CHRIST

PRE-EMINENCE OF CHRIST

JESUS was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times (1 Pet 1:20).  “The story of Jesus doesn’t begin with Jesus.  God had been at work for a long time.  Salvation, which is the main business of Jesus, is an old business. Jesus is the coming together in final form of themes and energies and movements that had been set in motion before the foundation of the world” MSG Intro to Matthew (ref#262, p9).

“…from the beginning I [CHRIST] have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there.” And now the Lord God has sent me, and his Spirit”(Isa 48:16 ESV, brackets mine).

“…everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled…’Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations…” (Luke 24:44,46-47 ESV).

“God has given to Him all power and all authority.  As the Son of Man, He is now Head over all things to His church, and He reigns over heaven, earth, and hell with the keys of life and death” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, April 27thPM).

“As we are ordained to salvation, so Christ is ordained to be the head of all that shall be saved.  He was chosen eternally, and chosen in time.  He was singled out to the work by God; and all others that are chosen are chosen in Him.  There has been no choosing of men but in Him; for God saw us so defiled, lying in our filth, that He could not look upon us but in His Son.  He chose Him, and us in Him” Richard Sibbes (ref#225, April 25th).

“…we see all God’s creation and salvation completed in Jesus, and all the parts of our lives—work, family, friends, memories, dreams—also completed in Jesus.  Lacking such a context, we are in danger of seeing Jesus as a mere diversion from the concerns announced in the newspapers.  Nothing could be further from the truth” MSG Intro to Matthew (ref#262, p9).

FATHER, grant me a fuller understanding of You.  In awe I wish to contemplate Your efforts to bring me to salvation through CHRIST and to honor CHRIST properly as my Priest, Savior, and King.

ASSURANCES

A CHANGED LIFE IS OUR ASSURANCE

“When I am born again the Spirit of God takes me right out of myself and my experiences, and identifies me with Jesus Christ” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Dec 21st).

“That grace which is but a persuasive offer and in our power to receive or refuse is not the grace which brings us to heaven.  But God’s people feel a powerful work of the Spirit, not only revealing to us our misery and deliverance through Christ, but emptying us of ourselves, as being redeemed from ourselves, and infusing new life into us, and afterwards strengthening us and quickening us…never leaving us till the conquest is perfect” Richard Sibbes (ref#311, p117).

“This new being…is no outer thing, made up of showy moralities and benevolences…It is something deeper, and truer…It’s affinities are with the things above; its sympathies are divine; it sides with God in everything…The new man…produces righteousness and holiness through the power of the Holy Ghost…It is…a new standing or state, a new moral character, a new life, a new joy, a new work, a new hope…” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p10-11).

“Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world” (1 John 2:15-16 ESV).

“…true Biblical holiness…that which must be based firmly on a personal experience of the saving work of Christ on the cross, and maintained through the work of the Holy Spirit living in the individual believer…is not simply a matter of outward observance but is rather the whole Christian life, and finds practical expression in every area of day-to-day living” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, back cover).

NOTE: This changed life may not immediately produce all that is mentioned above.  This new life is a “progressive sanctification…a process of change…a way of ongoing transformation, not yet perfect, still failing, but always growing in faith and obedience” Paul David Tripp (ref#5, p340).

“Salvation is unfolded throughout our entire sojourn here.  We continue to repent and to believe, and even the process of our salvation continues as we are changed more and more into the image of our Lord” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p88-89).

ASSURANCES

CHANGED DISPOSITION

“…believing on Jesus Christ is no work, but a resting on Jesus Christ” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p24).

“Those that are under Christ’s government have the spirit of revelation, whereby they see and feel a divine power sweetly and strongly enabling them to preserve faith when they feel the contrary, and hope in a state which is hopeless, and love to God under signs of his displeasure, and heavenly-mindedness in the midst of worldly affairs and allurements which draw a contrary way.  They feel a power preserving patience, nay joy, in the midst of causes of mourning, inward peace in the midst of assaults.  Whence is it that, when assaulted with temptation and compassed with troubles, we have stood firm, but from a secret strength upholding us?…we know where to obtain this power, and to whom to return the praise of it” Richard Sibbes (ref#311, p116).

