15 Quotes from Foundations of the Christian Faith

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James Montgomery Boice was the pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia until his death in 2000. He also wrote a book called “The Doctrines of Grace” which was heavily influential in my life.

To purchase a copy of Foundations of the Christian Faith, click here.

 

 

1. Knowledge of God takes place in the context of Christian piety, worship, and devotion (pg. 9).

2. A weak god produces no strong followers, nor does he deserve to be worshiped. A strong God, the God of the Bible, is a source of strength to those who know Him (pg. 12).

3. To know God would require change (pg. 19).

4. The church did not create the canon; if it had, it would place itself over Scripture. Rather the church submitted to Scripture as a higher authority (pg. 34).

5. The power of the living Christ operating by means of the Holy Spirit through the written Word changes lives (pg. 56).

6. A God who needs to be defended is no God. Rather, the God of the Bible is the self-existent one who is the true defender of His people (pg. 95).

7. Because God knows, believers can rest (pg. 134).

8. The blessings of salvation come, not by fighting against God’s ways or by hating Him for what we consider to be an injustice, but rather by accepting His verdict on our true nature as fallen beings and turning to Christ in faith for salvation (pg. 204).

9. The initiating cause in salvation is God’s free grace, but the formal cause is, and has always been, the death of the mediator (pg. 259).

10. In the act of propitiation, we have the great good news that the one who is our Creator, but from whom we have turned in sin, is nevertheless at the same time our Redeemer (pg. 322).

11. Only after we have come to appreciate the meaning of the Cross can we appreciate the love behind it. Seeing this, Augustine once called the Cross “a pulpit” from which Christ preached God’s love to the world (pg. 337).

12. To confess that Jesus is the Christ is to confess the Christ of the Scriptures. To deny that Christ, by whatever means, is heresy – a heresy with terrible consequences (pg. 445).

13. If we are secure in Christ, although we may stumble and fall, we know that nothing will ever pluck us out of Christ’s hand (pg. 464).

14. Living by grace actually leads to holiness, for our desire is to please the one who has saved us by that grace (pg. 492).

15. Perseverance means that once one is in the family of God, he or she is always in that family (pg. 534).

For more information on Foundations of the Christian Faith, visit Intervarsity Press here.


Evan Knies is from West Monroe, LA. He is married to Lauren and father to Maesyn. He serves as Minister of Students at Bullitt Lick Baptist Church in Shepherdsville, KY. He also serves as the Executive Assistant of the Nelson Baptist Association. He is a graduate of Boyce College and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. You can follow him on Twitter @Evan_Knies

 

Offices of Christ

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By Evan Knies

A few Sunday nights ago, we walked through this study with our students. These notes are adapted from Wayne Grudem’s Systematic. 

There were three major offices among the people of Israel in the Old Testament: the prophet (Nathan, 2 Sam. 7:2), priest (Abiathar, 1 Sam. 30:7), and king (David, 2 Sam. 5:3). In the Old Testament the prophet spoke God’s Words to the people, the priest offered sacrifices, prayers, and praises to God on the behalf of the people, and the King ruled over the people as God’s representative. These offices foreshadowed Christ and his work. Christ is the final prophet as is the Old Testament in Incarnate. The Word has become flesh as the Gospel of John. But in Hebrews 1, God has spoken in His Son. Jesus is the final Word.  Religions like Islam fail because they see Christ as a good prophet, Muhammad as a better prophet. Jesus is not a prophet, He is the prophet. God’s Word is final in his son. Christ is the final priest because he offers himself as a sacrifice on our behalf. He is King because he rules over the church and the universe. Continue reading “Offices of Christ”

New Year Mercies

By Evan Knies

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

– Lamentations 3:22-23

This year has been tough to say the least. My family has had some trials. My wife’s family has had some trials. At the end of this year, my cousin’s passing was like a punch to the Continue reading “New Year Mercies”

Santa Clause, Just Because?

By Colton Corter

Why in the world would you want to invite Santa Claus to your Christmas celebration this year? He sees you when you are sleeping. He knows when you are awake. He knows when you have been bad or good and then says, “So be good for goodness sake.” Sounds like a creepy guy, to say the least.

