Remember Who Are and Who Christ Is

“Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there!” Deuteronomy 24:18

“Remember your sins–and Christ’s pardoning; your deserts–and Christ’s merits; your weakness–and Christ’s strength; your pride–and Christ’s humility; your many infirmities–and Christ’s restorings; your guilt–and Christ’s new applications of His blood; your failings–and Christ’s assistance; your needs–and Christ’s fullness; your temptations–and Christ’s tenderness; your vileness–and Christ’s righteousness!”

– Thomas Wilcox, Honey Out of the Rock

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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

God’s Word Does Not Flatter Man

“Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man . . . but he was a leper!” (2 Kings 5:1)

“Naaman was a great man . . . but he was a leper! He was the victim of a loathsome and incurable disease. He was a pitiful and repulsive object, with no prospect whatever of any improvement in his condition.

Yes, my reader, the highly-privileged and honored Naaman was a leper–and as such he portrays what you are and what I am by nature. God’s Word does not flatter man. It lays him in the dust, which is one reason why it is so unpalatable to the great majority of people. It is the Word of truth, and therefore instead of painting flattering pictures of human nature–it represents things as they actually are.

Instead of lauding man–it abases him. Instead of speaking of the dignity and nobility of human nature–it declares it to be leprous–sinful, corrupt, depraved, defiled! Instead of eulogizing human progress–it insists that ‘every man at his best state is altogether vanity!’ (Psalm 39:5)

And when the Holy Scriptures define man’s attitude toward and relationship with God, they insist that ‘There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God’ (Romans 3:10-11). They declare that we are His enemies by our wicked works (Colossians 1:21), and that consequently we are under the condemnation and curse of God’s law, and that His holy wrath abides on us! (John 3:36)

The Word of truth declares that by nature all of us are spiritual lepers–foul and filthy, unfit for the divine presence, ‘being alienated from the life of God.’ (Ephesians 4:18)

You may occupy a good position in this world, even an eminent station in the affairs of this life. You may have made good in your vocation, and wrought praiseworthy achievements by human standards. You may be honorable in the sight of your fellows–but how do you appear in the eyes of God? You are a leper–one whom His law pronounces unclean, one who is utterly unfit for His holy presence! As it was with Naaman, so it is with you: ‘He was a great man–but a leper!’

We would not be faithful to our calling were we to glide over that in God’s Word which is distasteful to proud flesh and blood. Nor would we be faithful to our readers if we glossed over their frightful and fatal natural condition. It is in their souls’ interests that they should face this humiliating and unpleasant fact–that in God’s sight, they are spiritual lepers!

But we must personalize it. Have you, my reader, realized this fact in your own case? Have you seen yourself as you are in God’s sight? Are you aware that your soul is suffering from a disease that neither you nor any human being can cure? It is so, whether you realize it or not. The Scriptures declare that from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head, there is no soundness in you. Yes, that in the sight of the holy God, you are a mass of ‘wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores!’ (Isaiah 1:6) Only as you penitently accept that divine verdict, is there any hope for you.”

Arthur W. Pink

The Gospel Message Should Humble and Lift the Believer Up

“That gospel message should both humble and lift the believer up at the same time. It teaches us that we are indeed self-centered sinners. It perforates our illusions about our goodness and superiority. But the gospel also fill us with more love and affirmation than we could ever imagine. It means we don’t need to earn our self-worth through incessant service and work. It means also that we don’t mind so much when we are deprived of some comfort, compliment, or reward. We don’t have to keep records and accounts anymore. We can freely give and freely receive.”

– Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, p.56