Tag Archives: Gospel

Feasting Upon Christ in the Gospel

  
Then said he unto him, “A certain man made a great supper and bade many.” Luke 14:16

How gospel provision is well represented by a feast:

I. In the expensiveness of gospel blessings. As feasts are expensive and are provided at the expense of the host, so the provision which God has in the gospel made for our souls be exceeding expensive unto [him]. We have it for nothing. It costs us nothing, but it cost God a great deal. Fallen men can’t be feasted but at vast expense. We are by sin sunk infinitely low, into the lowest depths of misery and want, and our famishing souls could not be provided for [but] under infinite expense. All that we have from God for the salvation and support and nourishment of our souls cost exceeding dear. Never were any that were feasted at so dear a rate as believers: what they eat and drink is a thousand times more costly than what they eat at the tables [of] princes, that is far-fetched and dear bought.

Every crumb of bread that they eat and every drop of wine that they drink is more costly than so much gold or gems. God purchased it at no less a rate than with the blood of his only and infinitely dear Son. That holiness and that favor, and that peace and joy which they have, it was bought with the heart’s blood of the Son of God, his precious life. He made his soul an offering.  Christ Jesus obtained this provision by victory. He was obliged to fight for it as it were up to his knees in blood that he might obtain it; yea, he waded through a sea of blood to get it for us.

II. As the guests are freely invited to a feast, so sinners are freely invited to partake of gospel blessings. How much soever the provision has cost God, he requires nothing of us for it. Alas, what should we do if it were required of us to buy those dainties at our own cost? It can’t be purchased with money. “It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies” (Job 28:15–18).

Alas, what can we do towards purchasing of it? What is all our righteousness to purchase such heavenly dainties? No, we can’t purchase it. Any price that we can offer is as insufficient to buy it, as our power is insufficient to create a world.

And there is no need of our endeavoring such an impossible thing as purchasing of this feast. We are freely invited. God will show the abundance of his divine liberality in the bestowment of it. It is to have most abject thoughts of God and of gospel blessings, to imagine that God would sell them to us for our righteousness.

God invites all freely. Thus we read in our context that those that were poor, those that were in the highways and hedges, were invited to this great supper; such as had nothing to pay, and such as did not pretend to it, it was with such that his house was filled, and by such was his feast eaten. In Isaiah 55:1, all that thirst are invited to “come, and buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Where we have the gospel invitations, they are very generally either to food or drink, as it is here. So it is in John 7:37, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” Revelation 22:17, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

We are so freely invited to this feast, that there is no other condition required of us in order to our partaking of this feast, but accepting of the invitation, and sitting down at the table, and eating and drinking. Proverbs 9:2–5, “Wisdom hath killed her beasts; she hath also mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table. She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city, Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith unto him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.” And in Revelation 3:20, Christ promises that he will come in, and sup with us, and we shall sup with him, if we only hear his voice and open the door.

III. The provision God has made for us in the gospel is fitly represented by a feast, because it nourishes the soul as food does the body. Christ Jesus, as applied by the Spirit of God in our enlightening, effectual calling and sanctification, is the only nourishment of the soul. It was he that was represented by the manna the children of Israel eat in the wilderness. ‘Twas he that was signified by the sacrifices which are called the “bread of God” (Leviticus 21:6). John 6:48, “I am the bread of life.”

Receiving of Christ and his benefits is often called “eating” in the Old Testament and New. And this provision is called “bread” in many places.

