Around our house the night often ends with me, profound theologian that I am, quoting the good Doctor to my children:
Today is gone. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one. Every day, from here to there, funny things are everywhere.
- From Dr. Seuss, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
And I try to actually remember that this is true…and laugh as much as possible.
- A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones (Proverbs 17:22)
A little quirk happening made me think of a quote by G.K. Chesterton from The Everlasting Man:
One of my first journalistic adventures, or misadventures, concerned a comment on Grant Allen, who had written a book about the Evolution of the Idea of God. I happened to remark that it would be much more interesting if God wrote a book about the evolution of the idea of Grant Allen. And I remember that the editor objected to my remark on the ground that it was blasphemous; which naturally amused me not a little.
I was watching a debate on YouTube and saw the title of a video which began, “Does God Exist?…Dan Barker Debate” But in my first (very quick) glance, I actually thought it said, “Does Dan Barker Exist?” I think that would be a much more interesting video and topic of debate.
God is not to be discussed or debated. God is not a subject for debate, because He is Who He is. We are told that the unbeliever, of course, does not agree with that; and that is perfectly true; but that makes no difference. We believe it, and it is a part of our very case to assert it. Holding the view that we do, believing what we do about God, we cannot in any circumstances allow Him to become a subject for discussion or debate or investigation…God is always to be approached ‘with reverence and with godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire’…
We believe in the almighty, the glorious, the living God; and whatever may be true of others we must never put ourselves, or allow ourselves to be put, into a position in which we are debating about God as if He were but a philosophical proposition (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers, pp. 46-47).
Augustine similarly argued that such acts of kindness fit into a network of need. Both giver and recipient were in need before God and although God needed none of a person’s goods, God had ‘vouchsafed to be hungry in His poor. “I was hungry,” saith He, “and ye gave Me meat.”‘
-Christine Pohl, Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition, p. 20
It has been said that God symbolically wept through the eyes of the prophet Jeremiah. Surely he literally wept in the flesh in the person of Christ. Likewise God literally experienced hunger and thirst in the incarnation; yet his grace is so abounding that beyond his own temporary need during his short time as a not-yet-glorified man, he has ‘vouchsafed,’ or condescended, to call the hunger of the hungry his own hunger. Even the risen and glorified King of kings is hungry in his poor. It boggles the mind, and demands a response.
He is never hungry: “If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine” (Ps. 50:12), but he condescends to call the hunger of the hungry his own.
This intermingling of guest and host roles in the person of Jesus is part of what makes the story of hospitality so compelling for Christians. Jesus welcomes and needs welcome…
Christine Pohl, Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition, p. 17
In John 2, at the wedding at Cana, Jesus Christ is both a guest at the feast and the true Lord of the feast. In his lament over Jerusalem (Matt. 23:37-39) he is as one exiled from the place he loves, yet longing to nestle its children under his wings. The whole world is his and yet he had no place to lay his head. As the Apostle puts it: “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…” (John 1:11-12). The paradoxes of guest and host abound.
And we receive him by receiving others and give to him by giving to others:
- Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me… (Matt. 18:5).
- Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’ (Matt. 25:34-40).
- For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward (Mark 9:41).
- Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (Heb. 13:2).
Therefore, be welcomed and welcome. Receive and give.
A debtor to mercy alone, of covenant mercy I sing;
Nor fear, with Thy righteousness on, my person and off’ring to bring.
The terrors of law and of God with me can have nothing to do;
My Savior’s obedience and blood hide all my transgressions from view.
-Augustus Toplady, A Debtor to Mercy Alone
The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder.
-G.K. Chesterton, Tremendous Trifles
A couple of Shakespeare quotes come to mind; let’s rip them out of context and use them:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves…
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Last week I came across an ebook put out by the fine folks over at Monergism. It is a compilation of classic works on sanctification along with some more recent articles on the same subject. It is available for free in epub and mobi, so you can read it on your Kindle or other electronic reading device. It also has a working table of contents, which is a major plus.
Get the ebook HERE. Do it! It is books and compilations like this that make having a Kindle (or other e-reader) worth it – and amazing.
Anyhow, I cannot recommend this little compilation more highly. Some of the books it contains have been highly influential and helpful in my own life; I am looking forward to rereading a couple of things and reading others that I haven’t yet read. Here is the full table of contents:
Table of Contents
Sanctification Via Union with Christ by John Hendryx
Part I: Articles
The Expulsive Power of a New Affection by Thomas Chalmers
The Saint’s Call to Arms by William Gurnall
Preacher of Good Tidings Dr. R. B. Kuiper
The Christian in Romans 7 – Arthur W. Pink
Christ our Surety by Richard Sibbes
Growth in Grace by J. C. Ryle
Justification and Sanctification: How do they Differ? by J. C. Ryle
Sanctification in Christ by Marcus Peter Johnson
The Nature of Sanctification and Gospel Holiness by John Owen
Mortifying Sin: Bringing Your Lust to the Gospel by John Owen
Works of the Self-Righteous by Martin Luther
Sanctification by Louis Berkhof
Strength Against Sin by Horatius Bonar
Sanctification by Abraham Kuyper
Holy Raiment of One’s Own Weaving by Abraham Kuyper
Sanctification by B. B. Warfield
Definitive Sanctification by John Murray
The Moral Law as a Rule of Obedience by Samuel Bolton
True Christian Freedom by Samuel Bolton
Sanctification by Thomas Watson
Sanctification and Good Works by R. L. Dabney
Sanctification by A. A Hodge
Sanctification by Dr. William Ames
The Sanctification of the Saint by Francis Turretin
Sanctification by John Bunyan
The Doctrine of Mortification by A. W. Pink
Entire Sanctification by B. B Warfield
Part II: Books
The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification by Walter Marshall
On the Mortification of Sin in Believers by John Owen
The Doctrine of Sanctification by A. W. Pink
Holiness by J. C. Ryle
The Life of God in the Soul of Man by Henry Scougal
The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes
Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks
The Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 13
Are We Basing Justification on Sanctification by John Hendryx
Does Sin Make You Worry if You Are Really Saved? by John Hendryx
What Does the Phrase “Dead in Sin” Mean? by John Hendryx
Our Ongoing Need of Redemption as Christians by John Hendryx
To Cut Off the Sinner from All Hope In Himself by John Hendryx
Christ Vs. Moralism by John Hendryx
Will Nice People Be Saved? by John Hendryx
Growing in Grace & Conscious of Sin by John Hendryx