被按立的目的-The Purpose of Ministerial Ordination

萊爾主教的分享總是可以喂養我們,這段話雖然是以牧人為主,但是仍舊可以幫助每個成熟的基督徒,願你也得到鼓勵與提醒。
Would you like to know what we ministers of the Gospel are ordained to do?  We are not set apart for no other end than to read services, administer sacraments, marry people, and bury the dead. We are not meant to do nothing more than show you the church, or ourselves, or our denomination. We are set for the work of showing people the blood of Christ; and except we are continually showing it, we are no true ministers of the Gospel.   *~ J.C. Ryle*

「 你想知道福音的工人到底為何被按立嗎?我們不是被分別出來誦讀程序,主持聖餐、婚禮、喪禮。我們也不是來帶你參觀教會,向你介紹自己或我們的宗派,不是的!我們 被分別出來,為要讓人看到基督的寶血,若我們不持續這樣見證,我們就不是真正的福音的管家。 」

作真基督徒的代價

作真基督徒的代價是甚麼?

J.C. Ryle 從四個角度帶我們來反思作「真基督徒」需要付上的代價,不是光在得救蒙召時的付出,而是持續不斷、堅忍到底地不斷付出。正如潘霍華所提到的,我們所領受的是白白的恩典,而不是廉價的恩典。更進一步,J.C. Ryle 在這裡指出,不願意付出將要提到的四種代價的基督徒,所要面對的是更大的「代價」-真正的天堂,神所賜的永生的冠冕。

  1. 自以為義
  2. 惰性
  3. 對世界的熱愛

「若有人敢說我們可以保存自己的自己為義、罪、惰性、以及對世界的熱愛,並且仍舊得救-他的膽子實在夠大。我以為作一個真基督徒要付出相當的代價。任 何明理的人都不會懷疑:為了靈魂能得到拯救,付上任何的代價都是值得的。當一艘船馬上就要沈沒之時,船員會毫不遲疑的將貴重的貨物拋進大海。當一個肢體腐 爛的時候,人願意承受任何重大的手術、甚至截肢來挽救生命。所以,一個基督徒應當願意捨棄他進入天堂的任何攔阻。一個不需要付出任何代價的宗教也是沒有任 何價值的宗教!一個沒有十字架並廉價的基督教,最終所帶來的是一個無用、沒有冠冕的基督教。」

“Bold indeed must that man be who would dare to say that we may keep our self-righteousness, our sins, our laziness, and our love of the world, and yet be saved? I grant it costs much to be a true Christian. But who in his sound senses can doubt that it is worth any cost to have the soul saved? When the ship is in danger of sinking, the crew think nothing of casting overboard the precious cargo. When a limb is mortified, a man will submit to any severe operation, and even to amputation, to save life. Surely a Christian should be willing to give up anything which stands between him and heaven. A religion that costs nothing is worth nothing! A cheap Christianity, without a cross, will prove in the end a useless Christianity, without a crown.”

計算代價:世界對你的稱讚(四)

作真基督徒的代價是甚麼?
他要付上的代價:世界對他的稱讚。他必須滿足於因為討神的喜悅而被人輕看。他必須對這些事習以為常:被人嘲笑,譏笑,毀謗,逼迫,甚至被人恨惡。當他在信仰上的看法與行為被人瞧不起甚至被蔑視的時候,他也不以為奇。當他所說的話被誤用,他的行為被人曲解,以致於他被許多人以為犯傻、發燒或狂熱的時候,他必須毫不在意。實際上,他絕不希奇有人稱他癲狂。

我敢說這聽起來的確不容易。我們天性中就厭惡不公正的對待與錯誤的指責,並認為很難被無故控訴。若我們不希望鄰舍說我們的好話,就沒有必要成為有血有肉之人。被人用言語攻擊、棄絕、謗瀆的滋味總是不好受的,特別是在需要獨自承受的時候,但這是無法避免的。主所暍的杯,作門徒的我們也必須暍。他們必須「被藐視且被人厭棄」(賽五十三3)。讓我們把這點記載為帳目中的最後一條:作一個基督徒需要付上的代價是世界對我們的喜愛。

What does it cost to be a true Christian?

“It will cost a man the favor of the world. He must be content to be thought ill of by man if he pleases God. He must count it no strange thing to be mocked, ridiculed, slandered, persecuted, and even hated. He must not be surprised to find his opinions and practices in religion despised and held up to scorn. He must submit to be thought by many a fool, an enthusiast, and a fanatic – to have his words perverted and his actions misrepresented. In fact, he must not marvel if some call him mad.

“I dare say this also sounds hard. We naturally dislike unjust dealing and false charges, and think it very hard to be accused without cause. We should not be flesh and blood if we did not wish to have the good opinion of our neighbors. It is always unpleasant to be spoken against, and forsaken, and lied about, and to stand alone. But there is no help for it. The cup which our Master drank must be drunk by His disciples. They must be ‘despised and rejected of men’ (Isaiah 53:3). Let us set down that item last in our account. To be a Christian it will cost a man the favor of the world.”

