Tag Archives: gospel

The Power of the Gospel

The gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes Christ died for their sins and rose from the dead.  Rick Thomas wrote about this topic in The reason I stopped hating my dad.  It makes me sad to think of some GCMers living in hatred of their husbands/family members/anybody because of the wrongs others have done to them.  I hope you will read Rick’s article and see the love of a Savior who died for you even though you are a sinner and not worthy of such kindness.  Through Christ’s death and resurrection we have forgiveness of sins and we no longer have to live with hatred for those who sin against us.  Read the article to see how Rick handled having a father who was a drunkard until the power of God changed him.

Below are a few quotes from the article.

“My father was a sinner who sinned—for all have sinned (Romans 3:23).”

“But he was not the only unrighteous person in our family. I, too, chose an unrighteous path. The sin that was passed down to him was passed down to me. I was just like my father—there is none righteous, no not one (Romans 3:10-12).”

“For many years I spent more time thinking about what my dad did wrong to me than what I did wrong to God. This kind of thinking is self-induced poisoning of the soul.”

“As I began to come to terms with the Gospel as it applied to my dysfunctional childhood, I began to see. The angry fog began to lift. I was a self-righteous victim—a deadly duo. A self-righteous victim is more aware of and irritated by the sins of someone else, rather than being more conscious of and more grieved by their own sin.” (Emphasis added)

“There is nothing that has ever happened to you or to me that is more evil than the sin we have committed against God.”

“It no longer mattered who did what. The real issue for me was whether I would humble my heart before Almighty God and plead for His forgiveness for the crimes I had committed.”

GCMer, if you are struggling in any of your relationships then a good place to start would be to confess your own sins to God, repent and believe the good news that Christ died for you.  If you are still struggling with hate then the second best option is to go to The Counseling Solutions Group Inc.  This counseling is through Rick Thomas even though he doesn’t do much counseling himself.  If Mr. Thomas recommends these counselors then they should be good; in other words you shouldn’t get modern psychobabble from them but a biblical view of your problems and biblical solutions.  GCMers, if you are having a hard time with a relationship in your life, why don’t you contact them today?  And may you one day be able to say as Rick did, “It no longer mattered who did what. The real issue for me was whether I would humble my heart before Almighty God and plead for His forgiveness for the crimes I had committed.”

Cross Edited Clip Art

 

 

 

 

Bad Theology – Grace

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  2 Cornithians 2:2

I have mentioned before the lack of Jesus on the gentle Christian mothers forum pages.  There is lot of talk about personality types, how to dress according to your energy, and other such psychobabble.  One biblical term that is talked a great deal about though is grace.

What is grace?  Unmerited favor on sinners who deserve God’s wrath.

Where does grace come from? “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17

Why are we given grace?  We need it!  We are all sinners who will have to pay the penalty for the sin we commit against God unless we are given undeserved favor from the Lord Himself. (2 Thes 1:5-12; Ephesians 2:4-9; Romans 5:6-9;)

Sin, Guilt, Confession

Whether you are an anti-spanker or spanker, sometimes parents respond to their child’s sin with sin themselves.  Sin in response to sin, what do you do with that?  How do GCMers respond when they confess to the other members that they weren’t nice to their child (more like confess they had “big feelings” over their child’s “big feelings”)?  A lot of times the advice is, “Don’t be so hard on yourself.  Give yourself grace.”  Jesus is not mentioned.   The Christian should know that when we are feeling guilty over our parenting, we have a wonderful Savior who died for our sins. Instead of remaining in the sin and guilt, confess the sin.  Humble yourself before God and your child; confess your sin to God,       confess your sin to your child.  Point your child to Jesus’ work on the cross for the forgiveness of your sin and your child’s sin.  Go back to the gospel.  This is what the Christian who sinned needs to be reminded of when guilt stricken.

Always pointing people to grace without the mention of Christ is pointing people to themselves.  It is the work of Christ that is so amazing.  What is grace without Christ?  It might be fine for non-Christians to give that advice to other non-Christians.  What do they know about the need for repentance?  What do they know of the freedom that comes through Christ Jesus our Lord?  But the believer has forgiveness through Christ and His grace!  We need to hear it.  We need to be pointed back to Christ and not to ourselves.

“The gospel news of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone is summed up with three words—ransomed, redeemed, and reconciled. Those whom Christ has ransomed by His atonement on the cross He has redeemed and, therefore, reconciled them to Himself intimately and eternally.” — Harry Reeder

Cheap Grace

Grace is often reduced to what Dietrick Bonhoeffer referred to as “cheap grace”.

“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance…cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship (Source)

Vanessa, from Hearts on Guard, said this about cheap grace.

