GOD’S WORD IS FULL OF ELECTION AND PREDESTINATION

GOD’S WORD IS FULL OF ELECTION AND PREDESTINATION

A.W. Pink

There is not a single book in the Word of God where election is not either expressly stated, strikingly illustrated, or clearly implied. Genesis is full of it: the difference which the Lord made between Nahor and Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac, and His loving Jacob and hating Esau are cases to the point. In Exodus we behold the distinction made by God between the Egyptians and the Hebrews. In Leviticus the atonement and all the sacrifices were for the people of God, nor were they bidden to go and “offer” them to the surrounding heathen. In Numbers Jehovah used a Balaam to herald the fact that Israel were “the people” who “shall dwell alone, and shall not be numbered among the nations” (23:9); and therefore was he constrained to cry “How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, 0 Israel” (24:5). In Deuteronomy it is recorded “The Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance” (32:9).

In Joshua we behold the discriminating mercy of the Lord bestowed upon Rahab the harlot, while the whole of her city was doomed to destruction. In Judges the sovereignty of God appears in the unlikely instruments selected, by which He wrought victory for Israel: Deborah, Gideon, Samson. In Ruth we have Orpah kissing her mother-in-law and returning to her gods, whereas Ruth cleaves to her and obtained inheritance in Israel—who made them to differ? In 1 Samuel David is chosen for the throne, preferred to his older brethren. In 2 Samuel we learn of the everlasting covenant “ordered in all things, and sure” (23:5). In 1 Kings Elijah becomes a blessing to a single widow selected from many; while in 2 Kings Naaman alone, of all the lepers, was cleansed. In 1 Chronicles it is written “Ye children of Jacob, His chosen ones” (16:13); while in 2 Chronicles we are made to marvel at the grace of God bestowing repentance upon Manasseh.

And so we might go on. The Psalms, Prophets, Gospels and Epistles are so full of this doctrine that he may run that readeth it. [Hab 2:2]

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NOTHING HAPPENS BY CHANCE IN THE LIFE OF GOD’S ELECT

NOTHING HAPPENS BY CHANCE IN THE LIFE OF GOD’S ELECT

 “Things that accompany Salvation.” [Hebrews 6:9]

 C.H. Spurgeon

 IN THE MARCHES OF TROOPS AND ARMIES, THERE ARE SOME THAT ARE OUTRIDERS, AND GO FAR AHEAD OF THE OTHER TROOPS. So in the march of Salvation, which have far preceded it to clear the way. I will tell you the names of these stupendous Titans who have gone before. The first is ELECTION, the second is PREDESTINATION, the third is REDEMPTION and the COVENANT is the captain of them all. Before Salvation came into this world, Election marched in the very forefront, and it had for its work the billeting of Salvation. Election went through the world and marked the houses to which Salvation should come and the hearts in which the treasure should be deposited. Election looked through all the race of man, from Adam down to the last, and marked with sacred stamp those for whom Salvation was designed. “He must needs go through Samaria,” said Election; and Salvation must go there.

Then came Predestination. Predestination did not merely mark the house, but it mapped the road in which Salvation should travel to that house, Predestination ordained every step of the great army of Salvation, it ordained the time when the sinner should be brought to Christ, the manner how he should be saved, the means that should be employed; it marked the exact hour and moment, when God the Spirit should quicken the dead in sin, and when peace and pardon should be spoken through the blood of Jesus. Predestination marked the way so completely, that Salvation doth never overstep the bounds, and it is never at a loss for the road. In the everlasting decree of the Sovereign God, the footsteps of Mercy were every one of them ordained. As nothing in this world revolves by chance—as even the foreknown station of a rush by the river is as fixed as the station of a king—it was not meet that Salvation should be left to chance; and therefore God has mapped the place where it should pitch its tent, the manner of its footsteps to that tent, and the time when it should arrive there.

Then came Redemption. The way was rough; and though Election had marked the house, and Predestination had mapped the road, the way was so impeded that Salvation could not travel it until it had been cleared. Forth came Redemption, it had but one weapon; that weapon was the all-victorious cross of Christ. There stood the mountains of our sins; Redemption smote them, and they split in halves and left a valley for the Lord’s redeemed to march through. There was the great gulf of God’s offended wrath; Redemption bridged it with the cross, and so left an everlasting passage by which the armies of the Lord may cross. Redemption has tunnelled every mountain; it has dried up every sea, cut down every forest; it has levelled every high hill, and filled up the valleys, so that the road of Salvation is now plain and simple. God can be just, and yet the justifier of the ungodly.

Now, this sacred advance-guard carry for their banner the Eternal Covenant. Election, Predestination, and Redemption—the things that have gone before, beyond the sight, are all rallied to the battle by this standard—the Covenant, the Everlasting Covenant, ordered in all things and sure. We know and believe that before the morning star startled the shades of darkness, God had covenanted with his Son that he should die and pay a ransom price, and that, on God the Father’s part, he would give to Jesus “a number whom no man could number,” who should be purchased by his blood, and through that blood should be most securely saved. Now, when Election marches forward, it carries the Covenant. These are chosen in the Covenant of grace. When Predestination marcheth, and when it marketh out the way of Salvation, it proclaims the Covenant. “He marked out the places of the people according to the tribes of Israel.” And Redemption also, pointing to the precious blood of Christ, claims Salvation for the blood-bought ones, because the Covenant hath decreed it to be theirs.

Now, my dear hearers, this advance-guard is so far ahead that you and I cannot see them. These are true doctrines, but very mysterious; they are beyond our sight, and if we wish to see Salvation, we must not stop until we see the van-guard, because they are so far off that only the eye of faith can reach them. We must have that sacred glass, that divine telescope of faith, or else we shall never have the evidence of things not seen. Let us rest certain, however, that if we have Salvation we have Election. He that believeth is elected and whoever casts himself on Christ as a guilty sinner, is certainly God’s chosen child. As sure as ever you believe on the Saviour, and go to him, you were predestinated to do so from all eternity, and your faith is the great mark and evidence that you are chosen of God, and precious in his esteem.

Dost thou believe? Then Election is thine. Dost thou believe? Then Predestination is as surely thine as thou art alive. Dost thou trust alone in Jesus? Then fear not, Redemption was meant for thee. So then, we will not be struck with terror at that grand advance-guard that hath already gained the celestial hill, and have prepared the place where the elect shall for ever repose upon the bosom of their God.

