Michael Reeves is the President of Union School of Theology, where he teaches in the areas of systematic and historical theology and also on preaching and spiritual formation. He is author of several books, including Rejoicing in Christ, Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith, and Rejoice and Tremble: The Surprising Good News of the Fear of the Lord.
Jesus promised his disciples that he would one day return to bring them to a place that he prepared for them. It is a place where all things are made new, free of sin and sorrow. As Christians, we seek not fame or fortune but a heavenly city whose builder and maker is God.
Friends, humility is the only soil in which unity will grow. Only when Christ is more precious to us than our reputations, will we give up our petty rivalries and personal agendas. Only when his glory eclipses all else in our eyes will we live for him and not for another purpose. The peace and unity we so desperately need will be, friends, the fruit of a fresh humbling before the glory of Christ. It is only the gospel, the good news of Christ our saviour, that creates true peace. The gospel creates peace, and the gospel defines peace.
We often think of courage simply as a characteristic some sturdy folk are born with. While some are more temperamentally thick-skinned than others, true courage is a gift of the gospel given to ordinary, timid, naturally nervy Christians. True courage is something extraordinary and inexplicable to the world. It is a supernatural marker of grace that makes believers stand out in an anxious world
The humility we learn at the foot of the gospel, glorying in Christ and not ourselves, therefore turns out to be the wellspring of all evangelical health. When our eyes are opened to the love of God for us sinners, we let slip our masks. Condemned as sinners yet justified, we can begin to be honest about ourselves. Loved despite our unloveliness, we begin to love. Given peace with God, we begin to know an inner peace and joy. Shown the magnificence of God above all things, we become more resilient, trembling in wonder at God, and not man.
Crowds lined the streets, hoping to catch a glimpse of the olivewood casket as it made its way through the streets of south London. On top was a large pulpit Bible opened at Isaiah 45:22: “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” It was Thursday, February 11, 1892, and the body of Charles Haddon Spurgeon was being taken for burial.
In the Son of God, we do not see a haughty God, reluctant to be kind. We see one who comes in saving grace while we were still sinners. In him we see a glory so different from our needy and selfish applause-seeking. We see a God of superabundant self-giving. We see a God unspotted in every way: a fountain of overflowing goodness. In him—and in him alone—we see a God who is beautiful, who wins our hearts.
In Rejoice and Tremble, Michael Reeves clears the clouds of confusion and shows that the fear of the Lord is not a negative thing at all, but an intensely delighted wondering at God, our Creator and Redeemer.
If your Christian life has become at all stale and joyless, then a tonic I heartily recommend is this most cheery Puritan, Richard Sibbes (1577-1635). Really, anything of his will do, but this little work will give you a fine taste.
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