Humility and self-diffidence, and an entire dependence on our Lord Jesus Christ, will be our best defense. Let us therefore maintain the strictest watch against spiritual pride, or being lifted up with extraordinary experiences and comforts, and the high favours of heaven, that any of us may have received. We had need, after such favours, in a special manner to keep a strict and jealous eye upon our own hearts, lest there should arise self-exalting reflections upon what we have received, and high thoughts of ourselves, as being now some of the most eminent of saints and peculiar favourites of heaven, and that the secret of the Lord is especially with us. Let us not presume, that we above all are fit to be advanced as the great instructors and censors of this evil generation; and, in a high conceit of our own wisdom and discerning, assume to ourselves the airs of prophets, or extraordinary ambassadors of heaven. When we have great discoveries of God made to our souls, we should not shine bright in our own eyes. Moses, when he had been conversing with God in the mount, though his face shone so as to dazzle the eyes of Aaron and the people, yet he did not shine in his own eyes; “he wist not that his face shone.” Let none think themselves out of danger of this spiritual pride, even in their best frames. God saw that the apostle Paul (though probably the most eminent saint that ever lived) was not out of danger of it, no not when he had just been conversing with God in the third heaven: see 2 Cor. xii. 7. Pride is the worst viper in the heart; it is the first sin that ever entered into the universe, lies lowest of all in the foundation of the whole building of sin, and is the most secret, deceitful, and unsearchable in its ways of working, of any lusts whatever. It is ready to mix with every thing; and nothing is so hateful to God, contrary to the spirit of the gospel, or of so dangerous consequence; and there is no one sin that does so much let in the devil into the hearts of the saints, and expose them to his delusions. I have seen it in many instances, and that in eminent saints. The devil has come in at this door presently after some eminent experience and extraordinary communion with God, and has woefully deluded and led them astray, till God has mercifully opened their eyes and delivered them; and they themselves have afterwards been made sensible that it was pride that betrayed them.
Had it been published by a voice from heaven, that twelve poor men, taken out of boats and creeks, without any help of learning, should conquer the world to the cross, it might have been thought an illusion against all reason of men; yet we know it was undertaken and accomplished by them. – Stephen Charnock
“Christianity cannot subsist unless men know what Christianity is; and the fair and logical thing is to learn what Christianity is, not from its opponents, but from those who themselves are Christians. That method of procedure would be the only fair method in the case of any movement. […] Men have abundant opportunity today to learn what can be said against Christianity, and it is only fair that they should also learn something about the thing that is being attacked.”
“If Christ and therefore salvation in its fullness and perfection- is offered, the only doctrine of the atonement that will ground and warrant this overture is that of salvation wrought and redemption accomplished. And the only atonement that measures up to such conditions is a definite atonement. In other words, an atonement construed as providing the possibility of salvation or the opportunity of salvation does not supply the basis required for what constitutes the gospel offer. It is not the opportunity of salvation that is offered; it is salvation. And it is salvation because Christ is offered and Christ does not invite us to mere opportunity but to Himself.”
