Category Archives: The Church

“We are never more like God than when we love His Son through His Spirit” by Kelly Kapic

“Christian anthropology recognizes that we never embody God’s image more clearly than when we love, delight in, and commune with His incarnate Son, who has reconciled all things in Himself.

Simply put, we are never more like God than when we love His Son through His Spirit.”

–Kelly Kapic, “Anthropology,” Christian Dogmatics: Reformed Theology for the Church Catholic, eds. Michael Allen and Scott Swain (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2016), 166.

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“Brethren, do something” by Charles Spurgeon

“Brethren, do something; do something; DO SOMETHING.

While Committees waste their time over resolutions, do something. While Societies and Unions are making constitutions, let us win souls.

Too often we discuss, and discuss, and discuss, while Satan only laughs in his sleeve. It is time we had done planning, and sought something to plan.

I pray you, be men of action all of you. Get to work, and quit yourselves like men.

Old Suwarrow’s idea of war is mine: ‘Forward and strike! No theory! Attack! Form column! Fix bayonets, and charge right into the very centre of the enemy.’

Our one aim is to save sinners, and this we are not merely to talk about, but to effect in the power of God.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, An All-Round Ministry: Addresses to Ministers and Students (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1900/1960), 42-43.

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“The best sermon the best man can ever deliver” by Charles Spurgeon

“Know Jesus. Sit at His feet. Consider His nature, His work, His sufferings, His glory. Rejoice in His presence; commune with Him from day to day. To know Christ, is to understand the most excellent of all sciences.

You cannot fail to be wise if you commune with Incarnate Wisdom; you cannot lack strength if you have constant fellowship with God. Let this be your desire.

Dwell in God, brethren; not sometimes go to Him, but abide in Him.

They say in Italy that, where the sun does not enter, the physician must. Where Jesus does not shine, the soul is sick. Bask in His beams, and you shall be vigorous in the service of your Lord.

Last Sunday night, I had a text which mastered me: “No man knoweth the Son, but the Father.” (Matthew 11:27)

I told the people that poor sinners, who had gone to Jesus, and trusted Him, thought they knew Him, but that they knew only a little of Him. Saints of sixty years’ experience, who have walked with Him every day, think they know Him; but they are only beginning to know Him yet.

The perfect spirits before the throne, who have been for five thousand years perpetually adoring Him, perhaps think they know Him, but they do not to the full. “No man knoweth the Son, but the Father.”

He is so glorious, that only the infinite God has full knowledge of Him, therefore there will be no limit to our study, or narrowness in our line of thought, if we make our Lord the great object of all our thoughts and researches.

So, brethren, as the outcome of this knowledge, if we are to be strong men, we must be conformed to our Lord. Oh, to be like Him! Blessed be that cross on which we shall suffer, if we suffer for being made like unto the Lord Jesus.

If we obtain conformity to Christ, we shall have a wondrous unction upon our ministry; and without that, what is a ministry worth? In a word, we must labour for holiness of character.

What is holiness? Is it not wholeness of character? A balanced condition in which there is neither lack nor redundance. It is not morality, that is a cold, lifeless statue; holiness is life.

You must have holiness; and, dear brethren, if you should fail in mental qualifications (though I hope you will not), and if you should have a slender measure of the oratorical faculty (though I trust you will not), yet, depend upon it, a holy life is, in itself, a wonderful power, and will make up for many deficiencies; it is, in fact, the best sermon the best man can ever deliver.

Let us resolve that all the purity which can be had we will have, that all the sanctity which can be reached we will obtain, and that all the likeness to Christ that is possible in this world of sin shall certainly be in us through the effectual working of the Spirit of God.

The Lord lift us all, as a College, right up to a higher platform, and He shall have the glory!”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, An All-Round Ministry: Addresses to Ministers and Students (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1900/1960), 40-41.

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“This was a slander on the oyster” by Charles Spurgeon

“Whatever you may know, you cannot be truly efficient ministers if you are not ‘apt to teach.’ (1 Timothy 3:2) You are probably all acquainted with ministers who have mistaken their calling, and evidently have no gifts for preaching.

