Friday, January 29, 2016

Global depravity is a fact.

Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.
Ecclesiastes 7:20

Of all the clever observations Solomon has in the book of Ecclesiastes, this may be the one most universally known and most easily proven. All people sin. No person, no matter how nice they may seem, is perfect and without sin. Every person who exists now, who ever has existed, or who ever will exist  as a human being is born a sinner and actually sins in thought, word, and action. Depravity, though not universally at its worst (not everyone is as evil as they could be), is a global infection without exception so that we are all equally doomed by sin.

The only exception to this universal constant is the God man Jesus Christ. Jesus came as a human being, yet God in the flesh, the perfect Son of God. He lived without sin, died for all sin... took my sin... all sin... every single sin... upon Himself on the cross, and rose again victorious over sin and its wages of death! Thank God He sent a Savior!

I wrestle with my depravity every. single. day. But I have a perfect Savior. I confess my sin, repent of it, yield to His Spirit's conviction, fly to my Savior for grace, find forgiveness and strength to fight sin in His Word and have Him to help me grow in holiness. I will never be sinless until the day I have my last breath. But I can sin less because of Jesus. Praise Him!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

a reflection on prolonged worship

“Let us go to his dwelling place;
let us worship at his footstool!”
Psalm 132:7

This verse is taken from a "psalm of ascents". These were a collection of psalms that pilgrims sang as they made their way toward Jerusalem (an uphill journey), culminating in their ascent up the Temple Mount of Zion itself. Psalm 132 puts in lyric the history of the temple, first extolling David's resolve to procure Zion as the temple location, then moving to the blessings God bestowed on the king, and then ending with the majesty of Zion not because David chose it, but because God chose it and blessed Israel with His presence there as they worship Him.

Right near the middle of the psalm is this simple call to worship. It is a call for the pilgrim to think about the reality of the destination of Zion. It is a call to commit to the journey that culminates in the worship of the Lord. In that worship the power, might, and provision of God would be experienced by all (see Psalm 132:15-18).

When you consider that devout Israelites made at least one journey per year to Jerusalem to the temple for at least one feast, this was quite a regular momentum of worship. They travelled for weeks to go to the temple, by foot, towing sacrifices and family along. These songs, the long journey there and back again, and the destination itself all become a kind of prolonged worship, fueled by the psalms of ascent as they focused on God. The anticipation of God's work was as much worship as the temple practices and the feasts themselves. The Word of God in these psalms provided a daily rhythm of worship for each step of the journey. And God's Word can do the same today if we would just get into that attitude of prolonged worship!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

political frustration

Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah and made them afraid to build and bribed counselors against them to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
Ezra 4:4-5

This opposition raised by "the people of the land" over the rebuilding of the temple by the Jewish exiles who returned to Jerusalem seriously impeded the work for years and years. Their complaints and political stall tactics dramatically slowed, then eventually stopped all the work through three different Persian administrations.

The work began under Cyrus, but it stalled by the time Artaxerxes is king in Persia, as the enemies of the work manage to convince the king in Babylon to order all work to cease on the temple, using political "force and power" (see Ezra 4:23) to achieve their shutdown. It is a discouraging time for Judah. They want to obey God first, but the government has been turned against them. So they start again at gaining the favor of the king.

But it is under a third ruler, Darius who is now king of Persia, that the Jews turn the government support back in favor of rebuilding the temple. The leaders of the temple project petition Darius to search the royal archive for their original charter issued by Cyrus. Once Darius ascertains these facts, the full support of the Persian empire supports a massive rebuilding effort. In fact, the support of the government for the temple rebuilding project is stronger than ever and the work speeds along. It took years of patient work in the bureaucracy, but God used His people to move the political machine to accomplish His purposes. Human frustrations never frustrate God!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

without blemish

But if it has any blemish, if it is lame or blind or has any serious blemish whatever, you shall not sacrifice it to the Lord your God.
Deuteronomy 15:21

This principle of only offering a sacrifice that is without blemish served two purposes for Israel. First, it reminded them of the seriousness of sin. You could not offer imperfections to cover your iniquities. It's what we would want to do but NOT what God requires. Sin could only be atoned by a "perfect" sacrifice. The animal you may have wanted to keep to improve the genetics of your flock was the exact animal meant to atone for your sin at the altar. Sin is a serious offense and atoning for sin required a serious, obedient, sacrificial commitment.

Secondly, this principle taught Israel what real giving was about. It's not the primary lesson. but it is important to realize and follow. God deserves the best of what we have and not the mediocre, the damaged, the second-rate. We should never take the best for ourselves and then offer the leftovers to the Lord. We serve God with the whole of our lives, not the piece-mealed scraps of what little we think we can spare. Worshiping God is not like the penny jar at the convenience store. It is not a small gesture. Giving less than our best to God makes the worship of Him an afterthought, and that is in itself a great sin.

Monday, January 25, 2016

anatomy of a conversion

Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.
Acts 16:34

The account of the conversion of the Philippian jailer is a story worth analyzing to see just how the gospel works. The details are simple and direct. Paul and Silas had been mobbed, beaten, and thrown in prison by an outraged Philippian pagan mob. The jailer was under strict orders to keep them secure, so once they were confined in stocks in the inner prison, he thought that he had done his duty for maximum security.

But Paul and Silas keep worshiping God by singing praises, and as the entire prison listens, God interrupts with deliverance in an earthquake that opens prison doors and unfastened every chain. The jailer's ability to ensure maximum security is gone, and confused, he is ready to fall on his sword in shame. Paul calls out to him to reassure him no one is escaping (a minor miracle no doubt brought about by a change of heart among the prisoners, perhaps by listening to Paul and Silas confidently worship God).

It is at that moment of clarity that the jailer himself wants salvation and finds freedom. The gospel is given to him as his only hope (Acts 16:31). From there Paul and Silas shared the Word with all in the jailer's household. They believed, cared for Paul and Silas (ironically keeping them safe through hospitality rather than imprisonment), and rejoiced in their new found salvation. God moved, their need for Jesus was realized, the gospel was clear to them, they believed and were saved. What a beautiful, clear picture of how the gospel works!

Friday, January 22, 2016

obedient (holy) child

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:14-16

I should want to be holy as God, my Father, Who saved me through His Son, and enables me through His Holy Spirit is holy. In my obedience as God's child, holiness should result in my life. I should live differently as God's child than I did when I was without God. I should seek to reflect His holiness and glory in this world. I should be holy as Christ lives in me through His Spirit. I should be holy for God is holy.

But there is a constant drag on this noble call to holiness. Peter calls it the passion of my former ignorance (agnoia - literally "not knowing"). This means that I sin because at one time I did not know anything better and I can revert to that sort of condition if I am not careful. But now I know God and His call to be holy. So I must not revert to conforming to my past sinful patterns. Even though I am most comfortable in unholiness, that is no excuse to disobey what I now know. I must obey the call to live as God shows me in His Word.

I see the holiness of Christ in the scriptures. I read the specific sins to put off and the character of my Savior that I must put on. And the Holy Spirit convicts me of sin, guiding me gently yet firmly in the truth of scripture. The Spirit enables me to obey as God's child so that clothed in the righteousness of the Son I can obey the Father's call to be holy as He is holy.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

holy / unholy

“Thus says the Lord of hosts: Ask the priests about the law:
‘If someone carries holy meat in the fold of his garment and touches with his fold bread or stew or wine or oil or any kind of food, does it become holy?’” The priests answered and said, “No.”
Haggai 2:11-12

Priests of old
carried sacred food in garment's fold
had to be careful not to touch
the unclean thing, for always such
contact defiled what what was holy

Temple service was pristine
careful to keep ceremonially clean
utensils, people, actions as well
so God would be honored in His temple
for what was holy could be made unholy

So carefulness must mark the way
of going through every day
I am a temple where God's Spirit lives
honoring Him as holy is how I must live
it means I'm concerned with what is holy

Sin defiles in sinister ways
even my thoughts darken my days
so to the blood of Christ I plea
to cleanse from sin and sanctify me
so through Jesus only I can be holy

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.
Ecclesiastes 5:10

Loving money and things is a sure means to an unfulfilling life. Money is not to be a master but instead a servant to us. But when we love wealth and income we will be controlled by it as it becomes what we worship, much to our frustration and dissatisfaction. It is no secret that most psychiatrists practice to affluent people in upper scale locations. The vanity of wealth guarantees a steady flow of clientele who find their hopes unfulfilled by money and things.

It is helpful to consider that Solomon wrote these words, a man who wielded both absolute political power and unlimited, unprecedented wealth. He literally had it all, yet knew that the love of money was an evil that left him hollow. He knew this by his own failures as recorded in his musings in the book of Ecclesiastes.

Of all the hypothetical lifestyles I could chase, I am most tempted to believe that wealth will satisfy me. Some of the temptation comes from living for 20 years in the suburban excessiveness of Johnson County, Kansas. But I grew up blue collar, lower middle class, always seeing people who had more, but not quite truly poor in my own home. We always had food, clothes, and shelter. But I sure envied kids who got cars for their sixteenth birthdays, never worried about how they'd pay for college, and didn't have to shop at thrift stores for school clothes. I grew up close enough to wealth to worship it from afar. But now, I daily remind myself of the vanity of riches. I repent of the love of money. I choose to trust and know that only God can be my satisfaction.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

what it takes to wait

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
Psalm 130:5-6

Waiting isn't easy because time is a very precious investment. We really have so little of it, and waiting seems to take up so much of it. But those dim nights of waiting can be rewarded by the dawn of God's gracious light, if we can hope our way through, trusting God until then.

This psalm gives us the way to wait: our hope must be placed in God's Word. We need to fill those dark times of uncertain waiting with the strengthening power and the hope of the scriptures. Why? It is in the bible that we find God's power, control over everything, His love for us, His grace toward us in Christ, His mercy, and His judgment at work. We can identify through scripture with just the thing we are waiting upon God to do and we can make it through, like a watchman on the wall, knowing that daylight will safely bring our hopes to pass as we trust in God through His Word.

So what I need most when I wait on God is hope. And I am promised to find hope by trusting God's Word. So I must read His Word, know what His Word says, identify with God's Word, and believe what He tells me in His Word and I will find hope in my waiting time, no matter how long or how dark.

Monday, January 18, 2016


Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and bound him in chains to take him to Babylon.
2 Chronicles 36:6

Jehoiakim was the last true king in Jerusalem. Babylon marched in against him, laid a long siege to the city, captured the king and led captives from Judah away to far off Babylon. The curses of the covenant came into full fruition as Judah forsook the Lord, abandoned the worship of God in His temple, and made a mockery of His Law. The captivity that God warned them by His prophets came without mercy and took the king and the nation to a land that they did not want to live in, by a people both feared and hated.

Forcibly marched to Babylon, there the Jews would learn to humbly worship God, grieve over their sins, and wait again for God to bless them. For generations they would thrive in captivity as they repented and eventually after 70 years would be allowed to return. God would be gracious even in their worst loss.

Friday, January 15, 2016

blessings & curses

See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.
Deuteronomy 11:26-28

Israel was given this two sided admonition at the reception of the covenant at Sinai. God promised to bless their commitment to obey the covenant. There would be joy, security, and provision in their obedient worship. And that was good.

But God also explained that the covenant was built with curses for disobedience. If they chose to turn from the Law, their hearts following idols, then the curses of pain, instability, famine, and war would fill their lives. And those curses were designed to call them back to loving God and obeying the covenant.

