Soli Deo Gloria: For the Glory of God Alone
Posted: Thursday, October 7, 2010 5:50 pm
The Messenger, October 7, 2010
By DEON BARNES
Special to The Messenger
Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse (1895-1960), best known for his radio-preaching show “Dr. Barnhouse and the Bible,” pastored Tenth Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Philadelphia for 33 years. In an interview, Dr. Barnhouse recalls his early days of Christianity.
“I was about 15 and a man dealt with me concerning my spiritual life. He showed me the verse that reads, ‘All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all’ (Isa. 53:6). My friend had me read this in the first person singular: ‘I, like a sheep, have gone astray; I have turned to my own way; and the Lord has laid on Him all of my iniquity.’ I can never forget it. For several years, in my ignorance of Scripture, I thought that I was born again at that moment. Only years later did I realize that I was alive in Christ long before that. What had happened then was that I received full assurance of forgiveness, and knew that my sins were removed from me. I knew that I had been adopted by the Father … and was truly a child of God.
“A day or two after this great experience, I wrote in the margin of my Bible, opposite this verse, ‘Here I met God,’ and placed the date beside it. How many times I went back to that verse when there was occasion to doubt!”
Like Dr. Barnhouse, many of us have had this experience of grace poured out upon our lives. Nothing fills a person with more joy, more peace, more understanding about adoption, love and undeserved favor than the full assurance of pardon found in scripture through the Holy Spirit.
For a person to gain entrance into heaven, to stand in the presence of God, that person must be perfect, a perfection achieved throughout the entirety of their life, from beginning to end, without one error and without one transgression against the commandments of God. One white lie, one impure thought, one slip of the tongue is enough to deny one from entering through the gates.
This perfection, of course, is an impossibility for us. What are we to do? For those chosen by the Father, before the foundation of the world (Eph.1:4), they do not have to fear. God sent Christ to earth to do what they could not do, and Christ took the sins of His people upon Himself, took those sins down to the depths of hell, left them there, returned to earth through the resurrection and rose to Heaven to rule over His kingdom.
For those that are led by the Spirit to believe in this, there is an assurance of pardon, the knowledge that they may stand in the same room with God, blameless, holy and perfect. Upon the realization of this knowledge, the joy and gratitude pulsing through one’s veins should feel too great to contain, and so begins the life of a person who “just met with God.”
Editor’s note: Deon Barnes attends Grace Community Church (www.graceunioncity.com) and is a future candidate for the ministry in the Presbyterian Church in America.