I had wanted to pen this for an incredibly long time. In the midst of essay-writing, and what I do consider to be a good break, I attempt to share a little on what God has of most recent been impressing upon my heart, mind, soul, as I embark on the final six months here in dear Durham.
There had been no coincidence at all, when I had, on the day that I was to fly from dear Singapore, went with my youth pastor to SKS (A Christian bookstore in Singapore). Millions of devotionals were splayed in their glory – it makes you want to pick up everything!
That my eyes should fall upon a particular shelf, eyes searching, knees very bent, to pick up this book: “GRACE – God’s Unmerited Favour” by the very revered Charles Spurgeon, and to pleasantly discover that it was half-priced (A Singaporean joy!) was no coincidence indeed.
Happily, I savoured its contents all through the plane ride through to Newcastle – through transits, through a seven-hour wait in Dubai, through the final leg ontowards where was to be home for the next six months.
Amazed by incredible mountainous landforms I saw from a trillion feet above the skies, Kermanshah, Iran
Grace, Grace and more Grace.
I have been dwelling lots on this particular subject. And God has been sending many resources my way – refreshing my readings from John Piper’s “Future Grace“, where he excellently expounds/distinguishes between past grace/present grace/future/experiential grace, as well as various TGC bloggers as they posted about new year resolutions…
The utterly helpless Christian, and God’s unending, unceasing, over-abundant Grace.
(No I remain wary of entering into a hyper-grace zone). I mean grace, pure grace, for one’s sanctification and a secure covenantal Hope found in Christ my LORD.
Spurgeon expounds in detail on these verses, which head each of the excellent six chapters comprising the pocket book.
1. He will ever be mindful of his covenant. Psalm 111: 5
Key takeaway: Jeremiah 31: 31-34, that God hath written His law in my inward parts, have written it in my heart, so I shall be ever mindful. Even if I ever want to run away, He’ll draw me back, in His great love for me.
2. Who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to His own purpose and grace, given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began. 2 Timothy 1: 9
Key takeaway: Predestination, and in Christ Jesus alone. In Christ Jesus. Whose name, is synonymous with Grace.
3. But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. Acts 15: 11
Key takeaway: “even as they”, from the least to the greatest, the most ‘holiest’ of people in the upper echelons of society, to the happy cleaning lady at the market, the poorest beggar, ALL before God are equal, and needing fully, of God’s abundant grace.
4. For by grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2: 8
Key takeaway: Through FAITH, and a gift… a gift I do not earn on my own merit at all. A most wondrous, wondrous gift. How gladsome this truth to the oft-times weary, believing soul!
5. All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep His covenant and His decrees. Psalm 25: 10
“The true covenanter is one who has found God, and in that has made the greatest discovery ever made. He has discovered, not only a God, but THE living and true God, and has resolved to be on living terms with Him for time and for eternity. Henceforth, he will never shut his eyes to God, for his longing is to see more and more of him. He is determined to be right with God; he knows that if he were right with all his fellow creatures and everything about him and yet were wrong with God, he would be out of order in the main point. He has settled in his own soul that he will know the LORD, be right with Him, at peace with Him, and in league with Him.
It is not natural for men thus to cling to God and seek after Him, but it has become natural for this man, so that he hungers and thirsts for the living God. By this very fact the man is enobled. He is lifted above others that perish. A man capable of the idea of Covenant with God, and caught up with a passion for it, must surely be born from Above. There must be a divine nature within him, or he would not be drawn towards the Divine One above him. It is true: the Spirit of God has been working in his heart.”
Spurgeon goes on to say, there is no exception to this rule: “ALL the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep His covenant”. They say there is no rule without an exception, but there is an exception to that rule. ALL God’s dealings with His people are gracious and faithful. Do I agree?
Wholeheartedly, YES. The ways of God in my twenty two years of life thus far, and what He has revealed to me about His nature through the ages in the Bible… they have been so to me in many, many notable instances. This God is real. His Love in Christ, is real.
6. Incline your ear, and come to Me; listen, so that you may live. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, My steadfast, sure love for David. Isaiah 55: 3
There was a covenant of old that men broke, yes. Do this, and you will live, keep this, and that commandment, and you will be rewarded. That covenant failed because man did not keep God’s commands, and so he did not earn the promised reward. We broke the terms of that contract, or at least, the men then did, and the penalty is that we are to be cast away from God’s presence, perish without hope.
NOW , rolling up that covenant of old out of which no salvation can ever develop, God comes to us in another way and says “I will make a new covenant with you, not like the old one at all” (Hebrews 8: 8-13).
It is a covenant of Grace.
A covenant made, not with the worthy, but with the unworthy;
A covenant not made upon conditions, but unconditionally,every supposed condition having been fulfilled by our great Representative and Surety, the LORD Jesus Christ;
A covenant without an ‘if’ or a ‘but‘ but in it, a covenant of shalls and willls, in which God says,
“an EVERLASTING covenant, ordered in all things, and sure” (2 Samuel 23: 5)
“I will, and you shall“;
A covenant suited to our broken-down, helpless condition;
A covenant that will land everyone who has an interest in it in Heaven with Him for eternity.
No other covenant will ever do this.
Saving Knowledge, Free Pardon. Reconciliation. True Godliness. Continuance in Grace. Cleansing. A renewed nature (a new heart of flesh). Holy Conduct. Happy self-loathing (After God has done so much for me, I feel much ashamed that I do not know what to do, but to give thanks!) Communion with God. Necessary chastisement, of but one which I will learn that the Cross is one that I too must carry, yet carry gladly. For I am with Jesus. Eternally with Jesus.
A very wonderful thing:
This writing of God’s law in my heart – Jeremiah 31: 33
“After those days, saith the LORD, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people”.
This writing in my heart. It is written on the fleshy tablet of my heart. That way, I know the law by heart, what is even better? I love the law. That law which accuses me, but I would not have it altered. To bow and confess the truthfulness of the accusation, so the man cries,
“LORD have mercy on me! That You may incline my heart unto Yourself, to walk in all Your ways, and to keep Your commandments and Your statues.” (1 Kings 8: 58).
This is the covenant blessing. God makes men to love His commandments and to delight themselves in truth, in righteousness, and holiness.
This writing of hearts, again. Nobody but God can write in human hearts. I can write certain thoughts upon your minds as I appeal to your eyes and ears, but to get at the heart is another thing. Only He who has the keys of heaven, He who has the keys of the heart, He who shuts and no man opens, or opens and no man shuts (Revelation 3:7).
Only He can get at the human heart.
God gets at the human heart that He writes His commandments there. He does this to men who formerly hated those commandments, He makes them love His law. He makes men who despised these commandments honour them. As for men who forgot His commandments, He writes them in their hearts so they cannot get away from them. As for men who would have changed the commandments, He changes their hearts instead. Then their hearts and the commandments agree together.
Would you like to know the LORD? Do you wish to have His law written on your hearts?
Believe that God can do this for you, trust in Christ that it may be done to you, and even so, shall it be.
My standing in Christ, is eternally secure. Not based on my own merit at all, No, but in Christ, on Christ my Solid Rock alone.
The Cross. It means all there is to me.
Was it any coincidence at all that Christchurch Durham’s sermon on the Sunday past (the 12th of January), was on topic of such covenantal grace? (Rob Brown preached on these very same matters in Hebrews 8).
I never do believe in coincidences.
I believe, that it was the good LORD writing it upon my heart. There is None like Him, nothing better, nothing more wonderful, that the Gospel of Grace in Jesus Christ.
Praise the LORD 😀