Wednesday, 17 October 2012

DEATH ALONE DISSOLVES THE MARRIAGE TIE

“But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.” (1 Corinthians 7:15) that is, to follow him and, press to live with him if he have deserted her. But does he say anything about or sanction her marrying again? Where does he say that desertion dissolves the marriage tie? On the contrary, in the very same chapter he decides the exact opposite: “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but,if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will, only in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 7:39) How clearly he decides the matter that death alone dissolves the marriage tie! By J.C. Philpot

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

"CAN TWO WALK TOGETHER, EXCEPT THEY BE AGREED?"

"Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3) -------------------- There was a time, child of God, when the world held in your heart the chief place. It was not so in God's heart. You and he were therefore at variance. But now, through grace, you are brought to make eternity your chief concern. You and God are agreed there; for in the mind of God eternity as much outweighs time as the stars in the midnight sky outweigh a grain of dust. There was a time when you loved the world and the things of time and sense; and earth and earthly things were your element and home. You and God disagreed upon that matter; because the Lord saw that the world was full of evil, whilst you saw it full of good. The Lord saw the world under His curse, and you loved its favour and its blessing-seeking madly and wickedly to enjoy that which God had denounced; therefore you could not agree. Thus you see that in order to be agreed with God, we must have God's thoughts in our heart, God's ways in our soul, and God's love in our affections. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord." (Isaiah 55:8) But they must become such; and when once God's thoughts become our thoughts and God's ways our ways; when once we have the mind of Christ and see with the eyes of God, then God and we become agreed, and being agreed, we can walk together. What is it to walk together? Why, it is to enjoy union, communion, fellowship, and friendship. Now as we are brought to agree with God, we walk with God. He has set up a mercy-seat on high, and when they thus agree, God and man may meet at the mercy-seat of the Redeemer. As the eyes are enlightened to see the truth of God; as the heart is touched to feel the power of God; and as the affections are drawn forth to love the things of God, we meet at the mercy-seat. It is sprinkled with blood; it contains and hides from view the broken tables of the law. There God meets man in gracious amity, and enables him to pour out his soul before him and to tell him his troubles, trials, and temptations. And every now and then he sweetly relieves by dropping in a gracious promise, applying some portion of his sacred truth, encouraging him to believe in his dear Son, and still to hope in his mercy. By J.C. Philpot

BLESSED IS HE, WHOSOEVER SHALL NOT BE OFFENDED IN ME"

"Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me." (Matthew 6:6) -------------------- What is the feeling of your heart toward Jesus? What is the solemn desire of your soul? That He would come and make your heart His abode? That He would visit your soul with the light of His countenance? That He would sprinkle His blood upon your conscience? That He would make Himself very near, very dear, and very precious? Do you count one word from His lips worth a thousand worlds? A smile of His countenance worth thousands of gold and silver? Then you are blessed. You are not stumbling upon the dark mountains of error. You are not stumbling at the perfections of the Son of God. You are not offended at a free gospel, an unconditional salvation. No; the Lord in mercy has slaughtered your prejudices, subdued your enmity, and brought you to receive the gospel as a little child. But some may say,
"I believe all this; but, then, I have doubts and fears whether the Lord has begun his work in me, whether I am one of his family. I cannot enjoy the power of truth as I could wish."
But does not the Lord say, "Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me"? You are not offended and stumbled at Jesus. And He that is not offended in Him, but is enabled to receive Him as the Christ of God, to look to Him, to believe in Him, and at times to feel Him precious — He comes under the blessing which maketh rich, and addeth no sorrow with it. By J.C. Philpot

"THEY THAT WAIT UPON THE LORD SHALL RENEW THEIR STRENGTH"

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength." (Isaiah 40:31) -------------------- How different the religion of a living soul is from the religion of a dead professor! The religion of a dead professor begins in self, and ends in self; begins in his own wisdom, and ends in his own folly; begins in his own strength, and ends in his own weakness; begins in his own righteousness, and ends in his own damnation. There is in him never any going out of soul after God, no secret dealings with the Lord, no actings of faith upon the divine perfections. But the child of God, though he is often faint, weary, and exhausted with many difficulties, burdens and sorrows; yet when the Lord does shew Himself, and renews his strength, he soars aloft, and never ceases to mount up on the wings of faith and love till he penetrates into the very sanctuary of the most High. A living soul never can be satisfied except in living union and communion with the Lord of life and glory. Everything short of that leaves it empty. All the things of time and sense leave a child of God unsatisfied. Nothing but vital union and communion with the Lord of life, to feel His presence, taste His love, enjoy His favour, see His glory - nothing but this will ever satisfy the wants of ransomed and regenerated souls. This the Lord indulges His people with. "They shall renew their strength." They shall not be always lying groaning on the ground, not always swooning away through the wounds made by sin, not always chained down by the fetters of the world, not always hunted in their souls like a partridge upon the mountains. There shall be a renewal of their strength; and in their renewal, "they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." By J.C. Philpot

"I WAS ALIVE WITHOUT THE LAW ONCE..."

