Pink: Forgive Us Our Debts

“‘And forgive us our debts.’ Strange to say, some experience a difficulty here. Seeing that God has already forgiven the Christian ‘all trespasses’ (Col. 2:13), is it not needless, they ask, for him to continue to beg. God for forgiveness? This difficulty is self-created, through a failure to distinguish between the purchase of our pardon by Christ and its actual application to us.

True, full atonement for all our sins was made by Him, and at the cross their guilt was canceled. True, all our old sins are purged at our conversion (2 Peter 1:9). Nevertheless, there is a very real sense in which our present and future sins are not remitted until we repent and confess them to God.Therefore, it is both necessary and proper that we should seek pardon for them. (1 John 1:6-10). Even after Nathan administered assurance to David, saying, ‘The Lord also hath put away thy sins’ (2 Sam. 12:13), David begged God’s forgiveness (Ps. 51:1).

What do we ask for in this petition? First, we ask that God will not lay to our charge the sins we daily commit (Ps. 143:2). Second, we plead that God will accept the satisfaction of Christ for our sins and look upon us as righteous in Him. Some may object, ‘But if we be real Christians, He has already done so.’ True, yet He requires us to sue for our pardon, just as He said to Christ, ‘Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance’ (Ps. 2:8). God is ready to forgive but He requires us to call upon Him. Why? That His saving mercy may be acknowledged, and that our faith may be exercised!

Third, we beseech God for the continuance of pardon. Though we be justified, yet we must continue to ask; as with our daily bread, though we have a goodly store on hand, yet we beg for the continuance of it. Fourth, we plead for the sense of forgiveness or assurance of it, that sins may be blotted out of our conscience and from God’s book of remembrance. The effects of forgiveness are inner peace and access to God (Rom. 5:1, 2).

Forgiveness is not to be demanded as something due us, but requested as a mercy. ‘To the very end of life, the best Christian must come for forgiveness just as he did at first, not as a claimant of a right but as a suppliant of a favour’ (John Brown). Nor is this anywise inconsistent with, or a reflection upon, our complete justification (Acts 13:39). It is certain that the believer ‘shall not come into condemnation’ (John 5:24); yet instead of this truth leading him to the conclusion that he need not pray for the remission of his sins, it supplies him with the strongest possible encouragement to present such a petition.

Likewise, the Divine assurance that a genuine Christian shall persevere to the end, instead of laying a foundation for carelessness, is a most powerful motive to watchfulness and faithfulness. This petition implies a felt sense of sin, a penitent acknowledgement thereof, a seeking of God’s mercy for Christ’s sake, and the realization that He can righteously pardon us. Its presentation should ever be preceded by self-examination and humiliation.

-A.W. Pink, The Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer, 114-115.

Fuller: Persecution

“It is a strong proof of human depravity that men’s curses and Christ’s blessings should meet on the same persons. Who would have thought that a man could be persecuted and reviled, and have all manner of evil said of him, for righteousness’ sake? And do wicked men really hate justice and love those who defraud and wrong their neighbours? No; they do not dislike righteousness as it respects themselves: it is only that species of it which respects God and religion that excites their hatred. If Christians were content with doing justly and loving mercy, and would cease walking humbly with God [Mic. 6:8], they might go through the world, not only in peace, but with applause; but he that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (2 Tim. 3:12). Such a life reproves the ungodliness of men and provokes their resentment.”

-Andrew Fuller

Alleine: I Wrestle With Sin

You are my Lord and God, and I will serve you.

I have chosen you as my inheritance forever, and I will wait for your salvation.

Hear the sighing of your prisoner, and deliver your captive. My heart is with you.

I pray that sin would no longer reign in my mortal body. I want nothing more to do with the throne of iniquity. Untie the chains, loosen the cuffs, and bring my soul out of prison.

Search me, Lord, and know my heart. Prove me, and know my thoughts. Is there any way of wickedness in me? Do I willingly go after sins commandments? Do I harbor iniquity in my heart?

It is true: My heart wars against you. It riots and rebels against you.

But do I resign myself to it? Is it a pleasure to me? Am I at peace with it?

Lord, you know. I cannot rid myself of the iniquity in my heart, I cannot do the things that I would, I cannot pray as I would. I cannot listen as I would—nor think, nor speak, nor live as I would.

Wherever I go, sin goes with me. Where I stay, it stays. If I sit still, there, it is with me. If I run from it, it follows me.

I cannot rest, I cannot work, I cannot do anything—sin is always hounding me.

And yet, blessed be your name, this I do: I fight against it. I wrestle with it, though it so often takes me down. I do not trust it, though it flatters me. I do not love it, though it feeds me.

My heart is with you, Lord. I am following after you. I groan and I struggle in pain, waiting for your redemption. Until I die, I will not give up.

I will die fighting. I will die hoping. I will die praying.

Save me, Lord. Do not delay, my God. Amen.

-Richard Alleine, Piercing Heaven: Prayers of the Puritans, 86-87.

Faithful Ones

Jesus keep me near the cross
Until I see all else as less than nothing
Jesus keep me near the light
Without that grace my heart will always choose the night

The night in which I doubt and fear You
The night in which I love all that You hate
I need You to instill in me the need to hear one phrase:

Well done, well done
Well done, faithful one
Well done, well done
Well done, faithful one

Jesus keep me near Your heart
The heart of God, who never faints or wearies
Jesus keep me near Your love
The best of my intentions are not strong enough

Oh God, I need an intercessor
Oh, may I plead before you Jesus’ name
For He’s the only one who ever truly earned this praise:

Well done, well done
Well done, Faithful One
Well done, well done
Well done, Righteous One

It’s only in Your intercession
Only in Your strength
Only in Your perfection I am saved
Only propitiation, only Substitute
Only Your intervention brings me now to You

Where I receive a Holy pardon
My advocate is Jesus-praise His name!
Of all who are in Him, it will be said, “They overcame”

Well done, well done
Well done, faithful ones
Well done, well done
Well done, righteous ones (X2)

Pink: Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit

“‘Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is
the Kingdom of heaven’ (Matt. 5:3).

It is indeed blessed to mark how [The Sermon on the Mount] opens. Christ began not by pronouncing maledictions on the wicked, but by pronouncing benedictions on His people. How like Him was this, to whom judgment is a strange work (Isa. 28:21, 22; cf. John 1:17). But how strange is the next word: ‘blessed’ or ‘happy’ are the poor—‘the poor in spirit.’ Who, previously, had ever regarded them as the blessed ones of earth? And who, outside believers, does so today? And how these opening words strike the keynote of all Christ’s subsequent teaching: it is not what a man does but what he is that is most important.

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit.’ What is poverty of spirit? It is the opposite of that haughty, self assertive, and self-sufficient disposition that the world so much admires and praises. It is the very reverse of that independent and defiant attitude that refuses to bow to God, that determines to brave things out, and that says with Pharaoh, ‘Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice?’ (Exod. 5:2).

To be poor in spirit is to realize that I have nothing, am nothing, and can do nothing, and have need of all things. Poverty of spirit is evident in a person when he is brought into the dust before God to acknowledge his utter helplessness. It is the first experiential evidence of a Divine work of grace within the soul, and corresponds to the initial awakening of the prodigal in the far country when he ‘began to be in want’ (Luke 15:14).”

-A.W. Pink, The Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer, 15-16.

Pink: Thy Kingdom Come

“God’s name is manifestatively glorified here only in the proportion in which His Kingdom comes to us and His will is down by us…. But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness’ (Matt. 6:33). But though men ought to glorify God’s name upon earth, yet of themselves they cannot do so. God’s Kingdom must first be set up in their hearts. God cannot be honored by us until we voluntarily submit to His rule over us.

‘Thy Kingdom come.’ Whose Kingdom is being referred to here? Obviously, it is that of God the Father, yet it is not to be thought of as something separate from the Kingdom of the Son. The Father’s Kingdom is no more distinct from Christ’s than ‘the Church of the living God’ (1 Tim. 3:15) is something other than the Body of Christ or than the ‘Gospel of God’ (Rom. 1:1) is something different from ‘the Gospel of Christ’ (Rom. 1:16), or than ‘the Word of Christ’ (Col. 3:16) is to be distinguished from the Word of God. But Christ does mean, by the words ‘Thy Kingdom,’ to distinguish sharply the Kingdom of God from the kingdom of Satan (Matt. 12:25-28), which is a kingdom of darkness and disorder. Satan’s kingdom is not only opposite in character, but it also stands in belligerent opposition to the Kingdom of God.

The Father’s Kingdom is, first and more generally, His universal rule, His absolute dominion over all creatures and things. ‘Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is Thine; Thine is the Kingdom, O Lord, and Thou art exalted as Head above all’ (1 Chron. 29:11). Second, and more specifically, it is the external sphere of His grace on earth, where He is ostensibly acknowledged (see Matt. 13:11 and Mark 4:11 in their contexts). Third, and more definitely still, it is God’s spiritual and internal Kingdom, which is entered by regeneration, ‘Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God’ (John 3:5).

Now as the Father and the Son are one in nature, so is Their Kingdom the same; and thus it appears in each of its aspects. Concerning the aspect of providence, we read, ‘My Father worketh hitherto, and I work’ (John 5:17), signifying cooperation in the government of the world (Heb. 1:3). Christ now holds the mediatorial office of a King by virtue of His Father’s appointment (Luke 22:29) and establishment (Ps. 2:6). When the Kingdom is viewed very specifically as a reign of grace set up in the hearts of God’s people, it is rightly called both “the Kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 4:20) and ‘the Kingdom of His dear Son’ (Col. 1:13). Viewing the Kingdom in regard to its ultimate eternal glory, Christ says that He shall drink the fruit of the vine with us ‘in [His] Father’s Kingdom’ (Matt. 26:29), yet it is also called ‘the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’ (2 Peter 1:11). Thus it should seem perfectly natural to us when we read these words: ‘The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ’” (Rev. 11:15).

