Ad Fontes (Protestant Reformation) – Kevin DeYoung

Sola 13 Conference Playlist:…

Ad Fontes – latin for ‘to the fountains’ or ‘to the sources, from Psalm 42.

VIDEO by Theology, Philosophy and Science

An Affair of the Heart

Matthew 5:27-30 Kevin DeYoung September 28, 2014

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

An Affair of the Heart from URC Web on Vimeo.

What is Theology and How Do We Study It? Kevin DeYoung

August 17, 2014

What is Theology and How Do We Study It? from URC Web on Vimeo.

Calvinism and the puppet and robot analogies

Kevin DeYoung at The Gospel Coalition, on the puppet and robot analogies, and why they don’t work:

It’s true that Calvin, like Augustine before him, believed the will of God to be the necessity of all things. But the Church’s leading theologians have always carefully distinguished between different kinds of necessity. Calvin, for example, though he held to the highest view of God’s sovereignty vehemently rejected any notion of necessity which entailed external coercion or compulsion. In this matter he was simply following Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, and the entire tradition of Christian orthodoxy.

This is why the puppet and robot analogies don’t work, and no Calvinist should own them. While we believe that God’s grace is irresistible and flows from his electing love, we must be clear that this grace renews us from within. It does not coerce us from without. God is not a puppet master pulling on our strings so that we do what he wants apart from our own willing or doing. His will precedes our will, but it does not eradicate it.

Anyone familiar with the Canons of Dort should know that Calvinists do not believe that God works on his people by means of forcible coercion. Instead, we believe that God supernaturally, sovereignly, and irresistibly renews our hearts so that we can feel and choose and do what we ought.


In short, Calvinists have no problem affirming that God does not coerce the love of his human creatures. Where we may differ with others is in our joyous affirmation that our love for God is only possible when God—by mercy alone, through sovereign grace, and by his eternal decree—chooses to love us first.

Read the entire article here –

Desiring God National Conference – Act the Miracle Panel on Sanctification (Video)

The panel videos are always a treasure trove of personal application advice on living life. Here’s just a few examples from this particular panel:

The moment of temptation – James 1:13-15

13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

  • Dr. Russell Moore– I think Satan works in two ways. One of them is in deception. So, you have someone who is deceived in thinking ‘I don’t know, I don’t believe this is going to have consequences, you will not surely die…’ or somehow „i’m special, God’s law doesn’t apply to me in this case’. So, they’re deceived. They don’t see what’s actually happening until it’s too late. And/ or through accusation. That way that the devil accuses us because of our sin. So, either one of those areas leads to the same place which is ultimately to death. So I think the moment of temptation, one problem that people have  is not being aware of the darkness around us. The scripture warns us consistently. But, also to be aware of the possibility of despair. One of the ways that Satan can pin us down in temptation is to start to think of ourselves as an animal: „I don’t have any power over this, I don’t have any control over this, I’m just simply determined to walk in this way.”(13:00)
  • John Piper – I just drew attention to the words ‘No temptation has befallen you but such as is common to man. But God is faithful; He will not suffer you to be tempted beyond that which ye are able to bear, but with the temptation will also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.’ (1 Corinthians 10:13)   I’ve always thought that’s a really provocative way to end the verse, after you’ve used the word escape, to use the word endure. A way of escape may be made so that you may endure. If you got to escape, you’re not enduring anymore. So, my conclusion is that the escape is the power to endure. The word for endure means- you’re being pressed about without being crushed. I’m feeling pressed by external or internal something and endurance means I’m not gonna give up here, I’m not gonna squash. And that’s the escape. The Lord gives that. (23:00)

The role of commandments in sanctification and obedience

  • John Piper: To tell you what you ought to do. (25:00)
  • Kevin Deyoung: Theologians talk about the law being used in different ways. (26:00)
  1. One way is a restraint of wickedness. You get these commandments in some kind of common grace it restrains you from everything you might want to do
  2. Second, what we think of most in the law-gospel distinction. The commands come at us and we say, „I don’t live up to that, I don’t love my neighbor as myself, I don’t love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, I don’t obey the 10 commandments. I need a Savior.” It shows you a need for a Savior. You run to Christ.
  3. And then, the third use which is in the various historically reformed confessions and also in the Lutheran ones (which is sometimes overlooked) is that the law is also given to us as the perfect rule of righteousness. And, there’s a lot of difficult, theological layers. Because, what do we mean by the law, for example?  The law can mean the Torah- the first five books of the Bible, it can mean the Mosaic Covenant, it can mean just commands, and what do we mean as an instrument of our sanctification? The law’s not giving us the power to obey, but, it is giving us the blueprint. It is pointing us along the path. It is telling us how we ought to live. In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul can do this back and forth, „I’m not under the law, but I’m under the law of Christ.” There’s a sense in which he’s saying the Mosaic covenant is not our covenant. I’m not under law, but I don’t want to do away with commandments. I’m still under the law of Christ. And he wants to hold out for us. So, when he gets to Romans 13 he talks about love, he says, „Love is fulfilled in these commandments and these commandments, he lists half of the decalogue is fulfilled in love.” So, if people want to know what it’s like to love your neighbor, you have to go to some of the commandments and if you really want to obey the commandments, you have to talk about loving your neighbor. I wouldn’t quite say they’re interchangeable, but you have to talk about both if you’re gonna talk about either in a biblical way. And I would say, that is the heart of the third use of the law.
  4. So, commands- the New Testament is full of them. God still gives them to us. We just need to obey them, as one hoping to live out all that we are in Christ, and not as one hoping to prove or hoping to earn some sort of status in Christ. So, the law leads to Gospel. But, if you look at the exodus, the Gospel also leads to law because He set them free from Egypt, He didn’t tell them, „Clean up your act, obey the 10 commandments for 400 years and I’ll set you free.” He set them free and then He led them to Sinai and then He said, „Now, you’re to worship Me and here’s what it looks like”.

