When I hear an essentially law-driven sermon, asking the law to do what only the grace of Jesus Christ can accomplish, I am immediately concerned about the preacher. I wonder about his view of himself, because if you have any self-consciousness about your own weakness and sin, you find little hope and comfort for yourself and your hearers in that kind of sermon.
HT: Reformed Quotes
No matter what is or isn’t working in my ministry, no matter what difficulties or battles I am facing, the expansive glory of God gives me reason to get up in the morning and do what I have been gifted and called to do with enthusiasm, courage, and confidence. My joy isn’t handcuffed to the surrounding circumstances or relationships; I don’t have to have my heart yanked wherever they go. I have reason for joy because I am a chosen child and a conscripted servant of the King of kings and Lord of lords, the great Creator, the Savior, the sovereign, the victor, the one who does reign and will reign forever. He is my Father, my Savior, and my boss. He is ever near and ever faithful. My passion for ministry is not about how I am being received; it flows out of the reality that I have been received by him. My enthusiasm is not because people like me, but because he has accepted and sent me. My passion is not the result of my ministry being as glorious as I thought it could be, but because he is eternally and unchangeably glorious. So, I preach, teach, counsel, lead, and serve with a gospel passion that inspires and ignites the same in the people around me.
The fact of the matter is that we will never figure God out. He will never do all the things that we were expecting. He will never stay on our agenda page. He will never be comfortably predictable. If we rest in God’s care only when we understand just what He’s doing, there will be many times and places where we won’t rest in his care. The danger in all of this is this: we simply do not run for help to someone whom we have come to distrust. It is in the moments of hardship when what God is doing doesn’t make any sense that it is all the more important to preach to ourselves the gospel of His unshakable, unrelenting, ever-present care. He is actively caring for you and me even in those moments when we don’t understand his care and can’t figure out what he is doing.
Original emphasis, Paul David Tripp, Dangerous Calling (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012), 217.
We must be committed to do anything we can to be that generation that commends God’s works, his glory, to the next generation so that they may be rescued and motivated by a glory bigger than the typical catalog of glories they would choose for themselves.
If you and I have been guaranteed a place in eternity with our Saviour, then we also have been guaranteed all the grace we need along the way. The promise of future grace always carries with it the promise of present grace. If the end of my story is secure, it means God cannot abandon or lose me along the way.
Theology is vitally important, but whatever awe of theology we have is dangerous if it doesn’t produce in us a practical awe of God.
In the face of his glory I am left naked with no glory whatsoever to hold before myself or anyone else. As long as I am comparing myself to others, I can always find someone whose existence seems to be an argument for how righteous I am. But if I compare the filthy rags of my righteousness to the pure and forever unstained linen of God’s righteousness, I want to run and hide in heartbreaking shame.