Make sure that none think the same of you.

There are brethren in the ministry whose speech is intolerable. Either they dun you to death, or else they send you to sleep. No chloral can ever equal their discourse in sleep-giving properties.

No human being, unless gifted with infinite patience, could long endure to listen to them, and nature does well to give the victim deliverance through sleep.

I heard one say, the other day, that a certain preacher had no more gifts for the ministry than an oyster, and in my own judgment this was a slander on the oyster, for that worthy bivalve shows great discretion in his openings, and he also knows when to close.

If some men were sentenced to hear their own sermons, it would be a righteous judgment upon them; but they would soon cry out with Cain, ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear.’ (Genesis 4:13)

Let us not fall under the same condemnation through any faults in our preaching which we can remedy.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, An All-Round Ministry: Addresses to Ministers and Students (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1900/1960), 32.

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“All kinds of blessings are treasured up in Jesus” by John Calvin

“When we see that the whole sum of our salvation, and every single part of it, are comprehended in Christ, we must beware of deriving even the minutest portion of it from any other quarter.

If we seek salvation, we are taught by the very name of Jesus that He possesses it.

If we seek any other gifts of the Spirit, we shall find them in His unction; strength in His government; purity in His conception; gentleness in His nativity, in which He was made like us in all respects, in order that He might learn to sympathize with us.

If we seek redemption, we shall find it in His passion; acquittal in His condemnation; remission of the curse in His cross; satisfaction in His sacrifice; purification in His blood; reconciliation in His descent to hell; mortification of the flesh in His sepulchre; newness of life in His resurrection; immortality also in His resurrection; the inheritance of a celestial kingdom in His entrance into heaven; protection, security, and the abundant supply of all blessings, in His kingdom; secure anticipation of judgment in the power of judging committed to Him.

In fine, since in Him all kinds of blessings are treasured up, let us draw a full supply from Him, and none from any other quarter.”

–John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, vol. 2, trans. Henry Beveridge (Edinburgh: The Calvin Translation Society, 1845), 2: 72–73, (2.16.19).

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“Christian hope is hope in God” by John Webster

“Christian hope is hope in God, for the God confessed by the Christian fellowship is ‘the God of hope’ (Rom. 15:13).

Christian hope and its activities have to be explicated out of faith’s apprehension of God and God’s ways with the world as its maker, reconciler and consummator.

In formal terms, this is simply an application of the rule that Christian moral theology ought not to exist in independence of Christian doctrine.

In material terms, it is an application of the rule that all Christian teaching, including teaching about the moral life, is an extension of the doctrine of the Trinity, which is the Christian doctrine of God. Christian hope is hope in this God; and the doctrine of the Trinity can therefore rightly be said to furnish ‘the environment of Christian behaviour’. How is this so?

The Christian confession of God as Trinity attempts to indicate that the sovereign majesty and perfection which is God’s life is that of the eternal and perfect relations of Father, Son and Spirit.

God is the relations of these three persons; his being is his eternal fullness as the Father who begets the Son, the Son who is begotten of the Father before all worlds, and the Spirit who proceeds from them. In these relations, fully achieved and lacking nothing, God is one; his unity is the repleteness and blessedness of the fellowship of the three.

This repleteness of God’s life includes within itself, as an integral aspect of its perfection, a turn to that which is not God. In this turn there occurs a movement in which the fellowship of the immanent life of God creates a further object of love.

This turn is free, self-caused, wholly spontaneous, original to the divine being; its necessity is purely the necessity of God’s own self-determination to be in fellowship with that which is other than himself. As such, it is not a turn which completes or extends the divine life; it is a turning out of fullness, not out of lack.

More simply: it is gift, love. This turning or act of love is the work of the triune God as the world’s creator, reconciler and consummator. It takes historical form in the simple yet staggeringly complex work of God’s majesty in the entire scope of the economy, as God brings creaturely reality into being, redeems it and ensures that it will arrive at its perfection.