The role of striving in a christian life

  • Dr. Russell Moore: There is a tendency and there is a danger, because we tend as christians to ping back and forth between extremes and we tend to react to the last bad thing that I encountered. And so, people that grew up in churches in which the Gospel was for unbelievers, and then everybody else was living according to rules or principles, or however this was laid out in that congregation, tend to want to move away form that and say, „We have the Gospel, we are received and accepted in Christ,  we believe the Gospel and so everything else comes almost organically, reflexively and so there’s a tendency to not want to talk about pleasing God or about the commandments of God and then, those people’s children react to that with, „We need to have holiness. Let’s have rules and regulations,” and eclipse the Gospel. Instead, you have both of those things. You have a Gospel that frees us and it tells us who we are in Christ. It tells us what has been done for us. But, that grace that has freed us, has freed us to live out a life in Christ that is defined by the word of Christ. By what it is that He tells us to do.And so, we believe and because we believe, we’re obedient. Pastor Piper’s book ‘Future Grace’ is one of the most helpful things in print about the fact that, because we believe God, who has spoken to us about how we can be freed from condemnation, and how we’re made right, we also then believe Him when He tells us what is best for us, as we move toward the future that He has for us. (29:00)
  • John Piper: As I’ve thought about this most recently, what’s been helpful is to notice that the phrase ‘by faith’ is a definer of the verb ‘live’. For example, Galatians 2:20 the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. The ‘living’ and the ‘faith’ are not the same. The Bible says, „Strive to enter by the narrow gate.” You just take that word ‘strive’ and say ‘believe harder’. Well, it doesn’t work that way because you have descriptions of the christian life that use verbs of ‘doing’ or ‘living’ by faith. So ‘faith’ becomes the instrument or the empowerment for living or doing. We walk by faith and not by sight. So, the walking is not the same as the believing. I’m walking by believing. That means then practically, that the way the will is engaged in obedience is not simply by believing. For example, you’ve decided that the command of ‘visit this person in prison’ or ‘welcome this refugee’ into your home’, os something else. And it involves the motion of your body. The legs have to flex and you must get up, open the door, get in the car, turn the key, take some time… These are all physical actions that have in and of themselves no moral significance whatsoever. But, they are what you are called upon to do. They’re getting you towards doing something. Now, the question is not merely believing. I must do that by faith. That’s why I wrote the book (Future Grace). What does it mean to turn the key by faith, to open the door by faith, to drive a car by faith, go to a prison by faith or a sick person by faith? It also, your will is telling your muscles to do things. And, you’re doing them. And that takes some exertion. It’s painful. It’s hard to deny yourself a comfortable evening at home when you think you should go to the hospital, or something. Here’s where the rubber meets the road for me: The alarm goes off. I’ve had the grace to set it early for meeting God in the morning. It goes off and I am absolutely dead tired. My mind and body make an absolutely compelling case for why sleep is more needful than the Bible. Now, what do you do at that moment? You, by faith get out of bed. Well, for me that would mean believing the promise that it is more blessed to be with my Bible than to be in bed. Believe it. Having believed that, now what? Believing that will get you out of bed. But not before you say to your legs, „Flop over the edge of the bed legs! Flop! Do it now! Do it! ” That really is what it comes down to when you’re getting up in the morning. After you believe, your will tells your body to do things, or NOT. And, that’s why I think it’s over simplistic, it’s flattening, it’s reductionistic to say that that battle is only fought in terms of ‘believe the Gospel more’ or ‘believe the promise more’. It is believe the promise, convince yourself it is more blessed. That’s gonna produce the motivation to get you out of bed, but, then the will says to your legs- who are saying back to you ‘NO, I’m not’- ‘Yes you are.’You sit there and you watch yourself talk to yourself and watch your muscles act in obedience.  (32:00)
  • Kevin DeYoung – I don’t think any of us are in danger of ‘we’re working too hard’.  That may sound, not quite right theologically, but here’s what I mean. We can be in danger of striving, of working, of of being diligent and we can get it wrong in a couple of ways. One, is to do it without faith- legalism or we can not be working at all the things that we ought to be working at. (devotions, family, etc) (38:00)


