“You do not really preach the gospel if you leave Christ out–if He is omitted, it is not the gospel! You may invite men to listen to your message, but you are only inviting them to gaze upon an empty table unless Christ is the very center and substance of all that you set before them!”
Our deepest need is for the inexhaustible power of the love of Christ. The miracle of Christianity is that this need is already met.
Brennan Manning “The Signature of Jesus“
Came across this wonderful quote while writing a sermon today. Speaking on Galatians 3:2 Luther proclaims:
“It seems unlikely that the Holy Spirit is received only by believing what we hear and that there is nothing required of us but rather we must set aside all our works and give ourselves only to hearing the Gospel. The human heart does not understand or believe that such a great treasure–namely, the Holy Spirit–is given only by believing what we hear. We reason that forgiveness of sins, deliverance from death, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, righteousness, and everlasting life are great things, and therefore we must do something that is great if we want to obtain these inestimable benefits… So when our reason hears that we can do nothing to obtain the forgiveness of sins but must only hear the Word of God, it immediately cries out ‘Rubbish! You are making the forgiveness of sins too unimportant a matter…’ We must learn that forgiveness of sins, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are given to us freely, simply by believing what we hear preached, despite our horrible sins. We must not think about the greatness of what is given, nor about how unworthy we are of it; rather, we must think how it pleases God to give us this unutterable gift freely.”
Martin Luther “Commentary on Galatians“
The following quote is from Ernst Kasemann’s commentary on Romans 61-11:
Romans 6:1-11 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Continue reading
“In consumerist spirituality, the new stuff on offer is mostly new experiences, ‘transformative‘ experiences that you’re supposed to get if you don’t want to miss out on something special in your spiritual life… Which means… that if you’ve never had the experience they’re selling, they’ll do their best to make you wonder what’s wrong with you… You’ll be told that without you’re just an ordinary, plain Christian, lacking the extraordinary power and blessing that God wants you to have in your life… Whereas what we have, if we are nothing but ordinary Christians, is greater than all the experiences in the world. We have Christ himself… Everything else is inessential.” Continue reading
“I think that the church in America today is so obsessed with being practical, relevant, helpful, successful, and perhaps even well-liked that it nearly mirrors the world itself. Aside from the packaging, there is nothing that cannot be found in most churches today that could not be satisfied by any number of secular programs and self-help groups.
Christless Christianity. Sounds a bit harsh, doesn’t it? A little shallow, sometimes distracted, even a little human-centered rather than Christ-centered from time to time, but Christless? Let me be a little more precise about what I am assuming to be the regular diet in many churches across America today: ‘do more, try harder…’ Continue reading
“Every action, therefore, and performance of miracles by Christ are most great and divine and marvelous: but the most marvelous of all is His precious Cross. For no other thing has subdued death, expiated the sin of the first parent, despoiled Hades, bestowed the resurrection, granted the power to us of contemning the present and even death itself, prepared the return to our former blessedness, opened the gates of Paradise, given our nature a seat at the right hand of God, and made us children and heirs of God, save the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. For by the Cross all things have been made right.”
John of Damascus “An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith“