Christian Love 3: A Bundle of Graces

By Hugh Binning

 

 

Unity in judgment is very important for the wellbeing of Christians. But Christ’s last words persuade this, that unity in love is more essential and central. [to his will]  This is the badge [or evidence] he left to his disciples.  If we cast away this unity of love because of every different understanding and opinion of mind, we disown our master, and disclaim his own given badge. [or evidence]

The apostle Paul gives a high note of commendation on love, when he speaks of it as the bond of perfection. “Above all these things”  He says, “walk in love, which is the bond of perfection.” I am sure it doesn’t have such a high place in the minds and practice of Christians now, as has in the roll of the members of the new man spoken of here.  Here it is above all.  With us it is below all, even below every understanding of doubtful truths.  An agreement in the in the formation of an idea of truth in any poor petty controversial matter of the present times, is made the badge [or evidence]  of being a true Christian, and set in the highest place above all which the apostle mentions, in the 12th verse, “a heart of compassion[or mercies], kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance.” [or longsuffering]  No, love itself is but a waiting handmaid to this mistress.

But let is consider the significance of character the apostle puts on love. It is a bond of perfection, as it were, a bundle of graces, and chain of virtues, even the very cream and flower of many graces combined.  It is the sweet result of the united force of all graces.  It is the very head and heart of the new man, which we are invited to walk in, “ above all walk in love.”  All these fore-mentioned perfections are bound and tied together, by the girdle of kind-heartedness and love.  When love is born and brought forth, it may be said Gad, for a troop comes, chorus virtutum, “a troop or company of virtues” which it leads and commands.  Love has a tender heart, for it has a “heart of mercies,” –such a compassionate and melting temper of spirit, that the misery and hardship, whether of body or spiritual, of other men, makes an impression on it.  And therefore love is the Christian sympathy which affects itself with others’ afflictions.  If others be moved, it moves itself through comfort and sympathy.  This is not only extended to physical weaknesses, sicknesses and disabilities but, most of all to weaknesses and illnesses of mind and heart, error, ignorance, darkness, falling into and giving into temptation to sin.  We are made the priest to God our Father, [as Christ’s body] (Rev.1:6) to have compassion on those who are unknowledgeable of the way of salvation, We also ourselves are beset with weakness,(Heb.5:2)  Then, love has a humble mind, “humbleness of mind,” or else it could not stoop and show love and acceptance to others seen by most as inferior, and therefore Christ exhorts above all to lowliness.  “Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart.”

 


[Language slightly modernized in places by this site]


Peter’s Masterpiece 2

by Paul M.

1st Peter 1

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy became the father of us again to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (3)


to an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance, and that doesn’t fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who by the power of God are guarded through faith to a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (4-5) 

I believe God(Father, Son, Spirit) is good, merciful, gracious and reasonable.  God is love. He obviously desires us to be these to one another, He is the source the from which these streams of love flow.  This is the God who gave us an illustration condemning the the rich man who cared little for poor Lazarus, at his door step.  God being the ultimate “rich man” does not treat us poor and needy ones as the rich man He condemned, if we would only believe, He is, who He says He is.  This is the God who communicates Himself as running to meet His son, this son who had rejected and treated his father as if he were dead to him.  This father also reaffirmed his love to his older ungrateful and unmerciful son.

This is the heart of the gospel.  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy became the father of us again to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”  First and foremost the gospel message of reconciliation is one of the mercy, goodness, graciousness and love of God.  God through His reconciling mercy is reaching to us all, at times almost as if He is begging us to trust and come.  He lowers himself at times in the scripture to the place of beggar, tenderly entreating us not to destroy ourselves, through disbelief.

We are given hope, raised to a much greater hope than we have ever known.  Before coming to know this hope, we had our minds on other inheritances, we wanted and sought in a variety of ways, the respect, the love and the honor of other people.  We sought things that enhanced these  for us, we wanted more than anything else, to be seen as successful, great, and worthy of these things from others.  Many of us envisioned the “blessed life” the “good life” as being one of independence, one of finding peace and security in our own greatness, ingenuity and character.  We are learning now, the blessed life is one of meekness and dependence on God.

God came to this earth, lowly and meek.  The hope He gives us which replaces our former hopes to varying degrees, and I hope great degrees is to an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance.  This inheritance doesn’t fade away as the spindle of our lives run out. This is a hope which grows stronger year after year, decade after decade.  He has reserved the best for last, reserving for us a place with Him in heaven.  He himself guards this hope within us.  We are guarded by this merciful and loving God, through His power.  He gives, renews and revives our faith in Him.  He sustains and grows the perfect seed within us, though it resides along side our remaining sin.  This remaining sin that we grow to hate, believe and pray against.

