Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Election: The House; Predestination: The Map

What a wonderful word-picture from none other than the Prince of Preachers, Charles H. Spurgeon! Do we have anyone today that speaks and teaches like this? Alas. . .

"I will tell you the names of these stupendous Titans who have gone before [salvation]. . . . 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 gulph 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." (C.H. Spurgeon, Sermon: Things That Accompany Salvation, September 20, 1857)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

My Soul Proclaims Christ's Greatness: Holy is His Name!

While I'm about as Protestant as they come, I have long enjoyed the music of John Michael Talbot. Putting aside, if we can, the occasional misdirected focus on Mary, when JMT is singing the Psalms or other scripture texts; or about Christ, and lifting up and glorifying HIS name, Wow!

Listening the other day, I was struck yet again with his work, Holy is His Name, based on the catholic Magnificat. Not lifting or exalting Mary's name, let's reflect on the words of this song and exalt the name that is above every name - the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

Holy Is His Name
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
And my spirit exults in God my Savior.
For He has looked with mercy on my lowliness
And my name will be forever exalted.
For the mighty God has done great things for me
And His mercy will reach from age to age.
And Holy, Holy, Holy is His name.
And Holy, Holy, Holy is His name.

He has mercy in ev'ry generation,
He has revealed His power and His glory.
He has cast down the mighty in their arrogance,
And has lifted up the meek and the lowly.
He has come to help His servant Israel;
He remembers His promise to our fathers.
And Holy, Holy, Holy is His name.
And Holy, Holy, Holy is His name.
And Holy, Holy, Holy is His name.
(John Michael Talbot, @1980 Birdwing Music/Cherry Lane Music Pub. Co., Inc.,CCLI #799334)

Purchase your copy here.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Ordination of Tribulation: What? Life's No Bed of Roses?!

"Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God." (Acts 14:22b)

God’s people have their trials. It was never designed by God, when he chose his people, that they should be an untried people. They were chosen in the furnace of affliction; they were never chosen to worldly peace and earthly joy. Freedom from sickness and the pains of mortality was never promised them; but when their Lord drew up the charter of privileges, he included chastisements amongst the things to which they should inevitably be heirs. Trials are a part of our lot; they were predestinated for us in Christ’s last legacy. So surely as the stars are fashioned by his hands, and their orbits fixed by him, so surely are our trials allotted to us: he has ordained their season and their place, their intensity and the effect they shall have upon us. Good men must never expect to escape troubles; if they do, they will be disappointed, for none of their predecessors have been without them. Mark the patience of Job; remember Abraham, for he had his trials, and by his faith under them, he became the “Father of the faithful.” Note well the biographies of all the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and you shall discover none of those whom God made vessels of mercy, who were not made to pass through the fire of affliction. It is ordained of old that the cross of trouble should be engraved on every vessel of mercy, as the royal mark whereby the King’s vessels of honour are distinguished. But although tribulation is thus the path of God’s children, they have the comfort of knowing that their Master has traversed it before them; they have his presence and sympathy to cheer them, his grace to support them, and his example to teach them how to endure; and when they reach “the kingdom,” it will more than make amends for the “much tribulation” through which they passed to enter it. (Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning & Evening, Morning, Mar. 8)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Divine Grace: Just When You Least Expected It!

Arthur W. Pink:

"It is deserving of our closest attention and calls for our deepest admiration that each advance which was made in the unfolding of the counsels of divine grace occurred at those times when human reason would have least expected them.
* The first announcement of the divine incarnation was given not while Adam and Eve remained in a state of innocency, but after they had rebelled against their Maker.
* The first open manifestation and adumbration of the everlasting covenant was made after all flesh had corrupted its way on earth, and the flood had almost decimated the human race.
* The first announcement of the particular people from which the Messiah would spring, was published after the general revolt of men at the tower of Babel.
* The wondrous revelation found in the last four books of the Pentateuch was made not in the days of Joseph, but after the whole nation of Israel had apostatized (see, Ezek. 20:5-9)." (A.W. Pink, The Life of David, Ch. 1)

Have you found this to be true in your life? The life of your family or a close family member? Your local church?