Number 86: Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
A memorable ANR profile I came across said nearly verbatim: “I’ve been a surrogate mother and have nursed multiple babies. Nursing adults was never my thing until I tried it and was shocked that I liked it.”
That’s because nursing unleashes some powerful nurturing instincts in a woman, more than she ever knew she had. And as we’ve just read, it’s not limited to nurturing babies and children. Women were created to be life-givers, even to adults. The nurturing and life-giving only takes a different form when with husband vs. child.
I know a former career woman who once wanted no kids. Now a godly mother of four and grandmother of two, she’s so good at her role that I can’t imagine her being childless. She serves all six with so much joy and excellence that it seems effortless. She also expressed her surprise to me at her initial rejection of motherhood.
I myself am gradually seeing how beautiful it is to die to self in order to serve others.
Being a go-giver who reaches out to others expecting nothing in return is about as Christ-like as we can get on this side of eternity.
Today we join with millions of Christians around the world in celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
Granted, dates like these are hard to pin down. Who is to say when something as big as the Reformation began? And what about those who labored for reform long before October 31, 1517? Nevertheless, for centuries, Protestants have instinctively recognized that a providential series of events was set in motion on this day 500 years ago when a German professor named Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.
We give thanks for Luther, flawed and fallible though he was, for the role he played in igniting a reform movement that caught fire in the cities of the Holy Roman Empire, spread through the rest of Europe, and now reaches to the ends of the earth. Wherever we find Scripture alone as the highest and final authority, grace alone as the only hope for resurrecting spiritually dead sinners, faith alone as the only instrument by which we are joined to Christ and justified by the imputation of his righteousness, Christ alone as the only atoning sacrifice for sin, and God alone as the ultimate object of our worship—wherever we find these truths sung, savored, and celebrated, we have reason to rejoice in the Reformation.
But we do more on this day than give thanks for the past. We also marvel at what we see in the present. Who but God could have foreseen the triumphs of the gospel in the last 500 years—from the planting of Reformation churches in the New World, to the explosion of Christianity in sub-Saharan Africa, to revivals in Korea, to the endurance (and now spectacular growth) of the church in China, to renewed gospel vibrancy in places as diverse as Australia, the Arabian Peninsula, Brazil, and India? Who but God could have known that once the Bible was translated into English and German and French it would also be translated into Albanian, Cambodian, Japanese, Oshindonga, Navajo, Swahili, and Pitjantjatjara? Who but God could have predicted that with the advent of airplanes, radios, and the internet, the good news of justification by faith alone in Christ alone through grace alone would be available to more people in more places than at any previous time in history? This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes (Ps. 118:23).
And yet, we are not blind to the challenges facing the church: secularization in [countries in which Christianity was once a dominant religion], opposition to biblical orthodoxy in the West, and increasing violence against the church in parts of the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. Theological heterodoxy holds sway in too many places, as do grinding poverty (on the one hand) and affluent indifference (on the other). And this is to say nothing of rising racial tensions, widespread nominalism, and the plight of those—numbering in the billions—who have no access to the gospel.
But Scripture tells us that the Word of God is not bound (2 Tim. 2:9). What we know from the Bible and have seen in history—that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16)—we expect to see in the years ahead. We are not confident in ourselves or in our ministries. We are but a vapor, a mist that appears and then vanishes away (James 4:14). We will not change the world, or even a single human heart, but we know the One who can and does. The God who Luther proclaimed is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and our God too. Though cultures change, and the church with it at times, the Head of the church does not change. He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8).
And so on this momentous day when we celebrate the rediscovery of the gospel and the recovery of true worship, we commit ourselves once again to the worship of our triune God and the gladhearted declaration of this gospel. And if the Lord should tarry another half-millennium, our prayer is not first of all for another Luther, but that we may be an instrument in the Lord’s hands just as Luther was.
The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God will stand forever (Isa. 40:8).
— Kevin DeYoung, chairman of the board of The Gospel Coalition, on behalf of The Gospel Coalition Council
Source: The Gospel Coalition
Bible Rank: 304
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8 ESV
English Standard Version (ESV)
By Grace Through Faith
2 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.[b] 4 But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
One in Christ
11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,[d] but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by[e] the Spirit.
“A gracious woman gets honor.”
– Proverbs 11:16a
A woman who is gracious enough to nurse her husband is honored by the LORD.
Couples Nursing is honorable.
For our sake he made him who knew no sin to be sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
-2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV, slightly modified)
Let that penetrate your soul as it did mine some years ago and almost made me cry.
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And he said to me, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment…”
– Revelation 21:5-6
Ephesians 2:1-10 (ESV)
By Grace Through Faith
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.