HOW TO MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE

HOW TO MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE

 A.W. Pink

 “Give diligence to make your calling and election sure”! [2Pet 1:10]

This exhortation, then, is addressed to LIVING SAINTS AND NOT TO DEAD SINNERS. To teach that the unregenerate can do anything at all toward securing their calling and election, is not only colossal ignorance, but it gives the lie of God’s Word. When they are delivering a divine message, the FIRST DUTY of God’s ministers is to draw very definitely the line of demarcation between the Church and the world: it is failure at this point which causes so many children of the Devil to claim relationship with the people of God.

Attention to the context will almost always make it clear to whom a passage pertains: whether to the children of men in general or to the children of God in particular. The simplest and most effectual way of making this plain to their hearers, is for them to carefully delineate the characters (the identifying marks) of the one and of the other—note how the apostle followed this very course in the first four verses of the epistle.

To discover that God’s purpose of grace is restricted to an elect people, is alarming to one who has imagined that He loves all mankind alike. To be made to seriously wonder if I am one of those whom God chose in Christ before the foundation of the world, raises a question which it is not easy to answer satisfactorily; and to be made to diligently inquire into my actual state, to solemnly examine myself before God, is a task which no hypocrite will prosecute; yet is it one which the regenerate will not shrink from, but on the contrary will pursue it with earnest zeal and fervent prayers to God for help therein.

It is not (as some foolishly suppose) that the one who is now so seriously concerned about his spiritual condition and eternal destiny is in such alarm because he doubts God’s Word. Far from it: it is just because he believes God’s Word that he doubts himself, doubts the validity of his Christian profession. It is because he believes the Scriptures when they declare the Lord’s flock is a “very little one” (Greek, Luke 12:32), he is fearful that he belongs not to it. It is because he believes God when He says, “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness” (Prov. 30:12), and that finding so much filth in his own soul, he trembles lest that be true of him. It is because he believes God when He says “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9), that he is deeply exercised lest he be fatally deluded. Ah, my reader, the more firmly we believe God’s Word, the more cause have we to doubt ourselves.

To obtain assurance that they have received a supernatural call from God, which has brought them from death unto life, is a matter of paramount concern to those who really value their souls. Those to whom God has imparted an honest heart abhor hypocrisy, refuse to take anything for granted, and greatly fear lest they impose upon themselves by passing a more favorable verdict than is warranted. Others may laugh at their concern and mock at their fears, but this moves them not. TOO MUCH IS AT STAKE FOR SUCH A MATTER TO BE LIGHTLY AND HURRIEDLY DISMISSED. They know full well that it is one which must be settled in the presence of God, and if they are deceived, they beg Him to make them aware of it. It is God who has wounded them, and He alone can heal; it is God who has disturbed their carnal complacency, and none but He can bestow real spiritual rest.

There is a class of professing Christians who entertain no doubts whatever about their salvation, who are fond of saying, “as well look to an iceberg for heat or into a grave to find the tokens of life, as search within ourselves for proofs of the new birth”. But is it not akin to blasphemy to suggest that God the Spirit can take up His residence in a person and yet for there to be no definite evidences of His presence.

It is not the making of our calling and election sure GODWARDS, but MANWARDS. Nor is it something future which is here in view: it is the present enjoyment to ourselves of our calling and election, and of evidencing the same to our brethren. By heeding the exhortation of verses 5-7 I am to prove my calling and election, and demonstrate the same to the Church. A man may tell me he believes in election and is sure that he has been called of God, but unless I can see in his character and conduct the spiritual graces of verses 5-7 then I have to say of him (as Paul did of the Galatians) “I stand in doubt of you.” Here, then, is the meaning: make steadfast in your own conscience your calling and election, and make good to others your profession, by walking as a child of God.

HOW may a real believer ascertain that he is one of God’s elect?

Why, the very fact he is a genuine Christian evidences it, for a believing into Christ is the sure consequence of God’s having ordained him to eternal life (Acts. 13:48). But to be more specific. How may I know my election?

