Paul told the Corinthians that he and his apostolic associates were wise to Satan’s deceptive schemes (2 Cor 2:11). The apostle knew Satan was a formidable enemy who had millennia of experience tempting and deceiving God’s image-bearers; but he also knew he had been given insight into the way his enemy operated. Continue reading “Custom-Made Temptations, Crafted Just For You”
Romans 7:14-25 is one of the most debated passages in the Bible. There are three major positions that have vied for interpretational prominence over the years. One view sees Paul’s description of his struggle with sin as his pre-conversion experience. The other sees Paul’s description as his post-conversion experience. A third—articulated by Martyn Lloyd-Jones—argues that we ask the wrong question if we inquire about Paul’s spiritual status in Romans 7:14-25. Rather, as the Doctor asserts, Paul is explaining what happens when someone pursues sanctification according to the law rather than by the Spirit. Each of these positions has been articulated and defended by skilled and sound exegetes, a fact which makes me recognize, again, how demanding the task biblical interpretation really is.
I do not want to enter into the intricacies of the debate in this post. Rather, I only want to offer my defense of a post-conversion reading. That is, I believe Paul is describing his Christian experience in Romans 7:14-25. Here’s why. Continue reading “Which Paul Is It? An Argument for Paul’s Christian Experience in Romans 7:14-25”
Our ability to receive rebuke from others is a quality essential to our making enduring progress in our spiritual lives. There are no two ways around this truth: either we will readily receive correction and enjoy the fruits of godly wisdom, or we will entrench ourselves against reproof and gradually harden our hearts to our soul’s peril.
Yet nothing seems to be more difficult and more contrary to our nature than gladly taking pointed words about our sin and failure and then using those words as a means to sincere repentance. Instead, we often attempt to defend ourselves with complex and even “biblical” arguments, blame others for their negative influence, or douse the confrontation altogether by pointing to the hypocrisy in the one delivering the rebuke. Our sin will do whatever it can to be left in the dark. Continue reading “A Tough Means of Grace: Profiting from the Rebukes of Others”
The following is a response to an email I received a while ago. A dear brother contacted me and asked me if I could expand on an entry I had posted. Specifically, he wanted to know if and how the Lord had helped me make progress in dealing with unhealthy introspective tendencies and spiritual depression. Below is the letter with a few slight edits for clarity.
Thank you again for your email. An inclination toward severe introspection and spiritual depression is something that has affected me since early in my Christian life, and I still find myself battling introspective tendencies and spiritual depression.
When I first came to Christ, I noticed immediately that I tended toward a severe examination of my inner-life—my motives, my affections for God and for others, my faith in Christ, my holiness. Far from bringing me peace and assurance in my relationship with Christ, this propensity to question every inner-working of my heart instead brought much doubt, confusion and, inevitably, depression. Continue reading “Battling Spiritual Depression: A Letter to a Friend”