Southern Presbytery’s Colloquium

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Southern Presbytery’s Colloquium

Rev James Gracie during a question and answer session.

The Southern Presbytery’s Colloquium provides an opportunity for fellowship with like-minded believers from different Congregations and denominations and this year’s event did not disappoint.  Those ministers, elders and men able to be at Knightswood on 27th January were served a variety of papers which were interesting and instructive.  

The Ark of the Covenant was the theme of a paper by Rev. James Gracie.  To begin with, its importance was helpfully highlighted.  Not only was The Ark first mentioned in the instructions regarding the building of the Tabernacle (Exodus 25), and central to the most holy day of the Jewish calendar, the Day of Atonement, it was the place where the Glory of the Lord appeared, indicating God was in their midst.  The removal of the Ark and the Glory of the Lord signified the doom of the Temple.  Similarly, without the presence of the Lord, a Church is doomed.  Preliminary aspects were noted:  it was God who appointed its construction and it provided a place where God would meet his people.  However, it had no power of its own, hence the its capture by the Philistines (1 Samuel 4).  The symbolism of the Ark was also examined, including its contents.  Finally, lessons were drawn out.  Amongst other things the Ark demonstrated that there was propitiation for a broken law.  It also reminds us that when God goes before his people there is strength and victory.  Mr Gracie concluded by noting the relevance of the fact that the Ark was missing from the second temple.

Rev James Gracie delivering his lecture.

There followed a paper by Rev. Graeme Craig on Definitive Sanctification – Romans 6.  Although the term “Definitive Sanctification” was first used by Prof. John Murray in 1967, Mr Craig noted that the idea of an initial and radical sanctification at the beginning of Christian life (which then continues in progressive sanctification) can be found in the Westminster Standards and in the works of a variety of old writers including James Fraser of Alness’s Scripture Doctrine of Sanctification published in 1769.  The believer is a new creature in Christ and in Romans 6 Paul indicates that in union with Christ he has died to sin and risen to newness of life.  He cannot therefore and will not continue in sin.  Sin no longer is his master and it cannot have dominion, though it may seek through the flesh to assert its influence.  We must, however, remind ourselves of this fact constantly, that when tempted to sin, we might be encouraged to know that by God’s grace we can overcome sin.  Living in freedom to God is our calling.  No longer are sin and Satan our master.  We are servants of righteousness and we are to pursue it by God’s grace.  A free justification which liberates from the condemning power of the law can never be an excuse for a life of sin.

Rev Graeme Craig presenting his paper.

The day concluded with a sermon on Christian Joy by Rev. Andrew Allan based on John 15:11.  He noted the source of joy, which is Christ himself; the things which may rob us of joy, for example, people, things and worry; and concluded with some directions as to how to maintain Christian joy including singleness of mind, full assurance of hope and God’s peace.

Some who attended the Colloquium.

All in all it was a most profitable day.  Recordings of all the addresses will be found on Partick FCC’s SermonAudio page.  DV next year’s Colloquium will be on 25th January 2025.