21 October 2015

Labour Not to Labour

Spurgeon:
Let me remind you, beloved, that this rest is perfectly consistent with labour. In Hebrews 4:11 the apostle says, “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest.” It is an extraordinary injunction, but I think he means, let us labour not to labour.

Our tendency is to try to do something in order to save ourselves; but we must beat that tendency down, and look away from self to Christ. Labour to get away from your own labours; labour to be clean rid of all self-reliance; labour in your prayers never to depend upon your prayers; labour in your repentance never to rest upon you repentance; and labour in your faith not to trust your faith, but to trust alone to Jesus.

When you begin to rest upon your repentance, and forget the Saviour, away with your repentance; and when you begin to pray, and you depend upon your prayers, and forget the Lord Jesus, away with your prayers. When you think you are beginning to grow in grace, and you feel, “Now I am somebody,” away with such spurious growth as that, for you are only being puffed up with pride, and not really growing at all. Labour not to labour; labour to keep down your natural self-righteousness and self-reliance; labour to continue where the publican was, and cry, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”
--Charles Spurgeon,“The Believer’s Present Rest,” June 6, 1873, in Spurgeon’s Expository Encyclopedia, 13:176

HT: Matt Tully

15 September 2015

Have You No Sins?

Bunyan:
Truly, you must go to him that can make the eyes that are blind to see, even to our Lord Jesus, by prayer, saying, as the poor blind man did, 'Lord, that I might receive my sight'; and so continue begging with him, till you receive sight, even a sight of Jesus Christ, his death, blood, resurrection, ascension, intercession, and that for thee, even for thee.

Objection: But, alas, I have nothing to carry with me; how then should I go?

Answer: Have you no sins? If you have, carry them, and exchange them for his righteousness. If you do but come to him, he will give you rest. 
--John Bunyan, The Law and Grace Unfolded, in Works, 1:572

28 August 2015

The Secret to Community

Every Christian exhortation to greater "community," which those strange creatures extroverts as well as we introverts both crave, should bear in mind the point Tozer made in The Pursuit of God. He said:
Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow.
So one hundred worshipers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become “unity” conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.
--A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God (Christian, 1982), 80

 Putting fellowship with one another above fellowship with God destroys both.

27 August 2015

"I Can Do That"

The things He says are very different from what any other teacher has said.

Others say, "This is the truth about the Universe. This is the way you ought to go," but He says, "I am the Truth, and the Way, and the Life."
He says, "No man can reach absolute reality, except through Me. Try to retain your own life and you will be inevitably ruined. Give yourself away and you will be saved."

He says, "If you are ashamed of Me, if, when you hear this call, you turn the other way, I also will look the other way when I come again as God without disguise. If anything whatever is keeping you from God and from Me, whatever it is, throw it away. If it is your eye, pull it out. If it is your hand, cut it off. If you put yourself first you will be last. Come to Me everyone who is carrying a heavy load, I will set that right. Your sins, all of them, are wiped out, I can do that. I am Re-birth, I am life. Eat Me, drink Me, I am your Food. And finally, do not be afraid, I have overcome the whole universe."
--C. S. Lewis, "What Are We to Make of Jesus Christ?" in God in the Dock (Eerdmans, 1970), 160

17 August 2015

The Devil's Aspirations

He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them . . . --Colossians 2:15
These demonic forces are . . . superhuman, personal, intelligent forces led by a great mastermind implacable in hatred, unwearying in scheming, and terrifying in ferocity.
Wherever there is evil, it is his work. Wherever there is good, it provokes him to fury.
Sometimes he is violent as a lion, sometimes wily as the serpent, and sometimes as plausible as an angel of light. But though he and his demons are infinitely adaptable, his strategy remains ever the same: victory over the Maker, whatever the cost; the destruction of the church, however long it takes; the establishment of hell on earth.

This was the adversary that Christ had to confront and conquer, and he emerged victorious in his every encounter: in the three great temptations in the wilderness; in the poor demonized men and women who accosted him regularly throughout his ministry; in those 'works of the devil' (disease, disability, and death) which posed him a challenge at every turn; and, above all, in the last great conflict on the cross of Calvary.
Here, once and for all, Christ overthrew the dominion of Satan. 
--Donald Macleod, Christ Crucified: Understanding the Atonement (IVP, 2014), 241

13 August 2015

The Story

A beautiful depiction of the gospel from Genesis to Revelation. Magnificent.



