Christian Love 11: Love Does Nothing Inappropriate

By Hugh Binning

1st Corinthians 13  5 —doesn’t behave itself inappropriately,..

Then Love does nothing unseemly, “doesn’t behave itself inappropriately,” 1st Cor. 13.5. Vanity and swelling of mind will certainly breakout into some inappropriate carrying of one’s self, such as vain and conceited estimation, and similar things, but love keeps a sweetness and tastefulness in all its ways, so as not to provoke and irritate others, not to expose itself to contempt and mockery.  Or it may be said, it is not disagreeable, It doesn’t account itself disgraced and abused, to associate and be friendly with men in a low state.  It can with its Master bow down to wash the disciple’s feet, and not think it unseemly.  Whatever it submits to in doing or suffering, it is not ashamed of it, as that it were not suitable or becoming.

 

 

 

 


[Language modernized by this site in places.]


 

 

 

 

Christian Love 10: Love Is Not Envious or Proud

By Hugh Binning

 

“Love does not Envy” Envy is the seed of all contention, and self-love brings it forth.  When everyone desires to be esteemed as greatests would have pre-eminence among others, their ways must interfere with one another.  This is what makes discord.  Everyone would take away from another’s value, that they themselves may add to their own.  No one lives content with their own lot or position, and it is the aspiring beyond that, which puts all the wheels out of course.  I beleive this is the root of many contentions among Christians,-the apprehension of slighting, the conceit of disrespect, and the like, kindles the flame of difference, and heightens the least offence to an unpardonable injury.  But love envieth not where it may lie quietly low.  Though it be under the feet of others, and beneath its own due place, yet it does not envy, it can lie contentedly so.  Suppose it is slighted and despised, yet it doesn’t take it badly, because it is lowly in mind.

“Love is not proud, and doesn’t praise itself.” If love has gifts and graces beyond others, it restrains itself, with the bridle of modesty and humility, from praising or boasting about itself, or anything in its carrying of itself that may taste of conceit.  Pride is a self admirer, and despises others, and to please itself, cares little if others others are displeased.  There is nothing so unfitting in human or Christian society, so apt to alienate others’ affections, for the more we take our own affection to ourselves, we will have less from others.  O these golden rules of Christian walking! Rom.12:10,16, “In love of the brothers be tenderly affectionate to one another; in honor preferring one another; Don’t set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble.  Don’t be wise in your own conceits.” O but that were a sightly competition among Christians,  to prefer another in unfeigned love, and in lowliness of mind, each to esteem another better than themself. Philip. 2:3.  “Knowledge puffs up” says the apostle (1sr Cor. 8:1) “but love edifies.” It is only a swelling and inflamation of the mind, but love is solid devotion and real Christianity.

 


[Language modernized in some places by this site]


Manton’s Merciful Appeals

By Thomas Manton

For the other sort, who are kept from coming to trust Christ by their own fears, they are likely to say things like,

“It is true there is mercy in Christ for sinners, but Christ has not callrd me personally.”

– My brothers, what are you looking for? An audible voice to speak to you, You John, You Thomas, etc.? In the the tenderness of the gospel you are included as well as others, and why will you exclude yourselves? If God says sinners, you should reply, “I am the greatest sinner”.

“I remember it said, in John 10:3, Christ calls hi sheep by name, and leads them forth. How does Christ call them by name?”

-By speaking particularly to their case, as if he tapped them on the shoulder, and said; “Here is comfort for you.” As at a feast, when there is a dish that we set on the table , though all are free to take from it, yet we say, Here is a dish for me.”  So you should apply yourselves and take your own portion;  though it be put forward to everyone, when God directs his messengers to speak particularly to your case, that is all the calling by name you need, since prophesies are ceased, so you should say, This dish was provided for my hungry conscience, intended for me,..But they will reply,

“Sure there is no mercy for me, I am so unworthy.”

-I answer—The invitation does not look for worth, but thirst: Rev.22:17, “Let him that is thirsty come, and whosoever will let him take of the water of life freely.” You are not worthy, but you are thirsty, or else why are you groaning as you are?