It is interesting in this text to see that the major curse would come because in their disobedience they would turn to false gods. We cannot disobey God and not worship something else in the process. Sin is in all ways a belief and trust in something, even our own selves, above God. And that idolatry for Israel was a violation of the first commandment to love Him with all their heart, mind, and strength.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

three observations about speaking the gospel

Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed.
Acts 14:1

This very simple account of how the gospel spread on one short stop in Paul's first missionary journey shows how the gospel still works today. Here is what I notice...

First, faithful messengers went with the gospel to people who had not heard it before. In this case, Paul and Barnabus went to Iconium, specifically to the city's synagogue and preached the saving gospel news about Jesus. They obeyed the Spirit's call and simply shared good news.

Secondly, God used their persuasive gifts to bring about a response to the gospel. Luke's authorial observation is that they "spoke in such a way" that the results were clear. That does not mean the gospel's success is all about technique, but I think it does mean that God uses our individual personalities and gifts to advance the gospel. After all, this is Paul we are talking about in this episode and the book of Acts preserves enough of his sermons and gospel interactions to show us how God used his abilities to advance the Church.

Thirdly, the response was diverse. Both Jews and Gentiles came to faith. The gospel was both warmly received and later divided the city so much that the lives of the messengers were threatened (Acts 14:4-7). Both responses are indicators of an effective preaching of the gospel and should be expected even today.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Drawing Near

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
James 4:8

I confess I need You.
Your grace and Your wisdom
must saturate what I say and do.
I must draw near
for I am far from You...
yet Your Word is here.

Holy Scripture lets me see You
revealing Your thoughts and work
and it sheds directing light on what I should do.
And so I draw near
as the Truth speaks plainly
I read it, Your Spirit explains it, all is clear.

But I am not like You
my sin is confronted by Your Word
I wash my hands and cleanse my straying heart too.
The Word changes me by degree;
drawing me to You as I draw near...
pushing me, helping me and making me holy.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

humbly transformed

But I will leave in your midst
a people humble and lowly.
They shall seek refuge in the name of the Lord,
those who are left in Israel;
they shall do no injustice
and speak no lies,
nor shall there be found in their mouth
a deceitful tongue.
For they shall graze and lie down,
and none shall make them afraid.
Zephaniah 3:12-13

This promise of God to Israel is fulfilled in the aftermath of the Day of the Lord. Israel would know the peace, promises, and be able to live in obedience to the covenant the Lord make with them. He would leave behind after that day a group of people most known for their humility and service. They would be God worshipers who would find strength in the Lord. They would be honest, upright, truthful and just before God and other people. God would do this in them and they would live in complete peace.

I find in this promise to a future Israel some understanding similar to what God desires of me today as a follower of Jesus. He asked me to be humble in my initial repentance and faith to the gospel. There is no room for pride either in the worship of God or in a life marked by the gospel day by day. I am a miserably wicked sinner humbled and broken but made anew only in and by Christ's atoning work. I trust in that. Jesus wants me to reflect His character... to repent of my selfish injustices done to others, to repent of self-promoting lies. My Savior wants me marked by transparent honesty before Him and the people around me so that His transforming work can be put on display. And I desire for that motive to move me. May His Spirit show me my sin so that I can be just that!

Monday, January 11, 2016

friendship is the first reward

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

We are made for community. It is not healthy to be alone. The way in which scripture reminds us of this divine design is simple yet very significant. Way back in Genesis God knew that it was not good for man to be alone. And so Eve was made as well as Adam. They were given to each other. God is trinity in community and people were made by Him to be in community as well, with family being the first such experience.

The wisdom of Solomon in Ecclesiastes brings the king to make pithy comments on the absolute practicality of community. At the base level, we need other people to get things done in life. Solomon's observation is that we get a good reward for our toil, and I think friendship is the first reward. But we also have protection and help coming through our friendships.

The "woe" in verse ten is very real though. We all need a little help every now and then. I know I do. And without someone to pick us up when we fall, how can we ever move on? Friends in community are there for those difficulties, and Christian friends are a priceless treasure. They help us celebrate the good times and commiserate with us by encouraging us through the hard times. They cheer us on and they pick us up. Friends are God's first line of encouragement. Cultivate them well! God will bless you through them.

