Monday, October 19, 2009

Jer 33

33:8. I promised a glance at Calvin. "If the grievousness of our sins terrifies us, yet all diffidence ought to be overcome, because God does not promise his mercy only to those sinners who have slightly fallen, either through ignorance or error, but even to such as have heaped sins on sins. There is therefore no reason why the greatness of our sins should overwhelm us; but we may ever venture to flee to the hope of pardon, since we see that it is offered indiscriminately to all, even to those who had been extremely wicked before God, and had not only sinned, but had also become in a manner apostates, so that they ceased not in all ways to provoke God's vengeance."

Not to use this in the Calvin vs. Calvinism debate about universal offers and the impossibility of apostasy, let's rather take note that Calvin reads Jeremiah 33 as showing the character of God, whence he applies it to whoever is reading his commentary! On this I think everybody can agree, that Calvin does this.

But today there's a prior question that needs to be addressed, and that is, how do we speak to people whose grievousness of their sins does not terrify them whatsover, and whose categories of thought and of action don't include sin? Two thoughts on that: first, the more lost the person, the farther the trek to find the person. Some ambassadors are in countries very far away from their own. Such also are ambassadors of Christ, and their work is very lonesome.

Secondly, God is not a do-nothing God. It's amazing how much evangelistic technique is predicated on a do-nothing God. To be saved, by so many accounts, is to do 1,2,3. Even if something about God is thrown in there somewhere, it's usually about something God did way back, and the only things done in the present, are things the sinner must do! Horrible! To be saved -- is, by definition -- to be saved by God. God does it! You can't do it by 1,2,3.

But I said this was one of two answers to people whose grievousness of their sins does not terrify them. How is the answer that God Himself does the saving help that situation? The ambassador may sometimes point out what the alternative to God Himself doing the saving is. Without God doing the saving, there is no 1,2,3, or even a 1.

That's one possibility. Another possibility, very seldom attempted, is direct: take a look at John 13:20.

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