Does regeneration mean we are now able to “keep” God’s Law?

Have you ever heard a Christian say, “Now that we’re regenerated, we can keep God’s Law”?  I have.  Usually this is based on the new covenant promise of Jeremiah 31.   In fact, I’ve heard well-meaning Reformed believers say such.  Is such an idea true / biblical / Reformed?  Well, it all depends on what you …

Objective GUILT or therapeutic “brokenness”?

“Brokenness” is a widely used word today in some trendier reformed circles.  What’s in a word?  This word is often used as a synonym for “sinfulness.”  Everyone can relate to feeling “broken,” that is, we say or do things we are ashamed of, we fail, we’re selfish, we damage those closest to us, we are …

What I Love about the Lutherans – the distinction that makes ALL the difference

Herman Utics.  A Dutch theologian?  Oh, wait.  I mean “hermeneutics.”  Seminary debt justifies the use of such words.  Hermeneutics is the discipline of biblical interpretation – how to properly understand God’s Word.  A right understanding of God’s Word is essential for the right understanding of the Gospel.  The Reformation is a result of hermeneutics. Confessional …

“Is Your Baby a Born Sinner? Does Your Baby Need Jesus?”

“You baptize babies?  Isn’t that a left-over tradition from Rome?”  Most Presbyterian & Reformed pastors have heard something similar.  Even from folks who attend and appreciate their Reformed worship service.  They appreciate the Christ-centered preaching, the honesty about our sin and the wonder of God’s grace, the order of worship, the riches of Reformed theology.  …

A Little Riff on the Three Uses of the Law and the Sovereign Spirit

We talk about the three “uses” of God’s Law.  I like the Lutheran shorthand for these three uses:  curb, mirror, and guide.  As a curb, God’s Law restrains sin (1 Tim 1:8-10; Gal 5:19-21, etc.). As a mirror, it shows us our sin – and drives us to Christ (Rom 3:20, 7:7-8:4; Gal 3:10-14, 21-25, …

What I Love about the Lutherans – “JBFA, All the Way!”

Justification by faith alone.  Sola Fide.  The hinge of the Reformation.  The doctrine of the standing or falling church.  Luther was willing to die for it.  So was Calvin.  But today, we can hardly be bothered to get all worked up about it.  Sure, medieval Catholicism was a mess and all of that.  But have …

Justification and Sanctification Revisited – A Little Help from Ryle

One of the big blog tussles over the last year concerns the relationship of justification to sanctification.  Some assert the priority of justification in our sanctification.  Others say union with Christ must be prioritized.  The first camp is sometimes accused of being more Lutheran than Reformed.   Of course, I love me my Lutherans, but I …

“Luther and Calvin, Sittin’ in a Tree…”

Our Lutheran friends sometimes don’t play nice at recess.  They like to play “gotcha” with their Reformed classmates.  They tease, “Johnny, Johnny, you believe Jesus died to save the elect.  How do you know you’re elect?  How do you know you’re saved?  How do you know Jesus died for YOU?”  They try to make Johnny …

What I love about the Lutherans: Luther

What red-blooded Reformational Christian doesn’t love Martin Luther?  If you don’t, swim the Tiber already.  Here’s why I do.  Luther is a sinner.  There is no pretense of piety in his writing.  He is brutally honest.  And he desperately depends on the sheer grace of God to him in Christ crucified.  Luther is a true …