Friday, February 15, 2008

Decision-making and the will of God, pt. 4

Here's the fourth question (see previous posts) that Sinclair Ferguson encourages Christians to ask as they are seeking to please God in their decision-making:

4. Is it consistent with Christ's Lordship?

Sin of tragic proportions had erupted in the congregation at Corinth. Consequently Paul asks whether they rightly understood their relationship to the Lord. The only chapter in which he does not use this title for Jesus is chapter 13! It deeply troubled him that the Corinthians failed to realize that they were not their own; they had been bought at the great price of their Master's life blood [1 Cor 6:19,20; 7:23].

What is Paul's concern? It is that whenever a Christian engages in a course of action he does so in union with Christ. Nothing severs that relationship. Not even sin can annul it. That is the horrific truth. Whenever the Corinthians gave themselves to gross and indecent sin, they were dragging Christ into it.

Sometimes we say that the principle by which any action may be judged is: Can I take Christ there? There is truth in that. But it is not the whole truth. For, Paul emphasizes, we have no choice in the matter. We do take Christ there. As those who are united to him we cannot leave him behind. So the real question is: Can I take Christ there and look him in the face without shame? Is this course of action, this decision I am taking, totally consistent with my personal confession that "Jesus Christ is my Lord"?

Again it should be emphasized that on its own this question is of limited help. It may answer my questions about the Lord's will immediately (particularly if the answer is 'No'). but it is not in itself an all-sufficient test. It is not the final litmus paper by which we can judge the Lord's will. We need to take all these questions into consideration. We may find, having sought to answer them all, that there is still a momentous decision which God expects us to make. But it can hardly be doubted that much confused thinking began to be cleared away from the church at Corinth as these penetrating questions were set before them. We too will find the same.

(This material is an adaptation of content from the book, "Discovering God's Will" by Sinclair Ferguson, published by Banner of Truth)

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