Michael Horton


Michael Horton (May 11, 1964) is the J. Gresham Mechen Professor of Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary California. He is editor in chief of Modern Reformation magazine, and host of the White Horse Inn radio show. Some of his best works include:

  • Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church
  • Ordinary
  • Pilgrim Theology
  • The Gospel-Driven Life
  • …and my personal favorite, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace


“Today, with the world telling us that it will take our practical advice (of course, weighing it with other spiritual and moral therapies) as long as we stay away from the scandal of Christ and his atoning death for sinners.” – Michael Horton

“Reduce Christianity to good advice and it blends in perfectly with the culture of life coaching. It might seem relevant, but it is actually lost in the marketplace of moralistic therapies. When we pitch Christianity as the best method of personal improvement, complete with testimonies about how much better we are ever since we “surrendered all,” non-Christians can legitimately demand of us, “What right do you have to say that yours is the only source of happiness, meaning, exciting experiences, and moral betterment?” Jesus is clearly not the only effective way to a better life or to being a better me. One can lose weight, stop smoking, improve one’s marriage, and become a nicer person without Jesus. What distinguishes Christianity at its heart is not its moral code but its story— a story of a Creator who, although rejected by those he created in his image, stooped to reconcile them to himself through his Son.” – Michael Horton

“If we think that we can cover our guilt with our moral zeal, spirituality, free will, and good intentions, we do not realize the seriousness of our condition. We do not seek God. We are not righteous and even our best works are offensive to God even if they are praiseworthy to us and to our neighbors.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel-Driven Life)

“God does not simply create the gift and offer it to us, if we will only climb the stairway to heaven to get it; he brings it down to us, uncurls our ungrateful fingers, and places it in our hands.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“Natural religion, spirituality, and morality are in fact our chief means of running away from God.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel-Driven Life)

“God’s law is not a tool that we can use; it is the rod by”Faith produces the fruit of love and good works, but in the act of justification it simply hears and receives. There is no virtue in faith itself that justifies. Even the weakest faith clings to a strong Savior.” Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“We are not called to live the gospel but to believe the gospel and to follow the law in view of God’s mercies.” – Michael Horton

“The power of God unto salvation is not our passion for God, but the passion he has exhibited toward us sinners by sending his own Son to redeem us.” – Michael Horton

“The real power and wisdom is not found in principles for our victorious living but in the announcement of God’s victory in Christ. In fact, Christ does not just show us wisdom, he “has become our wisdom, righteousness, holiness and redemption” (v. 30). This is exactly the same situation in which we find ourselves t which God measures us. God’s law says, ‘Be perfect.’ God’s gospel says, ‘Believe in Christ and you will be reckoned perfect before God.’ The law tells us what must be done if we are to be saved; the gospel tells us what God has done to save us.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel-Driven Life)

“The proper preaching of God’s demands will first of all drive us to despair rather than encourage us in our attempt to ascend to glory. We are frequently told that the church is in the business of ‘life transformation.’ However, both the problem and God’s solution are greater than we ever imagined. God does not come to improve our life, but to end it; not to  transform the ‘old Adam,’ but to kill it and to raise us together with Christ in newness of life.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel-Driven Life)

