Category Archives: Sovereignty

“Strengthen Your servants to boldly declare Your name” by Columba (A.D. 521-597)

“O Lord,

Holy and true,
Who opens and none can shut,
As You have set before Your church an open door,
Strengthen Your servants to boldly enter in
And to declare Your name,
That they who oppose may yet come to worship
And may know that You love Your church.

Grant to Your people patience to keep Your Word,
And keep them from the hour of trial which is coming
Upon the whole world to try them who dwell on the earth,
And encourage all Christians in every land
To hold fast that which You have given,
That the crown of glory be not taken away,
But that having overcome, they may stand before You
As pillars in the temple of God
And bear the name of the heavenly city
And Your own new name, O Christ our God.

Father, we commend to You all who are joined to us
By natural bonds of love;
The little children dear to our hearts,
And all who for our sakes daily deny themselves.
May all our kindred,
Having Your Holy Spirit as their helper,
Be at peace and have unfeigned love among themselves.
And grant them, O Lord, not only what is sufficient to supply
The needs of this present life but also the good
And eternal gifts that are laid up for them who do Your commandments
Through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Amen.”

–Columba, as quoted in Sinclair Ferguson, Love Came Down at Christmas: Daily Readings For Advent(Epsom, U.K.: Good Book Company, 2018), 155-156.

Leave a comment

Filed under Advent, Christian Theology, Christology, Church Fathers, Jesus Christ, Love of God, Missions, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Sinclair Ferguson, Sovereignty, Suffering, The Gospel

“The hardest promise the Father ever made” by Sinclair Ferguson

“The cross and the empty tomb tell us something. They prove that all of God’s promises can be trusted.

For the promise that His Son would suffer in our place (Isaiah 53:4-6) was surely the hardest promise the Father ever made. And He kept it. In fact, says Paul, ‘all the promises of God find their Yes in Him (2 Corinthians 1:20)’.

What does God promise to you this Christmas and beyond?

He promises to forgive all your sins when you turn from them.

He promises always to hear you when you call to Him.

He promises only to work for your good.

He promises to walk alongside you through all the hard times, and bring you safely into His presence in heaven.

If you love Him, you will trust Him.

How? By remembering that God has already kept His hardest-to-keep promise in Christ— from His makeshift cradle to His empty grave.”

–Sinclair Ferguson, Love Came Down at Christmas: Daily Readings For Advent (Epsom, U.K.: Good Book Company, 2018), 101.

Leave a comment

Filed under Advent, Christian Theology, Christology, Jesus Christ, Love of God, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Sinclair Ferguson, Sovereignty, Suffering, The Gospel

“Can there be a more delightful employment, this side of heaven, than to send the blessed news of salvation to a perishing world?” by Lemuel Haynes

“I stand here this day, my friends and brethren, to plead for thousands of poor, perishing, dying, fellow mortals, who need the bread of life, and whose cries and distresses call for compassion.

We stand this day to plead the cause of Jesus, who sits upon the holy hill of Zion with pardon in His hands.

We plead the promises and predictions of God’s Word that may encourage your hope and trust.

Be not afraid of the haughty mandate of the prince of darkness, for it shall be made to subserve the interest of Christ’s kingdom.

Can there be a more delightful employment, this side of heaven, than to wrest souls from the jaws of death and hell, and to send the blessed news of salvation to a perishing world?

To promote the felicity of the universe is the happiness of the redeemed in glory. And this spirit among Christians is heaven begun on earth.

If your hearts do not glow with holy affections towards perishing sinners, by which you are disposed to do something for their relief, then you have reason to fear and tremble that you have no inheritance among the saints in light.”

–Lemuel Haynes, “Divine Decrees: An Encouragement to the Use of Means,” in Black Preacher to White America: The Collected Writings of Lemuel Haynes, 1774-1833, Ed. Richard Newman (Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing, 1990), 99-100.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Christian Theology, Evangelism, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Lemuel Haynes, Preaching, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, salvation, Sovereignty, The Gospel

“The Lamb has won” by Patrick Schreiner

“The goal of the kingdom achieved in Revelation is described as a city, a people, and a conquering King. From the throne of this King comes a river with water (Rev. 22:1-2; think Gen. 2:10 and Ezek. 47:1-12), and on either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit for the healing of nations.

As Genesis began with the garden and the tree of life, now Revelation closes with a garden city and a tree that heals all the nations. Genesis began with a marriage; so also Revelation finishes with the wedding feast of the Lamb.

The twelve kinds of fruit harken us back to the promise made to Abrahams offspring, that they would bring blessings to the whole world. They are the chosen people through whom God established His kingdom.

The Messiah has come to fulfill the destiny of Israel’s seed in feeding all the nations. Israels hopes were too small. The tree that bore their king transformed into a source of life for the entire world.

