Salvation is by grace, by grace alone. Nevertheless, divine grace is not exercised at the expense of holiness. It never compromises with sin. It is also true that salvation is a free gift, but an empty hand must receive it and not a hand which still tightly grasps the world. Something more than believing is necessary to salvation. A heart that is steeled in rebellion against God cannot savingly believe. It must first be broken. Only those who are spiritually blind would declare that Christ will save any who despise His authority and refuse His yoke. Those preachers who tell sinners that they may be saved without forsaking their idols, without repenting, without surrendering to the lordship of Christ are as erroneous and dangerous as others who insist that salvation is by works and that heaven must be earned by our own efforts.
These orders [love for God and love for money] are diametrically opposed. The one commands you to walk by faith; the other to walk by sight. The one to be humble; the other to be proud. The one to set your affections on things above; the other to set them on the things that are on the earth. The one to look at the things unseen and eternal; the other to look at the things seen and temporal. The one to have your conversation in heaven; the other to cleave to the dust. The one to be careful for nothing; the other to be full of anxiety. The one to be content with such things as you have; the other to enlarge your desires. The one to be ready to distribute; the other to withhold. The one to look at the things of others; the other to look at one’s own things. The one to seek happiness in the Creator; the other to seek happiness in the creature. Is it not plain? There is no serving two such masters.
Divine sovereignty is not the sovereignty of a tyrannical Despot, but the exercised pleasure of One who is infinitely wise and good! Because God is infinitely wise He cannot err, and because He is infinitely righteous He will not do wrong. Here then is the preciousness of this truth. The mere fact itself that God’s will is irresistible and irreversible fills me with fear, but once I realize that God wills only that which is good, my heart is made to rejoice.
The permanence of God’s character guarantees the fulfillment of his promises.
What is God’s remedy for dejection at apparent failure in our labours? This – the assurance that God’s purpose cannot fail, that God’s plans cannot miscarry, that God’s will must be done. Our labours are not intended to bring about that which God has not decreed.
Most assuredly God will require an account of the children from the parents’ hands, for they are His, and only lent to their care and keeping.
A “god” whose will is resisted, whose designs are frustrated, whose purpose is checkmated, possesses no title to Deity, and so far from being a fit object of worship, merits nought but contempt.
Like the doctrine of the Holy Trinity and the miraculous birth of our Savior, the truth of election must be received with simple, unquestioning faith.
An ineffably holy God, who has the utmost abhorrence of sin, was never invented by any of Adam’s descendents.
Mercifulness, then, is a gracious disposition toward our fellow creatures and fellow Christians. It is a spirit of kindness and benevolence which sympathizes with the sufferings of the afflicted, so that we weep with those that weep. It ennobles its possessor so that he tempers justice with mercy, and scorns the taking of revenge.
Prayer is the way and means God has appointed for the communication of the blessings of His goodness to His people.
The severest self-denials and the most lavish gifts are of no value in God’s esteem unless they are prompted by love.
Nothing is too great and nothing is too small to commit into the hands of the Lord.
Sovereignty characterizes the whole being of God. He is sovereign in all His attributes.
It’s true that [many] are praying for a worldwide revival. But it would be more timely, and more scriptural, for prayer to be made to the Lord of the harvest, that He would raise up and thrust forth laborers who would fearlessly and faithfully preach those truths which are calculated to bring about a revival.
The parent is to punish a disobedient child not because he is angry, but because he is right- because God requires it, and the welfare of the child demands it.
Worry over poverty is as fatal to spiritual fruitfulness as is gloating over wealth.
Unbelief, and a thousand evils, are still in our hearts: though their reign and dominion is at an end, they are not slain or eradicated; their efforts will be felt more or less sensibly, as the Lord is pleased more or less to afford or abate His gracious influence.
Prayer is not so much an act as it is an attitude – an attitude of dependency, dependency upon God.
Christ is the key which unlocks the golden doors into the temple of Divine truth.