FIRST, by the Word of God, having come in Divine power to the soul, so that my self-complacency is shattered and my self-righteousness renounced.

SECOND, by the Spirit’s having convicted me to my woeful, guilty, and lost condition.

THIRD, by having had revealed to me the suitability and sufficiency of Christ to meet my desperate case, and by a divinely given faith causing me to lay hold of and rest upon Him as my only hope.

FOURTH, by the marks of the new nature within me: a love for God, an appetite for spiritual things, a longing for holiness, a seeking after conformity to Christ.

FIFTH, by the resistance which the new nature makes to the old, causing me to hate sin and loathe myself for it.

SIXTH, by sedulously avoiding everything which is condemned by God’s Word, and by sincerely repenting of and humbly confessing every transgression thereof. Failure at this point will most surely and quickly bring a dark cloud over our assurance, causing the Spirit to withhold His witness.

SEVENTH, by giving all diligence to cultivate the Christian graces, and using all legitimate means to this end. Thus, knowledge of election is cumulative.

[Taken from A.W. Pink’s ‘The Doctrine of Election’]

THE MEANING OF THE ‘ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE SAINTS’

THE MEANING OF THE ‘ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE SAINTS’

Michael Jeshurun

Eternal Security does not mean that all those who were baptized in infancy, all those who responded to an ‘altar call’ or all those who prayed a little prayer to accept Jesus as their ‘personal saviour’ are ‘eternally secure’!

But what it does mean is that all those who were loved and elected by the Father in eternity (Eph 1:4), all those for whom the Son shed His precious blood (John 10:15), and all those whom the Holy Spirit has sovereignly regenerated (John 3:8) are “KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time!” (1Pet 1:5)

Salvation is something which in all honesty WE never desired, prayed for nor sought after! It was something which was given to us FREELY without any regard to either our merit or demerit! “I was found of them THAT SOUGHT ME NOT; I was made manifest unto them that ASKED NOT AFTER ME.” (Rom 10:20)

All the children of Adam are born as sworn enemies of the Mighty Jehovah. They “are ESTRANGED FROM THE WOMB: and go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” (Psalm 58:3) They may worship a ‘god’ of their own imagination, embrace an orthodox religion and have a head full of doctrine, but they can neither perceive nor love the Sovereign Discriminating God of the Scriptures!

This GOD can only be known by REVELATION! And He has chosen to reveal Himself to a FEW as opposed to the MANY who live and die in darkness! These ‘FEW’ He calls ‘Sheep” as opposed to the “Goats”. To the sheep it is GRANTED (Luke 8:10) to hear His voice and follow Him, and the voice of a stranger they will not follow!

And as is common with sheep in the natural world these spiritual sheep go astray many a time, but they NEVER CAN BE ‘LOST’ FOREVER, for they are under the care and oversight of the Master Shepherd of whom it is written – “Of them which Thou gavest Me have I lost none!” (John 18:9)

The salvation of God’s elect is at times likened to the building of a temple, and God as the Master builder! While men may at times undertake the building of a project and later leave it undone for a lack of foresight or the power and resource to finish thereof; not so God!

It shall NEVER be said of God, “This man began to build, and was not able to finish!” Oh No! “Being CONFIDENT of this very thing, that He which HATH BEGUN a good work in you WILL PERFORM IT until the day of Jesus Christ!” (Phil 1:6)

“The hands of Zerubbabel (picture of Christ) have LAID THE FOUNDATION of this house; his hands shall also FINISH IT; and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it! (Zech 4:6-8)

Yes, the elect of God are eternally secure, not because of anything in them or performed by them, but because of Him who promised –

“And I GIVE UNTO THEM eternal life; and they shall NEVER PERISH, neither shall any man PLUCK THEM OUT OF MY HAND. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and NO MAN IS ABLE TO PLUCK THEM OUT OF MY FATHER’S HAND!” (John 10:28,29)

Say Hallelujah!

ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE SAINTS – WHAT IT MEANS

ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE SAINTS – WHAT IT MEANS

Michael Jeshurun

Eternal Security does not mean that all those who were baptized in infancy, all those who responded to an ‘altar call’ or all those who prayed a little prayer to accept Jesus as their ‘personal saviour’ are ‘eternally secure’!

But what it does mean is that all those who were loved and elected by the Father in eternity (Eph 1:4), all those for whom the Son shed His precious blood (John 10:15), and all those whom the Holy Spirit has sovereignly regenerated (John 3:8) are “KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time!” (1Pet 1:5)

Salvation is something which in all honesty WE never desired, prayed for nor sought after! It was something which was given to us FREELY without any regard to either our merit or demerit! “I was found of them THAT SOUGHT ME NOT; I was made manifest unto them that ASKED NOT AFTER ME.” (Rom 10:20)

All the children of Adam are born as sworn enemies of the Mighty Jehovah. They “are ESTRANGED FROM THE WOMB: and go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” (Psalm 58:3) They may worship a ‘god’ of their own imagination, embrace an orthodox religion and have a head full of doctrine, but they can neither perceive nor love the Sovereign Discriminating God of the Scriptures!

This GOD can only be known by REVELATION! And He has chosen to reveal Himself to a FEW as opposed to the MANY who live and die in darkness! These ‘FEW’ He calls ‘Sheep” as opposed to the “Goats”. To the sheep it is GRANTED (Luke 8:10) to hear His voice and follow Him, and the voice of a stranger they will not follow!

And as is common with sheep in the natural world these spiritual sheep go astray many a time, but they NEVER CAN BE ‘LOST’ FOREVER, for they are under the care and oversight of the Master Shepherd of whom it is written – “Of them which Thou gavest Me have I lost none!” (John 18:9)

The salvation of God’s elect is at times likened to the building of a temple, and God as the Master builder! While men may at times undertake the building of a project and later leave it undone for a lack of foresight or the power and resource to finish thereof; not so God!

It shall NEVER be said of God, “This man began to build, and was not able to finish!” Oh No! “Being CONFIDENT of this very thing, that He which HATH BEGUN a good work in you WILL PERFORM IT until the day of Jesus Christ!” (Phil 1:6)

“The hands of Zerubbabel (picture of Christ) have LAID THE FOUNDATION of this house; his hands shall also FINISH IT; and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it! (Zech 4:6-8)

Yes, the elect of God are eternally secure, not because of anything in them or performed by them, but because of Him who promised –

“And I GIVE UNTO THEM eternal life; and they shall NEVER PERISH, neither shall any man PLUCK THEM OUT OF MY HAND. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and NO MAN IS ABLE TO PLUCK THEM OUT OF MY FATHER’S HAND!” (John 10:28,29)

Say Hallelujah!

MAKING YOUR ELECTION IN CHRIST SURE!

MAKING YOUR ELECTION IN CHRIST SURE!

 A.W. Pink

 “Give diligence to make your calling and election sure”! [2Pet 1:10]

This exhortation, then, is addressed to LIVING SAINTS AND NOT TO DEAD SINNERS. To teach that the unregenerate can do anything at all toward securing their calling and election, is not only colossal ignorance, but it gives the lie of God’s Word. When they are delivering a divine message, the FIRST DUTY of God’s ministers is to draw very definitely the line of demarcation between the Church and the world: it is failure at this point which causes so many children of the Devil to claim relationship with the people of God.

Attention to the context will almost always make it clear to whom a passage pertains: whether to the children of men in general or to the children of God in particular. The simplest and most effectual way of making this plain to their hearers, is for them to carefully delineate the characters (the identifying marks) of the one and of the other—note how the apostle followed this very course in the first four verses of the epistle.

To discover that God’s purpose of grace is restricted to an elect people, is alarming to one who has imagined that He loves all mankind alike. To be made to seriously wonder if I am one of those whom God chose in Christ before the foundation of the world, raises a question which it is not easy to answer satisfactorily; and to be made to diligently inquire into my actual state, to solemnly examine myself before God, is a task which no hypocrite will prosecute; yet is it one which the regenerate will not shrink from, but on the contrary will pursue it with earnest zeal and fervent prayers to God for help therein.

