Monday, June 24, 2013

Paul, I think I know how you feel

We have all heard at one time or another a trite but well meaning sentiment reduced in a single statement. We may have even verbalized this statement ourselves. I have no doubt that in almost every circumstance and situation it was meant to be a comfort to the one whom it was said. What sentiment am I speaking of? I know how you feel.

With no criticism intended to those who have felt compelled to utter these words, I hope to share a few thoughts of my heart.

Paul wrote, "I am speaking the truth in Christ - I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit - that I have great sorrow and unceasing anquish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsman according to the flesh." (Romans 9:1-2, ESV)

I have been reading and meditating through Paul's letter to the congregations in Rome for the past several months. I will be finishing up chapter six in the next few days. For weeks now I am been reveling in the doctrine of justification. 

There was a time where every believer in the pew and every preacher in the pulpit knew the extreme importance of this doctrine. A. W. Pink wrote, "There was a time, not so long ago, when the blessed truth of justification was one of the best known doctrines of the Christian faith, when it was regularly  expounded by the preachers and when the rank and file of church-goers were familiar with its leading aspects." 1

It seems today this is as far from the truth as it can be. This great doctrine of the reformation is at best blurred and twisted, and at worst denied. What would Paul think?

From what I have adduced from days and days of wading through these first six chapters of this letter, I have concluded, that Paul felt this doctrine was so vital that he went to great lengths to show how the denial and perversion of justification by the Jews was the foremost reason that the Jews were rejected by God. Paul in both his letters to the Romans and to the Galatians defended this doctrine. Not only did Paul vigorously defend the doctrine of justification he disputed with those who attacked this bible doctrine. He maintained that the subversion or rejection of this doctrine was fatal to the sinner.

My heart is broken for those who today in one form or another deny this great teaching of the Bible. In some small almost unimaginable way, I could say to Paul I know how you feel. 

Countless thousands of human beings deny the fullness and efficaciousness of this great doctrine. They either flat out deny this truth or they attempt to circumvent it by their own efforts.

If the church today is going to have any hope of a revival (which I don't think it will) it will be due to the effectual preaching of the doctrine of justification. I can only hope and fervently pray for individual believers and small pockets of congregations be reformed and visited by the Holy Spirit as they expound once again this great doctrine.

1 The Doctrines of Election and Justification, A. W. Pink, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1974), p.185


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading this Gregg, you must do an awful lot of reading with all the wonderful post you deliver.


Susan said...

I often find myself wondering what the Apostle Paul, or even CH Spurgeon, would think if they could spend a day to look around at what the world and "the church" have become today. I think they would be horrified.

Gregg Metcalf said...

Yvonne - Thanks! I do read a lot. It is a great joy of my life.

Susan - I think you are right. However, neither would be surprised. They both "predicted" the demise of the local church. Praise God the invisible church will always be triumphant!

Pat Donovan said...

AMEN brother

Gregg Metcalf said...

Pat - Thanks! I think so...