Bought by the Blood

February 24, 2012

Grace and Glory

Such a great truth from Matthew Henry on God’s two greatest promises!

The Lord will give grace and glory. Grace signifies both the good-will of God towards us and the good work of God in us; glory signifies both the honour which he now puts upon us, in giving us the adoption of sons, and that which he has prepared for us in the inheritance of sons. God will give them grace in this world as a preparation for glory, and glory in the other world as the perfection of grace; both are God’s gift, his free gift. And as, on the one hand, wherever God gives grace he will give glory (for grace is glory begun, and is an earnest of it), so, on the other hand, he will give glory hereafter to none to whom he does not give grace now, or who receive his grace in vain. And if God will give grace and glory, which are the two great things that concur to make us happy in both worlds, we may be sure that no good thing will be withheld from those that walk uprightly. It is the character of all good people that they walk uprightly, that they worship God in spirit and in truth, and have their conversation in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity; and such may be sure that God will withhold no good thing from them, that is requisite to their comfortable passage through this world. Make sure grace and glory, and other things shall be added. This is a comprehensive promise, and is such an assurance of the present comfort of the saints that, whatever they desire, and think they need, they may be sure that either Infinite Wisdom sees it is not good for them or Infinite Goodness will give it to them in due time. Let it be our care to walk uprightly, and then let us trust God to give us every thing that is good for us.

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May 9, 2011

A Review of The Greener Grass Conspiracy by Stephen Altrogge

As I was reading “The Greener Grass Conspiracy: Finding Contentment On Your Side Of The Fence,” by Stephen Altrogge my first thought was that this is a book that the devil does not want you to read.  Satan is the father of lies and he has created a conspiracy based on the lie that God is not good and that someone else has a better life then you.  Stephen Altrogge’s aim in this book is to equip the reader with gospel truths to be on guard against Satan’s lies.  Altrogge does not write as someone who has it all together or as someone who has vanquished the sin of discontentment in his life.  The attitude of Altrogge is that of a seasoned soldier who has been to war with discontentment and has the battle scars to prove it, as well as strategies from battle that have kept him alive.

The truths that Altrogge presents the reader with to help them fight for contentment are not psychological, self-help, therapeutic answers to tickle your ears.  The key to contentment is found in worship and understanding how the great the God is that we are called to worship and how little we are. “Content is created in the shadow of the majesty of God. I become content when I see and treasure and embrace the glory of God. I find contentment when I grasp the fact that life is not primarily about me and my comfort and my happiness. My soul is satisfied when I stop trying to elbow my way to the center of the universe and instead rejoice in and worship the God who really is at the center of all things (P.23)”

Altrogge goes on in the book to flesh out what contentment is and what contentment is not.  Using the example of King Solomon, the man who had every reason to be content Altrogge presents a character study of how all in this life is vanity and can provide no true satisfaction.  Later on Altrogge presents another character study using the apostle Paul and how he learned contentment.  Learning contentment isn’t easy, but it is a requirement for all who have Heaven as their home and desire to be transformed to be like Christ.

For those unfamiliar with Altrogge, definitely pause from reading this to get familiar with him through his blog, twitter and facebook.  Blog: www.theblazingcenter.com/ twitter: twitter.com/stephenaltrogge facebook: www.facebook.com/StephenMAltrogge One of the first things you notice as you become familiar with him is his amazing use of wit and humor.  Sometimes he may appear over the top, but if you like Brian Regan and Jon Acuff then you will definitely appreciate his musings.

This book is written in an accessible fashion for anyone to be able to grasp and benefit from.  Each chapter ends with application questions that make it great for a group study or to read in your own personal devotional times.  A chapter that is worth its weight in gold is the one on the sin of complaining.  Complaining is a fruit of discontentment and does not get enough discussion in most Christian circles.  That chapter is worth the price of the book alone.

