COMING TO GOD AS BEGGARS

“[L]et me know how fleeting I am” (Ps 39:4 ESV)!

“To suppose mercy without supposing misery, or pity without calamity, is a contradiction. Men must be sensible that the law is against them and that the wrath of God abides. They must be sensible that they are not worthy that God should have mercy on them. They come to God as beggars” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p56).

“It becomes us to be humbled into the dust; yet our grief, though it cannot be too great, may be under a wrong direction; and if it leads us to impatience or distrust, it certainly is so” John Newton (ref#322, p180).

“[Oh, T]hat I may know and love thee above all things; and above all things loathe and abhor myself. Grant that I may be so ravished in the wonder and love of thee, that I may forget myself and all things, feel neither prosperity nor adversity, may not fear to suffer all the pains of this world. Oh! Let me find thee more inwardly and verily present with me than I am with myself” Herny Scougal (ref#321, p144).

“[W]e are naturally prone to attribute everything to our human flesh, unless we have, as it were, object lessons of our stupidity, we easily form an exaggerated notion of our strength, and we take for granted that, whatever hardships may happen, we will remain invincible” John Calvin (ref#313, p47).

God Our Refuge

Dear Refuge of my weary soul,

On thee, when sorrows rise,

On thee, when waves of trouble roll,

My fainting hope relies.

[To thee I tell each rising grief,

For thou alone canst heal’

Thy word can bring a sweet relief

For every pain I feel.]

But O! when gloomy doubts prevail,

I fear to call thee mine;

The springs of comfort seem to fail,

And all my hopes decline.

Yet, gracious God, where shall I flee?

Thou art my only trust;

And still my soul would cleave to thee,

Though prostrate in the dust.

[Hast thou not bid me seek thy face,

And shall I seek in vain?

And can the ear of sovereign grace

Be deaf when I complain?

No; still the ear of sovereign grace

Attends the mourner’s prayer;

O may I ever find access

To breathe my sorrows there!]

Thy mercy-seat is open still;

Here let my soul retreat;

With humble hope attend thy will,

And wait beneath thy feet.

A. Steele (ref#224, Song #136)

TRANSFORMED INTO HOLINESS

“To be holy is to be morally blameless. It is to be separated from sin and, therefore, consecrated to God. The word signifies ‘separation to God, and the conduct befitting those so separated’” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p16).

The LORD encourages—He does not say I will not leave you but ‘I will smelt away your dross’ (Isa 1:25).

“It is the natural tendency of divine truth, when received into the heart, to produce holiness. The design of the whole plan of redemption was to secure the highest holiness and happiness of the creature; and when the gospel comes with the power of God unto the salvation of the soul, this end is preeminently secured. The renewed man is a pardoned man; the pardoned man becomes a holy man; and the holy man is a happy man. He who receives the doctrine of electing love in his heart by the power of the Spirit bears about with him the material of a holy walk; its tendency is to humble, abase, and sanctify the man. God alone has made him to differ from another. [H]e has received the free, distinguishing grace of God” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Oct 22nd).

“[Y]ou yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 2:5 ESV).

“[H]oliness is obedience to the will of God in whatever God directs. The holiness described in the Bible calls us to do more than separate ourselves from the moral pollution of the world around us. It calls us to obey God” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p138). I can pretend I’m separating myself by obeying self-selected commands but that is much different than obeying GOD.

“[T]he grace of God is a seed that, however it lies hidden, will certainly in due time spring up, put forth itself, will bud and blossom and will bring forth rich fruit” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p115).

“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2 ESV).

HARD LIFE

“[W]e can be in the very center of God’s will, being used by the Lord in a powerful way—and still get into a lot of trouble” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p114). I think of Stephen who was chosen by the Apostles to wait tables but ended up martyred (Acts 6-7).

“Those whom the Lord has chosen and honored with his intercourse must prepare for a hard, laborious, troubled life, a life full of many and various kinds of evils; it being the will of our heavenly Father to exercise his people in this way while putting them to the proof. Having begun this course with Christ the first-born, he continues it toward all his children. (Heb 5:8)” John Calvin (ref#113, p458).

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:12 ESV).

“Christ is exceedingly ready to pity us. His arms are open to receive us. He delights to receive distressed souls who come to Him and to protect them. He would gather them as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings; it is a work that He exceedingly rejoices in because He delights in acts of love, and pity, and mercy” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p106).

“So Christ is an ever-flowing fountain. He is continually supplying His people, and the fountain is not spent. They who live upon Christ may have fresh supplies from Him to all eternity; they may have an increase of blessedness that is new, and new still, and which never will come to an end” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p107).

“As thy days, so shall thy strength be” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Jan 1st).

“It would seem as though we were summoned not so much to go out on the field of battle, as on the field of conquest; not so much to combat with the foe, as to gather up the spoils of victory What is each successful conflict with our spiritual adversaries, each mortified corruption, each resisted temptation, each overcome sin, but a display of the great victory already won by the Captain of our salvation” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Aug 5th)?

JUDGMENT

“I either believe that my sins have been punished in the body of the Son of God or else they will be punished in me” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Feb 21st).

“I will discipline you in just measure, and I will by no means leave you unpunished” (Jer 46:28 ESV).

“All humanity faces eternal judgment for sin” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2358).

“It is the tendency of all sin eternally to undo the soul. Every sin naturally carries hell in it! Therefore all sin ought to be treated by us as we would treat a thing that is infinitely terrible” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p70).

“’Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. They say continually to those who despise the word of the LORD. ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you’” (Jer 23:16-17 ESV).

“The Lord is patient with his creation, but will surely return in judgment like a thief in the night” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2416).

“[W]e are superior to the whole world through God’s gratuitous pity, even though be nature we have nothing to boast of in ourselves. [W]e are all children of wrath, we can claim no superiority” John Calvin (ref#164, May 5th).

“[W]e have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God” (Rom 5:9 ESV).

“Christians are destined not for wrath but for salvation at Jesus’ coming” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2303).

“[W]hen we are being judged by the Lord, we are the subjects of a disciplinary judgment in order that we may not be condemned with the world” (1 Cor 11:31-32 Wuest).

“We who are in Christ no longer look to the future for judgment, but to the past; at the cross, we see our punishment happening, all our sins being punished in Jesus. The loved and restored you therefore trumps, outstrips, swallows up, the unrestored you. Not the other way around” Dane Ortland (ref#382, p187).

SELF-PLEASING

You disobey not because you lack the God-given grace to obey, but because you love something more than the God who’s given you that grace” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Aug 11th).

“Sin is to look away from Him, to be interested in anything that the world can give rather than in Him. Oh, if it is something foul it is ten times worse; but the best that the world can give me is an insult to Him if I put it before Him” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Mar 29th).

“Sin is the rebellious assertion of myself against the love and authority of God, against the welfare of my neighbor” John Stott (ref#258, p85-86).

“[T]he true nature of sin—opposition against God, expressed in self-pleasing” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p70).

“There is no spiritual love for the true God until self is hated” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p67).

“Sin is an infinite evil because committed against an infinitely great and excellent Being, and so a violation of infinite obligation” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p70).

“The masquerading nature of sin plays to the fickleness of our idolatrous hearts. So what is often is not what we think it is, and the masquerading idol has no power at all to deliver to our hungry hearts what Jesus alone can give us. Only God can give us insight into our hearts and free us from our bondage to the little costume kingdom of one” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Oct 31st).

“[W]ork out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil 2:12-13 ESV).

“Here is a call to be serious about the life that grace has made possible for you. [T]he example reminds you that if you follow, if you obey, and if you do what is right in the eyes of your Savior, you can take no credit whatsoever. This is because your right desires and your right actions exist only because of his indwelling presence and ever-active grace. [W]e do the right that we do because grace is at the moment rescuing us from ourselves” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Dec 17th).

FALLING INTO SIN

“For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me” (Rom 7:11 ESV).

“God’s commands, promise eternal life if one keeps them; and yet they lead to death, since everyone violates what God ordains. This happens when sin deceives a person and uses the law as its instrument” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2169).

“It is certainly wrong to feed a lust, even in the imagination. It is quite contrary to the holy rules of God’s words. ‘The thought of foolishness is sin’ (Pro 24:9)” Jonathan Edwards (ref#377, p23).

“As a man that walks in the sun is tanned before he is aware, so are the souls of men sullied and defiled by carnal company before they be aware. For the more accustomed to them, the less odious they seem; so, little by little, our spirits are shaped and fitted for such a sin” Thomas Manton (ref#375, p16).

“Temptation always talks about happiness, fulfillment, gratification, delight, comfort, pleasure, excitement, and the like. It can involve good things or foul perverse things: either way, temptation always lures the flesh to believe its promises instead of God’s Word” Jeff Pollard (ref#372).

“[T]he person who does anything with a high hand reviles the LORD, and that person shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has despised the word of the LORD and has broken his commandment, that person shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be on him” (Num 15:30-31 ESV).

“If we would make peace with the world, the world would let us alone. If we could be content to walk in the ways of sin, Satan would give us no disturbance. But because grace has rescued us from his dominion, and the love of Jesus constrains us to live to Him alone, therefore the enemy, like a lion robbed of his prey, roars against us” John Newton (ref#376, p20).

“[T]emptation promises satisfaction. But when it leads to sin, only two responses exist: repentance and faith in Jesus Christ or damnation, no matter how ‘happy’ one is on the way to eternal hellfire” Jeff Pollard (ref#372).

EXCEEDING EVIL OF SIN

“God’s grace is active, rescuing, transformative grace. You celebrate this by being as serious about your need as the God of this grace is. God took sin so seriously that he did two things when the first transgression occurred—he immediately meted out punishment and he immediately set in motion his plan of rescue and redemption. Both demonstrate God’s seriousness about what we all too easily deny or minimize” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, June 5th).

“[T]he truth of what the Word of God declares concerning the exceeding evil of sin; for the same eye that discerns the transcendent beauty of holiness necessarily therein sees the exceeding odiousness of sin; the same taste which relishes the sweetness of true moral good tastes the bitterness of moral evil. And by this means a man sees his own sinfulness and loathsomeness; for he has now a sense to discern objects of this nature, and so sees the truth of what the Word of God declares concerning the exceeding sinfulness of mankind, which before he did not see. He now sees the dreadful pollution of his heart; and this shows him the truth of what the Scripture reveals concerning his nature, and his need of a Savior” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p83).

“Why did the Son of God come into this world of sin? He came ‘to save that which was lost’, to provide pardon and forgiveness of sin by the shedding of His own blood and the breaking of His own body upon the cross. If I say I have no sin, I am denying the incarnation, the death and the resurrection—I am making God a liar” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p113).

“[F]ailure to realise that we as sinners need forgiveness is the failure to realise the nature of sin, to grasp that our own natures are sinful and to understand that we have all actually sinned and need forgiveness” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p113).

“Corruption does not lie dormant in the Christian: though it reigns not supreme (because of a principle of grace to oppose it) yet it molests and often prevails to a very considerable extent. Because of this the Christian is called upon to wage a constant warfare against it: to ‘mortify’ it, to struggle against its inclinations and deny its solicitations” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p112).

“[W]hen divine justice is seen requiring the very heart’s blood of God’s only son in order to quench its infinite need for satisfaction; when God in Christ is seen in His humiliation, suffering, and death, all with the design of pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin; how fearful a sin against this holy Lord God seems! Do not be discouraged if the more intensely the desire for sanctification rises, the deeper and darker the revelation of the heart’s hidden evil” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Aug 13th).

RENOUNCING OUR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS

“[H]is heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly” (Dan 5:20 ESV).

“Possibly you may be confident of your own strength, and may think that you are not in danger, that there is no temptation but what you are able easily to overcome. But you should consider that the most self-confident are most in danger” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p71).

“If when others who have fallen into gross sins should be inquired of, and should declare how it was with them, doubtless they would say that they at first thought there was no danger; that they were far from the thought that ever they should commit such wickedness” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p71).

“O faithless daughter, who trusted in her treasures, saying, ‘Who will come against me?’” (Jer 49:4 ESV).

“[N]ever can I swallow pride

My pride will swallow me

Unless I’m overwhelmed by grace

In forced humility” Doug Newton (ref#166, p132).

