Grace Gems for OCTOBER 2018
(John MacDuff, 1874)
"Can a mother forget the baby at her bosom and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! Behold! I have engraved you on the palms of My hands!" Isaiah 49:15-16
"Behold," says infinite God, "I have engraved you on the palms of My hands!"
Not on the mountains, as colossal as they are, for they shall depart;
not on any page of nature's vast volume, for the last fires shall scorch them;
not on blazing sun, for it shall grow dim with age;
not on glorious heavens, for they shall be folded together as a scroll.
But on . . .
the hand which made the worlds,
the hand which was transfixed on the cruel cross,
the hand of infinite might and unmeasurable love;
I have engraved you there! No corroding power can efface the writing, or obliterate your name!
You are Mine now, and Mine forever!
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have summoned you by name—you are Mine!" Isaiah 43:1
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A head full of froth!
"I hate vain thoughts—but I love Your law!" Psalm 119:113
Many of you know more about your magazines and novels—than what God has written in His holy Word!
Many of you will read a novel from the beginning to the end, and what have you got? A head full of froth when you are done! But you cannot read the Bible—that solid, lasting, substantial, and satisfying food goes uneaten, locked up in the cupboard of neglect—while anything that man writes, a best-seller of the day—you greedily devour!
"Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things!" Psalm 119:37
"Set your minds on things above—not on earthly things!" Colossians 3:2
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All the jewels in the Savior's crown are without a single flaw!
"Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away, and will present you faultless with great joy into His glorious presence!" Jude 1:24
Revolve in your mind that wondrous word "faultless"! We are far off from it now; but as our Lord never stops short of perfection in His work of redeeming love, every saved sinner shall be without blemish one day. The Savior who will keep His people to the end, will also present them at last to Himself as "a glorious Church, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing—but holy and without blemish!"
All the jewels in the Savior's crown are without a single flaw!
But how will Jesus make us faultless? He will wash us from our sins in His own blood, until we are as white and lovely as God's purest angel! We shall be clothed in His perfect righteousness, which makes the saint who wears it truly faultless, perfect in the sight of God.
Also, the work of the Holy Spirit within us will be altogether complete. He will make us so perfectly holy, that we shall have no lingering tendency to sin. We shall be as holy as God is holy, and we shall dwell in His presence forever!
"You are altogether beautiful, My beloved—there is no spot in you!" Song of Songs 4:7
Satan shut out,
temptation past forever,
and ourselves "faultless" before God
—this will be Heaven indeed!
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Are the chips of the cross so heavy?
(Thomas Case, "The Rod and the Word, A Treatise on Afflictions" 1653)
In the school of affliction, God teaches how to estimate, or at least to make some remote and imperfect guess, at the sufferings of Jesus Christ. In times of prosperity we pass by the Cross carelessly—at the best we do but shake our heads a little. The reading of the story of Christ's passion stirs us up some pity towards Him—but it is quickly gone; we forget as soon as we get into the world again.
But now . . .
let God pinch our flesh with some sore affliction;
let Him fill our bones with pain, and set us on fire with a burning fever;
let our feet be hurt in the stocks, and the irons enter into our souls;
let our souls be exceedingly filled with the scorning and contempt of the proud;
let us be destitute, afflicted, tormented, and so forth—
then we sit down and look upon Him whom we have pierced, and begin to say within ourselves:
"Are the chips of the cross so heavy? What then was the cross itself, which my Redeemer bore?
Are a few bodily pains so bitter? What then were those agonies which the Lord of glory sustained in His soul?
Is the wrath of man so piercing? What then was the wrath of God, which scorched His righteous soul, and forced His very heart's blood through His flesh on a cold winter's night, so that His sweat was as great drops of blood falling down to the ground?
Are the buffetings of men so grievous? What then were the buffetings of Satan, which our Lord sustained, when all the brood of the serpent lay nibbling at His heels?
Is a burning fever so hot? How then did the flames of Hell itself scald my Savior's soul?
Is a chain so heavy, a prison so loathsome, the sentence and execution of death so dreadful? O what then was it for Him who made Heaven and earth to be bound with chains, mocked, abused, spit upon, buffeted, reviled, cast into prison, arraigned, condemned, and executed in a most shameful and accursed manner?"
Blessed be God,
my prison is not the bottomless pit,
my burnings are not unquenchable flames,
my cup is not filled with divine wrath!