Streaming into the city are the kings of the earth who come to give their glory to the King of kings, who reigns over all people. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil seemed to send the kingdom plan on a downward spiral, but it was through the tree of the cross that the kingdom was fulfilled.

Now the tree of life consummates the kingdom story started so long ago. The dragon is slain; the Lamb has won; the people are free; they are home.”

–Patrick Schreiner, The Kingdom of God and the Glory of the Cross (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2018), 130-131.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Christian Theology, Eschatology, Glory of Christ, God the Creator, Jesus Christ, Kingdom of God, Patrick Schreiner, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Sovereignty, Suffering, The Gospel, Worship

“We were once blind to His beauty” by John Newton

“The Lord reigns. He who once bore our sins, and carried our sorrows, is seated upon a throne of glory, and exercises all power in heaven and on earth. Thrones, principalities, and powers, bow before Him.

Every event in the kingdoms of providence and of grace are under His rule. His providence pervades and manages the whole, and is as minutely attentive to every part as if there were only that single object in His view.

From the tallest archangel to the meanest ant or fly, all depend on Him for their being, their preservation, and their powers. He directs the sparrows where to build their nests, and to find their food.

He overrules the rise and fall of nations, and bends, with an invincible energy and unerring wisdom, all events, so that while many intend nothing less, in the issue their designs all concur and coincide in the accomplishment of His holy will.

He restrains with a mighty hand the still more formidable efforts of the powers of darkness, and Satan with all his hosts cannot exert their malice a hair’s-breadth beyond the limits of His permission.

This is He who is the head and husband of His believing people. How happy are they whom it is His good pleasure to bless!

How safe are they whom He has engaged to protect! How honoured and privileged are they to whom He is pleased to manifest Himself, and whom He enables and warrants to claim Him as their friend and their portion!

Having redeemed them by His own blood, He sets a high value upon them. He esteems them His treasure, His jewels, and keeps them as the apple of his eye.

They shall not want. They need not fear. His eye is upon them in every situation, His ear is open to their prayers, and His everlasting arms are under them for their sure support.

On earth He guides their steps, controls their enemies, and directs all His dispensations for their good.

While in heaven He is pleading their cause, preparing them a place, and communicating down to them reviving foretastes of the glory that shall be shortly revealed.

O how is this mystery hidden from an unbelieving world! Who can believe it, till it is made known by experience, what an intercourse is maintained in this land of shadows between the Lord of glory and sinful worms!

How should we praise Him that He has visited us! For we were once blind to His beauty, and insensible to His love, and should have remained so to the last, had He not prevented us with His goodness, and been found of us when we sought Him not.”

–John Newton, Letters of John Newton (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1869/2007), 237-239.

Leave a comment

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

“God holds us with an omnipotent grasp” by William Plumer

“By faith we have hold on God, but our grip is often feeble. Our great safety lies in this: that God holds us with an omnipotent grasp, and never entirely lets us go.”

–William Plumer, Studies in the Book of Psalms: A Critical and Expository Commentary With Doctrinal and Practical Remarks (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1867/2016), 714. Plumer is commenting on Psalm 74:23.

Leave a comment

Filed under Assurance, Bible, Book of Psalms, Christian Theology, Heaven, Jesus Christ, Perseverance, Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Sovereignty, The Gospel

“The storm is guided by the hands which were nailed to the cross” by John Newton

“Public affairs look darker still. Expectation is on tiptoe waiting for hourly news from all parts of the world but foreboding that the news, whenever it comes or from whatever quarter, will be distressing.

I am afraid what we next hear from America will not be pleasing. That unhappy country is still likely to be a scene of desolation and our people there likely to sink under the weight of pretended successes.

In the West Indies, Tobago is gone, and perhaps by this time some other of our islands. And the cry of oppression in the East Indies seems at length to have awakened judgment there.

Yet the spirit of the nation seems like that of the thoughtless mariner, asleep on the top of the mast, regardless of the danger every moment increasing.

Yet still I hope there is mercy. The gospel spreads, grace reigns, the number of praying souls is on the increase, and their prayers I trust will be heard.

We are sure that the Lord reigns; that the storm is guided by the hands which were nailed to the cross, and that as He loves His own, He will take care of them.

But they who have not an ark to hide themselves in will probably weep and wail before the indignation be over-past.

Blessed be God for a land of peace where sin and every sorrow will be excluded.”

–John Newton, as quoted in Josiah Bull, Memorials of the Rev. William Bull, of Newport Pagnel: 1738-1814, (London: James Nisbet and Company, 1864), 88-89. This letter was written in April 1781.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Christian Theology, Communion with God, Death, Discipleship, grace, Holiness, Jesus Christ, John Newton, Pierced For Our Transgressions, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Sanctification, Sin, Sovereignty, The Gospel