Assurance

Prayer  SlimJim from The Domain For Truth continues with part 8 of his Assurance of Salvation series.  While reading through his outline, I was reminded of Walter Marshalls’ The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification (pdf version here).  In this day and age of easy believism where anyone who “walks the aisle” is a Christian, I can’t help but be confounded how a holy God, an almighty Deity, seems to have so little changing power in the lives of many of those who call upon His name.

Marshall states very early in this work:

The Lord is not at all loved with that love that is due to Him as Lord of all, if He is not loved with all our heart, spirit and might. We are to love everything in Him, His justice, holiness, sovereign authority, all-seeing eye, and all His decrees, commands, judgements, and all His doings. We are to love Him, not only better than other things, but singly, as only good, the fountain of all goodness; and to reject all fleshly and worldly enjoyments, even our own lives, as if we hated them, when they stand in competition with our enjoyment of Him, or our duty towards Him. We must love Him as to yield ourselves wholly up to His constant service in all things, and to His disposal of us as our absolute Lord, whether it is for prosperity or adversity, life or death. And, for His sake, we are to love our neighbor – even all men, whether they are friends or foes to us; and so do to them in all things, that concern their honor, life, chastity, worldly wealth, credit and content, whatever we would that men should do to us in the like condition (Matt. 7:12). This spiritual universal obedience is the great end to the attainment of which I am directing you. And, that you may not reject my enterprise as impossible, observe that the most I promise is no more than an acceptable performance of these duties of the law such as our gracious merciful God will certainly delight in and be pleased with during our state of imperfection in this world, and such as will end in perfection of holiness and all happiness in the world to come.

  This presupposes that we “do” something, which is out of step with current evangelicalism which emphasizes justification by faith alone, which I affirm, but nothing more, which I don’t agree with.  Sanctification is something that should be very real in the Christian’s life.  As I recently heard it said, sanctification should be the outworking of an incredible joy in our justification. Basically, if we are excited and understand our justification, we will be excited to grow and walk in our sanctification, which is something we do by the power of the Holy Spirit.

So, click the link below and head on over to The Domain For Truth and ask yourself some of the questions that SlimJim poses.

Assurance of Salvation Part 8: Questions to examine ourselves Part 2

I have also included links the the first 7 parts in case you might have missed any of them.

Assurance of Salvation Part 7: Questions to examine ourselves Part 1

Assurance of Salvation Part 6: Do you understand the Gospel?

Assurance of Salvation Part 5: Christians can Know that they are saved

Assurance of Salvation Part 4: Objections to Perseverance of the Saints

Assurance of Salvation Part 3: Perseverance means a Believer Endure

Assurance of Salvation Part 2: Foundation for Perseverance of the Saints.

Assurance of Salvation Part 1: Why study on the topic of Christian assurance?

Treason Against the Soul

Remember that flesh-pleasing is a great contempt and treachery against the soul. It is a great contempt of an immortal soul, to prefer its corruptible flesh before it, and to make its servant to become its master, and to ride on horseback, while it goes, as it were, on foot. Is the flesh worthy of so much time, and cost, and care, and so much ado as is made for it in the world, and is not a never-dying soul worth more? Nay, it is a betraying of the soul: you set up its enemy before it; and put its safety into an enemy’s hands; and you cast away all its joys and hopes for the gratifying of the flesh. Might it not complain of your cruelty, and say, Must my endless happiness be sold to purchase so short a pleasure for your flesh? Must I be undone for ever, and lie in hell, that it may be satisfied for a little time? But why do I speak of the soul’s complaint? Alas! it is of itself that it must complain! For it is its own doing! It hath its choice: the flesh can but tempt it, and not constrain it: God hath put the chief power and government into its hands, if it has determined to sell its own eternal hopes to pamper worm’s meat, it will act accordingly. You would not think very honourably of that man’s intelligence or honesty, who would sell the patrimony of all his children, and all his friends that trusted him therewith, and later sell their persons into slavery, and all this to purchase for himself a delicious feast, with sports and entertainment for a day! And is he wiser or better that selleth (in effect) the inheritance of his soul, and betrayeth it to hell and devils for ever, and all just to purchase the fleshly pleasure of so short a life? – Richard Baxter

