SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

THE UNCHANGEABLE PLAN OF GOD

“…I the LORD do not change…” (Mal 3:6 ESV).  “…he is unchangeable…What he desires, that he does” (Job 23:13 ESV).

“…from eternity God has had an unchangeable plan…God never has an afterthought…He is omniscient and omnipresent; He knows everything from the beginning to the end…Nothing is accidental, haphazard, uncertain, or…happening by chance….Everything that God has done and has brought to pass is according to His own eternal plan, and it is fixed, certain, unchangeable, and absolute” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#233, p11).

“When we say that God is sovereign, we affirm His right to govern the universe, which He has made for His own glory, just as He pleases….He is under no obligation to give an account of His matters to any….He is sovereign in all His attributes, He is sovereign in the exercise of His power.  His power is exercised as He wills, when He wills, where He wills” A.W. Pink (ref#234, p19-20).

“…I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish.  I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it’” (Ezek 17:24 ESV).

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17 ESV).

God is sovereign in the exercise of His grace….grace is favor shown to the underserving, yea, to the hell-deserving.  Grace is the antithesis of justice.  Justice demands the impartial enforcement of law….Justice…shows no pity and know no mercy.  But after justice has been fully satisfied, grace flows forth.  Divine grace is not exercised at the expense of justice, but ‘grace reigns through righteousness’ (Rom 5:21); and if grace ‘reigns,’ then grace is sovereign” A.W. Pink (ref#234, p23).

FATHER, as a changeable creature—deciding one thing one minute and changing it the next, I don’t take lightly Your rock-solid unchangeableness.  You give me peace that my life is under control.  All praise to You.

REDEMPTION

NOW UNDER GRACE

“…a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit.  For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor 3:6 ESV).

“…the covenant of grace, of which Christ is the Mediator and surety; called “new”, not because newly made, for it was made with Christ from everlasting; nor newly revealed, for it was made known to Adam after his fall, and to all the Old Testament patriarchs, and was exhibited under the legal dispensation, though but darkly, in types, shadows, sacrifices, &c. which therefore waxing old is vanished away; and the covenant of grace is now more clearly revealed under the Gospel dispensation, free from all the obscurity it before laboured under; and therefore is called “new”, as well as because it will always continue so, and never give way to another covenant: now the Gospel, and the ministry of it, is nothing else but an exhibition of the covenant of grace, its blessings and promises…” John Gill (ref#283).

“You are ‘not under the law,’ Paul says, ‘but under grace’ (Rom 6:14)….you are in an entirely new position.  You are under grace, and grace is unmerited favor.  It is kindness shown to people who deserve nothing but punishment. Grace means that God, because He is God, looks upon us with favor when we do not deserve anything at all.  That is what ‘under grace’ means” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, April 25th).

“God is no longer just a lawgiver to you—He is your Father….It is the difference between being in a relationship of law and a relationship of love.  You are in an entirely new position….You know that He is determined to bring you back to the perfection in which He originally made you, and that all the forces of His love and grace and compassion are working in your favor” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, April 25th).

FATHER, through Your grace of unmerited favor I have become new.  You have removed my heart of stone and given me a heart of flesh—“…the recovery of a fully sensitive, fully functioning moral conscience…” Doug Newton (ref#166, p108).  Hallelujah!

REDEMPTION

RENEWED AND RECTIFIED

“…a new man…is but the original man ‘renewed’” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p55).

“he saved us…by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,” (Titus 3:5 ESV).

“In regeneration nature is not ruined, but rectified.  The convert is the same man, but new made….God in conversion does not bestow a new understanding, but a new light to the old; not a new soul, but a new life to the old one…We put off the rags of the old man, and put on the robes of the new man, and continue in regard of substance the same man” George Swinnock (ref#225, March 1st).

“…when this new building of regeneration is erected, the Spirit of God makes use of the old substantial materials—the soul and its faculties, the body and its members which were in man before, only he now polishes and purifies them, and squares them according to the rule of God’s Word” George Swinnock (ref#225, March 1st).

“Regeneration consists…of grace infused into the soul…the powers of the soul are spiritualized and made alive unto God, fitted to enjoy God and hold communion with Him.  Regeneration consists in a radical change of heart, for there is implanted a new disposition as the foundation of all holy exercises; the mind being renovated, the affections elevated, and the will emancipated from the bondage of sin” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p54).

“The change in my disposition does not mean that I have a greater intellect now than I had before….But because the disposition governing it is changed, my mind is operating in a different realm and in a different way…it is exactly the same with the feelings…The will…was obstinate and rebellious, but now it desires, it is anxious, it is concerned about the Gospel” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Jan 16th).

“Salvation is all of the grace of God; damnation is all of the will of man.” Charles Spurgeon

REDEMPTION

THE TRIUNE GOD IN REDEMPTION

“Redemption is the result of the compassion of all three Persons in the Trinity” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p173).

“…one God without division in a Trinity of persons, and three persons without confusion in an unity of essence….The Trinity is a mystery which my faith embraces as revealed in the Word, but my reason cannot fathom” John Arrowsmith (ref#225, May 18th).

