Christ, Our Refuge

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my   salvation — my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2

On every side are hosts of enemies ever invading our souls — trampling down every good thing in our hearts — accompanied by a flying troop of temptations, doubts, fears, guilt and bondage sweeping over our soul.

And we, as regards our own strength, are helpless against them.

But there is a refuge set before us in the gospel of the grace of God. The Lord Jesus Christ, as King in Zion, is there held up
before our eyes as . . .
  the Rock of our refuge,
  our strong Tower,
  our impregnable Fortress;
and we are encouraged by every precious promise and every gospel invitation when we are overrun and distressed by these wandering, ravaging, plundering tribes—to flee unto and find a safe refuge in Him.

“Keep me safe, O God, for in You I take refuge.” Psalm 16:1

“O Lord my God, I take refuge in You; save  and deliver me from all who pursue me.”      Psalm 7:1

What Is It To Be In Christ?

“To be found in Him…” Philipians 3:9

Every believer in Jesus Christ confesses that all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). We know that the righteousness of God comes not by our works but by the faith of Jesus Christ. And only those who are in Christ by faith have the righteousness of God which was merited by the faith of Christ (Romans 3:22; Galatians 2:16;20). Therefore, as Paul desired to be found IN Christ, even so, does every believer have the same desire. For to be in Christ is to be as safe as Noah was in the Ark; as safe as the man-slayer was in the city of refuge, and as sure as Christ is in God (John 14:20).

To be in Christ is the closest possible union we can have to God and is the only source of communion with God. To be in Christ is to be accepted by God, justified by God, and sanctified by the Spirit of God. Therefore we, like Paul, desire to have nothing but Jesus Christ to be our all (1 Corinthians 1:30)!

Let us who in Christ rejoice for IN Him we are safe, happy, and sure to receive all the promises of God; For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us” (2 Corinthians 1:20)

We are persuaded that Christ is all our life and peace with God. For Christ alone has accomplished our redemption and brought in everlasting righteousness (Daniel 9:24).

Are you IN Christ? Is this your desire to be found only IN Him? If death comes to you, will it find you in Christ? If the justice of God finds you, will it find you in Christ? In Christ, there is no death. IN Christ there is no condemnation. In Christ, there is no threatening or wrath of God but only forgiveness, pardon peace, and love (John 11:25; Romans 8:1; Isaiah 53:11; Psalm 103:1-4)!

I know it is all my daily desire and prayer to be “found in Christ not having my own righteousness, but that which is by the faith of Christ.” 

-Fred Evans

A Promise To Weary Sinners

Oh, that a weary, brokenhearted world would learn these lessons of grace! Oh, that they would taste and see that God is good! Let them but come home to Him. He will not mock them with shadows, nor feed them with husks. He will satisfy their craving souls; He will turn their midnight into noon; He will give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord.

-Horatiaus Bonar

Do Not Praise The Dead And Shun The Living

If I truly believe the gospel of God’s sovereign grace and glory, I will not hesitate to be fully identified with those who believe and preach that gospel in my day. Paul said to Timothy, “Do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner.” It is cowardice and compromising to brag on dead preachers like Spurgeon, Pink, and Barnard, and yet fail to support, encourage, and hear those who preach the same gospel now! Such professors who never bear the scars of battle will never wear the crown. Those who shun the good fight of faith in their day will never celebrate the victory in that great day of our Lord.

-Henry Mahan

Love God And Live As You Please

“Love God And Live As You Please.” This was the response of Augustine when he was asked what is the secret to the Christian life. This was also the response of Martin Luther when he was asked to cite his rule of life.

Everyone except those who are physically confined or restrained endeavors to live the rule “Live as you please.” The difference between us is the object of our love. For we are motivated to live by whom we love. This is true for both “lovers of themselves” (2 Timothy 3:2) and “lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4). The first will have “pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:12). The second will imitate Jesus Christ when He said of His Father, “I always do those things that please Him” (John 8:29).  Nevertheless, many religious folks become upset when Christians confess to live by the rule “Love God, and live as you please.” They appear to skip over the first part of that rule – which is the most important part to a Christian – and therefore misunderstand or misapply the second.

Some have told me, “Your rule lets you do what you want to do.”

O, how I wish I could do what I want to do! I want to serve the God I love completely and perfectly. I am grieved when I do not (see Romans 7:15ff).

Some have told me, “Your rule gives you a license to sin.”

To the contrary, a license to sin belongs to those who hate God and love themselves. Lovers of God depart from sin to godliness because they have, as it were, a license to righteousness. Lovers of God obey His Word when it says, “You who love Jehovah, hate evil!” (Psalm 97:10). Lovers of God are compelled by their love to “no longer . . . live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God” (1 Peter 4:2) and to “live according to God in the spirit” (v.6). Lovers of God live so as to be “imitators of God as dear children” (Ephesians 5:1), and to be holy and perfect because He is (1 Peter 1:15f; Matthew 5:48), and to live according to the example of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:21).

Lovers of God are not legalists motivated by the desire to live in a way that obtains justification or sanctification through keeping the law. Nor are lovers of God mercenaries motivated by the desire to live so as to earn rewards from God.

Rather, lovers of God are motivated to live according to God’s love to us and our love to Him.

And, as Augustine also said, “To profess to love God while leading an unholy life is the worst of falsehoods.”

–Daniel Parks, Pastor Sovereign Grace Baptist Church, Saint Croix, US Virgin Islands

God’s Word Like Heavenly Dew

The dew falls imperceptibly. No man can see it fall. Yet its effects are visible in the morning. So it is with the blessing of God upon His Word. It penetrates the heart without noise; it sinks deep into the conscience
without anything visible going on. And as the dew opens the pores of the earth and refreshes the ground after the heat of a burning day, making vegetation lift up its drooping head, so it is with the blessing of God
resting upon the soul.

