Fountain of Never Ceasing Grace

Fountain of never ceasing grace,
Thy saints’ exhaustless theme,
Great object of immortal praise,
Essentially supreme;
We bless Thee for the glorious fruits
Thine incarnation gives;
The righteousness which grace imputes,
And faith alone receives.

Whom heaven’s angelic host adores,
Was slaughtered for our sin;
The guilt, O Lord was wholly ours,
The punishment was Thine:
Our God in the flesh, to set us free,
Was manifested here;
And meekly bare our sins, that we
His righteousness might wear.

Imputatively guilty then
Our substitute was made,
That we the blessings might obtain
For which His blood was shed:
Himself He offered on the cross,
Our sorrows to remove;
And all He suffered was for us,
And all He did was love.

In Him we have a righteousness,
By God Himself approved;
Our rock, our sure foundation this,
Which never can be moved.
Our ransom by His death He paid,
For all His people giv’n,
The law He perfectly obeyed,
That they might enter Heav’n.

As all, when Adam sinned alone,
In his transgression died,
So by the righteousness of One,
Are sinners justified,
We to Thy merit, gracious Lord,
With humblest joy submit,
Again to Paradise restored,
In Thee alone complete.

Our souls His watchful love retrieves,
Nor lets them go astray,
His righteousness to us He gives,
And takes our sins away:
We claim salvation in His right,
Adopted and forgiv’n,
His merit is our robe of light,
His death the gate of Heav’n.

-Augustus Toplady, 1774

Fierce Tornadoes and the Fingers of God

John Piper gives a hard, but scriptural response to the devastating tornadoes which afflicted our nation. We grieve suffering because we see the pain it brings. But suffering is a result of the Fall and our sin, and thus we cannot blame God. His divine purposes are perfect and aren’t we thankful that He sent His Son to rescue us from the consequences of the Curse!

Posted at Desiring God:  http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/fierce-tornadoes-and-the-fingers-of-god

“Why would God reach down his hand and drag his fierce fingers across rural America killing at least 38 people with 90 tornadoes in 12 states, and leaving some small towns with scarcely a building standing, including churches?

If God has a quarrel with America, wouldn’t Washington,D.C., or Las Vegas, or Minneapolis, or Hollywood be a more likely place to show his displeasure?

We do not ascribe such independent power to Mother Nature or to the devil.

God alone has the last say in where and how the wind blows. If a tornado twists at 175 miles an hour and stays on the ground like a massive lawnmower for 50 miles, God gave the command.

•“The wind of the Lord, shall come, rising from the wilderness, and it shall strip Ephraim’s treasury of every precious thing” (Hosea 13:15).

• “The Lord turned the wind into a very strong west wind, which lifted the locusts and drove them into the Red Sea” (Exodus 10:19).

• “God appointed a scorching east wind” (Jonah 4:8).

• “God commanded and raised the stormy wind” (Psalm 107:25).

• “Even winds and sea obey Jesus” (Matthew 8:27).

But why Marysville and not Minneapolis? Why Henryville and not Hollywood?

God has spoken about these things. Consider three ways he addresses — all of us.

1. Job, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Job’s ten children died because “a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people” (Job 1:19).

Job cries out to God, “Why have you made me your mark? . . . Why do you hide your face and count me as your enemy? . . . Why do the wicked live, reach old age, and grow mighty in power?” (Job 7:2013:2421:7).

In other words, Why Henryville, and notHollywood?

God’s answer to Job is not that he was a worse sinner than the “wicked” — or that Maryville had some dark secret.

His answer was, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?’” (Romans 11:33–34Job 15:836:22f).

Job’s loss was not a measure of his immorality. “Job was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil” (Job 1:1).

In fact, perhaps God chose Job for that deadly wind because only the likes of Job would respond: “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

2. Luke 13:4–5, “Unless you repent.”

A Tower fell and killed 18 people in Jesus’ day. Jesus spoke into that situation: “Those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:4–5).

This is a word to those of us who sit safely in Minneapolis or Hollywood and survey the desolation of Marysville and Henryville. “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Every deadly wind in any town is a divine warning to every town.

3. 1 Peter 4:17, “God’s own people are not excluded.”

We are not God’s counselors. Nor can we fathom all his judgments. That was the lesson of Job. Let us beware, therefore, of reading the hand of providence with too much certainty or specificity. God is always doing a thousand things when he does anything. And we see but a fraction.

But stir into your mental framework this truth: When a time for judgment comes, it usually includes, and begins with, God’s own people. That’s what the apostle Peter says.

“It is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17Jeremiah 25:29Ezekiel 9:6Amos 3:2).

