April2011Archive for

Imputation, Infusion and Eternal Consequence: A Parable

The Kingdom Notes

Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18: 9-14). It is an unfair, gross distortion to hold that Rome teaches…

Life From Death

The Kingdom Notes

The irony does not escape me that two days after we celebrate so earnestly the resurrection of Jesus, my dear bride begins the stem cell transplant process in our battle with leukemia. There will be a few days of sundry tests, but soon she will undergo what may be the most intense chemotherapy there is. She is in remission as I type, and God willing will be when that chemo starts. Why bury your body in chemical poison when there is no known cancer therein? Just what exactly are we trying to kill this time? White blood cells. Before we sought to kill what was killing her. Now we are seeking to kill what seeks to make her well. The trouble with Denise’s white blood cells is that they are not up to the task. They are not able to make her well enough. Trusting in her own cells will…

Ask RC: Why was Jesus raised from the dead?

Ask R.C.

It is a good thing to enter into the pathos of the disciples during those dark days between the crucifixion and the resurrection. It is easy for us to forget that they haven’t read the rest of the story. We live on this side of the resurrection, and its explication in Scripture. We have Truth revealed. They had only anguish and uncertainty. They had lost their Lord. Their trouble, however, was not ultimately that they missed Jesus. Their heartache was rooted in something more substantial than personal sadness. In His death we would have had to conclude one of two things. Either it means that in the end the bad guys can win, that God’s sovereignty can be overcome by the forces of darkness. Or it means something even worse, that Jesus was a sinner. Death, after all, is a function of sin. No sin, no death. Either the bad…

What in the World?

The Kingdom Notes

I posted a few days ago, on facebook and twitter, the following bit of wisdom- “Too often we train our children to make their way in the world. I want to train my children to make war on the world.” In the days that have passed I have been asked by several different people not what such training would look like, not how my children make war on the world, not what are the weapons of their warfare, but what do I mean by “the world.” That expression, the world, is in fact used in different ways in the Bible. Sometimes it refers to the whole of the created order. Sometimes it refers to the whole of humanity, as in John 3:16. Other times, however, it refers clearly to the city of man, to the army of the serpent. When John warns us that “If anyone loves the world the…

Ask RC: What are your thoughts on alternative medicine?

Ask R.C.

The medical profession suffers from undue honor, and unwarranted suspicion. There are those, both patients and some medical professionals themselves, that mistake their great training with omniscience, their great skills with omnipotence. Much of this is driven by modernist presumption, the dual silly notions that man is a simple machine and that simple men can operate the machine well. The human body is knit together by God and is grand and mysterious. If technology is the god who limps, such proud doctors are just broken crutches. On the other hand, doctors, as a profession, are not all evil conspirators or ignorant rubes who just are just too blind to see the magic healing power of: insert-home-remedy-here. Because homeschooling families as a general rule tend toward self-sufficiency and away from dependence on experts, many of them think a good root cellar and the chapters on medicine in the Foxfire books are…

Grace Unknown, or, It’s a Wonderful Life

The Kingdom Notes

My dear wife is about in the middle of her treatment for her leukemia. Step one they call inception chemo. That involves roughly a month in the hospital with intense chemo. She made it through that and was happily found to be in remission. Now she goes once a month for a week of chemo, what they call consolidation chemo. The goal here is for remission to stick. She has had one of these treatments. Still ahead of us, God willing, is a stem cell transplant that has serious risks, but offers the hope of a cure. As with her previous two bouts with cancer I marvel at her strength, at her character, at her peace. I believe all of this is the result of the many hundreds if not thousands of prayers that have been made on her behalf. God has likewise upheld me and our children thus far…

Ask RC: Is there such a thing as a “carnal Christian?”

Ask R.C.

Yes, no, and yes. First, Paul, in addressing those whom He elsewhere calls “saints,” makes reference to their “carnality.” In I Corinthians 3 Paul bemoans that he must speak to these to whom God’s grace has been given (I Corinthians 1:4) as to the carnal rather than spiritual, describing them as “babes in Christ.” All living Christians deal with carnality, the remaining temptations of the flesh. (Remember that by flesh we do not mean our physical bodies, but rather our sin natures, from the Greek sarx.) We have seen the power of sin broken in our lives. We are new men. But that sin principle is not eradicated. Indeed if we say that it has, if we say that we are without sin, the truth is not in us (I John 1:8). The victory has been won in principle, but there remains a mopping up operation in the great war…

Life in Death

The Kingdom Notes

We do not serve a reactive God. It is certainly true, an abiding truth, that the most fundamental covenant between God and man is this- obey Me and be blessed; disobey Me and be cursed. Praise the glory of His name there is an addendum- if you trust in the finished work of Christ, He will be cursed for your disobedience and you will be blessed for His obedience. That obedience leads to blessing, however, doesn’t mean that God is sitting on His throne with a box full of roses on His right and a box full of thunderbolts on His left. He is not watching to see what you will do, and reaching into the box appropriate for your choices. The cursings for disobedience are organic, connected to the sin itself. In like manner, the blessings of obedience inhere in the obedience. Consider what happens when we live for…