Take Me As I Am

“Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be
saved.” Jeremiah 17:14

Here is this sin! Save me from it!—Here is this snare! Break it to
pieces!—Here is this lust! Lord, subdue it!—Here is this
temptation! Deliver me out of it!—Here is my proud heart! Lord,
humble it!—Here is my unbelieving heart! Take it away, and give
me faith—give me submission to Your mind and will. Take me as
I am with all my sin and shame and work in me everything well
pleasing in Your sight.

– J.C Philpot

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Sanctification

I hear men talk of becoming less and less sinful and progressively holier from day to day.  I hear men talk about their “progressive sanctification” a great deal.  But the more they boast of their progressive holiness, the more harsh, judgmental and mean-spirited they become towards their ‘lesser brethren’.  Their doctrine is this: ‘God’s children,’ they say ‘grow in righteousness and personal holiness until they are ripe for heaven.’  They actually teach that glorification is the end result of their own progressive attainments in ‘personal holiness’.  If their doctrine is true, if it is possible for men gradually to become less sinful and more holy, then it is possible for men, by diligence, self-denial and mortification of the flesh, eventually to attain sinless perfection in this life.

Such doctrine, of course is contrary to Holy Scriptures (1John 1:8, 1John 1:10).  Any man who says that he is without sin, even for a fleeting second, is deceived, the truth is not in him and he makes God a liar.  And honesty compels me to acknowledge that this doctrine of ‘progressive sanctification’ is totally contrary to my own experience.  I have, I believe, over the past nineteen years, grown in grace.  My love for, faith in and commitment to Christ have grown, increased and matured by the grace of God.  But my sin has not diminished.  My outward acts of sin are more restricted and controlled than before, but the inward evil of my flesh has not lessened.  If anything, it is worse now than ever.  With aching heart, I confess my sin.  Though I am redeemed, justified and sanctified in Christ, I am still a man in the flesh, and my flesh is full of sin.  By painful experience, I have learned that ‘I am carnal, sold under sin. . . For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing.’  Christ alone is my redemption.  Christ alone is my righteousness. Christ alone is my acceptance with God.  And Christ alone is my sanctification.

– Don Fortner

 

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Of Him Are Ye In Christ Jesus

1 Corinthians 1: 30

This declaration gives me four glorious things to contemplate.

First:  If it is of the eternal God that I am in Christ Jesus; then there was never a time when I was not in Him.  My birth, life and preservation were all considered according to my union with Him. God did not allow me to go too far or turn me over to myself.  But He watched over me and when it pleased Him brought me to Christ.

Second:  If it is of God that I am in Christ Jesus than it cannot come to naught.  No principality or power can snatch me from the hands of my Savior or the hands of my Father who put me there.  Our Lord said, “My Father which gave them me is greater than all and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” (John 10: 29)

 Third:  If it is of God that I am in Christ Jesus than all that He has accomplished is for me.  There would be nothing significant about being in Christ if he were not my representative and substitute.  All of His glory, greatness, and victory would be meaningless to me if we were not one by divine union.

Lastly:  If it is of God that I am in Christ Jesus then there is nothing left to glory in except the Lord.  “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

– Darvin Pruitt

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A Mystery To Yourself

I find then, the law that, to me, while I desire to do good, evil is present.” Romans 7:21

Are you not often a mystery to yourself? Warm one moment— cold the next! Abasing yourself one hour—exalting yourself the following! Loving the world, full of it, steeped up to your head in it today—crying, groaning, and sighing for a sweet manifestation of the love of God tomorrow! Brought down to nothingness, covered with shame and confusion, on your knees before you leave your room—filled with pride and self-importance before you have got down stairs! Despising the world, and willing to give it all up for one taste of the love of Jesus when in solitude—trying to grasp it with both hands when in business! What a mystery are you! Touched by love—and stung with hatred! Possessing a little wisdom—and a great deal of folly! Earthly minded—and yet having the affections in heaven! Pressing forward—and lagging behind! Full of sloth—and yet taking the kingdom with violence! And thus the Spirit, by a process which we may feel but cannot adequately describe—leads us into the mystery of the two natures perpetually struggling and striving against each other in the same bosom—so that one man cannot more differ from another, than the same man differs from himself. But the mystery of the kingdom of heaven is this—that our carnal mind undergoes no alteration, but maintains a perpetual war with grace. And thus, the deeper we sink in self-abasement under a sense of our vileness, the higher we rise in a knowledge of Christ, and the blacker we are in our own view—the more lovely does Jesus appear.