I plan to use this with my kids, in my church, and in personal evangelism.

11 August 2015

Short Studies in Biblical Theology

Most of us tend to approach the Bible early on in our Christian lives as a vast, cavernous, and largely impenetrable book. We read the text piecemeal, finding golden nuggets of inspiration here and there, but remain unable to plug any given text meaningfully into the overarching storyline.

Yet one of the great advances in evangelical biblical scholarship over the past few generations has been the recovery of biblical theology--that is, a renewed appreciation for the Bible as a theologically unified, historically rooted, progressively unfolding, and ultimately Christ-centered narrative of God’s covenantal work in our world to redeem sinful humanity.

This renaissance of biblical theology is a blessing, yet little of it has been made available to the general Christian population. For that reason I've teamed up with my friend Dr. Miles Van Pelt, who teaches Old Testament at RTS, to work with a series of world-class authors to begin to fill this gap. I am super excited about a series of books we are in the early stages of executing called Short Studies in Biblical Theology.

The purpose of Short Studies in Biblical Theology is to connect the resurgence of biblical theology at the academic level with everyday believers. Each volume is written by a capable scholar or churchman who is self-consciously writing in such a way that requires no prerequisite theological training of the reader. Instead, any thoughtful Christian disciple can track with and benefit from these books. It is exhilarating to begin to see how the whole Bible fits beautifully together. It certainly has been for me.

Each volume in this series takes a whole-Bible theme and traces it through Scripture. In this way readers not only learn about a given theme, but also are given a model for how to read the Bible as a coherent whole.

We are launching this series because we love the Bible, we love the church, and we long for the renewal of biblical theology among scholars to enliven the hearts and minds of Christ’s disciples all around the world. As editors, we have found few discoveries more thrilling in life than that of seeing the whole Bible as a unified story of God’s gracious acts of redemption, and indeed of seeing the whole Bible as ultimately about Jesus--as he himself testified (Luke 24:27; John 5:39).

The ultimate goal of Short Studies in Biblical Theology is to magnify the Savior and to build up his church: magnifying the Savior through showing how the whole Bible points to him and his gracious rescue of helpless sinners, and building up the church by strengthening believers in their grasp of these life-giving truths.

The first volume, by Graeme Goldsworthy, has just released. He traces the theme "Son of God" through the Bible. What a delight to launch the series with a man who is as much a father of the modern evangelical biblical theology resurgence as anyone alive today.

My dad is writing the second volume, on marriage. He just sent in the manuscript and it is going to be a stellar contribution. Other volumes under contract are Tom Schreiner on covenant and Jim Hamilton on work.

Here's what Richard Gaffin said to me as we interacted about SSBT and the need for it in the church today:
Well over a century ago, Geerhardus Vos, important for his pioneering work in biblical theology done out of a conviction of the divinely-authored, God-breathed unity of Scripture, pointed out that the new creation in Christ “is not something completed by a single act all at once,” but within the context of world history as it unfolds, “is a history with its own law of organic development.” He further observed, “It is simply owing to our habit of unduly separating revelation from this comprehensive background of the total redeeming work of God that we fail to appreciate its historic, progressive nature.”
The concern to Vos in his own day is still all too prevalent in the church today. A wide-spread tendency continues to treat the Bible, in practice at least, as if it has been dropped straight down from heaven into the hands of the individual believer, a tendency that in significant ways inhibits the life and hampers the mission of the church. This series of Short Studies in Biblical Theology holds important promise of helping to remedy this situation with its goal of providing pastors and their congregations with studies of key biblical themes that will foster a growing understanding and appreciation of the redemptive-historical flow and Christ-centered focus of Scripture as a whole. I look forward with anticipation to the appearance of these volumes.

23 May 2015

Real Glory

Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.  --1 Corinthians 4:5

He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality . . .  --Romans 2:6-7

I think of Sarah Smith in The Great Divorce, the shining, luminous, utterly normal, glorified human being who lived a mundane life, in Christ, built on a million small acts of love and service in this life. And reaped what she sowed in the next.

What a day it will be. A day when true honor will be unveiled.

We hear that Eastern Asia is an 'honor/shame' culture. But more deeply the entire human race is an honor/shame race, some cultures making it more explicit than others. Tonight when the Rockets play the Warriors, we will see the quest for honor, for glory, here in the West, and the terrified fleeing from shame. It's one reason the rest of us watch the NBA playoffs, to get vicarious glory through our team's triumph.

