The State of the Nation Depends upon the State of the Church

If the Church languishes, the State cannot be in health; and if the State rebels against its Lord and King, the Church cannot enjoy His  favor. If the Holy Spirit is withdrawn from the Church, He is not present in the State; and if He, the only ‘Lord, the Giver of Life,’ be absent, then all order is impossible, and the elements of society lapse backward to primeval night and chaos … I charge you, citizens of the United States, afloat on your wide sea of politics, there is another King, one Jesus: the safety of the State can be secured only in the way of humble and whole-souled loyalty to His person and of obedience to His law.

A.A. Hodge (1823-1886)

How Does the Lord Jesus Work?

How does the Lord Jesus work? He works by His truth. He works by his love. He works by His Holy Spirit. Now, how can a truth operate within an individual if the truth is not believed? Unbelief blocks the advance of the power of God in a person. The same is true of His love. How can His love bless and cherish if it’s not trusted? You may have someone who loves you profoundly and who does everything for you. But if you look with suspicion at every act he does, that love can never really become operative for you. Suspicion of love is the end of loves working.

Donald Grey Barnhouse, Mark: The Servant Gospel (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1988), 60.

We Don’t Realize How Desperately We Need Christ

We are not just dependent on Him [Christ]; we are desperately dependent on him. Because we so often equate Christlike character with ordinary morality, we fail to realize how impossible it is for us to attain any degree of conformity to Christ by ourselves. But if we take seriously the long list of Christlike character traits we are to put on, we see how impossible it is to grow in Christlikeness apart from the sanctifying influence and power of the Spirit in our lives.

Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1991), 115.

Our Only Hope of Life in the Presence of a Holy and Loving God

Truly to grasp that the eternal God, our Maker and Judge, has out of inexpressible grace sent his Son to die the odious death of an abominated criminal in order that we might be forgiven and reconciled to him; that this wise plan was effected by sinful leaders who thought they were controlling events and who were operating out of selfish expediency, while in fact God was bringing about his own good, redemptive purposes; that our only hope of life in the presence of this holy and loving God lies in casting ourselves without reserve on his mercy, receiving in faith the gift of forgiveness purchased at inestimable cost — none of this is possible apart from the work of the Spirit.

D. A. Carson, The Cross and Christian Ministry (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Baker Books, 2003), 66.

HT: Of First Importance