Thursday, April 24, 2008

On affections

As I read through Bradstreet and Owen, I notice a distinct emotional affection toward the Lord that I find missing in a lot of academic treatises on doctrine. However, if anything, I have determined that right doctrine informs right affections.

I continue to remark how overcoming sin is not an end in itself or the only goal of Christianity. It is one goal of many, but an important one. I lay in bed this morning reflecting on the order and necessity of all of the various parts of the relationship we have with God.

Regeneration precedes faith.
Faith is the sum and substance of our salvation.
Faith without works is dead.
Sin stands in direct opposition to good works. Where there is sin, how can we walk in the good works prepared for us to do before the foundation of the world?
True good works (that we should be walking in) come out of a love for God. Otherwise, they are selfish. No one can serve two masters, after all.

There will be people who deny any effort in pursuing good works. There will be people who pursue good works for pursuit's sake. Both of these are wrong, I believe.

The root of the tree that bears good fruit will find itself deeply and firmly holding fast to a love for God. The fruit will include things like thankfulness and praise to God borne out of a heart of deep admiration, great fear and love for Him.

So, how does all of this happen you may ask? When WE seek after the Lord, HE puts His love into our hearts. We cannot sit and conjure up that love, as if we had the power to do this on our own. No, we must submit ourselves to Him first. I think sometimes we hesitate to take the first step because we doubt God and His promises. We don't see how we could get ourselves to the second, third, fourth and any steps thereafter... Because, quite honestly, we cannot do it, so of course charting a course that far ahead is futile. But we must know who God is in order to know what to trust. So, right doctrine is absolutely necessary. That right doctrine informs us that when we submit to Him, He will fill our hearts with His love and power to obey. He fills our hearts with the DESIRE to obey.

After considering and experiencing all of this, it saddens me to see so many Christians selling their God short.


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