But mark, we are about to review THE ARMY THAT IMMEDIATELY PRECEDES SALVATION; and first, in the forefront of these, there marches one whose name we must pronounce with sacred awe. It is God, the Holy Spirit. Before anything can be done in our salvation, there must come that Third Person of the Sacred Trinity. Without him, faith, repentance, humility, love, are things quite impossible. Even the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ cannot save until it has been applied to the heart by God the Holy Spirit. Before we notice the grand army, then, that immediately precedes Salvation, let us be cautious that we do not forget Him who is the leader of them all. The great King, Immortal, invisible, the Divine person, called the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit: it is he that quickens the soul, or else it would lie dead for ever; it is he that makes it tender, or else it would never feel, it is he that imparts efficacy to the Word preached, or else it could never reach further than the ear; it is he who breaks the heart, it is he who makes it whole: he, from first to last, is the great worker of Salvation in us just as Jesus Christ was the author of Salvation for us.

O soul, by this mayest thou know whether Salvation has come to thine house—art thou a partaker of the Holy Spirit? Come now, answer thou this question—hath he ever breathed on thee? Hath he ever breathed into thee? Canst thou say that thou hast been the subject of his supernatural influence? For, if not, remember except a man be born of the Spirit from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; only that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Thy best exertions will be all unavailing unless the Holy Ghost shall work in thee, to will and to do of God’s good pleasure.

The highest efforts of the flesh can never reach higher than the flesh, just as water of itself will never run higher than its source. You may be moral, you may be strictly upright, you may be much that is commendable, but unless you be partakers of the Holy Spirit, salvation is as impossible to you as it is even to the lost. We must be born again, and born again by that divine influence, or else it is all in vain. Remember, then, that the Spirit of God always accompanies Salvation.

THE SINGLE EYE

THE SINGLE EYE

A.W. Pink

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” [Mattt 6:22,23] 

“If the eye be single” or sound in vision. The contrast presented in the next verse is that of the eye being “evil” or “wicked,” so that a “single” eye is a good or holy one. And WHAT is a good “eye”? Plainly it is a RENEWED UNDERSTANDING, an anointed eye, a mind illuminated by the Spirit of God, a mind which is dominated and regulated by the Truth.

As the body is furnished with light for its activities by means of the eye, so the mind is fitted for its operations only as it is receptive to the influences of the Holy Spirit. A “single” eye has but one object—God, the pleasing and glorifying of Him.

This is borne out by the other occurrence (in a slightly different form) of this word: “For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward” (2 Cor. 1:12). The joyful confidence of the apostle—which sustained him in his labours—consisted of the consciousness of his sincerity, namely his “simplicity” (the opposite of duplicity) and godly sincerity of spiritual translucence.

“The eye, that is, THE AIMS AND INTENTIONS. By the eye we set our end before us, the mark we aim at, the place we go to, we keep that in view, and direct our motion accordingly. In everything we do in religion there is something or other that we have in our eye: now if our eye be single, if we aim honestly, fix right ends, and move rightly towards them, if we aim purely and only at the glory of God, seek His honour and favour, and direct all entirely to Him, then the eye is single. Paul’s was so when he said, ‘to me to live is Christ’; and if we be right here, ‘the whole body will be full of light’—all the actions will be regular and gracious, pleasing to God and comfortable to ourselves. But if the eye be evil, if, instead of aiming only at the glory of God and our acceptance with Him, we look aside at the applause of men, and while we profess to honour God, contrive to honour ourselves, and seek our own things under color of seeking the things of Christ, this spoils all—the whole conversation will be perverse and unsteady, and the foundations being thus out of course, there can be nothing but confusion and every evil work in the superstructure” (Matthew Henry).

So much then for the meaning of the principal terms of our passage. Let us next consider ITS CONNECTION with the context. This appears to be somewhat as follows: our discernment between things, our estimation of values, our practical judgment of earthly and heavenly objects is very largely determined by the condition of our understanding—whether it be Divinely illumined or still in nature’s darkness. An enlightened understanding, perceiving objects according to their real nature and worth, enables its possessor to form a true judgment, to make a wise choice and to act aright respecting them. But a darkened understanding, conveying a wrong estimate of things, results in an erroneous choice and a disastrous end. In the latter case the “light which is in” a man is unaided human reason, and moved according to its dictates. Men imagine that they are acting wisely when instead they are pursuing a course of egregious folly, and then how great is their darkness!

The Gentile no more than the Jew has any love or longing for spiritual things, nor can either the one or the other perceive the wretchedness of his condition, for the light which is in them is darkness, great darkness. Proof of this is furnished by Christ in the verses we are now considering: in them He may be regarded as replying to a secret objection which the hearts of men were likely to frame against the two commandments which He had just given. Should it be asked, If there be such a necessity of laying up treasure in heaven and of avoiding to lay up treasure on earth, then WHY IS IT that the best educated, the shrewdest, the great men of this world commonly seek earthly riches far more than heavenly?

THIS is a question which, in one form or another, often exercises young Christians and stumbles inquirers, if the true riches of the soul are found not in the things of time and sense, why is it that our fellows labour so hard for “that which satisfieth not” (Isa. 55:2)? If the best which this world has to offer us perishes with the using of it, why is it prized so highly by almost one and all? Here is the explanation: BECAUSE MEN VIEW THINGS THROUGH A VITIATED EYE, so that the real appears but a phantom, and THE SHADOWS ARE MISTAKEN FOR THE SUBSTANCE. Marvel not at this, says Christ, they lack the single eye, i.e. the Divinely enlightened understanding, they are in nature’s darkness: they cannot discern between things that differ, they are incapable of judging aright of the true treasure, and being ignorant of the heavenly they seek only the earthly.

In order that we may have a better conception of what a single “eye” consists of, we need to inquire diligently into what TRUE WISDOM is. Spiritual wisdom is no common gift which every professing Christian possesses, but is a special bestowment of God in Christ peculiar to those who are regenerated, for Christ Himself is made wisdom unto them (1 Cor. 1:30). And this, not only because He is the matter of their wisdom—they being only truly wise when they are brought to know Christ and Him crucified, but because He is the root thereof. In Christ “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3), and as believers are vitally united to Him they partake of His virtues, as a branch derives vitality from its stock.

