Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Great Stuff

One of the challenges I face is to clearly and succinctly explain what someone must do to be saved. It sounds like it should be easy - especially for a pastor! But, haven't you ever started to explain it to someone and realized it was taking far too many words and far too long to explain?
I came across this explanation from J.I. Packer who is a contemporary theologion:

To the question: what must I do to be saved? the old gospel replies: believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. To the further question: what does it mean to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ? its reply is: it means knowing oneself to be a sinner, and Christ to have died for sinners; abandoning all self-righteousness and self-confidence, and casting oneself wholly upon Him for pardon and peace; and exchanging one's natural enmity and rebellion against God for a spirit of grateful submission to the will of Christ through the renewing of one's heart by the Holy Ghost.

And to the further question still: how am I to go about believing on Christ and repenting, if I have no natural ability to do these things? it answers: look to Christ, speak to Christ, cry to Christ, just as you are; confess your sin, your impenitence, your unbelief, and cast yourself on His mercy; ask Him to give you a new heart, working in you true repentance and firm faith; ask Him to take away your evil heart of unbelief and to write His law within you, that you may never henceforth stray from Him. Turn to Him and trust Him as best you can, and pray for grace to turn and trust more thoroughly; use the means of grace expectantly, looking to Christ to draw near to you as you seek to draw near to Him; watch pray read and hear God's Word, worship and commune with God's people, and so continue till you know in yourself beyond doubt that you are indeed a changed being, a penitent believer, and the new heart which you desired has been put within you ("Introductory Essay to John Owen's The Death of Death in the Death of Christ," p. 21).

Let Charles Spurgeon lead you in prayer:
Join with me in prayer at this moment, I entreat you. Join with me while I put words into your mouths, and speak them on your behalf— "Lord, I am guilty, I deserve thy wrath. Lord, I cannot save myself. Lord, I would have a new heart and a right spirit, but what can I do? Lord, I can do nothing, come and work in me to will and to do thy good pleasure.
Thou alone hast power, I know, To save a wretch like me; To whom, or whither should I go If I should run from thee?
But I now do from my very soul call upon thy name. Trembling, yet believing, I cast myself wholly upon thee, O Lord. I trust the blood and righteousness of thy dear Son...Lord, save me tonight, for Jesus' sake." (From Iain Murray, The Forgotten Spurgeon [Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1973], pp. 101f.)

Great Song of the Week

Michael English has a new cd out. I have only heard one song, but it's great. He still has the pipes, too.

you'll have to download the clip to listen - the player isn't working. I will fix that when I get a brain. If anybody knows how to embed this, I would welcome the tutelage. I said tutelage!

Great Website of the Week



john m said...

Cool, I have never blogged before, looks like Sid is an old pro.
This could be interesting.
As you mentioned, explaining what one must do to be saved can be challenging. Although I believe the biggest challenge comes from our own desire to earn or somehow deserve it. In Luke the Lord said that the tax collecter who humbled himself and said, "have mercy on me a sinner", went to his home justified. Many of us don't want to hear that. We would much rather be given a list of task that we could painstakenly complete as a way to prove our worthiness. We don't want to hear that we must be broken by the Holy Spirit and come to the realization that our goodness is as filthy rags and that it is only by the grace of God we are not condemned. Then and only then will we cry out, "Have mercy on me a sinner." and by God's grace and mercy go home justified. But we don't want to hear that. And there in lies the challenge. " For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing."

Phil said...

Yes, and even though I feel like we say it over and over, most people don't grasp it. I think they feel that if they have said the words that is enough, even if they haven't truly felt that way in their heart.

Again, as you say, they havent been broken by the H.S. yet. God has not granted them the repentence needed for them to experience that humility.

Wesleyans would say that God gives prevenient grace (grace before we knew to even ask for it) so that we can respond to his call to us.

I love J.I. Packer's explanation because it sounds like a desperate plea instead of a casual prayer. It reflects that brokenness that you are talking about.

Thanks for participating! Anybody else have a thought on this?