Adrian Warnock is tagging along with David over at Jolly Blogger and I have been invited to the party by Adrian, God bless his soul, so here goes.
Adrian says the following, "The doctrines of grace are there to humble us and recognise that it wasnt something special about us that led to us being saved. " and also he states, ...
"I believe firstly that from a moral point of view even before I am a Christian I owe much to the general grace of God in restricting my will. Even as a Christian, it is less about my will power and more about the power of God in restraining my errant impulses. If the congregation I am a part of knew the kind of thoughts my mind sometimes has I wonder would they want to hear me preach? If my will had free reign and was unfettered by God, by society, by my upbringing, by my experiences I guess my life would not be a pretty sight."...
I believe Adrian is taking exactly the proper approach as to why we as pastors are so passionately in love with the doctrines of Sovereign Grace. It is the love of God and the humility that this biblical faith brings to our souls...
If we think of ourselves as Reformed, we would do well to read (and I am sure many of us have) Richard Baxter's "Reformed Pastor". Baxtor takes as his theme not doctrinal knowledge but the pastor's call to nurture the soul's of people by applying the truth patiently and lovingly to their souls. Baxter calls this vocation the oversight of the flock.
Just tonight, in Baxter's tradition, I went on a pastoral visit. The purpose of these visits is to know a person's story so as to give care to their spiritual relationship to God and His people. All I will say is I learned a great deal tonight that I can take into prayer and plead with God to bless this wonderful child of His.
What would I pray...well I will pray that the knowledge of God would open before this person in such a way that they would see His power and majesty all around them and in every aspect of their life. I would pray that through such a vivid view of God's sovereignty and love that their faith would become vital and alive and filled with peace and joy.
In other words, I would pray that the biblical faith would create virtue, the love of God, in their souls.
We preach that a person's will is not totally free. Oh and thank the Lord that this is true. If it were not I would be lost. Praise God that life as God ordains it and my lack of liberty controls my insatiable pursuit of foolishness.
"Oh, God hem me so that all I can do is choose your will. Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil".
My lack of absolute freedom helps me realize that God can indeed mediate between my limited freedom and His sovereign will so as to assist me in choosing the good. I am humbled and I hope you are by realizing all the infinite ways that our choices are assisted by circumstances beyond our control, and, hallelujah, it is to our benefit and by His grace.
Soveiegn Grace, as doctrine, helps us to know the theory behind the reality, but, nonetheless, it is the reality that we are attemping to bring to people as we "oversee the flock".
Ah, it is so good to be a Christian in these days where information is so available, and I can tag along with a fellow pastor and psychologist over 7,000 miles away.