And each of us senses varying degrees of shame and honor as we move through any given day. Maybe you don't notice it much because it's like a fish in water. Felt levels of honor and shame are what we are constantly immersed in. Our entire fallen existence is one of perpetually moving away from shame and moving toward glory.

What a day that will be. An unending day.

When real significance is unveiled. When a billion unheard of Christians who never made any real money and never wrote a book and never spoke into a microphone are introduced by the Lord Jesus to the universe. What will it be like?

That strange day when every name of every famous unregenerate man is suddenly difficult to remember, slipping through the fingers of our memory, suddenly lost to oblivion. Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and Lebron James all have a chance at true glory. The window is still open. But if they persist on their current trajectories, they are actually becoming smaller and smaller, more and more deeply inconsequential with each passing day. This frothy, unsatisfying glory they've found, and which the rest of us are after, and which is so difficult to get, can be left behind for the real thing, which is free for anyone. All it requires is dying. Committing self-glory suicide. Liquidating the accounts of self-honor we're amassing and re-investing in Mark 10:43-45. Solid, substantial, permanent, invincible greatness. Not this ridiculous preening and parading, so transient, so ephemeral. Here for a moment, then gone forever.

What a day. When God brings to full blossom the seeds of resplendence planted and cultivated in this life in quietly faithful men and women who laid down their arms against God and gave up. Our jaws will drop.

What if God's assessment of things, which we always knew to be true, in our heart of hearts, will rinse this world clean once and for all? What if the glorious men and women of this world, the end of which is right around the corner, are not the glorious men and women of the next world, the end of which will never come?

I find myself reminded, even rebuked.

04 May 2015

What Is the End Result of a Christian's Sins?

Goodwin:
God often blesses us when we are not aware of it. God lets you fall into a sin perhaps, and that drives you to the throne of grace, with outcries for help, as the apostle's word is in Heb 4:16, as a man undone utterly and forever, if God pity you not.
This prayer, though in itself a less good than thy sin was evil, yet to you is turned a far greater blessing than your sin has evil in it (as to you).

Such is his goodness. Your sin shall be pardoned, and though it be a loss in itself, yet to you, having so great a consequent and effect of it, you come off a gainer. God has blessed you with a further increase in the heavenlies, and it shall never be taken from you.
--Thomas Goodwin, preaching on Ephesians 1:3, in Works, 1:63

23 April 2015

Dazzling the Eyes of Angels

In his little book Saved by Grace on Ephesians 2:5 John Bunyan considers God's 'carriage' toward sinful men and women. How does he come to us? In what heart? What is the look on his face, the tone of his voice? 
God comes to the sinner while he is in his sins; he comes to him now, not in the heat and fire of his jealousy, but in the cool of the day, in unspeakable gentleness, mercy, pity, and bowels of love: not clothing himself with vengeance, but in a way of entreaty, and meekly beseeches the sinner to be reconciled to him.

It is expected among men that he who gives the offense should be the first in seeking peace; but, sinner, betwixt God and man it is not so. God is the first that seeks peace.

O sinner, will you not open? Behold, God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ stand both at the door of your heart, beseeching you to be reconciled to him, with promise to forgive all your sins if you will but comply.

O grace! O amazing grace! To see a prince entreat a beggar to receive alms would be a strange sight; to see a king entreat the traitor to accept of mercy would be a stranger sight than that; but to see God entreat a sinner, to hear Christ say, 'I stand at the door and knock,' with a heart full and a heaven full of grace to bestow upon him that opens, this is such a sight as dazzles the eyes of angels. 
--John Bunyan, Saved by Grace, in The Works of John Bunyan (Banner of Truth), 1:350

22 April 2015

The Cross and Relational Annoyances

'. . . and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.' --Ephesians 2:16

Goodwin, preaching on this text:
We are to look upon Jesus Christ hanging upon the cross as an equal arbiter between both parties, that takes upon himself whatever either party has against the other.

Lo, here I hang, says Christ dying, and let the reproaches wherewith you reproach each other fall on me, the sting of them all fix in my flesh, and in my death die all together with me; lo, I die to pacify you both. Have then any of you something against each other? Quit it, and take me as a sacrifice in blood between you: only do not kill me and each other too, for the same offense; for you, and your enmities, have brought me to this altar of the cross, and I offer myself as your peace, and as your priest.

