Posts Tagged ‘heart’

Well can I remember the manner in which I learned the Doctrines of Grace in a single instant. Born as all of us are by nature, an ‘Arminian,’ I still believed the old things I had heard continually from the pulpit, and did not see the Grace of God. When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me. I do not think the young convert is at first aware of this. I can recall the very day and hour when first I received these truths in my own soul–when they were, as John Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron: I can recollect how I felt that I had grown all a sudden from a babe into a man–that I had made progress in Scriptural knowledge, through having found, once for all, the clue to the truth of God. One weeknight when I was sitting in the house of God, I was not thinking much about the preacher’s sermon, for I did not believe it. The thought struck me: ‘How did you come to be a Christian?’–I sought the Lord. ‘But how did you come to seek the Lord?’–The truth flashed across my mind in a moment–I should not have sought Him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to make me seek Him. I prayed, thought I, but then I asked myself: ‘How came I to pray?’–I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures. I did read them; but what led me to do so? Then, in a moment, I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith. It was then the whole doctrine of Grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make it my constant confession. I ascribe my change wholly to God. – by Charles H. Spurgeon


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Yesterday, I highlighted D A Carson’s book about his father, Tom Carson, entitled ‘Memoirs of An Ordinary Pastor’. Herebelow is an excerpt from Chapter 4 – Crisis – that was etched in my mind, teaching me a valuable lesson in life. The chapter opened with the following lines on page 49:

When I began seminary study in Toronto in 1967, it was at a school called Central Baptist Seminary in Toronto, not Toronto Baptist Seminary where my parents had attended more than thirty years early. I knew that Cental has grown out of TBS, or split off from it, toward the end of 1948.  There had been some dispute or other about which I knew little and cared less.  The first I heard about the details was in a course on Canadian Baptist history.  Only then did I discover the role my father has played.  When I next went home and confronted my Dad with this account, I learned the most striking lesson of all: why he had never told me.

Then he narrated what he had learned about the entire matter till I, as the reader, would come to their conversation on page 59.  But a paragraph before the conversation, Don Carson continues  to write:

I had not heard a whisper of these events at home.  It has occasionally struck me as a bit odd that Dad, who was an ordinary pastor, seemed to be on a first-name basis with most of the perceived leaders of the Fellowship, considering that most of them were pastors of much larger ministries and had often held high office in the national association. But I had not thought deeply about my observation. From my parents, I had heard only positive things about T. T. Shields.  I can still remember Mum summarizing some of his sermons from the 1930s when she had been a student at TBS.  I recall her reflections on his sermon “Other Little Ships,” which became the title of one of his books of sermons.  The McMaster controversy of the 1920s was faithfully recounted to me, but nothing of the Drummondville affair. My siblings were similarly ignorant.

And here’s where that golden nugget of life appears:

So the next time I went home, I brought this matter up.  The conversation went something like this:

Me: ‘I’ve been learning some interesting Baptist history from 1948-1949″

Dad: “Oh?”

Me: “It seems you had a pretty significant part to play.”

Dad: “What were you told?”

So I summarized the events as I understood them, though of course at that point I had seen none of the primary documents.

Dad: “I suppose that’s pretty close to what happened.”

Me: “So how come you never told us kids any of this?”

Dad (after a long pause):  “There were two reasons.  First, you were children of the manse, and although you have seen the outworking of the gospel, you have also seen more than your share of difficult and ugly things, and we did not think it wise to expose you to this history when you were young.  Second, Marg and I decided we needed to protect our souls from bitterness.  So we took a vow that neither of us would ever say an unkind thing about T. T. Shields. And we have kept our vow.”

As soon as I read this, I remembered the Word of God in the Proverbs:

“Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” – Proverbs 13:3.

Keil & Delitzsch provides this short commentary on this proverb: Mouth and soul stand in closest interchangeable relation, for speech is the most immediate and continuous expression of the soul; thus whoever guards his mouth keeps his soul (… ὁ τηρῶν τὸ στόμα ἑαυτοῦ φυλάσσει τὴν ψυχὴν ἑαυτοῦ), for he watches that no sinful vain thoughts rise up in his soul and come forth in words, and because he thus keeps his soul, i.e., himself, safe from the destructive consequences of the sins of the tongue.

James has strong Holy Spirit-inspired words concerning the tongue. He wrote, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.  For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so” (James 3:6-10).

As we have learned yesterday, through the message of the gospel which is received by faith,  not only are we saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus who propitiated for our sin, but we also see the outworking of the same grace of the Lord which sets us free from this malady resulting to repentance and persevering trust in Him even for the Spirit’s sanctifying work that will transform every facet of life. His mercy is available to the one who would seek Him at all times in faith, and through the mediation of the Holy Spirit, we can guard our lips and so prevent us from falling into sin of slandering others. Tom and Marg and Tom Carson [Memoirs of An Ordinary Pastor]Marg Carson are examples of those who chose not to be bitter by keeping their tongues guarded and held by the gracious restraint of the Lord, and therefore, not speak a word against those who might have caused them injustice, ill and hurt in the course of their life and service to Jesus Christ.

Forgive us Lord each time we take bitterness into our hearts and utter even the slightest shade of slander against others. Let your good work be accomplished in us through Christ Jesus so that we may be found only with speech, seasoned with the salt of grace, such that is good for building up. Enrich us Lord with your truth and let the work of your Spirit continue to transform us, for Christ’s sake. Amen.


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250px-Wenceslas_Hollar_-_Ralph_VenningThe sinfulness of sin not only appears from, but consists in this, that it is contrary to God. Indeed, it is contrariety and enmity itself. Carnal men, or sinners are called by the name of enemies to God (Romans 5.8 with 10; Colossians 1.21); but the carnal mind or sin is called enmity itself (Romans 8.7). Accordingly, it and its acts are expressed by names of enmity and acts of hostility, such as, walking contrary to God (Leviticus 26.21), rebelling against God (Isaiah 1.2), rising up against Him as an enemy (Micah 2.8), striving and contending with God (Isaiah 45.9), and despising God (Numbers 11.20). It makes men haters of God (Romans 1.30), resisters of God (Acts 7.51), fighters against God (Acts 5.39 and 23.9), even blasphemers of God, and in short very atheists, who say there is no God (Psalm 14.1). It goes about to ungod God, and is by some of the ancients called Deicidium, God-murder or God-killing.

Though all these things are not done by every sinful man, yet they are not only in the nature of sin, and that of every sin more or less, but are all of them in the heart of all sinners in their seed and root (Matthew 15.19) So what is done by any man would be done by every man, if God did not restrain some men from it by His power, and constrain others to obedience by his love and power (2 Corinthians 5.14; Psalm 110.3). Here then is the desperately wicked nature of sin, that it is not only crimen laesae Majestatis, high treason against the Majesty of God, but it scorns to confess its crime. It is obstinate and will not that He reign over it. It is not only not subject, but it will not be subject, nor be reconciled to God; such is its enmity!


Ralph Venning
From his book entitled The Sinfulness of Sin
Originally published in 1669 “Sin-The Plague of Plagues”
(Note: blue-letter highlight mine)

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