I posted this last year and it is well worth reposting. For the Fifth Sunday in Lent, the book Faith and Lifeoffers this selection from St. Augustine, on the natures of Christ:
I. THE MEDIATOR.
IT was necessary that a Mediator between God and men should have something like to God, something like to men; lest, if he were wholly like to men, he should be far off from God; or if he were wholly like to God, he should be far off from men, and so should not be a Mediator. The true Mediator whom in Thy mysterious mercy Thou hast manifested to men, and hast sent, that by His example they should learn humility itself, that Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, appeared between sinful mortals and the Immortal Righteous One; being mortal with men, righteous with God; that as the wages of righteousness are life and peace, He might through His righteousness, which was united to God, make void that death of those who were once ungodly and had been made righteous, which He was pleased to share in common with them. He was manifested to the ancient saints, that so they might be saved by faith in His Passion as then future, even as we are saved by faith in it as past. For inasmuch as He is Man, He is Mediator; in that He is the Word, He is not midway between us and God, because He is equal to God, and is God with God and One God, together with the Holy Spirit .
–St. Augustine, Confessions, xc 42, 43.
This is an excellent summary of the importance of our Lord’s being both divine and human. Truly, we have much for which to be thankful.
Probably I have not mentioned Charles Bridges before, which is something I will remedy now. He was an evangelical Anglican vicar in the 19th century whose writings on the Books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Psalm 119 are very highly regarded. Well, it turns out that Chapel Library has made an ebook available in Kindle format for Bridges’ Proverbs. As the Amazon notes say, no less than Charles Spurgeon said of this book that “The best work on the Proverbs. While explaining the passage in hand, he sets other portions of the Word in new lights.” I highly recommend Charles Bridges’ Proverbs to you if you have a Kindle or use a Kindle app.
If you do not use Kindle, Chapel Library has also made Proverbs available in PDF format.
(Edit: a reader advises that this work by Bridges can also be found at the Internet Archive here in various formats.)
Here is the next in a series on the Book of Acts by Dean Phillip Jensen of St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney – this one being on Acts 4:31-5:42, and titled “Recognising the Hand of God”.
Here is a sermon by Dr. John MacArthur of Grace Community Church in California titled Cauterizing the Conscience that I think is quite relevant to today’s moral climate. In this message, based on Romans 2:14-15, Dr. MacArthur points out that our society actually attacks the conscience:
Our society attacks that. Our society under the prince of the power of the air has two objectives. Objective number one is destroy the moral law so that the conscience is misinformed. Train people against what is innately the law that is in their hearts when they’re born, give them a new morality, not the morality of the Bible, not God’s law. We want people not to think biblically. We want them freed from that so we’ll construct another morality that will pour that into their lives through every means possible. That’s destructive.
And then the second thing that society wants to do orchestrated by the enemy of your souls is to tell you that your conscience is a liar. That’s what’s wrong with you isn’t sin, it’s a lack of…what?…self-esteem. It isn’t that you’re bad, it’s that you’re good and you need to think better of yourself. And so you need to turn off your switch. You need to say to your conscience, “Shut up, Gringo.” The wisdom of our age, the modern psychology says that guilt feelings are nearly always wrong, always erroneous, always harmful…switch them off. You’re good, you’re noble, and if you do go wrong it’s because you’re a victim of someone else’s views, or negative influence. The guilty conscience isn’t healthy, it shouldn’t be tolerated, switch it off.
So we have a whole society of people who are working hard to do that and succeeding and flying blind into a deadly crash. So the society wants to do two things, misinform the conscience and desensitize it. And so, always the world works on overturning biblical morality and replacing it with the tolerance of sin and it works on silencing the conscience…and that’s doubly deadly. The conscience is the soul reflecting on itself.
Quite a timely message, and you can listen to it here.
Courtesy of The Gospel Coalition, here is Part 1 of a series on Genesis by Dr. D.A. Carson, titled “The God Who Made Everything”. In this video he introduces the 14-part series “The God Who Is There” and then explains Genesis 1-2.
Another excerpt from Faith and Life for the Fourth Sunday in Lent is this one from Augustine of Hippo:
The citizens of the Heavenly Jerusalem are all the sanctified men that have been, and that are, and that will be; and all the sanctified spirits, even all those that in the heights of heaven obey God with pious devotion, and do not imitate the impious pride of the devil and his angels. The King of this city is our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, by whom the highest Angels are governed, and the Word assuming manhood that by Him men also might be governed, who will all reign together with Him in eternal peace.
–St. Augustine on Catechizing the Simple, c. 20.
This Lent, let us ensure our heavenly passports are validated.
From Faith and Life, here is a reading from St. Augustine for the Fourth Sunday in Lent:
Let us turn our thoughts to Him who wrought this miracle. He is Himself the Bread that came down from heaven; but a Bread which feeds us, and does not fail; a Bread which can be eaten, but cannot be eaten up. Manna, also, was a symbol of Himself as Bread. Wherefore it is said; “He gave them the Bread of Heaven; man did eat Angels’ Bread.” What is the Bread of Heaven, but Christ? But that man might eat the bread of Angels, the Lord of Angels became Man. For if He had not become Man, we should not have His Flesh; if we had not His Flesh, we should not eat the Bread of the Altar. Let us hasten to our inheritance, because hereby we have received a great pledge of it. O my brethren, let us long after the life of Christ, because we hold the death of Christ as a pledge. How will He not give us His good things, who has suffered our evil things? What did He receive? That which abounds here— to be born, to suffer, and to die. And what has He given? To be born again, to rise again, and to reign for ever.
–St. Augustine, Sermon cxxx.
He came to Earth, that we might gain Heaven.
Writing on the Gospel Coalition blog, Russell Moore, who is president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, has written a thoughtful post on Left Behind in America. In this post he talks about following Christ amid the culture wars – and these paragraphs express a truth we really should take to heart:
Our end goal is not a Christian America of the made-up past or the hoped-for future. Our end goal is the kingdom of Christ, made up of every tribe, tongue, nation, and language. We are, in Christ, the heirs of this kingdom. The worst thing that can happen to us is not cultural marginalization or social setbacks. The worst thing that can happen to us is crucifixion under the curse of God, and we’ve already been there. The best thing that can happen to us has already happened, too. We are raised with Christ, and seated with him at the right hand of God. That should free us to stand and to speak, not because we are a majority, moral or otherwise, but because we are an embassy of the future, addressing consciences made to long for good news.
The shifts in American culture have made those rapture movies turn out to be prophetic, in more ways than one. A rapture indeed is happening, but those who are evaporating in front of us are those structures of nominal, cultural Christianity. Good riddance. We will march onward as those with a gospel to preach and a kingdom to serve. We may be maligned, and we may be misunderstood, but we have not been left behind.
This is an excellent post that helps us think about the immediate future for the Church in America – I commend Left Behind in America to you.
Here is another audio lecture by Dr. John Woodhouse of Moore College in Australia on the Thirty-Nine Articles – this one being on Article 5, “Of the Holy Ghost”. One might summarize this one as How can I know God now? and it is very much true that it is by the Holy Spirit that our eyes are opened to the truth about God and our need for Him. Dr. Woodhouse has some interesting points about this Article – see what you think.