Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Expulsive Power of a New Affection

Have you ever heard of Thomas Chalmers' famous sermon, The Expulsive Power of a New Affection? If not, I'd encourage you to give it a read.

Sinclair Ferguson
applies Chalmers' biblical perspective to our own struggles today with expelling worldliness. He writes:

Sometimes we make the mistake of substituting other things for it. Favorites here are activity and learning. We become active in the service of God ecclesiastically (we gain the positions once held by those we admired and we measure our spiritual growth in terms of position achieved); we become active evangelistically and in the process measure spiritual strength in terms of increasing influence; or we become active socially, in moral and political campaigning, and measure growth in terms of involvement. Alternatively, we recognize the intellectual fascination and challenge of the gospel and devote ourselves to understanding it, perhaps for its own sake, perhaps to communicate it to others. We measure our spiritual vitality in terms of understanding, or in terms of the influence it gives us over others. But no position, influence, or evolvement can expel love for the world from our hearts. Indeed, they may be expressions of that very love.

Others of us make the mistake of substituting the rules of piety for loving affection for the Father: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!” Such disciplines have an air of sanctity about them, but in fact they have no power to restrain the love of the world. The root of the matter is not on my table, or in my neighborhood, but in my heart. Worldliness has still not been expelled.

Read the whole thing to see how Chalmers and Ferguson understand the true key for expelling even Christian worldliness from our hearts and minds.