Monthly Archives: September 2011

The Life of God in the Soul of Man

Here are a few choice excerpts from Henry Scougal regarding “the life of God in the soul of man.” Enjoy…

Running to Christ in Response to Seeing Our Sin

“That which makes any body esteem us, is their knowledge or apprehension of some little good, and their ignorance of a great deal of evil that may be in us; were they thoroughly acquainted with us, they would quickly change their opinion.  The thoughts that pass in our heart in the best and most serious day of our life, being exposed unto public view, would render us either hateful or ridiculous; and now, however we conceal our failings from one another; yet sure we are conscious of them ourselves, and some serious reflections upon them would much qualify and allay the vanity of our spirits.  Thus holy men have come really to think worse of themselves than any other person in the world: not but that they knew that gross and  scandalous vices are in their nature more heinous than the surprises of temptations and infirmity, but because they are much more intent on their own miscarriages, than on those of their neighbors, and did consider all the aggravations of the one, and everything that might be supposed to diminish and alleviate the other.” (Henry Scougal, The Life of God in the Soul of Man (Christian Heritage Publications, 1996), 131-132.)

The Self-Denial of Christlike Love

“Perfect love is a kind of self-dereliction, a wandering out of ourselves; it is a kind of voluntary death, wherein the lover dies to himself, and all his own interests, not thinking of them, nor caring for them any more, and minding nothing but how he may please and gratify the party whom he loves: thus, he is quite undone, unless he meets with reciprocal affection; he neglects himself, and the other hath no regard to him; but if he be beloved, he is revived, as it were, and liveth in the soul and care of the person whom he loves; and now he begins to mind his own concerns, not so much because they are his, as because the beloved is pleased to own an interest in them: he becomes dear unto himself, because he is so unto the other.” (Henry Scougal, The Life of God in the Soul of Man (Christian Heritage Publications, 1996), 76).

The Grace of Humility: Seeing Our Sin in Light of God’s Greatness

“But it is well observed by a pious writer, that the deepest and most pure humility doth not so much arise from the consideration of our own faults and defects, as from a calm and quiet contemplation of the divine purity and goodness.  Our spots never appear so clearly as when we place them before this infinite Light …” (Henry Scougal, The Life of God in the Soul of Man (Christian Heritage Publications, 1996), 132).

Leave a comment

Filed under Love, Marriage, Tribbett

True Love

Here is a prayer entitled “Love” that was taken from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & DevotionsIt provides a great picture of God’s love for us, and helps us to have a biblical understanding of the love that we extend to others. May we respond to God by loving Him and His people in a way that reflects the love of Christ. After all, it was God who first loved us… in order that we might love and serve Him forever!! Praise God for the cleansing power of His love…

“LOVE” 

LORD JESUS,

Give me to love thee, to embrace thee,

            Though I once took lust and sin in my arms.

Thou didst love me before I loved thee,

            An enemy, a sinner, a loathsome worm.

Thou didst own me when I disclaimed myself;

Thou didst love me as a son,

            And weep over me as over Jerusalem.

Love brought thee from heaven to earth,

                        From earth to the cross,

                        From the cross to the grave.

Love caused thee to be weary, hungry, tempted,

                        Scorned, scourged, buffeted,

                        Spat upon, crucified, and pierced.

Love led thee to bow thy head in death.

My salvation is the point where perfect created love

            And the most perfect uncreated love meet together;

            For thou dost welcome me,

            Not like Joseph and his brothers, loving and sorrowing,

            But loving and rejoicing.

This love is not intermittent, cold, changeable;

It does not cease or abate for all my enmity.

 

Holiness is a spark from thy love

Kindled to a flame in my heart by thy Spirit,

            And so it ever turns to the place from which it comes.

Let me see thy love everywhere, not only in the cross,

But in the fellowship of believers and in the world around me.

When I feel the warmth of the sun,

May I praise thee who art the Sun of righteousness with healing power.

When I feel the tender rain,

May I think of the gospel showers that water my soul.

When I walk by the river side,

May I praise thee for the stream that makes the eternal city glad,

And washes white my robes that I may have the right to the tree of life.

Thy infinite love is a mystery of mysteries,

And my eternal rest lies in the eternal enjoyment of it.

__________

Arthur Bennett, The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions (Carlisle: Banner of Truth Trust, 2009), 159.

Leave a comment

Filed under Tribbett

A Tree of Life

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12)

Leave a comment

Filed under Tribbett

Applying the Gospel to Alzheimer’s…

Earlier in the week, Pat Robertson made some very unhelpful comments regarding the appropriateness of divorcing a spouse suffering from Alzheimer’s. It was unloving and more self-serving than gospel-driven. Here is a summary of Robertson’s response during a “700 Club” interview where he was asked about divorce in the context of Alzheimer’s. Justin Taylor summarizes an opposing view that is more gospel-saturated and models the love of Christ. The response comes from Russell Moore, professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, who frames the situation in light of the gospel. You can read Moore’s entire article here. However, I wanted to provide a helpful summary of Moore’s article…

“The Gospel-Emptying Cruelty of Pat Robertson”

HT: Justin Taylor, September 15, 2011

Sometimes I think the category of “righteous anger” was created to respond to people like Pat Robertson.

