What place does “striving” have in sanctification? A response to Heath Lambert

This is Part 3 of 3. You can read Part 1 here. You can read Part 2 here.


In yesterday’s post, I quoted Heath Lambert as saying that sanctification involves striving and moral effort (trying to be good). My contention, and that of others, is that our sanctification, godliness, holiness, power over sin, and pleasing God are all taken care of in Jesus (His perfect life, death, resurrection, ascension, and seating), and we have no striving to do to accomplish it; we are only to look to Him in faith for all these things to be accomplished.

But Lambert uses several Bible verses to support his point (laid out in Part 2), so it’s important to look at them all. Here they are, with my commentary. Continue reading “What place does “striving” have in sanctification? A response to Heath Lambert”

Reconciling the “resting” and the “striving,” with some thoughts from Heath Lambert

This is Part 2 of 3. In Part 1, I expressed the consternation I had experienced over Scriptures about “resting” and “striving” that seemed like they didn’t fit with each other.

So what do those “resting” verses really mean?

The Lord used several means to help me in my understanding: my Bible studies—especially Galatians, Romans, and Colossians—a sermon, and some key books. Even though I didn’t understand at that time the importance of asking the Holy Spirit to open my eyes to the Scriptures, still He had mercy on me.

The resting (in case you had as much trouble getting it as I did) is NOT about becoming a couch potato, lol. Continue reading “Reconciling the “resting” and the “striving,” with some thoughts from Heath Lambert”

Struggling with “striving”: When should I strive and when should I rest?

My despair

Back in 1994 when I was studying Leviticus (because it was my wilderness book), I wrote this in the margin at Leviticus chapter 2 (the boldface is added now):

II Peter 1:4 says that we as believers should be “partakers of the divine nature.” This passage shows the priests literally partaking of that which represents the divine nature of our lovely Lord. Then that bread of life becomes a part of us and we are influenced and strengthened by it. In all these ways mentioned, we should be striving to be like Him: the sweet-smelling life, the full anointing by the Holy Spirit, the fellowship of His sufferings. How far, how far I have to go!

Do you hear the wailing in my voice? Continue reading “Struggling with “striving”: When should I strive and when should I rest?”

New website page: The beliefs behind the blog

My husband Tim said it’s bound to stir up controversy, but I said, “Well, it’s the stuff I blog about all the time anyway; it’s just codified now.”

Someone asked me if I had the gospel clearly stated on my website anywhere, and I told her it was in some blog posts but thought it would be good to have a separate page for it. That page became “The beliefs behind the blog,” much more than just a statement of the gospel.

It’s here.

So, let me know if I’m missing something.  Comments aren’t allowed there, but you can comment on it here, or you can write to me about it at rebecca@heresthejoy.com.

Thank you. And keep remembering that our only hope, our only righteousness, is found in Jesus Christ alone, who is our Victorious Conqueror.



Are you exiled from God?

What did God even mean when He said He had “led captivity captive”?

This is a truth from Psalm 68, which Paul reiterated in Ephesians 4. Our Lord Jesus Christ, when he defeated the enemy, took into exile the very concept of exile.

Here’s the joy for the people of God. The answer to the question in the headline is, if you have trusted in Jesus Christ for your salvation,

No! You are not and cannot be exiled from God. He is your Father and loves you.

There is great joy in that.


Note: You can share this poster on Facebook here.

Cleanse your guilty conscience, get grace, and other solutions to the noisy soul (a response to Jim Berg, Part 3)

Read Part 1 here. Read Part 2 here.

In Quieting a Noisy Soul, author Jim Berg declares that the cause of the noisy soul is your sin: your unbelief, your discontent, and your guilty conscience (and as it turns out, your pride and your stubbornness). Throughout his nouthetic counseling teachings (nowadays called “Biblical counseling”), he assumes that the situation or person the counselee would have thought was causing the noisy soul is not a legitimate concern, but is instead simply the catalyst for sin in the heart, “a lust for more.” Continue reading “Cleanse your guilty conscience, get grace, and other solutions to the noisy soul (a response to Jim Berg, Part 3)”

The most important time to stop going to your church – a response to the Gospel Coalition

It was a few weeks ago now that TGC posted the article “The Most Important Time to Go to Church.” The most important time to go to church, according to the TGC author, is when you don’t want to, because “covenant commitments” are made for the hard times, not the good times.

Here is the article. On Facebook it was Liked or Loved almost 2000 times and was shared almost 1000 times. So it appears that the conservative evangelical world thought well of it. Continue reading “The most important time to stop going to your church – a response to the Gospel Coalition”

Defeat that roaring lion

Blog posts about Scripture studies, I have to acknowledge, don’t get as much action as blog posts about news events . . . or even about wrong teachings.

But there is much to be gleaned from the Scriptures that will help us as we discern what’s true and what’s false in the church world. The quiet hours you spend in the Word as you seek Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit—even if they produce questions you can’t answer right away—will ultimately help you better see who Jesus really is and what God is really doing.


Sometimes when I study a passage of Scripture . . . it reminds me of another . . . and another . . . and then I see how they link together.

The other day I was reminded of a time that happened, when Philippians 2 and First Peter 5 and Psalm 22 all pointed to the same thing, a truth driven home on Passion Week, as I pondered how our Lord Jesus was humbled . . . and then exalted.

And the roaring lion was defeated.

And it’s true for all His children too. Continue reading “Defeat that roaring lion”