“The Word did everything” by Martin Luther

“The Word created heaven and earth and all things [Ps. 33:6]; the Word must do this thing, and not we poor sinners.

In short, I will preach it, teach it, write it, but I will constrain no man by force, for faith must come freely without compulsion. Take myself as an example.

I opposed indulgences and all the papists, but never with force. I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing.

And while I slept [cf. Mark 4:26–29], or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends Philips and Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it.

I did nothing; the Word did everything.”

–Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 51: Sermons I (ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann; vol. 51; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 77.

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“Christ is our life in death” by Richard Sibbes

“Christ is our life in death, our light in darkness, our righteousness in sinfulness and guilt, our holiness in impurity, our redemption in all our miseries.”

–Richard Sibbes, “St. Paul’s Challenge,” in The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes (ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart; vol. 7; Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; W. Robertson, 1864), 7: 388.

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“Tenderness of heart” by Richard Sibbes

“Tenderness of heart is wrought by an apprehension of tenderness and love in Christ. A soft heart is made soft by the blood of Christ.

Many say, that an adamant cannot be melted with fire, but by blood. I cannot tell whether this be true or no; but I am sure nothing will melt the hard heart of man but the blood of Christ, the passion of our blessed Saviour.

When a man considers of the love that God hath shewed him in sending of His Son, and doing such great things as He hath done, in giving of Christ to satisfy His justice, in setting us free from hell, Satan and death: the consideration of this, with the persuasion that we have interest in the same, melts the heart, and makes it become tender.

And this must needs be so, because that with the preaching of the gospel unto broken-hearted sinners cast down, there always goes the Spirit of God, which works an application of the gospel.

Christ is the first gift to the Church. When God hath given Christ, then comes the Spirit, and works in the heart a gracious acceptance of mercy offered.

The Spirit works an assurance of the love and mercy of God. Now love and mercy felt, work upon the tender heart a reflective love to God again.

What, hath the great God of heaven and earth sent Christ into the world for me?

Humbled Himself to the death of the cross for me?

And hath He let angels alone, and left many thousands in the world, to choose me?

And hath He sent His ministers to reveal unto me this assurance of the love and mercy of God?

This consideration cannot but work love to God again. For love is a kind of fire which melts the heart.

So that when our souls are persuaded that God loves us from everlasting, then we reflect our love to Him again. And then our heart says to God, ‘Speak, Lord; what wilt Thou have me to do?’

The soul is pliable for doing, for suffering, for anything God will have it. Then, ‘Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth,’ 1 Sam. 3:9.

And when the heart is thus wrought upon, and made tender by the Spirit, then afterward in the proceeding of our lives, many things will work tenderness: as the works of God, His judgments, the word and sacraments, when they are made effectual by the Spirit of God, work tenderness.

The promises of God also make the heart tender, as Rom. 12:1, ‘I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, offer up your souls and bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God.’

There is no such like argument to persuade men to tenderness of heart, as to propound the love and mercy of God.”

–Richard Sibbes, “Josiah’s Reformation,” in The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes (ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart; vol. 7; Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; W. Robertson, 1863), 6: 33-34.

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“The gospel at work” by Charles Spurgeon

“Brother, are you serving God? Do you live to win souls? Is it your grand object to be the instrument in God’s hand of accomplishing His purposes of grace to the fallen sons of men?

Do you know that God has put you where you are, and called you to do the work to which your life is dedicated? Then go on in God’s name, for, as surely as He called you to His work, you may be sure that to you also He says, as indeed to all His servants, ‘I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.’

But I hear some of you say, ‘We are not engaged in work of such a kind that we could precisely call it work for God.’

Well, brethren, but are you engaged in a work which you endeavour to perform to God’s glory? Is your ordinary and common trade one which is lawful—one concerning which you have no doubt as to its honest propriety; and in carrying it on do you follow right principles only?

Do you endeavour to glorify God in the shop? Do you make the bells on the horses holiness to the Lord? It would not be possible for all of us to be preachers, for where would be the hearers?

Many a man would be very much out place if he were to leave his ordinary calling, and devote himself to what is so unscripturally called ‘the ministry.’

The fact is, the truest religious life is that in which a man follows the ordinary calling of life in the spirit of a Christian.

Now, are you so doing? If so, you are as much ministering before God in measuring out yards of calico, or weighing pounds of tea, as Joshua was in slaying Hivites, and Jebusites, and Hittites.

