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Archive for June, 2012

A Radical Change Takes Place in the Sinner

As the soul by faith, with broken heart (and not otherwise), beholds the glory of the Lord, in the mirror of the two Testaments (and not in the New without the Old), he is by the continual operations of the Spirit in him (Phil. 1:6) “changed into the same image.” The views thus obtained of the Divine character excite answerable affections in the beholder. Rational argument may convince a man that God is holy, yet that is a vastly different thing from his heart being brought to love Divine holiness. But when the Spirit removes the veil of enmity and prejudice from the mind and enables the understanding to see light in God’s light, there is a genuine esteem of and delight in God’s character. The heart is won with the excellency of His moral perfections, and he perceives the rightness and beauty of a life wholly devoted to His glory. Thus there is a radical change in his judgment, disposition and conduct.

Arthur W. Pink-Studies in the Scriptures January, 1937 The Spirit Transforming

All of Grace—The Fear of Final Falling

Chapter Sixteen

The Fear of Final Falling

A DARK FEAR haunts the minds of many who are coming to Christ; they are afraid that they shall not persevere to the end. I have heard the seeker say: “If I were to cast my soul upon Jesus, yet peradventure I should after all draw back into perdition. I have had good feelings before now, and they have died away. My goodness has been as the morning cloud, and as the early dew. It has come on a sudden, lasted for a season, promised much, and then vanished away.”

I believe that this fear is often the father of the fact; and that some who have been afraid to trust Christ for all time, and for all eternity, have failed because they had a temporary faith, which never went far enough to save them. They set out trusting to Jesus in a measure, but looking to themselves for continuance and perseverance in the heavenward way; and so they set out faultily, and, as a natural consequence, turned back before long. If we trust to ourselves for our holding on we shall not hold on. Even though we rest in Jesus for a part of our salvation, we shall fail if we trust to self for anything. No chain is stronger than its weakest link: if Jesus be our hope for everything, except one thing, we shall utterly fail, because in that one point we shall come to nought. I have no doubt whatever that a mistake about the perseverance of the saints has prevented the perseverance of many who did run well. What did hinder them that they should not continue to run? They trusted to themselves for that running, and so they stopped short. Beware of mixing even a little of self with the mortar with which you build, or you will make it untempered mortar, and the stones will not hold together. If you look to Christ for your beginnings, beware of looking to yourself for your endings. He is Alpha. See to it that you make Him Omega also. If you begin in the Spirit you must not hope to be made perfect by the flesh. Begin as you mean to go on, and go on as you began, and let the Lord be all in all to you. Oh, that God, the Holy Spirit, may give us a very clear idea of where the strength must come from by which we shall be preserved until the day of our Lord’s appearing!

Here is what Paul once said upon this subject when he was writing to the Corinthians:

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Corinthians 1:8, 9).

 

This language silently admits a great need, by telling us how it is provided for. Wherever the Lord makes a provision, we are quite sure that there was a need for it, since no superfluities encumber the covenant of grace. Golden shields hung in Solomon’s courts which were never used, but there are none such in the armory of God. What God has provided we shall surely need. Between this hour and the consummation of all things every promise of God and every provision of the covenant of grace will be brought into requisition. The urgent need of the believing soul is confirmation, continuance, final perseverance, preservation to the end. This is the great necessity of the most advanced believers, for Paul was writing to saints at Corinth, who were men of a high order, of whom he could say, “I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ.” Such men are the very persons who most assuredly feel that they have daily need of new grace if they are to hold on, and hold out, and come off conquerors at the last. If you were not saints you would have no grace, and you would feel no need of more grace; but because you are men of God, therefore you feel the daily demands of the spiritual life. The marble statue requires no food; but the living man hungers and thirsts, and he rejoices that his bread and his water are made sure to him, for else he would certainly faint by the way. The believer’s personal wants make it inevitable that he should daily draw from the great source of all supplies; for what could he do if he could not resort to his God?

This is true of the most gifted of the saints — of those men at Corinth who were enriched with all utterance and with all knowledge. They needed to be confirmed to the end, or else their gifts and attainments would prove their ruin. If we had the tongues of men and of angels, if we did not receive fresh grace, where should we be? If we had all experience till we were fathers in the church — if we had been taught of God so as to understand all mysteries — yet we could not live a single day without the divine life flowing into us from our Covenant Head. How could we hope to hold on for a single hour, to say nothing of a lifetime, unless the Lord should hold us on? He who began the good work in us must perform it unto the day of Christ, or it will prove a painful failure.

This great necessity arises very much from our own selves. In some there is a painful fear that they shall not persevere in grace because they know their own fickleness. Certain persons are constitutionally unstable. Some men are by nature conservative, not to say obstinate; but others are as naturally variable and volatile. Like butterflies they flit from flower to flower, till they visit all the beauties of the garden, and settle upon none of them. They are never long enough in one place to do any good; not even in their business nor in their intellectual pursuits. Such persons may well be afraid that ten, twenty, thirty, forty, perhaps fifty years of continuous religious watchfulness will be a great deal too much for them. We see men joining first one church and then another, till they box the compass. They are everything by turns and nothing long. Such have double need to pray that they may be divinely confirmed, and may be made not only steadfast but unmoveable, or otherwise they will not be found “always abounding in the work of the Lord.”

All of us, even if we have no constitutional temptation to fickleness, must feel our own weakness if we are really quickened of God. Dear reader, do you not find enough in any one single day to make you stumble? You that desire to walk in perfect holiness, as I trust you do; you that have set before you a high standard of what a Christian should be — do you not find that before the breakfast things are cleared away from the table, you have displayed enough folly to make you ashamed of yourselves? If we were to shut ourselves up in the lone cell of a hermit, temptation would follow us; for as long as we cannot escape from ourselves we cannot escape from incitements to sin. There is that within our hearts which should make us watchful and humble before God. If he does not confirm us, we are so weak that we shall stumble and fall; not overturned by an enemy, but by our own carelessness. Lord, be thou our strength. We are weakness itself.

Besides that, there is the weariness which comes of a long life. When we begin our Christian profession we mount up with wings as eagles, further on we run without weariness; but in our best and truest days we walk without fainting. Our pace seems slower, but it is more serviceable and better sustained. I pray God that the energy of our youth may continue with us so far as it is the energy of the Spirit and not the mere fermentation of proud flesh. He that has long been on the road to Heaven finds that there was good reason why it was promised that his shoes should be iron and brass, for the road is rough. He has discovered that there are Hills of Difficulty and Valleys of Humiliation; that there is a Vale of Deathshade, and, worse still, a Vanity Fair — and all these are to be traversed. If there beDelectableMountains (and, thank God, there are,) there are also Castles of Despair, the inside of which pilgrims have too often seen. Considering all things, those who hold out to the end in the way of holiness will be “men wondered at.”

“O world of wonders, I can say no less.” The days of a Christian’s life are like so many Koh-i-noors of mercy threaded upon the golden string of divine faithfulness. In Heaven we shall tell to angels, and principalities, and powers, the unsearchable riches of Christ which were spent upon us, and enjoyed by us while we were here below. We have been kept alive on the brink of death. Our spiritual life has been a flame burning on in the midst of the sea, a stone that has remained suspended in the air. It will amaze the universe to see us enter the pearly gate, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. We ought to be full of grateful wonder if kept for an hour; and I trust we are.

If this were all, there would be enough cause for anxiety; but there is far more. We have to think of what a place we live in. The world is a howling wilderness to many of God’s people. Some of us are greatly indulged in the providence of God, but others have a stern fight of it. We begin our day with prayer, and we hear the voice of holy song full often in our houses; but many good people have scarcely risen from their knees in the morning before they are saluted with blasphemy. They go out to work, and all day long they are vexed with filthy conversation like righteous Lot in Sodom. Can you even walk the open streets without your ears being afflicted with foul language? The world is no friend to grace. The best we can do with this world is to get through it as quickly as we can, for we dwell in an enemy’s country. A robber lurks in every bush. Everywhere we need to travel with a “drawn sword” in our hand, or at least with that weapon which is called all-prayer ever at our side; for we have to contend for every inch of our way. Make no mistake about this, or you will be rudely shaken out of your fond delusion. O God, help us, and confirm us to the end, or where shall we be?

True religion is supernatural at its beginning, supernatural in its continuance, and supernatural in its close. It is the work of God from first to last. There is great need that the hand of the Lord should be stretched out still: that need my reader is feeling now, and I am glad that he should feel it; for now he will look for his own preservation to the Lord who alone is able to keep us from failing, and glorify us with His Son.

Charles H. Spurgeon—All of Grace

Follow along as we read this short but marvelous book. Download your copy here. Next chapter will go out Wednesday June 27 at 8:00 AM. Central Standard Time.

Atheist Converts to Catholicism

Last Monday a popular Atheist Blogger came out of the closet. The reason I state that this Atheist came out of the closet is because all men know that God exist. Scripture is clear on this subject. Let’s examine Romans 1:18-20:

 

Romans1:18 For God’s wrath is being revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness and wickedness of those who in their wickedness suppress the truth.

Romans1:19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God himself has made it plain to them.

Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes-his eternal power and divine nature-have been understood and observed by what he made, so that people are without excuse. (ISV)

 

Notice that verse eighteen states that God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness and wickedness of those who suppress truth. What truth are they suppressing? They are suppressing the truth that God exist and that the entire created universe is proof of his eternal power and divine nature.

So this is the reason I stated that this blogger finally came out of the closet and admitted what they knew to be true all along and that is that God exist. Everyone knows this truth. Those who fight against it, do so because they want to live a life free from a guilty conscience and they are afraid of his judgment.

This Atheist converted to Catholicism in their proclamation that God exist. So they went from Atheist to Theist, but chose the Catholic Church to call their faith. I only pray that after much examination of the scriptures they will come to realize why Catholicism doesn’t represent true Christianity. This is a subject for another post, so I will point you to the original news story of this bloggers renouncement of atheism. You can read the story here.

Similarities between Israel and the Church Point 1

There are several important points, however, in which the undertakings are similar. The following have occurred to me, as the most remarkable:

The ultimate object of the one was to overturn the kingdom of Satan, and to establish the knowledge and worship of the true God: and the same is true of the other. The world, at that time, not a nation exempted, was under the dominion of Satan, enveloped in idolatry, and the abominations which always accompany it; so that, if God had not selected a people for himself, and, after having taught them to fear and obey him, given them a possession among the nations, he had had no people nor name nor worship upon the face of the earth. And what is the state of mankind at present? Not altogether so deplorable: but, whatever difference there may be, it is owing to that divine revelation which God communicated to Israel, and, by them, to the Gentile nations. In Heathen countries, the god of this world reigns uncontrolled. The children of men, from generation to generation, are led captive by him at his will. Much the same may be said of those countries which are overspread by Mahometanism. Nor is it materially otherwise where the corruptions of Popery maintain their sway. And even in our own country, where the scriptures are read in the native language, there are but few who pay any serious attention to them. Is it not evident, to an impartial spectator, that the great body of the people are practical Atheists, living without hope, and without God in the world? The number of worshippers, including even the laxest and most inattentive, in all our cities, and, I fear, in most of our towns and villages, is few, when compared with those who attend upon no worship at all. In the earlier times of the Reformation, whatever defects might exist with respect to church-government and discipline, the doctrine of salvation by the cross of Christ was much more generally preached and believed than at present. Since the great principles of evangelical truth (alike clearly stated in the Articles of the Established Church and in the catechisms and confessions of Dissenters) have been relinquished, and a species of heathen morality substituted in their place, the nation has been almost heathenized. If the Lord had not justify us a seed of faithful men, some in the Establishment and some out of it, whose object it has been to propagate the common salvation, and to inculcate the holy practice which becomes it, surely we had, ere now, been as Sodom. Or it, like a certain great nation near home, we had revoked the laws in favour of religious liberty, and massacred, silenced, or banished the faithful witnesses of Christ, surely, like the, we had been lost in the gulf of Infidelity.

