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013 Interview with the Duguids {Transcript}

About This Transcript

This interview was recorded live on-site at the 2016 IBCD Summer Institute entitled Disordered Desires: Bringing Grace to Modern Sexuality. Our guests were Iain and Barbara Duguid. Iain is a professor at Westminster Theological Seminary, a pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church in Glenside PA, and an author of numerous books and commentaries including The Song of Songs: An Introduction and Commentary. His wife, Barb, is the author of Extravagant Grace: God’s Glory Displayed in Our Weakness, and Prone to Wander: Prayers of Confession and Celebration. In this episode our host, Craig Marshall, talks with them about how they came to be speaking at a biblical counseling conference and their passion to help believers grow in their understanding of the gospel. They discuss together their desire to help Christians understand their present struggles with sin in light of God’s sovereignty and grace.

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Craig Marshall:

Welcome to the IBCD Care and Discipleship podcast. We’re here at the Summer Institute 2016 and I’m excited to have Barb and Ian Duguid here with me as my guests. They’ll be speaking at the conference coming up soon and we’re excited to be able to talk with them a little bit, get to know them a little bit better before they speak and find out a little bit more about their ministry and what they’re passionate about in the biblical counseling world. Barb and Iain, good to have you both with us.

I wanted to start just by letting our audience know a little bit more about each of you and your life, your experiences, and then how you came to be speaking at a biblical counseling conference. Iain, do you want to start us out a little bit?

Iain Duguid:

Certainly. You can probably tell by me accent I’m not from Southern California. I’m from Britain. I met my wife Barb on the mission field in Africa, which changed my life in every different direction. As a result of that I ended up studying at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia and then pursued a PhD in Old Testament at University of Cambridge back in England and we were involved in the church plants in Oxford. Not the Oxford people think of, the dreaming spires and intellectuals, but the other side of the train tracks with council housing developments. After that, since then I’ve been teaching in seminaries and Christian colleges. Alongside that, we’ve tended to plant churches wherever we go, so ministry has always been part of what we do and what we do together.

Ministry involves people, and if you are involved with people, you’re involved with counseling. I’m not the people person. I’m oblivious to all kinds of things that go on. There was one case where Barb and I visited somebody in their home and as we walked out afterwards she said, “Did you notice that that gentleman was smoking a joint all the way through?” I was completely oblivious to that.

Craig Marshall:

Oh, my goodness.

Iain Duguid:

Good gave me Barb because he knew that as we were interacting with people I would need somebody with really skilled counseling gifts. Everything I know about counseling I’ve learned from Barb or alongside Barb. That’s how I get to be here.

Craig Marshall:

That’s great. Barb, how about you? You two met on the mission field, and then …

Barbara Duguid:

Yeah, God has had some really surprising turns of events for us, of course the last 32 years being a mom has been on the radar and the biggest thing for me, but I’ve loved being a team member with my husband in ministry, and he’s been a great team member in parenting with me. Working alongside him in the church, I think has been our primary joy and delight. There, of course is where you get the powerful combination of solid theology hitting everyday life as you’re loving people with a lot of problems and you yourself have a lot of problems and you’re struggling to love in the context of ministry. Those are all big, profound counseling issues and questions. I can’t remember when I started the CCEF courses, but there came a time when I realized God was putting me into counseling situations all the time and I enjoyed that because I love theology and I love helping people see, particularly women see how much theology matters. How we live out of what we believe. It’s crucial to believe right and proper things about God and then to live in that reality.

I started taking the CCEF courses and finished their advanced certificate. When we got to Grove City out here in California, we always had people we could refer to for counseling and so the difficult things we would quickly refer out. When I got to Grove City there was no one and I thought, you know, we felt a sense to buckle up and to step up in a sense. The courses at CCEF greatly gave me courage I think to step into more difficult struggles. Those were years of wonderful counseling, particularly a lot of young college students, but not just.

I also had a person, a counselor at CCEF who would supervise me, and that was so helpful to be able to call him and say, “I am out of my depth on this case. Could you recommend books? Would you held be know where to go with this counselee?” That just gave me a little bit more confidence to wade in there and to just try to walk alongside people with huge struggles.

That’s been my joy to help him out in several ways in the ministry. Also, with his preaching and application. Reminding him of the different people sitting and listening to his sermons and how they would hear that and how we might want to apply those texts to people hurting in the congregation and he’s been super receptive to that.

Craig Marshall:

So that’s something you both talk about together?

Iain Duguid:

Yeah, Barb reads all of my sermons. I write full manuscript sermons then Barb will read them and help me, particularly with the application, bringing the theology down to connect with the everyday lives of real people, which is what preaching is all about.

Craig Marshall:

Right. We were mentioning before, I got to take some classes when you were in the Winterim at Westminster West and that’s one of the things I really remember is how applicational these Old Testament classes were and, need to know a little behind the scenes of that, that that’s also come from dialoguing together about that, and Barb how you help him in that way. It’s amazing how the Lord works that way bringing people together with those skills. Barb, your love for theology and loving women, understanding that, what are some areas that you really have a passion to see women grow in their understanding of their relationship with God, or what are some of the big struggles you’ve seen that women have that you’re seeking to address?

Barbara Duguid:

I know what it’s like to grow up learning one theological perspective and to defend it with my life and then to find out later it was not correct. That was a life-changing experience that made me realize how important theology was. It affected everything and so theology just became super important to me at the point in time, and in a very, very practical way. Then of course encountering the writings of John Newton as somebody who has struggled a lot with failure and noticing there are areas of my life where I just hate my sin and can’t seem to overcome it.

A robust theology of sinful failure and what that’s all about would be probably where I am camping out, where the piece of the pie I think that God has given to me to help others understand and see is that. It can be so discouraging to love God so much, to want so much to obey Him, to try really hard and use every technique and good idea that you hear and yet to fail. What is that all about?

I found the writings of John Newton on sanctification life-changing as well, so I love talking about that to women because I think the men are discouraged as well, and I do counsel men and I do meet many men discouraged, but I know the women are deeply ashamed of the areas of their life where they’re failing, unable to talk about it with each other, and therefore unable to help each other with their sinful struggles, so bringing that all into the light, helping them understand what God is up to in these weak areas of their lives, and then encouraging them to look away to Christ and what that looks like and help each other to do that while they’re also trying hard, and how when those two things together, we are called to try hard to obey God, and then we’re told we’re going to be really weak. We’re going to fail a lot so we’re going to need help.

Craig Marshall:

Iain, how about for you? As you’re pastoring and have pastored plants and then you’re also teaching in the seminary realm, as you look at the church and see how the church is seeking to care for people, what are some areas you see significant struggle or maybe where the church is failing, or some needs you’re seeking to address?

What’s missing from it is the whole dimension of what the Old Testament is all about, which is the sufferings of Christ and the glories that will follow.

Iain Duguid:

Right. I’m a professor of Old Testament, but what’s distinctive in my Old Testament classes is teaching people how to preach the Old Testament because as I look around the church I listen to sermons that are being preached out there, some of those you hear them on Christian radio. A lot of cases, people don’t preach on the Old Testament or if they do they pick Old Testament stories. David and Goliath, Daniel and his friends, and the force of the sermon is that you should be David in the story.

What are your giants? you should go out, take out on your giants, chop off their head, deal with the comprehensively and then they get to application through that. Here’s the things you need to do, which results in very law-focused sermons. Here are the things that you need to do different. Here are the life principles that you need to earn, which I think is fully debilitating for believers because either it leaves you feeling rather proud if you’ve had a good week and you think, “Okay, yeah, I’ve really taken on my giants well this week,” or it’s very crushing if you have failed and struggled and been beaten up by your sin in some ways this week.

What’s missing from it is the whole dimension of what the Old Testament is all about, which is the sufferings of Christ and the glories that will follow. That’s what Jesus told us on the road to Emmaus. He told us that at those discouraged disciples that the central message of the Old Testament is the sufferings of Christ and the glories that will follow. When we read the story of David and Goliath it’s not simply an exciting moral story about how you can take on your giants. Our place in that story in many respects is not as David, it’s as the Israelites standing around thinking, “Who’s going to fight this giant? Because it sure isn’t going to be me.” David comes through and conquers the giants in their place.

