Tag Archives: Grace

What do you want?

I recently listened to the first episode of Fighting for the Faith I have in a long time. I didn’t stop because I grew tired of the program or anything. I just didn’t have time. Sorry, Chris Rosebrough, but when you have a wife and two small children, it’s difficult to fit in a daily two to three hour show. Anyhow, the episode was called Rosebrough’s Ramblings on Coram Deo. At the twenty-five minute mark, he starts discussing Romans 6. In this, he mentions how he was in class with Dr. Rod Rosenbladt and how when the gospel was preached, he was still in his old Nazarene mindset. So he went to Dr. Rosenbladt and said, “You’re saying if I’m saved by grace, I can do whatever I want.”

I’d like to take a moment to point you towards the banner at the top of the page. You’ll notice a quote from Augustine.

Love God and do whatever you please: for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved.

I’ve had that banner up there for quite sometime, since I started the site, really. I just always loved the quote and it made sense, but I never really quite thought about what exactly it meant until I listened to this episode of Fighting for the Faith.

Dr. Rosenbladt replied, “Well of course. Now that you’ve been set free from sin, death, and the devil, what do you want to do?”

And suddenly, it was all so clear to me. I realize that there is a difference between doing what you want and doint what you feel like. Ever notice how actually doing what you want leaves you sense of pride or accomplishment while just doing what you feel like can at times leave you feeling pretty low? I want to help those in need. I feel like drinking all the booze. One of those will probably leave me feeling pretty good about myself. The other may leave me a little disappointed the next day. Romans 7:15 helps to explain.

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.

When we are in the grace of Christ, all we want to do is what is good. Now, we may feel like doing some pretty awful things from time to time. We may even do some pretty awful things from time to time. But we don’t want to do them. Instead, we want to do what is good. This is where the third use of the law comes into play. It helps to shape the Christian to do what is right.

So as a Christian under the grace of God, by all means, go forth and do whatever you want.

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Heroic Qualities

Christ died on the cross. He shed his precious blood for a wretched sinner such as myself. I have done many terrible things that I’m not proud of. Things I’m ashamed to admit, but still things that I have done, nonetheless. So how can I look someone in the eye and tell them what a wretched sinner they are? Well, it’s because I know what one is.

It’s you and I. He and she. Boy and girl. Child and adult. It is everyone who has ever lived. Well, most everyone. There is that one guy. Some of you might know his as Jesus the Christ. Others may refer to him as Yeshua. Whatever you call him, he is the savior of man.

He didn’t punch a car to stop a speeding train, nor did he stop a mad scientist from taking over the world. No. He was nailed to a stick. It was a very large stick, but a stick still the same. I know, it doesn’t sound much like a quality of someone who saves people, but it’s true.

Some of you may have done something wrong or stupid in your life that was going to get you into a heap of trouble. You knew you were going to get it this time and there was no way out of it. But then, for whatever reason, the guy who’s got the good reputation feels sorry for you. So he goes in and takes the blame and punishment for it so that you can get off scot free.

Well, that’s kinda what Jesus did, except he wasn’t just the guy with the good reputation. No. He was the guy who lived perfectly and never sinned. And in an act of mercy, he took the punishment of every single sin of every single person who has ever lived and who will ever live.

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My confession and faith

Eilers Pizza

The most important thing I could ever write
The problem of God: part three

The problem with God is me.

I know what His Word says. I believe every word of it. I know that, because of Adam’s sin, I was born with Original Sin and, therefore, I am by this nature sinful and unclean, which causes me to sin in thought, word, and deed. I know that Jesus Christ paid for my sins, that believing in Him I have eternal life (John 3:16) and being baptized into His Name I am clothed with Him (Galatians 3:27) so that God the Father sees me as holy as the Holy One, His Son.

I know that the Lord made us male and female. I believe what He says about marriage. I know that I am a man, married to a woman, the father of five children, an ordained minister in a…

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The problem of God: part two

Eilers Pizza

The problem with God is that He is too nice.

