Tag Archives: Sinclair Ferguson

“Christmas is not coming. It has come.” by Sinclair Ferguson

“When I was a child, Christmas seemed to die every year by bedtime on December 25th. The anticipation seemed long; the realization all too brief. I even tried wrapping up my presents again and opening them the following day. But my childhood disappointment could not be relieved. It was gone for another whole year.

I know now why that was true for me, as it is for every child. It was because the true meaning of Christmas eluded me. In that sense Christmas never did really ‘happen.’ I was looking in the wrong direction for the wrong things instead of in the right direction for Jesus.

The truth is, Christmas is not coming. It has come. The Word already has been made flesh. He already has lived, bled, died, and risen again for us. Now all that remains is to receive Him. For Jesus Christ Himself is the meaning of Christmas.

Have you received Christ? One of the ways you will know that you have is this: you will begin to call God ‘Heavenly Father.’

Why not put this book aside, and do that now?

Lord God,

You sent Your Son from the heights of heaven to the depths of earth for us.

I have begun to see the ugliness of my sin in the light of His beauty.

I know I deserve only Your judgment.

Lord, I want Jesus the Lamb of God to be the Saviour who takes away my sins. I ask you to forgive me, and to enable me to turn away from sin and begin to live for Him.

Thank you, Lord, for Your promise that if I seek You I will find You, and if I knock the door will be opened, no matter how sinful I have been.

Father, I confess now that I have turned from You in my sin. I need forgiveness and new life from Your Son. Help me to receive Him and to discover what it means to be forgiven and to become one of Your own children.

I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

–Sinclair Ferguson, Child in the Manger: The True Meaning of Christmas (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 2015), 41-42.

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“A deeper lineage than our genes” by Sinclair Ferguson

“What are our privileges? They are truly amazing:

“For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest… But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering” (Heb. 12:18, 22, ESV).

In the days of promises and shadows, believers came to an assembly convened at a mountain engulfed with a sense of awful judgment. By contrast, in the full blaze of light that has appeared in Christ, we have come to the abiding city of God, angels in festal gathering, the assembly of Christ, and the spirits of departed believers.

Indeed, we have come to God Himself, not with Moses, but to Jesus. We have received the new covenant in His shed blood.

This is the assembly in which we gather for worship to hear the voice of Christ in His Word, to lift our voices under His choral direction in praise, to share His trust in His Father, and to gather around Him as His brothers and sisters (cf. Heb. 2:10–13).

Consequently, this is also our family—composed of the redeemed from among all mankind and the elect among the angelic host. This is the kingdom in which our names are enrolled as citizens (12:23).

It is a kingdom, unlike all the kingdoms and empires of this world, that can- not be shaken (12:27–28). What riches are ours in these three dimensions of the life of grace!

An assembly, a family, a kingdom! And they are already ours in Christ! Here and now our lives are punctuated by special visiting rights to heaven’s glory as we assemble with our fellow believers.

We are brothers and sisters together—for Christ’s blood creates a deeper lineage than our genes. Thus, we have the full rights of family members and citizens in the city of God. No wonder we should be grateful (12:28)!”

–Sinclair Ferguson, In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life (Orlando: Reformation Trust, 2007), 156-157.

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“Jesus is our sanctification” by Sinclair Ferguson

“In the New Testament, Jesus is presented as the ‘author,’ ‘captain’ or ‘pioneer’ of salvation (Acts 3:15; 5:31; Hebrews 2:10; 12:2). The word archegos (author) is notoriously difficult to translate into English. In the case of Jesus (especially in the context of Hebrews) it seems to convey the twin notions of primacy and origin.

Jesus is the ‘author’ of our sanctification, in the sense that He creates it for us, but He is also its ‘pioneer’ because He does so out of His own incarnate life, death and resurrection.

He is the ‘pioneer’ of our salvation, because as the Hero of Faith (to be distinguished from the long list of those heroes who bear witness to Him, Hebrews 12:1), He has endured the cross, despising its shame and the opposition of sinners, and is now seated at God’s right hand.

He is the first and only fully sanctified person. He has climbed God’s holy hill with clean hands and a pure heart (Psalm 24:3-6). It is as the ‘Lead Climber’ that He gives the sanctification He has won to others (Acts 5:31).

As ‘pioneer,’ Jesus has Himself gone ahead of us to open up the way to the Father. By doing so, He brings to the Father in similar obedience all those who are ‘roped’ to Him by grace and faith.

Christ is our sanctification. In Him it has first come to its fulfillment and consummation. He not only died for us to remove the penalty of our sin by taking it himself; He has lived, died, risen again and been exalted in order to sanctify our human nature in Himself for our sake.

This is the significance of His words shortly before the cross, ‘Sanctify [the disciples] by the truth… As You sent Me into the world. For them I sanctify Myself, that they too may be truly sanctified’ (John 17:17-19).”

–Sinclair Ferguson, Christian Spirituality: Five Views of Sanctification, Ed. Donald Alexander, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 49.

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“God’s sovereign love” by Sinclair Ferguson

“Too few know what it is to receive forgiveness by bowing before God’s sovereign love and drinking from the infinite ocean of grace.”

