Liberation!

This week at seminary has been great. Its been worshipful, spiritually challenging, intellectually stimulating, and rewarding. Information comes so fast during the week but the Lord is good in that he ministers even in the hustle and bustle of school.

Pneumatology was this weeks area of focus, The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit. We covered the Holy Spirit’s role in creation, the Old Testament, Christ’s birth, Jesus’ baptism, Jesus’ time in the wilderness, his three years of ministry, his death, resurrection, regeneration, faith, inspiration of scripture etc etc. It really has been such a fun week and so wonderful to see the Spirit’s activity all throughout scripture.

For my paper I focused on Regeneration and specifically Effectual Calling. This issue has been of great interest to me throughout my life. Specifically the role of the ‘will’. There is enough space and time to study the will in a blog post right?!! Briefly, here are a few observations, questions and conclusions.

So here are a few questions I considered this week. What does enslavement mean (Rom 6)? What was I enslaved to by nature prior to conversion? What is the condition of my will prior to conversion? And who frees me from enslavement. The Apostle Paul says I am enslaved. In Romans Paul says I am a slave to sin (Rom 6:16) and even dead in sin (Eph 2:1). If I am enslaved and even dead spiritually what then can my will ‘will’? Biblically I don’t see the idea of personal autonomy being affirmed. What I do see presented are these two options, being slaves to sin or slaves of God.

This is where the wonderful and beautiful doctrine of Effectual Calling takes shape. The Holy Spirit draws us (John 6:44) and renews us and washes us clean(Titus 3:5). The work of the Holy Spirit in his drawing and renewing is fundamentally a work of liberation. The Holy Spirit liberates me. He liberates my will. The Holy Spirit liberates my will from enslavement to sin to ‘will’ anew. He does not force me, coerce me or drag me to repentance. He re-creates and causes re-birth (John 3) and I ‘will’ freely and willingly to come to faith and repentance.

Ok, there it is. We made it in just two paragraphs! I know that’s fast but if you want to study a bit more I’ll point to: John chapters 1-3, 6 & 12, Romans 1-3 and 6, Titus 3, I Peter 1, Ezekiel 37, The Westminster Confession of Faith chapter 10, The Westminster Larger Catechism question 67, ‘The Holy Spirit’ by Gordon H. Clark, and ‘The Holy Spirit’ by Sinclair Ferguson especially chapter six. Many thanks to Sinclair Ferguson!

If you have any questions feel free to ask, however, I reserve the right to say, I don’t now! Thank you for all your prayers for me and our family here in Colorado. We are grateful for them. Grace and Peace

Finished and Ongoing

Touring the country with a band has been an incredible journey. There is something special about climbing on a tour bus and sharing 200 sq ft of floor space with 11 other guys. It’s a club, a fraternity, that I’ve grown to love dearly. I can’t fully describe the laughs a bus full of crew guys can stir up. The front lounge transforms into the most hilarious commentary of the days events that even on the worst of days can end on a high note.

The touring crew guy is a special breed. I’m not in their league. The techs I’ve met along the way are talented beyond anything I could ever hope to be. Things don’t go really wrong very often, but the few times I’ve seen it hit the fan I’ve watched the audio, lighting or system techs work the problem like cool calm collected surgeons. It’s impressive. These guys are pros. I’m fortunate to get to work along side of them….and watch. 🙂

My role for the band has been as a back line tech for the past four years with bigdaddyweave. It has been a pleasure taking care of the band and their needs before the show or during. As my time on the road has finished, at least for now, I can look back and see how the Lord has brought me through some significant seasons. He has used each person on tour to help shape me. It hasn’t been easy sometimes. I’ve been very thankful that BDW encourages an environment where we can grow in the Lord. For a touring act it’s rare. For me, it has been a process of understanding and growing in sanctification. Rooting out sin is not a cake walk. In fact, it’s usually a messy process. But God uses these situations for our good (Rom 8:28). This brings me to Hebrews 10:14,

‘For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.’

We who are in Christ are perfected and we are being sanctified. We are righteous and being made righteous. It is both done and being done. Finished and ongoing. Already but not yet. Wow.

This ‘already but not yet’ reality is actually an incredible promise of the Lord’s faithfulness and should provide for us immense assurance and confidence in our progress of sanctification. He is the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb 12:2). He will bring it to fruition! He will complete the work that he starts. Our sanctification though, is accomplished by faith. It is a gift from the Holy spirit, the same as our belief in Christ. It is a gift (Eph 2:8-9).

Colossians 2:6-7 says, ‘Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving’. Walk in him. Walking in him includes reading his word, praying his word, studying his word, meeting together with fellow believers and being taught his word, and living out his word in the world around us.

The Westminster Confession of Faith in chapter 13 on sanctification says, ‘…through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part doth overcome: and so the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

1 Thessalonians 2:13 confirms this, ‘And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. The Word and Spirit working in us grows us in grace (2 Peter 3:18) and perfects our holiness(2 Cor 7:1). The Lord is our continual supply, he is at work in us.

The Westminster Larger Catechism question 77 is absolutely outstanding. The question is a comparison of justification and sanctification but its explanation of what Christ accomplishes in our sanctification is terrific.

Q. 77. Wherein do justification and sanctification differ?

A. Although sanctification be inseparably joined with justification, yet they differ, in that God in justification imputeth the righteousness of Christ; in sanctification his Spirit infuseth grace, and enableth to the exercise thereof; in the former, sin is pardoned; in the other, it is subdued: the one doth equally free all believers from the revenging wrath of God, and that perfectly in this life, that they never fall into condemnation the other is neither equal in all, nor in this life perfect in any, but growing up to perfection.

He infuses Grace and enables us to exercise that grace, He subdues sin and He Grows us in Christ as we work out our salvation (Phil 2:12-13). This is good news.

Coram Deo