The grace of Christ Jesus, it nourishes the soul; it gives life and strength to it. Before the soul receives this grace, it is dead. In this it doth more than bread does to the body, that does but preserve the life of the body and revives it when weakened and languishing; but this heavenly food revives men when dead. And it also continues the life of the soul: the soul, after it is revived, would die again, were it not for the continuance of supply of grace and spiritual nourishment. It strengthens the soul as food does the body. The soul in its natural condition is a poor, feeble, languishing thing, having no strength; but the grace of Christ makes it strong and vigorous. And this spiritual nourishment makes the soul to grow, as food doth the body. The supplies of the Spirit of God increase the life and vigor of the soul, increases the understanding, increases holy inclinations and affections; as bodily nourishment increases all the members of the body, makes a proportionable growth of every part…

IV. The spiritual provision of the gospel is well represented [by a feast], because of the excellency of it. We call those meals “feasts”, where the provision is what excels ordinary food.  The provision that God has made for our souls in Christ is exceeding excellent. ‘Tis of the most noble kind: that which is to nourish the nobler part of men, viz. his soul, and that which is most suitable proper nourishment; that which tends, above all that can be conceived of, to give the soul the most excellent life and the most excellent satisfaction: which is evident by what had been already said about the costliness of it, its being what “cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof” [Job 28:15].

Doubtless, that food which cost the Son of God his blood and life is pure dainties, when it is procured. And it is everywhere represented as the richest and most noble and excellent food. It is called the “bread of heaven” and “angels’ food” (Psalms 105:40). So we are invited in Isaiah 55:2 not to “spend money for that which is not bread, and labor for that which satisfieth not,” but to come to Christ, to eat “that which is good,” that our souls may delight themselves in fatness. So this feast in Isaiah 25:6 is called “a feast of fat things, of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.”…

V. Gospel provision is well compared to a feast by reason of the abundance and variety of it. There is every kind of blessing for our souls provided in the gospel that we need, so that we may want nothing at all, but may have every regular appetite and desire satisfied and we may be made completely [happy]. There is that which suits all dispositions and tempers, provided they are suitable and not sinful.

There is every kind of thing dispensed in Christ that tends to make us excellent and amiable, and every kind of thing that tends to make us happy. There is that which shall fill every faculty of the soul and in a great variety. What a glorious variety is there for the entertainment of the understanding! How many glorious objects set forth, most worthy to be meditated upon and understood! There are all the glorious attributes of God and the beauties of Jesus Christ, and manifold wonders to be seen in the way of salvation, the glories of heaven and the excellency of Christian graces. And there is a glorious variety for the satisfying the will: there are pleasures, riches and honors; there are all things desirable or lovely. There is various entertainment for the affections, for love, for joy, for desire and hope. The blessings are innumerable…

VI. The measure [of] love of Jesus Christ and of Christians, and of Christians amongst themselves, is represented by the friendship of those that feast together. Feasting together betokens love and friendship. Thus Abimelech and Isaac, when they made covenants (Genesis 26:30). So ’tis from the wonderful love of Jesus Christ that sinners are called to this feast and that he has provided such a feast for them at so dear a rate. This love is without a parallel, and all those that do accept of the invitation that are truly his guests, their hearts are possessed with a spirit of true love to Christ Jesus. They love him above all; he is to them the chief of ten thousands and altogether lovely. There is a great love between Christ and his guests. He and they are one, even as the Father is in him and he in the Father. There is the nearest union and a holy friendship between Christ and believers. They are Christ’s dear ones, his jewels; and Christ is their jewel, their pearl of great price.

And so there is mutual love amongst the guests. Believers are united in heart one to another. Therefore all men know that they are Christ’s disciples, that they have love one to another. They are all united under their host, under their head, Christ Jesus, with whom they sit at his table. Therefore Christ says, Canticles 5:1, “Eat, O friends.” They are Christ’s friends, and friends one to another.

VII. The communion of saints is represented by a feast. The word “communion,” as it is used in Scripture, signifies a common partaking of some good. Thus we read of the communion of the body of Christ and the communion of the blood of Christ, that is, the common partaking of his body and blood. Therefore, as in a feast they all have communion in the same fare with the host and with the other guests, so Christians have communion with Jesus: they partake of the same Spirit, of the same holiness and the same happiness; they are members of Christ’s body and partake of the same life with the head; they are branches in him and partake of the same sap and nourishment with the vine. Christ and believers are partakers of the same Spirit. Christ has the Spirit not by measure, and they have of the same Spirit by measure [John 3:34]. Christ has all fullness of grace in him, and believers have grace for grace [John 1:16]…

Believers also in the gospel feast have communion one with another. They all partake of that one bread. They have one Lord, [one] faith, one baptism. All drink into one Spirit, are all united together by partaking of the same influence of the same head. ‘Tis one Spirit that unites them all, so that they make but one body.

