I have heard and read some state, “We should only be encouraging to one another.” Radio stations such as KLove make it part of their slogan. What does it mean to be encouraging?
The dictionary defines encouragement as “the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.” In our case as Christians, we offer hope in Christ Jesus. Romans 15:13 reads, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
As to encouragement, we find these verses:
Hebrews 10:25- “Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Continue reading True Encouragement
God is sovereign in creation, providence, redemption, and judgment. That is a central assertion of Christian belief and especially in Reformed theology. God is King and Lord of all. To put this another way: nothing happens without God’s willing it to happen, willing it to happen before it happens, and willing it to happen in the way that it happens. Put this way, it seems to say something that is expressly Reformed in doctrine. But at its heart, it is saying nothing different from the assertion of the Nicene Creed: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty.” To say that God is sovereign is to express His almightiness in every area.
God is sovereign in creation. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Apart from God, there was nothing. And then there was something: matter, space, time, energy. And these came into being ex nihilo—out of nothing. The will to create was entirely God’s. The execution was entirely His. There was no metaphysical “necessity” to create; it was a free action of God.
The ongoing cultural situations, especially concerning the Confederate statues, are frustrating and we should do what we can to preserve our history. But for us as Christians, let’s not lose our perspective and focus and allow frustration and anger to overtake what our true identity is and what our true mission is. Im speaking to myself first and foremost. This clip from John MacArthur says it well.
In recent years, there has been a recovery of the five points of Calvinism among many evangelicals, but there has not been a concomitant revival of the covenant theology of seventeenth century Puritanism as the rich soil in which Calvinistic soteriology grows. This post will not attempt to thoroughly defend every doctrine mentioned, but to show the connection between Calvinism and the theological covenants of covenant theology. The Synod of Dordt listed the five points of Calvinism, not in their contemporary order of “TULIP,” but in the order of “ULTIP,” which is the order I’ll be using here.
1. Unconditional Election. The eternal decree of unconditional election is the foundation of covenant theology and the doctrine of salvation. God chooses to save sinners not because of any foreseen goodness or conditions in them, but merely because of His good pleasure to redeem a people for Himself to bring Him glory. Speaking of unconditional divine election, Paul writes, “So then it depends not on human will or exertion but on God, who has mercy” (Romans 9:16). There are no conditions in God’s choosing individuals for salvation. God’s choice is based entirely upon His sovereign will: “He has mercy on whomever He wills and He hardens whomever He wills” (Romans 9:18).
Editor’s note: Our staff had the opportunity to talk to J.I. Packer about the state of the church. During the interview, church unity became a subject of discussion. Packer argued that for the sake of unity, the church needs to be united around theology, the content of the Christian faith. Here J.I. Packer defines what he means by theology, and explains that every Christian should care about theology because theology is about God and his relationship to life. Theology is inherently practical.
Theology simply means the study of God. This is something that every Christian needs to realize. I think the way that the word has been used in the past has frightened many Christians away from it, even though they never stopped to consider what the word actually meant.
When the New Testament addresses spiritual maturity, it uses the common Greek word teleios, which means “perfect” or “complete.” When it is applied to Christian growth, it indicates spiritual maturity in contrast to childlike immaturity as, for example, in this command from Paul: “Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature (teleioi).” (1 Cor. 14:20; see also Heb.5:13–6:1). Sometimes it indicates perfection, as in Jesus’ summary command in the Sermon on the Mount: “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly father is perfect” (Matt.5:48). Spiritually, it always references solid, biblically informed understanding and conduct in Christ—spiritual adulthood.