This gospel, of the good news of mercy, peace and love, has been revealed to the world through Christ.   This gospel goes against our natural inclinations, of finding respect, love and honor through our own greatness, ingenuity and character and in resulting material security.   The gospel message is one of progressively dying to these things, meaning the loving and seeking of these things.  These deceptive dreams and prizes of our former lives, before God’s merciful invasion of us personally.  By the mercy and grace of God we will turn more and more from ourselves, our greatness, our glory, our character, and our love and dependence on these things will fade.  Our Lord will pull us out of this horrible pit, of muddy and boggy false dreams more and more.  He will by giving us a growing faith and love for Him, for Jesus, for His righteousness, character and glory, increase the clarity of our eyes and hearts.  Though we may stumble at times and fall from this clarity, if we are His, he will draw us back, and even to a place of greater clarity.  We can have this expectant hope, even at and in the low places.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.  I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus’ name.  On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand; All other ground is sinking sand.  When darkness seems to hid His face, I rest on His unchanging grace.  In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil.  His oath, His covenant, His blood, Support me in the whelming flood.  When all around my soul gives way,  He then is all my Hope and Stay.  When He shall come with trumpet sound, oh may I then in Him be found.  Dressed in His righteousness alone, Faultless to stand before the throne.-Edward Mote

 



The Storm

Clarity

 

 

 

 

Some Drops of Sweetness 3

By Richard Sibbes

 

God calls him here his servant.  Christ was God’s servant in the greatest piece of service there ever was, a chosen and the choice servant who did and suffered all by commission from the Father.  In this we may see the sweet love of God to us, in the way he counts the work of our salvation by Christ his greatest service, and in that he will put his only beloved Son to that service.  He might well prefix it with “Behold” to raise up our thoughts to the highest pitch of attention and admiration.  In time of temptation, apprehensive consciences look so much to the present trouble they are in that they need to be roused up to behold him in whom they may find rest for their distressed souls.

In temptations it is safest to behold nothing but Christ the true brazen serpent, the true “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”, (John 1:29).  This saving object[Christ] has a special influence of comfort to the soul, especially if we look not only on Christ, but also upon the Father’s authority and love in him.  For in all that Christ did and suffered as Mediator, we must see God in him reconciling the world to himself (2nd Cor. 5:19).

What a support to our faith is this,  that God the Father, the One offended by our sins, is so well pleased with the work of redemption!  And what a comfort is this, that, seeing God’s love rests on Christ, as well pleased in him, we may gather that he is as well pleased with us, if we be in Christ!  His love rests in a whole Christ, in Christ mystical, as well as Christ natural, because he loves him and us with one love.  Let us, embrace Christ, and in him God’s love, and build our faith safely on such a Savior who is given so high a commission.

See here, for our comfort, a sweet agreement of all three persons: The Father gives a commission to Christ; the Spirit gives to and adds holiness to it, and Christ himself executes the office of a mediator.  Our redemption is founded on the joint agreement of all three persons of the Trinity.

 


[language slightly modernized in places by this site]


 

 

Excerpts of Mercy

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Richard Baxter

The Conviction of Sin

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Hugh Binning

Christ’s Righteousness

Christian Love: T.O.C.

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John Bunyan

Merciful Appeal to Sinners

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R.C. Chapman

Meditations on the Song of Solomon: T.O.C.

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Thomas a Kempis, Imitation of Christ, Ch. 1

Thomas Manton’s Merciful Appeals

John Newton “Benefit of Affliction”

John Newton “Those mistakes, blemishes and faults in others”

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Richard Sibbes Sweet Drops:

1          2          3          4          5          6          7          8          9

Life of Faith: T.O.C.

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John Bunyan’s Merciful Appeal

 

John Bunyan’s merciful appeal to sinners:

There is a people that therefore fear lests they should be rejected of Jesus Christ, because of the greatness of their sins; when, as you see here, such are sent to, sent to by Jesus Christ, to come to him for mercy: “Begin at Jerusalem.” Never did one thing answer another more fitly in this world, than this text this world, than this text fits such a kind of sinners.  As face answers face in the glass, so this text answers the necessities of such sinners.  What can a man say more, but that he stands in the rank of the biggest sinners? Let him stretch himself whither he can, and think of himself to the utmost, he can but conclude himself to be one of the greatest sinners.  And what then?  Why, the text meets him in the very face, and says, Christ offers mercy to the biggest sinners, to the very Jerusalem sinners.  What more can be objected?  No, he does not only offer them His mercy, but to them it is commanded to the offered in the first place: “Begin at Jerusalem.”  “Preach repentance and remission of sins among all nations: beginning at Jerusalem.”  Is not here encouragement for those that think, as far as wicked hearts go, they have no competition in the world?

