Tag Archives: Believer

From “Morning and Evening” by C. H. Spurgeon

“Just, and the justifier of him which believeth.” – Rom_3:26

Being justified by faith, we have peace with God. Conscience accuses no longer. Judgment now decides for the sinner instead of against him. Memory looks back upon past sins, with deep sorrow for the sin, but yet with no dread of any penalty to come; for Christ has paid the debt of his people to the last jot and tittle, and received the divine receipt; and unless God can be so unjust as to demand double payment for one debt, no soul for whom Jesus died as a substitute can ever be cast into hell. It seems to be one of the very principles of our enlightened nature to believe that God is just; we feel that it must be so, and this gives us our terror at first; but is it not marvellous that this very same belief that God is just, becomes afterwards the pillar of our confidence and peace! If God be just, I, a sinner, alone and without a substitute, must be punished; but Jesus stands in my stead and is punished for me; and now, if God be just, I, a sinner, standing in Christ, can never be punished. God must change his nature before one soul, for whom Jesus was a substitute, can ever by any possibility suffer the lash of the law. Therefore, Jesus having taken the place of the believer-having rendered a full equivalent to divine wrath for all that his people ought to have suffered as the result of sin, the believer can shout with glorious triumph, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” Not God, for he hath justified; not Christ, for he hath died, “yea rather hath risen again.” My hope lives not because I am not a sinner, but because I am a sinner for whom Christ died; my trust is not that I am holy, but that being unholy, he is my righteousness. My faith rests not upon what I am, or shall be, or feel, or know, but in what Christ is, in what he has done, and in what he is now doing for me. On the lion of justice the fair maid of hope rides like a queen.

 

From “Evening Thoughts” by Winslow

“Therefore I love your commandments above gold; yes, above fine gold. Therefore I esteem all your precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.” Psa_119:127; Psa_119:128

To the true believer there is glory, harmony, and excellence in spiritual truth. Every part to Him is precious-no portion undervalued. In whatever form it presents itself, whether doctrinal or preceptive-with whatever tone it speaks, whether it rebukes or comforts, admonishes or cheers, he welcomes it as God’s own eternal truth, more precious to him than gold, yes, than much fine gold. In His eye it is a perfect system; dismember it of any one part, and you mar its beauty. It is a sovereign panacea; take out of it any single ingredient, and you impair its efficacy. He must have it with no doctrine dissevered, with no precept diluted, with no institution perverted. He can consent to no compromise; he has bought the truth, and the truth he cannot sell. Not only does he feel bound to watch it with a jealous and vigilant eye, because it is God’s own truth, but he loves it for its perfect adaptation to his own case. It has disclosed to him his sinfulness, and has revealed to him a “fountain open for sin.” It has led him in his ruin, helplessness, poverty, and condemnation, to the cross, and there introduced him to a Savior all- sufficient and willing to repair that ruin, assist that helplessness, enrich that poverty, and remove that condemnation. Is it any marvel that to such an individual God’s revealed truth should be precious? that he should guard it vigilantly, and love it ardently?

This leads us to revert to the close and important yet much forgotten connection which exists between a clear, spiritual perception of God’s truth, and a holy, humble, and close walk with God. The two can never be separated. A distant and careless walk not only veils the mind to the glory of the truth, but hardens the heart to the power of the truth. The world in the heart, guilt upon the conscience, and unmortified sin in the life, have a fearful and certain tendency to petrify the moral sensibilities, and render powerless the sword of the Spirit. Let not such a professor of Christ wonder that appeals the most thrilling, truths the most solemn, and motives the most persuasive, all, all are disarmed of their force in his case. Let him not be amazed that, with an enlightened judgment, and a scriptural creed, and a spotless orthodoxy, he knows nothing of the holy spiritual actings of the life of God in the soul; and that he does but hang a lifeless, sapless, withered branch upon the vine, ready to be removed at the husbandman’s bidding. Let him not be astonished that there is no close and fervid fellowship with the Father and His dear Son Christ Jesus-that his prayers are cold and formal, the habitual frame of his mind earthly and sensual-and that all taste and desire for the “communion of saints,” and for a spiritual searching ministry, should have become extinct in his soul-this is no marvel. The greater wonder would be if it were otherwise; that if, while living in a state of distance from God-the ordinances neglected, and sin unmortified-the Father and the Son should yet draw near and manifest themselves, and so make known that secret which peculiarly belongs to those that fear Him. But oh, to have Christ in the heart!-this, this is the truth of God experienced. Call you it enthusiasm? Blessed enthusiasm!-we exult in it, we glory in it. Let the formalist, let the man of notional religion, let the mere professor, call it what he may, deride it as he will; we admire the grace, and adore the love, and extol the power, which has formed “Christ within us the hope of glory.” Reader, be satisfied with nothing short of this.

