Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Joy of Fearing God - by Jerry Bridges

"...a profound sense of awe toward God is undoubtedly the dominant element in the attitude or set of emotions that the Bible calls "the fear of God." (pg. 18)

"If we make it a practice to think great thoughts about God..., we will develop a sustained attitude of the fear of God." (pg. 30)

"We cannot separate trust in God from the fear of God. We will trust Him only to the extent that we genuinely stand in awe of Him." (pg. 48)

"So it is with us: Our reaction to God's majestic holiness is a realization of our own insignificance; our response to His ethical holiness is an awareness of our sinfulness and impurity." (pg. 71)

"It is only in Christ and His work that we see God's justice reconciled with mercy, His law reconciled with grace, His holiness with His love, and His power with His compassion." (pg. 91)

"This is when we really start to enjoy fearing God: when we realize in the depth of our being that we justly deserve the wrath of God, then see that wrath poured out on Jesus instead of on ourselves. We're both awed at His wrath and astonished at His love." (pg. 104)

"The fear of God flows from...a sound impression that the word of God makes on our souls; for without an impress of the Word, there is no fear of God." [John Bunyan] (pg. 127)

"We do not, to use a popular expression, 'make Christ Lord of our lives.' He is Lord. Our duty is to acknowledge His Lordship and submit to His authority." (pg. 137ff)

"Since God knows our every thought in exact detail, the person who fears God seeks to control his or her thought life in the same way we regulate our conduct." (pg. 181)

"Unfortunately our degree of trust in God often lies more in our ability to foresee a way in which He might answer our prayers than in our belief in His power. If we can't see how He can answer, we tend to doubt that He will answer." (pg. 204)

"If we're to glorify God in the way we live, we must make God's glory our primary aim. All other goals in life, both temporal and spiritual, must be secondary." (pg. 214)

"The only fruit of character that brings glory and praise to God is that which comes through Jesus Christ as we look to Him to work in our lives and enable us to glorify Him." (pg. 223)

"This is the essence of worship: Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name." (pg. 235)

"The truth is, though, we cannot glorify God - either by our lives or by worship - unless we are enjoying Him." (pg. 253)

"...You grow in the fear of the Lord by gazing upon the beauty of His attributes and by seeking an ever-deepening relationship with Him." (pg. 255)

Jerry Bridges, The Joy of Fearing God (Colorado Springs, CO: WaterBrook Press, 1997)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Christ & Culture Revisited - by D. A. Carson

"Worldwide, people in the 'liberal Christian' heritage make up only a tiny percentage of those who call themselves 'Christians.' Apparently, then, liberal Christianity and Gnostic Christianity have this in common: for a while, both seemed to sweep everything in front of them, such that if orthodoxy is measured by popularity rather than by some measure of commitment to conform to God's self-disclosure in Scripture and in his Son, they constituted the new orthodoxy. And both will be left on the ash pit of history." (pg. 34)

"...the two terms 'Christ' and 'culture' cannot be set absolutely over against each other, not only because Christians constitute part of the culture, but also because all authority is given to Christ in heaven and on earth, so all culture is subsumed under his reign." (pg. 63)

"Reacting against the condescension intrinsic to the colonial past, cultural anthropologists have for decades attempted to describe cultures in entirely neutral, purely descriptive, terms. Sometimes this passion for neutrality, for objective description without moral judgment, becomes, itself, a moral judgment: the only 'good' cultural anthropology is the sort that refuses to make any moral judgments." (pg. 71)

"...the Christian heritage of meanings and values turns on disclosure from God that makes us look at everything differently. In the much-quoted words of C. S. Lewis, 'I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.' That is why consideration of Christ and culture promises to be fruitful and revealing: it is a consideration of a different way of seeing, of a different vision, even when we are looking at the same thing." (pg. 86ff)

"...a Christian worldview, a Christian theological vision, is more than a system of beliefs (though it is never less): it also includes the volition that self-consciously thinks and acts in line with such beliefs." (pg. 96)

"In much of the Western world, however, faith is not at all tied to the truthfulness or reliability of its object. Faith is little more than personal, subjective, religious preference. Many people think that faith is utterly nonfalsifiable, and therefore competing faiths cannot usefully or realistically be discussed." (pg. 110)

"...arguing for morality from the assumption of Deism is a far cry from upholding Christianity. Deism has no power to check the advances of secularization, for it is religion without either robust intellectual defense or genuine power. Deism is not a halfway house between secularism and Christianity; it is in fact a form of secularism." (pg. 118)

"Tensions between Christ and culture are unavoidable because tensions between democracy and religion are unavoidable." (pg. 128)

"The irony, then, is that as citizens espouse increasingly diverse visions of what it means to be free, governments (including the courts) step in to resolve the divergences and end up making people less free." (pg. 137)

"Religious pluralism cannot be an ultimate good, for it will not be found in the new heaven and the new earth, toward which we press; but if in this broken world it curbs violence and coercion, if it promotes relative freedom among those who (whether they recognize it or not) bear God's image, then we thank God for the gifts of common grace and for the wisdom of the Master who insisted on some kind of distinction, no matter how complex and how little absolute, between the sphere of Caesar and the sphere of God." (pg. 193)

"It is unwise to speak of 'redeeming culture': if we lose the unique significance bound up with the redemption secured by Christ in his death and resurrection, we lose the ongoing tension between Christ and culture that must subsist until the end. Yet it is possible so to focus on the rescue and regeneration of individuals that we fail to see the temporally good things we can do to improve and even transform some social structures." (pg. 217ff)

"To a generation that scrambles for the top and then looks around and asks, 'Is this all there is?' a biblical vision that focuses on Christ and his cross, on the links between this world and the next, on bold Christian living and faithful witness, and on a large-scale vision that makes the world our parish while loving the neighbor next door, raises our eyes above ourselves, and delights in the glory of God." (pg. 228)

D. A. Carson, Christ & Culture Revisited (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2008)