The Purpose of Suffering

The great Puritan writer, John Owen, explains the very reason for suffering:

The procuring cause of the death of Christ was sin. He died for sin; he died for our sin; our iniquities were upon him, and were the cause of all the punishment that befell him.

Wherein can we be conformable unto the death of Christ with respect unto sin? We cannot die for sin. Our hope and faith is, in and through him, that we shall never die for sin. No mortal man can be made like unto Christ in suffering for sin. Those that undergo what he underwent, because they were unlike him, must go to hell and be made more unlike him to eternity. Therefore, the apostle tells us that our conformity unto the death of Christ with respect unto sin lies in this—that as he died for sin, so we should die unto sin—that that sin which he died for should die in us. He tells us so, “We are planted together in the likeness of his death” (Rom. 6:5)—“We are made conformable unto the death of Christ, planted into him, so as to have a likeness to him in his death.” Wherein? “Knowing that our old man is crucified with him,” says he (Rom. 6:6). It is the crucifixion of the old man, the crucifying of the body of sin, the mortifying of sin, that makes us conformable unto the death of Christ; as to the internal moral cause of it, that procures it. See another apostle tells us, “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God” (1 Pet. 4:1–2). Here is our conformity to Christ, as he suffered in the flesh—that we should no longer live to our lusts, nor unto the will of man, but unto the will of God.


James 1 Quotations Romans

What Sin Requires

Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.

Death is the end of sin (Rom. 6:23; James 1:15). Sin has entangled into humanity to such an extent that death is required to rip it out. Sin is a part of humanity’s DNA. You cannot be human and not not sin. In other words, if you are human (and if you are reading this, I assume you are human!), you sin because you are a sinner. You cannot never sin. This is why we must all die; because we are sinners by nature, by our corrupted humanity, by our DNA.

The great Puritan thinker, John Owen, says it this way:

“The body is not only doomed to death by reason of original sin, as death entered upon all on that account; but the body must be brought to death, that sin may be rooted out of it. Sin has taken such a close, inseparable habitation in the body, that nothing but the death of the body can make a separation. The body must be dead because of sin. … Here lies the great mystery of the grave under the covenant of grace, and by virtue of the death of Christ. … A secret virtue shall issue out from the death of Christ unto the body of a believer laid in the grave, that shall eternally purify it, at its resurrection, from every thing of sin.

Be not afraid to enter into darkness: as there is no sting in death, so there is no darkness in the grave. It is but lying so long in the hands of the great Refiner [Jesus}, who will purge, purify, and restore you. Therefore, lie down in the dust in peace.”

And this is why Jesus came, was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, fulfilled the whole law God required of humanity, paid the penalty of sin by dying on the cross, was raised from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures, and ascended to the right hand of the Father, and is seated now representing us in Heaven with glorified body.

Quotations Union with Christ

Union with Christ

“In all that, Christ was on the one hand so one with God that what he did, God did, for he was none other than God himself acting thus in our humanity. And therefore there is no other god for us than this God, and no other action of God toward us than this action in which he stood in our place and acted on our behalf. On the other hand, he was so one with us that when he died we died, for he did not die for himself but for us, and he did not die alone, but we died in him as those whom he had bound to himself inseparably by his incarnation. Therefore when he rose again, we rose in him and with him, and when he presented himself before the face of the Father, he presented us also before God, so that we are already accepted of God in him once and for all.”
(Atonement: The Person and Work of Christ, ed. Robert T. Walker)



Bonhoeffer always seemed to me to spread an atmosphere of happiness and joy over the least incident and profound gratitude for the mere fact that he was alive. … He was one of the very few persons I have ever met for whom God was real and always near. … On Sunday, April 8, 1945, Pastor Bonhoeffer conducted a little service of worship and spoke to us in a way that went to the hart of all of us. He found just the right words to express the spirit of our imprisonment, the thoughts and the resolutions it had brought us. He had hardly ended his last prayer when the door opened and two civilians entered. They said, “Prisoner Bonhoeffer, come with us.” That had only one meaning for all prisoners–the gallows. We said good-bye to him. He took me aside: “This is the end, but for me it is the beginning of life.” The next day he was hanged in Flossenburg.

The text on which he spoke on that last day was “With his stripes are we healed.”

Such was the life and death of Dietrich Bonhoeffer–a teacher of the Church in the highest sense of the word, a writer of profound theological and Biblical insight and yet close to contemporary life and sensitive to reality, a witness who saw the way of discipleship and walked it to the very end. from the Introduction pages 12-13 of Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community

News and Views Preaching Quotations

News, Views and Whatnot for 5/19/2012

If you missed what I’ve posted elsewhere, here’s the complete list for this week:

1. Preaching the Truth of the Gospel without Preaching the Gospel

“It is possible to preach much valuable truth essentially belonging to the Gospel, and yet not to preach the Gospel . . .” ~Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry, p. 254

In Preaching Christ by Mark Lauterbach.

