O, for a Sense of God!

‘What our generation needs is a sense of God,’ says David Wells, who has done more than anyone to analyze the weaknesses of modern evangelicalism. Steeped as we are in atheism and secularism in society and worldliness in the professing church, the times cry out for a sense of God. The present situation should vex the souls of the righteous from day to day. Only a movement from heaven is going to change the spiritual climate.

John Calvin never said much about himself, but we get a rare glimpse of his conversion in his preface to his book on the Psalms: ‘God, by a sudden conversion, subdued and brought my mind to a teachable frame, having thus received some taste and knowledge of true godliness. I was immediately inflamed with intense desire to make progress.’

Calvin suddenly saw and tasted in Scripture the majesty of God. He told the Roman Catholic cardinal Sadolet that he should ‘set before man, as the prime motive of his life, zeal to promote the glory of God.’ As B. B. Warfield said, ‘It is that sight of the majesty of God that pervades all of life and all of experience. The deepest issue for the Calvinist is what truth or what behavior will illustrate the glory of God.’

Truth must be God-related. The cry today is about how to be relevant, but we should first and foremost be relevant to God and his truth. The doctrine of a transcendent and holy God stands above everything. The gospel makes sense only in a moral world. It is God, not the consumer, that dictates the terms. It is God that identifies for sinners the needs that they have. As J. C. Ryle said, ‘The plain truth is that a right knowledge of sin lies at the root of all saving Christianity.’

– John J. Murray

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