Thursday, March 13, 2014

It is Christ

[T]he Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: He tells us that we are nothing, but that "Christ is all in all." Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee--it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee--it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument--it is Christ's blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ....
      We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by "looking unto Jesus."

       Keep thine eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to Him; when thou liest down at night look to Him.

-Spurgeon

The Sum of the Christian Life

"It is exceedingly difficult to get into another habit of thinking in which we clearly separate faith and [works of] love…. Even though we are in faith … the heart is always ready to boast of itself before God and say: "After all, I have preached so long and lived so well and done so much, surely he will take this into account."  But it cannot be done.  With men you may boast … But when you come before God, leave all that boasting at home and remember to appeal from justice to grace.  [But] let anyone try this and he will see and experience how exceedingly hard and bitter it is for a man, who all his life has been mired in his work righteousness, to pull himself out of it and with all his heart rise up through faith in the one Mediator. 
            I myself have been preaching and cultivating it (grace) for almost twenty years and still I feel the old clinging dirt of wanting to deal so with God that I may contribute something, so that he will have to give me his grace in exchange for my holiness.  Still I cannot get it into my head that I should surrender myself completely to sheer grace; yet [I know that] this is what I should and must do"
-Martin Luther

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

We Must Always Resort to Christ


"We must gather that to profit much in the holy Scripture we must always resort to our Lord Jesus Christ and cast our eyes upon him, without turning from him at any time.  You will see a number of people who labor very hard indeed at reading the holy Scriptures – they do nothing else but turn over the leaves of it…. And why?  Because they do not have any particular aim in view, they only wander about …. [A]lthough they have gathered together a number of sentences of all sorts, yet nothing of value results from them.  Even so it is with them that labor in reading the Holy Scriptures and do not know which is the point they ought to rest on, namely, the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

  (John Calvin, Sermon on Ephesians 2:19-22, 1559

Monday, February 24, 2014

What A Father!

"The fuses of love are so overloaded they almost blow out. The subconscious doubts--that he wasn't thinking about at the time, but that pop up every now and then--are gone! And in their place is utter and indestructible assurance, so that you know that you know that you know that God is real and that Jesus lives and that you are loved, and that to be saved is the greatest thing in the world. And as you walk on down the street you can scarcely contain yourself and you want to cry out, 'My Father loves me! My Father loves me! O, what a great Father I have! What a Father! What a Father!'"

--Martin Lloyd Jones

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Nonirritable Love

A great illustration from Phil Ryken's book, "Loving the way Jesus Loves."

"A simple but marvelous illustration of non irritable love took place during a baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Nationals during the 2009 pennant race. Phillies fan Steve Montforto was sitting with his three-year-old daughter Emily when a foul ball curled back into the upper deck. Montforto leaned over the railing to catch his first and only foul ball--every fan's dream. But when he handed the ball to little Emily, immediately she thew it back over the railing and down into the lower deck. Everyone gasped. Montforto himself was as surprised as anyone to see her throw the ball away. But rather than getting irritated with his little girl, he did what a loving father should do: he wrapped his daughter up in a tender embrace.

This is the way God loves us. He puts gifts into our hands that we could never catch for ourselves. Without realizing what we are doing, sometimes, we throw them away. Yet rather than getting irritated with us, he lose us again. Then he gives us the freedom to go love someone else with the same ind of love. He even gives us the grace to go back to people who throw our love away and love them all over again. "

Friday, December 6, 2013

He Suffers With You

"He suffers with you. He is as tender in his affections to you as ever he was; that he might be moved to pity you, he is willing to suffer, as it were, one place to be left naked, and to be flesh still, on which he may be wounded with your miseries, that so he might be your merciful high priest. 

And whereas it may be objected, that this were a weakness, the apostle affirms that this is his power, and perfection and strength of love surely, in him; that is, that makes him thus able and powerful to take our miseries into his heart, though glorified, and so to be affected with them, as if he suffered with us, and so to relieve us out of that principle out of which he would relieve himself."

-Thomas Goodwin, The Heart of Christ


Big thanks to Dane Ortlund for pointing me to this gem.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Jesus the True Jacob

"We only need to consider Jacob's guile toward his brother in order better to understand the grace of Jesus, the True Jacob, toward His brethren. In the hour of his brother's desperate need, Jacob prepared a meal that he might dispossess his brother of his birthright (Gen 25:29-34). But in our hour of desperate need, Jesus prepared a meal in order to share His birthright with us. Jacob took on the identity of Esau, dressing himself in his brother's robes (Gen 27:15) and covering himself in the skin of a sacrifice (Gen 27:16), all in order to steal away his brother's blessing. But Jesus took on the identity of His brethren, dressing Himself in our rags of unrighteousness in order that we might be dressed in His righteousness (Gal 3:13-14), and covering Himself as our sacrifice, all in order that He might take away our curse, that we might share in His Father's blessing (Eph 4:22-24). Surely Jesus is greater than Jacob, and we have been made to know a Father's love that is greater than that of Isaac."

--Warren Gage