27 April 2020

You Shall Have Strength Enough

William Bridge, preaching in 1648 on union with Christ out of Galatians 2:20:
If Christ be in you, then why should you not venture upon any work or service for God, although it do lie beyond you, and beyond your strength, and expect large and great things from him?

You say, sometimes, you would do such or such a thing for God, but you have no strength to do it.

But if Christ be in you, and really united unto your soul, then surely you shall have strength enough, and you may expect large and great things from him.

Therefore, venture upon work and service for God; yea, although they do lie beyond your present strength, be not unwilling thereunto, but expect great things from God, because Christ is really in you. 
–William Bridge, "The Spiritual Life and In-Being of Christ in All Believers, in Works, 1:380

07 April 2020

Who He Is

I am gentle and lowly in heart. –Jesus

In summer 2013 I read Thomas Goodwin on the heart of Christ. I still haven't picked myself up off the ground.

Over these past seven years I've been immersed in the Puritans, especially Goodwin but also extended seasons in Sibbes and Bunyan. I've done this alongside my dear friend Drew Hunter, who has been my constant companion on this journey into the heart of Jesus under Goodwin's coaching.

When the pressure hits a certain point, volcanoes have to erupt; and I hit a point a few years ago when I couldn't hold back the urge to put on paper what Goodwin and Co. have given me--messy, faltering, fearful me.

Crossway was willing to rally around it, and today the result is released. I called it Gentle and Lowly because those are Christ's almost unbelievable words in the one place in all four Gospels where he describes his heart. It's a short book with extremely short chapters, five or six pages each, because it needs thinking time. Time for wonder. For rejoicing and repenting. For tearing down the false Jesus we've erected and letting the real Christ stand forth in glory. I was astounded in my own life at how I could do a PhD in New Testament and write books and preach sermons and yet have a profoundly domesticated view of who Jesus is without realizing it. 

Basically the book is me joining some 400-year-old men in celebrating who Jesus most deeply, most naturally is, not for the innocent but the guilty, all according to the surprising testimony of Scripture.

This book is the answer to the question, So Dane, what were your 30s all about? What did you learn? 

It is not hard to find this wondrous teaching in the Puritans, and I've found it also in Edwards, Spurgeon, Warfield, and others. But we don't know it today. It's easy to find teaching on justification or adoption or the deity of Christ or the incarnation or a hundred other historic, vital doctrines.

But who's talking about his heart?

Perhaps you'd like to reconsider Jesus. Or maybe you're barely holding on. If so you can find the book at Amazon, Christian Book, Barnes and Noble, Reformation Heritage, or Westminster Bookstore (temporarily half off), or whatever retail outlet you use. Crossway has made available the introduction and chapter 1 if you'd like to take it for a test drive. I recorded the audiobook for it and that's now available too if you prefer to listen to books. Crossway also created a 14-day podcast, adapting the content.

Fatherlike he tends and spares us
Well our feeble frame he knows 
In his hand he gently bears us
Rescues us from all our foes
H. F. Lyte, 1834