His latest cringe-inducing statement is that a man should divorce his wife suffering with Alzheimer’s disease and “start all over again” if he is lonely and in need of companionship. When asked about the vow “to death due us part,” Robertson responded that “if you respect that vow,” then Alzheimer’s can be viewed as “a kind of a death.”

The best counsel is usually to ignore Robertson. But when a professing Christian says such cruel and worldly things, it also presents an opportunity to reexamine gospel truth afresh. In that regard Russell Moore has provided a wonderful service for us. He rightly writes that Robertson’s statement “is more than an embarrassment. This is more than cruelty. This is a repudiation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

At the arrest of Christ, his Bride, the church, forgot who she was, and denied who he was. He didn’t divorce her. He didn’t leave.

The Bride of Christ fled his side, and went back to their old ways of life. When Jesus came to them after the resurrection, the church was about the very thing they were doing when Jesus found them in the first place: out on the boats with their nets. Jesus didn’t leave. He stood by his words, stood by his Bride, even to the Place of the Skull, and beyond.

A woman or a man with Alzheimer’s can’t do anything for you. There’s no romance, no sex, no partnership, not even companionship. That’s just the point. Because marriage is a Christ/church icon, a man loves his wife as his own flesh. He cannot sever her off from him simply because she isn’t “useful” anymore.

Pat Robertson’s cruel marriage statement is no anomaly. He and his cohorts have given us for years a prosperity gospel with more in common with an Asherah pole than a cross. They have given us a politicized Christianity that uses churches to “mobilize” voters rather than to stand prophetically outside the power structures as a witness for the gospel.

But Jesus didn’t die for a Christian Coalition; he died for a church. And the church, across the ages, isn’t significant because of her size or influence. She is weak, helpless, and spattered in blood. He is faithful to us anyway.

If our churches are to survive, we must repudiate this Canaanite mammonocracy that so often speaks for us. But, beyond that, we must train up a new generation to see the gospel embedded in fidelity, a fidelity that is cruciform.

You can keep reading the whole thing here.

To see the gospel-centered perspective in action and in contrast, listen to or read the story of Robertson McQuilkin’s commitment to his wife Muriel.

McQuilkin resigned as President of Columbia Bible College and Seminary in order to minister to his beloved bride. May God give every Christian husband the grace to love his wife so faithfully and sacrificially:

Here’s another short video that tells the wonderful story of McQuilkin’s love and service in the midst of Alzheimer’s.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gospel Application: Alzheimer's

In My Place: Life By Substitution

Here’s a powerful video testimony of a pilot who should have been killed on September 11, 2001:

Leave a comment

Filed under Tribbett

A Heart of Sackcloth & Ashes

My heart is fickle and often festering with sin. It reminds me of my perpetual need of grace. Thankfully, God has provided His grace through the New Covenant promises fulfilled in Jesus Christ:

Jeremiah 31:31-34 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Without the Spirit of God softening my calloused heart, I would remain unchanged. Without the grace of God placing His Spirit within me, I would remain stubborn and unaffected–despising Him and His ways. Yet, He has given the very thing I opposed–Himself–in order to help me obey the very word that I formerly ignored. He has done that for all of His people, by producing in them the faith to know and be known by Him. How sweet the grace of God that comes through faith and repentance… and how reassuring that His love, as found in Christ, can never be lost again (Rom. 8:31-39).

(Image Source)

Yet, even in our sin, the love of Christ compels us toward faith and repentance–that we may become the new creatures that He regenerated us to be. John Murray describes repentance in this way:

“Repentance consists essentially in change of heart and mind and will. The change of heart and mind and will principally respects four things: it is a change of mind respecting God, respecting ourselves, respecting sin, and respecting righteousness. Apart from regeneration our thought of God, of ourselves, of sin, and of righteousness is radically perverted. Regeneration changes our hearts and minds; it radically renews them. Hence there is a radical change in our thinking and feeling. Old things have passed away and all things have become new.”[1]

Repentance is in accord with our new nature. It is a willful turning from sin and turning to Christ. It is an acknowledgement of who God is, who we are, who Christ is, and what God has done in and through Him–for us and for Himself!! It requires embracing Him rather than our sin. In fact, we find in the Old Testament that people often put on sackcloth and ashes to symbolize their repentance. Sackcloth was rough and rubbed against the flesh–something that the Spirit-empowered heart will do as it makes war with the sinful flesh (Gal. 5). The ashes symbolized an understanding of mankind’s humble state of being nothing but “dust” before a holy God. Yet, it was from the dust that God made and exalted man to be His image-bearer, and it is through Christ’s death and resurrection that God has enacted a new creation in which we shall once again be raised from the dust of death and become image-bearers of His beautiful Son. This is all by the power of His Spirit (2Cor. 3:18).

The Spirit that was active in Christ, is now active within us. Throughout the Gospels, we see the Spirit’s ministry of glorifying the Father through Christ’s obedience; as well as the exaltation of Christ who carried out the Father’s plan by the power of His Spirit. Thus, the Spirit of Christ in us compels us to turn and experience life-giving faith as we are not only born-again (John 3), but perpetually renewed by His life-giving, sustaining power. Thus, a lifestyle of faith and repentance is how we apply the gospel power of the Holy Spirit to our lives. He transforms us in order that we might display an increasingly pure and beautiful reflection of Jesus Christ. This is God’s work in us and for us, for our good and His glory!!

_______

[1] John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1955), 114.

Leave a comment

Filed under Redemption, Repentance