Rev. Andrew Fuller-God’s Approbation of our Labours Necessary to the Hope of Success-Preached May 6, 1801

Another Definition of Providence

Or, take this definition:Providenceis that continuous, effective, all-comprehensive agency of God by which He makes all the events of the moral and physical universe to fulfill the design with which He created the universe.

Let us consider that definition a moment. It is expressed in somewhat different terms from the other, but the idea is the same – that having made a world, He governs it, superintends it, not by an intermittent agency, but by a continuous agency; not by a slight agency, but by an effective agency; not by a partial agency, but by an all comprehensive agency. I mean that the agency is just as comprehensive as the universe is.

To get still nearer to what I mean by all-comprehensiveness, that it is not only an agency over classes, but equally over the individuals in the classes; that it is not merely an agency over the whole of a world, but over all of its parts; that it is not merely a general Providence, but that it is a particular Providence; that it takes cognizance of everything; that it is just as essential to the idea of Providence to believe that the very hairs of your heads are numbered, and that it is just as essential to believe that not a sparrow can fall to the ground without our heavenly Father knowing it, as to believe that not a world could be blotted out.

I mean that it is a continuous, effective, all-comprehensive, divine agency. That it is so in the sense of administering a kingdom; a kingdom implying a personal king; a kingdom implying jurisdiction, implying government; that the kingdom of God is supreme, that it is over all other kingdoms; that all other kingdoms must be subordinated to the kingdom of God; that the issue will be just what this definition expresses: That it is the continuous, effective, all-comprehensive, divine agency which makes all events in the physical and moral universe fulfill the original design with which He created that universe.

B. H. Carroll—The Providence of God

Thinking of the Godhead Refreshes the Soul

Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound, in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief- and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore. Would you lose your sorrows? Would you drown your cares? Then go plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea; be lost in his immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul, so calm the swelling billows of grief and sorrow; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead.

Charles H. Spurgeon-The Immutability of God- A Sermon January 7, 1855

All of Grace—How Repentance is Given

Chapter Fifteen

How Repentance is Given

TO RETURN to the grand text:

“Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance toIsrael, and forgiveness of sins.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ has gone up that grace may come down. His glory is employed to give greater currency to His grace. The Lord has not taken a step upward except with the design of bearing believing sinners upward with Him. He is exalted to give repentance; and this we shall see if we remember a few great truths.

The work which our Lord Jesus has done has made repentance possible, available, and acceptable. The law makes no mention of repentance, but says plainly, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” If the Lord Jesus had not died and risen again and gone unto the Father, what would your repenting or mine be worth? We might feel remorse with its horrors, but never repentance with its hopes. Repentance, as a natural feeling, is a common duty deserving no great praise: indeed, it is so generally mingled with a selfish fear of punishment, that the kindliest estimate makes but little of it. Had not Jesus interposed and wrought out a wealth of merit, our tears of repentance would have been so much water spilled upon the ground. Jesus is exalted on high, that through the virtue of His intercession repentance may have a place before God. In this respect He gives us repentance, because He puts repentance into a position of acceptance, which otherwise it could never have occupied.

When Jesus was exalted on high, the Spirit of God was poured out to work in us all needful graces. The Holy Ghost creates repentance in us by supernaturally renewing our nature, and taking away the heart of stone out of our flesh. Oh, sit not down straining those eyes of yours to fetch out impossible tears! Repentance comes not from unwilling nature, but from free and sovereign grace. Get not to your chamber to smite your breast in order to fetch from a heart of stone feelings which are not there. But go toCalvary and see how Jesus died. Look upward to the hills whence comes your help. The Holy Ghost has come on purpose that He may overshadow men’s spirits and breed repentance within them, even as once He brooded over chaos and brought forth order. Breathe your prayer to Him, “Blessed Spirit, dwell with me. Make me tender and lowly of heart, that I may hate sin and unfeignedly repent of it.” He will hear your cry and answer you.

