Monthly Archives: February 2010

A Foretaste of the New Life

“Early Christian preaching, however, was not based simply on the message of Jesus. Rather, it grew out of the conviction that the content of his message had been both validated and actualized through his resurrection from the dead. The powers which rule the present world-order had repudiated Jesus and slain him. But God had raised him up, and this meant that in him and for him the promised transformation of the world, ‘the life of the age to come,’ was already real. Furthermore, it meant that people could even now have a foretaste of that new life because the Spirit of God had, through Jesus, been bestowed on those who accepted him as the one in whom their own destiny was revealed and determined.”

Richard A. Norris, Jr., The Christological Controversy (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1980), 1-2.

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The Pleasures of Humility

“Listen to this familiar passage again for the very first time: ‘God . . . gives grace to the humble’ (James 4:6). Contrary to popular and false belief, it’s not ‘those who help themselves’ whom God helps; it’s those who humble themselves.

“This is the promise of humility. God is personally and providentially supportive of the humble. And the grace He extends to the humble is indescribably rich. As Jonathan Edwards wrote, ‘The pleasures of humility are really the most refined, inward, and exquisite delights in the world.'”

C. J. Mahaney, Humility: True Greatness (Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah, 2005), 20-21.

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A Lie in Their Soul

“Men and women whose natures have been warped by bad education or circumstances, however, will have a perverted sense of the good (identifying it with the life of pleasure, say, or the life of worldly honor). These people (as Plato says) have a ‘lie in their soul,’ and are therefore incapable of reasoning correctly about moral matters. A properly cultivated emotional nature [cultivated by Christianity] is thus essential to sound ethical reasoning.”

William J. Wainwright, “Theistic Proofs, Person Relativity, and the Rationality of Religious Belief.”

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Grace for Weary Saints

“Again and again the Christian heart grows weak and begins to falter.Where will we find strength of heart? I don’t mean physical strength. God doesn’t demand physical strength, or health, or even life for that matter. But he does call us to be “strengthened . . . in the inner man (Ephesians 3:16). How does this happen? One answer is very plain: “It is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods” (Hebrews 13:9). The heart is strengthened by grace. “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1). Daily grace is to the heart what daily bread is to the body. It gives strength. Without it we can’t live and we can’t work.”

John Piper, Future Grace (Colorado Springs: Multnomah, 1995), 67-68.

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Peaks and troughs

A letter from the demon Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood, regarding the peaks and troughs in human life:

“You must have often wondered why the Enemy [God] does not make more use of His power to be sensibly present to human souls in any degree He chooses and at any moment. But you now see that the Irresistible and the Indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of His scheme forbids Him to use. Merely to override a human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo. . . .

“He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs — to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best.”

C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (New York: HarperCollins, 2000), 39-40.

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The Power in Preaching

“Preaching should be authoritative, declarative, scriptural, and uncompromising . . . ‘It is not man only that tells of sin and offers a Savior; not man only that presents promises of acceptance through Christ; not man only that calls his fellows to repentance and trust in Jesus; not man only that invites to a life of full consecration to God, and gives assurances to help in the attempt to lead that life.’ When one hears the plain truthful exposition of Scripture, one hears ‘the voice of God — of the living God. It is the invitation of Christ — the ever present Christ. It is the Holy Ghost whose sword is thus unsheathed to convict of sin, of righteousness and of a judgment to come.'”

J. P. Boyce, quoted in Thomas J. Nettles, James Petigru Boyce: A Southern Baptist Statesman (American Reformed Biographies; Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2009), 413.

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