Tag Archives: Union with Christ

“God All-Sufficient” – The Valley of Vision

O LORD OF GRACE,

The world is before me this day,
and I am weak and fearful,
but I look to Thee for strength;
If I venture forth alone I stumble and fall,
but on the Beloved’s arms I am firm
as the eternal hills;
If left to the treachery of my heart
I shall shame Thy Name,
but if enlightened, guided, upheld by Thy Spirit,
I shall bring Thee glory.
Be Thou my arm to support,
my strength to stand,
my light to see,
my feet to run,
my shield to protect,
my sword to repel,
my sun to warm.
To enrich me will not diminish Thy fullness;
All Thy lovingkindness is in Thy Son,
I bring Him to Thee in the arms of faith,
I urge His saving Name as the One who died for me.
I plead His blood to pay my debts of wrong.
Accept His worthiness for my unworthiness,
His sinlessness for my transgressions,
His purity for my uncleanness,
His sincerity for my guile,
His truth for my deceits,
His meekness for my pride,
His constancy for my backslidings,
His love for my enmity,
His fullness for my emptiness,
His faithfulness for my treachery,
His obedience for my lawlessness,
His glory for my shame,
His devotedness for my waywardness,
His holy life for my unchaste ways,
His righteousness for my dead works,
His death for my life.”

–“God All-Sufficient,” in The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, Ed. Arthur Bennett (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1983), 155.

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“Having God’s Son, we have all we can ever wish for” by John Calvin

“We may always come boldly to God’s throne, assuring ourselves that His majesty will no more be terrifying to us, seeing He shows Himself a Father towards us in the person of His only Son. We see then that St. Paul’s intention is to keep us close to Jesus Christ.

And therein we also see what our perversity is. For it is certain that the care and zeal which St. Paul had, to make us cleave steadfastly to the Son of God, came through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, who knew our frailty and inconstancy. If we had (in a manner of speaking) one drop of sound sense, it would be enough to make us understand that by the gospel we may possess God’s Son who gives Himself to us, and that by having Him, we have all we can ever wish for.

It would have been enough to have spoken this in one word, as St. Paul has shown already, (Rom. 8:32) but we see how he repeats and confirms his saying, as though it were hard to believe. And indeed it is hard, because we are too much given to distrust and unbelief. Again, to believe for one day is not all that we have to do.

It is necessary for us to persevere, which is found as a very rare thing in this world, because we are always fluttering about, by reason of which men, as it were, willfully deprive themselves of what was given them. Furthermore, since all the world is in this case, and we cannot be won or persuaded without great pains to come to our Lord Jesus Christ and to rest on Him, let us use the remedy St. Paul proposes here.

And first of all we must carefully observe that Jesus Christ is the door to open heaven to us, (John 10:9) for we know that at His death the veil of the Temple was rent in two, (Matt. 27:51) and that in such a way, that we may now enter without inhibition into the sanctuary of God—not of such a material temple as was then— so that we may approach into the presence of our God and come to Him for refuge, just as a child throws himself into the lap of his father or mother, for it is certain that God surpasses all the fathers and mothers of the world in all kindness and favour.

Seeing then that we know that, what more do we think would be to our benefit? What better or more excellent thing would we have rather than God? Then we must go and search for it in the bottom of hell. For when we have engaged in wanderings to our heart’s content we shall invariably find that there is nothing in any of all the creatures high or low that is worth a straw in comparison with God, as the prophet Isaiah says. (Isaiah 45:6)

So then, seeing that God has given Himself to us in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that the whole fulness of the Godhead dwells in that great sanctuary which was typified by the visible sanctuary of the law, (Hebrews 9:9) ought we not to be fully satisfied when we have that, and to rest ourselves wholly there?

And although our minds and our affections are fickle, yet they ought to be held in check like prisoners, so that we may say, ‘Let us cleave, let us cleave to our God,’ according to that saying of David, ‘Behold, all my happiness and all my joy is joined to my God! (Psalm 73:28) He is the fountain of light and life. (Psalm 36:9) He is my portion, I cannot have a better lot, I must take all my delight in Him.’ (Psalm 16:5)”

–John Calvin, “Sermon on Ephesians 3:9-12,” Sermons on the Epistle to the Ephesians (trans. Arthur Golding; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1562/1973), 266-268.

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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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“If the love of a father will not make a child delight in him, what will?” by John Owen

“This will be exceeding effectual to endear thy soul unto God, to cause thee to delight in Him, and to make thy abode with Him.

Many saints have no greater burden in their lives, than that their hearts do not come clearly and fully up, constantly to delight and rejoice in God;—that there is still an indisposedness of spirit unto close walking with Him.

What is at the bottom of this distemper? Is it not their unskilfulness in or neglect of this duty, even of holding communion with the Father in love?

So much as we see of the love of God, so much shall we delight in Him, and no more. Every other discovery of God, without this, will but make the soul fly from Him.

But if the heart be once much taken up with this the eminency of the Father’s love, it cannot choose but be overpowered, conquered, and endeared unto Him.

This, if any thing, will work upon us to make our abode with Him. If the love of a father will not make a child delight in him, what will?

Put, then, this to the venture: exercise your thoughts upon this very thing, the eternal, free, and fruitful love of the Father, and see if your hearts be not wrought upon to delight in Him.

I dare boldly say, believers will find it as thriving a course as ever they pitched on in their lives. Sit down a little at the fountain, and you will quickly have a farther discovery of the sweetness of the streams.

You who have run from him, will not be able, after a while, to keep at a distance for a moment.”

–John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Volume 2: Communion With God (ed. William H. Goold; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1850-53/1997), 2: 35-36.

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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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“Meditation on Christ produces a thriving heart for Christ” by John Owen

“The gospel hath a reflection upon it of all the glories of Christ, and makes a representation of them unto us.

What is our work and business? Why, it is to behold this glory, that is, to contemplate upon it by faith, to meditate upon it,—which is here called making ‘things touching the King,’ (Psalm 45:1).

This is also called ‘Christ’s dwelling in us,’ (Eph. 3:17) and, ‘The word of Christ dwelling richly in us,’ (Col. 3:16);—which is, when the soul abounds in thoughts of Christ.

I have had more advantage by private thoughts of Christ than by anything in this world.

And I think when a soul hath satisfying and exalting thoughts of Christ Himself, His person and His glory, it is the way whereby Christ dwells in such a soul.

If I have observed anything by experience, it is this: a man may take the measure of his growth and decay in grace according to his thoughts and meditations upon the person of Christ, and the glory of Christ’s kingdom, and of His love.

A heart that is inclined to converse with Christ as He is represented in the gospel is a thriving heart.”

–John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Volume 9: Sermons to the Church (ed. William H. Goold; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1850-53/1997), 9: 474-475.

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“In this consists every bit of our blessedness” by Petrus Van Mastricht

“Saving faith is nothing other than the act of the whole rational soul by which it receives God as the highest end and Christ as the one and only Mediator, for this purpose, that we may be united with Him, and being thus united obtain communion with all His benefits…

The end or fruit of this faith or reception, namely, union and communion with Christ, is contained in that one word ‘adoption,’ since by the reception of Christ we who have been made His brothers are rendered heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. And in this consists every bit of our blessedness.”

–Petrus Van Mastricht, Theoretical-Practical Theology: Faith in the Triune God, Volume 2, Trans. Todd Rester, Ed. Joel Beeke (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 1698/2019), 2: 5-6.

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