25 September 2012

Satirical response to Jesus' Wife Hype

I suspect that many of you haven't even heard of this story yet. If you watch the History Channel, you will probably see it around Christmastime because this is the type of story they like to feature. Rather than exploring classical, historic Christianity, they often look for the new angle.  Anyway, there was a business card sized fragment dated from around 400 AD that makes reference to "Jesus' wife". It has no apparent connection with the well established, much earlier documents (i.e., the Bible).  Gene Veith features a video from Lutheran Satire that gets to the heart of this.  I strongly commend it to you this morning. 

24 September 2012

Are accountability groups incubators for moralism?

Tullian Tchvidjian expresses his dislike of accountability groups. 

He writes, "Setting aside the obvious objection that Christ settled all our accounts, once for all, such groups inevitably start with the narcissistic presupposition that Christianity is all about cleaning up and doing your part. These groups focus primarily (in my experience, almost exclusively) on our sin, and not on our Savior. Because of this, they breed self-righteousness, guilt, and the almost irresistible temptation to pretend, or to be less than honest. Little or no attention is given to the gospel. There’s no reminder of what Christ has done for our sin—cleansing us from its guilt and power—and of the resources that are already ours by virtue of our union with Him. These groups thrive, either intentionally or not, on a “do more, try harder” moralism that robs us of the joy and freedom Jesus paid dearly to secure for us. When the goal becomes conquering our sin instead of soaking in the conquest of our Savior, we actually begin to shrink spiritually"

Read the rest here.  

18 September 2012

I am just looking

I baked some farm cookies today. My own version.  Tessa and Ian have been happily helping me, mostly by offering to taste test.  I was in another room when I overheard Ian say, "hey, stay away from the cookies."  Tessa quickly responded, "I am just looking."  I came in to find her hovering over the cooling cookies. 

We treat sin that way sometimes, don't we?  We tell ourselves that we don't actually want to sin, but we just want to look at it.  We want smell it. We tell ourselves that we can stand in the face of the temptation.

But here's the thing, often we cannot.  We look, we long, we give in...eventually.

Proverbs 7 speaks to this lack of wisdom.  It tells of a young man wandering on the street on the wrong side of town.  He knows what kinds of things happen there, but he just wants a look.  Just one look. 

A woman comes to him.  She is seductive.  She tells him that she can fill all his wishes.  She offers to fill all his desires.  She also hints that there is no danger.  You see, her husband just left.  She tells him that she wants him.  She says that she is eager for him.  Her desire weakens his resolve.  His foundations crumble and eventually just give way.  Verses 22 and 23 tell the end of the story: "All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast, till an arrow pierces its liver, as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life." 

Flee from sin, don't stop to "just look." 

Reflections on Centurions

This weekend, I had the opportunity to travel to Landsdowne, Virginia for the first weekend residency of the Centurions Program.  For those of you who do not know, the Centurions program was started by Chuck Colson several years ago as a way to train Christians in leadership and worldview. Every year, they select about 100 people representing a broad range of demographics.  The program runs for 1 year and involves a lot of reading, written responses, and two residencies.

When I arrived on Friday, I met a few other Centurions at the airport while we were awaiting the shuttle.  It was great to connect with people right away and find others who were as excited about biblical worldview as I am.  We were transported to the National Conference Center, which in some ways seemed like a college campus.  The rooms were small, but comfortable. The cafeteria style food was abundant (perhaps too abundant) and generally tasty.  But I didn't go for the room and board.

Friday evening, we were treated to talks by Jim Liske, the CEO of Prison Fellowship Ministries; Cornelius Plantinga, author of Not the Way it is Supposed to Be (as well as many other books); and John Stonestreet, host of Breakpoint.  Jim Liske issued a call to us to make sure that Jesus was to be our focus every day and that we must lock onto truth in our culture. He called for leadership in all facets of society, which is certainly a part of the program.  Plantinga was perhaps the speaker I was most looking forward to hearing. His book, Not the Way it is Supposed to Be was exceptional and I wanted to hear the man who wrote this "Breviary of Sin" talk on the topic.  He did not disappoint.  He talked about the pervasiveness of corruption, making the point that it is dynamic and progressive.  John Stonestreet closed out the evening, speaking on the issue of worldview and why it matters. He is an exceptional speaker. When I hear people on the radio, I sometimes wonder if they sound eloquent just because they have their notes prepared.  That was not the case with John.  Though he was very well prepared, even his responses to questions were wise and engaging.  I was able to visit with him for a bit afterwards and talk about some of the issues that I perceived affecting modern young men.

