“All those that are justified, God vouchsafes, in and for His only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of adoption, by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God, have His name put upon them, receive the spirit of adoption, have access to the throne of grace with boldness, are enabled to cry, Abba, Father, are pitied, protected, provided for, and chastened by Him as by a Father: yet never cast off, but sealed to the day of redemption; and inherit the promises, as heirs of everlasting salvation.”
– Westminster Confession, Chapter XII
I installed a free iPhone app called AudioBooks recently.
In the extensive list of books, I found a few gems. Here is one of them.
The recording is a LibriVox project.
Turn off your music and listen to The Mortification of Sin by John Owen. It is excellent.
If you prefer reading to listening, go here.
When God wants to drill a man
And thrill a man
And skill a man,
When God wants to mold a man
To play the noblest part;
When He yearns with all His heart
To create so great and bold a man
That all the world shall be amazed,
Watch His methods, watch His ways!
How He ruthlessly perfects
Whom He royally elects!
How he hammers him and hurts him,
And with mighty blows converts him
Into trial shapes of clay which
Only God understands;
While his tortured heart is crying
And he lifts beseeching hands!
How He bends but never breaks
When his good He undertakes;
How He uses whom He chooses
And with every purpose fuses him;
By every act induces him
To try His splendour out-
God knows what He’s about!
Please visit the source of this poem
“The Christian life is the life of sons and daughters; it is not the life of slaves. It is freedom, not bondage. Of course, we are slaves of God, of Christ, and of one another. We belong to God, to Christ, to one another, and we love to serve those to whom we belong. But this kind of service is freedom. What the Christian life is not, is a bondage to the law, as if our salvation hung in the balance and depended on our meticulous and slavish obedience to the letter of the law. As it is, our salvation rests upon the finished work of Christ, on His sin-bearing, curse-bearing death, embraced by faith.”
– John Stott, The Message of Galatians
In Old Testament times, covenants were made in this way:
The two parties would cut an animal down the middle and lay the two halves down with a walkway between them.
The two parties would then walk between the two halves of the animal–showing their commitment and consent to be treated as the animal was should they break their part of the covenant.
When God made a covenant with Abraham, He passed through the animals by Himself. There was no way Abraham could keep his part of the covenant. He would have failed in no time.
When God passed through the animals by Himself, He took both the responsibility and the penalty should the covenant not be kept. When God saves a person, He takes full responsibility for him or her. He justifies and sanctifies. Nothing is left up to us to fulfill. How comforting this is!
It’s terrible that we’re so used to weak and pitiful depictions of God. God is not weak and pitiful. He is powerful and uses His power without consulting humans. He is One worth trusting. His love for His people lasts.
Note: Here is only my feeble attempt at retelling what I heard during a sermon. I have not extensively researched covenants myself.
Notes from last Sunday’s sermon:
Have you merely gone from being a full-time pagan to a part-time dabbler in sin?
Your sin is so great that it took nothing less than the death of God’s Son to pay for it.
If you think that God is a loving grandfather and doesn’t really punish sin, here are some passages for you to read:
Revelation 1:13-17 . Hebrews 12:18-24 . Hebrews 12:25-29 . Isaiah 6:3-7 . Ezekiel 1:26-2:1 . Genesis 15:9-17
1) God manifested His love in Christ’s incarnation – 1 John 4:9
God’s love is not abstract. It is personal–displayed in a person.
The cross displays the power to bring dead people to life. Each Christian is evidence of this.
2) God manifested His love by initiation. – 1 John 4:10a
We were not the initiators.
I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew
he moved my soul to seek him, seeking me.
It was not I that found, O Savior true;
no, I was found of thee.
Thou didst reach forth thy hand and mine enfold;
I walked and sank not on the storm-vexed sea.
‘Twas not so much that I on thee took hold,
as thou, dear Lord, on me.
I find, I walk, I love, but oh, the whole
of love is but my answer, Lord, to thee!
For thou wert long beforehand with my soul;
always thou lovedst me.
3) God manifested His love in substitutionary propitiation. – 1 John 4:10b
substitutionary propitiation = satisfactory payment
The offended paid the full penalty for the criminal.
The Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra is an amazing project conducted among the poor of Venezuela. These young people have been offered a music education, and they have pursued excellence (as is evident in their recordings). Enjoy the following videos and look them up on YouTube* if you’re interested in seeing/hearing more.
*Browse YouTube with caution. While there is much of educational value on that site, there is also much that should be avoided.