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Archive for the ‘Holiness’ Category

Thankfulness

Thankfulness Enriched by Belief

“The more absorbed I am in the gospel, the more grateful I become in the midst of my circumstances, whatever they may be.

Viewing life’s blessings as water in a drinking cup, I know that I could discontentedly focus on the half of the cup that seems empty, or I could gratefully focus on the half that is full. Certainly, the latter approach is the better of the two, yet the gospel cultivates within me a richer gratitude than this.

The gospel reminds me first that what I actually deserve from God is a full cup churning with the torments of His wrath. This is the cup that would be mine to drink if I were given what I deserve each day. With this understanding in mind, I see that to be handed a completely empty cup from God would be cause enough for infinite gratitude. If there were merely the tiniest drop of blessing contained in that otherwise empty cup, I should be blown away by the unbelievable kindness of God toward me. That God, in fact, has given me a cup that is full of “every spiritual blessing in Christ,” and this without the slightest admixture of wrath, leaves me truly dumbfounded with inexpressible joy. As for my specific earthly circumstances of plenty or want, I can see them always as infinite improvements on the hell I deserve.

When I look at any circumstance that God apportions me, I am first grateful for the wrath I am not receiving in that moment (The empty part of the cup never looked so good!). Second, I am grateful for the blessings that are given to me instead of His wrath. (Life’s blessings, however small, always appear exceedingly precious when viewed against the backdrop of the wrath I deserve.) This two-layered gratitude disposes my heart to give thanks in all things and it also lends a certain intensity to my giving of thanks. Such a gospel-generated intensity glorifies God, contributes to peace of mind, and keeps my foot from the path of foolishness and ruin.”

From A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to see the Glories of God’s Love

By: Milton Vincent

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I read this section to my family tonight before going to bed. You can buy the book here, it comes highly recommend by Ashton and I.

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Believers Ought to Make the Mortification of Indwelling Sin their Daily Work:

The choicest believers, who are assuredly freed from the condemning power of sin, ought yet to make it their business all their days to mortify the indwelling power of sin. So the apostle, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth” (Col. 3:5). To whom does he speak? Such as were “risen with Christ” (v. 1); such as were dead with him (v. 3); such as whose life Christ was and who should “appear with him in glory” (v.4).

Do you mortify;
do you make it your daily work;
be always at it while you live;
cease not a day from this work;
be killing sin or it will be killing you.

Your being dead with Christ virtually, your being quickened with him, will not excuse you from this work. And our Savior tells us how his Father deals with every branch in him that bears fruit, every true and living branch. “He purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit’ (John 15:2). He prunes it, and that not for a day or two, but while it is a branch in this world. And the apostle tells you what was his practice: “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection” (1 Cor. 9:27). “I do it,” says he, “daily; it is the work of my life: I omit it not; this is my business.” And if this were the work and business of Paul, who was so incomparably exalted in grace, revelations, enjoyments, privileges, consolations, above the ordinary measure of believers, where may we possibly base an exemption from this work and duty while we are in this world.?

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Here is a wise word from Jerry Bridges to all of us from his great book, The Pursuit of Holiness. I read this book soon after being converted and found in immensely helpful and encouraging. This is a portion dealing with why Christians might not be experiencing holiness in their daily living, and why they might feel defeated in their struggle with sin. Here, Jerry addresses the first problem; he writes

“Our first problem is that our attitude toward sin is more self-centered than God-centered. We are more concerned about our own “victory” over sin than we are about the fact that our sins grieve the heart of God. We cannot tolerate failure in our struggle with sin chiefly because we are success-oriented, not because we know it is offensive to God.
W.S. Plumer said, “We never see sin aright until we see it as against God. . . .All sin is against god in this sense: that it is his law that is broken, His authority that is despised, His government that is set as naught. . . .Pharaoh and Balaam, Saul and Judas each said, ‘I have sinned’; but the returning prodigal said, ‘I have sinned against heaven’ and before thee’; and David said, ‘Against thee, Thee only have I sinned.'”
God wants us to walk in obedience–not in victory. Obedience is oriented toward God; victory is oriented toward self. This may seem to be merely splitting hairs over semantics, but there is a subtle, self-centered attitude at the root of many of our difficulties with sin. Until we face this attitude and deal with it we will not consistently walk in holiness.
This is not to say God doesn’t want us to experience victory, but rather to emphasize that victory is a byproduct of obedience. As we concentrate on living an obedient, holy life, we will certainly experience the joy of victory over sin.”
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Other Books by Jerry Bridges:
1. The Discipline of Grace – (Highly Recommended)
2. The Gospel for Real Life
3. Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate
4. The Great Exchange: My Sin for His Righteousness

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