Five Points Blog
- Brent Nelson
- Mar 07, 2014
The Bible knows it’s hard to understand how God could elect his people from before the foundation of the world, and yet each person who trusts Christ does so as a whole-hearted act of their will. Paul writes, “He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will” (Ephesians 1:5). That means we are chosen due to no virtue or effort of our own but solely according to the will of God. Here our understanding ends and mystery begins. That’s why we worship him. We always worship where our mystery lies.
But this mystery cannot be merely an obscure enigma. It doesn’t glorify God to passively give up on seeking to know him because his will is a mystery. Paul uses the word “mystery” not so much for what it conceals but for what it reveals. God means for us to desire to know the fullness of his plan that was for so long a mystery but now has been revealed in Jesus Christ.
As God sent his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, into the world, the mystery of God is revealed. In the good news of Jesus Christ, God is “making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ” (Ephesians 1:9). The mystery God is revealing in Christ is not merely answers to philosophical questions about free choice coexisting with God’s election. That question will be answered in the age to come—if we even care to pose it then. Rather, the mystery revealed is this: how does God work within any one person to open their spiritual eyes to see Christ and savor him unto salvation. That is the great wonder of God’s work.
I invite you to read afresh Ephesians 1 and ask God to open your eyes to the wonder, joy, and hope of glory—of this mystery by which sinners like you and me are given new eyes to see and worship Christ.
- Kempton Turner
- Feb 28, 2014
Please join us in praying for the Resolved: students on the Winter Retreat at Camp Barakel this weekend! Below is a summary of what they will be learning and the prayer aims for each session.
Only one life, will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last
Introduction and gospel testimony [FRI PM]
PRAYER AIM: That everyone would get to know me a little. That Christ and His gospel would be magnified through my story of grace (Galatians 1:24). And many would “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15)...throughout the entire weekend!
One Life: Then What? [SAT AM]
Text: Luke 16:19-31, Romans 5:8-10
HEART-TRUTH: Life is short. Eternity is forever. You will either enjoy God’s love forever in heaven (New world) or endure God’s wrath forever in hell.
PRAYER AIM: That the believers would rejoice with trembling over the eternal agony that they have been rescued from through the Cross of Christ! That the unbelievers would flee the wrath to come and find eternal refuge and safety at the Cross of Christ!
One Life: Enjoy It [SAT PM]
Text: Ecclesiastes 2:1-11, Isaiah 55:1-3, John 6:35, Psalm 16:11
HEART-TRUTH: Flee the world’s ‘fading pleasures’ that temporarily satisfy and find in Jesus ‘forever pleasures’ that eternally satisfy.
PRAYER AIM: That the Father of glory would open our eyes to taste and see: that Jesus is 10,000 times better than the world. That Jesus is the eternal pleasure that the eternal soul was made for! That to be saved is to be satisfied in Christ!
One Life: Lose It [SUN AM]
Text: Mark 8:27-38
HEART-TRUTH: Whoever tries to save his life for this world will lose it for eternity, but whoever spends his life in this world for the cause of Jesus and His gospel will save it for eternity.
PRAYER AIM: That the Father would cause us to hear and see Jesus as so irresistibly beautiful and powerful and glorious, that we gladly and daily deny ourselves and take up our crosses and follow King Jesus!
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
- Brent Nelson
- Feb 28, 2014
At the nuclear center of all reality is the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
By the shed blood of Christ, all things are redeemed to God. Colossians 1:20, “Through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”
By his shed blood, Christ secures an eternal redemption for his people and purifies their conscience from guilt and shame to serve God forever. Hebrews 9:12-14, “He entered once for all into the holy places … by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption … how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”
The blood of Christ is the boundless power that raised Jesus from the dead. Hebrews 13:20, “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant … .”
The blood of Christ, being spurned by countless millions, will one day be fully and completely avenged by the fierce justice of God. Revelation 6:10, “They cried out with a loud voice, ‘O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’”
And the powerful blood of Jesus will wash away our sins and fully shield us from the wrath of God for all who trust in him. Romans 5:9, “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”
Forbid that we ever assume, diminish, ignore, mistake, or underestimate the immense power of the blood of Christ. Rather, let us worship in wonder and adoration; let us bow in holy fear and trembling at the surging and infinite power of the precious, redeeming blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Brent Nelson
- Feb 21, 2014
The purpose for all believers being predestined by God is that he would adopt us into his eternal family as sons. Consider Ephesians 1:5, “He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.” God’s eternal destiny for those whom he elects is to change their family identity. They are given a new name, a new inheritance, and a new future. This is the glory of our adoption. As J.I. Packer says, “The Christian name for God is Father.”
The Westminster Confession of Faith describes this ineffable truth like this:
"All those that are justified, God vouchsafeth, in and for his only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of adoption: by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God; to have his name put upon them, receive the Spirit of adoption; to have access to the throne of grace with boldness; are enabled to cry, Abba, Father; are pitied, protected, provided for, and chastened by him, as a father; yet never cast off, but sealed to the day of redemption, and inherit the promises, as heirs of everlasting salvation” (Chapter 12).
Be careful of the interpretive trap of calling our adoption a metaphor. It’s quite popular to say that our adoption in Christ is merely one of Scripture’s many metaphors for our redemption. This can no more be true than God the Father being only our father metaphorically. He is our father actually, because he is the Father eternally (cf. Isaiah 9:6).
Glory in your sonship, brothers and sisters. Glory in your redemption from wrath, your forgiveness of sins, your imputed righteousness, and your mind-blowing election all because they culminate in a welcome place at the Father’s table and a beloved place in his heart! Give praise to the glorious grace that makes real your adoption in Christ Jesus!
- Brent Nelson
- Feb 14, 2014
When Paul has no particular problem to solve, controversy to settle, or knotty cultural issue to untie—when he is free to soar to ineffable heights of glory—what does he do? He blesses God. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:3).
Supreme in his affections and chief in his mind is the worship of God. What Paul and all true believers love most is to boast in God.
We will do this for eternity! The twenty-four elders surrounding God’s throne say with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12).
And it’s not just the elders; all of Heaven erupts with blessings to the Father and the Son: “And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” (v.13).
Why does Paul exult in blessing God, and why will believers exult with the same blessing forever in Heaven? Answer: because God has first blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places! God has blessed us first. Our blessing is all joyful response to his.
For the next several weeks we will be exploring, explaining, and exalting in the many spiritual blessing granted to us in Christ Jesus. These are meant by God to both assure believers of your salvation in Christ Jesus and ignite zealous, doctrinally-pure, joy-fueled blessing of God in Christ.
If you see anything of your spiritual blessings in Christ, bless God—it’s what you were made for!