VIII. And lastly, this well represents the joy of Christianity. Feasts are made upon joyful occasions and for the manifestations of joy. Ecclesiastes 10:19, “A feast is made for laughter.” Christians, in the participation and communion of gospel benefits, have joy unspeakable and full of glory, a sweeter delight than any this world affords. We are invited in that forecited place, Isaiah 55:1–2, to come, that our souls may delight themselves in fatness. When the prodigal son returned, they killed the fatted calf and made a feast, and sang and danced and made merry; which represents the joy there [is] in a sinner, and concerning him, when he comes to Christ.

This spiritual feast is compared to a wedding feast. So was the feast spoken of in our text a wedding feast, as appears by the same parable as it is in Matthew 22, [at the] beginning: “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding.” And so it is, Revelation 19:9, “Blessed are they which shall be called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”…

Jonathan Edwards (1703-58), “The Spiritual Blessings of the Gospel Represented by a Feast”, Sermons and Discourses: 1723-1729, 279-97.


1 Comment

Filed under Christology, God, Gospel, Gospel of Luke, Love, Preaching, Puritans, Sanctification

Christ: The Most Precious Remedy

old-medicine-bottlesWhat is the most precious remedy against the wiles of the devil and sin?

Seriously to consider, That even those very sins that Satan paints, and puts new names and colors upon, cost the best blood, the noblest blood, the life-blood, the heart-blood of the Lord Jesus. That Christ should come from the eternal bosom of his Father to a region of sorrow and death; that God should be manifested in the flesh, the Creator made a creature; that he who was clothed with glory should be wrapped with rags of flesh; he who filled heaven and earth with his glory should be cradled in a manger; that the almighty God should flee from weak man—the God of Israel into Egypt; that the God of the law should be subject to the law, the God of the circumcision circumcised, the God who made the heavens working at Joseph’s homely trade; that he who binds the devils in chains should be tempted; that he, whose is the world, and the fullness thereof, should hunger and thirst; that the God of strength should be weary, the Judge of all flesh condemned, the God of life put to death; that he who is one with his Father should cry out of misery, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46); that he who had the keys of hell and death at his belt should lie imprisoned in the sepulcher of another, having in his lifetime nowhere to lay his head, nor after death to lay his body; that that HEAD, before which the angels do cast down their crowns, should be crowned with thorns, and those EYES, purer than the sun, put out by the darkness of death; those EARS, which hear nothing but hallelujahs of saints and angels, to hear the blasphemies of the multitude; that FACE, which was fairer than the sons of men, to be spit on by those beastly wretched Jews; that MOUTH and TONGUE, which spoke as never man spoke, accused for blasphemy; those HANDS, which freely swayed the scepter of heaven, nailed to the cross; those FEET, “like unto fine brass,” nailed to the cross for man’s sins; each sense pained with a spear and nails; his SMELL, with stinking odor, being crucified on Golgotha, the place of skulls; his TASTE, with vinegar and gall; his HEARING, with reproaches, and SIGHT of his mother and disciples bemoaning him; his SOUL, comfortless and forsaken; and all this for those very sins that Satan paints and puts fine colors upon! Oh! how should the consideration of this stir up the soul against sin, and work the soul to fly from it, and to use all holy means whereby sin may be subdued and destroyed!

Thomas Brooks (1608-80), The Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices20.

1 Comment

Filed under Applied Theology, Atonement, Christian Living, Christology, Church History, Cross, Devices / Schemes, Gospel, Holiness, Mortification of Sin, Puritans, Sanctification, Satan, Sin, Theology

All of God is Ours in Christ

lookinguntojesus.jpgHere is the propriety of saints – “the Lord thy God.” What is this, that God is thy God? Heaven and earth, angels and men, may stand astonished at it. What! that the great and mighty God, God almighty, and God all-sufficient, should be called thy God! It is observable what the apostle speaks, “God is not ashamed to be called their God.” Would not a prince be ashamed to take a beggar, a base and adulterous woman, to be his wife? But we are worse than so, and God is better than so; sin hath made us worse than the worst of women; and God is better, holier, higher, than the best of princes; and yet God is not ashamed to own us, nor ashamed that we own him as our own – “I am thy God.” It is as if the Lord should say. Use me, and all my power, grace, mercy, kindness, as thine own. Go through all my attributes; consider my almighty power, consider my wisdom, understanding, goodness, truth, faithfulness; consider my patience, longsuffering, forbearance, all these are thine: as thus, — my power is thine, to work all thy works for thee, and in thee, to make a passage for thee in all thy straits, to deliver thee out of six troubles, and out of seven: my wisdom is thine, to counsel thee in any difficult cases, to instruct thee in things that be obscure, to reveal to thee the mysteries of grace, and the wonderful things contained in my law: my justice is thine, to deliver thee when thou art oppressed, to defend thee in thy innocence, and to vindicate thee from the injuries of men. What needs more? O my soul, think of these, and all other God’s attributes; say in thyself, All these are mine: nay more; think of God in Christ, (for otherwise what hast thou to do with God in a covenant of grace?) and say in thy heart, Jesus Christ is mine, my Saviour, my Redeemer, my Head, my elder Brother. His doings are mine, and his sufferings are mine; his life and death, his resurrection and ascension, his session and intercession, all are mine: nay more; If Christ be mine, why then all good things are mine in Christ; I say, in Christ, for they come not immediately, but through the hands of a Redeemer; and though he be a man who redeemed us, yet because he is God as well as man, there is more of God, and heaven, and free-love, in all our good things, than if we received them immediately from God. Ravens have their food, and devils have their being, from God by creature-right; but we have all we have, from God in Christ, by covenant-right. This, surely this very promise, is the principal promise of the covenant; it is the very substance, soul, and life of all. Oh then! how careful shouldst thou be to improve the strength of thy mind, thoughts, and affections, on this only subject!

Isaac Ambrose (1604-64), Looking Unto JesusBook II.2.2

Leave a comment

Filed under Applied Theology, Bible, Big Picture, Christian Thinking, Christology, Church History, God, Gospel, Grace, Puritans, Soteriology, Theology, Uncategorized, Worship

The Expulsive Power of a New Affection

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. – 1 John 2:15

The love of the world cannot be expunged by a mere demonstration of the world’s worthlessness. But may it not be supplanted by the love of that which is more worthy than itself? The heart cannot be prevailed upon to part with the world, by a simple act of resignation. But may not the heart be prevailed upon to admit into its preference another, who shall subordinate the world, and bring it down from its wonted ascendancy? If the throne which is placed there must have an occupier, and the tyrant that now reigns has occupied it wrongfully, he may not leave a bosom which would rather detain him than be left in desolation. But may he not give way to the lawful sovereign, appearing with every charm that can secure His willing admittance, and taking unto himself His great power to subdue the moral nature of man, and to reign over it? In a word, if the way to disengage the heart from the positive love of one great and ascendant object, is to fasten it in positive love to another, then it is not by exposing the worthlessness of the former, but by addressing to the mental eye the worth and excellence of the latter, that all old things are to be done away and all things are to become new. To obliterate all our present affections by simply expunging them, and so as to leave the seat of them unoccupied, would be to destroy the old character, and to substitute no new character in its place. But when they take their departure upon the ingress of other visitors; when they resign their sway to the power and the predominance of new affections; when, abandoning the heart to solitude, they merely give place to a successor who turns it into as busy a residence of desire and interest and expectation as before – there is nothing in all this to thwart or to overbear any of the laws of our sentient nature – and we see how, in fullest accordance with the mechanism of the heart, a great moral revolution may be made to take place upon it.

heartThis, we trust, will explain the operation of that charm which accompanies the effectual preaching of the gospel. The love of God and the love of the world, are two affections, not merely in a state of rivalship, but in a state of enmity – and that so irreconcilable, that they cannot dwell together in the same bosom. We have already affirmed how impossible it were for the heart, by any innate elasticity of its own, to cast the world away from it; and thus reduce itself to a wilderness. The heart is not so constituted; and the only way to dispossess it of an old affection, is by the expulsive power of a new one. Nothing can exceed the magnitude of the required change in a man’s character – when bidden as he is in the New Testament, to love not the world; no, nor any of the things that are in the world for this so comprehends all that is dear to him in existence, as to be equivalent to a command of self-annihilation.

But the same revelation which dictates so mighty an obedience, places within our reach as mighty an instrument of obedience. It brings for admittance to the very door of our heart, an affection which once seated upon its throne, will either subordinate every previous inmate, or bid it away. Beside the world, it places before the eye of the mind Him who made the world and with this peculiarity, which is all its own – that in the Gospel do we so behold God, as that we may love God. It is there, and there only, where God stands revealed as an object of confidence to sinners and where our desire after Him is not chilled into apathy, by that barrier of human guilt which intercepts every approach that is not made to Him through the appointed Mediator. It is the bringing in of this better hope, whereby we draw nigh unto God – and to live without hope, is to live without God; and if the heart be without God, then world will then have all the ascendancy. It is God apprehended by the believer as God in Christ, who alone can dispost it from this ascendancy. It is when He stands dismantled of the terrors which belong to Him as an offended lawgiver and when we are enabled by faith, which is His own gift, to see His glory in the face of Jesus Christ, and to hear His beseeching voice, as it protests good will to men, and entreats the return of all who will to a full pardon and a gracious acceptance_it is then, that a love paramount to the love of the world, and at length expulsive of it, first arises in the regenerated bosom. It is when released from the spirit of bondage with which love cannot dwell, and when admitted into the number of God’s children through the faith that is in Christ Jesus, the spirit of adoption is poured upon us – it is then that the heart, brought under the mastery of one great and predominant affection, is delivered from the tyranny of its former desires, in the only way in which deliverance is possible. And that faith which is revealed to us from heaven, as indispensable to a sinner’s justification in the sight of God, is also the instrument of the greatest of all moral and spiritual achievements on a nature dead to the influence, and beyond the reach of every other application….

The object of the Gospel is both to pacify the sinner’s conscience, and to purify his heart; and it is of importance to observe, that what mars the one of these objects, mars the other also. The best way of casting out an impure affection is to admit a pure one; and by the love of what is good, to expel the love of what is evil.
Thus it is, that the freer the Gospel, the more sanctifying is the Gospel; and the more it is received as a doctrine of grace, the more will it be felt as a doctrine according to godliness. This is one of the secrets of the Christian life, that the more a man holds of God as a pensioner, the greater is the payment of service that he renders back again. On the tenure of “Do this and live,” a spirit of fearfulness is sure to enter; and the jealousies of a legal bargain chase away all confidence from the intercourse between God and man; and the creature striving to be square and even with his Creator, is, in fact, pursuing all the while his own selfishness, instead of God’s glory; and with all the conformities which he labours to accomplish, the soul of obedience is not there, the mind is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed under such an economy ever can be. It is only when, as in the Gospel, acceptance is bestowed as a present, without money and without price, that the security which man feels in God is placed beyond the reach of disturbance – or, that he can repose in Him, as one friend reposes in another – or, that any liberal and generous understanding can be established betwixt them – the one party rejoicing over the other to do him good – the other finding that the truest gladness of his heart lies in the impulse of a gratitude, by which it is awakened to the charms of a new moral existence.

Salvation by grace – salvation by free grace – salvation not of works, but according to the mercy of God – salvation on such a footing is not more indispensable to the deliverance of our persons from the hand of justice, than it is to the deliverance of our hearts from the chill and the weight of ungodliness. Retain a single shred or fragment of legality with the Gospel, and we raise a topic of distrust between man and God. We take away from the power of the Gospel to melt and to conciliate. For this purpose, the freer it is, the better it is. That very peculiarity which so many dread as the germ of antinomianism, is, in fact, the germ of a new spirit, and a new inclination against it. Along with the light of a free Gospel, does there enter the love of the Gospel, which, in proportion as we impair the freeness, we are sure to chase away. And never does the sinner find within himself so mighty a moral transformation, as when under the belief that he is saved by grace, he feels constrained thereby to offer his heart a devoted thing, and to deny ungodliness. To do any work in the best manner, we should make use of the fittest tools for it.

Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847), The Expulsive Power of a New Affection.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 John, Anthropology, Applied Theology, Bible, Christian Living, Christian Thinking, Christology, Church History, God, Gospel, Grace, Mortification of Sin, Regeneration, Sanctification, Soteriology, Sovereign Grace, Theology, Uncategorized

Repent for the Glory of God

repent signDear friends, there’s only one reason -one reason for a sinner to repent: and that’s because Jesus Christ deserves the worship and adoration and the love and the obedience of his heart. Not because he’ll go to heaven. If the only reason you repented, dear friend, was to keep out of Hell, all you are is just a Levite serving for ten shekels and a shirt! That’s all! You’re trying to serve God because He’ll do you good! But a repentant heart is a heart that has seen something of the enormity of the crime of playing god and denying the just an righteous God the worship and obedience that He deserves!

Why should a sinner repent? Because God deserves the obedience and love that he’s refused to give Him! Not so that he’ll go to heaven. If the only reason he repents is so that he’ll go to heaven, it’s nothing but trying to make a deal or a bargain with God.

Why should a sinner give up all his sins? Why should he be challenged to do it? Why should he make restitution when he’s coming to Christ? Because God deserves the obedience that He demands!

I have talked with people that have no assurance that sins are forgiven. They want to feel safe, before they’re willing to commit themselves to Christ. But I believe that the only ones whom God actually witnesses by HisSpirit and are born of Him, are the people, whether they say it or not, that come to Jesus Christ and say something like this, “Lord Jesus, I’m going to obey you, and love you, and serve you, and do what you want me to do, as long as I live, even if I go to Hell at the end of the road, simply because you are worthy to be loved, and obeyed and served, and I’m not trying to make a deal with you!” Do you see the difference? Do you see the difference? Between a Levite serving for ten shekels and a shirt or a Micah building a chapel because God will do you good, and someone that repents for the glory of God. 

Why should a person come to the cross? Why should a person embrace death with Christ? Why should a person be willing to go, in identification, down to the cross and into the tomb and up again? I’ll tell you why – because it’s the only way that God can get glory out of human being! If you say it’s because he’ll get joy or peace or blessing or success or fame then it’s nothing but a Levite serving for ten shekels and a shirt. There is only one reason for you to go to the Cross, dear young person – and that’s because until you come to the place of union with Christ in death, you are defrauding the Son of God of the glory that He could get out of your life. For no flesh shall glory in His sight. And until you’ve understood the sanctifying work of God by the Holy Ghost taking you into union with Christ in death and burial and resurrection, you have to serve in what you have and all you have which is under the sentence of death: human personality, and human nature, and human strength, and human energy. And God will get no glory out of that! So the reason for you to go to the cross isn’t that you’re going to get victory – you will get victory. It isn’t that you’re going to have joy – you will have joy. But the reason for you to embrace the cross and press through until you know that you can testify with Paul, “I am crucified with Christ..” (Galatians 2:20) It isn’t what you’re going to get out of it, but what He’ll get out of it, for the glory of God. By the same token, why aren’t you pressed through to know the fullness of the Holy Spirit? Why aren’t you pressed through to know the fullness of Christ? I’ll tell you why – Because the only possible way that Jesus Christ will get glory out of a life that He’s redeemed with His precious blood, is when He can fill that life with His presence and live through it his own life.