– John Murray
“Hath not the potter power over the clay; of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor?” (Romans 9:21)
is His own assertion. Therefore He may give to one and withhold from another, bestow five talents on one and only a single talent on another, without any imputation of injustice. If He may give grace and glory to whom He will without such a charge, then He may also decree to do so without any such charge. Are men chargeable with injustice when they choose their own favorites, friends, companions, and confidants? Then obviously there is no injustice in God’s choosing whom He will to bestow His special favors upon, to indulge with communion with Himself now and to dwell with Him for all eternity. Is a man free to make selection of the woman which he desires for his wife? and does he in anywise wrong the other women whom he passes by? Then is the great God less free to make selection of those who constitute the spouse of His Son? Shame, shame, upon those who would ascribe less freedom to the Creator than to the creature.” —A. W. Pink (1886–1952)
I have been enjoying Tozer’s The Pursuit of God over the last week or so. I had read this book shortly after my conversion approximately 12 years ago and reading it afresh has been a tremendous blessing. One point that Tozer makes in this book that I found very informative and in some sense spoke to me was on how to live as a forgiven Christian. Christians should live as forgiven Christians always pursuing God. Many people, when they are converted, believe that because they have found God that this is the end of their pursuit. While this may sound strange especially to my reformed brethren, sometimes that pursuit finds serious obstacles which need to be found and dealt with. I have met many people who tell me they’ve grown cold or are lacking any spiritual momentum. Some argue they are backslidden while others just can’t seem to get on with their spiritual lives. With that said, I enjoyed this small segment and thought I would share since I felt it speaks to the point:
With the veil removed by the rending of Jesus’ flesh, with nothing on God’s side to prevent us from entering (i.e. the holy of holies- my addition), why do we tarry without? Why do we consent to abide all our days just outside the Holy of Holies and never enter at all to look upon God?.. We sense that call is for us, but still we fail to draw near, and the years pass and we grow old and tired in the outer courts of the tabernacle. What hinders us? The answer usually given, simply that we are “cold”, will not explain all the facts. There is something more serious than coldness of heart, something that may be back of that coldness and be the cause of its existence. What is it? What but the presence of a veil in our hearts? A veil not taken away as the first veil was, but which remains there still shutting out the light and hiding the face of God from us. It is the veil of our fleshly, fallen nature living on, unjudged within us, uncrucified and unrepudiated, It is the close-woven veil of the self-life which we have never truly acknowledged, of which we have been secretly ashamed, and which for reasons we have never brought to the judgment of the cross. It is not too mysterious , this opaque veil, nor is it hard to identify. We have but to look into our own hearts and we shall see it there, sewn and patched and repaired it may be, but there nevertheless, an enemy to our lives and an effective block to our spiritual progress…But I am addressing the thirsting souls who are determined to follow God…They will face the facts however unpleasant…It is woven of the fine threads of the self-life, the hyphenated sins of the human spirit. They are not something we do, they are something we are, and therein lies both their subtlety and their power…It can be removed only in spiritual experience, never by mere instruction. We may as well try to instruct leprosy out of our system. There must be a work of God in destruction before we are free. We must invite the cross to do its deadly work within us. We must bring our self-sins to the cross for judgment. We must prepare ourselves for an ordeal of suffering in some measure like that through which our Saviour past…Let us beware of tinkering with our inner life, hoping ourselves to rend the veil. God must do everything for us. Our part is to yield and trust. We must confess, forsake, repudiate the self-life, and then reckon it crucified.
“The mission of Jesus brought not a new teaching but a new event. It brought to people an actual foretaste of the eschatological salvation. Jesus did not promise the forgiveness of sins; he bestowed it. He did not simple assure people of the future fellowship of the Kingdom; he invited them into fellowship with himself as the bearer of the Kingdom. He did not merely promise them vindication in the day of judgment; he bestowed upon them the status of a present righteousness. He not only taught an eschatological deliverance from physical evil; he went about demonstrating the redeeming power of the Kingdom, delivering people from sickness and even death.”
If I see aright, the cross of popular evangelicalism is not the cross of the New Testament. It is, rather, a new bright ornament upon the bosom of a self-assured and carnal Christianity. The old cross slew men, the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it.
“Remember the perfections of that God whom you worship, that he is a Spirit, and therefore to be worshipped in spirit and truth; and that he is most great and terrible, and therefore to be worshipped with seriousness and reverence, and not to be dallied with, or served with toys or lifeless lip-service; and that he is most holy, pure, and jealous, and therefore to be purely worshipped; and that he is still present with you, and all things are naked and open to him with whom we have to do. The knowledge of God, and the remembrance of his all-seeing presence, are the most powerful means against hypocrisy.”
We tend to veer into one of two errors in our view of future history. Either we plunge into a very exciting study of the “end times” and become consumed with the book of Revelation and newspaper reports about the European Union, killer bees, trouble in the Middle East, and so forth; or we dismiss the whole thing with a wave of the hand and a joke–and it is usually the same joke. “I’m a pan-millennialist”. Everything will pan out in the end.” But much more is involved in this subject that the particular “chronology” we set for the events of the end of the world.