Objection:  But I have a heart as hard as a rock.

Answer:  Well, but this only proves you are a greatest sinner.

 

Objection: But my heart continually frets against the Lord.

Answer:   Well, but this only proves you are a greatest sinner.

 

Objection:  But I have been desperate in sinful courses.

Answer:  Well, stand with the number of greatest sinners.

 

Objection:  But my gray head is found in the way of wickedness.

Answer:  Well, you stand in the rank of the greatest sinners.

 

Objection but I have not only a base heart, but I have lived an immoral life.

Answer:  You stand among those called the greatest sinners.  And what then?  Why the text swoops you all; you cannot object yourselves beyond the text.  It has a particular message to the greatest sinners.  I say it swoops you all.

 

Objection:  But I am reprobate.

Answer:  Now you are talking foolishly, and where you do not understand:  No sin, but the final impenitence, can prove a man a reprobate; and I am sure you have not arrived as yet to that; therefor you do not understand what you are saying, when making groundless conclusions against yourself.  Say you are a sinner, and I will say too;  Yes, say you are one of the greatest sinners, and spare not;  for the text is yet beyond you, is yet between hell and you; “Begin at Jerusalem” has yet a smile on you;  and you talk as if you were a reprobate, and the greatness of your sins prove you to be, When yet they in Jerusalem were not such, whose sins, I dare say, were such, both for greatness and heinousness, as you are not capable of committing beyond them; unless now, after you have received conviction that the Lord Jesus is the only Savior of the world, you should wickedly and despitefully turn yourself from him,  and conclude he is not to be trusted for life, and so crucify him for a cheat afresh……But I say, what is this to him that would fain be saved by Christ?  His sins did, as to greatness, never yet reach to the nature of the sins that the sinners intended by the text had made themselves guilty of.  He that would be saved by Christ, has an honorable esteem of Him; but they of Jerusalem preferred a murderer before him; and as for him, they cried, away, away with him, it is not fit that he should live.  Perhaps you will object, that you have a thousand times preferred stinking lust before him:  I answer, Be it so; it is but what is common to men to do; nor does the Lord Jesus make such a foolish life a bar to you, to forbid you coming to him, or a bond to his grace, that is might be kept from you; but admits of your turning to him away from sin, and He offers himself to you freely, as you stand among the Jerusalem sinners. 

Take therefore encouragement, man; mercy is, by the text held forth to the greatest sinners;  Yes, put yourself into the number of the worst, by believing you may be one of the first, and may not be put of until the greatest sinners are served;  for the greatest sinners are invited first; consequently if they come, they are likely to be the first that shall be served.


Text was slightly modernized -Paul M.

Link to page  https://wordpress.com/page/overcomebymercy.com/2495

Covering Our Righteousness

I would like to introduce you to Hugh Binning.  I strongly believe it was through reading His writings and the psalms, and meeting with my brother encouraging one another to Jesus, That the Lord finally broke through to me.  I finally trusted in the mercy and goodness of God to save me, and the righteousness I needed from Christ to cover not only my sin but even my own righteousness.  This may be hard reading, but I believe some may be extremely blessed by reading it. — Paul

This is an excerpt from his common domain writings:  The Whole Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning; Heart-Humiliation; Sermon 10

   The whole will of God concerning your duty may be summed up in two, John has one of them 1st John 3:23, “And this is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment,”  and Paul has another to the Thessalonians 1st-4:3 “This is the will of God, even your sanctification.”  And these two make up this text, so that it unites both gospel and law.  The commandment of the law comes forth, and it has found that we have broken and are guilty, that we cannot answer for one of a thousand.   The law entering makes sin abound.  Our inability, yes, impossibility of obedience is more discovered.  Well, then, the gospel proclaims the Lord Jesus Christ for the Savior of sinners, and commands us, under pain of damnation, to believe in him, –to cast our souls on him, as one able to save, as one who has obeyed the law for us, so that this command of believing in Christ is answerable to all the breaches of the law, and tends to make them up in Christ.  When he proclaimed the law on mount Sinai, with terror, that which you are in the first instance to obey, for all these we have broken, but It has a gospel command in its bosom, it leads to Jesus Christ, and if ye could read the mind of God in it, you would resolve all these commands which condemn you and curse you, into one command of believing in the Son, that you may be saved from that condemnation.  And if you obey this command, which is his last command, and most decisive, then are the breaches of the rest is fulfilled, though not in your obedience, yet in Christ’s which is better than ours.  Believing in Christ presents God with a perfect righteousness, with an obedience even to death of the cross.  When a sinner hears the holy and spiritual sense of the law, and sees it in the light of God’s holiness, O how vile must he appear to himself!  What original pollution, what actual pollution, what a fountain within, what uncleanness in streams without, will discover itself!  Now, when the most part of men get any sight of this, presently they fall a washing and cleansing themselves, or hiding their filthiness.  And what water do they use?  Their own tears and sorrows, their own resolutions, their own reformations.  But alas, we are still plunged in our own filthiness; that is still clear, because all that is as foul as that we would have washed away.  What garments do men take to hide themselves ordinarily?  Is it not their own righteousness?  Is it not a skirt of some duty that is spread over transgressions?  Do they not think their sins hid, if they can mourn and pray for a time?  Their consciences are eased by reflection upon this.  But alas, your iniquity is still clearly there, and counted.

