GRACE NOTES- PASTORAL LETTER 3.1.24


Monthly memory verse:
“God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).
Dearly beloved saints of Covenant of Grace,
It was a joy to see you and worship our mighty God, Savior, and King this past Lord’s Day.  I have been praying for you ever since, asking the Lord to increasingly conform His people at Covenant of Grace to His Word in every thought, word, and deed, that we might increasingly reflect the glory of His Son and declare the goodness and power of His reign in all of life.  This is a constant battle in the believer’s life as we war against rebellious thoughts from within and frequent assaults from without.  And yet, it is the warfare to which we’re called, insisting that no wayward part of our thought life or behavior be allowed to go on as if it was somehow not required to bend the knee to Christ.  This was the fight in which the Apostle Paul found himself engaged among the Corinthians, and in which we’re called to engage as well, until our obedience is made complete.
As Paul wrote his second epistle to the Corinthians, false teachers had slipped in among them, speaking against Paul and trying to carve out a space in which they could operate and gain influence without the influence of his teaching.  They put Paul down, saying he spoke boldly when not present with them, but then proved timid when he was actually among them.  They undercut the inspired Word of God, delivered through His Apostle, in order to make room to inject falsehood among God’s people, to the end that, being untethered from the Word in this or that area of thought, those people might make much of these false teachers rather than rendering full allegiance to Christ in all of life.  In this way, they presented a threat to the well-being of those in Corinth as they worked to lead their minds away from constant obedience to Christ in all of life, so that they might inject their own ideology in His place and exalt themselves to a position of admiration and influence.  The key, as is always Satan’s ploy, was to convince those professing faith in Christ that they didn’t need to cede all the ground in their minds, hearts, and lives to the inspired Word – that there was room to question it, room to operate beyond its reach.  It is a pattern that has been repeated through the ages, from the garden down to the present day, when many teach and operate as if faith in Christ could be quarantined and sectioned-off from various parts of life, in which indifference, secularity, or neutrality must be allowed to hold sway.  But, of course, in a world created, sustained, ordered, and ruled by a living and holy God, there is no such thing a truly indifferent, secular, or neutral space – whether in our minds, or in our lives.  The universe, our world, and all that is in it belongs to Him, and everything is therefore commanded to bow the head before His Son and the clear revelation of His Word.
Thus, as Paul wrote to the Corinthians being assaulted with such falsehood, the Apostle declared that his and his companions’ intention was to, “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor 10:5b).  It is just the sort of thing to which we would expect to be called by the Lord of heaven and earth, who commands us to love Him with the entirety of our heart, soul, mind, and strength (cf. Mk 12:30; Lk 10:27).  Every thought – all that we entertain in our heads, desire in our hearts, and ultimately work-out in our lives – is to be captured and pressed into submission to the King of kings, whose kingship includes, “subduing us to Himself” (WSC 26).  This is His desire for His people, and it is our duty before Him who died for us and now sits enthroned over us and all things – the complete triumph of His perfect Word over all that we are, think, say, and do.  It is His good purpose, and He has made it clear that He won’t stop pursuing it until that day when righteousness reigns on earth and no treasonous thought can be found in even the farthest reaches of the globe.  Every thought is to be wrapped about in golden chains, as it were, and led along in procession behind the triumphant King of hearts and nations.
Naturally, this has an extremely broad range of application in our own lives, in our land, and in all the world.  Without exception, every last person is commanded by a Word from heaven’s throne to bend the knee to the risen Son or perish when His wrath is kindled (cf. Ps 2:12).  It doesn’t matter if you’re a a student, a laborer, a businessman, a mother caring for the home, a judge, or a politician with vast influence – every last person is required to take every last thought captive to obey the Lord Jesus Christ, and it is a grave error to allow oneself to be convinced otherwise.
So, ask yourself, “Is there some area in my thinking, or in practice, that I have sought to segregate and separate from the realm of Christ’s Lordship?”  Maybe it’s the sort of shows you allow yourself to watch.  Maybe it’s the bitterness you harbor toward another while justifying it as excusable.  Maybe it’s the semi-shady business practice you’ve taught yourself to ignore.  Maybe it’s the political arena, having bought the popular but biblically unsustainable lie that Christ has no say in the sort of leaders and laws a land ought to have – that this particular area can somehow maintain neutrality.  Maybe it’s the functional atheism of setting science over-against the Word, even trying to twist and stretch the Word to accommodate ideas that are, in point of fact, incompatible with Scripture.  Of course, the list could go on, but the point is to challenge yourself by asking, “Am I refusing to take any part of my thinking or living into full obedience to the Word of Christ?  Am I trying to limit His reach?  Am I, functionally, making Him less than absolutely sovereign over ever last molecule in the universe and every last person in this world?”  And, if you find any such unclaimed territory, to repent and seek to bring it, at once, into conformity with the authoritative and all-embracing Word of God, until every last thought, and therefore all of life, is taken captive and made obedient to Christ, seeking to see Him exalted in all of life, in all our land, and in all the earth.
Let us take His boundless sovereignty to heart, and let us challenge others to do the same – asking what it means for Christ to be King over us and every nation, and then striving to work-out the answers we find in every area of our lives.  And, as He grants us the grace to do so, and success in this holy endeavor, may we and many others learn to confess with increasing gladness, “To Him belong glory and dominion forever.  Amen” (1 Pet 4:11).
In Christ,
Pastor Eric
P.S.
Join us for the prayer meeting each Wednesday in the Fellowship Hall.  Dinner is served at 6:00pm, followed by a brief lesson and a time of prayer at 6:30.  Or, join us for prayer each Thursday at 10:30am in the adult Sunday School room.