Life in Christ

Things Old and New in the Believer

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh.” Why urge no provision, if there is no flesh to be provided for? Soteriology is the doctrine of salvation, while anthropology is the doctrine of man. Where these combine is in the question of “What does the Christian look like? What sort of person is she after becoming a new creation in Christ?” Some affirm the Christian is a new creation…

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Life in Christ The Decalogue The Law of Moses

The Opposite of Lawlessness is not Lawfulness, but Righteousness

The question of the law of Moses and what place it has in the Christian life is a perennial one. There is often as much to unlearn around such questions as there is to learn. When words such as lawlessness are in view, this is especially true. I leave aside the more specific uses of the word, such as “the man of lawlessness” and “the mystery of lawlessness.” These are more eschatological in scope. I…

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Life in Christ The Law of Moses

All Commandments Are Not Equal: Salvation History has Consequences

I have engaged people in discussions about the Mosaic law in the Christian life on many occasions. One direction the discussion can go is that someone quotes back the writings of John, the beloved disciple. Jesus told the disciples “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15). God has given his people commandments, and if we love him, if we follow him, we will keep these commandments. John’s first epistle is also…

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Life in Christ The Decalogue The Law of Moses

Fulfilling the Law or Keeping It—What’s the Difference?

No single verse of Scripture gives a complete picture of the Christian’s relationship to the law. One has to read the whole of the New Testament to come up with a coherent picture of how the law of Moses may (or may not) relate to the believer in Christ. But without question, the apostle Paul has more to say about the law than any other writer, and one of the things he’s careful to say…

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Life in Christ The Decalogue

Sanctification: What is it?

Error seems to travel in pairs, and when we come to the topic of sanctification, this is also the case. One error says that we must do more in order to be more. The Roman Catholic teaching on justification suffers from this misunderstanding. That is, as I perform more good, I become more justified. Justification is poured into me, little by little throughout my life, provided I keep doing. There are Protestant variations on this…

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Gospel Life in Christ

What is the “Word of Christ”?

Christians have as their rule and authority the written word of God—the Bible. We value what God has recorded in the Scriptures not only as sufficient for our lives, but also all we need in order to understand who God is, and what he has done. Scripture is, in other words, a revelation of God and from God. The truth of God’s Word is attested to in several places within the Bible itself. Psalm 19…

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Gospel Life in Christ

A Few Words Before I Go: Scripture’s Farewell Speeches

What do we learn from the farewell speeches recorded in Scripture? If we compare the parting words (or nearly so) of Joshua, Samuel, and Stephen, there are common themes. Noting these, are there lessons for believers in these discourses? There are at least two important things that as Christians, one never outgrows. Remember Your Redemption Joshua 24 finds him gathering all the people at Shechem. He rehearses the history of the nation, beginning with the…

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Life in Christ The Decalogue

Is the Law Our Tutor?

One of the common assumptions about the law of Moses is that it is our tutor or schoolmaster. That is, the law leads us to Christ. For this reason, it remains useful to us. In Galatians 3, Paul explains the temporary nature of the law, and contrasts it with the promise to Abraham. The promise given to Abraham was by faith, and came prior to the law, by 430 years. But the natural question in…

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Life in Christ The Decalogue

How Faith Upholds the Law

In the early chapters of Romans, Paul the prosecutor has summarily indicted all of mankind; Jew and Gentile, as guilty before God. Part of his case has been a dismantling of the Mosaic Law as having any part in providing humanity with a right standing before God. The law cannot do this for at least two reasons. First, no one keeps the law. “None is righteous, no, not one” (3:10) Second, the law reveals sin,…

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Life in Christ

Thinking Rightly About our Identity in Christ

Most Christians have a view of themselves that acknowledges they have not yet arrived at full Christian maturity. That’s a sensible perspective and accords with what Paul writes to the Ephesians. “This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. (Eph. 4:13 TLB)   But focusing only what…

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