“God would rather let His children all into the devil’s hands than to see them proud. Better is that temptation that humbles than that duty which makes us proud. [A] Christian may get much good by temptation” Thomas Watson (ref#225, p202).

“The one great design of God in all His dispensations to His people, is to prevent and cure the pride of their hearts. We must condemn ourselves, before He will justify us; and renounce our own righteousness, if ever we will be made righteous” Richard Mayo (ref#225, p 237).

“[W]hen I see myself as I really am, nobody can insult me. It is impossible, because they can never say anything that is bad enough about me. Whatever the world may say about me, I am much worse than they think. Self-sufficiency, self-consciousness—oh, to get away from the self” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Nov 13th)!

“Restore to me again the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you” (Ps 51:12 TLB).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

HYPOCRITES_4

“The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling has seized the godless: ‘Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire?  Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?’  He who walks righteously…” (Isa 33:14-15 ESV).

“There are two kinds of persons among God’s professing people: the one is those who are truly godly, the other kind consist of sinners in Zion, hypocrites…. hypocrites…make a profession of the true religion; they attend God’s ordinances and make a show of being the worshippers of God, but all is in hypocrisy.  Fearfulness will surprise them.  The wrath of God is in His Word manifested against the wicked, but it is ten times as much manifested against those sinners who make the profession and enjoy the privileges of the people of God….The reasons for this are chiefly these: they sin against such professions and vows, and they sin against so much greater mercy” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p59).

“Abstaining from sin.  This abstaining may be from restraining grace, not renewing grace.  Men may leave gross sin and yet live in more spiritual sins; leave drunkenness and live in pride; leave uncleanness and live in malice” Thomas Watson (ref#48, “The Counterfeits of the New Creature”).

“Many a man’s knowledge is a torch to light him to hell.  You who have knowledge of God’s will, but don’t do it, in what way do you excel a hypocrite” Thomas Watson (ref#225, May 23rd)?

“…a mighty supernatural power is needed if I am to come to Him who ‘justifieth the ungodly.’  None but the all-mighty Spirit can lift a stricken soul out of the guilt of despair and enable him to believe to the saving of his soul” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p93).

A characteristic of a Christian is: “He is painfully aware of his indwelling corruption.  He finds an evil principle within himself that is constantly warring against grace and trying to draw him away from God.  But he does not consent to it, though he cannot prevent its presence” J.C. Ryle (ref#222).  “Sanctification is…dependent on God’s continuing action in the believer, and consisting of the believer’s continuous struggle against sin….Sanctification is…human effort dependent on God” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p1650).

O FATHER, how I want to believe that all I pray for, who are unregenerate, are sinning in a way that does not lead to death and that eventually You will give them life.  I pray their sins are not obstinate sins, and thus, incurable.  Matthew Poole (ref#21, p941, [1 John 5:16]).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

OUTWARD PROFESSION

“…in whose righteousness do you stand at this moment?…Many have lived in an outward profession; they have put on Christ with external garb, have talked well of Him, have been baptized in His name, have given liberally for His cause…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Aug 10th).

How perilous it is to know how to act like a Christian.  I fool others and myself.

“They never give Christ any honor on account of His glory and excellency.  They may, and often do, pay Christ an external and seeming respect, but they do not honor Christ in their hearts.  They have no exalting thoughts of Christ, no inward respect of reverence towards Him” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p50).

“Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen.  But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:23-24 ESV).

“…’I prefer a flexible heart to an inflexible ritual’…” (Matt 12:6-8 MSG).

“…Compassion doesn’t originate in our bleeding hearts or moral sweat, but in God’s mercy….God has the first word, initiating the action in which we play our part…” (Rom 9:14-18 MSG).

“A biblical Christian is a person who manifests in his life that his claims to repentance and faith are real….Wherever there is true faith in Christ, genuine love to Christ will be implanted.  And where there is love to Christ there will be obedience to Christ….(John 14:21-24).  We are saved by trusting Christ, not by loving and obeying Christ; but a trust that does not produce love and obedience is not true saving faith” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p20).

“…go ahead with what you’ve been given.  You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him….do what you’ve been taught….quit studying the subject and start living it…” (Col 2:6-7 MSG).