In a word, my sufferings are not Hell.
Blessed be God for Jesus Christ, by whom I am delivered from wrath to come!
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When a tear is wept by you—do not think that God does not behold it
"The LORD said:
I have indeed seen the misery of My people in Egypt.
I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers,
and I am concerned about their suffering.
So I have come down to rescue them . . ." Exodus 3:7, 8
Perhaps no figure of speech represents God in a more gracious light, than when He is spoken of as stooping from His throne and coming down from Heaven to attend to the wants and woes of His redeemed people.
How can we but love Him, when we know that He . . .
numbers the very hairs of our heads,
marks all our paths, and
orders all our ways?
When a tear is wept by you—do not think that God does not behold it, for . . .
"You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in Your bottle.
You have recorded each one in Your book." Psalm 56:8
Your sigh is able to move the heart of Jehovah,
your whisper can incline His ear unto you,
your prayer can stay His hand,
your faith can move His arm!
Do not think that God sits on high taking no account of you. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him.
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Christians have unfailing grounds of satisfaction and contentment
(George Lawson, "A Practical Exposition of the Book of Proverbs" 1821)
"We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
Christians have unfailing grounds of satisfaction and contentment, for they know that all their affairs are managed by a wise and gracious Providence.
The calamities which the believer suffers are unstinged to him through the Redeemer's cross, which, like the tree that Moses cast into the waters of Marah, makes bitter things sweet.
He is not visited with any unnecessary evil, and those evils which visit him are made good on the whole, by the tendency which they have to do him good, and make him good.
Reproaches and tribulations, sicknesses and deaths, are the common lot of men. And they are very evil things to those who are strangers to God—but they are good to those who love God, for they are appointed and useful means to make them partakers of God's holiness, and prepare them for that blessed world where sins and sorrows are no more!
"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal!" 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
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What is death, father?
"Hold me up—and I shall be safe!" Psalm 119:117
The voyage of life is a perilous ocean!
People talk about the terrors of death—but living has greater terrors than dying!
In Miss Procter's poem, a child asks, "What is life, father?" and gets the answer that life is a battle, where many fall and fail.
Then the child asks, "What is death, father?" We are not surprised that when she learns that death is the rest which comes at the end of the strife of life, she says: "Let me die, father—for I fear to live."
The wise answer is, "You must live first—and persevere through the battlefields of life."
Life is full of perils—but there is One who can guard us from stumbling, and present us faultless before the presence of God at last. We need only to have Christ for our Friend—and He will bring us safely through all peril. But without Christ, we never can get home to Heaven.
"I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!" Philippians 1:23
"Blessed are those who die in the Lord!" Revelation 14:13
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Its tones fall like soothing music on the quivering heart!
"His disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it—and went and told Jesus." Matthew 14:12
When one dies in our home, and our hearts are breaking—we should go and tell Jesus. It will do us good to tell Him.
We may not care to tell our trouble to any human friend. Some sorrows are too sacred to be unveiled to any eyes.
But we need never shrink from telling Jesus. He can understand our grief, for He knows all human pain; not alone as God—but as man, for He experienced all sorrow. He will treat our sorrow, too, with most delicate gentleness.
The very words which others speak to comfort us—often fall with crude impact upon our bruised heart and give fresh pain. The gentlest touch of a human hand, often hurts where it is meant to help. But the voice of Jesus is so gentle that its tones fall like soothing music on the quivering heart, and the hand of Jesus is so skillful that its touch gives healing.
We need never fear to tell Jesus of our sorrow. He is the truest Comforter, and the wisest Healer of hurt hearts.
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Not one grain too much!
(Henry Ward Beecher, 1813-1887)
"Endure suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?" Hebrews 12:7
Affliction comes to us all:
not to make us sad—but sober;
not to make us sorry—but to make us wise;
not to impoverish us—but to enrich us!
We are always in the furnace—or on the anvil.
By trials, God is shaping us for nobler things.
Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things!
No physician ever weighed out medicine to his patients with half so much care and exactness, as God weighs out every trial to His children. Not one grain too much, does He ever permit to be put in the scale!
The troubles and worries of life may be as stumbling blocks in our way—or we may make them stepping-stones to a nobler character and to Heaven.
"Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:10-11
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The worst calamity is the wisest and the kindest thing which could befall me!
