Posts tagged #exclusive salvation in Christ

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Psalm 1:5-6: Consequences

Psalm 1:5-6:

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,

but the way of the wicked will perish. [1]

The previous blogs on Psalm 1 have been aimed mostly at Christians—calling them to guard their minds and live consistently with their calling from Christ. Let’s play Devil’s advocate: what happens if people do not to train their minds to follow God’s Word and live fruitful lives? John Calvin argues that those who disregard Psalm 1’s instructions will lack happy lives and face destruction. [2] Calvin teaches clean consciences from Christ are the key to true and enduring happiness, despite life’s promised troubles. [3] Further, while the wicked may seem to escape God’s wrath, and succeed in subduing their consciences, they will face the Triune God’s judgment. [4]

Why would you not want true happiness and justification? If you are an unbeliever you can cry out to Christ as your only Savior and way to God. [5] By trusting Christ as your sole means of forgiveness you will grow in holiness, develop in seeing every trial as a joy, and have access to heaven. [6] Christians: when we fail to abide by Psalm 1 we are living as if we do not want the gifts Jesus bought us with His blood. Holy Trinity, in your mercy please help all of us grow in love for you.

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software 7. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] John Calvin. Commentary on the Book of Psalms: Translated from the Original Latin, and Collated with the Author’s French Version, Vol. 1. Trans. James Anderson. (Grand Rapids, MI: 1981), 7.

[3] Calvin, Psalms, Vol. 1, 7.

[4] Calvin, Psalms, Vol. 1, 8.

[5] 1 John 1:9.

[6] James 1:1-5; Revelation 21:1-8.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

James 1:22: Please Verify

James 1:22: But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. [1]

 Good security guards require people to verify that they are who they claim to be. A major way to know that someone is a Christian is that he or she lives according to Scripture. [2] If we identify with Christianity but fail to obey God’s Word, we lie to ourselves and deny ourselves the opportunity to grow in Christ. [3]

 While works do not save,[4] their enduring absence in people’s lives is condemning. [5] James 1:22 specifically warns that “[t]heology must lead to practice; faith must lead to deeds (2:24).” [6] You cannot claim to follow Jesus or truly know Him if your life is not submitted to His Scripture. [7] All of us struggle and fall. [8] The Trinity helps us repent and grow in His likeness. [9] Do not hesitate to come to Christ, as a struggling but growing saint, or for the first time in conversion.

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Daniel M. Doriani. Reformed Expository Commentary: James Series Eds: Richard D. Philips and Philip Graham Ryken. Testament Eds: Iain M. Duguid and Daniel M. Doriani. (Philipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 2007), 51.

[3] Doriani, James, 51. See also 1 John 1:5-10

[4] Romans Galatians 2:11-21, Ephesians 2:8-10.

[5] Luke 6:46-49; Romans 2:13, 3:21-28; and James 2:14-20. For some individuals that may qualify as exceptions please see Luke 23:39-43 and The Westminster Standards: The Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger Catechism, and the Shorter Catechism. (Philadelphia, PA: Great Commission Publications, 2011), The Confession, Chapter X, section 1.

[6] Doriani, James, 51.

[7] 1 John 2:1-17.

[8] Romans 3:9-23; 7:21-25.

[9] The Westminster Standards: The Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger Catechism, and the Shorter Catechism, chapter XIII.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

Ephesians 4:26-27: Now I’m Mad!

Ephesians 4:26-27: Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. [1]

Are these verses forbidding road rage? Perhaps: Paul’s main concern is not allowing expressions of anger to give Satan advantage over us. [2] Anger can be good and righteous when expressed in godly ways and aimed at evil. [3] Anger that festers, consumes, and/or unnecessarily explodes exposes immaturity and gives the devil a pressure point. [4] In order that Christ may keep us out of the evil one’s clutches, Paul lovingly shows us that the adversary rules when anger reigns. [5] Paul is not calling for immediate resolutions in every situation, but he is warning against rage. [6]

Why care? Do you drink poison? No, that would be foolish! Then why continue allowing anger and the devil to poison your soul? Turning to Jesus is the only means to escape the “corrosive” effects from fury and Satan. [7]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Bryan Chapell. Reformed Expository Commentary: Ephesians. Series Eds. Richard D. Phillips and Philip Graham Ryken. Testament Eds. Iain M. Duguid and Daniel M. Doriani. (Philipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 2009), 224.

