Finished! (Until I start again…)

I finished reading through the  Bible this morning, completing my RttBiaY program.  I know I haven’t been posting a lot about my reading lately – not that I’ve been posting a lot lately, period!  (Perhaps I’ll have some time to finish a few of the 10 or so unfinished posts which I started and never got around to finishing over the past 6 months… Some of those are about verses or passages which I had come across during my RttBiaY reading.)

But I’m excited to have finally done what I’ve set out to do many times over the years – read straight through from Genesis to Revelation!  It was a very rewarding exercise – one I hope to do many more times in the future.  I’m not sure if I’ll start again right away, or spend some more in-depth time in a few books which I decided I wanted to study some more – or perhaps both.  We’ll see.

It was great to see for myself the arc of the Biblical narrative from beginning to end.   Of course, growing up in the church, going to Christian jr/sr high schools, attending or leading dozens of Bible studies, and doing all sorts of personal study (other than reading the Bible from cover to cover), I have always “known” that the Bible is consistent in its presentation of man’s condition and his need for a solution to the problem of sin which is external to himself – in other words, the focus of the Bible is Jesus Christ.  The Old Testament looks forward to Jesus Christ, and the New Testament reveals His life, death, resurrection, and the resulting freedom from sin and eternal death, sin’s penalty, which we can have in Jesus Christ.  Reading the Bible from beginning to end, however, gives one a better grasp on exactly how consistent the Bible is in this respect. It also shows all the more clearly how patient God is with His people (both Israel and the Church) — and how fickle His people can be.  And it shows all the more, with painful clarity, how much God hates sin.

But thanks be to God, for He has provided us with a perfect, spotless substitute!  A beautiful Savior, whose birth we are about to celebrate.  The older I get, and the more that I see how attached my heart can still be to the things of this world, or just to my own selfish desires – the more I appreciate the free gift of salvation which God had in mind before the foundation of the world, the gift long pointed to in the Old Testament which began life in a lowly manger some 2000 years ago – and which God also planned to send to the cross for your sins and for mine.

Do you know this Savior?  He alone can truly and permanently satisfy the deepest desire of your heart.

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Gospel-Driven Sanctification

I haven’t read all of the articles here (there are quite a few!), but the ones I’ve read are excellent: Gospel-Driven Sanctification by Jerry Bridges, The Difference Between Legal and Gospel Mortification by Ralph Erskine, and The Anatomy of Backsliding, which is one of John Piper’s sermons (see the link to “Sanctification and Growth”).

Here’s the quote from Sinclair Ferguson that introduces these articles:

This first thing to remember, of course, is that we must never separate the benefits (regeneration, justification, sanctification) from the Benefactor (Jesus Christ). The Christians who are most focused on their own spirituality may give the impression of being the most spiritual … but from the New Testament’s point of view, those who have almost forgotten about their own spirituality because their focus is so exclusively on their union with Jesus Christ and what He has accomplished are those who are growing and exhibiting fruitfulness. Historically speaking, whenever the piety of a particular group is focused on OUR spirituality that piety will eventually exhaust itself on its own resources. Only where our piety forgets about ourself and focuses on Jesus Christ will our piety nourished by the ongoing resources the Spirit brings to us from the source of all true piety, our Lord Jesus Christ.
– Sinclair Ferguson

Hat tip to Bob Anderson at WHCC for the pointer to Gospel-Driven Sanctification by Jerry Bridges, which resulted in my finding the collection of articles!