Kristie and continued our study of The Peacemaking Church Women's Study: Living the Gospel in Relationships with session 2 last night. This is the second in eight lessons, and it picks up where the first left off--with the gospel.
Specifically, Tara examines "The Gap between What I Believe and How I Live." I appreciated this study on many levels.
First, I love women's material that doesn't shy away from sound theological categories. I'm not a woman (surprise!), but I can identify with women like my wife who wearied to no end with the significant number of "women's books" and studies that aim to be "devotional" with no theological heart. The amount of sentimental, pietistic, touchy-feely stories masquerading as Bible teaching is just plain staggering. So, I'm thankful for material I can recommend to women, material that does not shy away from good biblical truth.
Second, I appreciated the particular theological categories introduced in this session. Session one began with the entire plan of redemptive history, from eternity past to eternity future. Session two introduced the categories of confessional theology and practical theology as a way of describing what we claim to believe (confessional) and what we actually practice (practical).
The main application Tara drew from these category distinctions is that our main sin is fundamentally unbelief. That's our continuing besetting sin: unbelief. So the Christian life is a life of constantly confessing, repenting, and trusting.
Third, I appreciated the meditation on Eph. 1:5, pointing out that God saves us because He is happy to do so. He does it for the pleasure of His own will. He is pleased to save, happy to save. How often do we--in our practical theology--think of the gospel and God's rescue as a 'plan B' or as something God grudgingly does to help folks who can't seem to get it right? Or, we think of God's gift of salvation as something He is forced to do because He is good, but we're left with the nagging suspicion that if He had his druthers, He'd leave us out. Tara's exploration of this wrong thinking which hinders so much of our living was really very helpful.
As was "The Cross Chart." I can't replicate it here (graphic design skills are too limited--non-existent actually). But, trust me, it was helpful. The longer we live the more aware of God's holiness and our sinfulness we become, the bigger does the cross loom in our view of life. Taking our eyes off sin and depravity and grace leads to legalism. Taking our eyes off of God's holiness and the cross leads to licentiousness.
Finally, Tara introduces the "already/not yet" of the Christian life and the truths of justification and sanctification. Really helpful practical application.
Perhaps the best measure of this session was the continuing discussion Kristie and I enjoyed. It's one thing to answer the study questions following the video, which we did. It's an entirely different thing to take up half our morning walk with more reflection on our hearts and lives following the video's teaching. Which we also did.
We've watched two sessions thus far, and thus far they've gone from strength to strength.
I'll close this post with a quote Tara included in the workbook and Hebrews 10:14 which figured prominently in the session.
"Are you too bad to receive grace? Grace woos and comforts us when we think we are too far gone to be rescued. How could you be too bad to receive what is for the bad?" --David Powlison
"By one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy." --Heb. 10:14
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