Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

A Line of Conduct Which Passes Man’s Understanding

“The love of Christ to sinners is a ‘love that passeth all knowledge.’ To suffer for those whom we love, and who are in some sense worthy of our affections, is suffering that we can understand. To submit to ill-treatment quietly, when we have no power to resist, is both graceful and wise. But to suffer voluntarily, when we have the power to prevent it, and to suffer for a world of unbelieving and ungodly sinners, unasked and unthanked – this is a line of conduct which passes man’s understanding.”

– Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Vol. 4

“Seven Stanzas at Easter”

Make no mistake: if he rose at all
It was as His body;
If the cell’s dissolution did not reverse, the molecule reknit,
The amino acids rekindle,
The Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
Each soft spring recurrent;
It was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled eyes of the
Eleven apostles;
It was as His flesh; ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes
The same valved heart
That-pierced-died, withered, paused, and then regathered
Out of enduring Might
New strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
Analogy, sidestepping, transcendence,
Making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the faded
Credulity of earlier ages:
Let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
Not a stone in a story,
But the vast rock of materiality that in the slow grinding of
Time will eclipse for each of us
The wide light of day.

And if we have an angel at the tomb,
Make it a real angel,
Weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair, opaque in
The dawn light, robed in real linen
Spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
For our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
Lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are embarrassed
By the miracle,
And crushed by remonstrance.

~ John Updike

HT Man Against World

Book Review: Discerning the Body

“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” (1 Cor. 28-29)

Last week, I was blessed to receive a review copy of Discerning the Body, a new eBook written by Hone Phillips. Based on Paul’s words in I Corinthians 11:17-34, the book is a study of the requirements for participation in the Lord’s Supper, and addresses the significance of self-examination.

… the merits earned by Christ’s death were for each and every one of his saints, not just our friends and those who think as we do. The aim of the self-examination is, therefore, to help each of us see every other member as of great worth to Christ. (p. 68)

At just over a hundred pages, Phillips’ work is short and straight-forward, easily read in one sitting. This is not to say it lacks in theological depth – nothing could be further from the truth. It’s rich, thought-provoking, and biblically-rooted. But it also gets to the point and stays there. And I, for one, appreciated that.

Discerning the Body is Phillips’ first book (as far as I know), but the writing quality is superb throughout: crisp, articulate, and genuine. While stressing the importance of sound doctrine, he also lays great emphasis on love and unity in the body of Christ. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:2, “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”

Small differences should not blind us to the the great and glorious thing we have in common – salvation in Jesus Christ. We must not lose sight of the forest for the trees.

Here is the great cost, paid by the Lord Jesus Christ, for each and every one of his people. The very Son of God himself laid aside His glory and died the death of a criminal for us. Next to that great salvation and sacrifice what pettiness to consider as important the slights caused by another member of the congregation and hold them against him or her.

Without remembering what Christ did for us we cannot truly love one another as He has loved us. The standard is shown in the Supper. This is what forms the basic principle which Paul will apply to the situation he had heard about in Corinth. The Supper reminds us of what He did and we should love one another even as He loved us all. (p. 62)

(Discerning the Body is available for purchase here)