Posted by: reiterations | February 13, 2016

Saturday Spurgeon (26)

Beloved reader, what is your desperate case?  What heavy matter do you have in hand?  Bring it here.  The God of the prophets lives, and lives to help His saints.  He will not suffer you to lack any good thing.  Believe in the Lord of hosts!  Approach Him pleading the name of Jesus and the iron shall swim.  You, too, shall see the finger of God working marvels for His people.  According to your faith, be it unto you and, yet again, the iron shall swim. – Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892), from a meditation on 2 Kings 6.6.

Posted by: reiterations | February 12, 2016

The Spirit Who Intercedes

He who searches the heart knows the meaning of the Spirit’s unbroken prayers and, looking into the depths of the human spirit, interprets its longings, discriminating between the merely human and partial expression and the divinely inspired desire which may be unexpressed.  If our prayers are weak, they are answered in the measure in which they embody in them, though perhaps mistaken by us, a divine longing.  Apparent disappointment of our petitions may be real answers to our real prayers.  It was because Jesus loved Mary and Martha and Lazarus that He abode, still, in the same place where He was, to let Lazarus die, that he might be raised again.  That was the true answer to the sisters’ hope of His immediate coming.  God’s way of giving to us is to breathe within us a desire, and then to answer the desire in-breathed.  So, longing is the prophecy of fulfillment when it is longing according to the will of God.  Those who “hunger and thirst after righteousness” may ever be sure that their bread shall be given them and their water will be made sure.  The true object of our desires is, often, not clear to us, and we err in translating it into words.  Let us be thankful that we pray to a God who can discern the prayer within the prayer, and often gives the substance of our petitions in the very act of refusing their form. – Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910), from a meditation on Romans 8.26.

Posted by: reiterations | February 11, 2016

On the Christian’s Resurrection Body

Our new body, we may be sure, will match and perfectly express our perfected new heart, that is, our renewed moral and spiritual nature and character.  That body will reflect us as we were at our best rather than as we are physically at the time of leaving this world.  Indeed, we should expect it to be better than our physical best ever was.  The new body will never deteriorate, but will keep its newness for all eternity.  It will know no inner tensions between one desire and another, each pulling against the other, nor will desire to do something ever outrun energy and ability to do it.  Nor, when we are in glory, shall we ever lack, or fail to show, love to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and to all the brothers and sisters in Christ who are with us there.

From: Weakness is the Way: Life with Christ Our Strength by J. I. Packer (Wheaton: Crossway, 2013), p. 114.

Posted by: reiterations | February 10, 2016

God’s Glory the Highest Christian Motive

If religion commands us to live wholly unto God and to do all to His glory, it is because every other way is living wholly against ourselves and will end in our own shame and confusion of face.

As everything is dark that God does not enlighten, as everything is senseless that has not its share of knowledge from Him, as nothing lives but by partaking of life from Him, as nothing exists but because He commands it to be, so there is no glory or greatness but what is of the glory and greatness of God.

We, indeed, may talk of human glory as we may talk of human life or human knowledge but, as we are sure that human life implies nothing of our own but a dependent living in God or enjoying so much life in God, so human glory, whenever we find it, must be only so much glory as we enjoy in the glory of God.

This is the state of all creatures, whether men or angels.  As they make not themselves, so they enjoy nothing from themselves.  If they are great, it must be only as great receivers of the gifts of God.  Their power can only be so much of the divine power acting in them.  Their wisdom can be only so much of the divine wisdom shining within them.  And their light and glory only so much of the light and glory of God shining upon them. – William Law (1686-1761), from A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, Adapted to the State and Condition of All Orders of Christians (1728)

Posted by: reiterations | February 9, 2016

On Christ’s Passive Obedience

The passive obedience of Christ has always held first place in the Christian doctrine of salvation, and this was so with the Puritans.  In their Larger Catechism, Christ is said to have “felt and borne the weight of God’s wrath” (Question 49).  This enduring of the wrath of God was directly related to the Law (Galatians 3.13) and, on this account, believers are freed from “the rigor and exaction of the law” (George Downame) for justification.  This deliverance is “because the law, as a Covenant of works, hath executed upon them, in Christ, all its penalty for all their sins” (John Crandon).

