Monthly Archives: April 2011

Seven Marks of a Heart Right With God

1) A right heart is a NEW heart (Ezek. 36:26). It is not the heart with which a person is born—but another heart put in them by the Holy Spirit. It is a heart which has new tastes, new joys, new sorrows, new desires, new hopes, new fears, new likes, new dislikes. It has new views about the soul, sin, God, Christ, salvation, the Bible, prayer, heaven, hell, the world, and holiness. It is like a farm with a new and good tenant. “Old things are passed away. Behold all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).

2) A right heart is a BROKEN and CONTRITE heart (Psalm 51:17). It is broken off from pride, self-conceit, and self-righteousness. Its former high thoughts of self are cracked, shattered, and shivered to atoms. It thinks itself guilty, unworthy, and corrupt. Its former stubbornness, heaviness, and insensibility have thawed, disappeared, and passed away. It no longer thinks lightly of offending God. It is tender, sensitive, and jealously fearful of running into sin (2 Kings 22:19). It is humble, lowly, and self-abased, and sees in itself no good thing.

3) A right heart is a heart which BELIEVES on Christ alone for salvation, and in which Christ dwells by faith (Rom. 10:10; Eph. 3:17). It rests all its hopes of pardon and eternal life on Christ’s atonement, Christ’s mediation, and Christ’s intercession. It is sprinkled in Christ’s blood from an evil conscience (Heb. 10:22). It turns to Christ as the compass-needle turns to the north. It looks to Christ for daily peace, mercy, and grace—as the sun-flower looks to the sun. It feeds on Christ for its daily sustenance, as Israel fed on the manna in the wilderness. It sees in Christ a special fitness to supply all its needs and requirements. It leans on Him, hangs on Him, builds on Him, cleaves to Him, as its physician, guardian, husband, and friend.

4) A right heart is a PURIFIED heart (Acts 15:9; Matt. 5:8). It loves holiness, and hates sin. It strives daily to cleanse itself from all filthiness of flesh and spirit (2 Cor. 7:1). It abhors that which is evil, and cleaves to that which is good. It delights in the law of God, and has that law engraved on it, that it may not forget it (Psalm 119:11). It longs to keep the law more perfectly, and takes pleasure in those who love the law. It loves God and people. Its affections are set on things above. It never feels so light and happy as when it is most holy; and it looks forward to heaven with joy, as the place where perfect holiness will at length be attained.

5) A right heart is a PRAYING heart. It has within it “the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba Father” (Rom. 8:15). Its daily feeling is, “Your face, Lord, will I seek” (Psalm 27:8). It is drawn by an habitual inclination to speak to God about spiritual things—weakly, feebly, and imperfectly perhaps—but speak it must. It finds it necessary to pour out itself before God, as before a friend, and to spread before Him all its needs and desires. It tells Him all its secrets. It keeps back nothing from Him. You might as well try to persuade a person to live without breathing, as to persuade the possessor of a right heart to live without praying.

6) A right heart is a heart that feels CONFLICT within it (Gal. 5:17). It finds within itself two opposing principles contending for the mastery—the flesh lusting against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh. It knows by experience what Paul means when he says, “I see a law in my members warring against the law of my mind” (Rom. 7:23). The wrong heart knows nothing of this strife. The strong man armed keeps the wrong heart as their palace, and their goods are at peace (Luke 11:21). But when the rightful King takes possession of the heart, a struggle begins which never ends until death. The right heart may be known by its warfare, quite as much as by its peace.

7) A right heart is HONEST, UNDIVIDED, and TRUE (Luke 8:15;1 Chron. 12:33; Heb. 10:22). There is nothing about it of falsehood, hypocrisy, or image-acting. It is not double or divided. It really is what it professes to be, feels what it professes to feel, and believes what it professes to believe. Its faith may be feeble. Its obedience may be very imperfect. But one thing will always distinguish the right heart. Its religion will be real, genuine, thorough, and sincere.

 ► Summary:

A heart such as that which I have now described, has always been the possession of all true Christians of every name, nation, people and tongue. They have differed from one another on many subjects—but they have all been of a right heart. Some of them have fallen, for a season, like David and Peter—but their hearts have never entirely departed from the Lord. They have often proved themselves to be men and women laden with infirmities—but their hearts have been right in the sight of God. They have understood one another on earth. They have found that their experience was everywhere one and the same. They will understand each other even better in the world to come. All that have had right hearts upon earth, will find that they have one heart when they enter heaven.

~ J.C. Ryle

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Ever the Same!

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. – Hebrews 13:8

You will make no advance in the divine life, if your eye is ever upon yourself instead of Christ. What though the experience of today is the opposite of the experience of yesterday- yesterday all brightness, today all cloudiness; yesterday your soul like a well-tuned psalm, today every string loosed and breathing no melody; yesterday, Jesus felt to be so near and precious, today seeming to awaken not a loving emotion in your heart; yesterday, communion with God so sweet, today, none whatever; yesterday, desiring to walk uprightly, holily, and humbly, today detecting so much that is vacillating, weak, and vile. Nevertheless, Jesus is not changed. The work of Christ is the same- your acceptance in Him is the same- His intercession in heaven for you is the same; then, where should you fly to spiritual experiences for support, strength, and consolation- rising when they rise, falling when they fall- when all your standing, joy, peace, and hope are entirely out of yourself, and are solely in Christ? What though you change a thousand times in one day? He never changes. God may vary His dispensations- He may alter His mode of dealing- He may change the nature of His discipline – He may vary the lesson, but His loving-kindness and His truth are as unchangeable as His very being. He may dry up the earthly cistern, but He will never seal up the heavenly fountain! -that will flow on in grace through all time, and in glory through all eternity.