“Grace is cheapened, sugar-coated, spread around with happy platitudes and warm-fuzzy pictures and songs. Declarations of our awesomeness, holiness and righteousness ring out, and any call for repentance, any mention of our old Adam is hushed and called displeasing to God.”
Look at Paul’s writings.  He encourages churches.  How?  Not by giving meaningless platitudes, but by always pointing them to their Lord and Savior.  I recommend anyone who is reading this, spend time in the books that Paul wrote.  See how he always mentions Christ.  When Paul mentions sin, Christ is mentioned.  When he mentions grace, Christ is mentioned.  The following few verses don’t even wait a few lines to link grace with Christ.  Romans 3:24; 2 Timothy 1:9; 2 Timothy 2:1.  Let us encourage one another like Paul.  Let us not leave out Christ!

Not a License to Sin

Some GCMers cheapen grace by using it as an excuse to sin.  I will not say anything more on it in this post, but refer you to my post entitled Legalism.  God’s word says:

For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Jude 4

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Titus 2:11-14

A great song about grace and Christ by Sovereign Grace Music.
Now Why This Fear?

Lyrics:
Now why this fear and unbelief?
Has not the Father put to grief
His spotless Son for us?
And will the righteous Judge of men
Condemn me for the debt of sin
Now canceled at the cross?Jesus, all my trust is in Your blood
Jesus, You’ve rescued us
Through Your great love

Complete atonement You have made
And by Your death have fully paid
The debt Your people owed
No wrath remains for us to face
We’re sheltered by Your saving grace
And sprinkled with Your blood

How sweet the sound of saving grace
How sweet the sound of saving grace
Christ died for me

Be still my soul and know this peace
The merits of your great high priest
Have bought your liberty
Rely then on His precious blood
Don’t fear your banishment from God
Since Jesus sets you free

More About Sin

Here is a portion from an article by Rick Thomas, The Most Powerful Way to Help Someone to Change that I thought GCMers would be helped by.

“Here is my question to you: Shouldn’t you have mercy on others because of the mercy that was shown to you? Let’s go at it this way. Let’s take a short Gospel Test. How you answer these questions will reveal your understanding and application of the Gospel:

  1. Who is the biggest sinner you know? If you say anyone other than yourself, then you may have Gospel amnesia. (cf. Matthew 7:3-5; 1 Timothy 1:15)
  2. Do you believe what was done to you by others is worse than what you did to the Savior?
  3. Is there someone in your life you will not forgive?
  4. Is there someone in your life you are generally angry, frustrated, or impatient?

How you answered these questions reveals your functional understanding and application of the Gospel. If you are more stuck on what someone has done to you rather than what you have done to Christ, then you are a problem-centered, self-centered Christian, rather than a Gospel-centered Christian.”

An Article by Tracy Keen

On March 12  in my post entitled, What’s Going On, I linked to an article Tracy Keen wrote on abuse (it is in the comments section).  Today she has another great article up at RickThomas.net entitled, How to counsel the abused by going beyond the abuse.  If Rick or Tracy see this, I would love to post the entire article.  But for GCMers here are a few quotes from the article that you need to understand, something that has been left to the wayside in all the counseling that goes on at GCM.

Jennifer is the abused in this post.

“Jennifer has two problems. The first, she has been on the receiving end of much abuse and hardship and that is the problem that is obvious.

The second problem, which is not so obvious and where you must tread carefully, is she is also the victim of the modern gospel. She has a heart issue in more ways than one.

Jennifer needs a heart that is healed from the sins done to her, but she also needs a heart healed by Christ for the sins she has committed, which are not connected to the abuse.”

“In comes the struggle when dealing with a person like Jennifer. It is unbelievably difficult to counsel or help a person who has had so many sinful things done to them.

The reason for this, simply put, is because it is hard for them to see their own sin in addition to the sins done to them. Their focus is on others for obvious reasons. Even writing about their Adamic condition outside of the abuse can be an affront to the abused.”

“This is why a gospel that is centered only on the love of God and does not address the sins of the person is going to fail a person like Jennifer. She may come to God looking to be loved and accepted, which she will, but she will not be helped comprehensively.

So she comes to God confessing all the sinful things people have done to her. She admits to Christ how she is broken, about as broken as any person could be when they have been abused. She sees no future for her life and truly wants God to put her back together.”

“But here’s the problem, Jennifer was never helped to see her sin that put Christ on the cross. So when she comes to the cross, she comes with a list of sins committed against her.

When she leaves the foot of the cross, nothing has truly changed because now she sees herself not as how God sees her, but as someone better than those who have wronged her.

So what did Jennifer walk away with if it wasn’t Christ? Just an empty form of religion that often times leaves a person worse off than before. When dealing with a person like Jennifer, there are some things to keep in mind.

  1. Salvation is the work of God. We are to lead people like Jennifer to the cross.
  2. Sanctification is a work of God. We are to water and plant, trusting the LORD to give the growth.
  3. A person like Jennifer will need time to be able to separate her sin from the sins done to her.
  4. Pray, pray, and pray some more.”

