For idolatry is the attempt either to localize God, confining him within limits which we impose, whereas he is the Creator of the universe; or to domesticate God, making him dependent on us, taming and taping him, whereas he is the Sustainer of human life; or to alienate God, blaming him for his distance and his silence, whereas he is the Ruler of nations, and not far from any of us; or to dethrone God, demoting him to some image of our own contrivance or craft, whereas he is our Father from whom we derive our being. In brief, all idolatry tries to minimize the gulf between the Creator and his creatures, in order to bring him under our control. More than that, it actually reverses the respective positions of God and us, so that, instead of our humbly acknowledging that God has created and rules us, we presume to imagine that we can create and rule God. There is no logic in idolatry; it is a perverse, topsy-turvy expression of our human rebellion against God.
“In all your course, walk with God and follow Christ as a little, poor, helpless child, taking hold of Christ’s hand, keeping your eye on the mark of the wounds on his hands and side, whence came the blood that cleanses you from sin and hides your nakedness under the skirt of the white shining robe of his righteousness.” – Jonathan Edwards, letter to Deborah Hatheway (June 3, 1741)
“A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses. I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face, that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me, is transformed in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died, the face of a forgiven sinner. This is a happy discovery for the Christian who begins to pray for others.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together
It makes me think of why Christians fight so much, and I cannot help but think that Bonhoeffer is onto something. How would our fellowship with other believers (both those in our church and in the broader Christian community) be changed if we prayed for each other more?
Sunrise over Mt. SinaiMore quotes on Holiness (His and ours) . . .
A true love of God must begin with a delight in his holiness, and not with a delight in any other attribute; for no other attribute is truly lovely without this. -Jonathan Edwards
Nothing whatever in the way of goodness pertaining to godliness and real holiness can be accomplished without [grace]. -Augustine of Hippo
The heaviest obligation lying upon the Christian church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God until it is once more worthy of him and of her. In all her prayers and labor this should have first place. We do the greatest service to the next generation of Christians by passing on to them undimmed and undiminished that noble concept of God which we received from our Hebrew and Christian fathers of generations past. This will prove of greater value to them than anything that art or science can devise. -A.W. Tozer
The command “be ye perfect”” is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. -C. S. Lewis
To ask that God’s love should be content with us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God: because He is what He is, His love must, in the nature of things, be impeded and repelled by certain stains in our present character, and because He already loves us He must labour to make us lovable. We cannot even wish, in our better moments, that He could reconcile Himself to our present impurities–no more than the beggar maid could wish that King Cophetua should be content with her rags and dirt, or a dog, once having learned to love man, could wish that man were such as to tolerate in his house the snapping, verminous, polluting creature of the wild pack. What we would here and now call our “happiness” is not the end God chiefly has in view: but when we are such as He can love without impediment, we shall in fact be happy. -C.S. Lewis
Nay, my brethren, I believe the holier a man becomes the more he mourns over the unholiness which remains in him; but he is in very truth a far better man, he is a spiritual and holy man. -C. H. Spurgeon
Those whom free grace chooses, free grace cleanses. We are not chosen because we are holy, but chosen to be holy: and being chosen, the purpose is no dead letter, but we are made to seek after holiness. -C. H. Spurgeon
How little people know who think that holiness is dull. When one meets real thing, it is irresistible. -C. S. Lewis
There is an ongoing debate as to the purpose of the sermon and whether it should focus on converting the lost or maturing the saved. The apparent conflict between preaching for seekers and preaching for believers is resolved simply by noting that both need to repent of sin and trust in Jesus to live a new life empowered by the Spirit. Therefore, a sermon can and should effectively communicate to both audiences, and it will if the preacher is able to go after the root of sin and explain Christian jargon in order to speak the “tongue” of the hearer. This includes saying the name of Jesus and making him known.