The supreme example of controlling, directing influence which God exerts upon the wicked is the Cross of Christ with all its attendant circumstances. If ever the superintending providence of God was witnessed, it was there. From all eternity God had predestined every detail of that event of all events. Nothing was left to chance or the caprice of man. God had decreed when and where and how His blessed Son was to die… Not a thing occurred except as God had ordained, and all that He had ordained took place exactly as He purposed.
Good instructions are to be accompanied by good example. That teaching which issues only from the lips is not at all likely to sink any deeper than the ears. Children are particularly quick to detect inconsistencies, and despise hypocrisy… How they need to be constantly on their guard against anything which might render them contemptible in the eyes of those who should respect and revere them!
Gospellers have much to say about what Christ’s death accomplished for those who believe in Him, but very little is said about what that Death accomplished Godwards. The fact is that the death of Christ glorified God if never a single sinner had been saved by virtue of it.
Afflictions are light when compared with what we really deserve. They are light when compared with the sufferings of the Lord Jesus. But perhaps their real lightness is best seen by comparing them with the weight of glory which is awaiting us.
Thousands are deceived into supposing that they have “accepted Christ” as their “personal Saviour,” who have not first received Him as their Lord. The Son of God did not come here to save His people in their sin, but “from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). To he saved from sins, is to be saved from ignoring and despising the authority of God, it is to abandon the course of self-will and self-pleasing, it is to “forsake our way” (Isa. 55:7). It is to surrender to God’s authority, to yield to His dominion, to give ourselves over to be ruled by Him.
At least twice each day – in the morning and in the evening – the whole household should be gathered together to bow before the Lord – parents and children, master and servant – to confess their sins, to give thanks for God’s mercies, to seek His help and blessing. Nothing must be allowed to interfere with this duty: All other domestic arrangements are to bend to it.
[The] most important duty, respecting both the temporal and spiritual good of your children, is fervent supplication to God for them. Without this all the rest will be ineffectual. Means are unavailing unless the Lord blesses them. The Throne of Grace is to be earnestly implored that your efforts to bring up your children for God may be crowned with success.
The advantages and blessings of family worship are incalculable. First, family worship will prevent much sin. It awes the soul, conveys a sense of God’s majesty and authority, sets solemn truths before the mind, brings down benefits from God on the home. Personal piety in the home is a most influential means, under God, of conveying piety to the little ones. Children are largely creatures of imitation, loving to copy what they see in others.
The apostles of Satan are not saloon-keepers and white-slave traffickers, but are for the most part ordained ministers. Thousands of those who occupy our modern pulpits are no longer engaged in presenting the fundamentals of the Christian Faith, but have turned aside from the Truth and have given heed unto fables. Instead of magnifying the enormity of sin and setting forth its eternal consequences, they minimize it by declaring that sin is merely ignorance or the absence of good. Instead of warning their hearers to “flee from the wrath to come” they make God a liar by declaring that He is too loving and merciful to send any of His own creatures to eternal torment. Instead of declaring that “without shedding of blood is no remission,” they merely hold up Christ as the great Exemplar and exhort their hearers to “follow in His steps.”
Prayer is not appointed for the furnishing of God with the knowledge of what we need, but it is designed as a confession to Him of our sense of the need. In this, as in everything, God’s thoughts are not as ours. God requires that His gifts should be sought for. He designs to be honoured by our asking, just as He is to be thanked by us after He has bestowed His blessing.
The success of an illegitimate coiner depends largely upon how closely the counterfeit resembles the genuine article. Heresy is not so much the total denial of the truth as a perversion of it. That is why half a lie is always more dangerous than a complete repudiation. Hence when the Father of Lies enters the pulpit it is not his custom to flatly deny the fundamental truths of Christianity, rather does he tacitly acknowledge them, and then proceed to give an erroneous interpretation and a false application.
It is only in proportion as the Christian manifests the fruit of a genuine conversion that he is entitled to regard himself and be regarded by others as one of the called and elect of God. It is just in proportion as we add to our faith the other Christian graces that we have solid ground on which to rest in the assurance we belong to the family of Christ. It is not those who are governed by self-will, but “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14).