  • John Piper: The principle that I think we should keep in mind that the warfare against sin, for holiness is a warfare to be fought in the moment with the Bible, and in the background with the Bible. In other words, daily meditation on Scripture is tilling the garden in which the flowers of holiness grows. And if a rabbit, at 3 o clock in the afternoon comes along to try and chew down this beautiful flower, you kill it. And you kill it with a verse that you remember from the morning. So its the ‘both’ ‘and’. Sometimes we can only do one. We need the Bible when challenged in some way of impatience or unkindness and I need a verse to kill that sin. Yes, you do and I do. I also need to be stocking that arsenal and just sweetening my sour heart every morning. So, just those 2 things, by way of principle- we’re pursuing a sweetening, humbling, nourishing, strengthening, and those are just adjectives of which there are 1000 of things that God is doing in our hearts when we read the Bible, and we don’t know He’s doing. And then, through the day, we need particular daggers that we stick Satan with when he’s trying to make us do something we shouldn’t do. (2:00)
  • John Piper: Someone may have mentioned the inspiration of other people’s holiness. And I’m thinking right now of histories and biographies. So, a means of grace for me, few things outside the Bible inspire me to want to be something that I’m not, as biographies of people who in all their sinfulness have conquered some sin, or conquered some weakness and have glorified Christ more because of it. So, I’m stirred and want to press on and fight the fight by stories of people I read in history who have done that.  (11:10)
  • Kevin DeYoung: Don’t pass up those promptings to pray. Sometimes I get it at night, this feeling, ” I need to go pray, I need to think through this” and the thought comes, „I’ll do that in the morning.”  Second thing, very practically, we’re all different, but the practical thing that has helped my prayer life the most  has been not sitting down while I’m doing it. I walk… I wish that I could wake up and have great times in prayer, but I get great times of sleepiness that come and so I walk, and you go out and walk 25 minutes and you’ve got 25 minutes to come back… walking has helped me immensely. (5:00)
  • Dr. Russell Moore: Hymns- I find often that the power of hymns and songs comes not in the moment in which I’m singing them, but, later when they sort of just show up in some primal place inside of me, often very, very convicting. Just a few weeks ago, I was driving along and I was having a really hard time in terms of self pity and anxiety about something and I had my iPod just set to random music and all of a sudden an old hymn from my tradition ‘Just as I am’ came on, which I had heard every single Sunday, 50 verses of it at the end of every service as a child. But, it just pierced through to me because I thought, „I don’t believe that right now,” that I am standing here, just as I am, without one plea, except that your blood was shed for me. It moved to this point of repentance and conviction that I’m not sure simply thinking about it would have gotten to me so quickly.  (12:00)

Kevin DeYoung – Incentives for Acting the Miracle from Desiring God Conference September 28-30, 2012

source: By John Piper. ©2012 Desiring God Foundation. Website:

View/Read John Piper’s Conference messages here-

  1. John Piper – Putting Sanctification in Its Place – Part 1 of 2 from the Desiring God Conference September 28-30, 2012
  2. John Piper – Future Grace, the Word of the Cross, and the Purifying Power of God’s Promises – Part 2 of 2 from the Desiring God Conference September 28-30, 2012

Some great points from Kevin DeYoung’s message (see full transcript below): God has a vision of holiness. As we would grow to share in this holiness that belongs to God, that we are in Christ and now we start to look like Christ. So those are the commands. But, what does Paul do, and what does God do by the Holy Spirit, through Paul to get us from here to there? There is holiness- put away, anger, malice, immorality. Put on love, patience, gentleness. What does he do to get us from here- we don’t have those things and we’re more sinful than we think, and we’re less gracious than we realize and he wants to get us over here. Well, he doesn’t just give a long list of commands; he gives motivation. He gives theology. If you don’t care about theology, you don’t care about holiness. Because, what God does is to give the Colossians lots of theology to stir them up to this new kind of life.

He says in verse 1 – „You have been raised with Christ, so seek the things that are above, with Christ seated at the throne above. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth”. You see the motivation? Set your mind on heavenly things. Why? Because you have been raised form the grave with Christ, you have been raised in His ascension, so that you now are seated in the heavenly places with Christ.

  • So, here’s the logic: If you reside in heaven now with Christ, why are you making choices as if you lived in hell?
  • Your placement with Christ is a motivation for your progress in Christ likeness.
  • And God will say .. to you, „Do you know where you are?” You’re seated with Christ. You’ve been raised with Him where He is. Shouldn’t where you are make a difference to what you’re like?
  • You have to picture Christ on the cross and see Him hanging there not only for the penalty of your sin, but FROM the power of that sin
  • Some people have a very hard time understanding that threats and warnings in Scripture are there for our sanctification.
  • „Shouldn’t we be emphasizing God’s grace? Isn’t it all of grace?” And I say, „Yes! And what makes you think the warning of God’s wrath is not His grace to you?”

Kevin DeYoung (my full transcript):

One of the aims of this message is to correct a problem. The problem is this: Believing, preaching, praying, counseling, and self diagnosing as if there were only one proper motivation for holiness.

That’s a problem not always stated explicitly. It sometimes seeps into our bloodstream and how we do ministry, or how we speak to others, or to ourselves. And, if proper is too strong a word, we might say ‘best, deepest, pious, truest, ultimate motivation. Is there only one? My concern is that as we try to help people on their journey to sanctification, we not unnecessarily limit ourselves. I fear that we often remove some of the tools from our sanctification tool belt, or we set aside some of the weapons of our warfare. Or that we flatten the promises and commands and warnings of scripture, so that we no longer say all that the Bible allows us to say and would have us say.

I think of it like this: Jesus is our great physician. And, as any good doctor, He knows how to write different prescriptions for different illnesses. Jesus knows what we need, He has many doses at His disposal. God knows personalities and sins and situations. And so He is gracious to come at us with all sorts of truth, from all sorts of angles to make us more like Christ. Jesus has many medicines for our motivations. Good doctors can give lots of different prescriptions and what I fear is that we may get locked in a ‘one size fits all’ approach to our growth in godliness. And we may even stumble upon a true, good, biblical motivation. But, if we make it the only one, we will be short circuiting our sanctification.