Here are a couple more prize quotes from this book to whet your appetite:

“True contentment is found in a Person. It’s not found in getting what we want or in having difficulty removed from our lives. Contentment isn’t the result of the absence of pain or the presence of material blessing.  It’s found in Jesus Christ. Period. Without Christ we can never be truly content, regardless of the blessing that surround us. And with Christ we can be content in the midst of every circumstance. (P. 87) “

“Every event that occurs in our lives has been ordained by God for our good. God is moving all things – singleness, sickness, riches, poverty, children, and infertility – toward one destination: our good and his glory. God is using your constant headaches for good. He’s weaving together your recent job promotion, sick daughter, and inability to fix your flooding basement into something glorious and good. There is nothing us to us that God won’t use for our good. In fact, the very things that tempt us to be discontent are being used by God for our good (P. 92).”

October 28, 2009

They way of the Lord is perfect

This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the Lord proves true; – Psalm 18:30

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless.  The phrase, the way of God, is not here taken for his revealed will, but for his method of dealing towards his people.  The meaning, therefore ,  is that God never disappoints or deceives his servants, nor forsakes them in the time of need, (as may be the case with men who do not aid their dependents, except in so far as it contributes to their own particular advantage,) but faithfully defends and maintains those whom he has once taken under his protection.  But we will never have any nearness to God unless he first comes near to us by his word; and, for this reason, David, after having asserted that God aids his people in good earnest, adds, at the same time, that his word is purified. Let us, therefore rest assured that God will actually show himself upright towards us, seeing he has promised to be the guardian and protector of our welfare, and his promise is certain and in fallible truth. – John Calvin

October 8, 2009

When God Doesn’t Answer Prayer As We Desire

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. – Romans 8:26

Image courtesy of Reformation.org

Image courtesy of Reformation.org

Martin Luther on the above verse, taken from his commentary on Romans:

“O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. (Psalm 38:9)” It is not an evil sign, but indeed the very best, if upon our petitions the very opposite happens to us. Conversely, it is not a good sign if everything is granted to us for which we pray.

The reason for this is the following: God’s counsel and will tower high above our own counsel and will, as we read in Isaiah 55:8, 9:  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Hence when we ask anything of God and He begins to hear us, He so often goes counter to our petitions that we imagine He is more angry with us now than before we prayed, and that He intends not to grant us our requests at all.  All this God does, because it is His way first to destroy and annihilate what is in us (our own wisdom and will)  before He gives us His gifts; for so we read in 1 Samuel 2:6: “The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up..”  Through this most gracious counsel He makes us fit for us His gifts and works.  Only then are we qualified for His works and counsels when our own plans have been demolished and our own works are destroyed and we have become purely passive in our relation to Him.

The proud desire to be like God.  They want to place their thoughts not under God, but next to His, just as though they were perfect.  But that is much less possible than for the clay to tell the potter into what shape he should form it.  So we read in Isaiah 64:8 “But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” But those who have the Holy Spirit do not despair but have faith when they see that the very opposite of what they asked for happens to them.  The work of God must remain hidden in any other form than that which contradicts our thinking and understanding.  Thus God permitted St. Augustine to fall deeper and deeper into error, despite the prayer of his mother, in order to grant her much more in the end than she had asked. This he does with all his saints.

October 4, 2009

I Come Running

“You will enter Heaven as fully by grace as if you had never lived a godly life, nor had practiced a single virtue.” Charles Spurgeon

I have read this Spurgeon quote several times over and the first time it really shook me.  It definitely flies in the face of the legalistic tendency that we can be so prone to.  Spurgeon is not saying that there is no place for works.  Instead he is referencing what it takes to enter into Heaven.  Our entrance into Heaven is not based on anything that we do.  It is based on grace and not anything we do.  This statement by Spurgeon is in reference to Luke 18:16 “But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”  The way that parents unconditionally love their children is the same way that God loves us.  The Kingdom of God belongs to those who know that they can’t earn God’s favor.
Grace should motivate my obedience.  I follow God not out of obligation, but out of thanksgiving, as an overflow of how He has changed my heart.  I don’t obey God to earn His favor, because I am His adopted child, I can’t help but to want to live for Him.  My obedience can’t bring me any closer to God, so that frees me to live for Him without fear.

“The little child receives Christ humbly, for he never dreams of merit or purchase.  I do not recollect ever having met with a child who had to battle with self-righteousness in coming to Christ.” Spurgeon

If I am to be like a child I am to come empty handed.  When a child comes running to their father’s arms when the father comes home the child does not do it out of duty or out of believing they have earned the chance to be with the father, instead it is out of delight and a free relationship.  That is what it is like with communing with God, we come running to him excited to be with Him.  We don’t dread our sin impeding our relationship with Him because He sees us like He sees His only begotten Son because of Christ imputed righteousness through the cross.  This frees us to come not based on good we have done.

A child’s confidence for food and shelter isn’t in what they do and what they can provide.  Every child finds their hope for all that they need in their parents and what they provide.  The same goes for us.  Just as Miya is dependent on me, I am dependent on my Heavenly Father.  I can run to God as my refuge and ever faithful Father who gives my weary heart rest from all my troubles.

I Come Running
By: Mark Altrogge

Jesus, I am blind, be my light
Darkened in my mind, be my wisdom
Bend my stubborn will to Your own
Open up my ears to hear Your Spirit
Melt my conscience once again
Help me hate the slightest sin
And when Satan comes to tempt me

I come running to You, when I fear, when I’m tried
I come running to You, to Your blood, to Your side
And there my soul finds rest
There my soul finds rest in You

Shepherd of my soul, lead me on
To the pastures green in Your Scriptures
Make me to lie down by waters still
Fill me with Your peace in the tempest
I take my refuge in Your cross
By your sacrifice I’m washed
And when Satan comes accusing

Once I was Your foe, a slave to sin
A stranger to Your love, a hopeless outcast
But You have brought me near, I’m bought with blood
Now I’m Your precious child, an heir with Jesus
You pour heaven into my soul
Your wondrous love, it overflows
And I marvel how You love me

© 2005 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI).


September 10, 2009

Good and Perfect Gifts

Filed under: God's Goodness,God's providence,James,Pete Wilson,trials — cubsfan1980 @ 3:16 pm

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. – James 1:17

Good thoughts from Pete Wilson about receiving all things from God as a gift with gratefulness:

I’m wondering how different today would be for each one of us if we seek to go through this day today viewing our life, our circumstances, our relationships and yes, even our hardships and challenges as gifts. As opportunities to be the men or women God has created us to be.

September 8, 2009

Randy Alcorn on Twitter

This upcoming Saturday marks one year of me being on twitter.  One of my favorite persons that I am following is Randy Alcorn.Unfortunately, due to the size limitation that Twitter imposes I have not been able to repost a lot of his tweets.  I have definitely found them very encouraging and Gospel Centered, so I wanted to take a moment here to highlight some of my favorite tweets from Randy Alcorn.

Many speak of the problem of evil but not the problem of goodness. If evil provides evidence against God, isn’t goodness evidence for him?

One day I see Christ looking at us, stretching out His nail-scarred hands, asking, “Do these look like the hands of a God who did not care?”

Image is how we look on the outside. Character is who we are in the dark when no one but God sees us. It’s who we really are. Prov 16:2

Self-image should be based on God’s Word—you’re created in His image, redeemed by Christ, whether or not you live up to society’s standards.

There’s no shortcut to spirituality, no pill to make us godly. We become more Christlike only as we focus our gaze on Christ. 2 Cor 3:18

Jerry Bridges: Your worst days are never so bad you’re beyond the reach of His grace—on best days you’re never beyond the need of His grace.

Tozer: The will of God brings final happiness to those who obey but the most important matter is not how happy we are but how holy. Matt 5:8

If only we could see our situation clearly. Anything less than gratitude—unthinkable. He owes us nothing. We owe Him everything. Col 1:12-13

August 18, 2009

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  – Psalm 23:6

We know the goodness of God through the fact that we are in relationship with Him.  God is our ultimate good and by communing with Him we have the highest privilege and pleasure that anyone could ever ask for.  Thomas Manton has stated,He is essentially good; not only good, but goodness itself: the creature’s good is a superadded quality, in God it is His essence. He is infinitely good; the creature’s good is but a drop, but in God there is an infinite ocean or gathering together of good. He is eternally and immutably good, for He cannot be less good than He is; as there can be no addition made to Him, so no subtraction from Him.”

We know God’s goodness through the mercy He has shown us on the cross.  We have all sinned and because of this do not deserve to know God’s goodness.  God is merciful and with Christ blood has paid the price that we could not, so that through His mercy we can be in relationship with Him and experience more of His goodness.  His mercy endures for all the days of our lives, so we never have to fear being cut off from Him.  It is by sovereign grace that we receive mercy and it is nothing that we can earn.

