Filed under: Biography
I wonder if Zondervan would publish this paragraph today:
The doctrine of the unity of God has both philosophical and devotional implications of the greatest importance. Somewhere in Uncle Tom’s Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe has a beautiful passage in which she describes the devout Christian, Uncle Tom, spelling out the words of his Bible by the light of the fire in the darkness. The Christian mind, she says, is not afraid of evil spirits in the dark, for faith in God somehow brings with it the conviction of the orderliness of the universe.
James Oliver Buswell, A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1962), 103.
Eternal Security vs. Perseverance of the Saints: which idea is more biblical?
Many teach and insist upon Eternal Security as an entirely passive state: “fire insurance” or “once saved always saved” or what have you. The sinner’s prayer was, and is, and ever will be, all you ever need. But this is not the way the New Testament reads:
“…holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith…”
Concerning these words, Calvin says:
Seeing it is so, let us take heed when God has given it to us, that we keep it in this way and not lose it. And how can we do this? Of ourselves (as I have often said) we are so frail that whatever we have today is gone tomorrow; nay, it does not even tarry that long; one minute of an hour is enough to deprive us of all the gifts that God has bountifully bestowed upon us. This is our case. Yet God has not given us faith so that we would enjoy it only for a little while and afterwards be deprived of it. He wants us to possess it forever.
And how may that be? He shows us here the way: it is this, that we go on forward with all reverence once God has shown us the way of salvation, that there be no hypocrisy in us, but instead this uprightness and openness which he speaks of in this place, and that we be no light-headed enough to be carried away with our violent lusts; that we be not also double-hearted to mock God and his grace.
As we see that there are many at this day who would take the Gospel for a cloak to cover all their villainies and think that when they have the name of God in their mouths, their sins become sanctified, and they be completely forgiven them. We must take good heed that we do not in this way profane the word of God, but keep it in a good conscience. And when we do so, let us not doubt that God will give us a steadiness that will never be overcome, though all the winds in the world blow, and all surges and seas rise up against us, in so much that we may seem to be in danger of drowning a hundred times a day, yet God will keep us safe.
John Calvin, sermon on 1 Timothy 1:18-19 (Kindle location 2185 or so)
Paul uses active-tense language: “fight the good fight;” “keeping the faith in a good conscience;” while the others “have rejected” (NASB) and “have made shipwreck of their faith” (ESV). [NB: Grammatically, the rejection and the ship-wrecking of the faith are related, but whichever is the primary activity, it is an activity.]
Therefore, Calvin says. “We must take good heed that we do not in this way profane the word of God, but keep it in good conscience.”
Persevere, therefore, and do not be like those whom Calvin describes thus:
For those who play with God and make only a jesting matter of it, once they know the Gospel they are always talking about it, yet they are given still to all their vanities and are profane persons who will at last be sunk and drowned.
Unknown. John Calvin’s Sermons on 1 Timothy (Kindle Locations 2169-2171). . Kindle Edition.
Filed under: Biography
I found this very challenging. I’m not in the business world, but he says some brilliant things about building important relationships in our lives.
Jeremiah Burroughs may not be the master of organization, but he illustrates his points beautifully. In his little volume The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, he makes this call to disengage and simplify our lives:
Do not be greedy of taking in a great deal of the world, for if a man goes among thorns, when he may take a simpler way, he has no reason to complain that he is pricked with them. You go among thorns — is it your way? Must you of necessity go among them? The it is another matter. But if you voluntarily choose that way, when you may go another, then you have no cause to complain. If men and women will thrust themselves on things of the world which they do not need, then no wonder that they are pricked, and meet with what disturbs them. For such is the nature of all things here in this world, that everything has some prick or other in it.
Filed under: Bible
John Calvin, on those who come to church to be entertained:
Consider how bad is the honor shown to God when people seek out vain curiosities in Holy Scripture, as when Ezekiel reprimands the Jews. (Ezek. 33: 31-33) They came to him pretending to want to learn doctrine, to sit at his feet, saying, “We come here to be taught from the mouth of God.” It was a wonderful thing to see their devotion, but God told them that they had come there as a man goes to hear a performer play a harp or flute, only to feed his ears with a pleasant song. So when they did this they were only trying to mock God and profane his word. Therefore, let us learn that God does not want temples here to play around and laugh in, as in a theater; but there must be a majesty in one’s words by which we may be moved and touched and receive profitable instruction which leads to salvation. We must be nourished with this spiritual food so that we may feel that God does not speak to us in vain.
John Calvin’s Sermons on 1 Timothy (Kindle Locations 641-647). Kindle Edition.
In case you are busy and can’t look it up, here is the text to which he refers, Ezekiel 33:31-33:
“They come to you as people come, and sit before you as My people and hear your words, but they do not do them, for they do the lustful desires expressed by their mouth, and their heart goes after their gain. “Behold, you are to them like a sensual song by one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument; for they hear your words but they do not practice them. “So when it comes to pass—as surely it will—then they will know that a prophet has been in their midst.”
Filed under: Biography
Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2002), 128:
There was a notable saying of a philosopher who lived on mean fare: as he was eating herbs and roots, someone said to him, “If you would but please Dionysius, you need not eat herbs and roots’; but he answered him thus, ‘If you would but be content with such mean fare, you need not flatter Dionysius.’
Interesting passage from Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf, lines 170-188:
These were hard times, heart-breaking
for the prince of the Shieldings; powerful counsellors,
the highest in the land, would lend advice,
plotting how best the bold defenders
might resist and beat off sudden attacks.
Sometimes at pagan shrines they vowed
offerings to idols, swore oaths
that the killer of souls might come to their aid
and save the people. That was their way,
their heathenish hope; deep in their hearts
they remembered hell. The Almighty Judge
of good deeds and bad, the Lord God,
Head of the Heavens and High King of the World
was unknown to them. Oh, cursed is he
who in times of trouble has to thrust his soul
in the fire’s embrace, forfeiting help;
he has nowhere to turn. But blessed is he
who after death can approach the Lord
and find friendship in the Father’s embrace.