Now this heavenly wisdom has two actions: the first is to DISCERN ARIGHT between things that differ. Thus Paul prayed for the Philippians: “that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent,” or as the margin, “try things that differ” (Phil. 1:9, 10): that is distinguish good from evil, heavenly from earthly. Thereby the children of God distinguish the voice of Christ, the true Shepherd, from the voice of all false shepherds. Thereby they put a difference between the water of baptism and all other waters, and between the Lord’s supper and all other bread—discerning the Lord’s body therein. Thereby they discern their election and calling, perceiving more or less in themselves the marks thereof. Thereby they see the hand of God in providence, ever making all things minister to their ultimate good. “He that is spiritual judgeth all things” (1 Cor. 2:15), which the natural man cannot do.

The second action of this true and heavenly wisdom is TO DETERMINE and give sentence of things, what is to be done and what is not to be done, what is good and what is evil in behavior. But here let it be remembered that the principal work of this wisdom is to determine of true HAPPINESS, whereto the whole life of man ought to be directed, which happiness is the love and favour of God in Christ. Herein David showed his wisdom to be far different from that of the godless around him: “there be many that say, Who will show us any good?”—that is the world’s vain quest for happiness: “Lord, lift Thou up the light of Thy countenance upon us” (Ps. 4:6)— wherein is the believer’s true happiness.

So too with the apostle Paul (Phil. 3:8). The same should be our wisdom, for if man have all learning and an intellect developed to the highest possible point, yet if he fail rightly to determine of true blessedness his sagacity is folly. Another important part of this heavenly wisdom is the right use of means whereby we arrive at this happiness.

Now the FRUIT OF this single eye is to make “the whole body full of light,” that is to order the entire life aright, guiding it into the paths of righteousness and making it abound in good works. “I [wisdom—see vv. 1, 11] lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment, that I may cause those that love me to inherit substance” (Prov. 8:20, 21). How urgently it behooves us, then, to seek after and endeavour to make sure we have obtained this true wisdom: if the mind endowed thus possesses such powers of discrimination, how necessary it is that we become partakers thereof. In order to this we must be very careful to get the fear of God into our hearts, for “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps. 111:10).

This fear is a reverential awe of the heart toward God, whereby a person is FEARFUL TO OFFEND AND CAREFUL TO PLEASE HIM IN ALL THINGS. And this we obtain if we receive His Word with reverence, apply it to our own souls as we read it, tremble when it searches our conscience, and humbly submit ourselves unto it without repining. David could say, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105), and therefore “Thou through Thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies” (v. 98). If we would be truly wise we must cease leaning unto our own understanding and be directed by the Word in all things.

Our deep need of diligently seeking after a single eye—an enlightened understanding, a mind endued with true wisdom— appears in the solemn fact that by nature each of us possesses an eye that is EVIL, filling our whole body with darkness. In consequence of the fall we lost the power to judge aright in spiritual things, so that we mistake evil for good, things which ought to be refused for things which ought to be chosen. The natural man perceives not the presence of God, or he would be restrained from doing things which he is ashamed to do in the sight of his fellows. The natural man perceives not the sufficiency of God, or he would not trust in the creature far more than in the Creator. The natural man is blind to the justice of God, or he would not persuade himself that sin as he may yet he shall escape punishment. So too the natural man is blind self-ward: he perceives not his own darkness, his sinfulness, his impotency, his frailty, his true happiness.

Since this evil eye is in each of us by nature, we should constantly remind ourselves of our inability to judge rightly either of God or of ourselves, for IT IS THE FIRST STEP IN TRUE KNOWLEDGE TO ACKNOWLEDGE OUR OWN BLINDNESS. We must be suitably affected by such a realization, judging ourselves unsparingly, bewailing our misery, that we have a mind so corrupt that it disorders the whole of our conduct and seeks by grace to mortify the same. Since this evil eye is common to human nature, we discover therein what explains the mad course followed by the unregenerate, why they are so infatuated by sin and so in love with the world, and why the seriously inclined among them are deceived by error and captivated by false doctrines.

Since human reason is now completely eclipsed, how profoundly thankful we should be for the light of God’s Word, yet if that light illumine us and we fail to walk accordingly, suppressing its requirements, then doubly great will be our darkness.
May the Lord give us the grace to have a ‘single eye’ and walk in the light as He is in the light!

SLEEP – THE GIFT OF GOD

SLEEP – THE GIFT OF GOD

 A.W. Pink

“It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so He giveth His beloved sleep”.  [Psalm 127:2]

How often is it now lost sight of that the Lord cares for the bodies of His saints as well as for their souls. This is more or less recognized and owned by believers in the matter of food and clothing, health and strength, but it is widely ignored by many concerning the point we are here treating of.

SLEEP is as imperative for our physical well-being as is food and drink, and the one is as much the GIFT of our heavenly Father as is the other.

We cannot put ourselves to sleep by any effort of will, as those who suffer with insomnia quickly discover. Nor does exercise and manual labour of itself ensure sleep: have you ever lain down almost exhausted and then found you were “too tired to sleep”?

Sleep is a DIVINE GIFT, but the nightly recurrence of it blinds us to the fact.

When is so pleases Him, God withholds sleep, and then we have to say with the Psalmist, “Thou holdest mine eyes waking” (77:4). But that is the exception rather than the rule, and deeply thankful should we be that it is so. Day by day the Lord feeds us, and night by night He “giveth His beloved sleep.” Thus in this little detail—of Elijah’s sleeping under the juniper tree—which we are likely to pass over lightly, we should perceive the gracious hand of God ministering in tenderness to the needs of one who is dear unto Him.

Yes, “the Lord pitieth them that fear Him,” and why? “for He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust” (Ps. 103:14). He is mindful of our frailty, and tempers His winds accordingly; He is aware when our energies are spent, and graciously renews our strength. It was not God’s design that His servant should die of exhaustion in the wilderness after his long, long flight from Jezreel, so he mercifully refreshes his body with sleep. And thus compassionately does He deal with us.

Alas, how little are we affected by the Lord’s goodness and grace unto us. The unfailing recurrence of His mercies both temporally and spiritually inclines us to take them as a matter of course. So dull of understanding are we, so cold our hearts Godward, it is to be feared that most of the time we fail to realize WHOSE loving hand it is which is ministering to us. Is not this the very reason why we do not begin really to value our health until it is taken from us, and not until we spend night after night tossing upon a bed of pain do we perceive the worth of regular sleep with which we were formerly favored?

