Daily Blessings

“And I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”

~ Rev 21:7

What a promise! That the God of heaven and earth will be our God, our Father, our Benefactor, our eternal, almighty Friend! and that we, in overcoming, shall receive the adoption of sons; shall be manifested as the “sons and daughters” of the Almighty, and receive the inheritance reserved for the children of God! The promise runs in connection with “him that overcomes.” If we do not overcome, the promise is not for us. The promise of sonship is connected with overcoming, in the same manner as that of “inheritance” is connected with it. Do I need to receive into my heart the Spirit of adoption? Do I need to feel the love of God the Father shed abroad in my soul? Do I need to establish a blessed title to the inheritance that he gives to his children? How am I to get it? How is it to be obtained? By making myself religious, becoming holy, subduing my lusts in my own strength? This sets me farther from God than I was before. This makes me a god to myself! If I am saved by my own holiness, by my own strength, by my own righteousness, I worship myself; and in worshiping myself, I become my own god. That is idolatry, damnable idolatry; so that he who lives and dies in the worship of self, will live and die under the wrath of God as an idolater.

Then how am I to receive adoption? By overcoming, not in my own strength, but in the strength of the Lord of life and glory. If I am shut up in self, I inherit self; nothing more. If I inherit the world, I have no more than the world. If I inherit sin, I inherit death, which is the wages of sin. Nothing more. But if I overcome; if weak, helpless, and defenseless, I yield myself up to the hands of the Lord, as clay in the hands of the Potter; not seeking my own will, but looking to the Lord to make known his will in my conscience, and to work in me that which is well-pleasing in his sight—if I have this, I have an evidence of sonship; and where that evidence is, there will be a further evidence of it in the Spirit of adoption, enabling the soul to call God “Father.” And he that calls God “Father” here below, will call God “Father” above, where he will enter into the full enjoyment of it, and bathe in the consolations of Father, Son, and Spirit to all eternity.

Daily Blessings

“And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life.”

~ Heb 7:15-16

We may say of the life which the Lord Jesus lives in the courts of heavenly bliss that it is a threefold life. There is, first, his eternal life, by which I mean the eternal life of God in his divine nature. This he lives IN HIMSELF; for “as the Father has life in himself; so has he given to the Son to have life in himself” (John 5:26). He is hereby “Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” And this life is the foundation of all his acts of mediation, as being God over all, blessed forever.

But there is a life which he lives FOR HIMSELF, that is, a life of inconceivable glory in his human nature. This is the life which he laid down that he might take it again. This life is the cause of, and is attended with all that ineffable glory which he now enjoys in heaven. This life he lives for himself, his reward, and the glory and honor with which he is crowned; as the Psalmist says, “You set a crown of pure gold on his head. He asked life of you, and you gave it to him, even length of days forever and ever” (Psalm 21:3, 4).

But there is another life which he lives—a mediatorial life, a life FOR US. Thus we read, that “he was made a priest on the basis of the power of an indestructible life;” and he says of himself, “I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Rev. 1:18). Now this life does not differ essentially from the second life, of which I have spoken, the life of glory in the human nature; but it differs in this point, that when the work of mediation is accomplished, he will cease to live a mediatorial life; for he will then “deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father, when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power” (1 Cor. 15:24).

Daily Blessings

“By grace you are saved.”

~ Eph 2:5

Oh! the volumes of blessed truth that are couched in these few words; thrown in out of the Apostle’s full heart as if to give a moment’s vent to his love of salvation by grace! Mercy, love, and grace are all in the bosom of God toward his saints; and yet they differ from each other. But how? Mercy regards the criminal; love regards the object; grace, perhaps, is a blending of the two—the union of mercy and love. God loves the holy unfallen angels; there is an object of love in which there is no mixture of mercy; for having never sinned, mercy they do not need. Again, God showed no mercy to the fallen angels; there we have justice and wrath, without mercy; but in the case of the saints of God, the election of grace, we have not only mercy and love, but we have the joint attribute, that uniting mercy and love in one stream flows onward to the Church, as the river of the water of life; the pure crystal river of grace.

Grace means, as you well know, the pure favor of God, and, as such, is sovereign, distinguishing, free, and super-abounding. Every attribute of Jehovah is distinct, and yet so blended that the whole shine forth in one glorious effulgence. The rays of the sun united form one complete body of pure, bright light; but the prism or the rainbow separates these rays into distinct colors. So the attributes of God are not confused though blended, and all shine forth in one pure bright glory. But this is the peculiar character of grace, that any intermixture of worth or worthiness in the object would destroy it. For if the gospel require merit, we are damned by it as inevitably as by the law. This Luther felt when, racked and torn by the words “the righteousness of God without the law is manifested,” he cried out in the agony of his soul, “What! am I damned not only by the law, but damned by the gospel also!”

This pure, free, unadulterated grace is the joy of every soul that is able to receive it; for it comes as a blessed cordial when sinking and swooning under a sight and sense of the deserved wrath of God. When, then, the pure gospel of the grace of God comes as a cordial from the Most High, it lifts up his drooping head, revives his sinking soul, and pours oil and wine into his bleeding wounds. By this grace we are justified, pardoned, accepted, sanctified, and saved with an everlasting salvation. Oh! glad tidings to perishing sinners! Oh! blessed news to those who are sinking under a sense of guilt and misery, in whom the law of God is discharging its dreadful curse!

When we get a view by faith, and a sweet taste of the pure grace of God, what a balm, what a cordial, what a sweet reviving draught it is. It is this which makes us prize so highly, and exalt so gladly the free grace of God; because it is so pure, so free, and so super-abounding over all the aboundings of sin, guilt, filth, and folly. It never can be laid down too clearly, it never can be too much insisted on that “by grace,” and grace alone, “you are saved.” If free grace has reached your soul, it has saved your soul; if free grace has come into your heart, it has blessed you with an everlasting salvation, and you will live to prove it, when your happy soul joins the throng of the blessed.

If anything can lift up a drooping sinner, restore a backslider, break a hard, or soften a stony heart; draw forth songs of praise, and tears of contrition; produce repentance and godly sorrow for sin; a humble mind and a tender conscience; it is a sweet experience of the super-abounding grace of God. Can we then exalt it too much? Can we prize it too highly? Can we cleave to it too closely? No; in proportion as we feel our ruin and misery, we shall cleave to it with every desire of our soul; for it is all our salvation, as it is all our desire.

Daily Blessings

“Where the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus.”

~ Heb 6:20

How blessedly did the Lord comfort his sorrowing disciples when he said to them, “In my Father’s house are many mansions—if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” He has gone to take possession beforehand of his and their everlasting home; for he is ascended to his Father and their Father, to his God and their God. He has, as it were, filled heaven with new beauty, new happiness, new glory. In him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. His glorious Person as Immanuel has become the object of heaven’s praise and adoration. The elect angels adore him as God-man; and the spirits of just men made perfect worship him in company with the angelic host. What a view had holy John of heaven’s glorious worship, when he saw the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fall down before the Lamb; when he heard their new song and the voice of many angels round about the throne, and all saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain—to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing” (Rev. 5:12).

Daily Blessings

“But the anointing which you have received of him abides in you.”

~ 1 John 2:27

All the powers of earth and hell are combined against this holy anointing, with which the children of God are so highly favored. But if God has locked up in the bosom of a saint one drop of this divine unction, that one drop is armor against all the assaults of sin, all the attacks of Satan, all the enmity of self, and all the charms, pleasures, and amusements of the world. Waves and billows of affliction may roll over the soul; but they cannot wash away this holy drop of anointing oil. Satan may shoot a thousand fiery darts to inflame all the combustible material of our carnal mind; but all his fiery darts cannot burn up that one drop of oil which God has laid up in the depths of a broken spirit. The world, with all its charms and pleasures, and its deadly opposition to the truth of God, may stir up waves of ungodliness against this holy anointing; but all the powers of earth combined can never extinguish that one drop which God has himself lodged in the depths of a believer’s heart.

JONAH had it locked up in the depths of his soul when he was in the whale’s belly; but not all the waves and billows that went over his head, nor even the very depths of hell itself, in whose belly he felt he was, could wash away that drop of anointing oil which God had lodged in his soul. DAVID sank deep into sin and remorse; but all his sin and misery never drank up that drop of anointing oil that God the Spirit had dropped into his heart. The PRODIGAL SON goes into a far country; but he never loses that drop of anointing oil, though he wastes his substance in riotous living. HEMAN complains out of the depths of his affliction; but all his troubles never drank up that holy anointing oil that God had put into his soul. HEZEKIAH on his apparent death-bed, when he turned his face to the wall, was severely tried, and almost in despair; yet all his affliction and despondency never drained the holy drop of anointing oil.

And so it has been with thousands and tens of thousands of the dear saints of God. Not all their sorrows, I may say more, not all their sins, backslidings, slips, falls, miseries, and wretchedness, have ever, all combined, drunk up the anointing that God has bestowed upon them. If sin could have done it, we would have sinned ourselves into hell long ago; and if the world or Satan could have destroyed it or us, they would long ago have destroyed both. If our carnal mind could have done it, it would have swept us away into floods of destruction. But the anointing abides sure, and cannot be destroyed; and where once lodged in the soul, it is secure against all the assaults of earth, sin, and hell.