Richard Baxter is an exception to the Puritan belief in this respect and denies that Christ’s sufferings were a proper execution of the threatening of the Law upon man.  He adopts a Grotian view of Law and punishment, and asserts that it was not “all the punishments” of the elect that Christ bore but, rather, that His suffering made “full sufficiency to those Ends for which it was designed.”  He argues that the work of Christ must not be thought of in the category of a human obedience, but in His office of mediator.  No Puritan doubted that there was some sort of mediatorial law under which Christ was sent to be the Savior of the elect, but that this mediatorial law provided the formal cause of Christ’s sufferings they strenuously denied.

From: The Grace of Law: A Study in Puritan Theology by Ernest F. Kevan (London: Carey Kingsgate Press, Ltd., 1964), pp. 141-142.

Ernest F. Kevan (1903-1965) was a Baptist minister (1924-1946) and Principal of London Bible College (1946-1965).

Posted by: reiterations | February 8, 2016

On Calvin’s Reputation

The amount of misrepresentation to which John Calvin’s theology has been subjected is enough to prove his doctrine of total depravity several times over.  How we hate those who squelch our pride by demolishing our self-righteousness and exalting God’s sovereign grace!

Calvin was, in fact, the finest exegete, the greatest systematic theologian, and the profoundest religious thinker that the Reformation produced.  Bible-centered in his teaching, God-centered in his living, and Christ-centered in his faith, he integrated the confessional emphases of Reformation thought – by faith alone, by Scripture alone, by grace alone, by Christ alone, for God’s glory alone – with supreme clarity and strength.  He was ruled by two convictions written on every regenerate heart and expressed in every act of real prayer and worship: God is all and man is nothing, and praise is due to God for everything good.  Both convictions permeated his life, right up to his final direction that his tomb be unmarked and there be no speeches at his burial, lest he become the focus of praise instead of his God.  Both convictions permeate his theology, too.

Calvin was a biblical theologian – not a speculator, but an echoer of the Word of God.  Also, Calvin was a systematic theologian – not a taker of haphazard soundings, but an integrator of earlier gains.  The final version of Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559), in which the consistent teaching of the sixty-six canonical books is topically spelled out, is a systematic masterpiece, one that has carved out a permanent niche for itself among the greatest Christian books.

The bodies of four centuries of Calvinists lie moldering in the grave, but Calvinism goes marching on. – J. I. Packer (born in 1926)

Posted by: reiterations | February 7, 2016

For the Lord’s Day (419)

When men fight with one another and the wife of the one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of him who is beating him and puts out her hand and seizes him by the private parts, then you shall cut off her hand.  Your eye shall have no pity.  (Deuteronomy 25.11-12)

Posted by: reiterations | February 6, 2016

Saturday Spurgeon (25)

Providence prospers one and frustrates the desires of another in the same business and at the same spot, yet the Great Ruler is as good and wise at one time as another.  May we have grace today, in the remembrance of this text, to bless the Lord for ships broken at Ezion-geber as well as for vessels freighted with temporal blessings.  Let us not envy the more successful nor murmur at our losses as though we were singularly and specially tried.  Like Jehoshapat, we may be precious in the Lord’s sight, although our schemes end in disappointment. – Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892), from a meditation on 1 Kings 22.48.

Posted by: reiterations | February 5, 2016

“We Are Not Our Own”

We are not our own: let not our reason nor our wills, therefore, sway our plans and deeds.  We are not our own: let us, therefore, not seek what is expedient for us according to the flesh.  We are not our own: in so far as we can, let us, therefore, forget ourselves and all that is ours.  Conversely, we are God’s: let us, therefore, live for Him and die for Him.  We are God’s: let His wisdom and will, therefore, rule all our actions.  We are God’s: let all the parts of our lives, accordingly, strive toward Him as our only lawful goal. – John Calvin (1509-1564), from Institutes 3.7.1.

Posted by: reiterations | February 4, 2016

On the Hypostatic Union

This constant undivided union of two perfect natures in Christ’s person is exactly that which gives infinite value to His mediation and qualifies Him to be the very Mediator that sinners need.  Our Mediator is one who can sympathize because He is very man.  And yet, at the same time, He is one who can deal with the Father for us on equal terms because He is very God. – J. C. Ryle (1816-1900)

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