Tuesday, July 03, 2012

John Bunyan: Grace Abounding

Over the last few weeks I have been writing about a document I keep on the desktop of my computer entitled, “My Motivation.” It is designed to remind and inspire and focus me toward Christ-centered living, but it’s comprised of pictures rather than words. Nine of the fifteen pictures are of various men of God who inspire me for a number of reasons, the third of whom is the puritan Pastor and author, John Bunyan.
When I was in college, I read Bunyan’s most famous work, Pilgrim’s Progress, which certainly had an impact on my life. But in 2003 I read his second most famous work, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, through which God led me on a months-long journey of exploring the contours of grace in my life. In the preface of the book, Bunyan writes this:
“It is profitable for Christians to be often calling to mind the very beginnings of grace within their souls…My dear children, call to mind the former days, ‘and the years of ancient times: remember also your songs in the night; and commune with your own heart’ (Psalm 73:5-12). Yea, look diligently, and leave no corner therein unsearched, for there is treasure hid, even the treasure of your first and second experience of the grace of God toward you. Remember, I say, the word that first laid hold upon you; remember your terrors of conscience, and fear of death and hell; remember also your tears and prayers to God; yea, how you sighed under every hedge for mercy. Have you never a hill Mizar to remember [see Psalm 42:6]? Have you forgot the close, the milk house, the stable, the barn, and the like, where God did visit your soul? Remember also the Word—the Word, I say, upon which the Lord has caused you to hope. If you have sinned against light; if you are tempted to blaspheme; if you are down in despair; if you think God fights against you; or if heaven is hid from your eyes, remember it was thus with your father [i.e., their pastor, John Bunyan], but out of them all the Lord delivered me.”
In submission to the Lord and this ancient Pastor, I diligently explored every corner of my life and searched for treasures of grace. I found many such treasures! Furthermore, the quest so impacted my life that Bunyan has become a permanent part of my life and, in a strange way, one of my Pastors. So, I give glory to God for him, and commend his wisdom to you—search for the grace of Christ in your life!
Shaped by the grace of Christ,
Pastor Charlie

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