Out of all the passages in the Bible, why are we preaching this book at this time? It’s all God’s word, so just randomly pick a passage, right? Or is there more thought to it than that? Listen to get a better understanding of why we preach what we preach.
Thank you God for your Word which teaches us, rebukes us, corrects us, and trains us in righteousness. We’re grateful for this church, and for the elders who love your Word and faithfully feed it to us. Thank you for men like R.C., J.B., D.K., H.T., K.M., and D.N., who during the men’s retreat this weekend helped us recognize that often times our greatest sin isn’t what we do, but what we often fail to do. In your mercy, you sent your Son, Jesus Christ, and through His life you showed your compassion, grace, and abounding love toward us. Jesus willingly carried our burdens and sins in the cross freeing us from the temptations of this world. In His resurrection, Christ restored the bond that sin once destroyed, and by your grace today we can say we are your children! Sweet Father, in Christ we pray that you’d forgive us for consistently failing to follow your will and obeying your commands. Through the Spirit, we pray that you’ll give us the strength, the gentleness, and the confidence needed to speak up, to act on, and to respond to circumstances according to your will.
Father, in the name of Jesus, we praise you for the work you are doing here at Restoration Church. Fill us with your Spirit that we might increasingly look like Jesus; conform us to his image we pray. We praise you for Restoration Kids; we praise you for the members who serve in various ways each week; we praise you for the ability to lift our voice in praise to you; we praise you that we get to freely gather here each week. Your blessing and favor are upon us, Lord, and we praise your great and holy name.
We pray the Behdini Kurds. Save men and women from this unreached people group and start a church that your name might be hallowed. We pray for our petition for a visa for Alejandro and his family to be approved. Lord, help us start a Spanish-speaking church in Columbia Heights. We pray each one of us would be delighting in the supremacy of Jesus Christ and making disciples that do the same. Use us Lord; use us to advance your gospel and see many people come to faith and be built up in their faith.
Father, your word tells us to pray for those who are in charge over us. This morning we pray for our employers and our bosses. Give us the grace to respect them and serve them, not only when they are nice toward us, but at all times. We pray for our government leaders. Give President Obama wisdom and a sense of God-honoring justice. We also pray for congress and state and local elected officials. We pray that you would also give them wisdom and a sense of God-honoring justice. Use these officials for the good of your image bearers.
This morning we pray for our brothers and sisters worshipping at All Nations DC. Encourage pastor Wright Wall this morning. Build that church Lord for the glory of your name. And we also pray for Washington International Church. Give pastor David and the whole congregation an unquenchable love for Christ and a deep desire to serve each other.
Father, we pray for those here this morning who are struggling. Some are struggling with the guilt of sin they did this past week, or are under the burden of freshly remembering sins from long ago; others are overwhelmed by sins committed against them and the memories of such violating acts. Would you remind them of the hope of Christ? That in him, all our sins are washed clean; that our shame melts under the cross of Christ and that because he rose from the grave we can have new life defined not by what we do or by what’s been done to us, but by Christ Jesus and his purity.
We pray for those here struggling with discontentment and discouragement. Fill them with your Spirit and bring them rest and joy and hope as you minister to their soul this morning. Use those here that are presently encouraged and hopeful to minister to those who are a bit downcast. In the name of Jesus, use the webs of relationships here this morning to care for your people and point us to Christ.
This morning Father, we pray for our brother Nathan as he preaches for us. As we open your Word, show us your glory; show us how we can serve one another and build up the body of Christ. Grant Nathan clarity and passion and faithfulness to feed us from your word that we might be satisfied in Christ. It’s in his name we pray. Amen.
Over and over again the Psalms describe God’s people singing for joy, and even command us to sing and shout for joy:
- “[L]et all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy.” (5:11)
- “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth.” (67:4)
- “My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed.” (71:23)
- “My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.” (84:2)
- “Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob.” (81:1)
- “For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.” (92:4)
These are just a few of the examples.
When we come to Sunday morning and our hearts are lifted up this is easy to do. The past week was filled with encouragement and excitement, so we come to rejoice in all that God has done. Circumstances and situations are favorable so we lift our voices in joyful praise to God. In these times we sing from joy.
