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Fear of God Devotional: Disaster – Separating Justification and Sanctification



What are the effects of separating justification from sanctification?

Kevin Swanson explains in this video that we are not free to sin. Rather, we are free from sin and transgressing the law of God because of the grace of Christ that takes care of the guilt of our sin and the corruption and power of sin over us. Today, many people want only to rid themselves of the guilt of sin but not its power over them. They want to continue to embrace sin instead of desiring that it be put to death.

If Christ’s blood takes care of the guilt, it will do just as much for the corruption of our sins. We cannot separate Christ’s death from his resurrection. To do so is to separate our justification from our rising and walking in the newness of life. We are saved by faith and by the sanctification of the Spirit of God. It cannot be one and not the other.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NKJV) – “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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Gospel Refreshers: Paul Washer, The Gospel. The most terrifying truth of Scripture…



First of all the gospel begins with God. You see the whole problem really comes back to the nature of God. God is a just God, a holy God. He cannot violate His attributes, He cannot do something that contradicts Himself. He is a righteous God. Now that is a good thing it would be terrifying to know that this universe was created by an evil god an omnipotent god that was evil it would be absolutely terrifying so it's good that God is just. But then it presents also another problem: if God is just what does He do with us?

Let me illustrate the problem for you. A few years ago I was in in Europe and i was going to speak at the University and I knew that the crowd was really going to be against me and they all had this idea that this social dinosaur was going to come over with some Puritan type message and tell them that they were all sinners. So when I walked out on the stage I was really praying – Lord please help me. – I feel like He gave me some wisdom. I looked at this crowd of university students and I said: “I am going to share with you the most terrifying truth in the Scriptures.” I kept telling them and warning them “I'm about to share with you the most terrifying truth that anyone could ever know about God.” So when they were all poised on the edge of their seat I looked at them and I said “Here it is the most terrifying truth of Scripture is that God is good.” Now at that moment they all kind of started laughing snickering like “What's the problem?” Some of them even voiced it: “So what's the problem with a good God? I mean why is that bad news why is it terrifying that God is good?” My answer was this it's terrifying to know that God is good because we are not. So what does a good God do with people like us sinners? We've sinned against God, we've sinned against one another, we have sinned against nature, we’ve sinned against everything. All of creation calls for our condemnation. If God is truly just then what does He do with us? 

If a just God simply pardons the wicked He is no longer just. If a holy God calls the wicked to Himself to have fellowship with Him he's not a holy God. So the great question of all the scriptures this: How does adjust God pardon wicked men and still be just? How does a holy God call wicked men into fellowship with Him and still be holy? The answer is found in the cross of Jesus Christ. In the cross of Jesus Christ we see this tremendous unique revelation of the fullness of God's attributes. God is just, He must condemn our sin. God is love and so He becomes a man in His son, lives a perfect life as a man, and then goes to that tree and on that tree the sins of His people are cast upon Him, and all the Justice of God, all the wrath of God that we deserve is thrown down upon the head of Christ. The exact measure that was required in order to fully satisfy the Justice of God.

After suffering Christ said it is finished that meant he did what was required to satisfy God's justice against God's people. He paid the price in full. This is so very important understand: It wasn't that what that our sins were atoned for simply because the Romans beat Jesus up and nailed him on across. Our sins were atoned for because on that tree He bore our sin and it pleased the Lord, it pleased Yahweh to crush him. The wrath of God that should have fallen upon me and you fell upon His only begotten Son and He suffered it in full. He paid the price, He died, for the wages of sin is death and on the third day He rose again from the dead and now He's seated at the right hand of God and there is no other name, no other name in any other world, there is no other name given to men whereby we might be saved except for the name of Jesus Christ. He's the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him. There is one God and one mediator between God and men: the man Christ Jesus, and in order to be saved the Bible calls all men to repent of their sins and to believe the gospel. 

What does it mean to repent? Many have defined the term as “to change one's mind.” That's what the word means in Greek and and that truth is there, but that means so much more than what you and I can conceive in our culture today. You think “Well to change one's mind, that's pretty superficial.” Well it might be, but then it's not if you understand what the mind is. The mind, and the Bible refers to the the mind as the heart, it is very it is the control center of a human being. It's the control center of our will, our emotions, our intellect, our decision-making process, and so what he's saying is: If you have changed your mind everything else will change along with it. 