“In the biblical drama, all of our expectations, assumptions, and cherished ideas are thrown into question. God the judge bears the sentence that his own justice demands. The offended party becomes the redeemer, even as he is subjected to further acts of the most heinous violence from those he redeems. The outcasts become royal heirs, the outsiders become insiders and the insiders become outsiders, those who thought they were righteous are in fact condemned and those who were beyond any hope of moral recovery are declared righteous.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“God justifies the wicked. As counter-intuitive as it is simple, that claim which lies at the heart of the Good News has brought immeasurable blessing – and trouble – to the church and the world. Be nice, take out the trash, stop nagging your spouse, try to spend more time with your children, don’t get into credit card debt, lose some weight, and get some exercise. Every one of these exhortations might be valid. Some of them may find a legitimate application in a handful of biblical passages. However, it is not the big story. No wonder people – especially younger folks – are bored if this is the ‘news’ that the church has to bring to the world. This kind of news need not come from heaven; there are plenty of earthly sages who can communicate it better than most preachers.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“Christianity is not centrally concerned with good lessons and timeless principles that are known, deep down, by everybody. It rivets our attention to an unfolding plot, where God makes promises and fulfills them in spite of human opposition.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“The gospel is not that Jesus lives in our heart; it is that he lived for us, died for us, rose for us, reigns for us, and will return for us at the end of the age.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“Transformed lives certainly witness to the power of the gospel, but precisely because the gospel itself is not our imperfect transformation but Christ’s perfect work on our behalf.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“Many Christians today will affirm the necessity of grace, but deny its sufficiency.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“God has received the perfect obedience that his law requires. There is nothing left to merit! He has earned every penny in the heavenly estate. We are indeed saved by works – and not by good intentions – but works that are perfect, complete, and perpetual to every command. However, it is Christ’s works, not ours, that have secured the eternal inheritance for us.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“Not only in the first instance, but throughout the Christian life, faith is born and fed by the gospel alone. Christ is sufficient even for the salvation of the weak and unfaithful Christians.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“Faith is not the same as religious experience or pious activity. Rather, it is turning away from both in order to cling to Christ as he is clothed in his gospel.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“The gospel transforms us in heart, mind, will, and actions precisely because it is not itself a message about our transformation. Nothing that I am or that I feel, choose, or do qualifies as Good News. On my best days, my experience of transformation is weak, but the gospel is an announcement of a certain state of affairs that exists because of something in God, not something in me; something that God has done, not something that I have done; the love in God’s heart which he has shown in his son, not the love in my heart that I exhibit in my relationships.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“We are not sick, but spiritually dead. We are not good people with room for improvement, but the ungodly. We are not children who need a little direction, but lost. The gospel comes not to help us get our act together, fixing us up for a night on the town, making us more respectable to ourselves or to others. Rather, it comes to kill us and make us alive as completely new creatures. Not a new and improved self, but a self buried and raised with Christ, is the gospel’s message of genuine transformation.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“As counter-intuitive as it seems, embracing the gospel as God’s free justification of the ungodly, apart from works, is the only possible source not only for our legal acceptance before God but for the good works that are its fruit. Only when we know that we are condemned in ourselves but righteous in Christ are we free for the first time to love God and our neighbors. Responding to both out of gratitude for a free gift, we are truly freed to love and enjoy them instead of using them for our own ends.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“The gospel – the Good News of God’s justification of sinners in Christ – is not a means to a greater end. It is not one theme among many. It is not something we use in order to go on to something more important, more relevant, and more practical. It is the ocean that we swim in, the air that we breathe, the identity that defines us.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“Getting this story right is the key to understanding the Bible. It is the key to becoming Christians, disciples whose eyes have been opened by Christ, through his spirit, to the marvelous riches of the mission that he has accomplished. The disciples followed Jesus. They sought to learn the wisdom of his ways and imitate his example. However, they missed the most important elements that true discipleship entailed. They had misunderstood the point of the journey. They failed to realize that the most important part of following Jesus was realizing that they could not go everywhere that he was going; could not do everything that he alone could accomplish; and could not even understand why he had come, apart from the work of the spirit opening their hearts to recognize Christ in all the Scriptures.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Drive Life)

