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
If our starting place with God is the radical grace extended through Jesus, then the spiritual disciplines are invitations, not obligations—ways of being with God, not appeasing Him.
—Mike Cosper, Recapturing the Wonder: Transcendent Faith in a Disenchanted World, 24
Sacred times and places are superseded by the eschatological public activity of those who at all times and in all places stand ‘before the face of Christ’ and from this position before God make the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
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
Day by day, dear Lord, of Thee three things I pray:
to see thee more clearly,
love thee more dearly,
follow thee more nearly,
day by day.
—Richard, Bishop of Chichester, 1253
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)