Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Serious Business

"Joy is the serious business of Heaven." --C.S. Lewis

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Incarnational Paradox

"The Son of God became a man to enable men to become the sons of God." --C.S. Lewis

Friday, December 26, 2008

So Complete a Salvation

"You shall call His name Jesus--for He shall save His people from their sins" Matthew 1:21

Our salvation from the love of sin is effected by Christ's taking up His abode in our hearts, "Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20). This takes place at our regeneration.

Our salvation from the penalty of sin was secured by Christ's sufferings on the Cross where He endured the punishment due our iniquities. Herein is our justification.

Our salvation from the power of sin is obtained by the gracious operations of the Spirit, whom Christ sends to His people. This is accomplished during our practical sanctification.

Our salvation from the presence of sin will be completed at Christ's second advent, "We are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Savior. He will take these weak mortal bodies of ours and change them into glorious bodies like His own!" (Phil. 3:20, 21). And again we are told, "We know that when He shall appear--we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is" (1 John 3:2). This is thus consummated at our glorification.

Oh how great a salvation--a full and complete salvation. It is all of Christ, from beginning to end!
--Arthur Pink

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dangerously Right

The great English journalist, novelist, and wit, G.K. Chesterton once said, “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.” By that he did not mean that mediocrity was acceptable. By no means. He was a man whose entire life and career was a testimony to excellence.

Chesterton was surely among the brightest minds of the twentieth century—a prolific journalist, best-selling novelist, insightful poet, popular debater, astute literary critic, grassroots reformer, and profound humorist. Recognized by friend and foe alike as one of the most perspicacious, epigrammatic, and jocose prose stylists in the entire literary canon, he is today the most quoted writer in the English language besides William Shakespeare. His remarkable output of books—more than a hundred published in his lifetime and half again that many afterward—covered an astonishing array of subjects from economics, art, history, biography, and social criticism to poetry, detective stories, philosophy, travel, and religion. His most amazing feat was not merely his vast output or wide range but the consistency and clarity of his thought, his uncanny ability to tie everything together. In the heart of nearly every paragraph he wrote was a jaw-dropping aphorism or a mind-boggling paradox that left readers shaking their heads in bemusement and wonder.

Still, he insisted, “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.” What he meant was simply, “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing.” If a thing is worth doing, but for the lack of resources; it is still worth doing. If a thing is worth doing, but for the lack of popular support; it is still worth doing. If a thing is worth doing, but for the lack of practical experience, or the lack of adequate facilities, or the lack of sufficient funds, or the lack of anything other material advantage; it is still worth doing. If a thing is worth doing, it is simply worth doing. No matter what.

Of course, there is one little problem with such a philosophy: it is bound to get you into trouble. And lots of it. Guaranteed.

Indeed, anyone who acts on principle is sure to attract criticism. Anyone who determines to follow a course of action is going to meet with opposition. It doesn’t matter what the course of action is and it doesn’t matter what the decisions are. Any course of action and every decision is liable to come under fire. People can only argue with a stated position. Critics can only rail against actual programs. Opponents cannot oppose nothing. In the same way that they cannot fight something with nothing, they cannot fight nothing with something.

That means that if you want to remain in everyone’s good graces you’ll have to make sure to do nothing whatsoever, decide nothing whatsoever, and stand for nothing whatsoever. To not do the thing worth doing is always safer and more popular.

Of course, it is also wrong.

As Teddy Roosevelt proclaimed, “Better faithful than famous. Honor before prominence.” Likewise, James A. Garfield claimed, “It is a greater honor to be right than to be president—or popular, for statesmanship consists rather in removing causes than in punishing or evading results—thus, it is the rarest of qualities.” Both men would have wholeheartedly agreed with Chesterton’s maxim. And as a result, both men were reviled. Indeed, both men were ultimately shot down by assassins—Garfield succumbed to his wounds while Roosevelt survived.

Doing the right thing is dangerous. It is bound to rankle the ire of some. It is bound to enrage others. It is bound to provoke a ferocious reaction. It always has. It always will.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Watchman for the "Mouth Gate"

"Do not speak evil against each other, brethren." James 4:11

That which the Scriptures forbid here, is the saying of anything, be it true or false, to the harm of another. God requires that our words should be governed by "the law of kindness" (Proverbs 31:26), and anything which would hurt or injure the reputation of another, is to be rigidly shunned. Whenever I cannot speak well of my brother or sister, I must say nothing at all. To speak evil of others, proceeds from ill will or malice--desiring that they should be made odious in the esteem of others.

It is devilish to take delight in exposing the faults of fellow-Christians, and stirring up prejudice and bitter feelings against them (Rev. 12:10). God requires that our words should agree with love--as well as with truth. Since Christians are brethren, the last thing they should be guilty of is defaming one another!

Except where the glory of God plainly requires it, and the good of that person demands it--we must refrain from all evil speaking of others. If we are duly occupied with and humbled over our own many faults--we shall have neither time nor inclination to dwell upon or publish those of others! If we properly heed the exhortation of Philippians 4:8, we shall cultivate the habit of admiring the graces in our brethren--instead of being like filthy flies, settling on their sores!

Well may we pray, "Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord! Keep watch over the door of my lips!" Psalm 141:3
--Arthur Pink

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Losses and Crosses

"Losses, crosses, heaviness, sickness, poverty, and a thousand other ills, are of the Lord's sending, and come to us with wise design." --C.H. Spurgeon

Monday, December 1, 2008

Ill Is No Ill

"It is impossible that any ill should happen to the man who is beloved of the Lord; the most crushing calamities can only shorten his journey and hasten him to his reward. Ill to him is no ill, but only good in a mysterious form. Losses enrich him, sickness is his medicine, reproach is his honour, death is his gain. No evil in the strict sense of the word can happen to him, for everything is overruled for good. Happy is he who is in such a case. He is secure where others are in peril, he lives where others die." --Charles Haddon Spurgeon