To you, my strength, I will sing praises.
For God is my high tower, the God of my mercy.
World English Bible
To you, my strength, I will sing praises.
For God is my high tower, the God of my mercy.
World English Bible
By Richard Sibbes
Two things are opposite to this life of faith.
One, Despair. This cuts the pillars of hope. Against many, as Luther for one, have been tempted to despair, but yet setting on the work, have overcome. So the Israelites were afraid, upon the evil report of the spies of Canaan; but when they went on, they overcame and beat down their enemies. So we say, Oh, I will never overcome such a sin, or such a corruption, or do such a duty. This is not true, go on, look to Christ, join his strength with your endeavor, be out of love with it, resolve thoroughly, set on it strongly, and down it will go before you.
Second, is presumption; for this know, that in his own strength shall no man be strong. In St Paul’s speech. “By grace I am what I am.” (1st Corinthians 15:10). So, again, he says, “in him” to think, in Christ “we live, and move, and have our being,” (Acts 17:28). If we presume, it is just with Christ to forsake us, as he did Peter. Take heed also of spiritual self-sufficiency, or else we rest on ourselves, and do not go to Christ. Our moving to all good duty is by him. It is but a word for him to help us, either in things tending to a spiritual or a natural life. Therefore, for the summing up of all, do not leave him. In your emptiness go to his fullness. If your cistern is dry, turn the valve of your faith, and his fountain will fill again. Take him still along with you, and you cannot not choose but to live this life of faith in growing in holiness and obedience.
This is the End of Life of Faith, by Richard Sibbes ; modernized in places by this site.
By Richard Sibbes
One may ask:
“But what is the reason that many who are justified yet do not find daily comfort?”
Perhaps they smear up themselves, and do not search the bottom of their corruption: as Psalm 32:8, David, when he kept close his sin, his bones waxed old through his roaring all the day long, and God’s hand was heavy upon him day and night. Then he shows how he found comfort: “I acknowledged my sin to you, and my iniquity I have not hid. I said I will confess my transgressions to you; and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.” So it may be in this case. We come not off with God freely, we do not ransack our sins, we do not search all the corners. Sin is a marvelously subtle thing. Again, because of this many times God will humble us for a former sin, and keep the oil of comfort, until we are more humbled, and stand in awe of sin.
Hence springs a vigorous life. A life of cheerfulness, when a man has his pardon found out, then comes life and joy, strength of holy actions well rooted and grounded. Who should joy, if a triumphant righteous person should not? Who have cause to rejoice more than kings?
By justification we are made kings and priests, are lifted above all sins and lusts, world and devil; have a right and title to heaven. Shall a carnal man joy in his titles and privileges, and shall not we much more, being sons of God by adoption, and heirs of all things? So Romans 5:1—”Being justified by faith , we have peace with God, and joy in tribulation.” Being once justified, the sting of all troubles is taken away. God is ours. This is all in all. The blood of Abel, that cries for vengeance; but the Spirit of God in this state tells me, that the blood of Christ speaks better things, mercy, mercy; in his blood is always comfort, though we be weak and unskillful to apply it. The washing in this blood should make a Christian walk on cheerfully in the comforts of the Holy Spirit.
This common domain work’s language has been modernized in few places by this site.
By Hugh Binning
Love “bears all things.” By nature we are undaunted heifers, cannot bear anything patiently. But love is accustomed to the yoke, —to the yoke of reproaches and injuries from others, to a burden of other men’s infirmities and failings. We would all be borne upon others’ shoulders, but we cannot put our own shoulders under other men’s burden, according to that royal law of Christ, Romans 15:1—“We that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves” and Galatians 6:2—“ Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” That is the law of love, without question.
Love “believes all things.” Our nature is malignant and wicked, and therefore most suspicious and jealous, and apt to take all in the worst way. But love has much openness, honesty and humanity in it, and can believe well of every man, and believe all things as far as truth will permit. It knows that grace can be beside man’s sins. It knows that itself is subject to similar infirmities. Therefore it is not a rigid and censorious judger; it allows as much latitude to others as it would desire of others.
It is true it is not blind and ignorant. It is judicious, and has eyes that can discern between colors. Credit omnia credenda, sperat omnia speranda.-“It believes all things that are believable, and hopes all things that are hopeful.” If love doesn’t have sufficient evidences, yet she believes if there be some probabilities to the contrary, as well as for it. The weight of love inclines to the better part, and so casts the balance of hope and persuasion; yet being sometimes deceived, she has reason to be watchful and wise, for “the simple believe every word.” If love cannot have ground of believing any good, yet it hopes still. Qui non est hodie, cras magis aptus erit, says love, and therefore it is patient and gentle, waiting on all, if perhaps God may “give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth,”—2nd Timothy 2:25.
Love would account it both atheism and blasphemy, to say such a man cannot, will not find mercy. But to pronounce of such as have often been accepted in the conscience of all, and sealed into many hearts, that they will never find mercy, that they have no grace, because of some failings in practice and differences from us, it wasn’t pronounced in sobriety but madness. It is certainly love and indulgence to ourselves, that make us aggravate other men’s faults to such a height. Self love looks on other men’s failings through a multiplying or magnifying glass, but she put her own faults behind her back. Non videtquod in mantica qua a tergo est. Therefore she can suffer much in herself but nothing in others, and certainly much self forbearance and indulgence can spare little for others.
But love is just contrary. She is most rigid on her own self, will her not pardon herself easily, knows no revenge but what is spoken of in 2nd Corinthians 7:11, self revenge, and has no indignation but against herself. Thus she can spare much openness, honesty, and forbearance for others, and has little or nothing of indignation left behind to consume on others.
This common domain work modernized in few places by this site.
By Richard Sibbes
Why is it that we do not seek this spiritual life more? Because when the conscience is not awakened, we think there is no such thing: like Judas walking on in the state of nature, in drunkenness, sensual pleasures, covetousness, and such things, until we perish suddenly. If the conscience is awakened, then it is easy to work upon such who sees his misery and desires a remedy. It was easy to persuade Jacob to send for corn in Egypt, when a famine was in the land of Canaan. It is easy to persuade men hungry and thirsty to eat and drink; easy to persuade a weighed down, weary man to lay down his burden and rest. So it’s the same with us. If the conscience is awakened to have a sense of sin, and that intolerable wrath and eternal punishment that is due, we should and would long for this spiritual life.
I urgently ask you, let us believe there is such a life. Look at 1st Peter 1:3. There he blesses God, “who according to his great mercy became our father again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” No one can go to heaven unless they are born again here. The main help is the use of the means. This is that pool of Bethesda, at which if we lie the angel of the covenant will put us in to be healed. Never rest then until this life has gotten into us…[never rest from seeking and looking to God, through His means, I take this to mean things such as praying and reading his word, in expectation of his mercy.]
…Christ is called life, the bread of life, tree of life, and he gives us living water to refresh our souls, not that he is so essentially bread, or a tree, but by the ability of his working in us. For God is life in himself. Therefore he swears by it: “As I live, says the Lord, I do not desire the death of a sinner,” —Ezekiel 33:11. Here we do not consider life so high, but this life must be derived from him principally. It is done so naturally. The Son is the fountain of life, because he is God, who is radically, fundamentally, and essentially life.
[Language modernized in places by this site] [mine]
By Paul Myers
Recently, I believe, the Lord has been showing me something more clearly. The Lord, does desire and expect to be our first love. When you think about it rationally, how could he be anything but our first love. He gave us life. He provides generously for us. He is our Hero, inflicting pain on Himself, enabling us to have a relationship with Him. He is the friend who sticks closer than a brother. Our own sin, the world full of sin and under the enemy’s power to a great degree, and the Enemy himself are opposed to this first love for God.
