Tuesday, August 19, 2008

T4G On The Definition of the Gospel

Here is a panel discussion from Together for the Gospel discussing the definition of the gospel and the dilemma of the inadequate clarity concerning the gospel within evangelicalism today.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Objects of God's Wrath

“3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” (Ephesians 2:3, NASB)

One of the most difficult subjects to address in Scripture is the wrath of God. The mere mention of the wrath of God evokes thoughts of violent emotions that lead to destructive behavior associated with actions committed by sinful humans. It is understandable that we would be so reluctant to associate that kind of attitude with God. But the wrath of God is not the same as the intense passion that is normally associated with that emotion expressed through human beings. [1]

But perhaps the greatest reason is that we don’t see our sinful actions as something that deserves the kind of judgment conveyed in the expression of God’s wrath. While most people may readily admit that they are sinners, they simply don’t view their sin as being that serious. And most of those people, while recognizing that perhaps their sin may warrant divine correction, view the outpouring of God’s wrath far too severe. [1]

It is also uncomfortable for most to view their unsaved friends, relatives and neighbors as those deserving of the outpouring of God’s wrath.

But regardless of how we feel about the subject, it is impossible to legitimately avoid the subject of God’s wrath. It is addressed in both the Old and the New Testaments in terms of both temporal and eternal judgment. There are hundreds of references to God’s wrath in the Old Testament, so it is abundantly clear that God expresses His great displeasure over sin. But many wrongly claim that while that may be true in the Old Testament, in the New Testament things change. However, this is simply not true. There are plenty of references in the New Testament concerning God’s wrath. [1]

Romans 1:18 tells us that God’s wrath is exercised against ungodliness and unrighteousness by “men who suppress the truth in (or by) unrighteousness.” Romans 2:5 says that those who are unrepentant and persist in unrighteousness are storing up wrath for themselves which God will judge them for in the end. Verse 8 of Romans 2 also reiterates the fact of God’s wrath against those who resist the truth. God will also patiently endure the disobedience of the ungodly, making His power known by demonstrating His wrath according to Romans 9:22. Ephesians 5:5-6 makes known that we can be certain that those who practice immorality and covetousness will have no inheritance in the “kingdom of Christ and God “, and not to be deceived by those proclaiming “empty words”, because “the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience”. The term “empty words” refers to speech which is devoid of truth, yet is boastful of some supposed faith, yet without bearing any fruit characteristic of that faith. And the book of Revelation is chock-full of references to God’s wrath as He pours out His final judgment on the ungodly. (For some examples see Revelation 6:16,17; 11:18; 14:19; 15:1)

But God is angry over sin because it is an assault on His majesty and authority. All sin, regardless of how insignificant it may seem, is rebellion against God. And this is why sin is such a serious matter. Sin is not merely a horizontal issue, just an offense against another human being. Yes, wrongful actions against another human being are certainly sinful, but the real reason that God is indignant over sin is because it is defiance against His divine authority. And God’s anger over sin is necessary for Him to maintain His moral authority and for this reason He must punish it. Those who are guilty of sin are subject to the final expression of God's wrath in hell (Matthew 18:9; Mark 9:47; Luke 12:5). These are not trivial points, and unfortunately, there seems to be precious little time spent discussing this in contemporary evangelicalism.

Those who receive the saving grace of Jesus Christ are justified by His blood and are saved from the wrath of God (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10). Jesus had to suffer greatly for us in order to save us from that wrath, and this is important for the believer to understand. I will expand on this further in another post.

1. Jerry Bridges, “The Gospel for Real Life” [NavPress, 2003], pg. 49

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Mark Driscoll Confronts the Worldly Gospel

Mark Driscoll confronts the worldly “gospel” being preached by men like Joel Osteen. Mark may have a tendency to make me wince with some of the things he says and does, particularly in his attempt to be “missional” where I feel he often goes a little too far, but he generally gets his doctrine right. Here he is spot-on in confronting the popular “feel good” gospel, essentially seeking happiness in the same way the world does.