Archive for July 7th, 2012

Come, merciful and mighty God,
And break these hearts of stone:

Your word the heavenly instrument,
The power yours alone.

These stubborn wills conform to yours;
To feeble minds give light;
Put fire into these empty hearts;
Exert your gracious might.

Give life where death is ruling now:
Prove Jesus Satan’s bane!
Break every chain, throw wide the door,
Let glorious freedom reign.

May Christ be Lord of every life,
And King of every heart;
Break sin’s dominion; cleanse, renew,
And righteousness impart.

Come, merciful and mighty God,
We look to you alone;
Exert your power: give hearts of flesh
In place of hearts of stone.

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Owen on holiness

“. . . the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”  Hebrews 12:14

“No unclean thing, nothing that defileth or is defiled, shall ever be brought into the glorious presence of this holy God.  There is no imagination wherewith mankind is besotted more foolish, none so pernicious, as this, that persons not purified, not sanctified, not made holy in this life should afterward be taken into that state of blessedness which consists in the enjoyment of God.  There can be no thought more reproachful to his glory, nor more inconsistent with the nature of the things themselves, for neither can such persons enjoy him, nor would God himself be a reward unto them.  They can have nothing whereby they should adhere unto him as their chiefest good, nor can they see anything in him that should give them rest and satisfaction, nor can there be any medium whereby God should communicate himself unto them, supposing them to continue thus unholy, as all must do who depart out of this life in that condition.  Holiness, indeed, is perfected in heaven, but the beginning of it is invariably and unalterably confined to this world, and where this fails, no hand shall be put into that work in eternity.”

John Owen, Works (Edinburgh, 1981), III:574-575. HT

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WORLD’s books of the year

I just received a copy somehow of the 2012 WORLD Magazine annual Book Issue.

As Justin Taylor has reported here are Editor Marvin Olasky’s choices for some of the top books of the year:

Marvin Olasky names Rodney Stark’s The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World’s Largest Religion(HarperOne) World’s Book of the Year.

Here are his two runner-ups:

And here are the other six books rounding up Olasky’s top 10 (click on the date for his articles where the books are mentioned and discussed):

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Aaron Armstong shares this quote from Ryle:

“I believe that spiritual as well as natural greatness depends in a high degree on the faithful use of means within everybody’s reach. Of course I do not say we have a right to expect a miraculous grant of intellectual gifts; but I do say, that when a person is once converted to God, his progress in holiness will be much in accordance with their own diligence in the use of God’s appointed means. And I assert confidently that the principle means by which most believers have become great in the church of Christ — is the habit of diligent private prayer.

Look through the lives of the brightest and best of God’s servants, whether in the Bible or not. See what is written of Moses and David and Daniel and Paul. Mark what is recorded of Luther and Bradford the Reformers. Observe what is related of the private devotions of Whitefield and Cecil and Venn and Bickersteth and McCheyne. Tell me of one of the goodly fellowship of saints and martyrs, who has not had this mark most prominently — they were men of prayer. Depend on it, prayer is power.   Prayer obtains fresh and continued outpourings of the Spirit. He alone begins the work of grace in a person’s heart. He alone can carry it forward and make it prosper. But the good Spirit loves to be entreated. And those who ask most — will have most of his influence.”

Adapted from J.C. Ryle, A Call to Prayer

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Grace times two

Lee Dodd shared these quote from Calvin:

“Christ was given to us by God’s generosity, to be grasped and possessed by us in faith. By partaking of him, we principally receive a double grace: namely, that being reconciled to God through Christ’s blamelessness, we may have in heaven instead of a Judge a gracious Father; and secondly, that sanctified by Christ’s spirit we may cultivate blamelessness and purity of life.”

Of justification, Calvin goes on to say, “Justified by faith is he who, excluded from the righteousness of works, grasps the righteousness of Christ through faith, and clothed in it, appears in God’s sight not as a sinner but as a righteous man. Therefore, we explain justification simply as the acceptance with which God receives us into his favor as righteous men. And we say that it consists in the remission of sins and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness.”

Of Sanctification, Calvin writes, “Repentance [Calvin’s preferred term for sanctification was “repentance”.] can thus well be defined: it is the true turning of our life to God, a turning that arises from a pure and earnest fear of him; and it consists in the mortification of our flesh and of the old man, and in the vivification of the Spirit.”

God in Christ is doubly gracious to His people. God declares us righteous before Him (our justification) and daily works in us death to sin and life by the Spirit (our sanctification).

In the words of Augustus Toplady:

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee; Let the water and the blood, From thy wounded side which flowed, Be of sin the double cure, Save from wrath and make me pure.


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