Thursday, August 13, 2015

Receiving Christ by Faith - John Owen

"Cursed is the person who encourages you to come to Christ and allows you to think that you can still indulge one sin in your life.

I am not saying that when you come to Christ you will at once be absolutely and perfectly free from all sin. But in your heart and by a holy determination you must daily mortify all sin as grace enables you. Your choice of Christ must be wholehearted with no thought of turning back to some favourite sin. It is either God or the world, Christ or Satan, holiness or sin. They cannot be reconciled (2 Cor. 6:15-18).

As for your pleasures, the truth is, you have never yet known real pleasure and will not until you come to Christ. For only in Christ are true pleasures to be found. A few moments with Christ are to be preferred to an eternity with the cursed pleasures of this world (Prov. 3:13-18, Ps. 16:11).


But many believers do not seem to be any better than unbelievers! I am as good as those who claim to have received Christ! So why should I receive Christ?

Among true believers are many false and corrupt hypocrites. The tares look very like the wheat. Some whom we judge to be true believers, because of their unmortified pride, or covetousness, or careless unchristian behaviour, or their worldly dress and their conformity to the world, give rise to the sneers and jeers of the world. God is displeased with such believers. Christ and the gospel are dishonoured. Many who are weak in the faith are wounded and others discouraged. But as for you, you are not told to come to Christ only if all Christians behave perfectly or are all better than you. Hypocrites will end up in hell and you will be with them if you do not receive Christ by faith..."

From The Glory of Christ by John Owen

Monday, August 10, 2015

Thou Art the Ant

"Here I am an ant, and as I view a nest of ants so dost Thou view me and my fellow-creatures; But as an ant knows not me, my nature, my thoughts, so here I cannot know Thee clearly.
- The Valley of Vision

Suppose you had a pet ant. Since we are supposing we can suppose also that this ant is an ant of higher intelligence than the average ant. Ants live about 2 months so let’s suppose you got this ant when he was 5 days old. Every day you fed this ant only the best ant food. You took the ant for walks. You let this ant sit with you at supper and as much as an ant is able, enjoy the fellowship between you and your family.

Now, suppose one day, when your ant was about 50 days old, he met up with another ant of higher intelligence. Your ant has basically only known you his whole life and so he begins to communicate to this other ant, in whatever way ants do that, things about you. How would the ant describe you? Perhaps he would say something about the fact that you were a really big non-ant creature. Perhaps he would know that you provided him with his yummy ant food. Of course he would be clueless as to the square root of 64. He wouldnt know anything about cars. He wouldn’t really be able to communicate anything about love or hate, sadness or joy. And yet, suppose this ant began to describe you to his new ant acquaintance as though he had you exhaustively figured out. As though he exhaustive knew your nature, thoughts, plans, dreams, hopes. As though he supposed you bowed to his every whim and desire. What a foolish formicidae! Probably better off just squashing him.

Thou art the ant! The distance between a human and an ant is actually very close when compared to the distance between man and God. Of course, unlike the ant, we have Scripture where God has condescended to communicate to us exactly what He wants us to know about Him in a way that we can understand. But, to think that we’ve got God covered exhaustively would be worse than my 3-year old thinking she understands all there is to know about atoms because I rubbed a balloon on her head to make her hair stand up.

God will be delighted in. God will be enjoyed. God will satisfy. If at any point in our walk with God, He is not those things to us it stems from the root of our lack of knowledge of who He is. Paul told the Colossians that he was praying they would “ filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.Why was he praying this? Perhaps 2 Peter 1:3 helps us see the answer: His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to his own glory and excellence...” Increasing knowledge of God increases godliness.

Don’t be an ant. God has revealed Himself to us in the life and ministry of His Son, Jesus. Through repentance and faith in Jesus we can know God. In fact, Jesus says this is the essence of eternal life (John 17:3). Whatever level your finite brain has reached in the knowledge of God, there is more to be known. In fact, you can rest assured that your finite brain will never fit inside it the fullness of the Infinite One. So, keep seeking His face. Keep searching His Word. Keep delighting in all that He is for us in the person and work of Jesus.

To God be the glory forever.