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Many Years, One Message – R.C. Sproul

Ligionier Ministries has released a three-minute video compilation of the late R.C. Sproul teaching on his signature subject, the holiness of God.
Though fashions change and the body ages, Sproul’s theme remains consistently the same.


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Faith And Repentance (via Sinclair Ferguson)

Sinclair Ferguson considers faith and repentance.
Because they can be experienced differently and distinctly we might think they are separate.
But that is unhelpful.
From Ferguson:

In grammatical terms, then, the words repent and believe both function as a synecdoche — the figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole. Thus, repentance implies faith and faith implies repentance. One cannot exist without the other.
But which comes first, logically? Is it repentance? Is it faith? Or does neither have an absolute priority?
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We cannot separate turning from sin in repentance and coming to Christ in faith. They describe the same person in the same action, but from different perspectives. In one instance (repentance), the person is viewed in relation to sin; in the other (faith), the person is viewed in relation to the Lord Jesus. But the individual who trusts in Christ simultaneously turns away from sin. In believing he repents and in repenting believes.

Read the whole post at Ligonier.


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Vale R.C. Sproul

R.C. Sproul’s The Holiness Of God was one of the first Christian books I read.
(Recommended by my pastor Roger Stone, naturally)
It was a formative influence in understanding the Bible.
Sproul died today and there are many tributes all over the internet.

Here’s a topical hymn, the lyrics of which were penned by Sproul.
Now he is seeing the reality of that which his words could only imagine.
This is Highland Hymn.


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What Is The Greatest Of All Protestant “Heresies”? (via Sinclair Ferguson)

If you worshipped as a Christian yesterday assured of your salvation, that’s a fruit of the Reformation.
Sinclair Ferguson writes about a lesser acknowledged fruit of the Church’s great awakening, by interacting with one of its contemporary critics:

Let us begin with a church history exam question. Cardinal Robert Bellarmine (1542–1621) was a figure not to be taken lightly. He was Pope Clement VIII’s personal theologian and one of the most able figures in the Counter-Reformation movement within sixteenth-century Roman Catholicism. On one occasion, he wrote: “The greatest of all Protestant heresies is _______ .” Complete, explain, and discuss Bellarmine’s statement.
How would you answer? What is the greatest of all Protestant heresies? Perhaps justification by faith? Perhaps Scripture alone, or one of the other Reformation watchwords?
Those answers make logical sense. But none of them completes Bellarmine’s sentence. What he wrote was: “The greatest of all Protestant heresies is assurance.”
A moment’s reflection explains why…

Read the rest of the post at Ligonier.


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Still A Great Salvation? (via Sinclair Ferguson)

A salvation that is eternal in scope, personal in application, and expresses the character of God.
It is not wonder the Scriptures describe it as great.
Sinclair Ferguson wonders how a salvation that embraces the past, present, and future could ever be taken for granted:

So it is in the Gospel. God has a plan. It has been called the covenant of redemption, or the covenant of peace (pactum salutis). Theologians as great as Thomas Boston and Jonathan Edwards have disagreed as to whether the plan should properly be described as a covenant at all. But the debates over nomenclature are incidental to the thing itself.
The triune God had a plan, involving the mutual commitment of Father, Son and Spirit to save a people. About this the reformed theologians speak with one voice.
Before all time; prior to all worlds; when there was nothing “outside of” God himself; when the Father, Son and Spirit found eternal, absolute and unimaginable blessing, pleasure and joy in their holy triunity — it was their agreed purpose to create a world which would fall, and in unison — but at infinitely great cost — to bring you (if you are a believer) grace and salvation. This deeper grace from before the dawn of time — pictured in the rituals, the leaders and the experiences of the Old Testament saints (cf. Heb. 11:39–12:3) — is now ours. These are the dimensions of what the author of Hebrews calls “such a great salvation” (Heb. 2:3). Our salvation depends on God’s covenant, rooted in eternity in the plan of the Trinity, foreshadowed in the Mosaic covenant, fulfilled in Christ, enduring forever. No wonder Hebrews calls it “great.”
You considered your salvation to be “great” early in your Christian life didn’t you? Do you still think about it that way today?

From Ligonier blog.


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The Value Of Meditating Upon God’s Word (via Joel Beeke)

From Ligonier blog:

After reading Scripture, we must ask God for light to scrutinize our hearts and lives, then meditate upon the Word. Disciplined meditation on Scripture helps us focus on God. Meditation helps us view worship as a discipline. It involves our mind and understanding as well as our heart and affections. It works Scripture through the texture of the soul. Meditation helps prevent vain and sinful thoughts (Matt. 12:35), and provides inner resources on which to draw (Ps. 77:10-12), including direction for daily life (Prov. 6:21-22). Meditation fights temptation (Ps. 119:11, 15), provides relief in afflictions (Isa. 49:15-17), benefits others (Ps. 145:7), and glorifies God (Ps. 49:3).

source.


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Praying Together (via Megan Hill)

A curious modern situation: churches that focus on the Bible(though not necessarily reading the Bible, but that’s another post) when they meet , but not on corporate prayer.
Megan Hill points out how historically anomalous this is, and how counterproductive in mission:

In 1646 John Eliot, a minister in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, began preaching in a local Native American community. At the meetings, he also prayed aloud in the Massachusett language “in proof that if they thus prayed, God could understand them.” And as Eliot faithfully ministered God’s Word, hundreds trusted Christ. Those Christians came to be known in the colony as “Praying Indians” and their settlements as “Praying Towns.” The distinguishing mark of Christ’s newborn children was obvious to all: they became praying people.Throughout redemptive history, corporate prayer has been a primary feature of the redeemed. From the godly descendants of Seth who “began to call upon the name of the Lord” (Gen. 4:26) to the Israelites who worshiped God in His “house of prayer” (Isa. 56:7) to the first members of the early church who “devot[ed] themselves to prayer” (Acts 1:14), God’s people have always been praying people.
And so we should ask: Is this a distinguishing mark of our churches today? Do our worship services devote time and attention to substantial prayer? Do our church calendars feature regular prayer meetings? Do our families and community groups prioritize calling on the name of the Lord together?
Brothers and sisters, like all the saints before us, we must be praying people.

Read the whole post here.