“We don’t expect to find God in the feeding trough of a barn in an obscure Palestinian village, much less hanging from an instrument of Roman execution. Yet this is where God meets us. While we are trying to climb higher, he descends lower. Of all our faculties, our natural religious, moral, and spiritual instincts are actually the least likely to find God where he has found us.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“Salvation is not a program for us to follow; it is a gift to be received. That is the simplest and most difficult truth of the Christian faith.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“The problem is not merely that we lack the right answers, but that we don’t even have the right questions until God introduces us to his interpretation of reality.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“The salvation that God promises in Christ requires my death. Here I am, cheerfully going about my daily affairs, picking and choosing the roles I would like to play from the advertisements, movies, and ‘put-together’ people I admire around me. I may even find a role for Jesus, although who am I to say that others are wrong for finding someone or something else more helpful for achieving their goals in life? Then along comes the law, nailing me, telling me who I really am, telling me how this character I have written for myself is doomed. I begin to question the believability of my screenplay. And then God hands me a new script: the Good News that I am no longer a child of Adam, stranger and alien to God’s promises, but a child of God in Jesus Christ, stranger and alien to the world’s spin. I no longer can see God as existing to make me happy, to satisfy my felt needs, even to give me a sense of well-being and add a few suggestions to improve my life. He comes to kill me and to make me alive. Repentance means I give up my script; I stop pretending that I can write the story of my life. Through faith in Christ, I become a character in God’s story, part of the new creation.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“Faith does not create; it receives. It does not make the invisible visible or the future present or hope reality. It receives that which is already given. Grace precedes faith. It is not finally accepting the goodness of the world, or my own goodness, but receiving God’s goodness toward me in spite of the way things really are with me and with the world.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“The law cannot create faith because it tells us what is to be done. It can only announce to those who transgress it what they have not done; consequently, it brings despair in its wake. The promise, by contrast, tells us what has been done by someone else. That is why it brings life. Once the law’s just sentence has been satisfied in Christ, it is no longer our executioner, but instead plots the course for our gospel driven life. Outside of Christ, our hearing the law merely reminded us constantly how far we fall short of God’s glory. But now the law has no power other than to guide those whom it has justified in Christ along their pilgrimage in spite of every setback and failure.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“Christ lived the purpose-driven life so that we would inherit his righteousness through faith and be promise-driven people in a purpose-driven world.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“Like a sailboat equipped with the most sophisticated guidance technology, our Christian life may be decked out with the latest principles for victorious living, with spiritual coaches telling us what will make life really ‘work’ for us and for our families. Often new Christians especially sail out of the harbor under full sail, eager to follow the guidance system, making use of the gadgets, enthusiastically listening to every fellow boater who has some advice to offer. Yet, as many long-time believers know, eventually the winds die down and we find ourselves dead in the water. Then when storm clouds gather on the horizon, we discover that all of the guidance technology and good advice in the world cannot fill our sails so that we can return safely to the harbor. The equipment can plot our course, tell us that a storm is coming, and indicate our present location, but it cannot move us one inch toward the safety of the harbor. In other words, if we are looking for motivation in the Christian life, it cannot come from motivational principles; only the gospel fills our sails.

Satan doesn’t mind the gadgets. In fact, he has patented a lot of the spiritual technology for keeping us from looking to Christ in the beginning, middle, and end of our lives. Anything that keeps us looking within – even if he can use the name of Jesus and Bible verses to support it – will serve his purposes for shifting our faith from Christ to ourselves. Many Christians think that they need Good News – the gospel promise – in order to become Christians, but then, precisely because faith is always active, looking for something to do for God’s glory and the neighbor’s good, the temptation is to think that we grow out of this basic need of the gospel. We become impressed with the fruit more than the vine. Obviously, this soon leads us to wonder why there isn’t more  fruit, better fruit. If this self-examination doesn’t lead us to crawl out of ourselves and flee to Christ, it will end in despair (if we are honest) or conceit (if we are not). Like Abraham, even after he believed and was justified, we find ourselves still questioning the promise as we look within ourselves and around at the circumstances that seem to count against God’s promise. We fall back on ourselves, trying to strategize our own way to the inheritance. God did not take the gospel for granted, but kept preaching it into the hearts of Abraham and Sarah.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“[Grace] is not a medicinal substance infused into believers to make them progressively holy. [Grace] is first and foremost God’s favor toward sinners on account of Christ. This ‘justice’ or ‘righteousness’ by which we stand accepted in God’s presence is imputed, not infused; declared immediately, not progressively realized.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“Don’t feed off of your New Year’s resolutions; rather, feed off of your union with Christ. You are a part of the harvest of which the glorified Christ is already the first fruits! Then resolve again, every day, to return to Christ, to recall your baptism, and to repent of all that weighs you down and distracts you from running the race with your eyes fixed on him.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“Satan does not care if our churches are full, as long as people are not being clothed in the righteousness of Christ.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“As God’s sovereign pledge, baptism is the inexhaustible spring to which we return every day, not to compare our life with Christ’s, but to find our life in Christ.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“Each Lord’s Day, we come to church with our problems. We imagined that the Christian life would be different than it is, perhaps even wondering why Jesus has not yet returned in glory and the world seems to go along as it always has, driven by ambition, greed, murder, war, sin, death. Yet along our journey, we are met by a stranger who expounds himself from all the Scriptures and opens our understanding by his Spirit. The stranger joins us for dinner and ends up making himself the host and the food of a heavenly banquet as a foretaste of that bread and wine we will share with him in our resurrected flesh when he comes again in glory. At last, the penny drops: we recognize against our risen Savior, knowing that he has conquered sin and the grave on our behalf. Hearing his words and feeding on his body and blood, we are assured of our own personal participation in his death and resurrection.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“Caesar always knew how to handle an insurrection; but he was befuddled by a church that continued to pray for him even as he sent them to their martyrdom.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Driven Life)