Saturday was a whirlwind.  The Dean of the Program, TM Moore spoke briefly on St Patrick, providing an informative historical sketch of a man who deeply influenced his culture because of his love for Christ and others.  The always active faculty member Glenn Sunshine presented "How we Got Here" a lecture based upon his book Why You Think the Way You Do, a historical overview of the development of thought.  Many people have not thought through how much what their forbears have done influenced the culture they now live in.  Steve Verleye closed out the morning by discussing how to become an embedded believer.  The afternoon focused on breakout sessions focused on revival, renewal, and awakening.  I liked these smaller sections because they allowed for a little bit more intimacy.  In the evening, Bob Lynn a pastor from Ann Arbor discussed Gospel and worldview, another excellent talk.  The highlight of this day for me was the panel discussion in the evening, where all of the speakers gathered and answered questions from the audience.

Sunday morning offered no reprieve. We began early with group discussions of what we have learned so far followed by a lecture by Glenn Sunshine on "Christians who changed their world."  He focused on individuals who have had a significant effect, but that may be less well known.  We finished the day with a worship and communion service led by TM Moore. 

The weekend was exceptional and exhausting. I am quite sure I have not yet processed what I have learned.  That will take months...years perhaps. I do know that I left with a greater hunger to live in light of the Kingship of Christ in all areas of my life.  Christ is not Lord of my heart only, he is Lord of ALL.  My desire is to live in light of that reality, but also to have others learn that truth.

Perhaps the greatest benefit to the weekend was meeting great folks from around the country.  I look forward to deepening our friendships in the months and years to come. 

I am eager to talk about the program, so if you have questions about it, please let me know! 

    The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof,
        the world and those who dwell therein,
    for he has founded it upon the seas
        and established it upon the rivers.

-Psalm 24:1-2

13 September 2012

Jason Bourne and Real Manhood

Owen Strachan tackles the issue of manhood.  He looks to Jeremy Renner's character in the most recent Bourne movie to start a discussion of manhood.  Although there are certainly characteristics of Renner's character that do not fit biblical manhood either, he offers some good reflections. 

He writes, "it struck me afresh how impressive the lead character of the Bourne movie is as a man.  He’s in control, assertive, aware of others, physically fine-tuned, and one who meets any challenge in front of him.  This kind of man is strikingly different than another avatar of modern cinema, the boy-man, who pops up repeatedly in the films made or led by Judd Apatow, Adam Sandler, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, and many others.

"The boy-man is selfish, young, immature, addicted to games, immune to responsibility, foul-mouthed, and weak.  He’s overwhelmed by adulthood, so he chooses to stay in some sort of boyish fantasy.  He doesn’t want to build big things, meaningful things, like a family, a six-decade marriage, a socially and personally profitable career, or a gospel-driven church or missions effort.  He wants to make music, play games, follow sports, flirt with girls, loaf through life, bend the rules so he’s not accountable or inconvenienced in his selfishness, and ignore the need to help others.

"I want to suggest that wherever you can as a young man or one involved in any way in training young men, you point them toward manhood, maturity, adulthood, responsibility, ambition, strategy, vision, focus.  Yes, it can be fun to be boyish.  But you know what’s far more satisfying?  Becoming something.  Becoming something greater than you are.  Becoming a man.  Building stuff."

 I would commend the article here

10 September 2012

The Old Coat

A man was walking alone down a dusty path.  He lived hard and it showed.  Each line in his face made up a tapestry revealing a lifetime of difficulty.  Earlier in this journey, there was a bounce in his step, but no more.  Now, with each step, his knees ached and his joints creaked.  He could scarcely remember those days when things seemed so easy.

The old coat he wore showed the wear and tear that he felt in his body.  Frayed at the cuffs. Patched at the elbows.  The grime from the road was set in deep.  He used to try washing it, but now it was useless.  The filth permeated every thread and there was no hope for the return of its vibrant colors.  The dirt was a part of the coat in a way that it seemed as though it always had been.  Indeed, much like his body, he could not remember what it was supposed to look like. 

