“The Christian life has its beginnings and its continuance in the work of the cross as Christ died for the forgiveness of our sins and to impart new life to us. The Christian life is cruciform as we die to sin, to selfish individualism, to our own desires and ambitions, to the mindset of the world and to the life dictated by the old nature, and become like Christ himself in his death.”
Derek Tidball, The Message of the Cross, page 26.
Three questions I need to ask myself regularly:
1) Will Jesus be my delight and satisfaction in the midst of this DIFFICULT situation?
2) Will Jesus be my delight and satisfaction in the midst of this COMFORTABLE situation?
3) Will I, by faith in the promises of the gospel and in dependence on the Holy Spirit, get to know Jesus better and become more like Him in this situation, even if it does not change?
(These are adapted from questions I’ve heard before, but I can’t remember where I first heard them!)
“Only a fraction of the present body of professing Christians are solidly appropriating the justifying work of Christ in their lives. Many have so light an apprehension of God’s holiness and of the extent and guilt of their sin that consciously they see little need for justification, although below the surface of their lives they are deeply guilt-ridden and insecure. Many others have a theoretical commitment to this doctrine, but in their day-to-day existence they rely on their sanctification for justification, drawing their assurance of acceptance with God from their sincerity, their past experience of conversion, their recent religious performance or the relative infrequency of their conscious, willful disobedience . . .
Few [Christians] know enough to start each day with a thoroughgoing stand upon Luther’s platform: you are accepted, looking outward in faith and claiming the wholly [external] righteousness of Christ, as the only ground of acceptance, relaxing in that quality of trust which will produce increasing sanctification [or transformation] as faith is active in love and gratitude.”
Richard Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Life (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1979, pg. 101) as quoted by Jerry Bridges in The Transforming Power of the Gospel (Navpress, 2012, Kindle Location 2752).
“All our obedience, every resolve to do good, and every work of faith is ‘by his power’ and so that the Lord Jesus would be glorified because of the grace he gives. Yes, we must pursue obedience, but that obedience must always be cruciform, formed by Christ’s cross.
We must seek to obey because of the cross, find the grace to obey because of the cross, and live free from condemnation whether we succeed or fail in the light of the cross. The cross must be our only story, as Paul boldly proclaimed: ‘For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified’ (1 Cor. 2:2).”
Elyse Fitzpatrick and Dennis Johnson in Counsel from the Cross,171-72, (bold emphasis mine)
[HT: Of First Importance]