Your righteousness is as a vile garment, as a menstrual cloth (Isaiah 64:6) as well as your unrighteousness, how then will it cover your nakedness?  Seeing it is so then, what is the Lord’s mind concerning our cleansing?  Seeing stretched out hands and many prayers will not do it, what is there to do?  The Lord has shown you what to do, and that is, that you do nothing in relation to that end, that you should try to wash away the least spot by all your repentance.  Yet, you must be washed and made clean, and the water is made new to you, even the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses from all sin.  Wash in this blood, and you will be made clean.  And what is it to wash in this blood?  It is to believe in Christ Jesus, to lay hold on the all sufficient virtue of it, to trust our souls to it, as a sufficient ransom for all our sins, to spread the covering of Christ’s righteousness over all our righteousness and unrighteousness, as having both alike need to be hid from his holy eyes.  Jesus Christ “came by water and by blood,” (1st John 5:6), by water to make holy, and by blood to justify, by the power and cleansing virtue of the Holy Spirit, to take away sin in the being of it, and by virtue of his blood, to take away sin in the guilt and condemnation of it.

He Turns Our Eyes

He Turns Our Eyes

 

Psalm 80:3

Turn us again, God.  Cause your face to shine, and we will be saved.


As our eyes are turned upward towards our Hope more continuously, they will be filled more with light rather than darkness.  We will be looking in faith to His perfect face, His perfect eyes, His perfect heart.  We will be looking less and less to ourselves and others.  We will be less depressed, disturbed, distracted or discouraged by the remaining sin, darkness, and wickedness coming from ourselves or others.   We will grow more immune and protected from the schemes of the evil one.  His destructive games of comparing, judging, condemning ourselves and others will lose their hold and power over us as we grow to trust the Lord and His righteous and true judgment.  The vapor-like judgments and thoughts of men will find their right place, infinitely below the thoughts and judgments of God.  We will turn away from the sharpening of our tongues, wits and expressions for malicious, damaging use, or even hurtful defensive uses.  We will rather use our tongues and actions to share the love and hope of Jesus with one another and others.  We will be more like harmless lambs or doves, loving and encouraging others to a greater trust in this God Who is beside us, in us and loves us so much.  Our love relationship with Jesus will become more and more our main pursuit and enjoyment of life.  We will desire others to know and love Jesus as we do.  Many can experience life and His favor.

 

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This is my hope and vision.  That we, as seekers and believers looking to Jesus, would become people more like those described by Jesus Himself: poor in Spirit – desiring above all things more of Jesus, more of His Spirit, His righteousness , His love within us or manifested from within us.  We would mourn more, grieving our perceived or felt distance from Him in our thoughts, actions, and feelings.  Mourners also for others who are resistant to His mercy, grace, and love for them.  We would be more gentle as we learn, trust and seek more the gentle Spirit’s leading.  We would be those who hunger and thirst after righteousness more.  As some rich in the treasures of this world are greedy for more, we, being enriched by God, would be “greedy” for more of Him, His righteousness, His love, His presence found in Jesus, our Love.  We would be more merciful as we have learned more the greatness of the mercy of God.  Our hearts will be purified more as Jesus becomes more so our One Desire.  We will become greater peacemakers as we have come to value more the peace we have been given.  We will fear uttering words that seemingly cause only little wounds to others, such as belittling wit and sarcasm at others expense.  We will less often give in to the desire to glorify and elevate our own selves at the expense of others and His glory.  We will become those willing to suffer persecution, ridicule, and exclusion by others rather than compromising our seeking, loving and treasuring of Jesus, our Love.