I believe the greatest obstacle to people making God their refuge, strength, and first love is that we have too high a regard for humanity. I’m not meaning by this we care too much for humanity’s well being. What I mean is we have too much esteem for humanity, or people who please us. We have too great an ambition to be seen by others as meeting and exceeding certain standards, or well-pleasing in their eyes. We are putting too much emphasis or value on the human judgment of others, whether they are this or that thing that pleases or displeases us. This over emphasis, leads to superiority and inferiority complexes. This leads to harsh, judgmental, and divisive ways of thinking, communicating and behaving. This divides, and causes much animosity, hatred, even wars and death. This is the pride in man, pride of man. We are the “God” of our world, passing judgments and setting our own standards for right and wrong.
Humanism has greatly infected Christianity as a whole, I believe, Christianity as including all who claim Christ. This pride of and in man, has greatly harmed and hindered Christian love and unity. I hope you understand what I am saying. I want to write in a way that brings humanity down to its proper place, of lowness and humility, before and under God. I realize this may seem negative and offensive to many, but this is best for all who honestly seek God, to know humanity’s true state and standing. I suppose this is part of the offence of the cross, that mankind is at such a low place as far as any good standing that it is required that Jesus live and die in our place, living a life of goodness and righteousness we cannot. Some, I believe rise up in defense of mankind to a degree, becoming defensive and perturbed when what we are apart from Christ is spoken of truthfully. To me it is not a negative thing, but hopeful, and awe-inspiring of the mercy and love of God, to think of how far we fall short, yet His mercy and love has reached and still reaches down to us. I believe the more we move off our selves being the focal point of everything, and rather Him being so, we will see much more graciousness, kindness and mercy to one another.
There is not a very in-depth description of Abel. Abel was the son of Adam and Eve, the brother of Cain, a keeper of sheep. Abel came to God with and through the right offering. He trusted God’s way of reconciliation, he was made righteous in God’s eyes. Abel was basically the first Christian, or at least, obviously made known to us by God. The offering and sacrifice He was trusting in was and is the same offering that all who are reconciled to God must be trusting in. His trust was in the blood and righteousness of Jesus, though no doubt, this was not so clear to Him, as to us. The blood and character of Christ so trustworthy and sure, overcame the boundaries of time as we know them, to reconcile and save all God’s children. By faith, Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he had testimony given to him that he was righteous, God testifying with respect to his gifts; and through it he, being dead, still speaks. (Hebrews 11:4)
Abel was killed by his brother, becoming the first persecuted and martyred saint of God. He was hated, by his worldly brother. The first example of a Christian was very displeasing to a person of the world. Abel was credited with righteousness by God, He was made righteous by God. What was Abel’s reward for choosing and accepting the righteousness of Jesus? He found hatred, He found and experienced the hatred of his own natural brother.
I believe, God is making a strong statement in the way this all played out, and it’s placement in His written word: Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. (2nd Timothy 3:12) and Blessed are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when people reproach you, persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.(Matthew 5:10-12) This is and should be a defining characteristic of the life of a lover of God, (Father, Son/Jesus, Spirit) a lover of Jesus. (our Loved One) We will find the mercy, love, and blessedness of Jesus, of His Spirit, of His peace and joy. We should expect also and question,(with concern) if we do not find hatred and rejection from the world, especially from the proud ones.
The world teaches us from our births to seek its approval and acceptance. To seek its gold stars, smiles, and pats on the back. This is a very difficult thing to turn away from. We must not allow the enemy to mix this seeking of the world’s approval and acceptance with our seeking of our Loved One. These are very much contrary motivations and can only be mixed at our loss. Please don’t misunderstand me, in a certain sense we should seek to be as pleasing and considerate to all as much as we are able, however, this should be such a much lower seeking, and seeking birthed out of the so much greater seeking of God. Meaning, displeasing others does not need to displease us as much as it does.
God promises us many things, He promises us He will be with us, we will find Him when we diligently seek Him, He will give us freedom and freedom indeed, He will give us life in abundance. He also promises persecution, hatred and rejection from the world. Let us not fear and avoid this rejection, persecution and hatred so much. Let these things not quench the work of God within us, but rather grow even more God’s working and glory within us and through us. May we be more diligent seekers of God, and everything He promises, even the things that are seemingly bad and difficult for us.