Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Fear’

The Wednesday Word: Our Gracious High Priest

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may … find grace to help in time of need.

Everything that Christ does as our priest flows freely from His finished work. Having redeemed us, He entered into the heavenly sanctuary to apply the benefits of His finished work to us (Romans 8:33-34). Since this is true, we may now come boldly to the throne of grace … and find grace to help in time of need.”

But how should we approach Him? According to our verse, we are to come ‘boldly.’ To come ‘boldly’ means we are to come with confidence, pouring out our hearts to Him, holding nothing back. It means, “saying it all” with assurance and frankness. It is there, at His throne that we confess our sins, our fears, our hopes and our griefs to the One who is filled with tender compassion for us. Horatius Bonar says;

“Tell the High Priest, not what you desire to be, nor what you ought to be, but what you are. Tell him the honest truth as to your condition at this moment. Confess the impurity of your motives; all the evil that you feel or that you don’t feel; your hard-heartedness, your blindness, your unteachableness. Confess everything without reserve. He wants you to come to Him exactly as you are, and not to cherish the vain thought that, by a little waiting, or working, or praying, you can make yourself fit, or that you can persuade Him to make you fit.”

Notice how our verse tells us of our freedom in the gospel. Under the law, every mouth was shut because of guilt (Romans 3:19), but now, under grace, our mouths are open wide because we have a faithful high priest (Hebrews 4:16). We may tell Him everything.

Notice also that our high priest sits on the Throne of Grace. It’s not the Throne of law, it’s the throne of love. It’s not the throne of religion, it’s the throne of rescue. It’s not even called the Throne of Majesty, although it could have been. If verse 16 had said, “Let us come to the place of enthroned sovereign majesty,” we would have been afraid to go there because we know our failings and fallings. Sin makes cowards of us all (Proverbs 28:1).The thought of God the majestic ruler strikes fear into us. He’s too boundless, too big, and too powerful. How wonderful then to read that, the throne of our royal Priest is the Throne of Grace.

The One who is enthroned and seated in grace, is grace incarnate. Wonder of wonders, in His doing and dying, He became our substitute. He is the One who is touched by the feeling of our infirmities. He is the One who is headquartered on the Throne of Grace, and there is no wound the law can make that His grace cannot heal.

To go to His Throne, the only 4 things we need to be convinced of are that;

(1) We have a great high priest.

(2) We are sinners.

(3) Our high priest has a sympathetic ear.

(4) He freely invites us to come to Him.

This is why we can come freely and without pretending to be what we are not. We have already been accepted apart from our works. What we do or haven’t done can neither improve nor diminish that. Our High Priest knows our failures and He, in spite of what the legalizers tell us, is not recording them (Romans 4:7-8).

Our High Priest is entirely ours, His perfect obedience, His perfect prayer life, worship, sacrifice at Calvary and perfect resurrection are all ours! When He sat down on the throne of grace, He was ours. We are constantly in His thoughts for we are precious to Him. The more we are convinced of these things, the more we will come boldly to Him.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles McKee

 

Minister of the Gospel

The Grace Centre

6 Quay Street, New Ross,

County Wexford, Ireland.

www.milesmckee.com 

Feel free to forward the Wednesday Word to your friends and family.

Also, feel free to, without changing the content, post or blog (etc.) this material.

The wicked have to be dragged into God’s presence

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015The wicked never willingly come into the presence of God. Hence their hypocrisy. Hence, too, their sense of Deity leads to no good result.

4. To this fault they add a second, viz., that when they do think of God it is against their will; never approaching him without being dragged into his presence, and when there, instead of the voluntary fear flowing from reverence of the divine majesty, feeling only that forced and servile fear which divine judgment extorts judgment which, from the impossibility of escape, they are compelled to dread, but which, while they dread, they at the same time also hate. To impiety, and to it alone, the saying of Statius properly applies: “Fear first brought gods into the world,” (Theb. lib. i.) Those whose inclinations are at variance with the justice of God, knowing that his tribunal has been erected for the punishment of transgression, earnestly wish that that tribunal were overthrown. Under the influence of this feeling they are actually warring against God, justice being one of his essential attributes. Perceiving that they are always within reach of his power, that resistance and evasion are alike impossible, they fear and tremble. Accordingly, to avoid the appearance of condemning a majesty by which all are overawed, they have recourse to some species of religious observance, never ceasing meanwhile to defile themselves with every kind of vice, and add crime to crime, until they have broken the holy law of the Lord in every one of its requirements, and set his whole righteousness at nought; at all events, they are not so restrained by their semblance of fear as not to luxuriate and take pleasure in iniquity, choosing rather to indulge their carnal propensities than to curb them with the bridle of the Holy Spirit. But since this shadow of religion (it scarcely even deserves to be called a shadow) is false and vain, it is easy to infer how much this confused knowledge of God differs from that piety which is instilled into the breasts of believers, and from which alone true religion springs. And yet hypocrites would fain, by means of tortuous windings, make a show of being near to God at the very time they are fleeing from him. For while the whole life ought to be one perpetual course of obedience, they rebel without fear in almost all their actions, and seek to appease him with a few paltry sacrifices; while they ought to serve him with integrity of heart and holiness of life, they endeavor to procure his favor by means of frivolous devices and punctilios of no value. Nay, they take greater license in their groveling indulgences, because they imagine that they can fulfill their duty to him by preposterous expiations; in short, while their confidence ought to have been fixed upon him, they put him aside, and rest in themselves or the creatures. At length they bewilder themselves in such a maze of error, that the darkness of ignorance obscures, and ultimately extinguishes, those sparks which were designed to show them the glory of God. Still, however, the conviction that there is some Deity continues to exist, like a plant which can never be completely eradicated, though so corrupt, that it is only capable of producing the worst of fruit. Nay, we have still stronger evidence of the proposition for which I now contend, viz., that a sense of Deity is naturally engraven on the human heart, in the fact, that the very reprobate are forced to acknowledge it. When at their ease, they can jest about God, and talk pertly and loquaciously in disparagement of his power; but should despair, from any cause, overtake them, it will stimulate them to seek him, and dictate ejaculatory prayers, proving that they were not entirely ignorant of God, but had perversely suppressed feelings which ought to have been earlier manifested.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 4-Henry Beveridge Translation

Atheism is foolishness and leaves the world to chance

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Stubbornness the companion of impiety.

2. The expression of David, (Psalm 14:1, 53:1,) “The fool has said in his heart, There is no God,” is primarily applied to those who, as will shortly farther appear, stifle the light of nature, and intentionally stupefy themselves. We see many, after they have become hardened in a daring course of sin, madly banishing all remembrance of God, though spontaneously suggested to them from within, by natural sense. To show how detestable this madness is, the Psalmist introduces them as distinctly denying that there is a God, because although they do not disown his essence, they rob him of his justice and providence, and represent him as sitting idly in heaven. Nothing being less accordant with the nature of God than to cast off the government of the world, leaving it to chance, and so to wink at the crimes of men that they may wanton with impunity in evil courses; it follows, that every man who indulges in security, after extinguishing all fear of divine judgment, virtually denies that there is a God. As a just punishment of the wicked, after they have closed their own eyes, God makes their hearts dull and heavy, and hence, seeing, they see not. David, indeed, is the best interpreter of his own meaning, when he says elsewhere, the wicked has “no fear of God before his eyes,” (Psalm 36:1;) and, again, “He has said in his heart, God has forgotten; he hideth his face; he will never see it.” Thus although they are forced to acknowledge that there is some God, they, however, rob him of his glory by denying his power. For, as Paul declares, “If we believe not, he abideth faithful, he cannot deny himself,” (2 Timothy 2:13; so those who feign to themselves a dead and dumb idol, are truly said to deny God. It is, moreover, to be observed, that though they struggle with their own convictions, and would fain not only banish God from their minds, but from heaven also, their stupefaction is never so complete as to secure them from being occasionally dragged before the divine tribunal. Still, as no fear restrains them from rushing violently in the face of God, so long as they are hurried on by that blind impulse, it cannot be denied that their prevailing state of mind in regard to him is brutish oblivion.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 4-Henry Beveridge Translation

Reason to fear that God has given you up

January 7, 2013 2 comments

fullerIf, after having heard these truths, and lived in a country where they are fully declared, you do not feel interested by them, you have reason to fear that God has given you up to hardness of heart and that the language of the prophet is fulfilled in you: “Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear and not understand; and seeing, ye shall see, and not perceive: for the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed, lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Remember that, in Old-Testament times, when God blessed his people Israel with singular temporal blessings, he punished their transgressions mostly with temporal judgments; but now that we are favored with singular spiritual privileges, the neglect of them is commonly punished with spiritual judgments.

