The story of the wise and foolish builders, found at the conclusion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain, is a familiar one to most. Having taught on living the life of the kingdom and what it means to be an authentic disciple, Jesus warns those who would presume to call him ‘Lord’ yet fail to do what […]

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Following Jesus’ declaration of coming not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance, the Pharisees and scribes immediately defend their religiosity. Rather than hear, understand, and recognize their sinful condition before a holy God, they continue to boast in their self-righteousness and cling to their faithful law-keeping. But Jesus explains that the old covenant system of approaching […]

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Immediately after his baptism, Jesus was driven by the Spirit into the wilderness for forty days to enter into battle with Satan (Luke 4:1-2; Mark 1:12-13). This temptation in the wilderness was a pivotal moment in the mission of the Son of God to accomplish salvation for humanity. As the wonderful hymn states, “Come behold the wondrous […]

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The Day of Salvation (Ps. 118:19-29)

While the psalmist has praised the Lord for his protection, strength, and victories won for his people in the first half of the psalm, he now calls for the gates of the temple to be opened that he may worship the Lord  in his presence (Ps. 118:19). But even while God may have been the defense […]

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The Prayer of Repentance (Ps. 51:1-6)

David, the man after God’s own heart, not only enjoyed the anointing, the blessings, and the favor of God as the chosen king over Israel, but was also deeply acquainted with his mercy and forgiveness. David was indeed a sinful man no different from the rest – particularly evident in the incident with Bathsheba (2 Sam 11:1-12:23) – […]

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God’s Holy Hill (Ps. 15)

Psalm 15 begins with one of the most pertinent yet weighty questions humanity could ever ask: “O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?” (Ps 15:1). This question suggests that there are requirements to be met before anyone is able to stand before God, to enter his presence, to enjoy fellowship with […]

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Righteous in Christ (Ps. 1)

Psalm 1 is one of the most well-known and cherished in the psalter. The idea of being blessed by God, being “like a tree planted by streams of water” (Ps 1:2), and prospering in all we do is surely wonderful. However, we often misinterpret this Psalm and understand it to be a list of legalistic requirements, instructing the reader to […]

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Far from being an issue only faced by the Galatian church, the tendency to slip back into justification by works is a present reality in the church even today. The difference between gospel-centered law-obedience is far too easily replaced by a works-driven law-reliance. However, the solution for the true believer is that we must always remember […]

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To further bolster his argument against salvation by works, Paul brilliantly highlights the faith demonstrated by Abraham before he was circumcised. In so doing, he points out that “it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham” (Gal. 3:7); the blessing of Abraham is in fact available for Jew and Gentile alike who believe […]

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Living by Faith (Gal 2:17-21)

Having made the profound and astonishing claim that “by works of the law no one will be justified” (Gal. 2:16), Paul now moves into a further explanation of the doctrine of justification by faith. What exactly is the relationship between the gospel, the good news of salvation by grace alone through faith in Christ alone, and the works of the […]

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