July 8, 2008

Grace Abounding

Kami Mueller's grace songs on Romans 6 have blessed me lately. Kami, from Grace Bible Church [I like that name] in Tempe, Ariz., has recorded all of Romans 6 in song from the ESV translation, which was mentioned on the ESV blog. These extraodinary songs can be heard or downloaded here.

(I don't know how some of you have daily devotions) but mine floored me in humble repentance (genuine, I hope) today. I was reading Joshuah 10, Psalms 142-143, Jeremiah 3-4, Matthew 18. It wasn't until I read Romans 4:16-25, that I was restored to rejoicing in Christ crucified - for me! This is grace abounding to the cheif sinner.

Grace to all in Christ Jesus my God and King.

I need to add: this past Saturday evening, I was introduced to a man named Sergio, (originally from Ecuador). He has been helping to build a church in North Philly where they are evangelizing the Hispanic community. The amazing thing about this is, that for many months I have been praying for Spanish-speaking laborers to help us in Philly. By God's grace, we are planning to meet this coming Saturday to go to North Philly and evangelize en Espanol. Praise the LORD for His prayer answering grace!

13 comments:

cj said...

Are the songs free?

Thanks for sharing!

-cj

Penn Tomassetti said...

Yes, CJ, they are free!

jeleasure said...

Penn,
I copied and pasted my response here for your convenience.
Also, work here is suffering from the economy. I am just curious, how is it in Phili?

Jim said,
"Thank you for the offering.
I have read all of what you asked me to read. I told you I would if you would give me the assignment. So, I did not reject anything you asked me to read. I may have gotten as far as I felt I needed to on one of the assignments you gave me, and commented, however, I did read the entire writing. It was by John Bunyun, Something about Christian Behavior. It was a long read, but the issue you and I were discussing at that time did not, (and I know because I finished reading it) require me to finish reading it before answering you.

Penn, you never did tell me of what I asked. I have asked the question of "do you believe that God rejects those who have faithfully believed on the work of Jesus and served Him by love and discipleship"? It was not phrased exactly like this.

Also, I wanted you to tell me if you believe that God calls some and not others. (like playing tag or it).

Have you ever visited thekingpin68?
His name is Russ. He and I have many good discussions. He has a phd. under review and a seventeen year long college education. We have discussed Calvinism repeatedly. I have come to understand more about Calvinism through him. I have told him about you. I have also stated to him that I would like for you and he to blog with each other. Give him a nudge".

Jim

jeleasure said...

Penn, (Copied from my blog)
I have always understood that you are a student of the Bible. I think that there is so much that we will not understand in the Bible. However, the Bible says, "as iron sharpens iron, man sharpens man".

Now, I think that you and I will find that we do not have to agree. There is nothing about Calvinism (theology of Calvin) that must be understood that the Bible does not tell us.

If you believe I am lost because I believe in works that bond our relationship with Christ. I will still be lost according to (my understanding) Calvinism. In fact, according to Calvinism, if I have the wrong understanding, I will never be able to understand correctly. And there is nothing you can tell me to stop my belief in what I am doing with my blog.

I reason that you and I are on the same journey. You and I are seeking perfect doctrine.
Jim

Penn Tomassetti said...

Jim,

Thanks for your comments. There are certain teachings of Scripture that are clear and should not be confused, and I believe we must agree with God on those things in order to agree with each other. If we can't come to an agreement on an essential issue (i.e. the nature of God or salvation, etc.), then there are Biblical guidelines about what to do. I have tried to address only one issue with you, which is the topic of how works of love involve the sanctification of Christians. You're right, I didn't ask you to read all of that Bunyan book, just to take a look at it, because it says better than I can and with more Scripture, that good works necessarily flow from true and saving faith (which is what I believe). Calvinism, as I said before, is not the issue here. What the Bible actually teaches is. Nevertheless, I will try to answer your two questions when I have a little more time. I am always happy to discuss what the Scripture says, as long as the discussion is done in a gracious manner. I wasn't attacking you personally when I commented concerning what you said about Jesus as part of the Trinity, if I misunderstood you, then I apologize heartily.

Thanks,
Penn

jeleasure said...

Penn,
I think we can come closer to understanding one another here. Here is what you said in your reply:

"..good works necessarily flow from true and saving faith (which is what I believe). Calvinism, as I said before, is not the issue here. What the Bible actually teaches is".

Sure, I believe that 'good works' flow from "true and saving faith". Good works are the natural outgrowth of "true faith". But what if I am in a mud storm of unbelievable circumstances? To include, not knowing if I can pay the bills, having a naging supervisor at work belittling me, maybe my dog is sick and something in my home needs an expensive repair?
Or, it might not even be that much stress and duress. It may be that I am a perfectionist and I lose my patience easily over things that I consider poorly executed.
My point is, we do get snotty sometimes. Some people get snotty more than others a lot more often. And so, in scripture, Paul, Jesus, James tell us (as we need to be reminded) to love. Otherwise, we would feel it is perfectly fine to disrespect another out of our duress or perfectionism.
If I say, that sometimes we need to apologise, it is because we were wrong. And this is the kind of thing (love) I suggest The Lord has not, and is not going to force on us. He obviously does not force us to love. Otherwise, we would never have to say "I'm sorry".
So, love is the outgrowth of the Christian life. Not a programed response. You and I know that we can be snotty any time we feel the inclination. So, with that being said, I feel we have moved toward an understanding.
Let me know if I've missed something.
Jim

Penn Tomassetti said...

