Commentaries

The Nature of Worldly Corruption

“…having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”

– 2 Peter 1:4

 

As a result of sin and the fall, man no longer lives the life that he have been living before; he has become alienated from God and the godly way of life, and the world in which he lives is likewise in a state of corruption. In other words, the world in which we live is a world that is inimical to our best and truest and highest interests; the world is for ever trying to come between us and God. If we listen to the world, as we all do by nature, it makes us not only think less and less of God, but even makes us feel that God is against us. It may even create an enmity against God, and a hatred of God within us. It gives us a positive liking and longing for the things that are hurtful to us, the things that debase us, the things that lower us, the things that drag us further and further away from God. Such is the corruption that is in the world through lust. The characteristic of man’s natural life is that its is a life lived according to desire. Man by nature does not ask, ‘Is it good, is this god-like, is this pure, is this clean, is this elevating, is this spiritual?’ He asks, ‘Do I like it?’ He is governed by his desires, by that which pleases him, and by that which panders to his lower nature. That is what Peter means by corruption – it is the corruption that results from lust or inordinate desire.

– D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Expository Sermons on 2 Peter, pp. 16-17.

Not Just Any Ol’ Prayer

By praying the Lord’s Prayer we are being made into a people whose journey is a sign to the world that God has not abandoned the world to its own devices but is present as a people on the move, a people moving out from their old ways and means, ordinary people who have been given the extraordinary authority to be part of the divine assault upon the realm of evil as those who “cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them” (Mark 6:13).

– Stanley Hauerwas & William Willimon, Lord, Teach Us, p. 14.

How We Can Learn to Forgive Others

If we know not what we ourselves merit at God’s hands, we shall be ready to think much of any injuries which we receive from others; but if once we become sensible of the greatness of our debt to God, and of the obligations he has laid us under by the free offers of his mercy, we shall feel no difficulty in exercising forbearance and forgiveness. Resentment cannot long dwell in the bosom of one who has tasted redeeming love. Let it then be our study to obtain a thorough knowledge of our own depravity, and to imitate the longsuffering, which we ourselves so richly experience.

 – Charles Simeon, Horae Homileticae: Matthew,p. 483.

Christianity without the Holy Spirit

Without the Holy Spirit, God is distant, Christ is in the past, the Gospel is a dead letter, the Church is simply an organization, authority is domination, mission is propaganda, worship is the summoning of spirits, and Christian action is the morality of slaves.

– Ignatius Hakim (Patriarch of Antioch), quoted in What Christians Ought to Believe by Michael Bird, pp. 182-183.

What It Means to Confess Jesus as Lord

A bit wordy, but worth it.

For us today…, “The term ‘Lord’ has become one of the most lifeless words in the Christian vocabulary.” When the title “Lord” lost its reverence, it also lost its relevance and was reduced to something like “a spiritually meaningful religious leader.” That is such a travesty because adoration of Jesus as Lord is neither an empty confession nor a vague religious platitude. More likely, as Kennedy himself adds, “To enter into its meaning and to give it practical effect would be to re-create, in great measure, the atmosphere of the Apostolic Age.” I concur with Kennedy. To confess that Jesus is “Lord” is to announce that he is Lord of all. At the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow – every Christian, every Jew, every Muslim, every Hindu, and every atheist – and they will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. I don’t know whether you’ve thought about it, but this is deeply offensive and disturbing stuff to postmodern sensibilities. Confession of Jesus as Lord implies that all religions are not equal. Jesus is not a leader who has his authority curtailed by politicians or sociologists telling him which areas of life he’s allowed to give people advice on. Jesus is the boss of everyone’s religion, politics, economics, ethics, and everything. Jesus is not interested in trying to capture a big chunk of the religious market; to the contrary, he’s in the business of completely monopolizing it with the glory, justice, and power of heaven. And he has every right to do so; after all, as the firstborn of all creation, the cosmos is his work and inheritance. Consequently, Abraham Kuiper was right to declare that “there is not one square inch in the whole domain of human existence which Christ who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’ ” If that is the case, then true discipleship is about dutifully and faithfully living out the lordship of Jesus Christ. Discipleship means ordering our lives according to his story, symbols, teaching, and authority. Evangelism is not about asking people to try Jesus the way they might try a new decaf mochachino latte from Starbucks. It is more like declaring the victory of the Lord Jesus over sin and death, warning of the judgment to be made by the Lord Jesus over all rebellion, and inviting people to find joy and satisfaction in the life and love that come from the Lord Jesus Christ.

– Michael Bird, What Christians Ought to Believe, pp. 93-94.

Persecuted for Foolishness’ Sake?

Our home group is working our way through the Sermon on the Mount currently and of the resources I’ve used in preparation, I have to say that Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ is the most helpful. Here is the first part of his commentary on v 11:

It does not say, ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted because they are objectionable.’ It does not say, ‘Blessed are those who are having a hard time in their Christian life because they are being difficult.’ It does not say, ‘Blessed are those who are being persecuted as Christians because they are seriously lacking in wisdom and are really foolish and unwise in what they regard as being their testimony.’ It is not that. There is no need for one to elaborate thsi, but so often one has known Christian people who are suffering mild persecution entirely because of their own folly, because of something either in themselves or in what they are doing. But the promise does not apply to such people. It is for righteousness’ sake. Let us be very clear about that. We can bring endless suffering upon ourselves, we can create difficulties for ourselves which are quite unnecessary, because we have some rather foolish notion of witnessing and testifying, or because, in a spirit of self-righteousness, we really do call it down on our own heads. We are often so foolish in these matters. We are slow to realize the difference between prejudice and principle; and we are so slow to understand the difference between being offensive, in a natural sense, because o four particular makeup and temperament, and causing offense because we are righteous.

– Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, p. 112.