25 January, 2007

Cultivating a True Spirituality

How serious do we take our high calling of being a follower of Christ? Do we cultivate that relationship with Him or do we find contentment in the fact that now I am a believer I can go on 'doing my thing'. I believe that there is a sad form of antinomianism in the reformed churches today that wants to replace our battle cry of 'All things done to God's glory and enjoyment' with a spirit of 'do these things really matter'?

I answer with this: If things matter to the Lord Jesus Christ, they should matter to us. All Scripture is given for doctrine, etc. If my main concern with my relationship to my wife is to keep the legal status of married, I would not have to cultivate much in that relationship. If my main desire is to love her, to honor her, to respect her, to please her, to care for her, to grow deeper in love with her- then I have a lot of daily labor as I cultivate that type of relationship.

If I want to maintain my legal status with the Lord Jesus Christ I can do those lowest common denominator things. If I want to fall deeply in love with the Lord Jesus Christ and esteem his smiles higher than the smiles of men and esteem his frowns higher than the frowns of men; than I have some work to do.

Heart-work is hard work indeed. To shuffle over religious duties with a loose and careless spirit, will cost no great difficulties; but to set yourself before the Lord, and to tie up your loose and vain thoughts to a constant and serious attendance upon him: this will cost you something. To attain ease and dexterity of language in prayer and to be able to put your meaning into appropriate and fitting expressions is easy; but to get your heart broken for sin while you are actually confessing it; melted with free grace even while you are blessing God for it; to be really ashamed and humbled through the awareness of God's infinite holiness, and to keep your heart in this state not only in, but after these duties, will surely cost you some groans and travailing pain of soul. -John Flavel

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes. "Is it necessary for salvation" seems to be as far as people want to take it nowadays in the church, even in the Reformed churches. Christ asks more of us than that. The main focus is salvation, but then it needs to be taken a step further, like you said, in cultivating a deeper relationship with Christ and not the bare minimum. All for Christ's glory. He gave us specific commands for a reason.

Nate said...

Anon

I completely agree! Paul said to WORK OUT your salvation. That means that salvation is the starting point, not the end.

Mark said...

Good post. I recently read John MacArthur's "The Gospel According to Jesus", in which he makes the very good argument that sanctification isn't optional. The tricky part, of course, is actually living it out - knowing theology, however important, is only a part of growth. Knowing what to do is easy, doing it is where things get tricky.

Nate said...

Good point Mark. Sanctification deals with the whole man- body and soul. We love Christ more with our HEART, SOUL, STRENGHTH, MIND, EMOTIONAL LIFE, etc. It is a complete restoration, not just cerebral or 'personality' related.

I read that book about 9 or 10 years ago. It makes a good argument against the get saved and get on with MY life people.

Droll Flood said...

Regarding perseverance/ obedience to God and His Word: Good works are a part of salvation. The legalist/ antinomian (one and the same) pitches a penny God's way in his deceived notion of the Law hoping to placate God's wrath ("yes, I am a benevolent sovereign and can fling a couple to God"). The Christian in heartfelt God-wrought gratitude obeys Christ and gives Him all.("Lord, whatever I wrongfully took I will restore five fold""...Surely salvation has today come to this house."

Droll Flood said...

By the way,
ALL THINGS ARE A SALVATION ISSUE!

shawn said...

Great reflection, Nate! The Church only displays this antinomian spirit because it is diplayed in our hearts.

Want to know the condition of our Christian hearts and minds? Look at the state of the Church. (I confess that this is especially true of the hearts and minds of those in the ministry.)

We have a lot of work indeed; and not only towards God, but also towards one another.

So how do we know what our duties are? Has anyone ever created a list from Scripture?