“The one in whom the faith is placed is the source of our salvation, not faith itself. The weakest faith clings to the strongest Savior.” – Michael Horton

“Despite medical advances, one day you and I will die. In comparison with eternity, whatever life span we’re given seems pretty brief. The time we have now is for asking the questions – and finding answers. We all have to grapple with the severity of our spiritual illness and its symptoms. We also need to know the credentials of the God who promises a very specific, if drastic, cure.” – Michael Horton (Core Christianity: Finding Yourself in God’s Story)

“The gospel – ‘good news’ – that the Christian faith proclaims is either true or false, but it cannot be walled off into a safe room of cuddly bears and the favorite blanket of childhood. Its validity does not depend on how well it works for you, how it makes your life more meaningful, or how it gives you moral direction and inspirational motivation. Instead, the gospel is a very particular claim based upon events that happened in datable history with significance for the entire cosmos.” – Michael Horton (Core Christianity: Finding Yourself in God’s Story)

“One reason why many Christians find the Bible inaccessible is that they have not yet been shown how its various parts fit into an unfolding drama that runs from creation and the fall to exodus and redemption all the way to the new creation. The plot with Christ as the central character ties it all together. Every story in the Bible points not to us and how we can have our best life now, but first to Christ and how everything God orchestrates leads to redemption in him.” – Michael Horton (Core Christianity: Finding Yourself in God’s Story)

“We are turned outside of ourselves, looking up to God in faith and out to our neighbors in love. We are no longer the central character in our life movie. Instead, we have been baptized, buried, and raised with Christ. Our dead-end character dies and we’re finally part of the drama that is true, good and beautiful.” – Michael Horton (Core Christianity: Finding Yourself in God’s Story)

“Far from renouncing the God of Israel , the earliest Christians believed that they were worshiping the God of their fathers and mothers. Yet there they were, faced with Jesus as God the Son in human flesh and God the Spirit descending and indwelling. There they were, being baptized—at Christ’s behest— in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and being blessed with Trinitarian benedictions.” – Michael Horton (Core Christianity: Finding Yourself in God’s Story)

“The Trinity is not just an orthodox dogma to which we yield our assent. Placing our trust in Christ, the eternal Son by nature, we are made children by adoption. His Father becomes our Father. And we can only do this because of the gift of faith granted to us by the Holy Spirit, who unites us to Christ. We worship, pray, confess, and sing our laments and praises to the Father, in the Son, by the Spirit. We are baptized and blessed in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” – Michael Horton (Core Christianity: Finding Yourself in God’s Story)

“He performs the exodus, assumes his conquest-throne, and sends the Spirit to distribute the spoils of victory.” – Michael Horton (It Is Good That I Go)