Sanctification at the micro level

Let me give you a few short examples:

  1. Duty. Luke 17:10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” Eclesiastes 12:13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. We do have a duty, something that is required of us before God. We owe Him our obedience. He is God, we are not. So, duty’s not bad. But, it’s far from the normal way in which God speaks of His commandments. He doesn’t just come our way and say, „I’m the Lord, your God, so you’d better do it!” Think of what He says in the 10 commandments, „I am the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt,” don’t miss that part. Before He gives us a list; God doesn’t just give us a bald list of commands, „Here you go, top 10 commands, for Christians, there it is”. He starts by saying, „I am the Lord your god, your God… I brought you out of Egypt…Do not worship anything or anyone else”. He’ll say, „Don’t bow down to graven images.” Why? „Because I am a jealous God and I visit iniquity, visit the sin in the third and fourth generation and I show steadfast love to thousands of generations.” „Do not take the name of the Lord, your God in vain. Observe the Sabbath day,”  and in Exodus ‘observe the 7th day’ because God rested on the 7th day. Deuteronomy says, „Take a beak, give your people a break because you were slaves once too, so don’t be treating your servants like they’re slaves. Honor your mother and father, that it may go well with you.” So, God comes at us, not just with a list of commandments, but with many reasons for those commandments.
  2. Gratitude. Romans 12:1 – I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. I believe he is hearkening back to all of the promises in Romans 1 through 11, all of the massive truth there, in view of those realities in in gratitude for them. Ephesians 5:4- Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. Thanksgiving, gratitude helps to squeeze  out what is mean and bitter and nasty. So, whatever problems you may have, if you’re an angry person, one of your problems is gratitude problem. But, gratitude by itself is not enough. It can quickly turn into s debtor’s ethic. i.e. All this has been given to me by God, so the rest of my life I’m trying to prove how thankful I am. Or, there is a tendency, with gratitude as your only motivation that you only look backwards at what has happened. So duty is fine, gratitude is good, but not by themselves as the only motivation.
  3. Justification. It is gloriously true that we are accepted before God because of the work of Christ alone, the benefits of which we receive through faith alone, by grace alone. That ought to be our sweet song and confession at all times. And, this is a MAJOR motivation for holiness. If we are accepted by God, we don’t have to live for the approval of others. If there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus, then we don’t have to fear the disappointment of others. So there’s no doubt that justification is fuel for our sanctification. But, it is not the only kind of fuel we can put in the tank. If we only remind people of our acceptance before God, we will flatten the contours of Scripture and we will be poor physicians of souls.

James 4:1- What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? James is saying, „Because you have now come to grips with your acceptance.” He says, „But, you’re covetous, you’re selfish, you want things that you don’t have, you’re demanding, you’re in love with the world. You’re envious”. That’s what’s going on with your heart right now.

The problem is that we fall into this risk of thinking that there is just one need, there is just one motivation. It’s the same problem, but on a different level that some of christian psychology fell into- assuming a universal needs theory. Sin is always an expression of unbelief. But, there are lots of God’s promises I can be disbelieving at any moment: His promise to accept me in Christ, His promise to judge the wicked or His promise to come again, or His promise to give me an inheritance, or His promise to turn everything to my good. To remind each other of justification is never a wrong answer, it is a precious remedy. But, it is not the only one that we need and it is not the only one that Scripture offers.

Colossians 3– We see in this chapter and we see in so many chapters the multiplicity of biblical motivations for holiness. The first part of the chapter, verses 1 through 17 give a macro level view of how God motivates us. It deals with general commands, general principles. And then, the last part of the chapter- the household code, verses 18 and following, gives us the micro level view where you zero in on the family and day to day life and see how God gives specific motivations for specific commands.

At the macro level– first thing to notice is that this passage is full of imperatives. Paul wants the Colossians to live a certain way. He doesn’t assume that just by telling them the good news of the Gospel, that it will happen. He goes on to tell them what it should look like. He wants them to grow in sanctification. So look at the commands here:

  • verse 2 Set your minds on things that are above
  • verse 5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you. That means immorality, impurity, evil desire, idolatry, covetousness
  • verse 8 put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
  • verse 9 Do not lie
  • verse 12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness,humility, meekness, and patience
  • verse 15 let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
  • verse 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
  • verse 17 do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God

The whole passage is a long series of statements with imperatival force. God has a vision of holiness. As we would grow to share in this holiness that belongs to God, that we are in Christ and now we start to look like Christ. So those are the commands. But, what does Paul do, and what does God do by the Holy Spirit, through Paul to get us from here to there? There is holiness- put away, anger, malice, immorality. Put on love, patience, gentleness. What does he do to get us from here- we don’t have those things and we’re more sinful than we think, and we’re less gracious than we realize and he wants to get us over here. Well, he doesn’t just give a long list of commands; he gives motivation. He gives theology. If you don’t care about theology, you don’t care about holiness. Because, what God does is to give the Colossians lots of theology to stir them up to this new kind of life. (20:11 minute mark)

