In Christ Alone

We see that our whole salvation and all its parts are comprehended in Christ (Acts 4:12). We should therefore take care not to derive the least portion of it from anywhere else. If we seek salvation, we are taught by the very name of Jesus that it is ‘of Him’ (1 Cor 1.13). If we seek any other gifts of the Spirit, they will be found in His anointing. If we seek strength, it lies in His dominion; if purity, in His conception; if gentleness, it appears in His birth. For by His birth He was made like us in all respects (Heb 2:17) that He might learn to feel our pain (Heb 5:2). If we seek redemption, it lies in His passion; if acquittal, in His condemnation; if remission of the curse, in His cross (Gal 3:13); if satisfaction, in His sacrifice; if purification, in His blood; if reconciliation, in His descent into hell; if mortification of the flesh, in His tomb; if newness of life, in His resurrection; if immortality, in the same; if inheritance of the Heavenly Kingdom, in His entrance into heaven; if protection, if security, if abundant supply of all blessings, in His Kingdom; if untroubled expectation of judgement, in the power given to Him to judge. In short, since rich store of every kind of good abounds in Him, let us drink our fill from this fountain and from no other.

—John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion 2.16.19

Before His Face

Sacred times and places are superseded by the eschatological public activity of those who at all times and in all places stand ‘before the face of Christ’ and from this position before God make the everyday round of so-called secular life into the arena of the unlimited and unceasing glorification of the divine will. At this point the doctrines of worship and Christian ‘ethics’ converge.

—Ernst Käsemann, “Worship and Everyday Life: A Note on Romans 12,” 191New Testament Questions of Today

Page 191

A Prayer for Year’s End

O Love beyond Compare,
Thou art good when Thou givest,
when Thou takest away,
when the sun shines upon me,
when night gathers over me.
Thou hast loved me before the foundation of the world,
and in love didst redeem my soul;
Thou dost love me still,
in spite of my hard heart, ingratitude, distrust.

Thy goodness has been with me another year,
leading me through a twisting wilderness,
in retreat helping me to advance,
when beaten back making sure headway.

Thy goodness will be with me in the year ahead;
I hoist sail and draw up anchor,
With Thee as the blessed pilot of my future as of my past.

I bless thee that thou hast veiled my eyes to the waters ahead.
If thou hast appointed storms of tribulation,
Thou wilt be with me in them;
If I have to pass through tempests of persecution and temptation,
I shall not drown;
If I am to die,
I shall see Thy face the sooner;
If a painful end is to be my lot,
grant me grace that my faith fail not;
If I am to be cast aside from the service I love,
I can make no stipulation;
Only glorify Thyself in me whether in comfort or trial,
as a chosen vessel meet always for Thy use.

—from The Valley of Vision

Prayer for the New Year

Length of days does not profit me except the days are passed
in Thy presence,
in Thy service,
to Thy glory.

Give me a grace that
precedes,
follows,
guides,
sustains,
sanctifies,
aids every hour,
that I may not be one moment apart from Thee,
but may rely on Thy Spirit
to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith;
and give me a desire
to show forth Thy praise,
testify Thy love,
advance Thy kingdom.

I launch my boat on the unknown waters of this year,
with Thee, O Father, as my harbour;
Thee, O Son, at my helm;
Thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.

Give me Thy grace to sanctify me,
Thy comforts to cheer,
Thy wisdom to teach,
Thy right hand to guide,
Thy presence to stabilize.

—from  The Valley of Vision

For His Glory

My friends, we need to learn a little of a jealous concern for the glory of God, because this is what puts worship in its true context. And it’s so easy to be worshiping idols. Let me put one illustration of that into the whole context of worship. I overheard someone, some time ago now, coming out of a church service and saying to someone who was standing nearby, “Well, I didn’t get a thing out of that worship. Didn’t do anything for me!” And I heard the voice of a kindly and wise pastor saying, “I always thought that what mattered about worship was what God got out of it, not you and me.”And when we begin to have the test of worship what I get out of it, beloved, we are in the world of idol worship, and the idol is ourselves.

O for a passion for the glory of God!

—Eric Alexander, “Worship God! (Rev. 19:10)” (sermon)