Happy Thursday! Today I have a short article on Scripture alone – and a few reasons why it matters for teens. I’m going to do another one on the practicals of reading the Bible, but today it’s an overview of Scripture Alone. And if I can, I’ll see if I can do an article on how we know the Bible is true.
What do old church doors, credit cards that pay for sins, and ten Latin words have to do with each other? They’re all tied to the spark of the Reformation (whose 500th anniversary is coming up this month!). Learn about the Reformation, Reformation Day, and the Five Solas in this post!
After over a year blogging on zachsmusings.wordpress.com, I made the switch!
My new website is zachphilip.com!
Some special stuff is coming… 😉
I originally wrote this article for TheRebelution.com
“We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul.” — Charles Spurgeon
Who are you?
If someone came up to you and asked you that question, what would you say?
Are we students, writers, soccer players, or cellists? Or are we as Christians something completely, radically different?
Who We Are Is Not About Who We Are
All those things that “define” you are not who you truly are!
Your identity is not wrapped up in whether you were nice to your little sister yesterday. Getting bad grades doesn’t make your identity “dummy;” nor does being able to play piano like Mozart make your true identity “pianist.”
Your self-worth has nothing to do with you. At all.
Your identity is ultimately not in your friends, your parents, your siblings, your talents, your stuff, or anything else in this world.
Your true identity is not in something…but in Someone.
Your identity is set in the gospel. Your identity is in God who made you.
What It Means to Have Your Identity in Christ
We know that we are children of God, but practically, what does this mean?
1. We are chosen (Ephesians 1:4-6).
The Founder of the universe knew us before we knew ourselves. And not just that, He chose us! He knew we hated Him; but in spite of this, God sent His Son to die a criminal’s death — for us! He specifically chose and saved us for His glory and because of His great love.
2. We are redeemed from slavery to sin (Ephesians 1:7-10).
3. We are loved (Ephesians 2:4).
He loves us not for any good He saw in us. Jesus died the most painful death possible to rescue ungrateful, depraved God-haters so that we could be set free to live for the praise of His glory (Romans 5).
4. We are alive (Ephesians 2:4-5).
Before Jesus saved you, you were dead. Not sick. Not “needing some coaching.” Dead. We were dead in our trespasses and sins. But God woke us up…from the dead!
5. We are created for good works (Ephesians 2:10).
Why did God send His Son to die, redeem us, and make us alive and perfectly holy in Him? Ephesians 2:10 tells us why. He freed us from our sin for good works. The only thing that will ever satisfy us is glorifying God. As the Westminster Catechism says, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”
6. We are bound for heaven (Ephesians 1:11-14).
We are no longer destined for hell. Because we were saved and given Christ’s righteousness, we are granted heaven, a joy-filled everlasting life with our Savior.
How Our Identity Transforms How We Live
We’ve talked about who we are because of the gospel. How does this transform how we live?
1. We aren’t slaves to people pleasing.
We don’t place our worth in what others think of us. We’re set free and live for the King. We know that God loves us and our worth isn’t in what others think of us (Galatians 1:10).
2. We aren’t slaves to sin.
Christ’s blood set us free from our sin so that we can live for Jesus. Until we reach our Home, we will continue to sin. But we aren’t slaves to sin anymore. We’re alive in Christ and slaves to Him (which is ultimate freedom!). (See Romans 6:6-11.)
3. We can rest in Christ.
Because of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice, we can find rest in Him, knowing that our identity is secure in Him.
4. We live for Jesus.
God loved us by saving us and because of this, we love Him (1 John 4:19).
Our identity is rooted in Christ and what He has done for us. His love for us is constant.
He died and rose to set us free from our slavery to sin to experience true freedom and satisfaction by glorifying God with our lives.
“What is your only comfort in life and in death? That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.” — Heidelberg Catechism
Hey there! Good morning (I think)! This is the third post in a new series: My Take on the book Experiencing the Trinity by Joe Thorn. To read the past four in the series, click here. Basically, as I read each chapter, I’ll share what I learned and thought was really interesting – from my teen perspective!
The fifth devotion is about how God is always with us and provides what is best for us (even if it doesn’t seem great to us!)