Half a Christ

This past weekend I attended a local church and ended up in a Sunday School class that was new to me, but had been recommended as one I might find interesting because, I was told, the teacher was extremely knowledgeable and knew his doctrine and theology.  To say that I was disappointed is an understatement.  I was mortified at the doctrine he was teaching.  While I agree that we live under the covenant of grace and not the covenant of law, I had to disagree that all we have to do is “let go and let God” in our Christian walk.  While justification is a one time pronouncement upon the truly regenerate heart, sanctification is an on going process whereby we learn to strive for holiness by the help and leading of the Holy Spirit.  This particular teacher did not agree with that assessment and basically taught the class that all one needed to do was “ask Jesus into their heart” and they were good to go.  Basically, without saying it, he was teaching and encouraging a 3rd class of people, the carnal Christian.  Yet, he said that there were only two classes, the lost and the saved.  The following quote by Walter Marshall makes it clear that there is a work of sanctification that we are involved with.  Read on and let me know what you think.

“What a strange salvation it is, if people who are saved do not care about holiness! In this case, people want to be saved, but they want to stay dead in sin, alien from the life of God, without the image of God, deformed by the image of satan, and in slavery to satan and to their own filthy lusts. They seem to prefer to stay totally unfit to enjoy God in glory. Christ never purchased such a salvation as this by His own blood. Those who think they have received a salvation such as this abuse the grace of God in Christ, and turn it into license for sin. They want to be saved by Christ, but apart from Christ, so to speak. They want to be saved, but they also want to remain in a fleshly state, with a fleshly lifestyle. This is simply not how salvation works! The only people Christ frees from condemnation are those who are ‘in Christ’ who do not walk according to the flesh but according the Spirit’ (Rom. 8:1-4). If this were not the case, people would divide Christ. They would take one part of his salvation, and leave out the rest. However, ‘Christ is not divided’ (1 Corinthians 1:13). You cannot have half a Christ!”

Walter Marshall, The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification (1692)

Valley of Vision Prayers

Union With Christ

O Father,

Thou has made man for the glory of thyself,

and when not an instrument of that glory,

he is a thing of nought;

No sin is greater than the sin of unbelief,

for if union with Christ is the greatest good,

unbelief is the greatest sin,

as being cross to they command;

I see that whatever my sin is,

yet no sin is like disunion from Christ by unbelief.

Lord, keep me from committing the greatest sin in departing from him,

for I can never in this life perfectly obey and cleave to Christ.

When thou takest away my outward blessings, it is for sin,

in not acknowledging that all that I have is of thee,

in not serving thee through what I have,

in making myself secure and hardened.

Lawful blessings are the secret idols, and do most hurt;

the greatest injury is in the having,

the greatest good in the taking away.

In love divest me of blessings that I may glorify thee the more;

remove the fuel of my sin,

and may I prize the gain of a little holiness

as overbalancing all my losses.

The more I love thee with a truly graciouslove

the more I desire to love thee,

and the more miserable I am at my want of love;

The more I hunger and thirst after tee,

the more I faint and fail in finding thee,

The more my heart is broken for sin,

the more I pray it may be far more broken.

My great evil is that I do not remember the sins of my youth,

nay, the sins of one day I forget he next.

Keep me from all things that turn to unbelief

or lack of felt union with Christ.

The Dead Still Speak

Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound! (Romans 5:20)

The history of our world has been the story of abounding sin–and far more abounding grace! What was Abraham’s history–but one of abounding sin and super-abounding grace?

What was Rahab’s history–but a history of abounding sin and super-abounding grace? What was David’s history–but a history of abounding sin and super-abounding grace?

What was Manasseh’s history–but a history of abounding sin and super-abounding grace? What was the history of Saul of Tarsus, but one of abounding sin and super-abounding grace, as he himself declares, “The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly.” 1 Timothy 1:14

What is all this world’s long history–but a history of abounding sin and super-abounding grace? God not merely allowed sin to enter–but to spread; not only to spread–but to increase in heinousness; not only to increase in heinousness–but to vary itself, and take every conceivable shape that man’s wicked heart could devise–all in order to demonstrate that His resources of grace were adequate to meet it all.

