Archive for the 'Quotes' Category

Contentment – The Wrong Way

I’m reading The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs. About three years ago I read The Art of Divine Contentment by Thomas Watson. I don’t remember a lot about the latter except that there was a big revelation for me in that murmuring is sinful. That I haven’t forgotten (for the most part). I wrote a post about that.

In dealing with various conditions, contentment is one of the most difficult things. These authors don’t make it any easier. If anything, they explain how difficult it is, and how much grace we need to learn (Philippians 4:11) it. The Puritans don’t coddle the reader, nor are they harsh or without encouragement.

If you’re pressed for time, just read the first paragraph.

Let me spend my thoughts in thinking what my duty is, ‘O’, says a man whose condition is changed and who has lost his wealth, ‘Had I but my wealth, as I had heretofore, how would I use it to his glory? God has made me see that I did not honor him with my possessions as I ought to have done. O if I had it again, I would do better than I did before.’ But this may be but a temptation. You should rather think, ‘What does God require of me in the circumstances I am now brought into?’ You should labor to bring your heart to quiet and contentment by setting your soul to work in the duties of your present condition. And the truth is, I know nothing more effective for quieting a Christian soul and getting contentment than this, setting your heart to work in the duties of the immediate circumstances that you are now in, and taking heed of your thoughts about other conditions as a mere temptation.

I cannot better compare the folly of those men and women who think they will get contentment by musing about other circumstances than to the way of children: perhaps they have climbed a hill and look a good way off and see another hill, and they think if they were on the top of that, they would be able to touch the clouds with their fingers; but when they are on the top of that hill, alas, they are as far from the clouds as they were before. So it is with many who think, If I were in such circumstances, then I should have contentment; and perhaps they get into circumstances, and they are as far from contentment as before. But then they think that if they were in other circumstances, they would be contented, but when they have got into those circumstances, they are still as far from contentment as before. No, no, let me consider what is the duty of my present circumstances, and content my heart with this, and say, ‘Well, though I am in a low position, yet I am serving the counsels of God in those circumstances where I am; it is the counsel of God that has brought me into these circumstances that I am in, and I desire to serve the counsel of God in these circumstances.

–Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Monergism Ebook Edition

Don’t long for “the good old days.”
Ecclesiastes 7:10

The Fear of God

The fear of God has been one of my favorite subjects. Unfortunately, it’s very misunderstood. This may be partly because it isn’t mentioned much anymore, and many tend to understand the word fear as fright, and only fright. The fear of God is a very multi-faceted doctrine (teaching). It doesn’t just mean awe. There are some translations like the NET which have replaced the word fear with awe, and I think that really flattens out the meaning.

Although I haven’t read a book devoted to this subject, it’s mentioned very often in books, in addition to, of course, the Bible (Genesis 22:12, Deuteronomy 6:1-2, Psalms 2:11, Proverbs 9:10, Isaiah 50:10, Acts 9:31, Revelation 14:6-7, for a good representation). I’ve been learning that the fear of God starts out with the realization of our sin, and realizing what we’ve been saved from. Because believers have been saved from sin, and from God’s wrath, we want to obey God not because we’re afraid of him (1 John 4:18), but because we’ve come to appreciate how good his commands are, and to do what our Father tells us, because he’s spelled out the best way to live our lives (Psalm 119, Romans 12:2).

The dread of you makes my flesh creep;
I stand in awe of your decrees.
Psalm 119:120 REB

I will let my two favorite quotes speak about what it means, and there is a very short video below them if you’d like to watch and listen to it.

Biblical fear is not simply “alarm” or “fright,” nor is it simply “dread”; and even “awe” does not fully capture the fear that is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 9:10). Biblical fear—in its right and mature expression—is a humble and loving response to the character of God. Such fear rightly perceives the awesome and even terrifying power of God, but this perception is tempered with marveling that one so majestic is so concerned for his people.

