Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

In Memory of John R.W. Stott

Last night I learned that John R.W. Stott has gone to be with the Lord to wait for that great day of resurrection. For those reading this who may not know: Stott was one of the most influential Evangelicals of the 20th century; I encourage everyone to read Justin Taylor's memorial of Stott HERE.

Below is a picture of me in London, pointing to a plaque with Stott's name on the front of All Souls Church:I only own one book by Stott: his commentary on Ephesians, given to me by my brother-in-law, Daniel Haynes.

Below are Stott's comments on Ephesians 2:8-9,

God will show his grace toward us because he has saved us by his grace: For by grace you have been saved through faith. Here are three foundation words of the Christian good news-- salvation, grace, and faith. 'Salvation' is more than forgiveness. It is deliverance from the death, slavery, and wrath described in verses 1-3. Indeed, it includes the totality of our new life in Christ, together with whom we have been made alive, exalted, and seated in the heavenly realm. 'Grace' is God's free and undeserved mercy towards us, and 'faith' is the humble trust with which we receive it for ourselves.

In order to enforce this positive statement that we have been saved only by God's grace through trust in Christ, Paul adds two balancing negatives: first and this not your own doing, it is the gift of God (verse 8b) and secondly not because of works, lest any man should boast. Some commentator have taken the word 'this' in the former of these two negatives to refer to faith (i.e. 'you were saved... through faith, and even this faith by which you were saved is God's gift'). Theologically, this is true. We must never think of salvation as a kind of transaction between God and us in which he contributes grace and we contribute faith. For we were dead, and had to be quickened before we could believe. No, Christ's apostles clearly teach elsewhere that saving faith too is God's gracious gift. Nevertheless, Paul is not directly affirming this here because 'this' (touto) is neuter, whereas 'faith' is a feminine noun. We must therefore take 'this' as referring to the whole previous sentence: 'By God's grace you are a people who have been saved through faith, and this whole event and experience is... God's free gift to you.' It is neither your achievement (not your own doing) nor a reward for any of your deeds of religion or philanthropy (not because of works). Since, therefore, there is no room for human merit, there is no room for human boasting either. Salvation is God's gift, lest any man should boast. Christians are always uncomfortable in the presence of pride, for they sense its incongruity. We shall not be able to strut round heaven like peacocks. Heaven will be filled with the exploits of Christ and the praises of God. There will indeed be display in heaven. Not self-display, however, but rather a display of the incomparable wealth of God's grace, mercy and kindness through Jesus Christ.

I look forward to meeting Stott one day and, in the meantime, beginning to read his book The Cross of Christ as part of Tim Challies' reading group within the next few weeks.

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