RSS

Tag Archives: Perseverance

The Loving Knot

The Loving Knot

Christians do not fall in and out of their love for Christ. It is impossible for those who have truly been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit to abandon the faith. As new creations, we are not capable of mutating back into God-haters and Christ-rejectors.

Today’s Morning and Evening reminds us that a true believer’s love for Christ will rightly deepen and persevere to the very end.

But what about those who share in the Holy Spirit and fall away (Hebrews 6:4-6)? In a sermon on this passage, Charles Spurgeon makes the helpful distinction between falling and falling away. He illustrates the concept with the disparity between fainting and dying. A fainting Christian may fall to the ground and appear dead for a while, but he will rise again once consciousness returns. Not so with a dead man.

Transformed sinners occasionally fall but never fall away. We may live in a season of unconfessed sin as David did… or, like Peter, deny our Lord with curses… but the undead heart will always return to its senses. We are bound together with Christ. Nothing can separate us from His love and nothing is capable of ultimately destroying the believer’s love for Him. As today’s devotional states,

Neither crowns of honor, nor frowns of anger have been able to untie this loving knot.

Here is Alistair Begg’s modern phrasing of the Spurgeon classic.

* * * * *

Rightly do they love you. — Song of Solomon 1:4

Believers love Jesus with a deeper affection then they dare to give to any other being. They would sooner lose father and mother than part with Christ. They hold all earthly comforts with a loose hand, but they carry Him locked tight in their hearts. They voluntarily deny themselves for His sake, but they are not to be driven to deny Him. It is a feeble love that the fire of persecution can dry up; the true believer’s love is a deeper stream than this.

Men have tried to divide the faithful from their Master, but their attempts have been fruitless in every age. Neither crowns of honor, nor frowns of anger have been able to untie this loving knot. This is not just a routine attachment that the world’s power may eventually dissolve. Neither man nor devil have found a key that opens this lock. Never has the craft of Satan been more at fault than when he has exercised it in seeking to break this union of two divinely welded hearts. It is written, and nothing can blot out the sentence, “Rightly do they love you.” The intensity of the love of the upright, however, is not so much to be judged by how it appears as by what the upright long for.

It is our daily lament that we cannot love enough. If only our hearts were capable of holding more and reaching further. Like Samuel Rutherford, we sigh and cry, “Oh, for as much love as would go round about the earth, and over heaven—yes, the heaven of heavens, and ten thousand worlds—that I might expand it all upon this fairest Lord Jesus.” Unfortunately, our longest reach is only a span of love, and our affection is like a drop in a bucket compared with what He deserves. Measure our love by our intentions, and it is strong indeed; we trust that the Lord judges it in this way. If only we could give all the love in all hearts in one great offering, a gathering together of all loves to Him who is altogether lovely!

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 7, 2014 in Devotional

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Stand Firm

Stand Firm

The command for God’s people to “stand firm” is found all throughout the Bible (Exodus 14:13; 2 Chronicles 20:17; Isaiah 46:8; Daniel 11:32; 1 Corinthians 16:13; 2 Corinthians 1:24; Galatians 5:1; Ephesians 6:13; Philippians 1:27, 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:15; 1 Peter 5:12).

This morning’s Morning and Evening highlights the importance of a rock steady faith. Our worst enemies often conspire against us from within. Spurgeon lists despair, cowardice, precipitancy, and presumption in today’s devotional. All four of these fleshly fiends are at war with our faith. In a world of self-help books and twelve step programs, it is easy to loosen our grip on the source of our strength and comfort. Abraham Lincoln once said:

Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.

Are you are trapped by the darkness of despair? Is fearfulness as natural as a cold glass of water on a hot day? Do you become a self-reliant busy-bee when things fall apart? Have you ever drowned while expecting God to part the waters? Cling to the immovable rock of Christ and when all has passed, keep standing.

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. — 1 Corinthians 16:13

Here is Alistair Begg’s modern phrasing of the Spurgeon classic.

* * * * *

Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord,
which He will work for you today. — Exodus 14:13

These words contain God’s command to the believer when he is reduced to great straits and brought into extraordinary difficulties. He cannot retreat; he cannot go forward; he is shut up on the right hand and on the left; what is he now to do? The Master’s word to him is, “Stand firm.” It will be well for him if at such times he listens only to his Master’s word, for other and evil advisers come with their suggestions.

Despair whispers, “Lie down and die; give it all up.” But God would have us put on a cheerful courage and even in our worst times rejoice in His love and faithfulness. Cowardice says, “Retreat; go back to the worldling’s way of action; you cannot play the Christian’s part—it is too difficult. Relinquish your principles.” But however much Satan may urge this course upon you, you cannot follow it if you are a child of God. His divine decree has bid you go from strength to strength, and so you shall, and neither death nor hell shall turn you from your course. Even if you are called to stand firm for a while, this is in order to renew your strength for some greater advance in due time.

Precipitancy cries, “Do something. Stir yourself; to stand still and wait is sheer idleness.” We must be doing something at once—we must do it, so we think—instead of looking to the Lord, who will not only do something but will do everything. Presumption boasts, “If the sea is before you, march into it and expect a miracle.”

But faith listens neither to presumption, nor to despair, nor to cowardice, nor to precipitancy, but it hears God say, “Stand firm,” and immovable as a rock it stands. “Stand firm”—keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long before God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, “Go forward.”

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 24, 2014 in Devotional

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Morning Coffee

Here are the stories I put in my coffee this morning.

  • The Beauty of ‘Boring’ Testimonies
  • Every Christian has a redemption story. Whether you are saved from cocaine addiction or a prideful heart, from deep in a prison cell or the comfort of your suburban home, your story is filled with grace.

  • The Power to Persevere
  • We are like the man who was pushing his car up a hill only to discover he merely needed to turn the key and ignite the powerful engine. How much better it is to turn on the power and enjoy the ride. So it is in the Christian life.

  • Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord unto… Thyself
  • This is God’s covenant faithfulness. His faithfulness to Himself is the basis of His faithfulness to His people. And may that reality delightfully compel your faithfulness to Him as you walk by faith in Christ Jesus.

  • Falling on Deaf Ears? — Why So Many Churches Hear So Little of the Bible
  • “It is well and good for the preacher to base his sermon on the Bible, but he better get to something relevant pretty quickly, or we start mentally to check out.” That stunningly clear sentence reflects one of the most amazing, tragic, and lamentable characteristics of contemporary Christianity: an impatience with the Word of God.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 16, 2013 in Links

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,