Tuesday, 25 March 2014

My Journey to the Reformed Faith (part 3, "The Sermon on the Mount" opened up new horizons)

I think that for me, an important stage in my reformed pilgrimage, was to realise that there was much more to be gleaned from the Scriptures than I had encountered. This came a good number of years ago while I was wrestling through the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:3-11. Somehow in the providence of God, I got hold of a copy of a book by Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones: "Studies on the Sermon on the Mount". This was another of many life-changing steps in my journey to the reformed faith.

Why was it such an important book for me? My eyes were opened to whole new vista of spiritual truth. It was like discovering the beauty of the Swiss Alps with its extensive range of panoramas and mountain ranges. In sum, I realised that I had been paddling around in "ankle deep water" and this book exposed me to thorough-going exegesis of the biblical text. I did get my answers regarding the Beatitudes, but I got much more. My appetite had been whetted and though I did not fully realise it at the time, this book became a "hinge upon which my own reformation began". However, there is rarely a single event that gives us all the answers to our spiritual questions.

There are no short-cuts to spiritual truth and spiritual progress in the Christian life. Though we try them, sometimes in our impatience. There are no downloading of MP3's into our soul, to shortcut our development. Proverbs teaches us an important principle: "Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding (Proverbs 23:23). Truth, though it is free, it does come with a cost. I have always been impressed by the lives of Joshua and Caleb in that they "wholly followed the Lord". Numbers 32:10-12 records: "And the LORD’s anger was kindled on that day, and he swore, saying, ‘Surely none of the men who came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, because they have not wholly followed me, none except Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have wholly followed the LORD’ ".

The Scripture searches our hearts and minds and we are often left with questions to answer. Do we desire to buy the truth and then not to sell it once it has been acquired? Do we wholly follow the LORD? Wholly following the Lord is a vital ingredient to being reformed, because the Scriptures have to be sought all of our earthly lives; not just on a personal level, but also for the church as well. My next blog post will explain where the next step lay for me was in my journey to the reformed faith. I hope these blogposts will benefit some people and perhaps lay down some helps and signposts for others who saying to themselves "there must be more to Christianity that what I have encountered so far".

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