Tag Archives: salvation

Why Unbelievers Find Jesus’ Commands Too Extreme and Strenuous to Be Obeyed


 It’s impossible to live like this–impossible, impossible, impossible!

That’s what the great Russian writer Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy wrote in his article of 1882 On the Occasion of the Moscow Census…but those words easily sum up all he wrote in the last thirty years of his life.

This includes his attack on art, the church, the state and society, all as a result of his return to Gospel purity.

For example, upon his move to Moscow from the Russian countryside he was exposed to urban poverty and began handing out fistfuls of money, but realized that was not enough.

Thus his outburst.

He lashed out at his own class, the wealthy, who managed to live in the face of such wretchedness and hopelessness, and not flinch.

He taught that brotherly love and certain precepts from the Sermon on the Mount could, as the translator of  Richard Pevear put it, “lead mankind to a stateless, egalitarian, agrarian society of non-smoking, teetotal vegetarians dressed as peasants and practicing chastity before and after marriage.”

But as a father of thirteen children it is safe to say that Tolstoy failed to obey at least one of his own principles.

And that his ideal society (grounded in worldly wisdom) never emerged from the Russian country side is an indication of the impossibility of unregenerate men and woman to obey seemingly simple precepts like “Love your neighbor.”

Christopher Hitchens on Gospel Obligations

In his book Rage Against God, Peter Hitchens works his way through the arguments atheists use to suggest that we can develop effective and binding codes without a deity.

He then mentions his brother Christopher, who is, of course, an advocate of this belief, yet states, “the order to ‘love thy neighbour as thyself is too extreme and too strenuous to be obeyed.”

Humans, Christopher says, “are not so constituted as to care for others as much as themselves.”

That is, the gospel is a sick delusion.

Yet, the unrelenting devotion of mothers is a definitive example against that argument, as well as the work of doctors and nurses.

However, things heat up when we witness the most powerful expression of this obligation: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” ().

Now we are reaching contrary to human nature. And we are about to push it over the edge.

Gospel Obligations We Can’t Bear

The command to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Not to resist an evil person. To give the man who sues you the property he wants–and then some. And to give to whom ever asks of you.

These are all examples of precepts impossible to bear.

And one way to suggest that these are contrary to human nature is to point out that just about everyone–believer and unbeliever–will try to wiggle out of these injunctions by providing tailor-made exceptions.

The only problem is there are no footnotes to these commands. Jesus is calling for a full surrender of all personal rights.

And trust me: that seems a bit extreme and too strenuous to obey. And I am a believer.

John Owen on Properly Killing Sin

I suspect there is, has been and will always be an utter distaste for the commands of Jesus among unbelievers–Hitchens and Tolstoy being popular examples–because of the unlikelihood of meeting those obligations.

Why is that?

John Owen, in , has a lot to say about it. What follows is my summary of his argument.

If we are going to obey the commands from Jesus that say to kill our sins, then we must first be believers: “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” ().

Otherwise there will be condemnation at your failure. This is why it is believers alone who are commanded to mortify sin:

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Certainly philosophers in the past and the present can do something that looks like mortification–chronic fasting or vows of solitude–but it is false and unacceptable to God.

For unbelievers to attempt to kill sin through these methods amounts to a picture of the sun painted on a sign post versus the actual sun hanging in the sky.

This is typically the sad fate of wicked men who attempt to kill sin without Christ:

The bellows blow fiercely; the lead is consumed by the fire; in vain the refining goes on, for the wicked are not removed. Rejected silver they are called, for the Lord has rejected them. 

If Not Kill Sin–What Do We Tell Unbelievers to Do?

Yes, sin must be mortified, but something else must happen first for the unbeliever. You must be born of the Spirit. No Spirit, no mortification:

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 

Those in the flesh cannot please God.

But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 

And Christ in us will produce the right operation to kill sin:

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. 

In essence, killing sin and mortifying this or that lust is not the immediate business of unregenerate men. Conversion of their soul is their immediate business.

