Tag Archives: d. a. carson

There is NO Condemnation

I’m not sure if you have moments of personal doubt and insecurity—I sometimes do.  Recently I was feeling quite useless.  A stray comment here or a thoughtless decision there and one can easily spiral into a defeatist attitude.  Satan wastes no time in capitalizing on our mistakes.

Satan accuses Christians day and night.  It is not just that he will work on our conscience to make us feel as dirty, guilty, defeated, destroyed, weak, and ugly as he possibly can; it is something worse: his entire play in the past is to accuse us before God day and night, bringing charges against us that we know we can never answer before the majesty of God’s holiness.

What can we say in response? Will our defense be, ‘Oh, I’m not that bad?’  You will never beat Satan that way.  Never.  What you must say is, ‘Satan, I’m even worse than you think, but God loves me anyway.  He has accepted me because of the blood of the lamb

— D. A. Carson, Scandalous

Unfortunately, Satan is not our only accuser.  Other Christians waste no time pointing out your flaws and imperfections.  I am convinced that accountability is necessary within a Christian fellowship but accountability is for the purpose of edification and restoration.  It is very easy to drift from accountability to accusation.  We love to see others fall.  There must be a point where we allow the mistakes of others to be left in the past.  The acceptance and forgiveness of Christ is the basis of our status before Him and each other.  For me, the words of Paul are profoundly applicable:

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

Am I willing to treat others not just as I want to be treated but as Christ treated me.  Am I willing to consider them as better than myself?  Am I willing to suffer wrongs and insults rather than be defensive?  Am I willing to measure others by the work of Christ rather than their good or bad behavior?  Am I willing to forgive their sins rather keeping score?  Am I willing to love like Christ?

Advertisements

Analyzing the Church

But have you noticed the categories we have used in this discussion of what ails the church in the West?  They are all sociological, historical, occasional, demographic, economic, psychological, medical.  They are all performance-related, circumstance-related.  There is nothing about the Devil — and nothing about God…

I am certainly not suggesting that there is nothing to be learned from sociological and demographic analysis…

But if all of our analyses are restricted exclusively to such categories, the huge danger is that our solutions will be cast in such categories too.  Our answer will be superficially sociological because we do not probe deeply enough to analyze the cosmic tension between God and the Devil.  And then, quite frankly, we do not really need God.  He could get up and walk out, and we would not miss him.  We have got this thing taped; our analyses are quantifiable.

— D. A. Carson, Scandalous

“Take Up Your Cross”

Today I received a wonderful little volume by D. A. Carson entitled Scandalous:  The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus. I figured this to be an appropriate exegetical supplement to the passion narratives that I read at this time of the year.  It didn’t take Dr. Carson long, however, to deliver a powerful body-blow to my spiritual apathy when he described the calling of Jesus to the disciples.  Read for yourself:

It is at this juncture that Jesus universalizes the principle that is at stake:  “If anyone would come after me,” he says, “he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it” (vv. 24-25).  This expression “to take up one’s cross” is not an idiom by which to refer to some trivial annoyance — an ingrown toenail, perhaps, or a toothache, or an awkward in-law:  “We all have our crosses to bear.”  No, in the first century it was as culturally unthinkable to make jokes about crucifixion as it would be today to make jokes about Auschwitz.  To take up your cross does not mean to move forward with courage despite the fact you lost your job or your spouse.  It means you are under sentence of death; you are taking up the horizontal cross-member on your way to the place of crucifixion.  You have abandoned all hope of life in this world.  And then, Jesus, says, and only then, are we ready to follow him.

— D. A. Carson