The Blessing of God’s Convicting Spirit

C. H. Spurgeon

Today’s Morning Meditation

“The priest is to examine him, and if the leprosy has covered his whole body—he shall pronounce that person clean.” Leviticus 13:13

This morning it may be well for us to see the typical teaching of so singular a rule. We, too, are lepers, and may read the law of the leper as applicable to ourselves. When a man sees himself to be altogether lost and ruined, covered all over with the defilement of sin, and no part free from pollution; when he disclaims all righteousness of his own, and pleads guilty before the Lord—then is he clean through the blood of Jesus, and the grace of God. Hidden, unfelt, unconfessed iniquity is the true leprosy—but when sin is seen and felt—it has received its death blow, and the Lord looks with eyes of mercy upon the soul afflicted with it.

Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness, or more hopeful than contrition. We must confess that we are “nothing else but sin,” for no confession short of this will be the whole truth. If the Holy Spirit is at work with us, convincing us of sin, there will be no difficulty about making such an acknowledgment—it will spring spontaneously from our lips.

What comfort does the text afford to those under a deep sense of sin! Sin mourned and confessed, however black and foul, shall never shut a man out from the Lord Jesus. Whoever comes unto Him, He will never cast out. Though dishonest as the thief, though unchaste as the harlot, though fierce as Saul of Tarsus, though cruel as Manasseh, though rebellious as the prodigal son—the great heart of love will look upon the man who feels himself to have no soundness in him, and will pronounce him clean, when he trusts in Jesus crucified. Come to Him, then, poor heavy-laden sinner! Come needy, come guilty, come loathsome and bare! You can’t come too filthy—come just as you are!

Evidence of the Work of Grace in Our Heart

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“But my eyes are unto you, O God the Lord–in you is my trust; leave not my soul destitute.” Psalm 141:8

The very cry is a pledge that the Lord will not leave the soul destitute. Strange though it be to us; it is the light that shows darkness; it is life that makes us feel deadness; no, more, it is fertility and fruitfulness that make us feel barrenness; it is riches that make us feel poverty; it is God’s teaching and presence that make us feel destitution. This very mourning over our barrenness; this very feeling of our inability to do good, is a proof of the life of God in the soul, an evidence of the work of grace in the heart.

“Leave not my soul destitute.” This is something genuine; this is heart-work; these are the footsteps of the flock; these are the leadings and teachings of God the Spirit in the hearts of the redeemed. These things are saving; these things will lead the soul to eternal glory. And he that knows any of these things by personal experience will one day see the glory of the Lord face to face.

What do we, then, know of these things? Can we lay our experience side by side with this experience of the Psalmist, and say, “My eyes are unto you, O God the Lord; in you is my trust; leave not my soul destitute?” Wherever that prayer is, it will bring an answer; and wherever that answer is, there will be matter for everlasting praise. Blessed are the souls that know these things from genuine heartfelt experience. They will shine forth as stars forever and ever; and when the Lord of life and glory comes a second time without sin unto salvation, then shall they also appear with him in glory.

Our Cry, “Grace, grace”

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Portion

“Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain–and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.” Zechariah 4:7

If the literal temple had been built up without any trouble whatever; if all had gone on smooth and easy, there would not have been any shouting of “Grace, grace,” when it was finished. But when it was seen how the Lord had brought a few feeble exiles from Babylon; how he had supported them amid and carried them through all their troubles; and how he that laid the foundation had brought forth the head-stone, all that stood by could say, “Grace, grace unto it.” It was these very perplexities and trials that made them join so cheerily in the shout, and made the heart and soul to leap with the lips, when they burst forth with “Grace, grace unto it.” And who will shout the loudest hereafter?

