• How can I be saved? Question and Answer

    Luke 23:43

    If this is a sincere question coming from somebody who wants to be saved, the answer is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. That was Paul’s answer to the Philippian jailer. Now, people are coming from all kinds of different backgrounds, and there are things that need to be addressed. However, Jesus’ words to the dying thief, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43), are encouraging. To those people who want to be saved, I would cite Paul’s response to the Philippian jailer who was about to kill himself: believe on … View Resource

  • What is worldliness? Question and Answer

    We are citizens of the world. We live in this world. The doctrine of the image of God says that we reflect something of God Himself in our creaturely existence in this world. When I was a young, newly converted Christian, I had a massive LP collection of classical music that I inherited from my grandfather. However, somebody convinced me that it was worldly, so I got rid of it. It’s easy to understand worldliness simply as music, cinema, smoking, dancing, etc. In the end, however, that mindset is a trajectory towards asceticism and the monastery. The Reformed faith, in … View Resource

  • Will Christians receive rewards in heaven? Question and Answer

    Luke 19:11-27

    Yes. I think if you had asked any Christian who lived prior to the twentieth century, or certainly any Christian in the Reformed world, the answer would have been, “Absolutely, definitely yes.” Something happened in the twentieth century regarding this doctrine of rewards. If I asked twenty-five or thirty modern seminary students: “How many of you expect rewards in heaven and that some will be rewarded more than others?” I doubt that two hands would go up. Somebody needs to make a study of what happened to the doctrine of rewards. It was certainly a Puritan and a magisterial Reformer … View Resource

  • Does Romans 7 depict a Jew under the law or a believer struggling with sin? Question and Answer

    Romans 7

    THOMAS: Dr. Lloyd-Jones had a third alternative that it’s not the unbeliever or the Jew in Romans 7, but the person who has been awakened but isn’t yet a believer. So, he’s under conviction of sin, and he’s near the kingdom of God. This is Lloyd-Jones’s view of Romans 7. I take the classic Augustinian, Calvinist interpretation that the second half of Romans 7 is a description of a believer who is caught in the tension between the now and the not yet, wrestling daily with the fact that we are Christians, but we continue to sin. “The good that … View Resource

  • Does the creation account prior to the fall support complementarianism? Question and Answer

    Complementarianism is the view that males and females have different roles to play but complement each other. They each have a distinctive purpose. Within the creation narrative, there is a very clear account of male headship—Adam was created first, and then Eve was created out of Adam. Paul makes a great deal of that in his own theology, particularly in 1 Corinthians. In the creation account, you have the principle that male and female are equal in terms of their being, in terms of ontology. Both bear the image of God, but one is submissive to the other. You see … View Resource

  • How can Christians grieve over their sin without denying God’s grace? Question and Answer

    It’s very important to preach the gospel to yourself every day, to remind yourself every morning: “‘Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.’ There is absolutely nothing I can do to improve my status of justification. I am justified by faith alone in Christ alone.” Historically, there are aspects of preaching repentance that veer into a kind of legalism that suggests you must demonstrate a certain quality of repentance, or it somehow undermines the nature of your justification. That’s a spiral that can lead to legalism. Clearly understanding the difference between the indicative and the … View Resource

  • Is it true that the blood of Jesus takes away sickness? Question and Answer

    Galatians 6:11

    In the ultimate sense, it is true that in the new heavens and new earth there will be no coronavirus. It is a product of the fall. I think that the fourth servant song of Isaiah 53 refers to the ultimate healing ministry of Jesus. To suggest that no Christian will be sick, however, is crazy. We’re all going to die in some form or another, and all of it is a sickness of one form or another. The Apostle Paul had a malady. It might have been his eyesight since the reference in Galatians says, “See in what large … View Resource

  • Is there hope for a child who turns away from Christ as a college student? Question and Answer

