"I've lost many arguments, I've never lost a re-run…"
Last night was the CU’s Easter Celebration Service. It marked the final event of the One.Hope
Today’s been a real encouragement. This morning we had the monthly church student prayer meeting, a great way to begin the day, being reminded from Hebrews 4.14-16 that we can approach the throne of grace, and bring our prayers to a High Priest who sympathizes with our day-to-day weaknesses. Also, been trying to nail my final essay of term, looking at the use of the Psalms in the NT to interpret the passion of the Lord Jesus. main event. I’ll blog about that later this week.
Walking here and there I’ve been listening over some Carson on Ezekiel 37 & Romans 8. Great to go over some of the truths we’ve been sinking our minds into at Focus, and see the OT groundings for the desperate need for the Spirit to bring life from death. Carson’s a joy to listen to and really hammered home the fact that for Paul it’s absolutely nonsensical for a Christian to still be living according to the flesh, i.e. always wanting to be number one. ‘Thinking apart from God. Goals and ambitions apart from God. Desires apart from God. Desperately sad and utterly hopeless.‘
Instead we’re called to set our minds on the things of the Spirit. To have the mindset of Christ, as Carson said, ‘someone so touched by the Spirit of God that you can’t deny the effects.’ He had some really practical applications for how we view conversion, sanctification and revival…
Firstly, Biblical conversion has to be life-transforming. It is. Yes, there is a decision. Yes, there is growth by grace. But, from a biblical point of view conversion without life-transformation is a contradiction of terms. The Spirit makes us ashamed and fearful in the presence of a holy God. It makes us love what was previosuly unattractive. It is God’s work. Not pressing a cheap-decision, where one things one has done God a favour. It is the work of the Spirit of God.
Secondly, Biblical ethics turns on keeping in step with the Spirit. God changes your mindset, now work it out. You can’t wander away! It’s unthinkable to strive to be number one – that’s fleshly thinking. It’s theologically ridiculous. It’s biblically ridiculous.
And thirdly, revival is nothing other than a fresh out-pouring of Spirit. Every conversion is the work of the Spirit. Every step in sanctification is the work of the Spirit. When God’s Spirit comes on his people by powerful display, the cheap and the dirty is percieved for what it really is, i.e. it is viewed from God’s perspective. From the Spirit’s perspective, and so we’ll be ashamed. ‘Stop asking stupid questions betraying our desire to know what we can get away with‘. Real guilt. God have mercy on me, as a sinner. There is revival. You cannot organise it, you cannot ape it or whip it up. And biblical revival is achieved by the transforming power of proclamation of the Word empowered by the Spirit.