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Archive for March, 2011

"Let it be a settled principle in our religion, that there is an amount of weakness in all our hearts, of which we have no adequate conception, and that we never know how far we might fall if we were tempted. We fancy sometimes, like Peter, that there are some things we could not possibly do. We look pitifully upon others who fall, and please ourselves in the thought that at any rate we should not have done so. We know nothing at all. The seeds of every sin are latent in our hearts, even when renewed, and they only need occasion, or carelessness and the withdrawal of God’s grace for a season, to put forth an abundant crop. Like Peter, we may think we can do wonders for Christ, and like Peter, we may learn by bitter experience that we have no power and might at all. The servant of Christ will do wisely to remember these things. … A humble sense of our own innate weakness, a constant dependence on the Strong for strength, a daily prayer to be held up, because we cannot hold up ourselves,—these are the true secrets of safety."

Source: J.C. Ryle on John 13:31-38

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Hence we learn how absolutely we are dependent on God in this great matter of the eternal salvation of our souls. We are dependent not only on his wisdom to contrive a way to accomplish it, and on his power to bring it to pass, but we are dependent on his mere will and pleasure in the affair.

We depend on the sovereign will of God for every thing belonging to it, from the foundation to the top-stone. It was of the sovereign pleasure of God, that he contrived a way to save any of mankind, and gave us Jesus Christ, his only-begotten Son, to be our Redeemer. …

It was of his sovereign pleasure what means to appoint. … His giving those means to us rather than to others, his giving the awakening influences of his Spirit, and his bestowing saving grace, are all of his sovereign pleasure.

When he says, ‘Let there be light in the soul of such an one,’ it is a word of infinite power and sovereign grace.

source: Jonathan Edwards, God’s Sovereignty in the Salvation of Men (Romans 9:18) Sermon IV of Seventeen Occasional Sermons

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It is not irreligious, idle, or superfluous, but in the highest degree wholesome and necessary, for a Christian to know whether or not his will has anything to do in matters pertaining to salvation. Indeed, let me tell you, this is the hinge on which our discussion turns, the crucial issue between us; our aim is, simply, to investigate what ability free will has, in what respect it is the subject of Divine action and how it stands related to the grace of God. If we know nothing of these things, we shall know nothing whatsoever of Christianity, and shall be in worse case than any people on earth! He who dissents from that statement should acknowledge that he is no Christian; and he who ridicules or derides it should realize that he is the Christian’s chief foe. For if I am ignorant in the nature, extent and limits of what I can and must do with reference to God, I shall be equally ignorant and uncertain of the nature, extent and limits of what God can and will do in me – though God, in fact, works all in all (1Co 12:6). Now, if I am ignorant of God’s works and power, I am ignorant of God himself; and if I do not know God, I cannot worship, praise, give thanks or serve Him, for I do not know how much I should attribute to myself and how much to Him. We need, therefore, to have in mind a clear-cut distinction between God’s power and ours, and God’s work and ours, if we would live a godly life.

Source: Martin Luther, The Bondage of The Will, 1525

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Oh how rare are the pastors who speak with a tender heart and have a theological backbone of steel.

source: a quote from John Piper

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Jesus called out to Lazarus in a command in a loud voice, “Come out”.

The dead man obeys.

The only reason Lazarus can obey or even hear is because Jesus causes him to “live”.

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God can and often does make wicked men instruments to serve his own purposes, even contrary to their own intentions; for he has them not only in a chain, to restrain them from doing the mischief they would, but in a bridle, to lead them to do the service they would not.

source: Matthew Henry

… it is also a shame for a believer to be “afraid of evil tidings,” since the Lord, with whom he is one, alone ruleth all things, “and doth whatsoever pleaseth him in heaven and earth.”

source: William Guthrie

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From a lecture by Gordon Fee, recounting the morning that he sat in his study to work on 1 Corinthians 13:4 for his commentary:

I remember the morning when I came to this passage: “Love is patient, love is kind.”

It’s actually a verb: “Love does patience.” Or better yet, the KJV: “love suffers long.”

Patience is what you show when your computer doesn’t work.

Long-suffering is what you show when people don’t work, and you’ve been around them a long, long time. That’s what it means to suffer long.

And I looked at those words and then realized that Paul was here describing God’s character. Those are exactly the words he uses of God back in Romans 2 [v. 4].

Then it dawned on me:

the first (long-suffering) is the passive side of His love;

the other (kindness) is the active side of His love.

And then I started to cry for a long time. It took me a long time to return to my computer. What if God was not like this toward us?

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