vrijdag 10 januari 2014

John Bunyan and his Relevance for Today 3

A few themes out of the works of Bunyan 1       
         The first thing I would mention in this connection is the strong sense of eternity. When Christian left the City of Destruction he put­ted his fingers in his ears and cried: "Life, life, eternal life". Speaking about the message of the Bible Bunyan writes in one of his books:

       All its doctrines, counsels, encouragements, threatenings and judgements have a look one way or other upon with respect to the next world.
       Bunyan spoke clear about the reality of everlasting punishment. He said to them that came to hear him: 

Be willing to see the worst of thy condition. It is better to see it here than in hell, for thou must see thy misery here or the­re. 

       I gave another quotation: 

       For when men come to see the things of another world, what a God, what a Christ and a heaven is to be enjoyed, and when they see it is possible for them to have a share in it, I tell you it will make the run through thick and thin to enjoy it.

       As I already noted the strong sense of eternity was not specific Reformed or Prot­estant, but the answer Bunyan gave one the question how a man can find peace with God was the Biblical and Reformed ans­wer. Bunyan preached Christ and his righteous­ness as the only ground of salvation and justification. Christ is, to use the expression of Bunyan a public of common person. As the surety and representative of his church he bore the sins of his people. He died and rose again for them.
        We get a share in Christ and his work, when we lay hold on him. We must receiver Christ on his own terms. That means we have to recei­ve him freely. God justifies persons who are in themselves ungodly. Bunyan stressed that Christ is not a second Moses. The gospel is not a new law but it is the fulfilment of the law.
       Bunyan wanted to preach the free offer of Christ as powerful as pos­sible. He denied that a man must be assured of the sincerity of his faith or his intentions before coming to Christ. In his work, The Pharisee and the Publican, he writes among others:  

Again, I, in the first acts of my faith, when I am come to Christ, do not accept of him, because I know I am righteous, either with imputed right­eous­ness, or with that which is inherent: both these, as to my present privilege in them, may be hidden from mine eyes, and I only put upon taking of encoura­gement to close with Christ for life and righteousness, as he is set forth to be a propiti­ation before mine eyes, in the word of the truth of the gospel; to which word I adhere as, or because I find, I want peace with God in my soul, and because I am convinced, that the means of peace is not to be found any where but in Jesus Christ.