The Blog of Pastor Jude St. John

In The Trenches

One of the things I love about football is its applicability to life. So much of what happens on the football field corresponds to our experience of living. And in particular, one can draw many parallels between the game of football and our life of faith in Jesus Christ. Most of my years playing football were played “in the trenches.” That is, I was an offensive lineman who plied my trade on the line of scrimmage. That no-man’s-land of much physical violence between opposing forces which derives its name from the battle situations of the World Wars. That place which seems, as often as not, to be an experience much like our lives. I hope to communicate with you a few things that will hopefully be of some help as you fight the good fight of faith. And since I am in this battle too, you might consider that I write these thoughts as I live my life for God in the trenches. 

Books I've Read in 2019

    • John Newton by Jonathan Aitken
    • Supernatural Power for Everyday People by Jared Wilson
    • The Freedom of the Will by Jonathan Edwards
    • The World-Tilting Gospel by Dan Philips
    • Biblical Theology by Nick Roark and Robert Cline
    • Understanding the Lord's Supper by Bobby Jamieson
    • The Works of John Newton: Volume 1 by John Newton
    • Understanding the Congregation's Authority by Jonathan Leeman
    • Pierced for Our Transgressions by Steve Jeffery, Mike Ovey, and Andrew Sach
    • The Common Rule by Justin Whitmel Earley
    • The Works of John Newton: Volume 2 by John Newton
    • Heart to Heart: Octavius Winslow's Experimental Preaching by Tanner G. Turley
    • The Inquirer Directed to an Experimental and Practical View of the Atonement by Octavius Winslow
    • The Works of John Newton: Volume 3 by John Newton
    • Missions by Andy Johnson
    • The Gospel-Driven Church by Jared Wilson
    • Date Your Wife by Justin Buzzard
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  • Aug17Mon

    No one sins out of duty

    August 17, 2015
    I recently began reading a book by John Piper entitled Future Grace. I have only read the first chapter, but have already been moved in regards to several things Piper wrote. One passage that immediately resonated with me was the following: "Sin is what you do when your heart is not satisfied with God. No one sins out of duty. We sin because it holds out some promise of happiness. That promise enslaves us until we believe that God is more to be desired than life itself (Psalm 66:3)."

    This is so true. We don't sin because we feel a responsibility to, we sin because we want to. We desire it because of what it promises. James 1:15 says "Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death." The thing about sin is, it is a lie. It doesn't produce what it promises. It may promise satisfaction or happiness or delight, but what it produces is death. Sin is a desire for death; a death-wish as it were. 

    One of the ways we combat sin is by presenting our soul with something more desirable, something that can produce what it promises. Jonathan Edwards put the discipline of presenting a more beautiful object to our soul this way, "endeavor to promote spiritual appetites by laying yourself in the way of allurement." Or as Sam Storms paraphrased it, "Posture your life so that you may be easily enticed by the beauty of Christ." So, the desire to sin is repelled by presenting our souls something infinitely more desirable: Christ.

    And, how do we present Christ, the ultimately desirable One, to our souls? One tested and tried way of presenting Christ to our souls is Scripture. We can meditate on God's Word, particularly passages like Hebrews 1:3-4 which speak explicitly of the glory of Christ: "He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs."

    We don't sin out of duty, but out of desire. So let's undermine sin by beholding that which is more desirable, namely, Christ.

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