O Lord God, I praise and magnify Thy name that thus Thou hast set Thy seal upon my inmost being, not leaving me to my own poor and petty selfhood or to the sole empire of animal passion and desire, but calling me to be an heir of Thine eternal Kingdom. I bless Thee for that knocking at my heart’s door that warns me of Thy waiting presence. I bless Thee for Thy hand upon my life, and for the sure knowledge that, however I may falter and fail, yet underneath are Thine everlasting arms.
O Thou who alone knowest what lies before me this day, grant that in every hour of it I may stay close to Thee. Let me be in the world, yet not of it. Let me use this world without abusing it. If I buy, let me be as though I possessed not. If I have nothing, let me be as possessing all things. Let me to-day embark on no undertaking that is not in line with Thy will for my life, nor shrink from any sacrifice which Thy will may demand. Suggest, direct, control every movement of my mind; for my Lord Christ’s sake. Amen.
—John Baillie (1886-1960), A Diary of Private Prayer (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1949), 21
“The glory of the gospel is that God has declared Christians to be rightly related to him in spite of their sin. But our greatest temptation and mistake is to try to smuggle character into his work of grace. How easily we fall into the trap of assuming that we can only remain justified so long as there are grounds in our character for justification. But Paul’s teaching is that nothing we do ever contributes to our justification.”
–Sinclair Ferguson, Know Your Christian Life (InterVarsity Press, 1981), 73
From the Heidelberg Catechism (1563):
What is your only comfort in life and in death?
ANSWER:That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and death—to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to work for him.
What must you know to live and die in the joy of this comfort?
Three things: first, how great my sin and misery are; second, how I am set free from all my sins and misery; third, how I am to thank God for such a deliverance.
“Christian worship is the full and authentic expression of our hearts towards God in response to the full and authentic revelation of God’s heart towards us in His word.”
(On this all-important paradigm of Revelation and Response, see Worship Notes 1.5 [May 2006])
“Do not be conformed by this world; but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” Romans 12:2
“His actual grammar here is rather striking, isn’t it? Here is a statement, ‘be transformed by the renewal of your minds,’ in the present tense, in the imperative mood–it’s something to do– and yet it’s in the passive voice. And here he brings us to one of the marvels of grace that enables us rightly to worship God: that we are engaged and involved in the life of sanctification; and yet the life of sanctification is a process by which we are giving ourselves over to be sanctified.”
–Sinclair Ferguson, “True Spirituality, True Worship” message given at Covenant College 9/17/2004