As Father, God purposes that in its abundance, the divine love should be directed to bringing creation into being, bestowing upon it life, order and direction. Because it is rooted in the Father’s will, this purpose is unshakeable. That is, God’s relation to what he makes is not simply an act of origination, but an act which ensures the creation’s destiny, and therefore one which oversees, directs and protects the creation so that it attains that destiny.

As Son, God intervenes in the history of creation when by its own perversity the creature seeks to struggle free from the Father’s purpose, refusing to be a creature, and in so doing exposing itself to mortal peril. Only as creature can the creature have life; and it is the work of the Son to reconcile and therefore to recreate what has brought destruction upon itself.

Through the person and work of the Son, gathering created being to himself and bearing in himself its alienation from the source of its life and well-being, creation is reintegrated into the Father’s purpose.

Lastly, as Spirit, God acts to bring to completion that which the Father purposes and the Son secures against all opposition, namely the identity and integrity of the creation in fellowship with God. God the Spirit perfects, bringing creaturely being and history to their completion.

What is the significance of this for Christian hope? Hope is that creaturely disposition which corresponds to the fact that all occasions of human history, including its future, are caught up within the economy of the triune God’s mercy.

Because God is to the depths of his eternal being triune, and because he acts in the world as the one he is in himself, then the entire scope of human history and action is embraced by God’s purpose. God is not simply originator (setting the creation in motion), nor simply end (tying up the loose ends of history at its terminus).

Rather, as Father, Son and Spirit, God is infinite—no time or space is apart from or beyond his presence and action—and so steadfast—his purpose has been, is and will be at all times constantly and reliably at work.

And it is as this one that God is the ground of hope, for hope trusts that, because the Father’s purpose has been accomplished in the Son and is now at work in the world in the Spirit’s power, then human history is God’s economy.

Within the space which the triune God creates, hope is neither a fantasy nor a gesture of defiance, but a fitting, truthful attitude and shape for action. In sum: hope rests upon God’s faithfulness, and God’s faithfulness is triune.

One immediate effect of rooting a theology of Christian hope in the doctrine of the Trinity is to prevent an exclusive orientation towards eschatology. Hope is not simply a correlate of the divine futurity or the coming of God; it is, rather, a disposition which is related to the entirety of God’s dealings with his creature, past, present and future.

Within this, hope undoubtedly has an especial regard for the future horizon of human history. But this future quickly becomes isolated when not adequately related to a theological account of God as the world’s creator and as its reconciler in the person and work of Christ.

An isolated eschatology accords little weight to created nature, and often functions with only a pale theology of incarnation and atonement, precisely because the preponderant doctrinal weight is placed in the future of God.

This imbalance within the structure of Christian teaching orients hope, not to the fulfilment of God’s eternal purpose but to an absolute eschatological novum. The corrective to the imbalance is achieved by relating hope not simply to the future but also to the triune eternity of God, that is, to God’s sovereign and purposive presence to and action within all creaturely time.

Christian hope, and therefore hopeful Christian action, rests not simply on what will be, but on what will be as the fulfilment of God’s steadfastness as Father, Son and Spirit, his already-enacted, present and promised constancy to the creature.

Hope is hope in God’s steadfast love (Psalm 33:18, 22; 130:7; 131:3; 147:11). A Christian moral theology of hope begins thus with the perfection of the triune God.”

–John Webster, “Hope,” in Confessing God: Essays in Christian Dogmatics II, The Cornerstones Series (London; New Delhi; New York; Sydney: Bloomsbury T&T Clark: An Imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc; Bloomsbury, 2016), 197–200.

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“Assurance produces true humility” by Sinclair Ferguson

“Assurance produces true humility. Christian assurance is not self-assurance and self-confidence.

It is the reverse: confidence in our Father, trust in Christ as our Savior, and joy in the Spirit as the Spirit of sonship, seal of grace, and earnest of our inheritance as sons and daughters of God.

When these are the hallmarks of our lives, then the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ has come home to us in full measure.

And that, surely, is one of the great needs of our times.”

–Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance—Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016), 226.

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