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John Owen: Fresh Springs Of Grace

2 Dec

A steady spiritual view of the glory of Christ by faith, will give them [believers] a gracious revival from inward decays, and fresh springs of grace, even in their latter days. A truth this is, as we shall see, confirmed by Scripture, with the joyful experience of multitudes of believers, and is of great importance unto all that are so.

~John Owen~

The Works of John Owen, Vol. 1: The Glory of Christ (Edinburgh; T&T Clark; n.d.) p. 432-433.

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Matthew Henry – Gird Up Your Loins

11 Jan


Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober- minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. – 1 Peter 1:13

1. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, etc., v. 13. As if he had said, “Wherefore, since you are so honoured and distinguished, as above, Gird up the loins of your mind. You have a journey to go, a race to run, a warfare to accomplish, and a great work to do; as the traveller, the racer, the warrior, and the labourer, gather in, and gird up, their long and loose garments, that they may be more ready, prompt, and expeditious in their business, so do you by your minds, your inner man, and affections seated there: gird them, gather them in, let them not hang loose and neglected about you; restrain their extravagances, and let the loins or strength and vigour of your minds be exerted in your duty; disengage yourselves from all that would hinder you, and go on resolutely in your obedience.

~Matthew Henry~

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (Spokane, WA; Olive Tree Bible Software) Commentary on 1 Peter 1:13

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George Whitefield – Keep Near Unto Him!

16 Nov

The text leads me to speak to you that are saints as well as to you that are open and unconverted sinners. I need not tell you, that walking with God is not only honourable but pleasant and profitable also. For ye know it by happy experience and will find it more and more so every day. Only give me leave to stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance and to beseech you by the mercies of God in Christ Jesus, to take heed to yourselves and walk closer with your God than you have in days past. For the nearer you walk with God, the more you will enjoy of him whose presence is life and be the better prepared for being placed at his right hand, where are pleasures forevermore. O do not follow Jesus afar off! O be not so formal, so dead and stupid in your attendance on holy ordinances! Do not so shamefully forsake the assembling yourselves together, or be so [scanty] or indifferent about the things of God. Remember what Jesus says of the church of Laodicea, ‘Because thou art neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth.’ Think of the love of Jesus and let that love constrain you to keep near unto him. And though you die for him, do not deny him, do not keep at a distance from him in any way.

~George Whitefield~

The Sermons of George Whitefield (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2012) Sermon 2: Walking With God.

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Herman Bavinck – The Remaining Dualism

2 Nov

Opposition to and resistance against this faith of theirs is rife, [in revelation as the Word of God] not just from without, but even much more from within. However much their will has been bent and their intellect enlightened, there remains much in believers that resists the obedience of faith. Faith, since it is the conviction of things not seen, is a continual struggle. The sins of the heart and the errors of the mind gang up on faith and often have appearance in their favor. As long as believers are on earth, there remains in them a dualism, a dualism not of the head and the heart, but of the flesh (σαρξ) and the spirit (πνενμα), of the “old” (παλαιος) and the “new” (καινος) person (άνθρωπος).

~Herman Bavinck~

Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2003) p. 592.

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Wolfgang Musculus – Walking Worthy

1 Nov

1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called – Eph. 4:1

The Ephesians had been called to the faith of Christ, and so their way of life had to correspond to that calling. For that to happen it was necessary for them to consider what the calling was to which they had been called, who had called them, how he had called them and for what purpose. Without working all that out they would not be able to walk in a way that would be worthy of their calling. They had been called when they were still walking in sin, indeed they were dead in sin, cut off from Christ, from the fellowship of the saints and from God himself. Paul wanted the Ephesians to remember that, as he said to them in chapter 2, “Therefore remember that you were once Gentiles; at that time you were without Christ.” Recalling their former lostness and pagan way of life was an easy way to remind them that after they had been called by grace they were expected to live in a different way from the one they had lived in before.

~Wolfgang Musculus~

Reformation Commentary on Scripture: Galatians, Ephesians (Downers Grove, IL; IVP Academic; 2012) p. 241.

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Herman Bavinck – Approaching Scripture

12 Dec

While objections–e.g., from historical criticism–should not be ignored, we must not overlook the spiritual-ethical hostility to Scripture from the forces of unbelief. While not all questioning of Scripture reveals hostile unbelief, it is important to underscore the duty of every person to be humble before Scripture. Holy Scripture must judge us, not the reverse. The Holy Spirit opens our heart to trust, believe, and obey God’s Word in Scripture. Submission remains a struggle, also an intellectual one. We must acknowledge our limitations, the reality of mystery, our weakness of faith, without despairing of all knowledge and truth. Our hope is in Christ, the true man in whom human nature is restored. That is the purpose of Scripture: to make us wise unto salvation (2 Tim. 3:15)

~Herman Bavinck~

Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2003) p. 389.

