Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Free Grace of God

"By the grace of God I am what I am!" 
 1 Corinthians 15:10

”The true Christian is sensible and mindful of 
indwelling sin. He confesses that in everything 
he comes exceedingly short, and that his best 
services are not only defective--but defiled. He 
accounts himself as an unprofitable servant--and 
is abased in his own eyes. He knows that all that 
distinguishes him from the vilest of men--is the 
free grace of God!”

“He derives all his hope and comfort, as well as his 
strength--from Jesus, whom he has known, received 
and loved, and to whom he has committed his soul. 
He renounces all confidence in the flesh, and esteems 
all things as loss--compared to the surpassing greatness 
of knowing Jesus Christ his Lord, for whose sake he has 
lost all things--considering them rubbish, that he may
gain Christ!”
--John Newton

Monday, October 20, 2008

No Surprises

"This poor fallen world in which we live oft appears to us as a labyrinth, a maze, a puzzle, full of unexpected surprises, deep disappointments, sudden setbacks, and paralyzing uncertainties. Yet, it is so only from our temporal perspective. With God, and for the purposes of His Kingdom and His Covenant, there are no surprises. He is Lord. And He is Lord over all. Therefore, I may freely yield my all and all, regardless of my apparent circumstances." Jan Amos Comenius

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Richard Steele on Victory

"Read and think; read and pray; then live by His grace."

Richard Steele on Forgiveness

"It is the hypocrites on all sides that make our wounds incurable. Surely where the mind is sound and the heart sincere in the main, grains of allowance should be granted for some errors of the understanding and failings in the conduct--lest we deal with others as we would be loath to be dealt with either by God or men."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Christ, Our All in All

"But from Him you are in Christ Jesus--who for us became wisdom from God, as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption." 1 Corinthians 1:30

"Wisdom outside of Christ--is damning folly! Righteousness outside of Christ--is guilt and condemnation! Sanctification outside of Christ--is filth and sin! Redemption outside of Christ--is bondage and slavery!"
--Robert Traill

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Calvin on Contentious Critics

“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” James 3:1

"James here refers not to the men who perform public duties in the Church, but to those who usurp to themselves the right to pass censure on others. These are the critics, who like to be regarded as the shepherds of morality. They turn the fault-finding look of superiority upon others. Alas, it is an innate condition of the human make-up, to make one’s reputation by scoring off other folk.

Note that James is not discouraging those fraternal admonitions, which the Spirit so much and so often presses upon us, but is condemning an excessive passion, which springs from self-seeking and pride, whereby one man inveighs against his fellow, speaks against him, sneers at him, snaps and rummages about to find something to use to his harm--be it but hearsay.

It is usually the case that persistent critics of this sort make wild claims in hunting down the faults of others. Such is the immoderate and arrogant behavior from which James bids us to turn back.

Such critics, after all, give themselves a hard standard when they force everyone’s words and deeds to the utmost rigor; they do not find pardon, who cannot bear to pardon another.”
--John Calvin

Old Yet New

“Dogmatics is and ought to be divine thought totally entered into and absorbed in our human consciousness, freely and independently expressed in our language, in its essence the fruit of centuries, in its form contemporary.” --Herman Bavinck

Monday, October 6, 2008

Adorning the Gospel

"Adorn the doctrine of God
 our Savior in all things." Titus 2:10

“Our duty is to adorn the gospel by our lives. 
We are thus to make the gospel attractive and lovely in the eyes of beholders. When there is a beautiful harmony and a lovely proportion between Christ’s doctrine and our practice--then do we walk suitably to the Lord of glory.” --John Flavel

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The World's Theology

"Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." Romans 1:22

”The world's theology is easy to define. It is the view that human beings are basically good, that no one is really lost, that belief in Jesus Christ is not necessary for salvation.” --James Montgomery Boice

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Parish Vision

He Must Increase--But I Must Decrease

"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men--to be seen by them." Matthew 6:1

One of the most difficult lessons to learn, is self-effacement. It seems to us, that we have a right to put our name on every piece of work we do, and to get full honor for it. We like people to know of the good and virtuous things we do--the kindnesses we show, our gifts, our sacrifices, and our services. Self always dies hard.

John the Baptist, in his life and ministry, illustrated the grace of self-effacement as few other men have done. When he first began to preach, great throngs flocked about him. But when Jesus came--the crowds melted away from John and went after the new preacher. John rejoiced in seeing Jesus thus honored, though at the cost of his own fame. "He must increase--but I must decrease" was his answer, when his disciples grew envious of the Galilean Rabbi. He understood that the highest use to which his life could be put--was to add to the honor of his Master. He was glad to be unnoticed, to have his own name extinguished, that the glory of Christ might shine the more brightly.

Renunciation of self should characterize all who follow Christ. They should seek only to get recognition for Him, willing for themselves to be unrecognized and unhonored. Yet not always are the Master's friends content to be nothing--that the praise may be given to Christ. Too often do they insist upon having their own name written in bold letters on their work. It would be the mark of a higher degree in spiritual attainment, if we were willing to be anonymous in every service for Christ.

Not only should we do all our work for the divine approval--but we should not be seeking to get our own name on what we do. If it is done solely for the honor of Christ, why should we be solicitous to have everybody know our part in it? Should it not be honor enough--to have Christ accept our work and use it?

Only what we do for the honor of Christ--is really gold and silver and precious stones in the spiritual building; all the rest is but wood, hay, and stubble, which cannot abide.

Are we willing to do deeds of service and love, and then keep absolutely quiet about what we have done? Is there not among us, too much of the spirit which our Lord so severely condemned--sounding a trumpet before us--when we are going out to do some deed of charity, some act of kindness?

"Everything they do--is done for men to see." Matthew 23:5
--J.R. Miller