"We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God—to those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
Upon some points, a believer is absolutely sure. He knows, for instance, that an invisible hand is always on the world's rudder. He also knows that wherever providence may drift—Jehovah steers it. That reassuring knowledge prepares him for everything.
He knows that God is always wise, and knowing this he is confident that there can be no accidents, no mistakes—that nothing can occur which ought not to occur.
He can say, "If I should lose all I have, it is better that I should lose it, than have it—if God so wills. The worst calamity is the wisest and the kindest thing which could befall me—if God ordains it!"
"We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God—to those who are called according to His purpose." The Christian does not merely hold this as a mere theory, but he knows it as a certain fact. Everything has worked for good as yet. Every event as yet has worked out the most divinely blessed results.
So believing that God rules all, that He governs wisely, that He brings good out of evil—the believer's heart is assured, and he is enabled calmly to meet each trial as it comes.
The believer can in the spirit of true resignation pray, "Send me what You will, my God—as long as it comes from You. There has never come a bad portion from Your table, to any of Your children!"
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Who could have conceived of the Eternal One as bursting forth into a song?
"As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride—so will your God rejoice over you!" Isaiah 62:5
How heart-cheering to the believer, is the fact that God delights in His redeemed people!
We cannot see any reason in ourselves, as to why the Lord should take pleasure in us. We cannot take delight in ourselves, for we often have to groan being burdened, conscious of our sinfulness and deploring our unfaithfulness. We also fear that God's people cannot take much delight in us, for they must perceive so much of our imperfections and our follies—that they may rather lament our infirmities, than admire our graces.
But we love to dwell upon this transcendent truth, this glorious mystery: that as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride—so does our God rejoice over us! In what strong language He expresses His delight in His people! Who could have conceived of the Eternal One as bursting forth into a song? Yet it is written, "He will take great delight in you—He will rejoice over you with singing!" Zephaniah 3:17
As He looked upon His newly created world, He said, "It is very good"—but He did not sing.
As He views His works of providence—I do not read that He sings.
But But when He gazes on His redeemed people—the purchase of Jesus' blood, His own chosen ones—it seemed as if the great heart of the Infinite could restrain itself no longer—but, wonder of wonders and miracle of miracles—God, the Eternal One, sings out of the joy of His soul!
"He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing!"
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Of all the volumes that were ever written—this volume, printed in crimson upon the pure, lily-like flesh of Christ, is the best to read!
Oh! Think of the Savior descending from the starry heights of glory—and coming down into the Virgin's womb; and then descending from that lowly manger of Bethlehem—even to the cross and to the grave for you! Yes, for your sake He takes upon Himself the form of a servant and becomes obedient unto death, even the death of the bloody tree!
Many of the ancient saints were accustomed to spending hours in meditating upon the sacred wounds of Jesus upon the Calvary's Cross—and many of the martyrs have been for days engaged in solemn meditation upon those wounded hands and feet, and that pierced side.
Oh! Sit down at the foot of the Cross, and study the wounds of Jesus! Of all the volumes that were ever written—this volume, printed in crimson upon the pure, lily-like flesh of Christ, is the best to read!
If any of you doubt whether there is forgiveness with God—I ask you to stand on Calvary, in imagination, and to look into the wounds of Jesus. Gaze upon His nail-pierced hands and feet, His thorn-crowned brow, and look right into His heart where the soldier's spear was thrust!
Pardon of sin is only found in the wounds of Jesus! Your sins were atoned for upon the accursed Cross.
Abide close to the cross, and search the mystery of His wounds. We shall only hate sin, by living more where the groans of Calvary can meet our ears, and the sight of the Savior's wounds can melt our hearts! Keep a deep sense of your indebtedness to God alive in your soul—and you will feel that you can never do enough for Him who has forgiven you so much!
There is no solid joy, no hallowed peace this side of Heaven—except by living under the shadow of the Cross, and nestling in the wounds of Jesus!
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all!
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Nothing is so subtle, so secret, so insinuating!
(Thomas Charles, "Pride" 1838)
Many think themselves most humble—when they are wholly devoid of this lovely and rare grace.
Often a great show of humility in speech and behavior, covers the rankest and most diabolical pride in the heart! They are filled, it may be, with a high opinion of their self-abasement. Their humility is without one spark of gratitude to God, or any disposition to give Him glory.