I know that I just made a faith statement. This is what I believe: God is perfectly, profoundly nice to us. Just because that is a statement of my faith does not mean it is not true.

Even before we get to God the Son dying for the life of the world—the ultimate proof of God’s niceness—I like to note that, from the beginning, we see in God’s character that we can trust Him, that He aims to display kindness. When Adam and Eve hid from Him, because they had broken the law, God searched for them. He did not search for them to kill them, but to counsel, console, and clothe them. When He asked Adam what he had done, Adam did this: Adam sassed God right to His face.

And he lived to tell about it.

Adam said…

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The problem of God: part one

For the foreseeable future, I will also be reblogging some posts Greg Eilers. Greg Eilers is a retired LCMS Pastor who suffers from gender dysphoria, a condition that makes him feel as though he should be a woman. Greg has done incredible work in keeping with sound doctrine and has even been helpful to me in my theology. In light of his condition and the fact that this is one of the big issues in society today AND his excellent sound doctrine, I would like to present you with posts of his as they pertain to both. My hope is that through scripture, we as a church appropriately deal with such issues and not be bumbling idiots about it all. Thank you.

Eilers Pizza

More than anything in the world, I want all people to understand God as I do. Thanks to the Holy Spirit, and an excellent seminary education, I have been blessed with excellent theology.

Just as a poor foundation dooms a building, poor theology dooms a person. Faulty premises result in faulty answers, result in false faith, and loss of faith, and no faith.

Since I believe the Holy Bible is the true Word of God, and since I am confident in my understanding of it, I do not speak in waffling language. A math teacher does not apologize for the difficult equations he writes on the board; he knows they are correct. Substitute religion for math and my point is made.

All that said, I long for everyone to keep reading. There is equal value for those who share my Lutheran faith, for those with different beliefs, and for those…

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Willful Intent

When a person sins against his conscience, that is, when he knowingly and intentionally acts contrary to God, as, for instance, an adulterer or any other criminal, who knowingly does wrong, he is, while consciously persisting in his intention, without repentance and faith and does not please God. For example, while a person keeps the wife of another man, it is manifest that he is void of repentance, faith, and holiness.

-Martin Luther

I think sometimes as Lutherans we point towards the grace of God to the point of our detriment. While it is faith alone that saves and not works, at times we put so much emphasis on it that sin is given a pass. We have our sins that perhaps out of habit we repeat over and over with maybe a prayer for forgiveness after the fact. I am not speaking of sins which we struggle with daily for we all have sinful natures that cause us to act out in a way that is unholy without intention and we feel greatly sorry after the fact. No, what I am referring to are those sins that we willfully do with the full foreknowledge that it is a sin before the fact that we commit it. I think it’s fair to say that many Christians, myself included, have at times committed the grievous error with the thought that we can just repent afterwards.

If I have the intention of getting drunk, rather than getting drunk by simple negligence, and then in the following weekend I intend to get drunk again, then it stands to argue that I am not actually repentant and my prayers for forgiveness are simple talk. Do you see the difference? In one situation I am drunk by intention and in the other I am drunk by my own stupidity. Both are sinful and abominable actions, but only one probably will carry with it true remorse and repentance. The other will simply go through the “Christian” motions to appease himself and those around him rather than have true contrition.

This holds true for any sin(s). It does not matter if it is theft, lust, drunkenness, violence, or anything else. If anyone is intentionally partaking in anything that is contrary to the word of God and willingly continues doing  so, then it is suspect that any claims of repentance and faith are merely just talk and show. To struggle with sin (drunkenness, homosexuality, etc.) is one thing, but to continually indulge in that sin is no struggle. It is a willful and intentional middle finger to God.

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The greatest comfort

From Lutheranism 101: Holy Baptism.

It is in hearing that Christ has suffered and died for the forgiveness of sins that a Christian receives comfort.

Isn’t that great? Is this not one of the sweetest things to fall upon one’s ears? That, my friends, is Gospel. Not making a decisions for Jesus. Not accepting Jesus into your heart. Not doing anything at all to be saved. Just that Jesus suffered and died for the forgiveness of sins. Who’s sins? Your sins. My sins. Everyone’s sins. Let me just say it for you. Christ suffered and died for the forgiveness of your sins. Now go in peace and joy knowing that he did this for you and that your price has been paid. Amen.