–Sinclair Ferguson, John Owen on the Christian Life (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1987), 107.

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“Service, not self-advancement” by Sinclair B. Ferguson

“When we exercise the gifts which Christ has given us we are really saying to our fellow Christians and others: ‘See how much the Lord Jesus Christ loves you and cares for you; He has sent me to serve you in this way; He is using my hands and feet, my lips and ears, to show His love.’

It is a tragic mistake if we think that the message is: ‘See what a superb Christian I am; see the wonderful gifts I have.’ In the Upper Room, Jesus’ disciples were arguing with one another about which one of them was the greatest and had the best gifts (how like the Corinthians!).

By contrast, Jesus was thinking: How can I show these disciples that gifts are not for ourselves but for others? The outcome, of course, was the washing of the disciples’ feet. Gifts are for service, not self-advancement.

We belong to each other (Rom. 12:5); we need each other to reflect the fullness of the love of Christ (1 Cor. 12:21). We must therefore learn to see our gifts as instruments by which we can love and serve others…

We live in Christian fellowship so that we may serve each other with our gifts and thus promote true spiritual growth in the body of Christ.”

–Sinclair B. Ferguson, Grow in Grace (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1989), 69.


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“Will we so resolve?” by Sinclair Ferguson

“Here are twenty resolutions on the use of the tongue to which the teaching of the letter of James gives rise:

1) Resolved: To ask God for wisdom to speak and to do so with a single mind.
‘If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him… in faith with no doubting… For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything… he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways’ (James 1:5–8).

2) Resolved: To boast only in my exaltation in Christ or my humiliation in the world.
‘Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away’ (James 1:9–10).

3) Resolved: To set a watch over my mouth.
‘Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one’ (James 1:13).

4) Resolved: To be constantly quick to hear, slow to speak.
‘Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger’ (James 1:19).

5) Resolved: To learn the gospel way of speaking to the poor and the rich.
‘My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ while you say to the poor man, ‘You stand over there,’ or, ‘Sit down at my feet,’ have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?’ (James 2:1–4).

6) Resolved: To speak in the consciousness of the final judgment.
‘So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty’ (James 2:12).

7) Resolved: To never stand on anyone’s face with words that demean, despise, or cause despair.
‘If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?’ (James 2:15–16).

8) Resolved: To never claim a reality I do not experience.
‘If you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth’ (James 3:14).

9) Resolved: To resist quarrelsome words as marks of a bad heart.
‘What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?’ (James 4:1).

10) Resolved: To never speak evil of another.
‘Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge’ (James 4:11).

11) Resolved: To never boast in what I will accomplish.
‘Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes’ (James 4:13).

12) Resolved: To always speak as one who is subject to the providences of God.
‘Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that’’ (James 4:15).

13) Resolved: To never grumble, knowing that the Judge is at the door.
‘Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door’ (James 5:9).

14) Resolved: To never allow anything but total integrity in my speech.
‘But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation’ (James 5:12).

15) Resolved: To speak to God in prayer whenever I suffer.
‘Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray’ (James 5:13).

16) Resolved: To sing praises to God whenever I am cheerful.
‘Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise’ (James 5:13).

17) Resolved: To ask for the prayers of others when I am sick.
‘Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord’ (James 5:14).

18) Resolved: To confess it whenever I have failed.
‘Therefore, confess your sins to one another’ (James 5:16).

19) Resolved: To pray for one another when I am together with others in need.
‘Pray for one another, that you may be healed’ (James 5:16).

20) Resolved: To speak words of restoration when I see another wander.
‘My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins’ (James 5:19–20).

Will we so resolve?”

–Sinclair Ferguson, “The Bit, the Bridle, and the Blessing: An Exposition of James 3:1-12,” in The Power of Words and the Wonder of God, Eds. John Piper and Justin Taylor (Wheaton: Crossway, 2009), 56-59.

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“The great mystery of the Trinity” by Sinclair B. Ferguson

“In the upper room on the night of the Passover, Jesus decided that the great mystery of the Trinity was the teaching His disciples most needed to hear (cf. John 13-17). Why was this truth so important? Because Jesus wanted His disciples, and us, to come to know God, in all the riches and fullness of His being.

He wanted us to know God in His eternal glory and to recognize how great He is; but He also wanted us to see that the God whose being we cannot comprehend is also the God who is a Father who loves us, a Son who came to die for us, a Spirit who brings us into God’s heart and who brings God into our hearts.

On that night in which He was betrayed, Jesus preached the doctrine of the Trinity to His disciples because He knew that in the last analysis, only the people who know their God can stand firm in days of trial.

As you study the biblical teaching on God’s character and work, remember that He is not a distant God, but One whose inner being was revealed by Jesus in the most critical hours of His life on earth.

And pray that this Three Personed God will reveal Himself more fully to you through Scripture, that you may come to know Him — in the knowledge that is eternal life (John 17:3). Search for this knowledge with all your heart.”

–Sinclair B. Ferguson, A Heart For God (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1987), 22-23.

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