Retrospection And Resolution



By the grace of God, I have been blessed to complete one more year in my pilgrimage. Last year has been a very hectic year for me. Now when I look back, each month had something new to offer. There were some new turns awaiting me in each month. Everyone of them, sovereignly arranged by God, made me learn some lessons over and over again. I could summarize that last year was one of moulding my convictions.

Rather than sharing all the diverse experiences I went through, I think it would be edifying to the saints to know the truths I learnt. Not only did I learn some truths but also learn the relevance and implications of those truths. In fact, majority of what happened could be said to have taught me the relevance and implications of truths I have come to know. For, grasping a truth may happen in a moment, when God illumines one's heart, quickens life to a truth, and blesses one with intellectual clarity to perceive it. However the significance and magnificence of that truth is learnt only over a period of time. Some truths deserve a lifetime of studying. My last year was spent mostly in learning something of the significance and magnificence of the following three truths. 

1. The Efficacy of the Gospel of God

The knowledge of the efficacy of God's grace in the gospel of Lord Jesus Christ, is one truth which is so marvellous that it takes one whole lifetime to see its manifold perfections. Even then, one doubts whether one will adore Christ fully for His amazing grace. I am thankful to God for all that happened last year which caused me to know, adore and appreciate something of the nature of God's grace in His gospel. Ever since I got illumined to the real gospel of the Bible, that which the Reformers recovered during the Protestant Reformation, I am so drawn to be passionate about the gospel. In fact, the whole reason why I defend Reformed theology and involve myself in discussions with people who oppose it, is because of the joy and passion it breeds. To know the nature of grace in the gospel as that of a necessary, sufficient and sovereign one is to know the sure foundation for the nourishment of one's holy joy. It leads one to depend on God's grace alone so radically, as God's grace alone is known so dependable. The efficacy of grace proves for itself why grace alone is necessary and sufficient for a saint. 

Paul in his epistle to the Philippians explained why he always prayed with joy in all his prayers for all of them: he was confident that God who began a good work in them shall carry on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. In other words he was so confident of God's grace to fulfill all that God has purposed for His saints. (Phil 1:3-6)

Moreover to know that this grace which will not fail, was bought exclusively by the work of Christ on the cross makes the gospel, the good news of all news. Everything was accomplished there on the cross. My repentance, my faith, my conversion, my justification, my sanctification and my glorification - yea grace of God for me was bought on the cross by Christ. What follows in my life - my repentance, my believing, my conversion, my justification, my sanctification and my glorification is a reaping of Christ's accomplishment on the cross. In other words, all these are the undeniable consequences of the work of Christ on the cross. Till I was instructed of the doctrines of grace, the work of Christ on the cross was an event with no sure consequences. Jesus died on the cross, but if something substantial should happen, then men ought to do this or that. That was what I believed. Thus I had a very powerless Christ, whose death accomplished nothing in particular. However now I know that everything happened there. The eternal destiny of the children of God was accomplished there. Everything that has happened and will happen in my life as a believer was accomplished on the cross. Thus I have come to see a victorious Jesus who indeed has and is and will surely save me. The confidence, the joy, the love and adoration for Christ it breeds is so wonderful, that they are simply beyond words. The gospel becomes everything and all. 

This is what I primarily experienced in my life last year. Living constantly in light of the centrality of the gospel in every area of life. I praise my Lord and God for having done this in my life. I long to preach this gospel to others. Its not a legalistic burden for me, but a pleasure and a passionate obligation to proclaim this good news upon which I live. 

2. The Primacy of the Word of God

Being raised among the Charismatics, I have to confess I have never upheld the primacy of the Word of God in my life. The Charismatic notion that the Word of God is one of the many and may just be the primary means of revelation did affect me considerably. The fact of the matter is the Word of God is not one of the many, but the only source of divine revelation. If one believes in a closed canon, then one has to also believe that God is no longer giving any infallible Word of God to anyone in private. In my life, I have reaped a fair share of shame and spiritual harm in believing that God speaks to me individually in my mind. Everyone of those messages that I thought were of God has brought nothing but confusion in my life. Moreover I have seen that whenever I have depended on God's Word alone, spiritual blessings have followed me in amazing ways. Last year was a milestone regarding this conviction, as some major turn of events opened my eyes to the primacy of God's Word. I am now deeply convinced that God speaks only through His Word and it is not through any mystical personal chat in my mind. Rather He speaks through His eternal Word which is common for all.