In the distance, he saw a stranger approaching him.  He hated these encounters.  It was so much easier to be alone with his own thoughts.  No doubt this man would look upon him with disgust.  Weary old men were rarely looked upon with honor, especially when they had lived hard like he did.  And why should he be honored?  He was unworthy of it.  He made up his mind to draw his coat tight around him, keep his eyes averted and prayed that this approaching stranger would just pass him by. 

Though he did not look up, he could sense the man drawing nearer.  Something seemed different.  He longed to look up at the man, but he could not bear the inevitable shame.  He heard the man slow and then his feet stopped.  What could he want?

“Greetings.”  The man wondered, did he just say something to me?  Was there someone with him that I missed?  Again…“Hello.”

The old man ventured a glance.  Unlike him, the stranger was clothed in white. The man wondered why someone would wear white on this dusty trail, yet this man’s clothes seemed impervious to the dirt.  How could that be?  He longed to ask him, but he feared the conversation that would inevitably turn to his own dirty apparel.   Moving on would be best, so he stepped forward. 

The stranger reached out and put a hand on his arm, “may we talk?” 

The old man hesitated.  He sighed deeply, debating--“What do you want?”   

“I was watching you approach from a long way off.  You look like you have been walking a long time.”

“I have.”

“You seem weary and worn out.” 

“I am.” 

“Your jacket has seen better days.  Is it able to keep you warm?”

“Listen, it’s the only jacket I have.  I’ve tried repairing it. I’ve tried cleaning it.  I even tried making a new one.  I know it is threadbare and filthy and compared with your beautiful coat it is disgusting.  But, this is the one I am stuck with, so please just let me be.”  He began to move on again, this time with greater urgency.

The stranger called to him again, “I would like to offer you my coat.” 

He must not have heard him right.  “What did you say?” 

The stranger said again, “I would like for you to have my coat.” 

The weary old man dismissed him, “Your coat is beautiful, but I have no money.  I have never been a wealthy man and I suspect your coat would cost more than I could ever hope to earn. Thanks anyway.” 

The stranger replied, “There is no cost. I am offering to give you my coat.” 

“But what would you wear?”

“I will wear your coat instead.” 

“Sir, have you seen my coat? It is dreadful.” 

“I have seen your coat, but I have come to give you mine in exchange for yours.  The dirty for the clean.  The old for the new.” 

“But why?”

“Friend, I have been watching you for a long time.  I have seen you try to fix this old thing yourself.  I have watched you try to make a new one.  With each passing day, I have watched your discouragement grow. For many years, I have wanted to give you my coat, but you were not ready until today.”

“I said I don’t have any money.  What can I offer you in return?” 

“Brother, it is a gift to you.  You cannot buy it from me.”

Hesitantly…“Are you sure?” 

“I have always been sure of it.” 

Slowly, the old man took off his coat while the stranger did the same.  They exchanged their garments.  The old man, filled with gratitude, put on the white coat.  He saw his old coat on the stranger and, more than ever, he was aware of how filthy it really was, which made him all the more thankful for this gift. 

As they parted ways, the old man began walking again, newly confident in what lay ahead.  His new friend, the one who now wore his old coat, took a different path up a hill topped with three trees.  

06 September 2012

Majority of Christians don't read their Bibles daily

One of the spiritual disciplines I am most thankful for is that of daily Bible study.  A few years ago, one of my pastors was talking about how much Bible study had a positive influence upon his life and so I decided to get more serious about it.  I can truly say a daily time in the word is one of the greatest blessings in my life.  The majority of churchgoers do not engage in this activity however.  A recent study from Lifeway research has shown that only 19% of churchgoers read their Bibles daily (frankly, I am surprised it is that high).  40% of churchgoers read their Bibles a few times a month or less often. 

I was recently listening to a question and answer session from Ligonier Ministries and R.C. Sproul was asked by someone in the audience, "do you think it is sufficient to read your Bible once or twice a week?"  Without hesitation, he said, "No."  He went on to explain the importance of feeding on the word of God on a daily, ongoing basis.  I heartily agree with him. 