And such vile creatures are we that, when illness and insomnia come upon us, instead of improving the same by repenting of our former ingratitude, and humbly confessing the same to God, we murmur and complain at the hardness of our present lot and wonder what we have done to deserve such treatment. O let those of us who are still blessed with good health and regular sleep fail not daily to return thanks for such privileges and earnestly seek grace to use the strength from them to the glory of God.

[Quoted from A.W. Pink’s ‘Life of Elijah’]

THE NEED FOR WATCHFULNESS AS WE GROW OLD

THE NEED FOR WATCHFULNESS AS WE GROW OLD

compiled by Michael Jeshurun

If there is anything these 51 years in the flesh (of which 32 of them I have walked with the Lord on and off) has taught me; it is that there is no protection in years! Meaning – the flesh or the old man or the depraved nature in us NEVER LETS UP! “There is no discharge in this war” with our Flesh, Sin and the Devil! [Ecc 8:8] You fight them with a perpetual warfare till you drop dead! And the older you grow the greater the need to stay close to the Lord by spending more time in the Word, prayer and Christian fellowship!

Our beloved brother J.C. Philpot put it well when he said –

“There is no promise made that in this life, we shall be set free from the indwelling and the in-working of sin. Many think that their flesh is to become “progressively holier and holier”—that sin after sin is to be removed gradually out of the heart—until at last they are almost made perfect in the flesh. But this is an idle dream, and one which, sooner or later will be crudely and roughly broken to pieces.

The flesh will ever remain the same—and we shall ever find that the flesh will lust against the Spirit. Our fleshly nature is corrupt to the very core. It cannot be mended. It cannot be sanctified. It is the same at the last, as it was at the first—inherently evil, and as such will never cease to be corrupt until we put off mortality—and with it the body of sin and death.

All we can hope for, long after, expect, and pray for—is that this evil fleshly nature may be subdued, kept down, mortified, crucified, and held in subjection under the power of grace. But as to any such change passing upon the flesh—or taking place in the flesh as to make it holy—it is but a pharisaic delusion, which, promising a holiness in the flesh, leaves us still under the power of sin.

The true sanctification of the new man of grace—which is wrought by a divine power—is utterly distinct from any imagined holiness in the flesh—or any vain dream of its progressive sanctification.”

Here are some gleanings from older divines of the need for watchfulness as we grow older . . . .

“For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.” [1 Kings 11:4]

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): When Solomon WAS OLD―when it might have been expected that age should have cooled his lust, and experience have made him wiser and better, and when probably he was secure as to any such miscarriages; then God permitted him to fall so shamefully, that he might be to all succeeding generations an example.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): God thus shows us that there is no protection in years.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): It is very remarkable that all the falls, as far as I remember, recorded in Scripture, are those of OLD MEN. This should be a great warning to us who think we are getting wise and experienced. Lot and Judah and Eli and Solomon and Asa were all advanced in years when they were found faulty before the Lord.

THOMAS ADAMS (1583-1656): Apostasy in old age is fearful. So wretched is it for old men to fall near to their very entry of heaven, as old Eli in his indulgence, 1 Samuel 2; old Judah in his incest, Genesis 38; old David with Bathsheba, 2 Samuel 11; old Asa trusting in the physicians more than in God, 2 Chronicles 16:12; and old Solomon built the high places.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Satan made a prey of old Solomon, Asa, Lot, others; whom when young he could never so deceive…Many that have held out well in youth, have failed and been shamefully foiled in old age.

A. W. PINK: Lot did not transgress most grossly until he was an old man. Isaac seems to have become a glutton in his old age, and was as a vessel no longer meet for the Master’s use, which rusted out rather than wore out. It was after a life of walking with God, and building the ark, that Noah disgraced himself. The worst sin of Moses was committed not at the beginning, but at the end of the wilderness journey. Hezekiah became puffed up with pride near the sunset of his life. What warnings are these!

C.H. SPURGEON: Thus many men have borne temptation bravely for years—and just when the trial was over and they reckoned that they were safe—they turned aside to crooked ways and grieved the Lord. You are greatly surprised aren’t you? You would have believed it of anybody sooner than of them, but so it is.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): I have observed in some good men and good ministers, improprieties in their latter days, which I have been willing to ascribe to the infirmities of old age, than to a defect in real grace…I have known good men, in advanced life, garrulous, peevish, dogmatic, self-important, with some symptoms of jealousy, and perhaps envy, towards those who are on increase while they feel themselves decreasing.

A. W. PINK: We have often heard older saints warning younger brothers and sisters of their great danger, yet it is striking to observe that Scripture records not a single instance of a young saint disgracing his profession…It is true that young Christians are feeblest, and with rare exceptions, they know it; and therefore does God manifest His grace and power upholding them: it is the “lambs” which He carries in His arms! But some older Christians seem far less conscious of their danger, and so God often suffers them to have a fall, that He may stain the pride of their self-glory, and that others may see it is nothing in the flesh—standing, rank, age, or attainments—which insures our safety; but that He upholds the humble and casts down the proud.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall,” I Corinthians 10:12. The harms sustained by others should be cautions to us. He that thinks he stands should not be confident and secure, but upon his guard. Others have fallen, and so may we.

RICHARD STEELE (1629-1692): When old people fall, they fall with a great weight, and are crushed more than younger people, and perhaps they have more difficulty to rise again. Far more excuses are found for the lapses of young people, than can be pretended by the aged…Take warning by poor Noah―one hour’s drunkenness discovered that [nakedness] which six hundred years sobriety had concealed.

C. H. SPURGEON: Take this, then, as a caution, lest we spoil a lifelong reputation by one wretched act of sin.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): All sins are rooted in love of pleasure. Therefore be watchful.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): A wandering heart needs a watchful eye.

MATTHEW HENRY: Sometimes those who, with watchfulness and resolution, have, by the grace of God, kept their integrity in the midst of temptation, have through security, and carelessness, and neglect of the grace of God, been surprised into sin when the hour of temptation has been over.

MATTHEW POOLE: Thus Lot―he who kept his integrity in the midst of all the temptations of Sodom, falls into a grievous sin in a place where he might seem most remote from all temptations; God permitting this, to teach all following ages how weak even the best men are when they are left to themselves, and what absolute need they have of Divine assistance.

JOHN RYLAND (1723-1792): How many are the evils of our hearts! What need do we find of constant watchfulness and earnest prayer for the supply of the Spirit. Self, that most subtle and dangerous of all our foes, will assume a thousand forms to draw our supreme attention from our Lord. Both the lusts of the flesh and the lusts of the mind must be continually opposed and mortified.

