Hearing the Music

in Rest

A Reflection on Gospel Rest

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 "The Gospel encourages me to rest in my righteous standing with God, a standing which Christ himself has accomplished and always maintains for me. I never have to do a moments labor to gain or maintain my justified status before God. Freed from the burden of such a task, I now can put my energies into enjoying God, pursuing holiness and ministering God's amazing grace to others."  

- Milton Vincent, A Gospel Primer, p. 20

From time to time, as part of my own personal worship, I turn to The Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent. It contains a series of reflections on the beauties of the Gospel and its applications that are really life giving. For instance, the quote above contains a vista that is truly breathtaking. It is hard to comprehend that, redeemed by Christ, we never have to do a moment’s labor to gain or to maintain our justified status before God. By faith in Christ, each of us is fully justified right now. When Christ comes in all his glory we will not be more justified than we are today. If we turn our minds to all the saints that have lived throughout the ages, we realize that we are as fully justified in Christ as they ever were. Paul or Priscilla, David or Abigail, Peter or Phoebe: none of them were more justified than we are right now. We cannot add one iota to our justification, nor can we take away from it. Amazing!

And Vincent’s application is right on. Enjoy God. Pursue Holiness. Reflect the amazing, breathtaking grace of God to others. We do these things because of who we are in Christ. As I think about what this means for me, I pray that this reflection would start in my family. That my wife and kids would know the peace and joy of a man who knows he is justified. As I think about what this means for Christ Church as a whole, my hope is that others could see an easy freedom in each of us that comes from being secure in the Gospel. 


Photo by Neil Thomas on Unsplash

Content, or Not Content?

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 As I sit at my desk looking out my office window watching some yellowish colored leaves fall from the tree to the ground, I realize something: fall is finally here! My first Michigan summer was awesome. Everyone kept telling me last winter and spring were unusual and just wait for summer. It finally arrived and I was delighted to welcome it. I must admit now, however, I’m looking forward to fall, some colder weather, and even some snow. Ouch! The past few weeks I have found myself getting ready for a season change and excited for it. I got everything up off the ground in my garage so the snow can melt from the undercarriage of my cars and fall to the garage floor. I was given a new snow thrower and I’ve been plotting my route from the garage, down the driveway, and to the street and back again. I’ve even planned for my patio furniture and getting it put away for the winter while cutting back some plants. I’m ready for a change…but I know as soon as it comes I’ll be ready for that to change as well.

        With all this recent activity, I have come to realize something after digging into Romans 7:7-25 in preparation for preaching this Sunday. I’m never content. When it is hot, I’m ready for cold. When it is cold, I’m ready for hot. When it rains, I’m ready for sun. There are times when it’s sunny and I am even ready for cloudy days. It seems whatever place I am in currently, I am ready to move out of it and into another one. Does this mean we should always to be ‘content’ and never be ‘not content?’ Me genoito – no, no, 1000 times no. We are going to look at Romans 7:7-25 this Lord’s Day and I would like to ask you to keep this in mind as we do because, perhaps like many of you, here is where I am completely content. I am content in continuing to live in my sin instead of letting God’s law reveal it for the purpose of lavishing me with more of His wonderful grace. I am content in not using God’s law to shine light into the pollution of my heart in order to run to my Savior who constantly gives more and more mercy. I am content just to keep on going the way I am going and doing the same ole things I’ve been doing. All the while, of course, while complaining about how ready I am for a change in something else! So, content, or not content? The answer is yes, and I pray our time in Romans 7 this Sunday will only seal that to our hearts as we open our ears and eyes. I pray we would never be content to remain in our sin, and we would always be content, even take great delight in, God’s holy, righteous, and good law, for there He seals to us we have been delivered from death and into His marvelous light and life.     


Photo by Matt on Unsplash

Bearing Our Wounds

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I was reminded in preparing for last week's Lament Service, along with some reading I was doing from Open Hearts Ministries, of the picture of the church as an inn for the wounded.  

As context for this idea, we look at the story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10. Here we meet a traveler on a dangerous road who is beset on by robbers. These robbers beat this vulnerable man and leave him traumatized and wounded. In due time, a Samaritan comes by and lifts the wounded traveler onto his donkey. He carries him to an inn, a safe place where he can receive care and have the time he needs to recover. The Samaritan is generous with his possessions, paying for the man’s care out of his own pocket.

In reading this parable, we are reminded that all of us are wounded travelers who need others to see us, stop for us and give attention to our wounds. Our journey is fraught with dangers, some intentional by those who would do us harm. Some wounds are by-products of living in a fallen world. Sometimes, sadly, we even wound those whom we most love.

So, we need Samaritans and we need an inn. Among other purposes, it is to meet these needs that God has given us a community of people that he has called the church. It is this community that he intends to be an “inn,” a place to rest and a place that cares for people on their journey towards restoration. In community with one another, we learn to give and receive mercy, to love and to find more of the life God is calling us to. We apply God’s grace and truth to the very real wounds we carry, not as those that "have-it-all-together", but like the Samaritan, as those who bear wounds ourselves.

Ultimately, the Good Samaritan points us to Christ. He is the One who heals our wounds perfectly. We will be reminded of this yet again in Romans 7:1-6 as we look at it this Sunday. Where the Law has left us bruised and broken, Jesus steps in and makes us whole again. Praise be to him!


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