God is infinite in power but intimate in love. He creates and sustains the universe and yet is present with us. As the earliest of biblical writers said, such knowledge is “too wonderful for me,” and its glorious revelation always takes the blood from our faces and the strength from our knees (Job 42:3). These responses may mirror the human behaviors before a tyrannosaurus, but we would be quite mistaken to say that biblical fear is anything like that fear.

Biblical fear is not merely concern for possible harm. Rather, biblical fear is proper regard for all God discloses about himself in his glory: lordship with love, infinitude with intimacy, an all-powerful hand with a redeeming heart.2 We do not have a single word that adequately translates the term for biblical fear, but we do have a clear example to remove all questions as to its basic meaning. Isaiah prophesies of the coming Messiah, saying that “the fear of the LORD” will “rest on him” and “he will delight in the fear of the LORD” (Isa. 11:2, 3 NIV).

Jesus fears God, and he delights to do so. This means that the relationship of God the Father and God the Son ultimately exemplifies biblical fear. Since we know eternal and infinite love exists between the Father and the Son, we must understand that Christ’s fear cannot simply be terror. Perfect love must drive out that kind of fear (1 John 4:18). Jesus’ intimacy and humility with his heavenly Father reveals that his fear is proper regard for the full spectrum of divine attributes—including his wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, truth, and love.

Bryan Chapell, The Glory of God, page 191–chapter on A Pastoral Theology of the Glory of God

Christian said, “Without a doubt the right fear can be a good thing, for as the Word says, ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’”1

“How would you describe right fear?” Hopeful inquired.

Christian explained, “True or right fear can be known by three things. First, by what causes it: the right kind of fear is caused by saving conviction of sin. Secondly, a good fear drives the soul to quickly lay hold of Christ for salvation. And thirdly, this fear begins and sustains in the soul a great reverence for God, His Word, and His ways. It keeps the soul tender, making it afraid to turn right or left from His Word and ways. It makes the soul sensitive to anything that might dishonor God, grieve the Spirit, or cause the enemy to speak against God.”

John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress, Crossway Edition

1 Proverbs 1:7, 9:10; Psalm 111:10; Job 28:28

The Fear of God and A Sense of Sin from NCFIC on Vimeo.

Also see:
Saturday à Machen: Joy in the Fear of God | Bouncing into Graceland

Fear God

What Does “Grace Upon Grace” Mean?

Here is a repost from a couple of years ago that seems to be popular.

First of all, is it in the Bible? It almost sounds like a catch-phrase of some sort. Why, yes, yes it is in the Bible. You can find it in John 1:16:

For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.
John 1:16 NASB

That’s the wording I’m familiar with for some reason. KJV has “grace for grace.”

This is according to D.A. Carson (quoting the TNIV). This is consistent with what he wrote in his commentary on John, published almost 20 years earlier. Is there another interpretation that you or another scholar prefer?

GRACE AND LAW

John adds, “Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given” (1:16). That is exactly what the text says—but what does it mean? It does not mean “grace on top of grace” or “one grace after another,” like Christmas presents piled up under a Christmas tree, one blessing after another. It means we have all received a grace in place of a grace already given. What does that mean? The next verse tells us: “For the law was given through Moses [which takes us back to Exod. 32—34]; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (1:17). In other words, the gift of the law was a gracious thing, a good and wonderful gift from God. But grace and truth par excellence came through Jesus Christ, not in the display of glory to Moses in a cave but in the display of Jesus and the bloody sacrifice on the cross. The law covenant was a gracious gift from God, but now Jesus is going to introduce a new covenant, the ultimate grace and truth. This is a grace that replaces that old grace. It is bound up with a new covenant.

The God Who Is There, pg 116, Chapter 7, The God Who Becomes a Human Being, published in 2010

Quotes on Bible Reading

Here are some quotes I’ve posted before on the most important thing we can do along with prayer. In order to pray, we need to use the language of the Bible.

The primary purpose of reading the Bible is not to know the Bible but to know God.

–James Merritt

If I want to love God more, I have to know Him more deeply. The more I search the Scriptures and focus my mind’s attention on who God is and what He does, the more my soul breaks out in flames.

–R.C. Sproul

Next to praying there is nothing so important in practical religion as Bible reading. By reading that book we may learn what to believe, what to be, and what to do; how to live with comfort, and how to die in peace.

Happy is that man who possesses a Bible! Happier still is he who reads it! Happiest of all is he who not only reads it, but obeys it, and makes it the rule of his faith and practice!

–J.C. Ryle, Practical Religion, p. 97

We measure Scripture’s story by ours. The attitude the psalm [Psalm 1] commends involves delighting in Yhwh’s teaching—especially (we might add) when its story seems irrelevant or it takes a different stance from us. That is the moment when studying Scripture becomes interesting, significant, and important. We then delight in it. The way that delight expresses itself is by talking about it day and night–-in other words, ceaselessly.

–John Goldingay, Psalms 1-41, pg 84, referring to Psalm 1

We have become so accustomed to hearing preachers or expositors, as important as that is, that many in the process have abandoned the grand privilege of personally hearing from God’s Word daily.

–Ravi Zacharias

The Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
Acts 17:11

Happy Are They Who Submit to the Appointments of Their Maker!

How highly does it become us, both as creatures and as sinners, to submit to the appointments of our Maker! and how necessary is it to our peace!

This great attainment is too often unthought of and overlooked; we are prone to fix our attention upon the second causes and immediate instruments of events; forgetting whatever befalls us is according to His purpose, and therefore must be right and seasonable in itself, and shall in the issue be productive of good.

From hence arise impatience, resentment, and secret repinings, which are not only sinful but tormenting; whereas if all things are in His hand, if the very hairs of our head are numbered, if every event, great and small are under the direction of his providence and purpose; and if he has a wise, holy, and gracious end in view, to which everything that happens is subordinate and subservient; then we have nothing to do, but with patience and humility to follow as He leads, and cheerfully to expect a happy issue.

The path of present duty is marked out; and the concerns of the next and every succeeding hour are in His hands.

How happy are they who can resign all to Him, see His hands in every dispensation, and believe that He chooses better for them then they possibly could for themselves!

—-John Newton (who wrote Amazing Grace)

This is the entirety of Happy Are They Who Submit to the Appointments of Their Maker! | Monergism

Earth

When People Insult You

I think the quote below is great. This applies to obviously unfair criticism. Of course, there are also times to take it into serious consideration.

Don’t take everything that people say to heart, or you may hear your own servant cursing you.
Ecclesiastes 7:21 GW

or

do not take seriously all words which are spoken, so that you will not hear your servant cursing you. (NASB)

One wise man responded to criticism by saying, “He didn’t insult me at all; in fact, he was talking about another man: the man he thought I was.”

–Philip Ryken, Ecclesiastes: Why Everything Matters

There’s a lot more to it than that; I just wanted to post this quote, which is a perspective I hadn’t previously thought about.

This post is in the Small Thoughts category.

We’re Wealthier Than Solomon

In some ways, we’re better off than Solomon as far as material things go. Here are some quotes from Philip Graham Ryken in Ecclesiastes: Why Everything Matters.

Like Solomon, we have ample opportunity to indulge many sinful and selfish desires. In fact, maybe Solomon would envy us. Generally speaking, we live in better homes than he did, with better furniture and climate control. We dine at a larger buffet; when we go to the grocery store, we can buy almost anything we want, from anywhere in the world. We listen to a much wider variety of music.

King Solomon

I never thought of this before. What I have thought about is how our wealth can be bad for our spiritual health.

Although God gives wealth, wealth doesn’t automatically equal satisfaction. History shows this, but we so often ignore it.