The 3 Things That Happen to Unbelievers Who Attempt to Kill Sin

So what happens when unbelievers try to destroy sin in their life without the help of the Holy Spirit? Owen says three things:

1. Unregenerate men are distracted from conversion.

When an unbeliever makes mortification of sins his main focus, he loses sight of what is truly important: his salvation. Thus, preaching mortification of sin to unregenerate men focuses on legalism and not repentance.

What did Peter tell the unregenerate Jews when they asked what to do about their sin? . The root must be dealt with if you want good fruit.

2. Unregenerate men engaged in killing sin think their souls are not in danger.

When they try to pacify their consciences without Christ, they are sick in soul, and run to mortification rather than the great physician.

Moreover, these unregenerate men trying to kill sin will think they are in good condition, doing quite well, thank you, without the help of some saviour.

3. Unregenerate men will despair when their attempts at mortification fail.

Eventually sin returns to trample all of their efforts–and in their despair they conclude that mortification of sin is all for nothing, and so give in, becoming, as Owen says, “the most vile and desperate of sinners.”

 Unbelievers who attempt to kill sin do so because they say, “I do not want to be bad.” But what they don’t say, but is equally true, is that they do not want to surrender their soul.

They want to maintain their autonomy and defeat their sin in their own power, which only leads to death. Unfortunately, killing sin without Christ deludes, hardens and destroys.

Jesus and every Apostle pointed out that to kill sin is the work of living men. There is no death of sin without the death of Christ.

Until then biblical obligations will seem strange, strenuous and impossible to unbelievers.

Until then people who attempt to kill sin without Christ will endure the punishment like that of king Sisyphus: rolling an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, ad nauseam.

By the way, if you liked what you read please . Then share this post on Twitter and Facebook.

Why Every Christian Should Read Mortification of Sin: 6 Reasons

Last week I published a monster cheat sheet to John Owen’s Mortification of Sin in Believers.

As promised here is a list of reasons why every Christian should read the original book.

1. Understand it is your duty to kill sin

Ask most Christians and they don’t have a clue what you mean when you say “mortification of sin.” When you explain that that means “to kill sin,” most Christians still won’t know what to do with that.

Aren’t we saved by grace? Don’t we ask forgiveness when we do sin? Isn’t that killing sin?

No. Owen will tell you that killing sin is the pre-emptive act of dealing with our sin–not coping with its fruit. It is laying the axe to the root of sin, before it blossoms.

This is mortification of sin, and, as Owen’s main text says, the duty of every believer: “If ye through the Holy Spirit mortify the flesh ye shall live” (Romans 8:13).

2. Escalate your sense of the danger of sin

In response to the USA Today article “,” Albert Mohler said, “We are reminded yet again that an understanding of sin is preliminary to understanding the Gospel. The magnitude of our sin explains the necessary magnitude of Christ’s atonement.”

If we have a low view of sin, then we will have a low view of God’s holiness and Christ’s work on the cross.

And that is a dangerous place to be in.

Owen said, “Be killing sin or it will be killing you,” for “it will bring forth great, cursed, scandalous, soul-destroying sins.”

3. Diminish your sense of self-worth

Jesus said, “For apart from me you can do nothing.”

Yet, do we not think that we are capable of doing everything? That something peculiar to us as an individual allows us to conquer anything we put our minds to? And are we not taught this precept in our schools, advertisements and even our churches?

Of course this not peculiar to Americans. We are all in love with ourselves and think we are special and superior–even to God. We may even go as far as to say that we are personally worth the sacrifice Jesus made.

Owen will break you of this. Again and again. Which is good because an elevated sense of self is a deception that can harden the heart and destroy the soul.

4. Expose your light attitude to the cost of the cross of Christ

We are put to death in Christ–a death that paid the penalty for our sins. Yet when we ignore sin, neglect its mortification or diminish its threat we not only damage His saint and wound Christ afresh, but we also gratify His enemy.

Owen wants us to shiver in shame at this thought.