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Jesus loves me. So what?

Jesus loves you. Now if that isn’t a Christian phrase that’s slung around like a dusty old back pack. You know, I’ve heard that phrase many times in my life and I can count only once where it held any effect to me. It was a sweet black lady. She was in my check out line when I worked at Wal-Mart with her two children. As I gave her receipt, she smiled and said, “Jesus loves you.” That was the only time I’ve ever heard it where it felt honest. Every single other time I have heard it, it felt like nothing more than a throwaway phrase, like something say to end a conversation. “Nice talking to you, Mark. Jesus loves you.” “Jesus loves you too, Bob.” It seems ridiculous and absurd in that context but honestly, that what it sounds like most of the time.

Who cares if Jesus loves me? So what? What good does that do for me?

What’s more important is not so much that he loves me, but what he did because he loves me. What is infinitely more powerful than “Jesus loves you,” is “Jesus died for you.” That opens up so many more doors. “Wait! Jesus died for me? Why? What of this is which you speak?” If you talk to most non-Christians and you tell them “Jesus loves you,” I can almost guarantee they’ll be thinking, “Yeah, whatever.” But if you tell them “Jesus died for you,” even if they don’t reciprocate, the gears in their head have now been oiled.

In conclusion, if Jesus loves me but he didn’t show his love, then his love wouldn’t mean jack. But by dying on the cross for my sins, I don’t need to be told he loves me because his love his shown to me. Yes, Jesus loves you and it’s shown through his death and resurrection. Proclaim that and you proclaim his love.

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Greater Forgiveness in Death

A while back, I watched a documentary involving World War II though I honestly can’t remember what it was. In part of the film, a few elderly vets went back to a place where they had an intense battle with the Nazis. While they were there, two elderly Nazi vets showed up. Though they had never met, they knew each other. Not by name or anything like that, but by the fact that they fought in the same battle. They remembered exactly where they were positioned and where they were shooting. These men some sixty years before were actively trying to kill each other. In fact, they’d each succeeded in killing each others friends. But then something happened that struck me.

As they talked about the battle, none of them had any animosity towards each other. In fact, they embraced and hugged each other and even shared some laughs together. At the end, they all posed for a picture with smiles to commemorate the historic moment. It was a beautiful thing to see.

In a way, Christ’s forgiveness is kinda like that. The big difference is that while these men who reconciled were trying to kill each other, we actually killed Christ. While they were only able to forgive in life, only Christ can forgive in death.

And he does.

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You can’t accept a gift

An argument I hear from my from many of my Christian Brethren is that you have to accept Jesus to achieve salvation. I take issue with that because it puts salvation on something we do instead of something that Christ does. The reasoning I often hear used is that salvation is a gift and you still have to accept the gift to receive it. To that I say, “Then it is not a gift.”

If one has to accept it, then it’s not a gift; it’s a transaction. Here’s the crazy thing about gifts. You don’t get to accept them. They are given to you whether you want them or not. It’s yours and you have it. You had no choice in the matter. Now, if you want to take that gift, set it on fire, and kick it at the giver’s dog after the fact, that’s your prerogative, but as far as accepting it, you didn’t even have the option. Let’s use an example.

Say your home was a dump because you’re lazy and roaches do your bidding. Now let’s say I come over one day and clean your house so that it looks better than the day you bought it because I’m an awesome friend and I wanted to do something nice for you. I then turn to you and say, “This clean house is my gift to you because you are my friend.” I cleaned your house as a gift and you couldn’t accept it. I just did it and now your home is clean. Whether you choose to thank me because I cleaned your house or curse me because your roach minions are no more is completely irrelevant.

Salvation works in much the same way. You don’t get to accept Jesus’s forgiveness and grace because it is a gift. He just gives it to you. Now, should you fall away after the fact, well that’s your prerogative, but when you were given faith, you had no part in that.

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