A Quote for Christmas

christmas-gift-box“Before you ever thought of seeking out God to ask for God’s love, God sought you out and acted in self-giving love for you. Before you even considered choosing Christ and making a decision for him, Christ chose you and made a decision for you. Before you even heard about opening yourself to the freeing and renewing work of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit has already been at work in your life and in the world around you. Before it occurred to you to ask for your own and the world’s salvation, while you were still trapped and dead in your sin and unbelief, it already happened in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, and is happening through the presence of the living Christ and his Spirit in your life and in the world. Therefore accept and live by this good news. Not because you must, but because you may. Not because you are or want to be a godly, spiritual person, but because God loves, Christ died for, and the Spirit comes to ungodly, worldly sinners. Not because God is soft and indulgent in dealing with sin and sinners like you but because in Jesus Christ God has already taken on God’s self the consequences of your sin and the sin of the whole world. Not because God will damn and punish you if you don’t, or pay off with all kinds of good things if you do, but out of sheer thankfulness for the loving and powerful grace of God in Jesus Christ. Accept and live by this grace not because the kingdom of God cannot come unless you seek it and work for it, but because the kingdom of God is coming and is already on the way. Accept and live by it because God has been, is and always will be a loving and powerful gracious God – even in those times when you are not sure you believe and despite the massive unbelief and disobedience in the world around you.”
– Shirley C. Guthrie, “A Reformed Theology of Evangelism” in Evangelism in the Reformed Tradition, ed. Arnold B. Lowell (Decatur: CTS Press, 1990), 80-81, quoted in Darrell L. Guder, The Continuing Conversion of the Church (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), 158-159.

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