Friday, April 29, 2011

Depth and emphasis

The best example of someone who struck the right balance between depth and emphasis is the apostle Paul. When the jailer in Philippi asked him, "What must I do to be saved?" he did not hem or haw, mumble or ramble. He did not stop to search his memory, pondering which passage of Scripture or trajectories of argument might be relevant to this question. He did not correct the jailer by saying, "It would be better if you asked me, 'What has God done to save me?'" He did not take out a piece of chalk and diagram the history of salvation on the walls of the prison, or talk about predestination, or explore the spiritual dynamics of the jailers quest for meaning. He said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved." (Acts 16:31). On the other hand, when writing to the Ephesian church, to whom he had declared "the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27), he did not just keep repeating "Believe in the Lord Jesus" over and over, as if he had nothing more to say. For them, he described the eternal purpose of God the Father in choosing us to receive redemption through the blood of His beloved Son and to be sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise (Eph 1:3-14). Paul was hardly a know-nothing, even when he resolved, for strategic reasons, to "know nothing" in Corinth "except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor 2:2). Paul knew how to be emphatic, but he also knew how to lead believers deeper into the mystery which had been made known to him by revelation (Eph 3:3). He could make the simple point about salvation in a few words, and he could describe the deep background of that emphatic message in all its features. When he turned the task of exploring the background, he turned to the doctrine of the Trinity: the Father's choosing, the Son's redeeming, and the Spirit's sealing.

The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything

Fred Sanders, Crossway Publishing pg 18

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