We received a good reminder this morning from an old friend, our former Greek professor during the chapel at TMS. He is a brilliant Greek and New Testament scholar, but often eccentric, to say the least. One of the benefits of eccentricity, however, is the ability to notice the obvious often overlooked by others, such as the implications of that small command which concludes 1 John.
He observed that the command to "guard" is a call for an urgent action to protect ourselves from "idols," which in the NT, refers figuratively to anything or anyone that takes the place of one's devotion to Christ. For example, Colossians 3:5 and Ephesians 5:4 both refer to greed as such "immaterial idolatry."
From there, Dr. Farnell reflected on a tendency so common and so dangerous in students of God's Word, and Reformed theology in particular. The temptation to exalt the men who have so faithfully exposited the Word of Christ above Christ Himself,
John wrote this epistle to deal with men who loved the wisdom of the world, the teaching of men over the teaching of Christ and His Word. Hence, they had idols in their life! Discipleship means devotion! Whose disciple are you?! God's eternal purpose is to make disciples just like Jesus. And He is using you, preacher boy, as a chosen instrument, to assist in making people like Jesus! Not like your favorite figure in church history. Your mission as an under-shepherd is to be a chosen instrument to help in making people like Christ alone!Told you he was eccentric. But, you must agree, point taken. Especially for those of us who value the heritage passed on by the hands of martyrs, that its importance pales to the Lordship of Christ. A good echo of some of the first words Spurgeon gave at the Tabernacle,
I am never ashamed to avow myself a Calvinist. I do not hesitate to take the name of Baptist. But if I am asked what is my creed, I reply - "It is Jesus Christ!"We will not thank Dr. Farnell, nor Spurgeon, for this reminder, but the Lord to whom they have pointed. May His glory so shine in our hearts as to extinguish the allure of any competitors.