two lines at once

Ramblin’ Pastor man has several quotes from Charles Spurgeon posted. Go take a look. I especially enjoyed this bit here:

Not only are there a few cardinal doctrines, by which we can steer our ship North, South, East, or West, but as we study the Word, we shall begin to learn something about the North-west and North-east, and all else that lies between the four cardinal points. The system of truth revealed in the Scriptures is not simply one straight line, but two; and no man will ever get a right view of the gospel until he knows how to look at the two lines at once. For instance, I read in one Book of the Bible, “The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Yet I am taught, in another part of the same inspired Word, that “it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” I see, in one place, God in providence presiding over all, and yet I see, and I cannot help seeing, that man acts as he pleases, and that God has left his actions, in a great measure, to his own free-will. Now, if I were to declare that man was so free to act that there was no control of God over his actions, I should be driven very near to atheism; and if, on the other hand, I should declare that God so over-rules all things that man is not free enough to be responsible, I should be driven at once into Antinomianism or fatalism. That God predestines, and yet that man is responsible, are two facts that few can see clearly. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory to each other. If, then, I find taught in one part of the Bible that everything is fore-ordained, that is true; and if I find, in another Scripture, that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is only my folly that leads me to imagine that these two truths can ever contradict each other. I do not believe they can ever be welded into one upon any earthly anvil, but they certainly shall be one in eternity. They are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the human mind which pursues them farthest will never discover that they converge, but they do converge, and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth doth spring.”

the italics are his, but the bolding is mine.

there is the basic fundamental tension at the heart of everything. I love it when he says, “No man will ever get a right view of the gospel until he knows how to look at two lines at once.”

Both lines are ever present in the Bible.

After church yesterday (don’t tell Malcolm Yarnell, but we went to a Presbyterian church yesterday) I was looking with my kids at John chapter 1. Both lines are right there in verses 12 and 13. we have to receive and believe, but we are born of God and not of the will of man or flesh. I just love it.

How good are you at seeing two lines at the same time? Do you embrace the tension and mystery at the heart of the gospel? Aren’t you glad to worship a God that you can’t figure out?

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One Response

  1. […] have to be able to see two lines at once in order to grasp the truth of scripture. God expects us to passionately pursue him with all of our […]

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