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Since the radical powers of the soul are thus enfeebled and disordered, it is not to be wondered at that the best of men, and under their highest attainments, have found cause to make the acknowledgment of the Apostle, “When I should do good, evil is present with me.”
But, blessed be God, though we must feel hourly cause for shame and humiliation for what we are in ourselves, we have cause to rejoice continually in Christ Jesus, who, as he is revealed unto us under the various names, characters, relations, and offices, which he bears in the Scripture, holds out to our faith a balm for every wound, a cordial for every discouragement, and a sufficient answer to every objection which sin or Satan can suggest against our peace.
- If we are guilty, he is our Righteousness;
- if we are sick; he is our infallible Physician;
- if we are weak, helpless, and defenceless, he is the compassionate and faithful Shepherd who has taken charge of us, and will not suffer any thing to disappoint our hopes, or to separate us from his love.
He knows our frame, he remembers that we are but dust, and has engaged to guide us by his counsel, support us by his power, and at length to receive us to his glory, that we may be with him for ever.
-John Newton, The Utterances of the Heart, in the Course of a Real Correspondence.
HT: Justin Taylor
Some of my favorite songs to listen to are Psalms. I don’t believe there is anything more “obedient” about them over other songs of praise. But there is something encouraging about have the direct words of scripture sung to me. And I just think the concept of singing the Psalms is cool.
So here is a list of several full Psalms put to music by Nathan Clark George and Andrew Case (With one Indelible Grace arrangement). Everyone of these is a full Psalm with either a word for word or thought for thought arrangement. All of Andrew’s music is for free. Nathan’s can be found at his site.
These do not have players so you will have to play them by going to the site:
God’s Grace reaches down to the lowest depths of our need and meets all the exigencies[urgent needs] of the moral and spiritual impossibility which inheres in our depravity and inability. And that grace is the grace of regeneration.
God effects a change which is radical and all-pervasive, a change which cannot be explained in term of any combination, permutation, or accumulation of human resources, a change which is nothing less than a new creation by him who calls the things that be not as though they were, who spake and it was done, who commanded and it stood fast. This, in a word, is regeneration.
-John Murray, Redemption: Accomplished and Applied (Grand Rapids, MI: , 1955), 96.
Take aways from this and the last post:
1. We should never over look God’s regenerative work in our lives. We are sinful and dependent upon Christ’s righteousness for acceptance every moment of our lives. Yet, we are to rejoice in God’s present work in our lives. He is working and it is real.
2. We are not to be downcast about our condition. Sin in us, as believers, is pervasive. And in this we mourn. But the new birth of the Spirit and all the sovereign, transformative power He wields is just as pervasive! We are new in Christ Jesus and there is nothing to be downcast about that!
3. There is no sin which is out of the Spirit’s reach. His effect upon the believer is all pervasive. No sin is to far away. No action is totally removed from His holy influence. Never think you are beyond His transformative work.
4. We should declare the goodness the Spirit’s works in us and others. Christians can be good because they are indwelt with the Spirit who is good. His works do become manifest in the believer. And it is actually the believer. The Spirit does not shut the person down and perform the good works. The person, being recreated by the Spirit, produces the good works. And it is praise to the Lord to proclaim His works.
The Spirit’s work in regeneration is thus total in the extent of its transforming power. It is the individual as an individual who is regenerated, the whole man. For regeneration is the fulfillment of God’s promise to give us a new heart (Ezk. 36:26; cf. Je 31:33), indicating that the Spirit’s renewing work is both intensive and extensive: it reaches to the foundation impulses of an individual’s life and leaves no part of his or her being untouched.
Regeneration is, consequently, as all-pervasive as depravity. On the basis of such statements as ‘the heart is…beyond all cure’ (Je. 17:9), theologians have spoken of total depravity, meaning not that man is as bad as he could be, but that no part of his being remains untainted by the influence of sin. Regeneration reverses that depravity, and is universal in the sense that, while the regenerate individual is not yet as holy as he or she might be, there is no part of life which remains uninfluenced by this renewing and cleansing work. Indeed, just as total depravity leads to moral and ultimately even to physical disintegration, so total regeneration leads to moral, but also ultimately physical renewal, in the regeneration of the whole being in the resurrection (Phil. 3:21; 1 Cor. 15:42-44). The new man is put on; he is constantly being renewed by the Spirit (Col. 3:10), and finally will be resurrected and glorified through his power.
-Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Holy Spirit, Contours of Christian Theology, ed. Gerald Bray (Downers Grove, Il: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 122-123.
My mother is pretty much all of these!
There has been some buzz due to an article written by Anthony Bradley on the subject of “Radical Christianity.” I don’t want to do a full on critic on what he says. But, instead, I want to communicate my views on “Radical” vs. “1 Thess. 4” as to help, hopefully, bring balance.
