The overarching theme of the Reformation, the end goal of the other solas, and the end goal of our lives: The glory of God. God’s glory is all over the pages of scripture, but too often we can misunderstand how God’s glory works. The way humans are glorified is different than the way God is glorified. He doesn’t need us to “give” him glory, simply for us to recognize his glory. Our task is not to elevate God to a new level, only to recognize, reflect, and find satisfaction in who he has revealed himself to be.
Sola Fide is one of the key pillars to what we believe; that God saves on the basis of faith alone. It is the object of that faith that saves us, not the faith itself. Cam Smith leads us well as we look at this key doctrine.
Most would agree that Jesus is a pretty important person, but just how important? The conviction of the reformers was that Christ wasn’t just a big piece of our theology- he was the hub, the goal, and the essence of our faith. Is this how we approach our faith today? Is Jesus enough? Or do we feel the need to add just a little bit more to Jesus- you know, just to be safe? The teachings of scripture and of the reformers was that adding to Jesus didn’t give us more. Instead, it took away, watered down our faith, and robbed Jesus of the glory.
Amazing Grace is one of the most beloved and well-known songs in the English language. What is it that we mean when we sing about “amazing grace”? What is grace anyway? What makes it amazing? Far too often grace isn’t that amazing to us; in fact, it’s often pretty normal, expected even, as though we deserve it. The storyline of scripture is one of continual grace given to sinful man- over and over and over.
“Jesus loves me, this I know, for the bible tells me so.” A song for children that would’ve been an almost unthinkable idea prior the start of the Reformation. The shaping principle of the theology of the Reformation was that the Bible was the supreme authority and no one should sit above it. And what drove the spread of that theology was the daring idea that everyone should be able to read the Bible for themselves in their own language.
500 years ago the world was turned upside down. This event, the Reformation, was one with widespread implications, but what does something that happened in 1517 have to do with 2017? More than you might think. This is the first in a 7-week series looking at the people, the theology, and the lasting impact of the Protestant Reformation.
Perspective is a powerful tool. It can take all the things in our lives and help us sort through the things that mattered and the things that we only thought mattered. Solomon gives us a gift in the closing passages of Ecclesiastes. He helps us sort through the tensions and frustrations in our lives. He helps us appreciate the time we’ve been given. And he helps us prepare ourselves for the only thing that really matters.
Injustice has always been a problem and always will be. Solomon knew that, and it made him full of sorrow and heartbreak. We would do well to follow Solomon’s acknowledgment of injustice, and let it produce the same kind of sorrow–and then work to correct. Just because injustice has always been a problem, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work to address it. In fact, Christians must work to address it because injustice isn’t primarily a political problem; it’s a sin problem. The remedy for sin has never been politics; it’s always been the Gospel.
Building a Lego project can be fun. Using the step-by-step manual can help you to put together some really amazing things. However, if you take away the manual, it can become a frustrating process in futility. For most of our lives, that’s how we build. We’re given the pieces to life, and we just hope we build something that is presentable. What happens when those pieces don’t come together like we had hoped? What do we do when we’re given pieces we didn’t even want? Solomon’s wisdom is to prepare us for these moments so that we won’t be knocked down when they happen.
What’s the one thing you need in life to make you happy? If you had just one more thing, would that fix things? Solomon had everything you could fathom, and he had it in abundance. His conclusion- none of it will provide a happiness that will last. The fun is fleeting; the enjoyment temporary. Everything we cling to for hope, that we’re drawn to for joy- if it’s not Christ- has a hook in it. A hidden danger that will ensnare and ultimately destroy us. So what’s the solution? Where do we turn? The key is to shift our gaze from “under the sun” to “things above.”
Confusing, Exhausting, Exasperating, Tedious, Repititous-not exactly words that inspire hope and joy. This is the reality that we all live in though, and it’s the world that Ecclesiastes exposes to us. What do we do with life when we can’t seem to get ahead and find frustrations at every turn? It’s all about perspective.
Humans were built with more than just the capacity for friendship- they were built with a deep need for it. The problem is that friendship takes work, time, and a willingness to sacrifice a measure of yourself for another. The book of Proverbs lays out the definition of a real friend, and it’s more than just shared experiences. It’s lives given for one another, truth told to one another, and a foundation bigger than one another.
The book of Proverbs is a book that can be used as a useful tool to help us grow. However, it has also been used as a weapon to produce guilt and beat down those of us that can seem to live up to its standards or simply hear its warnings too late. There may be no passage more representative of these tendencies than Proverbs 31 and the “excellent wife.” So what do we do with a passage like this? Is it really just for women? What can we learn from a passage like this?
No collection of wisdom would be complete without a little instruction about money. That’s because, unchecked, money has the potential to rule our lives and our joy. The book of Proverbs makes it clear that our money isn’t worthy of the worship it receives. God is the ruler and maker of both rich and poor. The wise man knows this and gives his worship where it belongs.
Are you a lazy person? How do you know? What’s the criteria that you use to judge yourself? The author of Proverbs has no sympathy for the lazy man. The mockery is biting and designed to humiliate. Hard work is a Biblical value for certain, but what are its limits and how do we apply it correctly?