The following post by Bryan Daniels is a powerful post, and one not to be missed. I highly recommend it. “It Is Well”: A Supernatural Confession
If you like a challenge, try this. All these quotations are taken from the same source. Hint: I’ve mentioned before.
“God’s rules of action are immutable and therefore what He did to one company of His people He will do to others of them. God is Sovereign but yet He acts according to His unchanging Nature so that from one of His proceedings we may infer the rest.”
“God gave you all Covenant blessings in Christ Jesus according as He chose you, in Him, from before the foundation of the world. God saw you in Christ as His elect, His Beloved, His redeemed and therefore for you He prepared a kingdom which you inherit through His Grace. If you have now the confidence to believe in Christ Jesus and to say, “My Beloved is mine, and I am His,” then you shall know that in grasping gracious blessings you do but come to your own!”
“Beloved, who among us knows all that is ours in Christ? He is a case which is all ours, but we do not open its doors and take out all its treasures! Our possessions in Christ are very wide but we need to be bid, like Abraham, to lift up our eyes to the north and to the south and to the east and to the west, that we may form a clearer idea of the goodly land which the Lord our God has given us! We see the blessings of the Covenant but do we feed on them as we might! Do we drink deep into them and is our soul satisfied as with marrow and fatness by them? I fear we do not”
” it is your high privilege to have access to the Mercy Seat—but do you use that access and come often and boldly to the Throne of Grace? Do you avail yourselves of your opportunities? Do you make the utmost use of prayer?”
“Christians must not lose sight of the truth that the eternal life we celebrate-the abundant life we have in Christ-comes at monumental cost. For us, the cross must be more than an ornament, symbol, or spire topping. It must serve as a constant reminder of the lengths to which God in Christ would go to save us. Such love and sheer grace deserve and demand our best in love, worship, and service.”
Taken from “Life Ventures, Bible Studies for Life, winter 2012-2013.)
We as Christians must never forget that our access to our Heavenly Father comes by way of His son, Jesus Christ, hanging on the cross, and shedding His blood for us.
“Who has 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.” 2 Timothy 1:9
THERE is an external and an internal call of the Spirit. The external call is thus alluded to: “I have called, and you refused;” “Many are called, but few are chosen.” This outward call of the Spirit is made in various ways. In the word, in the glorious proclamation of the gospel, through the providences of God-those of mercy and those of judgment-the warnings of ministers, the admonitions of friends, and, not less powerful, the awakening of the natural conscience. By these means does the Holy Spirit “call sinners to repentance.” In this sense, every man who hears the gospel, who is encircled with the means of grace, and who bears about with him a secret but ever-faithful monitor, is called by the Spirit. The existence of this call places the sinner in an attitude of fearful responsibility; and the rejection of this call exposes him to a still more fearful doom. God has never poured out His wrath upon man, without first extending the olive-branch of peace. Mercy has invariably preceded judgment. “I have called, and you have refused.” “All day long I have stretched forth my hands.” “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” He reasons, He argues, He expostulates with the sinner. “Come, let us reason together,” is His invitation. He instructs, and warns, and invites; He places before the mind the most solemn considerations, urged by duty and interest; He presses His own claims, and appeals to the individual interests of the soul; but all seems ineffectual. Oh, what a view does this give us of the patience of God toward the rebellious! That He should stretch out his hand to a sinner-that instead of wrath, there should be mercy-instead of cursing, there should be blessing-that, instead of instant punishment, there should be the patience and forbearance that invites, and allures, and reasons!”-Oh, who is a God like unto our God? “I have called, and you refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded.”
