Nothing Can Cut You Off From God’s Love in Christ

nature-forest-waves-treesFor various reasons and purposes, dams are constructed almost anywhere there is a significant body of water. Sometimes dams are created to prevent flooding. Other times they are constructed to create lakes. But always, dams are constructed for the purpose of blocking water from reaching a certain area. Dams trap water in a certain area and prevent water from reaching another area.

Paul is finishing his answer to a question he has posed in verse 35: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” Paul isn’t asking if God loves us. He’s asking if there is anything that can block God’s love from reaching us. He’s asking if there are any dams that can prevent the river of God’s love from flowing to us. He lists ten possible dams that might separate us from God’s love in Christ. Let’s look at each of them in three categories.

First, can life or death separate us from God’s love? No, because God’s love busts through each of these dams since “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:20). Even death is used by God’s love to only increase your experience of it.

Second, can angels or rulers or powers separate us from God’s love? No, because even Satan himself, the highest evil ruler and power, only serves the expansion of God’s love. Satan tempted Judas to betray Jesus to his own demise. God’s love crushes these supernatural and evil would-be dams. They cannot keep God’s love from you.

Third, can height or depth or anything else in all creation separate us from God’s love? No. Nothing. Nada. Goose egg. Not one conceivable person or thing can separate us from God’s love. There isn’t one single ruler, power, person, angelic or demonic being that can block God’s love from incessantly flowing to his people. Even death itself is a pawn in the hands of a loving God used for the ultimate good and joy of his people.

So, those of us who have unstoppable access to the river of God’s love must be rivers of living water (John 7:37-38). The love of God in Christ that has freely flowed to us must freely flow through us to others. Don’t construct any dams between you and others. Freely offer the love that has been given to you. Love relentlessly. Love incessantly. Love like your Father.

Sin Doesn’t Stand a Chance Against You

people-men-fight-challengeHave you ever been in an intense wrestling match? Wrestling matches between siblings are often much more entertaining and dangerous than WWE wrestling matches because, frankly, they are much more real. Growing up, I was about six years older than my brother, so I always had a physical advantage over him when we would fight. We didn’t fight all the time, but we always fought when we played games with each other. A game couldn’t pass by without one of us starting a fight. Our fights didn’t just begin the same way; they also always ended the same way—with me on top of my brother and my brother crying for help. In our fights, my brother didn’t stand a chance.

Romans 7:14-25 is all about a bitter struggle that occurs within the soul of every Christian. Paul emotionally and painfully cries out for deliverance at the end of Romans 7, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Paul is describing the nature of the war that rages in the Christian mind and heart. It is an intense wrestling match against a formidable opponent. Sin is strong. If you give in to sin very quickly, it is because you are either not in Christ or underestimating the strength of your opponent. In fact, if you are giving in to sin quickly, you don’t even realize the bell has rung! From the moment your heart is changed by the Holy Spirit, there is a struggle with sin that doesn’t end until you die or Christ returns.

Genuinely fighting sin is exhausting. There is a serious temptation to give in because the fight is hard. But the greatest motivation for staying the course in our fight against sin is found in one simple, yet life-changing statement: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). Our struggle against sin is one we cannot lose, so it is one we must fight! No matter how hard sin fights against you, and no matter how many battles it wins, if you are in Christ, sin doesn’t stand a chance against you. Because Jesus died on the cross in your place, you will never have to face God’s wrath. He was condemned, so there is no condemnation for you. He became sin. You receive righteousness. Sin doesn’t stand a chance against you because you are united to the one that condemned sin. Nothing provides more freedom and hope to fight sin than knowing God’s wrath has been fully absorbed by Christ and there is none left for you. Justification not only leads to sanctification, it fuels it.


Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is the author of Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (Westbow Press, 2016). He is an M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew is married to his high school sweetheart, Erica. Mathew and Erica live in Tupelo with their sons, Jude and Jack. You can follow him on Twitter @mat_gilbert.

Morning Mashup 09/29

Morning Mashup

A daily mashup of book recommendations, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

Prophet, Priest, and King: The Roles of Christ in the Bible and Our Roles Today | Robert Belcher | $14.62

prophet-priest-and-king-book

Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family | Paul Tripp | $16.30

parenting-book

ARTICLES

9 Debatable Thoughts About Contemporary Evangelism | Chuck Lawless

Anyone interested in reaching people for Jesus has to face the reality that culture is changing dramatically – and we have to respond by considering our methods and approaches to evangelism. I understand that reality, but some of the current thoughts about evangelism are worthy of debate. Let me know your thoughts about these positions…

4 Ways to Discuss the 2016 Election with Your Kids | Russell Moore

For families with children, this election year brings unique challenges, since the campaign often feels like a reality show. How do we talk to our kids about what they are seeing and hearing all around them? Here are a few things we do…

The Supreme Court and the Convoluted Case for Trump | Thomas Kidd

The question for white evangelicals, then, is whether we are willing to get behind a non-conservative candidate like Trump, who is so boorish, divisive, and uninformed, because he might appoint judges who can get confirmed and then actually turn out to be good judges? That’s a lot to ask, and a lot of “ifs.” I remain convinced that no major party has offered us a candidate worthy of evangelicals’ support in 2016.

The Price of Trying to Be God | Timothy Paul Jones

To sin is to use a gift that God wove into his creation to point to his glory in a way that the Creator never intended. That’s how God’s good gift of relaxation degenerates into vacations that end in frustration because they fall short of our self-centered expectations.

Singing Man: The Story Behind the Viral Video | Russ Ramsey

The story behind the moving video of students singing to their dying teacher. You’ll find the video in the “Videos” section below.

Crossway Statement on the ESV Bible Text | Lane Dennis

I was a little shocked by Crossway’s recent decision to release a final, unchanging edition of the ESV text. According to this new statement from CEO Lane Dennis, “We have become convinced that this decision was a mistake.”

5 Benefits of Regular Family Worship | Tom Ascol

Regular family worship is valuable and brings many blessings to parents and children alike. Here are five benefits that I have observed.

Pastors Are Not Quitting in Droves | Mark Dance

Each time a pastor prematurely exits the ministry race, I grieve. I also grieve each time I hear the awful pastor retention stats which are unsubstantiated and sometimes exaggerated.

VIDEOS

The Prophet, Priest, and King of Nazareth

In school plays, acting skills are limited. Many times, the best actor has to play multiple roles. He may play the role of the main character, but he also probably plays other roles in scenes that do not include the main character. The same is true for mediocre sports teams. When I played baseball in Little League, I played for a team that was so bad that only two of us could throw and catch without running all over the field after the ball. Because my friend and I were the only two players who could successfully throw and catch, we had two roles—pitcher and catcher. Whenever I pitched, my buddy would be the catcher. Whenever he pitched, I was the catcher. Our team desperately needed us to play these roles every game, or else we would lose by 20 runs instead of only 5.

As our redeemer, Jesus also plays certain roles that are crucial to the victory of his team—his people. In his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus performs the roles of a prophet, a priest, and a king. It feels strange to think of Jesus as a prophet, priest, and king because these are all roles that were played by people in the Old Testament, but not so much in the New.

In the Old Testament we learn about prophets like Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. We learn about priests like Aaron and his sons. We learn about kings like David and Solomon. But when it comes to Jesus we seem to only think of him as a Savior. God’s people in the New Testament seem to be much different from God’s people in the Old Testament. The church, so it seems, doesn’t have prophets, priests, or kings the way Israel did. However, all of those prophets, priests, and kings were like shadows of the greatest Prophet, Priest, and King. They were like arrows pointing to Jesus who would be what all the prophets, priests, and kings of old failed to be.

For hundreds and even thousands of years, the people of God anticipated the coming of the Messiah, or Savior, who would perfectly reveal God’s will, provide for their sins, and rule over them. In Jesus’ perfect life, death, and resurrection, he perfectly revealed God’s Word to us, offered himself as a sacrifice for our sins, and ruled over us in power. Jesus saves us by being a prophet who reveals God’s Word to us, a priest who sacrifices himself for us, and a king who brings us into his kingdom under his eternal rule.

The only hope my Little League team had for even smidgen of success was in the arms and gloves of my friend and me. We had to perform our roles perfectly or our team would lose spectacularly. In the Bible, there are many examples of cowardly prophets, impious priests, and rebellious kings. None of them adequately fulfilled the role to which they were called. The prophets, priests, and kings in the Old Testament are a litany of disappointments. But in Jesus we will never be disappointed. Jesus perfectly fulfilled the roles of a prophet, priest, and king, which is our only hope for knowing, loving, and living for God.


Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is the author of Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (Westbow Press, 2016). He is an M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew is married to his high school sweetheart, Erica. Mathew and Erica live in Tupelo with their sons, Jude and Jack. You can follow him on Twitter @mat_gilbert.

Proper Posture and the Great Commission

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)

This is the Great Commission of Matthew’s gospel, given by Jesus as a final command to his disciples. It is a command to make disciples and uses three participles to designate the manner that is to be accomplished: going, baptizing, and teaching. This passage is extremely integral to the church, since it is a command to spread the good news of Jesus so that it may save souls and transform lives by making men and women into disciples of Jesus Christ.

However important the contents may be for the commission, though, the authority given to it is what determines its importance. It may be a good command, but if there is no authority behind it, it is not as important of a command. For example, If a young child tells another child not to eat a lot of sweets, that child is not likely to obey that command. By the same token, if that same child’s mother tells him not to eat a lot of sweets, he is likely (or at least more likely) to abstain from them. This is why Jesus prefaces the Great Commission with, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” The weight of the command is determined and accentuated by the the magnitude of the greatness of the one proclaiming it. Therefore, since Jesus has been given categorically all power in heaven and on earth, his command bears immeasurable weight.

This is where the posture of the disciple’s heart enters consideration. Even if the weight of the command is immeasurably heavy, keeping it still requires submission. If a man desires discipleship under Jesus, he must submit himself humbly to Christ’s authority. I believe that the way a person submits to Christ is divided generally into two ways.

  1. Understand that Jesus is greater than you.

There are many people who treat Christ flippantly: “Jesus is my BFF.” “Jesus and I are tight.” This attitude shows a true disassociation with who Jesus is. He is God the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity. He has been given all power in heaven and on earth. He will return to judge the entire world in absolute righteousness. He is mighty, and he demands worship. Yes, we have a friend in Jesus, but do not forget that he is God.

In Mark chapter 4, Mark writes of Jesus’ disciples meeting a great storm on the sea. They wake Jesus up, he rebukes the storm, and it ceases. The disciples respond thus: “And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’” They were filled with great fear. Jesus’ closest companions felt great fear when confronted with his greatness, yet we might have the audacity to treat him flippantly? God forbid.

This means you must realize that Jesus supersedes you. He is greater than you. He was sinless; you are sinful. He is powerful; you are weak. He is wise; you are foolish. If you want to fulfill the Great Commission, it is fundamentally true that you must submit to Christ and understand that he is greater than you.

  1. Value Jesus’ will as greater than your own.

This is an integral part of submitting to Christ. Valuing Jesus’ will this way is important, because it both reveals a true love for him (by keeping his commandments and valuing his word) and a respect for his wisdom by understanding the perfections of his will.

Submitting t0 Christ means surrendering your will, and Christ is clear about this. He says quite famously that anyone who loves their mother or father more than him is not worthy of him (Matthew 10:37). You must deny yourself of your own desires and your own view of perfection in favor of Christ’s. You cannot serve both yourself and Christ.

In fact, this is part of any real relationship. Wills between parties conflict in relationships, and part of the resolution to this conflict is that one party must show deference to the other. This is true of a Redeemer-redeemed covenant relationship too. Jesus’ words and ways will conflict with your will. Yet, this conflict is a true test of discipleship. Will you be stubborn, or will you yield to the immaculate Christ? If you will not, do not pretend that he is your God. Christ will not be bent to the will of men, perpetually permitting their behavior. If you will not bend to the will of Christ, he is not your God; he is an therapeutic idealization of a god, an idol of the mind.

Therefore, it takes both understanding Christ’s surpassing greatness and valuing his will over your own. If you do not think he is greater than you, his words are unlikely to inspire any real change in your thought or behavior. If you do not value his will over your own, you are unlikely to carry out any of those commands. But if you submit to him by realizing his greatness and valuing his will, his words will be like sweet honey and you will be in a great hurry to fulfill his commandments.

This summary returns us then to the Great Commission. It is obvious that there is a direct relationship between submission to Christ and following his commandments. This is a commandment of Christ. Now that you have evaluated your love for him and the value of his will, it is time to ask: Will you fulfill this commandment?


Avery Thorn is from Belmont, MS. He is a junior at Blue Mountain College, where he is a Biblical Studies major and a History minor. He is a member of Belmont First Baptist Church. He has a passion for preaching and studying Scripture. Avery’s hobbies include exercising, music, politics, reading, writing, and making and enjoying coffee. You can follow Avery on Twitter @Avery_thorn.

Abundant Grace: Big Problems Demand Bigger Solutions

When you have a big problem, you need an even bigger solution. At the end of the basketball season my senior year of high school, I tore a ligament in my right foot. It was a really small injury, but the consequences were devastating. Two weeks before our District Tournament, I could barely walk from my bed to the bathroom. The easy solution was surgery. A couple months after surgery, I would be as good as new. But that solution didn’t solve the biggest problem I had. I wanted to play in the postseason.

I visited a physical therapist who had a crazy idea. He believed he could create an insert for my shoe that would relieve pressure from one side of my foot allowing me to play, as long as I could endure the pain. Was it the safest solution? Probably not. But I would have done anything to play for championships. In the end, he successfully created an insert that allowed me to play. There was no way I should have been able to play in two weeks, but his solution was far greater than my problem.

Our condition before God in sin is a major problem. Not only are we guilty of sin because of our union with Adam, but we commit millions of sins in our lifetime. It makes total sense for us to receive judgment from God because of even one sin. But in Christ we receive a gift of righteousness credited to our account despite the mountain of sin we have recorded. This is grace unimaginable. One writer said God’s grace in the gospel is a “miracle of miracles, utterly beyond human comprehension.”

The law increases the seriousness of our sin, but “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” Sin leads to condemnation and death. Christ sets us free from the chains of sin and death by taking our sin and giving us his righteousness. We are declared righteous before God because of the work of Christ in our place. God’s grace is far greater than his judgment. His judgment followed only one sin. Yet after countless sins, his grace still overflowed in Christ. Problem. Solved.


Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is the author of Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (Westbow Press, 2016). He is an M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew is married to his high school sweetheart, Erica. Mathew and Erica live in Tupelo with their sons, Jude and Jack. You can follow him on Twitter @mat_gilbert.

Morning Mashup 09/27

Morning Mashup

A daily mashup of book recommendations, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

On the Puritans

A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life | J.I. Packer | $16.20

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Worldly Saints: The Puritans As They Really Were | Leland Ryken | $15.85

worldly-saints-book

A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life | Joel Beeke & Mark Jones | $45.79

a-puritan-theology

Meet the Puritans: With a Guide to Modern Reprints | Joel Beeke & Randall Pederson | $35.00

meet-the-puritans

ARTICLES

How Much Do Christian Kids Need a ‘Christian’ Education? | Thomas Kidd

We know for sure, of course, that whatever combination of public, private, or home education a child receives, the parents’ influence on a child’s mind is pre-eminent. But I still think that evangelicals and other Christians need to think hard about what education for their children should accomplish.

Distinguishing Among the Three Persons of the Trinity in the Reformed Tradition | Kevin DeYoung

So why I am writing something now? For the simple reason that I am hearing from more people in my own congregation who want to know what to make of this kerfuffle over the Trinity. Twitter demands to “say something!” mean little to me. Honest theological questions from my church family mean a lot.

Scripture and the Long Shadow of American Slavery | Timothy Paul Jones

Yet, if Scriptures seem to have accepted some forms of slavery, why should Christians today view the enslavement of African Americans as a depraved and dehumanizing system from its inception? More important, how can a renewed recognition of the sinfulness of this system help us to understand better the struggles that we face still today?

Complaining Isn’t Authentic, It’s a Waste of Time | Matt Rogers

There are certainly healthy aspects to this trend. It’s hard to love and be loved if everyone is a phony. But, if I’m honest, the rise of authenticity has some rather annoying byproducts. One of the most common is the incessant noise of complaining Christians. Since sin invaded the world, we’ve all had issues doing everything without complaining or grumbling (Phil. 2:14). But lately, it seems that we’ve begun to celebrate complaining as a virtue rather than a vice.

Transcript of the First Debate | NY Times

If you’re like me and skipped out on the debate, here is your one-stop source for every second of the debate in all it’s glory.

Donald Trump’s Cruel Streak | Conor Friedersdorf

Giving a cruel man power and expecting that he won’t use it to inflict cruelty is madness. To vote for Trump, knowing all of this, is to knowingly empower cruelty.

VIDEOS

Practical Lessons From Gethsemane

The Garden of Gethsemane is both a place of sorrow and triumph for a person traveling through the Gospels. It is a place of sorrow, because he sees the focus of the Gospels, Jesus, “being in agony [as] he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). This Jesus that he has witnessed perform many miracles and healings, while proclaiming the good news that the kingdom of God had come, is now suffering under the burden of the sin of all those who he would save. He watches this same Jesus drink the cup of the will of God down to the last drop.