“When the focus is on the Christ, who is proclaimed to us in the gospel, we can pray with honesty, casting ourselves on God’s mercy. We aren’t coming to a judge, or even to a therapist, but to our heavenly Father who has accepted us in his Son. We’re not rubbing a lamp and making a wish, but we are children crying out to the sovereign God who cares for us and answers our feeble, half-hearted, and even intemperate rants with love, wisdom, and compassion.” – Michael Horton

“When we rifle through the Old Testament narratives for moral examples (“ Dare to be a Daniel”), as if they were like Aesop’s fables, we miss the point. In most cases the lives of “Bible heroes” are quite mixed, morally speaking. And in every narrative, God is the real hero of the story. David slays Goliath not because he possesses superhuman strength but because the Spirit comes upon him. In each instance, the purpose of the narrative is not to provide life lessons that we may apply directly to ourselves, but to see how God is fulfilling his purposes that lead history to Jesus Christ. It is certainly true that the Bible includes wisdom for daily living (especially in Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, and Song of Solomon), but even these books direct us ultimately to Jesus Christ , ‘who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.'” – Michael Horton (Core Christianity: Finding Yourself in God’s Story)

“Martin Luther said that the baker is God’s mask, providing us daily bread. Similarly, countless doctors, nurses, brothers and sisters from church and seminary, friends near and far, not to mention literally thousands whom we will never meet and yet who included us in their prayers, have been God’s own means of wrapping us in his arms and reassuring us that he cares for our loved ones – and for us as well, more tenderly and wisely than we do ourselves.” – Michael Horton (A Place for Weakeness: Preparing Yourself for Suffering)

“Our weakenesses really are an opportunity for God to show his strength. This isn’t just a platitude…It’s easy to reduce faith to a ‘peaceful, easy felling’ of uplifting prayer and praise. It is also easy to turn faith into mere assent – a merely academic exercise concerned simply with getting the answers right on the exam. If we just memorize enough scripture and quote it at the right moments, we’ll be fine; or if we just get our theology right, everything else will fall into place. Yet without the trials, faith is not really roused to grab hold of the God of promise.” – Michael Horton (A Place for Weakeness: Preparing Yourself for Suffering)

“What we need is not therapy, but news – good news, the kind of news that lifts up the downcast, binds up the broken, saves the lost, and brings hope to those who are at the end of their rope.” – Michael Horton (A Place for Weakness: Preparing Yourself for Suffering)

“The bottom line…is that the gospel is good news for losers, that in fact we are all losers if we measure ourselves by God’s interpretation of reality rather than our own.” – Michael Horton (A Place for Weakness: Preparing Yourself for Suffering)

“In the world’s view, one starts from nothing and makes something of himself. It’s the rags to riches story. But the gospel is a different account of reality: It moves from riches to rags. The One who already had everything voluntarily, freely, without any obligation or external constraint, gave it up in order to live for others.” – Michael Horton (A Place for Weakness: Preparing Yourself for Suffering)

“The shepherd imagery in Scripture is not simply what we associate with animal husbandry. In the ancient Near East, “shepherd” was royal language. The king protected his subjects at the cost of his own life. His rod and staff were equivalent to the scepter and mace held by monarchs on their throne. In Christ – that is, under his guardianship – we are assured that God, not Satan, is king; life, not death, has the last word.” – Michael Horton (A Place For Weakness: Preparing Yourself for Suffering)

“The message we are given to proclaim is not that God has come to make our lives better, more interesting, more influential, more victorious, or more successful, but to bury us and make us truly alive.” – Michael Horton (A Place For Weakness: Preparing Yourself for Suffering)

“Grace is God’s refusal to allow us to define ourselves or to have the last word. God gets the last word, and he shows mercy.” – Michael Horton

“You may have been a beneficiary of God’s covenant blessings over many years in a Christian family and church. But at the summer camp or revival meeting, none of this matters in comparison with the radical experience of conversion. Again, my point is not to downplay the thrill of conversion experiences. But we can come to expect jaw-dropping testimonies or novel experiences, and as a consequence we have created an environment of perpetual novelty.” – Michael Horton (Ordinary)

