True Religion

“This is true religion:
to approve what God approves,
to hate what God hates, and
to delight in what God delights.”

– Charles Hodge, 1797- 1878

Published in: on December 27, 2016 at 12:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Siamese twins

Perhaps you have the notion that repentance is a thing that happens at the commencement of the spiritual life and has to be gotten through as one undergoes a certain operation—and that is an end of it. If so, you are greatly mistaken! Repentance lives as long as faith. Towards faith I might almost call it a Siamese twin. We shall need to believe and to repent as long as we live! Perhaps, also, you have the idea that repentance is a bitter thing. It is sometimes bitter—“They shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn,” but that is not the kind of repentance that I am talking of, now. Surely that bitterness is past, it was all over long ago. But this is a sweet bitterness which attends faith as long as we live—and becomes a source of tender joy!

– C. H. Spurgeon, Repentance After Conversion, No. 2419

Luck?

“The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.” Proverbs 16:33

“Luck!” There is no such thing in our world,
none in nature, none in human affairs.

Luck means that an event has no cause at all. It is a bad word–a heathen term. Drop it from your vocabulary! Trust nothing to luck, and expect nothing from it. Avoid all practical dependence upon it or its kindred words . . .
fate,
chance,
fortune.

Never forget your dependence upon God. He can exalt you to prosperity–or sink you into the lowest depth of adversity. He can make everything to which you set your hand to prosper–or to fail. Devoutly acknowledge this. Abhor the atheism that shuts God out of His own world!

J. A. James, 1785—1859, The Young Man’s Friend
and Guide Through Life to Immortality

Published in: on October 28, 2016 at 1:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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The true recipe for a miserable existence

The first law of true religion is submission to God’s will. Where it does not exist, there is no piety–and just as truly there is no tranquility of soul.

What a hideous sight to see a human creature in full rebellion against God’s providence . . .
repining at His allotments;
fighting against His dispensations;
and cursing His judgments!

The true recipe for miserable existence is this: Quarrel with Providence!

When God means to make us happy, He teaches us submission–a resignation of everything into His hands, and an acknowledgment that whatever He does is wisest and best.

O how sweetly even afflictions fall, when there is such a temper to receive them! “Shall we accept good from God–and not trouble?” Job 2:10. Such a disposition tends to tranquility of soul; and even amidst chastisement, there is internal quiet.

“The Lord gave–and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21

“He is the Lord–let Him do what is good in His eyes.” 1 Samuel 3:18 

“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

“We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

– James W. Alexander, Consolation 1852

You MUST be born again

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. – John 3:3

We should notice what a mighty change our Lord declares to be needful to salvation, and what a remarkable expression He uses in describing it. He speaks of a new birth. He says to Nicodemus, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” He announces the same truth in other words, in order to make it more plain to his hearer’s mind–“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” By this expression He meant Nicodemus to understand that “no one could become His disciple, unless his inward man was as thoroughly cleansed and renewed by the Spirit, as the outward man is cleansed by water.” To possess the privileges of Judaism a man only needed to be born of the seed of Abraham after the flesh. To possess the privileges of Christ’s kingdom, a man must be born again of the Holy Spirit.

The change which our Lord here declares needful to salvation is evidently no slight or superficial one. It is not merely reformation, or amendment, or moral change, or outward alteration of life. It is a thorough change of heart, will, and character. It is a resurrection. It is a new creation. It is a passing from death to life. It is the implanting in our dead hearts of a new principle from above. It is the calling into existence of a new creature, with a new nature, new habits of life, new tastes, new desires, new appetites, new judgments, new opinions, new hopes, and new fears. All this, and nothing less than this is implied, when our Lord declares that we all need a “new birth.”

This change of heart is rendered absolutely necessary to salvation by the corrupt condition in which we are all, without exception, born. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” Our nature is thoroughly fallen. The carnal mind is enmity against God. (Rom. 8:7.) We come into the world without faith, or love, or fear toward God. We have no natural inclination to serve Him or obey Him, and no natural pleasure in doing His will. Left to himself, no child of Adam would ever turn to God. The truest description of the change which we all need in order to make us real Christians, is the expression, “new birth.”

This mighty change, it must never be forgotten, we cannot give to ourselves. The very name which our Lord gives to it is a convincing proof of this. He calls it “a birth.” No man is the author of his own existence, and no man can quicken his own soul. We might as well expect a dead man to give himself life, as expect a natural man to make himself spiritual. A power from above must be put in exercise, even that same power which created the world. (2 Cor. 4:6.) Man can do many things; but he cannot give life either to himself or to others. To give life is the peculiar prerogative of God. Well may our Lord declare that we need to be “born again!”

This mighty change, we must, above all, remember, is a thing without which we cannot go to heaven, and could not enjoy heaven if we went there. Our Lord’s words on this point are distinct and express. “Except a man be born again, he can neither see nor enter the kingdom of God.” Heaven may be reached without money, or rank, or learning. But it is clear as daylight, if words have any meaning, that nobody can enter heaven without a “new birth.”

– J. C. Ryle, (1816 – 1900), Commentary on the Book of Matthew