Real Grace: The Difference between Trust and Forgiveness

One of the Christian duties I have found myself explaining more and more frequently is the difference between forgiveness and trust. The two are related, but they are not identical, and serious confusions creep into situations when they are thought of as being roughly the same thing. There might be a car mechanic in my…

Faith that Overcomes: Second Sunday in Easter: Jn. 20:19-31

Introduction The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus is the lynchpin for the entire religion. But what Christians are often accused of, and sometimes capitulate to, is the claim that this belief is entirely a matter of irrational, unsubstantiated “faith.” On this view, Christians “believe” not based on evidence or testimony, but based on…

The Truth in the Jungle

Jesus upholds all things by the word of His power. Only in Jesus do all things make sense. Part of this is protological: He created all things. Part of this is ontological: He upholds all things. Part of this is eschatological: All things are being brought together in Him. This means of necessity that everything…

Victory in Chains

Ephesians closes with one of Paul’s great rallying cries. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. We don’t wrestle against flesh and blood but against the principalities and powers, the rulers of darkness, the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places….

How The Risen Jesus Overcomes Shame

Sermon for Easter Sunday 2014: Jn. 20:1-18 Introduction One of the striking elements of all the gospel accounts of the resurrection of Jesus is the fact that women were the first witnesses. There are different details, different aspects of focus, but all four gospel accounts agree that women were the first to find the empty…

Our Jesus Holds the Keys: Good Friday 2014

Note: The audio recording for this message is available here. One of the most unusual elements of the Christian gospel is the fact that we celebrate the death of our leader. For most movements, for most religions, for most kingdoms or empires, the death of the leader is a moment of instability, chaos, disillusionment. But…

A Proverb for Holy Week

Proverbs 3:5: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Let’s look at what the Scriptures say about trusting the Lord. Trusting the Lord means obeying Him (Prov. 16:20). You cannot say you are trusting the…

Don’t Check Your Brain at the Door

An exhortation I gave to New St. Andrews students the other day… Introduction Since we are coming down to the end of the school year and weather is warming up, I thought it would be good to remind you that part of the greatest commandment is to love God with all of our brains. Moses…

A Translation of God’s Logic

The words ‘God said’ appear ten times in the creation account. In this way the creation narrative anticipates the Ten Commandments. This makes us realize that these Ten Commandments are, as it were, an echo of the creation; they are not arbitrary inventions for the purpose of erecting barriers to human freedom but signs pointing…

The Cause of the Stench

Morning Prayer Ex. 7:8-24, 2 Cor. 2:14-3:6 In Biblical imagery, it’s no accident that Satan shows up as a serpent or a dragon, and following this, satanic rulers are pictured as serpents and dragons and sea monsters. The seed of the serpent is at war with the seed of the woman. And there’s a family…