John Pless on the Distinction Between Law and Gospel

Sorry for the lack of original words from me lately.  Life’s been crazy busy.  So in lieu of originality here’s a gem from John Pless’ “Handling the Word of Truth:”

“When Law and Gospel are rightly divided, the Gospel comes out on top.  The Law must be spoken to diagnose the sin and expose the quackery of every remedy the sinner would devise to mitigate the disease.  But the Law always stands in service of the Gospel…  The Gospel alone can provide healing for the wounds uncovered the Law.  Troubled people with consciences torn by sin and hearts distressed by doubt will find no rest or peace in the Law…  The ultimate aim in our preaching of the Law must be to preach the Gospel…  The Gospel magnifies the merits of Christ and extols His work of redemption.  The Law is all about human beings, our sin, our failure, and ultimately our death.  The Gospel is all about Christ Jesus, His righteousness, His faithfulness, and His atoning death.  Because it is about us, the Law brings terror.  Because it is of Christ, the Gospel brings God’s own consolation and calms the terrified conscience.”

Michael Horton on the Church in America

“I think that the church in America today is so obsessed with being practical, relevant, helpful, successful, and perhaps even well-liked that it nearly mirrors the world itself.  Aside from the packaging, there is nothing that cannot be found in most churches today that could not be satisfied by any number of secular programs and  self-help groups.

Christless Christianity.  Sounds a bit harsh, doesn’t it?  A little shallow, sometimes distracted, even a little human-centered rather than Christ-centered from time to time, but Christless?  Let me be a little more precise about what I am assuming to be the regular diet in many churches across America today: ‘do more, try harder…’ Continue reading

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Talks Transparency

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“The final break-through to fellowship does not occur, because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and as devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners.  The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner.  So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and from the fellowship.  We dare not be sinners.  The Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous.  So we remain alone with our sin, living lies and hypocrisy. The fact is we are sinners! Continue reading

John of Damascus on the Cross

“Every action, therefore, and performance of miracles by Christ are most great and divine and marvelous: but the most marvelous of all is His precious Cross.  For no other thing has subdued death, expiated the sin of the first parent, despoiled Hades, bestowed the resurrection, granted the power to us of contemning the present and even death itself, prepared the return to our former blessedness, opened the gates of Paradise, given our nature a seat at the right hand of God, and made us children and heirs of God, save the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For by the Cross all things have been made right.”

John of Damascus “An Exact Exposition of  the Orthodox Faith