Jim,
Yeah, we get pretty low and sinful. That's why I'm saved by grace through the obedience of Christ and not by my miserable efforts :) I am also so thankful for His Spirit who is working in me to change my wretched heart to be more like His. All by His grace in Christ Jesus alone. Hallelujah!

thekingpin68 said...

Penn, thanks for the comment. I replied.

Russ:)

jeleasure said...

Penn,
You wrote:
"Yeah, we get pretty low and sinful. That's why I'm saved by grace through the obedience of Christ and not by my miserable efforts".

Reply:
O.K.. So, how do you view the command to "Love One Another"? Is it more of a suggestion, that we should try and do. However, if we can not be loving, it is o.k. because God will still accept me into His Kingdom?

Or, is the command to "Love One Another" a new law, in the way of accepting Christ's atoning work and receiving redemption? Then added to the righteousness we are imparted (The fulfillment of the Law) we have but one law. That is to "Love One Another as I [He] loved us.

Penn Tomassetti said...

Jim,

Thanks for responding. That is a good question, and I want you to know I take it seriously and appreciate you asking. My short answer is this:

Yes, love is a "new command" in a way, but at the same time, it is not new, it is actaully old (see 1 John 2:7-10). The new commandment to love one another is a result of abiding in the light, not the cause of it. That is crystal clear throughout 1 John as well as the rest of the Bible.

There is a great article relating to this on my sidebar summary title "Die to Law in order to Love" by John Piper.

That is all I can do in a short space to answer. Thanks,
Penn

jeleasure said...

Penn,
I read John Piper's blog at this item. I am in 100% agreement with his explaination of how to pursue love.

Look at what he wrote.

"Where does this love come from? He says it comes "from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." In other words, the way to pursue love is by focusing on the transformation of the heart and the conscience and the awakening and strengthening of faith. Love is not pursued first or decisively by focusing on a list of behavioral commandments and striving to conform to them. That is what we must die to".

Now, look at what I wrote.

"Jesus said, “He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”[8] So, it is by our relationship with Jesus that we have a relationship with God.
This would bring us to another question:
How do we have a relationship with Jesus?
If we look to the red letters of the Gospel again, we find that Jesus gave us a “new commandment”. He said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another...
Initially, when we are saved, we are sanctified (holy). But it is only initial sanctification (desire to devote yourself for God’s purpose). It is here that our relationship with God begins. But, to be a sanctified believer in Christ, we have to own the relationship. How do we do that?
Our relationship with Jesus is largely dependant on our relationships with other people. Not just some people. But all people. This is seen in studying Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:31-40. It reads:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father: take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe you?

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (NIV)

So, we have a relationship with God made available to us by accepting Jesus as Christ. And then we go on to do good works to be considered holy, Right? Not exactly. We need to be certain that we understand exactly what the formula is for having a relationship with God.

First, love God.
Second, to demonstrate our love for God, we must love Jesus.
Third, our relationship with Jesus is greatly dependant on our relationships with one another. Why? The answer is in understanding “holiness”.

“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap (righteousness – as presented in Romans 6:19) leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life”. (Romans 6:22 NIV)"

Another interesting thing. Piper uses a type of formula to demonstrate how we find love. I do the same.

Thanks for getting us to this point, Penn. Hopefully we can move on.
Jim

jeleasure said...

Penn,
Yes, I read the article by Jon Piper.

Penn:
"Yes, love is a "new command" in a way, but at the same time, it is not new, it is actaully old (see 1 John 2:7-10)"

Reply:
This is why I say that we should take a look at the word from which the translation deems as "command". The word ἐντολὴν - entolane is an injunction, order command.
I take the word injunction (link below for definition) because we do know that he is not giving us a new command. So, from the Koine Greek entolane, I accept the word "injunction" which is Law.
I also stated this in my manuscript. The very same thing I began this comment with, by quoting you. Now, I can see, the break down in our communication disolve.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/injunction
Jim

Penn Tomassetti said...

Amen. Thanks Jim. I would only change one thing. 1 John is the essential commentary to the gospel of John. It teaches us that the breakdown of the love relationship begins with God's love for us, not ours for Him, since we don't love God by nature (1 John 4:7-11). In that passage on love, it begins with the command to love, "for love is from God" (ESV), and continues to say that love is a result of already knowing God (i.e. relationship with God), and that love begins with God, not us, so that we are to love one another, BECAUSE of God's love to us. That is all in a short passage of only 4 verses. There are encyclopedias more we could say, but let's leave it for now.

Thank you for discussing this with me in a gracious manner :)