“It bears repeating that we are made right with God because Christ is our substitute. He lived a perfect life in our place, died to atone for our sins, and was raised not only for himself, but for us–guaranteeing our justification, sanctification, glorification, and the redemption of our bodies. This is how Jesus Christ fulfills his mission–not merely by showing the way, but by being the Way. He saves us fully and finally, and leaves no room for us to say, ‘Ah, yes. But I did do that one good thing.'”
– Mike Horton “In the Face of God”

Because our heart is an idol factory until the day we die, let us not forget the Gospel.


Example of a syllogism

In my historical theology class, we learned an important distinction between the Medieval Roman Catholics and the Reformers (Luther, Melancthon). The big distinction is the “Ergo” vs. the “Never the less” syllogism.

Medieval Roman Catholocism fell under the “Ergo” which is essentially this:

Major Premise: God is righteous
Minor Premise: I am a sinner
Ergo: I will be condemned in God’s righteousness.

For Luther, scripture proclaimed a different saving syllogism called the “Never the Less”:
Major Premise: God is righteous
Minor Premise: I am a sinner
Never the less: I shall be saved on account of His righteousness (Rom 4:5).

Thank God for Reformation syllogisms!

It is indeed a wonderful life!

This coming Sunday is “Pro-life” Sunday at my Fieldwork church in St. Louis. My fieldwork pastor recently asked me to prepare a short devotional to give on Pro-life Sunday on the question, “How would the world be different without me?” I thought I would share what I wrote:

When this question was first given to me for pondering, I didn’t even know where to start. “This is a tough question to answer,” I thought to myself. So I decided to call my mother to see what this world would be like for her if I wasn’t in it. I thought of all people, she would know. Her initial response was, “Wow….I really don’t know. If you weren’t here, I don’t know what I’d do. I miss you enough as it is when you’re away in St. Louis. That is tough.” At first I thought her answer was a bit unexpected, where was the “Without you this would never have happened?” Or the “I never would have made it through that trial if you weren’t here?” You know, the Bette Midler Wind beneath my wing speech? Where was it? This caused me to wonder about my life, had I ever done anything for my family or friends that was extraordinary? I couldn’t recollect any dramatic moments where I swooped in on my “white” horse and rescued anyone from impending doom, and I don’t remember any real humanitarian efforts. This question had become all too hard for me, it forced me to ask that tough question, “Who am I?” As far as I was concerned, at that moment I was a nobody. But then something dawned on me, I meant more to my mom than actions or deeds. I am her child, the object of her love and affection. The one she raised, the one she played games with, the one she dressed up in cute Halloween costumes, the one who always made sure Christmas’ were special for me, and the one she loved no matter what. She had an unconditional love for me that would never stop. There’s nothing I can do that would make my mom think more of me. She loves me because she and my father decided to love and give of themselves. Who am I? I’m somebody’s son, I am loved. I’m special because my family thinks I’m special, because I’m a part of them, I was brought forth from their love.

In many ways, that’s how it is for all of us as Christians. We can get so worked up in trying to please a God who already loves us with a love that gave up everything; trying to prove our love with actions or deeds to a God who loves us for the sake of His son Jesus. We are the object of His affection. He didn’t want to be without us, so He brought us into His family through His son. Who are we? We are His children. We are special and unique; we mean so much to our Heavenly Father that he thought His son’s life was worth it to save us. So if that question “How would this world be different without me” stumps you. Maybe you should ask yourself a different question, “How would this world be without Jesus?” How could we ever get on with our lives if we were always as St. Paul said, “Being busy hating others and being hated, with doom hanging over our shoulders?” Remember then, our Savior who in great kindness, tenderness, and mercy came forth and saved us from our wretched state so that we would be free to love our neighbors as His children, free as his children to exclaim, “I don’t want to live in a world without my neighbor!” That is what being pro-life is all about!

Well, I know I haven’t posted anything in what appears to be years, but I hope this will make up for my blunder.

White Winter Hymn by Fleet Foxes Enjoy!

Let us know what you think…..

This is He who came by water and blood–Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood.” 1 John 5:6

“John tells us in his gospel about an eyewitness, himself obviously, who stood under Jesus’ cross when one of the soldiers pierced the side of the dead Savior. This witness saw blood and water come from the wound.

John saw a sign in this, something that had a deeper meaning. A stream of life came from the dead Savior on the cross that would reach the whole world. That stream would come with water in Baptism and blood in the Communion cup. It would carry with it Jesus’ victory on the cross.

In his letter he writes about this sight. We can regard these words as a very useful reminder that Christ has come to us with water in Baptism. However, He has also come with blood. A Christian is not only baptized, but a guest at communion. You can’t take Communion once, as with Baptism, and then in belief go about your life. Communion is something to be taken regularly. Through Baptism we’ve been incorporated into Christ as members in His body. Now the stream of life from Him pulsates through us also. Through Communion this stream reaches us as the blood that cleanses us from all sin. In Communion we drink from the source of life and forgiveness. We are at the cross and the gates of heaven at the same time that open slightly and let us hear the never ending exultations surrounding the Lamb of God and catch a glimpse of His Glory.”
– Bo Giertz, “To Live with Christ” p. 549

For more information on purchasing “To Live with Christ”, please go to Concordia Publishing House.

Here is a clear example of a man who was broken by the law, completely understood that he was unrighteous, and in complete fear of God’s wrath. He asked a series of heartfelt questions such as, “How can I even hope for forgiveness?”, “Is atonement even possible?”, “What does God want from me?”, the chaplain could not answer one bit of his questions. We know however, that for everyone of his questions the answer is found in Christ, this is why we must cherish the gift of Absolution.

So here are my questions:

1. Who was closer to the Kingdom of Heaven? The Man or the Woman?

2. What would you have said in her place?

3. What does this clip say of the significance of Truth?

After watching this scene, this passage from Isaiah 52:7 finally makes sense to me, “How Beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news, proclaim peace, bring glad tidings of good things, proclaim salvation, and proclaim to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

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