But, if we’re honest, that’s not the posture of our hearts each week. Sometimes we come to Sunday morning and the last thing we want to do is get out of bed, talk to other people and sing. Maybe that’s because we’ve had a hard week and we’re exhausted and would like to hit snooze a couple more times. Or maybe it’s because something tragic happened just a few days before and God’s goodness is far from your heart and mind. Because we live in a broken world, there’s a myriad of reasons that can leave our hearts feeling joyless. Can we truthfully sing, “It is well with my soul” when I don’t feel like it’s well with my soul?
In these moments, we don’t sing from joy, but for joy.
On the blog, Doxology & Theology, Joel Limpic insightfully captures the need and essence of singing from joy and singing for joy.
Singing from Joy
At times, singing is like a dance that overtakes us and we can’t help but join in on. This is probably the most widely embraced understanding of worship, and should hold a rightful place in the Church. As God opens our eyes to His glory and redemptive work, how could we not be moved to respond in praise? As we sense His nearness in often tangible ways, how could we not be comforted and grateful? We can’t help but overflow in song! Our bodies can’t help but follow suit as our hearts leap for joy. We sing from already existing affection in our hearts, and it is right to express this.
Singing For Joy
At other times, singing is like a war that we must wage that feels less like an inspired dance and more like a disciplined trudge. The truth is most often we come into our gathering times feeling distracted, disjointed, and despondent! In our times of singing, we’ll be physically unexpressive because we don’t want to appear hypocritical. We justify this by reminding ourselves that Jesus told the Pharisees that their mouths were near and yet their hearts were far from him (Mark 7:6). We don’t want to be lumped in with that group, so we think by refraining from singing joyfully or expressing ourselves with our bodies, we somehow keep ourselves pure.
We unfortunately misunderstand a couple things when we do this: First, just because we may not “feel” a particular truth doesn’t somehow make that truth less true or worthy of celebrating. Second, simply because we may not be in a particular mood, we underestimate the role of our bodies when it comes to our affections. We are not Gnostics; what we do with our bodies matter! It’s precisely because we’re not feeling anything that we must sing… It’s precisely because our vision gets foggy that we should get on our knees in reverence and lift our hands in praise. It’s in the place of confusion and complacency where we must learn to sing for affection; to raise our voice and hands to tell our forgetful hearts that Jesus is King and not our emotions or mood.
Brothers and sisters, let’s sing from joy and for joy. With every song we sing we’re either celebrating what we know and feel to be true, or reminding ourselves what is true so that our affections might catch up.
Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might and power and dominion before all time, now and forever. Glorious Father, we praise you for your eternal perfection. Eternal Son, Jesus, we praise you for your sin-defeating, Satan-crushing, life-giving death and resurrection. Holy Spirit, we praise you for your eye-opening, new-birth generating work in our hearts that might see and savor Jesus. Triune God, we lift our praise to you.
Holy Spirit, cause us to be overwhelmed by your grace in our lives and in the lives of our brothers and sisters. We confess our bitterness and ask that your mercy would shape our hearts to always be thankful. We confess our pursuit of sexual immorality. Forgive us Lord. Increase our desire and capacity for satisfaction that we might be empty until we drink deeply of Christ. We confess our selfishness and how we’re defensive even when we know we are in the wrong. Help us forsake our iniquity, O God. We confess our works-motivated self-righteousness and the way we see the speck in another’s eye before we examine the speck in our own. Cleanse us by the blood of Christ, we pray. Wash us. Sanctify us. Purify us. Remind us of the redemption we have in Jesus. Make us be a people who are zealous for good works.
Father, this morning, we pray for those who are experiencing difficult circumstances, remind them your grace is sufficient. For those who are discouraged or bored in their walk with Christ, minister to their souls as we sing this morning. For those who feel ashamed because of something they have done, remind them of the all-sufficient grace found in Jesus. For those who feel guilty and unworthy because of what’s been done to them, whether that’s physical abuse or sexual abuse or being violated in some other way, remind them of the safety, security, and purity found in Jesus. Remind us Lord that Jesus is our salvation, our satisfaction; he’s the one who takes our shame that we might smile. Encourage us this morning Lord.
This morning, Lord, we continue to pray for our sister Z. We praise you for the progress she’s made over the past week. We plead, in the name of Jesus Christ, that you would heal her fully; and we ask that you’d make this happen faster than doctors say it’s able to happen. Lift her spirits as your Spirit ministers to her. Use our church to care for her and her family well during this trying time. Father, for the glory of your name, cause this the help Z and us long for heaven that much more; to yearn for the time when there will be no more strokes, tears, pain or suffering.
