Sunday, May 04, 2008
The end of a busy week
It was a great privilege yesterday to speak at the Banner of Truth South East Conference at Grove Chapel (Camberwell, London). The conference was titled "Tell all the world of Jesus!"
Andy Christofides spoke in the morning, and I gave the closing address on "The Gospel: The power of God for salvation." Rather than preach from Romans 1:16 I gave an exposition of Mark 10:17-27.
In Matthew, Mark and Luke, the account of the "rich young ruler" is preceded by the disciples being rebuked by Jesus for shooing away babies. Jesus says "Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it" (Mark 10:15)
It is only the helpless and dependent who can receive the kingdom. Of course this is juxtaposed with the rich young ruler who is nothing like this. He wants to inherit the kingdom by doing, not receiving.
And just so that we are clear that receiving the kingdom is about grace not works, Luke tells the story of the pharisee and tax collector praying in the temple, then the babies, before the rich young ruler. Then he follows on with the blind beggar crying to Jesus for mercy.
All of which makes his approach stick out like a sore thumb. The nail in the coffin of salvation by our own obedience is in Mark 10:27. It is not hard for us to save ourselves, it is impossible. Obedience to the law cannot lead to life since our natures are ruined. Our only hope is that the Gospel is the power of God for salvation, by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.