To my children it was taking an airplane to a Bible study, but to Mommy it was enjoying a sweet birthday getaway gift in the midst of life. The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference was an opportunity to gain everlasting treats for the soul to God’s glory and for my good.
What was it all about?
The Gospel Coalition — our host for the weekend — described the conference like this: “A conference for women, all about the Word … the book of Nehemiah — the story of God’s people returned to a broken-down city and called to trust God’s Word at a point of great need. It’s about God redeeming a people for himself through his Son. This is our story.”
What would surface as evidence of the Holy Spirit’s promised transforming work within my weary soul? I needed it, my mind had become mushy, and the stirrings of all things rotten had squirmed into my heart. As God’s own, we can be sure of His continual Hand bringing us into the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). The instrument now was TGC’s gospel-centered efforts in faithfully teaching the Word of God. Foundational truths from Nehemiah that surfaced in my heart were from the following sessions:
John Piper: Responding to God According to His Word
I understood the righteousness of God like never before. For God to be righteous means that He is consistent to uphold the infinite worth and value of His flawless nature. The Apostle Paul reminds Timothy, “… if we are faithless, he remains faithful — for he cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). He is right in His right judgments. This means my destruction. For those who are called, the cross is the only vindication of His righteousness. God’s merciful divine patience for a stiff-necked people will eventually run out.
Kathy Keller: Taking Action in Light of God’s Word
Why didn’t I ever think of God like this? Because the man-centeredness of the “Bible-for-me” mentality and its worn effects nurtured pride and a tolerant view of my sinful nature. The entire storyline of the Bible is that the glorious God is redeeming a people for Himself, a people to whom He owes nothing, sinners who were dead and empty-handed. When I had nowhere to turn — had no life to make a turn — God acted to end my sin by slaying His Son. The comforts and commands found in Scripture for daily Christian living are “just the shiny pebbles along the highway of ruin to renewal”.
Paige Brown: Fearing God in a Fallen World
I struggle with servile fear; that is, fear of God’s punishment. But as sinners who have been saved by His grace, who enjoy a restored relationship with Him in Christ, the only fear we are to have of God is a familial fear. As the day is long, I need to be reminded of His perfect demonstration of love on the cross for me. John writes, “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us … There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (1 John 4:16,18).
I am able to rest in a relationship that is forever secured by the God who declares, “You shall be my people, and I will be your God” (Ezekiel 36:28). As I surrender my servile fears in exchange for fearing my Father alone, it will overflow into an “irrepressible motivation for radically acting” unto His glory.
D.A. Carson: Fellow Heirs of the Grace of God and Timothy Keller: Laboring for a God Who Fights for Us
“Religion is a personal thing to me” — perhaps you’ve said this before. It’s probably a true statement for many, but it shouldn’t be true for the one made new in Christ. The pulsating nature of love that has been expressed within the Godhead of the Bible from eternity past means that our religion is not individualized, but is entirely relational at its core. God created us in His image. He has given us a capacity to love, know, and talk with Him. God’s transforming gift of the gospel moves us toward “faith in the Lord Jesus” and “love toward all the saints” (Ephesians 1:15). If Christ is at the foundation of your heart, He is your identity and the identity of your new brothers and sisters. We love the family because we love the Head of the family!
I left on a jet plane for a Bible study. If all I had to show for it was the Snickers bar I bought each night, then I am the unsurprising chocaholic and my getaway is trivial. But He gave me grace to see afresh my sins for what they are before a righteous God, and the redemption I have been given in Christ.
Kathleen Nielson wrapped up the conference with an appeal. If God has revealed Himself to you and given you delight in His Word, worship Him by ordering your life according to His Word ‘til that day. Only two days should be on your calendar: this day, and that day.
When the risen and reigning Lord Jesus Christ returns on that day, we will finally be together in His presence and will be freed from all our sin!
If you weren’t able to join us at The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference we are happy to let you know that you can watch all the plenary sessions on their website: www.tgc.org. (The videos have not been posted yet but will be in the near future.)
We would love to hear from you! What did you learn from this post? If you were blessed at The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference, what treats did you take home with you?
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