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Charles Spurgeon – It May Be Yet

20 Aug

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5 “For does not my house stand so with God?
For he has made with me an everlasting covenant,
ordered in all things and secure.
For will he not cause to prosper
all my help and my desire?
– 2 Sam 23:5 –

Recollect this, O thou who art tried in thy children—that prayer can remove thy troubles. There is not a pious father or mother here, who is suffering in the family, but may have that trial taken away yet. Faith is as omnipotent as God himself, for it moves the arm which leads the stars along. Have you prayed long for your children without a result? and have ye said, “I will cease to pray, for the more I wrestle, the worse they seem to grow, and the more am I tried?” Oh! say not so, thou weary watcher. Though the promise tarrieth, it will come. Still sow the seed; and when thou sowest it, drop a tear with each grain thou puttest into the earth. Oh, steep thy seeds in the tears of anxiety, and they cannot rot under the clods, if they have been baptized in so vivifying a mixture. And what though thou diest without seeing thy sons the heirs of light? They shall be converted even after thy death; and though thy bones shall be put in the grave, and thy son may stand and curse thy memory for an hour, he shall not forget it in the cooler moments of his recollection, when he shall meditate alone. Then he shall think of thy prayers, thy tears, thy groans; he shall remember thine advice—it shall rise up, and if he live is sin, still thy words shall sound as one long voice from the realm of spirits, and either affright him in the midst of his revelry, or charm him heavenward, like angel’s whispers, saying, “Follow on to glory, where thy parent is who once did pray for thee.” So the Christian may say, “Although my house be not so with God now, it may be yet;” therefore will I still wait, for there be mighty instances of conversion. Think of John Newton. He even became a slaver, yet was brought back. Hope on; never despair; taint heart never winneth the souls of men, but firm faith winneth all things; therefore watch unto prayer. “What I say unto you, I say unto all, watch.” There is your trouble, a small cup filled from the same sea of tribulation as was the Psalmist’s when he sung, “Although my house be not so with God.”


~Charles Spurgeon~




The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons, Vol. I (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1855), 143. Vol. 1, Sermon No. 19; Titled: David’s Dying Song; Delivered on Sabbath Morning, April 15th, 1855.

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John Calvin – When Looking At Yourself Look to God

24 Jun

Let us therefore remember, whenever each of us contemplates his own nature, that there is one God who so governs all natures that he would have us look unto him, direct our faith to him, and worship and call upon him. For nothing is more preposterous than to enjoy the very remarkable gifts that attest the divine nature within us, yet to overlook the Author who gives them to us at our asking.

~John Calvin~






The Institutes of the Christian Religion (Louisville, KY; Westminster John Knox Press; 1974) Vol. 1.5.6. p. 58-59.

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John Owen: Believing on Jesus

10 Jun

“You believe in God,” says Christ, “believe also in me” (John 14:1)—“Believe also, act faith distinctly on me; faith divine, supernatural, that faith whereby you believe in God, that is, the Father.” There is a believing of Christ, namely, that he is the Son of God, the Savior of the world. That is that whose neglect our Savior so threatened unto the Pharisees, “If you believe not that I am he, you shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). In this sense faith is not immediately fixed on the Son, being only an owning of him (that is, the Christ to be the Son), by closing with the testimony of the Father concerning him. But there is also a believing on him, called “believing on the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:13; so also John 9:36)—yea, the distinct affixing of faith, affiance, and confidence on the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God, as the Son of God, is most frequently pressed. John 3:16, “God” (that is, the Father) “so loved the world . . . that whosoever believes in him” (that is, the Son) “should not perish.” The Son, who is given of the Father, is believed on. “He that believes on him is not condemned” (v. 18). “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life” (v. 36). “This is the work of God, that you believe on him whom he has sent” (John 6:29, 40; 1 John 5:10).

~John Owen~





Communion with the Triune God (Wheaton, IL; Crossway; 2007) p. 99-100.

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John Owen: Communion with the Father

23 May

For the Father. Faith, love, obedience, etc., are peculiarly and distinctly yielded by the saints unto him; and he is peculiarly manifested in those ways as acting peculiarly toward them: which should draw them forth and stir them up thereunto. He gives testimony unto, and bears witness of, his Son: “This is the witness of God which he has testified of his Son” (1 John 5:9). In his bearing witness he is an object of belief. When he gives testimony (which he does as the Father, because he does it of the Son) he is to be received in it by faith. And this is affirmed, “He that believes on the Son of God, has the witness in himself” (1 John 5:10). To believe on the Son of God in this place is to receive the Lord Christ as the Son, the Son given unto us, for all the ends of the Father’s love, upon the credit of the Father’s testimony; and, therefore, therein is faith immediately acted on the Father. So it follows in the next words, “he that believes not God” (that is, the Father, who bears witness to the Son) “has made him a liar” [1 John 5:10]. “You believe in God,” says our Savior (John 14:1); that is, the Father as such, for he adds, “Believe also in me”; or, “Believe you in God; believe also in me.” God, as the prima Veritas upon whose authority is founded and whereunto all divine faith is ultimately resolved, is not to be considered hupostatikōs, as peculiarly expressive of any person, but ousiōdōs, comprehending the whole Deity; which undividedly is the prime object thereof. But in this particular it is the testimony and authority of the Father (as such) therein, of which we speak, and whereupon faith is distinctly fixed on him—which, if it were not so, the Son could not add, “Believe also in me.”

~John Owen~





Communion with the Triune God (Wheaton, IL; Crossway; 2007) p. 98.