Let me give you a perfect description of repentance: the Apostle Paul, he had a change of mind, Now when he left to go on the road to Damascus he left with orders to capture Christians. Now this is what he believed, this is what Paul thought: Paul thought that Jesus of Nazareth was the greatest blasphemer who ever had walked the planet, that's what he thought. He also thought that the Christians were a terrible sect that ought to be destroyed, that's what he thought. And then on the road to Damascus he had an encounter with the resurrected Christ and what happened is his thinking changed. His entire reality was proved to be wrong. Everything he thought about reality especially with regard to God was wrong. He recognized he was wrong and began to think completely different. He now thought that Jesus was the Son of God and the long-awaited Messiah. He now thought that the Christians were the very people of God the very Israel of God and because his thoughts changed. Everything else changed after being baptized. He began to minister and to preach the gospel and to be persecuted for the very faith that he was once persecuting. You see to repent is to realize that all your thinking your entire view about reality was wrong and then to see and to submit to God's truth about who He is about who you are and about who Jesus is and what He's done for you. 

Now the question is have you repented? Has your mind changed has that change of mind led to a change of the intellect, to a change of the will, a change of your emotions. The sins you once loved do you now hate? The holiness you once ignore do you now desire? The Christ that you had no part with, that you lived apart from do you now esteem him do you consider the kingdom of heaven to be a pearl of great price? Those are certain evidences that a work of repentance has been done in your heart. Not only must we we repent, but we must believe in Jesus Christ. To recognize that there is absolutely nothing in us that can save us, as the hymn writer said: “Nothing in my hands I bring but only to the cross of Christ I cling.” It is a recognition that you have only one hope and one hundred percent of that hope is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ, that you know that you cannot save yourself to the point that if someone were to even suggest that you would enter into heaven by some works of righteousness it would cause you to be nauseous and you would cry out “No, no, blasphemy! No I am saved for only one reason: Two thousand years ago the Son of God bled and died for me salvation comes to us through repentance and through faith in Jesus Christ.” 

Now if you truly believe in Christ you have eternal life but how do you know you have truly believed? Even if you've had some sort of conversion experience and you felt some sort of peace of God and and so many other emotions how do you really know it's real? One of the ways that you know it's real is that it will continue. Its not that necessarily the emotional high will continue but what will continue is you will continue to grow in grace, you will continue to deepen in your repentance, you will continue to deepen in your faith little by little, you will be transformed more and more into the image of Jesus Christ. You say “Well brother Paul does a real Christian sin?” Yes sadly enough yes can a real Christian fall into sin, yes, but here's the difference: a real Christian cannot live in a continuous state of carnality, a continuous state of immaturity, because the Bible says He who began a good work in you will finish it. The Bible talks about in Hebrews 12, that one of the greatest signs of true conversion is that God will watch over you with loving parental care and He will even discipline you, chastise you when you turn off the path, not because His attitude toward us changes, but because He loves you and He desires your holiness. 

You see, once you become a Christian you become a part of God's providence, and He who began a good work will finish it. The gospel of Jesus Christ is that God is just, that man is radically depraved and worthy of all condemnation, that in order to forgive men, God's justice had to be first satisfied and that was done on the cross where Christ stood in the place of His people, bore their sin and was crushed under the full weight of God's wrath against them. Dying, He paid the price in full. He has risen from the dead and now all men everywhere may be saved through faith, through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and the evidence of that repentance unto salvation and that faith unto salvation will be the continuing work of God.

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Fear of God Devotional: Is Sola Scriptura Worth Dying For?



Are we willing to sacrifice much to be faithful to the commands of God found in Scripture?

Sam Waldron explains in this video that the Latin phrase “Sola Scriptura” or “by Scripture alone” was something that reformed Protestants closely adhered to and sacrificed greatly for. The Puritans held that Scripture applied to all things and specifically, in matters of worship, allowed them to do only what God commanded them to do.

Their decision to remain faithful to Scripture proved to be costly. Over 2,000 Puritan ministers were ejected from their churches and some, like John Bunyan, were even jailed. Men were forced to make a decision of compromising Scripture to keep their positions in the church or to remain true to the clear commands of Scripture. Despite persecution, they resolutely believed that Scripture governed all matters of life, not just the issues regarding the doctrine of the church.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV) – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

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The People who Feared God – Zacchaeus



How is a God-hating man transformed into a God-fearing man?  