It is not (as some foolishly suppose) that the one who is now so seriously concerned about his spiritual condition and eternal destiny is in such alarm because he doubts God’s Word. Far from it: it is just because he believes God’s Word that he doubts himself, doubts the validity of his Christian profession. It is because he believes the Scriptures when they declare the Lord’s flock is a “very little one” (Greek, Luke 12:32), he is fearful that he belongs not to it. It is because he believes God when He says, “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness” (Prov. 30:12), and that finding so much filth in his own soul, he trembles lest that be true of him. It is because he believes God when He says “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9), that he is deeply exercised lest he be fatally deluded. Ah, my reader, the more firmly we believe God’s Word, the more cause have we to doubt ourselves.

To obtain assurance that they have received a supernatural call from God, which has brought them from death unto life, is a matter of paramount concern to those who really value their souls. Those to whom God has imparted an honest heart abhor hypocrisy, refuse to take anything for granted, and greatly fear lest they impose upon themselves by passing a more favorable verdict than is warranted. Others may laugh at their concern and mock at their fears, but this moves them not. TOO MUCH IS AT STAKE FOR SUCH A MATTER TO BE LIGHTLY AND HURRIEDLY DISMISSED. They know full well that it is one which must be settled in the presence of God, and if they are deceived, they beg Him to make them aware of it. It is God who has wounded them, and He alone can heal; it is God who has disturbed their carnal complacency, and none but He can bestow real spiritual rest.

There is a class of professing Christians who entertain no doubts whatever about their salvation, who are fond of saying, “as well look to an iceberg for heat or into a grave to find the tokens of life, as search within ourselves for proofs of the new birth”. But is it not akin to blasphemy to suggest that God the Spirit can take up His residence in a person and yet for there to be no definite evidences of His presence.

It is not the making of our calling and election sure GODWARDS, but MANWARDS. Nor is it something future which is here in view: it is the present enjoyment to ourselves of our calling and election, and of evidencing the same to our brethren. By heeding the exhortation of verses 5-7 I am to prove my calling and election, and demonstrate the same to the Church. A man may tell me he believes in election and is sure that he has been called of God, but unless I can see in his character and conduct the spiritual graces of verses 5-7 then I have to say of him (as Paul did of the Galatians) “I stand in doubt of you.” Here, then, is the meaning: make steadfast in your own conscience your calling and election, and make good to others your profession, by walking as a child of God.

HOW may a real believer ascertain that he is one of God’s elect?

Why, the very fact he is a genuine Christian evidences it, for a believing into Christ is the sure consequence of God’s having ordained him to eternal life (Acts. 13:48). But to be more specific. How may I know my election?

FIRST, by the Word of God, having come in Divine power to the soul, so that my self-complacency is shattered and my self-righteousness renounced.

SECOND, by the Spirit’s having convicted me to my woeful, guilty, and lost condition.

THIRD, by having had revealed to me the suitability and sufficiency of Christ to meet my desperate case, and by a divinely given faith causing me to lay hold of and rest upon Him as my only hope.

FOURTH, by the marks of the new nature within me: a love for God, an appetite for spiritual things, a longing for holiness, a seeking after conformity to Christ.

FIFTH, by the resistance which the new nature makes to the old, causing me to hate sin and loathe myself for it.

SIXTH, by sedulously avoiding everything which is condemned by God’s Word, and by sincerely repenting of and humbly confessing every transgression thereof. Failure at this point will most surely and quickly bring a dark cloud over our assurance, causing the Spirit to withhold His witness.

SEVENTH, by giving all diligence to cultivate the Christian graces, and using all legitimate means to this end. Thus, knowledge of election is cumulative.