The LORD sends poverty and wealth;
he humbles and he exalts.
1 Samuel 2:7 NIV

Our possessions can never bring us lasting joy. The gifts that God gives us and the power to enjoy those gifts come separately. This is why having more money can never guarantee that we will find any enjoyment. Without God, we will still be discontent. It is only when we keep him at the center of our existence that we experience real joy in the gifts that God may give. The fear of the Lord is not just the beginning of knowledge; it is also the source of satisfaction.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1:7 NIV

And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life–this is indeed a gift from God.
Ecclesiastes 5:19 NLT

If we were able to find lasting satisfaction in earthly pleasure, then we would never recognize our need for God. But satisfaction does not come in the pleasures themselves; it comes separately. Satisfaction only comes in God himself, so that our dissatisfaction may teach us to turn to him.

This is one of the main reasons why Ecclesiastes is in the Bible. It is here to convince us not to love the world or live for its pleasures. This message is not intended to discourage us or to make us any more depressed than we already are, but to drive us back to God. This is not all there is. There is also a God in Heaven, who has sent his Son to be our Savior. That Son resisted the pleasures of this life to fulfill the purposes of God for our salvation.

Also see:
1 Timothy 6:17 and the "Rich" | Scripture Zealot blog

Image is from: Free Bible images: King Solomon builds the temple that King David had planned. (I Kings 5 – 9, II Chronicles 2 – 7). I know it’s corny, but images in posts are supposed to give the viewer a better experience. There also isn’t a blank space in the posts on Twitter and Facebook.

Allen Ross on Psalm 119

As promised in a recent review on this blog, here are some quotes on Psalm 119 from A Commentary on the Psalms: Volume 3 by Allen Ross. I especially like this Psalm and I really appreciate how he treated it.

Psalm 119 has not received the kind of attention that it deserves. For many students of the Bible its massive size and apparent repetition is off—putting. This is reflected in a number of commentaries and studies as well. Leopold Sabourin, for example, says, “Tedious repetitions, poor thought-sequence, apparent lack of inspiration reflect the artificiality of the composition.” Anderson calls it monotonous, but impressive in many ways. Weiser considers it a purely literary composition that is wearisome in its repetition of motifs—and one that opens the way for later legalism; he offers no commentary on the text. But most would agree with Breuggemann that it is a massive achievement.

Finding himself in persecution from powerful people who ridicule his faith in an effort to shame him into abandoning it, the psalmist strengthens himself by his detailed meditations on the Word of the LORD, which is his comfort, his prized possession, his rule of life, his resource for strength, and his message of hope, all of which inspire him to desire it even more, to live by it, and to pray for its fulfillment.

If people simply read through Psalm 119 quickly they most likely will conclude it is a repetitious and random collection of meditations on the Word of God. But if they take time to study each stanza in sequence, they will discover how each of the stanzas forms a complete meditation with certain themes and emphases. They will also see how the collection builds on the themes from stanza to stanza to develop a general flow to the message. To gain a full appreciation for this amazing work one must study it carefully from beginning to end, stanza by stanza.

As a major resource for meditation this psalm is superb. It reveals how divine revelation is the basis for everything that the believer does; but it also shows how the Word of the LORD is applied in all the circumstances of life.

Commentary on Psalms by Ross Vol 3

Vern Poythress Describes Me and My Friends

Herman and Dottie are me. My friend, who happens to be named Peter, is Peter and his cohort Laura. Other friend Nathan is like Missy. A motley crew we are.

I found this while I was taking a look at the book God-Centered Biblical Interpretation by Vern Poythress, which he offers free in PDF format. There are others along with samples of some of John Frames’ books.

Herman Hermeneut: Can we come up with a “how-to” list for interpreting the Bible?

Dottie Doctrinalist: That’s definitely useful, provided it is based solidly on the Bible.

Oliver Objectivist: We certainly need such a list, in order to be rigorously objective in our interpretation, and to eliminate subjective biases.

