Jimmy Needham, in his song, “Grace Amazing” (from his album, Nightlights) truly does present grace as it ought to be presented, amazing. And how does he do this? The same way any good Soteriology (doctrine of salvation) does–by starting with a good Hamartiology (doctrine of sin), namely, our total inability or total depravity. As Needham says, “That’s how it is with us all. We weren’t just damaged we fell dead at the fall.” And in doing so he recognizes that salvation is dependent on God’s sovereign grace. “Unless You breathe life into me I won’t ever feel my dead heart beating. But you open these blind eyes to see.” And the fact that God has made believers alive, who once were dead and could not give life to themselves, is what makes grace amazing. The Blind don’t give themselves sight; God does. In short, grace is amazing because the recipients of grace had no part in it. “That’s what makes Your grace amazing.”
What the Law Still Cannot Do
The following is an illustration from Michael Horton’s book, Introducing Covenant Theology. Horton’s illustration can be found in his chapter entitled “New Covenant Obedience” and under the subsection “What the Law Still Cannot Do.”
It’s an illustration of a sailboat. It’s an illustration I have never forgotten, probably never will forget, and come back to time and time again.
Together for the [Underestimated] Gospel–Sermon Notes
So I’m finally back from T4G. I was unable to find time to write another post while I was still in Kentucky, but I have decided nonetheless to provide a brief wrap-up post by supplying you with my sermon notes as I indicated I would in the previous post. The following are my raw notes (unedited and “un-proofread”) from various sermons given at the conference. Not all of the sermons given at the conference had enough structure in order for me to outline them, so the notes below do not cover every message spoken but only those I was able to take somewhat structured notes on. I hope you enjoy them and find them helpful.
Why I Don’t Hate “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus”
On January 13th I published a post analyzing and critiquing the viral video by Jefferson Bethke entitled, “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” (see my earlier post here). This post got lit up with lots of attention and traffic–far more than I expected. I got plenty of feedback from plenty of people, some positive, so not so positive. Among those who responded more negatively, some seemed to have the impression that I did not see any value or benefits in the video (on the contrary, I was simply presenting a caution). Due to this, I’ve decided to write a “part 2” on the strengths/benefits of Bethke’s “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.” By doing so, I want it to be clear that I am not attempting to retract my initial criticisms/cautions. However, I am presenting a balanced perspective that probably should be taken.
“In Evil Long I Took Delight” by John Newton
I ran across this hymn a few weeks ago, although I have been acquainted with it before. I decided it was definitely worth sharing. This hymn is certainly not as popular as John Newton’s famous hymn, “Amazing Grace,” but I certainly recommend reading through the words and meditating on their truth. From a man who understood grace extremely well in light of who he was as a depraved, wicked, detestable man in need of saving, “In Evil Long I Took Delight”:
In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopp’d my wild career: