Category Archives: Jesus Christ

“Weaker than water but wonderfully kept” by John Newton

“With respect to my own experience, I have little now to add to what I have formerly offered. For, in one sense, every new day is filled up with new things:

–new mercies on the Lord’s part, new ingratitude on mine;
–new instances of the vileness of my nature, and new proofs of the power of sovereign pardoning grace;
–new hills of difficulty, new valleys of humiliation;
–and now and then (though, alas! very short and seldom) new glimpses of what I would be, and where I would be.

The everlasting love of God, the unspeakable merits of Christ’s righteousness, and the absolute freeness of the Gospel promises—these form the threefold cord by which my soul maintains a hold of that which is within the vail.

Sin, Satan, and unbelief, often attempt to make me let go and cast away my confidence, but as yet they have not prevailed. No thanks to me, who am weaker than water. But I am wonderfully kept by the mighty power of God, who is pleased to take my part, and therefore I trust in Him that they never shall prevail against me.

A vile sinner, indeed, I am. But, since God, who alone has a right to judge, is pleased to justify the believer in Jesus, who is there that shall dare to condemn? I bless the Lord for that comfortable portion of the Scripture, Zechariah, 3:1–5. When the Lord is pleased to pluck a brand out of the fire to save it from perishing, what power in heaven or earth shall presume or prevail to put it in again?

No. He has done it, and who can reverse it? He has said it, and His word shall stand. And I humbly believe, (Lord, help my unbelief,) that not one good thing shall fail of all that the Lord my God has, in His word, spoken to me of.”

–John Newton, Letters of John Newton (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1869/2007), 55.

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“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.

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“I believe” by John Newton

“I believe that sin is the most hateful thing in the world: that I and all men are by nature in a state of wrath and depravity, utterly unable to sustain the penalty or to fulfill the commands of God’s holy law; and that we have no sufficiency of ourselves to think a good thought.

I believe that Jesus Christ is the chief among ten thousands; that He came into the world to save the chief of sinners, by making a propitiation for sin by His death, by paying a perfect obedience to the law in our behalf; and that He is now exalted on high, to give repentance and remission of sins to all that believe; and that He ever liveth to make intercession for us.

I believe that the Holy Spirit (the gift of God through Jesus Christ), is the sure and only guide into all truth, and the common privilege of all believers.

And under His influence, I believe the holy Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation, and to furnish us thoroughly for every good work.

I believe that love to God, and to man for God’s sake, is the essence of religion, and the fulfilling of the law; that without holiness no man shall see the Lord; that those who, by a patient course in well-doing, seek glory, honour, and immortality, shall receive eternal life.

And I believe that this reward is not of debt, but of grace, even to the praise and glory of that grace whereby He has made us accepted in the Beloved. Amen.”

–John Newton, Letters of John Newton (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1869/2007), 21.

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“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.

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“The glorious excellencies and beauty of God” by Jonathan Edwards

“The redeemed have all their objective good in God. God Himself is the great good which they are brought to the possession and enjoyment of by redemption.

He is the highest good, and the sum of all that good which Christ purchased. God is the inheritance of the saints; He is the portion of their souls.

God is their wealth and treasure, their food, their life, their dwelling place, their ornament and diadem, and their everlasting honor and glory. They have none in heaven but God.

He is the great good which the redeemed are received to at death, and which they are to rise to at the end of the world. The Lord God, He is the light of the heavenly Jerusalem, and is the ‘river of the water of life’ that runs, and the tree of life that grows, ‘in the midst of the paradise of God’.

The glorious excellencies and beauty of God will be what will forever entertain the minds of the saints, and the love of God will be their everlasting feast.

The redeemed will indeed enjoy other things. They will enjoy the angels, and will enjoy one another: but that which they shall enjoy in the angels, or each other, or in anything else whatsoever, that will yield then delight and happiness, will be what will be seen of God in them.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “God Glorified in the Work of Redemption, by the Greatness of Man’s Dependance upon Him, in the Whole of It (1731),” in The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards: A Reader, ed. Wilson H. Kimnach, Kenneth P. Minkema, and Douglas A Sweeney (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999), 74-75.

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“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.

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“Make much of our Lord Jesus Christ” by J.C. Ryle

“In conclusion, I will remind you of the words the Apostle addressed to the Ephesian elders: ‘I commend you to God and to the word of His grace.’ (Acts 20:32)

We are about to part, perhaps to meet no more in this world. Let us solemnly commend one another to God, and to the word of His grace, as that which will never err, never fail us, never lead us astray.

Guided by that Word as our light and lamp, we shall at last receive an inheritance among them that are sanctified.

Above all, let us never forget the advice which Whitefield gave in one of his letters: let us ‘make much of our Lord Jesus Christ.’

There are many things of which we may easily make too much in our ministry, give them too much attention, think about them too much.

But we can never make too much of Christ.”

–J.C. Ryle, “What Is Our Position,” Home Truths, seventh series (Ipswich: William Hunt, 1859), 267-268. These words were addressed to pastors at Weston-Super-Mare in August 1858.

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