The most comforting attribute of God

“There is no attribute of God more comforting to his children than the doctrine of Divine Sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that Sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children of God ought more earnestly to contend than the dominion of their Master over all creation—the kingship of God over all the works of his own hands—the throne of God, and his right to sit upon that throne … for it is God upon the throne whom we trust.”

-C.H. Spurgeon

Reformed Roots

When I mention to people that I am a “Reformed Baptist” in my religious beliefs I usually get some strange and puzzled looks. Unless the person you are talking to is also Reformed, sympathetic to Reformed beliefs, or a hater of John Calvin they generally have no earthly idea what you mean. But even in “Reformed” circles today the word has been watered down. Rev. Watts mentions this watering down in the first chapter of his book What Is A Reformed Church:

“In many cases, the term (Reformed) means little more than some adherence to the “five points of Calvinism.” The term has lost its great historical richness and depth as the struggles of the Reformation have faded into distant history.”

It is true that the history of the Protestant Reformation is all but forgotten by the people today that claim the title “Protestant.” It’s more than a bit sad that they know nothing of where their church came from, the struggles it was birthed out of, or the mighty men and women that gave their lives for her.

The first chapter of Rev. Watts book is titled, “The Distinctives of a Reformed Church.” Before getting into the characteristic of a Reformed Church one must look at the roots of the term “Reformed” to gain a clear understanding of the word.

The term “Reformed” first came onto the scene in the 1500s. Though, we did see what could be called pre-Reformers as early as the 12th and 13th centuries. However, in the 1500s the term was applied to churches that separated from the corrupt Church of Rome. This separation occurred under the preaching and teaching of the famous Martin Luther. (I am not going to go into his teachings here, but I would encourage everyone to read up on Luther’s story if you are not familiar.) Under Luther’s teachings churches did away with images/icons in the buildings used for public worship and private masses. They also administered both bread and wine at the Lord’s table.

In the mid 1500s the word “Reformed” took on some new meaning. To quote Rev. Watts:

“It was used to identify the so-called Calvinist wing of the Reformation. Enthusiastic supporters of Luther became known as Lutherans, or even as “Adherents of the Augsburg Confession.” But men like John Calvin proceeded much further in reformation with respect to worship, government, and practice, and they came to be identified as “the Church Reformed according to the Word of God.”

As time continued the word “Reformed” took on more meaning. It eventually was associated with the Puritan movement. Again, quoting Rev. Watts:

“The Puritan movement inherited Calvin’s theological legacy but expanded his teaching on law, grace, and the covenants. Believing the visible church was still corrupted by the remains of popery Puritans sought even more thorough reformation according to the Word of God”

So, these are the three historical movements in which the Reformed Church has its roots. All three of these movements have differences, to be sure! But, it’s most important to note their similarities … which we will dive into next week! 😉

Just as an aside, if you have never looked into the history of how the church you belong to came to be, I would encourage you to do so. We tend to put so much emphasis on our genealogy and cultural heritage but focus very little (if at all) on our spiritual heritage. This should not be! Church history is a gift to the church. Reading about the struggles she (the church) has gone through, the men and women that sacrificed all for her, men and women that hated her, etc. … it is all encouraging to the believer today. I can’t imagine anyone would be disappointed in taking on to study this subject.

In Christ,

No lone-ranger Christians

Will you follow the wicked policy of separating your own personal interests from those of your Redeemer and his church? If so your ship is wrecked before it leaves the harbour. You are no child of God if this principle holds the mastery over you. Your salvation lies not in your separation from Christ and his church, but in your union with them. Over the sea of life there is no passing in safety but in the vessel which carries your Lord and his disciples. Are you going to sail in a separate boat, or will you try to swim across the sea in your own strength? Then look to yourself, and expect disaster. 

-Charles H. Spurgeon 



“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another,and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrew 10:24,25

Happy Reformation Sunday

Luther at the Diet of Worms                 
***
“Surely no godly soul can doubt for a moment that it is through God’s mercy alone and for the sake of Christ’s merit alone that we are justified, pronounced righteous before God, and not because of anything in us at all, however many works of holiness, however genuine our fruits of the Spirit.”
-Martin Bucer

“We ought to never regard unity so much that we would or should forsake God’s word for her sake.” 
-Hugh Latimer

Lord, let me never forget.

