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Archive for June, 2009

Grace and Legalism from “Religion Saves”

web_cover_image2Mark Driscoll’s new book, Religion Saves: And Nine Other Misconceptions, is now available.

Inspired by 1 Corinthians, in which Paul answers a series of questions posed by the people in the Corinthian church, Driscoll set out to determine the burning questions among visitors to the Mars Hill Church website. The result was 893 questions and 343,203 votes. Religion Saves contains Driscoll’s answers to the top nine questions.

Download Chapter 3 on Dating or check out the sermons this book was based on.

Here’s an excerpt from his chapter Grace:

Legalists see only the demands and commands of Scripture and make long lists of rules by which to judge people and enslave them to the law of duty that kills delight. They also overlook all that Jesus has done to fulfill the demands of the law in our place, so that our hope and trust is in our own efforts and not Jesus’ finished work, which is a disgrace to grace. Rebuking such erroneous teaching, Paul condemns legalists, saying, “You have fallen away from grace” to people who basically thought that they were saved by grace but kept by their own works and law-keeping so that God would love them. They wrongly believed that if they obeyed, God would love them, rather than believe the truth of grace, which is that God loves us so that we will obey. That is why Paul says that the entire domain in which true Christians live is no longer works but grace, “this grace in which we stand.”

The self-efforts of works that dominate every religion but Christianity focus legalistically on what we must do so that God will accept us, forgive us, embrace us, or, in a word, love us. Conversely, Christianity alone says that human works are antithetical to God’s grace. Romans 11:6 declares that “if [salvation] is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” Indeed, we are saved by God’s saving grace and are saved to good works. Nonetheless, those good works are also by God’s grace through us:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

The issue is not whether Christians should do good works, such as loving their city, feeding the poor, caring for single mothers and their children, loving their enemies, or telling the truth, but rather how and why. The answer is not that we do good works so that God will love us or because we have to do them. Rather, we do good works because by grace in Jesus Christ, God does love us. Furthermore, God’s saving grace has so utterly transformed us that we no longer have to do good works, but rather we get to do good works by the empowering grace of God the Holy Spirit, who is at work in our regenerated hearts.

(Religion Saves, pp 115-116)

June 29, 2009 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Life / Doctrine,Sanctification,The Christian Life | Author: Crossway Staff @ 11:35 am | 1 Comment »

ESV Study Bible – World Magazine 2009 Book of the Year

Marvin Olasky announces that the ESV Study Bible has been named World Magazine’s 2009 “Book of the Year”.

Olasky did a “road-test” to see how the ESV Study Bible guides readers through one of the hardest book of the Bible. Olasky concludes, “The ESVSB thus passes my test…the Bible is the book for all years; this study Bible is a particular winner in the Year of Our Lord 2009.”

Read the full cover story from WorldMag.com.

June 19, 2009 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Bible News,ESV Study Bible,News | Author: James Kinnard @ 2:12 pm | Comments Off »

Never Before Published Works from Lloyd-Jones


In 1951 the Second World War was not long over and the Cold War was generating anxiety in the West. It was then that Martyn Lloyd-Jones preached these eight sermons on the great truths of John 14:1-12 to comfort, strengthen, and encourage those dealing with fear and uncertainty.

In these never-before published sermons, Lloyd-Jones does not lull fear to rest. He shows how to deal with fear by confronting it, recognizing it, and realizing that the only way to address it is found in the unchanging gospel.

Below find an excerpt from Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled:

The business of the gospel of Jesus Christ, therefore, is not to reform the individual or the whole world; it is to take hold of us one by one and to bring us out of it, to give us a new birth, a new life, a new beginning. It makes men and women children of God. It gives them a new outlook, a new power, and sets before them the blessed hope of life with God in eternity.

That, let me emphasize again, is the Christian message. The gospel is not merely an exposition of the Sermon on the Mount and its social application in order to make this world a better place. Men have been preaching that kind of thing for so many years and trying to put it into practice, but look at the results! To ask unregenerate people to live the Sermon on the Mount is mockery; they cannot do it. They cannot keep the Ten Commandments; they cannot even live up to their own moral standards. But how glibly people talk about “the social application of the gospel” and about bringing in the kingdom of God.

There is a kingdom of darkness and a kingdom of light, and these two kingdoms are here together in this world.

Oh, the tragedy of it all! No, we need to be born again, to be regenerated, and the gospel offers to do that. So side by side in this world of time, you have these new people, the citizens of the kingdom of God, and those who belong to Satan. “Ye,” said Christ to the Pharisees, “are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do” (John 8:44). There is a kingdom of darkness and a kingdom of light, and these two kingdoms are here together in this world—that is another aspect of the gospel message.

(Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled, pp 99).

June 18, 2009 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,Life / Doctrine,News,Sanctification,The Christian Life,The Gospel,Theology | Author: Crossway Staff @ 1:32 pm | 1 Comment »

Behind the Art of Noel Piper’s New Release

The following is a guest post by Gail Schoonmaker, illustrator of The Big Picture Story Bible and Noel Piper’s Do You Want a Friend?

Rough sketch of an illustration for Do You Want a Friend?

The creation of the artwork for Do You Want a Friend? began when I received Noel’s manuscript along with her notes for specific pages and for the artwork in general.

I was delighted to read her desire to see families of various ethnicities, as this reflects not only God’s kingdom, but the environment in which my husband and I have chosen to live and raise our own children. In fact, our kids are the only ones in their classes with white skin, and they see nothing unusual in these illustrations!

I was equally pleased to see Noel’s desire to include drawings of people with various disabilities. My own son Andy is severely autistic, and my beloved nephew has Down Syndrome. God has used the the joys and challenges of parenting Andy to, among many things, enlarge my heart for his covenant children who society would marginalize. It has been a privilege to be part of a picture book that celebrates the reflection of God’s image in so many ways.

That said, the biggest delight is the focus of the book: Jesus as our best friend in every way and ultimately as our Saviour.

I spent some time jotting down ideas for illustrations, creating a cast of recurring characters, and sketching possibilities. Ideas were easy and comfortable, as I was fortunate enough to experience God’s grace in a home where my parents constantly acknowledged, thanked, praised, consulted, and asked forgiveness of the Lord. His friendship has been demonstrated to me in every way, so I didn’t have to wonder what Noel’s words might mean.

When I had a rough sketch completed for every page (such as the one above), Noel took a look and provided feedback. When these ideas were incorporated and the resulting drawings were approved, I began to paint. I work on four watercolor paintings at a time, which allows each newly painted section to dry before I return to it.

The entire process took several enjoyable months.

(This article was first posted at Noel Piper’s blog.)

June 2, 2009 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,News | Author: Crossway Staff @ 1:33 pm | 0 Comments »