THOMAS MANTON: The Lord’s grace is promised to him that resisteth. God keepeth us from the evil one, but it is by our watchfulness and resistance; His power maketh it effectual.

C. H. SPURGEON: Cool passions are no guarantees against fiery sins, unless grace has cooled them.

A. W. PINK: If we do need not more grace, certain it is that we need as much grace when we are grown old, as while we are growing up.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): As it starts, so it continues. It is a “fight of faith” always, right to the end.

HOW TO REMEMBER THE SCRIPTURE WE READ

HOW TO REMEMBER THE SCRIPTURE WE READ

 Michael Jeshurun

 A Brother in Christ recently wrote to me – “I have friends who can accurately reference specific footnotes from books they read 20 or more years ago! Those friends not only read a lot, they remember just about everything. I find THIS VERY DISCOURAGING. I recently finished a 676-page biography, and yet when I closed the book and communicated to others how much I enjoyed the book, there was really only one sentence I clearly remembered—which is one reason why I dog-ear and mark paragraphs and sentences in my books. I try to read a lot but unfortunately I forget a lot, too. Did I mention how discouraging this is”?

This is the lament of MANY of God’s children. The Lord laid on my heart a burden to write a few words on reading and how to remember what we have read.

Like every other faculty of our beings, the MEMORY has been affected by the Fall and bears on it the marks of depravity. This is seen from ITS POWER TO RETAIN WHAT IS WORTHLESS, AND THE DIFFICULTY ENCOUNTERED TO HOLD FAST THAT WHICH IS GOOD. A foolish nursery-rhyme or song heard in youth, is carried with us to the grave; but a helpful sermon is forgotten within twenty-four hours! The first five times the word “remember” is used in Scripture, in each case it is connected with God.  And God remembered Noah, and God remembered Abraham etc. But the first time it is used of MAN we read, “Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but FORGOT HIM” (Gen. 40:23)!  [A.W. Pink]

How true this is. Though many of us have been blessed with a photographic mind, some of us have run out of film! Scripture constantly admonishes us to remember and chides us for having forgotten. “REMEMBER the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee” [Duet 32:7] ‘REMEMBER ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ’ [Jude 17] etc. And again – “Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not REMEMBER? [Mk 8:18]

Good memory is indeed the gift of God as all other good gifts [Jam 1:17] Arthur W. Pink was an exacting person. He was blessed (some say plagued) with a photographic memory. He never forgot what he had read, and upon occasion would prove it by stating the volume and page where he read a certain comment. Because of this, some found him hard to bear, since, if he were challenged, he could quote Scriptures by the hundreds to back up a statement of his.

Though all the saints are not SO blessed, yet God has in his divine power given all His saints all things that pertain unto life and godliness, and one of them is a good memory. But like all other natural faculties, it is one which must be improved upon.

Memorizing Scripture and Godly quotes from Godly men is hard work indeed. Scripture speaks of those who labour in the Word and doctrine. [1Tim 5:17]. Though this is a reference to the ‘Elders’ and ‘Preachers’ of God’s Word, yet EVERY child of God should be diligent and passionate to study God’s Word and memorize. ‘Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart. [Job 22:22]

The benefits of such a discipline are manifold.

First, it keeps us from that abominable thing that God hates – SIN! “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I MIGHT NOT SIN against Thee” (Psalm 119:11). ‘The only effective way of keeping a plot of ground from being overgrown by weeds is to sow good seed therein: “Overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). So the more Christ’s Word dwells in us “richly” (Colossians 3:16), the less room will there be for the exercise of sin in our hearts and lives. ‘By the word of Thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer’. [Psa 17:4; see also Psa 119:9]

Secondly, it will keep us from error and heresies. Scripture admonishes us to try the spirits whether they are of God [1Jn 4:1], for many false prophets have gone out into the world. But how shall we test them if we are ignorant of God’s Word? Let us be like the Bereans, who not only ‘received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. [Act 17:11]

Thirdly, it makes us better comforters and counselors. ‘Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee? [Prov 22:20,21]. The Apostle admonished, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God” [1Pet 4:11]. The trouble with most preachers in our day is that they do not speak according to God’s word! ‘To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to THIS WORD, it is because there is no light in them. [Isa 8:20]

Finally it helps us to know our Lord more deeply, intimately and personally. “SEARCH the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me”. [Jn 5:39]

A FEW SIMPLE TIPS ON BIBLE STUDY  –

FIRST, PRAY FOR GOD’S GUIDANCE AND REVELATION. All true knowledge concerning any spiritual subject, be it God, Man, Sin or the Devil, comes through revelation. So pray – “OPEN Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law”. [Psa 119:118]

SECOND, MAKE NOTES IN YOUR BIBLE. Many believe that the Bible is to be treated with reverence and should never be marked in. Only the message contained within should be revered, etc. The paper, ink, and leather that make up the physical Bible are not holy.  Mr. Philpot aptly said – ‘If your religion is only in the Bible, and has no existence out of the Bible in your own soul, which is the case with thousands who are considered great Christians, the same fire that will at the last day burn up the Bible will burn up your religion with it”.

Making notations in your Bible helps AMPLIFY and REINFORCE God’s message, and is acceptable to Him. Marking the Bible helps us internalize the precious truth that so many have taken for granted. If you have neglected this, NOW is a good time to get back into it. Some who have been in the Church for awhile mistakenly assume that they have already heard it all. But, God‘s mercies are new EVERY MORNING!

MEDITATE ON WHAT YOU READ AND TRY TO RECOLLECT AS MUCH AS YOU CAN. “O how I love thy law! it is my meditation all the day”. [Psa 119:97]. Imitate the Godly man in ‘Psalm One’ whose delight was in the law of the LORD; and meditated on it day and night. Recollecting what you have read is a very sure way to improve and sharpen your memory.

FINALLY, SHARE WITH OTHERS WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNT. There is really something about sharing with others what God has revealed to you. ‘The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself’. [Prov 11:25].

The admonition of the Apostle to Timothy applies to all of us who love the Lord –

“Till I come, give attendance to READING, to EXHORTATION, to DOCTRINE’! [1Tim 4:13].

THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD REVEALED IN THE GOSPEL

THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD REVEALED IN THE GOSPEL

Michael Jeshurun

I am doing a study on the ‘righteousness of God’ that is revealed in the gospel as to what it is. It is indeed amazing how sometimes even a little word or phrase can take you to a whole another realm of God’s truth which you have never conceived or contemplated before. Little wonder the Psalmist exclaims, “Thy commandment is exceeding broad!” [Psalm 119:96]

Consider what the Apostle says in Romans, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For THEREIN is THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” [Rom 1:16,17]

So what is this ‘righteousness of God’ mentioned here? Is it God’s inherent righteousness which is His most glorious attribute? Or is it the righteousness which His Law demands from every child of Adam? i.e. the Law given by Moses – “For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.” [Rom 10:5]

Actually it is neither of these! It is neither the inherent righteousness of God, nor the righteousness which the Law demands, but the righteousness which Christ wrought for His elect. It is as the Apostle designates it “a righteousness apart from the Law” – “But NOW the righteousness of God WITHOUT THE LAW is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference. etc” [Rom 3:21,22]

This ‘righteousness’, which is revealed in the Gospel is not the righteousness demanded of impotent sinners, but a righteousness made ready for the acceptance of God’s Elect, held aloft by a promising God and appropriated by their believing souls. It is a perfect righteousness, which obliterates all guilt and bestows an inalienable title to eternal life. “It is styled the righteousness of God, by way of superlative pre-eminence, in opposition to any righteousness of our own and in contradistinction from the righteousness of all creatures whatever” (James Hervey). But more – it is the “righteousness of God” because God the Father devised it from all eternity for His Elect, God the Son wrought it out here upon earth, and God the Holy Spirit makes it good to us by working in us a faith which appropriates the same. To sum up Romans 1:16, 17 and 3:21, 22 – salvation is by righteousness, a righteousness that is found in Christ alone, and that righteousness becomes ours by faith.

The Master said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” (Matthew 5:17) He fulfilled the Law by rendering to it a personal, perfect and perpetual obedience as the Surety of His people, and the moment they savingly believe in Him-His obedience is reckoned to their account and becomes THEIR legal righteousness before God (Romans 4:24; 5:19). The perfect righteousness of Christ is “upon all those who believe” (Romans 3:22). It is their “wedding garment” (Matthew 22:12) the “best robe” (Luke 15:22) by which they are covered. And thus may each one say, “In the Lord, have I righteousness and strength” (Isaiah 45:24). Now can the child of God declare “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, and my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10).

Thousands of years ago the question was raised, “How then can man be justified with God?” (Job 25:4) and that perplexity would have remained unresolved until the end of time—had not God Himself supplied the solution. In the Scriptures, He has made known a PERFECT RIGHTEOUSNESS provided for the unrighteous. It was for that reason the apostle declared, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ (however it may be deemed foolishness by the sophisticated Greeks or prove a stumbling-block to the carnal Jews) for it is the power of God unto salvation” – the grand Instrument which He has ordained for that purpose, and which He will certainly crown with the success He has appointed. And wherein lies the chief and distinguishing glory of the Gospel? “For THEREIN is the ‘righteousness of God’ revealed, from faith to faith” (Romans 1:16,17).

Here is where the Gospel comes into the picture or so to say the Gospel becomes necessary. The Gospel enables the regenerate soul to ‘see’ the righteousness of God which is credited to him whereby he is saved!

Read this scripture again and meditate prayerfully on it –

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality TO LIGHT through the Gospel!” [2Tim 1:9,10]

So what is meant by the ‘righteousness of God’ which is revealed in the Gospel? Dr. John Gill answers – ”By the righteousness of God, is not meant the essential righteousness of God, the rectitude of His nature, His righteousness in fulfilling His promises, and His punitive justice, which though revealed in the Gospel, yet not peculiar to it; nor the righteousness by which Christ Himself is righteous, either as God, or as Mediator; but THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH HE WROUGHT OUT by obeying the precepts, and bearing the penalty of the law in the room of His people, and by which they are justified in the sight of God: and this is called the righteousness of God, in opposition to the righteousness of men; and because it justifies men in the sight of God; and because of the concern which Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit, have in it.

Jehovah the Father sent His Son to work it out, and being wrought out, He approves and accepts of it, and imputes it to His elect; Jehovah the Son is the Author of it by His obedience and death; and Jehovah the Spirit discovers it to sinners, works faith in them to lay hold upon it, and pronounces the sentence of justification by it in their consciences.

Now this is said to be revealed in the Gospel, that is, it is taught in the Gospel; that is the word of righteousness, the ministration of it; it is manifested in and by the Gospel. This righteousness is not known by the light of nature, nor by the law of Moses; it was hid under the shadows of the ceremonial law, and is brought to light only by the Gospel; it is hid from every natural man, even from the most wise and prudent, and from God’s elect themselves before conversion, and is only made known to believers, to whom it is revealed; from faith to faith; that is, as say some, from the faith of God to the faith of men; from the faith of preachers to the faith of hearers; from the faith of the Old to the faith of the New Testament saints; or rather from one degree of faith to another; for faith, as it grows and increases, has clearer sights of this righteousness, as held forth in the Gospel. [Dr. John Gill]

[Condensed and paraphrased from the writings of A.W. Pink]

 

WHATEVER ELSE YOU MAY HAVE ‘RESOLVED’ FOR THE COMING YEAR, MAKE IT YOUR PRIMARY AIM TO SPEND MORE TIME IN GOD’S HOLY WORD

WHATEVER ELSE YOU MAY HAVE ‘RESOLVED’ FOR THE COMING YEAR, MAKE IT YOUR PRIMARY AIM TO SPEND MORE TIME IN GOD’S HOLY WORD

compiled by Michael Jeshurun

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby.” [1Peter 2:2]

“The only real food of the soul must be of God’s own appointing, preparing, and communicating.

You can never deceive a hungry child. You may give it a plaything but still it cries. It may serve for a few minutes; but the pains of hunger are not to be removed by a doll. A toy horse will not allay the cravings after the mother’s breast.

So with babes in grace. A hungry soul cannot feed upon playthings. Altars, robes, ceremonies, candlesticks, bowings, mutterings, painted windows, intoning priests, and singing men and women; these dolls and wooden horses; these toys and playthings of the religious baby house, cannot feed the soul that, like David, cries out after the living God (Psalm 42:23).

Christ, the bread of life, the manna that came down from heaven, is the only food of the believing soul (John 6:51).

