The Work of Shepherds (7)
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling… Philippians 2.12
Christianity and Liberalism
J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937)
“Thus the Christian life, though it begins by a momentary act of God, is continued by a process. In other words – to use theological language – justification and regeneration are followed by sanctification. In principle the Christian is already free from the present evil world, but in practice freedom must still be attained. Thus the Christian life is not a life of idleness, but a battle.”
Paul and Peter were insistent that true Christians will grow in their faith. Paul especially emphasized this. He was so concerned for the Corinthians, in fact, that, after two letters and two visits he still called on them – mere babes in Christ – to examine themselves and see whether they really had faith in the Lord. Where the evidence of sanctification is lacking, we have both grounds and responsibility to ask about the genuineness of salvation. It is the duty of shepherds, watching over the souls of those entrusted to their care, to urge and lead and show and guide the Lord’s sheep into a greater experience of our great salvation, and bring holiness to completion in the fear of God (2 Cor. 7.1). The Christian life is a process, and faithful shepherds will work to make sure all the Lord’s sheep are in the process and moving along.
What is the danger in failing to urge church members to work out their salvation – engage the process of sanctification – in fear and trembling?
T. M. Moore
The calling to make disciples
As pastors and church leaders, making disciples is our primary calling. But we need to make sure we’re growing as disciples, and that our tools for disciple-making are in top condition. Our book, Fan into Flame, provides an overview of the work of disciple-making, together with helpful assessments to discover areas where you most need to grow. Order your copy by clicking here.
Pastoral Hope Initiative
The Fellowship of Ailbe is supported through the generous and faithful gifts of those who benefit from and believe in our work. Does the Lord want to use you in this way? Please look to Him in prayer over this question. You can contribute to The Fellowship of Ailbe by using the Contribute button at our website, or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452. Thank you.
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.All quotations from J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism(Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1923, 1974).