In a blog post last week, I started a "Sampler Platter" series that I hope to include pretty much every week on this blog. Since we're still new to this series, let me repeat the intro here, and then we'll get into some new "samples" following that:
Most of us have eaten out at a restaurant and tried a "sampler platter" - a plate with bite-sized portions of a few items from the menu. I've known people who use this platter as their meal. And I know others who have used this platter as a way to learn what they like, so they can order a full meal of that menu item next time around.
Let's start sampling:
Michael Horton, in the foreword to Jeremy R. Treat's The Crucified King: Atonement and Kingdom in Biblical and Systematic Theology (Zondervan, 2014), p. 17:
"...kingdom and atonement were nuclear to our Lord's identity. From the beginning of his ministry, Jesus saw himself as the bringer of the end-time kingdom, with the cross as his destiny. His main message was the kingdom and his main mission was to go to Golgotha. Surely this twofold fact, defended meticulously in [Jeremy Treat's The Crucified King], should provoke us to think of kingdom and atonement together."
Leslie Leyland Fields, "What We Forgot About Forgiveness: How my estranged father taught me the deeper meaning of mercy" in Christianity Today (March 2014), p. 34:
"I do not wish to diminish the aspirations of anyone who pursues forgiveness. But I worry that abandoning its deeper biblical foundation [and replacing it simply with a more therapeutic, self-focused approach] has gutted it of its full power and aim. We have to return to the New Testament commands to 'forgive as we've been forgiven.' This raison d'etre rescues the whole project of forgiveness from its worst forms of superiority and self-absorption. Jesus uses the parable of the unmerciful servant [in Matthew 18:21-35] to illustrate our true condition and need - and the full scope of the remedy.
"We know the parable: That man with massive debts who is called before the king is us. We're hopeless before the holy King. We stand there shoulder to shoulder with every other debtor, even those who own us money and honor and parental love, all of us complicit in what L. Gregory Jones calls 'the universal disaster of sinful brokenness.' Our only hope is the King himself, and he does it. He clears our debts entirely. What know what it cost to clear those debts: the death of Jesus, the only one who could pay them.
"In the parable, the debt-free man sings and skips his way out of the presence of the king. But then he collars the poor man owes him a piddling amount, and we know he missed it all. He failed to recognize himself in that pitiful man, a fellow debtor. He sees himself instead in the role of the master. And he fails that role as well.
"He misses this essential fact: Forgiveness is not for his personal freedom and happiness alone. It's to bring freedom and restoration to all especially to those who owe him. It's to bring the mercy of God among us frail humans, waiting for redemption in a broken world."
Click here to be taken to Christianity Today's website where you can search for the full article from which this excerpt was taken, or find other articles broadly relevant to evangelical Christianity that may be of interest to you.
Darrin Patrick in The Dude's Guide to Manhood: Finding True Manliness in a World of Counterfeits (Thomas Nelson, 2014), p. 17:
"Discipline is for freedom. The person who practices an instrument doesn't simply practice for practice's sake. The goal is to have the freedom to play, the ability to sit down and successfully press the keys he wants to press on a piano or pluck the strings on a guitar in a way that makes beautiful music. Discipline temporarily constrains and constricts us for the purpose of making available a greater good. When we are disciplined, we say no to more immediate pleasures, but yes to long-term fulfillment. Discipline limits us for a season in order to deepen our ability to enjoy the world and develop the character and skills within us that we need to flourish."
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