計算代價:你喜好的悠閒(三)

作真基督徒的代價是甚麼?
他要付上的代價:他對悠閒的喜好。若他定意要在天路上成功地奔跑,他必須經歷苦痛與磨難。他必須每天警醒與謹慎,好像一個戰士在敵人的領土上一樣。不論與何人、在何處,不論是公眾前或私底下,與陌生人或與家人,他必須每天時時刻刻留意自己的行為。他必須謹守他的時間,他的言語,他的脾氣,他的想法,他的想像,他的動機,以及他與生命中所有關係之間的互動。他必須殷勤地禱告、讀經與使用星期天-這都是恩典流通的途徑。

這聽起來很難。真的,再沒有甚麼比宗教(信仰)上的「麻煩」讓我們感到不爽的了。我們恨惡麻煩,我們私底下恨不得可以有一個「替代型」的基督教信仰,只要「接近/差不離」就夠了,而且最好不用我們操任何心。任何需要耗精費神的勞力都與我們心中的潛意識完全抵觸。但是,若不「流淚撒種」,靈魂是無法「歡呼收割」的。將這記下,作為我們賬目中的第三條:作基督徒必須付上的代價-人對悠閒的喜好。

“It will cost a man his love of ease. He must take pains and trouble, if he means to run a successful face towards heaven. He must daily watch and stand his guard, like a soldier on enemy’s ground. He must take heed to his behavior every hour of the day, in every company, and in every place, in public as well as in private, among strangers as well as at home. He must be careful over his time, his tongue, his temper, his thoughts, his imaginations, his motives, his conduct in every relation of life. He must be diligent about his prayers, his Bible-reading, and his use of Sundays, with all their means of grace.

“This also sounds hard. There is nothing we naturally dislike so much as ‘trouble’ about our religion. We hate trouble. We secretly wish we could have a ‘vicarious’ Christianity, and could be good by proxy, and have everything done for us. Anything that requires exertion and labor is entirely against the grain of our hearts. But the soul can have ‘no gains without pains.’ Let us set down that item third in our account. To be a Christian it will cost a man his love of ease.”

反思:對「生於安樂」的基督徒來說,這是一個極大的挑戰。很多時候,對屬靈現狀的「滿足」可能是教會失去見證/力量的最大攔阻。上帝在亞伯拉罕生命中不斷給他挑戰:從住大房子到住帳篷,成為遊牧民族。從離開本族、本鄉,到離開父母,到遷移到相對貧瘠的應許之地(與富庶的約旦河平原相比,都是山地),到獻以撒,從人的角度來說,實在是好像沒有得到可以看得見的好處。可是,因為聖靈的引導,以及因神的恩典而給他的信心,亞伯拉罕跌跌爬爬的走出信心之旅,成為神恩典與應許的見證人。

最優秀的人最多也不過是人

「最優秀的人在最優秀的時候-也只不過是人而已。以色列的列祖、先知、使徒們-殉道者、教父、改教家、清教徒-都是罪人,需要一位救主:代替他們成為聖潔、合用與光榮-儘管他們仍不過是罪人。」

“The best of men are only men at their very best. Patriarchs, prophets, and apostles, – martyrs, fathers, reformers, puritans, – all are sinners, who need a Savior: holy, useful, honorable in their place – but sinners after all.”

計算代價:你的罪(二)

作真基督徒的代價是甚麼?
他要付上的代價:他的罪。真基督徒必須願意放棄所有神眼中看為錯的習慣與行為。無論周遭的世界如何看待與評論,他都必須轉面而對抗罪惡,與它爭論,與它決裂,與它奮爭,將它釘在十字架上,並且竭力制服它。基督徒必須誠實與公平地來這樣做,絕不能與某些他所愛的特別的罪另立休戰協約。他必須將所有的罪都當成是致命的敵人,並恨惡任何錯誤的道路。不論小事或大事、公開的或隱密的,他必須徹底背棄所有的罪。讓我們將這記錄成為賬目中的第二條:作基督徒必須付上的代價是人的罪。

“It will cost a man his sins. He must be willing to give up every habit and practice which is wrong in God’s sight. He must set his face against it, quarrel with it, break off from it, fight with it, crucify it, and labor to keep it under, whatever the world around him may say or think. He must do this honestly and fairly. There must be no separate truce with any special sin which he loves. He must count all sins as his deadly enemies, and hate every false way. Whether little or great, whether open or secret, all his sins must be thoroughly renounced. Let us set down that item second in our account. To be a Christian it will cost a man his sins.”

計算代價:你的自以為義(一)

作真基督徒的代價是甚麼?
他要付上的代價:自以為義。他必須除去所有的驕傲與高傲,以及對自己品德的自負。他必須滿足於以一個貧窮的罪人身份進入天堂:惟獨藉著白白的恩典,全憑另一人的成績與公義。他必須願意放棄一切對自己的道德、體面、禱告、讀經、去教會、甚至所領受的聖禮的信任,而單單信靠耶穌基督。讓我們先將這一點記錄在我們賬戶中。要做一個真正的基督徒,必須先付的代價是-自己為義。

“It will cost him his self-righteousness. He must cast away all pride and high thoughts, and conceit of his own goodness. He must be content to go to heaven as a poor sinner saved only by free grace, and owing all to the merit and righteousness of another. He must be willing to give up all trust in his own morality, respectability, praying, Bible-reading, Church-going, and sacrament-receiving, and trust in nothing but Jesus Christ. Let us set down this item first and foremost in our account. To be a true Christian it will cost a man his self-righteousness.”
-J.C. Ryle (Four Costs of Becoming a Christian)

反思:真正對付自以為義並完全除去是何等的困難!當人為神付上越多的時候,自以為義的誘惑仍舊可能作祟,影響我們在神面前的忠心與清心。當我們越開始因為聖靈的光照而有更深的分辨力的時候,我們也需要有更深的靈性而不去論斷,也不要太抵觸別人的批評。應當存心忍耐:有則改之,無則加勉;或像大衛那樣,只是不應報復(撒下十六)。聖保羅說得好:「我被你們論斷,或被別人論斷,我都以為極小的事;連我自己也不論斷自己。我雖不覺得自己有錯,卻也不能因此得以稱義;但判斷我的乃是主。所以,時候未到,什麼都不要論斷,只等主來,他要照出暗中的隱情,顯明人心的意念。那時,各人要從神那裡得著稱讚。」(林前四3-5)