For clarification, we do not read our Bibles to earn favor with God, but rather to learn more about the one whom we profess to love and worship.  We cannot know God without knowing what He says about himself through His holy word.  We do that by reading. 

Here are some verses to consider. 

     I have not departed from the commandment of his lips;
     I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.-Job 23:12

    But he answered, “It is written,
    “‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
        but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”-Matthew 4:4

    Blessed is the man
        who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
    nor stands in the way of sinners,
        nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
    but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
        and on his law he meditates day and night.-Psalm 1:1-2

    How can a young man keep his way pure?
        By guarding it according to your word.
    With my whole heart I seek you;
        let me not wander from your commandments!
    I have stored up your word in my heart,
        that I might not sin against you.-Psalm 119:9-11
(Actually, you should read all of Psalm 119--It might be a good place to start)

If you are not sure where to start, go here.  Or you can try the one I just put together. 

05 September 2012

You Are No Longer An Orphan

Over the past month or so, I have been rolling an idea around in my head that I wanted to write about for the blog.  Specifically, I have been wanting to write about the idea of God's adopting love.  I think sometimes I live as one who is justified and forgiven, but fail to live as one who was adopted.  Christine Hoover at Desiring God beat me to the punch, as she reflected on a forthcoming book by Rose Marie Miller.

She writes, "Rose Marie Miller’s husband, Jack, characterized her self-justification as orphanhood: 'you act as if you are an orphan. You act as if there is no Father who loves you' (11).
  • Orphans have to take care of themselves.
  • Orphans must be strong.
  • Orphans must protect themselves from being taken advantage of.
  • Orphans cannot depend on anyone.
  • Orphans cannot be weak.
  • Orphans crave to be taken in and loved but doubt they ever will.
  • Orphans want to be accepted, to belong.
  • Orphans only trust themselves.
  • Orphans cannot get too close.
  • Orphans are on the outside looking in.

Friend, are you living as one who is not adopted? Are you continually trying to justify yourself to God?  Are you continually trying to save yourself?

03 September 2012

Yet Another Bible Reading Plan

    Blessed is the man
        who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
    nor stands in the way of sinners,
        nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
    but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
        and on his law he meditates day and night.
(Psalm 1:1-2 ESV)

I believe that reading the Bible is important for the Christian. It is the most effective way to know what God says. The past couple of years, I have reviewed several Bible reading plans.  You can find the list of programs I reviewed here.  Each of these programs has different strengths and weaknesses, but whatever gets you reading the word is a good program.  When I started with serious Bible study, I began with the John MacArthur approach, which allowed me to cover large sections of scripture repeatedly.  Over the past few years, however, I have switched to the Grant Horner plan, which involves reading chapters from 10 different places each day, which allows for understanding of passages in context. 

This past year, I took a course in biblical hermeneutics. One of the points that Jeannine Brown made in her book Scripture as Communication (2007) was that many of the books of the Bible were written to be read as long letters rather than isolated chapters or verses.  In order to truly get the understand what is being said, in order to get the context, it is useful to read large sections of books.  Doing this also allows the reader to have a broader sense of the historical-redemptive context of the Bible rather than as a series of moral stories.

So, taking what I have liked about Grant Horner and John MacArthur specifically, I have decided to pull together my own program, which also recognizes the importance of reading large sections of scripture. Like the Horner program, it is important to read through at a moderately quick pace. About his program, Horner wrote, "GET THROUGH THE TEXT--no dawdling, back reading, looking up cross references." If his program is any indication, you will become quicker as you continue on.

Here is what I am proposing to try.

1) I broke the Bible into 5 sections: Old Testament, Psalms, Proverbs, Gospels+Acts, and New Testament letters.
2) Each day, you will read one chapter from psalms and one chapter from proverbs. These books are such that smaller units retain their meaning in isolation.  When you get to the end of Psalms, go back to the beginning and start again.  (You may wish to break 119 into several sections--it is 179 verses long).  You can do the same thing with the Proverbs if you wish, or you can read the Proverb of the day (e.g., read Proverbs 1 on the 1st, etc.)
3) You will alternate between Old Testament, Gospels, and rest of New Testament as follows: First, you will read all of Genesis over a period of 1 week. Then you will switch to Matthew and read that over 4 days. Then you will read Romans over 2 days. Then you will switch back to the Old Testament and read Exodus over 5 days.  You will continue switching Old Testament-Gospel-Other New Testament on and on.

