Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Hammer of God Section 3-On This Rock "A Heart of Stone and a Rock of Salvation"--Bo Giertz

"But first the conversion must be properly completed through repentance and faith. And that is something God must do, and not you. It is evident that he has gotten you a considerable distance on the way. But you lack faith. You lack the right faith in Jesus only. And that is why you are unable to show others the way to faith."

Torvik would certainly have made objection if Britta had not said something like that just the other day. Instead, he simply asked, "What, then, shall I do about it?"

"Read the Bible, of course."

"I read the Bible every day."

"I believe that. But how do you read?"

"You mustn't be so critical, Olle, of everything a poor fellow does. I try to read devotionally and for edification, so that I take to heart that which I feel is meant for me."

"Feel, feel! That is just what is wrong. Don't you believe the Bible is God's Word just as truly, no matter how you may feel? Don't you see, Brother, that this won't do? Here you are with your sore conscience and your awakening by the law, and you are as sensitive to every threat of the law as a sore tooth to ice water. But since the conscience is dead as clay toward all the gospel promises, you feel nothing when God's Word speaks about Jesus, who died for us sinners, and about the righteousness that comes from God and which one way believe in spite of every accusation of one's conscience. Because you make your feelings your barometer, you pass by the gospel and are held fast in the law. Look in your Bible and see if the passages you have especially marked are not just those that speak of what you shall do. But you have not given half the attention to that which tells what Christ has done through His atonement."

Torvik gave inward assent to that. It was true, completely true. but he said nothing.

"We are in the midst of Lent, Brother," said the rector. "Read God's Word now as God's Word, without skipping anything. Underline heavily everything about what our Savior has done for us. And if you like, write 'For me' in the margin. You need this yourself, and it is your duty to preach it to your congregation, as well."

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