Charles Spurgeon (via pureblyss)
Through the Darkness, Through the Cross….
"Christ knows that the way for His disciples also does not lead gloriously and safely directly into heaven, but that they also must go through the darkness, through the cross.
Also, they must struggle, because the first sign of the nearness of Christ is that His enemies become great—that the power of temptation, of apostasy, of unfaithfulness, becomes strong.
His congregation is led right up to the abyss of confusion about God.
His enemies are concealed behind the name of Christ, and now under the appearance of Christlikeness they would entice us away from Him.”
Excerpt from Bonhoeffer’s February 21, 1932 sermon via:Radical Integrity: The Story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Michael Van Dyke
Strenuous Effort and Vigorous Action….
Salvation is indeed a gift of God, but there is a sense in which we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. His creative action takes place through our obedient action, and He is able to work when we work. We receive the new life as a free gift, but we must practice the gift if we are to live a victorious Christian life in a period of crisis.
Therefore it is impossible to live a victorious life without careful discipline. There are many verbs used in the New Testament that describe this type of life. We are told that as Christians we are to fight, wrestle, run, strive, suffer, endure, resist, agonize, and mortify. These New Testament verbs clearly denote strenuous effort and vigorous action.
When I see a person who claims to be a Christian, believes all the creeds, and calls himself an evangelical Christian, but he does not live a Christian life—his life is not characterized by brokenness, tenderness, purity, and love—I remember the words of Jesus when He said, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” After being born again we are to demonstrate our faith by our works. As James said, “Faith without works is dead.”
Billy Graham: Unto the Hills, A Daily Devotional