Gary Powers shares the story of Zacchaeus in this video and explains how Zacchaeus was a powerful man – he was the chief of tax collectors. He was greatly feared. Yet, he wanted to see who Jesus was and climbed up a tree to get a better view. Already, we begin to glimpse the work of regeneration in his heart. Rich, powerful men do not do this. They don’t humble themselves to the point of climbing into a tree. He was desperate and willing to suffer humiliation by climbing a tree to see Christ. 

Jesus then comes, sees him, and speaks to him by name. This encounter is not by coincidence. We then see the fruit of Zacchaeus’ repentance. He gave half of his goods to the poor and if he wrongfully took what was not his, he repaid it four-fold. Taking such measures would have significantly disrupted the life that he was accustomed to. Yet, he was adhering to the law of God to make restitution. These were signs of conversion, fruit of a new life. In short, he feared God. One of the signs of conversion is that we are not terrorized by the law of God but delight in it. Nothing is too hard for God. He can change the nature of a wealthy, greedy man and turn him into a joyful giver who loves Him and loves His law. 

Romans 1:16 (NKJV) – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

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Fear of God Devotional: The Use of the Law for an Unbeliever



How is an unbeliever affected by the laws of God?

Jason Dohm explains in this video that the law has multiple uses and has different functions for unbelievers and believers. For instance, it can be a crushing weight on an unbeliever, one that helps them to see their desperate need for mercy and to ultimately drive them to the cross. The law condemns sinners so that they go to God for mercy and pardon, which is offered to us through the finished work of Christ.

The law helps us to realize just how sinful we are and how hopeless it is to think that we can somehow earn our salvation. Romans 3:20 says that: “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Through the law, we understand that we are completely sinful and in desperate need of a Savior.

Romans 7:7 (NKJV) – “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet.’”

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Fear of God Devotional: Singing as Worship



Why is it important to sing and participate during times of worship?

Craig Houston explains in this video that he is passionate about singing because God is passionate about singing as worship. Singing in worship enlivens the heart of God’s people as they sing together unto the Lord. Throughout Scripture, we see numerous instances of individuals singing and worshipping God. There is nothing more magnificent than God’s people singing together.

Regrettably, many people do not sing today. They’re there to receive something but they do not participate in a worshipful way. This is not what we see in Scripture. In both the New and Old Testament, Scripture makes it clear that we are to lift up our voices as one to the Lord, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.

Colossians 3:16 (NKJV) – “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Probing Children in Spirtual Matters



How can fathers more effectively discuss spiritual matters with their children?

Joel Beeke explains in this video that as a father, it is important to gently and lovingly discuss theological matters with your children. He recommends that fathers ought to ask questions to a child at their age level or just a bit above it. Asking them questions about a specific passage or verse is an ideal way to do this.

Your questions should be asked in love, with good eye contact, and with care. After reading a Scripture passage, you can ask questions to your child like, “Have you ever had that happen in your life before?” You can also share examples and instances from your own life. Additionally, you can encourage your children to think about that verse or encourage them to ask God to teach them.

Deuteronomy 6:6-8 (NKJV) – “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Legalism and Her Children



What is the balance between faith and works?

Kevin Swanson explains in this video that legalism always seems to break down into antinomianism. Both are incorrect. Legalism is salvation by works or our own fake application of God’s laws. Antinomianism involves abandoning of all God’s laws.

What we need theologically is to bring these together – faith and works. We need to see them as distinct but not separate. We need to pull together a proper biblical theology, express God’s law for the purposes for which it is intended, and then live by God’s law because we have been saved by grace and love Him. This is the basic theological concept that must permeate through every worship service. The world negatively affects us in so many ways and can easily distort our thinking. Accordingly, we must purge unbiblical worldviews by the faithful preaching of God’s Word.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NKJV) – “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

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Fear of God Devotional: How Sanctification Works



How is sanctification described in Scripture?

Jason Dohm explains in this video that Peter gives a good description of sanctification in 2nd Peter. Sanctification begins inwardly and works its way outward – “Growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Fundamentally then, we see that sanctification is growth, a growth in the knowledge of Christ.

