“I hadn’t been a pastor very long when I realized people were carrying around a lot of luggage,” explains Chris Brauns. “If I was going to shepherd them, I would have to help them through the stuff that they were carrying around.”
Archive for August, 2010
Bible teachers often distinguish between two kinds of repentance. The first kind is what they call attrition. It isn’t heartfelt sorrow for wrongdoing, but a selfishly motivated response to potential punishment. It avoids further discipline. It’s external, self-preserving, and even self-centered.
The second kind of repentance Bible teachers talk about is contrition. Contrition is true repentance. It entails heartfelt sorrow for offending God and others. It involves not just turning away from disobedience, but also turning toward obedience. It’s an external change motivated by an internal change. It’s self-sacrificial. It’s God-centered.
False repentance, or no repentance, leads to bitterness, anger, and unwillingness to acknowledge wrongdoing. Until we can recognize our own wrongdoing, we’ll continue to be mastered by this self-centered bondage. Our relationships will continue to be strained and frayed. Freedom comes only with true repentance.
When true repentance is offered, God promises to forgive and restore. True repentance is the means by which God brings about real restoration, a restoration that brings the deepest experience of peace.
If you’ve ever been confused about the Trinity, Fred Sanders just came out with a helpful book called The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything. In chapter 4, “The Shape of the Gospel“, Sanders distinguishes the separate but complimentary roles of the Son and the Spirit in salvation:
“We would be in danger of missing the Spirit’s distinctive work by confusing his work with Christ’s,” Sanders explains. “The best way to keep them unified is to see their difference.”
“A classic way of looking at the two-handedness of God’s work in salvation is the relationship between how the Trinity accomplishes redemption and how the Trinity applies that redemption to us. This idea of redemption accomplished and applied is a handy way of considering salvation in its objective and subjective aspects, even when the two phases of God’s saving work are not correlated with the Son and the Spirit. Redemption would not reach its goal without being applied, but there would be nothing to apply if it were not already accomplished. But recognizing the Son and the Spirit, respectively, as the leading figures in the two phases enriches the idea even more. Christ the Son accomplishes redemption in his own (Spirit-created and Spirit-filled) work. The Holy Spirit applies that finished redemption to us in his own (Son-directed and Son-forming) work. The two works are held together by an inherent unity. The Son and the Spirit are both at work in both phases; nevertheless, the Son takes the lead in accomplishment, and the Spirit takes the lead in application.”
Learn more about The Deep Things of God.
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The Trinity is undoubtedly a mysterious and deep doctrine. There’s an old quote that goes something like: try to understand it and you’ll loose your mind; try to deny it and you’ll lose your soul.
In his new book The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything, author Fred Sanders helps readers not only grasp the doctrine of the Trinity, but what it means to be immersed in what he calls Trinitarian reality.
“Nothing we do as evangelicals makes sense if it is divorced from a strong experiential and doctrinal grasp of the coordinated work of Jesus and the Spirit, worked out against the horizon of the Father’s love,” explains Sanders. “Personal evangelism, conversational prayer, devotional Bible study, authoritative preaching, world missions, and assurance of salvation all presuppose that life in the gospel is life in communion with the Trinity.”