Apologies for the slow start with reporting on this year's Banner at Leicester. I found it a little difficult to get set up. Good to be here though with the other men. We made a gentle start last night with Sinclair Ferguson and Jonathan Watson.
Dr Ferguson moved around his advertised sequence of addresses a little to begin with the greatness of the gospel's power. Going to Romans 1 and 3 he spoke about those three big words - propitiation (turning away God's wrath) – using the language of the Temple, justification (declaring us to be without guilt) – using the language of the court room and redemption (setting us free from bondage) – using the language of the slave market. One of the interesting questions he raised was why more space is given to Jesus trials than to the crucifixion. The answer being the need to see what is happening when he is crucified. Two charges are made – blasphemy (religious) and treason (political). They all declare him innocent (see Luke especially). Would that the therapists of the world knew of the power of the gospel to deliver from guilt, he said. He also reminded us that it is not commodities that we have from Christ but realities in him. Unless we are joined to Christ nothing is of any value to us. It is a plague in evangelicalism that we have the idea that we can have the blessing without Christ. The applications were to do with glorifying God, excluding boasting, universalising the message of salvation and upholding the law.
After the evening meal Jonathan Watson spoke from Acts 20 quite helpfully on the work of the ministry. Like others perhaps I was a little tired and didn't benefit from the message as much as I might.