Heavenly dew comes imperceptibly, falls quietly, and is manifested chiefly by its effects, as softening, opening, penetrating, and secretly causing every grace of the Spirit to lift up its drooping head.

Whenever the Lord may have been pleased to bless our souls, either in hearing, in reading, or in private meditation, have not these been some of the effects? Silent, quiet, imperceptible, yet producing an evident impression . . .
  softening the heart when hard,
  refreshing it when dry,
  melting it when obdurate,
  secretly keeping the soul alive, so that it is neither withers up by the burning sun of temptation, nor dies for lack of grace.

-J.C Philpot

Consider God’s Crooked Work Of Salvation

Consider the work of God: for who can make straight which He hath made crooked? (Ecclesiastes 7:13)

Behold how the work of God seems crooked in the eyes of natural human reasoning and wisdom. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death (Proverbs 14:12). Consider the work of God in salvation. 

1. Consider the work of God the Father. He has from eternity chosen a people and put them in union with Jesus Christ. Consider that the Father purposed them to be holy; not by their works or merits, but by the work of Jesus Christ His Son (Ephesians 1:3-6: 2 Timothy 1:9).  

2. Consider the work of the Son of God. The Son was made flesh to represent all the Father gave him to save. Behold Jesus has accomplished all the righteousness and redemption of His people as their federal head and High Priest (Hebrews 10:12-14; Isaiah 53:6-11). And having accomplished salvation God raised him from the dead and sat Him upon the throne of God (Ephesians 1:20-23). All power is given to Jesus Christ for the purpose of giving eternal life to His elect (John 17:1-3). 

3. Consider the work of the Holy Spirit. All men by nature are spiritually dead and cannot come to Christ by faith. The Spirit of God will quicken every elect and redeemed sinner to spiritual life and faith and none of them will fail to believe on Christ (John 3: 3-8; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; John 6:37-40:44; 2 Peter 3:9; Ephesians 2:8-10). And every one that believes on Christ will persevere in faith only because we are kept by the power of God (1 Peter 1:5; John 6:37-40). Therefore consider that “Salvation is of the LORD!” Consider that “Salvation belongeth to the LORD” (Jonah 2:9; Psalm 3:8). So then every believer rejoices when we consider God’s Work of Salvation.

But in the mind of the natural man, God’s Salvation by grace is crooked (Romans 1:18-25). Behold the vanity of the carnal mind to try to straighten out God’s Work of salvation to fit their scheme of works and free-will religion. O vain man, will you straighten God’s salvation when He has made it crooked in your mind? The truth is that God’s work of Salvation is straight and its man’s depraved mind and heart that is crooked. See then how God has made foolish the wisdom of men by His gospel of salvation by grace (1 Corinthians 1:20)!


What Is Contentment?

Contentment is the being satisfied with the sovereign dispensations of God’s providence. It is the opposite of murmuring, which is the spirit of rebellion — the clay saying to the Potter, “Why have you made me thus?” Instead of complaining at his lot — a contented man is thankful that his condition and circumstances are no worse than they are. 

-A W Pink

What Believers Know About God’s Salvation

If 99% of salvation is by grace, then salvation is 100% by works.  If any aspect of salvation is dependent upon man doing his part in order for God’s part to be fulfilled, then salvation is of man, and not of the Lord. Works and grace cannot be mixed.  They are mutually exclusive.  The belief that God loves all, Christ died for all, the Holy Spirit calls all, but salvation is dependent upon man’s acceptance or rejection of God’s offer of salvation is just as much salvation by works as believing you are saved by your law-keeping or baptism.  It still leaves salvation ultimately dependent upon man, and leaves him a ground for boasting.  

 But the fact of the matter is salvation is 100% by grace.  Everybody who is saved by grace knows that.  It is only those who do not know the grace of God that will leave any wiggle room for human works.

  -Todd Nibert, Pastor of Todd’s Road Grace Church, Lexington, KY USA

Jesus Cares For His Own!

For how can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people? or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred? (Esther 8:6)

Of all the sweet reflections which arise out of this chapter, I desire chiefly to have my soul directed to the contemplation of Jesus, in his love to this people which the anxiety of Esther, for her countrymen the Jews, so strongly prompts the mind to consider. If she felt such concern as to cry out, How can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people; or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred? Think, Reader, whether it be possible to conceive Jesus will look on, and suffer any of his to perish?

Recollect the interest he hath in them, the relationship in which he stands towards them; the purchase he hath made of them; the vast price they cost him; the love he hath to his Father who gave them to him; and the pains he hath gone through, to make their salvation sure. And can you suppose it possible, that he will suffer one of those little ones, which trust in him, to perish?

Consider what he is in himself: His glory, greatness, almightiness, and sovereignty, as God and man in one person. He is the husband of his church, the brother, the friend. God’s love is stronger than death and more vehement in its warmth than coals of fire. And consider what Jesus hath done to satisfy their souls, in the assurance of his unalterable love. He assumed the very nature of man. And having stood up as our surety, borne our sins, carried our sorrows, and though knowing no sin in himself, yet being made sin, and even a curse for us, and having satisfied the divine justice, answered the whole law, taken the punishment, finished transgression, made an end of sin, brought in an everlasting righteousness, washed poor sinners in his blood, clothed them in his righteousness, he now ever liveth to see the whole purposes of his salvation, fully accomplished: can He endure to see any evil upon his people; or those for whom he died brought into everlasting ruin? Reader! think of this and cast thy soul upon him who careth for thee? Oh! precious Jesus! I would say, cause me to rest with full assurance of faith, and to triumph in thee and thy great salvation! (John 6:37-40)

-Robert Hawker