Octavius Winslow, Morning Thoughts


Foundations and Superstructures

From Thomas Charles’ work, Spiritual Counsels

 

The life of faith is so strange and mysterious,…it is so opposite to our
reason, and so contrary to every idea we have in our natural hearts, that
our progress in faith is very slow and almost imperceptible. When a man
can no longer depend upon his own works for his righteousness, yet he
still wants to possess something in himself, something on which to build
his hopes and confidence, and so will look to the work of the Spirit in
his heart, making what should be the superstructure, the foundation. But
we must well remember, that there neither is, nor ever will be, any other
foundation than the obedience and death of Christ only…. The building on
this foundation is true, vital holiness. But great care must be taken,
that the superstructure is not placed where the foundation should be, and
that we mix not with the foundation any part of those materials fit only
for the construction of the building.

Our mistake here is, I believe, frequent; and often very imperceptible,
but always distressing to the soul in its effects. It is more dangerous,
because it wears the appearance of sanctity, it pretends to have a high
esteem for holiness: but it is only Satan transformed into an angel of
light; and it is sure to weaken and distress the soul, if not quite ruin
it. Holiness and all its parts neither is, nor ever can be, in any degree,
the matter of our justification before God…. The confusing of the
foundation with the building will only dishonor the grace of Christ,
disturb our peace and weaken our strength for obedience.

It is comparatively easy to see with the understanding that these two
things are altogether different: but to bring the heart to that point, is
quite another thing. To act in the face of guilt and sin, as those who
practically believe this truth,-here is the difficulty. And the reason for
this difficulty, I am convinced, proceeds mostly from our deficiency in
the knowledge of the person of Christ and from the weakness of our faith
in his ability and sufficiency. For if we were convinced of this, why
would we look for anything else to build our hopes on? If you had a rich
friend and you were fully convinced that he had the ability and desire to
supply all your needs, would you not trust him completely and live
comfortably without any fear of poverty and distress? Of course you would.
And this is how you would treat Christ in regards to your spiritual needs
if you truly believed in his sufficiency… Be your needs what they may,
yet if he is able to supply them, the case is not desperate, there is no
room for despair.

But you will say, “How shall I obtain this knowledge of and belief in
Christ?” Why, make frequent tests of him. When your case is most
desperate, then go directly to him, and put his skill and ability to the
test. When you have nothing in view but ruin and misery, then call upon
him, “Lord, save me, or I perish.”…. How often had Paul experienced
God’s ability in working strange and unexpected deliverances for him? It
was because he had tested God’s skill and trusted his power a thousand
times before that he could say “I know in whom I have believed,” and, “I
am persuaded he is able.”


Without the Gospel

I read this from Justin Taylor’s blog.   The reference is to a sermon preached by Pastor Begg at this year’s Gospel Coalition Conference.

Alistair Begg tonight closed his address with a quote from John Calvin’s preface to Pierre-Robert Olivétan’s 1535 translation of the Bible.  “To all those who love Christ and his gospel,” Calvin writes:

Without the gospel

everything is useless and vain;

without the gospel

we are not Christians;

without the gospel

all riches is poverty,

all wisdom, folly before God;

strength is weakness, and

all the justice of man is under the condemnation of God.

But by the knowledge of the gospel we are made

children of God,

brothers of Jesus Christ,

fellow townsmen with the saints,

citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven,

heirs of God with Jesus Christ,

by whom

the poor are made rich,

the weak strong,

the fools wise,

the sinners justified,

the desolate comforted,

the doubting sure, and

slaves free.

The gospel is the Word of life.

 

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/

 


More Than Conquerors!

The original word will admit a stronger rendering than our translators have allowed it. The same word is in another place rendered “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” So that in the present instance it might be translated, “far more exceeding conquerors.” The phrase seems to imply that it is more than a mere victory which the believer gains. A battle may be won at a severe loss to the conqueror. A great leader may fall at the head of his troops. The flower of an army may be destroyed, and the best blood of a nation’s pride may be shed. But the Christian conquers with no such loss. Nothing whatever essential to His well-being is imperiled. His armor, riveted upon his soul by the Holy Spirit, he cannot lose. His life, hid with Christ in God, cannot be endangered. His Leader and Commander, once dead, is alive and dies no more. Nothing valuable and precious shall he lose.

There is not a grace in his soul but shall come out of the battle with sin, and Satan, and the world, purer and brighter for the conflict. The more thoroughly the Lord brings our graces into exercise, the more fully shall they be developed, and the more mightily shall they be invigorated. Not a grain of grace shall perish in the winnowing, not a particle of faith shall be consumed in the refining. Losing nothing, he gains everything! He returns from the battle laden with the spoils of a glorious victory- “more than a conqueror.” All his resources are augmented by the result. His armor is brighter, his sword is keener, his courage is more dauntless, for the conflict. Every grace of the Spirit is matured. Faith is strengthened- love is expanded- experience is deepened- knowledge is increased. He comes forth from the trial holier and more valorous than when he entered it. His weakness has taught him wherein his strength lies. His necessity has made him better acquainted with Christ’s fullness. His peril has shown him who taught his hands to war and his fingers to fight, and whose shield covered his head in the day of battle. He is “more than conqueror “- he is triumphant!

Winslow, Morning Thoughts