“Finally alive” by John Piper

“If your heartache is for your own personal change, or for change in your marriage, or change in your prodigal children, or in your church, or in the systemic structures of injustice, or in the political system, or in the hostilities among nations, or in the human degradation of the environment, or in the raunchiness of our entertainment culture, or in the miseries of the poor, or in the callous opulence of the rich, or in the inequities of educational opportunity, or in arrogant attitudes of ethnocentrism, or in a hundred areas of human need caused by some form of human greed– if your heart aches for any of these, then you should care supremely about the new birth.

There are other ways of shaping culture and guiding behavior. But none so deep. None so far-reaching. None so universally relevant. None so eternally significant.

Someday, at the return of the Lord Jesus, the world will be made new. The kingdom of God will come fully. Jesus Himself will be the great all-satisfying Treasure in that new and beautiful earth. But not everyone will enjoy it.

‘Truly, truly,’ Jesus said, ‘unless one is born again He cannot see the kingdom of God’ (John 3:3). Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Until we come to Him, we will not have life. Not now. Not ever. God gives eternal life, and this life is in His Son (1 John 5:11).

Whoever has the Son has life (1 John 5:12). His word is reliable: ‘Come to Me that you may have life’ (John 5:40). If you come, you will be truly, invincibly, finally alive.”

–John Piper, Finally Alive: What Happens When We are Born Again (Geanies House, Fearn, Scotland, UK: Christian Focus, 2009), 191-192.

“The church is to be otherworldly in the world” by David F. Wells

“The church is utterly unlike any other organization in the world. In the church are those who belong to another world. At least that is supposed to be the case. Why is this? Because when it gathers, it is hearing a summons to stand before the God of all eternity, to worship in awe before Him, to acknowledge His greatness, to humble itself, to learn to live in this world on His terms, and to do its business as His. It is in all these ways otherworldly.”

–David F. Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008), 223-224.

“The temptation the church always faces” by David F. Wells

“The temptation the church always experiences is to be like the world. It is the temptation to enjoy the comfort of a majority, to be at home, to be at peace, to have no enemies. Is it not true that we all yearn for such an experience? However, if the church is to be truly successful, it must be unlike anything else we find in life.”

–David F. Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008), 224.

“Swallowing the camel of self” by David F. Wells

“What is central to the Bible is the true and the right, sin and grace, God’s wrath and Christ’s death; what is central to so many people today is simply what offers internal relief. Much of the Church today, especially that part of it which is evangelical, is in captivity to this idolatry of the self. This is a form of corruption far more profound than the list of infractions that typically pop into our minds when we hear the word ‘sin.’ We are trying to hold at bay the gnats of small sins while swallowing the camel of self. It is idolatry as pervasive and as spiritually debilitating as were many of the entanglements with pagan religions recounted for us in the Old Testament.

That this devotion to the self seems not to be like that older devotion to a pagan god blinds the Church to its own unfaithfulness. The end result, however, is no less devastating, because the self is no less demanding. It is as powerful an organizing center as any god or goddess on the market. The contemporary Church is whoring after this god as assiduously as the Israelites in their darker days. It is baptizing as faith the pride that leads us to think much about ourselves and much of ourselves.”

–David F. Wells, Losing Our Virtue (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 203-4.

“The common consent of fools” by Charles H. Spurgeon

“The great guide of the world is fashion, and its god is respectability—two phantoms, at which brave men laugh. How many of you look around on society to know what to do. You watch the general current, and then float upon it. You study the popular breeze and shift your sails to suit it. True men do not so. You ask–Is it fashionable? If it be fashionable, it must be done. Fashion is the law of multitudes, but it is nothing more than the common consent of fools.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “Decision: Illustrated by the case of Joshua,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 21 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1876), 220.

“Otherworldly in the world” by Peter Brown

“The City of God, far from being a book about flight from the world, is a book whose recurrent theme is ‘our business within this common mortal life’; it is a book about being otherworldly in the world.”

–Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo: A Biography (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1967/2000), 324.