He Would Not Be God Were He Not Love

“God is essentially the God of love. The words which suggest our present meditation emphatically declare this: “God is love.” This is, perhaps, the most sublime sentence of the Bible. It is a sentence which only could arise from a divine mind. It is at once simple and grand, intelligible and affecting. It involves a truth in which an angel’s mind might expatiate, and which a child’s can grasp. It reaches to the highest, and descends to the lowest intellect. That the abstract term love, and not the concrete term loving, should be employed, expresses something beyond the ordinary meaning of the word. And what is the truth thus embodied? Just the one we are now attempting to vindicate: that God is essential love. Love is not so much an attribute of God as it is His very essence. It is not so much a moral perfection of His being as it is His being itself. He would not be God were He not love. To deny that He is love would be to deny that He is God. To unrobe Him of this essential quality of His nature would be tantamount to the unrobing Him of His essential Godhead. He would not be God were He not love!”

– Octavius Winslow, Our God, p.2-3

July 11, Evening – Our First Duty

“Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children to another generation” (Joel 1:3)

“In this simple way, by God’s grace, a living testimony for truth is always to be kept alive in the land: The beloved of the Lord are to hand down their witness for the Gospel and the covenant to their heirs, and these again to their next descendants. This is our first duty; we are to begin at the family hearth: He is a bad preacher who does not commence his ministry at home. The heathen are to be sought by all means, and the highways and hedges are to be searched, but home has a prior claim, and woe to those who reverse the order of the Lord’s arrangements.

To teach our children is a personal duty; we cannot delegate it to Sunday school teachers or other friendly helpers. These can assist us but cannot deliver us from the sacred obligation; substitutes and sponsors are wicked devices in this case: Mothers and fathers must, like Abraham, command their households in the fear of God and talk with their offspring concerning the wondrous works of the Most High.

Parental teaching is a natural duty. Who is better fitted to look after the child’s well-being than those who are the authors of his actual being? To neglect the instruction of our children is worse than brutish. Family religion is necessary for the nation, for the family itself, and for the church of God. By a thousand plots empty religion is secretly advancing in our land, and one of the most effectual means for resisting its inroads is routinely neglected—namely, the instruction of our children in the faith. It is time for parents to awaken to a sense of the importance of this matter. It is a pleasant duty to talk of Jesus to our sons and daughters, and the more so because it has often proved to be an accepted work, for God has saved the children through the parents’ prayers and admonitions. May every house into which this volume shall come honor the Lord and receive His smile.”

– Charles Spurgeon, Morning by Morning and Evening by Evening, A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on the ESV Bible

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

It Is Not He That Reads Most, But He That Meditates Most

“Remember, it is not hasty reading, but serious meditating upon holy and heavenly truths, that make them prove sweet and profitable to the soul. It is not the bee’s touching of the flower that gathers honey, but her abiding for a time upon the flower that draws out the sweet. It is not he that reads, but he that meditates most, that will prove the choicest, sweetest. wisest and strongest Christian.”

– Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, p.21-22

True Knowledge of Christ

“Nineteenth century theologian Charles Hodge says that true knowledge of Christ ‘is not the apprehension of what he is, simply by the intellect, but also…involves…the corresponding feeling of adoration, delight, desire and [contentment].’ Seeing and knowing Christ isn’t just receiving information but means of recognizing him as the one who is altogether lovely. It’s embracing the truth about God and delighting in it.”

– Tim Chester, You Can Change, p.76-77

The Intellectual Light of the Glorified Mind

” ‘For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known’ (1 Cor. 13:12). O what an orb of intellectual light will be each glorified mind! What range of light will it encompass! What capability of understanding will it enjoy! Then will all mysteries be unraveled, all problems solved, all discrepancies reconciled. Then shall each truth of God’s revelation, each event of His providence, each decision of His government, stand yet more transparently clear and resplendent than the sun itself. Do you, in your present quest for spiritual knowledge, mourn the darkness of your mind, the weakness of your memory, the limitations of your intellectual faculties? Then rejoice in hope of the glory that is to be revealed in you—when all your intellectual powers shall be renewed, developed, perfected, so that you shall know even as you are known.”

– Arthur W. Pink, Comfort for Christians, p.17-18