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The Proud, and the Poor of Spirit
"The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee..." Obadiah 3
"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18
Poverty of spirit is the abiding awareness that spiritually speaking we are bankrupt. As human beings, we do not have the spiritual resources in ourselves to be pleasing to God. "Blessed are the poor in spirit," and, "Apart from Me you can do nothing," is Jesus teaching us that our need is to maintain an abiding awareness and confession of our spiritual poverty and a complete dependence on Him.
There are some weeds that will grow anywhere; and one of them is Pride. Pride will grow on a rock as well as in a garden. Pride will grow in the heart of a servant girl and equally as well in the heart of her mistress. And pride will grow in the pulpit. It is a weed that is dreadfully rampant. It needs cutting down every week, or else we should stand up to our knees in it. The pulpit is a shocking bad soil for pride!
"A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit." Proverbs 29:23
— Charles H. Spurgeon from "Preach the Gospel"
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The Right Rule of Our Love to Christ
See here the right rule of our love to Christ, namely to love him as the Father loves him. Wherein should our love to Christ resemble the Father's love? Why, the Father's love to the Son was evidenced in choosing him to be our Saviour and Surety: so should our love to Christ be manifested in making choice of him to be our Saviour and Surety; insomuch, that as God hath laid all our help upon him, so we should lay all our help where God hath laid it.
Again, the Father's love to the Son was evidenced in giving all things into his hand: thus should our love to Christ be evidenced in putting all things in his hand as the Father doth; and particularly, you may put your hearts in his hand, that he may keep them; put your souls in his hand, that he may save them; put your plagues in his hand, that he may heal them; put your corruptions in his hand, that he may weaken and subdue them.
Put your wants in his hand, that he may supply them; put your work in his hand, that he may work all your works in you, and for you; put your burdens in his hand, that he may bear them: put all things in his hand, and thus evidence your love to him, by putting honour upon him as a Prophet, to teach you; as a Priest, to pardon; and as a King, to conquer you by his grace, and crown you with his glory.
— Ralph Erskine
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Glory of the Trinity
"...the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Matthew 28:19
The more I read my Bible, the more I believe in the triune God! With the prophet Isaiah, I am stirred by the vision of the heavenly creatures, the seraphim around the throne of God, engrossed in their worship and praise. I have often wondered why the rabbis and saints and hymnists of the olden times did not come to the knowledge of the Trinity just from the seraphims' chorus: "Holy! Holy! Holy!"
I am a trinitarian-I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father, begotten of Him before all ages. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified.
Isaiah was an astonished man. He could only manage this witness: "Mine eyes have seen the King!,, Only the King of glory can reveal Himself to the willing spirit of a man, so that an Isaiah or any other man or woman, can say with humility but with assurance, "I know Him!"
— A. W. Tozer
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In reference to John 6:44, does God compel people to come to him?
"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him..." John 6:44
That passage, of course, is very controversial. In an older translation of it, Jesus says, "No man can come to me unless the Father draws him." The dispute about that passage has to do with the meaning of the word translated "to draw." What does it mean?
There are those biblical scholars and Christians who believe that it means to entice, to woo, or to seek to persuade. For them, then, what Jesus is saying is, "People, if left to themselves, are not going to seek me out; there has to be something added to their normal inclinations before they would be moved to come in my direction. "Jesus is saying that God has to do something. And the old translation is that he has to draw them just as the Siren voices drew Ulysses to the sea. They tried to entice him, persuade him, and woo him to come by being as attractive as possible in granting the invitation.
Some people hold the strong opinion that wooing is the very opposite of compulsion, that God doesn't compel people to come to Jesus but he does entice them and encourage them and try to woo them and show them how attractive Jesus is so that they will incline themselves to respond to Jesus.
I once had a debate on this subject with a professor of New Testament studies who was an expert in the biblical languages. I was taking the position that God does more than invite and entice and woo. I think the word here is very strong because it is the same word that is used in the book of Acts when Paul and Silas are dragged into prison. It's not like the jailer went inside the bars and tried to woo Paul and Silas, saying, "Come on, fellows, please come on in here." He compelled them to go inside that jail.
I think the word there is strong, and I pointed that out to the New Testament professor. Then he surprised me somewhat because he quoted the use of the same verb that he found in some other Greek literature where the verb was used to describe the human activity of drawing water from a well. And the professor went on to say, "Now, you don't compel water to come up out of a well." And I said, "But I have to say you don't woo it either.
You don't stand up there and say, 'Here, water, water, water,' and expect the water on its own power to jump up out of the well into your bucket. You have to go down with your bucket and take that water." I think the force of that verb is to say that we are in desperate need of the assistance of God to come to Christ, and we will not come to Christ unless the Father brings us to him.
— R. C. Sproul
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"Behold I have longed after Thy precepts; quicken me in Thy righteousness" (Psalms 119:40). Desires set upon holiness are an affection properly exercised, and upon its due object. Desire is an earnest reaching forth of the soul after good absent and not yet attained. The object of it is something good, and the more truly good it is the more is our desire justified. There are certain bastard goods of a base and transitory nature, as pleasure, profit-we may easily overlash, and exceed in these things. But on holiness, which is more high and noble, and is truly good, and of great vicinity and nearness to our chiefest good than those others things are, we cannot exceed-there the faculty is rightly placed.
When we are hasty and passionate for those other things, the heart is corrupted, it is hard to escape sin: "He that makes haste to be rich cannot be innocent" (Prov. 28:20); and he that loves pleasure is in danger of not loving God (2 Timothy 3:4). But now in holiness there is no such snare: a man cannot be holy enough, nor like enough to God; and therefore here we may freely let out our affections to the full. When our desires are freely let out to other things, they are like a member out of joint, as when the arms hang backward, but here they are in their proper place; this is that which cannot be loved beyond what it doth deserve.
A Christian should set no manner of bounds to himself in holiness for he is to "be holy in all manner of conversation" (1 Peter 1:15), and to be "perfect as our heavenly Father" (Matthew 5:48). And then desire is not only after that which is good, but after a good absent. Desire ariseth from a sense of vacuity and emptiness. Emptiness is the cause of appetite and therefore is compared to hunger and thirst: "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness" (Matthew 5:6)., So it is in desiring holiness, we have not yet attained (Phil. 3:13). There is an indigence and emptiness; we are not already perfect-we want more than we have, and our enjoyments are little in comparison of our expectations, and therefore we should make a swifter progress towards the mark, and with more earnestness of soul should press after that sinless estate we expect.
That little we have doth but quicken us to inquire after more, not cloy but provide the appetite. As a man hath a better stomach sometimes when he doth begin to eat, so when we begin with God, and have tasted of holiness, and tasted of comfort, being brought into a sense of obedience and subjection to God, we should desire more; or certainly he is not good that doth not desire to be better. So that David might well say, "I have longed after Thy precepts."
— Thomas Manton
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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
"Man has places in his heart which do not yet exist,
and into them God enters suffering inorder that they might have existence."