I plan to read 1 chapter from Psalms, 1 chapter from Proverbs and roughly 6-8 chapters from the other books each day.  This will lead to a maximum of 10 chapters per day, which is very doable if you don't bog down with deep study.  You can do that later if you wish.  Right now, you are trying to get through text.  You can certainly alter the number of chapters that you would cover in each day to meet your time constraints.

Assuming approximately 6-8 chapters per book, it would take this many days for each book: Genesis-7, Exodus-5, Leviticus-4, Numbers-5, Deuteronomy-5, Joshua-3, Judges-3, Ruth-1, 1 Samuel-4, 2 Samuel-3, 1 Kings-3, 2 Kings-4, 1 Chronicles-4, 2 Chronicles-5, Ezra-2, Nehemiah-2, Esther-2, Job-6, Ecclesiastes-2, Song of Solomon-1, Isaiah-9, Jeremiah-7, Lamentations-1, Ezekiel-6, Daniel-2, Hosea-2, Joel-1, Amos-2, Obadiah/Jonah-1, Micah-1, Nahum/Habakkuk-1, Zephaniah/Haggai-1, Zechariah-2, Malachi-1, Matthew-4, Mark-2, Luke-3, John-3, Acts-4, Romans-2, 1 Corinthians-2, 2 Corinthians-2, Galatians-1, Ephesians-1, Philippians/Colossians-1, 1&2 Thessalonians-1, 1 Timothy-1, 2 Timothy/Titus/Philemon-1, Hebrews-2, 1 & 2 Peter-1, 1,2,3 John/Jude-1, Revelation-3. 

If you read at the pace of 8-10 chapters per day, you will read through the OT passages about 1.5 times, the Psalms about 2.5 times, Proverbs 12 times, the Gospels 9 times, and the NT letters about 3.5 times in one year.  Here is an example in scribd of what it would look like for a year.

If you choose to try this, or have more questions about how it is going for me, please let me know!

Book Review: Lectures on Calvinism

Eric Johnson, who is a friend of mine and the founder of the Society for Christian Psychology, has been deeply influenced by Abraham Kuyper and has recommended him to me with some regularity. I have also discovered the influence of Kuyper on several of the people who have affected my thinking including Francis Schaeffer and Chuck Colson. The Stone Lectures on Calvinism were recommended to me as a good place to start with Kuyper. 

Abraham Kuyper was a Dutch theologian, but he was also a journalist and primer minister of the Netherlands from 1901 to 1905.  He was deeply influential in a number of areas, likely reflecting his broad biblical worldview.  He delivered the six Stone Lectures on Calvinism at Princeton in 1898.  The lectures were entitled: 1) Calvinism: A life system, 2) Calvinism and religion, 3) Calvinism and politics, 4) Calvinism and science, 5) Calvinism and art, and 6) Calvinism and the future. 

Kuyper attempts to demonstrate that John Calvin never intended his writings to be merely for church or religious life, but rather, to be a whole life system. In other words, Christians were to have a faith that affects all of life.  His prescience of the future was remarkable. The things he observed happening or believed would happen are in full swing in America today.  He wrote, "If this battle is to be fought with honor and with hope of victory, then principle must be arrayed against principle; then it must be felt that in modernism, the vast energy of an all-embracing life-system assails us, then it must be understood that we have to take our stand in a life-system of equally comprehensive and far-reaching power." He saw the implications of modernism and the importance of having a robust response.

Near the end, he makes an observation of the "Christian" church and his indictment is right on.  He writes, "A theology which virtually destroys the authority of the Holy Scriptures as a sacred book; which sees in sin nothing but a lack of development; recognizes Christ for no more than a religious genius of central significance; views redemption as a mere reversal of our subjective mode of thinking; and indulges in a mysticism dualistically opposed to the world of the intellect,—such a theology is like a dam giving way before the first assault of the inrushing tide. It is a theology without hold upon the masses, a quasi-religion utterly powerless to restore our sadly tottering moral life to even a temporary footing." He calls the church back to its roots, to realize that it is to affect all of life, a call that is sorely missing in many churches today.  Even if you are not a "Calvinist" per se, I would commend this book to you. 