‘Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart!” [Jer 15:16]”

– by J.C. Philpot 

GREAT QUOTES ON GOD’S WORD – 

A.W. PINK (1886-1952): One of the exhortations which God has addressed to His children runs, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” [1 Pet. 2:2], and it behooves each one of them honestly and diligently to examine himself so as to discover whether or not this be the case with him. Nor are we to be content with an increase of mere head-knowledge of Scripture: what we need to be most concerned about is our practical growth, our experimental conformity to the image of Christ. And one point at which we may test ourselves is, Does my reading and study of God’s Word make me less worldly?

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Strong desires and affections to the Word of God are a sure evidence of a person’s being born again. If they be such desires as the babe has for the milk, they prove that the person is new-born. They are the lowest evidence, but yet they are certain.

ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE (1813-1843): If ye be led by the Spirit, ye will love the Bible. You will say, “Oh, how I love thy law, it is my meditation all the day,” Psalm 119:97.

GEORGE MÜLLER (1805-1898): Through His Word, our Father speaks to us, encourages us, comforts us, instructs us, humbles us, and reproves us.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Read it because it is the food that God has provided for your soul, because it is the Word of God, because it is the means whereby you can get to know God. Read it because it is the bread of life, the manna provided for your soul’s nourishment and well-being…The Bible is God’s Book and it is a Book of Life. It is a Book that speaks to us a word from God.

ALEXANDER COMRIE (1706-1774): It is true that God does not address you in His Word by name, but the Word is to each one in particular. “Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of men,” Proverbs 8:4; what Jesus declares unto you, is spoken to you in particular, as though your name and surname stood printed in the Bible.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): What the Scripture speaketh to all, is to be esteemed as spoken to every singular person, for they are included in their universality―So Psalm 27:8, “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face, my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.” God’s words invite all, but David maketh the application to himself.

THOMAS ADAM (1701-1784): Everyone should apply Scripture to himself, as if it was written for him only.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): The Bible is a book which calls not so much for the exertion of our intellect as it does for the exercise of our affections, conscience and will. God has given it to us not for our entertainment but for our education, to make known what He requires from us. It is to be the traveller’s guide as he journeys through the maze of this world, the mariner’s chart as he sails the sea of life. Therefore, whenever we open the Bible, the all-important consideration for each of us to keep before him is, What is there here for me today? What bearing does the passage now before me have upon my present case and circumstances—what warning, what encouragement, what information? What instruction is there to direct me in the management of my business, to guide me in the ordering of my domestic and social affairs, to promote a closer walking with God?

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): We should read with a view to self-application. Instead of thinking of others—which is too frequently the case—we should think of ourselves, inquiring how it bears upon our own character and condition.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): Take every word as spoken to yourselves. When the Word thunders against sin, think thus: “God means MY sins.” When it emphasizes any duty, “God intends ME in this.” Many put off Scripture from themselves, as if it only concerned those who lived in the time when it was written; but if you intend to profit by the Word, bring it home to yourselves: a medicine will do no good, unless it be applied.

THOMAS BRADBURY (1831-1905): You read your Bible every day, you say? Well! that is good so far as it goes. But does the Bible ever read you?

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: When the Spirit is illuminating the page and our minds at the same time, as He does with a child, the first thing you’re conscious of is that the Bible after all is speaking to YOU. When you read about the Pharisees, you’re not reading about people who lived two thousand years ago, you feel you’re reading about yourself. And when you read about some of these characters in the Old Testament, David and so on, you’re not reading a history book, you’re reading about yourself. You say, “That’s me! It’s all very well; it looks terrible in David, but I’ve got that sort of thing IN ME.” When the Bible speaks to you like that, you’re a child of God. He never does that with a hypocrite. He never does that with a man who only has an intellectual interest in it. If you feel therefore that the Bible is speaking to you about yourself, speaking to you directly, that it’s not merely some general truth, or the gathering of doctrines, but is a LIVING word that’s saying something to you, upbraiding you, condemning you, increasing your hunger and thirst, and so on―well then that’s a living spiritual relationship that the Holy Spirit alone can produce.

WILLIAM TYNDALE (1490-1536): As thou readest, think that every syllable pertaineth to thine own self, and suck out the pith of Scripture.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: When you are reading your Scriptures in this way— it matters not whether you have read little or much—if a verse stands out and hits you and arrests you, do not go on reading. Stop immediately, and listen to it. It is speaking to you, so listen to it and speak to it.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Say, therefore, with David, “Blessed be thou, O Lord, teach me Thy statutes,” Psalm 119:12. And with Zwingli, “I beseech Thee, Almighty God, to direct our ways.”

ROWLAND HILL (1744-1833): You never read God’s Word to profit but as it teaches you to pray while you read.

A. W. PINK: There should be a definite asking of Him to graciously anoint our eyes, (Revelation 3:18), not only that we may be enabled to behold wondrous things in His law, (Psalm 119:18), but also that He will make us of quick discernment to perceive how the passage before us applies to ourselves—what are the particular lessons we need to learn from it. The more we cultivate this habit, the more likely that God will be pleased to open His Word unto us.

MATTHEW HENRY: The Bible is a letter God has sent to us; prayer is a letter we send to Him.

BROWNLOW NORTH (1810-1875): Never neglect daily private Bible reading. And when you read, remember that God is speaking to you.

 

Go Forward! A message for the New year 2019

Go Forward! A message for the New year 2019

by A.W. Pink [January, 1947]

Though the writer has passed the sixtieth milestone of life and completed a quarter of a century’s hard but happy work on this magazine—yet he feels that “GO FORWARD!” [Exodus 14:15] is the Lord’s pressing word unto him at this time. If he should have acquired any laurels, he certainly does not wish to rest upon them; nor does he—while health and strength are granted—intend to moderate his own studies or relax in his efforts.

It has long been his desire to WEAR out—rather than RUST out; or, to express it in Scripture language, to “very gladly spend and be spent” [2 Corinthians 12:15] in endeavoring to serve the Lord and minister to His beloved people. Nor could he warrantably look for any measure of realizing that desire, if he slackened; rather should he seek to “Go forward” with increased earnestness and diligence, “redeeming the time, because the days are evil” [Ephesians 5:16]. The more evil the days—the grander the opportunity for proving the sufficiency of God’s grace, and the greater the privilege in serving His children.

