The heart must remain in love, the mind must be rooted in faith, the hope must be cemented to the Word, the whole man must be joined unto the LORD, or else it would be dangerous to trust us with power in prayer. The carte blanche can only be given to one whose very life is, “Not I, but Christ liveth in me.” O you who break your fellowship, what power you lose! If you would be mighty in your pleadings, the LORD Himself must abide in you, and you in Him.
You Deal with God
“I will not execute the fierceness of Mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man” (Hosea 11:9).
The LORD thus makes known His sparing mercies. It may be that the
reader is now under heavy displeasure, and everything threatens his
speedy doom. Let the text hold him up from despair. The LORD now invites
you to consider your ways and confess your sins. If He had been man, He
would long ago have cut you off. If He were now to act after the manner
of men, it would be a word and a blow and then there would be an end of
you: but it is not so, for “as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so high are his ways above your ways.”
You rightly judge that He is angry, but He keeps not His anger forever: if you turn from sin to Jesus, God will turn from wrath.
Because God is God, and not man, there is still forgiveness for you,
even though you may be steeped up to your throat in iniquity. You have a
God to deal with and not a hard man, or even a merely just man. No
human being could have patience with you. You would have wearied out an
angel, as you have wearied your sorrowing Father; but God is
longsuffering. Come and try Him at once. Confess, believe, and turn from
your evil way, and you shall be saved.
The fire only refines; it does not destroy. We are to be brought through the fire, not left in it. The LORD values His people as silver, and therefore He is at pains to purge away their dross. If we are wise, we shall rather welcome the refining process than decline it. Our prayer will be that our alloy may be taken from us rather than that we should be withdrawn from the crucible.
O LORD, Thou triest us indeed! We are ready to melt under the fierceness of the flame. Still, this is Thy way, and Thy way is the best. Sustain us under the trial and complete the process of our purifying, and we will be Thine forever and ever.
“And ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall” (Malachi 4:2).
Yes, when the sun shines, the sick quit their chambers and walk abroad to breathe the fresh air. When the sun brings spring and summer, the cattle quit their stalls and seek pasture on the higher Alps. Even thus, when we have conscious fellowship with our LORD, we leave the stall of despondency and walk abroad in the fields of holy confidence. We ascend to the mountains of joy and feed on sweet pasturage which grows nearer heaven than the provender of carnal men.
To “go forth” and to “grow up” is a double promise. O my soul, be thou eager to enjoy both blessings! Why shouldst thou be a prisoner? Arise, and walk at liberty. Jesus saith that His sheep shall go in and out and find pasture; go forth, then, and feed in the rich meadows of boundless love.
Why remain a babe in grace? Grow up. Young calves grow fast, especially if they are stall fed; and thou hast the choice care of thy Redeemer. Grow, then, in grace and in knowledge of thy LORD and Savior, Be neither straitened nor stunted. The Sun of Righteousness has risen upon thee Answer to His beams as the buds to the natural sun. Open thine heart; expand and grow up into Him in all things.
Mouth Confession; Heart Belief
“If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the LORD Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9).
There must be confession with the mouth. Have I made it? Have I openly avowed my faith in Jesus as the Savior whom God has raised from the dead, and have I done it in God’s way! Let me honestly answer this question.
There must also be belief with the heart. Do I sincerely believe in the risen LORD Jesus? Do I trust in Him as my sole hope of salvation? Is this trust from my heart? Let me answer as before God.
If I can truly claim that I have both confessed Christ and believed in Him, then I am saved. The text does not say it may be so, but it is plain as a pikestaff and clear as the sun in the heavens: “Thou shalt be saved.” As a believer and a confessor, I may lay my hand on this promise and plead it before the LORD God at this moment, and throughout life, and in the hour of death, and at the Day of Judgment.
I must be saved from the guilt of sin, the power of sin, the punishment of sin, and ultimately from the very being of sin. God hath said it — “Thou shalt be saved.” I believe it. I shall be saved. I am saved. Glory be to God forever and ever!
Loved unto the End”
“For the LORD will not cast off for ever” (Lamentations 3:31).
He may cast away for a season
but not forever. A woman may leave off her ornaments for a few days,
but she will not forget them or throw them upon the dunghill. It is not
like the LORD to cast off those whom He loves, for “having loved his own
which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” Some talk of our
being in grace and out of it, as if we were like rabbits that run in and
out of their burrows; but, indeed, it is not so. The LORD’s love is a
far more serious and abiding matter than this.
He chose us from eternity,
and He will love us throughout eternity. He loved us so as to die for
us, and we may therefore be sure that His love will never die. His honor
is so wrapped up in the salvation
of the believer that He can no more cast him of than He can cast off
His own robes of office as King of glory. No, no! The LORD Jesus, as a
Head, never casts off His members; as a Husband, He never casts off His
bride. Did you think you were cast off? Why did you think so evil of the
LORD who has betrothed you to Himself? Cast off such thoughts, and
never let them lodge in your soul again. “The LORD hath not cast away
his people which he foreknew” (Romans 11:2). “He hateth putting away”
Here we are just a few short days from Christmas, where we are going tocelebrate the incarnation of the Son of God, Jesus the Christ.
Reading for fourth Sunday in Advent:
For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. John 3:16-19
This last Sunday, as we try to shrug off the stress of those presents that haven’t quite arrived yet, or finding that last roll of wrapping paper doesn’t quite cover that big present.
Put aside the worries and the stress and think about the fact that the love of God was such that in order to save us he sent his Son to become a man, the God-man, in order to die for our sins, to pay a penalty due us that He didn’t deserve.
Alternate readings: Psalm 24:1-10; Isaiah 7:10-14; Luke 2:8-20; John 1:14; 1 John 3:16; 1 John 4:10
For behold, the day comes that shall burn like an oven, and all the proudnand arrogant, yes, and all that do wickedly and are lawless, shall be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and gambol as calves of the stall. Malachi 4:1-2
Have you ever gamboled for joy? No I didn’t spell that wrong, I am not talking about playing with cards. I am talking about leaping for joy! Take a look at the video of theses calves coming out for their first day of spring.
They leap feeling the sun on their skin. Malachi uses this symbol to speak of the joy that the day of the Lord will bring to those that fear His name.
Christ is returning! Gambol for joy! Christmas is coming! Gambol for joy!
Advent Hymn: For you who fear my name Welcome Wagon