Monday, July 23, 2018

Quotes of Note

Each Monday, we share quotes we found encouraging, convicting, thought-provoking,  or all of the above.


I have been reading the poems of George Herbert. He used language with such brilliance. In his poem "Easter," the imagery revolves around music. The poem is unique in that it has one rhyme scheme for the first 18 verses and a different one for the remainder. You can check out the entire poem here. Have a look at the first part of the poem where he uses images of music:

Rise heart; thy Lord is risen. Sing his praise
Without delays,
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise
With him mayst rise:
That, as his death calcined thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold, and much more, just.
Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part
With all thy heart.
The cross taught all wood to resound his name,
Who bore the same.
His stretched sinews taught all strings, what key
Is best to celebrate this most high day.
Consort both heart and lute, and twist a song
Pleasant and long:
Or since all music is but three parts vied
And multiplied,
O let thy blessed Spirit bear a part,
And make up our defects with his sweet art.


This is a quote by B.B. Warfield from his review of Lewis Sperry Chafer's He That is Spiritual, with which he had strong disagreement.  Having grown up in a system of two-tiered Christianity, I wish someone had told me this a long time ago but better late than never.
He who believes in Jesus Christ is under grace, and his whole course, in its process and in its issue alike, is determined by grace, and therefore, having been predestined to be conformed to the image of God's Son, he is surely being conformed to that image, God Himself seeing to it that he is not only called and justified but also glorified. You may find Christians at every stage of this process, for it is a process through which all must pass; but you will find none who will not in God's own good time and way pass through every stage of it. There are not two kinds of Christians, although there are Christians at every conceivable stage of advancement towards the one goal to which all are bound and at which all shall arrive.


No matter how many times I've read Veith's introduction on the doctrine of vocation, I am encouraged to be reminded each time. Yes, the Scriptures are our daily bread. Yet, the literal sense in which He meets our physical needs as well, through such ordinary means, in contrast to Israel's supernatural manna that fell from the sky, helps me appreciate how much I depend on my neighbors daily. By God's good providence, I'm grateful for his provision:

When we pray the Lord's Prayer, observed Luther, we ask God to give us this day our daily bread. And He does give us our daily bread. He does it by means of the farmer who planted and harvested the grain, the baker who made the flour into bread, the person who prepared our meal. We might today add the truck drivers who hauled the produce, the factory workers in the food processing plant, the warehouse men, the wholesale sale distributors, the stock boys, the lady at the checkout counter. Also playing their part are the bankers, futures investors, advertisers, lawyers, agricultural scientists, mechanical cal engineers, and every other player in the nation's economic system. All of these were instrumental in enabling you to eat your morning bagel.
- Gene Edward Veith, Jr., God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life (p. 13).


My little women's Bible study group is still working through the book of Jude, so I've been reading Doug Moo's commentary on Jude. In verse 20, before Jude gives his readers instructions on how to deal with the people in their church who have been influenced by false teaching, he commands them to build themselves up in their "most holy faith." At the beginning of Jude, he urged them to "contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" — to fight for the doctrine of the apostles and against the false teaching that was infiltrating their church— and now he urges them to strenthen themselves in the same once-for-all-delivered faith. Moo writes,
"Contending for the faith" does not mean only fighting against heretics to preserve Christian truth. It also means fighting against our own weakness and temptation so that we can maintain our own faith. Jude knows that you can never take a person's spiritual condition for granted. Thus, before he tells his readers how to confront those affected by the false teaching, he reminds them that they must take a good look at their own condition (vv. 20-21).
And later:
Moving ahead in the Christian life often involves looking to the past. The growth that Jude calls for is growth in "your most holy faith"—that "faith once for all entrusted to the saints" (v. 3). The foundation must be secure before the building can go up. We can never grow away from our roots; we can only grow through them. In the church today, there is an increasing flirtation with what is new. We want to hear what Christianity has to say about the latest fad or issue; we want to learn new things. But in our (legitimate)  eagerness ot push ahead, to stretch our understanding, to make the church relevant to a new age, we must always be careful to "secure our rear," as a general would put it. Solid understanding of Christian doctrine, the kind of understanding that changes hearts and minds—this is something we never grow away from. 

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