Our Race Run Well

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“Let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1

None can run this race but the saints of God, for the ground itself is holy ground, of which we read that “no unclean beast is to be found therein.” None but the redeemed walk there; and none have ever won the prize but those who have run this heavenly race–as redeemed by precious blood.

Now no sooner do we see by faith the race set before us than we begin to run; and, like Christian in the “Pilgrim’s Progress,” we run from the City of Destruction, our steps being winged with fear and apprehension. All this, especially in the outset, implies energy, movement, activity, pressing forward; running, as it were, for our life; escaping, as Lot, to the mountain; fleeing, as the prophet speaks, “like as you fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah” (Zech. 14:5); or as the manslayer fled to the city of refuge from the avenger of blood.

As, then, the runner stretches forward hands, and feet, and head, intent only on being first to reach the goal, so in the spiritual race there is a stretching forth of the faculties of the new-born soul to win the heavenly prize. There is a stretching forth of the spiritual understanding to become possessed of clear views of heavenly truth. There is a stretching forth of the desires of the heart to experience the love of God; to feel acceptance with him through the blood of sprinkling; to know the way of salvation for ourselves, and to have clear evidences that our feet are in it; to receive tokens for good, and manifestations of the pardoning love of God; to walk in his fear, live to his praise, and enjoy union and communion with the blessed Lord. And there is a stretching forth of the affections of the heart after Jesus and the truth as it is in Jesus, with many longings, breathings, earnest cries, and fervent wrestlings at the throne of grace, that we may know the truth and by the truth be sanctified and made free.

So that when you look at the word “race” as emblematic of a Christian’s path, you see that it is not any movement of the body, what the Apostle calls “bodily exercise,” that is intended, but an inward movement of the soul, or rather of the grace that God has lodged in your bosom, and to which are communicated spiritual faculties, whereby it moves forward in the ways of God, under the influences of the blessed Spirit.

Faith’s Hand

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Word for Zion’s Wayfarers

“Lay hold on eternal life.” 1 Timothy 6:12

The main office of the hand is to take hold of and grasp an object. The human hand is a masterpiece of anatomy, the fingers and the strong matching thumb being expressly constructed by their Divine Craftsman to seize and retain objects; and therefore every muscle, artery, vein, and nerve conspire together to fulfill this destined office.

Is there not in the office of faith something analogous to and corresponding with this? What says the Lord? “Let him take hold of my strength that he may make peace with me, and he shall make peace with me.” There is a taking hold, then, of God’s strength. Is not this by faith? Is there any other grace of the Spirit which takes hold of the Lord, as Jacob took hold of the wrestling angel, or as sinking Peter laid hold of the hand of Jesus? “Lay hold on eternal life,” is Paul’s charge to Timothy. But how is eternal life, and especially Jesus, “the Life,” laid hold of, except by faith? “He that believes on me,” says Jesus, “has everlasting life.” He has it by laying hold of it.

So we read also of “fleeing for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us” (Heb. 6:18). As the manslayer fled for refuge to the appointed city, and when his hand grasped the gates was safe, so guilty sinners flee for refuge to the Lord Jesus, and by faith lay hold upon the hope set before them in the gospel of the grace of God.

Our Risen Christ

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Morning Thought

“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins.” 1 Corinthians 15:17.

Here was the grand evidence of the perfection and acceptance of His sacrifice. The atoning work of Jesus was in itself perfect and complete. It was all that God demanded, all that the Church required, and all that law and justice asked.

Yet there lacked one proof that this work was accepted by God, and was satisfactory to divine justice. On the cross He had uttered that wondrous cry, which sent gladness through all heaven, and dismay through all hell- “It is finished.” But, lo, He dies! The Captain of our salvation is conquered! The promised Victor is vanquished! He is laid in the grave! The stone covers Him! The earth imprisons Him! What proof have we now that He was more than mortal? What evidence that He was God? What divine seal is affixed to the great charter of redemption? What pledge have we that it is complete? What security against the law’s loud thunder, and the consuming flames of justice- against the wrath of an offended God, and the condemnation that is to come? In a word, how may we know that all the divine perfections are harmonized in our salvation, and that “whoever believes in Jesus shall not perish, but have everlasting life”?

Behold, the Father raises Him from the dead! This is the evidence- this is the seal- this is the pledge- and this is the security. We need even ask no more. It satisfied God; it satisfies us. At that moment all created intelligences were summoned to witness the great and final seal affixed to redemption’s perfect work; and while every eye was thus intently bent upon the yielding grave, the Father, in that stupendous act of His power and love, utters His solemn voice, “This is my beloved Son, in whose person I delight, and with whose work I am well satisfied.”

Oh, what majesty now encircled the rising form of the incarnate God! Never had He appeared so truly a Savior, never so illustrious a Redeemer, and never so perfectly the Mediator and Advocate as now- sealed by God the Father, quickened by God the Spirit, and radiant with the beams of His own divine glory.

