Friday, April 30, 2010

As the tide lifts a grounded ship

Poetry replaces grammar, gospel replaces law, longing transforms obedience, as gradually as the tide lifts a grounded ship.

-- C.S. Lewis
from "The Weight of Glory"

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Christ dwells only in sinners

Now I should like to know whether your soul, tired of its own righteousness, is learning to be revived by and to trust in the righteousness of Christ . . .

Beware of aspiring to such purity that you will not wish to be looked upon as a sinner, or to be one. For Christ dwells only in sinners. On this account he descended from heaven, where he dwelt among the righteous, to dwell among sinners. Meditate on this love of his and you will see his sweet consolation.

-Martin Luther, writing to George Spenlein, quoted in Theodore G. Tappert, editor, Luther: Letters of Spiritual Counsel (Philadelphia, 1955), page 110. Language updated.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Don't put your hope in doing right

What must we do, then, to be saved? To find God we must repent of the things we have done wrong, but ... To truly become a Christian we must also repent of the reasons we ever did anything right. Pharisees only repent of their sins, but Christians repent for the very roots of their righteousness, too. We must learn how to repent of the sin under all our other sins and under all our righteousness – the sin of seeking to be our own Savior and Lord. We must admit that we’ve put our ultimate hope in both our wrongdoing and right doing...

It is only when you see the desire to be your own Savior and Lord—lying beneath both your sins and your moral goodness—that you are on the verge of becoming a Christian indeed. When you realize that the antidote to being bad is not just being good, you are on the brink. If you follow through, it will change everything—how you relate to God, self, others, the world, your work, you sins, your virtue. It’s called the new birth because its so radical”

--Tim Keller, from his book "The Prodigal God"

Sunday, April 18, 2010

On this I ground my hope

And though I am sorely distressed by spiritual and internal foes, afflicted, tormented and bowed down almost to death with the sense of my own present barrenness, ingratitude and proneness to evil, he secretly shows me his bleeding wounds and softly and powerfully whispers to my soul, ‘I am thy great salvation.’ His free distinguishing grace is the bottom on which is fixed the rest of my poor weary tempted soul. On this I ground my hope, often times when unsupported by any other evidence, save only the Spirit of adoption received from him. When my dry and empty barren soul is parched with thirst, he kindly bids me come to him and drink my fill at the fountainhead. In a word, he empowers me to say with experiential evidence, ‘Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.’ Amen and amen.

--Joseph Hart (1712-1768)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Born free

"For freedom Christ has set us free" (Gal. 5:1)

The other day, I heard this song, and I heard the words with new ears. Nothing overly profound. Just in ways that touch upon the subtle wonders of the Good News. I'll probably listen again tomorrow and just see lion cubs jumping around all over again. :-)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Digging for gold

Would it not be an encouragement to a subject, to hear his prince say to him, you will honor and please me very much, if you will go to yonder mine of gold, and dig as much gold for yourself as you can carry away?

So, for God to say, Go to the ordinances, get as much grace as you can, dig out as much salvation as you can; and the more happiness you have, the more I shall count myself glorified.

--Thomas Watson, Body of Divinity, pp. 13-14:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Rest to the soul

It is always the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus. But Satan’s work is just the opposite; he is constantly trying to make us look at ourselves instead of Christ.

He insinuates, ‘Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you do not have the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus.’

All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: He tells us that we are nothing, but that Christ is everything.

Remember, therefore, it is not your hold of Christ that saves you– it is Christ; it is not your joy in Christ that saves you– it is Christ; it is not even your faith in Christ, although that is the instrument– it is Christ’s blood and merits.

Therefore, do not look so much to your hand with which you are grasping Christ as to Christ; do not look to your hope but to Jesus, the source of your hope; do not look to your faith, but to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of your faith.

We will never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our deeds, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we are to overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by ‘looking to Jesus.’

Keep your eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession be fresh upon your mind. When you waken in the morning look to Him; when you lie down at night look to Him.

Oh! Do not let your hopes or fears come between you and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail you.

‘My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness:
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.’

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “June 28: Looking to Jesus,” in Morning and Evening, ed. Alistair Begg (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2007), 192.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Boring He is not

We are constantly assured that the churches are empty because preachers insist too much upon doctrine. ... The fact is the precise opposite. It is the neglect of dogma that makes for dullness.


The Christian faith is the most exciting drama that ever staggered the imagination of man. ... The people who hanged Christ never accused Him of being a bore — on the contrary; they thought Him too dynamic to be safe.

It has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround Him with an atmosphere of tedium. We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certifying Him ‘meek and mild,’ and recommended Him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies.

-- Dorothy Sayers