Remember, too, that when our Lord Jesus was exalted, He not only gave us repentance by sending forth the Holy Spirit, but by consecrating all the works of nature and of providence to the great ends of our salvation, so that any one of them may call us to repentance, whether it crow like Peter’s cock, or shake the prison like the jailer’s earthquake. From the right hand of God our Lord Jesus rules all things here below, and makes them work together for the salvation of His redeemed. He uses both bitters and sweets, trials a holy frame of mind to steal over you when you least look for it. Be sure of this, that He who is gone into His glory, raised into all the splendor and majesty of God, has abundant ways of working repentance in those to whom He grants forgiveness. He is even now waiting to give repentance to you. Ask Him for it at once.

Observe with much comfort that the Lord Jesus Christ gives this repentance to the most unlikely people in the world. He is exalted to give repentance to Israel. To Israel! In the days when the apostles thus spoke, Israel was the nation which had most grossly sinned against light and love, by daring to say, “His blood be on us and on our children.” Yet Jesus is exalted to give them repentance! What a marvel of grace! If you have been brought up in the brightest of Christian light, and yet have rejected it, there is still hope. If you have sinned againstIsrael of old, softening may yet come to you, since Jesus is exalted, and clothed with boundless power. For those who went the furthest in iniquity, and sinned with special aggravation, the Lord Jesus is exalted to give to them repentance and forgiveness of sins. Happy am I to have so full a gospel to proclaim! Happy are you to be allowed to read it!

The hearts of the children ofIsraelhad grown hard as an adamant stone. Luther used to think it impossible to convert a Jew. We are far from agreeing with him, and yet we must admit that the seed ofIsraelhave been exceedingly obstinate in their rejection of the Savior during these many centuries. Truly did the Lord say, “Israel would none of me.” “He came to his own and his own received him not.” Yet on behalf ofIsraelour Lord Jesus is exalted for the giving of repentance and remission. Probably my reader is a Gentile; but yet he may have a very stubborn heart, which has stood out against the Lord Jesus for many years; and yet in him our Lord can work repentance. It may be that you will yet feel compelled to write as William Hone did when he yielded to divine love. He was the author of those most entertaining volumes called the “Everyday Book,” but he was once a stout-hearted infidel. When subdued by sovereign grace, he wrote:

 

The proudest heart that ever beat

Hath been subdued in me;

The wildest will that ever rose

To scorn Thy cause and aid Thy foes

Is quell’d my Lord, by Thee.

Thy will, and not my will be done,

My heart be ever Thine;

Confessing Thee the mighty Word,

My Savior Christ, my God, my Lord,

Thy cross shall be my sign.

 

The Lord can give repentance to the most unlikely, turning lions into lambs, and ravens into doves. Let us look to Him that this great change may be wrought in us. Assuredly the contemplation of the death of Christ is one of the surest and speediest methods of gaining repentance. Do not sit down and try to pump up repentance from the dry well of corrupt nature. It is contrary to the laws of mind to suppose that you can force your soul into that gracious state. Take your heart in prayer to Him who understands it, and say, “Lord, cleanse it. Lord, renew it. Lord, work repentance in it.” The more you try to produce penitent emotions in yourself, the more you will be disappointed; but if you believingly think of Jesus dying for you, repentance will burst forth. Meditate on the Lord’s shedding His heart’s blood out of love to you. Set before your mind’s eye the agony and bloody sweat, the cross and passion; and, as you do this, He who was the bearer of all this grief will look at you, and with that look He will do for you what He did for Peter, so that you also will go out and weep bitterly. He who died for you can, by His gracious Spirit, make you die to sin; and He who has gone into glory on your behalf can draw your soul after Him, away from evil, and toward holiness.

I shall be content if I leave this one thought with you; look not beneath the ice to find fire, neither hope in your own natural heart to find repentance. Look to the Living One for life. Look to Jesus for all you need betweenHell Gateand Heaven Gate. Never seek elsewhere for any part of that which Jesus loves to bestow; but remember,

CHRIST IS ALL.

Charles H. Spurgeon—All of Grace

Follow along as we read this short but marvelous book. Download your copy here. Next chapter will go out Monday June 25 at 8:00 AM. Central Standard Time.