If you desire a shocking example of not finishing a book in a good time period, of such is this: I been reading on and off in Dr Beeke’s book, Living For God’s Glory: An Introduction to Calvinism since I first got it in fall of 2009. And it not a book of War and Peace like proportions. So yes, I have been lazy. But a renewed interest has recently driven me to dive back in, so that I’m now reading and digesting at my normal rate.
Thus reflecting a tendency that is anything but exclusive to myself, to not just say that we are Reformed, but to actually delve into what that means. And perhaps, hopefully, it is more than just that, but maybe God seeking to bring us back to our former passions. Passions that are aptly represented by the two (probably) most prominent men in Reformation history:
Martin Luther and John Calvin.
Both flawed men, no doubt about that: but the things they were led to stand for are the very things for which we also should be willing to risk our lives and reputations, being: Who is God? and, How are men to be reconciled with and come before Him?
It was no coincidence that God in His providence not just that He raised up men, but that He vindicated at the same time the truths for which they spoke out. Luther, though barely escaping Rome theologically, was raised up to remind the world that the only means by which a man can approach God, whether at conversion or tomorrow morning, is by being Justified by the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, which is appropriated by faith.
On the flipside, there was John Calvin, another flawed man, and the passion within him for the Majesty of God, in what we first believe about Him in our hearts and doctrine, and then how that affects every sphere of life, beginning with the Church. This led to the legacy of the Puritans for a real, thorough, knowledge of God and intimacy with Him in the heart, and a scripture-driven response in the life.
If we would really call ourselves Reformed, not because of Calvin or Luther or the Puritans, but because of what the Holy Spirit began in the Apostles, and has continued throughout the centuries, bringing it back into focus 500 years ago, then our desires and prayers must be pervaded with this costly but glorious dual passion: to know, to realize, to live upon, in and through, and to breathe into our very souls this reality of the Transcendent Majesty of the Triune God; and to pray, preach, and walk daily in the happy realization that the ONLY way that we as radically depraved human being may approach this God is through Jesus Christ, who has worked for us justification by His blood, and apart from the Priest, or indulgences, or sinner’s prayers, or the sacraments, or confessions, or anything in which we may place confidence.
There is a huge amount of cynicism and negativity aimed at the “Modern Reformed Movement” mainly because of this or that area in which they do not line up with our own notions; it is no doubt, worthy to be criticized, but of such are we. I cannot help but praise God for a movement which I believe He has used, is using, and will continue to use, IF she remains faithful to these passions which our fathers, indeed our Father, has passed down to us.
That means more than studying theology and not allowing it to shake the way we think about everything;
that means more than just becoming a neo-calvinist, who is deeply concerned with the purely cultural side of these things, and they never penetrate passed the intellect to warm our hearts, and cause us to draw near to God personally, through His Son.
Let us raise again the “Abba” cry, that God would not leave us with being “reformed” in name only, but that we would seek after a deeper longing to know the Majesty of God; and that we would wonder more at Justification, whereby we may be brought to know the God of Majesty. With this passion, let’s reform again.