The deceitfulness of the heart, and the subtlety of Satan, in no one thing appears so great, as in the workings of pride. Nor have we in anything more cause for continual watchfulness, than pride. Nothing is so subtle, so secret, so insinuating—as pride! It often surprises us at an unexpected hour—and is in actual possession of us, before we are aware of its approach.
Were we under the continual influence of a humble spirit, our religious attainments would not be so apt to glitter in our own eyes. We would be daily ashamed of, and sorely lament . . .
our great blindness and ignorance of God,
our astonishing ingratitude, and
the coldness of our love to Him!
The spirit of pride is eminently the work of the devil within our souls. Pride enters into the very essence of every other corruption, and is the life and soul of every other sin! Until this wretched pride is in a measure brought down and mortified—no grace will grow and thrive in the heart.
Until we are brought to this state of true humility, taking shame to ourselves, and giving glory to God in and for everything—we cannot possibly enjoy communion with God, and growth in grace cannot possibly take place.
Real humility takes nothing to itself, but sin and shame.
Real humility gives all the glory to God, who is the Giver of every good and perfect gift.
There is not one single blessing from God that can be received, but by a humble spirit.
Nor can we be partakers of the consolations of Christ, but in proportion as this humble spirit prevails.
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You yourself will sit with Him upon His throne!
What enlightenment, what joys, what consolation, what delight of heart—is experienced by that man who has learned to feed on Jesus, and on Jesus alone! Yet the realization that we have of Christ's preciousness is, in this life, imperfect at the best. We have but tasted "that the Lord is gracious." We do not yet know how good and gracious He is—although what we know of His sweetness, makes us long for more.
We are but beginners now in spiritual education. For although we have learned the first letters of the alphabet, we cannot read words yet, much less can we put sentences together. As one says, "He who has been in Heaven but five minutes, knows more than all the theologians on earth put together."
We have many ungratified desires at present, but soon every wish will be satisfied—and all our powers shall find the sweetest employment in that world of eternal joy.
Oh, Christian, within a very little time you will be rid of all your trials and your troubles! Your eyes now suffused with tears, will weep no longer. You will gaze in ineffable rapture upon the splendor of Him who sits upon His glorious throne. "Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, and to see My glory!" John 17:24
Even more, you yourself will sit with Him upon His throne! "To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne!" Revelation 3:21
You will share the triumph of His glory! His crown, His joy, His paradise—these will be yours, and you will be co-heir with Him who is the heir of all things! "Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ!" Romans 8:17
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Do not grieve the Holy Spirit!
(Thomas Charles, "The Operations of the Holy Spirit" 1838)
"Do you not know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?" 1 Corinthians 3:16
"Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." Ephesians 4:30
See how great is the sin of grieving the Spirit.
We grieve Him, when we take little or no notice of His amazing condescension and love—in coming freely and willingly to be our Comforter and Sanctifier.
We grieve Him, when we make no returns of love to Him—by bringing forth in a holy walk and conduct, the fruits of the Spirit.
We grieve Him, when by careless neglect and unwatchfulness, we fall into those habits and courses which He abhors.
He is grieved, because He loves us and has our happiness much at heart—for to promote our holiness and happiness is the object of His indwelling us. When we put obstructions in His way, and we promote our own misery—how is the Spirit of love grieved!
Let us therefore, above all things, attend to His motions, and beware of a barren and unfruitful profession of religion, and of defiling by secret indulgences—the temple and habitation of the Spirit.
Shall we grieve Him who dwells with us as our Comforter? How unworthy—how base a conduct! Shall we, who have tasted that the Lord is gracious—by our negligence, sin and folly, grieve Him who has come on purpose to comfort us?
Shall we grieve Him, without whom we cannot live, cannot think one good thought, nor breathe one good desire!
Shall we grieve Him, whose presence in the soul is Heaven, and whose absence is a Hell of corruption, darkness, and misery!
Is it possible that we should make such base returns for such love, and be such enemies to our own happiness!
Alas! what is man! In what dust and ashes ought even the best of us to lie down before Him!
Shall we not rather take notice of His love and His kindness, and thankfully receive all our comforts from His hands, and observe His love and grace in every refreshing thought put into our minds?
Yes, shall we not carefully watch and promote all His strivings and motions within us, and cheerfully comply with them, however self-denying and contrary to flesh and blood?
