Be Cautious of Grace Denial

“Beloved, mistake not the nature and the evidence of growth in sanctification. In all your self-denial in this great work, be cautious of grace denial. You will need much holy wisdom here, lest you overlook the work of the Spirit within you.

You have thought, it may be, of the glory that Christ receives from brilliant genius, and profound talent, and splendid gifts, and glowing zeal, and costly sacrifices, and extensive usefulness.

But have you ever thought of the glory, the far greater, richer glory, that flows to Him from the contrite spirit, the broken heart, the lowly mind, the humble walk, the tear of godly repentance that falls when seen by no human eye, the sigh of godly sorrow that is breathed when heard by no human ear, the sin abhorrence, the self loathing, the deep sense of vileness, and poverty, and infirmity that takes you to Jesus with the prayer: ‘Lord, here I am; I have brought to You my rebellious will, my wandering heart, my worldly affections, my peculiar infirmity, my besetting and constantly overpowering sin. Receive me graciously, put forth the mighty power of Your grace in my soul, and subdue all, and rule all, and subjugate all to Yourself! Will it not be for Your glory, the glory of Your great name if this strong corruption were subdued by Your grace, if this powerful sin were nailed to Your cross, if this temper so volatile, if this heart so impure, if these affections so truant, if this mind so dark, if these desires so earthly, if these pursuits so carnal, if these aims so selfish, were all entirely renewed by Your Spirit, sanctified by Your grace, and made each to reflect Your image? Yes, Lord, it would be for Your glory, through time and through eternity!’ “

– Octavius Winslow, Morning Thoughts

It Appears That Christians May Forget Christ

“Do this in remembrance of Me!” (1 Corinthians 11:24)

It appears that Christians may forget Christ! There would be no need for this loving exhortation–if there were not a fearful possibility that our memories might prove treacherous. Nor is this an empty notion. It is, sadly, too well confirmed in our experience; not as a possibility–but as a lamentable fact!

It appears almost impossible that those who have been redeemed by the blood of the dying Lamb, and loved with an everlasting love by the eternal Son of God–could forget their gracious Savior! But if startling to the ear, sadly, it is too apparent to the eye to allow us to deny the crime.

Can we forget Him–who never forgot us! Can we forget Him–who poured His blood out for our sins! Can we forget Him–who loved us even to death! Can it be possible?

Yes, it is not only possible–but conscience confesses that is is too sadly a fault with all of us. Instead of Him being a permanent resident in our memories–we treat Him as a visitor. The cross–where one would expect that memory would linger–is desecrated by the feet of forgetfulness.

Doesn’t your conscience say that this is true? Don’t you find yourselves forgetful of Jesus? Some other love steals away your heart–and you are unmindful of Him upon whom your chief affection ought to be set. Some earthly business engrosses your attention–when you ought to be fixed steadily upon the cross. It is the incessant turmoil of the world, the constant attraction of earthly things–which takes the soul away from Christ! While memory works to preserve a poisonous weed–it allows the rose of Sharon to wither!

Let us charge ourselves to tie a heavenly forget-me-not around our hearts for Jesus our Beloved, and whatever else we let slip, let us hold tight to Him!

– Charles Spurgeon

Study the Scripture

“Study the Scripture. It is a copy of God’s will. Be Scripture-men, Bible-Christians. Search the Scripture as for a vein of gold. This blessed Book will fill your head with knowledge, and your heart with grace!

There is majesty sparkling in every line of Scripture.

There is a melody in Scripture. This is that blessed harp which drives away sadness of spirit. How sweetly does this harp of Scripture sound, what heavenly music does it make in the ears of a distressed sinner, especially when the finger of God’s Spirit touches this instrument!

There is divinity in Scripture. It contains the marrow and quintessence of true religion. It is a rock of diamonds–and a manual of piety. The lips of Scripture have grace poured into them. The Scripture speaks of faith, self-denial, and all the graces which, as a chain of pearls, adorns a Christian.

Oh, then, search the Scripture! Had I the tongue of angels, I could not sufficiently set forth the excellency of Scripture. It is a spiritual telescope, in which we behold God’s glory! It is the tree of life, the oracle of wisdom, the rule of godliness, the heavenly seed of which the new creature is formed. 

‘The two Testaments,’ says one, ‘are the two breasts which every Christian must suck, that he may get spiritual nourishment.’ These holy leaves of Scripture are for the healing of our souls. 

The Scripture is profitable for all things. If we are downcast–here is spiced wine that cheers the heavy heart. If we are pursued by Satan–here is the sword of the Spirit to resist him. If we are diseased with sin’s leprosy–here are the waters of the sanctuary, both to cleanse and cure. Oh, then, search the Scriptures! 

Read the Bible with reverence. Think, in every line you read–that God is speaking to you. The ark wherein the Word was put was overlaid with pure gold, and was carried on bars, that the Levites might not touch it (Exodus 25:14). Why was this–but to give reverence to the Word? 

Read with seriousness. It is matter of life and death; by this Word you must be tried and judged. 

