Tag Archives: Man

Call to the Unconverted (Winner of Most Questions Asked in a Single Gospel Book)

Introducing the 2/60 best books on the gospel. A 62-week long series.

Baxter’s is a brutal little book. Not brutal in style like Owen.

But brutal in content like Owen.

Baxter’s is an unflinching prosecutor of the wicked. A man who approaches their conversion and condemnation like their life depended on it.

Which it does.

The Quick and Dirty

The book starts off with a bang. The subtitle reads:

To all unsanctified Persons that shall read this Book; especially of my Hearers in the Borough and Parish of Kiaderminster.

Did you catch that? Heathens.

Mr. Baxter is pulling no punches. He’s levelled his scope. And is ready to fire.

That pleased this curmudgeon to no end. I can’t tell–

What’s that? It doesn’t say  heathens? It says hearers? 

Boo hiss.

(This reviewer did think for a long time that is exactly what it said. Did I show my hand? Cooler heads need to prevail.)

A Call to the Unconverted is broken down into an introduction and three sermons.

In my opinion the introduction is crown jewel of the book (which I will explain below), while the sermons are robust. However, they read like transcripts.

Then there are the questions. Four hundred and eighty-three in ninety-one pages. That is only five questions a page, but they are not evenly distributed that way.

They come in packets. Like a jack hammer.

Let’s get started.

Introduction to A Call to the Unconverted

The firs thing that Baxter does is define “the call,” and it is this: warning sinners to repent from their sins and misery and to turn to Jesus who bought them with His blood and is offering them everlasting glory with God.

One reason this section is golden is Baxter’s compassion for the lost comes through in his intensity of language. He suggests that he speaks as someone who has come back from the dead–and knows the awful fate that awaits the wicked.

Note his language. He mentions the “everlasting plagues prepared for the final neglectors of salvation.”  He sees the “dreadful day at hand, when your sorrows will begin, and you must lament all this with fruitless cries in torment and desperation; and then the remembrance of your folly will tear your hearts, if true conversion now prevent it not.”

This section is also golden because of Baxter’s relentless laying on of sinners.

At one point he makes a list of the troubles that wicked people cause and the wreckage they leave behind: family and friends, civil and religious .

This is not a seeker-sensitive sermon. It reminds me of Yochelson’s approach to reforming criminals: never yielding one inch to their self-pity or lame excuses.

All their misery and torment (past, present and future) is all on their head–and their head alone. And Baxter is going to let them know that.

He appeals to them “As a thief, that sits merrily spending the money in an alehouse which he hath stolen, when men are riding in post-haste to apprehend him, so it is with you.”

He continues:

And therefore he high commanded us to call after you, and tell you how you lose your labour, and are about to lose your souls, and to tell you what greater and better things you might certainly have, if you would hearken to his Call.

You will not find an appeal to Francis of Assisi or a suggestion that people don’t care what you know until they know you care.

Baxter cares. For what truly matters. And he speaks as one who cannot sleep until he warns the wicked.

Sermon One

Baxter’s first sermon tackles a tough question. One you know the unconverted are asking: Who sends the wicked to hell?

Baxter points out this is a natural question to ask:

If we saw a man killed and cut in pieces we would presently ask, “Oh! who did this cruel deed?” If the town was wilfully set on fire, you would ask, “what wicked wretch did this?” So when we read that most will be firebrands of hell for ever, we must needs think with ourselves, how comes this to pass? and who is it long of? who is it that is so cruel as to be the cause of such a thing as this?

Our instinct is to blame God. He is sovereign. All powerful. Provident and all-knowing. Should he not catch the blame for sending the wicked to hell?

And is he not merciful? Would he dare “damn men everlastingly for so small a thing as a sinful life?”

Baxter’s response is unequivocal: you will never know how evil sin is until you fully comprehend the excellencies of the God to whom you have sinned.

And does it not seem right to punish the child for foul language, excommunicate the parishioner for blasphemy or the criminal for theft? Thus it is right that the wicked are punished for their sin against God.

But who are the wicked?

