Dedicated to the devotional, exegetical and philosophical study of theological paradox in Conservative, Thoroughly Biblical, Historically Orthodox, Essentially Reformed theology . . . to the glory of God alone!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Jim Elliot on the Sinner-Saint Paradox

Here is an interesting quote from one of Jim Elliot's sermons. The sermon is about the life of Peter, based on I Peter 1:3.
There is mercy for you in that God is picking you out to do a job you never could do before. Great mercy, Peter. But, "I am a sinful man. Oh Lord." "Fear not." Interesting words from the lips of Jesus Christ, for that person who confesses that he's a sinful man is the first man to receive great mercies. Such a person who owns up to his waywardness and his unbelief, who is impetuous enough to confess his own feeling and his own conscience and say, "I am a sinful man," that individual will always hear the words of Jesus the Christ saying, "Fear not. Fear not. Peace." Because God is at peace with those men who will confess themselves to be sinners.
Interesting paradox. A man who has made God his enemy, that man has a chance with God. A man who admits that he has offended God and has terribly outraged His law, that man has an opportunity to lay hold of the compassion in the Godhead. But conversely the man who refuses to admit his sin, the man who says everything is all right between him and God, the man who recognizes no breach of fellowship between his Creator and himself, that man never hears the word of Christ, "Fear not."
But let a man once confess that he is a sinner, that he is disobedient, that he is an unbeliever, and that man hears from Christ the word as Peter heard in great mercy, "Fear not." 
(Jim Elliot: A Christian Martyr Speaks to You, Edited by Robert Lloyd Russell, Xulon Press, 2010, pp. 55-56)
Special thanks to Robert Lloyd Russell, who was kind enough to let me know about the recently published collection of Jim Elliot's sermons, and granted permission for this quotation.

You can buy the book direct from the publisher here.

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