Saturday, October 07, 2006

Some Good Packer Quotes!

Quote I
"Think! says Paul in effect. God is for you, you see what that means; now reckon up who is against you, and ask yourself how the two sides compare. (Note, the translation "who can be against us" is wrong, and misses Paul's point: what he asks for is a realistic review of the opposition, human and demonic, not a romantic pretense that it does not exist. Opposition is a fact: the Christian who is not conscious of being opposed had better watch himself, for he is in danger. Such unrealism is no requirement of Christian discipleship, but is rather a mark of failure in it.)" [Pp. 263 Knowing God]

Quote II
"Again: you are called to be a meek person, not always standing up for your rights, nor concerned to get your own back, nor troubled in your heart by ill treatment and personal slights (though, if you are normally sensitive, these things are bound to hurt you at the top level of consciousness); but you are simply to commit your cause to God and leave it to him to vindicate you if and when he sees fit. Your attitude to other people, good and bad, nice and nasty, both Christians and unbelievers, is to be that of the good Samaritan toward the Jew in the gutter - that is to say, your eyes must be open to see others' needs, both spiritual and material; your heart must be ready to care for needy souls when you find them; your mind must be alert to plan out the best way to help them; and your will must be set against the trick that we are all so good at - "passing the buck," going by on the other side and contracting out of situations of need where superficial help is called for.

None of this, of course, is strange to any of us. We know what kind of life Christ calls us to; we often preach and talk to each other about it. But do we live it? Well, look at the churches. Observe the shortage of ministers and missionaries, especially men; the luxury goods in Christian homes; the fund-raising problems of Christian societies; the readiness of Christians in all walks of life to grumble about their salaries; the lack of concern for the old and lonely and for anyone outside the circle of 'sound believers.'

We are unlike the Christians of New Testament times. Our approach to life is conventional and static; theirs was not. The thought of 'safety first' was not a drag on their enterprise as it is on ours. By being exuberant, unconventional and uninhibited in living by the gospel they turned their world upside down, but you could not accuse us twentieth-century Christians of doing anything like that. Why are we so different? Why, compared with them, do we appear as no more than halfway Christians? Whence comes the nervous, dithery, take-no-risks mood that mars so much of our discipleship? Why are we not free enough from fear and anxiety to allow ourselves to go full stretch in following Christ?

One reason, it seems, is that in our heart of hearts we are afraid of the consequences of going the whole way into the Christian life. We shrink from accepting burdons of responsibility for others because we fear we should not have strength to bear them. We shrink from accepting a way of life in which we forfeit material security because we are afraid of being left stranded. We shrink from being meek because we are afraid that if we do not stand up for ourselves we shall be trodden down and victimized, and end up among life's casualties and failures. We shrink from breaking with social conventions in order to serve Christ because we fear that if we did, the established structure of our life would collapse all around us, leaving us without a footing anywhere." [Pp. 269-270 Knowing God]

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