Yet, it is a moment of monumental victory. Christ faces his supreme temptation of disobedience of the Father with obedience to the will of the Father. As Adam fell in the original garden, the greater Adam is victorious in his garden. The person reading the gospels goes on to see exactly what that will is: nothing short of the salvation of those who would believe on him by the death of Jesus taking upon himself all of the wrath of God. There are a few important lessons to learn from Christ’s time in Gethsemane.

  1. God’s will for you probably does not always include earthly prosperity.

One of the common distortions of the truth of God is that he always wills that you have earthly success. One of the reasons that this is a true misrepresentation of God’s character is found at Gethsemane. Christ prayed there that the cup he was about to drink from would pass from him. Yet, Christ prayed that what God had willed be done. What God had willed for Christ is that he suffer torture and death by crucifixion. By this example, it is obvious that our prayers should not be, “Lord, please give me success in my earthly endeavors.” This is a violation of Christ’s example here and in Matthew 6, where he taught his disciples to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done.”

Part of the good news of Christianity is that God works together good things for all those who love him (Romans 8:28). We could probably express this teaching like this: A lack of a perfect life means that God has planned for you something greater than a perfect life, assuming you are his. Whether, then, it is prosperity or hardship that God sends to you, sing his praises with joy, for, no matter the earthly circumstances, at his right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11).

  1. Violence to other people has no place for followers of Christ.

There was a battle won in Gethsemane, and it had nothing to do with physical struggle. Jesus struggled against a greater enemy than that of man. Jesus struggled with the temptations of Satan and the weight of an unimaginable spiritual burden, and Christ overcame those enemies triumphantly. Yet, when the religious leaders entered the garden to take Jesus, he did not lift one hand against them. They came for his life, and he did not defend it. In fact, when one of his disciples tried to attack one of those leaders, Jesus rebuked him. Yet, somehow people seem to forget Jesus’ meek and mild nature.

There seems to be a growing idealization of violence among Christians towards others they do not agree with, especially against Muslims. Many people fantasize about what they would do if a jihadist walked into their room. They fantasize about violence to that person. They plan to do violence to those who want to do violence to them. This is categorically contrary to the teachings of Jesus. Jesus said that harboring this anger and hatred is as if you have murdered him (Matthew 5:21-22) and commanded his disciples to not resist the one who is evil (Matthew 5:38-42). This romanticization of violence against others is abominable and deplorable. Christianity is not a religion of violence against others. It is a religion of violence against violence against others.

  1. Trusting God means submitting to his authority.

Jesus prayed an impassioned plea that he might not drink from the cup that was coming to him. Yet, God did give Christ the cup, and Christ did drink it. Christ evidently, in his desire, did not want to take of the punishment of the cross. Yet, despite this, he humbly submitted himself to the will of the Father. Jesus regarded the Father’s authority as greater than his own desire to be free from the cup of death.

This is trusting God: placing your desires under the authority of the Lord. He is good, and his decrees are good. Your opinion of the best life for you will often be different from God’s declaration of what is actually your best life. There is only one way to live your best life now, and it is by submitting to the authority of the Father.

Gethsemane is the place where Christ sacrificed his will to the plan of the Father. In that plan, he reconciled his church to himself. He extended unmitigated grace to his beloved. He vindicated his name in righteousness. He promulgated his glory for the whole world to see. Yes, in Gethsemane, we see love in humility, and we see a model for the kind of self-sacrificing, dependent life to which Christ calls his followers.


Avery Thorn is from Belmont, MS. He is a junior at Blue Mountain College, where he is a Biblical Studies major and a History minor. He is a member of Belmont First Baptist Church. He has a passion for preaching and studying Scripture. Avery’s hobbies include exercising, music, politics, reading, writing, and making and enjoying coffee. You can follow Avery on Twitter @Avery_thorn.

Throwback Thursday: John Stott on the Wrath of God

Throwback Thursday3One of the most uncomfortable Christian doctrines to discuss in any social setting is the wrath of God. It doesn’t matter if you are in a small group, Sunday morning sermon, or a coffee shop, when you talk about God’s wrath, the tension in the room automatically increases.

