I spoke this morning at Trinity on Salvation, looking at what it means to be justified by faith. We’re working through our statement of faith which says:
Salvation is entirely a work of God’s grace and cannot be earned or deserved. It has been accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ and is offered to all in the gospel. God in his love forgives sinners whom he calls, granting them repentance and faith. All who believe in Christ are justified by faith alone, adopted into the family of God and receive eternal life.
I picked Romans 1:17 as the text, with 1:16 as the context:
Romans 1:16 I am not ashamed [Paul says] of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
It went well (at least I thought it did) and here’s the talk. I’ve used Slideshare to create a ‘slidecast’ so here’s the talk and the presentation as well.
Here’s the Wordle:
Popularity: 51% [?]
One of the biggest problems amongst Christians, I think, is understanding what the Bible is all about. It comes out in moralistic Sunday School classes, where the Sunday School teacher talks about David and Goliath and then asks the children: “So, what Goliath’s do you face in your life?“. It comes out in a Bible Study on Moses and the burning bush when the Bible Study leader asks: “So, what are the burning bush experiences in your life?” The problem is understanding what the Bible is all about comes down to who the Bible is about. Is it really all about following rules or having heroes to copy? This just makes the Bible some form of Christian self-help book! The Bible tells us that our problems are so bad we can’t find the answers inside of us, they have to come from the outside.
One great resource I’ve come across recently is The Jesus Storybook Bible. It’s a Christian storybook Bible with a difference. The subtitle of the book is: Every Story Whispers his name. Instead of drawing simple moral lessons from the Bible stories or telling us to copy our Bible heroes, it explains that every story in the Bible leads us to Jesus. Rather than telling lots of individual stories, the Bible tells one story, a story that becomes clearer and clearer as the Bible goes on – the story of a mighty God who made us, saw us rebel and sent his one and only Son to save us.
Here’s a quote from the book:
No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne – everything – to rescue the ones he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life… There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them. It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story. And at the centre of the Story there is a baby. Every Story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle – the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.
The reviews are quite revealing too. Here are a few from Amazon.com (lots of 5/5 stars!):
Without a doubt the best story Bible I have read to my kids. Buy it! I work with college students and I believe that if I could get them to read it, this story Bible would help them understand scripture 100% better.
This book is absolutely wonderful! I can’t stop telling people about it. I have been reading it to my two daughters (1 1/2 and 4 1/2) and they both love the stories and pictures. I have to admit that after my daughters fell asleep I took the book to my room and kept reading it! The writing is magical and the connections between the old and new testament are fantastic. This is the best children’s bible book I have ever seen – and we have MANY. I will be getting this for all the kids in our world.
This is the most beautifully illustrated and written bible I’ve seen yet, and I’ve searched for many! I can’t wait for a bedtime story either!
Sally Lloyd-Jones has done a great job of explaining the message of the Bible in a language that anyone can understand.
Popularity: 24% [?]
I found this great quote from an obscure leaflet written by Sinclair Ferguson – heard in an equally obscure sermon given by Dr. Tim Keller at Gordon Conwell Seminary in the US. The talks can sadly only be bought in CD form and not downloaded. I’ve asked about MP3 versions, but they’re not available. Here’s the quote anyway:
“Jesus is the true and better Adam who passed the test in the garden and whose obedience is [given] to us. Jesus is the true and better Abel who though innocently slain has blood that cries out for our acquittal not our condemnation. Jesus as the true and better Abraham who answered the call of God to leave all the comfortable and familiar and go into the void not knowing whither he went. Jesus is the true and better Isaac, who is not just offered up by his Father, but actually sacrificed by his Father. Jesus is the true and better Jacob who wrestled and took the blow of justice we deserve so that we like Jacob only receive the wounds of grace to wake us up and discipline us. Jesus is the true and better Joseph who at the right hand of the king forgives those who betray him and sold him and uses his new power to save us. Jesus is the true and better Moses who stands in the gap between the people and the Lord and who mediates a new covenant. Jesus is the true and better rock of Moses, who struck with the rod of God’s justice now gives us water in the desert. Jesus is the true and better Job, the truly innocent sufferer who then intercedes for and saves his stupid friends. Jesus is the true and better David whose victory becomes his people’s victory, although they never lifted a stone to accomplish it themselves. Jesus is the true better Esther who didn’t just risk losing an earthly palace but lost the ultimate heavenly palace and who didn’t just risk his life but gave his life to save his people. Jesus is the true and better Jonah who was cast into the storm so that we could be brought in. Jesus is the ultimate lamb, the ultimate priest, the ultimate king” (Sinclair Ferguson)
Popularity: 57% [?]