That points forward to his greatest Son, Jesus, who ultimately is going to come and win the victory for us. Now this connects very closely to what Barb is talking about because very often in our view of sanctification the emphasis is very much on, “Okay, so what do I need to do to be sanctified? What are the good things I need to do? What are the bad things I need to stop doing?” The result leaves our focus very much on the law. The law is good, it’s great. These are good things that I should be doing. These are bad things that I should not be doing. The law helps me to see those things, but it leaves me crushed.

This kind of Christ-centered preaching also shifts our focus away from a law-centered view of sanctification, which is where I think practically a lot of us naturally gravitate towards a gospel-centered view of sanctification that brings our focus back repeatedly to the fact that Christ has lived this law for me in my place, which then gives me courage to pick myself up on Monday morning and to strive hard as the New Testament tells us repeatedly, to try hard to pursue that righteousness knowing that God’s favor rests upon me because of what Christ has done perfectly in my place which is transformative to people’s lives.

Craig Marshall:

Do you see that in the classroom sometimes as you’re instructing about how to preach Christ? Do you see burdens lifted on seminary students or that some of this is new to them sometimes, or how do you see that unfold?

Iain Duguid:

Yeah, for some students this is completely new. It was very interesting when I was teaching this at Grove City College and we had students coming from all over the map theologically, but mostly from evangelical backgrounds. I would have them write response papers to particular passages that they looked at and they would write the response paper that reflected the preaching they were used to hearing. A lot of them were crushing and I would write on the bottom of the paper,”Do you have any good news for me? Help me out here as somebody who’s not this wonderful person.” By the end of the semester you’d start to see the penny drop. You’d start to see them making that connection and being able to see how this passage is part of the grand narrative of scripture that is always, always, always refocusing out eyes on the sufferings of Christ and the glories that will follow.

Craig Marshall:

I remember that from being in classes in you, just being so edified as we’re picking apart Old Testament passages and then just talking collectively in what ways would this apply to us, and then seeing how Christ remedies that, as the solution to that as empowering that. I just remember thinking, “Wow, this is really edifying in a preaching class to …

Iain Duguid:

Right. This will preach.

Craig Marshall:

Old Testament class, yeah, this will preach, exactly. That’s neat and it makes total sense. Your passion is to help people see that, so that’s great.

Barb, so the ladies that you have in mind and the struggles that they have, it sounds like part of the way you’ve wanted to address that is through writing your book, Extravagant Grace, I would imagine. What were you hoping to accomplish in writing that? Who are you really trying to help and what brought that book about, is one thing I kind of wondered too.

Barbara Duguid:

Well, about a year, we’ve been married almost 32 years, so about 31 years ago, I was really struggling with the question, “Why is it that the sins that I’m trying the hardest to beat are the ones I’m not seeing any success on?” I could see God at work in areas of my life, but there were two that really bugged mt and I prayed the hardest over those and I worked the hardest in them and they wouldn’t budge. It didn’t make sense to me because if sanctification was cooperative that it ought to be that where I try the hardest I make the most progress.

I asked Tim Keller, we had lived with him for a period of time, “You know, what is going on with that? Why is that?” He put this small book in my hands and said you need to read this. That was The Select Letters of John Newton. I started reading John Newton’s view of sanctification which is radically different from any view that I had heard or been taught before and again, found that tremendously life-changing. For about 25-26 years I led Newton study groups, mostly with women then later on we started leading them together in the church and Iain started using them for leadership training and many people would say, “You’ve got to write a book. You’ve got to write a book,” and I would say, “Well, Newton has written it so beautifully. Just read Newton.” There was no way I was going to surpass him. One thing that Newton didn’t do was take his theologies and set if forth in one place set-by-step so people could follow him. You have to read his letters and draw it out and you have to think, “What are the implications of that paragraph?”

We’ve been doing that for years in our studies together. I actually resisted writing the book. I was probably overly fearful of kickback, have been really surprised to find that overwhelmingly positive view, a little bit of kickback, but I thought those would be switched. I often, when I’m speaking about this, people start out very skeptical looking at me with skepticism and then the tears begin to flow and the relief and the joy of knowing these things is outrageous, and so I have to share it.