Sin might widen its circle age after age–but grace widened its circle and still went far beyond man’s transgression. For age after age sin ascended a higher pinnacle of rebellious ungodliness; but grace ascended along with it, and took its station far above it, like a bright canopy of heavenly azure.

Age after age descended to lower and lower depths of hateful pollution; grace went down along with it. And when the soul found itself at the very bottom of the horrible pit, and expected to meet nothing there but hell itself, it found the hand of grace still beneath it, as mighty to save, as willing to bless as ever.

“So that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace, in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus” Ephesians 2:7.

Horatius Bonar

Valley of Vision Prayers

Reproofs

O Merciful God,

When I hear of disagreeable things amongst Christians,

  it brings an additional weight and burden on my spirit;

I come to thee in my distress and make lamentable complaint;

Teach me how to take reproofs from friends,

  even thought I think I do not deserve them;

Use them to make me tenderly afraid of sin,

  more jealous over myself,

  more concerned to keep heart and life unblameable;

Cause them to help me to reflect on my want of spirituality,

  to abhor myself,

  to look upon myself as unworthy,

  and make them beneficial to my soul.

May all thy people know how little, mean, and vile I am,

  that they may see I am nothing,

  less than nothing,

  to be accounted nothing,

  that so they may pray for me aright,

  and have not the least dependence upon me.

It is sweet to be nothing and have nothing,

  and to be fed with crumbs from thy hands.

Blessed be thy Name for anything that life brings.

  How do poor souls live who have not thee,

    or when helpless have no God to go to,

    who feel not the constraining force of thy love,

    and the sweetness of communion?

O how admirably dost thou captivate the soul,

  making all desires and affections centre on thee!

Give me such vivacity in religion,

  that I may be able to take all reproofs from other men

    as from thy hands,

    and glorify thee for them

    from a sense of thy beneficent love

    and of my need to have my pride destroyed.

Valley of Vision Prayers

Man’s Great End

Lord of all being,

There is one thing that deserves my greatest care,

    That calls forth my ardent desires,

That is, that I may answer the great end for which I am made –

    To glorify thee who has given me being,

    And to do all the good I can for my fellow men;

Verily, life is not worth having

    If it be not improved for this noble purpose.

Yet, Lord, how little is this the thought of mankind!

Most men seem to live for themselves,

    Without much or any regard for they glory,

    Or for the good of others;

They earnestly desire and eagerly pursue

    The riches, honours, pleasures of this life,

    As if they supposed that wealth, greatness, merriment,

    Could make their immortal souls happy;

But, alas, what false delusive dreams are these!

And how miserable ere long will those be that sleep in them,

    For all our happiness consists in loving thee,

    And being holy as thou art holy.

O may I never fall into the tempers and vanities,

    The sensuality and folly of the present world!

It is a place of inexpressible sorrow, a vast empty nothingness;

Time is a moment, a vapour,

    And all its enjoyments are empty bubbles,

    Fleeting blasts of wind,

    From which nothing satisfactory can be derived;

Give me grace always to keep in covenant with thee,

    And to reject as delusion a great name here or hereafter,

    Together with all sinful pleasures or profits.

Help me to know continually

    That there can be no true happiness,

    No fulfilling of thy purpose for me,

    Apart from a life lived in and for the Son of thy love.

Banner of Truth Booksale

Monergism, along with The Banner of Truth is having what is known as the 8th Annual Banner of Truth Mega-Sale.  You can find out more about it by clicking this link.  They have a lot of books by Puritan writers for sale at a pretty good price.  There is even an additional 10% discount if you follow these instructions:

            1) Sign in to your customer account. You must be a registered customer for your coupon to work. If you are not already registered, simply register with username and password before you place your order.

            2) Select at least $50.00 worth of books

            3) After you click “Check Out” a page will appear called “Your Shopping Cart”. Below the shopping cart type the text banner2012 in the “Coupon or Promotional Code” box. Click “APPLY”

            4) 10% of your total will automatically be removed from your order.

            5) Select a shipping method
       
Offer good everywhere and ends Wednesday July 25th 2012 at 11:59 p.m. and does not apply to any previous orders.