Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Good works: public or private?

Martyn Lloyd Jones settles an apparent contradiction between Matthew 5:16 and Matthew 6:1 ...
The Christian life is always a matter of balance and poise. It is a life that gives the impression of being self-contradictory. ... We read the Sermon on the Mount and we come across something like this: 'Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.' Then we read, 'Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men, to be seen of them: else ye have no reward with your Father which is in heaven.' And a man looking at that says, 'Well, what am I to do? If I am to do all these things in secret ... how can men know I am doing these things, and how can they possibly see this light which is shining in me?'

But, of course, this is only a superficial contradiction ... we are called to do both these things at one and the same time. The Christian is to live in such a way that men looking at him, and seeing the quality of his life, will glorify God. He must always remember at the same time that he is not to do things in order that he may attract attention to himself. He must not desire to be seen of men, he is never to be self-conscious. But, clearly, this balance is a fine and delicate one; so often we tend to go to one extreme or the other. ... But here we are called to avoid both extremes. It is a delicate life, it is a sensitive life; but if we approach it in the right way, and under the leading of the Holy Spirit, the balance can be maintained. ... Let us never forget this, the Christian at one and the same time is to be attracting attention to himself, and yet not attracting attention to himself.
From Daily Readings with Martyn Lloyd Jones (Jan 19th)

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Here is my testimony: mike