[Taken from A.W. Pink’s ‘The Doctrine of Election’]

THE MEANING OF ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE SAINTS

THE MEANING OF ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE SAINTS

Michael Jeshurun

Eternal Security does not mean that all those who were baptized in infancy, all those who responded to an ‘altar call’ or all those who prayed a little prayer to accept Jesus as their ‘personal saviour’ are ‘eternally secure’!

But what it does mean is that all those who were loved and elected by the Father in eternity (Eph 1:4), all those for whom the Son shed His precious blood (John 10:15), and all those whom the Holy Spirit has sovereignly regenerated (John 3:8) are “KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time!” (1Pet 1:5)

Salvation is something which in all honesty WE never desired, prayed for nor sought after! It was something which was given to us FREELY without any regard to either our merit or demerit! “I was found of them THAT SOUGHT ME NOT; I was made manifest unto them that ASKED NOT AFTER ME.” (Rom 10:20)

All the children of Adam are born as sworn enemies of the Mighty Jehovah. They “are ESTRANGED FROM THE WOMB: and go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” (Psalm 58:3) They may worship a ‘god’ of their own imagination, embrace an orthodox religion and have a head full of doctrine, but they can neither perceive nor love the Sovereign Discriminating God of the Scriptures!

This GOD can only be known by REVELATION! And He has chosen to reveal Himself to a FEW as opposed to the MANY who live and die in darkness! These ‘FEW’ He calls ‘Sheep” as opposed to the “Goats”. To the sheep it is GRANTED (Luke 8:10) to hear His voice and follow Him, and the voice of a stranger they will not follow!

And as is common with sheep in the natural world these spiritual sheep go astray many a time, but they NEVER CAN BE ‘LOST’ FOREVER, for they are under the care and oversight of the Master Shepherd of whom it is written – “Of them which Thou gavest Me have I lost none!” (John 18:9)

The salvation of God’s elect is at times likened to the building of a temple, and God as the Master builder! While men may at times undertake the building of a project and later leave it undone for a lack of foresight or the power and resource to finish thereof; not so God!

It shall NEVER be said of God, “This man began to build, and was not able to finish!” Oh No! “Being CONFIDENT of this very thing, that He which HATH BEGUN a good work in you WILL PERFORM IT until the day of Jesus Christ!” (Phil 1:6)

“The hands of Zerubbabel (picture of Christ) have LAID THE FOUNDATION of this house; his hands shall also FINISH IT; and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it! (Zech 4:6-8)

Yes, the elect of God are eternally secure, not because of anything in them or performed by them, but because of Him who promised –

“And I GIVE UNTO THEM eternal life; and they shall NEVER PERISH, neither shall any man PLUCK THEM OUT OF MY HAND. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and NO MAN IS ABLE TO PLUCK THEM OUT OF MY FATHER’S HAND!” (John 10:28,29)

Say Hallelujah!

LEARNING WHAT IT IS FOR OUR LORD TO SAVE US TO THE UTTERMOST

Philpot on Assurance

LEARNING WHAT IT IS FOR OUR LORD TO SAVE US TO THE UTTERMOST

J.C. Philpot

Now all these want a Saviour that can save them to the uttermost; not a one-half Saviour, not a nine-tenths Saviour, but a Saviour that can save them to the uttermost, that can look down from the heights of the sanctuary into their soul, that can apply His blood to their conscience, that can sweetly whisper to their heart, “Fear not, for I have redeemed thee;” that can bless their souls with the sweet enjoyment of this love, lift them up into His bosom, and assure them that when they die they shall be with Him in glory.

The very exercises and afflictions, and the sore temptations through which God’s family pass, all eventually endear Christ to them. They thus learn salvation is of grace, not of works, that Jesus alone must save, that nothing but His blood can pardon sin, nothing but His righteousness can justify. And depend upon it, if you are a child of God, you will sooner or later, in your travels through this wilderness, find your need of Jesus as “able to save to the uttermost.” There will be such things in your heart, and such feelings in your mind, the temptations you will meet with will be such, that nothing short of a Saviour that is able to save to the uttermost can save you out of your desperate case and felt circumstances as utterly lost and helpless.

