be for our communities, in whatever context God has placed us. Reading their stories, I was greatly encouraged by the burden that God placed on start churches that were to be a light in their cities. It’s what I pray would be the burden for all of our churches.

Part two, “In and For the City,” digs more into the nitty gritty of what it means to be for the city. Addressing contextualization, community and service (Patrick), equipping and suffering (Carter) along with the authors’ confessions and conclusions, this part is practical and extremely thorough. Patrick’s work on contextualization is sure to rub a few folks the wrong way (specifically those who tend to misinterpret what’s really meant by the term), but it offers a couple of the most helpful nuggets in the entire book: the danger of over-contextualizing and under-contextualizing. One leads to syncretism, the other leads to sectarianism and neither are biblically tenable. Healthy contextualization, according to Patrick, means being a gospel-saturated people, a congregation that “knows how to enter into culture without losing its Christian distinctiveness” (p. 81). This kind of community sees itself as missionaries, ambassadors for Christ who “see how cultural values merely point toward the ultimate fulfillment and purpose found only in Christ” (p. 82). [Read more...]

Book Review: The Barber Who Wanted to Pray by R.C. Sproul

“Daddy, can you teach me how to pray?” My daughter’s asked me this question on at least one occasion, and every time it’s a bit awkward for me. I’m not an expert in prayer by any stretch (in fact, I think I rather stink at it). And while I know that God is not impressed with the eloquence of our prayers and I have reminded her of this, nevertheless, I’d love to be able to help her learn to pray more deeply.

Thankfully, I’m not the only one. That’s why, in The Barber Who Wanted to Pray, Dr. R.C. Sproul (along with illustrator T. Lively Fluharty) shares the story of Master Peter, a barber in medieval Germany who musters up the courage to ask his famous client Martin Luther, “Dr. Luther, do you think you could help me learn to pray better?”

Sproul answers the question by means of a fictional father telling his children this story of how Luther came to write his little book, A Simple Way to Pray, especially for Master Peter. Among other accomplishments, Luther was known for his powerful prayer life, and his simple method as shared by Sproul is outstanding—memorize the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments and the Apostles’ Creed and allow those to guide your prayers. Not simply pray them, but pray through them.”When you think about these words, allow your mind and your heart to give careful attention to what these words say, and let them move you to deeper prayer,” Luther says to Peter (p. 28). This simple way of praying allows God’s Word and one of the best-known and beloved historic creeds of the Church to get deep into your bones. It’s very powerful stuff.

Visually, this book is just beautiful. Fluharty’s accompanying illustrations are stunning. Initially I was disappointed to see that this book was not illustrated by Justin Gerard (who’s work appears in recent editions of The Prince’s Poison Cup, The Lightlings and The Priest With Dirty Clothes), but Fluharty’s rich paintings won me over in no time.

At the time of this writing, we’ve not yet read The Barber Who Wanted to Pray to our eldest daughter (it’s a Christmas gift), so I cannot give an estimation of her impressions of the book. I’m hopeful it won’t be too far over her comprehension level (we’ve been reading Sproul’s other children’s books to her since she was three), and I’m confident that it will be one that we’ll be looking at frequently over the next several years.

The Barber Who Wanted to Pray is an incredibly helpful book for both parents and children alike. Parents, this will make a wonderful addition to your children’s library. I suspect that many of us will not only find this book to be a valuable resource in teaching our own children to pray, but in improving our own prayer lives in the process.


Title: The Barber Who Wanted to Pray
Author: R.C. Sproul (illustrated by T. Lively Fluharty)
Publisher: Crossway (2011)

Around the Interweb

War and Peace

Christianity Today talks to Tullian Tchividjian about the fallout from the Coral Ridge/New City merger and his new book, Jesus + Nothing = Everything:

What was your initial reaction to the resistance?

Well, we expected it. But it’s one thing to talk about war and another to be a soldier on the ground when the bullets are flying. It was hard. It was the first time in my life where I was leading a church where I knew many people didn’t like me. . . . It was tremendously uncomfortable coming to worship every Sunday morning during that time not knowing who liked you and who hated you. There were people in the choir who, when I would stand up to preach, would get up and walk out. People would sit in the front row and just stare me down as I preached. It was extremely uncomfortable. People would grab me in the hallway between services and say, “You’re ruining this church, and I’m going to do everything I can to stop you.” I would come out to my car and it would be keyed. Some people would stop at nothing to intimidate.

They put petitions on car windows during the worship service. They started an anonymous blog, which was very painful. Here we were trying to build consensus and there’s this anonymous blog fueling rumors and lies. The blog almost ruined my wife’s life. Anonymous letters were sent out to the entire congregation with accusations and character assassinations. It was absolutely terrible

Read the rest at CT.


Also Worth Reading

Theology: What Sola Scriptura Does NOT Mean

Ministry: Brothers, We Are Not Gate Agents

Free Audio: Ligonier is offering the audio narration of Dr. Sproul’s new children’s book, The Barber Who Wanted to Pray, as a free download through October 31st.