He that has known and felt the most of the aboundings of sin to sink his soul down into grief and sorrow, and most of the super-aboundings of grace over sin to make him triumph and rejoice. Who will have most reason to sing, “Grace, grace?” The lost and ruined wretch, who has feared that he would go to hell a thousand times over, and yet has been delivered thence by sovereign grace, and brought to the glory and joy of heaven. No other person is fit to join in that song; and I am sure no other will join in it but he who has known painfully and experimentally the bitterness of sin and the evil of a depraved heart; and yet has seen and felt that grace has triumphed over all, in spite of the devil, in spite of the world, and in spite of himself, and brought him to that blessed place where many times he was afraid he would never come.

While We Were Yet Sinners,

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Morning Thought

“Those who are whole have no need of the physician, but those who are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Mark 2:17

The Spirit glorifies Christ by revealing what Christ is to an emptied, lowly, penitent soul. And this He does by unfolding the great truth of the Bible- that Jesus died for sinners. Not for the righteous, not for the worthy, but for sinners, as sinners; for the unrighteous, for the unworthy, for the guilty, for the lost. Precious moment, when the Eternal Spirit, the great Glorifier of Jesus, brings this truth with power to the heart!

“I had believed,” exclaims the transported soul, “that Jesus died only for those who were worthy of so rich a sacrifice, of such immense love. I thought to bring some price of merit in my hands, some self-preparation, some previous fitness, something to render my case worthy of His notice, and to propitiate His kind regard. But now I see His salvation is for the vile, the poor, the penniless. I read that ‘when we were without strength, Christ died for the ungodly,’ that ‘while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,’  that ‘when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son,’ that ‘it is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,’  that it is ‘without money and without price,’ that it is ‘by grace we are saved,’ and that it is ‘of faith, that it might be by grace.'”

This good news, these joyful tidings, this glorious message of free mercy for the vilest of the vile, believed, received, welcomed, in a moment the clouds all vanish, the fogs all disappear, the face of God beams in mild and softened luster, and, amid light and joy, gladness and praise, the jubilee of the soul is ushered in. Oh, what glory now encircles the Redeemer! That soul venturing upon Him with but the faith of reliance, traveling to Him in all weakness, and in the face of all opposition, brings more glory to His name than all the hallelujahs of the heavenly minstrelsy ever brought.

Our Life in Christ

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“Yet a little while, and the world sees me no more; but you see me–because I live, you shall live also.” John 14:19

Communion with Christ rests on three things–seeing him by faith, living upon his life, and experiencing his manifested presence. But all these three things depend on his resurrection and a knowledge of its power. As risen from the dead, the saints see him; as risen from the dead, they live a life of faith upon him; as risen from the dead, he manifests himself unto them; and as life and feeling spring up in their souls from sweet communion with him, the power of his resurrection becomes manifest in them.

This communion, therefore, with the Lord Jesus as a risen Head all the reconciled and justified saints of God are pressing forward after, according to the measure of their grace and the life and power of God in their soul. It is indeed often sadly interrupted and grievously broken through, by the sin that dwells in us. But the principle is there, for that principle is life; and life is the privilege, the possession, and the distinction of the children of God. You need none to assure you that Jesus is risen from the dead if he manifests himself to your soul. You need no evidence that you are one of his sheep if you have heard and know his voice. So you may say, “Jesus is risen, for I have seen him; Jesus is risen, for I have heard him; Jesus is risen, for I live upon him.”

Communion with Jesus is the life of religion, and indeed without it religion is but an empty name. If without him we can do nothing; if he is our life, our risen covenant Head, our Advocate with the Father, our Husband, our Friend, our Brother, how are we to draw sap out of his fullness, as the branch from the vine, or to know him personally and experimentally in any one of his endearing relationships, unless by continual communion with him on his throne of grace? In fact, this is the grand distinguishing point between the living and the dead, between the true child of God and the mere professor, that the one has real union and communion with a risen Jesus, and the other is satisfied with a form of godliness. Every quickened soul is made to feel after the power of God, after communion from above, after pardon and peace, after visitations of mercy and grace; and when he has had a view of Christ by faith, and some revelation of his Person and work, grace and glory, nothing afterwards can ever really satisfy him but that inward communion of spirit with Jesus whereby the Lord and he become one; “for he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.”