GO FORWARD!” Is not this a TIMELY WORD for each of us as we enter a new year? Is not this a suitable motto for us to keep in mind as we journey through [if God permits] 1947? We need to clearly realize there is no such thing as remaining STATIONARY in the spiritual life: if we do not progress—we inevitably retrograde. How that solemn fact should search our hearts! Christian friend, your history this year will be either one of going forward—or backsliding. This New Year will mark either an increased fruitfulness in your soul and life—to the glory of Him whose name you bear; or increased leanness and barrenness—to His reproach! It will witness either a growing in grace—or a decline in your spirituality. It will record either an increased love for the Word, use of the Throne of Grace, strictness of walk and closer communion with Christ—or a growing coldness and a following of Him afar off.

O Christian reader, before reading any further, will you not now close your eyes and lift up your heart in earnest prayer for yourself and for all your brethren and sisters in Christ?

GO FORWARD!” The HISTORIC OCCASION on which those words were uttered is noteworthy, and a brief consideration of the same the better enables us to make application of them unto ourselves. The situation confronting Israel was a hopeless one, so far as they were concerned; and had not the Lord intervened, they had undoubtedly perished. After their exodus from Egypt, Pharaoh at the head of a great military force pursued and overtook them. With impassable obstacles on either side, the Red Sea in front, and the enemy in the rear—that company of ex-slaves with their wives and children were in a truly desperate plight, and death was all they expected [Exodus 14:10, 12]. Then it was that Moses said, “Do not be afraid. Stand still—and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today—you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” [Exodus 14:13-14].

Those words, “stand still—and you will see the deliverance of the Lord,” have been grossly carnalized and grievously wrested by those who foster a FATALISTIC INERTIA. “Stand still” obviously has the force here of “be not dismayed, do not panic, keep calm,” as the “you need only to be still” shows. Then followed, “and you will see the deliverance of the Lord,” which signified, Lift up your hearts and eyes in the exercise of faith. But faith must have a foundation to rest upon, even the Word of Him who cannot lie; and hence, the sure promise was given, “which the LORD will bring you today…The Lord shall fight for you.” Previously, they had “lifted up their eyes” and beheld Egyptians [Exodus 14:10]; and in consequence, were sore afraid. But there was something else and some One else for faith to “see”—namely, the promised salvation or deliverance of Jehovah, which was not yet visible to outward sight! If their faith were steadfastly occupied with that, their trembling hearts would be stilled, and strength obtained for the performance of duty or the discharge of their responsibility.

Then came the Divine order to Moses, “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they GO FORWARD” [Exodus 14:15]. That was a challenge to faith. To carnal reason, compliance appeared suicidal. To “Go forward” meant walking into the Red Sea—which, at that time, presented an unbroken mass of water. Ah—but they had been promised Divine deliverance. Yes—but God required them to lay hold of that promise and act on it. And they did: “By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land” [Hebrews 11:29]. If “by faith,” then certainly not “by sight”—the two things being opposed the one to the other [2 Corinthians 5:7]. Not until they stepped out with confidence in God’s Word—did He appear for them and begin to open the waters; and as they continued onward—He continued to open a way for them. It is in response to the actings of faith, that God works, for He never sets a premium on unbelief. Here—then, is the first signification of this word for us: “Go forward” with your heart resting on the sure promises of God—and with the eyes of faith steadfastly fixed upon Him.

“Go forward!” Second, this was a call to obedience—namely, the obedience of “faith” [Romans 1:5].

There was a COMMAND annexed to the promise—to prove them and show whether or not they had received the promise sincerely. There are certain grand benefits which God gives to His people without imposing any condition—such as the providing of a Redeemer who took our nature, fulfilled the Law, satisfied God’s provoked justice on our behalf, and merited grace sufficient for our salvation. But having laid this glorious foundation, God treats with us as MORAL AGENTS, propounds to us a covenant which requires our cordial consent or agreement. Repentance and faith are required of us—in order to the forgiveness of our sins. All through the Christian life, our concurrence is necessary. God requires from us FAITH in each of His promises—and OBEDIENCE to the commands annexed to them. Obedience is the path He has appointed, and in which His blessing is to be found. We must follow the course He has prescribed, if we would have Him show Himself strong on our behalf. If we honor His precepts, He will honor us. “Go forward,” then, in complete subjection to His revealed will, and walking according to His Word.

“Go forward!” Third, this was a command to advance. It was so to Israel; it is so unto us. Onward Christian soldiers! Steadfastly persevere along the path of duty, walking in that narrow way which the Divine precepts have marked out for us. No matter what is your condition and circumstances, what obstacles may confront you, what RED SEA OF DIFFICULTY OR DANGER is before you, “Go forward” is your marching orders.

Raise no objections. “The slothful man says: There is a lion outside, I shall be slain in the streets!” [Proverbs 22:13], let no such idle excuse issue from your lips. Rather say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” [Philippians 4:13]. When your heart fails, when your soul is well-near overwhelmed by the problem or task facing you, do not panic, but lift up the EYES OF FAITH unto the Lord, realize He it is who bids you advance. Go forward depending on His promise—and you will not be confounded.

Christ’s oft-repeated “follow me” is but another form of “Go forward.” So too is every exhortation for us to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord” [2 Peter 3:18]. We are ever in need of such a word of exhortation, for we are prone to relax and take things easy—the more so as old age creeps upon us. Rest not satisfied with your present knowledge and apprehension of the Truth—but seek for a deeper and fuller one. Be not content with your present spiritual attainments, for “there remains yet very much land to be possessed!” [Joshua 13:1].

The manna you gathered yesterday—will not suffice for today. “Be not weary in well doing” [2 Thessalonians 3:13]. “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back—is fit for the kingdom of God” [Luke 9:62]. Let the prayerful resolve of each of us be: “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus!” [Philippians 3:13-14]. Beg God to write this word in your heart!

 

PSALM 23 – A PSALM FOR THE NEW YEAR 2019

PSALM 23 – A PSALM FOR THE NEW YEAR 2019

Henry Mahan

THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD; I SHALL NOT WANT

1. For REST – “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.”
2. For PEACE – “He leadeth me beside still waters.”
3. For FORGIVENESS – “He restoreth my soul.”
4. For HOLINESS –”He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
5. For FELLOWSHIP – “For Thou art with me.”
6. For COMFORT – “Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.”
7. For PROVISIONS – “Thou preparest a table before me.”
8. For ANYTHING IN THIS WORLD –”Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”
9. For IN THE WORLD TO COME – “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”