Sunday, May 17, 2009

0 The upshot of God's strength being promised to us

William Gurnall offers some helpful thoughts on the relationship of obedience to faith in the latter portion of Part I of his masterwork, The Christian in Complete Armour. In this portion of the work, he is discussing the statement Paul makes in Ephesians 6:10, namely "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might," and is working through a discussion of the fact that Christians ought to act his faith on this promise - "the almighty power of God as engaged for his help". (p. 31)

Gurnall argues that
"We, that is, every believer, may boldly say, that is, we may conclude, God [i]will[/i] help, not sneakingly, timorously, [i]perhaps[/i] he will; but we may boldly assert it in the face of men and devils, because He that is almighty hath said it." (p. 32, The Christian in Complete Armour.)
Today we are told by some to be [i]tentative[/i] in our statements of God's working on our behalf - not to appear before unbelievers to be too bold. I guess the reason is that to be bold in such a circumstance is to be off-putting. I suppose those that tell us to be [i]tentative[/i] in our statements concerning God and our faith think that such statements are offensive to the unbeliever and appear to be arrogant. Thus, these people, when speaking of God, almost lay completely off the sort of certainty that the Biblical authors ALL uniformly speak with - that Christ alone is the way, truth and life, and that God strengthens me to do His work.

Is "tentativeness" really incumbent upon us as Christians? I frankly think it's hogwash, and I don't see Gurnall taking that approach. He instructs us, with Paul, to "be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might". We are to lay claim to the promises, and promote them for people's good and promote them as pertaining to all who come to Christ. Why water it down? Why make a namby-pamby statement of "tentative" truth claims? The Lord is King - strong and mighty is He. He is the king of glory and there is no other. Why is it that the promoters of the position of "tentative evangelism" think that theirs is the right way? How can they argue that God is being served or glorified in their wimpiness? I don't get it.

I see the Lord calling His people to be STRONG in his power; this doesn't mean that one brashly claims the spotlight and is bold in himself... Certainly it is incumbent upon all who would speak for Christ to relinquish ALL personal contribution claims and acknowledge, nay advertise, that the Lord has done EVERY work and that ALL one's standing with God is of grace, that is to be sure. What we can NEVER do is lay out truth claims in some wimpy fashion as though it may very well be that we are wrong about Christ's power and exclusivity. God has revealed Christ and exalted Him to His right hand, authenticating His identity as THE way, THE truth, THE life. On this there can be no compromise, or tentativeness. To be strong in proclaiming these things requires the power of God with us - and at the same time, to be strong in proclaiming these things is EXACTLY what God calls us in His Word to do. So let us do it.



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