Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Friday, October 13, 2017

A true believer is like Rebecca...

Faith is the gift and the operation of God. It comes by the Holy Spirit’s power, moving and strengthening the sublimest faculties of the soul, and is really a regeneration, a rebegetting, a revival of life from the dead. Thus the believer is said to be born of the Spirit, because it is the Spirit’s office in the covenant of grace to regenerate, and because it is the promise concerning the Spirit to all, even as many as God shall call. And thus also the Christian is said to be born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. When this principle of divine life and light is given to the soul, it enables the soul to feel its own loss and misery, and to see its own sin and darkness. A man can have no true sight of the nature of sin but by this grace. He is, therefore, in some sense, a believer before he knows himself to be one. Faith acts in him, before he can be sensible of the reflex act of faith. He first lives; and then he feels his misery; and then he cries for mercy. He cries for mercy, and then is enlightened to see the way of mercy in the word of mercy. He is next enlightened to behold the free welcome and rich bounty of this mercy to all returning sinners. He is enabled to contemplate upon himself, and to view the fitness of God’s mercy for him, and his fitness, as a convinced sinner, for it. He is then strengthened to embrace it, like a poor creature who must perish without it, but who shall never perish with it. And at length God’s grace seals itself upon the soul, by giving a true taste of joy and peace in believing, insomuch that the broken drooping heart revives, and is able to say, “I do humbly venture to believe that Christ died for me, and will save me for evermore.” 
Now, through all the course of this gracious work, which, according to the will of God, is slower in some than in others, there is often much doubting and disputing in the man’s own conscience. It is a sore struggle, at times, to quell the clamours of unbelief, and the suggestions of Satan; and at last, perhaps, the soul embraces the reality of God’s love in Christ, with a trembling kind of hopeless hope, and doubting believing. These things often puzzle the understanding, and perplex the whole will and affections. A true believer is like Rebecca labouring with twins, a faithless Esau and a trusting Jacob; and so, like her, he cries out, If it be so, why am I thus? Whereas, if it were not so, if he were not of God, it would not be thus. Nature alone could not struggle; nor can what is dead strive against the stream. The bent of nature is against grace. So again, if he were all grace and no sin, he would feel no trouble; for the opposition of grace is to nature and to the sin which is in it. And it is a good sign, though not a pleasant feeling, that there is this conflict; it demonstrates the life of God to be within. In this way, the Christian embraces the gospel. He is enabled in hope against hope to believe it, as the grand charter of his salvation. And this very act of believing is the evidence within, concurring with the evidence of the written word without, that his name is enrolled in the charter, and that he is consequently entitled to all its blessings. 
Take heart, therefore, thou child of God, and fear not. Thou hast the promise, the power, the mercy, and the truth of Jehovah on thy side; and who can prevail against him? If thou dost not wholly believe, or art not perfectly cleared from all doubts, be not, however, dismayed. The faithfulness of thy Lord is not grounded upon the perfect exercise of thy faith, but upon his own sovereign grace and love. Thou desirest to trust him with thy whole heart; but thou never couldest have desired this, if he had not wrought that disposition within thee. He was the Author, and he will be the Finisher, of all in thee, as well as of all for thee. If God did not spare his own Son for thy sake, what will he spare beside? Who shall, or who can, lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God himself, with whom there is neither evil nor folly, that justifieth thee from both. Who can condemn thee! It is Christ who blotteth out thy sins by his precious blood, or rather is risen again to present thee faultless in his righteousness before the throne, and to plead for thee as that Advocate who never lost a cause. Who shall separate thee from the love of Christ? Shall the evils of life, all the distresses of time, and all the rage of the devil? Nay, in all these things thine Almighty Saviour will render thee a conqueror, and more than a conqueror, because he hath loved thee. O divine words that follow! From thine inmost affections, from the very ardour and spirit of faith, mayest thou breathe them forth! “I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus my Lord.”

Ambrose Serle

2 comments:

Sheryl said...

A comforting piece. Deep thoughts. Reassuring. If I look at sinful me, I could have doubts, which makes it so marvelous to know that I look to Christ Who purchased me with His blood and whom He has purchased stands justified and will never be condemned.

lyn said...

When I read stuff like this, I think men of old had deeper thoughts/concentration on God than this present day. In my own life I do not value time as I should, pondering His truths brings about thoughts like those penned by Serle.