The blood of Christ is used to cleanse us, the exaltation of Christ is meant for repentance and the doctrine of grace teaches us to deny ungodliness. The false believer, however, uses these principles to approve of sin.

5. Bone up on the ways of sin

Mortification of sin is warfare. And it is constant. So it makes sense that we would study sin and know our enemy. That enemy never rests. He never wearies. And wants nothing more than our death.

And we must know the policies and depth of our sins. To be ignorant of the ways of sin and Satan is to be vulnerable to sin and Satan. We must know where the strength of our sin lies–and then .

Owen knows sin, the enemy and the world. His psychological insights on the human condition are just as penetrating as are his theological ones.

6. Elevate our respect for the Holy Spirit

Sin cannot be mortified apart from the Holy Spirit. This is a relentless theme in Mortification. In fact, Owen demonstrates to do so will only lead to chronic misery and failure or elevation of self and hardening of heart to God and others.

Both conditions are deadly.

Instead, the Holy Spirit is “that excellent succour which God hath given us against our greatest enemy,” and he alone is our strength, shield and shelter in our combat with sin.

Your Turn

Throughout the coming months I will continue to write posts on particular points in Mortification. It is that rich and deserves expansion.

In the meantime, read Mortification (there are links at the top of the page to different formats of the book) if you haven’t already. It would be great to discuss this book with you.

And if you already have read it, what are some other reasons every Christian should read it? I would love to hear your thoughts.

If you liked what you read . Then share on Facebook and Twitter.

The Most Extraordinary Revival the World Has Ever Seen

Part of a new weekly series on the book of Matthew. This week: Matthew 12:38-41

Jonah had no idea what to expect the day he walked into Nineveh.

As the capital of the Assyrian Empire, it was quite possibly the largest city in the known world.

The inner city was surrounded by walls 8 miles long. The outer city circumscribed 60 miles. As many as 600,000 people could have been living in Nineveh at this time.

It was founded by an eponymous Ninnus. But it was who made it great.

The Spectacular Wealth and Sin of Sennacherib and His City

He built new streets and squares and created a palace with 80 rooms, some full of sculptures. The doorways were flanked by stone bulls or winged lions weighing 30 tons.

On the walls artisans carved battles, impalings and scenes of his soldiers parading the spoils of war before their king.

Of his conquest of Babylon he bragged that he slaughtered all of its citizens–young and old, woman and child.

Of his conquest of Jerusalem he gloated about caging up Hezekiah like a bird and starving the inhabitants of the city.

The people of Nineveh worshipped , the fish goddess, the daughter of Ea, the goddess of fresh water.

They worshipped , the fish god, represented as half man and half-fish.

They worshipped , highest god in the Assyrian pantheon and protector of the city.

And they worshipped , the goddess of love, war, fertility and sex.

And to cry out against their wickedness.

The Most Extraordinary Revival the World Has Ever Seen

It took Jonah three days to walk around the city and preach his sermon, which amounted to this: “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.”

Jonah more than likely felt pleasure in his sermon. He did not want to share salvation with non-Jews. However, obedience to God trumped his reluctance. Jonah’s reward? The destruction of the city he hated.

Historians are not sure who exactly was king over Nineveh during Jonah’s sermon: it is either Adad-irari III or Assurdan III. One puts us at about 810-783 B.C. The other at 772-755 B.C, respectively.

No matter.

The king of Nineveh’s response was dramatic. He rose from his throne and cast off his robe. He covered himself in ashes and sackcloth. Then came his proclamation:

In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands.  Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish. 

It is not a stretch to say that Jonah’s jaw probably dropped.

Something Greater than Jonah Is Here

It’s this story, embedded in the Old Testament and embedded in the teachings of scribes and Pharisees, that Jesus uses to answer a request for a sign by some scribes and Pharisees.

Jesus says:

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” But He answered and said to them, “ An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. 

Jonah was a stranger to Nineveh. He preached for 3 days. He performed no miracles. He was a fallen and flawed man. A disobedient prophet. And he only preached punishment on this earth.