The saints of God feel that it abides; for it springs up at times in prayer and desires after the living God; and it breaks forth into faith, hope, and love. Thus it not only abides as a divine reality, but as a living principle, springing up into eternal life. Were it not so, there would be no revivals, no fresh communications, no renewed testimonies, no breakings forth, no tender meltings, no breathings out of desire for the Lord’s presence, no mourning over his absence. But the anointing abides, and this preserves the soul from death, and keeps it alive in famine.

Daily Blessings

“But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.”

~ Heb 10:12

It is a fundamental article of our most holy faith, that the man Christ Jesus is now at God’s right hand, a very man, not a shadowy, ethereal substance. “There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” God looks at him as such with eyes of intense delight, with ever new approbation and love; and views him as the representative of all that are savingly interested in him; he being the Head, the Church the members; he the Bridegroom, the Church the bride; he the great High Priest, and the Church the house of God. As living for her at the right hand of the Father, he is ever presenting on her behalf the validity of his intercession. The fact, the reality that he is there, is the Church’s joy, as it is all her hope and all her boast. “Because I live, you shall live also.”

To him, then, do we direct our prayers; on his glorious Person we fix our believing eyes; upon his blood we hang our hope; under his righteousness we ever desire to shelter; to feel his presence, taste his grace, experience his love, and know his power, is what our soul, under divine teaching, is ever longing for. See, then, the grounds of holy boldness for a poor sinner to enter into the holiest. Blood has been shed, which blood has the validity of Godhead stamped upon it. A new and living way has been consecrated, in which a living soul may walk. A great High Priest is set over the house of God, who is ever presenting the merits of his intercession. Thus, those who feel their need of him, who cannot live, and dare not die without him, whose eyes are upon him and hearts towards him, are encouraged to enter with all holy boldness into the holiest, that they may have communion with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Daily Blessings

“God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him.”

~ 1 John 4:16

Love is communicative. This is a part of its very nature and essence. Its delight is to give, and especially to give itself; and all it wants or asks is a return. To love and to be beloved, to enjoy and to express that ardent and mutual affection by words and deeds, this is love’s delight, love’s heaven. To love, and not be loved, this is love’s misery, love’s hell. God is love. This is his very nature, an essential attribute of his glorious being; and as he, the infinite and eternal Jehovah, exists in a Trinity of distinct Persons, though undivided Unity of Essence, there is a mutual, ineffable love between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To this mutual, ineffable love of the three Persons in the sacred Godhead the Scripture abundantly testifies, “The Father loves the Son;” “And have loved them as you have loved me;” “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” And as the Father loves the Son, so does the Son love the Father, “But that the world may know that I love the Father,” are his own blessed words. And that the Holy Spirit loves the Father and the Son is evident not only from his divine personality in the Godhead, but because he is essentially the very “Spirit of love” (Romans 15:30), and as such “sheds the love of God abroad in the heart” of the election of grace.

Thus man was not needed by the holy and ever-blessed Trinity as an object of divine love. Sufficient, eternally and amply sufficient, to all the bliss and blessedness, perfection and glory of Jehovah was and ever would have been the mutual love and intercommunion of the three Persons in the sacred Godhead. But love, the equal and undivided love of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, flowed out beyond its original and essential being to man; and not merely to man as man, that is to human nature as the body prepared for the Son of God to assume, but to thousands and millions of the human race, who are all loved personally and individually with all the infinite love of God as much as if that love were fixed on only one, and he were loved as God loves his dear Son. “I have loved you with an everlasting love,” is spoken to each individual of the elect as much as to the whole Church, viewed as the mystical Bride and Spouse of the Lamb.

Thus the love of a Triune God is not only to the nature which in due time the Son of God should assume, the flesh and blood of the children, the seed of Abraham which he should take on him (Hebrews 2:14-16), and for this reason viewed by the Triune Jehovah with eyes of intense delight, but to that innumerable multitude of human beings who were to form the mystical body of Christ. Were Scripture less express, we might still believe that the nature which one of the sacred Trinity was to assume would be delighted in and loved by the holy Three-in-One. But we have the testimony of the Holy Spirit to the point, that puts it beyond all doubt or question. When, in the first creation of that nature the Holy Trinity said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” and when, in pursuance of that divine council, “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living, soul,” God thereby uniting an immortal soul to an earthly body, this human nature was created not only in the moral image of God, but after the pattern of that body which was prepared for the Son of God by the Father.

Daily Blessings

The full soul loaths an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.”

~ Prov 27:7

Afflictions, trials, and sorrows are very bitter things. And they must needs be bitter, for God never meant that they should be otherwise. When he takes the rod, it is to make it felt; and when he brings trouble on his children, it is that they may smart under it. Our text therefore does not, I believe, mean that the “bitter thing” is sweet when it is taken, for then it would cease to be bitter; but it is sweet on account of the blessed nourishment that is brought to the soul out of it.

I remember reading, many years ago, the travels of Franklin to the North Pole; and a very interesting book it is naturally. But there is one incident mentioned in it which just strikes my mind. In wandering over the snows of the polar regions there was no food to be gotten for weeks, except a lichen or kind of moss that grew upon the rocks, and that was so exceedingly bitter, (something like “Iceland moss,”) that it could only be taken with the greatest disgust; and yet upon that Franklin and his companions lived. They had no alternative; they must either eat that or die. But that bitter moss became sweet after it had passed their palates; for it had a nutriment in it which kept their bodies alive.

And thus many of God’s people, who have endured the most dreadful trials, have afterwards found nutriment to spring out of them. What bitter things are God’s reproofs and rebukes in the conscience! And yet who would be without them? I appeal to you who fear God, whether you would deliberately choose never to experience marks of divine disapprobation, and never feel the frowns of God’s anger at any time when you go wrong? I believe in my conscience that you whose hearts are tender in God’s fear would say, “Lord, let me have your frowns; for if I have not your frowns and a conscience to feel them, what sins would I not recklessly plunge into? Where would not my wicked nature carry me, if I had not your solemn reproofs!” These very rebukes then become sweet, not in themselves, nor at the time, but because of the solid profit that comes out of them.

Daily Blessings

“And patience of hope.”

~ 1 Thess 1:3

What is meant by the expression “patience?” It means ‘endurance’; as though hope had to endure, faith to work, and love to labor. It is the “patience of hope” that proves its reality and genuineness. Hope does not go forward fighting and cutting its way. Hope is like a quiet sufferer, patiently bearing what comes upon it. Hope is manifested in enduring, as faith is manifested in acting. For instance—when the Lord hides his face, when testimonies sink out of sight, when signs are not seen, when Satan tempts, when the work of grace upon the soul seems to be all obscured, and in consequence a feeling of despondency begins to set in, then the “patience of hope” is needed to endure all things—not to give way, but to maintain its hold.

It acts in the same way, according to the beautiful figure of Paul, as the anchor holds the ship. What is the main value, the chief requisite in the CABLE that holds the anchor? Is it not endurance? The cable does nothing; it simply endures. It does not make a great ado in the water; its only good quality, the only quality needed in it, is strength to endure, not to break. When the waves rise, the billows beat, the storm blows, and the tide runs strongly, then the work of the cable is not to part from the anchor, not to break, but firmly to maintain the hold it has once taken. And thus with the ANCHOR too. It does nothing, and is needed to do nothing. To hold fast is all its work and all its excellence.

Thus it is with a hope in a sinner’s breast. Has the Lord ever shown himself gracious unto him? Has the Lord ever made himself precious to his soul? ever dropped a testimony into his conscience? ever spoken with power to his heart? Has his soul ever felt the Spirit inwardly testifying that he is one of God’s people? Then his hope is manifested by enduring patiently everything that is brought against it to crush it, and if God did not keep, utterly to destroy it.

Daily Blessings

They go from strength to strength, until each appears before God in Zion.”

~ Ps 84:7

“They go from strength to strength.” It is in the margin, “from company to company.” I rather think, that the meaning implied is, “they go from resting place to resting place.” There were certain fixed spots where the whole company rested at night; as we read, when the infant Jesus tarried at Jerusalem, his parents knew it not for they supposed that he was “in the company;” that is, had gone on with the traveling pilgrims; but when night came, and they looked for him, he was not there.

These resting places were certain spots where the caravan of the traveling pilgrims rested at night; by these successive restings their strength was recruited, and they were enabled to bear the long journey, rising in the morning refreshed with their night’s rest.

The Psalmist viewing it spiritually says, “They go from strength to strength.” At each resting place they received fresh strength to pursue their journey onward. And is not this true in grace? There are resting places in the divine life, spots of refreshment, where the true pilgrims renew their strength. For instance, every manifestation of the Lord is a communication of divine strength, a recruiting place, where the soul renews its strength to travel onward. Every promise that comes with sweet power is another resting place where the traveler may rest. Every discovery of saving interest in Christ; every glimpse of the grace and glory of Jesus; every word from the Lord’s lips; every smile from the Lord’s face; every token for good; everything that encourages, supports, blesses, and comforts the soul, enabling it to go onwards towards its heavenly home, is a resting place, where the pilgrim rests, and where he recruits his weary limbs.

And where can we rest, except where God rests? But does not God “rest in his love?” And can we rest anywhere short of God’s love shed abroad in our heart? Does not God rest in his dear Son? Did not this voice come from the excellent glory, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased?” All the satisfaction of God centers in Jesus; all the delight of the Father rests in the Son of his love. “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; my elect, in whom my soul delights!” Can we then rest anywhere but where God rests? Is it not spiritually with us as with the Israelites of old? When the cloud tarried, they tarried; when the cloud went, they went; when the cloud moved onward, they followed it; and when the cloud stopped, they halted, and rested beneath its shadow.