What the Cross Does and Does Not Do to the Sinner

The Cross does not slay the sinner, it redirects him.  It gears him in to a cleaner and jollier way of living and saves his self-respect.  To the self-assertive it says, “Come and assert yourself for Christ.”  To the egotist, it says, “Come and do your boasting in the Lord.”  To the thrill-seeker it says, “Come and enjoy the thrill of Christian fellowship.”  The Christian message is slanted in the direction of the current vogue in order to make it acceptable to the public.

A.W. Tozer

as quoted by Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 101

The Challenge of Church Unity

After all, the cult of the Next Big Thing is always the assertion of a new generation of emerging adults.  Movements are largely youth-driven, whereas institutions are usually run by elders.  The challenge, especially in the church where we are drawn together in Christ from different ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, and generations, is to be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 69

Each Generation Razes the Empire of the One Before It to the Ground and Started Over

Enamored of its reported amazingness, each generation razes the empire to its foundations and starts over until the next generation has its own go at it.  This means, of course, that everyone born of a woman must feel deep inside the primal duty to shake things up.

The problem is that there is little left rebel against – and certainly little that has been around long enough to represent a tradition to overthrow.  No longer stone fortresses, our “Bastilles” become Styrofoam sets on a Disney stage.  The reforming of something substantial has enduring influence.  But perpetual reinvention dooms cultures – and churches – to passing shadows of momentary glamour with few lasting legacies beyond the trivial.  How can I say that with so much confidence?  Because the engineers and marketers of each new movement themselves report with thorough analysis the demise of the one that just preceded theirs.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 67-68

 

 

Even the Christian Needs God’s Law Applied to Their Life Completely, Consistently and Continually

Q. “Since no one in this life can obey the Ten Commandments perfectly, why does God want them preached so pointedly?”

A.:  First, so that the longer we live the more we may come to know our sinfulness and the more eagerly look to Christ for forgiveness of sins and righteousness.  Second, so that we may never stop striving and never stop praying to God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, to be renewed more and more after God’s image until after this life we reach our goal: perfection.”

– Heidelberg Catechism

Even in the Christian life we need this first use of the law to drive us out of ourselves to cling to our Savior.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 43-44

What Is Your Only Comfort in Life and in Death?

Q.  What is your only comfort in life and in death?

A.   That I am not my own, but belong, body and soul in life and death – to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.  He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.  He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven;  In fact, all things must work together for my salvation.  Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.

Heidelberg Catechism

as quoted by Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 41

Saving Faith is not the Enemy of Good Works

The Spirit creates faith through the gospel and saving faith bears the fruit of love and good works.  We are united to Christ for justification and renewal.  There must be distinguished, but never separated.  Saving faith is not the enemy of good works, but their only possible source.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 40