Inside & Outside

When God was about to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt, the last event that displayed His power is now remembered as the Passover. It was the night that anyone who followed God’s command to sacrifice a perfect lamb and apply the lamb’s blood to the doorposts of their house was spared His judgment. In other words, His judgment passed over that house.

How did an Israelite family know that God’s judgment had passed over them? Quite simply, their firstborn child was still alive the next morning.

Jesus described Himself as not only the sacrificial Lamb and the saving Blood, but He also said, “I am the Door.” When we place our faith in what Jesus did for us on the Cross, His blood is applied to our heart, we enter in His door and we are safe from God’s judgment.

But how do we know that God’s judgment has passed over us? Are there any visible signs?

Actually, God gives us two assurances that we have been saved from His judgment:

  1. The inner witness of the Holy Spirit
  2. The outward evidence of our new life in Jesus

The Apostle Paul talked about his inner turmoil when he tried to live a life he could control (note the prevalence of me, I, and my, and the absence of any mention of Jesus in Romans 7:14-24). His bottom line conclusion—O what a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

But then he discovers the power of Christ: Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord, and as a result of this he discovers…

  • there is no more condemnation
  • there is no more death
  • there is no more hostility
  • there is no more fear
  • there is now life
  • there is now freedom
  • there is now assurance of God’s love

How? By the Holy Spirit’s inner witness in his heart (see Romans 8).

With this inner witness, a new lifestyle (the outward evidence) begins to show, as Paul begins to live a brand new life. This brand new life on the inside shows on the outside. Paul says it’s a life full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

So here’s the new cycle for a Christian that an assurance of salvation from God’s judgment, and gives an encouragement to live a life that glorifies Jesus our Savior:

The inner witness of the Holy Spirit assures me of God’s love ➞ I want to live a life that pleases Him ➞ the Holy Spirit internally approves or corrects my outward lifestyle ➞ I continue to live outwardly in a way that is showing more fruitfulness …. and on and on and on it goes. 

All for the glory of God!

If you are a Christian, do you have that inner assurance? If you do, are you acting on it outwardly so that people can see the difference Jesus has made in your life?

Sola Deo Gloria

God wants to be glorified in your church service! That’s probably a “Duh!” statement, right? After all, who would disagree with that one?

But did you know God also wants to be glorified when you’re eating your dinner? And when you’re out with your friends? And when you’re on your job? And in your marriage? And in your private thought life?

Sola Deo gloria means that everything we do is only for the glory of God.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Sola Deo gloria means that there are no sacred/secular compartments in your life. You don’t have some activities that are for God and other activities that are not for God. All of life is for Him and for His glory.

“The shop, the barn, the scullery, and the smithy become temples when men and women do all to the glory of God! Then divine service is not a thing of a few hours and a few places, but all life becomes holiness unto the Lord, and every place and thing, as consecrated as the tabernacle and its golden candlestick.” —Charles Spurgeon

It borders on arrogance for me to say, “God, this is what I’m going to do and I want You to bless it.”

A better way to say it is like this: “God, what will bring You the most glory as I go to work? Or have a conversation with a friend? Or enjoy an evening out with my spouse? Or spend some time watching TV?”

What will bring You the most glory? If you ask this question, the Holy Spirit will answer it. Instead of you asking God to bless what you are going to do, He will show you what He’s already blessing—the ways in which He will be most glorified—and then you can go do that.

Try it this week: Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how you can bring glory to God in all that you do. Sola Deo gloria!

UPDATE: After posting this, I ran across a video from John Piper about God’s glory and I wanted to share it with you…

Sola Christo

Sola Christo means that it is by Christ’s work alone are we saved. We must get this firmly in our minds, and be aware of anything which reduces Christ, augments Christ, or replaces Christ. 

I don’t believe in studying cults (the counterfeit). Instead I study the Real, the Authentic, the One and Only. I want to know Jesus so well, that I can easily spot a counterfeit.

God is Spirit (John 4:24)

Jesus is God made flesh (John 1:14)

God is invisible; Jesus is the visible representation of the Godhead (1 Timothy 1:17; Colossians 1:15; Isaiah 9:6)

There’s no way to the Father but through Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5-6)

Jesus wasn’t created; He is Creator (John 1:1-3)

Jesus isn’t a greater angel; He is God (Philippians 2:6)

Jesus isn’t a superior human being; He became a human to save us (Philippians 2:7-8)

Jesus did have a physical body (Luke 24:39)

Jesus did feel pain, experience emotion, wrestle with temptation; get tired and hungry (Matthew 4:2; Matthew 26:38; Hebrews 4:15)

Jesus actually physically died on the Cross and was actually physically resurrected (1 Peter 3:18; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, 12-28)

Jesus is fully Man and fully God without diluting either of them (Matthew 3:16-17)

Jesus is…








That’s my King!

Sola Gratia

Another great thought that the Reformation brought us is sola gratia—salvation is by grace alone.

If you are a Christian you have probably said something like, “I thank God that I’m saved!” This is a wonderful thing, but it’s also an incomplete statement. In order to fully appreciate God’s grace, and in order to have a full testimony for others, we need to work on completing this statement.

We’re saved FROM the punishment of justice.

We’re saved TO eternal life.

We’re saved FOR God’s glory.

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7)

—Saved From Death— …it is by grace you have been saved…

—Saved To Eternal Life—…God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus…

—Saved For God’s Glory— …in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace…

You can fully appreciate the incomparable riches of God’s grace when you understand all that your salvation includes: from, to, and for. Look at the incredible testimony of grace that the Apostle Paul had in the from, to, and for thoughts in his statement in 1 Timothy 1:12-17.

That’s the same type of testimony we can all have! Don’t just tell people, “I’m saved!” Tell them how God’s grace saved you from the penalty of your sins, to eternal life in Christ, and for the glory of God.

I hope you can join me next Sunday as we continue this series on the five solas of the Reformation.

Sola Fide

Out of the Reformation came five sola statements—five statements that tried to bring people back to the purity of the gospel message. This week as I studied to prepare my message on sola fide (justification with God by faith alone), I was struck by how in need of another reformation we are today!

That shouldn’t be surprising, because satan is always trying to so sneakily get us off track. So he gets people believing that they don’t need faith in God … God is a myth … or if He does exist, He’s really not that involved in our individual lives. For these people, satan tries to get them to buy into this lie:

Works > Faith

In other words, what you can do for yourself is more important than the faith you can place in anyone (or in The One).

Some people might accept that the approach God is through faith, but then they feel they have to add something to their faith in order to stay in God’s good graces. These people have bought into the lie:

Faith + Works 

And then there are some that go to the far extreme of thought that faith means utter inactivity on their part. They have received forgiveness from God, so now they can just sit back and enjoy the ride to Heaven. They’ve bought into satan’s lie:

Works ⊈ Faith

In other words, now that I have faith, I don’t have to work any more. Or even, the more faith I have the less work I have to do. (The mathematical symbol ⊈means faith is not a part of work, nor is work apart of faith.)

The Scripture is clear that you cannot buy your justification by working for it, nor can you keep it by adding works to your faith; however, faith does indeed require work for it to grow and mature. 

The Westminster Confession says it this way:

Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification: yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love.

The bottom line:

Sola Fide = Faith Works

Faith works in justification. Faith works in the atonement. Faith works in sanctification. Faith works in love.

I hope you can join me next week as I share some thoughts on sola gratia.

Sola Scriptura

Of all the other sola statements that came out of the Reformation, sola scriptura has to be one of the most foundational. Without a firm understanding of the truthfulness of God’s Word, all other doctrinal statements are without authority. Sola scriptura means that we use the Bible as our authoritative guide for everything in our lives.

Jesus confronted the religious leaders for their misuse and abuse of Scripture. The Sadducees had a tendency to ignore the parts of Scripture which didn’t fit their “theology.” The Pharisees, on the other hand, would over-exaggerate some Scriptures which would leave other passages dwarfed or forgotten.

In Matthew 23, Jesus took on both of these incorrect approaches. What I love is that Jesus didn’t share His opinion … He didn’t argue with them … He didn’t try to convince them to accept His viewpoint. Jesus just took them back to Scripture.

  • You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God (23:29).
  • Have you not read what God said to you (23:31).
  • David, speaking by the Spirt… says(23:43).

When Jesus said, “You are in error,” the verb tense is the passive voice. This means it was something done to them, not something they did. These religious leaders were not purposely straying from Scripture, but by listening to men instead of God they allowed themselves to be lead astray.

That’s why this insight from Luke is so powerful:

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (Acts 17:11)

This is great counsel for all of us. We should all listen to pastors and teachers, or read authors, through the filter of Scripture. We need to make sure we aren’t passively straying, and we do this by examining the Scripture.

I hope you can join me next week as we continue our look at the five solas of the Reformation.


On October 31, 1517, a sea-change in world history was begun. On that day Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of a church, challenging the traditions of organized religion which he believed had strayed far from the instructions in the Bible.

The Reformation had been launched.

I truly believe that we all must be students of history, partly because all of his story is His Story. When we study history, we can see how God is working out His Story.

Second, we also need to know our history because as George Santayana rightly said, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

A third reason to (re)learn the thoughts brought out during the Reformation is for doctrinal strength. It’s important to know not only what why believe but why we believe it. And there are some valuable doctrinal truths in the history of the Reformation.

Finally, I believe an important part of learning is unlearning. Sometimes we accept something just because it’s been handed down to us. That is in large part what Luther and other reformers were challenging, and calling us to unlearn tradition and relearn what the Bible has to say.

So beginning this Sunday, October 7, we will be walking through the five Sola doctrinal statements the reformers taught. I am really looking forward to relearning and unlearning, and just outright learning the biblical truths of sola scriptura, sola Deo gloria, sola fide, sola gratia, and sola Christo.

I hope you can join me at Calvary Assembly of God.

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