  1. You’ve been raised up – He says in verse 1 – „You have been raised with Christ, so seek the things that are above, with Christ seated at the throne above. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth”. You see the motivation? Set your mind on heavenly things. Why? Because you have been raised form the grave with Christ, you have been raised in His ascension, so that you now are seated in the heavenly places with Christ.  So, here’s the logic: If you reside in heaven now with Christ, why are you making choices as if you lived in hell? Your placement with Christ is a motivation for your progress in Christ likeness. He wants to remind the Colossians, „Do you know where you are this morning? And God will say that to you, „Do you know where you are?” You’re seated with Christ. You’ve been raised with Him where He is. Shouldn’t where you are make a difference what you’re like? 
  2. You’ve died – Then in verse 3 he says, „You’ve died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God to turn from your past and sin and your unrighetousness„. You have to do more than just turn the page. People say you have to turn over a new leaf. No, you have to consider your old self dead, buried. You have to picture Christ on the cross and see Him hanging there not only for the penalty of your sin, but FROM the power of that sin. And you have to see, hanging up there on that cross with Christ is the ‘you’ that was into drugs, and the you that manipulated people, and the you that was angry all the time and the you that was filled with bitterness, and the you that lived from sensuality to sensuality. That you is dead. You died.
  3. Consider what you will become – You see now, verse 4 „When Christ, who is your life appears, you will also appear with Him in glory”. So, this motivation is working in the opposite direction. Instead of considering what you once were and how you are dead, now, you consider what you will become.  What you will be like when your Christ comes and you appear with Him in glory. There’s a better you that you’re getting to. That’s why, as you’ve heard last night, sanctification and glorification are all of a piece- the process of making you perfectly glorified, fit for heaven, for all eternity is under way now. And so, Paul motivates by saying, „Think of who you will be when Christ appears. Think of whom you will be, that man, that woman, that child, without sin, without all of the anger and the bitterness that you have now. Now, think of that you”. Isn’t that what we do when we have a goal in life. 1 John 3:2 „Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared. But, we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him because we shall see Him as He is”. 
  4. Consider God’s wrath – Here is a different kind of motivation, he tells them to put away these earthly desires and in verse 6 he says, „On account of these, the wrath of God is coming”. Some people have a very hard time understanding that threats and warnings in Scripture are there for our sanctification. You try to piece together, „I thought we have eternal security and God’s gonna keep us and He’s going to preserve us, to the end”. That’s wonderfully, absolutely true. And how do you think He preserves the elect to the end? By warning them of what will happen if they did not. In God’s people, these warnings stir up something in their hearts so that says, „Oh Lord, You would be just to judge and keep me in the love of God, even as You keep me in the love of God”. The warnings are God’s means of preserving the saints. Sometimes, in an effort to be Gospel centered we shy away from the warnings in Scripture. Some of you may desperately need to hear about your new identity in Christ, you need to hear how much God loves you in Jesus and there may be others of you that you need to hear, „Look, the way you are living right now, and the stuff that you are into right now, this is why the wrath of God is coming. Coming for people who do things like those you are living for. His wrath will be poured out on the earth for the things you think are no big deal. Some people need the literal hell scared out of them. But you say, „Shouldn’t we be emphasizing God’s grace? Isn’t it all of grace?” And I say, „Yes! And what makes you think the warning of God’s wrath is not His grace to you?” If you are not giving to yourself, or to your friends or to your people all of the grace that God has for you. If you are not warning them of what God will do, and what He will pour out upon those who are found to be unrighteous and unbelieving.
  5. You are a new creation in Christ. Paul goes on in verse 9 & 10 to describe the reality as a new creation in Christ.
  6. Christ is in all of you. In verse 11, „that’s why you are to bear with one another and love one another, and maintain unity with one another„.
  7. Consider your identity as God’s chosen ones, holy. Don’t pass by that verse 12. Pay attention to what God calls us: Chosen ones, holy, beloved. There’s a difference in how a coach can talk to a player. That’s how I picture God, pulling us in and saying, „Listen, my chosen ones, my holy ones, my beloved ones…” Don’t you know this parents, how a father can pull aside his son and those identity words can make all the difference? You can bark out commands to your son or you can say, „Look, you are my son and I love you with all of my heart. And you are my special boy and you are special, smart and I am so proud of you. And you will always be my child and I will always be your daddy, but, we gotta talk about some of the things you’re doing.” That’ll get their attention. God comes at you and He doesn’t just yell out commands. He says, „My chosen ones. I chose you before the foundation of the world. You had nothing good in you that I should choose you, but, in order to set my affection on you, that you might be my treasured possession, I chose you. I count you holy in Christ  and you are beloved to me.
  8. verse 13, Paul says, „We’ve been forgiven, so we ought to forgive. verse 14 „consider what love does, it binds things together in harmony. verse 15 „consider you are one body, so therefore be at peace”.

Do you see the multiplicity of motivations coming from a dozen different angles to get us from here to there? To move one itty, bitty degree of glory to the next? God doesn’t just say, „Here’s the list and just do it”. He says, „Let me tell you all the reasons why”. Here’s a simpler way of looking at what God did. Step back and think for a moment here at what God is doing in Colossians. He basically does three things:

  1. He tells them what was- you died, you were raised, you’re not your old self
  2. He tells them what is- you’re in heaven, you’re in Christ, you’re a new creation, you’re one body
  3. and He tells them what will be- the wrath of God is coming, and Christ is coming, and the glorious appearing is coming, and an inheritance is coming

(transcript from first half of the video) What follows – Sanctification at macro level from Colossians text.

Related articles from the same conference

Related articles by Kevin DeYoung and others

The Christian pursuit of godliness

The Hole in Our Holiness

Kevin DeYoung talks with Justin Taylor about the Christian pursuit of godliness:

Quote: There is a lack of emphasis in the evangelical world… a lack of emphasis on sanctification, personal holiness, so I think of Hebrews 12:14 to ‘seek the holiness without which we will not see the Lord’. I don’t see that kind of urgency, I am speaking to my own heart, my own congregation and self .. that without holiness we will not see the Lord. Most people would say, „That’s absolutely right, but that’s the imputed righteousness of Christ, which we certainly believe in with all our hearts, but, that’s no way what Hebrews 12 is talking about, because the context is discipline, the verbs are active- to strive and to seek, and I just don’t hear us with that sense of urgency about holiness. There’s this category of people who will not see the Lord without holiness and I want to be in the category to ‘see the Lord’…

Justin Taylor’s final question: Somebody’s watching this. They believe they should be holy and they wanna be holy, they wanna pursue righteousness, they want to not be in bondage to sin. They love Jesus, they keep falling in the same pattern. What would you say about how to pursue holiness and how to pursue the Lord?

Kevin gives some quick bullet points (@end of video):

  • Understanding motivation and how the Bible motivates us and sometimes we can just truncate it to just 1 or 2- maybe it’s gratitude, maybe it’s just justification. But, really, there are dozens and dozens of ways in which the Bible motivates us. It motivates us because of the fear of God, because of our acceptance before God, because of Jesus’ example, because of the love of the brothers, because of our witness to the church, because it pleases God. I think we’ve really lost the sense that we can grieve the Spirit, even as believers, we can live in a way that displeases God and we’ve lost sight of the opposite, that when you seek God, when you seek holiness, when you are growing in practical righteousness God is pleased. God smiles upon that.
  • To more fully incorporate the doctrine of the union with Christ. And, thankfully, there’s a lot of good things written now about union with Christ. But, I think the central tenet about sanctification in the New Testament is to be who you are. Be who you are, in Christ, living out that new identity. So, I think there’s a lot of really important theology, and then flowing out into practical action from that doctrine.
  • Finally, I would say, very practically, that we look at what we call ‘the ordinary means of grace’. God does extraordinary things through that ordinary means.

There’s this relationship between abiding and obeying. They’re almost synonymous in the Gospels. If someone wants to obey, you abide. If someone wants to abide, you obey. So, sometimes you start living like it and the rest of the affections come behind you.

The Hole in Our Holiness from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.

Kevin DeYoung Tweet on Scripture

Kevin DeYoungKevin DeYoung@RevKevDeYoung  on twitter yesterday:

Scripture is not man’s feeble attempt

to know God;

it is God’s effective effort to be known.

Why the historicity of Adam is important

Adam and Eve Are Driven out of Eden by Gustave...

Adam and Eve Are Driven out of Eden by Gustave Dore. Picture portrayed over passage in Genesis. And he placed at the east of the Garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life (Gen. 3:24). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

via Christian Post By Kevin DeYoung , CP Guest Contributor (article 2/9/12)

In recent years, several self-proclaimed evangelicals, or those associated with evangelical institutions, have called into question the historicity of Adam and Eve. It is said that because of genomic research we can no longer believe in a first man called Adam from whom the entire human race has descended.

I’ll point to some books at the end which deal with thescience end of the question, but the most important question is what does the Bible teach. Without detailing a complete answer to that question, let me suggest ten reasons why we should believe that Adam was a true historical person and the first human being.

1. The Bible does not put an artificial wedge between history and theology. Of course, Genesis is not a history textbook or a science textbook, but that is far from saying we ought to separate the theological wheat from the historical chaff. Such a division owes to the Enlightenment more than the Bible.

2. The biblical story of creation is meant to supplant other ancient creation stories more than imitate them. Moses wants to show God’s people „this is how things really happened.” The Pentateuch is full of warnings against compromise with the pagan culture. It would be surprising, then, for Genesis to start with one more mythical account of creation like the rest of the ANE.

3. The opening chapters of Genesis are stylized, but they show no signs of being poetry. Compare Genesis 1 with Psalm 104, for example, and you’ll see how different these texts are. It’s simply not accurate to call Genesis poetry. And even if it were, who says poetry has to be less historically accurate?

4. There is a seamless strand of history from Adam in Genesis 2 to Abraham in Genesis 12. You can’t set Genesis 1-11 aside as prehistory, not in the sense of being less than historically true as we normally understand those terms. Moses deliberately connects Abram with all the history that comes before him, all the way back to Adam and Eve in the garden.

5. The genealogies in 1 Chronicles 1 and Luke 3 treat Adam as historical.

6. Paul believed in a historical Adam (Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:21-22, 45-49). Even some revisionists are honest enough to admit this; they simply maintain that Paul (and Luke) were wrong.

7. The weight of the history of interpretation points to the historicity of Adam. The literature of second temple Judaism affirmed an historical Adam. The history of the church’s interpretation also assumes it.

8. Without a common descent we lose any firm basis for believing that all people regardless of race or ethnicity have the same nature, the same inherent dignity, the same image of God, the same sin problem, and that despite our divisions we are all part of the same family coming from the same parents.

9. Without a historical Adam, Paul’s doctrine of original sin and guilt does not hold together.

10. Without a historical Adam, Paul’s doctrine of the second Adam does not hold together.

Christians may disagree on the age of the earth, but whether Adam ever existed is a gospel issue. Tim Keller is right:

[Paul] most definitely wanted to teach us that Adam and Eve were real historical figures. When you refuse to take a biblical author literally when he clearly wants you to do so, you have moved away from the traditional understanding of the biblical authority. . . .If Adam doesn’t exist, Paul’s whole argument-that both sin and grace work ‘covenantally’-falls apart. You can’t say that ‘Paul was a man of his time’ but we can accept his basic teaching about Adam. If you don’t believe what he believes about Adam, you are denying the core of Paul’s teaching. (Christianity Today June 2011)

If you want to read more about the historical Adam debate, check out Did Adam and Eve Really Exist? by C. John Collins.

