Let not conscience make you linger…   Leave a comment

Let not conscience make you linger, Nor of fitness fondly dream; All the fitness He requireth; Is to feel your need of Him.

This quote from a Hymn,” All the fitness He requireth; Is to feel your need of Him.” I like that, the human tendency is to first when drawn to the throne of grace and to Come to Christ, receive His gift, and then promptly try to earn it. John Piper has put a name to this tendency,  he calls it the Debtors ethic.

We have been given grace so now we think we “owe” It is such a deeply ingrained thing, in our human nature, and to be sure, gratitude is a good thing. Can a man repay for anything?  It seems a considerable impossibility. Luther put it this way.

Thus I raged with a fierce and troubled conscience. Nevertheless, I beat importunately upon Paul at [Romans 1:17], most ardently desiring to know what St. Paul wanted. At last, by the mercy of God, meditating day and night, I gave heed to the context of the words, namely, “In it the righteousness of God is revealed, as it is written, ‘He who through faith is righteous shall live.'” There I began to understand [that] the righteousness of God is . . . righteousness with which [the] merciful God justifies us by faith. . . . Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates. (Martin Luther: Selections, pp. 11-12)

That is the heart of the matter, “feeling our need of Him, the more we feel our need of Him, the more we are inclined to obey. Suffering has never ceased to be the school of the Spirit, and the sons of the world don’t seem to be harassed by their talk or actions. Yet those who fear the Lord can know this, those whom He loves he disciplines.

Yet we cannot linger over matters of conscience for the accuser of the brethren uses tender consciences to accuse, those who would fear the Lord and obey His decrees. It was as Luther said for me too, when I saw that the righteousness God requires is the righteousness He gives to those who but receive it by faith my aching conscience could find peace.

This puts me in the place of feeling my need of Him daily, running to God when all we feel is shame for sin, is never easy, but it is the only thing to do. The invitation still is, “Come ye who are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest….” Jesus know better than we do that we can out of ourselves do nothing.  The righteousness given to those who receive it by faith is the logic of heaven. And today again I feel my need of it. Do you?


Posted September 29, 2010 by Reformed and renewed in Uncategorized

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