Repentance is the hand releasing those filthy objects it had previously clung to so tenaciously. Faith is extending an empty hand to God to receive His gift of grace. Repentance is a godly sorrow for sin. Faith is receiving a sinner’s Saviour. Repentance is revulsion of the filth and pollution of sin. Faith is a seeking of cleansing therefrom. Repentance is the sinner covering his mouth and crying, “Unclean, unclean!” Faith is the leper coming to Christ and saying, “Lord, if You will, You can make me clean.”
There will be many in the Lake of Fire who commenced life with good intentions, honest resolutions and exalted ideals – those who were just in their dealings, fair in their transactions and charitable in all their ways; men who prided themselves in their integrity but who sought to justify themselves before God by their own righteousness; men who were moral, merciful and magnanimous, but who never saw themselves as guilty, lost, hell-deserving sinners needing a Saviour.
Many of the pulpiteers of the past fifty years acted as though the first and last object of their calling was the salvation of souls, everything being made to bend to that aim. In consequence, the feeding of the sheep, the maintaining of a Scriptural discipline in the church, and the inculcation of practical piety, was crowded out; and only too often all sorts of worldly devices and fleshly methods were employed under the plea that the end justified the means; and thus the churches were filled with unregenerate members. In reality, such men defeated their own aim. The hard heart must be ploughed and harrowed before it can be receptive to the gospel seed. Doctrinal instruction must be given on the character of God, the requirements of his Law, the nature and heinousness of sin, if a foundation is to be laid for true evangelism. It is useless to preach Christ unto souls until they see and feel their desperate need of him.
The Christian who has stopped repenting has stopped growing.
We can no more pray without the Holy Spirit than we can create a world.
We discover a striking proof of the Divine inspiration of the Scriptures. In the Bible human nature is painted in its true colors: the characters of its heroes are faithfully depicted, the sins of its most prominent personages are frankly recorded. It is human to err, but it is also human to conceal the blemishes of those we admire. Had the Bible been a human production, had it been written by uninspired historians, the defects of its leading characters would have been ignored, or if recorded at all, an attempt at extenuation would have been made.
They argue that God is loving and merciful, and therefore God’s anger is merely a bogey with which to frighten naughty children. But how do we know that God is loving and merciful? The heathen do not believe that He is. Nor does nature clearly and uniformly reveal the fact. The answer is, we know God to be such, because His Word so affirms. Yes, and the same Bible which tells of God’s mercy speaks of His wrath, and as a matter of fact, refers more frequently (much more so) to His anger than it does to His love.
Consider an argument from the less to the greater. In the human sphere he who loves purity and chastity and has no wrath against impurity and unchastity is a moral leper. He who pities the poor and defenseless and has no wrath against the oppressor who crushes the weak and slays the defenseless, but loves them too, is a fiend. Divine wrath is Divine Holiness in activity. Because God is holy He hates sin, and because He hates sin His anger burns against the sinner.
The sinner is treading a path more slippery than ice, and unless he forsake it, in due time his foot shall slide. The bow of God’s wrath is already bent: the arrow of His vengeance is even now fitted to the string, and nothing but His infinite forbearance stays its release.
The sinner sees little cause for alarm and fails to apprehend his imperative need of promptly accepting Christ as his Saviour. He imagines himself secure. He goes on in his sin, and because judgment against an evil work is not executed speedily he increases in his boldness against God. But God’s ways are different to ours. There is no need for God to be in a hurry – all eternity is at His disposal… He is in no haste to execute judgment because He knows the sinner, cannot escape Him. It is impossible to flee out of His dominions! In due time every transgression and disobedience shall receive “a just recompense of reward.”
The best antidote for anxiety is frequent meditation upon God’s goodness, power and sufficiency… Nothing is too big and nothing is too little to spread before and cast upon the Lord.
There is a threefold distinction between [divine punishment and divine chastisement]. First, the character in which God acts. In the former God acts as Judge, in the latter as Father. The second distinction…lies in the recipients of each. The objects of the former are His enemies. The subjects of the latter are His children. A third distinction is seen in the design of each: the one is retributive, the other remedial. The one flows from His anger, the other from His love.
When the believer is smarting under the rod let him not say, God is now punishing me for my sins. That can never be. That is most dishonoring to the blood of Christ. God is correcting thee in love, not smiting in wrath. Nor should the Christian regard the chastening of the Lord as a sort of necessary evil to which he must bow as submissively as possible. No, it proceeds from God’s goodness and faithfulness, and is one of the greatest blessings for which we have to thank Him. Chastisement evidences our Divine son-ship: the father of a family does not concern himself with those on the outside: but those within he guides and disciplines to make them conform to his will. Chastisement is designed for our good, to promote our highest interests. Look beyond the rod to the All-wise hand that wields it!
We must interpret the mysterious providences of God not by reason or observation, but by the Word.
Oftentimes God’s chastenings instead of being retributive are corrective. They are sent to empty us of self-sufficiency and self-righteousness: they are given to discover to us hidden transgressions, and to teach us the plague of our own hearts. Or again, chastisements are sent to strengthen our faith, to raise us to higher levels of experience, to bring us into a condition of usefulness. Still again, Divine chastisement is sent as a preventative, to keep under pride, to save us from being unduly elated over success in God’s service.
Let us not conclude when we see a fellow-Christian under the rod of God that he is necessarily being taken to task for his sins.
However unstable I may be, however fickle my friends may prove, God changes not. If He varied as we do, if He willed one thing today and another tomorrow, if He were controlled by caprice, who could confide in Him? But, all praise to His glorious name, He is ever the same. His purpose is fixed, His will is stable, His word is sure.
Not one for whom He died can possibly miss heaven.
One of the surest tests to apply to the professed conversion is the heart’s attitude towards sin. Where the principle of holiness has been planted, there will necessarily be a loathing of all that is unholy. If our hatred of evil be genuine, we are thankful when the Word reproves even the evil which we suspected not.
“Grace reigns through righteousness”… Grace is never exercised at the expense of righteousness. Grace upholds rather than ignores our responsibilities toward God and toward our neighbor (see Titus 2:12).
The writer has met many people who profess to be Christians, but whose daily lives differ in nothing from thousands of non-professors all around them. They are rarely, if ever, found at the prayer-meeting, they have no Family Worship, they seldom read the Scriptures, they will not talk with you about the things of God, their walk is thoroughly worldly; and yet they are quite sure they are bound for heaven! Inquire into the ground of their confidence, and they will tell you that so many years ago they accepted Christ as their Savior, and “once saved always saved” is now their comfort. There are thousands of such people on earth today, who are nevertheless, on the Broad Road, that leadeth to destruction, treading it with a false peace in their hearts and a vain profession on their lips.
One sin leads to another. Failure in our love to God always results in failure in our love to our neighbor.
The new birth is very much more than simply shedding a few tears due to a temporary remorse over sin. It is far more than changing our course of life, the leaving off of bad habits and the substituting of good ones. It is something different from the mere cherishing and practicing of noble ideals. It goes infinitely deeper than coming forward to take some popular evangelist by the hand, signing a pledge-card, or “joining a church.” The new birth is no mere turning over a new leaf, but is the inception and reception of a new life. It is no mere reformation but a complete transformation. In short, the new birth is a miracle, the result of the supernatural operation of God. It is radical, revolutionary, lasting.
No verse of Scripture yields its meaning to lazy people.
False prophets are to be found in the circles of the most orthodox, and they pretend to have a fervent love for souls, yet they fatally delude multitudes concerning the way of salvation. The pulpit, platform, and pamphlet hucksters have wantonly lowered the standard of divine holiness and so adulterated the Gospel in order to make it palatable to the carnal mind.
