Jonathan Edwards on preaching

This is an excellent quote from Edwards’ ‘Religious Affections’, posted by Michael Jensen. “…the impressing divine things on the hearts and affections of men is evidently one great and main end for which God has ordained that His Word delivered in the holy Scriptures should be opened, applied, and set home upon men, in preaching. And therefore it does not answer the aim which God had in this institution, merely for men to have good commentaries and expositions on the Scripture, and other good books of divinity; becasue although these may tend as well as preaching to give men a good doctrinal or speculative understanding of the things of the Word of God, yet theu have not an equal tendency to impress them on men’s heats and affections. God hath appointed a particular and lively application of His Word to men in the preaching of it, as a fit means to affect sinners with the importance of the things of

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Grace – A Necessary Preparation For Glory

“NO MAN shall ever behold the glory of Christ BY SIGHT hereafter, who doth not in some measure behold it BY FAITH here in this world. Grace is a necessary preparation for glory, and faith for sight. Where the subject (the soul) is not previously seasoned with grace and faith, it is not capable of glory or vision. Yea, persons not disposed hereby unto it cannot desire it, whatever they pretend… if a man pretend himself to be enamored on, or greatly to desire, what he never saw, nor was ever represented unto him, he doth but dote on his own imaginations. And the pretended desires of many to behold the glory of Christ in heaven, who have no view of it by faith while they are here in this world, are nothing but self-deceiving imaginations.” John Owen (HT: johnowen.org)

Views of Heaven, a Test of Character!

By John Owen (1616 – 1683) We may hereby examine both our own notions of the state of glory and our preparations for it, and whether we are in any measure “made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light.” Various are the thoughts of men about the future state,-the things which are not seen, which are eternal. Some rise no higher but unto hopes of escaping hell, or everlasting miseries, when they die. Yet the heathen had their Elysian fields, and Mohammed his sensual paradise. Others have apprehensions of I know not what glistening glory, that will please and satisfy them, they know not how, when they can be here no longer. But this state is quite of another nature, and the blessedness of it is spiritual and intellectual. Take an instance in one of the things before laid down. The glory of heaven consists in the full manifestation of divine wisdom, goodness, grace, holiness, – of all

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On Union with Christ!

Book Review The Inner Sanctum of Puritan Piety: John Flavel’s Doctrine of Mystical Union with Christ by J. Stephen Yuille At the very heart of Puritanism is the saints’ mystical union with Christ. We are in Christ! He is our wisdom, our righteousness, our sanctification, our redemption. From this union to Christ we experience all the blessings and delights of communion with God and find spiritual vitality for obedience, prayer, ministry and sacrificial love. This powerful union is mystical because we cannot see it with our eyes. It is a spiritually-revealed truth. Puritan John Flavel is certainly one of the most valuable (and perhaps one of the more overlooked) of the Puritans. The theme of mystical union with Christ is threaded throughout his entire ministry. A study of Flavel on this theme has become one of my favorite books of the year: The Inner Sanctum of Puritan Piety: John Flavel’s Doctrine of Mystical Union with Christ by J. Stephen Yuille

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Piper on Edwards on video!

My thanks to Tony Reinke for this. If you have not listened to John Piper on Jonathan Edwards in a message entitled A God-Entranced Vision of All Things: Why We Need Jonathan Edwards 300 Years Later you are missing one great message! And if you’ve never seen the video, that’s because it’s been unavailable. Until now. Today DG released several conference videos from the years (see here). The priceless message A God-Entranced Vision of All Things can be read, heard and watched here. Evangelicalism today in America is basking in the sunlight of ominously hollow success. Evangelical industries of television and radio and publishing and music recordings, as well as hundreds of growing megachurches and some public figures and political movements, give outward impressions of vitality and strength. But David Wells and Os Guinness and others have warned of the hollowing out of evangelicalism from within… What is missing is the mind-shaping knowledge and the all-transforming enjoyment of the weight

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Richard Baxter: “If God move us not, we cannot move”

“When Christ comes with regenerating grace, he finds no man sitting still, but all posting to eternal ruin, and making haste toward hell; till, by conviction, he first brings them to a stand, and then, by conversion, turns their hearts and lives sincerely to himself. “This end, and its excellency, is supposed to be known, and seriously intended. An unknown good moves not to desire or endeavor. And not only a distance from this rest, but the true knowledge of this distance, is also supposed. They that never yet knew they were without God, and in the way to hell, never yet knew the way to heaven. Can a man find he hath lost his God and his soul, and not cry, I am undone? The reason why so few obtain this rest, is, they will not be convinced that they are, in point of title, distant from it and, in point of practice, Contrary to it. Who ever sought

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What Are The Proper Effects Of The Gospel?

The proper effects of the Gospel are: 1. Faith, because “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” “The Gospel is the ministration of the Spirit.” “The power of God unto salvation.” (Rom. 10:17. 2 Cor. 3:8. Rom. 1:16.) 2. Through faith, our entire conversion to God, justification, regeneration* and salvation; for through faith we receive Christ, with all His benefits. *Ursinus is speaking of sanctification, not the new birth as regeneration is customarily referred to in our day. Zacharias Ursinus, The Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechsim, p. 105 (HT: John Fonville at Gospel Driven Blog)

Ferguson: Supporting the imperatives to holiness

At the 2007 Banner of Truth conference this Spring, Sinclair Ferguson made the following note after reading Titus 2:11-13 (“For the grace of God has appeared … training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions”). He says, “The great gospel imperatives [what we are commanded to do] to holiness are ever rooted in indicatives [what Christ has accomplished in and for us] of grace that are able to sustain the weight of those imperatives. The Apostles do not make the mistake that’s often made in Christian ministry. [For the Apostles] the indicatives are more powerful than the imperatives in gospel preaching. So often in our preaching our indicatives are not strong enough, great enough, holy enough, or gracious enough to sustain the power of the imperatives. And so our teaching on holiness becomes a whip or a rod to beat our people’s backs because we’ve looked at the New Testament and that’s all we ourselves have seen. We’ve seen our own

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Preaching ‘Like One Amazed’

Colin Adams at ‘unashamed workman’ posts on effective preaching. May God raise up such God-besotted heralds, and discerning congregations that understand the gift that they are to the Church. One litmus test of any preacher’s heart is how he preaches the central, familiar truths of the gospel. From my own experience, it is sadly all too easy to be underwhelmed when proclaiming the highest and most glorious doctrines conceivable. The following quote by W.G.Blaike (from Iain Murray’s A Scottish Christian Heritage) therefore lays down the gauntlet afresh. It is a reminder that I must always preach from a “thrilling heart” which is “amazed at the glory of the message.” Ought not preachers themselves to live on the great fundamental truths of the gospel? Ought not our souls to be continually fed from them, and our hearts continually thrilling with them? Ought not a fresh glow to come over our hearts every day as we think of Him who loved us, and

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Puritan prayer: Come Holy Spirit!

I have recently purchased a leather bound copy of ‘The Valley of Vision’. It’s going to be a regular companion in my devotions. I just can’t get over the depth of these Puritan prayers and devotions! O HOLY SPIRIT, As the sun if full of light, the ocean full of water, Heaven full of glory, so may my heart be full of thee. Vain are all divine purposes of love and the redemption wrought by Jesus except thou work within, regenerating by thy power, giving me eyes to see Jesus, showing me the realities of the unseen world. Give me thyself without measure, as an unimpaired fountain, as inexhaustible riches. I bewail my coldness, poverty, emptiness, imperfect vision, languid service, prayerless prayers, praiseless praises. Suffer me not to grieve or resist thee. Come as power, to expel every rebel lust, to reign supreme and keep me thine; Come as teacher, leading me into all truth, filling me with all understanding; Come as

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The Centre of Paul’s Theology

Here’s an interesting post from ‘Thomas Goodwin’ on union with Christ and justification. The comments, linked here, are excellent too. The centre of Paul’s theology, according to Richard Gaffin,  is not justification by faith nor sanctification; nor is it the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. It is union with Christ.  However, this conclusion does not ‘de-center’ justification (or sanctification), ‘as if justification is somehow less important for Paul than the Reformation claims.  Justification is supremely important, it is absolutely crucial in Paul’s ‘gospel of salvation’ (cf. Eph. 1:13). Deny or distort his teaching on justification and that gospel ceases to be gospel; there is no longer saving ‘good news’ for guilty sinners.’ (By Faith, Not By Sight, 43). I would like to know how far one can press the ‘deny or distort’ aspect to the point that sola fide does not become the gospel.  That is to say, if someone argues justification -> union and someone else argues union -> justification,

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‘Behold and Wonder’

eader, behold and wonder! There was one Obliged to his Prince, and Him alone In all the bonds which duty, gratitude, Or love could fasten; such as might exclude All thoughts of a defection; this man Breaks all; rebels against his Sovereign; He flies, is apprehended, sentenced, cast, And die he must; the final sentence passed Knows no reversal. Lo, in that very now, Wherein the offender waits his fatal blow, The injured Lord doth substitute his own— His own son— into the prisoner’s room, Who takes the blow due to the traitor, dies, The traitor’s punishment to satisfy. The case is mine and thine; by all the bands Of nature, love and covenant, we stand Engaged to Almighty God; we fell From that allegiance when we did rebel Against His law in Adam; by that law We were condemned to die; no help we saw, Or hope of rescue; then did His Majesty Unveil that admirable mistery Of our

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Jonathan Edwards on Assurance

From An Humble Inquiry (Works 12:298): No, it is not owing to God, nor to any of his revelations, that true saints ever doubt of their state; his revelations are plain and clear, and his rules sufficient for men to determine their own condition by. But, for the most part, it is owing to their own sloth, and giving way to their sinful dispositions. Must God’s institutions and revelations be answerable for all the perplexities men bring on themselves, through their own negligence and unwatchfulness? It is wisely ordered that the saints should escape perplexity in no other way than that of great strictness, diligence, and maintaining the lively, laborious, and self-denying exercises of religion.

The World Should See Something Different in Us

Quoting John Bunyan . . . The believer is the only person by whom God shows to the world the power of His grace and the operation of His people’s faith. The unbelievers read indeed of the power of grace; of the faith, hope, love, peace, and satisfaction of the heart of the Christian; but they feel nothing of that sin-killing operation that is in these things; these are to them as a story of Rome or Spain. Wherefore to show them in others, what they find is not in themselves; God works faith, hope, and love in a generation that shall serve Him; and by them they shall see what they cannot find in themselves, and by this means they shall be convinced, that though sin, and the pleasures of this life, be sweet to them, yet there is a people otherwise minded. Even such a people as these, that do indeed see the glory of that which others

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Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Preaching the Gospel

   “. . . If it is true that where sin abounded grace has much more abounded, well then, ‘shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound yet further?’ First of all, let me make a comment, to me a very important and vital comment. The true preaching of the gospel of salvation by grace alone always leads to the possibility of this charge being brought against it. There is no better test as to whether a man is really preaching the New Testament gospel of salvation than this, that some people might misunderstand it and misinterpret it to mean that it really amounts to this, that because you are saved by grace alone it does not matter at all what you do; you can go on sinning as much as you like because it will redound all the more to the glory of grace. If my preaching and presentation of the gospel of salvation does not expose it

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Christ’s Love for his Father’s Glory

Erik Raymond posts on Jesus’ ultimate aim: From a sermon by John Piper, dated March 8, 1987 The depth of the Son’s suffering was the measure of his love for the Father’s glory. It was the Father’s righteous allegiance to his own name that made recompense for sin necessary. And so when the Son willingly took the suffering of that recompense on himself, every footfall on the way to Calvary echoed through the universe with this message: the glory of God is of infinite value! And so when the Father forsook the Son and handed him over to the curse of the cross and lifted not a finger to spare him pain, he had not ceased to love the Son. In that very moment when the Son was taking upon himself everything that God hates in us, and God was forsaking him to death, even then the Father knew that the measure of his Son’s suffering was the depth of

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The Doctines of Grace

  My thanks to Audience One for this excellent introduction to the five points of Calvinism.   We are not saved by the goodness of our works, but according to the riches of God’s grace. By grace alone; through faith alone; on the Word alone; because of Christ alone; to the glory and praise of God alone. Our new life in Christ is all of grace and not by human works whereby any person can boast. One man can stand on the top of Mount Everest and other stand at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, but neither may touch the stars. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Thus, what man could never do through human achievement, our Lord did by divine accomplishment! Salvation is the free gift of grace by God through Christ in the regenerating work of lost people through the Holy Spirit to quicken man, being dead in trespasses and sins unto new

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More Lloyd-Jones on Unity

It is as if MLJ’s words were spoken this morning. So helpful… “It is being said that the chief need of the Church today is to repent because of its ‘lack of unity’… we would suggest that before she repents of her disunity, she must repent of her apostasy. She must repent of her perversion of, and substitutes for, ‘the faith once delivered to the saints.’ She must repent of setting up her own thinking and methods over against the divine revelation in Holy Scripture. Here lies the reason for her lack of spiritual power and inability to deliver a living message in the power of the Holy Ghost to a world ready to perish.” -Matin Lloyd Jones, given at the annual meeting of the Inter-Varsity Fellowship in 1954 (HT: Irish Calvinist)