Repentance is the Daily Substance of Christianity

“Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”

Luke 15:7

Repentance results in joy in the realms of heaven. When someone turns away from sin and toward God, heavenly rejoicing follows. When what was lost is found, when a wanderer returns home, there is rejoicing in heaven. 

When you picture the repentance that leads to heavenly joy, what do you see? Do you see the hardened lifelong sinner, crushed by the weight of guilt, in need of the Saviour? Or do you see yourself, already a child of God, but prone to wander, prone to walk in the opposite direction of the God you love? We should see both.

We may believe the joy in heaven applies only to that initial repentance when a person who was a slave of sin becomes a slave of righteousness. That indeed is a glorious thing, but this rejoicing in heaven applies to all our repenting, not just our initial repentance. 

“Turning from sin and trusting in the good news that Jesus saves sinners aren’t merely a one-time inaugural experience but the daily substance of Christianity. The gospel is for every day and every moment. Repentance is to be the Christian’s continual posture.”

David Mathis

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Michael Krahn is the Lead Pastor of the EMMC church in Aylmer, Ontario, where he has served for the last 13 years. He has been married to Anne Marie for almost 27 years and together they have three daughters (19,18,15). You can find more of Michael’s writing at www.michaelkrahn.com or connect on social media at @Michael_G_Krahn (Twitter), pastor.michael.krahn (IG), and Michael.George.Krahn (Fb)

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Conrad Black, John Piper, and Divisions in the Church – Points of Interest for February 21, 2022

This is a weekly roundup of pieces I read on other sites around the web. Click on the titles to open the articles in a new tab. Happy reading!

Conrad Black: Trudeau’s wretched smear-job of truckers highlights sorry state of Canadian leadership

“The official response to the truckers protesting COVID restrictions is one of the most disgraceful political episodes in the history of Canada as an autonomous country… The truckers can win this confrontation by exposing Trudeau’s pompous posturing and his slander of the truckers as a fraud. But they can’t win by trying to intimidate the government and by so inconveniencing the public that they demand the government make concessions to end the truckers’ protests… The truckers are right to rail against authoritarian mandates, but they should remember that they have no mandate from anyone to do anything, and their hold on public support is tenuous.”

John Piper: Are Divisions in the Church Necessary?

“When we come to Christ, we are grafted in by the Spirit to one body, Jesus Christ, and members one of another, so that the command in Ephesians 4 is to ‘maintain the unity.’ Don’t create it — show it to the world… the public effectiveness of our unity is when unbelievers see on the ground attitudes and acts of love among believers.”

Paul Carter: Towards Unity Of Mind And Judgment

“The Bible has to be our common authority. If you are reading Calvin more than you are reading the Bible, then you are part of the problem. If you are reading Rushdoony more than you are reading the Bible, then you are part of the problem. If you are reading Zahn, Boyd, McKnight, DeYoung, Keller or Carson more than you are reading the Bible, then you are part of the problem. Using a scholar as a guide or a conversation partner is wonderful – but using them as a lens or a cipher leads to tribalism.”

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Harry Potter, Exercising Caution in Our Online Words, and The Confessions of Mark Heard – Points of Interest for February 7, 2022

This is a weekly roundup of pieces I read on other sites around the web. Click on the titles to open the articles in a new tab. Happy reading!

The Strange Fate of Hamilton and Harry Potter | Carl R. Trueman 

“Years ago, when teaching at seminary, I used to tell the students that moral relevance in the modern world was a cruel and fickle mistress. However much Christians accommodated themselves to her demands, sooner or later she would want more. Christian morality and the morality of the world simply could not be reconciled in the long term… Today, moral tastes have too short a shelf life for that. Indeed, embracing the moral spirit of the age is now more akin to having a one-night stand—and that with somebody who kicks you out of bed in the morning and calls the police.”

An Unexpected Reply | Phil Cotnoir

“We have far too easily divorced our online words from the stringent commands about our speech that we find all over the Scriptures. Something about the disembodied nature of the digital medium offers a kind of veil that blinds us to the spiritual significance of our words. And so the digital world is not only a far less human place because it is necessarily disembodied, but also because that disembodiment encourages us to dehumanize others as well.”

The Confessions of Mark Heard
If you’ve never listened to the music of Mark Heard, please spend some time with the playlist below.

“Heard had an ear for melody and a voice full of yearning, but it’s his lyrics that make his songs resonate so deeply for many. He sang of the complexities of human life — the wistfulness of nostalgia, the spectre of death, the joys and ambiguities of romantic love, the quest for truth and permanence in a culture that values neither — while pointing beyond those things to a transcendent hope, however and wherever that hope is found.”

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Tim Keller, Bill C-4, and the Breakdown of Civility Among Christians – Points of Interest for January 31, 2022

Tim Keller, Bill C-4, and the Breakdown of Civility Among Christians – Points of Interest for January 31, 2022

This is a weekly roundup of pieces I read on other sites around the web. Click on the titles to open the articles in a new tab. Happy reading!

Tim Keller on the Church Crisis That He Never Had to Face as a Pastor—But You Do

“In virtually every church there is a smaller or larger body of Christians who have been radicalized to the Left or to the Right by extremely effective and completely immersive internet and social media loops, newsfeeds, and communities. People are bombarded 12 hours a day with pieces that present a particular political point of view, and the main way it seeks to persuade is not through argument but through outrage. People are being formed by this immersive form of public discourse—far more than they are being formed by the Church.”

Have you seen this in your own church?