For more on the relationship between faith and science, you may want to look at one of the following:

John C. Lennox, God’s Undertake: Has Science Buried God?
Should Christians Embrace Evolution: Biblical and Scientific Responses, edited by Norman C. Nevin
God and Evolution, edited by Jay Richards
Vern S. Poythress, Redeeming Science: A God-Centered Approach
C. John Collins, Science and Faith: Friend or Foes

NEXT Conference Orlando, Florida May 26-29, 2012

The Very Last Next

The final NEXT Conference, Hosted by Sovereign Grace Ministries is taking place  in Orlando, Florida May 26-29. You can buy session passes for the individual sessions onsite for $30.  We will be posting links to any audio/video as it becomes available.

You can listen to audio of NEXT Conference 2011 sessions here –

You can see the Session Schedules here –

Featured session speakers:

  • C.J. Mahaney

“The Church and Disappointment”When Expectations Collide With Reality
C.J. Mahaney leads Sovereign Grace Ministries in their mission to establish and support local churches.

  • Matt Chandler

“The Church and Culture”Reaching Out Without Selling Out
Matt Chandler is a lead pastor of The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, and is the author of The Explicit Gospel.

  • Kevin DeYoung

“The Church and Friendship”How Not to be a Stupid Friend“The Church and Holiness”Why Jesus Says We Need It and Why We Don’t Want To Talk About It
Kevin DeYoung pastors University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan, and is the co-author of What is the Mission of the Church?

See the list of other speakers here –

Together for the Gospel – Thabiti Anyabwile – Will Your Gospel Transform a Terrorist? Kevin DeYoung – Spirit-Powered, Gospel-Driven, Faith-Fueled Effort

by Together for the Gospel (T4G) (68 minutes)

Kevin DeYoung

Spirit-Powered, Gospel-Driven, Faith-Fueled Effort

Thabiti Anyabwile

Will Your Gospel Transform a Terrorist?

There Never Was Such Another – The Story of Charles and Sarah Hodges

Portrait of Charles Hodge by the studio of Mat...

Image via Wikipedia

There Never Was Such Another. Kevin DeYoung from the Gospel Coalition describes Charles Hodge with his fifty-one year-old dying wife Sarah.

The next death that visited Hodge was infinitely dearer to him. On Christmas Day 1849, just four months after her return to Princeton with her daughter and grandchild, Sarah “softly & sweetly fell asleep in Jesus.” She most probably fell victim to uterine cancer.

Sarah’s health had begun to deteriorate soon after her return, and by December her condition was such that Hodge had lost all hope of recovery. In her final weeks, he personally nursed Sarah, spending countless hours simply lying next to her. During these times, he held her hand, and conversed with her when she had the strength. The depth of their love remained so intense that Hodge later commented that “to the last she was like a girl in love.” During her final weeks, Sarah asked Hodge to tell her in detail “how much you love me,” and they spent time recounting the high points of their life together.

Hodge’s last hours with his wife were particularly poignant. As her life ebbed away, Sarah looked at her children gathered around her bed and quietly murmured “I give them to God.” Hodge then asked her if she had thought him a devoted husband to which she replied as “she sweetly passed her hand over” his face: “There never was such another.” (Charles Hodge, 258)

Do you believe in the existence of a literal hell? (I believe what’s in this video)

Justin Taylor was the first to sound the alarm. I have been following his blog and reading his commentary daily for years. His posts are uplifting and Scriptural, sometimes he quotes and writes about the saints that have gone before us, sometimes he reviews books and contemporary issues (as he is editorial director and associate publisher at Crossway Books, most recently served as managing editor for the ESV Study Bible. some awesome accomplishments for his age), but  always through a Biblical lens. Last week he correctly pointed out something about Mega Church Pastor Rob Bell that echoed through the Christian community, publishing houses and hallways of major newspapers, including the New York Times. Considering the subject – Hell (or the non existence of it) it is not that surprising. If there is no hell, maybe I don’t have to try and be so good and keep myself from all those sinful pleasures everyone else around me is enjoying?–There are deceived Christians who actually think that way and are always looking for the way out, not realizing they are already on the outside of Christ’s presence and in danger of falling away. Kevin DeYoung also wrote a piece agreeing with Justin Taylor :

Rob Bell is right about one thing: what you believe about heaven and hell says a lot about what you believe about God. That’s why theological error of this magnitude cannot go unchecked. The God of the Vimeo clip (promoting the new book)is not a God of wrath, not a God of eternal recompense, not a God who showed us love in sending his Son to be a propitiation for our wretched sins, not a God whose will it was to crush the Suffering Servant in an exercise of divine justice and free grace. Indeed, says Bell—even if he says it with a question—such a God could not be good.

Here is a short piece from Ann

Rob Bell, pastor of Grand Rapids’ 10,000-member Mars Hill Bible Church and author of the popular Nooma video series, has sparked a frenzy among evangelical leaders over his yet-to-be-released book, „Love Wins,” according to the New York Times.

Bell describes the dogma that “a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell,” as „misguided and toxic,” the article said.

Based on book summaries and a promotional video, Christian blogger Justin Taylor wrote that Bell “is moving farther and farther away from anything resembling biblical Christianity.” Dozens of other theologians chimed in, and the name Rob Bell quickly became of the top ten trending topics on Twitter.