"I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died." (Romans 7:9) -------------------- The Apostle describes in his own case how men are affected toward the law before it enters as a condemning sentence into their heart. "I was alive without the law once." The law was hanging over him as a condemning sentence, as a minister of death, as a messenger of wrath, as a consuming fire, but he felt it not. As with a thunderstorm in the remote distance, he might hear the low mutterings of the thunder which once rolled over Sinai's fiery mount, or might see from far the play of those lightnings which scorched its top. But at present the storm was in the distance. He went about without thinking, or feeling, or fearing, or caring whether the law was his friend or enemy. In fact he rather viewed it as his friend, for he was using it as a friendly help to build up his own righteousness. He had gone to it, but it had not come to him; he knew its letter, but not its spirit; its outward commands, but not its inward demands. He therefore speaks of himself as being "alive without the law," that is, without any knowledge of what it was as a ministration of condemnation and death. But in God's own appointed time and way, "the commandment came;" that is, it came with power into his conscience. He found that he could keep every one of the commandments [or so he thought] but the tenth; for according to his apprehension and his interpretation of them, they did not extend beyond an external obedience. But the tenth commandment, "Thou shalt not covet," struck into the very depth of his conscience, for it was a prohibition from the mouth of God of the inward lusts of the heart, and that prohibition attended with an awful curse. Under this stroke sin, which before lay seemingly dead in his breast, revived like a sleeping serpent; and what was the consequence? It stung him to death, for he says, "And I died;" for the commandment which was ordained unto life he found to be unto death! Sin could not brook to be thwarted or opposed; it therefore rose up in enmity against God, took advantage of the commandment to rebel against the authority of Jehovah, and its guilt in consequence falling upon his conscience, made tender in the fear of God, slew him. It would not have done so had there been no life in his soul; but there being light to see and life to feel the anger of God revealed in the commandment, when the law came into his conscience as a sentence from a just and holy Jehovah, the effect was to produce a sentence of death in himself. And this experience which the Apostle describes as his own is what the law does and ever must do when applied to the conscience by the power of God. It kills, it slays the condemned sinner; it is a sentence of death in a man's own conscience, which only awaits the hour of death and the day of judgment to be carried into execution. By J.C. Philpot

"WE KNOW THAT WE HAVE PASSED FROM DEATH UNTO LIFE"

"We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren." (I John 3:14) -------------------- The Lord's people in their early days have a measure of heavenly love. Love [is] manifested in them [for] God's word, God's people, God's servants, and God's truth. There is in them, in their weakest and tenderest days, a separation from the world, a casting-in of their lot amongst the people of God, a going-out in the tenderness of their heart and affection towards them. We see this in Ruth: though she was a poor heathen idolatress, no sooner was her heart touched by the finger of God, than she clave to Naomi. Divine love can only spring from the teachings and operations of God upon the heart. Our "carnal mind is enmity against God" — nothing but implacable, irreconcilable enmity. But when the Lord is pleased to make himself in some measure, known to the soul; when he is pleased, in some degree, to unveil his lovely face, and to give a discovery of his grace and glory — immediately love springs up. He is so lovely an Object! As the Bride says, He is "altogether lovely." His beauty is so surpassing, his grace so rich, his mercy so free — all that he is and has is so unspeakably glorious — that no sooner does he unveil his lovely face, than he wins over all the love of the heart, takes possession of the bosom, and draws every affection of the soul to centre wholly and solely in himself. By J.C. Philpot

"IF ANY MAN COME TO ME, AND HATE NOT HIS FATHER..."

"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26-27) -------------------- There is no middle path to heaven — there is no intermediate state between hell and heaven; no purgatory for that numerous class who think themselves hardly good enough for heaven, yet hardly bad enough for hell. No; there is no intermediate road nor state. We must win Christ as our own most blessed Jesus, and with Him enjoy the happiness and glory of heaven, or sink down to hell with all our sins upon our head beneath His most terrible frown. The soul then that has been charmed with the beauty and blessedness of Jesus longs to win Him, and that not for a day, month, or year, but for eternity; for in obtaining Him, it obtains all that God can give the soul of man to enjoy as created immortal and for immortality. Under the influence of His grace, it feels at times, even here below, all its immortal powers springing forth into active, heavenly life, and looks forward in faith and hope to a glorious eternity, where it will be put into possession of the highest enjoyment which God can give to man, even union with Himself by virtue of union with His dear Son, according to those wonderful words of the Redeemer himself — "That they all may he one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us" (John 17:21). By J.C. Philpot