Grace and Glory

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“The Lord will give grace and glory.” Psalm 84:11

Wherever the Lord gives grace, he in and with that grace gives glory. We, therefore, read, “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Thus he has already made them, even while on earth, partakers of his glory; and this by making them partakers of his grace; for as in the bud is the bloom, and in the bloom the fruit, so in budding grace is blooming glory–grace being but glory begun, and glory being but grace finished.

But what is “glory?” Viewed as future, in its full consummation, it is to be with Jesus in realms of eternal bliss, where tears are wiped from off all faces; it is to see him as he is; to be conformed to his glorious likeness; to be delivered from all sin and sorrow; to be perfectly free from all temptations, trials, burdens, and exercises, and to dwell forever in that happy land, “the inhabitants of which shall not say, I am sick;” where a weary body, a burdened conscience, a troubled heart, a faint and weary mind, are utterly and forever unknown.

In a word, it is to have a glorified body re-united to a glorified soul, and for both to be as full of happiness and holiness, bliss and blessedness, as an immortal spirit can hold, and an immortal frame can endure, drinking in to the full, with unutterable satisfaction but without satiety, the pleasures that are at God’s right hand for evermore.

But no human heart can conceive, nor human tongue unfold in what the nature and fullness of this glory consist; for “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love him.” Yet all this glory will the Lord give to those upon whom he has already bestowed his grace. He gives them grace now, to bring them through this wilderness world, this valley of tears, this scene of temptation, sin, and sorrow; and when he lands them on that happy shore, he gives them there the fullness of his glory. Then will be fully accomplished the Redeemer’s prayer and will–“Father, I will that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which you have given me; for you loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).

Their right and title to the enjoyment of this predestinated inheritance are securely lodged in the hands of their covenant Head; and he living at God’s right hand to save them to the uttermost, all their temptations, enemies, sins, and sorrows can never hinder them from reaching the shore on which God has decreed they shall safely land. Satan may spread a thousand snares to entangle their feet; not a day or scarcely an hour may pass that they are not burdened with indwelling sin; a myriad of lusts may start up in arms from the depths of their carnal mind; and many a pang of guilt and chill of despair may seem at times wholly to cut them off from eternal life. But yet, where the Lord has given grace he will give glory; for when he gives grace with the left hand, he gives glory with the right; yes, we may say that with both hands he gives at once both grace and glory; for as grace and glory flow out of the same loving heart, and are given by the same loving God, they may be said to be given by both hands at one and the same time.

A portion or foretaste of this glory is given on earth in every discovery of the glory of Christ; as the Lord speaks, “And the glory which you gave me I have given them”–already given them; and this he did when “he manifested forth his glory, and his disciples believed on him” (John 17:22; 2:11).

The Throne of Grace

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Morning Thought

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  Hebrews 4:16.

The throne of grace is for the needy. It is always a time of need with a child of God. “Without me,” says Jesus, “you can do nothing.” There is not a moment, but, if he knows his real state, he is in need of something. What a blessing, then, is the throne of grace! It is for the needy. It is for those who are in need- upon whom all other doors are closed, with whom all other resources have failed, who have nowhere else to look, nowhere else to fly. To such is the throne of grace always open.

Is it a time of trial with you? then it is a time of need. Take your trial, whatever it be, simply to God. Do not brood over it. Do not cherish it. This will not make it sweeter, or more easy to be borne. But taking it to Jesus will. The very act of taking it will lighten it, and casting it upon His tenderness and sympathy will make it sweet. Is it a time of spiritual darkness with you? then it is a time of need. Take your darkness to the throne of grace, and “in His light” who sits upon it you “shall see light.” Is it a time of adverse providences? then it is a time of need. And where can you go for guidance, for direction, for counsel, for light upon the intricacies of the way, but to the God of grace? Is it a time of temporal distress with you? then it is a time of need. Take your temporal cares and necessities to the Lord, for He who is the God of grace is also the God of providence.

