Ed Welch offers a simple suggestion to build relationships with those who gather together week by week as church.
Some helpful thoughts and a turn of phrase that appealed to me (…That is his resting state) from Ed Welch.
You are preaching to people with real problems and needs. Guilt is, indeed, a real problem, forgiveness is a real need. Yet competing with these is a popular myth. It suggests that Jesus is nice. But the father—he is persistently peeved. He is just waiting for us to get out of line so he can vent a little of his wrath. To borrow a biological image, his resting state is one in which he is suspicious that we will sin very soon and he is already upset about it. I mention Romans 5 because it can potentially silence this myth by taking us directly into the character of God. Though the practical living sections of Scripture have their allure, it is here—knowing God truly—that sermons have their impact.
So though Scripture does speak of God’s wrath against sin, it is not the main emphasis. Scripture’s emphasis is that the triune God is inclined, by his very nature, to forgive. That is his resting state. His plan has always been to turn his wrath away from us and onto another, and he does this as an expression of his character rather than a response to our contrition.
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:8-11)
Love comes to sinners. Wrath has been turned away because God—Father, Son and Spirit—want it that way. Sin separates us from God no longer. He has attached himself to us. We cannot argue with the blood of Christ shed for us.
How can we discern whether or not this reality is pressing in and reshaping us? Life under a persnickety god is joyless. Life under the God who has revealed himself most fully in Jesus feels like hope rising and joy is our calling. Perhaps a simple “thank you” will keep us headed in the right direction.
Ed Welch contrasts the human experience of moving houses with the Christian experience of moving toward an eternal dwelling place:
This is our hope—full communion and fellowship with God and with his people in his house. This is what the Spirit uses to bring us through the hardest legs of the journey. The quest is not for a larger or better house in this world. That is not enough to keep us going, our wilderness is too arduous. We aim for nothing short of the house of God and being face-to-face at the banquet table.
Evidence of this hope is that we become energized on our present journey. Since we are certain that we will arrive home—nothing can stand in our way—we busily trust Christ for forgiveness of sins and then jettison the sins that still cling to our souls (Heb. 12:1). After all, when we actually see him we will be without sin, and we aspire to grow now into who we will be then.
Read the whole post here.
I got Shame Interrupted by Ed Welch from the Australian Amazon Kindle store for free.
It will only be available for a couple of days.
No More Hiding
Shame controls far too many of us. Worthless, inferior, rejected, weak, humiliated, failure…it all adds up to wishing we could get away from others and hide. We know what shame feels like. The way out, however, is harder to find. Time doesn’t help, neither does confession, because shame is just as often from what others do to you as it is from what you have done. But the Bible is about shame from start to finish, and, if we are willing, God’s beautiful words break through.
Look at Jesus through the lens of shame and see how the marginalized and worthless are his favorites and become his people. God cares for the shamed. Through Jesus you are covered, adopted, cleansed, and healed.
I post this info about the Kindle edition of Ed Welch’s book Depression with one more qualification than usual.
Firstly, I haven’t read the book, the time it’s available free is short, but the author is usually helpful, and commendations from Scotty Smith and Sinclair Ferguson are encouraging.
Secondly, depression is a very wide-ranging set of personal circumstances and treatments and strategies for management must vary. So you may find information in the book personally helpful, but if you don’t it is important to keep seeking support if you believe you are suffering depression, or are seeking to support someone who is. I am not commending this as something that can ‘fix’ you or anyone you know.
Thanks, Gospel eBooks.
Where Is God in the Struggle?
Looking away from despair towards hope can feel risky. What if God doesn’t come through for you? What if you don’t feel instantly better? Instead of offering simple platitudes or unrealistic “cure-all” formulas, Edward T. Welch addresses the complex nature of depression with compassion and insight, applying the rich treasures of the gospel, and giving fresh hope to those who struggle. Originally published as Depression: A Stubborn Darkness—Light for the Path, this new edition is updated with added content.
“I cannot overstate the importance, timeliness, and helpfulness of this book. Ed has given us the wisdom that only comes from a heart shaped by the gospel and a deep compassion for people, generated by the love of Jesus. This is a must read and a must share.”
Scotty Smith, Senior Pastor, Christ Community Church; author of The Reign of Grace and Objects of His Affection
“An all-too-rare combination of gospel understanding, biblical wisdom, personal empathy and long counseling experience shines through these pages. What is most needed is a course of divinely prescribed anti-depressants. Like a skilled spiritual pharmacist, Ed Welch fills that prescription for us.”
Sinclair B. Ferguson, Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, S.C.; theologian; author of The Christian Life