Sweet Drops 6: Weak but His

By Richard Sibbes

Let us assure ourselves that God’s grace, even in this imperfect state, is stronger than man’s free will in the state of original perfection.[Adam] It is founded now in Christ, who, as he is the author, so he will finish, [or complete] our faith (Heb.12:2). We are under a more gracious covenant.

What some say of rooted faith,” fides radicata, that it continues, while weak faith may come to nothing” seems to be contradicted by this Scripture; for, as the strongest faith may be shaken, so the weakest, where truth is, is so far rooted that it will prevail.

Weakness with watchfulness will stand, when strength with too much confidence fails.  Weakness with acknowledgement of it, is the best place and thing for God to perfect his strength in; for consciousness of our weaknesses drive us out of ourselves to him in whom our strength lies.

From this it follows that weakness may be consistent with assurance of salvation.  The disciples, even with all their weaknesses, are bidden to rejoice that there names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20).  Failings, with struggle, in growing in holiness should not weaken the peace of our being justification and assurance of salvation.  It doesn’t matter as much what weakness is in us, as what good; but how we think of them; not what our particular failings are so much as what is the thread and tenor of our lives, for Christ’s dislike for the things that are amiss in us turns not to hatred of us, our persons but to the victorious conquering of all our infirmities[weaknesses].

Some have, after struggles, wondered at the goodness of God that so little and such trembling faith should have upheld them in so great combats, when Satan had almost caught them.

And, indeed, it is to be wondered at, how much a little grace will prevail with God for acceptance, and over our enemies for victory, if the heart is upright.

such is the goodness of our sweet Savior that he delights still to show his strength in our weaknesses.

 


Excerpt from Works of Richard Sibbes, kindle, Loc. 1884, [Language modernized in places by this site [] ours.


Excepts of Mercy

Sweet Drops: This is 6

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Sweet Drops 4: Deformed Yet His

By Richard Sibbes

Since Christ is set before us, let us not believe Satan’s representations of him. When we are troubled in conscience for our sins, Satan’s manner is to present Christ to the afflicted soul as a most severe judge armed with justice against us.  But then let us present him to our souls as offered to our view by God himself, holding out a scepter of mercy, and spreading his arms to receive us.

When we think of Joseph, Daniel, John the Evangelist, we frame conceptions of them with delight, as of mild and sweet persons. Much more when we think of Christ, we should conceive of him as a mirror of all meekness.  If the sweetness of all flowers were in one, how sweet must that flower be?  In Christ all perfections of mercy and love meet.  How great must that mercy be that lodges in so gracious a heart?  Whatever tenderness is scattered in husband, father, brother, head, all is but a beam from him; it is in him in the most eminent manner.  We are weak, but we are his; we are deformed, but yet carry his image upon us.  A father looks not so much at the blemishes of his child as at his own nature in him; so Christ finds matter of love from that which is his in us.  He sees his own nature in us: we are diseased but yet a part of his body.  Who has ever neglected his own body because parts were sick or weak?  None ever hated his own flesh.  Can the head forget the body?  Can Christ forget himself? We are his fullness, as he is ours.  He was love itself clothed with man’s nature, which he united so near to himself, that he might communicate his goodness more freely to us.  And he didn’t take our nature when it was at it best, but when it was abased, with all the natural and common infirmities it was subject to.

Let us then, hate all suspicious thoughts, as either cast in or cherished by that damned spirit who, as he labored to divide between the Father and the Son by jealousies, by saying, “If you are the Son of God” (Matt. 4:6), so his daily study is to divide between the Son and us by breeding false opinions in us of Christ, as if there were not such tender love in him to such as we are. It was Satan’s art from the beginning to discredit God with man, by calling God’s love into question with our first father Adam.  His success then him ready to use that weapon still.

 


Excerpt from-Works of Richard Sibbes, Kindle, Loc. 1497, Common Domain, Language modernized slightly in places by this site.


Excepts of Mercy

Sweet Drops: This is 4

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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:

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Life of Faith: T.O.C.

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Warriors of the Light

Song of Songs 3:7-8

 Behold, it is Solomon’s carriage!
    Sixty mighty men are around it,
    of the mighty men of Israel.
They all handle the sword, and are expert in war.
    Every man has his sword on his thigh,
    because of fear in the night.