How could He who is the Sum of all excellency look with equal satisfaction upon virtue and vice, wisdom and folly? How could He who is infinitely holy disregard sin and refuse to manifest His “severity” (Rom. 9:22) toward it? How could He, who delights only in that which is pure and lovely, not loathe and hate that which is impure and vile? The very nature of God makes Hell as real a necessity, as imperatively and eternally requisite, as Heaven is.
Everything about God is great, vast, incomparable. He never forgets, never fails, never falters, never forfeits His word. To every declaration of promise or prophecy the Lord has exactly adhered, every engagement of covenant or threatening He will make good.
No sinner was ever saved by giving his heart to God. We are not saved by our giving, we are saved by God’s giving.
Any preacher who rejects God’s law, who denies repentance to be a condition of salvation, who assures the giddy and godless that they are loved by God, who declares that saving faith is nothing more than an act of the will which every person has the power to perform is a false prophet and should be shunned as a deadly plague
Prevention is better than cure. Even a temporary separation should be the last resource, and every possible effort made to avoid such a tragedy.
God is true. His Word of Promise is sure. In all His relations with His people God is faithful. He may be safely relied upon. No one ever yet really trusted Him in vain. We find this precious truth expressed almost everywhere in the Scriptures, for His people need to know that faithfulness is an essential part of the Divine character. This is the basis of our confidence in Him.
Most Christians expect little from God, ask little and therefore receive little and are content with little.
The nature of Christ’s salvation is woefully misrepresented by the present-day evangelist. He announces a Savior from hell rather than a Savior from sin. And that is why so many are fatally deceived, for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of Fire who have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness.
Growth in grace is growth downward. It is the forming of a lower estimate of ourselves. It is a deepening realization of our nothingness. It is a heartfelt recognition that we are not worthy of the least of God’s mercies.
Because the Christian is not his own, but bought with a price, he is to aim at glorifying God in every relation of life. No matter what station he occupies, or wherever he be, he is to serve as a witness for Christ. Next to the church of God, his own home should be the sphere of his most manifest devotedness unto Him. All its arrangements should bear the stamp of his heavenly calling. All its affairs should be so ordered that everyone entering it should feel “God is here!”
There are seasons in the lives of all when it is not easy, no not even for Christians, to believe that God is faithful. Our faith is sorely tried, our eyes bedimmed with tears, and we can no longer trace the outworkings of His love. Our ears are distracted with the noises of the world, harassed by the atheistic whisperings of Satan, and we can no longer hear the sweet accents of His still small voice. Cherished plans have been thwarted, friends on whom we relied have failed us, a profest brother or sister in Christ has betrayed us. We are staggered. We sought to be faithful to God, and now a dark cloud hides Him from us. We find it difficult, yea, impossible, for carnal reason to harmonize His frowning providence with His gracious promises.
Meditation upon the Word of God is one of the most important of all the means of grace and growth in spirituality, yea there can be no true progress in vital and practical godliness without it. Meditation on Divine things is not optional but obligatory, for it is something which God has commanded us to attend unto.
If lustful looking be so grievous a sin, then those who dress and expose themselves with desires to be looked at and lusted after…are not less, but even more guilty. In this matter it is only too often the case that men sin, but women tempt them so to do. How great, then, must be the guilt of the great majority of the modern misses who deliberately seek to arouse the sexual passions of our young men. And how much greater still is the guilt of most of their mothers for allowing them to become lascivious temptresses.
Such, in brief, is the portion awaiting the lost – eternal separation from the Fount of all goodness; everlasting punishment; torment of soul and body; endless existence in the Lake of Fire, in association with the vilest of the vile; every ray of hope excluded; utterly crushed and overwhelmed by the wrath of a sin-avenging God!
Unspeakably solemn is it to see so many abusing this Divine perfection. They continue to despise God’s authority, trample upon His laws, continue in sin, and yet presume upon His mercy. But God will not be unjust to Himself. God shows mercy to the truly penitent, but not to the impenitent (Luke 13:3). To continue in sin and yet reckon upon Divine mercy remitting punishment is diabolical. It is saying, “Let us do evil that good may come,” and of all such it is written, whose “damnation is just” (Rom. 3:8).