The wicked man is someone who “places his chief content on earth, and loveth the creature more than God, his fleshly prosperity above the heavenly felicity.”

The wicked man believes his purpose on life is to maximize his present pleasure and to neglect the sweet gift of redemption.

Contrast this to the converted: “the drift and bent of his life is for God.” If he sins, he laments. He loves God more than the world.

Sermon Two

In this chapter Baxter attempts to reason with the unconverted, answering objections and bringing arguments. This section is loaded with questions. And he reasons from the Bible.

But, for a man to forsake the Lord that made Him, and to run into the fire of hell, when he is told of it, and intreated to turn that he may be saved; this is a thing that can have no reason in the world, that is reason indeed, to justify or excuse it. For heaven will pay for the loss of any thing that we can lose to get it; but nothing can pay for the loss of heaven.

In his reasoning with the wicked, Baxter realizes the madness in their rejection of redemption. Why do they run toward evil when they are warned of the consequences. The rapid-fire questions only intensify his concern:

Mark the Lord’s question, “Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die?” Is eternal death a thing to be desired? Are you in love with hell? What reason have you wilfully to perish? If you think you have reason to sin, should you not remember that “death is the wages of sin,” Rom. vi. 23.

So, in the end, it is their refusal of redemption that send so many to hell:

But yet, for all that, it is most true which God here teacheth us, that the cause, why the wicked die and are damned, is, because, they will die and be damned. And this is true in several respects.

It is just as if you would say, “I will drink this poison, but you I will not die. I will cast myself headlong from the top of a steeple, but yet I will not kill myself.—100I will thrust this knife into my heart, but yet I will not take away my life. I will put this fire into the thatch of my house, but yet I will not burn it.”—Just so it is with wicked men; they will be wicked, and they will live after the flesh and the world, and yet they would not be damned.

The wicked, and their wicked acts, say, “We will be damned.” Yet the preacher still pleads with them.

Sermon Three

Sermon three can be summed up in this line:

O wilful miserable sinners! It is not God that is cruel to you; it is you that are cruel to yourselves.

Baxter attempts to persuade the wicked to turn and repent by indicating the ways in which repentance will bring happiness, namely the promise of living in a with Christ forever in an incorruptible body free of pain and sorrow.

And the clincher: in spite of your degree of wickedness, God has offered a free pardon of all your sins: “he hath written this in his word, and sealed it by his Spirit, and sent it by his ministers; they have made the offer to you, (many a time) and called you to accept it, and to turn to God.”

The preacher is simply fulfilling that role.


Baxter’s Introduction is written to be read. His sermons, to be heard. But that doesn’t explain why they lack the concrete and creative language seen in the Introduction.

I could re-read the Introduction every day. The sermons once a year (that’s still pretty good).

And Compared to Chandler’s Explicit Gospel, Baxter’s is not fully informed. It is focused upon the sinner repenting in the face of impending doom. Creation doesn’t come into play nor does consummation.

It is simply an unapologetic declaration of the consequences of sin. One that should not be ignored.

Have you read Call to the Unconverted? Am I on or off target? Do you want to read it now? Any other suggestions? I’m listening.

Always Tell a Child Jesus Came to Heal the Broken Hearted

This is the other side of Never Tell a Child They Are Personally Worth the Sacrifice Jesus Made.

The side I seem perfectly incapable of articulating. So much so I actually need someone else to write it to get it right.

The person who knows my blind spots inside and out. And protects me against their dangers like a champ.

See, I knew yesterday’s post deserved a balanced treatment. I was just exploring a fraction of God’s majesty. Tinkering with but a fragment of the whole counsel of God.

So not long after I published it I began to nurture today’s post in my mind. To toy with text like  and an idea about “self-worth” versus “God worth.”

Then my wife commented. And wrote the post for me. So much better than I ever could have.

Here is an excerpt:

Maybe it isn’t our job to bolster self-esteem (and maybe it is), but it is certainly our job to point to the One who desires to bind up those hurts enough to allow a person to love others AS he LOVES himself. We don’t want to be too glib about the deep hurts that abuse cause. Christ obviously wasn’t. He came to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free. If abused children aren’t counted among the brokenhearted and the captives, I can’t imagine who is.