 

A Thought on Deception

I’ve been going through my e-mail tonight, and I came across a couple of posts that got my attention.  One was from a new subscriber to my blog (always a surprise and thrill and humbling experience) by Keri Williams   who wrote a very compelling article about her son.  I urge you to check it out as she brings up some very good questions.  The other was from my friend, Greg,  over at A Particular Baptist Blog who shared something from someone I have a fondness for who also had something quite interesting to say.  If you read them, you’ll probably wonder what the connection is, or at least how I got my connection between the two.  They don’t  bring up the same points; at least, not on the surface, and in that way they’re a lot like life in that so much of life is connected in ways that we can’t see.

Both are about perception, but while one leads to something that’s true, the other doesn’t, at least not to something that lasts, and it’s this that has put me to writing this post.  How do we know if we’re real?  Seems like a silly question, doesn’t it?  Of course I’m real!  What do you mean?  I know I’m real.  My question to you is really?  Do you know for a fact that you’re real?  What about other people do you know if they’re real? How do you know?  Is there a way to find out?  Now that I’ve got you wondering where I’m going with this, and perhaps confused as well, let me ask you another question: are you real all the time?  Can we be both “real” and “un-real?”

People refer to it in a number of ways.  Some people call it putting on a face.  We all know what I’m talking about even if we all know of it by different names.  At it’s deepest core, when we’ve drilled through all the many layers of motive and reason, and the many, many ways in which we try to hide, cover and camouflage them, we all come to the place where we must face our deception; either that of ourselves, or others, but in most cases, I venture to say both.  That’s certainly the case with me, and I’d be willing to bet it’s the same with you.  We can mention levels of deception if you want, but isn’t that deception, too?  It’s funny that only we, humans, give degrees to what we do.

The thought in one of the posts (you can guess which one or read them and know) was about being a “believer.”  In one a “believer” sees himself as he is, not what others say he is, and clings to it.  The other is a “believer”  in experience, but not in substance, and yet many who’ve had the experience live in the “belief” that they have the substance when in truth they’ve never had it.  I can imagine you reading this and thinking “huh?” right now.  Yet it is true.  Maybe it will help to think of a plant or a tree.  You see them all the time, and they all have the same appearance, and yet you can’t see the root of any of them.  Isn’t it amazing how two trees can be standing side by side, and for years even look the same, and yet one be dead, and the other alive?

It would seem that the conclusion is that no one can tell who is a “believer” and who is not, and that even we ourselves can’t tell, but is that true?  Have you ever walked in the forest with someone who really knows it?  Have you ever really been in the company of someone who is very knowledgeable about their particular field?  How about you?  Can you spot a fake?  Can you tell when someone is pretending?

To the trained eye deception is not the invisible wraith that we like to think it is, and it most certainly isn’t to the one who gave us eyesight.  Now for the real truth, there is a difference between human beings and trees.  As human beings we know when we’re being deceptive and-we may have our reasons (even good reasons)-in choosing to be so, but we do know, and the one who made us…..He knows, too.

 

From “Winslow, Evening Thoughts”

     Something to add to my letter on forgiveness….