-And by the way take notice of the pride that is in legal dejection.[disqualifying yourself through the law]

Men unwilling to come to Christ; would like to be worthy before they come to him; and therefore the apostle says: “For being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they didn’t subject themselves to the righteousness of God.” Rom 10:3. A proud man would attempt to establish a righteousness in himself, and is reluctant to low themselves to take all from another;…

-The more the need to come to Christ; he came to call sinners. Matt.9:13. It doesn’t’ matter what you have been, but what you could be; Christ does not call us because we are holy but that we may become holy. Is it rational to say, “I am too poor to take charity, I am too dirty to take a shower?

But they have refused so many call already, and scorned God’s counsel.

-Wisdom calls scorners, Prov.1:22. “Turn you scorners; how long will you delight in scorning?” It is a mercy that you have been able to hear one more call; don’t increase your guilt that you complain about.

But I don’t know how to come to Christ.

-The blind and the lame are invited to the wedding, Matt.22, and wisdom calls fools, Prov.9:4, “Whosoever is simple”. The stray lamb is brought home on the shepherd’s shoulders, Luke 15.  Oh, that these words might be spirit and life to you!

 


[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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Poor and Needy

Poor and Needy

Matthew 5:3

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.


 

If you have spent much time reading the Psalms, God’s special affinity for the poor and needy and his disinclination for the proud and independent should be clearly communicated.  This aspect and revelation of God’s character doesn’t seem to get the attention from us, God’s word gives it.  It is my belief that this love of His for the poor and needy is one of the most crucial revelations of who God is, for those of us who are seeking closeness with Him, closeness with our Loved One.

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God is so different than we are.  The sin within us is so inclined to love the world and ourselves, as spoken of by John: 15 Don’t love the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the Father’s love isn’t in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, isn’t the Father’s, but is the world’s. 17 The world is passing away with its lusts, but he who does God’s will remains forever.(1 John 2:15-17)  Even we who claim Jesus, and greatly seek Him as our One Great Desire and Love are very much inclined to mix our own remaining sinful love of the world and ourselves with our Christian faith.  John’s warning seems to be saying to us, that we must come to love God much greater than we love the world and ourselves, as to make our remaining sin, and misplaced love, as nothing in comparison.  Though this misplaced love may hold us at times, the overwhelming Love of our loves is obviously Jesus.

When Jesus began His great Sermon on the mount, he began with these words:  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.(Matthew 5:3)  I believe, this poorness of spirit, is not simply a stage we pass through before or during our conversion. This poorness of spirit, is an intrinsic quality of those who are the most blessed by God.  Those I believe, who are presently most poor in spirit, in the way the Lord is speaking of, are presently the most blessed persons on earth.  The poorness of spirit, is a knowledge of our own poorness and neediness for God, our neediness for Jesus, for the Spirit of God, and more fruit of the Spirit of God.   God fills the poor of spirit, though they will remain poor of spirit even when filled to overflowing.

This poorness of spirit is the driving desire and mover of us.  This is what moves us to seek God, to seek union and communion with Jesus.  As our poorness of Spirit increases our knowledge of and closeness with God is most likely being increased by His gracious Spirit and working on and in us.  As our poorness of Spirit is decreasing we are most likely moving further from, or being turned away from our Lord by other so called “needs” or desires.  The cares of life, the anxieties of the world, the desire to be accepted or fit in with this world and others, may be supplanting our actual One True Need.

I want to encourage the freeing of your self from the expectations you yourself, the world, and even other believers place on you.  I want to encourage you that you are free to be poor and needy.  We can admit and live in the truth of our poorness and neediness of Jesus.  We do not need to cast that expected image of ourselves, for others to see.  We do not need to become or present ourselves to others as those who have it all together.  God does not require us to be successful people, the way the world defines successful people.  We are free to be seen as deceived and stupid radicals in the world’s eyes, we are free to be looked down upon by others, we are free to be seen as weak and pitiful by others.  We are even free to be disappointing to our friends, families and loved ones, when God’s Spirit leads us to please Him at the displeasing of others.  I believe, if we embraced this freedom, we would find and experience much more joy, peace, and love in the Lord.

We too often are stuck in the middle.  We know, or I hope we know our need of God, Our  Love.  We do not however allow this need this poorness of spirit to define our lives.  We want to be needy for God, but we do not want others to see our poorness and neediness for God.  We want to be seen by others as being without need.  We often times want to be seen as successful, attractive, happy, self-sufficient, confident, needed, loved and desired people.  This is what most all people desire and seek.  As children of God, lovers of the King, we are meant to have better desires, and different desires.

