Counseling One Another

Helping you grow in God's all-sufficient truth and grace

Counseling One Another

February 11, 2016
by Paul Tautges
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Lemuel Haynes: A Portrait of Gospel-Centered Black Church History

Today’s post is written by my friend Bob Kellemen of Crossroads Bible College in Indianapolis, Indiana. It is excerpted from his book, Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care. To learn more and to read a sample chapter visit Beyond the Suffering http://bit.ly/1IRXq6

 A Gospel-Centered Ministry: “The Black Puritan”

Lemuel Haynes offers a remarkable example of African American ministerial modeling. Born at West Hartford, Connecticut, in 1753, of a white mother and a black father, Haynes lived his entire eighty years in Congregationalist New England. He completed his indenture in time to serve in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.

Privately tutored, Haynes became the first African American to be ordained by any religious denomination. Upon ordination, Haynes then served white congregations for more than thirty years. Middlebury College awarded him the master’s degree in 1804, another first for an African American.

Among other accomplishments, he achieved notoriety for a sermon entitled Universal Salvation that defended orthodox Christianity against the threat of Universalism. For this work, he happily accepted the title “Black Puritan,” indicating his depth of gospel-centered, Reformation theology.

A Gospel-Centered Purpose: His Personal Epitaph

Haynes personal epitaph tells much about how he lived his life and where he placed his focus: “Here lies the dust of a poor hell-deserving sinner, who ventured into eternity trusting wholly on the merits of Christ for salvation. In the full belief of the great doctrines he preached while on earth, he invites his children and all who read this, to trust their eternal interest on the same foundation” (Epitaph written for himself by Reverend Lemuel Haynes, the “Black Puritan”).

The Rev. Lemuel Haynes pointed not to himself, but to Christ. He understood that, “It’s all about Him!” His trust was solely in Christ and his focus was solely on the gospel of Christ’s grace.

 A Gospel-Centered Example: Following Paul’s Model

At age sixty-five, Haynes left his Rutland, Vermont, parish due to political friction that essentially forced him to choose to resign. His farewell sermon of 1818 emphasized, among other topics, his devotion to the work of gospel ministry and to the people of his congregation. Alluding to the words of the Apostle Paul, Haynes notes that: “He that provided the motto of our discourse could say on his farewell, I have coveted no man’s silver or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessity.”

It was important to Haynes with his white parishioners that they recognized his Christ-like, gospel-focused diligence. Few could legitimately question his work ethic given that he had preached 5,500 sermons, officiated at over 400 funerals, and solemnized more than 100 marriages.

Gospel-Centered Motivation: For Christ Alone

It was also vital to Rev. Haynes that they understood his gospel-centered motivations. “The flower of my life has been devoted to your service:—while I lament a thousand imperfections which have attended my ministry; yet I am not deceived, it has been my hearty desire to do something for the salvation of your souls.”

Haynes acknowledged and wanted his people to realize that the ultimate Judge of his motivations was Christ. “I must give an account concerning the motives which influenced me to come among you, and how I have conducted during my thirty years residence in this place: the doctrines I have inculcated: whether I have designedly kept back any thing that might be profitable to you, or have, through fear of man, or any other criminal cause, shunned to declare the whole counsel of God. Also, as to the manner of my preaching, whether I have delivered my discourses in a cold, formal manner, and of my external deportment.”

To read more about our rich heritage of Black Church History, visit Bob’s blog at RPM Ministries.

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February 11, 2016
by Paul Tautges
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Nuggets of Wisdom

What’s So Special about Singing on Sundays? – This is why singing in one voice with God’s people is a highlight of my week.

The Incomprehensible, Unimaginable, Life-Transforming Power that’s Ours for the Asking – “It is a power we can tap into any time day or night. We can come to the throne of grace in any time of need. Jesus ever lives to make intercession for us. His ears are attentive to our cries. And he is desirous, ready and waiting to unleash his awesome power in our lives.”

Raising Pure Kids in an Impure World – “It’s tempting to take a spitball approach when it comes to teaching kids about purity. We present a list of isolated truths about babies, STDs, and future spouses. But our children don’t need a handful of toppings; they need the whole pizza. Like every other issue, they need us to put “sexual purity” into the context of the gospel.”