“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? until seven times? Jesus says unto him, I say not unto you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22

IF there is a single exercise of divine grace in which, more than in any other, the believer resembles God, it is this. God’s love to man is exhibited in one great and glorious manifestation, and a single word expresses it-forgiveness. In nothing has He so gloriously revealed Himself as in the exercise of this divine prerogative. Nowhere does He appear so like Himself as here. He forgives sin, and the pardon of sin involves the bestowment of every other blessing. How often are believers called upon thus to imitate God! And how like him in spirit, in affection, and in action do they appear, when, with true greatness of soul and with lofty magnanimity of mind, they fling from their hearts, and efface from their memories, all traces of the offence that has been given, and of the injury that has been received! How affecting and illustrious the example of the expiring Redeemer! At the moment that His deepest wound was inflicted, as if blotting out the sin and its remembrance with the very blood that it shed, He prayed, as the last drop fell, and as the last breath departed, “Father, forgive them.” How fully and fearfully might He have avenged Himself at that moment! A stronger than Samson hung upon the cross. And as He bowed His human nature and gave up the spirit, He could as easily have bowed the pillars of the universe, burying His murderers beneath its ruins. But no! He was too great for this. His strength should be on the side of mercy. His revenge should wreak itself in compassion. He would heap coals of fire upon their heads. He would overcome and conquer their evil, but He would overcome and conquer it with good: “Father, forgive them.”

It is in the constant view of this forgiveness that the followers of Christ desire, on all occasions of offence given, whether real or imaginary, to “forgive those who trespass against them.” Themselves the subjects of a greater and diviner forgiveness, they would be prompt to exercise the same holy feeling towards an offending brother. In the remembrance of the ten thousand talents from whose payment his Lord has released him, he will not hesitate to cancel the hundred pence owing to him by his fellow-servant. Where, then, will you find any exercise of brotherly love more God-like and divine than this? In its immediate tender, its greatest sweetness and richest charm appear. The longer it is delayed, the more difficult becomes the duty. The imagination is allowed to dwell upon, and the mind to brood over, a slight offence received, perhaps never intended, until it has increased to such magnitude as almost to extend, in the eye of the aggrieved party, beyond the limit of forgiveness. And then follows an endless train of evils-the wound festers and inflames; the breach widens; coldness is manifested; malice is cherished; every word, look, and act is misinterpreted; the molehill grows into a mountain, the little rivulet swells into an ocean, until happiness and peace retire from scenes so uncongenial, and from hearts so full of all hatred and strife. But how lovely in its appearance, and how pleasurable in the feelings it enkindles, is a prompt exercise of Christian forgiveness! Before the imagination has had time to distort, or the wound to fester, or ill-minded people to interfere, Christian love has triumphed, and all is forgiven!

How full of meaning is our blessed Lord’s teaching on this point of Christian duty, in our motto! It behooves us prayerfully and constantly to ponder His word. True love has no limits to its forgiveness. If it observes in the bosom of the offender the faintest marks of regret, of contrition, and of return, like Him from whose heart it comes, it is “ready to forgive,” even “until seventy times seven.” Oh who can tell the debt we owe to His repeated, perpetual forgiveness? And shall I refuse to be reconciled to my brother? Shall I withhold from him the hand of love, and let the sun go down upon my wrath? Because he has trampled upon me, who have so often acknowledged myself the chief of sinners, because he has slighted my self-importance, or has wounded my pride, or has grieved my too sensitive spirit, or, it is possible, without just cause, has uttered hard speeches, and has lifted up his heel against me, shall I keep alive the embers of an unforgiving spirit in my heart? Or rather, shall I heap coals of fire upon his head, not to consume him with wrath, but to overcome him with love? How has God my Father, how has Jesus my Redeemer, my Friend, dealt with me? Even so will I deal with my offending brother. I will not even wait until he comes, and acknowledges his fault. I will go to him, and tell him that at the mercy-seat, beneath the cross, with my eye upon the loving, forgiving heart of God, I have resolved to forgive all, and will forget all.