Sometimes we need reminders of the obvious. Sometimes we don’t even realize we’ve forgotten the obvious until we’re reminded of it. I share the following quote because it reminded me of the obvious, in a profound way. Elizabeth Elliot endured more loss in one day than I have in 47 years, yet ( or as a result ) she has a perspective on God’s sovereignty that I wish I had at all times.
“God is God. If He is God, He is worthy of my worship and service. I will find rest nowhere but in His will, and that will is infinitely, immeasurably, unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to… There is always the urge to oversimplify, to weigh in at once with interpretations that cannot possibly cover all the data or stand up to close inspection. We know, for example, that time and again in the history of the Christian church, the blood of martyrs has been its seed. We are tempted to assume a simple equation here. Five men died. This will mean x-number of Waorani Christians. Perhaps so. Perhaps not. Cause and effect are in God’s hands. Is it not part of faith simply to let them rest there? God is God.”
Amen. And thanks, Mrs. Elliot.
Our church is known by many labels, some I would rather not hear, but some we wear proudly. Most Christians describe us as “Calvinists” due to our agreement with John Calvin on the doctrine of salvation. But unfortunately, many Christians think that doctrine was developed by John Calvin. It wasn’t. John Calvin, and we, hold to the doctrine of salvation laid out in Scripture, taught by Christ to His apostles, whom He sent out to teach the same in His churches. I prefer to call what we believe “the doctrines of grace”, because that’s exactly what it is – the various aspects of God’s free, undeserved, unearned, unconditional gift of salvation to men.
Reading Arnold Dallimore’s biography of George Whitfield ( one of the greatest evangelists England and America has ever seen ), I came across a quote from Whitfield on his view of the doctrines of grace. I can only say Amen to his words. I hope you do as well.
“The doctrines of our election, and free justification in Christ Jesus are daily more and more pressed upon my heart. They fill my soul with a holy fire and afford me great confidence in God my Savior. I hope we shall catch fire from each other, and that there will be a holy emulation amongst us, who shall most debase man and exalt the Lord Jesus. Nothing but the doctrines of ( grace ) can do this. All others leave free will in man and make him, in part at least, a Savior to himself. My soul, come not thou near the secret of those who teach such things…I know Christ is all in all. Man is nothing: he hath a free will to go to hell, but none to go to heaven, till God worketh in him to will and to do of His good pleasure. Oh, the excellency of the doctrine of election and of the saints’ final perseverance! I am persuaded, till a man comes to believe and feel these important truths, he cannot come out of himself, but when convinced of these, and assured of their application to his own heart, he then walks by faith indeed! Was there any fitness foreseen in us, except a fitness for damnation? I believe not. No, God chose us from eternity, he called us in time, and I am persuaded will keep us from falling finally, till time shall be no more. Consider the gospel in this view, and it appears a consistent theme.”
I picked up a short book to read over our Christmas travels – “What the Bible Teaches About Worship”, by Robert Dickie, pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Grand Blanc, MI. Impatience got the best of me and I started reading today. Now, I don’t approve of impatience, but I’m glad I didn’t wait. I’ll share two quotes to get you thinking about your worship, the first from the author, the second from Dr. R.A. Torrey.
“Biblical and spiritual worship is the soul’s longing to see the glory and the beauty of Christ…Worship is at its fullest and richest point when our souls are lost in the wonder of the glory and majesty of God…If we are to worship biblically, we must make certain that our worship on earth reflects the example and direction of heavenly worship.”
“There is no higher, no deeper, no purer joy than that which springs from the adoring contemplation of God. I have walked miles, and climbed through underbrush and briers and over crags and precipice, just to get some beautiful view, and as I have looked out upon it, and feasted upon the never-to-be-forgotten vision of mountain and valley, forest and river, village and hamlet, cloud and sunshine, I have felt well repaid for the trial and suffering and weariness. I have sat by the hour before a great painting in joyous beholding of its beauty. Earth has fewer purer joys than these, but they are nothing (compared) to the profound and holy joy that fills the soul as we bow before God in worship, asking nothing, seeking nothing from Him, occupied with and satisfied with Himself.”
It would be heaven on earth to worship on earth as they do in heaven! “Delight yourself also in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” ( Ps. 37:4 ).