– J.C Philpot

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O, What Slow Learners!

“So Jesus said, Do you also still not understand?” Matthew 15:16.  What lessons we need day by day to teach us anything aright, and how it is for the most part, “line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” O, what slow learners!—what dull, forgetful scholars!—what ignoramuses!—what stupid blockheads!—what stubborn pupils! Surely no scholar at a school, old or young, could learn so little of natural things as we seem to have learned of spiritual things after so many years instruction—so many chapters read—so many sermons heard—so many prayers put up—so much talking about religion. How small, how weak is the amount of growth, compared with all we have read and heard and talked about! But it is a mercy that the Lord saves whom He will save.

– J.C Philpot

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A Right View of God

God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of Him is our proper; and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Better than fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of any, or all earthly friends. These are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean.”

– Jonathan Edwards

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A Believer’s Desire

Wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Matthew 24:28.

My soul! These are the words of Jesus, none of which should be suffered to fall to the ground. No doubt much instruction is contained in this passage. An eagle is a bird of prey: and Job saith, that the eagle hasteneth to the prey as the swift ships. Job_9:26.  In all birds of prey there is great discernment, a vast quickness of scent to smell their proper food afar off; and thus natural instinct, added to a ferocious appetite, compel those creatures to fly swift to their prey, and to devour the carcase. Is there nothing in all this that suits thee, my soul? Oh yes: If Jesus hath given thee a real principle of life in himself, which becomes a spiritual quickening from day to day, and from one hour to another, thy hungering and thirsting for Jesus will be as earnest and as importunate as the instinct of nature in those birds for daily food. Pause, my soul, and say—is it so? Dost thou seek after Jesus in his ordinances, in his word, in retirement, in meditation, in prayer, in providences; and, in short, in all the various ways by which thou mayest enjoy him, as a famished bird would hasten to his prey? If Jesus be indeed the one blessed object of thy desire, will not this be manifested by the earnestness of thy desires? Did David long for the waters of Bethlehem when thirsty? Did he declare,” that as the hart panteth for the waterbrooks,” so he longed for the enjoyment of God? Here then, my soul, mayest thou learn how to estimate the real standard of thy affections to thy Jesus. Oh for grace to have the soul exercised day and night, and never, never to give over those longings, like pregnant women, until the full desires of the soul in Jesus, and upon Jesus, be fully gratified. Methinks as the eagles gather together unto the carcase, so should believers be found feasting upon Jesus. In Jesus, and his glorious Excellencies, every thing is suited to the wants of the believer: his name, his person, his work, his blood, his righteousness; every perfection, every promise, every experience we have had in him in times past, becomes food to the soul. So that the spiritual cravings of the soul, when the soul is in health and strength, like the natural cravings of the bird of prey, act like the same instinct to lead to and to feed upon Jesus. See then, my soul, whether this morning thou art risen with a keen appetite for Jesus. Surely thou hast tasted that the Lord is gracious in times past. And if thou art in health of soul, wilt thou not as much hunger again for this heavenly food, as the body of an healthy man craves for his morning meal? Oh blessed Lord, give me this appetite. Excite an hungering in me for thee. Let it be for thyself; not for thy gifts only, not for thy graces only, sweet as these are; but, blessed Jesus, let it be for thyself. And let this desire be continual: every day, and all the day. And let it be wholly to thee, in all that belongs to thee. I mean, after every thing in Jesus; thy cross, if needful, as well as thy crown; a love to thy precepts, as well as thy promises. And, O let this desire be so insatiable, so earnest, so unceasing, that nothing I have of thee may so satisfy me that I should long no more after thee; but rather provoke my soul’s appetite, and tend but to inflame my heart and longings more and more, till, from tasting of thee here below, thou bringest me to the fountain-head of enjoyment above, where my longing eyes and longing soul shall feast upon Jesus and his love for ever and for ever.  Amen.

– Robert Hawker

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The Offence of the Gospel

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ…” Romans 1:16

The Natural man is ashamed of the gospel because the Gospel of Jesus Christ says that all men are sinners and that offends man’s dignity.  The religious person says:  “We be not sinners.”  That’s what they said to Christ; “we be not sinners”.

Christ said, “The Son of man is come to seek and to save the lost.” Paul said, “Christ came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief.” They said, “We be not sinners.”  Then, those outside the church say; “Well, we are not any worse sinners than the people in the church; we are no worse than they are.”

Then, the people out in profanity and blasphemy and evil, they say, “Well, we are not so bad; we’ve got some good traits.”  But, what does the Scripture say? The Scripture says:  “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God:

“All we like sheep have gone astray. We’ve turned everyone to his own way.”  The Scripture says:  “To offend in one point of the law, (just one jot or tittle), is to be guilty of the whole law of God.”

The Word of God says: “What the law saith it saith to them who are under the law that every mouth may be stopped and all the world become guilty before God. Your sins have separated you from God.”

That’s the first point of offense. That’s the first stumbling block; the Gospel of Christ addresses all men as sinners, not good sinners, not pretty good sinners, not pretty bad sinners, but just sinners, they are all grouped, under one heading:

“There’s none good, there’s none righteous, there’s none that seeketh after God. They are altogether become unprofitable. There is none that doeth good, no not one.”

Why is the true Gospel offensive? I didn’t say that religion is offensive; the natural man is religious.  I didn’t say that the average message of salvation is offensive, it’s not.

It tells the sinner what he can do in order to purchase salvation, what he can do in order to merit heaven, what he can do in order to merit God’s favor.  But, the Gospel of Christ is offensive.

– Henry Mahan

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Do You Love God’s Salvation?

“Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as
love thy salvation say continually, let God be magnified” (Psalm 70:4).

Every believer can truly identify and say with David that we love the
salvation that God has abundantly, eternally and sovereignly given to the poor and needy sinner in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no doubt that everyone is in need of salvation (Rom. 3:23), but few seem to have any real interest. The warning of scripture is, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” (Heb. 2:3).  Why does the true believer love the salvation of God?  Let me give you several scriptural reasons:

1.   We love God’s salvation because of the experience of it in the heart.
This salvation is not only a perfect work accomplished for us at Calvary
with His justifying blood atonement, it is also a work of God the Holy
Spirit making application to the sinner’s heart (John 16:8-15). Salvation
that is revealed in scripture is an experience of the grace of God revealing Christ to the heart (Phil. 1:6).

2.   We love God’s salvation because of the method of it (1 Peter 3:18). The method of this salvation was devised, implemented and executed by God Almighty.  It is the way of sovereign grace through the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ who satisfied the demands of God’s justice and supplied every need for the guilty sinner (Phil. 4:19).

3.  We love God’s salvation because of the sureness of it (Rom. 4:16). We
run no risk when we trust the eternal welfare of our soul upon Jesus Christ the Righteous; it is truly a safe salvation (Psa. 62:6-8). He guarantees and gives eternal life to all those who believe on His name (John 3:36).

4.  We love God’s salvation because of the completeness of it (Col. 2:9-10).  Nothing remains unfinished or lacking. God’s salvation is not waiting upon the sinner to add something to make it complete or effectual. Only that which God provided will be accepted (Gen. 22: 8). Sin is put away (Heb. 9:26), redemption is accomplished (Heb. 9:12), righteousness is established (Phil. 3:7-9) and reconciliation is achieved (2 Cor. 5:18).

5.  We love God’s salvation because of the Person of it (1 John 5:10-12).
Jesus Christ Himself is the sum, substance and subject matter of the gospel (Rom. 1:1-3). “He is altogether lovely” (Song of Sol. 5:16). Salvation is not in a profession, place nor a position but rather in a glorious Person.  Surely, anyone who does not love this salvation must be a lover of self, and a hater of the God of all grace (1 Peter 5:10). Surely, those who love God’s salvation can say, “Let God be magnified” (1 Cor. 1:30-31).

– Tom Harding, Pastor, Zebulon Baptist Church, Pikeville, KY

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Resting in God

“.  .  .  A sinner’s peace cannot come from himself, nor from the knowledge of himself, nor from thinking about his own acts and feelings, nor from the consciousness of any amendment of his old self.

Whence, then, is it to come?  How does he get it?

It can only come from God; and it is in knowing God that he gets it. God has written a volume for the purpose of making himself known; and it is in this revelation of his character that the sinner is to find the rest that he is seeking.  God himself is the fountainhead of our peace; his revealed truth is the channel through which this peace finds its way into us; and his Holy Spirit is the great interpreter of that truth to us:  “Acquaint now thyself with him (God), and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.”  (Job 22:21).  Yes, acquaintanceship with God is peace!”

– Horatius Bonar

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