Ray Ortlund, pastor back east. Old fashion guy who believes that Nashville will not be able to ignore Jesus (he calls it the level of non-ignorability) when the city is littered with lives that have been radically changed (hes calls it pictures of redemption). He’s the type of preacher that doesn’t waste words. I follow his blog because they are filled with theology, love, passion, and a ton of godly-pass-it-onto-the-next-generation wisdom. His latest thought is worth passing on:
Gospel + safety + time. It’s what everyone needs. A lot of gospel + a lot of safety + a lot of time.
Gospel: good news for bad people through the finished work of Christ on the cross and the endless power of the Holy Spirit. Multiple exposures. Constant immersion. Wave upon wave of grace and truth, according to the Bible.
Safety: a non-accusing environment. No finger-pointing. No embarrassing anyone. No manipulation. No oppression. No condescension. But respect and sympathy and understanding, where sinners can confess and unburden their souls.
Time: no pressure. Not even self-imposed pressure. No deadlines on growth. Urgency, but not hurry, because no one changes quickly. A lot of space for complicated people to rethink their lives at a deep level. God is patient.
This is what our churches must be: gentle environments of gospel + safety + time. It’s where we’re finally free to grow.
(Ray Orlund, Gospel-Safety-Time)
Culture and ethos in a church matter. Sanctification takes a lot of time for it to truly be true. Community within a church gives space for people to work out their own salvation within the leading, empowering, and working of the Holy Spirit – and not man. That’s not to say people should not have a sense of urgency to “work out” their own salvation with, but it is to say that God’s people should have tremendous patience with one another in this thing called sanctification because they believe in the sovereign work of God over the will and doing of His people.
Phil 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
Phil 2:13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.