Monthly Archives: October 2016

Faith alone 

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”” ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭17:9-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“”Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭55:6-9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭1:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”‭‭ Ephesians‬ ‭2:8-9‬ ‭ESV

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:1‬ ‭ESV 

Without Him, I can never measure up. I must put my faith in Christ alone, and trust only in his work. 

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sola scriptura (Scripture alone) – read less books ABOUT the Bible and read the Bible more.

Monday is Reformation Day. In my post yesterday, there were two foundational teachings mentioned. Today I want to take a look at one: sola scriptura (Scripture alone).

I do not want to retell history, rather, I want to apply it to today, hence the title of this post.

During a conversation recently, a person described their study time/devotions/quiet time/whatever you call it as that of reading helpful books about Christianity. When I asked my usual question: “What does your Bible reading look like?” I got, what seems to be these days, a typical answer. “I don’t read much of the Bible.” This practice is similar to the faithful church goer whose entire Bible intake is what he gets in church – which, in too many cases these days, is precious little. Consider this illustration I heard once:

To rely on the teachings of people about the Bible rather that getting into the Bible and learning how to learn from it is like asking someone else to chew your food for you and spoon it in your mouth. Disgusting, right? 

Yes. On both counts.

Consider this challenge from the writer to the Hebrews:

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews‬ ‭5:12-14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Read your Bible. Every day. No. Matter. What. 

As you read it, more and more, it will begin to make more and more sense. You can then go to people who know more than you and ask questions based on your reading. They should be able to help you find other Scriptures that explain the answers to those questions. Scripture is it’s own best interpreter.

Don’t know how to begin?

Start a Bible reading plan for daily reading. Here’s what I consider the gold standard:  ‘M’Cheyne One Year Reading Plan’. 

It’s ambitious, but worth it. Too much for you? Try these two instead to start.

The Essential Jesus:


The Essential 100.

Secondly, be sure you’re in a church that actually preaches and teaches the Bible. Not one where the preacher uses the Bible to promote the latest agenda or program. If they don’t actually preach the Bible, talk to them about it. Ask why. Engage in a conversation about the importance of getting our teaching from the Scripture more that those who talk about it, or worse, from culture.

Finally, do you have anyone in your life asking you about your Bible reading? Do you have any accountability in this area? No? Find some.

Enter into a fellow disciple conversation that is Scripture centered, regular, and honest.

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Faith Alone

Posted prematurely, sorry. Stay tuned.

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499 years ago…

On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther struck a metaphorical match that ignited a revolution, a movement really, known as the Reformation. He did this by writing 95 challenges to the  Church. These are known as the 95 Thesis. They were printed on a placard, in Latin, nailed to a church door (that served as a notice board) and now live in a museum in Berlin and look like this…

I would suggest that this verse serves well as a key verse for the Reformation:

“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭1:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The rallying cries of the Reformation are sola fide (faith alone) and sola scriptura (Scripture alone). Simply put, the Bible, not tradition, is our sole authority and it is faith, not works, that saves. These important doctrines are the core of reformational teaching. 

We do not rely on the teachings of church leaders (past, present or future), we rely on the Bible itself. We cannot earn our salvation, we rely on the finished work of Christ and put our faith in Him. I’ll post a further thought about each of these in the next two days. 

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Promise, the reminder…

Saw this yesterday…

“I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”” Genesis‬ ‭9:13-17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

With that…

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭100:1-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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He is our strength!

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:28-31‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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