This is a great point to come to. All trials, all temptations, all strippings, all emptyings that do not end here are valueless, because they lead the soul away from God. But the convictions, the trials, the temptations, the strippings, the emptyings, that bring us to this spot – that we have nothing, and can do nothing, but the Lord alone must do it all, these have a blessed effect, because they eventually make Jesus very near and dear unto us.

The text declares, that “he is able to save them to the uttermost.” But has He not already saved them? Do we not read, “Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling?” Salvation is a past act. The elect were saved in the purposes of God, when their names were written in the Book of Life; and they were saved actually, when the Saviour died on the tree. But they are saved in their consciences, when there is a manifestation of salvation of their souls.

And this all the people of God have experienced, or are longing to experience; and not a single soul thus longing will go out of the world before he has received a manifestation of this salvation in a greater or lesser degree. This salvation is manifested when the Lord of life and glory is pleased to make Himself known to the soul. And when the blessed Spirit takes of the things of Christ and reveals them to the conscience, then and there salvation is brought into the heart. Thus all the living family will sooner or later experience what it is for the Lord Jesus Christ to save them to the uttermost.

HOLD THOU ME UP

Hold Thou me up Cat

HOLD THOU ME UP

J.C. Philpot

We are surrounded with snares; temptations lie spread every moment in our path. These snares and temptations are so suitable to the lusts of our flesh, that we shall infallibly fall into them, and be overcome by them BUT FOR THE RESTRAINING PROVIDENCE OR THE PRESERVING GRACE OF GOD.

The Christian sees this; the Christian feels this. He has had, it may be, a bitter experience of the past. He has seen how, from lack of walking in godly fear, for lack of circumspection and standing upon his watch-tower, he has been entangled in times past in the snares of death. He has regretted the consequences, felt the misery of having slipped and fallen; the iron has entered into his soul; he has been in the prison house, in bondage, in darkness, and death. In consequence of his transgressions he has been “the fool” described in Psalm 108, as “afflicted because of his iniquity.”

As, then, a burnt child dreads the fire, so he dreads the consequence of being left for a moment to himself; and the higher his assurance rises and the clearer his views become of the grace of God which brings salvation, and of his own interest in it, the more is he afraid that he shall fall. If his eyes are more widely opened to see the purity of God, the blessedness of Christ, and the efficacy of atoning blood, the more also does he see of the evil of sin, and his own weakness and inability to stand against temptation in his own strength.

And all these feelings combine to raise up the earnest cry . . .

“Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe.” [Psalm 119:117]

“HE MUST INCREASE – I MUST DECREASE” [John 3:30]

He must increase

“HE MUST INCREASE – I MUST DECREASE” [John 3:30]

Joe Terrell

As the years pass, I come to a greater and greater realization of how much I must depend upon the grace of God for my salvation. My righteousness appears less and less acceptable in my sight: and if it looks poor in my sight, how awful it must appear in God’s sight! My will and determination do not appear half so strong as they once did, and I feel a greater need to rely upon the unchangeable will of God if I am to persevere.

This business of growing in grace is not at all what I once thought it would be. Rather than growing stronger, it seems I am growing weaker. Rather than growing more self-sufficient, it appears that I am growing more Christ – dependent. My utter dependence on Christ for all things is more evident to me now than before. I suppose this is why Peter united growing in grace with growing in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus.

So, if your desire is to grow in grace, then prepare yourself to diminish; prepare yourself to reduce in the flesh, for growth in grace is a growth in “Christ being formed in you,” which always follows the old pattern “He must increase, I must decrease.”

GOD BEGAN THE WORK OF SALVATION IN YOU AND HE SHALL FINISH IT

saint and devil

GOD BEGAN THE WORK OF SALVATION IN YOU AND HE SHALL FINISH IT

THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS

C.H. Spurgeon

First of all this (work of salvation) is a good work! This good is THE BEST that a man can receive. To make a man healthy in body and wealthy in estate, to educate his mind and train his faculties – all these are good, but in comparison with the salvation of the soul, they sink into insignificance! The work of sanctification is a good work in the highest possible sense, since it influences a man by good motives. It sets him on good works, introduces him among good men, gives him fellowship with good angels and in the end makes him like unto the good God Himself.