You are as much serving God in looking after your own children, and training them up in God’s fear, and minding the house, and making your household a church for God, as you would be if you had been called to lead an army to battle for the Lord of hosts.

And you may take this promise for yourself, for the path of duty is the path where this promise is to be enjoyed. ‘I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.'”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “Strengthening Medicine for God’s Servants” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons (vol. 21; London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1875), 52–53. This sermon on Joshua 1:5 was preached in 1875.

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“Christ Jesus loves us so much” by Jonathan Edwards

“In the gospel God is come down to us, and the person of God may receive communications of happiness from us. The man Christ Jesus loves us so much, that He is really the happier for our delight and happiness in Him.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “97 – Happiness,” in The “Miscellanies”: Entry Nos. a-z, aa-zz, 1-500, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 13, Ed. Harry S. Stout (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994), 264.

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“Every atom in the universe is managed by Christ” by Jonathan Edwards

“By virtue of the believer’s union with Christ, he doth really possess all things. That we know plainly from Scripture (1 Cor. 3:21-23). But it may be asked, how doth he possess all things? What is he the better for it? How is a true Christian so much richer than other men?

To answer this, I’ll tell you what I mean by ‘possessing all things.’ I mean that God three in one, all that He is, and all that He has, and all that He does, all that He has made or done—the whole universe, bodies and spirits, earth and heaven, angels, men and devils, sun, moon, and stars, land and sea, fish and fowls, all the silver and gold, kings and potentates as well as mean men—are as much the Christian’s as the money in his pocket, the clothes he wears, or the house he dwells in, or the victuals he eats, yea more properly his, more advantageously more his, than if he could command all those things mentioned to be just in all respects as he pleased at any time, by virtue of the union with Christ, because Christ, who certainly doth thus possess all things, is entirely his, so that he possesses it all, more than a wife the share of the best and dearest husband, more than the hand possesses what the head doth. It is all his.

The universe is his, only he has not the trouble of managing of it. But Christ, to whom it is no trouble, manages it for him a thousand times as much to his advantage as he could himself if he had the managing of all.

Every atom in the universe is managed by Christ so as to be most to the advantage of the Christian, every particle of air or every ray of the sun, so that he in the other world, when he comes to see it, shall sit and enjoy all this vast inheritance with surprising, amazing joy.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “ff – Union with Christ,” in The “Miscellanies”: Entry Nos. a-z, aa-zz, 1-500, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 13, Ed. Harry S. Stout (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994), 183-184.

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“The privilege of being with Christ in heaven” by Jonathan Edwards

“Let us all be exhorted hence earnestly to seek after that great privilege that has been spoken of, that when we are absent from the body, we may be present with the Lord. We can’t continue always in these earthly tabernacles: they are very frail, and will soon decay, and fall, and are continually liable to be overthrown, by innumerable means. Our souls must soon leave them, and go into the eternal world.

O how infinitely great will the privilege and happiness of such be, who at that time shall go to be with Christ in His glory, in the manner that has been represented!

The privilege of the twelve disciples was great, in being so constantly with Christ as His family, in His state of humiliation.

The privilege of those three disciples was great, who were with Him in the mount of His transfiguration, where was exhibited to them some little semblance of His future glory in heaven, such as they might behold in the present frail, feeble and sinful state. They were greatly entertained and delighted with what they saw, and were for making tabernacles to dwell there, and return no more down the mount.

And great was the privilege of Moses, when he was with Christ in Mount Sinai, and besought Him to show him His glory, and he saw His back-parts, as He passed by, and proclaimed His name.

But is not that privilege infinitely greater, that has now been spoken of, the privilege of being with Christ in heaven, where He sits on the right hand of God, in the glory of the King and God of angels, and of the whole universe, shining forth as the great light, the bright sun of that world of glory, there to dwell in the full, constant and everlasting view of His beauty and brightness, there most freely and intimately to converse with Him, and fully to enjoy His love, as His friends and spouse, there to have fellowship with Him in the infinite pleasure and joy He has in the enjoyment of His Father, there to sit with Him on His throne, and reign with Him in the possession of all things, and partake with Him in the joy and glory of His victory over His enemies, and the advancement of His cause in the world, and to join with Him in joyful songs of praise, to His Father and their Father, to His God and their God, forever and ever?

Is not such a privilege worth the seeking after?”

–Jonathan Edwards, “True Saints, When Absent From The Body, Are Present With The Lord,” in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 25, Sermons and Discourses 1743-1758. Ed. Wilson H. Kimnach (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 243-244.

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