Bill C-4: History, Concerns, and Response – The Gospel Coalition | Canada

Good words here from Pastor Paul Carter:

“I fully recognize that a day may well come when there is a heavy price to pay in this country for faithfully preaching what the Bible has to say about human sexuality and gender. If it comes – when it comes – I will count it an honour to suffer on behalf of Christ. Until that time, and as long as the Lord gives me life and breath, I will continue to use every opportunity I have to reach out in love and Gospel concern to my fellow Canadians.”

The Church On The Other Side: Anticipations And Concerns – The Gospel Coalition | Canada

Paul Carter (again):

“During a season of prolonged conflict, polarization, and civil unrest, moderate views begin to look like cowardice, restraint begins to look like abdication, wisdom begins to look like inaction, extremism becomes the norm on every side. The end result is a breakdown in civility and the loss of any inclination toward peace. That seems to be precisely what we are now observing in the evangelical church in Canada during the latter stages of this pandemic.”

This is something I’m really concerned about as well. All sorts of new dividing lines have been introduced over the last two years. People have been leaving churches for political reasons, something fairly common south of us but not common until recently here in Canada. 

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Jordan Peterson, Deconstruction, Marvel’s Multiverse, TikTok Timeline Shifters, and the Kingdom of God – Points of Interest for January 24, 2022

Jordan Peterson, Deconstruction, Marvel’s Multiverse, TikTok Timeline Shifters, and the Kingdom of God – Points of Interest for January 24, 2022

This is a weekly roundup of pieces I read on other sites around the web. Click on the titles to open the articles in a new tab. Happy reading!

Jordan Peterson: Open the damn country back up, before Canadians wreck something we can’t fix

A scathing assessment of the handling of COVID by Canada’s politicians: 

“There are no risk-free paths forward. There is only one risk, or another. Pick your poison: that’s the choice life often offers. I am weary of living under the increasingly authoritarian dictates of a polity hyper-concerned with one risk, and oblivious to all others. And things are shaking around us.”

What do you think? Is he right?

Is Deconstruction the Same as Deconversion? A Few Reflections on Reforming the Church

Deconstruction/deconversion has been an area of interest for me for many years. And I agree with the assessment made here: 

“For many, it [deconstruction] simply means that we should ask hard questions about whether the version of Christianity we are following is consistent with the Scriptures, or with historic Christian beliefs through the centuries.”

I went through a process like this myself in my 20s and I’m glad that I did. It was long, hard, and sometimes scary work, but in the end I emerged with a stronger faith.

Marvel’s Multiverse, TikTok Timeline Shifters, and the Kingdom of God

“Just as a supernova explodes a star into trillions of nebulous particles, a disenchanted world explodes the human mind into an endless, anxiety-inducing nebula of alternative selves. No one needed theoretical physicists to propose the multiverse. The modern mind was already living in one.”

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Jordan B. Peterson on The Natural Descent of Dishonest Dealings

We all know that we sometimes say less than we should in order to keep the peace and not make things awkward, but we should give that strategy a second thought the next time we are tempted to employ it. The stakes are much higher than we can imagine.

Among the most helpful chapters in Jordan Peterson’s 2018 book “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos” is a chapter entitled “TELL THE TRUTH—OR, AT LEAST, DON’T LIE”. Peterson offers much that is helpful in understanding some of the bigger themes of scripture – in this case, the nature and importance of truth-telling.

In his first letter to the Thessalonian church, Paul writes: “But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts… Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others…” (1 Thes. 2:4,6) Paul’s primary concern is not to please people with words, but to speak the truth to them.

Proper Offences

Living in the presence of people whom you have offended with words is a taxing circumstance, and if we have given offence unnecessarily, we should repent. But if it is a situation in which the truth of the gospel is in conflict with the spirit of the age, we should not hesitate to speak the truth – even if it offends.

Pleasing people with our words and receiving glory from them is a temptation we all face. The lure of approval and acceptance is an enticement to compromise, to speak a little less than the truth, or to betray the truth altogether. The consequences of such actions are grave, as explained by Peterson: “When the lies get big enough, the whole world spoils. But if you look close enough, the biggest of lies is composed of smaller lies, and those are composed of still smaller lies—and the smallest of lies is where the big lie starts.” (Kindle Loc. 4353-4354)

If the Truth Sets Us Free…

If it is a fact that the truth sets free those who are in bondage to error – as Jesus clearly taught – it is no act of love to withhold the truth from anyone. Boldness, of course, must not crowd out compassion, but a faulty conception of compassion has too often murdered truthfulness.

And not only is this avoidance of truth detrimental to others but there is also a personal impact: “If you betray yourself, if you say untrue things, if you act out a lie, you weaken your character. If you have a weak character, then adversity will mow you down when it appears, as it will, inevitably. You will hide, but there will be no place left to hide. And then you will find yourself doing terrible things.”(Kindle Loc. 4072-4074)

The Solution?

The solution, again, in Peterson’s words is this: “If your life is not what it could be, try telling the truth. If you cling desperately to an ideology, or wallow in nihilism, try telling the truth. If you feel weak and rejected, and desperate, and confused, try telling the truth.”(Kindle Loc 4389-4391)

We might get sidetracked here on the question Pilate so succinctly uttered: “What is truth?” Although massively important, that is not the point at this moment. We all know that we sometimes say less than we should in order to keep the peace and not make things awkward, but we should give that strategy a second thought the next time we are tempted to employ it. The stakes are much higher than we can imagine.

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