Friday, January 8, 2016

in between the sowing and the reaping

Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!

He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.
Psalm 126:5-6

Thank You, Lord, for this encouraging reminder from this song of the patient sowing and joyful reaping that you promise in my life. I need this reminder, for I am in a season between sowing and reaping, waiting for the time of harvest to bring blessing. And I confess, my God, that I have been discouraged in this long wait. In one instance it has been years now.

But Your Spirit through Your Word encourages me to repent of my self-focused despair and to by faith keep sowing the seeds even as I wait. You used the words of a good friend who wasn't even speaking to me yesterday to remind me of this. God, thank You for being faithful. Help me, please, to be content even if I faithfully sow, and someone else after me sees the harvest.

Lord, You know what I am waiting for. You know the pain in waiting that both my wife and I share now as a harvest of joy seems so very, very far away for us. Yet I pray that in my home and family we would faithfully wait, trust You for whatever harvest awaits us, and find joy. We want to exult in shouts of joy!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Obedience is the cost of joyful worship.

Then Hezekiah said, “You have now consecrated yourselves to the Lord. Come near; bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the house of the Lord.” And the assembly brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and all who were of a willing heart brought burnt offerings.
2 Chronicles 29:31

The reign of King Hezekiah was a great time to be alive in Jerusalem. Hezekiah reformed the nation. He re-opened the temple that had been neglected and boarded up. He re-consecrated the priests and Levites to their proper duties. He invited the nation to commit to renewed worship of the Lord. It was a happy time.

Reading chapters 29-31 is like sitting in on a really big, joyous "God party". It's a lot of hard work, but when God rewards Judah for her obedience, it is a joy to behold. The nation celebrates. It is the kind of worship that I think human hearts long to experience. And I think that's why I get drawn into the text here. I want to worship God with this kind of joyous abandon to obeying, serving and loving God.

One final note: the joy came with hard work and sacrifice. They rehabbed the temple that was in massive disrepair. They re-committed the priests, Levites, singers, and all the temple personnel. The people brought offerings of money and sacrificed their livestock on the altar. Obedience cost them in time, labor, and their possessions, but joy came in that abandonment to obedient worship.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

treasured possessions

For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
Deuteronomy 7:6

God's love chooses people and calls them to be His holy people. This principle was most vividly pictured in the Old Testament where Israel is God's treasured possession, uniquely called into covenant with Him to show the world the power and love of the Lord. That is a powerful privilege and one that the whole history of Israel is showing us even today.

Christians should learn from the way God treasures Israel in the Old Testament and notice how He calls them to obey Him in holiness. We too are His treasured possessions in Christ (see 1 Peter 2:9). Christians are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a people for God's own possession so that we might proclaim the glory of the God Who has called us to Himself. It is a particular kind of relationship of powerful privilege.

This does not mean that Christians are to act like stuck up religious snobs. That did not work as an evangelistic strategy for Israel and it won't work for us. We are in a unique position belonging to God so that we might do one thing clearly: display God and His glorious salvation in Christ to the world. God put us in the world so that His glory would be accessible in the church. We are holy displays of God's great love in Christ. Want to see what Jesus can do? Look at His church, His prized possession bought at the cost of His blood, the people He set to priestly minister His saving work to the world. There is nothing more special or important than that!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

stunned at repentance and life

When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
Acts 11:18

This moment when the gospel advanced to the Gentiles was one of the most controversial and difficult times in early Christianity. There was a movement in Jerusalem to tentatively consider Gentiles into the church, but only those who first converted to Judaism and submitted to the covenant sign of circumcision. The foremost proponents of this movement (see Acts 11:2) were known as "the circumcision party" (which would not be a party I'd want to attend, by the way) and they confronted Peter after his return from Caesarea where he baptized the household of Cornelius.

