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Martin Luther: When Feeling Accused By the Devil & Sin

I came across an excellent blog post quoting Martin Luther, on what to do when feeling accused by the Devil, and guilt for your sin. I found this paragraph particularly helpful:

“When the devil throws our sins up to us and declares we deserve death and hell, we ought to speak thus: “I admit that I deserve death and hell. What of it? Does this mean that I shall be sentenced to eternal damnation? By no means. For I know One who suffered and made a satisfaction in my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Where he is, there I shall be also.”
Luther: Letters of Spiritual Counsel, trans. and ed., Theodore G. Tappert, 1960, (Vancouver, BC: Regent College Publishing, 2003).

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Jesus: Something Greater

In reading Matthew 12 today, three times Jesus mentions prominent Old Testament references. He then proceeds to say, “Something greater than __ is here.”

Jesus is greater than:
-the temple (v. 6)
-Jonah (v. 41)
-Solomon (v. 42)

Likewise, in a message at the Gospel Coalition Conference in 2007, Tim Keller walks through a handful of “typologies” in the Old Testament that Jesus fulfills. Here’s an excerpt (and a link to a clip of the message):

“Jesus is the true and better Adam who passed the test in the garden and whose obedience is imputed to us.
Jesus is the true and better Abel who, though innocently slain, has blood now that cries out, not for our condemnation, but for acquittal.
Jesus is the true and better Abraham who answered the call of God to leave all the comfortable and familiar and go out into the void not knowing wither he went to create a new people of God.
Jesus is the true and better Isaac who was not just offered up by his father on the mount but was truly sacrificed for us. And when God said to Abraham, “Now I know you love me because you did not withhold your son, your only son whom you love from me,” now we can look at God taking his son up the mountain and sacrificing him and say, “Now we know that you love us because you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love from us.”
Jesus is the true and better Jacob who wrestled and took the blow of justice we deserved, so we, like Jacob, only receive the wounds of grace to wake us up and discipline us.
Jesus is the true and better Joseph who, at the right hand of the king, forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his new power to save them.
Jesus is the true and better Moses who stands in the gap between the people and the Lord and who mediates a new covenant.
Jesus is the true and better Rock of Moses who, struck with the rod of God’s justice, now gives us water in the desert.
Jesus is the true and better Job, the truly innocent sufferer, who then intercedes for and saves his stupid friends.
Jesus is the true and better David whose victory becomes his people’s victory, though they never lifted a stone to accomplish it themselves.
Jesus is the true and better Esther who didn’t just risk leaving an earthly palace but lost the ultimate and heavenly one, who didn’t just risk his life, but gave his life to save his people.
Jesus is the true and better Jonah who was cast out into the storm so that we could be brought in.
Jesus is the real Rock of Moses, the real Passover Lamb, innocent, perfect, helpless, slain so the angel of death will pass over us. He’s the true temple, the true prophet, the true priest, the true king, the true sacrifice, the true lamb, the true light, the true bread.
The Bible’s really not about you—it’s about him.”
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Tim Keller: You Already Have a Savior

“No person, not even the best one, can give your soul all it needs…This cosmic disappointment and disillusionment is there in all of life, but we especially feel it in the things upon which we most set our hopes.

When you do finally realize this, there are four things you can do. You can blame the things that are disappointing you and try to move on to better ones. That’s the way of continued idolatry and spiritual addiction. The second thing you can do is blame yourself and beat yourself and say, “I have somehow been a failure. I see everybody else is happy. I don’t know why I am not happy. there is something wrong with me.” That’s the way of self-loathing and shame. Third, you can blame the world. You can say, “Curses on the entire opposite sex,” in which case you make yourself hard, cynical, and empty. Lastly, you can, as C.S. Lewis says at the end of his great chapter on hope, reorient the entire focus of your life toward God. He concludes, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world [something supernatural and eternal]…

“He [Jesus] took upon himself our sins and died in our place. If we are deeply moved by the sight of his love for us, it detaches our hearts from other would-be saviors. We stop trying to redeem ourselves through our pursuits and relationships, because we are already redeemed. We stop trying to make others into saviors, because we have a Savior.”
Counterfeit Gods, p. 39, 45

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Tim Keller: The Biblical Story Arc

“At this point in the story, many contemporary readers will be wondering: “Where are all the spiritual heroes in this story? Whom am I supposed to be emulating? What is the moral of the story?”

The reason for our confusion is that we usually read the Bible as a series of disconnected stories, each with a “moral” for how we should live our lives. It is not. Rather, it comprises a single story, telling us how the human race got into its present condition, and how God through Jesus Christ has come and will come to put things right. In other words, the Bible doesn’t give us a god at the top of a moral ladder saying, “If you try hard to summon up your strength and live right, you can make it up!” Instead, the Bible repeatedly shows us weak people who don’t deserve God’s grace, don’t seek it, and don’t appreciate it even after they have received it… (This  is) the great biblical story arc into which every individual scripture narrative fits.”
-Tim Keller
pp. 36-37, Counterfeit Gods 

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The Secular World & Fragmentary Meaning

“As we look at the difference between the secular world and the Christian world, here’s what i concluded one day: In the secular world they give you tiny, little meanings, with no ultimate meaning. They give you tiny, little purposes, with no ultimate purpose. And so they have no skin for life, they just have this fragmentary way of going about it,  finding momentary meaning and momentary purposes, with no ultimate meaning, and no ultimate purpose.

But this is so drastically different to what the Christian message is all about.”
-Ravi Zacharias, “Created for Significance, Part 3 of 4

I think one of the reasons I appreciated this quote so much was that it summarizes an observation I’ve had in talking to non-Christians about faith and ultimate purpose. Most people do not have a comprehensive worldview of ultimate meaning, purpose, or identity. Most people can articulate a few things, but few have thought through what they believe and come to a comprehensive worldview, let alone why they believe it (not that someone needs to have understanding and thoughts on every single topic, but having a worldview that can be applied to the main questions of life and thus can be applied to all aspects of life).

But the Christian faith is meant to permeate all aspects of our lives. It’s not meant to be something just done on Sunday mornings, but rather is something that affects every aspects of how we live, think, relate, and feel. As Ravi Zacharias says, it is the “skin” that covers all aspects of life.

One question I love asking non-Christians who are involved in volunteering or various social or political causes is, “What motivates you to do ____?” I find that people have some interesting, and sometimes illogical, responses and motivations for doing what they do. But they all come down to finding meaning, purpose, and identity in creation (themselves, others people, animals, etc.), and not in the Creator.

We were created by God and in His image, and can have relationship with Him, can glorify Him and delight in Him, and those truths give us meaning, purpose, and identity.

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Living in the Shadows

“We all tend to live with boundaries between our public and private lives. There is something in all of us that wants to live in the shadows rather than in the light. We want to minimize how bad we are and maximize how bad others are. It is always easier to blame the other person rather than look at ourselves. If we keep God on the periphery of our lives, our Christianity will become an empty shell of rules and beliefs rather than a relationship of grace, hope, and change.”
How People Change, p. 200

 The response? Walk in the light, confess to Christ, and ask Him to transform you.

“Change is not rooted in a body of knowledge, a set of rules, theological outlines, or behavioral techniques. It is the result of your heart’s transformation by the risen Lord. As His grace rules our hearts, we can keep His commands.”
How People Change,  p. 195

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