Read the whole thing here.

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Never Tell a Child They Are Personally Worth the Sacrifice Jesus Made

True, I’m a curmudgeon. But this is a gospel-backed rant.

Most contemporary Christian songs make God out to be a supernatural soccer mom. It’s the kind of stuff you hear at high school rallies.

Why this slant in the  modern church? Because everything else in our culture makes much of us.

Advertisements. Movies. Psychology. Self esteem is a dog that can hunt.

Just the other day someone asked me how I expected children who have experienced abuse and depression to deal with feelings of worthlessness if we don’t bolster their self-esteem?

Could we really expect them to live the abundant life in Jesus Christ if they didn’t know they were personally worth the sacrifice Jesus made?

Great questions. Here’s my reply.

The Gospel Is about God Loving a Worthless People

I’d start with . “We love him because he first loved us.”

Then I would tell them that we are all corrupt. Sinners. Liars. Thieves. Adulterers–emotionally, physically and spiritually.

So by our very natures we can not love God. Because we don’t want God. So God loves us, which sows the seed of love for him in us.

I would also tell them that God is patient–long-suffering.

He endures with “vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory” (), and wishes none would perish.

Yet, there is a point in which his mercy will end. It may be his unsurpassable attribute, but it is not his inexhaustible one.

For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them.

So I would tell my children not to drag their feet. Never put off repentance and surrender to another day.

Hell is a reality that you should never hide from your child.

The Gospel Transforms Worthless People

Futhermore, I would never tell a child that they were personally worth the sacrifice that Jesus made for them. That is to take the prerogative away from God, and to suggest that there is something in us worth saving.

and squashes that idea.

Think about it: God didn’t choose the Israelites to possess the land for their inherent worth. In fact, he chose them in spite of their stiff-necked ways.

He could have chose any nation. For some reason he chose the Israelites.

Think about what who had five husbands. Normal people don’t have five husbands. We can speculate she grew up in abuse. We can speculate she loathed herself.

But he didn’t tell her she was loved by God or a special person. He pointed her to the truth about her sin and about her savior.

And think about what he said to the woman caught in adultery. “Go, and sin no more.” Nothing about her shame or lack of self-worth. Just repent because God does not condemn you.

The Gospel Is Superior to Any Counselling Method

Sure, raising children and caring for those abused or depressed involves practical means like encouraging them and teaching them how to overcome depression…but NEVER at the expense of the gospel.

To do otherwise would only treat the symptom while ignoring the disease.

Besides, first century saints didn’t have our sophisticated counselling methods.

They didn’t need them.

Paul said, “I am not ashamed 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” ().

So, in the end, I would expect children who have experienced abuse or depression to enjoy the abundant life in Jesus Christ in the same way that we all enjoy it. Through the gospel.

Here’s What I’m Not Saying

Using strong language will obviously provoke some people to believe that I think humans are no different from animals.

That’s far from the truth.

Humans are distinct from animals in at least 10 ways–but the most important differentiation is that we bear the mark of God.

We are creatures created to bring glory to God through our grace-affirming subjugation of the earth by the gospel. But that worth is an alien worth–imputed to us from our Creator.

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Frustrated with Your Pastor? Pray Like This

One of the better lessons I learned from the book was to pray that God would make your wife the model of beauty.

An apt prayer in a culture steeped in the cult of self-image and supermodels.

The point behind Gary Thomas’ statement is two-fold: one, to steer us away from the temptation to compare our wives to a cover of a Cosmopolitan;  two, to cultivate our sense of beauty on our wives–and not the other way around.

The same principle can be applied to how we view our pastors and preaching.

The Cult of the Superstar Pastor

With easy access to sermons online, and the subsequent rise of superstar preachers like , ,  and , we can easily slip into a pattern of frustration and disappointment with our very own pastors.

You might find yourself making statements like this:

“Why doesn’t he preach the gospel like Chandler?”

“He’s good–but he’s no Driscoll.”

“Mark Dever would never do that.”