    THOMAS: Yes, of course Scripture provides hope for anyone who turns away from Christ. There is always the possibility of repentance—even deathbed repentance. The dying thief, pastorally, is an important example that even on one’s deathbed one can turn and embrace Christ. Of course, one doesn’t want to use that as a ploy not to believe in Jesus at an early age. As a Presbyterian, I would also draw comfort from the view of the covenant that our children are in covenant. Therefore, even though they may drift and wander and rebel and become prodigals in a season of life, … View Resource

  • How is total depravity true when many people appear to act morally and do good deeds? Question and Answer

    THOMAS: Total depravity doesn’t mean that everyone is as sinful as they possibly could be. Total depravity allows for a range of sinful rebellion, but also common grace. Calvin had a doctrine of common civility. When he talked about the civil magistrate, which is a fairly broad concept in Calvin, he allowed for the civil magistrate to do a great deal of good, to respect law and order. We’re talking about the sixteenth century, but Calvin allowed that the civil magistrate could uphold that which is good and punish that which is evil and have at least a sense of … View Resource

  • How should Christians relate to the law of Moses? Question and Answer

    THOMAS: That’s a tricky question because Mosaic law is usually divided into at least three different segments. There is the moral law, which involves the Ten Commandments and expositions of the Ten Commandments. Then there is this civil law, which is the law that was peculiar to the state of Israel as a theocracy. And then there’s the ceremonial law, which was done away with or fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The first is the only one that’s binding upon the consciences of Christians, and that is the moral law. The Westminster Confession, which is my own confession, speaks of the … View Resource

  • What does it mean to be “in Christ”? Question and Answer

    Acts 9:4

    LAWSON: To be in Christ, first of all, means that we have a saving relationship with Christ and are brought into union and communion with Him in such a way that, as we are in Christ, what is true of Christ becomes true of us. His grace and His resources become our experience and possession. When you read Ephesians 1–2, that phrase “in Him” or “in Christ” is repeated over and over. It says, “We were chosen in Christ,” and, “We were predestined in Christ.” It goes all the way down to the Holy Spirit—we are sealed by the Spirit … View Resource

  • Was the Lord’s Day Sabbath revoked by Jesus? Question and Answer

    THOMAS: “No” would be my answer. In Sinclair Ferguson’s fairly recent book on sanctification, I believe there is an appendix on this very issue, which I would certainly recommend. I think that Jesus put His imprimatur on the principle of one day in seven. We still believe in the operating force of ten commandments and not nine commandments. If there is no Sabbath at all, and there is just a utilitarian need to meet—but it doesn’t really matter when, or where, or how—then the conclusion is that we really only have nine commandments, not ten. There is nothing in the … View Resource

  • What is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? Question and Answer

    Matthew 12:31-32

    THOMAS: Interestingly enough, we talked a little bit about this today in a course that I was teaching here for Ligonier. We talked about the change of view that has taken place since the Puritan period in the seventeenth century. At that time, the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit was a definite sin. It was a definite, existential moment in a person’s life when they said “No” to the gospel or “No” to the work of the Holy Spirit. I was pointing out that Martyn Lloyd-Jones, I think in Preaching and Preachers, said that this was what troubled his congregation … View Resource

  • Does the incarnation mean that God has changed in space and time from that point on? If not, why and how do we respond to the question? Question and Answer

    SPROUL: The first part is very easy—He certainly does not change. In His being, He is immutable. In the incarnation, He took upon Himself a human nature. He didn’t stop being God and become a human being. To affirm He did is to fall into the old kenotic heresy that was popular in the nineteenth century, which taught that God gave up certain attributes in order to become incarnate. You hear this kind of thing among evangelicals all the time: “God, in order to understand what sin and suffering are, had to become a man and change His nature to … View Resource

  • Can a saved person be lost? Question and Answer

    No, but someone who thinks they are saved can be lost, which is different, and someone that you think might be saved can be lost. The perseverance of the saints, or the perseverance of God’s elect, actually became the definitive doctrine of the seventeenth century. It certainly became the pivotal doctrine of the post-Reformation period. I remember just how startling that was the first time I read The Pilgrim’s Progress. When you’re on the final page of Bunyan’s book, you’ve crossed the river, and then all of a sudden the camera lens goes to this hole in the side of … View Resource