Rev. Andrew Fuller–The Great Question Answered

The Spirit constrains our new nature and restrains the old nature

December 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Arthur Pink“I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to do them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from Me” (Jer. 32:40). This statement casts much light upon the means and method employed by God in the preserving of His people. The indwelling Spirit not only constrains the new nature by considerations drawn from the love of Christ (2 Cor. 5:14), but He also restrains the old nature by a sense of God’s majesty. He often drops an awe on the believer’s heart, which holds him back from running into that excess of riot which his lusts would carry him unto. The Spirit makes the soul to realise that God is not to be trifled with, and delivers from wickedly presuming upon His mercy. He stimulates a spirit of filial reverence in the saint, so that he shuns those things which would dishonour his Father. He causes us to heed such a word as “Be not highminded, but fear: for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee” (Rom. 11:20, 21). By such means does God fulfill His promise “I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes” (Ezek. 36:27).

Arthur W. Pink—Studies in the Scriptures April, 1937 The Spirit Preserving

A sinner will eat of the fruit of their own doings

October 31, 2012 1 comment

Because I called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish come upon you. Then shall they call on me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me. They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore, says God, they shall eat of the fruit of their own doings. Today then, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Asahel Nettleton-The Destruction of Hardened Sinners

Sinners Shall Suddenly be Destroyed

It is sudden. Shall suddenly be destroyed. Thus the Psalmist: How they are brought into desolation as in a moment?-They are utterly consumed with terror. As the fishes that are taken in an evil net-so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them. When sinners lose their souls they always lose them unexpectedly-especially those who have been hardened offenders. When they shall say, peace, and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, and they shall not escape.

This sentiment is illustrated in the providence of God. The fact is so common that it has become a proverb. The text itself is the result of a wise observation of the conduct of divine providence. It embodies the wisdom of ages. Thus was it with the inhabitants of the old world. They were often reproved by the preaching of Noah, and the by strivings of the Spirit, but they hardened their necks, and heeded neither. They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, and knew not until the flood came and took them all away. They were suddenly destroyed, and that without remedy.

Asahel Nettleton-The Destruction of Hardened Sinners

God Reproves by his Spirit

By his Spirit. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him. The Spirit is sent to admonish. Its language is, “Sinner, whither are thou going, and what will be the end of thy sinful course? Prepare to meet thy God. “God (sometimes) reproves one sinner by the conviction and conversion of another. Here is one who has been your intimate friend, and companion. Your views and feelings and pursuits and objects of delight, and I may add, your sins too, have been the same. But yesterday he thought and spoke and acted in all respects like yourself. Today he is alarmed at his awful condition. He trembles in view of a judgment to come. Hither to he has been moving merely along with you side by side. But he dares follow you no farther. He has quit your company, and fled. But why? Alas, he finds himself a sinner-He has a soul to be saved or lost forever. This, my friends, is loud preaching to some of you. When near and dear friends begin to forsake and shun you, it is time for you to begin to look about you. This is a silent, but a solemn warning to you to Flee from the wrath to come. When you see or hear of a hardened sinner alarmed at his awful condition; it carries with it this solemn admonition. See the end to which you are coming. Though you may think to hold out, yet you cannot endure long. Your stout heart will soon tremble. And all your boasted courage will end in cowardice. See the fearful end to which you are fast approaching. You too must repent or perish.

Asahel Nettleton-The Destruction of Hardened Sinners

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.

Fear and Trembling

Serve the Lord with fear, and exult with trembling” (Psa2:11). Let somebody bring this into harmony for me: exult and fear! My son Hans can do it in relation to me, but I can’t do it in relation to God. When I’m writing or doing something else, my Hans sings a little tune for me. If he becomes too noisy and I rebuke him a little for it, he continues to sing but does it more privately and with a certain awe and uneasiness. This is what God wishes: that we be always cheerful, but with reverence.

Luther’s Tabletalk (from No. 148)