Tag Archives: Theology

“A pastor who has been mastered by the unconditional grace of God” by Sinclair Ferguson

“Beloved, men who have only a conditional offer of the gospel, will have only a conditional gospel.

The man who has only a conditional gospel knows only conditional grace.

And the man who knows only conditional grace knows only a conditional God.

And the man who has only a conditional God will have a conditional ministry to his fellow men.

And at end of the day, he will only be able to give his heart, and his life, and his time, and his devotion to his people… on condition.

And he will love and master the truth of the great doctrines of grace, but until grace in God Himself masters him, the grace that has mastered him will never flow from him to his people.

And he will become a Jonah in the 20th century, sitting under his tree with a heart that is shut up against sinners in need of grace, because he thinks of God in conditional terms.

And that, you see, was the blight upon the ministry in the Church of Scotland of those days, men who were thoroughly Reformed in their confessional subscription, but whose bowels, whose hearts, were closed up to God’s people and to the lost in all the nations.

Wasn’t it Alexander Whyte of Freesen Georges that used to say there was such a thing as sanctification by vinegar that makes men accurate and hard? And that’s what they were.

When your people come and have been broken by sin, and have been tempted by Satan, and are ashamed to confess the awful mess they have made of their life, it is not a Calvinistic pastor who has been sanctified by vinegar that they need.

It is a pastor who has been mastered by the unconditional grace of God, from whom ironclad orthodoxy has been torn away, and the whole armor of a gracious God has been placed upon his soul — the armor of One who would not break the bruised reed or quench the dimly burning wick: the God of free grace.

It’s the pastor who will say, ‘Simon, Simon, Satan has demanded to have you, but I have prayed for you; and when you are converted, strengthen the brethren.’

You see, my friends, as we think together in these days about a godly pastor… What is a godly pastor?

A godly pastor is a pastor who is like God, who has a heart of free grace running after sinners.

The godly pastor is the one who sees the prodigal returning, and runs and falls on his neck and weeps and kisses him; and says, ‘This my son was dead; he was lost and now he is alive and found.’

So that we discover, even in the stretching of our minds over this Marrow Controversy, that the first pastoral lesson we learn is really a question:

What kind of pastor am I to my people? Am I like the Father? Or am I like the elder brother, who would not go in?

–Sinclair B. Ferguson, “The Marrow Controversy Lecture #1: Historical Details,” p. 13. Consider taking a few minutes to listen to this powerful exhortation from Dr. Ferguson, that I trust will serve your soul.

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“Why would we not celebrate God for His greatest greatness?” by Petrus Van Mastricht

“The infinite greatness of God supplies an argument for us to make Him great with infinite praises (Luke 1:46).

For He is (1) great, and therefore, greatly to be praised.

Indeed, He is (2) most great, infinitely great: ‘and His greatness is unsearchable.’

And also (3) He is the only One who is such (Isa. 40:12; 15, 17).

Indeed, (4) great in so many ways; great, in fact, in all ways: in His essence, His presence, His duration, His wisdom, His strength and power, His grace and mercy (Ps. 147:5).

And in this greatness He is (5) above the gods, whether earthly, such as kings and magistrates, or heavenly (at lease in the opinion of the pagans), the false gods; and above all gods (2 Chron. 2:5; Ps. 135:5).

For if, then we celebrate the sun for its great greatness, and the heavens for their greater greatness, why would we not celebrate God for His greatest greatness, for His infinite greatness?

Let us therefore make Him great (1) in our heart (Ps. 103:1; Luke 1:46), by always thinking of Him great things, indeed the greatest of things, for He is the One who is infinitely greater than all our thoughts (Eph. 3:20); by esteeming as great, indeed, as most great, both Him and all that is His– His presence, favor, promises, worship– in such a way that we approach Him and all things of His with an infinite (that is, an insatiable) appetite and desire (Ps. 84:1-2).

(2) In our mouth, that with a great voice, in the presence of others, we celebrate Him who is infinitely great (Ps. 103:8), indeed that we call others to celebrate Him with us (Ps. 103:20-22).

Finally, (3) in our work, that we do it (a) with profound reverence for the infinite deity, and with fear of offending Him, even in the least things, because He is the most great King (Mal. 1:14; Deut. 10:17; Neh. 1:5; Dan. 9:4). (b) By a careful zeal for obeying and pleasing Him (2 Cor. 5:9). (c) By an infinite desire or concern for possessing and enjoying Him (Ps. 73:25).”

–Petrus Van Mastricht, Theoretical-Practical Theology: Faith in the Triune God, Volume 2, Trans. Todd Rester, Ed. Joel Beeke (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage, 2019), 2: 190.

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Filed under Bible, Christian Theology, Communion with God, God's Excellencies, Jesus Christ, Petrus Van Mastricht, Preaching, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel, Worship

“God loves a cheerful preacher” by Lewis Allen

“God loves a cheerful preacher. Our ever-blessed, ever-joyful God wants to be proclaimed by those who are brimful of the joy of His grace in Christ brings.

He calls us to delight in Him and, out of that joy, to call others to the feast. Preacher and sermon must be filled with gospel joy.

‘With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation’ (Isaiah 12:3). Preachers who taste, teach, and share the joy of the gospel are truly fulfilling their calling as they serve those who listen.”

–Lewis Allen, The Preacher’s Catechism (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2018), 31.

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“Self-pity is as much out of place in Christian ministry as self-promotion is” by Lewis Allen

“Worship the Lord when no one notices you and when the work is unexciting. Remember in those times that God loves you. He sees you and honors all your labors.

Remember that in due season you will receive your reward if you don’t give up (Galatians 6:9).

Self-pity is as much out of place in Christian ministry as self-promotion is. Worship Him because of who He is, the Lord of heaven and earth.

You’re preaching for God. You’re preaching because He has been pleased to call and equip you to preach, and He is pleased as you preach.”

–Lewis Allen, The Preacher’s Catechism (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2018), 49.

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“He had a body of Divinity in his head, and the power of it upon his heart” by John Reeve

“He had a body of Divinity in his head, and the power of it upon his heart.”

–John Reeve, as quoted in The Works of Thomas Brooks, Volume 1, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1866/2001), xxxvi. Thomas Brooks died at age 72 on September 27, 1680. In his funeral sermon, John Reeve said these words about this “fine old man” and this “faithful minister of Christ.”

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“These four things” by Francis Turretin

“These four things in the highest manner commend the love of God towards us:

(1) the majesty of the Lover;

(2) the poverty and unworthiness of the loved;

(3) the worth of Him in whom we are loved;

(4) the multitude and excellence of the gifts which flow out from that love to us.”

–Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology (ed. James T. Dennison Jr.; trans. George Musgrave Giger; vol. 1; Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1992–1997), 1: 242. (3.20.6)

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“Christ is the content of Christianity” by Herman Bavinck

“In Christianity, Christ occupies a very different place than Buddha, Zarathustra, and Muhammad do in their respective religions. Christ is not the teacher, not the founder, but the content of Christianity.”

–Herman Bavinck, Ed. John Bolt and trans. John Vriend, Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 3: Sin and Salvation in Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006), 3: 284.

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