Over-Complicating Accountability – “Accountability has become a formal word associated with groups and meetings and appointments. We’ve mistaken formality for intentionality. Accountability must be intentional or else it won’t happen. But when it becomes formal we usually stop being accountable. We’ve made it too complicated.”

Capturing Weak Women – “These women have fallen victim to false teachers. The teachers are creeping into their homes, sneaking past pastors and husbands, most likely by doing their work during the day when the women are available and others are occupied. Once in, they take these women captive, enslaving them to sin and error and despair.”

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February 10, 2016
by Paul Tautges
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Fit for the Master

As human beings created in the image of God, we are psychosomatic; that is, we are soul and body, together, and always will be. Though completely glorified—made new—even our resurrected bodies will forever be connected to our spirit. Therefore, it is spiritual business to care for our physical bodies. Both our body and spirit “require attention in living in a way that is pleasing to God.” That’s the main gist of a new book by pastor and physical education enthusiast John Lehman. The book’s content measures up to its title: Fit for the Master: Glorifying God in a Healthy Body.fit

Now in my 50’s, I increasingly see the importance of the proper care of my body. The extra 20 pounds my frame has been carrying around the past decade are not only affecting my physical energy level, but the lack of a consistent exercise regime also hinders my spirit. I touched on this just a bit a couple days ago. For this reason, I read Fit for the Master; I was seeking basic counsel for the average person who wants to get and stay in shape in order to serve God most effectively and efficiently while on this earth. I’ll summarize the book’s value in five points.

Qualified to Write – In the Foreword, a physical education professor at the University of West Georgia says of the author: “John demonstrates the epitome of health, physical activity, and continuous energy, while remaining actively involved in so many different pursuits. As a fitness fanatic myself, I have participated with John in many athletic endeavors, including cycling, swimming, basketball, tennis, racquetball, softball, weight training, and, most notably, hundreds of hours pounding the pavement and trails. John has a true passion for physical fitness, and effectively uses his similar interests with others as opportunities to grow, mentor, and share the gospel.”

Our Fallen Bodies Require Attention – “Most people grow and mature to full strength by about the time they are twenty-five years old. It is documented that peak physical condition is achieved at this stage. If life consists, as Scripture calls it, of three score and ten years—that is, seventy years (see Psalm 90)—that means that the body from age twenty-five on does not continue to improve but actually begins to deteriorate. As in anything, when something is left to itself, it will begin the process of atrophy. That is not to say that a person who is committed to keeping fit is guaranteed a long and healthy life, but it does mean that not exercising is beginning a process where the body is no longer as fit for God’s use as it would be if exercise were routinely undertaken.”

A Balanced Book and Accessible BookFit for the Master consistently pleads for living a well-balanced life; this is a life that gives attention to food intake, physical exercise, and rest patterns. The care of one’s material being has some affect upon our  sense of joy and peace. “While the Bible nowhere explains how or why endorphins are released in response to physical exertion, the fact of the matter is this: people engaging in physical activity typically enjoy heightened euphoric feelings, and therefore a significant sense of wellbeing. Exercise (keep in mind that exercise involves exertion) releases these endorphins. So, people who pursue endorphin-releasing activities have this sense of joy and peace.” The chapter on rest (often missing from physical fitness books) is very valuable as it honors God’s original design in creation.

A Practical BookFit for the Master is immensely practical. What I mean is that it does not merely convict you with principles and leave you guilty for being out of shape. Instead, the books provides simple guidance for immediate application. By the time I got to the final chapter, I already knew how many ounces of water my body needs per day, and how many minutes of regular exercise per week are needed for me to maintain a healthy weight. The book also contains exercise diagrams and charts.

Not Body Worship – Finally, because the book’s focus is on the care of our body, it properly maintains that physical exercise is limited in its value. Love remains the greatest of all. Foremost in our minds must be the development of our godliness. “Exercise enhances the body, so if that body is to be used for God’s glory—which was His intention from the beginning—then the focus of the exercise is to help us be more fit for God’s use. To desire to have a fit body just for its own sake (not considering our responsibility and duty to serve God) is to put the cart before the horse. Bodily exercise is profitable, for it does bring one into a state of greater fitness, but it is not merely fitness in itself that is going to ultimately bring God glory. God is glorified when we find contentment in whatever state He has placed us. This involves our loving Him first and foremost and loving others also—see Matthew 22:38.”

