2ND COVENANT

LAW VS. GOSPEL

“What is the difference between the moral law and the Gospel?  The law requires that we worship God as our Creator; the Gospel, that we worship Him in and through Christ.  God in Christ is propitious; out of Him we may see God’s power, justice, and holiness: in Him we see His mercy displayed.  The moral law requires obedience, but gives no strength…but the Gospel gives strength; it bestows faith on the elect; it sweetens the law; it makes us serve God with delight” Thomas Watson (ref#225, p319).

“The great and most distinguishing difference between the covenant of grace and that of works is that by the covenant of grace we are not thus justified by our own works, but only by faith in Jesus Christ” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p9).

“…the law…Its purpose was to make obvious to everyone that we are, in ourselves, out of right relationship with God…” (Gal 3:21-22 MSG).

“…we need God’s help not just in the doing part but also in willing to walk in his ways” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p157).

FATHER, the law holds me captive until I embrace the Gospel.  The law announces I will die because I’m not, in every point, keeping it.  The law holds me in sin.

“But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code” (Rom 7:6 ESV).

I have not just shunned or rejected the old law.  If that were the case I could come back to it. No, I am dead to it—transformed into a new person altogether.  I now have a spiritual nature that has the ability in joy to subject my members to righteousness.  FATHER, Your works move me to an impossible-to-express thanks.

FAITH

CHRIST, MY OBJECT OF FAITH

“The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its love” Henry Scougal (ref#220, p304).

“When we are satisfied with our counselor we will do what he counsels.  But more than that.  True faith delights in all that Jesus is—his character, his personality, his nature.  This means that his counsel itself will be beautiful to us.  We will love holiness because it is an expression of the personality of the One whose personality we cherish” John Piper (ref#220, p250).

“You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation” (1 Pet 1:8-9 MSG).

“…The conquering power…is our faith.  The person who wins out over the world’s ways is simply the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:4-5 MSG).

“By the indwelling of the Spirit, and realized by faith, Christ abides in the believer and the believer abides in Christ.  ‘I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one’” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Aug 6th).

“Faith is receiving Christ” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p92).  “The Christian faith is faith inChrist.  Its value or worth is not in the one believing, but in the one believed—not in the one trusting, but in the one trusted” Josh McDowell (ref#275, p4).

FAITH

FAITH IS

“To believe, in the language of the New Testament, is simply to trust….Every one that believes on the Son of God, and trusts his soul to Him, is at once pardoned, forgiven, justified, counted righteous, reckoned innocent, and freed from all liability to condemnation” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p181).

“…doing something by relying on the strength which God supplies simply means doing it by faith” John Piper (ref#220, p245).  “…it is simply going out of yourself and taking up your rest in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 22nd).

“A true faith includes more than a mere belief; it is accepting the gospel…It is something more than a mere assent of the understanding, because it is called obeying the gospel…(1 Pet 4:17)” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p93).

“…anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:35 ESV).

“…faith is trusting God and responding to him” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2104, [Acts 10:35]).  “Faith consists in two things: in being persuaded of the promises and in embracing them…(Heb 11:13)” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p94).

“True belief in Christ is the unreserved trust of a heart convinced of sin, in Christ, as an all-sufficient Saviour.  It is the combined act of the whole man’s head, conscience, heart and will” J.C Ryle (ref#273, p183).  “The belief of an individual involves ‘the mind, emotions and the will’” Josh McDowell (ref#275, p4).

“Faith is likened to looking to Christ, and following Christ, and fleeing to Christ….Faith brings nothing to Christ but an empty hand, by which it takes Christ and all that is in Him” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p18).

“Faith is the ceasing from all nature’s efforts, and all other dependence; faith is confessed helplessness casting itself upon God’s promise, and claiming its fulfillment; faith is the putting ourselves quietly into God’s hands for Him to do his work” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p83).

HOLY SPIRIT

BABES IN CHRIST

“…many born-again Christians remain spiritual babes in attributes which should characterize strong men and women of God.  Paul equated the term ‘babes in Christ’ with carnality, characterized by ‘envying, and strife, and divisions’ (1 Cor 3:1,3).  Paul also speaks of those Christians as ‘children’ who are ‘tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine’ (Eph 4:14)” (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., Babes in Christ, Friday, March 26, 2010,https://www.icr.org/article/5209)

“…natural men may be the subject of many influences of the Spirit of God (as in Numbers 24:2; 1 Samuel 10:10; Hebrews 6:4-6), yet they are not spiritual persons…” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p90).

 “I. A MAN MAY HAVE THE DIVINE SPIRIT WITH HIM, BUT NOT IN HIM….Every man has the Spirit with him.

  1. In the operations of nature.
  2. In the revelations of the Bible.
  3. In the events of history.
  4. In the lives of all good men.
  5. IT IS A GREAT PRIVILEGE FOR A MAN TO HAVE THE SPIRIT OF GOD WITH HIM. We have one who is ready to
  6. Guide;
  7. Protect;
  8. Strengthen;
  9. Perfect us.”

(D. Thomas, The Spirit With You and In You,[John 14:16], (New York, NY: The Bible Illustrator, 1905-1909, https://www.studylight.org/commentary/john/14-16.html)

It is the greatest privilege, though to have the SPIRIT of GOD in man.  “…a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit—will change you from the inside out” (Mark 1:7-8 MSG).

“…Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord…” (Zech 4:6 ESV).

JESUS

CHRIST’S INTERCESSION

FATHER, Your Son is at Your right hand, interceding for us (Heb 7:25).  But this interceding is not “as if the Lord Jesus Christ were there pleading for us before an unwilling God…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Oct 2nd).  He is not “trying to persuade the Father…in getting Him to change His opinion” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Oct 2nd).

Those words don’t depict a scene of CHRIST simply sitting beside You either, FATHER.  He does not just sit; He does not just speak.  He does not just craft words to convince You to act in our favor.

CHRIST is not talk but action.  On earth He performed Your will (John 4:34).  Now He lives in us that we might perform Your will.

I know, FATHER, that CHRIST is my permanent guest.  By the SPIRIT He resides in my personality, subdues my sinful desires and transforms me into His likeness (2 Cor 3:18) John Stott (ref#258, p86) so that You, CHRIST, and I all have the same desires.

 “Christ…is to intercede for his people:…the things he intercedes for are…

the consolation of distressed ones;

fresh discoveries of pardoning grace to fallen believers;

renewed strength to oppose sin, exercise grace, discharge duty, and bear up under temptations, and deliverance out of them;

perseverance in faith and holiness, and eternal glorification…” (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, [Heb 7:25]).

Thus, His intercession is sweet.  “Christ will…treat you as his dear friend…you shall always be where he is” (John 12:26), “and shall behold his glory, and dwell with him, in most free and intimate communion and enjoyment (1 John 3:1-3; Rev 21:1-7)” Jonathan Edwards (ref#263).

“Christ is our life…We are…chosen, adopted, pardoned, justified, and quickened people.  This is our present state; this is our present character.  We bear about with us the life of God in our souls” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, July 7th).

JESUS

DIETY HUMBLED

“…He appeared in visible form and became Man…”(1 John 3:5 AMPC)

 “In the life which Christ led upon earth, obedience was a solemn reality.  The dark and awful power that led man to revolt from his God, came upon Him too, to tempt Him.  To Him as man its offers of self-gratification were not matters of indifference; to refuse them, He had to fast and pray.  He suffered, being tempted.  He spoke very distinctly of notseeking to do His own will, as a surrender He had continually to make.  He made the keeping of the Father’s commandments the distinct object of His life, and so abode in His love” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p155).

FATHER, Your Son in His magnificence dwelt with You before time began but then emptied Himself of His godly essence to become human (Phil 2:7).  He identified with me as He spent a few years on earth.  But CHRIST is now glorified in my nature at Your right hand (ref#241, p208-209).

“The union of the divine and the human in Immanuel is the reunion of God with fallen man through the second Adam….God in my nature: my God, my brother, my friend, my counselor, my guide, my redeemer, my pattern, my all!  God in my nature: my wisdom, my righteousness, my sanctification, my redemption!…He takes my nature that He may descend to me, and He gives me His nature that I may ascend to Him.  He stoops because I could not rise” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Dec 25th)!

“If the Deity of Jesus is precious, so is His humanity; the one is of no avail in the work of redemption apart from the other…It was pure humanity, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, which He took up into intimate and indissoluble union with His Deity….Our Lord attached Himself to the woes of our nature;…It was necessary that our Lord, in order to sympathize fully with His people, should not only identify Himself with their nature, but also in some degree with their peculiar circumstances….He never instructs them to walk in a path that His own feet have not trod first and left their impressions” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, July 31st).

“His humanity lost none of the tender sympathies of our nature which clung to him so closely when on earth.  The same compassionate nature, the same loving heart, the same deep sympathy with all our sorrows, and the same outstretched hand to relieve them distinguish the glorified state of the precious Son of God” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Aug 27th).

“The human nature of Christ…still continues, and will continue to all eternity, to be both God and man” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p20).

ASSURANCES

FAITH AVOIDERS

Faith avoiders become “identity amnesias” David Paul Tripp (ref#190, Jan 31st). They have not explored the cliff where faith jumps, therefore they have no solid proof they are truly Christian.

“Will you live in timidity and fear or in the courage of hope? Will you avoid challenges of faith in fear or move toward them, resting not in your own ability but in the presence, power, and grace of the One who rules all and has become your Father” David Paul Tripp (ref#190, Jan 31st)?

“…there must be…faith…a belief that the law is answered and satisfied by Jesus Christ; and…such a sense of the way of salvation by Christ that…sin should not be punished in us…this…lightens the burden and creates hope. This is to have a sense of the sufficiency of salvation” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p99).

FATHER, You move me to ask myself if I am abiding in CHRIST – day to day trusting Him—regularly fellowshipping with Him in prayer and worship (John15:4,7)? Am I making JESUS my trust? Your SPIRIT challenges me to ask myself if I am abiding in CHRIST or simply acting like a Christian.

Can I give up all the good things about myself and let You make me good. I know it will mean stepping off the cliff to the unknown but I also know that You will bring me to trusting in that jump.

ASSURANCES

EVIDENCES OF GODLINESS – PART TWO

“…His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness…” (2 Pet 1:3 NASB).

FATHER, this power of Yours becomes experiential in me the moment You change my stony heart (Ezek 36:26). Below are thoughts that come to me with a new heart. I desire to check myself to see if I have experienced these thoughts.

…a conscious regret that our love to Him is so poor, along with a desire to love Him more…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Nov 30th).

“There is in this spiritual and divine light a true sense of the divine and superlative excellency of the things of God and of Jesus Christ, of the work of redemption, and of the ways and works of God revealed in the Gospel. He who is spiritually enlightened truly apprehends and sees it, or has a sense of it. He does not merely rationally believe that God is glorious, but he has a sense of the gloriousness of God in his heart” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p57).

“There is not, there cannot be, a clearer evidence that a man is under the teaching that is from above than this, that he is led to Christ, and that he seeks to put the crown of his salvation on his blessed head” Charles Ross (ref#241, p175).

CONFESSION

BACK TO BASICS

…FATHER, my human self-worth is tied up in my accomplishments so my tendency is to always think about accomplishments in spiritual life.

“…instead of stressing holiness in order to see God, the emphasis is on service for God…Techniques and methods, by which we hope to make God’s message known, have become the important thing” Roy and Revel Hession (ref#100, p16).

Instead of longing for You, I gravitate toward longing for power to better serve You (ref#100, p16). Let me make some notes to myself that they might recalibrate my thinking.

“…thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev 4:11 KJV). “…what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him,…” (Deut 10:12 KJV). “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength:…” (Mark 12:30 KJV).

FATHER, let the above Scriptures remind me that I have been created only to delight You. It should be my joy continually to submit to Your will and desires (ref#100, p17).

“The divines who…produced the Westminster Confession of Faith answered the question ‘What is the chief end of man?’ with the words, ‘Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever’” Roy and Revel Hession (ref#100, p14).

The missionary, David Brainerd records some sobering words in his diary. It makes me question whether I’m interested in Your glory or simply getting from You what I think best:

 “I saw it was self interest had led me to pray and that I had never once prayed from any respect to the glory of God….I saw there was no…connection between my prayers and the bestowment of divine mercy; that they laid not the least obligation upon God to bestow His grace upon me…because they were not performed from any love or regard to God” Jonathan Edwards (ref#88, p68).

FATHER, I confess the ease by which I trade my joy of being with You for the satisfaction of doing something I think You would appreciate. Call to my attention swiftly the subtleness by which I move from submitting to You to deciding for myself.   Truly, I want to see You. I want to possess a hunger for You. I want to satisfy Your heart. I want to be back into a relationship of submission to You (ref#100, p25).

SUPPLICATION

CHRISIAN

[Because we are Christians and live in the world we will always need prayer for our walk and for witnessing to others about CHRIST. Here’s an opportunity to pray for others or even ourselves. Fill their name or your name in the blanks.]

MAN’S FOOLISHNESS ABOUT GOD’S WRATH

“…all human beings know GOD, but in guilt, with uncomfortable inklings of the judgment they cannot avoid” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p1613, “Mankind’s Guilty Knowledge of God”).

The judgment is coming; everyone knows that. However, You, FATHER, took away the “uncomfortable inkling” in ____ when (he/she) experienced a great change of heart—the change from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh (Ezek 11:19). Now, with a heart able to grow into Christlikeness, FATHER, prompt (him/her) to utilize Your SPIRIT to adequately teach others the truth about man’s foolishness regarding the wrath to come.

“Men are ready to flatter themselves that they shall either outride or outlive the storms of Divine vengeance” Jonathan Edwards (ref#112, p567, [Jer 23:20]). Jonathan Edwards lends sobering words in his famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” “Every one lays out matters in his own mind how he shall avoid damnation, and flatters himself…that his schemes will not fail” Jonathan Edwards (ref#139, point 9 in second set of beginning points). But, “…whatever pains a natural man takes in religion, whatever prayers he makes,…God is under no matter of obligation to keep him a moment from eternal destruction” (ref#139, point 10 in second set of points).

“…you that never passed under a great change of heart, by the mighty power of the Spirit of God upon your souls; all you that were never…made new creatures, and raised from being dead in sin, to a state of new…life are in the hands of an angry God. However you may have reformed your life in many things, and may have had religions affections and may keep up a form of religion in your families and closets, and in the house of God, it is nothing but his mere pleasure that keeps you from being this moment swallowed up in everlasting destruction” Jonathan Edwards (ref#139, 5th paragraph of “Application” section).

The crux of the matter is a changed heart, not just changed actions. What important truth that ____ needs to be speaking to (his/her) acquaintances! FATHER, tie such a burden on (his/her) heart that (he/she) regularly searches for the opportunity and means of conveying this serious message.