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…we really should try not to make such figures [Christian sport stars and celebrities] into those to whom we look for leadership and guidance. That role should be fulfilled by the elders in your local church and the experienced saints whom you know personally and with whom you have an actual relationship. Tim Tebow has, as far as I know, been called by no-one to be a teacher in the church. Certainly his example has inspired and encouraged many; and there is nothing wrong with that. But we must remember that being an inspiring example is one thing; being someone to whom we look for Christian leadership is quite another. The latter is really the role of those who have received the external call from a congregation and who have thus been proven to have the biblical qualifications for leadership and who are also formally accountable to the church.
…Are not you amazed sometimes that you should have so much as a hope that, poor and needy as you are, the Lord thinketh of you? But let not all you feel discourage you; for if our Physician is almighty, our disease cannot be desperate; and if He casts none out that come to Him, why should you fear? Our sins are many, but His mercies are more: our sins are great, but His righteousness is greater: we are weak, but He is power. Most of our complaints are owing to unbelief, and the remainder of a legal spirit; and these evils are not removed in a day. Wait on the Lord, and He will enable you to see more and more of the power and grace of our High Priest. The more you know Him, the better you will trust Him; the more you trust Him, the better you will love Him; the more you love Him, the better you will serve Him. This is God’s way: you are not called to buy, but to beg; not to be strong in yourself, but in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. He is teaching you these things, and I trust He will teach you to the end. Remember the growth of a believer is not like a mushroom, but like an oak, which increases slowly indeed, but surely. Many suns, showers, and frosts pass upon it before it comes to perfection; and in winter, when it seems dead, it is gathering strength at the root. Be humble, watchful, and diligent in the means, and endeavour to look through all, and fix your eye upon Jesus, and all shall be well. I commend you to the care of the good Shepherd, and remain, for His sake,
-John Newton, from a letter wrote on March 18, 1767.
…the historical character of revelation may be found in its eminently practical aspect. The knowledge of God communicated by it is nowhere for a purely intellectual purpose. From beginning to end it is a knowledge intended to enter into the actual life of man, to be worked out by him in all its practical bearings…God has interwoven the supernaturally communicated knowledge of himself with the historic life of the chosen race, so as to secure for it a practical form from the beginning. Revelation is connected throughout with the fate of Israel. Its disclosures arise from the necessities of that nation, and are adjusted to its capacities…God has not revealed himself in a school, but in the covenant; and the covenant as a communion of life is all-comprehensive, embracing all the conditions and interests of those contracting it.
-Geerhardus Vos, “The Idea of Biblical Theology as a Science and as a Theological Discipline”, in Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation; Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos, ed. by R. B. Gaffin Jr. (Phillisburg: P & R, 1980), 10.
Now let my soul arise,
And tread the tempter down;
My Captain leads me forth
To conquest and a crown:
The feeblest of saint shall win the day,
Through death and hell obstruct the way.
Should all the hosts of death
And powers of hell unknown,
Put their most dreadful forms
Of rage and mischief on,
I shall be safe, for Christ displays
Superior power, and guardian grace
-Isaac Watts, Join All the Glorious Names
Although the English word “minister” today carries connotations of dignity and authority in both the ecclesiastical and the political spheres, its Greek antecedent typically referred to a household servant who waited on the master, his family, and their guests at meals. The mindset appropriate to a servant’s place was concern for others and their needs, not preoccupation with one’s own personal fulfillment, rights, or recognition. In other cultures and communities, the perks of religious leadership may be wealth, honor, and influence. The power to guide others’ lives, to have others listen to you, respect you, foloow your adivce, and do your bidding is very alluring. In the community ruled by Jesus, however, accepted assumptions about leaders and followers are reversed: “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be a slave of all” (Mark 10:43-44)
-Dennis E Johnson, His We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 2007), 93.
Many Preachers have thought they were preaching Christ when, like Charles Sheldon, they pointed to him as a stellar example to be followed. It is possible to preach about Jesus, and even mention grace in the process, and yet be preaching law, calling people to reform themselves with a little help from their heavenly Friend. Such a message breeds either self-deluded complacency or self-contemptuous despair
Preaching Christ as Paul preached Christ, however, is preaching grace as the sole source and rationale of salvation and transformation from start to finish: grace that imparts life to the spiritually dead, grace that imputes Christ’s righteousness to the guilty, grace that instills the Spirit’s power in those otherwise impotent to want or to do good, grace that holds fast the feeble and fainting, securing pilgrims’ arrival at their destination in glory. Grace points hearers to the sovereign, saving initiative and intervention of God to do for guilty and paralyzed sinners what we could never do for ourselves, not even with heavenly help.
-Dennis E Johnson, His We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 2007), 81.
then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. (Heb. 10:17-18)
The New Covenant promise that God will “remember our sins no more” means that the whole category of “sins” is gone forever from God’s sight, as far as the law and satisfaction of justice are concerned. Believers have been “made prefect” as to their consciences and are no longer to have “consciousness of sin” with regard to the wrath of God! In this sense, there is “no more reminder of sin” (Heb. 10:3) in the New Covenant. “Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.” (Heb. 10:18) “We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Heb. 10:10)
What does this mean in daily life? It means that, as a Christian, I can get up in the morning and know that I am accepted in Christ. God delights in me as His child, and the guilt of my sins is gone forever. If I commit a sin, I am “conscious” of my sin as a child, not as a convicted felon, and I confess my sin to God as a son confesses to his Father, not as a criminal confesses to a judge. I come with confidence into the holy place by the blood of Jesus.
-Charles Leiter, Justification And Regeneration (Muscle Shoals, AL: HeartCry, 2007), 43-44. Emphasis by the author.