Sanctification does involve certain external changes. These are defined in Scripture, by the commandments of God in both the Old and New Testament. When we do things that God prohibits in Scripture, we are kept from the better things. In contrast, the things that we are commanded to do are acts of love. The laws of God do tell us what the externals should look like, but we shouldn’t attempt to mechanically follow them. Rather, they ought to stem from a love for God and His ways.

2 Peter 3:17-18 (NKJV) – “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Self Sacrificing Headship



How do fathers raise their children in a Christ-centered environment?

Jeff Pollard explains in this video that when God appoints a man to be the husband of his wife and instructs him to love her as Christ loves the church, it is an astonishing requirement. To try to get the modern American man to understand what it means to live as a self-sacrificing husband is still a great challenge.

We have been so brainwashed and enculturated by today’s culture that many men, husbands, and fathers don’t know how to create a Christ-centered environment to raise their children in. They don’t understand the value of family worship. Christian fathers must desire to bring their children up in a home where Christ is honored. Fathers must read Scripture to their children and both parents ought to pray for their children.

Colossians 3:17 (NKJV) – “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Faithfulness in Small Things



Are you faithful in both the “big” and “small” things?

Craig Houston explains in this video that one of the concerns that he has with Christians is the idea of faithfulness. The Bible says that it is required in stewards, that a man be faithful.

Faithfulness to the things of God is something that is waning amongst God’s people. Young men need to be challenged with the supreme importance of being found faithful even in the small things, not just the big tasks. We all need to be faithful in all areas of life and be people that can be counted on. This is something that we all us to continually go to the Lord and seek to walk in faithfulness to Him.

1 Samuel 12:24 (NKJV) – “Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Training Your Children in Family Worship



How do you train your sons to lead family worship?

Joel Beeke explains in this video that the best way to train your older children is for them to see you training your younger children. In the area of family worship, they learn from your example of faithful, regular times of family worship. One day, they will lead family worship for their own family.

He suggests that once your sons grow older, it would be wise to suggest that your sons help with part of family worship or all of it. Eventually, your sons will be leaving the home to start their new families and it is important that they start learning how they should teach and lead during times of family worship.

Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV) – “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Is There A Breakdown of Authenticity?



How do we battle insincerity and hypocrisy in our lives?

Kevin Swanson explains in this video that in many Christian families, there is often a lack of authenticity. We see insincerity in worship and hypocrisy within the home. Fathers and mothers model this to their children and their children pattern themselves after their parents.

The solution to insincerity is to confess sin, strive for transparency before God and others, and use Scripture to determine areas of insincerity. God demands that all insincerity be wiped out. The faithful preaching of the Word of God convicts us of hypocrisy, a lack of love for God, and a lack of true faith. Families need more faith and true love that manifests itself in proper obedience.

Matthew 7:3-5 (NKJV) – “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Without Holiness No One Will See the Lord



Can an unbeliever make progress in holiness?

Jason Dohm explains in this video that in Hebrews, we learn that holiness does not “buy” salvation. Rather, holiness always flows from salvation because the Holy Spirit indwells, works on, and transforms a believer’s life so that the person will become holy.

People who profess Christ that never make progress in holiness are those Jesus refers to when He says: “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23, NKJV).

If your life is characterized by practicing lawlessness, it means that the Holy Spirit has not indwelled in you and you are not transformed because you have not been born again.

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Fear of God Devotional: Hunger for Holiness and a False Gospel



Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness?

Jeff Pollard explains in this video that among Christians today, there is often a lack of those who hunger for holiness. This stems from a false gospel that is preached. Holiness arises from a heart made new by the power of the Holy Spirit. When we have a repentant heart, we hunger and thirst for righteousness. There is a desire for holiness.

All too often, people become “saved” after they accept a promise of a “quick fix” that will prevent them from going to Hell. Yet, there is no understanding of their desperate need of Christ and no brokenness. Modern Christianity is largely self-content. There is little hunger and thirsting for righteousness. The Gospel is not preached and approached this way throughout Scripture. Rather, a true believer realizes that he is not how God desires for him to be. He longs and desires to obey and be like Christ.

Matthew 5:6 (NKJV) – “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

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