A Christmas Feast?

God's Words

Of a new-born’s first cries, we might say, ‘Healthy set of lungs; a good sign!’ If prayer is the equivalent to those cries, an early sign of a healthy new life, spiritually, then another may be a healthy appetite. This second of three brief posts on the theme signs of Life also comes from Dr. J. I. Packer…

 

 

Dr Packer writes: “Second, the baby feeds, instinctively; and the born-again person also feels a hunger for spiritual food – first the milk and then the meat of God’s revealed word. (1 Peter 2:2; Hebrews 5:12-14; 1 Corinthians 3:2).

He listens to the word preached and taught and discussed; he reads it in his Bible, and in books that throw light on the Bible; he asks questions about it; he meditates on it, memorizes it, chews on it, labours to squeeze all the goodness out of it. ‘Oh, how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the day … How sweet are thy words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!’ (Psalm 119:97, 103).

Constantly to crave for God’s word and to want to go deeper into it is thus a second sign of being regenerate.”

From J I Packer in God’s Words.

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Vital Signs?

God's Words

 

When Jesus said, ‘You must be born again’ (John 3) Nicodemus asked the obvious question. Jesus replied that this is not a problem we are left to solve on our own. God Himself works our re-generation in us, by his Spirit. How do we know when He has? This first of three brief posts on the theme signs of Life comes from Dr. J. I. Packer…

J I Packer writes: “The signs whereby a regenerate person may be known correspond to the natural actions of the newborn child. First, the baby cries, instinctively; and the born-again person instinctively prays, crying to God in dependence, hope and trust as a child to his father.

The gospel which he received and to which he responded by embracing Christ as Saviour and lord promised him adoption into God’s family (Galatians4:4 f.), and now it is his nature to treat God as his Father, bringing to him all his own felt needs and desires. We (regenerate believers) “received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father’” (Romans 8:15).

The new Christian’s prayers are honest and heartfelt, as children’s cries for help always are, and though as he matures prayer may become harder (this does happen) it never ceases to be the most natural activity in which he engages. Constantly to look up to God as your Father in heaven and to talk to him from your heart is thus a sign of being regenerate.”

From J I Packer in God’s Words.

You asked for a Loving God?

Problem
In The Chronicles of Narnia, by C S Lewis, Lucy and the others are surprised to hear that the Great Lion, Aslan, is not a tame lion. ‘Of course he isn’t safe’, says one character, ‘but he’s good.’ And it is Aslan’s wildness, as much as his goodness, that sees them through. Aslan’s love is big enough to include his ferocious care for his loved ones (and even his anger at times). This final brief post on the theme of Love and pain also comes from C. S. Lewis…

C S Lewis wrote: “When Christianity says that God loves man, it means that God loves man: not that He has some ‘disinterested’, because really indifferent, concern for our welfare, but that, in awful and surprising truth, we are the objects of His love.

“You asked for a loving God: you have one. The great spirit you so lightly invoked, the ‘lord of terrible aspect’, is present: not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way, not the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, nor the care of a host who feels responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire Himself, the Love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist’s love for his work and despotic as a man’s love for a dog, provident and venerable as a father’s love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes.

“How this should be, I do not know: it passes reason to explain why any creatures, not to say creatures such as we, should have a value so prodigious in their Creator’s eyes. It is certainly a burden of glory not only beyond our deserts but also, except in rare moments of grace, beyond our desiring…”

From C. S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain