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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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William

Willful Ignorance

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R C Sproul

 

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing, and perfect will” (v. 2).

 

- Romans 12:1-8

God sends His Spirit to dwell within Christians and to change us from the inside out. The Spirit changes us by altering our consciousness so that we are aware of God and the things of God in ways we never were before. The Spirit convicts us inwardly that some acts are sins and other acts are righteous. The Spirit works on our consciences so that we approve and affirm the things that are just and pure. In all these ways, the Spirit works within us.

 

The Spirit addresses our minds to get to our hearts. The Spirit works with a book, the Bible. The Bible is not a magic tool to wave in the air to ward off the Draculas of this age. The Bible must be read and studied. Its truths must be accepted, understood, and believed. If we do not understand the truths of the Bible, we cannot grow in sanctification and holiness.

 

This is why it is so sad that we live in an age that is hostile to doctrine and teaching. It seems that throughout the church the first thing sought after is warm feelings and happy experiences. It seems to be assumed that holy living will grow out of ignorance. Manifestly this is not the case.

 

Errors in doctrine arise from sin. It is sinful to neglect the Bible and its teaching. It is wrong to be ignorant of the contents of the Bible. It is sinful to know all about what is going on in Washington, yet ignorant of what is going on in Nahum, Leviticus, and Zephaniah. It may be that we have fallen into such sinfulness without meaning to (what the Bible calls a sin of inadvertency, as opposed to high-handed sin), but it is sin. The Spirit cannot and will not sanctify our lives if we despise the Bible, even through neglect.

 

Romans 12:2 says that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. True living flows from true understanding. We are not to be satisfied with spiritual babyhood, but are to mature into responsible adulthood both in our worship and in our lives.

 

Sanctification, our growth in holiness, proceeds through four stages: consciousness, knowledge of the truth; conviction, acceptance of the truth; conscience, inward incorporation of the truth; and finally, life, the outworking of the truth.

 

Coram Deo

 

The verse used for our study today, Romans 12:2, is Ligonier’s theme verse. Its truth drives our goals and objectives, shaping even the way in which these daily studies are written. Give new priority to the role your transformed mind must have in your pursuit of grace and holiness.

 

Passages for Further Study

 

Deuteronomy 4:29

Matthew 22:37

John 8:31

2 Corinthians 4:16

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