Thank the Lord for every errand that takes you to the throne of grace. Whatever it is that sends you to prayer, count it one of your choice blessings. It may be a heavy cross, a painful trial, a pressing need; it may be a broken cistern, a cold look, an unkind expression; yet, if it leads you to prayer, regard it as a mercy sent from God to your soul. Thank God for an errand to Him.

Our Children

C. H. Spurgeon Faith’s Checkbook entry for today, the 11th day of February, 2017, is especially and painfully relevant. It was not quite 24 hours ago that a father backed his SUV over his 3 year old child at a tree farm in Vero Beach, Florida. I don’t know the family, but that didn’t prevent me from offering up my prayers for both the family and also the child.

There can be found in print and online much thought on the eternal state of children (including the unborn) who die at a young age. The bible offers us no clear answer. And I certainly do not want to delve into a theological discussion which would not be appropriate for this blog. But based on what is revealed about our God in creation, the written Word, and most fully in His Son, to me there is no question. I choose to believe that those who depart this life at a young and tender age, even though tainted by inherited sin, fall under the love and mercy of God. I will leave it at that.

I do not know this family, and therefore do not know if they are believers. But I learned this morning that an elder at our church does know him. I will eventually learn of the family’s faith and will post an update at some point. In the meantime, I ask that you pray for the Surma family in what has to be a time of profound grieving.

As for today’s Faith’s Checkbook entry, I would encourage all of us to continue to pray with great fervor for our own children as well as those close to us through family and friends.  Here is that entry:

Are the Children In?

I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring. (Isaiah 44:3)

Our dear children have not the Spirit of God by nature, as we plainly see. We see much in them which makes us fear as to their future, and this drives us to agonizing prayer. When a son becomes specially perverse, we cry with Abraham, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before thee!” We would sooner see our daughters Hannahs than empresses. This verse should greatly encourage us. It follows upon the words, “Fear not, O Jacob, my servant,” and it may well banish our fears.

The Lord will give His Spirit; will give it plentifully, pouring it out; will give it effectually, so that it shall be a real and eternal blessing. Under this divine outpouring our children shall come forward, and “one shall say, I am the Lord’s; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob.”

This is one of those promises concerning which the Lord will be inquired of. Should we not, at set times, in a distinct manner, pray for our offspring? We cannot give them new hearts, but the Holy Spirit can; and He is easily to be entreated of. The great Father takes pleasure in the prayers of fathers and mothers. Have we any dear ones outside of the ark? Let us not rest till they are shut in with us by the Lord’s own hand.

An Ancient Love Story

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“And these are ancient things.”
1 Chronicles 4:22

Yet not so ancient as those precious things which are the delight of our souls. Let us for a moment recount them, telling them over as misers count their gold. The sovereign choice of the Father, by which he elected us unto eternal life, before ever the earth was, is a matter of vast antiquity, since no date can be conceived for it by the mind of man.

We were chosen from before the foundations of the world. Everlasting love went with the choice, for it was not a bare act of divine will by which we were set apart, but the divine affections were concerned. The Father loved us in and from the beginning. Here is a theme for daily contemplation. The eternal purpose to redeem us from our foreseen ruin, to cleanse and sanctify us, and at last to glorify us, was of infinite antiquity, and runs side by side with immutable love and absolute sovereignty.

The covenant is always described as being everlasting, and Jesus, the second party in it, had his goings forth of old; he struck hands in sacred suretyship long ere the first of the stars began to shine, and it was in him that the elect were ordained unto eternal life. Thus in the divine purpose a most blessed covenant union was established between the Son of God and his elect people, which will remain as the foundation of their safety when time shall be no more.

Is it not well to be conversant with these ancient things? Is it not shameful that they should be so much neglected and even rejected by the bulk of [professing Christians]? If they knew more of their own sin, would they not be more ready to adore distinguishing grace? Let us both admire and adore tonight, as we sing–

“A monument of grace,

A sinner saved by blood;

The streams of love I trace

Up to the Fountain, God;

And in his sacred bosom see

Eternal thoughts of Love to me.”