[3] Chapell, Ephesians, 222.

[4] Chapell, Ephesians, 223-24.

[5] Chapell, Ephesians, 224.

[6] Chapell, Ephesians, 223.

[7] Chapell, Ephesians, 224. See also

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

2 Timothy 2:22: Running From and To

2 Timothy 2:22: So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. [1]

As Paul continues mentoring Timothy on being a minister, he warns Timothy what to run from and what to run to in order to be a worthy servant for Christ. [2] As a pastor, Timothy must escape the “youthful passions” of “impatience,” “contentiousness,” and “harshness”—all things that shipwreck churches. [3] Yet, good ministers also live positive commands. Part of Timothy glorifying God and serving his church includes living righteously, faithfully, lovingly, peacefully, and purely. [4]

Unfortunately, we are more familiar with ministers who run to sin and from righteousness. Even those claiming to be Christians hurt anyone. These truly painful failures are not grounds for sin or rejecting Christianity. Believers: we must all strive to escape sin and imitate Christ. Others’ failures do not excuse ours. Sinful people should not keep us out of church. Unbelievers: you are right to call sin sin. But throwing out Christianity because of others keeps you from experiencing the love and peace this passage encourages in Christ. Please, do not let broken people keep you from “your only hope in life and in death.” [5]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016). Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] R. Kent Hughes and Bryan Chapell. Preaching the Word: 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus: To Guard the Deposit. General Editor R. Kent Hughes. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, a division of Good News Publishers, 2000), 218 and 216.

[3] Hughes, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, 218.

[4] Hughes, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, 218-219.

[5] The Heidelberg Catechism – Christian Reformed Church. Bing Search Engine. Accessed June 15, 2018. https://www.crcna.org/sites/default/files/HeidelbergCatechism.pdf.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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1 Corinthians 10:13: Comfort in God

1 Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. [1]

Fewer words are more realistic and comforting. [2] These words are realistic because they affirm the existence of temptation and evil and prepare us for them. They are comforting because Christians are assured of help in temptation because God is faithful. [3]

These realistic and comforting words are also humbling. 1 Corinthians 10:12 reminds us to not trust ourselves, but honestly see our need for the whole Trinity. [4] If we cannot trust ourselves, [5] and God is our only hope to escape sin, then all of us must submit to Him for rescue. [6] If you are not a Christian, then the power you need to stop disobeying God’s law is not in you. When you acknowledge your sin and trust in Jesus’ righteousness as your exclusive means of salvation, you will be delivered from destruction [7] and have the power needed to live righteously. [8] If you are a Christian, God helps you in weakness. [9] Cry out to Him when you are tempted, and He will do as 1 Corinthians 10:13 promises.

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016). Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] John Calvin. Commentary on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians, Vol. 1. Trans. John Pringle. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1981), 331.

[3] Calvin, I Corinthians, 332.

[4] Please see previous blog for more details: http://proclamationpca.com/blog/.

[5] Jeremiah 17:9; Psalm 14:1-3, 53:1-3; Romans 3:9-24.

[6] John 14:6; Acts 4:12.

[7] John 3:16-17.

[8] Romans 8.