But there is the special, direct, and effectual call of the Spirit, in the elect of God, without which all other calling is in vain. God says, “I will put my Spirit within them.” Christ says, “The hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live.” And in the following passages reference is made to the effectual operation of God the Spirit. “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power.” “The word of God which effectually works in you that believe.” Thus, through the instrumentality of the truth, the Spirit is represented as effectually working in the soul. When He called before, there was no inward, supernatural, secret power accompanying the call to the conscience. Now there is an energy put forth with the call, which awakens the conscience, breaks the heart, convinces the judgment, opens the eye of the soul, and pours a new and an alarming sound upon the hitherto deaf ear. Mark the blessed effects. The scales fell from the eyes, the veil is torn from the mind, the deep fountains of evil in the heart are broken up, the sinner sees himself lost and undone-without pardon, without a righteousness, without acceptance, without a God, without a Savior, without a hope! Awful condition! “What shall I do to be saved?” is his cry: “I am a wretch undone! I look within me, all is dark and vile; I look around me, everything seems but the image of my woe; I look above me, I see only an angry God: whichever way I look, is hell!-and were God now to send me there, just and right would He be.” But, blessed be God, no poor soul that ever uttered such language, prompted by such feelings, ever died in despair. That faithful Spirit who begins the good work, effectually carries it on, and completes it. Presently He leads him to the cross of Jesus-unveils to his eye of glimmering faith a suffering, wounded, bleeding, dying Savior-and yet a Savior with outstretched arms! That Savior speaks-oh, did ever music sound so melodious?-“All this I do for you-this cross for you-these sufferings for you-this blood for you-these stretched-out arms for you. Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest-Him that comes to me, I will in no wise cast out-Look unto me, and be you saved-only believe. Are you lost? I can save you. Are you guilty? I can cleanse you. Are you poor? I can enrich you. Are you low sunk? I can raise you. Are you naked? I can clothe you. Have you nothing to bring with you-no price, no money, no goodness, no merit? I can and will take you to me, just as you are, poor, naked, penniless, worthless; for such I came to seek, such I came to call, for such I came to die.” “Lord, I believe,” exclaims the poor convinced soul, “Help You mine unbelief.” You are just the Savior that I want. I wanted one that could and would save me with all my vileness, with all my rags, with all my poverty-I wanted one that would save me fully, save me freely, save me as an act of mere unmerited, undeserved grace-I have found Him whom my soul loves-and will be His through time, and His through eternity.” Thus effectually does the blessed Spirit call a sinner, by His especial, direct, and supernatural power, out of darkness into marvelous light. “I will work,” says God, “and who shall let it?” (marg. turn it back.)
I’ve been reading a book called, “Authentic Faith” by Gary Thomas. In it, he uses a term called “Defiant Beauty,” and the following is a direct quote, “In a world where people live self-centered lives, where ugly things happen, where sin seems to spread unchecked, where daily assaults take their toll, we can point to the defiant beauty of a selfless life, seeking first the kingdom of God, putting others first, and even sacrificing ourselves in the process, if need be-all to proclaim a transcendent truth that is greater than ourselves.” Right before he says this, he writes, “Beauty in the midst of chaos or ugliness is stunning. It’s onstage, and it seizes your attention.”
Within those few words is a truth that lies at the heart of what I’ve often sensed is the biggest hindrance to “Christianity” today, and with, sad to say, too many of us who call ourselves, “Christians.” Could it be that the reason “Christianity” and “Christians” are failing is because we’re failing to be the ” defiant beauty” in the midst of all the ugliness around us?
We live in a world of “ungrace” where practically everyone and everything is in direct opposition to what “grace” is, and what it’s about. We look down on and despise the concepts of “grace, forgiveness and mercy” when Jesus shows us that these are our most powerful weapons.
Jesus calls us to love, and when we do that as He has called us to, then we show the “defiant beauty” that characterized and defined His life here on earth and turned the lives of all those He touched upside down.
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”1Pe_1:7
Trials and temptations are the means which God employs to manifest to the soul the reality and strength of the faith which he bestows upon it; for there is in every trial and temptation opposition made to the faith that is in the heart; and every trial and temptation, so to speak, threaten the life of faith. And they threaten it in this way — Under the trial God for the most part hides himself. He puts forth, indeed, a secret power whereby the soul is held up, or otherwise it would sink into utter despair, and be overcome and swallowed up by the power of unbelief. Hence comes the conflict between the trial that fights against the faith and the faith which fights against or rather under the trial.
Now, when in this trial, in this sharp conflict, in this hot furnace, faith does not give way, is not burned up, is not destroyed, but keeps its firm hold upon the promise and the faithfulness of him who has given it, this trial of faith becomes very precious. It is precious to the soul when God again smiles upon it, and becomes thus manifest as genuine. It is precious in the sight of God’s people, who see it and derive strength and comfort from what they witness in the experience of a saint thus tried and blessed; and it is precious also in the sight of God himself, who crowns it with his own manifest approbation, and puts upon it the attesting seal of his own approving smile. But above all things, it will be found precious at the appearing of Jesus Christ, and that not only in his various appearings in grace, but in his final appearance in glory, for of that the Apostle mainly speaks when he says that”it may be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”