Category Archives: grace

“Not a pointed finger but open arms” by Dane Ortlund

“Meek. Humble. Gentle.

Jesus is not trigger-happy. Not harsh, reactionary, easily exasperated.

He is the most understanding person in the universe.

The posture most natural to Him is not a pointed finger but open arms.”

–Dane Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020), 19.

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“At least, so it ought to be” by Herman Bavinck

“When we are reconciled to God we are reconciled to all things.

When we stand in a right relationship to God we also come to stand in a right relationship over against the world.

The redemption in Christ is a redemption from the guilt and punishment of sin, but it is a redemption also from the world which can so confine and oppress us.

We know that the Father loved the world, and that Christ gained the victory over the world. The world can therefore still oppress us, but it cannot rob us of our good courage (John 16:33).

As children of the Heavenly Father, the believers are not anxious about what they shall eat, and what they shall drink, and with what they shall be clothed, for He knows that they have need of all these things (Matt. 6:25ff.).

They do not gather treasures upon earth, but have their treasure in Heaven where neither moth nor rust corrupts, and where thieves do not break through nor steal (Matt. 6:19–20).

As unknown they are nevertheless known; as dying they live; as chastened they are not killed; as sorrowful yet always rejoicing; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things (2 Cor. 6:9–10).

They do not torment themselves with the ‘Taste not, touch not’ attitude, but regard every creature of God as good and accept it with gratitude (Col. 2:20 and 1 Tim. 4:4).

They remain and they work in the same calling in which they are called and are not bondservants of men but of Christ alone (1 Cor. 7:20–24).

They see in the trials which fall to them not a punishment but a chastisement and a token of God’s love (Heb. 12:5–8).

They are free over against all creatures because nothing can separate them from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus their Lord (Rom. 8:35 and 39).

Indeed, all things are theirs because they are Christ’s (1 Cor. 3:21–23), and all things must work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28).

The believer who is justified in Christ is the freest creature in the world.

At least, so it ought to be.”

–Herman Bavinck, The Wonderful Works of God (trans. Henry Zylstra; Glenside, PA: Westminster Seminary Press, 1956/2019), 449-450.

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“Banished from the public means of grace, we are not removed from the grace behind the means of grace” by Charles Spurgeon

“MARCH 15

Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: Though I removed them far off among the nations, and though I scattered them among the countries, yet I have been a sanctuary to them for a while in the countries where they have gone.’ –Ezekiel 11:16

Banished from the public means of grace, we are not removed from the grace behind the means of grace. The Lord who places His people where they feel as exiles will Himself be with them. He will be to them all that they could have had at home in the place of their sacred assemblies. Take this promise as your own if you are called to wander!

God is to His people a place of refuge. They find sanctuary with Him from every adversary. He is their place of worship too. He is with them as He was with Jacob when he slept in the open field and woke, saying, ‘Surely God was in this place.’ (Gen. 28:16) To them He will also be a sanctuary of peace, like the Most Holy Place, which was the noiseless abode of the Eternal. They will be kept from fear of evil.

God Himself, in Christ Jesus, is the sanctuary of mercy. The ark of the covenant is the Lord Jesus, and Aaron’s rod, the pot of manna, the tables of the law are in Christ our sanctuary. In God we find the shrine of holiness and of communion. What more do we need?

Oh, Lord, fulfill this promise, and always be to us like a little sanctuary!”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, The Promises of God: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on the English Standard Version, Revised and Updated by Tim Chester (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2019), “March 15.” Originally published in The Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith: Being Precious Promises Arranged for Daily Use with Brief Comments (New York: American Tract Society, 1893), 75.

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“Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, 1936” by Wilbur L. Cross

“Time out of mind at this turn of the seasons when the hardy oak leaves rustle in the wind and the frost gives a tang to the air and the dusk falls early and the friendly evenings lengthen under the heel of Orion, it has seemed good to our people to join together in praising the Creator and Preserver, who has brought us by a way that we did not know to the end of another year.”

–Wilbur L. Cross, “Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, 1936,” in Proclamations of His Excellency Wilbur L. Cross Governor of the State of Connecticut (Hartford: Lockwood and Brainerd Co., 1937), 16.

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“You have never yet had half an idea, or the tithe of an idea, of how precious you are to Christ” by Charles Spurgeon

“It is in our Lord’s prayer, when He is in the inner sanctuary speaking with the Father, that we have these words, ‘All mine are thine, and thine are mine.’ (John 17:10)

Here is the Son speaking to the Father, not about thrones and royalties, nor cherubim and seraphim, but about poor men and women, in those days mostly fishermen and peasant folk, who believed on Him.

They are talking about these people, and the Son is taking His own solace with the Father in their secret privacy by talking about these precious jewels, these dear ones that are their peculiar treasure.

You have not any notion how much God loves you.

Dear brother, dear sister, you have never yet had half an idea, or the tithe of an idea, of how precious you are to Christ.