Book Review: The Hole in Our Holiness

I like Kevin DeYoung and so I pre-ordered his latest book, The Hole in Our Holiness (2012).  DeYoung issues a stern warning to Christians who ignore the pursuit of holiness for whatever reason they may cite.  He writes, "No matter what you profess, if you show disregard for Christ by giving yourself over to sin--impenitently and habitually--then heaven is not your home" (p. 14).  He goes on to suggest that the pursuit of holiness, or obedience to God, is at the heart of the Great Commission.  He further seems to caution against the stream of the current "gospel centered"movement that says that if we truly understand the gospel, we will by extension grow in holiness represented by writers like Tullian Tchvidjian, Michael Horton, Paul Tripp (and I would say Martin Luther).  Some of his caution is appropriate, I believe, to avoid antinomianism (lawlessness).

Someday, I want to read a book like this and feel hopeful.  Too often, the message in books like this is that 1) growth in holiness is a part of the Christian life, 2) BUT you are truly justified by faith alone, 3) BUT keep the rules, and 4) IF you are not, maybe you are not really a Christian.  It is hard to feel like I am measuring up to God's requirements  after reading a book like this (here's a hint: I'm not, which is why I am fully dependent upon the blood of Christ). 

On the whole, I do think this is a good book.  I do think that Christians must consider whether they are truly pursuing righteousness.  I do think that good trees bear good fruit.  I do believe in progressive sanctification, particularly as described by David Powlison (which DeYoung talks about later in the book).  His chapter, "Saints and Sexual Immorality", is particularly good.  I wish I had read it, and lived it out, before I married.  I am glad that I read it now.   So is his discussion of union with Christ.  These two topics are worth the price of the book.

Still, though I believe that the pursuit of holiness is absolutely essential to the Christian life, I agree with the guys at the White Horse Inn that we must understand that before understanding our responsibilities (imperatives), we must first understand what Christ has done for us (indicatives) and continue to go back to the cross again and again when we are unsure.  I would recommend this book, but perhaps encourage you to read it alongside something by Tullian Tchvidjian (e.g., Surprised by Grace) and pray for grace and growth in holiness. 

01 September 2012

Book Review: The Transforming Power of the Gospel

A few months ago, this book was a free offering on Kindle.  I told many of you about it and I hope you got it for yourself.  Jerry Bridges is one of my favorite authors and this book of his is no exception. In The Transforming Power of the Gospel (2011), bridges discusses how growth in holiness is deeply rooted in the Gospel and he seems to be close to the right balance between God's grace and personal responsibility, in my opinion.  Many authors that I like (e.g., John MacArthur, Francis Chan) are strong proponents of personal holiness as a mark of faith.  Although they talk about the importance of grace, what comes across is a strong call to holiness.  On the other end of the spectrum are writers, who I also deeply respect, like Rod Rosenblatt and Tullian Tchvidjian, who focus deeply on grace and seem to address personal holiness to a lesser degree. Recently, I have been talking with a good friend of mine that neither end of this spectrum seems to get it quite right.  Bridges, as he does in many of his books, discusses the importance of holiness and spiritual transformation, but clearly grounds it in the gospel of grace and the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit.  I think all of the authors mentioned above also believe this, but the message comes through more clearly in Bridges' work. 

I want to concluded with two of the closing paragraphs from his book.  Bridges writes, "If you commit yourself to the pursuit of Christlikeness, you will discover an increasing tension between your desire to know and do the will of God and your perceived progress in doing it. This increased tension can become discouraging and demotivating. The solution to this dilemma is to keep in mind that, in our standing before God, He sees us clothed in the perfect obedience of Christ. This standing never changes, regardless of whether we are having a good day or a bad day. In Him, we are always holy and blameless. In Him, we are always perfectly righteous as He was in His sinless Humanity.

"This is the way we should resolve the tension between what we desire to be and what we see of ourselves in our daily experience. We should look more at our standing before God in Christ than we do at our actual experience, and that continual looking to who we are in Him will motivate us to become more like Him in our experience. To do this, of course, means we must daily embrace the gospel."