Holy God, build up the body of Christ here at Restoration Church. Help every member live an intentional life in the gospel of our Lord. We thank you for the ways you use the ordinary people of this church to do extraordinary things. We praise you for evident gospel growth in S.Y. and D.K. and in R and C. We praise you for the consistent faithfulness of L.W. and the N family. By your Holy Spirit, cause our church to be increasingly marked by deep love for our God, and a humble love for all our neighbors.
We pray this would also mark the congregation of Capital City church and The Table church. We pray for Devin as he pastors Renovation in the northeast and Josh as he pastors Goodhope in the southeast. Give these brothers and their family’s much grace to share the gospel and make disciples that make disciples. We pray for our mother church Northwake, and for our grandmother church Shadowbrook Baptist. We praise you for their gospel faithfulness and ask that you’d continue to grant them the grace to make much of Christ Jesus.
This morning Lord, we also pray for the government here in Washington, DC. We ask that you’d give much wisdom to Mayor Bowser and her staff as she labors to help the residents of DC flourish. We also pray for police chief Lanier and fire EMS chief Dean. We thank you for the many men and women who serve as first responders risking their lives to protect your image bearers. Bring an end to the string of violent murders and rampant drug use. Cause both our local and national government leaders to use their influence in such a way to bring about not personal agendas, but that which will help all of human life flourish.
Father, hallowed be your name not only here in our church and in our city, but all across the globe. We pray for the ongoning refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe. Bring an end to the turmoil; usher in peace. Grant government officials and humanitarian organizations insight to order things rightly. We pray for the hundreds of families dealing with the grief of those killed in the hajj pilgrimage. Comfort these families Lord, and bring the light of the gospel to the millions making the trek to Mecca. Lord, show them the true prophet Jesus Christ and the grace found in him. Free them from a works based salvation that they might rest in the finished work of Jesus. We pray for our enemies this morning. We pray for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Leader of ISIS, and the Taliban’s leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansou. Show them the freedom and forgiveness found in Christ. We pray for an end to terrorism Lord. Eradicate persecution and famine and fatherlessness, we pray. Bring hope to the hopeless, both materially and physically.
Father this morning remind us of all that you have given us. Do not let our safety and relative material wealth dull us to our need of you. Cause us to rejoice in our salvation and eternal hope we have in Christ. Encourage our souls; warm our affections; fill us with your Spirit that we might treasure you above all else we pray. Amen.
At this past Sunday’s T2 Forum we discussed the need for both gospel doctrine and gospel culture to maintain the health of a local church. Galatians 1 reminded us that there’s only one true gospel – salvation by grace alone through faith alone in the life, death, burial and resurrection of Christ alone. Any additions to this gospel, distorts the gospel leaving no gospel at all (1:6-7).
But giving lip service to this gospel is not enough. When we truly believe the gospel it informs our behavior. Our behavior, then, is either in keeping with the gospel or it’s “not in step with the truth of the gospel” (2:14). Looking at Peter for a case study, we saw that though he believed the gospel, his behavior functionally denied the gospel resulting in hypocrisy. However, when we combine gospel doctrine and gospel culture the result is freedom to live out the gospel in reverent fear of God and in loving service to others (5:1; 13).
So we summed up the teaching like this
- Gospel Doctrine + Works = No Gospel
- Gospel Doctrine – Gospel Culture = Hypocrisy
- Gospel Doctrine + Gospel Culture = Freedom
From there we discussed practical ways we can live to foster gospel culture in our relationships, priorities, service and hospitality.
All that’s fine and good…on paper anyway.
The question came, “In light of the unending opportunities to develop relationships and serve others, how do we go about doing this without feeling overwhelmed or guilty for not doing enough?”
I (Joey) appreciate this question because it tells me people understand the challenging aspect of this teaching but still desire to live it out. That’s an evidence of God’s grace!
But my appreciation doesn’t really do anything to help answer the question. And it’s a legitimate question. So let me offer two quick things to keep in mind as we strive to cultivate gospel culture by paying attention to our relationships, priorities, service and hospitality.
No One Can Do Everything
As Psalm 121 so poignantly reminds us, we are not God and because we are not God we must sleep and slumber. In other words, we cannot do everything – not even close. Understanding this allows us to escape from under the “I always feel guilty for not doing more” burden that some of our legalistic consciences want to place on our shoulders.