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Herman Bavinck – No Revelation, No Religion

1 Dec

Now if the recognition of revelation were a philosophical proposition, it would be of relatively little weight. In fact, however, a profound religious interest is at stake here. Religion itself is inter-connected with, and dependent on, revelation. Those who abandon revelation also lose the religion based upon it. The revelation of Scripture and the religion of Scripture stand or fall together.

~Herman Bavinck~

Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2003) p. 367.

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Herman Bavinck – Does Christianity Teach Asceticism?

28 Nov

We can even much less think of revelation and nature as opposites when we note the content and purpose of the revelation as given in Christ. For it proclaims to us that God loved the world, and that Christ came not to condemn but to save the world (John 3:16,17), to destroy not the works of the Father but only the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). And just as Christ himself assumed a full human nature, denied the natural life in an ethical sense but did not mutilate and mortify it physically, and in the end again raised his body from the dead, so his disciples, while indeed called to cross-bearing and self-denial and following their Master, are not called to asceticism and world flight.

On the contrary, Jesus prayed to the Father that his disciples would not be taken out of the world but kept in the world from the evil one (John 17:15). In line with this, Christians did not have to go out of the world (1 Cor. 5:10), but to remain in their occupations (1 Cor. 7:17-23); to obey the powers God had ordained (Rom. 13:1); to regard all things their own (1 Cor. 3:21-23); to enjoy every gift of God with thanksgiving (1 Tim. 4:3-5); and to consider godliness as of value in every way, as it hold promise for the present life and also for the life to come (1 Tim. 4:8). And that, too, was what the Reformation wanted: a Christianity that was hostile, not to nature but only to sin.

~Herman Bavinck~

Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2003) p. 362.

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Jonathan Edwards – Boasting of Tomorrow

19 Nov

I come now to show, why we ought not thus to boast ourselves of to-morrow; but on the contrary, to behave ourselves today as though we had no dependence on another. And there is this plain and sufficient reason for it, viz. That we have no grounds of dependence on another day. We have neither any foundation to depend upon seeing any particular things come to pass another day, which we may hope or wish for, nor upon enjoying another day in this world. We have nothing for a foundation of dependence that we shall not be in eternity before to-morrow, as both reason and experience show.—We have no promise of God that we shall ever see another day. We are in God’s hands; our lives are in his hands; he hath set our bounds; the number of our months and days are with him; nor hath he told them to us. We see that the life of man at longest is very short, and nothing is more uncertain; and it is a thing universal among mankind, that they know not the day of their death.

~Jonathan Edwards~

The Works of Jonathan Edwards Vol. 2 (Peabody, MA; Hendrickson Publishers, Inc; 2007) p. 239. Procrastination

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John Newton – Saying vs. Doing

16 Nov

The Christian calling, like many others, is easy and clear in theory, but not without much care and difficulty to be reduced to practice. Things appear quite otherwise, when felt experimentally, to what they do, when only read in a book. Many learn the art of navigation (as it is called), by the fire-side at home; but when they come to sea, with their heads full of rules, and without experience, they find that the art is only to be thoroughly learnt upon the spot. So, to renounce self, to live upon Jesus, to walk with God, to overcome the world, to hope against hope, to trust the Lord when we cannot trace him, and to know that our duty and privilege consist in these things, may be readily acknowledged or quickly learned; but, upon repeated trial, we find that saying and doing are two things. We think at setting out that we sit down and count the cost; but alas! our views are so superficial at first, that we have occasion to correct our estimate daily. For every day shows us some new thing in the heart, or some new turn in the management of the war against us which we were not aware of; and upon these accounts, discouragements may arise so high as to bring us (I speak for myself) to the very point of throwing down our arms, and making either a tame surrender or a shameful flight. Thus it would be with us at last, if the Lord of hosts were not on our side…. But if He is the Captain of our salvation, if his eye is upon us, his arm stretched out around us, and his ear open to our cry, and if He has engaged to teach our hands to war and our fingers to fight, and to cover our heads in the day of battle, then we need not fear, though a host rise up against us; but, lifting up our banner in his name, let us go forth conquering and to conquer; Rom. 16:20.

~John Newton~

The Letters of John Newton – To William Cowper, Esq. (Edinburgh, Scotland; The Banner of Truth Trust; 2007) p. 153.

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