• How can I become more biblically literate? Question and Answer

    You need to be under the preaching and teaching of the Word of God. That begins in a local church with a pastor who preaches the Bible, who has nothing to say except the Bible. Then, you need to do your own personal study, which you can do through the various means that Ligonier has. There is a wealth of material that Ligonier has on how to be biblically literate. You need to know the storyline of the Bible. You need to know the main movements of the Bible. You need to know the theology and the doctrine of the … View Resource

  • What is the gospel? Question and Answer

    1 Corinthians 15:3-4

    The gospel is that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scripture, that He was buried, and that He was raised from the dead (1 Cor. 15:3–4). The heart of the gospel is Jesus Christ Himself—the person and work of Christ, the sin-bearing work of Christ, as well as the perfection of His life that is imputed to those who believe. Out of the Reformation came the great solas and the three in the middle, sola fide, sola gratia, and solus Christus are the heart of the gospel. In other words, salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, … View Resource

  • Since we’re justified by faith alone, how should we understand Jesus’ words in Luke 9:23–24? Question and Answer

    Luke 9:23-24

    Luke 9:23–24 is an important part of our understanding of what true saving faith is. There is self-denial in true saving faith. You are submitting to the lordship of Christ at the point of conversion. That is, you are no longer relying upon yourself through self-righteousness, or your own good works, to commend you to God. This idea from Luke 9 also appears in Matthew 16 and is repeated in Luke 14:26, which says, “Except a man hate his own father and mother and brother and sister, yes, even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” I think it … View Resource

  • How do you “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12–13)? Question and Answer

    Philippians 2:12-13

    That’s an important verse. Working out your salvation with fear and trembling begins by taking God seriously. It begins with having a high view of God, especially the holiness of God. When people saw the holiness of God in the Bible, whether it was Isaiah in the temple, or John on the island of Patmos, or Peter on the Sea of Galilee, they had no trouble having the fear of God. Once they saw the holiness of God, it sobered them and dropped them to their knees. So, in order to work out our salvation (“salvation” in Philippians 2:12 is … View Resource

  • What do you think of decisional regeneration? Question and Answer

    John 3:6-8

    LAWSON: I think the idea of decisional regeneration has produced many false converts. I have lived through churches like that, I have been an associate pastor through churches like that, and I have inherited churches like that. I don’t know a lot of things, but I do know the answer to this one: it produces false converts. “Repeat this prayer after me: ‘I—I, am a sinner—am a sinner. I confess my sin—I confess my sin. Jesus died for me—Jesus died for me. I will never doubt this again—I will never doubt this again. Amen—Amen.’ Never doubt that again. I’ll sign … View Resource

  • How can I cultivate a consistently biblical prayer life? Question and Answer

    Matthew 6:9-13

    First of all, take the Lord’s model prayer in Matthew 6, “Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” That was really given to be an outline to provide the structure for our prayers. It’s like the skeleton, and we now supply the muscles and the skin. I would take the Lord’s model prayer and use that as the tracks you run on in your own prayer life. You can take other prayers in the Bible as well. You can take Paul’s prison prayers, two in Ephesians, one in Colossians, one in Philippians, and pray those to God. … View Resource

  • Am I not elect because I don’t know the moment I was born again? Question and Answer

    LAWSON: The issue is right now, at this moment, Are you saved or are you not saved? There are some people who cannot pinpoint exactly when they were converted. One reason might be that they were sitting under such shallow preaching that they weren’t receiving enough of the truth to have a strong enough sense to evaluate their own experience. Someone can be saved—and many people are saved—who cannot pinpoint that exact moment. At the same time, there are people who pinpoint an exact moment who still are not saved. They are deceived about their past. They walked forward when … 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

  • 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

  • Since no one seeks after God, why do so many unconverted people come to church? Question and Answer

    1 Corinthians 1:18

    LAWSON: In a lot of churches, I think people are going to be entertained, or they are going to make relationships, or they are going out of religiosity. They are going not for God, but for what God would provide for them. They’re not after the Giver; they’re after the gifts. They are there for all the wrong reasons. That doesn’t mean they’re seeking God. They are simply seeking common grace things, or they are seeking the gifts but have zero interest in the Giver. CHARLES: I have many pastoral friends and colleagues. I get nervous about blanket criticisms of … View Resource

  • Does the Old Testament teach the doctrines of grace? Question and Answer

    Exodus 33:18-19

    In Exodus 33 and 34, Moses says, “Show me your glory” (which is the title of a book I have coming out). Then, God descends in a cloud, and God Himself preaches to Moses. He preaches His own glory to Moses. He says: “I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (Ex. 33:18–19). God Himself preaches sovereign grace to Moses, who desires to see His glory. Even having said that, just give me the book of Psalms, and I can put together an airtight case for the doctrines … View Resource

  • What is the fruit of repentance? Question and Answer

    The fruit of repentance is a changed life. It is a turning away from something and a turning to something. It’s a change—a change of direction; a change of desire. It’s a turning away from a life pursuit of sin, self-righteousness, and self-centeredness, and a turning to the Lord with a new mind, a new heart, and a new will. Saving faith is then the entrusting of your life and your soul to the Lord Jesus Christ—but you must be turned in order to believe. So, the fruit of regeneration is really a lifelong turning away from sin and turning … View Resource

  • How were people saved in the Old Testament? Question and Answer

    John 14:6

    LAWSON: There is only one way of salvation. It is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. There is not one way to be saved in the Old Testament and a different way to be saved in the New Testament. That would be two different gospels. There wasn’t one way for the Jew to be saved, and now a different way for the gentile to be saved. That would be two roads to heaven. There’s only one road to heaven. Jesus said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father … View Resource

  • May Christians vote for a presidential candidate who denies the Trinity? Question and Answer

    Proverbs 14:34

    SPROUL: If I required real belief in the triune God for the president of a secular state, I really would be disenfranchised. I wouldn’t be able to vote, period. It’s very rare to have an authentic Christian up for election in this secular state. There have been times in the past where I’ve seen believing Christians run against pagans for the highest office in the land, but the pagan’s policies have been more in keeping with biblical policies of government than the Christian’s. So, I look at whether the policies of the candidate are essentially compatible with the fundamental precepts … View Resource

  • What is an “ordinary means of grace” ministry? Question and Answer

    FERGUSON: An ordinary means of grace ministry is the thrill, from the point of view of those who share in that ministry, of the exposition of Scripture in different ways and at different levels and watching the Word of God work. I’ve become more and more convinced that the default among us evangelicals is that we do the work and the Word helps us. And perhaps that’s an indication that in our churches we see far too infrequently what it’s like when the Word of God, preached in the power of the Holy Spirit, itself does the work and changes … View Resource