Last night, I was leading a small group of teenagers in a discussion about the exclusivity of the gospel. The only way to enter and enjoy God’s presence is through the person and work of Jesus Christ (John 14:6; 1 Tim. 2:5). In the process of that discussion, I asked them to think about all of their friends who are outside of Christ. Then, I asked them to funnel the exclusivity of the gospel through the lens of friendship. My hope was that the wrath of God against those outside of Christ would not casually pass over them. My hope was that they would see the hopelessness that even their kindest friends are facing outside of Christ. Ultimately, my hope was and is that they would be ignited to leverage their friendships for the sake of the gospel and the eternal joy of their lost friends.

Have you ever considered God’s wrath in relation to loved ones in your life who you know are outside of Christ? Doing this doesn’t change the truth and reality of God’s wrath, but it does help us pause to consider a true biblical definition of God’s wrath. Wrath, most commonly associated with raging anger, has absolutely zero positive connotations in human relations.

So, how can something as unstable as anger, which Jesus equates to murder, be found in a perfectly holy God?

In John Stott’s commentary on Romans, he writes very helpfully on the relationship between human anger and God’s wrath:

If we are to preserve the balance of Scripture, our definition of God’s anger must avoid opposite extremes. On the one hand, there are those who see it as no different from sinful human anger. On the other, there are those who declare that the very notion of anger as a personal attribute or attitude of God must be abandoned.

Human anger, although there is such a thing as righteous indignation, is mostly very unrighteous. It is an irrational and uncontrollable emotion, containing much vanity, animosity, malice, and the desire for revenge. It should go without saying that God’s anger is absolutely free of all such poisonous ingredients.

The wrath of God, then, is almost totally different from human anger. It does not mean that God loses his temper, flies into a rage, or is ever malicious, spiteful or vindictive. The alternative to ‘wrath’ is not ‘love’ but ‘neutrality’ in the moral conflict. And God is not neutral. On the contrary, his wrath is his holy hostility to evil, his refusal to condone it or come to terms with it, his just judgment upon it.

[Stott, Message to the Romans, pp. 71-72]

Read that last paragraph again. Crucial to an understanding of God’s wrath is knowing that the alternative is not love, but neutrality. The good news of God’s wrath is that he is not neutral when it comes to sin, evil, and suffering. He is a sovereign conquerer of these things. His wrath is poured out against them. And the most radically mind-blowing news I’ve ever heard is that the way God conquers sin, death, evil, and suffering is by bearing his righteous wrath himself.


Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is the author of Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (Westbow Press, 2016). He is an M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew is married to his high school sweetheart, Erica. Mathew and Erica live in Tupelo with their son, Jude. You can follow him on Twitter @mat_gilbert.

Morning Mashup 08/17

1451631120721

A daily mashup of Kindle deals, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


KINDLE DEALS

Mere Apologetics: How to Help Seekers and Skeptics Find Faith | Alister McGrath | $2.99

51fAGPxJ3EL

On Guard for Students: A Thinker’s Guide to the Christian Faith | William Lane Craig | $1.99

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Church History 101: The Highlights of Twenty Centuries | Sinclair Ferguson, Joel Beeke, and Michael Haykin | $3.99

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ARTICLES

Patience Isn’t Passive | Barnabas Piper

But my understanding of “waiting” has been sorely lacking. The description above is hollow. Waiting is an experience full of careful thought and action, at least if one is doing it well. If your waiting experience is one of sitting by until something happens then you’re doing it wrong.

How Does a Pastor Deal With Awkward Silence With Visiting Folks? | Brian Croft

This is a question that came to me by a young and introverted pastor who is struggling to know how to make conversation with elderly folks when he goes to visit them.  I wish more and more young pastors knew their weaknesses and desired to grow like this young brother.  Because I think this is a growing struggle among young pastors especially, here was my response to this brother for your consideration…

What Do You Do If the Sunday Sermon Was Bad? | Scott Slayton

The Sunday sermon is important because we understand that this is how God has ordained for his word to be taught to his people. So when the Sunday sermon falls flat and is unhelpful, what should we do?

A Playboy for President | Ross Douthat

But in the year of Donald Trump, the religious conservatives who fought many of those transformations find themselves reduced to a hapless rump. The best have retreated to rebuild; the worst have abased themselves before a sybaritic, irreligious presidential nominee.

Golden Moments in Rio | Boston Globe

More than halfway through the Summer Olympic games in Rio, over 150 gold medals have been awarded. Here are some of the winners whose performances during competition earned them the top spot on the podium.

Your First Breath After Death | Marshall Segal

Think about your first breath after death. That moment has everything to do with this one (and every moment between now and then) — that first newborn inhale in heaven. Why will that gasp of air be any better than your last breath before death?

VIDEOS