Will you kill me first, and then one another too?
--Thomas Goodwin, Works, 2:381

25 March 2015

Most Like a Crucifixion

Reading The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis for the first time and came upon this passage today. How I need to hear this, again and again.
We must go back to our Bibles. The husband is the head of the wife just in so far as he is to her what Christ is to the Church. He is to love her as Christ loved the church–read on–and gave his life for her (Eph 5:25).

This headship, then, is most fully embodied not in the husband we should all wish to be but in him whose marriage is most like a crucifixion; whose wife receives most and gives least, is most unworthy of him, is–in her own mere nature–least lovable. For the Church has no beauty but what the Bridegroom gives her; he does not find, but makes her lovely. 
The chrism of this terrible coronation is to be seen not in the joys of any man’s marriage but in its sorrows, in the sickness and sufferings of a good wife or the faults of a bad one, in his unwearying (never paraded) care or his inexhaustible forgiveness: forgiveness, not acquiescence.

As Christ sees in the flawed, proud, fanatical, or lukewarm Church on earth that Bride who will one day be without spot or wrinkle, and labors to produce the latter, so the husband whose headship is Christ-like (and he is allowed no other sort) never despairs.
--C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves, pp. 105-6

22 March 2015

Acts 1:8


21 March 2015

Discerning a Pastoral Call

Dennis Johnson:




25 February 2015

A Multitude of Mercies

Goodwin:
God hath a multitude of all kinds of mercies.

As our hearts and the devil are the father of variety of sins, so God is the father of variety of mercies. There is no sin or misery but God hath a mercy for it. He hath a multitude of mercies of every kind.

As there are variety of miseries which the creature is subject unto, so he hath in himself a shop, a treasury of all sorts of mercies, divided into several promises in the Scripture, which are but as so many boxes of this treasure, the caskets of variety of mercies.

If thy heart be hard, his mercies are tender.

If thy heart be dead, he hath mercy to liven it.

If thou be sick, he hath mercy to heal thee.

If thou be sinful, he hath mercies to sanctify and cleanse thee.

As large and as various as are our wants, so large and various are his mercies. So we may come boldly to find grace and mercy to help us in time of need, a mercy for every need.

All the mercies that are in his own heart he hath transplanted into several beds in the garden of the promises, where they grow, and he hath abundance of variety of them, suited to all the variety of the diseases of the soul.
--Thomas Goodwin, Works, 2:187-88

24 February 2015

United in Redeeming Love

Mankind, spiritually bankrupt, has nothing to offer, but God, prompted by pure grace, and drawing on his eternal wisdom, prepares a counsel of salvation in which the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are united in redeeming love and pity for the human race. The triune God resolves to save the world, and to accept the good offices of a Mediator who shall act for mankind as their representative and suffer for them as their substitute: so accommodating is the divine will, and so predisposed to forgive our transgressions.
But the Three-in-One, acting to save the world, go further: they resolve that the salvation shall be free to the human race. It will cost them nothing. For them, it will be an act of pure love and mercy. From sinners as such no satisfaction will be required. Instead, everything will flow from the loving-kindness of God. He will bear the whole cost. He will provide the one who will take the sinner's place.

But he will go even further: he will become the one who takes the sinner's place. God the Son will suffer for the world's sin. God the Father will suffer in the Son's pain. God the Holy Spirit will share in the pain of both.

At Gethsemane and Golgotha the Three will be One, as God, not sparing himself, takes blood, his own blood, and sheds it to redeem the world.
--Donald Macleod, Christ Crucified: Understanding the Atonement (IVP, 2014), 177

21 February 2015

Who He Most Deeply Is

From one perspective all God's attributes are equally non-negotiable. For God to cease to be just would un-God him just as much as if he were to cease to be good.

But Thomas Goodwin and John Bunyan are convincing me that from another, deeper angle there are some things that pour out of the heart of God more naturally than others.

God is unswervingly just. But what is his disposition? What is natural to him?

Who is he?

Volume 2 of Goodwin's works is 500 pages devoted to sermons on Ephesians 2. He slows way down especially in the first 10 verses of this great chapter and reflects at length on the programmatic assurances of God's love and mercy. It is unspeakably wonderful.

Here's part of his reflection on the phrase "rich in mercy" in describing God in Ephesians 2:4.
It is his disposition to be merciful. It is his nature, his being.

The mercies of God n Scripture are called his bowels; now there is nothing so intimate or so natural to a man as his bowels are. And they are called his bowels because they are his inwards; and all that is within him, his whole being and nature inclines him to it. . . .

Mercy is his nature and disposition, because when he shows mercy, he does it with his whole heart. . . .

My brethren, though God is just, yet his mercy may in some respect said to be more natural to him than all acts of justice itself that God does show, I mean vindictive justice. In these acts of justice there is a satisfaction to an attribute, in that he meets and is even with sinners. Yet there is a kind of violence done to himself in it, the Scripture so expresses it; there is something in it that is contrary to him. 'I will not the death of a sinner'--that is, I delight not simply in it, for pleasure's sake. The Arminians slander the other party, accusing them of making God delight in the death of a sinner. No; when he exercises acts of justice, it is for a higher end, it is not simply for the thing itself. There is always something in his heart against it.

But when he comes to show mercy, to manifest that it is his nature and disposition, it is said that he does it with his whole heart. There is nothing at all in him that is against it. The act itself pleases him for itself. There is no reluctance in him.

Therefore in Lamentations 3:33, when he speaks of punishing, he says, 'He does not from his heart afflict nor grieve the children of men.' But when he comes to speak of showing mercy, he says he does it 'with his whole heart, and with his whole soul,' as the expression is in Jeremiah 32:41. And therefore acts of justice are called his 'strange work' and his 'strange act' in Isaiah 28:21. But when he comes to show mercy, he rejoices over them, to do them good, with his whole heart, and with his whole soul.
--Thomas Goodwin, Works, 2:179-80; language slightly updated

And this from the man who stood up and spoke more often (357 times) than any other Westminster divine at the creation of the Westminster standards in the 1640s, that great, precise, hell-believing, justice-affirming statement of faith. Goodwin was not mushy.

There is a kind of preaching that has not felt the heart of God for his fickle people, has not tasted what naturally pours forth from him, which for all its precision ultimately deadens its hearers. 

19 February 2015

Come As You Are

'Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal.'


02 February 2015

01 February 2015

How Do I Apply This to My Life?

Pop, preaching on John 5:
We sometimes think in terms of “applying the truth to my life.” That’s good, as far as it goes. But applying the truth to our lives still leaves us in control. We decide how far we will go with Jesus, we decide where he will fit in, which is why he inevitably ends up crowded out to the margins of our already overcrowded lives.

31 January 2015

The Scandal

What we expect to find when we penetrate to the heart of a great world faith is a magnificent cathedral, glorious music, visual splendour and cathartic eloquence. When Pompey and his soldiers entered into the Holy of Holies in AD 63 they were scandalized to find no image there: not a 'god' in sight. 
The scandal of Christianity is even greater. Its holy of holies is a cross where its Saviour hangs, bloodied and beaten, between two thieves. 
--Donald Macleod,  Christ Crucified: Understanding the Atonement (IVP, 2014), 108-9

30 January 2015

Chevaliers de Sangreal by Hans Zimmer

Haven't seen the film, nor will I. But the soundtrack is enchanting. A gift of common grace.


28 January 2015

You Can Be Glorious Again

My brother Eric, reflecting on Jeremiah 2:
It's tantamount to a spouse (you can imagine it as either the husband or wife without the analogy losing anything) cheating flagrantly, repeatedly, openly on their marriage partner. The news is all over town. And the offender contracts an STD. The years of their infidelity sucks the youthfulness and life out of the person--the spouse has lost everything that would have made him/her initially attractive. And the wounded party goes to visit the faithless husband/wife in the poor house, after everything is lost, after everyone the adulterer ran to has forsaken them, when no-one will sleep with them any more, and says, "I still love you. I want to marry you again. I can restore all that you've lost, all that your sin has taken away. You can be glorious again. I've got two plane tickets for our honeymoon right now. But can you please stop this nonsense that you did nothing wrong? No, dear one, don't turn away. Look me in the eye, please. It's not hopeless. I love you. Please say you love me back. Will you commit yourself to me again? I'm happy to commit myself to you."

27 January 2015

As Old as God Himself, and as Free

In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the hilasmos for our sins.
--1 John 4:10
This is incomparable love and immeasurable love, God giving his Son as a sacrifice to cover the sins of those who had treated him with rejection and contempt. It is a love as old as God himself, and as free.

Yet in its impulse toward forgiveness it does not set aside the need for sin to be expiated. Deep in the nature of God himself there is a necessity for a hilasmos.

