The Good News

Discussion of the Best News in the World, the Gospel of Jesus, and related topics

C. S. Lewis – from Theism to Christianity

C.S. Lewis: It must be understood that my conversion at that point was only to theism pure and simple. I knew nothing yet about the incarnation. The God to whom I surrendered was sheerly non-human.

 

C. S. Lewis – From Atheism to Theism

Tim Keller and John Piper on C. S. Lewis

Lewis and Tolkien on Myths and Lies

C. S. Lewis BBC Radio Address 2

C. S. Lewis & His BBC Radio Address

The lone surviving reel of audio with Lewis’s voice on it. He deals with prayer and evolution (Evolution on the second installment). Recorded during WW ll these talks eventually became “Mere Christianity”.

Lewis and Tolkien Debate Myths and Lies

What Makes Grace Amazing?

The word grace has become an everyday church conversational word, until many Christians uses the words without truly understanding the weight behind it. Some Christians understand grace as God’s richest at Christ’s expense. Some as God’s unmerited favors towards undeserving people. Most of us uses grace as synonym to forgiveness of sin. But then, a lot of believers see grace as God’s additional help to add for the lack of perfection in our self-effort. Grace is what God gives to you when you tried your best but you fail. There is a popular saying that says, ‘God help those who help themselves.’ If these definitions of grace is true, then grace is not amazing at all.

It is very hard to define the word grace. But it is crucial that we have the right understanding of it.

Without the right understanding of grace, we wont be able to understand the fullness of God in the Bible.

Grace is ever present in every single page of the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation, grace is the long thread that connect everything together for God’s glory. So without understanding grace correctly, we can have a distorted view of the One true living God. But when we have the correct understanding of grace, only then we can sing ‘Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.’

In order for us to understand the amazing-ness of grace and the weight behind the word, Sam Storm in his book ‘Chosen for Life,’ writes 10 characteristic of grace. I hope these ten points will help us realize that grace is truly amazing.

  1. Grace presupposes sin and guilt. In another word, grace has meaning only when we realize that we are sinful and guilty. The main reason why people think so little of grace is because they do not understand the weight of their sin and guilt before the holy God.
  2. Grace does not contemplate sinners merely as undeserving, but as ill-deserving. Prior to salvation, we are not living in ‘neutral zone.’ According to the Bible, we are on our way to hell. It is not simply we do not deserve grace; we do deserve hell! We were once the enemies of God, if it not for His grace (Romans 5:10)
  3. Grace is not dependent upon the merit or demerit of its objects. Grace ceases to be grace if it can be earned by human merit. Grace ceases to be grace if it can be withdrawn by human demerit. J.I. Packer put it this way: “Grace is not treating a person less than, as, or greater than he deserves. It is treating a person without the slightest reference to desert whatsoever, but solely according to the infinite goodness and sovereign purposes of God.”
  4. Grace cannot incur a debt. Since grace is a gift, nothing can be done with a view to repaying God for it. The Biblical response to grace received is faith to receive more of it.
  5. With respect to justification, grace stands opposed to works (Romans 4:4-5); however, with respect to sanctification, grace is the source of works. This simply means that we are saved by grace for good works. Good works are the fruit and not the root of grace (Eph 2:8-10).
  6. Grace that saves is eternal but is manifested in the historical appearance of Christ. Grace comes and manifested fully in the person of Jesus Christ (2 Tim 1:9-10).
  7. Grace is free! The moment grace lost its ‘free-ness’, it ceases to be grace. (Rom 3:24)
  8. Grace is sovereign. Although God is gracious, He is not bound to give His grace to everyone. If grace becomes an obligation to God, grace would not be grace. God graciously saves some but not all, according to His sovereign good pleasure
  9. Grace is the foundation and the means of our election (Rom 11:5), our regeneration (Eph 2:5), our redemption (2 Cor 8:9), our justification (Titus 3:5-7) and the whole of our salvation (Eph 2:8)
  10. Grace is certainly free, but it is not always unconditional. Many of God’s acts and blessing are conditional. Eg: Eph 6:4; James 4:6, Psalm 103:17-18. But conditional grace is not earned grace. When God’s grace is promised based on a condition, that condition is also work of God’s grace. God graciously enables the condition that He requires (Phil 2:12-13). Our security is as secure as God is faithful.

Grace is indeed amazing. It does not originate from us but in God. We are only the undeserved recipients of grace, and that’s what make grace so amazing. J.I. Packer expressed it this way:

“The grace of God is love freely shown toward guilty sinners, contrary to their merit and indeed in defiance of their demerit. It is God showing goodness to persons who deserve only severity, and had no reason to expect anything but severity.”

 

thank you Yosia Yusuf

 

 

Man Born Blind

In John 9 Jesus walks by a man who has never seen.  This man was born blind.  Image result for man born blind in the bible

I read this section last week and the reactions of the man, his parents, the disciples and the Pharisees all struck me.

After this miracle, even the neighbors are confused whether the man is the same man they had known from childhood (verse 8).  The Pharisees did not believe, they believed this healing was impossible (v 13).  They began investigating what they perceived as trickery (v 18).  The Pharisees say that Jesus is a sinner and from the Old Testament we know that God does not hear sinners. (Jesus did not dispute this claim.) But, the man born blind makes a strong point: “One thing I know, I was blind and not I see!” “You, Pharisees do NOT listen!” (v 24) The Pharisees respond” “We follow Moses but we don’t know this man.”  In the Jewish history, no one had been healed of blindness.

The man born blind presents first hand information to the Pharisees and to their apparent bias to the evidence: “This is amazing! You do not know where he is from yet he opened my eyes. God listens to those who worship him.  Never has anyone opened eyes of the blind.  If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” Pharisees: “Are you trying to teach us?”

Jesus comes to the man and reveals  that he is Messiah, the Son of Man: “I came so that those who do not ‘see’ may ‘see.'” (v 35)  Jesus then turns to the Pharisees and condemns them because they claim sight but are blind and refuse to believe the clear evidence presented to them (v 41).

A man is a most pitiable condition receives physical sight and another amazing revelation.  Not only does he gain sight, which he never had, he sees Jesus for who he truly is: the unique, promised Son of Man.  The Son of Man has special meaning to Jews. Jesus is the most notable son of man of all time.

“The Son of Man” is a messianic title that refers back to the mysterious, human-divine figure of “one like a son of man” in Daniel 7.  That one would rule over all the nations of the earth forever.  This Son of Man was to be “lifted up” by being crucified (John 3:14), will provide divine revelation (John 6:27) and will act with end-time authority (John 5:27 and 9:39).  See ESV Study Bible notes.

What do you know about the son of man?  Have you met him? He still lives in the 21 century.

Related:
Jesus Heals Man Born Blind
Grace to You
Man Born Blind
Blind Man Sees

Thank God on Earth Day

From Reasons to Believe in 2016:

Every year on April 22, millions of people worldwide will gather on local beaches, streets, and parks to collect trash, plant trees, and honor and celebrate our Earth. In recent years, Earth Day has become almost as popular as Halloween and Christmas, observed by people from diverse religious beliefs and backgrounds. Rather than dismissing the holiday as just another day, Earth Day can remind us of the carefully crafted and fine-tuned home God has made for us. Read more of this post