“… I say, they often hear these things and yet remain as they were before…” by Jonathan Edwards

“There are many that often hear of the glorious perfections of God, his almighty power and boundless wisdom, his infinite majesty, and that holiness of God, by which he is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity, and the heavens are not pure in his sight, and of God’s infinite goodness and mercy, and hear of the great works of God’s wisdom, power and goodness, wherein there appear the admirable manifestations of these perfections; they hear particularly of the unspeakable love of God and Christ, and of the great things that Christ has done and suffered, and of the great things of another world, of eternal misery in bearing the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God, and of endless blessedness and glory in the presence of God, and the enjoyment of his dear love; they also hear the peremptory commands of God, and his gracious counsels and warnings, and the sweet invitations of the gospel; I say, they often hear these things and yet remain as they were before, with no sensible alteration in them, either in heart or practice, because they are not affected with what they hear; and ever will be so till they are affected.”

Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections

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“…he that has doctrinal knowledge and speculation only, without affection, never is engaged in the business of religion.” by Jonathan Edwards

“And as in worldly things, worldly affections are very much the spring of men’s motion and action; so in religious matters, the spring of their actions is very much religious affection: he that has doctrinal knowledge and speculation only, without affection, never is engaged in the business of religion.”

Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections

“…the greatest hindrance to inviting someone to read one-to-one will be an unbiblical view that you are not ready for this.” by David Helm

“…the greatest hindrance to inviting someone to read one-to-one will be an unbiblical view that you are not ready for this. You will tell yourself that you haven’t been properly trained, or simply don’t know enough about the Bible to help another person along the way. In fact, you may even try to convince yourself that someone should be initiating reading the Bible one-to-one with you, rather than you initiating it with another person. It’s a tempting thought. But it’s also just not true.

Any committed Christian is capable of initiating a good conversation on a biblical text. In reality, your fears in this area of personal work betray two Screwtape-like lies that every Christian must resist. First, that gospel growth depends on us and on our abilities. This is simply not the case. Our proficiency in the Bible is not the final arbiter in seeing spiritual growth occur. The Holy Spirit can and does use timid people just like us. The second lie we fight against is disbelief—disbelief in the potency of God’s word. We need to be reminded that God does his work in his way, and it is his word that accomplishes whatever he desires in the world.

Be encouraged! Invite someone to read the Bible with you. Rest on the power of the gospel that is in his word. And know that, in the power of the Spirit and through the instrumentality of his word, God will honour your commitment to be in discussion with someone on the message of the gospel.”

David Helm, One to One Bible Reading

“Therefore it greatly concerns us to use our utmost endeavours clearly to discern, and have it well settled and established, wherein true religion does consist.” by Jonathan Edwards

“Therefore it greatly concerns us to use our utmost endeavours clearly to discern, and have it well settled and established, wherein true religion does consist. Till this be done, it may be expected, that great revivings of religion will be but of short continuance; till this be done, there is but little good to be expected of all our warm debates in conversation and from the press, not knowing clearly and distinctly what we ought to contend for. My design is to contribute my mite, and use my best (however feeble) endeavours to this end, in the ensuing treatise; wherein it must be noted, that my design is somewhat diverse from the design of what I have formerly published, which was to show the distinguishing marks of a work of the Spirit of God, including both his common and saving operations; but what I aim at now, is to show the nature and signs of the gracious operations of God’s Spirit, by which they are to be distinguished from all things whatsoever, that the minds of men are the subjects of, which are not of a saving nature. If I have succeeded, in this my aim, in any tolerable measure, I hope it will tend to promote the interest of religion. And whether I have succeeded to bring any light to this subject or no, and however my attempts may be reproached in these captious and censorious times, I hope ins the mercy of a gracious God, for the acceptance of the sincerity of my endeavours; and hope also for the candour and prayers of the true followers of the meek and charitable Lamb of God.”

-Jonathan Edwards, The Religious Affections

“What if I come to Christ, and He refuses me?” by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Suppose you stand in the Slough of Despond forever; what will be the good of that? Surely it would be better to die struggling along the King’s highway towards the Celestial City, than sinking deeper and deeper in the mire and filth of dark distrustful thoughts! You have nothing to lose, for you have lost everything already; therefore make a dash for it, and dare to believe in the mercy of God to you, even to you.

But one moans, ‘What if I come to Christ, and He refuses me?’ My answer is, ‘Try Him.’ Cast yourself on the Lord Jesus, and see if He refuses you. You will be the first against whom He has shut the door of hope. Friend, don’t cross that bridge till you come to it! When Jesus casts you out, it will be time enough to despair; but that time will never come. ‘This man receiveth sinners’: He has not so much as begun to cast them out.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Around the Wicket Gate