In all ways he was inferior to Jesus.

Jesus was no stranger to the Jews of Jerusalem. He preached for 3 years. He performed all kinds of miracles. He was sinless. He was God in the flesh. Perfect in his doctrine. Perfect in his obedience. And he preached eternal punishment.

Yet, the Jews would not repent.

Their punishment? On the day of judgement, a day they all believed was coming, they would stand before God. And the people of Nineveh, the generation that repented, would stand before them and level a finger to pronounce them condemned.

Those Jews were not seeking repentance. They were seeking a sign. And that lust would cost them their eternal lives.

Your Turn

The revival in late eight century B.C. Nineveh parallels nothing else in recorded history. A city of half a million fall to their knees and repent, removing the judgement of God.

Pentecost. The Reformation. The First and Second Great Awakenings. The sheer size of the Global South Movement may be the closest contender.

But no examples of a single city the size of Nineveh.

Some suggest the Nineveh revival was superficial because within a generation the city was destroyed as predicted by Nahum. Jesus doesn’t buy that. His illustration suggests their repentance was sincere, an instance of true saving faith.

And a warning to us: do not seek signs. Seek repentance.

What Happens to Our Faith When God Disappears?

Christian faith is often brittle. It’s often punctuated with moments of doubt. Persecution. Isolation. Fear.

We can sometimes spend entire nights staring at the ceiling or pacing the floor praying, “God, I cannot do this unless I know you are with me. Where are you? Don’t hide. Please. I need you.”

It’s as if God’s gone AWOL.

Michael Patton  when his sister died.

It was a devastating buzz kill to a man who was a seminary superstar on a spiritual high, always optimistic when everyone else was in the dumps…

Always seeing the good in the evil.

However, this tragedy caused enormous confusion.

And he couldn’t shake it.

Spiritual Loneliness and Our Circumstances

Since that time he’s had his ups and downs. Exhausted from ministry and struggling to provide for his family, you could easily say that when he wrote that post he’d spent an extended period in the downs.

But don’t count him out.

In the midst of his painful post he writes:

Those of you atheists and former Christians who suspect that they are about to have another Christian cross over to the dark side, put up your party hats, blowouts, and (ahem) cake. I am not close. One thing that I have learned, believe, and teach with great conviction is that my circumstances do not have a vote in truth. Nothing that I go through can alter or affect the cardinal issues of my faith. Jesus Christ either died and rose from the grave or he did not. It is upon this that the entirety of my faith rests.

Here’s the deal: Our faith will be assaulted…and then weakened. But true saving faith will always prevail because it’s not dependent upon our circumstances.

It’s dependent on something more concrete.

What Does Spiritual Growth REALLY Look Like?

The doctrine of the perseverance of the saints doesn’t mean our Christian life is one of steady upward growth without failure.

Yes, it’s upward. But it looks more like a saw-tooth than a gentle slope toward the sky.

Any Christian can relate: We can go from an acute sense of holiness and the presence of God to very bad sin and feelings of isolation all the way back to a so-called intimacy–within weeks…or even days.

 doesn’t mean we won’t sin or experience despair. Nor does it mean we won’t sin or despair GRIEVOUSLY. Truly regenerate Christians can commit murder, adultery and even publicly reject Christ.

They even can live in depression. But NEVER persistently. The Bible is clear: A Christian can fall. And fall hard. But not fully or finally.

Spiritual Growth Involves War

Our faith is weak. And we will naturally be bruised as we fight the good fight of faith. The Bible promises us a war.

Thing is, we’ll never be abandoned during that war. Even when it feels like God has gone AWOL.

Martin Luther stood alone at the Diet of Worms against the most powerful men of his time. He spent the prior night praying in agony. He knew he could not do what he was going to do unless God was behind him.

In his :

My persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

In the same letter Paul uncovers his own despondency when he declares: “No one came to stand by me. All deserted me…. But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me. …The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom.”

