“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” (more…)
Are Christians free from the law? This age-old question has often been answered in two wrong ways. The error on one side is often described as ‘legalism’—the idea that Christians are bound by some or even most of the Old Testament law. This might mean that Saturday should be our Sabbath (on which no work is done), or that circumcision or other Old-Testament-style rituals are necessary to salvation, or that certain foods or forms of clothing are out for Christians. (more…)
HarperCollins, London, 2011. 256pp.
Rob Bell—the founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids—is certainly no stranger to controversy. His groundbreaking Nooma series of short films and his first book Velvet Elvis were greeted with adulation by some, and something nearing revulsion by others. In fact, he seems to court controversy. He—or his publishers—certainly knew what they were doing when they engaged with the new media about the release of Love Wins. In a beautifully produced YouTube preview of Love Wins, Rob asks:
Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, 1984. 219pp.
It’s likely you already know if you’re ever going to pick up The Atonement: Its Meaning and Significance, just from reading the title. When you come across a word you don’t completely understand, such as atonement, you’re either intrigued or asking “Why on earth would I read an entire book about a word which I don’t know?” If the title put you off, a brief scan down the contents page probably won’t help. There’s no getting past it, The Atonement is a book about difficult words. The “great words” which author Leon Morris covers are: covenant, sacrifice, the Day of Atonement, the Passover, redemption, reconciliation, propitiation, and justification. The unifying concept behind these words—apart from having at least three syllables—is the significance of Jesus’ atoning work on the cross. (more…)
Paul describes Christians as being ‘in Christ’, but what does that mean? Rory Shiner explores where we are, who we are, and why it matters where we are with now that we’re in Christ. (more…)
Recently on a feedback card at church, someone commented:
“I thought Jesus didn’t descend into hell! Just that he suffered the death we deserved.”
The answer is: yes and no! The question raises complex issues that cannot be easily answered in a short space.
So let me take a long space. (And if you are interested, read on, read slowly, and re-read if you need!)
The Ordinary Hero: Living the cross and resurrection
Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester, 2009, 224pp.
When asked to review The Ordinary Hero, I imagined an inspiring biography—a tale of bravery or of remarkable achievement by someone like you and me. I was mostly wrong. This is not a biography; it proclaims the meaning of the cross and resurrection for our lives. It’s a tale of bravery, but not in the third person; it’s about you and me. It calls on us all to “live the cross and resurrection” (p. 12). For Tim Chester, this is what an ‘ordinary hero’ does, and he challenges those who claim to be Christian to live out the implications of that claim. I found his book challenging and insightful in its application of the events of the cross to our lives. (more…)
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. (Mark 8:35).
Today we are going to conclude our series on biblical word power with something slightly different: a brief introduction to imputation. ‘Imputation’ is not actually a word used in the Bible. Nevertheless, imputation is still a very important word, because it can help us to plumb the depths of the issues surrounding the Bible’s use of words like ‘righteousness’ and ‘justification’, which we looked at in previous posts.
Theodicy is the defence of God’s justice and goodness. It is something that we naturally think about, and yet, more often than not, it drives our preaching. You reach a difficult teaching of Jesus about hell, or a confronting passage of Paul’s about the role of men and women in the church, or even about the uniqueness of Christ, and instead of listening to the passage, you start arguing with it. And sometimes God’s word seems to magically come around to your point of view.
—and if he had not promised and prepared for thousands of years in the Scriptures—
—and if he did not come in human flesh— (more…)
When Jesus breathed his last and died, the curtain of the temple tore in two, thus symbolizing that the way is finally open for all believers to enter God’s presence. By Christ’s sacrifice, the barrier has been removed, and all who rely on that sacrifice have open access to God. Or so I used to think. But a look at the Old Testament understanding of the tabernacle and temple has made me think again. (more…)