“God the Father has made everything through the Son by the Holy Spirit.  The blessed Trinity is operative in the whole work, always, but labor is divided up” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Jan 10th).  “In the economy of redemption all is from the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit.  All proceeds from the foreordination of the Father, all that comes to the believer is through Christ, that is, on account of His infinite merits: all is actually wrought by the Spirit, for He is the Executive of the Godhead, the active Agent in all the works of redemption” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p169).

God said, Let us make man in our image” (Gen 1:26).  Do not let man be content until he knows something of the ‘us’…Endeavor to know the Father…Sit at His table, and let your heart be made merry in His grace.  Then press forward and seek to know much of the Son…Know Him in the unique complexity of His nature: eternal God, yet suffering finite man….Do not forget the Holy Spirit…who first of all moved upon chaos and brought forth order; who now visits the chaos of your soul and creates the order of holiness” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, May 8th PM).

FATHER, I marvel at the complexity of the Godhead.  I marvel more that You have shown me love through redemption.

FAITH

WEAK FAITH

“Faith has its trials as well as its temptations….The faith of a child of God may not only be severely assailed, but there are times when that faith may waver greatly….Nothing but the divinity that dwells within that grace keeps it….David: in the strength of faith slaying Goliath, and in the weakness of faith fleeing from Saul!…Nothing but the power of God and its own incorruptible and imperishable nature preserve it” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, June 2nd).

“You don’t have to hide in guilt when weak faith gets you off the path, because your hope in life isn’t your faithfulness, but his.  You can run in weakness and once again seek his strength.  And you can know that in zealous grace he will not leave his craftwork until faith fully rules our heart unchallenged.  He always gives freely what we need in order to do what he has called us to do” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Feb 12th).

“…this direct faith; it is simply resting upon Christ…realizing our utter weakness and helplessness and hopelessness….” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Dec 10th).

FATHER, when I recognize weak faith my first reaction is to rely on myself to rise to the occasion.  Misguided, I think I own faith and it is my responsibility to make it better.  But, no; I own nothing; I have given my life to CHRIST.  Now that I know, continually remind me that my strength of faith comes from You.  If I dislike my weak faith let me turn to You and plead and not think twice of trying to raise faith myself.

FAITH

FAITH IN SUFFERING

“…Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through…suffering comes out proved genuine…” (1 Pet 1:6-7 MSG).

“…Paul…had a thorn in the flesh, and he could not understand it.  It seemed all wrong to him.  He wanted to preach the Gospel, but the thorn was a hindrance to him” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, May 6th).

“Let us trust this love.  Trust it when veiled, trust it when it threatens to slay, trust it when it seems to frown, trust it even when we cannot trace it” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 6th).

“Jesus…is a…Brother born for your adversity.  His grace and sympathy are sufficient for you….You are now to walk by faith and not by sight.  This, then, is the great secret of a life of faith: to hang on Jesus daily, to go to Him in every trial, to cast every burden on Him, to take the infirmity, the corruption, the cross, as it rises, simply and immediately to Jesus” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Nov 4th).

“According to the degree of our faith will be the degree of our peace, our hope, our strength for duty, and our patience in trial” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p195).  “…your faith may be sharply tempted or severely tried, but it shall never, never quite fail; for Jesus lives in you, and lives in you forever” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, July 3rd).

“…I am suffering…But I am not ashamed…for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return” (2 Tim 1:12 NLT).

FAITH

SUPERNATURAL FAITH

“I need emancipation; I need to be lifted to another realm; I need a force and a strength and a power that I do not have myself.  That is my need, and here is the answer: I am given faith—I am given an outlook and understanding—I am introduced to a source of power” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Dec 7th).

“Faith means you take God at his word, you never let yourself think that you’re smarter than him, and you live inside his boundaries….We tend to live by sight, by personal experience, by collective research, or by good old intuition, but faith isn’t natural” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, April 17th).

“The highest rational knowledge of God cannot profit without the knowledge of faith….In the Scriptures, Christians are not called knowing persons, but believers” Thomas Watson (ref#225, p151).

“…trusting God to shape the right living in us…It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us. This is…God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead….You’re not ‘doing’ anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation….” (Rom 10:4-10 MSG).

“The obedience that gives God pleasure is produced by the power of God’s grace through faith.  The same dynamic is at work at every stage of the Christian life.  The power of God’s grace that saves through faith (Eph 2:8) is the same power of God’s grace that sanctifies through faith” John Piper (ref#220, p245).

 “…God’s Spirit and God’s power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God’s power…” (1 Cor 2:4-5 MSG).

FAITH

UNBELIEF

“’…If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all’” (Isa 7:9 ESV).

There is a significant difference between amazement and faith.  God doesn’t just want to blow your mind; he wants to rule your heart….You can be amazed by the grand sweep of the redemptive story in Scripture and not be living by faith…You can be amazed by the great worship music you participate in every Sunday and not be living by faith….You can be amazed by the wonderful biblical preaching and teaching that you hear and not be living by faith” David Paul Tripp (ref#190, June 27th).

