The Grace of Faith

The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word, by which also, and by the administration of the sacraments, and prayer, it is increased and strengthened.

The above quote is from the Westminster Confession of Faith and we’re going to be reading it during our time of Expiation at Redeemer tomorrow. It summarizes passages from Hebrews, Roman, 2 Peter, Ephesians, Luke and Acts and that summary is that the fact that you are able to believe is not your own doing but it is a work of grace.

We are saved by faith but that faith is a gift. If we were able to believe of our own accord, we would be responsible for our own salvation. Instead, the Holy Spirit opens our eyes so that we can believe. We see this specifically in Ephesians 1:17-18 where Paul prays for the eyes of the Ephesians’ hearts to be enlightened.

So even this faith is a gift of grace.

We’ve been going through the doctrines of grace (aka the Canons of Dort or the five points of Calvinism) and for tomorrow and the following week, Pastor Joe is preaching on my favorite of the five. They are my favorite above the first three because I find that in the life of the Christian, or at least this Christian, they are a source of great comfort.

With Irresistible Grace we see that all of the elect will be saved. It’s put this way in John 6:

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

We know that apart from the Father’s drawing, no one will come to Christ of his own volition and we see here that all of those given to Christ will come. The text doesn’t say that the elect may come, it says that they will come.

I find this comforting because it is a source of assurance. Were it not for the calling of the Father, I would not have believed. I would not have had my eyes opened to see that Christ died for me. While we see and experience this truth in other doctrines, I see it most here. It means that God’s work has been effective and motivates me to want to grow in godliness, a trait that is not present in the unregenerate.


So far this year I have completely failed to meet my reading goals besides those in Scripture. For March, I’m hoping to change that by giving myself the smallest book I could find. It was even released in this new edition today which is an extra bonus.

A Little Book on the Christian Life

a thought on Leviticus 19:19

You shall keep my statutes. You shall not let your cattle breed with a different kind. You shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor shall you wear a garment of cloth made of two kinds of material. Leviticus 19:19

Leviticus is the book of the Bible that seems to be the favorite target of those that would seek to discredit the revealed word of God. For some reason, this passage seems to be one that’s pointed to as one of the more absurd in the midst of a long list of laws that were given for the people of Israel.

But as I have been working my way through the Bible this year, I’ve found that it is far from disjointed and self-contradictory. Despite the myriad human authors and the time that the Book spans, it is remarkably cohesive. This has been especially evident thanks to the reading plan that I am using, the 5 Day Plan. It’s structured in such a way that you see Old and New Testaments working together to present the truth to you in a way that both makes sense and leads you to worship.

Reading of the institution of the Aaronic priesthood while also reading in Hebrews of Jesus’ function as our great high priest with a Psalm in the middle is awe-inspiring.

So when I see a passage like the one quoted above, I do not see a weird law telling the Israelites that they can’t wear a cotton-poly blend robe, but that they are to follow the one, true God alone. That they, we, have been set apart for holiness because our God is holy. That kind of holiness means that there is nothing that can be allowed to defile His people. It’s why the sacrificial system was put in place. It is why Aaron and his sons had to wash before donning the priestly garments (only to be covered with oil and blood soon after).

What seems like a ridiculous decree is actually a call to purity and faithfulness to the God that brought them out of Egypt.

To start writing about knitting 

There’s nothing quite like the starting of a brand new project. I’ve had this one waiting to start for a while. It’s Estuary by Tin Can Knits and I’m knitting it up in Knit Picks’ Palette Tonal in the Sherwood colorway.

a brief thought on Christians and torture

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:44-48

I honestly don't see how you can be a Christian and also support the use of torture in any form for any reason. The sanctity of life doesn't end at the doors of your enemies.

Here is some more reading on the subject:

a kind of media burnout

We have too much social media. Too much being revealed by the “crooked mainstream media”. America’s president-elect is the embodiment of too much.

What I’m burnt out on, however, is the blame being placed directly on mainstream media. This is the year 120171. If you are complaining on the internet about how the media is spinning things, you have already lost your argument.