But God not only requires it. He provides it; and he not only provides it, he becomes it. 
-Donald Macleod, Christ Crucified: Understanding the Atonement (IVP, 2014), 128

14 January 2015

Diving Into it for All Eternity

'...to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth...' --Ephesians 3:18
Sin is a great depth, therefore the apostle saith, 'it doth abound,' Rom 5:20, and is 'above measure sinful,' Rom 7:13, and so you will find it when you gauge it to the bottom. And so the devils and damned spirits in hell shall find it, whilst they are a-studying their sinfulness in hell to all eternity (that being their business), and can never fathom it.

But yet this of God's free grace and Christ's love is a depth, which swallows up this of sin, more than the heavens do the earth. This passage seems to compare it to a mighty sea, so deep, as it wants a bottom; so as though the thoughts of men and angels shall be diving into it to all eternity, they shall not come to ground. Of the length and breadth also, that it knows no shore, that though they shall be sailing over it with that small compass of their capacities for ever, yet they shall never come to land.
--Thomas Goodwin, 'The Glory of the Gospel,' Works, 4:236

08 January 2015

Luther: Why God Became a Baby

Luther, on the incarnation:
Let us, then, meditate upon the Nativity just as we see it happening in our own babies. I would not have you contemplate the deity of Christ, the majesty of Christ, but rather his flesh. Look upon the Baby Jesus. Divinity may terrify man. Inexpressible majesty will crush him. That is why Christ took on our humanity, save for sin, that he should not terrify us but rather that with love and favor he should console and confirm.

Behold Christ lying in the lap of his young mother, still a virgin. What can be sweeter than the Babe, what more lovely than the mother! What fairer than her youth! What more gracious than her virginity! Look at the Child, knowing nothing. Yet all that is belongs to him, that your conscience should not fear but take comfort in him. Doubt nothing. Watch him springing in the lap of the maiden. Laugh with him. Look upon this Lord of Peace and your spirit will be at peace. See how God invites you in many ways. He places before you a Babe with whom you may take refuge. You cannot fear him, for nothing is more appealing to man than a babe. Are you affrighted? Then come to him, lying in the lap of the fairest and sweetest maid. You will see how great is the divine goodness, which seeks above all else that you should not despair. Trust him! Trust him! Here is the Child in whom is salvation.

To me there is no greater consolation given to mankind than this, that Christ became man, a child, a babe, playing in the lap and at the breasts of his most gracious mother. Who is there whom this sight would not comfort? Now is overcome the power of sin, death, hell, conscience, and guilt, if you come to this gurgling Babe and believe that he is come, not to judge you, but to save. 
--Martin Luther's Christmas Book (ed. Roland Bainton; Augsburg, 1997), 34

HT: Brian Martin

02 January 2015

If You Knew His Heart, You Would

Goodwin, concluding a discourse on Jesus' words in John 6:37-38:
As Christ is willing, so should we be 'a willing people.' That which keeps men off is, that they know not Christ's mind and heart. . . .

The truth is, he is more glad of us than we can be of him. The father of the prodigal was the forwarder of the two to that joyful meeting. Hast thou a mind? He that came down from heaven, as himself saith in the text, to die for thee, will meet thee more than halfway, as the prodigal's father is said to do. . . .

O therefore come in unto him. If you knew his heart, you would.
As they that crucified him knew him not, so neither do those who believe not in him. If you had been on earth with him, or if he were now here, and had this day preached these things unto you, and uttered these his own desires and longings after you; how you would in troops go all thronging after him when the sermon were done, and each of you come about him, as those that had diseases did, and beseech him to pardon and save you, and not leave him till you have obtained some word of comfort and favour from him!

Let me tell you, he would still be preaching this day, but he had other business to do for you in heaven, where he is now praying and interceding for you, even when you are sinning; as on earth we see he did for the Jews when they were a-crucifying him. Now because he could not for this other business of continued preaching come himself, he sends us his ambassadors, and we in Christ's stead do beseech you. 
--Thomas Goodwin, 'Encouragements to Faith,' in The Works of Thomas Goodwin, 4:223-24

Why Does the Bible Exist?

Goodwin:
God hath left his mind in writing. This book, which is from heaven, the title of it is 'The Word of Reconciliation,' 2 Cor 5:19, the main argument of it being reconciliation. In this book we find proclamation sent forth after proclamation, book after book, line after line, all written to this end, that we sinners 'might have hope and strong consolation,' as the apostle witnesseth. 
--The Works of Thomas Goodwin, 4:222