Doctrinal Devotion

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I spent a few hours today reading through a Systematic Theology. As I closed the book tonight, I was reminded again of the need for my head and heart to meet in a kind of "doctrinal devotion." The Puritans were correct of course, that the Word must not only inform our heads but inflame our hearts.

When I put together my doctrinal statement, I included this quote from John Owen at the beginning of the statement. It speaks well to this issue:

"What am I the better

if I can dispute that Christ is God,

but have no sense of sweetness

in my heart from hence

that he is a God in covenant with my soul?

What will it avail me to evince,

by testimonies and arguments,

that he hath made satisfaction for sin,

if through my unbelief,

the wrath of God abideth in me,

and I have no experience of my own being made

the righteousness of God in him,—

if I find not, in my standing before God,

the excellency of having my sins imputed to him

and his righteousness imputed to me?

Will it be any advantage to me, in the issue,

to profess and dispute

that God works the conversion of a sinner

by the irresistible grace of his Spirit,

if I was never acquainted experimentally with

the deadness and utter impotency to good,

that opposition to the law of God,

which is in my own soul by nature,

with the efficacy of the exceeding greatness

of the power of God

in quickening, enlightening, and bringing forth

the fruits of obedience in me?

It is the power of truth in the heart alone

that will make us cleave unto it indeed

in an hour of temptation.

Let us, then, not think

that we are anything the better

for our conviction of the truths

of the great doctrines of the gospel,

for which we contend…

unless we find the power of the truths

abiding in our hearts,

and have a continual experience

of their necessity and excellency

in our standing before God

and our communion with him."

~John Owen (1616-1683)


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