Saturday, June 06, 2020

Sadgrove & Wright: faith in what?

Saturday, June 6, 2020
    Commemoration of Ini Kopuria, Founder of the Melanesian Brotherhood, 1945
    [Jesus:] “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which men walk over without knowing it.”
    One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.”
    Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.”
    —Luke 11:44-46 (NIV)
    “Faith” in biblical terms is never a bare decision, or a general “spiritual” approach to life. It is always defined by its content, and the content of saving faith must be Jesus Christ. It is therefore certainly not enough to assume that anyone with however vague a “religious” approach to life must be a Christian in disguise; some of Jesus’ harshest words were reserved precisely for the “religious” people of his day.
    ... Michael Sadgrove (b. 1950) & N. T. Wright (b. 1948), “Jesus Christ the Only Saviour”, in The Lord Christ [1980], John Stott, ed., vol. 1 of Obeying Christ in a Changing World, John Stott, gen. ed., 3 vol., London: Fountain, 1977, p. 78 (see the book)
    See also Luke 11:44-46; Ps. 24:1-2; Matt. 21:23-27; 23:27-28; John 14:6; Jas. 4:4
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You alone are the way to true life.
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Friday, June 05, 2020

Denney: the unity of sin and death

Friday, June 5, 2020
    Feast of Boniface (Wynfrith) of Crediton, Archbishop of Mainz, Apostle of Germany, Martyr, 754
    Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!
    —Romans 5:14-15 (NIV)
    What so spoke to [Paul] from the third chapter of Genesis was not a ... story of how death invaded Paradise, but the profound experience of the human race expressed in the story, an experience in which sin and death interpenetrate, and in a sense constitute each other. To us, they are what they are only in relation to each other, and when we deny the relation we see the reality of neither. This is the truth, as I apprehend it, of all we are taught, either in the Old Testament or the New, about the relation of sin and death. It is part of the greater truth that what we call the physical and spiritual worlds are ultimately one, being constituted with a view to each other; and most of the objections which are raised against it are special cases of the objections which are raised against the recognition of this ultimate unity.
    ... James Denney (1856-1917), The Atonement and the Modern Mind, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1903, p. 68 (see the book)
    See also Rom. 5:12-15; Gen. 3; Isa. 55:8-9; John 3:16; 4:10; 1 Cor. 15:45-47
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You reign over all, in mercy and grace.
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Thursday, June 04, 2020

Rutherford: the cellar of affliction

Thursday, June 4, 2020
My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline
    and do not resent his rebuke,
because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
    as a father the son he delights in.
    —Proverbs 3:11-12 (NIV)
    When I am in the cellar of affliction, I look for the Lord’s choicest wines.
    ... Samuel Rutherford (1600-1664)
    See also Prov. 3:11-12; Ps. 19:9-10; 119:103; Acts 5:41; 2 Cor. 11:23-30; Phil. 1:12-14;
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, help me always to see Your love in my suffering.
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Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Owen: utterly another thing

Wednesday, June 3, 2020
    Feast of Edward King, Bishop of Lincoln, Teacher, 1910
    Commemoration of Martyrs of Uganda, 1886 & 1978
    May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    —Romans 15:5-6 (NIV)
    [Continued from yesterday]
    The present face of Christianity makes the world a wearisome wilderness; nor should I think any thing a more necessary duty than it would be for persons of piety and ability to apologize for the religion of Jesus Christ, and to show how unconcerned it is in the ways and practices of the most that profess it, and how utterly another thing it is from what in the world it is represented to be, ... were it not that I suppose it more immediately incumbent on them and us all to do the same work in a real expression of its power and excellency, in such a kind of goodness, holiness, righteousness, and heavenliness of conversation, as the world is only as yet in secret acquainted withal. When this is done, the way for a further agreement will be open and facile; and until it be so, ... we shall have no end of our quarrels.
    ... John Owen (1616-1683), “A Vindication of the Animadversions on ‘Fiat Lux’” [1664], in Works of John Owen, v. XIV, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1851, p. 312-313 (see the book)
    See also John 10:16; 17:21-23; Rom. 15:5-6; 1 Cor. 1:10
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, show Your new way of life to the world, for Your glory.
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Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Owen: little hope of unity