When He convinces of sin—let us set our hearts mightily against it. When He speaks comfort—let us hear Him as the Lord our Comforter, making known the riches of love and grace to our souls.
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Yet it is a profitable loss!
(Thomas Charles, "The Benefits of Affliction" 1838)
"God disciplines us for our profit, that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:10-11
Inasmuch as God has assured us that He causes all things to work together for our good—patience and resignation to the divine will in all things, is our duty. In His good time He may allow us to see such wisdom and goodness in all of our circumstances, as to fill our hearts with transports of joy. To follow Him is our part—without murmuring or complaining.
Nothing befalls us without a cause—no trouble comes upon us sooner, or presses more heavily, or continues longer—than what God knows that our case requires. What our short-sighted ignorance calls adversities or evils—are in reality and truth, well-designed and gracious blessings, and form a part of the means employed by God's goodness and grace, to prepare us for the exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Away then with all impatience and all murmurings!
All our desire in this world, should be to live holily and live usefully—and affliction, by the blessing of God, has great influence in promoting both. Sanctified affliction greatly promotes holiness, and is also a great preparative for usefulness. It is working out at the same time a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory in the eternal world. God always chastens us, for our profit. Though we may thereby lose earthly comforts, ease and enjoyments—yet it is a profitable loss. What we lose in these things—we gain in holiness. It is for our profit, to become partakers of His holiness.
"We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose!" Romans 8:28
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Every feature of this hideous monster!
(Thomas Charles, "Sanctification" 1838)
Meditation on the sufferings and death of Jesus, produces a hatred towards sin.
It was sin which made it necessary for the Lord of glory to come down from Heaven and take on Him the form of a servant. Sin was the cause of His deep humiliation, abasement and sufferings. Viewing sin through the cross—the believer abhors it, and regards it with perfect hatred. He therefore diligently strives against it, and strenuously resists Satan, from whose iron chains he could never have been delivered, had it not been for the death of the Son of God.
Sin will never appear in its own deformity and horrid nature—until we see it in its effects in the Son of God—until we "behold the Lamb of God" bearing our sin on the cruel tree. Christ crucified, like a magnifying glass—exhibits to view every feature of this hideous monster!
'Anything rather than sin!' is the language of the Christian's heart!
"A bleeding Savior I have viewed—and now I hate my sin!" John Newton
"Look to the cross, and hate your sin—for sin nailed your Well-Beloved to the accursed tree!" Charles Spurgeon
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Never did God appear more glorious!
(Thomas Charles, "Conformity to the Image of God" 1838)
"We considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted.
He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities.
The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him,
and by His wounds we are healed." Isaiah 53:4-5
God is as glorious in punishing sin—as He is in pardoning sin.
Never did God appear more glorious, than when He was pouring out His wrath on the Son of His love, for our sins. Justice and mercy, holiness and love—there shone with united and transcendent splendor.
The same glory of God which shines in punishing sin in Hell—appeared in His punishing it on the cross!
Does not God deserve to be loved for the one, as well as for the other? Does He not deserve to be loved wherever and in whatever manner He causes His glorious justice to appear?
That man never had true grace—who does not love God for punishing sin, as well as for pardoning it.
"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." Galatians 3:13
"He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree" 1 Peter 2:24
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Look at it—there is blood still upon the handle!
A sight of Christ on the cross will cause us to hate our sins.
If you ever, by the eye of faith, see Jesus Christ dying for you—sin will never be sweet to you again.
What was it that slew our blessed Lord? It was our sin!
When we discover that our iniquities put our dearest and best Friend to death, we vow revenge against our iniquities, and henceforth hate them with a perfect hatred.
Let me illustrate this very simply:
Here is a knife with a richly carved ivory handle—a knife of excellent workmanship. Yonder woman, we will suppose, has had a dear child murdered by a cruel enemy. This knife is hers, she is pleased with it, and prizes it much. How can I make her throw that knife away? I can do it easily, for that is the knife with which her child was murdered! Look at it—there is blood still upon the handle! She drops it as though it were a scorpion—she cannot bear it. "Put it away," says she, "it killed my child! Oh, hateful thing!"
Now, sin is such a hateful thing. We play with it until we are told that it was sin which killed the Lord Jesus, who died out of love to us—pure, self-sacrificing love. Then we say, "Hateful thing—be gone! How can I endure you!"
