Tag Archives: grace

“Prone as I am to wander, He keeps me from wandering quite away” by John Newton

“One trial abides with me: a body of sin and death, an inward principle of evil, which renders all I do defective and defiled.

But even here I find cause for thankfulness, for with such a heart as I have, my sad story would soon be much worse if the Lord were not my keeper.

By this I may know that He favours me, since weak and variable as I am in myself, and powerful and numerous as my enemies are, they have not yet prevailed against me.

And I am admitted to a throne of grace, I have an Advocate with the Father. And such is the power, care, and compassion of my great Shepherd that, prone as I am to wander, He keeps me from wandering quite away.

When I am wounded, He heals me.

When I faint, He revives me again.”

–John Newton, Wise Counsel: John Newton’s Letters to John Ryland Jr., Ed. Grant Gordon (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2009), 170.

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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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“You will never exhaust the supply of God’s grace” by Jerry Bridges

“God’s grace is sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9).

It is sufficient for all your needs; it is sufficient regardless of the severity of any one need.

The Israelites never exhausted God’s supply of manna. It was always there to be gathered every day for forty years.

And you will never exhaust the supply of God’s grace.

It will always be there every day for you to appropriate as much as you need for whatever your need is.”

—Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace: Living Confidently in God’s Unfailing Love (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1991), 152.

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“I remember two things: that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour” by John Newton

“Near the end, William Jay visited his friend Newton, who was then barely able to speak.

But Newton said: ‘My memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour.'”

–John Newton, Wise Counsel: John Newton’s Letters to John Ryland Jr., Ed. Grant Gordon (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2009), 401.

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“His grace can soften the hardest heart” by John Newton

“O praise the Lord with me, for He has done great things for us, and I trust He will do yet more in His own set time, and in His own way, which must be the best.

What shall I say of Old Seventy-Eight? I thank the Lord, my health is remarkably good. I eat, drink, and sleep well. But my sight, hearing, and recollection greatly fail me. I can seldom remember what I saw, heard, or said, but two hours before.

Yet when in the pulpit, I am not often much at a loss. I still preach as long, as loud, as often, as formerly, and my auditory are still willing to hear me. The church was never more thronged, nor the hearers more attentive.

Indeed I am a wonder to many and to myself. I am a stranger to sickness and pain; but there is a cloud over my spirit, a nervous affliction so that though I am mercifully supported, and have some daylight in the path of duty I take but little comfort in anything.

I walk in comparative darkness but I am encouraged, and in some measure enabled, to stay myself in the Lord, and to trust in Him, as my God (Isaiah 50:10).

Perhaps this depression may be owing in part to old age. I often compare myself to Barzillai (2 Samuel 19:31-38), who, when he was but a little older than I, had lost all relish for what is called pleasure.

But, precious Bible, what a treasure!

Blessed be the Lord, I can see that my acceptance, and perseverance, do not depend upon my frames or feelings, but upon the power, compassion, care and faithfulness of Him, who in the midst of all the changes to which we are exposed in this wilderness state, is unchangeably the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

O what a horrid wretch was I when on board the Harwich, on the coast of Africa, and too long afterwards. Surely no one who did not finally perish was ever more apparently given up to a reprobate mind!

I am a singular and striking proof, that the atoning blood of Jesus can cleanse from the most enormous sins, that His grace can soften the hardest heart, subdue the most obstinate habits of evil, and that He is indeed able to save to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25).

Lord I believe, O help me against my unbelief (Mark 9:24). I have been, yea to this day, I am a chief sinner, and yet I am permitted to preach the truth I once laboured to destroy.”

–John Newton, Wise Counsel: John Newton’s Letters to John Ryland Jr., Ed. Grant Gordon (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2009), 396-397.

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“Do you hear the melody of the voice of Christ in the gospel?” by Jonathan Edwards

“In order to learn the new song, you must hear the melody of the voice of Christ in the gospel.

You have heard that the glorious gospel is that out of which this song is to be learned, and that ’tis Christ that must teach it. And this is the way that He teaches it: by causing the soul to hear the melody of His own voice in the gospel.

’Tis Christ that speaks to us in the gospel. Many hear His words, but they perceive no sweetness in them. They perceive no pleasantness in His voice, in the doctrines and invitations and promises of the gospel. ’Tis all an insipid thing and dead letter to them.

But to the godly, Christ’s mouth is found to be most sweet. You must perceive the sweetness of the voice. You must see the glory of those doctrines, and the sweetness of those invitations, and the exceeding preciousness of those promises.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “They Sing A New Song (Revelation 14:3)” in Sermons and Discourses, 1739–1742 (ed. Harry S. Stout, Nathan O. Hatch, and Kyle P. Farley; vol. 22; The Works of Jonathan Edwards; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2003), 22: 243-244.

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“The divine storehouse of all light and truth is Christ Himself” by Horatius Bonar

“The one true goal or resting-place where doubt and weariness, the stings of a pricking conscience, and the longings of an unsatisfied soul would all be quieted, is Christ Himself.

Not the church, but Christ.

Not doctrine, but Christ.

Not forms, but Christ.

Not ceremonies, but Christ:

Christ the God-man, giving His life for ours, sealing the everlasting covenant, and making peace for us through the blood of His cross;

Christ the divine storehouse of all light and truth, ‘In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge‘ (Col. 2:3);

Christ the infinite vessel, filled with the Holy Spirit, the Enlightener, the Teacher, the Quickener, the Comforter, so that ‘of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace‘ (John 1:16).

This, this alone, is the vexed soul’s refuge, its rock to build on, its home to abide until the great tempter be bound and every conflict ended in victory.”

–Horatius Bonar, Words to Winners of Souls (Philipsburg, NJ: P&R, 1860/1995), 6.

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