Engraved!

John MacDuff, “The Immutability of Christ” 1874

“Behold! I have engraved you on the palms
of My hands!” Isaiah 49:16

“Behold,” says Immutable One, “I have engraved
you on the palms of My hands.” Not on the mountains,
colossal as they are, for they shall depart; on no page
of nature’s vast volume, for the last fires shall scorch
them; not on blazing sun, for he shall grow dim with
age; not on glorious heavens, for they shall be folded
together as a scroll. But on . . .

the hand which made the worlds,
the hand which was transfixed on Calvary,
the hand of might and love;
I have engraved you there! No corroding power
can efface the writing, or obliterate your name!

You are Mine now, and Mine forever!

Our Need For Continuing Grace

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols

“Not only does the Lord through forgiveness of sins receive and adopt us once for all into the church, but through the same means he preserves and protects us there. For what would be the point of providing a pardon for us that was destined to be of no use?

Every godly man is his own witness that the Lord’s mercy, if it were granted only once, would be void and illusory, since each is quite aware throughout his life of the many infirmities that need God’s mercy. And clearly not in vain does God promise this grace especially to those of his own household; not in vain does he order the same message of reconciliation daily to be brought to them.

So, carrying, as we do, the traces of sin around with us throughout life, unless we are sustained by the Lord’s constant Grace and forgiving our sins, we shall scarcely abide one moment in the church. But the Lord has called his children to eternal salvation. Therefore, they ought to ponder that there is pardon ever ready for their sins. Consequently, we must firmly believe that by God’s generosity, mediated by Christ’s merit, through the sanctification of the Spirit, sins have been and are daily pardoned to us Who have been received and engrafted into the body of the church.”

Our Heavenly Father

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“Your heavenly Father.”
Matthew 6:26

God’s people are doubly his children, they are his offspring by creation, and they are his sons by adoption in Christ. Hence they are privileged to call him, “Our Father which art in heaven.”

Father! Oh, what precious word is that.

Here is authority: “If I be a Father, where is mine honour?” If ye be sons, where is your obedience? Here is affection mingled with authority; an authority which does not provoke rebellion; an obedience demanded which is most cheerfully rendered–which would not be withheld even if it might. The obedience which God’s children yield to him must be loving obedience. Do not go about the service of God as slaves to their taskmaster’s toil, but run in the way of his commands because it is your Father’s way. Yield your bodies as instruments of righteousness, because righteousness is your Father’s will, and his will should be the will of his child.

Father!–Here is a kingly attribute so sweetly veiled in love, that the King’s crown is forgotten in the King’s face, and his sceptre becomes, not a rod of iron, but a silver sceptre of mercy–the sceptre indeed seems to be forgotten in the tender hand of him who wields it. Father!–Here is honour and love. How great is a Father’s love to his children! That which friendship cannot do, and mere benevolence will not attempt, a father’s heart and hand must do for his sons. They are his offspring, he must bless them; they are his children, he must show himself strong in their defence. If an earthly father watches over his children with unceasing love and care, how much more does our heavenly Father? Abba, Father! He who can say this, hath uttered better music than cherubim or seraphim can reach. There is heaven in the depth of that word–Father! There is all I can ask; all my necessities can demand; all my wishes can desire. I have all in all to all eternity when I can say, “Father.”

Our Necessary Trials

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Evening Thought

Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more: That which I see not teach you me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more. Job 34:31-32

OH, what a detector of the secret state of our souls does the season of trial often prove! We are not aware of our impaired strength, of our weak faith, of our powerless grace—how feeble our hold on Christ is—how legal our views of the gospel are—how beclouded our minds may be—how partial our acquaintance with God is—until we are led into the path of trouble. The season of prosperity veils the real state of our souls from our view. No Christian can form an accurate estimate of his spiritual condition, who has not been brought into a state of trial. We faint in the day of adversity, because we then find—what, perhaps, was not even suspected in the day of prosperity—that our strength is small.

But seasons of trial are emphatically what the word expresses—they try the work in the souls of the righteous. The inner life derives immense advantage from them. The deeper discovery that is then made of the evil of the heart is not the least important result: “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”

What folly still dwells in the hearts of the wise—bound up and half concealed—who can tell? Who would have suspected such developments in the life of Abraham, of David, of Solomon, of Peter? And so is it with all who yet are the possessors of that wisdom which will guide their souls to eternal glory. Folly is bound up in their hearts; but the sanctified rod of correction reveals it, and the discovery proves one of the costliest blessings in the experience of the disciplined child.