Fit for the Master is an easy read. Now for the hard part…no pain, no gain. The book is available from: Cheaper in Dozens (FREE SHIPPING), CBD.

 

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February 8, 2016
by Paul Tautges
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Regular Exercise & Depression

In his new book Fit for the Master: Glorifying God in a Healthy Body, pastor and physical education enthusiast John Lehman cites a case study illustrating the importance of regular exercise and its benefit as one factor in fighting depressive moods. I can personally testify to this connection. Having come out of a long period of depression about a year ago, I see how the lack of regular exercise exacerbated the problem. Consider this brief portion from the third chapter of Lehman’s book:

“Researchers Peter Walters and John Byl have reported elevated mood and reduced anxiety and depression in candidates after exercise. The main reason for this is the release of chemical substances by the body during exercise. These endorphins act as opiates, and they decrease pain as well as produce feelings of wellbeing. Research undertaken by Walters and Byl suggests that exercise can be effective treatment for clinical depression. A study was done on twenty-four patients diagnosed with moderate depression. This group was subdivided into either an exercise group or psychotherapy group. The group that received psychotherapy met with a psychologist once a week, while the exercise group went jogging with a trainer three times a week for 45 to 60 minutes. After twelve weeks, about three fourths of the patients in each of the groups had recovered from their depression. That means that in both categories they had recovered. However, after one year, half of those in the psychotherapy group returned for additional depression treatment, while none of the subjects in the exercise group returned.”

Benefits of Regular Exercise

The author cites the following benefits to regular exercise.

  • Exercise relieves stress and anxiety.
  • Exercise alleviates depression.
  • Exercise treats mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medicines.
  • Exercise improves our mood. As has been mentioned, exercise also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in our brain that energize our spirits and simply make us feel good.
  • Exercise sharpens our brainpower. The same endorphins that make us feel better also help us concentrate and feel mentally sharp for a task that may be at hand.
  • Exercise is an investment in your mind, body, and soul.
  • Exercise assists in energy gain; it has a rejuvenating effect.

This week, I’ll be posting more thoughts from this helpful new book.

Available from: Cheaper in Dozens (FREE SHIPPING), CBD.

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February 5, 2016
by Paul Tautges
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Jesus Atoned for Our Sins

The concept of atonement permeates virtually every page of Old Testament sacrificial law. According to God’s gracious provision, the Israelites were commanded to bring the appointed sacrifices to the tabernacle or the temple to atone for their sins (Ex. 29:33-37; 30:10-16; Num. 15:28; 2 Chron. 29:24). To atone means to make amends, reparation, or satisfaction for a crime committed. That is, the prescribed and accepted sacrifice reconciled the sinner back to God by meeting His demand for justice. Since God’s initial command to Adam and Eve contained the penalty of death for disobedience (Gen. 2:17), it is death that God’s justice required every sinner to pay (Ezek. 18:4).

The Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur, was the most solemn of Jewish annual feast days and was, quite literally, a day of death (Lev. 16:1-34). On the tenth day of the seventh month (late September or early October), the prescribed animals were slain on behalf of sinners. A bull was offered for the sins of Aaron, the priest, and his family; the High Priest offered rams as burnt offerings for his own sins as well as the sins of the people whom he represented; and two goats were sacrificed. The first goat was slain for the sins of the people and the second goat, the scapegoat, was sent into the wilderness—after the sins were transferred to it—in order to picture the removal of sin. This annual ritual covered the sins of God’s people for one year, until such time it had to be repeated. This repetition was intentional on God’s part in order to remind the people of their sins (Heb. 10:3); reveal the inadequacy of animal sacrifices (Heb. 10:1, 4); and to point forward to, and create anticipation for, the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself as an offering for sin once for all (Heb. 10-11-14). This He did “not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood” (Heb. 9:12). As a result, the one who now places his faith in Jesus Christ as their Sin-bearing Savior has “confidence to enter the holy place,” the very presence of God, by His blood (Heb. 10:19).