Abraham Kuyper, the Dutch theologian wrote in 1898, - "It has not been God's way to communicate to each and every man a separate store of divine knowledge of his own, to meet his separate needs. But He rather has spread a common board for all, and invites all to come and partake of the richness of the great feast. He has given to the world one organically complete revelation, adapted to all, sufficient for all, provided for all, and from this one completed revelation he requires each to draw his whole spiritual sustenance."

By running only after such vain sources of divine revelation like personal prophecy and individual messages from God, one is left only with a bankruptcy of scriptural knowledge and shallow spirituality. The sufficiency of Scriptures to make the man of God perfect in all good works(2 Tim 3:16-17) is largely ignored in such cases. A turning away from these to a firm conviction and practice of Scripture alone breeds tremendous love and joy in God. I can testify of receiving tremendous grace and peace from my Lord, by depending on Scripture alone in all circumstances. I now sing with the Psalmist :

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. 
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, 
making wise the simple. 
The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. 
The commands of the Lord are radiant, 
giving light to the eyes. 
The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. 
The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous 
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; 
they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. 
By them is your servant warned; 
in keeping them there is great reward
- Psalm 19: 7-11

3. The Necessity of the Local Church

Christian life is one which is lived in a community of the recipients of grace. It is one, where much is attained in fellowship rather than in solitude. Though there is a place for being alone in prayer and study, it is no way a substitute for the fellowship we ought to have in a local church. Last year, much to my dismay, I had to stand for my convictions and stay away from my local church. The issue upon which I took this decision was not on some peripheral issue, but on the fundamental issue of the nature of grace. The dear elders of my local church do not believe that grace alone is enough to save any. I cannot bear this denial of the heart of the gospel wherein we are saved by grace alone and not by any works. 

However in my staying away from the church,. I learnt this valuable lesson of the necessity of a local church. A good local church with sound preaching and fellowship with the saints is an inevitable part of the Christian life. How great a blessing it is indeed to be in the family of God? Adore and treasure Christ corporately, display our heavenly citizenship by suffering together and loving one another as Christ loved us all. Christian life is rich only in the context of a local church. I yearn for those days when my wilderness will end and I shall be in the company of God's elect, regularly. 

Resolution 

As I turn 25 years old today, my resolution is to live in light of these truths. 

I long to know only one good news in all my needs - the gospel of God's grace. I know no other solutions and will not take heed to anyone who is not radically gospel centered. In gospel alone, will all the answers for my thirst for life and godliness be found. In gospel alone, will all the sustenance for my growth in salvation be found. In gospel alone, shall I boast. And gospel alone, shall I preach and endorse to others. Having tasted its goodness, I am now under obligation to preach it to all and any, considering my life not worthy if only I may testify the gospel of God's grace. 

I long to devour the Word of God as revealed in the Scriptures alone, wherein alone does God speak. It is my sweet employ to know it thoroughly. I long to delight in it alone, wherein is revealed the glories of Christ my saviour. I rejoice in its sufficiency to mature me and equip me for all good works. I strive to have all my desires, thoughts and intentions moulded by the Word of God. Let my mind be rigorously employed in meditating and knowing the truths of it. May my mind be thus renewed to know God's good and perfect will. May I always believe that the Word of God is sweeter than any other pleasure in the whole world and beyond. Being thus convinced, may I labour wholeheartedly in studying it, memorizing it and obeying it.

I long to be one with my brethren in Christ in a good local church. Being one among the many of the Lord's flock,  I desire to be learning together, worshiping together, suffering together and glorifying God together. May I be lead to a church where Christ is honoured, His work is celebrated and God alone is treasured. May I be blessed to take part in the Lord's table with them and remember our Lord and Saviour Who gave Himself for us. 

May the Lord hear my prayers and help me in keeping my resolutions.  

Happy Birthday To Yours Truly.
29-01-2010 

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By Jay Dharan
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