“Love, basically, is love of God: ‘a delightful and affectionate sense of the divine perfections, which makes the soul resign and sacrifice itself wholly unto him, desiring above all things to please him, and delighting in nothing so much as in fellowship and communion with him, and being ready to do or suffer anything for his sake, or at his pleasure…” Henry Scougal (ref#321, p10).

“The man who knows that he is risen with Christ, and has set his affection on things above, will be a just, trusty, ingenuous, unselfish, truthful man.  “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil 4:8 ESV). …these he will think upon and do” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p80).

“…when he is neither communing with his Lord, nor acting for him, he accounts his time lost, and is ashamed and grieved.  The truth of his love is manifested by submission” John Newton (ref#322, p155).

ASSURANCES

SETTLED ASSURANCE

“The teaching of some…seems…to hinder assurance.  Assurance, say some, is impossible.  Not impossible, say others, but very hard to attainment…I do not see how my being thoroughly persuaded that a holy God loves me…and has forgiven me all my sins, has a tendency to evil…whereas uncertainty in this matter…bewilders me,…sets me striving to work my way into the favour of God…which can do nothing but keep me dreading and doubting all the days of my life, leaving me, perhaps, at the close, in hopeless darkness” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p36).

“…a clear, well-grounded, habitual persuasion of our acceptance in the Beloved is attainable…They are blessed, therefore, who have such views of the power, grace, and suitableness of Jesus, and the certainty and security of redemption in him, together with such a consciousness that they have anchored their hopes, and ventured their all, upon his person, work, and promise, as furnishes them with a ready answer to all the cavils of unbelief and Satan…”  John Newton (ref#322, p148).

“The characteristic of the new birth is that I yield myself so completely to God that Christ is formed in me.  Immediately Christ is formed in me, His nature begins to work through me” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Dec 25th).

“The Gospel is designed to give us not only a peradventure or a probability, but a certainty both of our acceptance and our perseverance…” John Newton (ref#322, p153).

Who may lay just claim to Christ’s mercy?  “Only those that will take his yoke and count it a greater happiness to be under his government than to enjoy any liberty of the flesh…” Richard Sibbes (ref#311, p80).

“…because he is sure the Lord does all things well.  Therefore his submission is not forced, but is an act of trust” John Newton (ref#322, p155).

“’I knew I was converted when religion stopped being a duty and became a delight,’” Henry Scougal (ref#321, p8).  “When we are so far satisfied with the government of Christ’s Spirit that we are willing to resign up ourselves to him in all things, then his kingdom is come to us, and our wills are brought to his will.  It is the bent of our wills that makes us good or ill” Richard Sibbes (ref#311, p99).

ASSURANCES

YEAR-ENDING POST

Have you read all these “Assurance” posts and verified in your heart a “yes” answer though your actions sometimes don’t live up to your heart?  “Failings, with conflict, in sanctification should not weaken the peace of our justification and assurance of salvation” Richard Sibbes (ref#311, p96).

Be encouraged for once GOD has chosen you you will not fall back into an unredeemed condition.  “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Rom 11:29 ESV).

“…we learn to stand by falls, and get strength by weakness discovered…We take deeper root by shaking….And…torches flame brighter by moving…When we are foiled, let us believe we shall overcome; when we have fallen, let us believe we shall rise again” Richard Sibbes (ref#311, p95).

“So let us never give up, but, in our thoughts, knit the beginning, progress and end together, and then we shall see ourselves in heaven out of the reach of all enemies….Christ, who, as he is the author, so will he be the finisher, of our faith (Heb 12:2)” Richard Sibbes (ref#311, p96).

 

NOTE:  I will probably continue “Assurance” posts into the start of next year because it hit home so much with me.  Us moral people—pew-sitters from infancy, need to beware!  Because we are respectable, moral, and basically good (humanity at its best), we can get along without peace and pardon that comes from the regeneration of GOD.

Blatant sinners and immoral ones who feel they are wretches know for certain when regeneration occurs, for GOD’s peace and pardon flood over them.  They musthave GOD!  Long-time pew-sitters are all too content with being respectable and workers of human-generated good. (ideas from “God’s Way of Holiness, by Horatius Bonar, ref#326, p33).

May GOD grant the regenerated, growth into His holiness in 2020.