2. By Making Him a God, He Can’t Be An Example To Me

In his review of the M. Night Shyamlan movie Lady in the Water, Anthony Sacramone writes:

“Although nominally Hindu, Shyamalan attended Catholic and Episcopal schools before entering NYU’s film school. In The Man Who Heard Voices: Or, How M. Night Shyamalan Risked His Career on a Fairy Tale, a chronicle of Shyamalan’s struggle to bring Lady to the screen, author Michael Bamberger revisits a Shyamalan quote: ‘I find it much more poignant to think of Jesus as a man, doing what he did purely on faith. … By making him a god, he can’t be an example to me. If you have every piece of magic available to you, and then you walk on water, what’s the big deal? I can’t emulate that. … If Jesus made a blind man see on faith alone, that’s awesome. If he went to the cross as an ordinary man with just unbelievable faith, how inspiring is that? I’d be in awe of that man.'”

3. How does play put God’s glory on display?

“You don’t want to hear God speak these final words: ‘Fool, how did all that pointless play put my glory in display?’ (John Piper, with some words he envisions God speaking) (h/t Bird over at Thinklings)

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven:
A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. (Ecclesiastes 3:1,4)

Read the rest by Weekend Fisher.

4. A thought-provoking (short-ish) piece on The Prohibition of the Slave Trade v the Abolition of Slavery

The Prohibition of the Slave Trade v the Abolition of Slavery by Weekend Fisher.

Glory of God Gospel Quotations

A Snapshot of T4G2012

“If we lose the concept of lostness we lose the entire gospel–real people are in real danger before the only real God”
          ~Thabiti Anyabwile

“God only has one sermon. From Genesis to Revelation it is the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
          ~Thabiti Anyabwile

“The greatest hinderance to the Gospel is a Christian’s lack of confidence in the power of the Gospel.”
          ~Thabiti Anyabwile

“If we’re confident in the gospel, we’ll position ourselves around the worst of sinners.”
          ~Thabiti Anyabwile

‎”We become what we behold.”
          ~Kevin DeYoung

“The Holy Spirit is not a small nebulous entity. He is the POWERFUL, ALMIGHTY, PERSONAL God that raised Jesus from the dead.”
          ~Kevin Deyoung

“I was born this way. Yes, but the Gospel says you can be born again in a different way. A way of Truth and Holiness.”
          ~Kevin Deyoung

“The struggle to grow in Holiness is the fight of faith”
          ~Kevin DeYoung

“The central motivation for holiness in the New Testament is to be who you are, understand your identity in Christ!”
          ~kevin Deyoung

“We must strive to be holy. It is a sin not to. But only the Spirit can make our striving fruitful.”
          ~Kevin Deyoung

‎”Sanctification is not by surrender but by divinely enabled toil.”
          ~Kevin Deyoung

‎”The secret of the gospel is that we actually do more when we hear less about all we need to do for God and hear more about all that God has already done for us.”
          ~Kevin DeYoung

one reason for keeping false converts out of church membership: “False converts hire false teachers.”
          ~Mark Dever

Gospel Quotations Videos

Good Friday – Glorious Sunday

Are you pouring crimson regret and betrayal, dying, praying, bleeding and screaming, “am I too lost to be saved? am I too lost?”

“Consequently, [Jesus] is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he (Jesus) always lives to make intercession for them.” ~Hebrews 7:25

Ross King ‏@rosskingmusic:
“I’m the kind of person that yells “save me” on Sunday and “kill him” on Friday. He’s the kind of person that dies for both.”

Tim Gaydos ‏@timgaydos:
“As humans we fear being exposed for who we are or are not. Jesus, on the cross, was exposed & received all the shame due to us.”

Logan Gentry ‏@logangentry:
“Good Friday is a reminder that my sins are many, I have no ability to fully pay for them & Jesus paid it all for me and the whole world.”

Matt Chandler: Redemption

“The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.” ~Tim Keller

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

It’s Friday but Sunday is coming!

Glory of God Quotations

God has twisted together his glory and our good

“We glorify God by working out our own salvation. God has twisted together, his glory and our good. We glorify him by promoting our own salvation. It is a glory to God to have multitudes of converts; his design of free grace takes effect, and God has the glory of his mercy; so that, while we are endeavoring our salvation, we are honoring God.

What an encouragement is this to the service of God, to think, “while I am hearing and praying, I am glorifying God; while I am furthering my own glory in heaven, I am increasing God’s glory!”

Would it not be an encouragement to a subject, to hear his prince say to him, “You will honor and please me very much, if you will go to yonder mine of gold, and dig as much gold for yourself as you can carry away”? So, for God to say, “Go to the ordinances, get as much grace as you can, dig out as much salvation as you can; and the more happiness you have, the more I shall count myself glorified!”

Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity (Banner of Truth: 1890, 2000), 13–14.

(HT: Peter Cockrell)