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Individual Salvation


Salvation is Individual (excerpt from The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller )

“A meal fuels growth through nourishment. The Lord’s Supper, also called Communion or the Eucharist, represents ongoing growth in God’s grace. In order to survive and grow, individuals must eat and drink regularly. That’s what we must do with the gospel of the grace of God. We must personally appropriate it, making it more central to everything we see, think, and feel. That is how we grow spiritually in wisdom, love, joy, and peace.

Religion operates on the principle of “I obey—therefore I am accepted by God.” The basic operating principle of the gospel is “I am accepted by God through the work of Jesus Christ—therefore I obey.” As we have seen, believing the gospel is how a person first makes a connection to God. It gives us a new relationship with God and a new identity. We must not think, however, that once believing it, the Christian is now finished with the gospel message. A fundamental insight of Martin Luther’s was that “religion” is the default mode of the human heart. Your computer operates automatically in the default mode unless you deliberately tell it to do something else. So Luther says that even after you are converted by the gospel your heart will go back to operating on other principles unless you deliberately, repeatedly set it to gospel-mode.

We habitually and instinctively look to other things besides God and his grace as our justification, hope, significance, and security. We believe the gospel at one level, but at deeper levels we do not. Human approval, professional success, power and influence, family and clan identity—all of these things serve as our heart’s “functional trust” rather than what Christ has done, and as a result we continue to be driven to a great degree by fear, anger, and a lack of self-control.

You cannot change such things through mere willpower, through learning Biblical principles and trying to carry them out. We can only change permanently as we take the gospel more deeply into our understanding and into our hearts. We must feed on the gospel as it were, digesting it and making it part of ourselves. This is how we grow.”

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In case you don’t know, I am a HUGE fan of Tim Keller. I saw him speak at a Exponential conference two years ago. Among the speakers were Ed Stetzer, Vince Antonucci, Andy Stanley, Rick Warren, Alan Hirsch, Dave Ferguson and others. And while all the speakers were impressive, I found myself literally sitting there with my jaw hanging open at some of Dr. Keller’s insights into the Gospel of Christ. If you’ve never read anything by him, I would highly recommend you do so.

For more information about Dr. Keller and his writings, his author page on Amazon.com

Still loving me some Oswald Chambers


This post is for my friends who have accepted the awesome responsibility of teaching and preaching the Gospel of Christ. I know I kid around with all of you, but in all candor, I want you to know that I have the greatest respect and admiration for those called to your position. I cannot imagine the weight of responsibility you must bear, and I pray for you all daily. Thank you.

Today’s reading from “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers

“If that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended.” -Philippians 3:12

Never choose to be a worker; but when once God has put His call on you, woe be to you if you turn to the right hand or to the left. We are not here to work for God because we have chosen to do so, but because God has apprehended us. There is never any thought of – “Oh, well, I am not fitted for this.” What you are to preach is determined by God, not by your own natural inclinations. Keep your soul steadfastly related to God, and remember that you are called not to bear testimony only, but to preach the gospel. Every Christian must testify, but when it comes to the call to preach, there must be the agonizing grip of God’s hand on you, your life is in the grip of God for that one thing. How many of us are held like that?

Never water down the word of God, preach it in its undiluted sternness; there must be unflinching loyalty to the word of God; but when you come to personal dealing with your fellow men, remember who you are – not a special being made up in heaven, but a sinner saved by grace.

“I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do . . .”

Happy Sunday to you all. May we give God the glory today and every day.

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