Easter 2021 | It is not enough to believe in Jesus, to love Jesus … We must love and believe in the words of Jesus.
Jerusalem was crowded; outside the city wall there was a vast city of pilgrims’ booths. For the sale of victims for sacrifice, and no doubt for the vending of many wares besides, the temple precincts were for the time a huge holy fair. One could scarcely distinguish that its real purpose was an asylum for weary hearts, a refuge for sin-stricken consciences, a place for quiet meditation and prayer. Where, amid the hubbub of buyer and seller, could the pious Israelite “dwell in the courts of Jehovah, beholding his beauty and inquiring in his temple”
Spence-Jones, H. D. M.
Some love Puritan arguments and others hate them, but my childhood prejudice that Christians were stupid people who worshiped Christmas trees faded fast.
The little I knew of Christian thought came largely from my observation of Boston Catholicism, heavy on ritual. The Puritans were different: they believed God is the agent of conversion and regeneration, with humans responsive yet not leading the process. God does not ticket for heaven those with good social conduct: God saves those he chooses to save, regardless of their acts. Salvation then leads to better conduct, sometimes slowly.
So, the Holy Spirit worked on me, and in 1976 I finally made a profession of faith. I relished and still love Psalm 73:24–25: “You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you?”
That sums it up. God offers wisdom now and heaven later — and what good alternative do we have? I had relied on my deluded reason. I was a fanatic who, apart from God’s mysterious intervention, could not be reasoned with. Happily, the Holy Spirit, while not unreasonable, is unstoppable.