When we become children of God, we become children of a totally other world and kingdom.  Children of God and lovers of King Jesus, we are set free to be free from the loves, desires, mindsets, priorities, cares, worries, and fears of this world.   We are not required to maintain a certain level of “world-cred” if you will.  Through the gentleness and kindness of Christ in us, we should be as considerate and pleasing as we can as sojourners here.  However, most of us take this way to far.  We sacrifice our freedom to be who we actually are, poor and needy children and lovers of God.  If we would take all our masks off, and be who we truly desire to be in Jesus, with much less pretense, and fear.  We would have much simpler lives.

Allowing ourselves to be led by this poorness of spirit and neediness for God, Our Love, as our root driving motivation without shame.  We will begin to be have our person’s and lives prioritized by God, or more clearly, we are allowing God to prioritize our lives Himself.  We will be seeking God, rightly with the right (Jesus given) motivations.  We will without shame be seeking, receiving and loving our One True need.

 


 

 

Stewards of Mercy

I was struggling for a little while.  Maybe I shouldn’t be publishing my thoughts as I am.  Maybe I am not ready to share my faith.  I probably do not know enough yet.  I was thinking about backing away from doing what I am now doing.  I thought maybe God doesn’t want me to share […]

Not Too Good for Mercy

Not Too Good for Mercy

Mark 2:15-17

 He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners sat down with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many, and they followed him.   The scribes and the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why is it that he eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?”  When Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”


 

Jesus doesn’t save the righteous.  He cannot save the already righteous.  The righteous (or self- righteous) will never come to the place of poorness of spirit, the place of neediness for Jesus.  The righteous will attempt to earn Jesus.  Jesus will be to them an ornament or decoration to highlight their own goodness, strength, and likeability.  The righteous may approach Jesus, with some need, they will realize their need to a degree, however not to the needed degree.  The righteous (or self-righteous) do not come to love the mercy, meekness, gentleness, graciousness, of God. These seemingly passive attributes of God are much too weak and lowly for them.  Self-righteousness would rather have a God who requires more from themselves and others, a God who requires an obedience which self-righteousness attains to, a God who requires strength which self-righteousness attains to, a God who requires a faith and knowledge which self-righteousness attains to.  Most like a God who is more like themselves.  A God who loves the successful, the strong, the intelligent, those with likeable personalities, those who are able to become impressive people.

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God however loves the weak, the needy, the afflicted and oppressed.  He loves and saves (or is saving) those who come to see themselves as weak, needy, and poor, those who become afflicted and oppressed.  They need Jesus, they need Him so much more than others seem to.  Jesus becomes their need, their love that dwarfs all others.  The reality of this need brings them to a place of more carelessness about the world’s judgment of them.  They are growing more to care less and less whether the world accepts of rejects them, they are coming to know a another world, kingdom, and Lover so much greater than what this world can give them.

They see their sin, they are coming to realize more and more, their sin is not going to completely go away in this natural life.  They are learning more and more, the mercy and graciousness of God.  He has and gives super-abounding mercy, grace, and love which covers their remaining sin and disobedience.  They are becoming more and more lovers of God (Father, Son, Spirit), lovers of His mercy, His graciousness, His love, His righteousness which covers a multitude of sins.

They become lovers of mercy, gentleness, graciousness, and kindness.  Those things many people of this world see as weak and passive things.  Those things rejected and devalued by the strong, the rich, the successful and impressive of this world.  Loving these fruits of the Spirit of Christ, they are loving Christ, loving Jesus.  They are allowing Jesus to become more manifest from within them.  Though they will not be applauded or loved by this world, as Jesus Himself was not applauded or loved by most the citizens of this world.  They will continue to seek their need and try to pass this need on to others.  Their only hope is that God (Father, Son, Spirit) Himself will open the eyes, ears, minds, and hearts of others to accept this message.  This message is not an appealing message to those of this world.  This message is foolishness to this world, those rejecting Jesus, and choosing rather to be blinded and bound further by their enemy.