[9] Romans 8:25-27.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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1 Corinthians 10:12: Self-Confidence Kills

1 Corinthians 10:12: Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. [1]

1 Corinthians 10:12 connects with James 1:13-15 (previous blog series) because both show our need for the whole Trinity. [2] Particularly in this passage, Paul warns Christians to not trust their spiritual “progress.” [3] If the Corinthians remember their weakness they will see their need, trust Christ, and have assurance in Him, rather than relying on their inconsistent selves. [4]

Paul’s divinely inspired truth [5] opposes any notion that we can fix ourselves. This text reminds Christians that as their salvation began depending on the Trinity, [6] they continue depending on the Trinity. [7] Christians who rely on their efforts behave like non-Christians. Unbelievers are relying on themselves and Scripture is clear that personal effort cannot save. [8] Trusting that Christ’s life, death, and resurrection are sin’s solution saves and assures help for all of life. [9]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] For details, please see blogs “Tested Not Tempted” and “Desire’s Deadliness” at http://proclamationpca.com/blog/.

[3] John Calvin. Commentary on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians, Vol. 1. Trans. John Pringle. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1981), 330.

[4] Calvin, Corinthians, 330.

[5] See 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 3:3, 3:15-16. See also James Montgomery Boice. Foundations of the Christians Faith: A comprehensive & Readable Theology, Revised in Volume One. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1981), 47.

[6] Ephesians 1:3-10; 2:1-10.

[7] Philippians 1:6. See also The Westminster Standards: The Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger Catechism, and the Shorter Catechism. (Philadelphia, PA: Great Commission Publications, 2011), Confession of Faith chapters 25-27.

[8] John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Romans 3:28; Galatians 2:16.

[9] Romans 8; 10:9.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Proverbs 1:10: Taking No Chances

Proverbs 1:10: “My son, if sinners entice you,

do not consent.” [1]

Proverbs is a book of God’s guidance for His people, [2] which provides general rules on how to navigate life. [3] In Proverbs 1:10-19, Solomon encourages believers to avoid engaging in sinners’ destructive actions. [4] “Sinners” refers to people who live outside Scripture’s standards. [5]

Here is the problem: none of us have kept the Bible’s requirements. [6] Our only solution: Jesus Christ. [7] If you do not follow Christ, do not trust your efforts to live well because your efforts have no chance. [8] Give yourself to Christ by admitting your sin, and trust Him solely. Only then will you be saved. [9] If you claim to follow Christ, live in His ways- not the world’s. [10] Proverbs 1:10 instructs us to not even give approval to sinners’ destructive plans. [11] We are called to take no chances with sin, because sin destroys. [12] In avoiding sin, we will face the world’s ridicule. [13] But remaining in Christ by His Holy Spirit is to remain in truth and salvation. [14] Salvation is in Christ because He has lived the perfect life we cannot. [15] At the same time, His Holy Spirit does enable our righteous living. [16]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software 6. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Bruce K. Waltke. The Book of Proverbs: Chapters 1-15. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004), 174.

[3] Iain Duguid. “Wisdom Literature” (Lecture: Westminster Theological Seminar, Glenside, PA, March 28, 2017). See also Proverbs 1:7, and Waltke, Proverbs, 174.

[4] Waltke, Proverbs, 188. Also, Proverbs 1:8-19 and Andrew Styer “The Violence of Foolishness.” ProclamationPca.com. Accessed July 3, 2018. http://proclamationpca.com/proverbs-the-wisdom-of-god/.

[5] Waltke, Proverbs, 189.

[6] Romans 3:10-23, 6:23; Ephesians 2:1-10.

[7] Matthew 5:17-20; John 14:6, Galatians 2:11-5:7; 1 John 3:5-8.

[8] Romans 3:28, 11:6; Ephesians 2:8-10.

[9] Acts 4:12.

[10] Romans 12:2, 1 John 2:1-3:24.

[11] Waltke, Proverbs, 190.

[12] Genesis 3; Psalm 141:10; Proverbs 3:35, 5:22, 12:12-13, 13:5-6, 29:6; Isaiah 57:21; Romans 5:12-21, 6:23; 1 Corinthians 3:3; Ephesians 4:17-19.

[13] John 15:18; 1 John 3:15.

[14] Matthew 10:22; John 8:31-32, 14:6.

[15] Luke 24:44-49; Galatians 5:16-25.