In our understanding, seeking God will look something like the following:  Simply looking to Him in expectant faith.  Spending time in His Word, as He speaks to us and greatly encourages us through it.   Spending time communicating with Him in prayer, giving His Spirit more time with focused attention.  Thinking continuously about Him, allowing Him and His love to become where your mind is continually returning for renewal, refreshment and rest.  God (Father, Son, Spirit) will become our universe, our everything, our True Love.  We will care less about the things valued highly by the world but of little value to Him.  Our hearts and lives will be moving further from the earthly and natural to the heavenly and supernatural as the Lord is accomplishing His work in us.   May we become more confident in His merciful, gracious, and loving working within us.  He provides for us from Himself all that is needed to reconcile with Him, know Him, love Him, and become intimate friends, children, and even lovers of God.  Allow Him to become your Hope, and even more so.

 


 

 

 

 

God’s Mercy Revealed

John 3:16

   For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.


 

This is the mercy of God revealed for us.  God so loves us that He incredibly humbled and lowered Himself to become a man.  God the Father sent His own Son to become a merciful exchange for us.  His Son Jesus lived the life we could and can never live in ourselves.  He lived a perfectly righteous and Father-pleasing life in our place.  Jesus chose to be so greatly lowered as to die a humiliating and excruciatingly painful death process because of mercy and love.  He gave Himself as the perfect sacrifice, the only acceptable and sufficient sacrifice for us.

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Jesus takes our sin on Himself.  In exchange, He gives us His perfect righteousness and His Spirit, creating a new creation with His perfection within.  We as individual persons all need this merciful exchange worked within us.  We are all sinners; we all miss the mark.  We all fall short of the perfect righteousness required as to be in the presence of such a Holy, pure God.  We must be covered and credited with the perfection of Jesus: His righteousness, His obedience, His faith, His love.  We have absolutely no righteousness, obedience, faith, or love of our own to offer.

We must allow the infinitely powerful yet very gentle Spirit of God to draw us to this working of the merciful exchange for and within us.  God (Father, Son, Spirit) is good, merciful, gracious, and loving beyond our best thoughts of Him.  Trust God that he wants to save whomever will come to Him.  He desires all to be saved and come to know His mercy and love.  (1st Timothy 2:4)

Will you trust this good and all powerful God of the universe?  Please reject and turn away from your own corrupted, and damaged thought processes.  Trust the enlightening and illuminating Spirit of God to change your thought processes into those receptive of this most eminent gift.

You may be hesitant to give up control of your life.  To find new life and escape eternal destruction, you have to dive or allow yourself to fall into His mercy and care.  You will have to say to yourself “if I perish, I perish, Jesus is my only hope.” He will save the needy, poor, and desperate who cry out and continue to cry out to him.  I hope that as we think about His goodness and graciousness together, you will dive into His infinite ocean of mercy and love. I am confident you will come to experience His love if you persistently seek Him.

 


Next (TOC)

Mercy Beggars

Psalm 119: 132

     Turn to me, and have mercy on me,
 as you always do to those who love your name.

Most do not admire beggars.  Beggars are seen by many to be takers and not givers.  Burdens, disturbing our consciences and reminding us how far we are from ideal.  How much our mercy differs from the mercy of God.

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God’s love and mercy are totally pure.  He isn’t burdened or disturbed by beggars.  In fact, He desires more beggars.  He would have us all be beggars, and beggars to a greater degree.  Begging for mercy, knowing our need of and for Him.  As God draws us closer and closer to His heart, our eyes, minds, and hearts are opened more and more to Him.  Our true need – our need of Him and Him alone – becomes more clear.  We begin to ache for Him, akin to David’s longing for God as a deer panting for water (Psalm 42) or the Shullamite’s  lovesickness for Jesus: Sustain me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am sick with love. (Song of Solomon 2:5, Amp.)   This is the heart cry of a lover of Jesus, growing more aware of this precious pearl found in Him.  They sell all other formerly valued things (time, money, earthly pleasures) for more experience of this precious pearl.

Knowing the distance between us and Him, we become more desirous of even more intimacy, more knowledge and experience of His mercy and love for us.  We crave more evidence of His gentle, gracious and loving Spirit, shining through and past our own deformed characters and attitudes.  We long for more of His mercy, more of His grace, more of His Spirit, more of His sweetness.  We have become lovers but also beggars of His mercy, beggars of His Spirit, beggars of His Love.

We can be greatly encouraged by His love and mercy manifesting itself clearly in our own longing, desiring, and insatiable craving for Him.  We have come to taste His goodness, this goodness that vastly outshines all else.  We have come to love Him, to love His name, His every move and gentle whisper.  We can be confident of His mercy when His mercy, His love, He Himself is our life-dominating desire.