“In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2
O that we could lift our eyes to those blessed abodes—those mansions of heavenly bliss where no sorrow intrudes, where sin is unknown, where tears are wiped from off all faces, where there is no languishing body, no wasting sickness, no pining soul, no doubt, no fear, no darkness, no distress—but one unmingled scene of happiness and pleasure—and the whole soul and body are engaged in singing the praises of the Lamb! And what crowns the whole—there is the eternal enjoyment of those pleasures which are at the right hand of God forevermore! But how lost are we in the contemplation of these things—and though our imagination may seem to stretch itself beyond the utmost conception of the mind, into the countless ages of a never ending eternity, yet are we baffled with the thought—though faith embraces the blessed truth. But in that happy land, the immortal soul and the immortal body will combine their powers and faculties to enjoy to the uttermost all that God has prepared for those who love Him.
The “god” of this century no more resembles the Supreme Sovereign Holy Writ than does the dim flickering of a candle the glory of the midday sun. The god who is now talked about in the average pulpit, spoken of in the ordinary Sunday School, mentioned in most of the religious literature of the day, and preached in most of the so-called Bible conferences is the figment of human imagination, an invention of overemotional sentimentality. The heathen outside the pale of Christendom form gods out of wood and stone while the millions of heathen inside Christendom manufacture a god out of their own carnal minds. In reality, they are but atheists; for there is no other possible alternative between an absolute supreme God and no God at all! 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 naught but contempt!
As the years pass, I come to a greater and greater realization of how much I must depend upon the grace of God for my salvation. My righteousness appears less and less acceptable in my sight: and if it looks poor in my sight, how awful it must appear in God’s sight! My will and determination do not appear half so strong as they once did, and I feel a greater need to rely upon the unchangeable will of God if I am to persevere. This business of growing in grace is not at all what I once thought it would be. Rather than growing stronger, it seems I am growing weaker. Rather than growing more self-sufficient, it appears that I am growing more Christ – dependent. My utter dependence on Christ for all things is more evident to me now than before. I suppose this is why Peter united growing in grace with growing in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus. So, if your desire is to grow in grace, then prepare yourself to diminish; prepare yourself to reduce in the flesh, for growth in grace is a growth in “Christ being formed in you,” which always follows the old pattern “He must increase, I must decrease.”
First, By this word grace, we are to understand God’s free, sovereign, good
pleasure, whereby he acteth in Christ towards his people. Grace and mercy therefore are terms that have their distinct significations; mercy signifies pitifulness, or a running over of infinite bowels to objects in a miserable and helpless condition. But grace signifies that God still acts in this as a free agent, not being wrought upon by the misery of the creature, as a procuring cause; but of his own princely mind.
Were there no objects of pity among those that in the old world perished by the flood, or
that in Sodom were burned with fire from heaven? doubtless, according to our
apprehension, there were many: but Noah, and he only, found grace in God’s eyes; not because that of himself he was better than the rest, but God acted as a gracious prince towards him, savory, significant, and suitable, that this form of speaking is become famous among Christians, and will be used to the end of time and let him share in mercy of his own sovereign will and pleasure.