Just like with supermodels and celebrities, what we don’t see is the dirty side of these pastors’ lives. We typically only see their most polished work. The stuff that is photoshopped so to speak.

Pray Like This for Your Pastor

Here’s what you need to do if you find yourself frustrated with your pastor: pray that God will make your pastor and his preaching the standard by which all preaching is to be judged.

Just like in a marriage you have to live with this man on a weekly–if not daily–basis. That means you have a commitment to support him. And the best way to do that is to pray for him. Praying for his preaching is a great place to start.

Then you need to repent. Repent for being critical, impatient and self-absorbed. Most of our frustration with our pastors lies in the fact that our needs are not being met.

It’s not the pastors job to meet your needs. His job is to faithfully preach the gospel.

Now, this isn’t a one-way street. You should expect from your pastor a faithful preaching of the whole counsel of God. If he’s not doing that then address it with him. Simply approach him and make your case.

And never gossip. Then you’ll just be a hypocrite.

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The Dead Stage a Welcome Party for This Pagan King

This is one of the reasons I find the Bible so fascinating.

It’s also one of the reasons that thousands of people consider the Bible good literature–in spite of its claims to being redemptive history.

I’ll take redemptive history any day over good literature, but fortunately I’m not forced to decide.

The text in question at the moment is :

Sheol beneath is stirred up
to meet you when you come;
it rouses the shades to greet you,
all who were leaders of the earth;
it raises from their thrones
all who were kings of the nations.

All of them will answer
and say to you:
‘You too have become as weak as we!
You have become like us!’

Your pomp is brought down to Sheol,
the sound of your harps;
maggots are laid as a bed beneath you,
and worms are your covers.

In Hebrew thought, Sheol is the place of the dead. Sheol is the grave–and .

An underground region where disembodied souls have a dull and gloomy existence. It’s the place where the good and the bad go. The good receive reward and the bad receive punishment.

Yet Psalm 139:8 tells us that God is there. He is in the depths. And it is an open book to him where the wicked never escape his judgement and the righteous remain under his constant care. , “For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.”

The Ugly Carnival

The Isaiah text tells us that Sheol is also the fate of those who try to be like God, a habit earthly kings are prone to develop, the Babylon king being no exception.

He said he would ascend to heaven and raise his throne above God’s. He would sit on the highest mountain above the clouds. He would make himself like the most High.

On earth he may have approached the epitome of military might. He may have scaled to the top of political authority. He may have sat upon the highest altar of worship.

His death changed all that.

The other kings who were brought low by death waited for him. We are not sure how they knew, but they knew he was coming. And wanted to welcome him.

Each king in Sheol no doubt had been in his position. Great earthly power. Monstrous pride. Ruthless conquest. But all that bravado wilted before death. In an instant they were brought low.

They were wise to knowledge he was not: human distinctions are meaningless among the dead, and pride vanishes from a corpse.

You don’t get the sense that this will be a fun reunion. It won’t be like a hero returning from war.

More in line with the French treatment of : heads shaved, swastikas burned on their faces and barefoot as they were forced to parade through the streets.

It will be an ugly carnival for the Babylonian king.

Your Turn

Death is not the only means which God can level a man’s pride. He can devastate arrogance with mental illness as he did with Nebuchadnezzar.

More than likely you won’t experience mental illness on that scale. Death, on the other hand, is your certain fate.

Are you ready to die?

When David said, “For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption,” he could not know what he was predicting.

Peter took it to me the resurrection of Jesus Christ, an event that forced Paul to proclaim in yet another elegant section of the Bible: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

Thank God for redemptive history.

Why Did God Create Woman?


Women. Ah. My favorite subject.

Especially since I’m married to arguably the most merciful, kind and generous woman of all.

Indeed. Any amount of success I have as a father, writer or husband I owe to her.

The running joke around our house is that if not for my wife, I’d still be living with my mother.

In her basement.

Dead serious. My wife is classic helper. Classic companion. I’d be lost without her.

But what does “helper” mean? Where did that term come from?

Furthermore, why did God think man EVEN needed woman? And what does the Bible say about this union?