Tuesday, June 2, 2020
    All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
    —Philippians 3:15-16 (NIV)
    Some pretending highly to moderation on both sides, especially among the Protestants, hope that [peace] may be attained by mutual condescension of the parties at variance, contemperation of opinions and practices unto the present distant apprehensions and interests of the chief leaders of either side: what issue and event their desires, hopes, and attempts will have, time will show to all the world. For my part, until, by a fresh outpouring of the Spirit of God from on high, I see Christians in profession agreeing in pursuing the ends of Christianity, endeavouring to be followers of Jesus Christ in a conversation becoming the Gospel, without trusting to the parties wherein they are engaged, I shall have very little hopes to see any unity amongst us that shall be one jot better than our present differences. [Continued tomorrow]
    ... John Owen (1616-1683), “A Vindication of the Animadversions on ‘Fiat Lux’” [1664], in Works of John Owen, v. XIV, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1851, p. 312 (see the book)
    See also Rom. 15:5-7; Phil. 2:1-2; 3:15-16; 1 Pet. 3:8
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, make clear to us the truth of Your word.
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Monday, June 01, 2020

Richard Massie: the role of love

Monday, June 1, 2020
    Feast of Justin, Martyr at Rome, c.165
    Commemoration of Angela de Merici, Founder of the Institute of St. Ursula, 1540
    And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
    —2 John 1:5-6; (NIV)
LORD, who hast taught to us on earth
    This lesson from above,
That all our works are nothing worth,
    Unless they spring from love;
Send down thy Spirit from on high,
    And pour in all our hearts
That precious gift of charity,
    Which peace and joy imparts:

The healing balm, the holy oil
    Which calms the waves of strife,
The drop which sweetens every toil,
    The breath of our new life.
Without this blessed bond of peace
    God counts the living dead:
O heavenly Father, grant us this,
    Through Christ, the living Head.

Let all who love the Lord join hands
    To aid the common good,
And knit more close the sacred bands
    Of Christian brotherhood.
Make all thy pastors one, O Lord,
    In heart, in mind, in speech,
That they may set forth thy pure word,
    And live the life they preach.

Let all hold fast the truths whereby
    A church must stand or fall;
In doubtful things grant liberty,
    Show charity in all.
Thus shall we to our sacred name
    Our title clearly prove,
While even our enemies exclaim,
    ”See how these Christians love.”
    ... Richard Massie (1800-1887), A Collection of Hymns, for the use of the people called Methodists, John Wesley, London: Wesleyan Conference Office, 1876, #822, p. 744-745 (see the book)
    See also John 13:34-35; 15:12,17; 1 Cor. 13; 1 Tim. 1:5; 1 John 3:23-24; 2 John 1:5-6
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, implant in me a heart that expresses Your love for the world.

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Sunday, May 31, 2020

Law: the condition for freedom

Sunday, May 31, 2020
    But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.
    —Romans 2:5 (NIV)
    This therefore is a certain truth, that hell and death, curse and misery, can never cease or be removed from the creation, till the will of the creature is again as it came from God, and is only a Spirit of Love that wills nothing but goodness. All the whole fallen creation, stand it never so long, must groan and travail in pain, till every contrariety to the divine will is entirely taken from every creature.
    Which is only saying, that all the powers and properties of nature, are a misery to themselves, can only work in disquiet and wrath, till the birth of the Son of God brings them under the dominion and power of the Spirit of Love.
    ... William Law (1686-1761), The Spirit of Love [1752-4], in Works of Rev. William Law, v. VIII, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 8 (see the book)
    See also Rom. 2:5; Ps. 63:1-2; Rom. 8:22-23; Matt. 28:18; Heb. 3:13; Rev. 6:16-17
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, send Your Spirit of love to Your people in need.
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