-A.W. Pink, The Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer, 91-93.

Bonhoeffer: Who Stands Firm?

Who stands firm?

Only the one whose ultimate standard is not his reason, his principles, conscience, freedom, or virtue; only the one who is prepared to sacrifice all of these when, in faith and in relationship to God alone, he is called to obedient and responsible action. Such a person is the responsible one, whose life is to be nothing but a response to God’s question and call. Where are these responsible ones?

Tripp: Trust

“Don’t be discouraged today. You can leave your ‘what-ifs’ and ‘if-onlys’ in the hands of the One who loves you and rules all things.”

Even though you’re a person of faith who has acquired some degree of biblical literacy and theological knowledge, there’s one thing you can be sure of—God will confuse you. Your theology will give you only a limited ability to exegete your experiences. The commands, principles, and case studies of Scripture will take you only so far in your quest to figure out your life. There will be moments when you simply don’t understand what is going on. In fact, you will face moments when what the God who has declared himself to be good brings into your life won’t seem good. It may even seem bad, very bad.

Now, if your faith is based on your ability to fully understand your past, present, and future,then your moments of confusion will become moments of weakening faith. But the reality is that you are not left with only two options—understand everything and rest in peace or understand little and be tormented by anxiety. There is a third way. It really is the way of true biblical faith. The Bible tells you that real peace is found in resting in the wisdom of the One who holds all of your ‘what-ifs’ and ‘if-onlys’ in his loving hands. Isaiah captures this well with these comforting words ‘You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you’ (Isa. 26:3).

Real, sturdy, lasting peace, peace that doesn’t rise and fall with circumstances, isn’t to be found in picking apart your life until you have understood all of the components. You will never understand it all because God, for your good and his glory, keeps some of it shrouded in mystery. So peace is found only in trust, trust of the One who is in careful control of all the things that tend to rob you of your peace. He knows, he understands, he is in control of what appears to be chaos, he is never surprised, he is never confused, he never worries or loses a night’s sleep, he never walks off the job to take a rest, he never gets so busy with one thing that he neglects another, and he never plays favorites.

You need to remind yourself again and again of his wise and loving control, not because that will immediately make your life make sense, but because it will give you rest and peace in those moments that all of us face at one time or another—when life doesn’t seem to make any sense.

For further study and encouragement: Luke 12:22-34”

-Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies, January 14.

Eareckson Tada: Hunger

“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” —Deuteronomy 8:2-3

Humans get hungry and not just for food but for a whole range of desires and dreams. Hunger to have hopes fulfilled and longings answered seems to be built into us. Sometimes our hunger gets us into trouble, and we wish we could curb our appetites. But in Deuteronomy 8:2, you’ll be surprised to learn who gives us these longings. The Lord is the one who causes us to hunger. He is the one who has put within us our desires and yearnings. At first, this seems odd. Doesn’t God know that the “hungries” often get us into trouble? God has good reasons for giving us such large appetites. He has placed within us desires and dreams in order to test us and humble us, to see what is in our heart, to see whether or not we would follow Him.He causes us to hunger so that we might learn to feed on the Bread of Heaven, to live on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

To hunger is to be human, but to hunger for God is to feed on Him. Hunger and thirst after His righteousness and feed on Him in your heart. Taste and see that the Lord is good; it is He who will fill you to satisfaction.

I am prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. I’m prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my beart, please take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.

-Joni Eareckson Tada, Diamonds In the Dust, January 14.

Alleine: Let Me Not Sin Against You

“Lord, keep me from yielding to sin, whatever I suffer. How could I do such wickedness? How could I neglect this duty and sin against you, God?

For your sake, Lord, let me not sin against you. You are good. You are kind. You are gracious. You are holy.

Will I sin or rebel? For your sake, Lord, I will not do it. I will not for my own sake. In sinning m against God, I sin against my own soul. Sin and death, sin and hell are linked together.

Even if it were not so,Lord,I will not sin against you.You are good in yourself and good to me. You are my God and my Father.

Love, care, tenderness, compassion, and kindness are all in your heart toward me.

What I am, what I have, what I hope for, that I breathe, that I live—all is your goodness and your bounty to me.

Do not let me rise up against the one that bore me and fed me. I would never return evil for good—not to my child, my fellow laborer, or my friend. And let me never do so to you, my Father and my God!

Do not let this evil which I fear ever come upon me. Put your fear into my heart, Lord, that I may not sin against you. Amen.”

-Richard Alleine, Piercing Heaven, Robert Elmer Ed., 83.