Read the Word with affection. Get your hearts quickened with the Word. Labor that the Word may not only be a lamp to direct–but a fire to warm. Read the Scripture, not only as a history–but as a love-letter sent to you from God, which may affect your hearts. Pray that the same Spirit who wrote the Word, may assist you in reading it; that God’s Spirit would show you the wonderful things of His law, so that the Word will become effectual.”

– Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity

The Doctrines of Grace Are Intended To Move The Affections

“There is also a practical value in this last clause. The doctrines of grace are intended for a further purpose than that of making up a creed. One main design of them is to move the affections; and more especially to reawaken that affection to which the heart oppressed with fears, or weighed down with cares, is wholly insufficient—even the love of God. That this love may flow perennially from our hearts, there must be a constant recurring to that which inspired it and which is calculated to increase it; just as to rekindle your admiration of a beautiful scene or picture, you would return again to gaze upon it. It is on this principle that so much stress is laid in Scripture on keeping the truths which we believe in memory: ‘By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you’ (1 Cor. 15:2). ‘I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance,’ said the apostle (2 Pet. 3:1). ‘Do this in remembrance of me’ said the Saviour. It is, then, by going back in memory to that hour when, despite our wretchedness and utter unworthiness, God called us, that our affection will be kept fresh. It is by recalling the wondrous grace that then reached out to a hell-deserving sinner and snatched you as a brand from the burning, that your heart will be drawn out in adoring gratitude. And it is by discovering this was due alone to the sovereign and eternal ‘purpose‘ of God that you were called when so many others are passed by, that your love for Him will be deepened.”

– Arthur W. Pink, Comfort for Christians, p.14-15

The Secret to Increasing Affections Toward God

“Deal much and closely with a crucified Savior! This is the grand secret a constant ascending of the affections to God. If you find it difficult to comprehend the love of God towards you–then read it in the cross of His dear Son! Dwell upon this amazing fact, drink into this precious truth, muse upon it, ponder it, search into it, pray over it, until your heart is melted down, and broken, and overwhelmed with God’s wondrous love to you, in the gift of Jesus! Oh, how will this rekindle the flame that is ready to die in your bosom! How it will draw you up in a holy and unreserved surrender of body, soul, and spirit! Deal much with Jesus! Whenever you detect a waning of love, a reluctance to take up the daily cross, a shrinking from the precept–go immediately to Calvary! Go simply and directly to Jesus! Get your heart warmed with ardent love by contemplating Him upon the cross–and soon will the frosts that gather round it melt away, and the congealed current shall begin to flow!”

– Octavius Winslow, Evening Thoughts

Prayer is More Than Words

“The soul that rightly prays, it must be in and with the help and strength of the Spirit; because it is impossible that a man should express himself in prayer without it. By this I mean that it is impossible that the heart, in a sincere and affectionate way, should pour out itself before God, with those groans and sighs that come from a truly praying heart, without the assistance of the Spirit. It is not the mouth that is the main thing to be looked at in prayer, but whether the heart is so full of affection and earnest in prayer with God that it is impossible to express their sense and desire; for then a man desires indeed when his desires are so strong, many, and mighty, that all the words, tears and groans that come from the heart cannot utter them: ‘The Spirit helpeth our infirmities, and maketh intercession for us with’ sighs and ‘groanings which cannot be uttered’ (Rom. 8:26).

That is but poor prayer which is only one of words. A man that truly prays one prayer cannot express with his mouth or pen the unutterable desires, sense, affection, and longing that went to God in his prayer. The best prayers have often more groans than words: and those words that they have are but a lean and shallow representation of the heart, life and spirit of prayer.”

– John Bunyan, Prayer, p.32-33

Love Lustres At Calvary

“My Father,

Enlarge my heart, warm my affections, open my lips, supply words that proclaim ‘Love lustres at Calvary.’

There grace removes my burdens and heaps them on thy Son, made a transgressor, a curse, and sin for me;
There the sword of thy justice smote the man, thy fellow;
There thy infinite attributes were magnified, and infinite atonement was made;
There infinite punishment was due, and infinite punishment was endured.

Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy,
cast off that I might be brought in,
trodden down as an enemy that I might be welcomed as a friend,
surrendered to hell’s worst that I might attain heaven’s best,
stripped that I might be clothed,
wounded that I might be healed,
athirst that I might drink,
tormented that I might be comforted,
made a shame that I might inherit glory,
entered darkness that I might have eternal light.

My Saviour wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes,
groaned that I might have endless song,
endured all pain that I might have unfading health,
bore a thorny crown that I might have a glory-diadem,
bowed his head that I might uplift mine,
experienced reproach that I might receive welcome,
closed his eyes in death that I might gaze on unclouded brightness,
expired that I might for ever live.

O Father, who spared not thine only Son that thou mightest spare me,
All this transfer thy love designed and accomplished;
Help me to adore thee by lips and life.
O that my every breath might be ecstatic praise,
my every step buoyant with delight,
as I see my enemies crushed,
Satan baffled, defeated, destroyed,
sin buried in the ocean of reconciling blood,
hell’s gates closed, heaven’s portal open.
Go forth, O conquering God, and show me the cross,
mighty to subdue, comfort and save.”

The Valley of Vision, edited by Arthur Bennett, p.44