“Christ justifies no one whom He does not also sanctify.”

Justification and sanctification, gifts of grace, go together as if tied by an inseparable bond, so that if anyone tries to separate them, he is, in a sense, tearing Christ to pieces. Sanctification doesn’t just flow from justification, so that one produces the other. Both come from the same Source. Christ justifies no one whom He does not also sanctify. By virtue of our union with Christ, He bestows both gifts, the one never without the other.

-John Calvin

How can you worship a God who might send your children to Hell?

In William Lane Craig’s answer to the above question he makes a really helpful point about the objective value (or lack thereof) of the subjective response such a question elicits:

There are actually two different questions here which are being run together, the first a psychological question (“How can you love and worship a God who you believe would do that to your children?”) and the second a philosophical question (“How can you think that is a fair and reasonable thing for anyone or anything to do?”).

The psychological question is nothing more than an emotionally loaded red herring. It is just an inquiry about one’s personal psychological state. It is a request for an autobiographical report about one’s subjective condition. As such, its answer will be person-relative and have nothing to do with objective truth.

A Word to the Wise: Whenever people pose questions beginning “Would you. . .“ or “If you were. . . ,” then you know immediately that it is a question designed merely to put you in an awkward position, not to get at truth.

The irrelevance of the psychological question to truth is evident from the fact that even if one answered it negatively, it would have no implications at all for the truth of the doctrine of hell. Suppose I were one of those persons who would not or could not bring himself to do X. That implies nothing about the rightness/wrongness of doing X or the truth/falsity that someone does X. It’s just about me and my personal psychology.​

The entirety of Craig’s reply is found here.

Most cited verses in Systematic Theology

This is an interesting post from the Logos bible software blog that analyzes the use of scripture in works of Systematic Theology. The purpose of this data mining is to determine what are the most cited verses by individual subject, and the results are pretty interesting. Here are the top 10 most referenced verses overall:

  1. Matthew 28:19
  2. John 3:16
  3. John 1:14
  4. Matthew 28:20
  5. Hebrews 1:3
  6. Romans 8:29
  7. John 1:1
  8. Genesis 1:26
  9. 2 Timothy 3:16
  10. Ephesians 1:4 

Fred Sanders on the current state of Christians’ understanding of the Trinity

In this article, the always-readable and worth-reading Fred Sanders makes some great contributions to the trinity debates that have ramped up in the last 18 months or so. He rightly pushes back against the tendancy of some to label as heretics those that can’t articulate every component of trinitarian theology, but also pinpoints areas where believers need to change their mindset about trinitarian theology. In a rebuke of poor analogies and cheap applications of the reality of the glorious Trinity, he writes:

But the bigger problem behind these neat tricks is what they presuppose. They seem to begin from the notion that the Trinity is not relevant until a technique like this makes it relevant to us. This presupposition can only come from a faulty idea of what would count as relevant. The doctrine of the Trinity is a teaching about who God is, based on the gospel and according to the Bible. Anybody who nods their head at these claims and then goes on to ask, “But why does it matter?” has a dubious grasp of the nature of theology, the character of the gospel, and the purpose of the Bible. If we believe that relationship with God is the most significant aspect of our existence, knowing what God is like ought to be supremely relevant to us. What if the doctrine of the Trinity were already as relevant as it needed to be, simply by being biblical and evangelical instruction about God?

There is no doubt an important takeaway for every believer in Sanders’ article.