Craig Marshall:

When it comes to the, you mentioned push back, what are some areas that people push back on that maybe they’re uncomfortable about with this message?

Barbara Duguid:

First of all, it is the old doctrines that we love, particularly in the Reformed Faith, the doctrines that Newton puts together are not new in any way. It is not a new-fangled anything. It’s actually a return, I believe, to the way the writers of the Confession and our Puritan forefathers looked at sin and sanctification because if you read many of them it will just come through over and over again. Their view of God’s sovereignty over sin and the work of the Holy Spirit and how he does his work, but it’s not taught in this country and so people are like, “Well I went to seminary and I never heard this, so it can’t possibly be true.”

Immediately people are afraid and I think particularly when you really hold up the doctrine of the imputed righteousness of Christ and you tell people, “God is always pleased with you in Christ.” To be united to Christ means not only are your sins put on Him, but His righteousness covers you and that means God looks at you 24/7 and He sees Christ. Your sins are paid for. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” past, present and future, your sins are paid for.

People are very afraid that that is going to make people go crazy and sin a lot and they don’t realize how counter-intuitive it all is. That is a human perspective that people will do that but actually that kind of sweeping love and that kind of sweeping forgiveness becomes the most powerful motivator for change. As Iain mentioned earlier, the one thing that gives you the courage to get out of bed and try again in the face of relentless failure. People are afraid. I think they’re very afraid and I understand that. I don’t get upset with people who are pushing back. I feel it is God’s sovereignty the advanced course, so of course if you’re wrestling with basic principles of God’s sovereignty you’re going to find it really tough, but if people know their Bibles really well, it is such a strong case for a biblical notion of sanctification if people will listen, and then it maps …

Newton insists that what we believe has to map onto our experience as Christians. Experience is not authoritative, but if it doesn’t reflect what we actually experience, it’s not going to be true. If you tell somebody, “Become a Christian and you’ll never be sick,” they’re not going to believe you eventually because they’re going to get sick. It doesn’t match experience, but this stuff, when you start talking about Newton’s stages of Christian growth and what God is up to in each stage, most people listen and they say, “Yeah, that’s exactly what I’ve been experiencing, and that is what confuses me and brings me a lot of shame.”

Iain Duguid:

I think in our culture people in reform circles are afraid of people running wild, and so that motivates several theological trends in a variety of different directions. I think the Federal Vision movement is connected with that as well. I think there is this concern that if you preach too much gospel then people are just going to go crazy. There have been people who’ve affirmed that clearly and for us, for me in seminary, I had Tim Keller as one of my professors. He was picking up on Richard Lovelace’s book. That’s I think is where he was introduced to it, and of course that go … You can trace that back through Jonathan Edwards and back to the Puritans.

There wasn’t a big antinomian controversy in New England, and you have a culture where they’re trying to build this Christian community. What do you do with the next generation who are still all attending church but they’re not converted and so you start to get the strong emphasis, evidence, fruit as evidence of conversion and so a lot of emphasis on looking at your fruit to determine whether you’re really Christian or not. Of course, others are pushing back against that, but I think it’s the roots, that’s the root from which you get this tendency.

Craig Marshall:

How would you address that concern of people who are seeking to help others in the church, and they probably have in mind someone who’s significantly struggling with sin, and they may hear these things, read these things, and think, “If I just tell this person that God is sovereign in the weakness, in the state that they’re in, how are they going to try? Aren’t they just going to stay there?” How would you address dealing with that, I guess?

Barbara Duguid:

We do that on a global scale in the preaching and making sure that the leaders in our church confess sin and make it clear to everybody that we all have areas where we continue to struggle with sin. The problem is not calling people to try not to do that, but in our services, Iain will find the law of the passage and then he will compel people to obey that law, then he’ll say, “And as I call you to do that, I know this week you’re going to fail a lot, because you live in simple fallen flesh and you live in a world full of temptation. You have a strong enemy, Satan. You got a lot against you as a Christian and we’re told we have this treasure in jars of clay. You’re going to fall a lot and so as you try hard and you fail, please remember that this is how Christ has already done this for you.

You’re trying and your success or failure has nothing to do with how you are loved, so let’s pause, and in our service, particularly our prayer of confession, we confess sin, and then we take a moment to look at how Christ has kept that law for us and celebrate that and then go on as, ask the Holy Spirit to help us to grow.

In that we are reminding people every Sunday in our service that you’re going to be weak. Look away to Christ, celebrate Him and try hard. That’s being done in the service and thin in counseling we are constantly coming close to people and reminding them over and over again, that the question is motivation, right? It’s not that we don’t care about change, but we don’t actually know how God is going to change people as we call them to change. If we bank on change being everything for ourselves and for other people, first of all we’re always obsessed about ourselves and what we’re doing, and we’re going to live really miserable lives because God doesn’t change us the way we want to change often and He doesn’t change the people around us the way we want them to change and if we can’t look away to Christ and say, “You know, this is all in Your hands. You get Your way in my life. You will bring about the changes that You want. Help me to trust You with my failure.”

To develop a culture in a church where that is happening so that people now can face that failure without being undone, and that’s a powerful thing because now I can actually begin to admit it verbally. “I’m a person who struggles a lot with this, guys. Could you be patient with me, could you help me? Please forgive me.” That becomes the way a community dwells together. It’s really powerful actually, and then people understand that when somebody is not changing that it’s a long walk and we’re going to love you for a lifetime and see what God’s going to do. We don’t know what He’s going to do, but doggone it, our love for you is not going to be based on what He does or doesn’t do, it’s going to be based on this celebration that we can do together of what Christ has done.

Iain Duguid:

To put it in preaching terms, antinomianism is to say, “Well, as a Christian the law has noting to do with me anymore. It’s completely disappeared out of the picture. That’s not what we’re doing. We talk a lot about the law and the way in which scripture confronts us with our sin, and broken us. That’s the first movement that then brings us then to the gospel, to the way Christ has fulfilled that law for us, for the fact that his death on the cross wipes away our sins, and then we believe in the third use of the law, that the law is still, it’s an expression of God’s holy character. It’s still a guide to how we should live. We don’t want to leave people there so in our services we have the Lord’s Supper every week.

Even after we’ve reminded people, “Okay, so this is how this should change you as a husband, as a father, as a mother, as a son, as a student, as a worker, now let’s come to the Lord’s Table, which is going to focus our attention again on the fact that the gospel is still true, even though I’m going to fail to do these things this week, the gospel is still true and there is a glorious feast, a glorious celebration that God has prepared even now. On that day, He’s going to complete the good work that He’s begun in us, which is make us completely holy. Not yet, but on that day.

We have this over-realized eschatology. We want heaven now and we see it around us in the kind of health and wealth gospel that wants no tears, or suffering now, but our culture’s, subculture’s aspect of that is sanctification now. We want to be fully sanctified now and typically we don’t believe in perfectionism. We don’t believe that you can be practically, completely perfect, but it’s a sort of Mary Poppins version of perfectionism, we’re practically perfect. We really ought to be practically perfect.

Barbara Duguid:

At least better than yesterday.

Iain Duguid:

Yeah. That’s more than what the Bible leads us to expect.

Have you encountered many people who just throw up their hands and say, “I guess I’m just weak and will always be like this.”

Craig Marshall:
Do you see a danger in having an under-realized eschatology or that this could be taken in that way? How you encountered many people who just throw up their hands and say, “I guess I’m just weak and will always be like this,” type idea?

Iain Duguid:
There is an under-realized eschatology and there are people who make it, yeah, who make it sound as if, “Well, there’s no need to try. Just let go of everything. God has taken care of everything,” and that’s wrong. Again, it doesn’t fit with scripture. You have all of these passages in the Old Testament, New Testament that urge us to try hard, but they’re all wrapped up and intertwined with passages reminding us that it’s God who’s at work in us, and He’s going to complete that work, and that God is sovereign over that process.

Craig Marshall:
One of the key truths in helping people understand God’s work in sanctification is, as you talked about, the imputed righteousness of Christ and the fact that he sees us clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Barb, I know one of the statements you made in Extravagant Grace is “God is not disappointed in you. He cannot be disappointed in you.” How do you explain that, especially in light of passages that are talking about, like 2 Corinthians 5:9 is talking about, “We make it our aim to please God.” You hear that passage and it sounds like the flip side of that would be displeasing God and how does that square with His disappointment or not disappointment?

Barbara Duguid:
One point to make in beginning is that in order to be disappointed in someone you have to be naïve. You have to think that they are able and willing to do something they’re actually not able and/or willing to do. The heart of disappointment is naivete, and God is not naïve. God knows our sinful, foul, nasty hearts better than we do and that heart, even though we are a new creation, is still in us. God doesn’t remove that naughty heart when He saves us. God is not naïve about the depths of sin that we are capable of getting into, and neither, and I don’t know that I have time to unfold the whole work of the Holy Spirit and how the Holy Spirit works in us, but if God is orchestrating in advance the moments when He’s going to cause you to will and to do according to His good pleasure and then the times when He’s going to not do those things, you’re going to stand in obedience, you’re going to fall when you’re left to yourself.

If He’s orchestrating all of that there’s no room for Him then to be disappointed when He leaves you to your sin. Again, we’ll go back to the Prodigal Son story. Is the father disappointed in the son? Well, I’m sure he’s not happy. He knows exactly what the son is going to do when he gives him the money. One way to decrease the number of sins in the universe at that moment would have been to not give him the money maybe. The kid would have had to stay home and sin in other ways I suppose. You don’t see disappointment and you don’t see anger in the father. You see a very calm leaving of that son to his sin for a period of time and then waiting on the horizon and rejoicing when he comes back.

I think that’s the picture. That story is about how God feels about sinning kids, I think, and so it’s a very powerful story of a father who knows exactly what this kid’s going to get up to. Is he excited? No. Is he pleased? No. Is he tapping his foot with irritation and shaking, totally disappointed? I don’t think so. If God is in charge of our sanctification He is simply, with this Fatherly love, and perhaps sorrow, we can grieve the Holy Spirit, but grief is grief, and we don’t transport into that all these other words that have so … They’re heavy with human feelings, and I think it’s just very important to see that.

Now, are we called to try to please God? Yes, but as you ask that question there are some theological principles you’ve got to hold onto. Is God pleased with us every moment in Christ? We don’t hop in and out of the righteousness of Christ. We are either clothed in it or we are not. We are either clothed in it every moment whether we’re obeying or not, or we’re hopping in and out, and we know we’re not hopping in and out. That’s just silly and it’s not biblical, right?

We are always clothed, so there’s the sense in which God is completely delighted and pleased with us every moment of every day. Can our good works in the flesh in a sense please God? Well, if even our righteousness is like filthy rags, then even the goodness that we can work up or that God works in us because of the flesh that we live in will always be tainted with sin. That means that even in my best moments of obedience I am still sinning in profound ways. It’s really important to see that. I, in my own efforts, are not going to please God, but Newton comes back to our every little effort delights him, even though outside of Christ we cannot please him, our every effort, and he likens it to a little child learning to walk. They’re really bad at it. They fall all the time, but we are delighted at their every effort.

We are called to try hard. There is no doubt about it. We are told what pleases God and what doesn’t, and I think the more we love Him, the more we understand the depth of our forgiveness, the more we want to please Him, and therefore it becomes harder to deal with those areas of our lives where we fail to please because, or fail to do what we want to do to please Him, and that becomes harder.

I think that question has many different facets to the answer. We’re called hard to try, always knowing that we are covered with that righteousness and that’s what gives us the courage to keep trying.

Craig Marshall:

When you hear the word “disappoint” and saying God isn’t disappointed, what human ideas in that do you think don’t fit? What is is about that statement that you say, “No, we shouldn’t think God’s disappointed.”

Barbara Duguid:

Oh, I really thought you could do better.

Craig Marshall:   Okay.

How do you define the word “disappointment”? How is is different from displeasure or even fatherly displeasure?

Barbara Duguid:

That’s a really good question. How do you define the word “disappointment”? How is is different from displeasure or even fatherly displeasure? I think disappointment carries this, “I really thought and hoped and expected something that you did not deliver.” I think that doesn’t, it’s not an appropriate application to God because He knows exactly what you’re going to do. He’s never wondering, is He? He’s never wondering how are you going to come out of this temptation. He knows in advance, even more than that.

Iain Duguid:

What is it that we do that pleases God? Hebrews is one of those, the letters that emphasizes striving to please God, but what it points to is what pleases God is faith, faith in Christ. When is it that my faith in Christ is most stimulated?

For me it’s not typically after I’ve had a great week and I’ve loved Barb and I’ve loved my kids, and I’ve been a wonderful [inaudible 00:31:01], then I’m thinking, “Wow, I’m really cool,” which is not very common, but in those occasions, rather more frequent occasions when my sin is exposed and it’s evident how self-centered and self-motivated and unloving and uncaring I’ve been, and then I’m brought back again to the truth of the gospel that Jesus Christ died for those sins. That Jesus Christ loved perfectly in my place, and that God looks at me clothed in Christ, sees me not in my own filthy garments, but in the festival garments of Christ. That stirs my heart to praise and adoration. Does that please God? I think it pleases God a lot more than the good weeks when I’ve been doing all things right. I think, so it’s this balance again.

Philippians 2:13. You’re back again … We are to try hard. Work out your own salvation, but for it is God who’s at work in you to do the things that pleases Him. How do we please Him? It’s when God is a work in us to do those things. Whenever I please Him it’s not because I’ve suddenly become this wonderful person, it’s because God has chosen at that moment to enable me to glorify Him by pleasing Him whereas at other times He’s going to glorify Himself by enabling my sinfulness left to myself to be exposed so that He can then remind me of the gospel which is magnified by the fact that He saved sinner like me.

Craig Marshall:

It sounds like so much of this is just helping people come to understand God being actively at work in their life, in their sanctification, and that includes weakness, that includes failure, and people, they don’t see that. It’s kind of this view of I’ve been saved; God’s going to show up at the end and then I’m just trying in the middle.

Iain Duguid:

Or that God is only at work when I succeed.

Barbara Duguid:

Yeah, when I do well He’s up to good things, but when I don’t do well He stands back and He’s got nothing and that my obedience has to get, engage His activity in my life.

Craig Marshall:

Part of what you’re talking about too is seeing God at work when we fail and we confess. It’s one of … To me, they should almost be sold together. Extravagant Grace and Prone to Wander.

 

Barbara Duguid:

I love that that you said that.

Craig Marshall:

Just because it frames out, and as you even talk about Extravagant Grace and the concepts in that book, the first thing coming out of your mouth is, our service, the church service, the liturgy reflects this and that book gives you a glimpse into that that it’s not just, let’s just talk about sanctification, but let’s talk about the whole thing and I find Prone to Wander just a fleshing out of that so well, of how well we can confess, how well we can understand our weakness, our failing, but all throughout those prayers and the confessions, “Help me, help me to try hard. Thank You that Christ has done this.” Amazed at the assurance we can have. It’s neat to be able to see that fleshed out and just how you had mentioned too, people could just read Newton, you could just read The Valley of Vision, or you’ve mentioned other things have come before, but it’s so accessible and contemporary and relevant to the particular sins people in our churches are facing.

I know I’ve found it helpful both personally, but then also in counseling, in helping other people, teaching them to pray and think that way. You can just copy off the pages of, you know, there’s the scriptures and the confession and just work through that each day and that they’ll be learning to pray and think that way themselves, which for a lot of people is pretty foreign, I think as you’ve seen. It’s great resource.

Barbara Duguid:

In a nutshell. I’m so glad to hear that.

Iain Duguid:

Thank you.

Craig Marshall:

Barb and Iain, thanks so much for making time to participate and get to talk together and thanks for coming out to your old stomping grounds, California, for a little bit. We’re glad to have you with us, thankful for your work for the kingdom, and you heart to help people better understand the gospel and Christ’s church, so we really appreciate it.

Iain Duguid:

Thank you.

Barbara Duguid:

Thank you. Too, Craig.

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