RW Glenn – The Doctrine of Propitiation: Saturday Theovideo

A word that may be too obscure and technical for people to remember anymore. Propitiation. Whoa. Paul wrote the most central text in the entire Bible when he said

God set forth [Jesus] as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Rom. 3:25-26 NKJV).

RW GlennRW Glenn, pastor of Redeemer Bible Church in Minnetonka, Minnesota, gives us a brief blast of theology centered on propitiation, set to kinetic typing. Soak this in, believer, it is life and health for our souls.

Grace in Christ,

-Justin

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Martin Luther on the Chief Doctrine of Christianity

Martin Luther (b. November 10, 1483 – d. February 18, 1546) was enlightened to the doctrine of justification when as an Augustinian friar he read Romans 1:17 by the light of the Holy Spirit:

For in [the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith” (NKJV).

This most precious truth gave him freedom from the condemnation of the Law of God, and also gave freedom to love God for the first time. Under a tormented conscience, Martin had been a frequent visitor to the confessional booth, but never seemed to be able to get true assurance that God had forgiven him (though he regarded private absolution highly). The day he found the gospel there in Romans 1:16-17, he was freed from the fear of condemnation and became the great hero of the Protestant Reformation – restoring light to the Bible for the peoples of Europe. (Yes, that was a simplified version)…

And so we thank God for this (very flawed) man, through whom the chief doctrine of the Christian life was restored to the Church. On this topic, Luther bluntly states

This is the true meaning of Christianity, that we are justified by faith in Christ, not by the works of the Law. This is the highest article of our faith, and if one should abandon it as the Jews do or pervert it like the papists, the church cannot stand nor can God maintain His glory, which consists in this, that He might be merciful and that He desires to pardon sins for His Son’s sake and to save. If this doctrine of justification is lost, the whole Christian doctrine is lost.

This doctrine can never be urged and taught enough. If this doctrine is overthrown or disappears, then all knowledge of the truth is lost at the same time. If this doctrine flourishes, then all good things flourish, religion, true worship, the glory of God, and the right knowledge of all conditions of life and of all things. [1]

So let us defend to our deaths the doctrine of God’s justification of sinners, based solely on the merits of Christ’s life, penal substitutionary death, and resurrection for our justification. By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone, revealed in Scripture alone. That is our Reformation heritage.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

[1] Martin Luther quoted by Robert D. Preus in Luther and the Doctrine of Justification, Concordia Theological Quarterly, vol. 48, num. 1 (Fort Wayne, IN: Concordia Theological Seminary, 1984), 1.

Slaves of Christ are Free

Slaves are free when they are slaves of a perfectly loving Master. If you are a Christian; if you are one who has been born of God’s Spirit and are on your way to the New Jerusalem, then you are a slave of Christ Jesus. This kind of slavery is the freest of all, and is the very thing we were created for. Sound like an ugly idea to you? Then you must learn Christ better! He is the worthy Master, the Master who loved us so that He gave His life for His slaves… even redefining slave as being “friends” (John 15:15).

R.C. Sproul gives us the details on being slaves of Christ, commenting on Paul’s introduction of himself in Romans 1:1 –

The Greek word Paul used here is doulos. A doulos was not a hired servant who could come and go as he pleased. A doulos was a person who had been purchased, and once purchased he became his master’s possession.

The idea of the doulos in Scripture is always connected to another descriptive word, kurios . . . The supreme use of kurios [in the New Testament] refers to the sovereign God, who rules all things. Kurios, “the name which is above every name” (Phil. 2:9), is the name given to Jesus, whom the Father calls the King of kings and the Lord of lords. There is yet a middle usage of the term kurios in the New Testament. It is used to describe a slave owner, which is an apt description of Jesus, and it is from this that Paul describes himself. He is not just a servant but a slave.

Paul, in addressing believers, said, “You are not your own. For you were bought at a price” (1 Cor. 6:19). We have been purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ (Acts 20:28). There is a paradox here: when the New Testament describes our condition by nature, as fallen people, it describes us as slaves to sin . We are by nature in bondage to sin, bondservants of the flesh, and the only remedy for that, according to the New Testament, is to be liberated by the work of the Holy Spirit. For “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17). Everyone born of the Spirit is set free from slavery to sin.

There is also irony here: when Christ sets us free from slavery to the flesh, he calls us to the royal liberty of slavery to him. That is why we call him Master. We acknowledge that it is from him that we get our marching orders. He is the Lord of our lives. We are not our own. We are not autonomous or independent. Unless people understand their relationship to Christ in these terms, they remain unconverted.[1]

Is Jesus your Master? In other words, are you free?

RC Sproul

RC Sproul

[1] R.C. Sproul, Romans (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2009), 16-17.