When grace appears…

“Only when we turn away from looking at our sin to look at the face of God, to find his pardoning grace, do we begin to repent. Only by seeing that there is grace and forgiveness with him would we ever dare to repent and thus return to the fellowship and presence of the Father. . . . Only when grace appears on the horizon offering forgiveness will the sunshine of the love of God melt our hearts and draw us back to him.” – Sinclair Furguson, quoted by Tim Chester in You Can Change (Wheaton, Ill.; Crossway, 2010), 49. (HT: Of First Importance)

The only forgiveness that matters

“There may be some foul spot in our lives; the kind of thing that the world never forgives, the kind of thing, at any rate, for which we who know all can never forgive ourselves. But what care we whether the world forgives, or even whether we can forgive ourselves, if God forgives, if God has received us by the death of His Son? If we could appeal to God’s approval as ours by right, how bravely we should boast—boast in the presence of a world of enemies! If God knows that we are right, what care we for the blame of men? Such boasting, indeed, can never be ours. But we can boast in what God has done. Little care we whether our sin be thought unpardonable or no, little interested are we in the exact calculation of our guilt. Heap it up mountain high, yet God has removed it all. ‘I know not,’ the Christian says, ‘what my

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Justification Sanctifies!

[S]anctification is not a new thing, but simply the unfolding, by the operation of the Spirit, of something already present. It is God’s justifying verdict itself which sanctifies. . . . It is precisely because God waits for no guarantees but pardons out-and-out, because He dares to trust a man who has no claim or right to trust at all–it is because of this that forgiveness regenerates, and justification sanctifies. –James S. Stewart, A Man in Christ: The Vital Elements of St. Paul’s Religion (New York: Harper, 1935), 258, 259-60 (HT: Dane Ortlund)

Better news simply does not exist!

“The gospel, in brief, is the good news about the person and finished work of Jesus Christ. Consider for a moment that the eternal Son of God relinquished the glories of heaven to become a man, a human being like you and me. He lived a perfect and sinless life (unlike you and me), fulfilling every requirement of God’s holy law in a way we could never hope to accomplish. And then in a glorious display of God’s love for sinners like us, he willingly received the full fury of God’s righteous wrath against sin by dying for our sins on a cruel Roman cross. Because God’s absolute and perfect holiness demands an equivalent holiness from all who come before him, in ourselves we are hopelessly lost and condemned. But Jesus, who had no sin of his won to pay for, took our place, paid our penalty, and suffered our punishment. Because his death as our substitute was perfectly sufficient

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Mercy enough to cover ALL our sin

“…a Christian may be comforted, first of all, in respect of his former justification. His new sin does not cancel his former pardon, though it will interrupt and disturb his present peace and comfort from it. And secondly, he may be comforted in this, that there is mercy enough in God to cover all his sins, grace enough in Christ to cure this fresh sin. And further, in this he is to find comfort, that God does not suffer him to live in sin, but that He has revealed his sin to him, humbled him for it, and brought him back to Christ in whom he may renew his peace and regain his sense of comfort.” Samuel Bolton, The True Bounds of Christian Freedom, p. 154 (HT: John Fonville)

Bonhoeffer on the Difference Between the Counsel of Psychiatry and Christianity

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together (pp. 118-119): The most experienced psychologist or observer of human nature knows infinitely less of the human heart than the simplest Christian who lives beneath the Cross of Jesus. The greatest psychological insight, ability, and experience cannot grasp this one thing: what sin is. Worldly wisdom knows what distress and weakness and failure are, but it does not know the godlessness of man. And so it does not know that man is destroyed only by his sin and can be healed only by forgiveness. Only the Christian knows this. In the presence of a psychiatrist I can only be a sick man; in the presence of a Christian brother I can dare to be a sinner. The psychiatrist must first search my heart and yet he never plumbs its ultimate depth. The Christian brother knows when I come to him: here is a sinner like myself, a godless man who wants to confess and yearns for

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Blessings through the Blood

From Anthony Carter via Thabiti Anyabwile: 13 Blessings which come to God’s elect by way of our Saviour’s blood: 1. We have the new covenant in His blood (Lk. 22:20): And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. 2. We have been purchased by His blood (Acts 20:28): Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 3. He is our propitiation by His blood (Rom. 3:25): Whom God put forward as propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith… 4. We have been justified by His blood (Rom. 5:9): Since therefore we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 5. We have redemption through his

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“The majesty of God’s forgiveness . . .”

