Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"I'll Stand by Merits"

I'm not sure if you've been following this story about the coach of the New York Jets, Rex Ryan.

Ryan appeared on some kind of reality show, on which he apparently uttered some profanities.  In the days following, Tony Dungy, a former coach and professing Christian, voiced his disappointment in Ryan's words, saying "the league doesn't need that."

And now Ryan has responded to Dungy inviting him to training camp to see that Ryan's really not that bad of of a guy.  There was one comment from Ryan in this latest article that caught my eye.

"I'm a good person," Ryan said. "Just because somebody cusses or whatever doesn't make them a bad person. Just because a guy doesn't cuss doesn't make him a good person. So, I'll stand by my merits."

Now, Ryan can't be faulted for making such a comment (1 Corinthians 2:14). But it is good for us as Christians to recognize that this is likely typical of unregenerate man's view of goodness. Most people will proclaim their own goodness. But it is this claim that doesn't finally hold water when it comes to our last reckoning. For we know full well that we cannot possibly stand in front of Holy God "by my merits." God's standard is perfection. The only way we can stand is by another's merits, namely the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

We can only pray that Rex Ryan would come to this realization. Perhaps the spirit of God might be pleased to use Tony Dungy or anyone else to point out this fatal flaw in Ryan's response.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Helping Questions for Bible Studies

Colin Adams, over at Unashamed Workman is a pastor's friend. He consistently shares good resources, and seems to have access to great preachers (see sidebar on his blog, called 10 Questions interviews). Today he shares some questions for Bible study from J.I. Packer, which I am re-posting  below. These are not just for pastors, but for Small Group Leaders, Bible Study leaders, or for those seeking to interpret a passage for themselves.

J.I. Packer suggests that we ask 6 questions of any bibilcal text. I’ve found these most helpful:
(1) What do these words actually mean?
(2) What light do other scriptures throw on this text? Where and how does it fit in to the total biblical revelation?
(3) What truths does it teach about God, and about man in relation to God?
(4) How are these truths related to the saving work of Christ, and what light does the gospel of Christ throw upon them?
(5) What experiences do these truths delineate, or explain, or seek to create or cure? For what practical purpose do they stand in Scripture?
(6) How do I apply them to myself and others in our own actual situation? To what present human condition do they speak, and what are they telling us to believe and do?
J.I.Packer, Among God’s Giants: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life, p138.