08 January 2009

Two unrelateds: a sarkicophobia afterthought; and a TIWIARN

by Dan Phillips

Firstly
Following up on some of the thoughts in Tuesday's sarkicophobia post and meta, I find Spurgeon's meditation for this morning startlingly timely. To wit:
...The iniquities of our public worship, its hypocrisy, formality, lukewarmness, irreverence, wandering of heart and forgetfulness of God, what a full measure have we there! Our work for the Lord, its emulation, selfishness, carelessness, slackness, unbelief, what a mass of defilement is there! Our private devotions, their laxity, coldness, neglect, sleepiness, and vanity, what a mountain of dead earth is there! If we looked more carefully we should find this iniquity to be far greater than appears at first sight. Dr. Payson, writing to his brother, says, “My parish, as well as my heart, very much resembles the garden of the sluggard; and what is worse, I find that very many of my desires for the melioration of both, proceed either from pride or vanity or indolence. I look at the weeds which overspread my garden, and breathe out an earnest wish that they were eradicated. But why? What prompts the wish? It may be that I may walk out and say to myself, ‘In what fine order is my garden kept!’ This is pride. Or, it may be that my neighbours may look over the wall and say, ‘How finely your garden flourishes!’ This is vanity. Or I may wish for the destruction of the weeds, because I am weary of pulling them up. This is indolence.” So that even our desires after holiness may be polluted by ill motives. Under the greenest sods worms hide themselves; we need not look long to discover them. How cheering is the thought, that when the High Priest bore the iniquity of the holy things he wore upon his brow the words, “Holiness to the Lord:” and even so while Jesus bears our sin, he presents before his Father’s face not our unholiness, but his own holiness. O for grace to view our great High Priest by the eye of faith!
This is what I love so much about Spurgeon. He never writes as a Doctor of the Theory of Applied Christianity, much less as having flawlessly mastered that subject. Spurgeon ever writes as a redeemed sinner who has been in the trenches and knows them well. I can listen to him without feeling obliged to prefix each statement with "Theoretically...."

Spurgeon takes a clear-eyed and unromantic view of the complex mish-mash of motivations that plague every thought-process that pushes through our consciousness, including the holiest. The flesh really is a problem. We have not yet been delivered from the body of this death (Romans 7:14-25), there still is an internal battle (Galatians 5:17), and I very much doubt that we perform any conscious action without an admixture of motivations. ("Very much doubt that we do" is a humble-sounding way of saying "have no doubt whatsoever that we don't.")

So notice that Spurgeon's solution isn't to collapse into self-absorbed inaction until we achieve purity. It is — well, it's what Spurgeon's solution always is about everything, isn't it? It is to look to Jesus.

Every good and godly and holy thing we aren't, He is — and He is that on our behalf, before God. We'll never get to be like Him by looking to ourselves until we "arrive." Instead, we grow as "we all, with unveiled face, [behold] the glory of the Lord, [and] are ...transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:18).

So get over yourself, get into Jesus, and get moving.

Secondly

This is a quick post, and I doubt I will do much at my own blog for the next couple of days, because... my dear and only daughter is to be wed this Sunday! (A bit more about that here, item two.)

We all are joyfully looking forward to this happy experience for the Phillips family, as Rachael honors the family who loved and raised her, and honors God in the launching of a new family created in the fear of God and respect for His name and word.

Until then, we'll be doing whatever we need to, to get things ready. After that, a rehearsal, a dinner, and ultimately I get to walk my dear Rachael down the aisle, as my dear wife beams on proudly and happily, and as my Josiah and Jonathan lead the usherings and bear the One Ring (er, Two Rings), respectively — and as I witness Rachael exchange vows with Kermit, honorably in the sight of God and the assembled witnesses.

I'll be armed with a tux... and an initially-dry handkerchief or two.

Join me in praying for Rachael and Kermit, and that the name of Jesus Christ be lifted up.

Dan Phillips's signature

32 comments:

Sam said...
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Sam said...

As an admitted sarkicophobe myself, prone to morbid introspection, your post on the subject was the most edifying post I have ever read by you. A million thanks, Mr. Phillips. In regards to your daughter's union, Mazltov!!

Daniel said...

Excellent addendum btw Dan - but I comment especially to congratulate you on this up and coming, joyous event!

Daryl said...

No doubt this has been asked way too many times already...but will the groom be wearing green?

DJP said...

No doubt this has been asked way too many times already....

At least one too many, that is correct.

:^Þ

Solameanie said...

I do hope that Gollum doesn't pop out of the woodwork and yell, "Mine!" Keep an eye on those rings.

And congratulations to the bride and groom!

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"solution isn't to collapse into self-absorbed inaction until we achieve purity""

Whaaaaaaat?! Why? How dare you call into question my preferred method of achieving personal holiness?!

;-)

"So get over yourself, get into Jesus, and get moving."

As a young emerging emergent emerger, I object and resent that. You're not the boss of me.

"my dear and only daughter is to be wed this Sunday!"

Hearty congratulations! Let go and let God.

Tom Chantry said...

Kermit? I know a Kermit! How many Kermits can there be in the world?

Have a great weekend.

DJP said...

Just the three, I think.

Wascally Wepublican said...

Do you have a have a good
explanation of the difference between Righteousness and Holiness?

Congratulations!!!

Johnny Dialectic said...

Praise God for synergistic sanctification, and proud papas.

barrywallace said...

Under the greenest sods worms hide themselves; we need not look long to discover them.

Few people, in my opinion, have ever been able to communicate the truth with such a striking combination of insight and wit.

~Mark said...

I think that in one sentence Dan you eliminated 7/8 (at least) of what's happening in a lot of American churches on a weekly or even daily basis:

"get over yourself get into Jesus and get moving!"

Amen!

Rachael Starke said...

"Spurgeon ever writes as a redeemed sinner who has been in the trenches and knows them well."

So true, and sadly, so rare today. There are too many congregations I hear of that would treat such a man with suspicion of not being holy enough to be a pastor....

And many, many congratulations and prayers for a blessed and joy-filled weekend. Given that you only have one daughter to walk down the aisle, and I have 3 that are many (D.V.!!) years away from it, I don't think I'm the only "mom" reader that might be interested in what God helped you do well as you prepared a daughter for such a significant day.

Tom Chantry said...
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Phil said...

Dan,best wishes for your daughter's wedding, and I hope you enjoy the day. I'll leave off commenting on the irony of Johnny's 'praise God for synergistic sanctification',other than to say thank God that sanctification is as much a gift as justification,procuring our activity in it as those now in union with Christ. As Calvin said, and always holds true, faith is first passive,then active.

SolaMommy said...

Congratulations, Dan :D

DJP said...

Thanks, Phil.

And yeah, so anyway, God gives commands to blood-bought, born-again Christians. By grace, they need to obey them. Mystical trances and gobbledegook = completely unnecessary, un-Biblical, and unhelpful — as well as un-dominical and un-apostolic.

Johnny Dialectic said...

"...need to obey them."

Yep. Synergy. Exactly what Paul wrote about in Phil. 2:12,13. Dan's post is a great commentary on same.

Susan said...

Congrats, Dan and family! You all must be very proud of Rachel and your green son-in-law. (It's not easy, I know.) :) Can your Kermit sing like his amphibian namesake?

(Dude, I just felt an earthquake right now!!!)

Susan said...

(I mean a REAL ONE!!! Did anyone else here in the LA environs feel it?? Sorry--don't mean to be derailing the meta--just curious.)

Kristine said...

Gotta love Spurgeon. The fact that he taught as a redeemed sinner who lived in the trenches with the rest of us, is probably the primary reason why I'm so drawn to his continual, impassioned pleas to keep our gaze on Christ. Thanks for the additional thoughts on the topic, and oh.....

****CONGRATULATIONS!!!****

My father (who has now passed on) walking me down the aisle was the most special (and emotional!) part of my wedding day. Have a wonderful, wonderful day of celebration :)

PreacherBill said...
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Matt said...

Forgive my ignorance, but as much as I frequent this blog, I've never quite figured out the meaning of the TIWIARN label. Can someone please 'splain it?

Oh, and great post.

DJP said...

This Is Where I Am Right Now.

Frank posted at his blog that nobody should ever waste bandwidth and people's valuable time by doing TIWIARN posts.

Moving Phil immediately and ever-after to do just such posts.

Their friendship is, truly, a beautiful thing.

PJKitch said...

Dan ... I've found my mind repeatedly going back to your initial post on sarkicophobia over the past several days. I've never posted here, but had to stop today to say THANKS. It really is a great post and has helped me tremendously with some things I've been wrestling with.

By the way, thanks too for your great review of my commentary Proverbs: A Mentor Commentary a year or so ago!

May you and your family be blessed throughout this joyous weekend!

DJP said...

Thanks, Pastor Kitchen. Great to hear from you, and praise God!

Phil said...

Johnny,maybe a term thing. I didn't mean we weren't active, just that 'synergy'proper,to me, means two parties cooperating without logical priority to one to procure the positive result. But I think Phil2v13 is not just logically prior to v12, but defines the nature of the 'working out'- a la 2Cor3v18. I think sanctification is by grace,rather than law. And by that I just mean that we relate to God -not without commands- but apart from performance standards whereby we would earn any favour or blessings. And we appropriate eternal, and not 'as-you-go' cleansing. That's what I've meant by 'not under law as a rule of life'. Not that faith doesn't lead to obedience in accordance with God's commands. But that everything is a gift, including the fruit, because the new covenant is unilateral and we are not 'covenant partners' but 'covenant beneficiaries',even as Abraham was. And we are transformed into the image of Christ the more we see ourselves those beneficiaries.

Phil said...

Anyway,enough from me. I'll just leave it with those wedding well-wishes. Forgive my thinking out loud. Thanks, Dan, for your input. While there is mystery to godliness, I sure don't want to be mystical.

Johnny Dialectic said...

"..two parties cooperating without logical priority to one to procure the positive result."

Got it Phil, and agree. I don't mean that in my use of the word "synergy," nor do I believe the Bible teaches parity in said cooperation. Just that such cooperation is called for, as in "keep in step with the Spirit" and so on. We are "active," as you say, but the results come from acting with, in and through the power of God. Nor is this "mystical." Rather, the Word is very practical and clear on this point.

Phil said...

Nice one,Johnny,and thanks. Apologies for assuming other. I don't know that we mean quite the same thing by where our 'activity' lies,though...To me,I think 2Cor3v18 KJV,says it's 'beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord' with the veil of the law/self-righteousness gone. Meaning we are beholding the glory of Christ with unveiled faces as WE look into the mirror, and see ourselves as new creations where all things are new, made the righteousness of God in him. In union with him,partakers of the divine nature by new birth,clothed with the spotless purity of the Lamb,complete in him,heirs of Abba God,co-heirs with Christ,adopted sons,having ceased from our own works,having been crucified with Christ and raised to newness of life with Christ who is now our life,blessed with all spiritual blessings in him,raised and seated in heavenly places. All scripture profitable to our progressive transformation when read through this lens, such that we grow in this faith, and naturally bear the fruit of our righteousness in him.

DJP said...

Yes, well God addresses His commands to blood-bought, born-again Christians. By grace, they need to obey them. Mystical trances and gobbledegook = completely unnecessary, un-Biblical, and unhelpful — as well as un-dominical and un-apostolic.