See there the wounds of the Son of God;
behold the crimson stains on His blessed body;
mark the thorn-crown;
gaze upon those pierced hands;
weep over the nailed feet;
see the deep gash which the lance made in His side!
Sin did this cruel work—this bloody deed!
Down with our sins!
Drag them to the cross!
Slay them at Calvary!
Let not one of them escape, for they are the murderers of Christ!
"It was you, my sins, my cruel sins,
His chief tormentors were;
Each of my crimes became a nail,
And unbelief the spear!"
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Where is Christ in your theological system?
"And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself." Luke 24:27
"These are the Scriptures that testify about Me!" John 5:39
Take this Book and distill it into one word—and that one word will be JESUS! The Bible itself, is but the body of Christ, and we may look upon all its pages as the swaddling bands of the infant Savior—for if we unroll the Scripture, we come upon Jesus Christ Himself.
Where is Christ in your theological system? He Himself is . . .
the Doctor and Doctrine,
the Revealer and Revelation,
the Illuminator and the Light of men.
He is exalted in every word of truth, because He is its sum and substance.
He sits above the gospel, like a prince on His own throne.
Doctrine is most precious, when we see it distilling from His lips and embodied in His person.
Sermons are only valuable, in proportion as they speak of Him and point to Him!
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All comes from the hand of Him who is too wise to err and too loving to be unkind!
Faith endures as seeing Him who is invisible. Faith endures the disappointments, the hardships and the heartaches of life—by recognizing that all comes from the hand of Him who is too wise to err and too loving to be unkind.
So long as we are occupied with any other object than God Himself, there will be neither rest for the heart nor peace for the mind. But when we receive all that enters our lives as from His hand—then, no matter what may be our circumstances or surroundings; whether in a hovel, or prison-dungeon, or at a martyr's stake—we shall be enabled to say, "The lines have fallen unto me in pleasant places" (Psalm 16:6). But that is the language of faith, not of sight nor of sense.
"Faith may swim—where reason cannot wade!" Thomas Watson
"We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose!" Romans 8:28
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This verse supplies us with an instance of Divine logic!
(Arthur Pink, "The Great Giver!" 1926)
"He who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all—how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" Romans 8:32
This verse supplies us with an instance of Divine logic! It contains a conclusion drawn from a premise. The premise is that God delivered up Christ for all His people—therefore everything else that is needed by them is sure to be given.
Here we are told why the Father made such a costly sacrifice: He spared not Christ—that He might spare us! It was not lack of love to the Savior—but wondrous, matchless, fathomless love for us! O marvel at the astonishing design of the Most High! "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son!" Truly, such love surpasses knowledge!
Moreover, He made this costly sacrifice not grudgingly or reluctantly, but freely out of love. He "delivered Him up" . . .
to shame and spitting,
to hatred and persecution,
to cruel suffering and crucifixion.
And He delivered Him up for us:
descendants of rebellious Adam,
depraved and defiled,
corrupt and sinful,
vile and worthless!
For us who had gone into the "far country" of alienation from Him, and there spent all in riotous living.
Yes, "for us" who had gone astray like sheep, each one turning to "his own way".
For us "who were by nature the children of wrath, even as others"—in whom there dwelt no good thing.
For us who had . . .
rebelled against our Creator,
hated His holiness,
despised His Word,
broken His commandments,
and resisted His Spirit!
For us who richly deserved to be cast into the everlasting burnings, and receive those wages which our sins so fully earned.
Yes, He delivered His blessed Son up for you fellow Christian who . . .
are sometimes tempted to interpret your afflictions, as tokens of God's harshness,
regard your poverty, as a mark of His neglect, and
your seasons of darkness, as evidences of His desertion.
O, confess to Him now the wickedness of such dishonoring doubtings, and never again question the love of Him Who spared not His own Son!
Ponder well the glorious "conclusion" which the Spirit of God here draws from the wondrous fact stated in the first part of our text, "He who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all—how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" How conclusive and how comforting is the inspired reasoning of the Apostle. Arguing from the greater to the less—he proceeds to assure the believer of God's readiness also freely to bestow all needed blessings. The gift of His own Son, so ungrudgingly and unreservedly bestowed—is the pledge of every other needed mercy!