As we grow in Christ we also grow painfully aware of our finitude. This is God’s grace to remind us to rely upon him and build Sabbath rest into the rhythm of our lives.
One of the prime examples here must be Jesus himself. Being fully God, he clothed himself in the limitations of humanity taking on flesh. As he walked this earth, Jesus did not meet with and personally disciple everyone. So what did he do?
He chose twelve disciples. And when you read the Gospels, you also see not only did Jesus have twelve disciples, but there was also an inner three – Peter, James, and John. Jesus, in his earthly relationships, couldn’t equally know and spend time with everyone; he committed himself to a few and had priorities that determined how he would use his time.
Jesus shows us, that in our human nature, we’re limited in what we can do. That need not overwhelm us, but lead us back to our God who is not limited in what he can do.
But we must safeguard from using this truth to push us too far in the other direction.
Everyone Must Do Something(s)
Just because we can’t do everything doesn’t mean we’re excused from doing something(s). Everyone can do something to help foster gospel culture inside the life of their local church.
I may not be able to have a conversation with every member of Restoration Church after service and encourage them in the gospel, but surely I can be intentional in having one or two of those conversations (even pursuing others I’ve not talked to in a while, or have not even met before).
Praying for every member every day is probably unrealistic, but taking the membership directory and praying for a couple people each day is doable.
Attending every Community Group to more deeply know every person is impossible, but faithfully being involved with one Community Group and having others over for a meal on occasion is feasible.
Serving on the setup team, and as greeter, musician, and Restoration Kids worker overwhelms us just thinking about it; but finding one place where the body needs help and serving there is possible.
Discipling 5 people through 5 different books of the Bible during my 5 lunch breaks in a week would be too much of a burden. However, I could probably pick one breakfast or lunch each week and use it to meet with a believer or non-believer and pursue intentional Jesus focused conversation.
Examples abound. Different people have different gifts and will be able to utilize those gifts in various ways to encourage the whole body in the gospel. But no one is excused. Being finite does not mean we’re fatalistic.
But also remember every opportunity is not an “ought” for each person. Prayer, proximity, present need, and gospel-shaped priorities, will help us determine where to invest the time and resources that we do have.
Not A Growing Checklist, A Growing Body
Cultivating gospel culture doesn’t boil down to a checklist of activities that grows with every opportunity and need. An approach like that will overwhelm and paralyze us.
Having a church marked by grace and gospel warmth is sustained not by a few members tirelessly doing everything, but by every member doing a few things with gospel intentionality. As Ephesians 4 says, “when each part is working properly, [it] makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (4:12-16). The aim is not a growing checklist but a body growing in gospel love.
This is not to say we’ll never get tired; we most likely will. But being tired from working out our faith does not have to equate to being overwhelmed, or thinking that we’re failing. As I’ve said often, true faith often has tired feet. During those seasons when we may be a bit tired, it’s a gift from God to remind us to lean on him as we serve others, and provides a great opportunity to be served by others. And this itself is one of the ways the Spirit helps us foster a grace-filled culture.
I praise God for the gospel culture at Restoration Church. Do we have room to grow? Absolutely. But is the Spirit at work among us? Without a doubt.
This past Sunday, we continued our T2 Forum examining how gospel doctrine creates gospel culture. A review and resources are below.
Gospel Doctrine Is Important But Not Enough
The book of Galatians is a letter the Apostle Paul is writing to the church in Galatia to correct some false teaching. Essentially, there are some false teachers who are saying, “Yes, the gospel is good; but the gospel is not enough. Not only do you need to believe the gospel, you also need to follow all the traditional Jewish customs as well – things like following clean/unclean food laws and circumcision.”
In the first 10 verses (1:1-10), we see that Paul is both astonished and angry. He’s astonished that the Gentile Christians in Galatia would even entertain a “Jesus-plus” gospel. And he’s angry that these false teachers would promote a “Jesus-plus” gospel. Paul is essentially saying, ““This is an absolute denials of all that I have been telling you! There is one true gospel and anything other than this gospel is not gospel!” In verses 3-4 we see the one true gospel explained.
We all might nod our heads in agreement with this theological truth. But here’s what we must realize: simply agreeing with these facts is not enough. But just as critical as it is to realize right gospel doctrine, it’s also critical to realize gospel doctrine alone is not enough.