But seriously, why in the world would a Christian want to invite Santa Claus to their Christmas celebration this year? I know exactly why the world around us would. Santa promises everything that a natural heart wants. He promises wealth, stuff, happiness and all in a way that we can look back at the end of the year and say, “I deserved this.” My confusion comes from seeing well meaning brothers and sisters take their children by the hand and lead them to Santa Claus. They sing all the same songs. They watch all the same movies. Growing up in a nominal Christian home, I have to admit that this way the norm. Santa was just another part of the holiday or, more accurately, he contributed in equal part with Jesus in an combined effort to make the yuletide gay. I was always confused about how Jesus fit into this whole Santa story and truth be told I was more compelled by Santa anyway. He flew, had reindeer and brought me stuff; not completely dissimilar to the Jesus I was taught but with a “cooler” story. Even after I stopped believing in Santa I still considered him and old friend. It was fun to play along, as Santa brought a warmth and good feeling to the holiday season.

I wonder if this is how you have celebrated Christmas. For all of the recent talk on syncretism (the meshing together of two religions) we must not neglect to mention the blatant syncretism in the American church today. Even if we don’t believe the Jews and Muslims worship the same God as us, we do still tend to blend aspect of our culture’s religion with real gospel truth. It is my hope to suggest a better way. I think you will find more joy, not less, this holiday season if you spend it taking a long hard look at the Lord Jesus. Oh that we would be more like Mary who pondered the Christmas events in her heart and treasured them above all else (Luke 2:19). Jesus is far greater than Santa.

Is it sinful to celebrate Santa?

I don’t want to say no right out of hand. It probably is in some ways. First, it is a lie. Telling our children that Santa is real is simply not an act of truth telling. Lying is certainly a sin against God and it won’t do much to raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Second, Santa represents a false message. Santa rewards based on merit. Do we want our kids to be good? Yes! The Christian life is a virtuous life. But virtue is not the basis of our reward. Far and away, we have received much more than we deserve. The Bible says that we deserve hell and that anything outside of that is pure grace. What’s even crazier is that God has not only let us out of hell for now, but that He has done so for all eternity through the blood of Jesus Christ. “Good for goodness sake” will never work and will never make us just before a holy God.” Third, Santa elevates the gifts of God over the giver. Santa is not the sovereign creator of all things. The function he plays in the lives of non Christians world-wide is that of gift-giver. You pay him his due, he gives you the goods. Sadly, this is how most in America treat God. We do stuff to get his stuff. But the highest good of the gospel is that we get God. Sin, at is root, is the preference of anything to God. We have exchanged the glory of the Giver for what He gives (Romans 1:18-32).

Santa preaches an anti-gospel message. Now, you may be saying, “If we avoid all of that, what is the problem with having some sort of Santa figure to entertain the kids and give them something to look forward to?” This question shows that we have a light view of sin, holiness and the glory of Christ. Far too often, we only operate with the categories of “sinful” and “good.” We think that if something is lawful then it is automatically profitable. Santa Claus celebrate may not be sin per se and therefore it is fine to do. But that is not what the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:23:
[23] “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.
(1 Corinthians 10:23 ESV)
The context is dealing with lawful practices in the Corinthian church. As Christians, we are free in many regards. We can drink. We can watch TV. Maybe we can teach our kids about Santa. But all of those things can cloud our vision of the God. They may be “ok” but will not serve to get our eyes off of ourselves and onto Jesus. Santa is actually more dangerous than TV watching or drinking. You can have a drink to the glory of God on Christmas Eve, but I am not so sure you can bake cookies for Santa in the same way.

This really gets down to the “why?” Why would you want to let Santa in your house? For all of the sophisticated answers, for most people, it really comes down to tradition. Our families have always done it this way. Our neighbors have always done it this way. In other words, we do Santa Claus just because. But this is a poor way to live the Christian life. We want to be making concerted effort to fight sin and produce sweet thoughts about the gospel of free grace.
Christ offers superior beauty. Leaving Satan out is not the pursuit of less joy but the radical pursuit of more joy. The heavenly hosts proclaimed this the night that Jesus, the eternal second person of the Trinity, was born in a lowly stable:
[14] “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14 ESV)

Christmas does not need Santa’s help. In all of our celebrations, this proclamation of the glory of God should be preeminent. Jesus has come! We see the perfect image of the Father, the One through whom all things were created, lying in a manger to grow up and fulfill the law on our behalf and die on a cross for our sins. God’s being known and and glorified works for our great joy. At Christmastime and every time, God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. If you know Christ this season, let Santa go. Your time will be countercultural, but will give off a supernatural glow. Your salt with be saltier.
John the Baptist seemed to get it. When he saw Christ he said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” Let’s follow suit. Go ahead, put up a tree, buy your family gifts. But open your Bible. Draw your eyes to God. Joy is here. As John Piper put it, “If you think Jesus is boring, you don’t know Him that well.”


 

Colton Corter is a student at SBTS and member of Third Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville.