Live Biblically on the Lord's Day

In Simplify Your Spiritual Life Don Whitney asks the question

[Other than attending church] how do you decide what else you should or should not do on Sunday?

Whitney then summarizes what he sees as the three prominent views among Christians regarding how Sunday is to be approached.

Christian Sabbath view - according to this view the Fourth Commandment ("Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy" [Exodus 20:8]) is a "perpetual, moral law of God and remains intact under the New Covenant...Except for the ceremonial aspects of the Jewish Sabbath, all the other Sabbath laws should be embraced by Christians today, just as much as any of the other Ten Commandments" (Donald S. Whitney, Simplify Your Spiritual Life, 165).

Lord's Day view - this view argues that "the Sabbath pointed to Christ. Jesus is the true Sabbath...when we rest from (that is, stop relying upon) our good works as the way to be right with God and rest by faith in the finished work of Christ on our behalf, we 'keep the Sabbath'" (Whitney, 165).

Oblivious view - this view is not really a view, but rather the absence of a position regarding the Sabbath due primarily to a lack of consideration about what the Bible says on the matter.

Sadly, it seems many Christians fall into the third category. Most of us simply don't give much thought to what we do or don't do on Sundays. Yet whatever we do or don't do on Sundays we're to do it to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). In light of this Whitney concludes with an important exhortation for us to consider.

I want to encourage you to base your decisions about your Lord's Day activities -- whatever they may be -- more intentionally upon the Bible. That's what a Christian really wants to do in everything, isn't it?...Study the issue, be persuaded in your own mind, and then act accordingly. Believe that it's always more blessed by God and glorifying to God to choose to live biblically (Whitney, 166).

Not What My Hands Have Done

Last Sunday we sang "Not What My Hands Have Done" by Horatius Bonar in preparation for hearing the morning's sermon from Romans 5. The lyrics have been running through my head all week so I wanted to share them here.

Not what my hands have done can save my guilty soul;
Not what my toiling flesh has borne can make my spirit whole.
Not what I feel or do can give me peace with God;
Not all my prayers and sighs and tears can bear my awful load.

Your voice alone, O Lord, can speak to me of grace;
Your power alone, O Son of God, can all my sin erase.
No other work but Yours, no other blood will do;
No strength but that which is divine can bear me safely through.

Thy work alone, O Christ, can ease this weight of sin;
Thy blood alone, O Lamb of God, can give me peace within.
Thy love to me, O God, not mine, O Lord, to Thee,
Can rid me of this dark unrest, And set my spirit free.

I bless the Christ of God; I rest on love divine;
And with unfaltering lip and heart I call this Savior mine.
His cross dispels each doubt; I bury in His tomb
Each thought of unbelief and fear, each lingering shade of gloom.

I praise the God of grace; I trust His truth and might;
He calls me His, I call Him mine, My God, my joy and light.
’Tis He Who saveth me, and freely pardon gives;
I love because He loveth me, I live because He lives.

Memorizing Scripture

Have you ever attempted to memorize a Bible verse? What about an entire chapter or book of the Bible? I once set out to memorize the book of Ephesians. I made it to chapter 4, but never finished.

Recently, as I was reading John Piper's When I Don't Desire God, I was encouraged to begin memorizing significant portions of Scripture again. Piper writes,

If you are not a memorizer at all, shift up to memorizing a Bible verse a week. If you only memorize single verses, shift up to memorizing some paragraphs or chapters (like Psalm 1 or Psalm 23 or Romans 8). And if you have ventured to memorize chapters, shift up to memorize a whole book or part of a book. Few things have a greater effect on the way we see God and the world than to memorize extended portions of Scripture.

Piper recommends a little booklet on Scripture memorization by Andy Davis entitled An Approach to the Extended Memorization of Scripture (free PDF). I read through the booklet last night and found its practical advice very helpful.

If you're ready to start memorizing books of the Bible check out the booklet. If you'd rather start off with individual verses you may want to look at the Topical Memory System from NavPress or Desiring God's Bible memory products.

Read for 15 Minutes Each Day

In When I Don't Desire God John Piper demonstrates how much reading you could do in 1 year simply by reading for 15 minutes each day.

Suppose you read slowly like I do--maybe about the same speed that you speak--200 words a minute. If you read fifteen minutes a day for one year (say just before supper, or just before bed), you will read 5,475 minutes in the year. Multiply that by 200 words a minute, and you get 1,095,000 words that you would read in a year. Now an average serious book might have about 360 words per page. So you would have read 3,041 pages in one year. That's ten very substantial books. All in fifteen minutes a day.

Or, to be specific, my copy of Calvin's Institutes has 1,521 pages in two volumes, with an average of 400 words per page, which is 608,400 words. That means that even if you took a day off each week, you could read this great biblical vision of God and man in less than nine months (about thirty-three weeks) at fifteen minutes a day.