GOSPEL DOCTRINE CREATUES GOSPEL CULTURE
Galatians 2:11-14 reminds us faithfulness to the gospel includes believing and behaving. You can almost feel the tension as you read these verses, can’t you? Paul, who in Chapter 1 was condemning the false teachers, now confronts Peter – none other than Peter! – saying he “stood condemned.” This is the same Peter who in verse 7 of chapter 2 says, “Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised.” For Paul, this is not just personal rivalry; this is a turf war. This is about contending for the gospel in belief and behavior!
What was Peter doing? Peter changed his behavior when the “circumcision party” arrived – that is those who kept the Jewish tradition. When the Jewish people showed up Peter stopped hanging around the Gentiles. This was not out of love for his fellow brothers in the gospel, but out of fear of man. He was living as a hypocrite crumbling under the fear of man. Peter has the right gospel doctrine (he was entrusted the gospel to go to the circumcised, 2:7), but is not living out gospel culture.
If hypocrisy is the result of believing the gospel, but not living the gospel, what is the result when you have Gospel Doctrine + Gospel Culture? Galatians 5:1, 13 tell us: Gospel Doctrine + Gospel Culture = Freedom.
It’s when our gospel doctrine and gospel culture converge that we will live in freedom and bear living witness to the power of Jesus.
HOW CAN WE CULTIVATE GOSPEL CULTURE
Gospel culture is shaped by the members of our church as we, by God’s grace, seek to live out our freedom in Christ allowing that to shape our priorities, relationships, service and hospitality. We will have diverse and committed relationships; some of which exist only because of the gospel. Our personal preference will bow to gospel priority as we seek to serve not just where we like, but where there is the most need.
God of all power and grace and mercy, we come to you this morning. Some of us come with weary souls looking to you for rest. Refresh us, O Lord. Some of us come to you with discouraged hearts looking to you for help. Refresh us, O Lord. Some of us come to you with wayward minds and actions looking to you for satisfaction. Refresh us, O Lord. Some of us come to you encouraged by your grace and work in our lives looking to give you praise. Refresh us, O Lord. Father, we come to you in the name of Jesus to whom we are united by your Holy Spirit. Work in us by your Holy Spirit that we might be refreshed and spurred on toward love and good deeds this morning.
Not to us, O Lord, but to your name be the glory. Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Great and amazing are your deeds O Lord, how majestic are your ways.
Save from all tongues, tribes, and nations a people for your namesake. Save some among the Behdini Kurds for the glory of your name. Raise up healthy churches in the schemes of Scotland for the glory of your name. In the name of Jesus, we pray that you would use our efforts to start a Spanish-speaking church in Columbia Heights. We pray for A and his family as they prepare to come to DC. We pray for the elders of their church in Lecheria. Give them unity and joy in sending A out as a church planter. Father, use our church to continue to advance the gospel here in NW DC. Give us the grace to eagerly and humbly share the gospel with our friends, neighbors, classmates, and co-workers. Tonight as we send people to Friendship Terrace, use us to proclaim the grace of the gospel that believers might be built up, and those who do not yet believe might place their faith in Jesus for salvation and eternal satisfaction.
Father, we ask in the name of Jesus, that by your Holy Spirit, you would help Restoration Church have a culture of gospel grace. Help each one of us be quick to lay aside personal preferences that we might have gospel priority and unity. In our Community Groups, cause us to look not how we can first be served, but how we can serve and encourage others. Fill us with your Spirit that we might be wiling to sacrifice our comfort and resources and time to build up the body of Christ. Keep us from proclaiming the gospel with our mouths, but functionally denying it with our behavior. Give us the grace to let our conduct be in step with the gospel of our Lord. We praise you for the many ways this already happens; we praise you of the culture of grace and hospitality and encouragement that we do have. By your Holy Sprit, help us cultivate this all the more as we grow in number and in spiritual maturity.
Father, this morning we pray for our elders. We pray for Nathan, Chris, Deholo and myself. Keep us completely and wholly dependent upon you. Keep us from neglecting the flock of Restoration, nor let us shepherd with a heavy, domineering hand. Help us teach, feed, lead and love, serving as an example of Christ Jesus. We pray for our brother Nic as we consider him as an elder. Give our church unity and wisdom as we weigh this decision. Give us more men to serve as elders of this church, Lord.