For this reason, the single New Testament occurrence of the word atonement in the King James Version is translated reconciliation in many other translations (E.g. NASB, NKJ, ESV) and speaks of the sufficiency and finality of the death of Christ as having brought about the reconciliation (Rom. 5:11). That is, the bloody death of Christ on the cross met the demands of God, thus removing the offense which formed a barrier between us and God. Henry Thiessen writes, “In whatever God does, his justice must be maintained; Christ’s death fully satisfied the just demands of God. As in the case of state criminals, if the offender suffers the penalty prescribed by the law, he is no longer liable to condemnation.” Consequently, for the eternal benefit of our souls, atonement is the divine means by which the penalty for the offense of sinners—criminals against the laws of God—is fully paid for by Jesus in order to bring about reconciliation with God. “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18). The purity of God’s love for us moved Him to give His only begotten Son (Jn. 3:18; Rom. 5:8), and the purity of Christ’s love moved Him to take our sins upon Himself and lay down “His life for us” (1 Jn. 3:16).

As the promised Savior, Jesus died as the righteous substitute for sinners like you and me in order to remove the penalty from us and restore us to fellowship with our holy Creator whom we sinned against. In short, Jesus was condemned so that we would not have to be. “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). Are you “in Christ Jesus”? Have you come to God in repentance and to Jesus in faith? If not, do so now. Today is the day of salvation. Do not harden your heart. If you hear His voice, respond in faith. For the Scripture says, if you “confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Heb. 10:9).

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February 4, 2016
by Paul Tautges
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Nuggets of Wisdom

When the Detour Becomes Your New Road – A wonderful post at Desiring God: “The old road often seems like it was more relaxing and easy to drive. The new road can be bumpy and twisty, narrow with sharp curves. And I find myself longing for the ease of what I used to have. But the new road has benefits too, perhaps not in ease but in seeing life differently.”

Do You Keep Your Commitments Even If It Hurts? – Jim Newheiser writes at the BCC blog: “I have been shocked by how easily some Christian leaders (even counselors) break their commitments. On the other hand, I have witnessed wonderful examples of Christian integrity.”

Legislation Introduced in Utah Declares Porn a “Public Health Crisis” – Covenant Eyes applauds Utah’s effort to recognize this growing health concern linked to many societal ills.

My Indebtedness to the Puritans – Joel Beeke: “While there are many ways that the Bible-saturated books of the Puritans have influenced me, I would like to highlight three special lessons I have learned from them about experiential, practical Christian living.”

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February 1, 2016
by Paul Tautges
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The Book Is Here

It’s a thrill for me to let you know that the book Counseling One Another: A Theology of Inter-Personal Discipleship (Revised and Updated edition) will be released in a few weeks. The new publisher, Shepherd Press, is offering a 50% pre-order discount. COA front cover

Read the following endorsements from pastors and Christian leaders:

“This book gets it right! Comprehensive and convincing, it shows how true biblical counseling and preaching fit hand-in-glove.” – Dr. John MacArthur, pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, California; author; and Bible teacher on the Grace to You

“Paul Tautges lays the theological foundation for biblical counseling—in a way that is both comprehensive and compassionate. This book demonstrates a staunch commitment to an expository, exegetical examination of counseling as presented in God’s Word. Any pastor or lay person wanting a foundational starting point for understanding Christ-centered, comprehensive, and compassionate biblical counseling in the local church would be wise to read and reread Counseling One Another.” – Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., Crossroads Bible College; Author of Gospel-Centered Counseling

“Do you want the members of your community of faith to effectively serve each another in love? This book is aimed at equipping them to do that. It is a primer on the balance of features that biblically committed discipling must include. Paul Tautges shows that counseling, not in a clinical, professional or technical sense, but in the ‘one-anothering’ sense, is suffused with discipleship. They can’t be separated. Counseling is one integral, unavoidable, needed component for the building up of the body. Counterfeits abound. Tautges warns us about them. But the positive force of this book fleshes out sound biblical features of ‘one-another’ counseling within a ministry committed to Scripture, the cross, and the church.” – Rick Horne, D.Min., TUMI-Chester, Site Coordinator/Professor

