Let’s say someone asks you, “What does God save sinners from?” What would you say? If you love God’s Word, you may know that there are a number of correct answers.
For example, God saves the sinner from eternal condemnation in hell, from sin, from hopelessness, from depravity, from alienation…
But let’s think about another answer to the question. Romans 5:9 says, “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”
What does God save the sinner from? Himself. Think about it. The reason our sin is so heinous and must be justly punished is because God is holy, righteous, and just. Unbelievers are not friends of God; they are enemies of God (Rom 5:10). Our internal problem is our sin, but the reason our sin is a problem is due to God’s holiness responding in wrath toward our sin.
Jesus died in the place of sinners that we might be reconciled to God by grace through faith. Believers have been “reconciled to him through the death of his Son” (Rom 5:10). So believers have been reconciled to the God that they were once alienated from and enemies of. Believers are saved from God’s wrath. “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1).
In being saved from God’s wrath on sin, God saves us from Himself. And in being reconciled to God, God saves us to Himself. Reconciliation pictures a state of peace in a relationship where there was once tension, hostility, and enmity. God initiated the means necessary to bring sinners to Himself through the death of Jesus. God has saved believers from Himself, to Himself. Rejoice!
Worship Matters has a subtitle: “Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God.” As the title and subtitle indicate, this book speaks powerfully and clearly to music ministers in churches. However, I am no music minister, and I loved this book. Worship Matters addresses anyone who is a true worshiper of the Living God revealed in Jesus Christ.
Worship Matters is endorsed by Matt Redman, D. A. Carson, Wayne Grudem, Mark Dever, Joshua Harris, Al Mohler, Bruce Ware, and others. So, clearly, the book is highly recommended from Bible-loving, Christ-exalting leaders.
I found my soul stirring again and again with worship as I read Kauflin’s book. His work is truly a definitive contribution to the theology of church worship. His “mission statement” of a worship leader is alone worth the price of the book. His chapters on “healthy tensions” are very insightful. Get a copy of this book, and read what Scripture teaches about worship and what Scripture requires from God’s worshipers. Happy reading.
That may sound like a strange request, but it is thoroughly biblical.
When we pray for God’s discipline, we are saying:
(1) God, treat me as a legitimate son or daughter of yours (Heb 12:8)
(2) Your rebukes and chastisements are wiser than those of even the best earthly father (Heb 12:9)
(3) Work in my life what is good for me (Heb 12:10)
(4) God, I want to live in holiness (Heb 12:10)
(5) I want my life to produce a harvest of righteousness and peace (12:11)
Take a moment and pray that God (as a loving, wise, perfect heavenly Father) would never cease to discipline you as His child, if you are His child. God’s firm but loving discipline is for His children, but His righteous judgment is for anyone who is not a true follower of Christ. God, use your rod of discipline in our lives to confirm whether we are your true children!
The first shocking thing about this great book is its subtitle: “A Pagan Notion?” That’s right–Waltke argues that “finding God’s will” originates more from pagan ways of divining the will of a “god,” rather than from biblical commands.
In the second part of Finding the Will of God, Waltke proposes six steps and practices that show how to “live out the will of God” rather than trying to “find the will of God” in a particular situation. The steps/practices (and the titles of chapters 4-9) are: (4) Read Your Bible; (5) Develop a Heart for God; (6) Seek Wise Counsel; (7) Look for God’s Providence; (8) Does This Make Sense?; (9) Divine Intervention.
Here’s a direct quote toward the end of the book: “[God] never calls us in the New Testament to ‘seek His will,’ but rather to seek His kingdom and do His will. We ought to stamp out of our vocabulary the nonbiblical and misleading expression ‘finding God’s will.'”
Waltke’s book is very intriguing and helpful on the topic of God’s will. Many well-intended but misleading books and sermons have been written and preached on the topic of “God’s will,” and many of them encourage superstitious and pagan practices in the effort to “find God’s will.” Waltke provides a needed corrective and promotes a healthy approach for living out God’s will.
You don’t hear sermons like this very often. Paul Washer presents the power of the Gospel in a clear, confrontational, memorable, direct way. Make time to listen to this message in its entirety. And tell someone else to listen to it, too. May God convict the saints and save the lost through this sermon.
Believers should love to read and delight in God’s word. The Bible proclaims amazing doctrines (like the doctrine of God, or the doctrine of salvation). Sometimes it is especially helpful to acquire a good book on a theological topic that will do good things for your soul. Books by authors who love the Bible can greatly aid the believer on the spiritual journey. Check out this statement from C. S. Lewis:
“For my own part I tend to find the doctrinal books often more helpful in devotion than the devotional books, and I rather suspect that the same experience may await many others. I believe that many who find that “nothing happens” when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand” (from his introduction to On the Incarnation by Athanasius).
In your devotions with the Lord, never abandon delighting in God’s word first and foremost. But find a book of great and profound theology, and read some of it every day also. Chewing on doctrine is good for your soul, good for your walk with the Lord. Chewing on doctrine keeps your mind sharp, and it helps you process what you believe from the Bible.
If you are interested in a good book to start for incorporating doctrinal books in devotional times, try including one or more of these: Knowing God by J. I. Packer, Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis, Desiring God by John Piper, Christian Beliefs by Wayne Grudem, The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer, or How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gorden Fee and Douglas Stuart. There are countless more I could recommend.
Devour doctrine for your soul. It will shape your mind and heart, which will impact your life. Happy reading.