Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"From Servants to Children of God"

As I have been reading through the correspondence of Stonewall Jackson to his wife, I have been struck time and again by his fine redemptive-historical insights and and perspective on the Christian life. In a letter dated August 15, 1859, Jackson relays to Mary Anna the insights he gleaned from a sermon preached by the famed Southern Presbyterian minister, James Henley Thornwell:
. . . he took his text from Genesis, seventeenth chapter, seventh verse, which he presented in a bold, profound, and to me original manner. I felt what a privilege it was to listen to such an exposition of God's truth. He showed that in Adam's fall we had been raised from the position of servants to that of children of God. . . . He represented man as a redeemed being at the day of judgment, standing nearest to the throne, the angels being farther removed. And why? Because his Brother is sitting upon the throne he is a nearer relation to Christ than the angels. And his being the righteousness of God himself. I don't recollect having ever before felt such love to God. I was rather surprised at seeing so much grace and gesture in Dr. Thornwell. I hope and pray that much good will result from this great exposition of Bible truth.
The reason this is so striking to me is because of the current trend among some who purport to be the heirs to Southern Presbyterianism to discount so harshly redemptive-historical preaching. And yet, here is Jackson reporting on a sermon preached by a Southern Presbyterian that is redemptive-historical to the core! An exposition of the OT that finds its fulfillment in the life of Christ and then points believers to find their life hidden in that Christ in the heavenly places.

What a glorious reality is the gospel! Those who are naturally in Adam servants and cut off from the family of God, are because of the faithful son raised up and given a place in the Father's house--a place at his right hand, where Christ, his surety is enthroned forever.

Jackson's response is quite appropriate, then, not because he went out and did some specific task, or determined to correct some moral problem as some today advocate, but rather, his response was one of love.

1 comment:

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