“There is nothing really mysterious and hard to understand about saving belief.  But the whole difficulty arises from man’s pride and self-righteousness….They cannot understand it because they will not stoop” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p182).

“’…my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him’” (Heb 10:38 ESV).

“…faith…the more it is exercised, the mightier it becomes…God never places His child in any difficulties or throws on him any cross except to call faith to exercise; and if the opportunity of its exercise passes away without improvement, the effect will be a weakening of the principle and a feeble exertion of power in the next trial” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 27th).

FATHER, what scary information—that the less faith I have the less faith I have.  This hits on the subject of obedience.  How many times does my memory tell me of my disobedience?  Please keep me in remembrance of these four words: “disobedience flows from unbelief” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2366, [Heb 3:15-19]).  My disobedience is caused by not trusting You fully.  Oh to have great faith!

“…the real trouble with most Christian people is not so much in the realm of their conduct and practise as in the realm of their belief” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p39-40).  “The commandments of God are only as hard to obey as the promises of God are hard to believe” John Piper (ref#220, p250).

“Nothing more effectually…obscures our view of Christ than the sin of unbelief.  Not fully believing His Word, not simply and implicitly relying on His work, not trusting His faithfulness and love…”  Octavius Winslow (ref#135, May 1st).

“…whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Rom 14:23 ESV).

SCRIPTURE

THE STORE HOUSE OF SCRIPTURE

“What informs your life?…We can allow a lot of things to supplant the proper role of scriptures in our lives…parents; friends; movies; music; media; scientific theories; teachers; professors” JD Blom (ref#276).

“…men and women, instead of taking the message as it is in the Bible, are imposing their own message upon it.  They are approaching it with their philosophies, their theories, their ideas, and their attempts to understand; and they are bypassing what is stated in this Book that is open before them in a language that all can understand” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, July 9th).

“The idea of much liberal theology is that Christian theology should be interpreted from the stand point of modern knowledge and experience.  Jesus is saying that this should absolutely NOT be the case.  The scriptures alone are the primary source for informing and guiding our lives” JD Blom (ref#276).

FATHER, I confess it is so easy to pluck up sensible facts from trusted friends and plant them in my personal doctrinal garden.  Trusting the Bible to inform me is hard work that I naturally don’t want to do.  Therefore, help me continue the habit of enlightening myself with Your Scriptures on a routine basis.

“…holy and sanctifying are the nature and the effect of divine truth….It brings down and lays low the high thoughts of man by revealing to him the character of God; it convinces him of his deep guilt and awful condemnation by exhibiting the divine law; it unfolds to him God’s hatred of sin and His justice in punishing and His mercy in pardoning it…it implants new principles, supplies new motives, gives a new end, begets new joys, and inspires new hopes—in a word, diffuses itself through the whole moral man, changes it into the same image, and transforms it into ‘an habitation of God through the Spirit’” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Oct 22nd).

“Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces” (Jer 23:29 ESV)?  “God’s word shatters the sinful heart” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p1417, [Jer 23:29]).

“We are never the same after listening to the truth; we may forget it, but we will meet it again….A man may not grasp all that is said, but something in him is intuitively held by it” Oswald Chambers (ref#8, April 3rd).

“…there is still an infinite storehouse of understanding of the mind of God waiting for us in Scripture” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p175).

SCRIPTURE

BIBLICAL WRITERS

FATHER, now is the time I sit before a large table full of paper slips placed into subject piles all containing quotes about Your Holy Scriptures.  Thank You for the honor to record what Your godly people have said about Your Book.  But, all these quotes are written by men and women who don’t possess the SPIRIT in order to write Your exact words.  Only men who have written the Bible fit that category.

“Sermons, and tracts, and theological writings of all kinds, may be sound and edifying, but they are only the handiwork of uninspired man.  The Bible alone is the Book of God” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p3).

“All the words in Scripture are God’s words” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p73).  “Its first line, its last line, all its teachings, understood or not understood, are by the same Author…Whoever may have been the writers—whatever their circumstances, their impressions, their comprehension of the book, and the measure of their individuality in this powerful and mysterious operation—they have all written faithfully and under superintendence…under the guidance of the same Master, for Whom a thousand years are as one day; and the result has been the Bible” Louis Gaussen (ref#246, p8-9, “God-breathed Scripture”).

“The apostles and prophets were the people to whom God revealed spiritual truth” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Nov 7th).

“…no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet 1:21 ESV).

“…when these…were written, it was not a case of a man in control of himself, using his natural powers and propensities and abilities, thinking things out and then writing as best he could.  Not at all!  The whole time, he was controlled by…the Spirit…this divine energy.  This divine [creative impulse] came upon him, it held him and carried him, and he was borne along by the Spirit.  And it was as a result of that process that…prophecies and…Scriptures came into being” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#250, p45).

“If the Bible is not inspired in the strictest sense of the word, then it is worthless; for it claims to be God’s Word” A.W. Pink (ref#250, p3, “The Impregnable Rock”).