“The problem is, when people enter adulthood, they soon discover that a memorable experience will not compensate for a shallow understanding of what they believe and why they believe it…” – Michael Horton (Ordinary)

“He is the promise-maker and promise-keeper, even when we are unfaithful.” – Michael Horton (Ordinary)

“When I find my justification in Christ alone, I am free to love and serve others in ordinary and unheralded ways. A relatively insignificant and imperfect act of generosity is nevertheless useful to my neighbor and therefore glorifying to God.” – Michael Horton (Ordinary)

“Your religious excellence will not earn you a place at God’s table. Your own efforts will never merit you a seat of honor. The invitation is not Christ plus anything, but Christ alone. Material, moral, or spiritual self-sufficiency is deadly, and it has everlasting consequences.” – Michael Horton (Ordinary)
“It is admittedly paradoxical: only by resting in Christ do we find ourselves active in good works, not just for the sprints but for the long-distance run.” – Michael Horton (Ordinary)

“It is certainly true that there is nothing that we can do to be righteous in God’s courtroom. How do you qualify for the mercy and forgiveness of a holy God? By being a transgressor of his law. In other words, we all qualify.” – Michael Horton (Ordinary)

“Calls to action cannot assume the gospel. Otherwise, the church itself – even in the name of evangelism – conspires with the world in driving us deeper into ourselves.” – Michael Horton (Ordinary)

“The power of our activism, campaigns, movements, and strategies cannot forgive sins or raise the dead. ‘The gospel…is the power of God for salvation,’ and, with Paul, we have no reason to be ashamed of it. That is why phrases like ‘living the gospel,’ ‘being the gospel,’ and ‘being partners with Jesus in his redemption of the world’ are dangerous distortions of the biblical message of good news. The gospel is not about what we have done or are called to do, but the announcement of God’s saving work in Jesus Christ. ‘For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake’ (2 Cor 4:5).” – Michael Horton (Ordinary)

“First and foremost – and always – we are recipients before God. He is the benefactor and we are the beneficiaries. We cannot give him anything he needs, but we receive everything from his hand. The gospel is not a warmup for the lightning round of our schemes of self-improvement and world transformation. We need to hear the good news each day.” – Michael Horton (Ordinary)

“The gospel produces peace and empowers us to live by faith. We are no longer anxious, but secure and invigorated because we are crucified and raised with Christ. We are no longer trying to live up to the starring role we’ve given ourselves, but are written into the story of Christ. We have nothing to prove, just a lot of work to do. Good works are no longer seen as a condition of our union with Christ, but as its fruit. We are no longer slaves – but children of God – co-heirs with Christ, our elder brother.” – Michael Horton (Ordinary)

“Here’s some relief to perfectionists out there: Give up! Stop climbing and fall into God’s gracious arms…So get on with life, with love, with service – fully realizing that God already has the perfect service he required of us in his Son and now our neighbor needs our imperfect help. Now, with confidence in the gospel, use God’s law as a guide rather than as a means of self-justification. Precisely because we cling to Christ alone for our peace with God, we are liberated to love and serve others without trying to score points.” – Michael Horton (Ordinary)

“Is the intense longing for revival itself part of the problem, fueling the feverish expectation for The Next Big Thing? Is it not remarkable enough that Jesus Christ himself is speaking to us whenever his Word is preached each week? Is it not a miracle enough that a lush garden is blooming in the desert of this present evil age? Is it not enough of a wonder that the Spirit is still raising those who are spiritually dead to life through this preached gospel?” – Michael Horton (Ordinary)

“Our passion for life and achievement and our desire to strive toward a daring goal are essentially hardwired into us by God. What has changed since the fall is the direction of this drive. Unhinged from its proper object – God’s glory and our neighbor’s good – our love becomes self-focused; our holy passions become vicious, driving us away from God’s approaching steps and away from each other. We’re not living in the real world, the creation that God called into being and sustains by the word of his power, but in a make believe world.” – Michael Horton (Ordinary)