And we are so thankful for the many other leaders you have given to our church. The many men and women who serve week after week in Community Group, in Restoration Kids, in discipling others. We are so very thankful to you for your grace to us in this way. Raise up many more men who will lead others in the greater Christ-like maturity. Raise up many more women who invest their lives into others for the building up of the body of Christ.
Lord, we are so grateful that we get to labor alongside other churches. We praise you for Bill Ridel and Jon Rees and our brothers and sisters at Redemption Hill. We praise you for Aaron Graham and the District Church. We praise you for Capitol Hill Baptist and the hundreds of ways they have helped us over the years. We praise you for 4th Presbyterian and Redeemer Arlington and Grace Mosaic and Church of the Advent and Restoration City Church. Continue to grant the elders at all of these churches the grace to lead your people into greener gospel pastures. Use these churches to exalt the name of Jesus Christ.
Father, help us be a church that is aware of our sin and the grace of our Savior. We confess that we often see other’s sin before we see our own. Forgive us of our self-righteousness. We confess our selfishness and greed and hypocrisy. Forgive us O Lord. We confess that we too often find you dull and boring and neglect you until we need you. Forgive us of our small thoughts of you. We confess that we too often look to romance or money or possessions or job titles to make us ultimately happy. Forgive us of our idolatry Lord.
We praise you, Lord, that in Jesus there is grace and mercy. We praise you for the goodness and loving kindness of Christ that saves us not because of works by us, but according to your mercy. We repent of our sins and trust in the death and resurrection of Christ that we might be redeemed and washed and justified. We praise you this morning for the great hope in eternal life and the supreme delight found in Jesus both now and forever. We pray all of this in the matchless name of Jesus, Amen.
At this past Sunday’s T2 Forum we labored to take gospel concepts that are often left in the abstract and apply them to actual situations. Working primarily out of Romans 1-3, we talked about propitiation, redemption, justification and reconciliation/adoption can make a true difference in the day-to-day life of the believer.
The Gospel Walk
To help us better grasp what these terms mean, we looked at something we call the Gospel Walk (the idea was spurred on by John Stott’s book “The Cross of Christ”).
We start at the temple/Lincoln Memorial (which is made to look like a temple). A temple is where religious rituals happen, often requiring sacrifices. This reminds us of Propitiation. On the cross, Jesus offered himself as a sacrifice appeasing the wrath of God.
Now we’re standing in a Marketplace/Eastern Market. Marketplace is where things are bought. This reminds us of Redemption. On the cross, Jesus ransoms us from slavery to sin (Mk. 10:45).
Now we’re standing in the courtroom/Supreme Court building. A Courtroom is where justice is administered and sentences are handed down. This reminds us of Justification. On the cross, Jesus pays the debt for our sin. He dies the death we should have died and pays for our sin. Then he raises again, so we know the payment is enough.
Now we’re standing in our home/White House. A home is where we have sweet communion and fellowship with those we most dearly love. This reminds us of Reconciliation/Adoption. The greatest good of the gospel is that we get the sweet fellowship of God back.
Applying Abstract words to real situation
The gospel is not just an abstract idea that tells us we are saved in some theoretical realm. The gospel matters everyday, in every situation to everyone. Understanding the different aspects of the gospel helps us apply the gospel to ourselves and others in actual situations.
- Propitiation – You don’t have to punish yourself for sins committed; don’t have to think God is punishing you (maybe discipline, corrective/conforming, but not punish, punitive/condemning); we can freely offer forgiveness to others and not make them pay because Christ paid (and if they’re not a Christian they will pay)
- Redemption – Because we’ve been bought out of sin, there’s no sin that has total control over us. We can always choose to obey God and not give into sin. We don’t have to feel dirty and shamed because Jesus bought us and washed us clean.
- Justification – No matter what you do, you can approach God because you are declared innocent in Christ; bible reading, prayer should not fluctuate with behavior as if you are not good enough to enter his presence. We get to go to God out of gain, not guilt. Our sin committed or committed against us do not determine our stance before God, we are declared righteous in his sight. And if we have God’s approval, why let another person’s dislike of us “own” us?
- Reconciliation – Enjoy God himself not just his gifts (e.g. fight porn not by saying “no” but by saying “yes” to God). Because we’ve been reconciled to God, we need to be reconciled to each other (Eph. 2). God has done everything necessary, at the cost of his eternal Son Jesus, to captivate us with what will make us eternally happy. And what is that it makes us eternally happy? God himself. God is the source of full and lasting pleasure (Ps. 16:11).