The great mistake made by most of the Lord’s people is in hoping to discover in themselves that which is to be found in Christ alone.
One of the best evidences that we are truly seeking Heaven is the possession of hearts that are weaned from this world. None will ever enter the Father’s House on high in whose soul the first fruits of heavenly peace and joy does not grow now. He who finds his satisfaction in temporal things is woefully deceived if he imagines he can enjoy eternal things. He whose joy is all gone when earthly possessions are snatched from him, knows nothing of that peace which “passeth all understanding.” And yet, if the auto, radio, newspaper, money to go to the movies, were taken away from the average “church member,” what would he then have left to make life worth living?
Before man can work he must have both tools and materials, but God began with nothing, and by His Word alone out of nothing made all things. The intellect cannot grasp it. God “spake and it was done, He commanded and it stood fast” (Ps. 33:9). Primeval matter heard His voice. “God said, Let there be… and it was so” (Gen 1).
It is sad to find so many professing Christians who appear to regard the wrath of God as something for which they need to make an apology, or at least they wish there were no such thing. While some would not go so far as to openly admit that they consider it a blemish on the Divine character, yet they are far from regarding it with delight, they like not to think about it, and they rarely hear it mentioned without a secret resentment rising up in their hearts against it.
Christ died not in order to make God love us, but because He did love His people. Calvary is the supreme demonstration of Divine love. Whenever you are tempted to doubt the love of God, Christian reader, go back to Calvary.
The carnal mind is at enmity against God (Rom. 8:7), and the more His children are conformed to His image the more they will bring down upon themselves the spite of His foes. Being “persecuted for righteousness sake” (Mt. 5:10) means being opposed because of right living. Those who perform their Christian duty condemn those who live to please self, and therefore evoke their hatred. This persecution assumes various forms, from annoying and taunting to opposing and tormenting.
The subject of spiritual union is the most important, the most profound, and yet the most blessed of any that is set forth in the sacred Scriptures; and yet, sad to say, there is hardly any which is now more generally neglected. The very expression “spiritual union” is unknown in most professing Christian circles, and even where it is employed it is given such a protracted meaning as to take in only a fragment of this precious truth.
Indifference to sin is a moral blemish, and he who hates it not is a moral leper. How could He who is the Sum of all excellency look with equal satisfaction upon virtue and vice, wisdom and folly? How could He who is infinitely holy disregard sin and refuse to manifest His “severity” (Rom. 9:12) toward it? How could He who delights only in that which is pure and lovely, loathe and hate not that which is impure and vile? The very nature of God makes Hell as real a necessity, as imperatively and eternally requisite as Heaven is. Not only is there no imperfection in God, but there is no perfection in Him that is less perfect than another.
To deny the Divine decrees would be to predicate a world and all its concerns regulated by undesigned chance or blind fate. Then what peace, what assurance, what comfort would there be for our poor hearts and minds? What refuge would there be to fly to in the hour of need and trial? None at all. There would be nothing better than the black darkness and abject horror of atheism. O my reader, how thankful should we be that everything is determined by infinite wisdom and goodness! What praise and gratitude are due unto God for His Divine decrees.
The sovereignty of God may be defined as the exercise of His supremacy. Being infinitely elevated above the highest creature, He is the Most High, Lord of heaven and earth. Subject to none, influenced by none, absolutely independent; God does as He pleases, only as He pleases always as He pleases. None can thwart Him, none can hinder Him.
We are ever prone to regard sin lightly, to gloss over its hideousness, to make excuses for it. But the more we study and ponder God’s abhorrence of sin and His frightful vengeance upon it, the more likely are we to realize its heinousness.
The wrath of God is His eternal detestation of all unrighteousness. It is the displeasure and indignation of Divine equity against evil. It is the holiness of God stirred into activity against sin.
The decrees of God relate to all future things without exception: whatever is done in time, was foreordained before time began. God’s purpose was concerned with everything, whether great or small, whether good or evil.