Personalized Promises From Romans 8

John Piper personalizes the promises of Romans 8 . . . let Paul preach the gospel to your heart:

Romans chapter eight is so dense and so constant with good news — good news that is so great and so glorious and so vastly superior to all the good news in this world — whether health good news, or family good news, or church good news, or job good news, or political good news, or international good news, or financial good news — so vastly superior to all earthly good news and so relentless, that you can scarcely feel the full force of it until you take virtually every verse and restate it as the good news that it is.

That’s what I would like to do for you and with you now . . . be in an attitude of hungry readiness to hear the Lord himself speak kindly and deeply and powerfully to your soul. I have tried to restate these truths as if God himself were speaking them to you—his children.

8:1 In Christ, you are free from eternal condemnation.

8:2 You are free from the damning curse and power of sin.

8:3 I executed the penalty for your sin in the crucified flesh of my Son.

8:4 The Holy Spirit is fulfilling in you the demands of my law summed up in love.

8:6 The power of the Holy Spirit in your soul gives life and peace.

8:7–8 Apart from the Holy Spirit, you are in bondage to the flesh and cannot please me.

8:9 But you are not in the flesh. My Spirit is in you, and you are the possession of my son Jesus Christ.

8:10–11 My Spirit in you will one day give life to your mortal bodies in the resurrection.

8:12 Your only debt in life is to live by the power of the Holy Spirit.

8:13 That power is the only means by which you can kill your sin.

8:14 All who are thus led by my Spirit to kill sin show that they are my sons.

8:15 My indwelling Spirit is the spirit of adoption, wakening the cry from your heart, “Abba Father.”

8:16 This is my witness with your spirit that you are my children.

8:17 As my children, you are my heirs and will share my glory after a life of groaning with me in this fallen world.

8:18 But that groaning is not worth comparing to the glory that you will see and share.

8:19 The whole broken creation waits to receive its glorification when you receive your glorification. Yours will be hers, not the other way around.

8:20 I subjected the creation to its present futility with a hope-filled purpose.

8:21 One day, this entire creation will attain its own freedom and glory after and from and for my glorious children.

8:22 It is as if the whole creation were heaving with the labors of immanent birth.

8:23 Even the Spirit-indwelt followers of my Son groan in your aging, disease-ridden bodies with these same hopeful birth pangs, as you await the fullness of the privileges of your adoption, the resurrection of your glorified bodies.

8:24–25 Since you are saved — not fully already but only in hope — you wait with patience through all of your sufferings.

8:26 When you don’t know how to pray in your sufferings, my Spirit prays for you through your very groanings.

8:27 I never mistake my Spirit’s meaning, but respond always for your good.

8:28 But one thing you do know: I work everything for the good of those who love me and are called according to my purpose.

8:29 From eternity I took note of you, acknowledged you, chose you, and destined you infallibly to magnify my Son by becoming like him as the great firstborn.

8:30 I forged in eternity the unbreakable links of the chain: predestined, called, justified, glorified so that at no point is any of my elect ever lost.

8:31 Manifestly then, I am for you! No one can successfully oppose us.

8:32 I gave my own Son to save you. And so, with the hardest act behind me, nothing can stop me from giving you everything you need to enjoy me forever.

8:33 When I, the judge of the universe, count you righteous, and acquit you in the court of the universe, no charge, from any adversary, can stick.

8:34 To secure this vindication, Christ Jesus died, rose, reigns, and intercedes for you before me.

8:35 Therefore nothing can separate you from the love of Christ — not tribulation or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword.

8:36 You may be slaughtered like sheep — indeed somewhere in this world you are always being killed.

8:37 But no. Even in your slaughter — or any other demise — your loss becomes your gain, and your enemies become your servants.

8:38–39 Therefore you may be sure — you should be sure, how can you not be sure — that “neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate [you] from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

From John Piper’s excellent message “Greatest Book, Greatest Chapter, Greatest Joy”

Excuse the Mess . . . Renovations Underway

blog_154556_1775210_1349976616A couple of years ago one of our churches here in town was renovating their worship area to make room for more seating.  I was there for a meeting during that time and was drawn to this sign posted in the hallway: “Trinity Presbyterian Church – Excuse the mess while renovations are under way.”

A sign like this should be posted on the front door of every church, don’t you think?  After all, isn’t this a fitting description of every church?  No, not the church building, but the real church, the people.  Every congregation is a mess because every congregation is undergoing renovation.  And for that matter, every church member is a mess because every church member is undergoing renovation.

That reminds me of 1st Corinthians.  Talk about a mess!  The church at Corinth had quite an assortment of problems that Paul needed to address:  divisions among members, unbalanced loyalty to celebrity teachers and preachers, immaturity, sexual immorality, Christians dragging Christians to court, abuse of the sacraments, prideful boasting about spiritual giftedness, dysfunctional worship, confusion about the roles of men and women, and a faulty understanding of the resurrection.  A mess indeed.  So messy, in fact, that one might wonder if these folks were really saved at all.  (Ever had that thought about yourself?  Yep, me too.)

However, the mess among the church at Corinth didn’t cause Paul to doubt their salvation. It only served to show they were still in need of renovation.  Here’s how he opened his letter to them in chapter one, verses 4-9: Continue reading

The Bible as Drama, Doctrine, and Directions

Part Two of my series of articles about the Bible is now published at the Worldview Church Website.

Here’s an excerpt:

But I can and must live in God’s Story, and He has provided in His book a number of directions for how to do that.  Paul David Tripp explains:

The way the Bible is organized is that the main body of the content is the unfolding drama of the story of redemption. But . . . it is a story with notes. On one side of the narrative are propositions. In the propositions, the great themes of the story are distilled down into universal truth statements. The purpose of these statements is to help you understand the plot of the story.  On the other side of the narrative are principles. The principles apply the story to the situations and relationships of everyday life. The purpose of the principles is to help you know what it looks like to live within the plot of God’s story.

This is where it all began to fall together for me.  The Bible is a drama that also has notes of doctrine (what Tripp calls “propositions”)  that help usinterpret the Story and notes of direction (what Tripp calls “principles”) that help us get involved in the Story.


The Bible: What Is It and What Do We Do With It?

What is the Bible? is the question the people in our pews (or the folks in our folding chairs) are asking themselves but are hesitant to ask to their pastors and Bible teachers.  They know that God has provided His Word as heavenly food for daily consumption, but morning by morning, as folks wake up to find God’s Word sitting on the chair-side table covered with dust, they wonder:  What is it? and What do we do with it? As preachers and teachers of the Word of God, we must help our listeners understand what sort of book the Bible is and what purpose it serves in the life of God’s people.

I (Jimmy D.) have just begun a new series of articles at the Worldview Church Website about the Bible.  Part One is posted: “Is the Bible a Theology Book, Story Book, or Guide Book?” Part Two will be posted later this week.