To be a Christian is to be radical. I will say that I am not in favor of using special classifying terms for believers. We do have a way of throwing terms of “extraness” upon being a Christian (Passionate Christian, Radical Christian, etc). Because of the nominalism around us I understand why such terms come into be. But we need to step back and remember that those terms are already embedded within the term Christian. To be a Christian is to inherently be those things.
There are times when certain characteristics of being a Christian do come to the forefront. The term at this time is one of being radical, or the idea of holding nothing back and sacrificing all for the sake of Christ. These characteristics are, without a doubt, biblical. But how do we live them out?
If being radical is limited to a particular ministry in a particular place we do not have the radical part of Christianity. We have discontentment (if we are not at that particular place) and pride (if we are at that particular place).
This is where Jesus’s statement about a particular widow gives us a biblical frame work. Being radical is not how much you give but how much it costs you. It is not setting a particular amount to give and making that the standard of radical. It is about the individual cost.
And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44)
The fact is, God does not need anything you give Him. You could have all the intellectual and political ability to do tremendous deeds, but you still are not necessary to God. He would get the job done better than you ever could. He did not need the widows money.
What God wants is trust and devotion to Him shown through the diversity of weak people He chooses to save. Radicalness can come in the form of Paul braving the dangerous seas so he could bring the gospel to distant lands and it can come in the form of an overlooked widow dropping a penny as a offering.
Christ gave-up the glories of heaven so He might take the indignities of our sin. It is, thus, fitting that those who died with Him now walk as living sacrifices. Always growing in allowing the One who Bought them to take more of their lives. How do we live out this aspect of being radical?
1. Being radical with what you have been given and where you have been placed. Discontentment and pride can take very spiritual forms. Being radical is not sitting at home wishing you were not a widow and thinking if you had more to give you would be of better use. It is moving where you have to move and using what you have to use. It is the cost which God sees as signs of trust. So don’t look towards the future but look at what you are holding back right now. Is it pride? Is it fear? Is it not preferring others over yourself? Right there, in front of you, you will find where you need to be radical.
2. Being radical is seeking to give all wherever the Lord is pointing out. I know for me I know I need to give up more in the realm of selfishness and fear. Putting myself smack-dab in the middle of relationships is where I need to be. Or it is taking leadership in pursuit of a sister and facing the fears and the uncertainty as I learn to trust more in Him who is ever certain. Right there, where I am weakest, is where I am to be radical! It would be much easier to dream about serving in a orphanage in Africa. But I know this is where I need to be radical.
3. Being radical can look very ordinary. Putting pennies in offering, nothing to report there. And ask yourselves, what is love? Is it great faith to walk on water? Is it great sacrifice for the name of Christ? Is it having all knowledge to reject heresy? No. It is patient, kind, not envious, nor boastful. Easily past by in the search for more “radical” things! Yes, pure and undefiled religion is visiting orphans and widows in their affliction (Jam. 1:27) But worthy religion is also bridling your tongue (Jam. 1:26).
As a follower of the crucified Christ you are to carry your cross of crucifixion (Matt 16:24) while aspiring “to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands,” (1 Thess. 4:11).For some the cross will take you to unreached people groups to live out ordinary Christianity before them in speech and life. And to another it will mean spending 40+ hours a week to provide for your wife and children while living and speaking the gospel before them in radical ways. Each has their place and each has their cost.
The way to be radical is to always be asking, “how can I give Him more?” How can I witness more to my coworkers? How can I get my children excited about missions? How can I reach out to the overlooked people in my church more? What can I do so that those who do not have a bible in their own language have one? How can I be praying more? There is radical Christianity!
We gave nothing and now posses everything through the work of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have no debts to pay! All we owe only points to the amount of mercy we have received. And because of this we can press on in giving Him every section of out lives. From one degree to the next as the Spirit sanctifies us. Pressing ever on in radical call of Christ!
He chooses for his people better than they could choose for themselves. If they are in heaviness, there is a need-be for it, and he withholds nothing from them but what, upon the whole, it is better they should be without.
-John Newton, Works, vol. 1, p. 249 (Letter XVI, “On the Inefficacy of Our Knowledge)
HT: Justin Taylor
The hope we offer people is more than a set of strategies. Our hope is Christ! In him alone do lost, confused, angry, hurt, and discouraged people find what they need to be and do what God intends. We are not gurus. We are nothing more than instruments in the hands of a powerful Redeemer. The hope and help we offer is always focused on him. The most important encounter in ministry is not the person’s encouter with us, but his encouter with Christ. Our job is simply to set up that encounter, so that God would help people seek his forgiveness, comfort, restoration, strength, and wisdom.
Paul David Tripp, Instruments In The Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 2002), 138.