“Where sin abounded–grace did much more abound!” Romans 5:20. You have one hard lesson to learn, that is–the evil of your own heart. You know something of it, but it is needful that you should know more; for the more we know of ourselves–the more we shall prize and love Jesus and His wondrous salvation. The more you know Him, the better you will trust Him. The more you trust Him, the better you will love Him. The more you love Him, the better you will serve Him. This is God’s way. He is teaching you these things, and I trust He will teach you to the end. Do not be surprised to find yourself to be poor, helpless, and vile. All whom God favors and teaches–will find themselves so. The more grace increases–the more we shall see in ourselves to abase us in our own eyes! I hope what you find in yourself by daily experience, will humble you–but not discourage you. For if our Physician is almighty, our disease cannot be desperate. Our sins are many, but His mercies are more. Our sins are great–but His righteousness is greater. When our sins prevail, remember that we have an Advocate with the Father, who is able to pity, to pardon, and to save to the uttermost!
Think of the names and relations which Jesus bears to us. He calls Himself our Savior, our Shepherd, our Friend, and our Husband! He has made known unto us His wondrous love, His atoning sacrifice, His righteousness, His promises, His power, and His grace, and all for our encouragement! It is better to be admiring the compassion and fullness of grace which is in our Savior–than to dwell and pore too much upon our own poverty and vileness. Remember that He has loved you with an everlasting love–and therefore in loving-kindness has drawn you to Himself. He will surely accomplish that which He has begun. Nothing which can be named or thought of–shall ever be able to separate you from Him! This persuasion will give you strength for the battle! This is the shield which will quench the fiery darts of Satan! This is the helmet which the enemy cannot pierce! Be strong, therefore, not in yourself–but in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Remember, the growth of a believer is not like a mushroom–but like an oak, which increases slowly–but indeed surely. Many suns, showers, and frosts, pass upon it before it comes to perfection. And in winter, when it seems to be dead–it is gathering strength at the root. Be humble, watchful, and diligent in the means of grace; and endeavor to look through all, and fix your eye upon Jesus–and all shall be well. I commend you to the care of the good Shepherd and Guardian of your souls! (Letters of John Newton, March 18, 1767)
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life!
He who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him!” John 3:36. He who believes shall be saved, be his sins ever so many. He who does not believe shall be damned, be his sins ever so few. There is no sin which can damn the one who sincerely believes.
There is absolutely nothing which can save the one who does not believe. The only way to be saved is by faith in Christ. Apart from faith in Him–no one, anywhere, at any time, in any culture, at any period in history, at any age, is saved. (Charles Spurgeon)
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous.” Psalm 34:19. “For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives!” Hebrews 12:6. Health is the greatest temporal blessing that God ever sends us–besides sickness, which is far better.
There is no attribute of God more comforting to His children than the doctrine of Divine Sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe troubles–they believe that Sovereignty has ordained all their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them all.
I bear my witness that the worst days I have ever had, have turned out to be my best days. And when God has seemed most cruel to me, He has then been most kind. If there is anything in this world for which I would bless him more than for anything else–it is for pain and affliction. I am sure that in these things, the richest tenderest love has been manifested to me. Our Father’s wagons rumble most heavily, when they are bringing us the richest freight of the bullion of His grace. (Charles Spurgeon)
“Without holiness, no one will see the Lord!” Hebrews 12:14. Most men hope to go to Heaven when they die; but few, it may be feared, take the trouble to consider whether they would enjoy Heaven if they got there. Heaven is essentially a holy place;
its inhabitants are all holy; its occupations are all holy. To be really happy in Heaven, it is clear and plain that we must be somewhat trained and made ready for Heaven while we are on earth. We must be saints before we die–if we are to be saints afterwards in glory.
We need the work of the Holy Spirit–as well as the work of Christ;
we need renewal of the heart–as well as the atoning blood;
we need to be sanctified–as well as to be justified. What could an unsanctified man do in Heaven, if by any chance he got there? No man can possibly be happy in a place where he is not in his element, and where all around him is not congenial to his tastes, habits and character. When an eagle is happy in an iron cage, when a sheep is happy in the middle of a lake, when a fish is happy on the dry land–then, and not until then, will I admit that the unsanctified man could be happy in Heaven!
The book of Revelation says expressly, “Nothing impure will ever enter it.” Revelation 21:27. (J.C. Ryle)
O, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His mercy endures forever! 1 Chronicles 16:34. O, give thanks to the Lord, Christian, for He has not dealt with you after your sins, nor rewarded you according to your iniquities! He has pardoned your sins, justified your soul, renewed your nature, and given you a title to everlasting life! He has thus prevented your ruin, borne your follies, supplied all your needs, guided your steps, and promised to conduct you to glory! His mercy has been ever great toward you! O, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His mercy endures forever! (James Smith, Sunny Subjects for All Seasons, 1858)
Sin is the only evil thing–it is the evil of evils! Sin is the poison which the old serpent spat into our virgin nature! In sin there is both pollution and enmity. Sin is compared to a “thick cloud” (Isaiah 44:22), which not only hides the light of God’s face–but brings down showers of His wrath! Sin is worse than all evils. There is more evil in a drop of sin–than in a sea of affliction! Sin is the cause of all evil. Out of this viperous womb of sin, come “evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, eagerness for lustful pleasure, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness.” Sin is the quintessence of evil. Sin puts a sting into death (1 Corinthians 15:56). Sin is worse than Hell! Hell is a burden only to the sinner–but sin is a burden to God! Amos 2:13. (Thomas Watson, “Religion Our True Interest”)
“The first general work of the Spirit, as we have seen, is that he should bring back to our memories the things that Christ spoke for our guidance and comfort. This was to be the work of the Holy Spirit with respect to the apostles, who were to be the writers of Scripture. This is also his work with respect to believers to the end of the world. Now the things that Christ has spoken and done are ‘written that we might believe, and believing, have life through his name’ (John 20:31). They are written in Scripture. This, then, is the work of the Spirit which Christ has promised. He shall bring to our remembrance, and give us understanding of, the words of Christ in the Scripture for our guidance and comfort. Is this now the work of the spirit which is abroad in the world and perverts many? The business of this false spirit is to deny the things that Christ has spoken which are written in the Word and, instead, to claim new revelations of his own, to lead men from the written Word in which the whole work of God and all the promises of Chris are recorded. Such was the spirit of the Montanists and that of Mohammed and of all who claim new revelations today.” “Communion with God” John Owen