Category Archives: grace

“Against the tide all the way” by Sinclair Ferguson

“Hebrews is all about persevering in sanctification. Without holiness, writes the author, ‘no one will see the Lord.’ We must therefore ‘strive’ for it (Hebrews 12:14).

He uses vigorous language. His verb (διώκω, strive) appears regularly in the New Testament with the sense of ‘persecute.’

Such strong language was needed here because these Christians were facing hardship and opposition. They therefore needed to pay careful attention to the gospel, to digest what they had heard, so that they would not drift away.

What do you need to do to slow down and go backwards in the Christian life? Hebrews’ answer is: ‘Nothing.” Drifting is the easiest thing in the world.

It is swimming against the tide that requires effort. And the Christian life is against the tide all the way. Spiritual weariness, being ‘sluggish,’ is one of our great enemies. The author is all-too-familiar with its tell-tale signs.

Christians then, as now, were confronted by many pressures. Some of them had suffered deeply for their testimony to Jesus Christ. We might think that anyone who has withstood trials would be in no danger of failing to persevere.

But the battle to be holy is fierce, the opposition is strong, and the obstacles are many. Even those who have won great victories in the past can become weary. Spiritual lethargy can set in, and we begin to drift.

We constantly need to be encouraged to keep going (Hebrews 3:12-13).”

–Sinclair Ferguson, Devoted To God: Blueprints For Sanctification (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 2016), 191.

1 Comment

Filed under Christian Theology, grace, Hebrews, Holiness, Jesus Christ, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Sanctification, Sin, Sinclair Ferguson, The Gospel

“A rich and gracious Savior” by John Newton

“I may express all my complaints in one short sentence: I am a poor creature.

And all my hopes and comforts may be summed up as briefly by saying: I have a rich and gracious Saviour.

Full as I am in myself of inconsistencies and conflicts, I have in Him a measure of peace.

He found me in a waste howling wilderness. He redeemed me from the house of misery and bondage.

And though I have been ungrateful and perverse, He has not yet forsaken me. I trust He never will.

‘Unsustained by Thee I fall.’ But He is able to hold even me up: to pity, to support, and to supply me to the end of life.

How suitable a Saviour! He is made all things to those who have nothing, and He is engaged to help those who can do nothing.”

–John Newton, The Aged Pilgrim’s Thoughts Over Sin and the Grave, Illustrated in a Series of Letters to Walter Taylor, Never Before Published, by the Rev. John Newton (London: Baker and Fletcher, 2nd Ed., 1825), 6.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Christian Theology, Communion with God, Discipleship, grace, Holiness, Jesus Christ, John Newton, Mercy, Providence, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Sanctification, Sin, Suffering, Temptation, The Gospel

“These are the great things” by John Newton

“One man like Mr. Whitefield is raised up to preach the gospel with success through a considerable part of the earth. Another is called to the humbler service of sweeping the streets, or cleaning this great minister’s shoes.

Now if the latter is thankful and content in his poor station, if he can look without envy, yea, with much love on the man that is honoured, if he can rejoice in the good that is done, or pray for the success of those whom the Lord sends, I see not why he may not be as great a man in the sight of God, as he who is followed and admired by thousands.

I am inclined to think, that if you and I were to travel in search of the best Christian in the land, or were qualified to distinguish who deserved the title, it is more than two to one we should not find the person in a pulpit, or any public office of life.

Perhaps some old woman at her wheel, or some bedridden person, hid from the knowledge of the world, in a mud-walled cottage, would strike our attention more than any of the doctors or reverends with whom we are acquainted.

Let us not measure men, much less ourselves, by gifts or services. One grain of grace is worth abundance of gifts.

To be self-abased, to be filled with a spirit of love, and peace, and gentleness, to be dead to the world, to have the heart deeply affected with a sense of the glory and grace of Jesus, to have our will bowed to the will of God: these are the great things, more valuable, if compared in the balance of the sanctuary, than to be an instrument of converting a province or a nation. See 1 Corinthians 13:1–3.”

–John Newton, Letters of John Newton (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1869/2007), 168-169.

Leave a comment

Filed under Banner of Truth, Christian Theology, Communion with God, Faith, grace, Humility, Jesus Christ, John Newton, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Sanctification, The Gospel

“A thousand worlds” by John Newton

“A little grace, a spark of true love to God, a grain of living faith, though small as mustard-seed, is worth a thousand worlds.”

–John Newton, Letters of John Newton (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1869/2007), 73-74.

Leave a comment

Filed under Banner of Truth, Christian Theology, Communion with God, Faith, God's Power, grace, Jesus Christ, John Newton, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Sanctification, The Gospel

“The great mystery of the gospel” by John Owen

“This is the great mystery of the gospel in the blood of Christ, that those who sin every day should have peace with God all their days.”

–John Owen, “An Exposition of Psalm 130,” in The Works of John Owen, Volume 6: Temptation and Sin, Ed. William H. Goold (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1668/1967), 339.

Leave a comment

Filed under Banner of Truth, Bible, Christian Theology, Forgiveness, grace, Jesus Christ, John Owen, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel

“He kindled it, and He keeps it alive” by John Newton

“Let us be thankful for the beginnings of grace, and wait upon our Saviour patiently for the increase. And as we have chosen Him for our physician, let us commit ourselves to His management, and not prescribe to Him what He shall prescribe for us.

He knows us and He loves us better than we do ourselves, and will do all things well.

You say, ‘It never came with power and life to my soul that He died for me.’ If you mean, you never had any extraordinary sudden manifestation, something like a vision or a voice from heaven, confirming it to you, I can say the same.

But I know He died for sinners; I know I am a sinner.

I know He invites them that are ready to perish; I am such a one.

I know, upon His own invitation, I have committed myself to Him.

And I know, by the effects, that He has been with me hitherto, otherwise I should have been an apostate long ago.

And therefore I know that He died for me; for had He been pleased to kill me (as He justly might have done), He would not have shewn me such things as these.

I know that I am a child, because He teaches me to say, ‘Abba, Father.’

I know that I am His, because He has enabled me to choose Him for mine. For such a choice and desire could never have taken place in my heart, if He had not placed it there Himself.

By nature I was too blind to know Him, too proud to trust Him, too obstinate to serve Him, too base-minded to love Him. The enmity I was filled with against His government, righteousness, and grace, was too strong to be subdued by any power but His own.

The love I bear Him is but a faint and feeble spark, but it is an emanation from Himself.

He kindled it, and He keeps it alive.

And because it is His work, I trust many waters shall not quench it.”

–John Newton, The Works of the John Newton, Volume 1 (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 643–644.

1 Comment

Filed under Christian Theology, grace, Jesus Christ, John Newton, Love of God, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel

“Grace is the fountain of life” by J.C. Ryle

“The word ‘grace’ seems to be employed as a comprehensive description of the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Of that glorious Gospel, grace is the main feature– grace in the original scheme, grace in the execution, grace in the application to man’s soul.

Grace is the fountain of life from which our salvation flows. Grace is the agency through which our spiritual life is kept up.

Are we justified? It is by grace.

Are we called? It is by grace.

Have we forgiveness? It is through the riches of grace.

Have we good hope? It is through grace.

Do we believe? It is through grace.

Are we elect? It is by the election of grace.

Are we saved? It is by grace.

Why should I say more? The time would fail me to exhibit fully the part that grace does in the whole work of redemption.

No wonder that St. Paul says to the Romans, ‘We are not under the law, but under grace;’ and tells Titus, ‘The grace of God, which bringeth salvation, hath appeared unto all men.’ (Rom. 3:24; Gal. 1:15; Eph. 1:7; 2 Thess. 2:16; Acts 18:27; Rom. 1:5; Eph. 2:5; Rom. 6:15; Titus 2:11).”

–J.C. Ryle, Knots Untied: Being Plain Statements on Disputed Points in Religion (London: William Hunt and Company, 1885), 354.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Christian Theology, grace, J.C. Ryle, Jesus Christ, Preaching, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel, Union with Christ