We are in good company when we experience despair and pain. Furthermore, we also know that we will be victorious. God will rescue us because Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our faith.

And what is our faith? , “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for.” Our hope in Christ is the anchor of our soul.

What Faith Is and Isn’t

This is not faith AGAINST the evidence. But a faith of substance. Nor is it a faith in skimpy evidence…and we’re told to believe anyway.

It is not ephemeral and wishful, but rooted in the historical life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s based upon the manifold evidence that Christ is God’s son.

And that he came to redeem the world.

Faith is a gift from God. He is the author of that faith. He’s also responsible through the Holy Spirit to nourish that faith. And we have God’s promise that he will not abandon that work–but finish it.

And that’s why in the midst of doubt or trials Michael Patton, Martin Luther, the Apostle Paul and even Demian Farnworth can say, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom.”

What Is True Saving Faith?

Simply believing in the gospel message doesn’t amount to saving faith. There’s something more.

When the Apostles proclaimed the gospel in the first century, it had a certain content.

People could reject that content. But they could also accept it as true.

They could even believe in it.

Yet, that still left them with out true saving faith.

Listen: Accurate content and sincere belief in that content doesn’t amount to saving faith…

Those are necessary elements–but not sufficient elements.

There’s one more element.

Let’s address the first two elements before we get to that last one.

Notitia–the First Element of True Saving Faith

One, we must make sure that content is accurate. No use believing in something that isn’t true or heretical.

As you probably know, there’s something dreadfully wrong with this statement: “It doesn’t matter what they believe–as long as they are sincere.”

 was sincere in his belief that he was called by God to abduct children, murder entire families and displace over a million Sudanese so he could establish a theocratic kingdom.

Sincerity can go awfully wrong.

The same is true for Christians: It’s meaningless to be sincere in our belief but not know whether our belief is accurate or not.

We risk heresy if we do otherwise. Thus, the first element of saving faith is accurate content–notitia. Let’s look at the second.

Assensus–the Second Element of True Saving Faith

Second, we must believe that content is true. We must assent to it. This is assensus.

But it’s still not enough to redeem us.

I believe that Augustine wrote the City of God. However, that doesn’t redeem me. There has to be something more.

Fiducia–the Third Element to Saving Faith

The third element to saving faith is fiducia–personal trust and commitment in the accurate content we believe.

This is when a Christian accepts, receives and RELIES on Christ alone.

Granted, the message of that content is important. I could put my trust and commitment in Augustine–but it wouldn’t do me any good.

He’s not offering salvation. Only Jesus Christ is.

What Saving Faith Does to Our Lives

We look to Jesus [not Augustine nor any man] for justification, sanctification and eternal life.

With saving faith, we tremble at the commands of God…yield in obedience to the mandates of Christ…and put our trust in the promises of God for now and for the future.

In essence, it radically rearranges our lives. Christ becomes our object of delight. Our obsession.

And we long to do nothing more than please him. [We don’t always succeed, but that’s another story.]

Here’s the core content we we confess as true, deserving of our belief and worthy of our submission:

That Christ was born, willingly and perfectly lived under the law of God and died as an atoning act. We believe he was dead, buried and rose again.

Only when we believe that information is accurate and trust it holds the power to save us can we safely say we are born again.

Anything less and Jesus is not saving us.

What Does It [Really] Mean to “Call Upon the Lord”?

For all the talk of God’s sovereignty, election and spiritual bondage, the Bible unequivocally clamps down on our reaction to the gospel…

There’s no missing it: We are responsible for exercising our faith.

We are, in the end, held accountable to “call upon the Lord.”

Here’s Peter and Paul’s take on it:

And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 

But what does “call upon the Lord” mean? More importantly, is it the same thing Jesus described in  when people came to him saying “Lord, Lord”?

No, it’s not. It’s way more complex than that.

When Peter was asked what one had to do to be saved, , “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.”

Paul said that this calling upon the Lord can’t happen . A sinner cannot “call” until after he has heard the Word of God–and believed it.