 

Within the love story of Jesus and His bride.  The book about the sacred romance, the devotion, the intimacy, and true personal and mutual love, between God and man, there is a reminder.  I believe these verses are written reminders to all seekers, devotees and lovers of Jesus.  While we are very much to love Jesus, with devotion, adoration, praise and worship in a personal way, our person’s with His person.  We are also warriors of the Light.  While there is very much a sense of weakness and dependence as we rely on our Loved One for the life of love, we must be pursuing and seeking His strength, for warfare.  We putting on His armor, weapons for war.  We dying with Jesus on the cross, are also raised with Him in resurrection power.  We must seek and trust for His powerful armor, and weapons of warfare given us. (Ephesians 6:11-18)  All risen with Jesus, have this armor available to them, however we must seek and trust for it’s effectual use (putting on of it) through faith in God’s provision of it for everyday life. We becoming mighty through His might(not ours) mercifully surrounding and protecting of us against our enemy.  Giving us His strength and will for our battles.  We becoming warriors of The Light, warriors of The Hope.

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We must spend much time handling the sword, or the word of God, becoming experts in warfare with our enemy.    Let us therefore give diligence to enter into that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience.  For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:11-12)  The Spirit of God uses this sword to communicate truths to us.  He shows us our weaknesses, our sins, He warns us, He encourages us, comforts us, He trains us for battle.  We must allow time for these training sessions.  We must keep the word, keep it close to our hearts, thinking about and ruminating on the word of God.  We must allow the word and Spirit to shape our thoughts, meditations and affections of our Loved One.  These warriors kept the sword close on their thighs, for easy accessibility, ready to take up arms at any instant a threat was sensed.  We must keep the word close, also.  We do not know when and from what angle the enemy will attack.

As we seek intimacy we must stay in the word of God, trusting God through His Spirit to train us and lead us rightly.  Not only the Spirit , but Jesus and our Father take part personally and in our training for warfare, working with the Spirit.  We cannot allow our devotion, love and worship of Jesus and of God (Father, Jesus, Spirit) to become distanced from much time in the word of truth.  The word that washes, purifies, renews and revives us.

How many stories have we heard of worship leaders with seeming intimate love, and affection for Jesus, written on their faces, turning to adulterous lovers for their intimacy.  I personally believe many of these were not “hypocrites” in the worst sense of the word.  Many were truly seeking love and intimacy with Jesus.  The love and affection written on their faces was true or they felt true love and affection for Jesus.  In my mind, these verses on warfare were placed within this great song of love, as a great warning for  the lovers of Jesus.  We must keep ourselves close to His word, and His word close to us.  We must not become greater lovers of love, greater lovers of feelings of intimacy, greater lovers of feelings of loving and being loved, than loving Jesus Himself, as He would have us love Him.  I believe, any of us, if we are not grounded in His word, can be led astray even by feelings, feelings that seem so right, so loving, if they are left by themselves, undefended.  We can selfishly indulge in this one aspect of our life with Jesus.  We can neglect to seek Jesus, seek God, in and through His word and Spirit, by being overly wrapped in this one aspect worship and adoration.  We must remember how untrustworthy, quick to forget, and plain dumb we are.  We cannot trust ourselves to stray away from time in His word, communing with Jesus, through His Spirit, in the safety of His word.  We must allow His word and Spirit to lead our love and lives.

Ours is a story of a great sacred romance, but it is also a story of a great and fearful warfare.  These warriors were not without fear.  Every man has his sword on his thigh,
because of fear in the night.  They had a fear of the night, a God-given fear of the enemy, and His secretive maneuvers, schemes, and plans of attack.   They knew better than to be only led by their emotions, their own thoughts and understanding, they must also be led by God’s word and Spirit, for this warfare.  It is my hope, that as we progress together seeking Jesus, and His heart, we will have times when our love, or rather His love is written on our faces.  That we would have emotional feelings of personal love for Jesus, knowing His love for us.  My hope is that we would also be very useful and diligent warriors and servants of Jesus.  That we would also rely strongly on His word, spoken and taught to us by God Himself, to keep us safe, and productive to and through Himself.   Sharing His mercy and love, His glory with others, without shame.