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Christ [is] the very essence of all delights and pleasures, the very soul and substance of them. As all the rivers are gathered into the ocean, which is congregation or meeting-place of all waters in the world: so Christ is that ocean in which all true delights and pleasures meet. . . .
His excellencies are pure and unmixed; he is a sea of sweetness without one drop of gall.
—John Flavel, The Method of Grace, from Sermon XII.
HT: Justin Taylor
Surely if he would not spare his own Son one stroke, one tear, one groan, one sigh, one circumstance of misery, it can never be imagined that ever he should, after this, deny or withhold from his people, for whose sakes all this was suffered, any mercies, any comforts, any privilege, spiritual or temporal, which is good for them.
— John Flavel
HT: Spencer Harmon
Humility is a beautiful vessel to proclaim and believe in truth. Oh, that that the Spirit would make me more humble!
“He has done all things well.” Mark 7:37
Yes, from first to last—from our cradle to our grave— from the earliest pang of sin’s conviction to the last thrill of sin’s forgiveness—from earth to heaven—this will be our testimony in all the way the Lord our God has led us in the wilderness—He has done all things well. In providence and in grace—in every truth of His Word—in every lesson of His love—in every stroke of His rod—in every sunbeam that has shone—in every cloud that has shaded—in every element that has sweetened—in every ingredient that has embittered—in all that has been mysterious, inscrutable, painful, and humiliating—in all that He gave—in all that He took away—this testimony is His just due, and this our grateful acknowledgment through time and through eternity—He has done all things well.
Has He converted us through grace by a way we had thought the most improbable? Has He torn up all our earthly hopes by the roots? Has He thwarted our schemes, frustrated our plans, disappointed our expectations? Has He taught us in the most difficult schools, by a most severe discipline, and lessons most humbling to our nature? Has He withered our strength by sickness? reduced us to poverty by loss? crushed our heart by bereavement? And have we been tempted to exclaim, “All these things are against me?”
Ah! no! faith will yet obtain the ascendancy, and sweetly sing—”I know in all things that befell, My Jesus has done all things well.” Beloved, it must be so, for Jesus can do nothing wrong. Study the way of His providence and grace with the microscopic eye of faith—view them in every light, examine them in their minutest detail, as you would the petal of a flower, or the wing of an insect—and, oh, what wonders, what beauty, what marvelous adaptation would you observe in all the varied dealings with you of your glorious Lord. He has done all things well.
Octavius Winslow, Christ’s Sympathy to Weary Pilgrims
The Christian faith begins and ends with a knowledge of the Lord. It begins with a knowledge of the Lord—not a feeling, not an act of will, but a knowledge of this Blessed Person. There is no value in any feeling unless it is based upon this. Christianity is Christ, and Christian faith means believing certain things about Him and knowing Him, Knowing that He is the Lord of Glory come down amongst us, knowing something about the Incarnation and the Virgin Birth, knowing why He came, knowing what He did when He came, knowing something about His atoning work, knowing that He came, as He said Himself, not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance, knowing that He says: “They that are whole need not a physician but they that are sick’, knowing that ‘His own self bare our sins in His body on the tree, that we, being dead in sins, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed’.
I find almost invariably when people come to me in a state of spiritual depression, that they are depressed because they do not know these things as they should.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure, 155-156
Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.(Romans 8:34)
If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.
~Robert Murray M’Cheyne p. 179
HT: Justin Taylor
Ever ponder why Paul (or any other Biblical writer) never wrote an inspired systematic theology? It is interesting; theology is so important. Yet, we never have Paul, for instance, writing down theology as written in our text books. Why?
Now, we can say at the forefront that it is not because true theology is not important. Where as there is no plain systematic theology that is not to say there is no theology. Theology is abundant in scripture. But instead of it being laid out plainly most of the time it is woven through the life situations of Paul, the churches he is writing to, etc. It is like we have to take down the walls to study the frame in our biblical studies of doctrine. For instance, it is through Paul’s disputation with false teachers in Galatia that we can study his theology of the New Covenant in Gal. 4:21-31.
The reason theology is presented in the bible this way is because the bible presents theology as it really is. The reality of theology is that it is woven into the very fabric of our lives whether we realize it or not. You see, every action of our life is a demonstration of our theology—of our true theology. Yes, there is a theology that we verbally state (this is good and should be done: “watch you life and watch your doctrine” 1 Tim. 4:16). But then there is theology that comes out in our day to day actions. We can confess with our mouth that God is sovereign and good. Yet, if we live in anxiety, the truth of the matter is that we really don’t believe that God is sovereign and/or good. Or conversely, to take an example from Paul who had a true theology of the present New Covenant which showed itself in his great confidence in his missionary endeavors (2 Cor. 3:1-18). Even a statement like, “it is not important to know theology” is a theological statement declaring that one believes God does not care what a person believes about God. We cannot escape theology, it is woven into life itself. This is why we see theology woven through the letters and prophecies in Scripture. The bible presents us with the reality that our theology comes out in everything we say or do.
This is the last week of my college career. I am thankful for God’s faithfulness and instruction through 4 and a half years of classroom learning. But I have this final summit of work to accomplish till the journeys done. After I finish I will be back to blogging shortly.