“Out with your hand, man, and take Him at once!” by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“I have heard of a Sunday-school teacher who performed an experiment which I do not think I shall ever try with children, for it might turn out to be a very expensive one. Indeed, I feel sure that the result in my case would be very different from what I now describe. This teacher had been trying to illustrate what faith was, and, as he could not get it into the minds of his boys, he took his watch, and he said, ‘Now, I will give you this watch, John. Will you have it?’ John fell thinking what the teacher could mean, and did not seize the treasure, but made no answer. The teacher said to the next boy, ‘Henry, here is the watch. Will you have it?’ The boy, with a very proper modesty, replied, ‘No, thank you, sir’. The teacher tried several of the boys with the same result; till at last a youngster, who was not so wise or so thoughtful as the others, but rather more believing, said in the most natural way, ‘Thank you, sir,’ and put the watch into his pocket ‘Then the other boys woke up to a startling fact: their companion had received a watch which they had refused. One of the boys quickly asked of the teacher, ‘Is he to keep it?’. ‘Of course he is,’ said the teacher, ‘I offered it to him, and he accepted it. I would not give a thing and take a thing: that would be very foolish. I put the watch before you, and said that I gave it to you, but none of you would have it.’ ‘Oh!’ said the boy, ‘if I had known you meant it, I would have had it.’ Of course he would. He thought it was a piece of acting, and nothing more. All the other boys were in a dreadful state of mind to think that they had lost the watch. Each one cried, ‘Teacher, I did not know you meant it, but I thought—’. No one took the gift; but every one thought. Each one had his theory, except the simple-minded boy who believed what he was told, and got the watch. Now I wish that I could always be such a simple child as literally to believe what the Lord says, and take what He puts before me, resting quite content that He is not playing with me, and that I cannot be wrong in accepting what He sets before me in the gospel. Happy should we be if we would trust, and raise no questions of any sort. But, alas! we will get thinking and doubting. When the Lord uplifts His dear Son before a sinner, that sinner should take Him without hesitation. If you take Him, you have Him; and none can take Him from you. Out with your hand, man, and take Him at once!”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Around the Wicket Gate  

“It is entering into Jesus, hiding in His wounds.” by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“The dove is hunted by the hawk, and finds no security from its restless enemy. It has learned that there is shelter for it in the cleft of the rock, and it hastens there with gladsome wing. Once wholly sheltered within its refuge, it fears no bird of prey. But if it did not hide itself in the rock, it would be seized upon by its adversary. The rock would be of no use to the dove, if the dove did not enter its cleft. The whole body must be hidden in the rock. What if ten thousand other birds found a fortress there, yet that fact would not save the one dove which is now pursued by the hawk! It must put its whole self into the shelter, and bury itself within its refuge, or its life will be forfeited to the destroyer.

What a picture of faith is this! It is entering into Jesus, hiding in His wounds. “Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee.” The dove is out of sight: the rock alone is seen. So does the guilty soul dart into the riven side of Jesus by faith, and is buried in Him out of sight of avenging justice. But there must be this personal application to Jesus for shelter; and this it is that so many put off from day to day, till it is to be feared that they will “die in their sins”. What an awful word is that! It is what our Lord said to the unbelieving Jews; and He says the same to us at this hour: “If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.” It makes one’s heart quiver to think that even one who shall read  these lines may yet be of the miserable company who will thus perish. The Lord prevent it of His great grace!”  

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Around the Wicket Gate

“This is the flood tide that drowns legalism in its tracks.” by Sinclair Ferguson

“What, then, is the remedy for legalism?

At the stage we have reached in reflecting on the Marrow, it scarcely needs to be said.

It is grace. But it is not ‘grace’ as commodity, grace as substance. It is grace in Christ. For God’s grace to us is Christ.

Yes, it is the atonement; but not atonement as theory, or as an abstract reality, something that has an identity of its own outside of and apart from the Lord Jesus. For Christ himself, clothed as he is in his gospel work, is the atonement—’He is the propitiation for our sins.’

The remedy therefore is the one that healed Paul of the deep disease of legalism. It is not difficult to imagine that he too knew what it was to be beaten by Moses. He was after all ‘the chief of sinners.’ But here is what he discovered:

Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes though faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.

The remedy is that prescribed by Charles Wesley, discovering that these words are true:

‘O Jesus, full of truth and grace,—More full of grace than I of sin . . .’

Where sin abounds, where the law condemns, there grace abounds all the more even to the chief of sinners. Indeed especially to the chief of them, for the more sin there has been, the more God’s grace has abounded. This is the flood tide that drowns legalism in its tracks.”

-Sinclair Ferguson The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance—Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters

“Salvation is by grace, but grace never stands alone without good works.” by Graeme Goldsworthy

“The relationship of good works to salvation is essentially the same in both Old and New Testaments. In both salvation is by grace, but grace never stands alone without good works. To put it another way we may say that no-one (in Old or New Testaments) is saved because of good works, but no-one is saved without good works. This is one aspect of the unity of the two Testaments which makes the Old Testament so applicable to Christians. The same unity underlies Paul’s use of the exodus situation in I Corinthians 10: 1-12.”

-Graeme Goldsworthy Gospel and Kingdom

“Every man is born outside the garden; every man is born an active rebel…” by Graeme Goldsworthy

“The judgement involves firstly the disruption of the relationship between man and God. This is most clearly seen in the ejection of man from the Garden. Secondly there is the disruption of the relationship between man and woman, as the perfect harmony of male and female gives way to rivalry and accusation (Genesis 3: 12, 16). Thirdly there is a disruption of the relationship of man to his environment as the physical creation is no longer seen to be under the dominion of man (Genesis 3: 17-19). The word ‘disruption’ is not intended to detract from the seriousness of the sentence of death. Man outside the Kingdom is not merely under the sentence of death, but he is dead. The real meaning of death lies in the separation of man from the willing relationship of the Kingdom. Autonomous man is God-denying and therefore life-denying as well. Fallen man is dead spiritually. Outside of Eden there is no return. Man has made his choice to be a rebel and he is bound by his decision. Nor is there any free choice for the posterity of Adam. Adam’s fall from the Garden Kingdom is a fall of the whole human race. Every man is born outside the garden; every man is born an active rebel asserting autonomy and independence of the God of life. Human history and Scripture will show that man’s death state means that he infallibly chooses to hate God, for that is his ‘outside Eden’ nature. It is no longer a question of freedom to choose right or wrong, for man is free now only to be what he is- a sinner who hates God (cf. Romans 3: 9-18, 8: 6-8). Man has become a slave to sin- a slavery that is death.”

-Graeme Goldsworthy Gospel and Kingdom