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Why Do I Still Feel Guilty? (via Steve Brown)

From a devotion by Steve Brown about Christians who suffer from false feelings of guilt.

As a pastor, I have performed hundreds of marriage ceremonies. Often newly married people say something like, “I don’t feel married.” And I often reply, “Stay with it. It takes a bit of getting used to. Eventually the truth will sink in.”
Now let’s suppose a newly married couple doesn’t take my advice and their feelings are more real to them than the fact that they’re now married. Let’s suppose, further, that every time they suspect they’re married, they say to themselves, I can’t be married because I don’t feel married. Believe it or not, they are programming their minds in a certain way. I suppose that if they pushed it far enough and often enough, they would never think they were really married. If someone asked them if they were married, they would always reply, “No, we’re not married.” After a while, their feelings would become reality.
That’s what a lot of Christians have done with their feelings of sin. In 1 John 1:9 we read, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” That’s a fact. If you have confessed your sins, you are forgiven. If you don’t feel forgiven, you are doing what our imaginary couple has done. You have simply denied the facts for your feelings. Whenever you feel guilty about something you have confessed, reprogram your mind. Say to yourself, “I have confessed that before God. He is not a liar. He has told me that I’m forgiven; therefore, I am forgiven. Anything other than that fact is a lie and I will treat it like any other lie. I won’t believe it.” Then ask God to give you the grace to treat it as a lie.
Is this a magic formula? Of course not. It’s a part of a process whereby gradually you learn to live your life by the facts and not by emotions. One day you will wake up and say, “I’m free! Praise God Almighty, I’m free!”

Read the whole article here.


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Why’d You Give Me This, God? (via Adam 4d)

I appreciate a lot of this webtoon’s posts, but really liked this one.

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The Shy One (via David Cook)

The third in a three-part series (part one; part two) on vital issues in systematic theology by David Cook, current moderator-general of the Presbyterian Church of Australia.

An excerpt:

The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to apply the work of God the Son to the individual; in this way, He acts without our co-operation. Jesus said He is as sovereign as the wind; he brings new birth to us, without our help (John 3:3, 6, 8; John 1:13).
He also acts sovereignly, independent of us, in His distribution of gifts to the body of Christ. He allocates them as He sees best. Our ambition is not for any particular gift but to faithfully serve the body with the gifts which He gives us (1 Corinthians 12:7, 11).
But the Holy Spirit also acts co-operatively. The Scriptures were penned by men, but the Holy Spirit superintended what they wrote so that the words of Scripture are God’s words, Spirit-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16).
Therefore, there must be no wedge driven between the Spirit and the Word, for the Word, the Bible, is the Spirit’s Word and we honour Him as we take his Word seriously. As we study to understand His Word, he helps us, illuminating our minds (1 John 2:27).
The Holy Spirit also works co-operatively in our moral transformation, making us like Christ.
Read the whole post here.


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Salvation Is All God’s Doing (via David Cook)

The second in a three-part series on vital issues in systematic theology by David Cook, current moderator-general of the Presbyterian Church of Australia.

Do I contribute to my own salvation? Do I repent and believe and thus God regenerates me or is it the other way around? Is faith my contribution to the whole process – God does his bit and I add my necessary contribution?
This, of course, goes to the heart of the gospel we preach.
Recently I found myself singing a song in our choral group. It said “time after time, He has waited before and now He is waiting again; to see if you’re willing to open the door. O how He wants to come in.” Really, that I can hold at bay the sovereign Lord of all, the one who called creation into being, now held at bay by little old me.
Calvin said, “the first principle of theology is that God can see nothing in the corrupt nature of man … to induce him to show him favour!” God never relates to us on the basis of our desiring or earning.
Salvation begins with God’s decision not mine. It is gracious, effective and powerful. It is not earned or attracted by me. It is entirely generous and contrary to our deserving. I cannot earn it, be religious enough or good enough to deserve it.
This truth gives the lie to every human attempt to impress God or win his attention by our doing. All who will be in heaven will be there in total praise of God; they will not share the limelight with Him.
So, how does salvation begin and proceed?… (Read the rest here).


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Passing The Test

Douglas Wilson tells a story that sounds like a joke, but the punchline is eternally true.

Once there was a Presbyterian minister who had made the whole topic of sola fide his special field of study. He had mastered the subject, as far as any mortal man can be said to have mastered anything. After a long and fruitful ministry, he eventually did what all Presbyterian ministers do, which is to say, he died.
As he approached the pearly gates, he was mildly surprised to see that St. Peter was there, just like in all the jokes. But he was, he thought, prepared to roll with it because, after all, he was going to Heaven.
Right next to St. Peter was a long wooden table, of the kind you see in examination rooms. A chair was pulled out for him, and on the table was a thick test, and a pencil next to it. As he walked up to St. Peter, he was greeted warmly and the set-up was explained to him.
“We have prepared a small fifty-page test for you,” Peter said. “Because we believe in grace, we decided to prepare a test for you that is right in your wheelhouse. This entire test is dedicated to the subject of sola fide, a subject you have been studying for forty years, I understand. If you get a perfect score, you may enter into joy.” With that pronouncement, Peter handed the pencil to the minister, and gestured to the waiting chair.
The minister held the pencil for a moment, thinking about it, and then quietly, without a word, he handed the pencil back.
A smile played around the corner of St. Peter’s mouth. “You pass,” he said.