So then, every non-believer who wants to obtain salvation does not get it by simply praying to God or saying, “Lord, Lord,” but by submitting to God’s authority.

Ultimately, a genuine Christian, among other things, obeys God’s commands, reject this evil world, longs for Jesus’ return, loves other Christians and discerns between truth and error.

Only when a person submits to the will of God can he accurately be described as “calling on the Lord.” And only then can he enjoy great confidence in his eternal salvation.

There’s no short-circuiting that process. At all.

How Faith Is Created in Your Soul

Ever wonder how you got the faith necessary to believe Christ is the Son of God?

Some people would tell you that God’s grace assists a believer to exercise his faith…

A faith that’s native to his being.

That’s the so-called semi-Pelagian view.

And on this view, everything depends decisively on a person’s response.

But this was not the view of Augustine, Luther, Calvin or Edwards. Nor is it the teaching of the New Testament.

The New Testament tells us that we are spiritually dead and blind rebels and unless the Holy Spirit raises us from spiritual death, God’s offer of grace would be like giving water to a dead man.

Dead men don’t drink water.

Neither do dead men respond to offers of grace. At least not until they are raised from the dead.

This view is spelled out in Paul’s letters. For instance, , “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”

What is NOT our doing? Paul is clear: the origination of our faith.

The Killer Blow to Semi-Pelagianism

Yes, it becomes our faith. We exercise that faith. Nobody else does it for us. But we can’t exercise what we don’t have, so God, through salvation, gives us faith to accept his grace.

Paul’s simple statement is a deathblow to all forms of semi-Pelagianism.  It affirms that the faith by which you are justified…by which you are united in Christ…and that is the instrumental cause of your justification…did not originate in some activity or decision of your will.

It did not come from unregenerate flesh. It came from God. Decisively.

God made a promise to save every person who responds to the gospel with faith:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 

Fortunately for us that response doesn’t depend on our self-absorbed, wretched will.

No. It depends on God. That way our faith is eternally stable and secure. Our preservation is a promise that can’t be broken.

In all things–from creation to redemption to glorification–he remains the sovereign, provident and all-powerful God.

And that is a God worthy of our adoration.

Monergism.com: A Quick and Dirty Guide

Did you know that there’s a massive archive of all things reformed in a single place on the web? Discover it here.

Monergism is the name for the doctrine that the Holy Spirit acts independently of the human will in the work of new birth.

It’s also the name for one of the best online resources for all things reformed: .

In many ways, it’s the reformed communities best kept secret.

But it’s not likely to stay that way for long.

The Birth of Monergism

Around the year 2000, web developer  by the growth of heretical information on the web.

At the same time he also noticed that there wasn’t anywhere online you could go to find sound doctrine in a single place. Naturally, he felt like he should use his God-given creativity to spread the gospel.

So, in his spare time, he built Monergism.com to help recover the true biblical doctrines of the historic faith by collecting and centralizing reformed resources across the web on one site.

And what began ten years ago as a small website with a handful of links has grown into a mammoth directory of all things reformed.

Five Things You Can Do at Monergism.com

Monergism.com amounts to a vast archive of online articles, PDFs, books and mp3s. So if you’re new to monergism–whether the doctrine or the website–…

1. With over 80 links to topics on regeneration, the will of God, justification and biblical devotion you’re likely to be busy for awhile–especially if you settle into the 26-part .

2. The second great way to use Monergism.com involves the exposition of Scripture. Simply pop in any Bible verse into the search box, press submit and voila: a stout list of written and audio commentaries on that verse.

3. The third great feature at Monergism.com is it’s biography pages. Take , for example. On his bio page you get a professional summary then a long list of resources.

4. Then there’s the –a  massive archive of sermons and lectures on just about any topic under the reformed sun. Name a living theologian or pastor–like  or –and you are likely to find all their available sermons.

5. Lastly, Monergism.com has developed into a  where you can find classic Puritan works by Flavel, Edwards and Newton to current works by Francis Chan, Kevin DeYoung or Adrian Warnock–often at reduced prices.

