A Nice Phrase for Talking about Human Responsibility

“however initiated and supported by Grace, [it] is something we must do.” -C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

BTW: This addresses the issue that God enables us to serve him, while also not toning down the fact that we must do it.

 

Useful Heretics?

“Note the usefulness of heretics–usefulness, of course, in the sense that God makes good use even of bad people.” -Augustine, Christmas and Epiphany Sermons

BTW NOTE: Augustine is commenting on the phenomenon of how heresies and false teaching can drive the church deeper into the word of God, with the result that it emerges with a better understanding of God’s word than it would’ve had if heretics had not troubled the church in the first place.

God’s Sovereignty Over Scumbags

“Even the winds and waves are not more fickle than a tyrant’s will; but the Ruler of tempests knoweth how to rule the perverse spirits of princes. The Lord our God has a bit for the wildest war horse, and a hook for the most terrible leviathan. Autocratical Caesars are but puppets moved with invisible strings, mere drudges to the King of kings.” -Charles Spurgeon, Twelve Christmas Sermons

Abusing the Doctrine of God’s Sovereignty

“I have met with persons who thought they perfectly understood the doctrines of grace, who could accurately set forth the election of the saints, the predestination of God, the firmness of the divine decree, the necessity of the Spirit’s work, and all the glorious doctrines of grace which build up the fabric of our faith; but these gentlemen have inferred from these doctrines that they have to do nothing, and thus they have become sluggards. Do-nothingism is their creed. They will not even urge other people to labor for the Lord, because, say they, “God will do his own work. Salvation is all of grace!” The notion of these sluggards is that a man is to wait, and do nothing; he is to sit still, and let the grass grow up to his ankles in the hope of heavenly help. To arouse himself would be an interference with the eternal purpose, which he regards as altogether unwarrantable.” -Charles Spurgeon, Talks to Farmers

God in the Flux

“The flow of history, so often to us a meaningless flux of actors, activities, movements and conflicts, is actually a closely guarded arena of divine purposes: the Lord is there in the flux, making sure that each event is in the right place at the right time, each ‘actor’ appears on cue, everything is perfectly integrated into the divine scheme, nothing intrusive retards or deflects the divine plan.” -Alec Motyer, A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Loving the Old Testament

How Do Bad Things Work For Good, What ‘Good’?

“All things work together for good.” But what exactly is the “good” that Paul has in mind? We might be tempted to think Paul is referring to philosophical discourses about the nature of “goodness,” such as Plato discusses it in the Republic, where Socrates describes “the Form of the Good.” But that is not what Paul has in mind here. The text itself provides the explanation as to the “good” Paul has in view-conformity to the image of Jesus (Rom. 8:29). Providence is working to make us holy.” Derek W.H. Thomas.