“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Luke 22:44
“If men suffer great pain of mind apparently the blood rushes to the heart. The cheeks are pale; a fainting fit comes on; the blood has gone inward as if to nourish the inner man while passing through its trial. But see our Saviour in His agony; he is so utterly oblivious of self, that instead of his agony driving his blood to the heart to nourish himself, it drives it outward to bedew the earth. The agony of Christ, inasmuch as it pours him out upon the ground, pictures the fulness of the offering which he made for men.
Do we not perceive how intense must have been the wrestling through which he passed, and will we not hear its voice to us? “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Behold the great Apostle and High Priest of our profession, and sweat even to blood rather than yield to the great tempter of your souls.” -Charles H. Spurgeon

Lord, let me never forget my Savior’s agony. Let me remember His suffering did not just begin on the Cross. Let me remember, He was tempted in every way I am and more. That he was thinking of me. Oh, Lord, in my temptations, in my trials let me think of Him! In my joys and sorrows let Christ alone always be my focus.

Be Blessed,

Daisypath Wedding tickers

Meditate on the things above.

Source

“The heavenly meditator has the happiest life in the world, and the most enriching commerce with the celestial Indies, from whence he returns laden with an unseen store of immortal joy, and spiritual consolation. As he continues to meditate on the great things of God, such amazing plenitudes are displayed before his eye, that he finds in the divine fullness, sufficient subjects for meditation through eternity itself. Meditation, like the spies sent from Israel in the wilderness, returns with a good account of the good land, presents some of the fruits of paradise, and produces refreshing grapes pulled from the true VINE. Here the weary soul retires to rest in the bosom of the promise, in the love of God, in spite of all surrounding troubles; and drinks at the river before the throne, which makes her forget her miseries, as waters that flow away. O the high estate of the sons of God in meditation! They walk in the fields of glory, associate with the angels of light, and hold communion with God himself! Thus having been in the mount with God, their soul is beautified; thus, their face shines, and their mind seems as if in heaven, nobly opposing the base practices of the men of the world.

O my soul! while mortals are combating for crowns below, meditate on your crown above; view the beauties of the better country; ruminate on the happiness of the inhabitants there; think on the fullness of the heavenly glory; talk of the love of God, and dwell on the adorable excellencies of the divine Redeemer. This work is its own reward, and assimilates the soul to “the bright and morning Star.” Be ashamed henceforth to occupy yourself in meditating how to raise your fortune, how to make yourself famous, and how to plan your lot in the world; this last commit to God, and cast the rest away! But let him, whose favor is better than life, be the object of your love, and the subject of your meditations! Thus shall you begin heaven, anticipate bliss, and prepare for eternity and glory!”  by James Meikle, 1730-1799 Source

Be Blessed,

My friend Becky is posting all month on meditating on heaven! Be sure to visit her here.

Quotes from Octavius Winslow

“The lesson of our and deep sinfulness, the weakness, impurity, and vileness of the flesh, that in there ‘dwelleth no good thing’, is the daily, hourly lesson of the Christian’s life. If we ever extract any honey from the precious declaration, ‘By grace are ye saved’, it is under the pressure of our personal and inexpressible vileness and nothingness. Into this bitter cup the Lord distills the sweetness and savour of his most free and rich grace.”

“The tenderness which the blood imparts, the conviction of indebtedness which divine grace gives, deepens the sensibility of sin; and although standing beneath the shadow of the cross and reading our pardon there, the conviction of its exceeding sinfulness is not the less, but all the more, acute. The cure, though removed, has left its lingering shadow upon the soul, and this, to a saint of God, is no little burden. And when to this is added the faltering of the Christian walk, the flaw of service, the imperfection of worship, the dead insect tainting the perfume of the sacred anointing, the dust upon the sandal, the trailed robe, the concealed but no less real ans sinful desire of the heart, its foolishness, and inconstancy, oh, is there no painfully felt burden in all this to a mind whose moral perceptions are alive and whose spirituality covets the close and hold walk with God?”

“You can well afford to part with a creature’s compassion and help, since it but makes room for Christ. Ah, five minutes of experience of his love in the heart is worth more than an eternity of the creature’s. And seldom do we think, as we feel the human arm droop, and the human eye withdrawn, and are conscious of the chill that has crept over the warm bosom upon which we fondly leaned, that Jesus is but preparing us for a more full and entire enthronement of himself in our soul.”

Be Blessed,