The Apostle calls it a “work,” and, in the deepest sense, it is indeed a work to convert a soul. If Niagara could suddenly be made to leap upward insteadof forever dashing downward from its rocky height, it were not such a miracle as to change the perverse will and the raging passions of men! To wash the Ethiopian white, or remove the leopard’s spots, is proverbially a difficulty—yet these are but surface works! To renew the very core of manhood and tear sin from its hold upon man’s heart this is not only the finger of God, but the baring of His arm.

Observe that the Apostle affirms that this good work was BEGUN BY GOD. He was evidently no believer in those remarkable powers which some theologians ascribe to “free will”! He was no worshipper of that modern Diana of the Ephesians. He declares that the good work was begun by God, from which I gather that the faintest gracious desire which ultimately blossoms into the fragrant flower of earnest prayer and humble faith is the work of God. No, Sinner, you shall never be before God! The first step towards ending the separation between the prodigal son and his father is taken by the Father, not by the son!

There lies within the heart of man no grain or vestige of spiritual good. He is to all good, alien, insensible, dead and he cannot be restored to God except by an agency which is altogether from without (outside) himself and from above! If you could develop what is in the heart of man, you would produce a devil—for that is the spirit which works in the children of disobedience! Develop that carnal mind which is enmity against God and you cannot by any possibility be reconciled to Him and the result is Hell. The fact is that the Divine life has departed from the natural man—man is dead in sin and life must come to him from the Giver of life, or he must remain dead forevermore.

There are some who would persuade us that this great work of the salvation of souls is begun by God and then deserted and left incomplete! And that there will be spirits lost forever upon whom the Holy Spirit once exerted His sanctifying power—for whom the Redeemer shed His precious blood, and whom the eternal Father once looked upon with eyes of complacent love! I believe no such thing! The repetition of such beliefs curdles my blood with horror! They sound like blasphemy!

No, where the Lord begins He will complete. And if He puts His right hand to any work, He will not stop until the work is done, whether it is to strike Pharaoh with plagues and at last to drown his chivalry in the Red Sea, or to lead His people through the wilderness like sheep and bring them in the end into the land that flows with milk and honey. In nothing does Jehovah turn from His intent. “Has He said and shall He not do it? Has He purposed it, and shall it not come to pass?” “He is God and changes not and THEREFORE the sons of Jacob are not consumed”.

HOLD THOU ME UP

Hold Thou me up

“Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe.”–Psalm 119:117

J.C. Philpot

We are surrounded with snares; temptations lie spread every moment in our path. These snares and temptations are so suitable to the lusts of our flesh, that we shall infallibly fall into them, and be overcome by them BUT FOR THE RESTRAINING PROVIDENCE OR THE PRESERVING GRACE OF GOD.

The Christian sees this; the Christian feels this. He has had, it may be, a bitter experience of the past. He has seen how, from lack of walking in godly fear, for lack of circumspection and standing upon his watch-tower, he has been entangled in times past in the snares of death. He has regretted the consequences, felt the misery of having slipped and fallen; the iron has entered into his soul; he has been in the prison house, in bondage, in darkness, and death. In consequence of his transgressions he has been “the fool” described in Psalm 108, as “afflicted because of his iniquity.”

As, then, a burnt child dreads the fire, so he dreads the consequence of being left for a moment to himself; and the higher his assurance rises and the clearer his views become of the grace of God which brings salvation, and of his own interest in it, the more is he afraid that he shall fall. If his eyes are more widely opened to see the purity of God, the blessedness of Christ, and the efficacy of atoning blood, the more also does he see of the evil of sin, and his own weakness and inability to stand against temptation in his own strength.

And all these feelings combine to raise up the earnest cry . . .

“Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe.” [Psalm 119:117]