These people were the first Jewish Christians to critically examine, hear, and accept Peter's report on Gentile conversion in full. It is clear that the Holy Spirit was at work, for the people most inclined to NOT accept Gentile conversion as Peter saw it in Caesarea were simply stunned into worshipful, agreeable silence once they heard what God had done. Salvation for Gentiles was settled, even if the issue of Judaizing them did not go away in the first century.

They clearly saw three undeniable truths in Cornelius' conversion: 1) God did the drawing. God did this dramatically and specifically, sending the lead apostle to a Gentile household, preparing both Cornelius and Peter beforehand, to bring and accept the gospel message. 2) Cornelius and his Gentile household repented. They turned from sin to Jesus as Savior. Their baptisms proved that they identified with Christ and His Church. 3) These Gentiles were born again into new life, evidenced by the Holy Spirit clearly among and in them. 

All the means and evidences of salvation that the church in Jerusalem proclaimed had been shown to and among the Gentiles. God was moving the gospel to the world. They were witnesses of this even as they witnessed to their culture of the saving work of Christ. And now the gospel was free to go to the world. There would be no stopping it.

Monday, January 4, 2016

quick... then slow.

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
James 1:19-20

This simple admonition is sound wisdom for both communication and emotional control. And for all the years of my Christian walk I have needed its wisdom. I am inclined to naturally act in an opposite way to its command. I am too slow to listen to others, quick to judge them and speak against them, and very quick to anger. And I don't produce God's righteousness in my actions.

It takes faith in the truth of God's Word to daily repent of this angry lifestyle. I must be a better listener to be able to be the kind of person whose character exemplifies God's peaceful righteousness. I can't assert my perceived rights, I must be the first to care and to really listen. I try to do so daily, but I am often not successful.

I have to be carefully slow to speak. I often find myself wanting to interrupt other people. I've been told by close friends and by mere acquaintances that I interrupt people too much. I over talk people rather than listen to them. I have a long way to go to implement James' wisdom here. I have to shut my big mouth, withhold my opinions and shut the heck up!

Most people characterize me as quiet and mellow. That is a mistake. I'm introverted in terms of emotional expression mostly because quite honestly I don't trust people, so I keep it to myself, but inwardly I can rage and seethe with anger. I'm more passive aggressive, but when I do blow, my creative ways of getting angry are dangerously wrong. Again, I am not in control when I just stuff it down and keep a "respectable" appearance. I must repent of nursing anger selfishly. 

I want to live like this passage commands, Lord! Help me to remember to be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to get angry. Your Spirit can help me find control in this way. I believe this passage is the way I need to live. I repent of my assertive selfishness and pride. I humbly ask to be made by your grace into a person who is quick to care to listen and then slow speak or get bent out of shape. Jesus, love people through me like I can't do on my own.

Friday, January 1, 2016

a third revolution?

Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him,
but the righteous shall live by his faith.
Habakkuk 2:4

The last half of this verse sparked two revolutions worldwide. The apostle Paul quotes it twice in the New Testament (Galatians 3:11 and Romans 1:17) to emphatically ground our salvation in Jesus alone by grace alone through faith alone. It is a cornerstone of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The book of Hebrews also emphasizes that we live by faith after that salvation (Hebrews 10:38-39). It is a continuous trust in God and in His promises no matter what. It saves us and helps us live.

The second revolution that this verse sparked came in the mind of a German monk named Martin Luther. It gave him the conviction to recover the glorious grace of the gospel during the Protestant Reformation and led to freedom around the world from the clutches of work-based monolithic false religion. Luther too held the tension of the New Testament on this teaching, insisting on grace alone in Christ alone by faith alone, but also proclaiming that Christians live and do what we do by faith.

With two revolutions behind it, this little prophetic truth ought to keep grabbing the attention of the Church today. We are losing its significance worldwide to consumerism (I'm saved by what I choose to save me) and prosperity theology (I'm truly saved when God gives me what I demand of Him). We certainly need yet a third revolution from this verse. It can revolutionize God's people again as it did with Paul and with Luther. How I pray it will happen!