“Counseling One Another, addresses a serious deficiency in the discipleship ministry of Christians within the church. It advocates a radical departure from the status quo and a return to an authentic personal ministry of the Word among Christians through discipleship counseling. It effectively lays the theological foundation for Christians regaining the New Testament priority of addressing personal soul troubles with biblical counsel.” –  Dr. John D. Street, Chair, Graduate Program in Biblical Counseling, The Master’s College and Seminary, Santa Clarita, California

“A gathering storm surrounds the day in which we live, a dark hour in which the absolute sufficiency of the Scripture has come under attack. But how refreshing—and rare—to see a book like this that asserts the irresistible power of God’s Word to develop true discipleship by the sovereign working of His Spirit. This is not a ‘trendy book’ like so many, blown about by the prevailing evangelical winds. Rather, here is an anchor for authentic ministry that will stimulate real spiritual growth in God’s people.” – Dr. Steven J. Lawson, President of One Passion Ministries; speaker; and author of many books, including Famine in the Land, The Expository Genius of John Calvin, and Foundations of Grace

“The ministry of counseling has for too long been relegated to the professional counselor. Paul Tautges brings the biblical command for discipleship right back to the local church and to all believers. This book is a must-read for all who take the Matthew 28 Great Commission seriously.” – Dr. Ron Allchin, ACBC Fellow, Executive Director of the Biblical Counseling Center, Arlington Heights, Illinois

“Paul Tautges’ book is readable, accessible, practical, and biblical. More than just a handbook for Christian counselors, Counseling One Another encourages and enables the church to address the need for biblical discipleship. Loaded with information and application, this is an excellent workbook for all Christians who are seeking to grow in grace and take their rightful place in the body of Christ.” – Dr. Jim Winter, UK pastor for over thirty years, international lecturer, and author of Opening Up Ecclesiastes, Depression: A Rescue Plan

Order the book at the special pre-order offer.

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January 30, 2016
by Paul Tautges
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Nuggets of Wisdom [1/30/16]

Here’s a handful of articles and links that I was personally edified by this past week:

Kill Your (Celebrity Culture) Worship – “I would argue that the problem isn’t contemporary innovations, and the answer isn’t (necessarily) tradition. The problem is with the church’s understanding of the purpose and goal of worship. What are we seeking to accomplish with our gatherings? Is the church gathering for the purpose of robustly forming people with the story of the gospel, with remembering and renewing her covenant with God? And is everything that happens in the gathering serving that end?”

Fresh Versions of 2 Great HymnsIt Is Well by Austin Stone; There Is a Fountain by Norton Hall Band.

12 Church Enemies – “Every pastor will eventually have to face enemies within the church, people who are dedicated to damage and even destroy them. As these enemies have a range of motives and methods, and can be deadly if not recognized early, here’s a selection of the kinds of enemies that can be found in many churches (some belong to more than one category – some belong to all!)”

When It Comes to People, Take the Long Route – “[A] quick reaction–to a dangerous person, based on accurate bias–can help us protect ourselves. But when these mental shortcuts are applied to the vast majority of human interactions, they are nothing but destructive. They build walls, reinforce fences, tighten chains, and keep people out in the cold….I must acknowledge, though, that no amount of effort can change our thinking the way God can. We can work to be better people–but soul-deep transformation is the work of someone outside ourselves. Someone who knows our capabilities and limitations and who is the author of the very grace we need to receive and to give.”

The Backwards Brain Bicycle – A brother in the Lord shared this with me after we had a conversation about brain plasticity and putting off/putting on habits. It’s a great example of both.

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January 29, 2016
by Paul Tautges
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Our Advocate with the Father

The Bible calls Jesus our “Advocate with the Father” (1 Jn 2:1). An advocate is one who pleads for another, a defender, an intercessor. When the apostle John attributed this role to Jesus, it was in the context of defining our need for a defender when we sin. “And if anyone sins” is the phrase that precedes it. But why do we need an advocate when we sin? And if Jesus is pleading for us then who is He pleading to and against?