Since we have received such awesome mercy and goodness from God our lives should be lived for His glory.  We are called to live in the fear of the Lord, because like any proud parent, He is always near by to support us.  There is no moment in this life when we are not dwelling with Him, so our actions should reflect this great truth.  Let us not settle for the counterfeit glory that this world has to offer, but instead strive to be satisfied with His glory in our lives.  The one thing we thing should seek to gain is not more money, fame or prestige but a greater awareness of how our shepherd is transforming our lives and living within our hearts to prepare us for the eternal glory He has called us to.

August 6, 2009

In The Grips of Grace

I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. – Jeremiah 32:40

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. – John 10:28

It’s been a nice two day break and we are back to our series on how a believer cannot lose their salvation.  I am skipping the sixth emphasis that the Westminster Confession of Faith makes because it is abiding by the strength of Spirit and I did several blog posts about this earlier this summer.  You can read those related post on abiding by doing a search for abide on the right hand toolbar of the blog.  This leaves me with two points of emphasis left and today’s is that we “can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace” and this is based off of Jeremiah 32:40 and John 10:28.  If anything, I feel like this point perfectly sums up the beauty of this doctrine.  We are in a state of grace and the grace that justifies and sanctifies is guaranteed to glorify (Romans 8:30).  In this state of grace we will wander from God because our hearts are prone to wander, but God’s grace is greater than our sin, therefore we cannot totally fall away from God’s grace.

God has made an everlasting covenant with you and I.  God is eternal and knows the beginning and end of all things, therefore He is able to ensure that nothing can stop His plan for being in relationship with us for all eternity.  If God didn’t have a foreknowledge that looks into all of time, then there would be reason to doubt our eternal security since there might be something God doesn’t know.  We can also take comfort in the effectiveness of God’s will, when God wills something nothing can deter his will.  If God desires that we not turn from Him, then His giving us a fear of Him will be effectual and sure (Isaiah 46:10 and Daniel 4:35).  Lastly, God is committed to doing good for His children, His ultimate good is our salvation and no amount of sin in our lives can separate us from the Father’s love because His commitment isn’t based on our performance but Christ finished work.

Jesus came to give us life and life to the full (John 10:10).  His mission was accomplished on the cross (John 19:30).  If after receiving new life we can die spiritually then Jesus did not succeed in giving us eternal life, that would have been more like “life with the hope of eternity if we don’t mess up.”  The cross would have only made partial atonement if any amount of sin could outweigh the righteousness that was given to us by Christ death in our place.  The basis of my salvation is not how tight I am holding onto God, but how tight He is holding on to me.  Theologian J.I. Packer said in Knowing God: “Your faith will not fail while God sustains it; you are not strong enough to fall away while God is resolved to hold you.”

August 1, 2009

A.W. Pink on God Glorifying and Preserving the elect

Image taken from http://www.bythewayministries.ca/

A.W. Pink on Perserverance of the Saints

“God is faithful in preserving His people. “God is faithful, by whom ye are called unto the fellowship of His Son” (1 Cor. 1:9). In the previous verse promise was made that God would confirm unto the end His own people. The Apostle’s confidence in the absolute security of believers was founded not on the strength of their resolutions or ability to persevere, but on the veracity of Him that cannot lie. Since God has promised to His Son a certain people for His inheritance, to deliver them from sin and condemnation, and to make them participants of eternal life in glory, it is certain that He will not allow any of them to perish…

God is faithful in glorifying His people. “Faithful is He which calleth you, who also will do” (1 Thess. 5:24). The immediate reference here is to the saints being preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. God treats with us not on the ground of our merits (for we have none), but for His own great name’s sake. God is constant to Himself and to His own purpose of grace whom He called. . .them He also glorified (Rom. 8:30). God gives a full demonstration of the constancy of His everlasting goodness toward His elect by effectually calling them out of darkness into His marvelous light, and this should fully assure them of the certain continuance of it. The foundation of God standeth sure (2 Tim. 2:19). Paul was resting on the faithfulness of God when he said, I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day (2 Tim 1:12).”

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