“The uncertainties of life, the accompanying worries connected to the what-ifs, can be settled in this great truth: come what may, God will never leave you or forsake you. Rather, he promises to supply you with whatever you need in this life and in the life to come.” – Joe Thorn
God doesn’t promise to give you every earthly thing you want – but he promises to be with you and to give you the grace to keep going and he gives what is best – even if we don’t think so.
Because God knows everything – from before the world began to eternity from now ((and we know literally nothing in comparison to him) – and cares about us, we can trust that whatever comes, it’s for his glory and it’s the best for us, even if that means starvation or persecution for his name.
And even if we do die from something terrible like that, because of the cross, we know that we will be with God forever, completely happy and satisfied in God!
Hey there! Good morning (I think)! This is the fourth post in a new series: My Take on the book Experiencing the Trinity by Joe Thorn. To read the past three in the series, click here. Basically, as I read each chapter, I’ll share what I learned and thought was really interesting – from my teen perspective!
The fourth devotion is focused on how we can rest because God is always with us.
No matter what we’re going through, the same God who designed the universe, sent his Son to die for you, is sovereign over everything, and is with you.
God is right here, right now – always.
He created you, died for your sins, rose again, ascended, but even right now Jesus prays for you (Hebrews 7:25)!
No matter what’s around us, we know that He is with us and cares for us and will “accomplish his good purposes through you“.
“If God is with his people, then as a Christian you can rest assured that he is with you. And if God is with you, to uphold you, you have the promise of perseverance. The presence of God the Father will grant you rest and hope in the midst of all things that drive fear into the hearts of men and women.”
Hey there! Good morning (I think)! This is the third post in a new series: My Take on the book Experiencing the Trinity by Joe Thorn. To read the past two in the series, click here. Basically, as I read each chapter, I’ll share what I learned and thought was really interesting – from my teen perspective!
The third devotion is focused on how powerless and weak we are and how powerful, sovereign, and loving God is.
“…to know that your God is sovereign should be a great encouragement to your soul when you face what looks to be impossible. Consider your great enemies, the world, the flesh, the Devil, and death. They are terrible foes, yet God is sovereign over them and has overcome each one through the work of his Son Jesus Christ.” – Joe Thorn
We are weak and powerless sinners. But God is infinitely strong and he cares.
And through Jesus’ death and resurrection, He conquered death, the Devil, our sinful flesh, and the world.
Imagine a super-powerful tyrant who couldn’t care less about anyone. He kills people for his own amusement and only cares about himself. He has power – but not love.
But God – he is sovereign over everything and he loves and cares about you more than you love and care about yourself.
“Yes, you are weak, but the sovereign God of the universe is with you. The Holy Spirit is in you. Jesus himself says that he is ever with you. Whatever towers before you is small before your all-powerful God.” – Joe Thorn
Hey there! Good morning (I think)! This is the second post in a new series: My Take on the book Experiencing the Trinity by Joe Thorn. To read the first one (He is Holy) and to learn more about Pastor Thorn’s book, click here. Basically, as I read each chapter, I’ll share what I learned and thought was really interesting – from my teen perspective!
This second devotion is focused on how God is the Creator of YOU and ME specifically – he made us for his glory and our identity is in Him and not in our own uniqueness.
God chose to create you.
He could have just as easily decided to not create you – but He created you!
You exist completely for God and simply because of God and his mercy.
And our identity is completely in Him, not ourselves.
“You did not create yourself, and you cannot re-create yourself. Your value is not found in your uniqueness or your individuality. It is found in the God who created you in his own image. Yes, you are special, sacred really, but this is because you, in amazing ways, look like the God who made you. And this is not your uniqueness. In fact this is what makes you common-like every other person on earth. You were made by God, for God.” – Joe Thorn
Our value is in God – and we are made in His image – for Him!
The devotion goes on to talk about how we are all sinners – and we are stained by it.
But the same God who created us in his image recreates us and gives us hope and new life through the cross!
We are not in control. We are not the Captain.
But isn’t that a good thing?
For God – holy, righteous, just, compassionate, loving – is our Captain. He is in control.
Our identity is in God who created us in His image – to live for Him!
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10