Quotes to Ponder (1/11/19)

The reason so few Christians really grow in their faith, is they are unwilling to do things strong Christians do to become strong—and often blame the church for it. They are like those who resent the gym for their weight issues. (Tim Spivey)

His grace has forever freed us from needing to prove our righteousness and our worth.  So we remind ourselves every day not to search horizontally for what we’ve already been given vertically. (Paul David Tripp, January 11, New Morning Mercies)

In C. S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, chapter 8 is called the Law of Undulation.  It speaks of the reality that in our life, in every area of life, we experience peaks and troughs–highs and lows.  Remember that these are messages from Screwtape to Wormwood, his demonic nephew.  You can read this chapter online.  Better yet, buy and read the whole book.  There is a newer book, similar to Screwtape Letters, aimed at teenagers, called Lord Foulgrin’s Letters.

“Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives.  He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs—to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish.  It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best.”

A couple of other great C. S. Lewis quotes:

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity).

“If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.  We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.  We are far too easily pleased.” (26) (Weight of Glory and Other Addresses)

Another from Paul David Tripp’s New Morning Mercies (January 12)…

“In Romans 15:5, Paul calls your Lord ‘the God of endurance.’  This title really gets at the center of where your hope is to be found.  Let me state it plainly: your hope is not to be found in your willingness and ability to endure, but in God’s unshakable, enduring commitment to never turn from his work of grace.  Your hope is that you have been welcomed into communion with One who will endure no matter what….Your perseverance rests on him, and he defines what endurance looks like!  It is the grace of endurance granted to you by the God of endurance that provides you with everything you need to continue to be what he calls you to be and do what he calls you to do between this moment and the moment when you cross over to the other side.  When difficulty exposes the weakness of your resolve and the limits of your strength, you do not have to panic, because he will endue even in those moments when you don’t feel able to do so yourself.”


New Morning Mercies, January 5

My mother gave me Paul Tripp’s New Morning Mercies for my birthday last year.  I’ve been reading it each day this year.  Today’s devotional was excellent and reminds us of the wonder of God’s still amazing grace.

He wrote:

If you obey for a thousand years, you’re no more accepted than when you first believed; your acceptance is based on Christ’s righteousness and not yours.

The fact is that sin is a bigger disaster than we think it is and grace is more amazing than we seem to be able to grasp that it is.  No one who really understands what Scripture has to say about the comprehensive, every-aspect-of-your-personhood-altering nature of sin would ever think that anyone could muster enough motivation and strength to rise to God’s standard of perfection.  The thought that any fallen human being would b e able to perform his or her way into acceptance with God has to be the most insane of delusions.  Yet we all tend to think we are more righteous than we are, and when we think this, we have taken the first step to embracing the delusion that maybe we’re not so bad in God’s eyes after all.

This is why the reality check of Romans 3:20 is so important.  Paul writes, “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight.”  If you prayed every moment of your life, you could not pray enough prayers to earn acceptance with God.  If you gave every penny of every dollar that you ever earned in every job you ever had, you could not give enough to deserve acceptance with God.  If every word you ever spoke was uttered with the purest of conscientious motivations, you would never be able to speak your way into reconciliation with God.  If you gave yourself to an unbroken, moment-by-moment life of ministry, you could never minister enough to achieve God’s favor.  Sin is too big.  God’s bar is too high.  It is beyond the reach of every human being who has ever taken his or her first breath.

This is why God, in love, sent his Son: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).  You see, there was and is no other way.  There is only one portal to acceptance with God–the righteousness of Christ.  His righteousness is given over to our account; sinners are welcomed into the presence of a holy God based on the perfect obedience of another.  Christ is our hope, Christ is our rest, Christ is our peace.  He perfectly fulfilled God’s requirement so that in our sin, weakness, and failure we would never again have to fear God’s anger.  This is what grace does!  So as the children of grace, we obey as a service of worship, not in a desperate attempt to do what is impossible–independently earn God’s favor.

Amen to that!  Worship the God of grace!  Find in on Amazon Smile–New Morning Mercies–and donate to Moving Works.