First, Jesus pleads to the Father. When we sin, the good news is that our advocate has already become “the propitiation for our sins” (1 Jn 2:2). In other words, when we sin, the imputed righteousness of Jesus, which is our righteousness by faith (2 Cor. 5:21), comes to our defense as that which satisfies the holy, righteous demands of the Judge of Heaven. Therefore, we can rest in the assurance that, in Christ, we are accepted by God, and Jesus is not ashamed to refer to those who are sanctified as being His brothers and sisters (Heb. 2:11).

Second, Jesus pleads to, and for, our conscience. If we are born again, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb of God, then we ought to strive to live with a good conscience (1 Tim. 1:19). But when we fail to glorify God—when we sin—we need an advocate to speak biblical truth to our condemning conscience. In Christ, we have “a great priest over the house of God, let us [therefore] draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Heb. 10:21-22). When we sin, the words of our high priest remind us of the ongoing necessity for repentance and the promise of God’s forgiveness based on the shed blood of Christ.

Third, Jesus pleads for us against the devil. We need an advocate not only because the Spirit convicts our conscience in order to drive us back to the finished work of Christ on the cross, but also because Satan is the accuser of believers. He slanders us before our God day and night (Revelation 12:10). When the devil does his accusing, our Advocate declares our union with Him to be sufficient cause for our forgiveness and righteous standing with the Father. In the words of the hymn writer, “And now for me He stands before the Father’s throne; He shows His wounded hands and names me as His own.”

All of the past work of Jesus and His ongoing work as our intercessor results in a real, living relationship with God as our heavenly Father. Returning to the book of 1 John, later in the same chapter, we read, “I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake….I have written to you, children, because you know the Father” (1 Jn. 2:12-13). If you have repented of your sins and are trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior then you are already accepted by God. The Father—your Father—has received you through your advocate. The Father’s wrath has been appeased by the blood of His Son. Therefore, the Father knows repentant sinners…in relationship. In Christ, we know the Father and the Father knows us…in loving relationship. But that doesn’t mean we don’t continue to struggle with sin and, therefore, need His ongoing grace and forgiveness.

So, when we sin, we need to run to Christ—our advocate and friend.

I run to Christ when stalked by sin
And find a sure escape.
“Deliver me,” I cry to Him;
Temptation yields to grace.

I run to Christ when plagued by shame
And find my one defense.
“I bore God’s wrath,” He pleads my case—
My Advocate and Friend.

[From the hymn, I Run to Christ]

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January 27, 2016
by Paul Tautges
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Accursed

When the Bible refers to someone as being accursed, it means he will be damned forever with no hope of redemption. It is from anathema, which means “the disfavor of Jehovah,” and was used of “the sentence pronounced” or “the object on which the ‘curse’ is laid” (Vine’s). So great was that first sin—the sin of the first man and woman—that all the earth was cursed; every creature was brought under the sentence of death and condemnation. Our sins are such an affront to the holy standards of God and so diminishing to His incomparable glory that we deserve to be accursed; we deserve to be the objects of His righteous anger; we deserve to be sentenced to eternal damnation.

As one of the strongest words in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul chose to use accursed to sentence all preachers of false gospels to eternal punishment. To feel the sobriety of his condemnation, substitute the phrase “damned forever without hope of redemption” in place of accursed as you read: “But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be [damned forever with no hope of redemption]. As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be [damned forever with no hope of redemption] (Galatians 1:8-9). Such would all of us be if it were not for Jesus Christ.

But God!

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God so loved this world of sinners that He cursed His own Son instead of cursing us. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’” (Galatians 3:13). Jesus “became a curse for us” by willingly assuming all our guilt and its punishment which was imposed upon us by God’s law.

The law of God, as perfect and holy as it is, was never meant to save us. Instead, it condemns us. The law of God is our teacher, “our tutor to lead us to Christ” (Galatians 3:24); it is the light that exposes the depth of the darkness of our sin and leads us to the only One who has ever met its demands perfectly. “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3). We who should have been damned forever with no hope of redemption have instead been “brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13).

And so we sing,

Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

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