The Exasperation Factor

June 5, 2009

This morning, I received the following brief meditation on 1 Cor. 13:5 from a good friend, Scotty Smith, Pastor for Preaching, Teaching and Worship at Christ Community Church in Franklin, TN. I found it very helpful. I think you will as well.

Love is not easily angered…(1 Cor. 13:5)

As we continue pondering Paul’s unique description of gospel-love (agape) in 1st Corinthians 13, we come to a phrase that both convicts the dickens-out-of-me, and also deserves much deeper reflection. Simply based on the Greek of this phrase, Paul is saying that the love of Jesus radically changes my exasperation factor. Gospel-love is not easily exasperated unto eruption. Among other things, this means (doggone it) that as the gospel goes deeper into our hearts we will be less irritable, less aggravate-able, more likely to respond than react, more poised to listen than to launch; we’ll have a longer fuse and a shorter recovery time, we’ll have thicker skin and a bigger heart… do you get the picture?

On the other hand, Paul is not saying gospel-love doesn’t ever get angry, rather it’s not easily angered—that is, it is appropriately and proportionately angered. It took me a long time to get comfortable with the emotion of anger. I’m rarely a loud-n-large spewer-n-thrower. My anti-gospel anger is more like a toxic waste heap leaking poison quietly but lethally—commonly called passive aggressive anger.

In the gospel we learn to get angry at the right time and in the right way. In fact, the gospel enables us to be good stewards of all the emotions God has given us. The love of Jesus enables us to be more angry about injustice and work more passionately for justice. The love of Jesus frees us to be more angry about false gospels and be more humbled by the true gospel. Indeed, gospel-love enables us to love as Jesus loves… with redemptive grit and with great grace. What might this look like for you today?


Paul: The Spiritual Abolitionist

June 1, 2009

Click here to download and read, Paul: The Spiritual Abolitionist (Not Man’s Gospel!, Part 14), an exposition of Galatians 2:1-10.

Gospel-Driven Quote of the Week

May 31, 2009

“Accordingly, the believing soul can boast of and glory in whatever Christ has as though it were its own, and whatever the soul has Christ claims as his own…Christ is full of grace, life and salvation. The soul is full of sins, death, and damnation. Now let faith come between them and sins, death, and damnation will be Christ’s, while grace, life, and salvation will be the soul’s…”

Martin Luther, Christian Liberty, p. 14

Paul: The Spiritual Abolitionist

May 25, 2009

Click here to download and read, Paul: The Spiritual Abolitionist (Not Man’s Gospel!, Part 13), an exposition of Galatians 2:1-10.

Gospel-Driven Quote of the Week

May 25, 2009

“…a Christian may be comforted, first of all, in respect of his former justification. His new sin does not cancel his former pardon, though it will interrupt and disturb his present peace and comfort from it. And secondly, he may be comforted in this, that there is mercy enough in God to cover all his sins, grace enough in Christ to cure this fresh sin. And further, in this he is to find comfort, that God does not suffer him to live in sin, but that He has revealed his sin to him, humbled him for it, and brought him back to Christ in whom he may renew his peace and regain his sense of comfort.”

Samuel Bolton, The True Bounds of Christian Freedom, p. 154

Not Man’s Gospel! Part 12

May 18, 2009

Click here to download and read, Not Man’s Gospel!, Part 12, an exposition of Galatians 2:1-10.

Gospel-Driven Quote of the Week

May 17, 2009

“The gospel is saying that, what man cannot do in order to be accepted with God, this God himself has done for us in the person of Jesus Christ. To be acceptable to God we must present to God a life of perfect and unceasing obedience to his will. The gospel declares that Jesus has done this for us. For God to be righteous he must deal with our sin. This also he has done for us in Jesus. The holy law of God was lived out perfectly for us by Christ, and its penalty was paid perfectly for us by Christ. The living and dying of Christ for us, and this alone is the basis of our acceptance with God.”

Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel and Kingdom, p. 86