Longing to Know God’s Grace by Knowing Christ
January 11, 2018 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
Every new year and season change affords us an opportunity to reevaluate how things are going. It is healthy and important for marriages, families, individuals, organizations, and even churches to take stock of current conditions, revisit core values, and consider readjustments as needed. This is the philosophical background to new year’s resolutions.
With the elders, I have been thinking through these items for the sake of our church. God has been kind and faithful to our church, but we have room to grow as a church body. I pray that as we refocus on our mission of longing to know and make known the astonishing grace of God and lean into our core value of celebrating a robust, dynamic, Reformed understanding of God’s grace, we would be reenergized for what God will do in and through us.
Take for example the first part of our mission: longing to know the astonishing grace of God. Because of our understanding of the gospel and the entire message of Scripture we believe that the grace of God is found and understood only through Jesus Christ. Therefore, a longing to know God’s grace is a longing to know Christ. This provides a litmus test of sorts to evaluate how we are doing as a church and as individuals in our longing to know God’s grace. Are we growing in our knowledge and enjoyment (for the word “know” in our mission statement incorporates both our minds and hearts) of Christ in all his majesty, power, glory, workings, kindness, love, sacrifice, and reign?
Keeping Christ at the center of our mission in everything we do was reinforced for me last week in my reading. John Owen, Puritan pastor and author, once wrote that “the principle exercise of faith” is the contemplation of the glory of Christ. This has reenergized me to shape our worship gatherings and focus my preaching on Christ. I pray that as we gather together weekly on Sunday mornings we would see the goodness and glory of Christ in fresh avenues through our songs, liturgy, and preaching. And I pray that God would awaken faith, anew and afresh, in us as Christ is lifted up among us.
How about you? How is your spiritual life? Are you growing in faith? How would you even evaluate these things? We need a measuring bar. Let me encourage you to embrace the mission of Oak Hills as your personal mission in your relationship with God. If the “principle exercise of faith” is the contemplation of the glory of Christ then the more you long to know (and grow in knowing) the astonishing grace of God in Christ, the more your faith will grow. Let’s join together in pursuing to know Christ. Gather with us Sunday mornings with a longing to know Christ. Make personal commitments to make knowing Christ the center of your spiritual disciplines throughout the week. May God bless us as we seek Christ this new year.