Let’s take a look.

History Before Woman

Long ago God created a man named Adam. He told Adam [a man made in God’s image] to cultivate the earth.

To subdue it.

Adam shaped wood into tools. Domesticated oxen to plow fertile soil. He groomed fruit trees. He raised honey bees. He cultivated mint and cornflowers.

But the image of God in man was not complete. God said, “It is not good that man his alone.” He wanted to give Adam a companion.

What’s strange about this arrangement is that Adam doesn’t seem to notice his need for a companion.

He appears perfectly content to be alone.

This is problematic. Not to Adam, but to God. And for reasons we might not consider.

History After Woman

Then God created woman.  what that looked like:

So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

Because God created woman even though Adam was content in his solitude suggests God had something else in mind for man than merely tinkering around in a garden by himself.

God wanted to give man a partner in the stewardship of that garden. Together man and woman split the labor of subduing the earth.

He . To take dominion over the fish. The birds. The badgers.

And this responsibility–a sovereign authority you might say–is another way that man and woman are made in God’s likeness.

God is in charge of the universe…man and woman are in charge of the earth. But mere stewardship of goats and crops wasn’t all.

Something Adam Couldn’t Do Alone

Part of Adam and Eve’s responsibility involved multiplying humans. Procreation. Making babies.

A skill, we all know, Adam could not perform on his own.

This command would ensure God’s image spread over the earth. It allowed for Adam and Eve to fulfill their cultural mandate by sharing their workload with their children.

Yet another division of labor.

Call it imperialism if you want. But all for the glory of God. Here’s what I mean.

What Male-Female Union Does to God’s Glory

Listen: When man and woman work in harmony–sharing the responsibility of creating culture, raising children and sharing the gospel–God is glorified.

And he is glorified within the ordained parameters of marriage.

From the Genesis narrative of the creation of man and woman God demonstrates his plan for marriage equals a monogamous heterosexual relationship.

Proliferation of mankind–God’s image–could not happen any other way.

God knew that his glory was limited in the creation of one man. So he made woman. And then man and woman made child.

This union and procreation honors God. Glorifies him. Extends his joy as this man, woman and child honor them with their hearts and service.

It’s a lifestyle of adoration for their creator. Incomplete when man was alone.

Recommended resource:  Andreas J. Kostenberger

Why Did God Create Man?


Ever wonder why you are here? Why anybody is here?

I’m not talking about “what’s my purpose?”

I’m talking about why did God create us? Man? Woman? You? Me? Adam? Eve?

Creation? Anything?

Why did he create the universe and atoms?

Stars, oceans, continents, apricot trees, corn, squirrels, earthworms?


Did God lack anything? I mean: God’s not lonely. He’s a three-part being.

He’s not needy. He’s self-existent.

Neither Is This the Reason

Is he sadistic and perverted and gets a good chuckle when we suffer? No. The .

Was he a poor gardener and needed the help of a professional? No. He’s omnipotent and could manage the garden well on his own.

Then what is it? Why would God create us? Care for us?

Even the  over God’s concern for a creature who pales in comparison to the largeness and majesty of nature…yet is exalted as steward of that creation.

What gives?

This Is the Reason God Created Us

The  gives–just a little. It tells us that our chief aim in life is to worship God and enjoy him forever.

Does that mean God is egotistical and relishes human worship?

Absolutely not.

The issue of why God created man goes to the very core of God’s character and we must go back to the Genesis story to uncover–as best as we can–his purpose.

Here’s what we know: God planted the first man–Adam–in a splendid garden surrounded by a rich, robust world. Yet God saw that it wasn’t good this man was alone.

Enter woman.

And So Is This

Next, he told them to be fruitful and multiply. He told them to subdue the earth.

In other words, he blessed them. He gave them life, responsibility and freedom to care for creation.

And from this we can surmise that God gave freely because he himself is self-giving. That is his incorrigible character.

In return he expects us to bless the nations:

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us…that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! 

But there’s something else we can surmise out of God’s creation of man and nature and that’s this: He created man because he is a creative being.

And since we are created in his image we also are defined by this same creativity so that the ends of the earth may know him and fear him through our works that proclaim him.

What are you doing with the life, freedom and creativity God freely gave you? Let me know what you think.

A Little Footnote to Your Personal History


Imagine this.

You are sitting in the pew of a church with a cathedral-high ceiling. Stain glass windows.

It’s lit with sunlight but a tad chilly.

Eventually the pastor approaches the lectern, sets his Bible down, reaches inside his wool sport coat and pulls out a pair of reading glasses.

He then cracks open his Bible.

He leafs through a few pages, anchors his finger on a text and then reads.

He reads the text with a sober, but soft voice. And when he’s finished, he removes his glasses and launches into his sermon.

Nothing out of the ordinary or cause for concern.

You listen, take notes, smile, laugh, look at your boots, scratch your elbow, stare at the stain glass window behind the lectern.

Then, with about ten minutes before his sermon ends, the pastor embarks on his own personal story.

His salvation story.

Quickly you learn that central to his story is a man. You don’t catch his name. But that’s own purpose. And, as you’ll see, that you don’t know his name isn’t important.

Not to his story. Or my story.

What you do catch is the role this man played in the pastor’s life. A significant role, to say the least, because it was this man who introduced the pastor to Christ.

Eventually he does name the man. And you’re shocked. But not for the typical reasons.

You’re shocked because you don’t have a clue who this man is. You’ve never heard of him before. And you feel…well, somewhat embarrassed for the man.

Why embarrassed?

Because the man is a nobody. He’s not a towering figure in history who the world knows.

He’s not a Theodore Roosevelt. Gandhi. Or Mick Jagger. In the world’s eyes, he’s a failure. Unfortunately, you toy with this idea that he’s a failure.

But to the pastor this obscure, unremarkable man is perhaps one of the most significant persons in his life.

Have you ever heard a pastor tell a story like this? Whether in your own church, a church you visited or at a conference?

I’ve probably heard this story told–in a variation of forms–four times in the last ten years.

[Could be more, but only four actually stand out.]

And I’m ashamed to admit that each time I heard the story…I frowned. Frowned because the “poor” man who led the pastor to Christ is unremarkable. Obscure.

He’s not a legendary CEO. A stellar actor. A current president. He’s just a man who introduced a person to Christ.

And that kills me each time.

Each of these men are footnotes in the lives of these pastors. But significant footnotes. Meaningful in the eyes of eternity. The only point of view that truly matters.

Why am I telling you this? Simple. I want to be a footnote in your life. A meaningful reference anchored somewhere in your life.

But not for my own glory. For Christ’s glory, of course.

This is one of the reasons I want to pour myself into this blog: To educate you and encourage you, to correct and condition you towards Christ.

I’ve got slim hopes that I’ll actually lead someone to the Lord. But if I can nudge you just a smidgen in the direction of Christ and the hope found in his grace…

If I can merely point you to the heavenly city where our omnipotent King sits enthroned…

If I can equip you to fight the good fight of faith or impress upon you the support and care you have from me in the form of constant prayer and supplication…

I’ve succeeded.

Whether you remember it or not ten years from now, I’ve succeeded in becoming a little footnote in your personal history.

Truly, the real reward will come when we sit together in the banquet hall with our bridegroom. Together, in adoration and zealous celebration of the only person who could have satisfied the justice and wrath of God–Jesus Christ.

But until then–and years from now–may you remember the tiny dent you got when you collided with Christ at Fallen and Flawed.

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Our Wretched State (Exhibit A)

The reason behind my wide-eyed fascination with the story of Jacob…and the growing temptation to deceive that follows it.

I’m profoundly intrigued by human nature. Our wicked human nature in particular.

This is probably why I’m drawn to tragic literature. Psychological disorders. Aberrant sociology.

Unfortunately, this taste bleeds into my Bible reading.

Seduced by a Biblical Story

For instance, late last week I was reading the story of  in the book of Genesis.

You know the story.

Jacob robs his brother of his birthright. Dupes his father into blessing him instead of Esau. And manipulates Laban’s cattle to breed so that Jacob’s flock gets larger.