Keep This in Mind

Monergism.com is a non-profit organization. That means Hendyx and Co. work off of donations and book sales…

Anyone who’s worked in non-profit knows that this often amounts to dirt, which should give you an indication when you consider the size and quality and longevity of Monergism.com that this venture has a lot to do with one man’s unrelenting vision to see the historic confession of Jesus Christ dominate the theological landscape…

Something I can wholeheartedly get behind. What about you?

10 Hard Truths about Being Born Again

Introducing the 3/60 best books on the gospel. A 62-week long series.

What does it mean to be spiritually dead? And why is the new birth so precious?

The following ten posts (based upon John Piper’s book ) unpack the hard truth that we are dead apart from the new birth…

And until we look back at our dreadful, wicked condition and see that God–and only God–yanked us up out of it will we ever fully know his mercy and love for us.

Spiritual Death

What does it mean to be spiritually dead? A biblical answer. With a little help from my friend John Piper.

Hard-Hearted Ignorance

On the surface our problem–that is, our condition apart from the new birth–looks like ignorance. But it’s something deeper.

Resist Christ as Lord

Did you know that new birth draws you AWAY from your lusts TO Christ? Yet, the drawing is not moral persuasion. It’s something different. And superior.

Spiritual Blindness

People who reject Christ are blind. And there’s only one cure. Fortunately, these people who follow this blog know the secret and aren’t shy about it.

Bondage to Worldly Wisdom

Intellectual discussions deserve exchanges of argument and counter-argument. The only problem is, sin is not an intellectual problem. It’s something else.

Children of Wrath

Why do you need to be born again? Because you are a child of wrath. And how you got to be that way may surprise you.

Enemy of God

The person dead-set on embracing all the world has to offer can never please God. And that’s a dangerous thing.

Hates the Light

Two things essentially arise from an abandonment of Christianity: Your sense of morality and your bitterness towards God. This is what it means to love the dark.

Slaves to Sin

To be a slave to sin is a terrible thing. But enslavement to sin doesn’t mean one struggles against it. Quite the contrary.

Slaves to Satan

The path to new birth is strewn with opposition. And as if that wasn’t enough to discourage or depress you, let me add another one.

Update: Added Slaves to Sin on Thursday, January 7, for a total of ten hard truths about being born again.

It’s Christmas Morning. Why Am I So Angry Again?

The world so often sees my anger.

It so often sees my chronic frustration with contemporary Christian culture and it’s treatment of God’s holiness.

It so often sees my tyrannical, self-absorbed bent to highlight the faults of heathens, punks, posers and misfits.

Misfits, mind you, like me.

But do they ever sense my grief?

That quiet but habitual sorrow over sin’s devastating effects?

Do they ever hear about that low-grade, sad restlessness over the wreckage in another person’s life because they’re barreling down the road AWAY from God?

No. Not much.

What they usually hear is judgment. Mostly because I only wear one emotion on my sleeve: Anger.

Here’s the deal.

Yes. I have peace with God. I have a future hope based in the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I nurse an unshakable joy for his second coming

An unconquerable glee in my redemption and sanctification…

An awe at God’s mind-blowing fashion of stooping so low to redeem a rebellious people…

And an utter fascination at the majesty of his creation that extends billions of miles in all directions…

That allows me to say this: “I love you.”

Not in some flimsy, self-esteem enhancing way, but in a concrete, Christ-affirming manner that suggests this: ”You were made for much more.”

That is my motive.

And before you wring your hands over my emotional state during this celebration of Christ’s birth, know this: It’s Christmas morning and, yes, I’m a little angry. A little sad. A little pensive…

But those emotions are overpowered by a colossal sense of the bliss created by the cross that inevitably follows the birth of Christ…

And the fact that Christ was born for you so that he could die for you so that you could live a fruitful life in beautiful submission to our reigning king.

God bless you and Merry Christmas.