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Posts Tagged ‘freedom’


The Cavman is on vacation. One of the many benefits of vacation is the ability to catch up on the reading I’ve been meaning to do. Since we flew across the country, I had plenty of time (except when CavSon was rambunctious) to dig into Sinclair Ferguson’s By Grace Alone: How the Grace of God Amazes Me. If you haven’t read Sinclair Ferguson before, I ask you “Why?”. I always find food for my soul in Ferguson’s books.  This book was no exception.

This book, a companion to his recent book In Christ Alone, is different. Ferguson utilizes a hymn by African pastor Emmanuel Sibomana to explore the amazing nature of God’s grace. Each of the 7 chapters uses the corresponding stanza as a spring board into good pastoral theology. By that I mean the application of theology to pastoral/personal matters.

“Being amazed by God’s grace is a sign of spiritual vitality. It is a litmus test of how firm and real is our grasp of the Christian gospel and how close is our walk with Jesus Christ. The growing Christian finds that the grace of God astonishes and amazes. … Sadly, we might more truthfully sing of ‘accustomed grace.'”

My Chains Fell Off– the gospel begins with liberation. Ferguson begins with the bondage we experience before being liberated. Christians look back and see their prior bondage. Non-Christians often don’t even notice the chains they are so accustomed to them. There were a few twists I did not expect. He quotes part of the Kinks’ song Dedicated Follower of Fashion.  Later he quotes the Rolling Stones’ (Can’t Get No) Satisfaction [one of the few Stones song I like]. I thought of a few more songs that illustrated depravity while reading along.

“Every time she walks on by, wild thoughts escape” U2God Part 2

“‘We’ll walk on thru heaven’s door and proudly raise our heads.’  I said, ‘Man, you must be crazy, our hands are covered blood red.'”  The CallBlood Red

We are in a bondage from which we cannot free ourselves. But when we forget the depths of our bondage grace becomes boring. Part of the bondage is that when it is pointed out, people feel insulted. “How dare you call me a sinner!” Until we grasp the severity of the bondage we won’t grasp the wonder of the freedom. Even from respectable bondage, like those which enslaved the Pharisees.

(more…)

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I’ve been working my way through  Christ & Culture Revisited by D.A. Carson.  In his chapter on Secularism, Democracy, Freedom and Power I found this appropriate as we celebrate that “holiday” to freedom.

The democratic tradition in the West has fostered a great deal of freedom from Scripture, God, tradition, and assorted moral constraints; it encouraged freedom toward doing your own thing, hedonism, self-centeredness, and consumerism.  By contrast, the Bible encourages freedom from self-centeredness, idolatry, greed, and all sin and freedom toward living our lives as those who bear God’s image and who have been transformed by his grace, such that our greatest joy become doing his will.  Even if that direction (“freedom toward”) will not be perfected until the new heaven and new earth, already the Christian is beginning to glimpse the glory of the words, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin …. so if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:34-36).

We have made an idol of freedom.  I grew up in NH where the license plates say “Live Free or Die”.  Yet, we have a profound misunderstanding regarding freedom.  This is a function of our depravity, our innate capacity to corrupt all that comes our way.  One of the first things “freedom” meant in former Soviet bloc countries was that suddenly pornography was available.  As we celebrate our freedom, perhaps we ought to also lament our abuses of that freedom.

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I’m excited to be studying Galatians for the next 3 months.  It is a controversial book these days- particularly in the dispute over the meaning of justification.  I take the historical, Reformed Protestant view as espoused in the Westminter Confession of Faith where we are declared righteous because God imputes Jesus’ righteousness to us.  Anyway, here are some of the resources I’ll be using and some I wish I was using.

What I’m using:

  • Commentary on Galatians: Modern-English Version by Martin Luther (The link is for the Crossway version, sorry).  Classic!  There is some great stuff in here from the man who recaptured the doctrine of justification triggering the Reformation.
  • Commentary on Galatians by John Calvin from his Commentary set.  Have to use it!
  • The Message of Galatians (The Bible Speaks Today series) by John Stott.  Tried and true, this will be my 3rd go round with Stott.  Great stuff, and not overly technical.
  • Galatians and Ephesians (New Testament Commentary) by William Hendriksen

What I Wish I Had Handy:

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Memorial Day


We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would do us harm. –  Winston Churchill

Thanks to all those who have served our country with honor & courage in times of war & peace.  I know that peace doesn’t come without a price, and that some are willing to pay that price since some of us would make really lousy soldiers.

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