You’re already on the internet. The problem is that by outsourcing your news and information to links that are shared by the outrage machine that is Facebook, you’ve surrendered your right to complain about it.

The media has been spinning everything since it began. Spin is present on both sides of the dividing line. Before, that was a big problem because we the people had no other way to find things out. Now, we can look at original source material. We can see video footage of events. We can broadcast our own take on everything.

At best, blaming the mainstream media for doing what it does is to declare the obvious. At worst, it’s basically just laziness.

  1. I have a feeling someone will be angry or concerned because of that link. And I know I may have just made a writing project for myself for another day. 


We started this year with so much hope.

We had just gotten pregnant again and I was starting to have conversations that would hopefully lead us back to the U.K. where we want to live and be on mission and in ministry. By the end of January, both of those things came to an end.

We miscarried on the 26th of January.

The goal of making it to the U.K. this year ended for the third year in a row.

But I also watched my daughters turn 6 and 5. And we went camping and watched them start to really thrive in school. I sat and listened to them reading to me. I watched my son become absolutely obsessed with Batman in the way that only a three-year-old can obsess about something.

We nearly moved to Paris for a ministry job, but God made it clear that that isn't where He wants us. I left behind the day job that I had worked for three and a half years for a better job and more time at home. I got to quit working at Chipotle and we still managed to make the rent.

I got to smoke tobacco and drink really good beer with my dearest friend/arch-nemesis.

Tracy got pregnant again. The baby is due in a month.

I finally got reconnected with an old friend and may actually have a way to do ministry, get educated and live in the U.K.

2016 was a really hard year for literally everybody to live through. But we are almost out of it. And I hope to God that 2017 goes better than 2016.

Christians ruin everything fun

The Babylon Bee is one of the best things to ever happen to Christians online, but the comments are shamefully embarrassing.

Between the people that have never heard of satire and the people who are deeply offended that their tribe got made fun of, there is a treasury of stuff to get annoyed at. It makes me wish there wasn't a comment section on Facebook. It never adds to the discussion of the article in question and always has these comments:

  1. "Hey, I thought this was satire"
  2. "Stop making fun of Christians"
  3. "Oh my goodness, what is becoming of the church?" Followed by "You do realize this is satire, right?"
  4. "I have nothing to say about the article but it looks like there are people here who will read whatever I write"

And that continues and continues on and on forever and ever, amen.

The comment I see the least is also the most appropriate and it's the easiest to write. If you see something funny from The Babylon Bee on Facebook, the only thing you need to write is some variation of lol.

the church’s responsibility now that we have our president-elect

It’s been an apocalyptically disappointing election. In January, a man who shows no fruits of the Spirit yet claims Christ as something (definitely not his savior because he said he doesn’t need saving) will be inaugurated as the President of the USA. He was helped along in no small part by people that also claim Christ, yet find it possible to excuse the gross misconduct in every facet of life that has been displayed by Donald Trump.

So what do we do now? We thank God that His will has been done. We don’t understand it right now and we may not until the very end, but what transpired yesterday was foreordained by the Triune God in eternity past.

When Donald Trump is made president, we as Christians need to do three things, no matter how annoying they may be.

we need to pray

We are told in Scripture to pray for those in power. They were placed there by God and that means that whatever they do while in power will ultimately be used for His purposes. It doesn’t matter if we disagree with them or if we are angry about them. We have to pray for our leaders. We weren’t given an out on this one. For everyone’s sake, we need to pray that he is a successful president.

use respect when we talk about the president

Our time to call these candidates names has come to an end. Donald Trump will need to be referred to as either President Trump or Mr. President or even simply by his last name. There are a lot of things I would like to call him, but now those will be kept silent.

love your neighbor

The people that voted for Trump are not all deplorable people. They are your neighbors, family and friends. They are the people you work with, for and over. They are not your enemy unless they have proclaimed themselves as such.

Now is not the time for continued debate. It’s time to get to work and our work, as Christians, is the spread of the Gospel. Always, always, always make that first.

Photo credit: Michael Vadon. Licensed under Creative Commons