[16] Romans 8:11-13.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Colossians 1:13-14: Salvation Snapshot

Colossians 1:13-14: He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. [1]

As Paul brings his prayer to a close, he focuses on Christ’s redemptive work. Notice that what God’s people are saved from is darkness. [2] The darkness here is in us, in the world, and from Satan. [3] This darkness leaves God eternally displeased apart from Jesus’ saving intervention through the Holy Spirit. [4]

In these verses, Paul communicates our deepest need: having our sin removed—and sin is only removed by Christ. [5] If you are not in Christ, you are in displeasing darkness. If you face the fact that you are a sinner who needs Jesus, you will be redeemed when you confess and accept Him as your only Savior. [6] If you are in Christ, what are the ways you live like you are still in darkness? Which of Christ’s commandments do you struggle to keep? [7] How are you loving your family in Christ? [8] Are you learning your Christian beliefs so that you can live and share them? [9] Rest in knowing that God continues working in us, [10] that we are accepted because of Jesus, and that He empowers our kingdom work. [11]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software 6. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] John Calvin. Commentary on the Epistle to the Colossians. Trans. William Pringle. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Co., 1981), 147.

[3] Matthew 3:2-17; John 1:1-5, 3:16; Acts 26:18; Romans 3:9-24; Ephesians 1:6-7, 2:1-10; 1 John 2:1-14, 3:4-10.

[4] Calvin, Colossians, 147-148.

[5] Mark 1:15; John 3:16, 14:6; Romans 6:20, 10:9-10; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 3:4-11; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 1 John 3.

[6] Matthew 10:32-34; Romans 10:9-10.

[7] Matthew 5-7; John 15:10; 1 John 2:1-6.

[8] 1 John 3:14-24.

[9] Acts 20:25, 20:28, 1 Thessalonians 2:12.

[10] Philippians 1:6.

[11] Calvin, Colossians, 148.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Hear

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Colossians 1:11-12: Inheritance in the Light

Colossians 1:11-12: Being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. [1]

Paul’s ceaseless prayer for the Colossians includes praying that they would have God’s knowledge and power, the same power that raised Christ from the dead. [2] Paul also asks the Almighty to give them joy and patience in suffering. [3] If anyone had reason to be joyless, it was the imprisoned, beaten, flogged, shipwrecked, and sick Paul. [4] Yet, Paul overflowed with joy and had learned contentment “in any and every circumstance” because of his identity in Christ. [5]

If Jesus Christ is your exclusive Savior, part of the riches and inheritance of being in Him is that the Holy Spirit grows you and enables you to have Paul’s joyful patience. [6] Your suffering is purposeful, and you can set your hope on the eternal inheritance Christ purchased for you. [7] Pray that you might live in accordance with your inheritance, because Christ’s work enables your works. [8] If you do not believe, would you like to have joy in your suffering and dwell in paradise forever? These blessings are yours when you confess the ways that your sin has angered God, embrace Jesus Christ as your only Savior, and follow Him by His Holy Spirit. [9]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software 6. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] F.F. Bruce. Commentary on the Epistle to the Colossians, The English Text with Introduction, Exposition, and Notes. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1982), 186-87. See also Romans 8:11.

[3] Bruce, Colossians, 187.

[4] Acts 13:44-14:23, 16:16-24, 27:39-44; 1 Corinthians 1:10-31; 2 Corinthians 1:3; Col. 4:18.

[5] Philippians 4:11-13. See also Bruce, Colossians, 188.

[6] Psalm 36:9; John 12:46, Acts 20:32, 26:18; 2 Corinthians 3:6, 3:8, Ephesians 1:11, 2:18, 3:16, 4:2, 5:20.

[7] Matthew 5:12, 25:34; John 17:24; Acts 5:41, 20:32; 2 Corinthians 8:2, 13:4; Hebrews 10:34.

[8] 1 Corinthians 16:13; Colossians 3:1-23; 2 Peter 3:18.

[9] The Westminster Standards: The Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger Catechism, and the Shorter Catechism. (Philadelphia, PA: Great Commission Publications, 2011), Shorter Catechism Q&A 86-87.