Sons and Daughters in the Spirit
Unquestionably then, this new life that we live with the Father in Christ is founded exclusively on the work of the Spirit. The justification, focus, and ultimate culmination of this new life is comprised in the truth that through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, received by faith and baptism, we have become sons and daughters of God. ‘For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God’ (Rom. 8:14-16). Similarly, in Galatians Paul writes: And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then an heir’ (Gal. 4:6-7). Equally the splendor of the Spirit allows us to share in the splendor of the Lord so that ‘with unveiled Face, beholding the glory of the Lord, [we] are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit’ (2 Cor. 4:7-18).
book: The Father’s Spirit of Sonship
author: Thomas G. Weinandy
outcome of a change
Christians, in the last 80 years or so, have only been seeing things as bits and pieces which have gradually begun to trouble them and others, instead of understanding that they are the natural outcome of a change from a Christian World View to a Humanistic one; things such as over-permissiveness, pornography, the problem of the public schools, the breakdown of the family, abortion, infanticide (the killing of newborn babies), increased emphasis upon the euthanasia of the old and many, many other things.
This address was delivered by the late Dr. Schaeffer in 1982 at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is based on one of his books, which bears the same title.
by Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer
Generosity, Church, and Justice
Christians believe that poverty relief has to be always voluntary, never “mandated” by the church, as we have seen, it was not an altruistic option but a mandatory obligation of the faithful by virtue of the gospel message and Christian identity. The works of charity alms giving, sharing, hospitality, care taking of the poor, the afflicted, and the helpless—were not supererogatory “add-ons” but the works of justice and equity grounded in koinonia of God’s creation and imago Dei. Without them Christians could not claim their spiritual security and maturity in Christ but could incur the eschatological judgment of God due to their failure to love their neighbors. Protestants would have some uneasiness about linking ultimate salvation with “doing good” in any way as though it would undermine “salvation by grace through faith alone.” Yet this dichotomous grid is no longer helpful or sound; grace is opposed to the attitude of earning, not the action of doing good. “Doing good” is always part and parcel of salvation, which is God’s gracious, unconditioned gift, and which we are to work out with fear and trembling willed and enabled by God and already living in but also looking forward to his kingdom (see Phil. 2:12). Again, there are different options among the specific kinds and ways of works of charity and justice that Christian communities may choose, but the ecclesial duty to engage in such works seems nonnegotiable.
Book: Loving the Poor, Saving the Rich
author: Helen Rhee
Reaffirm who we are
Our first task is to reaffirm who we are. Evangelicals are Christians who define themselves, their faith, and their lives according to the Good News of Jesus of Nazareth. (Evangelical comes from the Greek word for good news, or gospel.) Believing that the Gospel of Jesus is God’s Good news for the whole world, we affirm with the Apostle Paul that we are “not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation.” Contrary to widespread misunderstanding today, we Evangelicals should be defined theologically, and not politically, socially, or culturally.
Behind this affirmation is the awareness that identity is powerful and precious to groups as well as to individuals. Identity is central to a classical liberal understanding of freedom. There are grave dangers in identity polities, but we insist that we ourselves, and not scholars, the press, or public opinion, have the right to say who we understand ourselves to be. We are who we say we are, and we resist all attempts to explain us in terms of our “true” motives and our “real” agenda.
author: Os Guinness
We Americans are not well-known in the world as people who know how to blush. On the contrary, we are a very self-confident people. The last thing we want is to be told that we cannot do anything to save ourselves from the most serious problem that we have ever or will eve encounter-that we are entirely at God’s mercy. Apart from a miracle, religious success in this atmosphere will always go to those who can effectively appeal to this can-do spirit and push as far to the background as possible anything that might throw our swaggering self off-balance. When looking for ultimate answers, we turn within ourselves, trusting our own experience rather than looking outside ourselves to God’s external Word.
by: Michael Horton
For an example of what the second step involves, look at Isaiah 40:12ff. Here God speaks to people whose mood is the mood of many Christians today-despondent people, cowed people, secretly despairing people; people who have ceased to believe that the cause of Christ can ever prosper again. Now see how God through His prophet reasons with them.
Look at the tasks I have done, He says. Could you do them? Could any man do them? ‘Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?’ (verse 12). Are you wise enough, and mighty enough, to do things like that? But I am; or I could not have made this world at all. ‘Behold your God!’
Let us act with humility, cast ourselves at one another’s feet, join hands with each other, and help another. For here we battle not against pope or emperor, but against the devil, and do you imagine that he is asleep?
And Thou, O most merciful Father, we beseech Thee for Thy mercy’s sake, continue Thy grace and favor toward us: let the sun of Thy gospel never go down out of our hearts’ let Thy truth abide, and be established among us forever…. Apparel us thoroughly in Christ, that he may live in us, and so Thy name may be glorified in the sight of all the world. Amen.
One day the vindication certainly will come.
The times to come will be hard. Just as Jesus will suffer as Son of Man, so also the saints will be persecuted for their commitment to him. They will long for vindication, but they will have to wait for it. So Jesus exhorts them to pray always and not lose heart. Contextually, Jesus is speaking of not losing heart about the hope of vindication. He compares such prayer to the persistence of a widow nagging a judge. Her constant request was for him to vindicate her against her adversary, a remark that shows the eschatological vindication theme. The judge, who is no respecter of persons, will vindicate her so as not to be “beaten black and blue” by her continual coming.
It is this image that Jesus compares to God’s response. To make the point, Jesus uses a rhetorical question about God vindicating his elect who cry out to him day and night. The vindication will come. Will God delay over them? No, that vindication will come speedily. But apparently it will delay long enough that there is a question whether people will wait faithfully for that vindication. So Jesus concludes the unit by asking, “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
The parable affirms the speedy vindication of disciples, while also noting that the indefiniteness of the delay is long enough to cause the possibility that some will not endure with abiding faith. It is this very ambiguity that produced discussion about the “delay” of Christ’s return in the early church. Nevertheless, the parable reinforces the previous unit’s discussion of the day of the Son of Man and urges disciples to “hang in there” until he returns. One day the vindication certainly will come.
Book: Jesus according to Scripture
Author: Darrell L. Bock