Our church is ‘chewing’ on 2 Timothy right now. We are re-discovering the beauty and benefits of an expositional ministry; that is, a Bible-centered life as a local church such that Jesus is continually meditated upon and worshiped through God’s revelation of Him through the Scriptures.
Next to Bible reading itself, I highly commend books that are themselves expositions of important Biblical themes. I have been reading The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance – Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters, written by Scottish theologian Sinclair Ferguson. Like expository sermons, expository books can be used by the Holy Spirit in magnificent ways. This morning, as I was finishing the third chapter, I was slayed by this closing paragraph: Speaking of the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15, Ferguson writes, “After all, how can an elder brother be comfortable at a party when he still wonders if his once-prodigal brother has been sorry enough for his sin and sufficiently ashamed of his faults?”
Oh, how conditional I can be with grace, which dis-graces grace. How often I hold back forgiveness and active love because I don’t see enough external contrition! Woe is me! Please join me in this prayer:
Father, I confess that I am too often like the older brother in Jesus’ parable. I am not comfortable with how lavish you are with grace. I would rather see more tested and approved contrition. I want to see groveling. I want to see punishment. I ask for your forgiveness. That is not what grace is. Your grace is UNconditional. It is only conditioned upon Christ and his work for me. Please transform me by the power of your Spirit to believe that kind of grace for myself, the chief of sinners, so I can grow as a conduit of that grace toward others, especially those closest to me. I ask this in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.