Interview: Daniel Darling and I discuss my new book

Writing: Barnabas Piper offers a word to pastors who want to write books


In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

A Spiritual Health Diagnostic

“What’s Your Model?”

J.C. Ryle: The Second Coming Will Be As Different As Possible From The First

Book Review: Ronnie Wilson’s Gift by Francis Chan

Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The Terrible Danger of Trusting Your Faith, but Not Jesus

The #T4ACon Roundup

Union with Christ and the Provision of the Spirit by Nate Palmer

Joel R. Beeke: The Enormous Cost of Grace

Is Higher Education Still Worth the Cost?

One of the big concerns I have whenever anyone asks me about the possibility of seminary is the cost. Realistically, pastoral ministry is not a terribly well-paying job and seminary is crazy expensive. I’ve also known a number of people gone through school for degrees in English, History and social sciences who’ve ended up slinging coffee at Starbucks (which I’m not knocking—if I lose my job, it’s the first place I’m applying).

So does higher education still matter? Is the cost still worth it given the state of the economy?

While the jobs that have been disappearing first in the new economic climate have been those not requiring a college degree, Dr. Phil Ryken addresses some of the other values of higher education, particularly the benefits of Christ-centered instruction modeled at his and other like-minded Christian colleges.

[tentblogger-vimeo 24637777]

HT: TGC

The Second Coming Will Be As Different As Possible From The First


Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:29-31)

The second personal coming of Christ shall be as different as possible from the first. He came the first time as a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He was born in the manger of Bethlehem, in lowliness and humiliation. He took on him the form of a servant, and was despised and rejected of men. He was betrayed into the hands of wicked men, condemned by an unjust judgment, mocked, scourged, crowned with thorns, and at last crucified between two thieves. He shall come the second time as the King of all the earth, with all royal majesty. The princes and great men of this world shall themselves stand before His throne to receive an eternal sentence. Before him every mouth shall be stopped, and every knee bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. May we all remember this. Whatever ungodly men may do now, there will be no scoffing, no jesting at Christ, no infidelity at the last day. The servants of Jesus may well wait patiently. Their master shall one day be acknowledged King of kings by all the world.

When Christ returns to this world, He will first take care of His believing people. He shall “send his angels,” and “gather together his elect.” In the day of judgment true Christians shall be perfectly safe. Not a hair of their heads shall fall to the ground. Not one bone of Christ’s mystical body shall be broken. There was an ark for Noah, in the day of the flood. There was a Zoar for Lot, when Sodom was destroyed. There shall be a hiding-place for all believers in Jesus, when the wrath of God at last bursts on this wicked world. Those mighty angels who rejoiced in heaven when each sinner repented, shall gladly catch up the people of Christ to meet their Lord in the air. That day no doubt will be a dreadful day, but believers may look forward to it without fear.

In the day of judgment true Christians shall at length be gathered together. The saints of every age, and every tongue shall be assembled out of every land. All shall be there, from righteous Abel down to the last soul that is converted to God—from the oldest patriarch down to the little infant that just breathed and died. Let us think what a happy gathering that will be, when all the family of God are at length together. If it has been pleasant to meet one or two saints occasionally on earth, how much more pleasant will it be to meet a multitude that no man can number!” Surely we may be content to carry the cross, and put up with partings for a few years. We travel on towards a day, when we shall meet to part no more.

Adapted from J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: The Book of Matthew (Kindle Edition)

The Enormous Cost of Grace

To deny the irresistibility of God’s saving grace is to say that God can be resisted, against His will, by mere man. The Scriptures teach us that no one can thwart God’s will (Eph. 1:11) or stop His hand (Dan. 4:35), and the electing God is the calling God (Rom. 8:29-30). Thus, salvation is monergistic grace (Eph. 2:1-10); it is not a work that we accomplish in whole or even in part (2 Tim. 1:9). It is not a joint venture between the Holy Spirit and us; we do not even cooperate in bringing about our salvation. The elect are not born again because they believe; rather, they believe because they are born again by the Spirit of God (1 John 5:1).

A rather legalistic Christian once criticized another Christian’s testimony, saying: “I appreciated all you said about what God did for you. But you didn’t mention anything about your part in it.”

“Oh yes,” the other Christian said. “I apologize for that. I really should have said that my part was running away, and His part was running after me until He caught me.”

Monergistic grace comes to us at enormous cost. The good news of the gospel is that the cost of our sin was paid by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, not by us. Pardon and forgiveness did not come to us at a moment of God’s weakness; they came when He was being most mighty. His righteousness, justice, and truth are maintained when He adopts believing sinners into His family. The law came by Moses, but grace comes in Jesus Christ (John 1:17). God condones no sin, not even when He shows mercy to us.

Adapted from Joel R. Beeke, Living for God’s Glory: An Introduction to Calvinism (Kindle Edition)