“True spirituality is not a superhuman religiosity; it is simply true humanity released from bondage to sin and renewed by the Holy Spirit. This is given to us as we grasp by faith the full content of Christ’s redemptive work: freedom from the guilt and power of sin, and newness of life through the indwelling and outpouring of his Spirit.”
— Richard F. Lovelace
Dynamics of Spiritual Life
(Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1973), 19-20
Archive for April, 2012
the difference between the person in Christ, and the person not in Christ, can never be stated too strongly and too fullyPosted: April 30, 2012 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship, The Christian Life
There are two points in religion on which the teaching of the Bible is very plain and distinct. One of these points is the fearful danger of the ungodly; the other is the perfect safety of the righteous. One is the happiness of those who are converted; the other is the misery of those who are unconverted. One is the blessedness of being in the way to heaven; the other is the wretchedness of being in the way to hell.
I hold it to be of the utmost importance that these two points should be constantly impressed on the minds of professing Christians. I believe that the exceeding privileges of the children of God, and the deadly peril of the children of the world, should be continually set forth in the clearest colors before the Church of Christ. I believe that the difference between the person in Christ, and the person not in Christ, can never be stated too strongly and too fully. Reserve on this subject is a positive injury to the souls of people. Wherever such reserve is practiced, the careless will not be aroused, believers will not be established, and the cause of God will receive much damage.
~ J.C. Ryle
Sang this song in Kentucky with some great friends.
Some people today say that they are perplexed by the doctrine of God’s sovereignty and election. I am amazed that anyone who believes in God should stumble at God’s sovereignty and election. For if there is a God, a King, eternal, imortal, invisible, and almighty, He has to be sovereign, and He must do all things according to His will, and He must choose according to His purpose! Whom shall He consult? With whom shall He seek counsel and advice? One may DISLIKE THESE DOCTRINES; but you cannot get rid of them without denying altogether the existence of the infinite, wise, glorious God of heaven and earth. God would not be God were He not absolutely sovereign in His eternal pre-arrangments and His present doings.
– Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)
The heart is the main thing in true religion. I make no excuse for asking the special attention of my readers, while I try to say a few things about the heart. The head is not the principal thing. You may know the whole truth as it is in Jesus, and consent that it is good. You may be clear, correct, and sound in your religious opinions. But all this time you may be walking in the broad way which leads to destruction. It is your heart which is the main point. Is your heart right in the sight of God? Your outward life may be moral, decent, respectable, in the eyes of people. Your minister, friends and neighbors, may see nothing very wrong in your general conduct. But all this time you may be hanging on the brink of everlasting ruin. It is your heart which is the main thing. Is that heart right in the sight of God?
~ J.C. Ryle
OCCASIONALLY WE HAVE OVERLOOKED the theological significance of Jesus’ humanity. That is one of the important themes of Hebrews 2.
Both the one who makes human beings holy—Jesus himself—and the human beings who are made holy are of the same family. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers (Heb. 2:11). Since we have flesh and blood, he shared in our humanity (Heb. 2:14)—which of course implies that this was something not intrinsically his, but something he had to take on (the eternal Word “became flesh,” John 1:14). He did this so that by his death (something he could never have experienced if he had not donned flesh and blood) “he might destroy him who holds the power of death … and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Heb. 2:14, 15). Jesus did not don the nature of angels (Heb. 2:16—which shows that Jesus was not a merely angelic being). Rather, he became a human being, a human being with a genuine lineage—the lineage of Abraham (Heb. 2:16). If he was to serve as mediator between God and human beings, “he had to be made like his brothers in every way” (Heb. 2:17—which presupposes that he already was like God in every way). So it was entirely “fitting,” then, that God should make the author of our salvation “perfect through suffering” (Heb. 2:10). The idea is not that Jesus gains through suffering a moral perfection he otherwise would have lacked, but that the perfection of his identification with us depended on participating in our common currency, which is suffering.
The author of Hebrews has already hinted at the problem that Jesus came to resolve. Originally human beings were made to be God’s vice-regents over the entire creation, a point not only made by the creation accounts (Gen. 1-2) but reiterated in the superb poetry of Psalm 8 (cited in Heb. 2:6-8). But as the author of Hebrews points out, we do not yet see everything under our feet, as Genesis 1 and Psalm 8 envisage. Of course not: the Fall has intervened, and death takes its unvarying toll. But what do we see? “[W]e see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone” (Heb. 2:9). The point is not exactly that Jesus is the “man” envisaged in Psalm 8, as if he were being prophetically described, but that by his mission, by his identification with us, and by his death, he becomes the first human being to be crowned with such glory and honor, as he brings many sons—a new humanity—to glory.
from For the Love of God
“If we would make it evident that our conversion is sound we must loathe and hate sin from the heart; now a man shall know his hatred of evil to be true,
first if it be universal. He that hates sin truly hates all sin.
Secondly, where there is true hatred it is fixed; there is no appeasing it, but by abolishing the thing it hates.
Thirdly, hatred is a more rooted affection than anger; anger may be appeased, but hatred is against the whole kind.
Fourthly, if our hatred be true, we hate all evil in ourselves first, and then in others. He that hates a toad would hate it most in his own bosom. Many like Judah are severe in censuring others but are partial to themselves (Genesis 38:24).
Fifthly, he that hates sin truly, hates the greatest sin in the greatest measure; he hates all evil in a just proportion.
Sixthly, our hatred is right if we can endure admonition and reproof for sin and not be enraged with him that tells us of it; therefore those that swell against reproof, hate not sin; only with this caution, it may be done with such indiscretion and self-love that a man may hate the reprover’s proud manner.
In disclosing our hatred of sin in others, we must consider our calling; it must be done in a sweet temper, reserving due respect to those to whom reproof is offered, that it may be done out of true zeal, and not out of anger nor pride.”
– Richard Sibbes