Funny thing is, Jacob is an instrument of God. A man who is a critical part of His redemptive plan for mankind.

A man who was constantly on the run because of his crooked, mischievous nature.

No wonder I read Jacob’s story with wide-eyed fascination. And a growing temptation to deceive.

That’s right.

Brewing within my own soul while I read Jacob’s biography was this sense, “If he got away with all this…so can I.”

And this coming from a sanctified saint. [As much as one can be, of course.]

The Way Wicked Hearts Go

Trouble is, I’ve got a genetic, spiritual aptitude for rebellion. [A phrase, by the way, I shamelessly borrowed from Matt Chandler in his .]

Some call it an issue with authority. An incorrigible bent to do things my way.

That means I don’t learn–very often–from the mistakes of others. And the temptation to do what I’m NOT supposed to do? Utterly inviting.

Unfortunately, that’s my wretched state…and yours…the constant bent towards disobedience. Mischief. Sin.

It can be frustrating.

See, salvation breaks the penalty of sin through justification by faith. It’s the story of the grace of God reconciling a rebellious people.

But until I die–until WE die–we remain in corrupt bodies. Bodies bred in a fallen world.

Bodies susceptible and drawn to sin.

Here’s My Point

Everywhere and at all times we must be ,  and on our  temptation and disobedience. Temptation can–and will–come from everywhere.

Thus, we must . For others–and ourselves.

Furthermore, Jacob’s sin doesn’t excuse us from our own sin. We can’t claim amnesty from guilt because a hero of our faith is a model of despicable behavior.

That model of despicable behavior on display is intended to point us away from ourselves and towards at least two entirely different things:

1. It points to the fact that we are broken beings with a thirst for lawlessness in desperate need of a savior.

2. And it points to a sovereign, merciful God who uses wreckage like us to accomplish His will.

That is the intention of documenting Jacob’s misdeeds. Agree? Disagree? Has Satan ever used a biblical text to tempt you? Share your thoughts. Brutal and all.

Resist Christ as Lord [Our Condition Apart from New Birth]

Part of the10 Hard Truths about Being Born Again series.

Judas the apostate–the betrayer–was an apostle of Jesus Christ…

A man hand picked by Jesus to be one of the twelve…

Part of the close circle of disciples.

A man trusted to be the treasurer. A man who saw Jesus cure the lameConquer storms.

A man who heard all the doctrines of Christ. Doctrines taught with authority. Taught irrespective of tradition.

Judas even heard Peter tell Jesus, “You are the Christ.”

Yet, Judas was impotent to all things spiritual. Unregenerate. Blind.

Dead in sins, he didn’t think it worthwhile to glorify Jesus as God or give thanks to him.

And in the end–in spite of the abundant proofs of Jesus’ lordship–he rejected Jesus as his Lord.


Why Judas Resisted Christ as Lord

Judas simply chose the only thing that would please his corrupt nature and its appetite for sin. He couldn’t choose what his nature didn’t desire.

And this is why the new birth is needed.

 says that “No man can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit.” In other words, you CANNOT say “Jesus is Lord” and mean that he is master of your life…

And in , Jesus says “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”

In the absence of God’s gracious gift of faith in Jesus Christ, you can not embrace Jesus as Lord. In God’s grace, however, you are drawn FROM your beloved lusts and darling self-righteousness…

And drawn TO Christ. To rely upon Christ–and Christ alone–for salvation.

You are drawn from that which was appalling and ludicrous to that which is comforting and reasonable.

Mind you, the drawing here is not moral persuasion. It’s not doctrine. It’s not miracles. It’s distinct from that.

And superior.

From Resisting to Embracing Christ as Lord

It’s the internal and powerful influence of the Holy Spirit of God. An act of power, but not force. God makes the unwilling willing. He makes him who resists the lordship of Christ actually embrace the lordship of Christ.

Such statements may seem quaint, maybe even self-defeating, but to anyone who’s been truly born again, the work of the Holy Spirit in their regeneration is a stable, eyes-wide-open reality. One that faith can sink its anchor into.