“Contra the wisdom of this age, Paul tells us that the body of Christ is not just a voluntary association for realizing my dreams of ‘belonging’ or a place where I can assert my unique qualities. Christ’s body is not a stage for my performance, but an organism into which I’ve been inserted by the Spirit, by a miracle of grace.” – Michael Horton (Ordinary)

“What would it say to our youth group if, instead of inviting the former NFL star, we had a couple visit who had been married for forty-five years to talk honestly about the ups and downs of growing together in Christ? What if we held up those “ordinary” examples of humble and faithful service over the worldly success stories?” – Michael Horton (Ordinary)

“Here’s the good news: it is not your ministry, church, or people. You do not have to create and protect a personal legacy, but simply to distribute and guard Christ’s legacy entrusted to his apostles. You don’t have to bind Satan and storm the gates of hell. Christ has already done this. We’re just sweeping in behind him to unlock the prison doors. You don’t have to live the gospel, be the gospel, do the gospel, and lead the troops to redeem culture and reconcile the world to God. We are not building a kingdom that can be convulsed with violence like other realms, but we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken.” – Michael Horton (Ordinary)

“We’re still fairly invested in the vanishing legacy of Christendom. Many among us can remember when the church had considerable cultural and political clout. Now our solemn political pronouncements and moral sentiments are largely ignored. Yet once we are really convinced that Jesus Christ has already secured the victory of Satan, death, and hell, we can take a deep breath and be the ‘little flock’ that he has already redeemed, doing what he has called us to do. It is marvelously liberating no longer to imagine that we have to build or preserve a kingdom that Christ was not building in the first place.” – Michael Horton (Ordinary)

“We begin to look for programs and personalities that will make us winners in a sprint, instead of running the long-distance race with the assurance that Christ has already won the prize for us.” – Michael Horton (Ordinary)

“We’re turned outside-in and have to be turned inside-out – every day. This requires a lifetime of divine therapy: having our minds and hearts transformed by God’s Word. We return to our baptism daily to find our true identity in Christ rather than ourselves.” – Michael Horton (Ordinary)

“We talk about ‘making Jesus my personal Lord and Savior,’ as if we could make him anything! This assumes that we start off as autonomous individuals who ‘own’ ourselves in the first place. Then, if we choose, we can cede some of our sovereignty (or all of it perhaps) to Jesus, in exchange for whatever we think he can give us in return. The good news is that Jesus is the only Lord and Savior. It is not what we make him, but what he has made us – coheirs of his estate – that the gospel proclaims.” – Michael Horton (Ordinary)

“Like Dracula, other lords have to gain their strength at the expense of others. Or even in just wars, rulers send others into a battle that they have declared. Only this King has walked alone and unarmed into the night to be willingly handed over to Satan, death, and hell in order to disarm the powers of darkness. Alone, he faced the wrath of justice, spilling his own blood not for loyal subjects but for enemies, winning their redemption and release by his glorious resurrection.” – Michael Horton (Ordinary)

“Just as we wouldn’t have expected to find the Creator of the universe in a feeding trough of a barn in some obscure village, much less hanging, bloody, on a Roman cross, we do not expect to find him delivering his extraordinary gifts in such human places and in such humble ways as human speech, a bath, and a meal. This can’t be right, we reason. We need signs and wonders to know that God is with us. Yet it is only because God has promised to meet us in the humble and ordinary places, to deliver his inheritance, that we are content to receive him in these ways.” – Michael Horton (Ordinary)

“We must hear this gospel not just at first, for our own conversion, but every moment of our lives if the Great Commission is to be a joyful delight rather than an intolerable burden with an impossible goal.” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Commission)

“The gospel promises far more than going to heaven when you die. It is an all-encompassing pledge from God for the total renewal of creation. It involves the resurrection of our bodies and the liberation of the whole creation from its bondage to sin and death. What insurance plan, global market, or government agency can claim this kind of authority over life and death?” – Michael Horton (The Gospel Commission)


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