Excellent Interviews

Chris Rosebrough, from Fighting for the Faith, interviewed Jovan MacKenzy and Ivey Conerly , two theologically sound rap singers.  They were two of the best interviews I have heard in awhile.  I have attempted to take notes.  Did you know it is hard to take notes on an interview?  I did the best I could to give you some of the highlights of both interviews.  You can click on the links below and listen for yourself!

Click here to listen to the Jovan interview.
From December 5, 3013 at about the 1 hour 33 minute mark.

  • “I am more afraid of my own heart than of the pope and all his cardinals.  I have within me, the great pope, self.”  Martin Luther
  • Jovan’s newest album is The Seduction of Self.
  • Sin comes from being seduced by the love of self.  Jovan
  • “Take my sinful flesh daily and drown it in the waters of baptism.”  Chris
  • “Our good works, our best ones, are as appealing as a used maxi pad.”  Chris
  • Even if you are right and someone is dead wrong, you don’t need to rebuke them unless you realize you are just as sinful or worse.
  • We need Christ everyday!
  • Our mind is corrupt compared to Christ.  Our hope is in Christ and not in our good works.
  • Who can come to the Lord’s supper? Those who understand they need to be forgiven.
  • God does not bless me according to my works.  His blessings come from His mercy.
  • We repent of our unrighteousness, but we also need to repent of our righteousness – thinking OUR works are good enough.
  • “The Christian life is one of suffering.”  Chris
  • “Everything goes back to the cross.”  Jovan
  • God forbid we sin so grace can increase.
  • Even though we sin, we are perfect in Christ.  It is all because of Christ.
  • We are in Christ.  And although we fail everyday, Christ didn’t.  He defeated sin!
  • We can be patient with others.  We need to pray for them.
  • We can forgive because we have been forgiven.
  • It is our pride that makes us unable to forgive others.
  • If God shows mercy, you can show mercy.  Not the other way around.  Just like forgiveness.  God forgives so we can forgive.  It is not we show mercy so God shows mercy or we forgive so God forgives.

Click here to listen to Ivey Conerly’s interview.
From December 10, 2013.  Interview starts at about the 1 hour 8 minute mark.

Ivey’s album, Justice System, was about the gospel and justification

  • There is a need for Christians to always hear the gospel.
  • Constantly need to hear about the work of Christ.
  • From Genesis to Revelation, it’s about the gospel.
  • The Holy Spirit in us helps us to live out the commandments of God.
  • We don’t always keep the commandments, so we find ourselves always at the foot of the cross.

Ivey’s newest album, Unknown God, helps the listener to understand who God is.

  • Acts 17
  • People have a concept of God.  They don’t really know who He is.
  • Idolatry of our day is not gods made of stone.
  • They named idols people make: possessions, family, their own self-image, pastors, actors.
  • This album points people to the living and true God, Jesus Christ.
  • It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31)
  • Christ is NOT okay with your sin.
  • God is gracious and merciful and compassionate, but He is also a just God.
  • We should fear and bow the knee to Him.
  • Repent and believe the gospel.
  • May it never be that we sin more so grace can increase. (see Romans 6:1)
  • History of rap, interesting stories of St. Patrick and Martin Luther finished off this interview.

RELATIONSHIPS AND SCRIPTURE

Young couple with baby.

In my last post I asked the questions: Does it [meaning graced based discipline (GBD)/gentlechristianmothers.com (GCM)] lead to arguments between you and your husband and has it interfered with your relationships causing divisions where there should be none?  Let us look at what the Bible teaches us about relationships.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3 ESV)

We, in our sinful nature, want to do things our way.  Sometimes we forget that our spouses have a different way of looking at things, and if we would take the time to listen to them, we would find a better solution to a problem.  Do you treat your spouse as more significant than yourself or is selfish ambition and conceit getting in the way (i.e. You know how to parent and your husband doesn’t – “I want parenting to be done my way because my way is right” “I am the one that researches and knows everything there is to parenting so this is the way it WILL be done.”  If this is your attitude, let me remind you of some scripture: Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction. and James 1:19 says, “be quick to hear, slow to speak.”)?

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (Romans 12:14-18 ESV)

Are you striving for peace in your relationships to your husband, parents, siblings, etc?  Or is GBD/GCM creating a division that you feel is ok because you are right and they are wrong?  This all goes back to: Is GBD your gospel?  If you think GBD is the ONLY way to go and you lessen anyone because they view parenting differently than you, you are not striving to live at peace.  The gospel is not grace based discipline.  The wonderful gospel is Christ was crucified for our sins and rose victorious over sin and death.

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12 ESV)

Whoever troubles his own household will inherit the wind, …(Proverbs 11:29 ESV)

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32 ESV)

God is kind, merciful and loving. Praise be to God.  If you see that you are the cause of relationship problems, confess your sins, turn from them and praise God for His forgiveness through Jesus Christ!

If you are thinking of joining GCM or if your wife has joined, these are things to be aware of.  They do have a tendency on that site of treating graced based discipline as the gospel which causes division in their relationships with others.