Dec 1, 2023 - Default    No Comments

Reformed Heart

The Heart of the Reformed Faith
by Stephen Rees

       The heart of the Reformed faith—the heart of biblical Christianity—is God-centeredness: the conviction that God himself is supremely important. We define all our doctrine in a God-centered way. Sin is horrible because it is an affront to God. Salvation is wonderful because it brings glory to God. Heaven is heaven because it is the place where God is all in all. Hell is hell because it is the place where God manifests his righteous wrath. That God-centeredness is the distinctive feature of the Reformed faith. A Christian may say lots of true things, say, about sin (sin is damaging, sin leads to wretchedness, etc.), but if there is not the God-centered perspective, the most important emphasis of all has been missed.

       I remember how struck I was years ago, reading an essay by Leon Morris, asking, “What is the most common word in Romans?” (I presume he’s omitting such words as “the”—I’m not sure.) What would you guess? Grace? Faith? Believe? Law? No—the most frequent word in Romans is God.

       Just skim through the opening chapters and you will see it immediately. All the great theological statements in Romans have God as their subject: “God gave them over” (1:24, 26). “God ‘will give to each person according to what he has done’ ” (2:6). “God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ” (2:16). “God set [him] forth as a propitiation” (3:25 NKJV). “[God] justifies the ungodly” (4:5 NKJV). “God has poured out his love into our hearts” (5:5). “God demonstrates his own love for us in this” (5:8).

       We can preach things that are true—we can even be five-point Calvinists—but if we lose that “from him and through him and to him are all things” (11:36) awareness, then we’ve lost the heart of Christianity.

       God-centered doctrine must work itself out in God-centered piety. Again, this is the distinctive note of Reformed Christianity. We are obsessed with God himself. We are overwhelmed by his majesty, his beauty, his holiness, his grace. We seek his glory, we desire his presence, we model our lives on his attributes.

       Other Christians may say that evangelism, or mission, or revival, or reconstruction is their great concern. But we have only one concern—God himself—to know him, to mirror him, to see him glorified. We refuse to absolutize any other objective. The salvation of the lost is only important to us insofar as it leads to the hallowing of his name and the coming of his kingdom. The purifying of society is important to us only insofar as it leads to the doing of his will on earth as in heaven. Bible study and prayer are only important to us insofar as they lead us into communion with him.

       This has been the great hallmark of Reformed Christianity down through the centuries. Whether you’re reading the journals of Presbyterians like Andrew Bonar, or the letters of Anglicans like John Newton, or the sermons of Baptists like Charles Spurgeon, this is the note that comes throbbing through. They are obsessed with God himself. They live their lives and do their theology and fulfill their ministry in passionate admiration for God himself. Everything else flows out of their awed worship of God and their trembling love for him.

Oct 4, 2023 - Default    No Comments

问:上帝为什么拯救我们?

上帝拯救我们的原因是为了祂的儿子 (弗 1:4-6),同时也是因为祂爱我们 (弗 2:4-5),而上帝爱我们的原因只因祂爱我们 (申 7:7-8)。

【弗 1:4-6】就如神从创立世界以前,在基督里拣选了我们,使我们在他面前成为圣洁,无有瑕疵;又因爱我们,就按着自己的意旨所喜悦的,预定我们借着耶稣基督得儿子的名分,使他荣耀的恩典得着称赞;这恩典是他在爱子里所赐给我们的。(cf. 西 1:16)

【弗 2:4-5】然而,神既有丰富的怜悯,因他爱我们的大爱,当我们死在过犯中的时候,便叫我们与基督一同活过来。你们得救是本乎恩。

【申 7:7-8】耶和华专爱你们,拣选你们,并非因你们的人数多于别民,原来你们的人数在万民中是最少的。只因耶和华爱你们,又因要守他向你们列祖所起的誓,就用大能的手领你们出来,从为奴之家救赎你们脱离埃及王法老的手。

Aug 8, 2023 - Default    No Comments

问:基督徒是被道德律捆绑吗?

耶稣基督已经成全了所有的律法,包括十戒,就是 “道德律”。今天很多基督徒遵行十戒就好像耶稣基督没有成全所有的律法。他们的头脑知识是在新约里,可是脚却行在旧约中,守十戒就好像在律法之下。

其实,基督徒遵行的是 “基督的律法” (加 6:2)。基督的律法就是以爱神的心去 “彼此相爱” (约 14:15; 约一 3:11);以爱神、爱人的动机去遵行神的十戒,讨神的喜悦 (加 1:10);”因为全律法都包在「爱人如己」这一句话之内了” (加 5:14)。

”因信称义” 就是人不必遵守律法 (包括十戒) 而称义。基督徒不是被 “道德律” 捆绑,而是被 “神的爱” 所捆绑而去遵守道德律。这是神对人的要求,同时也是重生的人 (顺从圣灵的时候) 心里的向往。

基督徒是重生的人,神把祂的律法写在我们的心里,新的生命代表有新的性情、新的三观、新的兴趣,这个 “新的兴趣” 或 “新的渴慕” 就是对神的爱,这是非基督徒没有的。爱神的人会追求神的公义、神的圣洁,想要过一个讨神喜悦的生活。

【哥林多前书 9:21】向没有律法的人,我就作没有律法的人,为要得没有律法的人;其实我在神面前,不是没有律法;在基督面前,正在律法之下。

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