Here is the unfailing guaranty of perpetual sustenance to the drooping heart of the tried believer. If God has done the greater—will He leave the less undone? Infinite love can never change. The love that spared not Christ—cannot fail its objects, nor begrudge any needed blessings.
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Jesus Christ is completely sufficient!
"For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power!" Colossians 2:9-10
One of the great tenets of Scripture, is the claim that Jesus Christ is completely sufficient for all matters of life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3-4)!
He is sufficient for:
creation (Colossians 1:16-17)
salvation (Hebrews 10:10-12)
sanctification (Ephesians 5:26-27)
and glorification (Romans 8:30).
So pure is He, that there is no blemish, stain, spot of sin, defilement, deception, corruption, error, or imperfection in Him! (1 Peter 1:18-20)
So complete is He, that . . .
there is no other God besides Him (Isaiah 45:5)
He is the only begotten Son (John 1:14, John 1:18)
all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Him (Colossians 2:3)
the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in Him (Colossians 2:9)
He is heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2)
He created all things—and all things were made
by Him, through Him, and for Him (Colossians 1:16)
He upholds all things by the word of His power (Colossians 1:17, Hebrews 1:3)
He is the firstborn of all creation (Colossians 1:15)
He is the exact representation of God (Hebrews 1:3).
He has no beginning and no end (Revelation 1:17-18)
He is the spotless Lamb of God (John 1:29)
He is our peace (Ephesians 2:14)
He is our hope (1 Timothy 1:1)
He is our life (Colossians 3:4)
He is the living and true Way (John 14:6)
He is the Root and Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star (Revelation 22:16)
He is Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11)
He is the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2)
He is Captain of our Salvation (Hebrews 2:10)
He is the Elect One (Isaiah 42:1)
He is the Apostle and High-Priest of our confession (Hebrews 3:1)
He is the Righteous Servant (Isaiah 53:11).
He is the Lord Almighty (Malachi 3:17)
He is the Redeemer (Isaiah 41:14)
He is the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 54:5)
He is the God of the whole earth (Isaiah 54:5)
He is the Man of Sorrows (Isaiah 53:3)
He is the Light of the world (John 9:5)
He is the Son of Man (Matthew 20:28)
He is the true Vine (John 15:5)
He is the Bread of Life (John 6:48)
He is the Door to Heaven (John 10:7)
He is the Sovereign Lord (Philippians 2:10-13)
He is Prophet, Priest and King (Hebrews 1:1-3)
He is our Sabbath rest (Hebrews 4:9)
He is our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6)
He is the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God,
the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
He is the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4)
He is the Lion of Judah (Revelation 5:5)
He is the Rock of Salvation (Psalm 62:2)
He is the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:13)
He is the Counselor and Comforter (John 14:26)
He is the Messiah (John 4:25-26) and
He is the great I AM! (John 8:58)
~ ~ ~ ~
God is for me!
"This I know: God is for me!" Psalm 56:9
It is impossible for any human speech to express the full meaning of this precious phrase: "God is for me!"
He was "for me"—before the worlds were made.
He was "for me"—or He would not have given His well-beloved Son for me.
He was "for me"—when He smote the Only Begotten and laid the full weight of His wrath upon Him!
He was "for me"—though He was against Him.
He was "for me" when I was ruined in the fall—He loved me notwithstanding all.
He was "for me" when I was a rebel against Him, and with a high hand defied Him.
He was "for me"—or He would not have brought me humbly to seek His face.
He has been "for me" in my many struggles. I have encountered hosts of dangers, I have been assailed by temptations from without and within—how could I have remained unharmed to this hour, if He had not been "for me"?
He is "for me" . . .
with all the infinity of His being,
with all the omnipotence of His love,
with all the infallibility of His wisdom.
Arrayed in all His divine attributes, He is "for me"—eternally and immutably "for me!"
He will be "for me" when yonder blue skies shall be rolled up like a worn-out vesture.
He will be "for me" throughout eternity!
"Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing!" 2 Timothy 4:8
~ ~ ~ ~
"They hated Me without a cause." John 15:25
"They kept shouting: Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" Luke 23:21
It is a solemn thought, that many sinners who hear the gospel, hate Jesus. Hate Jesus! Yes, though He is . . .
perfect in holiness,
unparalleled in goodness,
almighty in power, and
the very personification of love!