Therefore, God’s will for Americaunder his mighty hand, is that every Christian, every Jew, every Muslim, every person of every religion or non-religion, turn from sin and come to Jesus Christ for forgiveness and eternal life. Jesus rules the wind. The tornadoes were his.

But before Jesus took any life in rural America, he gave his own on the rugged cross. Come to me, he says, to America— to the devastated and to the smugly self-sufficient. Come to me, and I will give you hope and help now, and in the resurrection, more than you have ever lost.

You can show your partnership in suffering, and help lift the load, at Samaritan’s Purse.”

-John Piper, 03-05-2012

How God Views a Right Heart

When the heart is right — God can look over many things that are defective. There may be faults in judgment, and infirmities in practice. There may be many deviations from the best course in the outward things of religion. But if the heart is sound in the main, God is not extreme to mark that which is amiss. He is merciful and gracious, and will pardon much that is imperfect — when He sees a true heart and a single eye.

-J.C. Ryle, Tract: Formal Religion, Complements of: http://jcrylequotes.com/2011/12/16/how-god-views-a-right-heart/

 

Only Two Classes

“Until the Bridegroom comes there will always be some in the visible Church who have grace—and some who have no grace. Some will have nothing but the name of Christian—others will have the reality. Some will have the profession of religion—others will have the possession also. Some will be content to belong to the church—others will never be content unless they also belong to Christ. Some will be satisfied if they have only the baptism of water—others will never be satisfied unless they also feel within the baptism of the Spirit. Some will stop short in the form of Christianity—others will never rest unless they have also the substance.

The visible Church of Christ is made up of these two classes. There always have been such; there always will be such until the end. Gracious and graceless, wise and foolish, make up the whole Church of Christ. You are all written down in this parable yourselves. You are all either wise virgins—or foolish . You have the oil of grace—or you have none. You are all either members of Christ—or not. You are all either traveling towards heaven—or towards hell.”

-J.C. Ryle, Tract: The Ten Virgins
Complements of: http://jcrylequotes.com/2011/11/03/the-two-classes-of-christs-church/

One King

In the beginning there was the Word
Pure love was spoken to reach every man
They stopped and listened but all that they heard
Was a language that they could not understand.
No joy, no peace, no hope insight
 
So He came with starlight and love in His eyes
No regal welcome for His infant cry
There have been many babies to become a king
But only one King became a baby
 
He left behind His throne of pure light
Gave up His crown that we might be free
He chose a manger that Bethlehem night
And reaching through time and space He saw me
No joy, no peace, no hope insight
 
So He came with starlight and love in His eyes,
No regal welcome for His infant cry
There have been many babies to become a king
But only one King became a baby
 
He could have chosen to break through the sky
With anthem and angel wing
But He knew we’d understand a baby’s cry
And learn love from a servant king
 
So He came with starlight and love in His eyes,
No regal welcome for His infant cry
There have been so many babies to become a king
But only one King became a baby.
 
-David Phelps, 2007

Confidence in Christ

I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.
 
But I know Whom I have believèd,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.
 
I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.
 
I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing us of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.
 
I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.
 
I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.
 
-Daniel W. Whittle, Gos­pel Hymns No. 4, 1883

Confidence in Christ

I know not why God’s wondrous grace

To me He hath made known,

Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love

Redeemed me for His own.
 
I know not how this saving faith

To me He did impart,

Nor how believing in His Word

Wrought peace within my heart.
 
I know not how the Spirit moves,

Convincing us of sin,

Revealing Jesus through the Word,

Creating faith in Him.
 
I know not what of good or ill

May be reserved for me,

Of weary ways or golden days,

Before His face I see.
 
I know not when my Lord may come,

At night or noonday fair,

Nor if I walk the vale with Him,

Or meet Him in the air.
 
But I know Whom I have believed,

And am persuaded that He is able

To keep that which I’ve committed

Unto Him against that day.
 
-Daniel W. Whittle, Gospel Hymns No. 4, 1883.
 
“…for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12 KJV

Sin

“The gates of Heaven are broad enough to receive the worst of sinners, but too narrow to admit the smallest grain of unforsaken sin.”

J. C. Ryle, The Christian Race, 131

“Anything that is hurtful to your soul must be laid aside if you would see and live in the glory of Christ as He intends.”

“He’ll take any sinner, but you have to be willing to leave your sin.”

-Rick Holland, Uneclipsing the Son, 137

No Longer in Trouble with God

“Dad, it’s so good not to be in trouble with God because of Jesus.”

-Son of Rick Holland, as recorded in Rick Holland, Uneclipsing the Son, 25

Romans 5:8-19 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”