You think, because you are so imperfect, and you fall so much below your own ideal, that, therefore, He does not love you much; you think that He cannot do so.

Have you ever measured the depth of Christ’s agony in Gethsemane, and of His death on Calvary? If you have tried to do so, you will be quite sure that, apart from anything in you or about you, He loves you with a love that passeth knowledge.

Believe it. ‘But I do not love Him as I should,’ I think, I hear you say. No, and you never will unless you first know His love to you.

Believe it; believe it to the highest degree, that He so loves you that, when there is no one who can commune with Him but the Father, even then their converse is about their mutual estimate of you, how much they love you: ‘All mine are thine, and thine are mine.'”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “Christ’s Pastoral Prayer for His People,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 39 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1893), 39: 507–508. Spurgeon preached this sermon on John 17:9-10 on the Lord’s Day evening of September 1, 1889 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.

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“He deserves our all, for He parted with all for us” by John Newton

“Our relief lies in the wisdom and sovereignty of God. He reveals His salvation to whom He pleases, for the most part to babes; from the bulk of the wise and the prudent it is hidden.

Thus it hath pleased Him, and therefore it must be right. Yea, He will one day condescend to justify the propriety and equity of His proceedings to His creatures; then every mouth will be stopped, and none will be able to reply against their Judge.

Light is come into the world, but men prefer darkness. They hate the light, resist it, and rebel against it. It is true, all do so; and therefore, if all were to perish under the condemnation, their ruin would be their own act.

It is of grace that any are saved; and in the distribution of that grace, He does what He will with His own: a right which most are ready enough to claim in their own concerns, though they are so unwilling to allow it to the Lord of all. Many perplexing and acrimonious disputes have been started upon this subject.

But the redeemed of the Lord are called not to dispute, but to admire and rejoice, to love, adore, and obey. To know that He loved us, and gave Himself for us, is the constraining argument and motive to love Him, and surrender ourselves to Him; to consider ourselves as no longer our own, but to devote ourselves, with every faculty, power, and talent, to His service and glory.

He deserves our all; for He parted with all for us. He made himself poor, he endured shame, torture, death, and the curse, for us, that we, through Him, might inherit everlasting life.

Ah! the hardness of my heart, that I am no more affected, astonished, overpowered, with this thought!”

–John Newton, The Works of John NewtonVolume 1 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2015), 1: 485-486.

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“A pastor who has been mastered by the unconditional grace of God” by Sinclair Ferguson

“Beloved, men who have only a conditional offer of the gospel, will have only a conditional gospel.

The man who has only a conditional gospel knows only conditional grace.

And the man who knows only conditional grace knows only a conditional God.

And the man who has only a conditional God will have a conditional ministry to his fellow men.

And at end of the day, he will only be able to give his heart, and his life, and his time, and his devotion to his people… on condition.

And he will love and master the truth of the great doctrines of grace, but until grace in God Himself masters him, the grace that has mastered him will never flow from him to his people.

And he will become a Jonah in the 20th century, sitting under his tree with a heart that is shut up against sinners in need of grace, because he thinks of God in conditional terms.

And that, you see, was the blight upon the ministry in the Church of Scotland of those days, men who were thoroughly Reformed in their confessional subscription, but whose bowels, whose hearts, were closed up to God’s people and to the lost in all the nations.

Wasn’t it Alexander Whyte of Freesen Georges that used to say there was such a thing as sanctification by vinegar that makes men accurate and hard? And that’s what they were.

When your people come and have been broken by sin, and have been tempted by Satan, and are ashamed to confess the awful mess they have made of their life, it is not a Calvinistic pastor who has been sanctified by vinegar that they need.

It is a pastor who has been mastered by the unconditional grace of God, from whom ironclad orthodoxy has been torn away, and the whole armor of a gracious God has been placed upon his soul — the armor of One who would not break the bruised reed or quench the dimly burning wick: the God of free grace.

It’s the pastor who will say, ‘Simon, Simon, Satan has demanded to have you, but I have prayed for you; and when you are converted, strengthen the brethren.’

You see, my friends, as we think together in these days about a godly pastor… What is a godly pastor?

A godly pastor is a pastor who is like God, who has a heart of free grace running after sinners.

The godly pastor is the one who sees the prodigal returning, and runs and falls on his neck and weeps and kisses him; and says, ‘This my son was dead; he was lost and now he is alive and found.’

So that we discover, even in the stretching of our minds over this Marrow Controversy, that the first pastoral lesson we learn is really a question:

What kind of pastor am I to my people? Am I like the Father? Or am I like the elder brother, who would not go in?

–Sinclair B. Ferguson, “The Marrow Controversy Lecture #1: Historical Details,” p. 13. Consider taking a few minutes to listen to this powerful exhortation from Dr. Ferguson, that I trust will serve your soul.

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