Those of us who have come to know our great need, and our continuing great need, need not be ashamed.  We are not required to compromise our seeking and finding or realizing of more mercy, grace and love in Jesus.  We are not required by anyone besides ourselves to seek acceptance and approval from this world.  If we seem to be required by others to do so, we have a God, a Savior, a Lord and Lover, who is to receive our love, devotion, and obedience.  Seek Him, Know Him, Love Him.  Seek the One who loves, cherishes and frees us, not those who condemn and trouble us.   Seeking friendship and acceptance with this world, which is under the enemies rule,  is a ludicrous thing for us to do.  Yet we all do it, to one degree or another.  Jesus is our great Redeemer, Deliverer, and Lover.  Seek Him.

 


 

 

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.

 


 

 

 

The Forgiver

religious-2144550_960_720Psalm 130: 1-5

Out of the depths I have cried to you, Yahweh.
Lord, hear my voice.
    Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my petitions.
If you, Yah, kept a record of sins,
    Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
    therefore you are feared.
I wait for Yahweh.
    My soul waits.
    I hope in his word.


 

God has revealed His mercy and love to us through Jesus.  In Jesus, in faith in the righteousness of Jesus and the acceptability of His great merciful exchange, is hope.  This is where our hope must be centered.  Our hope cannot be centered in our own goodness, our own sinless life, sinless day, or sinless minute, this is not attainable anyway.   If you, Yah, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?  We cannot stand for a minute in any supposed righteousness of our own.  We must trust in a mercy that pardons, that covers our ongoing sin.  We must and for our own peace of mind, trust God the Forgiver.  He has gone to such lengths to provide this covering, this passover for our Sin.  God has mercifully and graciously provided for us a covering to rest under, a covering by which to approach and come to Him under.

True fear of God, is birthed out of a well grounded hope in His forgiveness.  A fear of God, unaware of the forgiving, merciful and good character of God, does not work.  Without a true fear, in the true God,  Sin becomes unconquerable.  Sin will become the end all be all of our faith.  Our faith will become dominated and ruled by a preoccupation and over dwelling on sin.  We will become more aware of sin, than of our Savior, more aware of sin than mercy.  We will find ourselves trapped by sin.  Kept away from Jesus by our sin.  We will become sin searchers, searching for sin in others, condemning others as we choose condemnation rather than the mercy, graciousness and forgiveness of God.

Sin is not the end all be all of our faith.  The glory of God, is His forgiveness, His mercy, His love, revealed most brilliantly, in Jesus, God and man.  The glory of God is in the His character and goodness, not in ours.  We being proud, self-centered, and self-loving creatures want to turn things upside down.  We are very much tempted by our vileness, our humiliation, the fallen state of our human nature to distrust God.  We must deal with our own sin, we must clean ourselves up, we must confess every known sin, we must work for our own freedom from sin.  We must have a greater part in our salvation than God himself does, then come to God.  This only leads to more sin and worse sin.  If we distrust our God, and His way for reconciliation with him, we will not love Him.  Not loving and knowing God, we will not love others.  We are guilty of greater sins when seeking through condemnation, no matter how moral our lives may seem to ourselves or others.

But there is forgiveness with you, therefore you are feared.  This is our well anchored hope.  There is forgiveness with God, there is forgiveness in Jesus.  As we come to God, as sons, daughters, friends, and loved ones confident in our covering, our infinitely costly covering, our sin will be lessened correctly.  We will sin less, as we are relating to God rightly.  We will love God the Father, as we know Him, as a merciful, loving and gracious Father who provides for us.  He provides for us our greatest needs.  We will be more gracious to others in their sin, for our faith is placed above our sin.  Our faith is placed  in the mercy, grace, and love of God that superabounds our sin.  

 I wait for Yahweh.  My soul waits.  I hope in his word.  We must constantly remind ourselves of the good news of the gospel of Christ.  The good news can so quickly turn into bad news, when we are not thinking correctly.  We are so forgetful and easily moved from our sure hope, to a faulty hope.  We must go again, and again to the word, to remind us of the super abounding goodness of God revealed in Jesus.  The super abounding hope that surpasses our own daily experience.  Wait for this hope to have fruition in our lives, through the work of God, the keeping of Jesus, the gracious and gentle working of His Spirit.