“The majesty of God’s forgiveness is lost entirely when we lose what has to be forgiven. What has to be forgiven is not just what we do but who we are, not just our sinning but our sinfulness, not just our choices but what we have chosen in place of God. . . . When we miss the biblical teaching, we also miss the nature of God’s grace in all its height and depth. In biblical faith it is God’s grace through Christ that does for us what we cannot do for ourselves.” – David F. Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Eerdmans, 2008), 167. (HT: Of First Importance)

Leviticus 16:21-22

“In Passion Week, as I was reading Bishop Wilson on the Lord’s Supper, I met with an expression to this effect — ‘that the Jews knew what they did, when they transferred their sin to the head of their offering.’ The thought came into my mind, ‘What, may I transfer all my guilt to another? Has God provided an Offering for me, that I may lay my sins on His head? Then, God willing, I will not bear them on my own soul one moment longer. Accordingly, I sought to lay my sins upon the sacred head of Jesus.” Charles Simeon, describing his conversion, in H. C. G. Moule, Charles Simeon, pages 25-26. (HT: Ray Ortlund)

The mark of the wounds

From the end of a letter written by Jonathan Edwards to Deborah Hatheway (June 3, 1741): “Don’t talk of things of religion and matters of experience with an air of lightness and laughter, which is too much the manner in many places. In all your course, walk with God and follow Christ as a little, poor, helpless child, taking hold of Christ’s hand, keeping your eye on the mark of the wounds on his hands and side, whence came the blood that cleanses you from sin and hides your nakedness under the skirt of the white shining robe of his righteousness.” (HT: Tony Reinke)

Spurgeon – Conviction of Sin Essential for Salvation

I am grateful for Adrian Warnock quoting from ‘The Soul Winner’.   I agree with Adrian and Spurgeon. Adrian says: I wonder—when was the last time you heard another Christian preach or speak about conviction of sin? When was the last time you saw someone on the brink of salvation in tears of anxiety and burden because of a distinct awareness of their sinfulness? It seems to me that true conviction is not present as much as it should be today. If Spurgeon is right, if anyone has not experienced it, we should be very concerned about the validity of their salvation. “First, regeneration will be shown in conviction of sin. This we believe to be an indispensable mark of the Spirit’s work; the new life as it enters the heart causes intense inward pain as one of its first effects. Though nowadays we hear of persons being healed before they have been wounded, and brought into a certainty of justification

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God’s love shown through Christ’s substitution

“It is a strange thing that when men talk about the love of God, they show by every word that they utter that they have no conception at all of the depths of God’s love. “If you want to find an instance of true gratitude for the infinite grace of God, do not go to those who think of God’s love as something that cost nothing, but go rather to those who in agony of soul have faced the awful fact of the guilt of sin, and then have come to know with a trembling wonder that the miracle of all miracles has been accomplished, and that the eternal Son has died in their stead.” – J. Gresham Machen (HT: Todd Pruitt)

Signs of Forgiveness

“Whenever God pardons sin, He subdues it, Micah 7:19. Then is the condemning power of sin taken away, when the commanding power of it is taken away. If a malefactor be in prison, how shall he know that his prince hath pardoned him? If a jailer come and knock off his chains and fetters, and lets him out of prison, then he may know he is pardoned; so, how shall we know God hath pardoned us? If the fetters of sin be broken off, and we walk at liberty in the ways of God, this is a blessed sign we are pardoned.” -Thomas Watson (HT: Reformed Voices)