JESUS! In Word and Song

WEEK 10

JESUS AT AGE 12

“After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions” (Luke 2:46 ESV).

“Under the law, attendance at the feasts in Jerusalem was obligatory for boys from the age of thirteen, a birthday that was a milestone in the life of a Jewish boy, when they became a Son of the Commandment or Bar Mitzvah.”1

Being the Son of GOD, even at the age of 12, He could have been teaching and disputing among the teachers—demonstrating wisdom far beyond their grasp as He did later in His life. But as the Son of Man, He had to learn obedience (Heb 5:7-8). “Christ himself would not run, no not on his heavenly Father’s errand, before he was sent.”2

“[JESUS] contents himself to hear with diligence, and to ask with modesty”3 of the learned men of the Jewish faith. As the Son of Man, He went through life “in the style and manner of a learner.”4

When his distraught parents finally found their ‘lost’ adolescent, he replied by saying, ‘Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’ (Luke 2:49). Jesus’ reference to God as ‘my Father’ is a radical statement of a unique, intimate relationship; with God, of which he was already fully conscious. Jesus referred to God the Father using the affectionate Aramaic expression ‘Abba.’5

But, “His relationship with His Heavenly Father did not nullify His duty to His earthly parents. His obedience was an essential part of the obedience He rendered on our behalf (Heb. 4:4; 5:8-9). He had to fulfill all righteousness.”6

Throughout His life He had a compassionate interest in His FATHER’s house. The temple in Jerusalem was the “Temple of the LORD”; His FATHER attached His name to it. To JESUS the temple represented His FATHER’s presence on earth.

Once, possibly two times the Gospels recorded Him cleansing the temple of unholy activity quoting Old Testament scripture: “[M]y house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples” (Isa 56:7 ESV, [Mark 11:15-17]). “[Z]eal for [the FATHER’s] house has consumed me” (Ps 69:9 ESV, [John 2:13-17]). At such a young age, what a joy it must have been for him to be in His FATHER’s house.

“Jesus Christ is made wisdom . . . all that infinite wisdom that is in Him as God, and all that infused wisdom which He had as God-man wherein He grew.”7

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man”(Luke 2:52 ESV).

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ENDNOTES

(10) He Sat on the Steps

            1. Leon Ritmeyer, “Twelve Year Old Jesus in the Temple at Passover,” 8 April 2017, ritmeyer.com, 28 January 2021 https://www.ritmeyer.com/2017/04/08/twelve-year-old-jesus-in-the-temple-at-passover/.

2. William Burkitt, “Luke 2:46,” 1700-1703, Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament, 28 January 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/luke/2-46.html#verse-wbc.

            3. Burkitt, brackets mine.

            4. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, “Luke 2:46,” 2021, JFB Commentary, 28 January 2021 https://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary.php?com=jfb&b=42&c=2.

            5. The ESV Study Bible, English Standard Version (Wheeaton, IL: Crossway, 2001, ESV Text Edition, 2011) 2516.

            6. John MacArthur, One Perfect Life (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012) 66.

            7. Joseph S. Exell, “Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:24,” 1905-1909 The Biblical Illustrator, 28 January 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/1-corinthians/1-24.html#verse-tbi.

            8. Leon Ritmeyer, “Twelve Year Old Jesus in the Temple at Passover,” 8 April 2017, ritmeyer.com, 28 January 2021 https://www.ritmeyer.com/2017/04/08/twelve-year-old-jesus-in-the-temple-at-passover/.

            9. Ritmeyer.

            10. Ritmeyer.

            11. “ . . . Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:24 ESV).

            12. “making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding;” (Proverbs 2:2 ESV).

            13. Joseph S. Exell, “Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:24,” 1905-1909 The Biblical Illustrator, 28 January 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/1-corinthians/1-24.html#verse-tbi.

            14. “And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him . . .” (Isaiah 11:2 ESV).

            15. John Piper, “The Son of God at 12 Years Old,” 11 January 1981 desiringGod, 28 January 2021     https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/the-son-of-god-at-12-years-old.

JESUS! In Word and Song

WEEK 8

THE BAPTISM OF JESUS

As He grew in wisdom, realizing more and more firmly His mission from His FATHER, He came to the point where His FATHER’s desire was to make His mission official. And so He came to John the Baptist to be baptized.

“Jesus’ baptism inaugurates his ministry and fulfills God’s saving activity prophesied throughout the OT.”1 “[J]esus as God’s Son is confirmed: at his baptism by a voice from heaven and his anointing by the Spirit.”2

“When he went to be baptized, says John, ‘I have need to be baptized of you, and come you to me?’ (Matt 3:14-15); as if he had said, ‘You have no need at all of it.’ But says Christ, ‘Suffer it to be so, now; for thus it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness.’”3

Christ was here identifying Himself with sinners. He will ultimately bear their sins; His perfect righteousness will be imputed to them. This act of baptism was a necessary part of the righteousness He secured for sinners. This first public event of His ministry is also rich in meaning: (1) it pictured His death and resurrection; (2) it therefore prefigured the significance of Christian baptism; (3) it marked His first public identification with those whose sins He would bear; and (4) it was a public affirmation of His messiahship by testimony directly from heaven.4

The festivals and seasons of the Christian year (or liturgical calendar) offer a way to order the annual life of the church according to the life of Christ and the events of salvation history. At this festival of the Christian year, we not only remember Jesus’ baptism, but we celebrate our own: the baptism we share with Christ.5

“Jesus identifies with the sinful people he came to save through his substitutionary life and death.”6

“[A]ll who have been baptized into Christ were baptized into his death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:3-4 ESV).

[B]aptism is understood as an acting out of faith. Baptism dramatically portrays what happened spiritually when you received Christ: Your old self of unbelief and rebellion and idolatry died, and a new you of faith and submission and treasuring Christ came into being.7

“On this day, we celebrate not only Jesus’ baptism but ours as well, for our baptism is rooted in Christ. Baptism joins us to Christ and his church, and with all of the baptized we are called to share in Jesus’ ministry.”8

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ENDNOTES

(8) JESUS CHRIST Submitted to Baptism

            1. ESV Study Bible, English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2001, ESV Text Edition: 2011) 1825.

            2. ESV Study Bible 1953.

            3. John Owen, Communion with the Triune God (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2007) 296.

            4. John MacArthur, One Perfect Life (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012) 72.

            5. “Baptism of the Lord”, Presbyterian Mission Agency, 3 July 2021 https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/worship/christianyear/baptism-lord/.

            6. ESV Study Bible, English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2001, ESV Text Edition: 2011) 1825.

            7. John Piper, “What is Baptism and How Important is it?” 20 July 2008 desiringGod, 2 February 2021 https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/what-is-baptism-and-how-important-is-it.

            8. “Baptism of the Lord”, Presbyterian Mission Agency, 3 July 2021 https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/worship/christianyear/baptism-lord/.

            9. Wakefield, quoted in “Commentary on Matthew 3:15,” 1832, The Adam Clarke Commentary, 2 February 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/acc/matthew-3.html.

10. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21 ESV).

            11. “You shall . . . praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you” (Joel 2:26 ESV).

            12. “. . . those whom he predestined he also called . . .” (Romans 8:30 ESV).

            13. “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh . . .” (Joel 2:28 ESV).

            14. “John answered . . . He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16 ESV).

            15. “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” (Romans 6:3 ESV).

            16. “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin” (Romans 6:6 ESV).

            17. “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4 ESV).

JESUS! In Word and Song

WEEK 3

ADVENT WEEK THREE – JOY

“Advent is a journey to joy, but it is not we who are traveling. Joy is coming to us.”1

This third week in Advent, let us remember that the good news of Jesus’ birth has the power to bring us great joy this Christmas season. [J]oy that flooded the hearts of the shepherds, the angels, the wise men, the hosts of heaven, and Mary and Joseph is the joy that still has the power to overwhelm our hearts with rejoicing.2

“And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10 ESV).

“The words are expressed in the same kind of language that was used by kings and emperors when a new heir was born. It was the Birth Announcement of a King.”3

“The angel opens his discourse by saying, that he announces great joy. By calling it great joy, he shows us that this blessing is so great and boundless, as fully to compensate for all the pains, distresses, and anxieties of the present life.”4

“We find joy in the truth of what God has already done and in the anticipation of what is to come, in the expectancy of God’s faithfulness. Joy overtakes uncertainty when we see how God works in unexpected ways to fulfill promises.”5

[T]he distinguishing nuance of joy is that it lasts beyond the moments of happiness. It can be present when the shine of Christmas cheer dulls or even tarnishes. Biblical joy is an attitude that God’s people adopt, not because of happy circumstances, but because of our hope in God’s love and promises.6

“We find joy in our current circumstances by choosing to remember the joy that Jesus’ redemption of our lives brings, redemption that is only possible through his birth, death, and resurrection.”7

“Let us learn to be so delighted with Christ alone, that the perception of his grace may overcome, and at length remove from us, all the distresses of the flesh.”8

In our present challenges, we anticipate the returning King, who with ‘salvation and power and glory’ will bring the hope of the fulfilled kingdom into being. We look around us at the brokenness of our world, and in the power of Jesus’ life and love, choose joy anyway.9

“You made known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps 16:11 ESV).

ENDNOTES

(3) Earth Receives Her CHRIST

            1. John Piper

            2. Hope Bolinger, “What is the Candle of Joy for Advent? Week 3,” 16 December 2019, Christianity, 23 March 2021 https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/what-is-the-candle-of-joy-for-advent-week-3.html.

            3. Peter Pett, “Commentary on Luke 2:10,” 2013, Peter Pett’s Commentary on the Bible, 23 March 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/luke/2-10.html#verse-pet.

            4. John Calvin, “Commentary on Luke 2:10,” 1840-57, Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible, 23 March 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/luke/2-10.html#verse-cal.

            5. “Advent Week 3 – The Candle of Joy,” 13 December 2020, Mill City Church, 23 March 2021 https://millcitychurch.com/advent-week-3-the-candle-of-joy/.

            6. Kala, “Advent Week 3: Joy,” 13 December 2020, The Porch Followers of Jesus, 23 March 2021 https://www.porchsf.com/devotionals/2020/12/13/advent-week-3-joy.

            7. “Advent Week 3 – The Candle of Joy,” 13 December 2020, Mill City Church, 23 March 2021 https://millcitychurch.com/advent-week-3-the-candle-of-joy/.

            8. John Calvin, “Commentary on Luke 2:10,” 1840-57, Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible, 23 March 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/luke/2-10.html#verse-cal.

            9. “Advent Week 3 – The Candle of Joy,” 13 December 2020, Mill City Church, 23 March 2021 https://millcitychurch.com/advent-week-3-the-candle-of-joy/.

            10. Hymn tune, “ST. PETER.”

            11. Hymn tune, “WINCHESTER OLD,” modified.

JESUS! In Word and Song

WEEK 2

ADVENT WEEK TWO – PEACE

“Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this” (Isa 9:7 ESV). “This was prophesied about Jesus more than 700 year before his birth.”1

“‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’” (Luke 19:38 ESV).

“The Advent of Jesus is the arrival of peace. He not only made peace with God for us, but he became our peace. [N]ot only are we no longer in conflict with God, but much more in that God has restored us to a state of wholeness.”2

“The most basic meaning of shalom is not ‘peace’ but ‘complete’ or ‘whole.’”3 “Peace is not just the absence of war or conflict, but the positive presence of something else.”4

Psalm 46 declares with confidence, ‘We will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea’ (v.2). Our world, like the psalmist’s world is in collapse: racial injustice, wildfires, hurricanes, floods. Our earth is giving way and the mountains are falling into the sea.5

“And [JESUS] awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:39 ESV). “His trust was so great that he could rest amid the crashing waves. Such supernatural peace is available to any of us who knows who God is.”6

“’Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’” (Luke 2:14 ESV).

“The ‘peace’ announced at the first Christmas is a unique peace that only the Messiah Himself can offer, but it’s for anyone who will take it.”7 “Now He doesn’t offer peace on our terms but His. And His terms are this: total surrender, turning away from any sort of self-trust or self-righteousness.”8 “Confession and being made right with God (justification) is our starting point to having peace with God.”9

“And He gives it to those who do it like a kid—humble, wide-eyed, maybe even hesitant or through tears. Jesus gives peace to those who come to the point they truly believe HE is the answer to what they are looking for.”10

[W]here the guilt of the past is forgiven; where the trials of the present are overcome; and where our destiny in the future is secured eternally. This kind of peace has a name. We celebrate during this season that ‘to us a child is born, to us a son is given.’ His name is the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.11

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ENDNOTES

(2) Prince of Peace

            1. Jimmy Larche, “Advent Devotions (Week 2): Peace and Shalom,” 6 December 2019, Abiding in Him Devotional, 17 March 2021 https://www.jimmylarche.com/advent-devotional-week-two/.

            2. “Advent: Week 2 Peace,” Feed the Nations, 17 March 2021 https://feedtheneed.org/tabletalk/advent-week-2-peace/.

            3. “Advent: Week 2 Peace.”

            4. Jim Lewis, “Advent Week 2 – Study Guide,” 6 December 2020, River Community Church, 17 March 2021 http://www.rivercc.org/2020/12/06/advent-week-2-study-guide/.

            5. Carmen Joy Imes, “Monday: Peace in the Storm,” 6 December 2020, Christianity Today, 17 March 2021 https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/november-web-only/advent-week-2-gods-presence-and-his-promises.html.

            6. Imes.

            7. Alli Patterson, “10 Minutes to More Peace (Advent: Week 2),” 7 December 2020, Crossroads, 17 March 2021 https://www.crossroads.net/media/articles/10-minutes-to-more-peace-advent-week-two.

            8. Allen S. Nelson, “Jesus Deserves Praise,” 2 December 2019, Things Above, 17 March 2021 https://thingsabove.us/2019-advent-devotionals-week-2/.

            9. Jim Lewis, “Advent Week 2 – Study Guide,” 6 December 2020, River Community Church, 17 March 2021 http://www.rivercc.org/2020/12/06/advent-week-2-study-guide/.

            10. Alli Patterson, “10 Minutes to More Peace (Advent: Week 2),” 7 December 2020, Crossroads, 17 March 2021 https://www.crossroads.net/media/articles/10-minutes-to-more-peace-advent-week-two.

            11. “Advent Week 2: Peace,” 5 December 2016, Rivertree Church, 17 March 2021 https://myrivertree.org/church-life/2016/12/5/ravpqh4mn96r54polijbxmcmyny4m7.

            12. “. . . we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Romans 5:11 ESV).

            13. John Piper, “Advent Week 4 Prince of Peace,” 20 December 2020, Faithlife Sermons, 17 March 2021 https://sermons.faithlife.com/sermons/676674-advent-week-4-prince-of-peace.

            14. Piper.

            15. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”  (Isaiah 9:6 ESV).

            16. “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility”  (Ephesians 2:14 ESV).

GOD COMFORTS THE DISCONSOLATE

“God comforts the disconsolate—he has an infinite counterbalance of consolation, joy, and hope. Does He wound? It is to heal. Does He cause deep sorrow? It is to turn that sorrow into a deeper joy. Does He empty? It is to fill. Does He cast down? It is to lift up again. Such is the love that moves Him, such is the wisdom that guides him, and such too is the purpose secured in the Lord’s disciplinary conduct with His people” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, April 17th).

“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. It is true that we often cannot see the connection between the adversity and God’s purpose. It should be enough for us however, to know that He sees the connection and the end result He intends” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p233).

“[T]he principle of true devotion is that God alone is the Guide and Ruler of all prosperity and adversity, and that he is never in undue haste, but that he distributes all good and evil with the most equal justice Ps 79:13” John Calvin (ref#313, p44).

“Jesus is the great physician. [A]ll his commands are meant to make us well and happy. If they have some painful side effects, that is not because the doctor is unkind or unwise. It is because the disease is so bad that severe medicines may be required. Every command from Jesus is meant for our good” John Piper (ref#220, p241).

“[S]aints thrive most internally, when they are most externally afflicted. Afflictions lift up the soul to more rich, clear, and full enjoyments of God. ‘Behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her’ (Hos 2:14), or rather, as the Hebrew has it, ‘I will earnestly or vehemently speak to her heart.’ God makes afflictions to be but inlets to the soul’s more sweet and full enjoyment of His blessed self” Thomas Brooks (ref#225, Dec 17th).

“I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder” (2 Tim 4:1-2 MSG). “[A]ccept the hard times along with the good” (2 Tim 4:3-5 MSG). “[H]e’s an honest judge. He’ll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming” (2 Tim 4:6-8 MSG).

“Through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything he wants to do in and through me will be done. [E]verything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die” (Phil 1:18-21 MSG).

TRIALS CANNOT INJURE THE SOUL

“Love is when God gets you to God” John Piper. And most often He does that through tribulation.

“The normal person simply doesn’t esteem the spiritual value of hardship. They say they believe in the truths of Scripture, but they live in an unspoken state of disappointment, irritation, impatience, or frustration with God. The trials in our lives exist not because he has forgotten us but because he remembers us and is changing us by his grace” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, June 17th).

“He who reads the hearts of men knows their weaknesses better than they themselves can know them. He sees that some have qualifications which, if rightly directed, could be used in the advancement of His work. In His providence He brings these souls into different positions and varied circumstances, that they may discover the defects that are concealed from their own knowledge. He gives them opportunity to overcome these defects and to fit themselves for service. Often He permits the fires of affliction to burn, that they may be purified” Ellen G. White (ref#331, p524).

“Let us remember that these outward trials cannot injure the soul, that they last only for a time, and that they are working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2 Cor 4:17)” Charles Ross (ref#241, p154).

“We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything” (2 Cor 6:8-10 ESV).

“The truth is, persecution of the godly [is] of God, and never intended for [men’s] destruction, but for their glory; to make them shine the more when they are beyond [the] valley of the shadow of death. God will have the spirit of His servants kept sound. [T]he ground that the enemy has to play upon [is] the body and outward substance of the people of God. The spirit is reserved that it might be capable of maintaining communion with God” John Bunyan (ref#225, Jan 10th).

“How God loves: by doing everything He has to do, like remove every obstacle, to bring me to the place where I make much of Him” John Piper

GOD’S PURPOSE IN AFFLICTION

“God loves to show off his greatness by being an inexhaustible source of strength to build weak people up. His exuberance in delighting in the welfare of his servant is the measure of the immensity of his resources” John Piper (ref#220, p186).

“[A]ll afflictions are God’s rod, and therefore there is no remedy for them other than God’s grace” John Calvin (ref#164, March 17th).

“If God intended for all the days of your life to be easy, they would be. No, in grace, he intends for your days to be his tools of refinement” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, April 22nd).

“Our sins have been forgiven. We’ve been bought by the blood of the Savior. We’ve become part of God’s family, destined to become like Christ. God is now using our trials to accomplish his good and redemptive purposes in us (Romans 8:28-29)” Bob Kauflin (ref#199, p131).

“In the upbuilding of His work the Lord does not always make everything plain before His servants. He sometimes tries the confidence of His people by bringing about circumstances which compel them to move forward in faith. Often He brings them into strait and trying places, and bids them advance. It is at such times, when the prayers of His servants ascend to Him in earnest faith, that God opens the way before them and brings them out into a large place” Ellen G. White (ref#331, p357).

“Behold, I will refine them and test them, for what else can I do” (Jer 9:7 ESV).

“[H]e will purge them of their sin” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p1391).

“He that suffers for righteousness’ sake suffers by the order and design of God. It is not what enemies will, but what God wills, and what God appoints, that shall be done” John Bunyan (ref#225, Oct 17th).

ABIDE IN CHRIST

“It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn [God’s] statutes” (Ps 119:71 ESV).

“When things are going ‘bad’ that does not mean God has stopped doing good. It means he is shifting things around to get them in place for more good, if you will go on loving him” John Piper (ref#220, p181).

“[B]eliever, most specially in times of trial, abide in Christ. Abide in Christ! This is indeed the Father’s object in sending the trial” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p124).

“[O]ne of the purposes of trials—to revive in us the spirit of devotion and communion with God. And when mercy comes on the back of great trouble, it leads us sweetly to prayer” Charles Spurgeon (ref#310, p165).

“You and I place much more importance on things than they truly possess, and when we do so, these things begin to claim our heart allegiance. So God ordains for us to experience that physical things get old and break. The people in our lives fail us. Relationships sour and become painful. Our physical bodies weaken. Flowers die and food spoils. All of this is meant to teach us that these things are beautiful and enjoyable, but they cannot give us what we all long for—life” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, March 29th).

“In this world that is groaning, God is protecting our hearts. He is protecting us from us. Our hearts can be so fickle. We can worship God one day, only to turn and give the worship of our hearts to something else the next. So, in love, God lets pieces of the creation die in our hands so that increasingly we are freed from asking earth to give us what only he can give.” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, March 29th).

“The furnace works wonders for a believer. He should never wish to be exempt from it! [R]eal grace is inseparable from a state of trial. Where there is real faith, the Lord will try it. Real grace, then, is tried grace. The hour of affliction is the hour of softening. The hardness of the heart yields, the callousness of the spirit gives way, the affections become tender, and conscience is more susceptible. It is the season of holy abstraction, meditation, and prayer, of withdrawal from the world and from creature delights, while the soul is more closely shut in with God. Emptied, humbled, and softened, the heart is prepared for the seal of the Spirit” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, May 8th).

“Your Lord knows that even as his child your heart is still prone to wander, so in tender, patient grace he keeps you in a world that teaches you that he alone is worthy of the deepest, most worshipful allegiance of your heart” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, March 29th).

PUTTING ON THE NEW SELF

“We will take everything that happens as happening to Him, whether it be praise or blame, persecution or commendation” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Feb 4th).

“Do we not become members of the body of the divine person of Christ? Yes, the same blood that flows in the head flows in the hand, and the same life that quickens Christ quickens His people, for ‘Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God’ (Col 3:3). As if this were not enough, we are married to Christ. He has betrothed us unto Himself in righteousness and in faithfulness, and he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Sept 16th AM).

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire” (2 Pet 1:3-4 ESV).

“To live a holy life is to live a life in conformity to the moral precepts of the Bible and in contrast to the sinful ways of the world. It is to live a life characterized by the ‘[putting] off of your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires and [putting] on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness’ (Ephesians 4:22, 24)” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p16).

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Rom 12:1 ESV).

By calling it a living sacrifice we are to be continually sacrificed to the Lord so that our former life will be destroyed in us. [O]ur work is pleasing and acceptable to God when we devote ourselves to purity and holiness” John Calvin (ref#164, Aug 6th).

“But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life” (Jude 1:20-21 MSG)!

“[What] pleases him is not our work for him but our need of him” John Piper (ref#220, p215-216).

“The good news of salvation is that as believers in Jesus Christ, and by God’s grace, we are no longer sinners in Adam, we are now righteous in Christ” Denny Johnson (ref#385).

GOD’S LOVE

“I have loved thee with an everlasting love” (Jer 31:3) A.W. Pink (ref#253, p7).

“God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him” (Rom 5:6-8 MSG).

“God who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them (I Tim 1:11)” John Piper (ref#220, p53).

“[T]he salvation of the sinner is not so much a manifestation of the justice, holiness, wisdom, or power of God, as it is a display of His love” Octavius Winslow (ref#252, p1).

“[I]f God has already granted you a place in eternity, then he has also granted you all the grace you need along the way, or you’d never get there. There is grace for our fickle and easily distracted hearts. There is rescue for our self-absorption and lack of focus. The God of eternity grants you his eternal grace so that you can live with eternity in view” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Jan 3rd).

“[A]ll God’s trying, wounding, disappointing dispensations towards His people are the result of His everlasting love. He Who smiles today and Who frowns tomorrow, Who kisses now and smites us then, is the same tender, faithful Father, Whose love knows no change and Whose faithfulness never fails” Octavius Winslow (ref#256, p31).

“You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence” (Acts 2:28 ESV).

“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zeph 3:17 ESV).

“Love never ends” (1 Cor 13:8 ESV).