Peter Pietist: I’m not so sure. Won’t a method interfere with my personal communion with the Lord?

Laura Liturgist: I’m just as uneasy as Peter. Does “method” mean something purely academic? Or would it include participation in worship?

Missy Missiologist: I can see both advantages and disadvantages. We certainly need to take steps in order to make sure we are not blinded by the blind spots of the culture in which we were raised. But we need to be careful. Our focus on method can introduce a Western bias. The idea of having a technique or assembly-line process for producing the right meaning seems natural within an industrialized society, where we pursue technique.

He then provides some guidelines for interpreting the Bible.

Calvin on Freedom in Christ

We so often have a material or temporal understanding of manye of the Biblical teachings that are largely spiritual in nature. I wouldn’t have been able to keep count even if I tried. Reading commentaries has helped a lot in this regard, but having been brought up in this society, and having started out with bad habits regarding interpretational skills, it will probably always be something to work on for me.

This quote doesn’t have the benefit of the context that preceded it, but it’s still instructive.

Freedom never an excuse for self-gratification

Now we must take careful note that Christian freedom is, in all its parts, a spiritual thing. Its whole force lies in the fact that it gives peace with God to timid consciences, whether they are troubled by doubts about forgiveness for their sins, fearful that their works, being defiled by the flesh, are unacceptable to God, or unsure about the use of indifferent things.

–John Calvin, –John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion, pg. 713, 1541 edition translated by Robert White – you can find this in the final version in III.19.7-8

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
Romans 14:17-19 NIV

Calvin Quote: Adherence to Scripture

For it is not right that the things which God has sought to conceal and whose knowledge he has kept secret himself should be scrutinized in this way by men. Nor is it right that the lofty wisdom which he wished us to revere rather than comprehend, so that we might wonder at his greatness, should be made subject to the human mind or sought out in the depths of his eternity. As for the secrets of his will which he thought good to impart to us, he has borne witness to them in his word. And what he thought good to impart to us was everything which he knew would be relevant and rewarding to us. Once we grasp the idea that God’s word is the only path which allows us to investigate all that we may lawfully know about him, and is likewise the only light by which we behold all that may be lawfully seen of him, it will easily stop us from acting impulsively. For then we will realize that by going beyond the bounds of Scripture we will be straying off into darkness, and will inevitably with every step wander, stumble and trip up.

–John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion, pg. 464, 1541 edition translated by Robert White – you can find this in the final version in III.21.1-4

Although Scripture is perspicuous in its basic doctrine, as the scholars say, it’s obviously not an easy book to comprehend in many places. I like reading Calvin because there is so little speculation; everything is based on Scripture. For the most part, the Puritans carried this on. The better we know the Bible, the easier we can tell if someone is speculating or speaking from their own knowledge of the Bible. I don’t see it as being confined, but staying in bounds.

He who looks into the mystery of God
will be overwhelmed with his glory.
Proverbs 25:27 (unknown translation – included in the book)

I have added:

You said, ‘Who is this that belittles my advice without having any knowledge about it?’ Yes, I have stated things I didn’t understand, things too mysterious for me to know.
Job 42:3 GW

My heart is not proud, LORD, my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.
Psalm 131:1 NIV

And of course:

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”
“Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.
Romans 11:33-36 NIV

The Glories of Christ

I bought the Kindle edition of John MacArthur’s study Bible quite a while ago when it was on sale. I hadn’t looked at it until recently, partly because I kept forgetting I have it. It’s very cumbersome to use in that format. Using one on a website is much easier. But that’s not the point. I found this when looking at Colossians, a book I’d like to study for the rest of my life. I’m not sure exactly who wrote it, but the copyright is Thomas Nelson. The value of putting it in a blog post is that you can easily put your cursor over the Scripture references to see them in a popup window, or tap them on a mobile device. I think it’s a great Christological statement. (By the way, this Scripture reference feature is also available for the Belgic Confession and Heidelberg Catechism linked at the top of the page.)