The genius of our faith wasn’t that we were going to go through the motions like a Levite that was hired to serve God. No, No! The genius of our faith was that we’d come to a place where we knew we could do nothing, and all we could do would be to present the vessel and say, “Lord Jesus, you’ll have to fill it. And everything that’s done will have to be done by You and for You.”

Paris Reidhead (1919-92), exerted from a sermon on Judges 17:1-18:4, “Ten Shekels and a Shirt“.

Leave a comment

Filed under Anthropology, Applied Theology, Atonement, Bible, Christian Thinking, Christology, Commentary, Dependence, Glory, God, Gospel, Judges, Obedience, Pneumatology, Preaching, Repentance, Soteriology, Theology, Uncategorized, Worship

A Hospital for Sinners

Hospital

…when I look at the church, I see a hospital full of people in various stages of dealing with the disease of sin.

…The church is full of people dealing with the effects of sin, people who are not fully formed into the image of jesus Christ. The church is full of people who have lost their way and don’t even know it, who haven’t made a connection between their daily problems and the transforming grace of Christ. Everywhere you look, you will find couples who are struggling to love, parents who are struggling to be patient, children who are attracted to temptation, and friends who battle the disappointments of imperfect relationships. This is 100 percent of the church’s membership!

The church is not a theological classroom. It is a conversion, confession, repentance, reconciliation, forgiveness, and sanctification center, where flawed people place their trust in Christ, gather to know and love him better, and learn to love others as he has designed. The church is messy and inefficient, but it is God’s wonderful mess – the place where he radically transforms hearts and lives.

Paul David Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, 116.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Church Membership, Counseling, Ecclesiology, God, Gospel, Sanctification, Theology

“Infinite Upon Infinite”: Sin and God’s Grace

edwardsI have often since I lived in [Northampton] had very affecting views of my own sinfulness and vileness; very frequently so as to hold me in a kind of loud weeping, sometimes for a considerable time together: so that I have often been forced to shut myself up. I have had a vastly greater sense of my own wickedness, and the badness of my heart, since my conversion, than ever I had before. It has often appeared to me, that if God should mark iniquity against me, I should appear the very worst of all mankind; of all that have been since the beginning of the world to this time: and that I should have by far the lowest place in hell. When others that have come to talk with me about their soul concerns, have expressed the sense they have had of their own wickedness, by saying that it seemed to them, that they were as bad as the devil himself; I thought their expressions seemed exceeding faint and feeble, to represent my wickedness. I thought I should wonder, that they should content themselves with such expressions as these, if I had any reason to imagine, that their sin bore any proportion to mine. It seemed to me, I should wonder at myself, if I should express my wickedness in such feeble terms as they did.

My wickedness, as I am in myself, has long appeared to me perfectly ineffable, and infinitely swallowing up all thought and imagination; like an infinite deluge, or infinite mountains over my head. I know not how to express better, what my sins appear to me to be, than by heaping infinite upon infinite, and multiplying infinite by infinite. I go about very often, for this many years, with these expressions in my mind, and in my mouth, “Infinite upon infinite. Infinite upon infinite!” When I look into my heart, and take a view of my wickedness, it looks like an abyss infinitely deeper than hell. And it appears to me, that were it not for free grace, exalted and raised up to the infinite height of all the fullness and glory of the great Jehovah, and the arm of his power and grace stretched forth, in all the majesty of his power, and in all the glory of his sovereignty; I should appear sunk down in my sins infinitely below hell itself, far beyond sight of everything, but the piercing eye of God’s grace, that can pierce even down to such a depth, and to the bottom of such an abyss.

Jonathan Edwards (1703-58), Letters and Personal Writings, 802.

1 Comment

Filed under Christian Thinking, Christology, Church History, Classics, God, Gospel, Grace, Sin, Soteriology, Sovereign Grace, Sovereignty, Theology