The heresy of Universalism strikes again. I was shocked when watching an ABC News Nightline debate ‘Does Satan exist?‘ with Mark Driscoll, Deepak Chopra  (who does not believe in Satan or sin, and who says people should have no guilt or shame, but who also wrote a book about Jesus that bookstores promoted heavily) and Carlton Pearson , a Pentecostal who attended Oral Roberts University and Due to his stated belief in universal reconciliation, Pearson was declared a heretic by his peers in 2004 and rapidly began to lose his influence in ministry. He then switched denomination and became a Universalist.

This 6 minute Paul Washer video seems to be a very appropriate response for me. As with all Paul Washer sermons, the word of God preached by him is piercing and convicting. And I thank the Lord for young godly men such as Justin Taylor and Kevin DeYoung who in the tradition of Paul ‘are not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ’ and can call out (someone who was one of their own) blatant heresy when they see it and point people to the real Christ (through his teachings) of the Bible.

Videourile Vodpod nu mai sunt disponibile.

Listen to an audio panel discussion

Universalism and the Reality of Eternal Punishment,

featuring John Piper, Sinclair Ferguson,Greg Livingstone, and others.

Some more articles on the subject (of hell):

Two good books on the subject: Faith comes by hearing, by Christopher Morgan and Jesus; The only way to God: Must you hear the gospel to be saved? by John Piper.

Distinguishing Marks of a Quarrelsome Person (via) Kevin DeYoung

Kevin DeYoung from a post on the Gospel Coalition website on Feb 24,2011

Our evening service was canceled last week because of the snow. The portion below is an edited portion of the larger sermon, a message on conflict from Proverbs. I thought it was worth posting (although now I haven’t preached it yet) as a follow-up to Tuesday’s post.


Quarrels don’t just happen. People make them happen.

Of course, there are honest disagreements and agree-to-disagree propositions, but that’s not what the Bible means by quarreling. While studying Proverbs recently I was struck by the fact that most of the advice about conflict is not on how to resolve it, but how to avoid it.

Quarrels, at least in Proverbs, are unnecessary arguments, the kind that honorable men stay away from (17:14; 20:3). These fights aren’t the product of a loving rebuke or a principled conviction. These quarrels arise because people are quarrelsome. Some Christians have a lifeline to Speedway and love to pour gasoline on every tiny spark of conflict.

You don’t have to be a card-carrying member of the nice Nazis to believe that quarreling is wrong. You only have to believe the Bible (James 4:1). Hot-headed, divisive Christians are not pleasing to God (Proverbs 6:19). We are told to drive them out (22:10) and avoid such people (Rom. 16:17). This doesn’t mean we only huddle with the people we like. We are not talking about awkward folks or those who disagree with us. We are talking about quarrelsome Christians–habitually disagreeable, divisive, hot-headed church people.

So what does a quarrelsome person look like? What are his (or her) distinguishing marks?

1. You defend every conviction with the same degree of intensity. You don’t talk about secondary issues, because there are no secondary issues.

2. You are quick to speak and slow to listen. You rarely ask questions and when you do it is to accuse or to continue prosecuting your case. You are not looking to learn, you are looking to defend, dominate, and destroy.

3. Your only model for ministry and faithfulness is the showdown on Mount Carmel. There is a place for sarcasm, but when Elijah with the prophets of Baal is your spiritual hero you may end up mocking people instead of making arguments.

4. You are incapable of seeing nuances and you do not believe in qualifying statements.

5. You never give the benefit of the doubt. You do not try to read arguments in context. You put the worst possible construct on other’s motives and the meaning of their words.

6. You have no unarticulated opinions.

7. You are unable to sympathize with your opponents.

8. Your first instinct is to criticize. Your last is to encourage.

9. You have a small grid and everything fits in it. Everything is a social justice issue; everything relates to the regulative principle, everything is Obama’s fault; everything is wrong because of patriarchy; everything comes down to one thing–my thing.

10. You derive a sense of satisfaction and spiritual safety in being rejected and marginalized. You are constitutionally unable to be demonstrably fruitful in ministry and you will never affirm those who appear to be. You only know how to relate to God as a remnant.

11.You are always in the trenches with hand grenades strapped to your chest, never in the mess hall with ice cream and ping pong. Remember G.K. Chesterton: “We have to feel the universe at once as an ogre’s castle, to be stormed, and yet as our own cottage, to which we can return to at evening.”

12. You have never changed your mind on an important matter.

Just some food for thought. I know I choke on my own words at times.

Kevin DeYoung on preaching advice from Martyn Lloyd Jones

De ce predicile si scrierile lui Kevin DeYoung aduc roade- Pentru ca el isi face ‘examinari de sine’ la toate cele ce predica. Mai jos urmeaza una dintre aceste examinari de sine.

Great Advice on Preaching from a Great Preacher

The preacher’s danger:

To love to preach is one thing, to love those to whom we preach is quite another.

The golden rule:

At this point there is one golden rule, one absolute demand–honesty. You have got to be honest with your text.

The definition of preaching:

It is theology on fire.

The purpose of preaching:

What is the chief end of preaching? I like to think it is this. It is to give men and women as sense of God and His presence.

The romance and the realism of preaching:

Any many who has had some glimpse of what is it to preach will inevitably feel that he has never preached. But he will go on trying, hoping that by the grace of God one day he may truly preach.

Taken from Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers.


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