The Glories of Christ

“Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God …” (2Co 3:5)

One of the great tenets of Scripture is the claim that Jesus Christ is completely sufficient for all matters of life and godliness (2Pe 1:3, 4)! He is sufficient for creation (Col 1:16, 17), salvation (Heb 10:10–12), sanctification (Eph 5:26, 27), and glorification (Ro 8:30). So pure is He that there is no blemish, stain, spot of sin, defilement, lying, deception, corruption, error, or imperfection (1Pe 1:18–20).

So complete is He that there is no other God besides Him (Is 45:5); He is the only begotten Son (Jn 1:14, 18); all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Him (Col 2:3); the fullness of Deity dwells bodily in Him (Col 2:9); He is heir of all things (Heb 1:2); He created all things and all things were made by Him, through Him, and for Him (Col 1:16); He upholds all things by the word of His power (Col 1:17; Heb 1:3); He is the firstborn of all creation (Col 1:15); He is the exact representation of God (Heb 1:3).

He is the only Mediator between God and man; He is the Sun that enlightens; the Physician that heals; the Wall of Fire that defends; the Friend that comforts; the Pearl that enriches; the Ark that supports; and the Rock to sustain under the heaviest of pressures; He is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty on high (Heb 1:3; 8:1); He is better than the angels (Heb 1:4–14); better than Moses; better than Aaron; better than Joshua; better than Melchizedek; better than all the prophets; greater than Satan (Lk 4:1–12); and stronger than death (1Co 15:55).

He has no beginning and no end (Rev 1:17, 18); He is the spotless Lamb of God; He is our Peace (Eph 2:14); He is our Hope (1Ti 1:1); He is our Life (Col 3:4); He is the living and true Way (Jn 14:6); He is the Strength of Israel (1Sa 15:29); He is the Root and Descendant of David, the Bright Morning Star (Rev 22:16); He is Faithful and True (Rev 19:11); He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Heb 12:1, 2); He is the Author of our Salvation (Heb 2:10); He is the Champion; He is the Chosen One (Is 42:1); He is the Apostle and High-Priest of our confession (Heb 3:1); He is the Righteous Servant (Is 53:11).

He is the Lord of Hosts, the Redeemer—the Holy One of Israel, the God of the whole earth (Is 54:5); He is the Man of Sorrows (Is 53:3); He is the Light; He is the Son of Man (Mt 20:28); He is the Vine; He is the Bread of Life; He is the Door; He is Lord (Php 2:10–13); He is Prophet, Priest and King (Heb 1:1–3); He is our Sabbath rest (Heb 4:9); He is our Righteousness (Jer 23:6); He is the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace (Is 9:6); He is the Chief Shepherd (1Pe 5:4); He is Lord God of hosts; He is Lord of the nations; He is the Lion of Judah; the Living Word; the Rock of Salvation; the Eternal Spirit; He is the Ancient of Days; Creator and Comforter; Messiah; and He is the great I AM (Jn 8:58)!

© 1997 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Calvin on God’s Providence

I’m reading Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion again, but this time it’s Robert White’s translation from the first French edition of 1541. If you’re reading the Battles edition, it may be in the first part of the Apostle’s Creed section.

This is one of my favorite quotes on God’s providence. It’s very Biblical and straightforward, which is more assuring than trying to make things sound easier than they really are.

God’s Providence a source of enduring comfort
From this the believers conscience derives particular comfort. If God liberally gives food to the young ravens which entreat his aid (Psa. 147:9), how much more will he give Food to us who are his people and the sheep of his flock? If a sparrow does not fall to earth without his knowledge and will (Matt. 10:29), how much greater is his care and concern for our salvation, seeing that he promises to keep us as the apple of his eye (Zech. 2:8)? If man does not live by bread alone, but by virtue of the word which proceeds from God’s mouth (Matt. 4:4), we should be well content with the promise that his aid will never fail us, since by itself it is enough to feed us. Conversely, when the believer sees signs of barrenness, famine or pestilence, he will recognize God’s hand in them instead of attributing them to chance. Finally, knowing that he is our Creator, Guardian and Nourisher, he will conclude that we are his and not our own, that we must live according to his will rather than ours, and that life with all its acts must be referred to him, because it subsists wholly by his grace.