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J.C. Ryle – The Great Confession

19 Apr

15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 16:15-17

Let us admire the noble confession which the apostle Peter makes in this passage. He says, in reply to our Lord’s question, “Who do you say that I am?”–“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”         

At first sight a careless reader may see nothing very remarkable in these words of the apostle. He may think it extraordinary that they should call forth such strong commendation from our Lord. But such thoughts arise from ignorance and inconsideration. Men forget that it is a widely different thing to believe in Christ’s divine mission, when we dwell in the midst of professing Christians, and to believe in it when we dwell in the midst of hardened and unbelieving Jews. The glory of Peter’s confession lies in this, that he made it when few were with Christ and many against Him. He made it when the rulers of his own nation, the Scribes, and Priests, and Pharisees, were all opposed to his Master. He made it when our Lord was in the “form of a servant,” without wealth, without royal dignity, without any visible marks of a King. To make such a confession at such a time, required great faith and great decision of character. The confession itself, as Brentius says, “was an epitome of all Christianity, and a compendium of true doctrine about religion.” Therefore it was that our Lord said, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.”

~J.C. Ryle~


Expository Thoughts on the Gospels – Matthew (Edinburgh, Scotland; Banner of Truth; 1992) Commenting on Matthew 16:13-20.

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Charles Spurgeon – Look to Jesus

18 Apr

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Morning, June 28

“Looking unto Jesus.” Hebrews 12:2

It is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, “Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus.” All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: He tells us that we are nothing, but that “Christ is all in all.” Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee-it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee-it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument-it is Christ’s blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith. We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by “looking unto Jesus.” Keep thine eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to Him; when thou liest down at night look to Him. Oh! let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail thee.

“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesu’s blood and righteousness:
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesu’s name.”


~Charles Spurgeon~




Morning & Evening (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2003)

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Herman Bavinck – What is Saving Faith?

15 Jan

Faith, on the part of Rome, is assent to an assortment of revealed truths, which can be counted, article by article, and which in the course of time increased in number. Faith on the side of the Reformation, however, is special (fides specialis) with a particular central object: the grace of God in Christ. Here an arithmetic addition of articles, the knowledge of which and the assent to which is necessary for salvation, was no longer an option. Faith is a personal relation to Christ; it is organic and has put aside quantitative addition.

~Herman Bavinck~




Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2003) p. 614.

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Herman Bavinck – Knowledge, Mystery, and Theology

26 Dec

The theological task also calls for humility. Full comprehension is impossible; wonder and mystery always remain. This must not be identified with the New Testament notion of mystery, which refers to that which was unknown but has now been revealed in the history of salvation culminating in Christ. Neither is it a secret gnosis available only to an elite, nor is it unknown because of the great divide between the natural and the supernatural. The divide is not so much metaphysical as it is spiritual–sin is the barrier. The wonder of God’s love may not be fully comprehended by believers in this age, but what is known in part and seen in part is known and seen. In faithful wonder the believer is not conscious of living in the face of mystery that surpasses reason and thus it is not an intellectual burden. Rather, in the joy of God’s grace there is intellectual liberation. Faith turns to wonder; knowledge terminates in adoration; and confession becomes a song of praise and thanksgiving. Faith is the knowledge which is life, “eternal life” (John 17:3).

~Herman Bavinck~




Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2003) p. 602.

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Herman Bavinck – The Word of God We Can Bank On

19 Nov

It is not the authenticity, nor the canonicity, nor even the inspiration, but the divinity of Scripture, its divine authority, which is the true object of the testimony of the Holy Spirit. He causes believers to submit to Scripture and binds them to it in the same measure and intensity as to the person of Christ himself. He assures them that in life and death and all the crises of life, they can bank on the Word of God and even fearlessly appear with it before the Judge of heaven and earth.

~Herman Bavinck~




Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2003) p. 596.

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Herman Bavinck – The Witness of the Holy Spirit

8 Nov

The witness of the Holy Spirit has been all too one-sidedly applied, by Calvin and the later Reformed theologians, to the authority of Holy Scripture. It seemed that it had no other import than the subjective assurance that Scripture is the word of God. As a result this testimony came to stand by itself… Scripture, however, teaches very differently.

Generally speaking, the Holy Spirit was promised by Jesus as the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, who leads first the apostles, then, by their word, also all other believers, into the truth. He witnesses of Christ to them and glorifies him (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:14). To that end he convicts people of sin (John 16:8-11), regenerates them (John 3:3), and prompts them to confess Christ as Lord (1 Cor. 12:3). He further assures them of their adoption as children of God and of their heavenly inheritance (Rom. 8:14f.; 2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13; 4:30), makes known all the things believers have received from God (1 Cor. 2:2; 1 John 2:20;; 3:24; 4:6-13), and in the church is the author of all Christian virtues and all spiritual gifts (Gal. 5:22; 1 Cor. 12:8-11). It is evident from all these passages that the testimony of the Holy Spirit is of a religious-ethical kind and intimately bound up with people’s own faith life. It does not bypass people’s faith; it is not a voice from heaven, a dream or a vision. It is a witness that the Holy Spirit communicates in, with, and through our own spirit in faith. It is not given to unbelievers but is the portion only of the children of God. Episcopius therefore raised the objection that the testimony of the Holy Spirit cannot be a ground of faith because it is something that only comes later (John 7:38; 14:17; Acts 5:32; Gal. 3:2; 4:6). But from the very beginning faith itself is the work of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3) and receives its seal and confirmation in the Spirit of adoption. Believing itself is a witness of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and through our spirit.

~Herman Bavinck~




Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2003) p. 593-594.

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