Jesus, who is represented by . . .
the gentle lamb,
the fructifying dew,
the safe refuge,
the fragrant rose,
the desire of all nations,
and the altogether lovely one!
Jesus, who . . .
left Heaven and its glories,
came and labored on earth,
suffered unparalleled indignities and pains,
died for sinners on the accursed tree, and
now pleads in Heaven for all who seek salvation by Him.
Jesus, who is both able and willing to pardon all their sins, to lift them up to Heaven—and who has power and authority to thrust those who hate Him down to Hell.
O what folly, what madness to hate Jesus—and yet multitudes do so!
"If anyone does not love the Lord—that person is cursed!" 1 Corinthians 16:22
~ ~ ~ ~
Remember that you are the son of a king!
(William S. Plumer, "Sinners Saved by Unmerited Kindness")
When a prince was about to travel, he asked his tutor for some maxims by which to govern his behavior.
He received this answer: "Remember that you are the son of a king!"
Let all Christians remember that they are the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty—and "if sons, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ!"
"You are . . .
a chosen people,
a royal priesthood,
a holy nation,
God's special possession
—chosen that you may proclaim the excellence of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light!" 1 Peter 2:9
~ ~ ~ ~
Worse than Hell!
(Thomas Watson, "Religion Our True Interest")
Sin is the only evil thing—it is the evil of evils!
Sin is the poison which the old serpent spat into our virgin nature!
In sin there is both pollution and enmity. Sin is compared to a "thick cloud" (Isaiah 44:22), which not only hides the light of God's face—but brings down showers of His wrath!
Sin is worse than all evils. There is more evil in a drop of sin—than in a sea of affliction!
Sin is the cause of all evil. Out of this viperous womb of sin, come "evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, eagerness for lustful pleasure, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness."
Sin is the quintessence of evil.
Sin puts a sting into death (1 Corinthians 15:56).
Sin is worse than Hell! Hell is a burden only to the sinner—but sin is a burden to God! Amos 2:13
~ ~ ~ ~
The root and foundation of all the mistakes in theology
I believe that it is a mistake about God Himself, which has been the root and foundation of all the mistakes in theology. My conviction is that Arminian theology, to a great extent, makes God to be less than He is.
The basis and groundwork of Arminian theology lies in attaching undue importance to man—and giving God the secondary place.
I do not believe in an atonement which is admirably wide, but fatally ineffectual. I had rather believe a limited atonement that is efficacious for all for whom it was intended—than a universal atonement that is not efficacious for anybody, except the will of man be joined with it.
Again, to think that my Savior died for those who were or are in Hell, seems a supposition too horrible for me to entertain. To imagine for a moment that He was the Substitute for all people; and that God, having first punished the Substitute, afterwards punished the sinners themselves—conflicts with all ideas of divine justice.
~ ~ ~ ~
Nothing more than the common consent of fools!
Any kind of fad which rules the hour, draws a mad crowd after it. No matter how absurd or ridiculous the mania, the worshipers of fashion cry: "These are your gods!" Yes, Satan is marvelously well obeyed by his servants!
Yet many of you church people look around on society—to follow its customs and fashions.
You watch the general current—and then float upon it.
You study the popular breeze—and shift your sails to suit it.
You ask: "Is it fashionable?"
If it is fashionable, then you must do it.
Fashion is the law of multitudes—but it is nothing more than the common consent of fools!
To follow the fashions and customs of the times, is to be an enemy of God.
"You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?
Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world, becomes an enemy of God!" James 4:4
~ ~ ~ ~
This is the doctrine that we preach!
This is the doctrine that we preach:
If a man is saved—all the honor is to be given to Christ.
If a man is lost—all the blame is to be laid upon himself.
You will find all true theology summed up in these two short sentences:
Salvation is all of the grace of God!
Damnation is all of the will of man!
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9
~ ~ ~ ~
When the bird of thought was let go!
Anyone who wishes to check on his true spiritual condition may do so, by noting what his voluntary thoughts have been over the last hours or days.
What has he thought about, when free to think of whatever he pleased?
Toward what has his inner heart turned, when it was free to turn wherever it desired?
When the bird of thought was let go, did it fly out like the raven to settle upon floating carcasses—or did it like the dove circle and return again to the ark of God?
Such a test is easy to run, and if we are honest with ourselves—we can discover not only what we are, but what we are going to become. We will soon be the sum of our voluntary thoughts!