Bulletin Edition February 2020

Preserving grace before regeneration

(J.C. Philpot, “Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers”)

“To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ.” Jude 1

What a mercy it is for God’s people, that before they have a ‘vital union’ with Christ, before they are grafted into Him experimentally — they have an ‘eternal union’ with Him before all worlds. It is by virtue of this eternal union, that they come into the world . . .

at such a time,

at such a place,

from such parents,

under such circumstances

— just as God has appointed.

It is by virtue of this eternal union, that all the circumstances of their lives are ordained. By virtue of this eternal union, they are preserved in Christ before they are effectually called.

They cannot die — until God has brought about a vital union with Christ!

Whatever sickness they may pass through, whatever injuries they may be exposed to, whatever perils assault them on sea or land — die they will not, die they cannot — until God’s purposes are executed in bringing them into a vital union with the Son of His love.

Thus, this eternal union watched over every circumstance of their birth, watched over their childhood, watched over their manhood — watched over them until the appointed time and spot, when “the God of all grace,” according to His eternal purpose, was pleased to quicken their souls, and thus bring about an experimental union with the Lord of life and glory!

Distinguishing Grace!

(Don Fortner)

“Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” Genesis 6:8

What sad consequences there are to sin! That horrible, heart-hatred of God, which resides in the hearts of each of Adam’s sons and daughters — works havoc in the earth and will bring us all down to Hell in the end — unless God intervenes to save. The only hope there is for fallen, depraved, helpless sinners — is the omnipotent intervention of God’s irresistible grace!

The whole world was lost. The whole world was corrupt. The whole of Adam’s race was degenerate and walked in wickedness, provoking the wrath of God. But God, in great pity, mercy and compassion — showed Himself gracious to one man. “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” God spared Noah. God saved Noah. Through Noah, God preserved his family, preserved our race and thus preserved His elect for all generations to come!

Blessed be His name, God does intervene to save! He does not have to save. No mortal will ever seek salvation from Him — until first he is sought by Him. But God has, in indescribable, infinite mercy, chosen to save a people for His own glory — and save them, He will!

“I have loved you, My people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself!” Jeremiah 31:3

A union which will last forever!

(John MacDuff, “The Christian’s Pathway” 1858″)

“My Beloved is mine — and I am His!” Song of Songs 2:14

This is the language of the Christian in the book of Canticles. How great is the blessedness involved in such an assurance! My beloved Jesus is mine . . .

in the dignity of His person;

in the suitability of His offices;

in the immensity of His love;

in the efficacy of His atonement;

in the riches of His abounding grace!

His righteousness is mine — to justify me,

His Spirit is mine — to sanctify me,

His power is mine — to defend me,

His wisdom is mine — to guide me, and

His Heaven is mine — to receive me!

And what does Christ say to the believer in return?

“I am yours — and all that I have is yours! I have boundless and unsearchable riches — and those riches are for you! I have happiness to bestow, such as the mind in its largest grasp has never been able to conceive — and that happiness is for you! I have crowns and scepters at My disposal — and all those honors are for you! Yes, to him who overcomes, I will grant to sit with Me on My glorious throne!”

The Christian’s exaltation and bliss is not a matter of doubtful disputation. And what makes it so certain? It is the blessed truth that the union which exists between him and Christ — is an indissoluble union! All other relations, however close and endearing, must be broken. That union of husband and wife; and soul and body — has no power to resist the assault of death, the great destroyer.

All earthly ties must then be severed. But death, which breaks every other bond — only strengthens the bond between the Christian and Christ! Death, which quenches every other love — only kindles that of the believer for Jesus, into a purer and intenser flame! Death, which snatches every other object from our grasp — only brings us to the full enjoyment of Him, who is the fountain of life, the great center and source of all blessedness.

Christian, rejoice in your union with Jesus!

The changes of time cannot touch it!

The storms of life cannot injure it!

The sword of persecution cannot sever it!

The damps of death cannot affect it!

The malice of hell cannot move it!

It is a union which will last forever! It follows, therefore, that you, if a partaker of it — will be rich forever, safe forever, dignified forever, and blessed forever!

They will never perish!

(J. C. Philpot, “The Incorruptible Inheritance” 1865)

1Pet. 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

1Pet. 1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

1Pet. 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

The elect are preserved in Christ, BEFORE they are

called by grace. They are kept by the power of

God from perishing in their unregeneracy.

Have not you been almost miraculously preserved in the

midst of dangers, and escaped when others perished by

your side–or been raised up as it were, from the very

brink of destruction and the very borders of the grave?

Besides some striking escapes from what are called

‘accidents’, three times in my life–once in infancy, once

in boyhood, and once in manhood, I have been raised

up from the borders of the grave, when almost everyone

who surrounded my bed thought I would not survive the

violence of the attack.

Were not these instances of being kept by the power

of God? I could not die until God had manifested His

purposes of electing grace and mercy to my soul.

But the elect are also kept by the mighty power of God

AFTER they are called by grace; for they are in the hollow

of His hand, and are kept as the apple of His eye.

I will not say they are kept from all sins. Yet I will

say that they are kept from damning sins. They are

kept especially from three things . . .

from the dominion of sin,

from daring and final presumption,

from lasting and damnable error.

They are never drowned in the sins and evils of the

present life so as to be swallowed up in them–for

it is impossible that they can ever be lost!

They are therefore preserved in hours of temptation,

for they are guarded by all the power of Omnipotence,

shielded by the unceasing care and watchfulness of

Him who can neither slumber nor sleep.

Looking back through a long vista of years, can you not

see how the hand of God has been with you–how He has

held you up, and brought you through many a storm, and

preserved you under powerful temptations? How gently

He sometimes drew you on, or sometimes kept you back?

“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish!

No one can snatch them out of My hand!” John 10:28

Having chosen us, God begets us with His word,

regenerates us by a divine influence, and makes

us new creatures by the power and influence of

the Holy Spirit.

John Newton’s Letters

Difficulties and snares

April 15, 1776.

My dear Sir,

I often rejoice on your behalf. Your call out of the world was a singular, comfortable instance of the power of grace. And when I consider the difficulties and snares of your situation, and that you have been kept in the middle path, preserved from undue compliances on the one hand, and unnecessary singularities on the other, I cannot doubt but the Lord has hitherto helped and guided you. Indeed you have need of his guidance. At your young years, and with your expectations in life, your health firm, and your natural spirits lively—you are exposed to many snares. Yet if the Lord keeps you sensible of your danger, and dependent upon him, you will walk safely. Your security, success, and comfort, depend upon him; and in the way of means of grace—chiefly upon your being preserved in a humble sense of your own weakness.

It is written, “Fear not, I am with you.” It is written again, “Blessed is the man who fears always.” There is a perfect harmony in those seemingly different texts. May the wisdom which comes from above, teach you and I to keep them both united in our view. If the Lord is with us—we have no cause of fear. His eye is upon us, his arm is over us, his ear is open to our prayer; his grace sufficient, his promise unchangeable. Under his protection, though the path of duty should lie through fire and water—we may cheerfully and confidently pursue it.

On the other hand, our hearts are so deceitful, fallible, and frail; our spiritual enemies so subtle, watchful, and powerful; and they derive so many advantages from the occasions of every day, in which we are unavoidably and unexpectedly concerned; there is so much combustible materials within us, and so many temptations arising from without, capable of setting all in a flame; that we cannot be too jealous of ourselves and our circumstances.

When we can say, in the Psalmist’s spirit, “Hold me up” we may warrantably draw his conclusion, “and I shall be safe!” But the moment we lean to our own strength and wisdom—we are in imminent danger of falling. The enemy who wars against our souls, is a consummate master in his subtle devices, prolific in stratagems, and equally skillful in carrying on his assaults by sap or by storm. He studies us, if I may so say, all round, to discover our weak sides. He is a very proteus for changing his appearances, and can appear as a sly serpent, a roaring lion, or an angel of light—as best suits his purpose. It is a great mercy to be in some measure acquainted with his devices, and aware of them. Those who wait humbly upon the Lord, and consult carefully at his word and throne of grace, are made wiser than their enemy—and enabled to escape and withstand his wiles.

I know you will not expect me to apologize for putting you in mind of these things, though you know them. I have a double warrant; the love I bear you, and the Lord’s command, Heb. 3:13. Use the like freedom with me; I need it, and hope to be thankful for it, and accept it as one of the best proofs of friendship.

May the Lord bless and keep you. Pray for us, and believe me to be sincerely yours.

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