Friday, October 29, 2010

Preaching with Tenderness

I will surely assemble all of you, Jacob,
I will surely gather the remnant of Israel.
I will put them together like sheep in the fold;
Like a flock in the midst of its pasture
They will be noisy with men
(Micah 2:12)

From Andrew Bonar on M'Cheyne's approach to preaching sin and judgment:
Certain it is that the tone of reproach and upbraiding is widely different from the voice of solemn warning. It is not saying hard things that pierces the conscience of our people; it is the voice of divine love heard amid the thunder.

The sharpest point of the two-edged sword is not death, but life; and against self-righteous souls this latter ought to be more used than the former. For such souls can hear us tell of the open gates of hell and the unquenchable fire far more unconcernedly than of the gates of heaven wide open for their immediate return.

When we preach that the glad tidings were intended to impart immediate assurance of eternal life to every sinner that believes them, we strike deeper upon the proud enmity of the world to God, than when we show the eternal curse and the second death.

- Bonar, Memoir and Remains of Robert Murray M'Cheyne (Banner; reprint, 2004), p. 43.
Our sovereign God truly stands before the sinner as a Judge, but even more as a Savior and Shepherd, and so must His preachers declare Him. Prayerfully searching for such clarity and compassion in Micah 3.

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