Listen to the language of Moses, addressed to the children of Israel: “You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, and to prove you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or no.” And oh, what a discovery that forty years’ marching and counter-marching in the wilderness was to them of the pride, and impatience, and unbelief, and ingratitude, and distrust that were bound up in their heart! And yet, though all this evil was deep-seated in their nature, they knew it not, and suspected it not, until trial brought it to the surface. Thus, beloved, is it with us. The latent evil is brought to light. God leaves us to try what is in our heart, and this may be the first step in the reviving of His gracious work in our souls. Oh, let us not, then, shrink from the probing, nor startle at its discovery, if it but lead us nearer to holiness, nearer to Christ, nearer to God, nearer to heaven!

The time of trouble is often, too, a, time of remembrance. and so becomes a time of reviving. Past backslidings—unthought of, unsuspected, and unconfessed—are recalled to memory in the season that God is dealing with us. David had forgotten his transgression, and the brethren of Joseph their sin, until trouble summoned it back to memory. Times of trial are searching times, remembering times. Then with David we exclaim, “I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto Your testimonies: I made haste, and delayed not to keep Your commandments.”

Deliverance From the Fowler’s Snare

It seems that J. C. Philpot and also Charles Spurgeon have been recently devoting much time to trials and temptations. I can attest to the truthfulness of God’s Word in this area and tell you that I have been living out these things recently. And in every instance, God has been faithful to his promises.

Here is today’s devotional from Spurgeon:

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler.”
Psalm 91:3

God delivers his people from the snare of the fowler in two senses. From, and out of. First, he delivers them from the snare–does not let them enter it; and secondly, if they should be caught therein, he delivers them out of it. The first promise is the most precious to some; the second is the best to others.

“He shall deliver thee from the snare.” How? Trouble is often the means whereby God delivers us. God knows that our backsliding will soon end in our destruction, and he in mercy sends the rod. We say, “Lord, why is this?” not knowing that our trouble has been the means of delivering us from far greater evil. Many have been thus saved from ruin by their sorrows and their crosses; these have frightened the birds from the net.

At other times, God keeps his people from the snare of the fowler by giving them great spiritual strength, so that when they are tempted to do evil they say, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”

But what a blessed thing it is that if the believer shall, in an evil hour, come into the net, yet God will bring him out of it! O backslider, be cast down, but do not despair. Wanderer though thou hast been, hear what thy Redeemer saith–“Return, O backsliding children; I will have mercy upon you.”

But you say you cannot return, for you are a captive. Then listen to the promise–“Surely he shall deliver thee out of the snare of the fowler.” Thou shalt yet be brought out of all evil into which thou hast fallen, and though thou shalt never cease to repent of thy ways, yet he that hath loved thee will not cast thee away; he will receive thee, and give thee joy and gladness, that the bones which he has broken may rejoice. No bird of paradise shall die in the fowler’s net.

A Prayer

(J. R. MacDuff, “A BOOK OF PRIVATE PRAYERS” 1890)

My Father in heaven, draw near to me in Your infinite mercy. May all vain and wandering thoughts be silenced and repressed, as I now approach Your footstool. I adore You for the rich blessings that are treasured up in Christ. In Him I have . . .
pardon,
peace,
acceptance,
eternal life,
a balm for every wound,
a solace for every trial.

May I continually look to His sympathetic hand which dries all tears, and listen to His gracious voice which soothes all sorrows. May it be my habitual desire to follow in His footsteps and to reflect His image; to live and to walk so as to always do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

Gladden me this day with Your presence. Morning by morning, as I set out on my path of duty, may it be my increasing desire to attain a nearer and closer conformity to You and to Your holy will—to have more childlike tenderness of spirit, childlike obedience, childlike fear of grieving or offending a Father so full of pitying love and mercy.

I have to lament, heavenly Father—the proneness of my heart to depart from You—seeking my happiness too often in things which perish with the using. Break the world’s alluring spell. Disenchant its delusive fascinations! Elevate my affections, purify my desires. May I seek to have the consciousness of Your pure, loving eye ever upon me, living under the supremacy of that elevating motive—to walk so as to please You.

Subdue my unmortified sin; quicken me in every good and holy way. Enthrone Yourself in my soul and life, as Lord of all; and bring me to live more constantly and habitually under the constraining influence of Your love.

Let it ever be to me, a gracious and consoling thought, that “the Lord reigns!” I am but clay in the hand of the almighty Potter! All that concerns me is directed and regulated by Your infinite wisdom and unchanging love. Neither is there anything arbitrary in Your dealings with me. I would lie passive at Your feet, saying, “Do to me and with me—as seems good in Your sight!”

I will be still, and know that you are my God. I flee to the sanctuary of Your covenant love, rejoicing in You as my Father, and in Christ as my Redeemer. May it ever be mine, to accept the cup of affliction which You put into my hand—as a cup of love, saying, “Not as I will, but as You will.”

I look forward to that joyous time when, fully purified alike from sin and sorrow, I shall enter within the heavenly gates and stand faultless before Your throne!

I ask these and every other needed blessing, through the all-sufficient merits, and all-prevailing name of Jesus Christ, my only Lord and Savior.