Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Battle Against Sin and the Grace of God

"Hereby the Lord Jesus Christ is more endeared to the soul; all boasting is effectually excluded, and the glory of a full and free salvation is ascribed to him alone. If a mariner is surprised by a storm, and after one night spent in jeopardy is presently brought safe into port; though he may rejoice in his deliverance, it will not affect him so sensibly, as if, after being tempest-tossed for a long season, and experiencing a great number and variety of hair-breadth escapes, he at last gains the desired haven…. [In the same way] when, after a long experience of their own deceitful hearts, after repeated proofs of their weakness, wilfulness, ingratitude, and insensibility, they [i.e. believers] find that none of these things can separate them from the love of God in Christ, Jesus becomes more and more precious to their souls. They love much, because much has been forgiven them…. In a word, some of the clearest proofs they have had of his excellence, have been occasioned by the mortifying proofs they have had of their own vileness. They would not have known so much of him, if they had not known so much of themselves.

Farther, a spirit of humiliation [i.e. humility]…is greatly promoted by our feeling, as well as reading, that when we would do good, evil is present with us… But that we are so totally depraved, is a truth which no one ever truly learned by being only told it…. but experience is the Lord's school, and they who are taught by him usually learn, that they have no wisdom, by the mistakes they make; and that they have no strength, by the slips and falls they meet with. Every day draws forth some new corruption which before was little observed, or at least discovers it in a stronger light than before. Thus by degrees they are weaned from leaning to any supposed wisdom, power, or goodness in themselves; they feel the truth of our Lord's words, ‘Without me ye can do nothing;’ and the necessity of crying with David, ‘O lead me and guide me for they Name's sake.’"

…Whoever is truly humbled will not be easily angry, will not be positive and rash, [but] will be compassionate and tender to the infirmities of his fellow-sinners, knowing, that, if there be a difference, it is grace that has made it, and that he has the seeds of every evil in his own heart; and, under all trials and afflictions, he will look to the hand of the Lord, and lay his mouth in the dust, acknowledging that he suffers much less than his iniquities have deserved. These are some of the advantages and good fruits which the Lord enables us to obtain from that bitter root, indwelling sin." (John Newton quoted by Todd Murray in Beyond Amazing Grace)

Grace upon grace,
JRL

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