–John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, translated from the first French edition of 1541, pg 232

We have also received an inheritance in Him, predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will, so that we who had already put our hope in the Messiah might bring praise to His glory.
Ephesians 1:11-12 HCSB

Jerry Bridges and His Profound Impact

Jerry Bridges died after going into cardiac arrest yesterday. I read his book The Pursuit of Holiness, soon after becoming a Christian. That was pretty standard for us who were in The Navigators college ministry, being a Nav Press book. I happen to have a renewed interest in holiness lately, having just read Rediscovering Holiness by J.I. Packer. Bridges’ book on holiness was foundational. I can’t imagine how many people he has helped understand the importance of holiness and what it is to be holy because God is holy.

Then about eight years ago I read the book Trusting God, which was life changing. It opened a whole new understanding of God’s sovereignty for me. I also read The Transforming Power of the Gospel.

we press the accelerator pedal of obedience until we have brought our behavior up to a certain level or ‘speed.’ The level of obedience is most often determined by the behavior standard of other Christians around us. … Once we have arrived at this comfortable level of obedience, we push the ‘cruise-control’ button in our hearts, ease back, and relax. … We don’t have to watch the speed-limit signs in God’s Word, and we certainly don’t have to experience the fatigue that comes with seeking to obey Him with all our heart, soul, and mind. … God is not impressed with our worship on Sunday morning at church if we are practicing ‘cruise-control’ obedience the rest of the week. You may sing with reverent zest or great emotional fervor, but your worship is only as pleasing to God as the obedience that accompanies it.

–Jerry Bridges (1929-2016), The Discipline of Grace, as quoted by Tim Challies

Also see:
God Never Wastes Suffering | Scripture Zealot blog

Quote of the Day: Happy Talk

This is a repost from a few years ago. I would like to soon post another quote from this book that I haven’t put up before.

Making matters simpler for the enemy is the fact that in these days of “happy talk,” pastors, biblically illiterate parishioners, and thousands of churches that are theology-free zones, are virtual modern Marcionites. Marcion was a second century heretic who (to oversimplify a bit) embraced the “good” Redeemer God of the New Testament but rejected the (presumably) wrathful Creator God of the Old. Any discomfort with the God of the Old Testament smacks of Marcion’s heresy. To view the God in the Old Testament as different from the God of the New Testament is to expose how little we understand either.

–Jim Andrews, Polishing God’s Monuments, pg. 97

Without elaborating, sometimes when I hear people say certain things, I feel like saying, “Have you read the Old Testament?”

We’ve lost the fear of God. We’ve lost the fact that God is jealous and hates sin. I see this more than ever when reading through Numbers and Leviticus. He wouldn’t let any little tiny thing defile them [something I have re-noticed very recently–2016] and couldn’t be in the presence of anything or anyone who was unclean. And when we don’t understand that, we don’t really know God and we can’t more fully appreciate his grace and love. We talk about his grace and love all the time, but by doing that to the exclusion of other aspects of God’s character we can’t appreciate them as much as we could. We’re really missing out on enjoying God and more importantly glorifying him even more.

This is one thing I love about the Puritans. They had that balance. And there are certainly a lot of Christians now who do too. For me this is the value of reading the Old Testament, one example being–using Psalms as a model for prayer, worship, praise. lament etc. in addition to the usual comfort. And then not neglecting Proverbs.

Ironically, I wonder if some people are afraid to fear God.

Polishing God's Monuments