Something reminded me lately of how I found my current church, River City Grace (RCG). RCG has been a crucial means by which God has brought about repentance and sanctification in my life. I have been extremely blessed by God through my church.
I just want to encourage you if you aren’t attending church, please do! If you do, be sure to find one that is faithful to the preaching of the Word of God. One excellent scripture-based measure of a healthy church is the 9 Marks of a Healthy Church from 9Marks Ministries (Book; Kindle; Summary). These 9 marks will help guide you in finding that church where God will grow you through the preaching of His Word. They also have a Church Search you can use to find a good church in your area. If you’re not currently attending a good church give it a try! All it takes is a few seconds and a Sunday
Faith is anÂ appropriatingÂ grace.
Faith looks uponÂ God, and says with David,
“This God isÂ my GodÂ forever and ever!
He shall beÂ my guideÂ unto the death!”
Faith looks uponÂ Christ, and says with the spouse,
“I am my Beloved’s–and my Beloved is mine!”
Faith looks upon anÂ immortal crown, and says
“Henceforth is laid upÂ for meÂ a crown of glory.”
Faith looks upon theÂ righteousness of Christ,
and says, “This righteousness isÂ mineÂ to cover me.”
Faith looks upon theÂ mercy of Christ, and
says, “This mercy isÂ mineÂ to pardon me.”
Faith looks upon theÂ power of Christ, and
says, “This power isÂ mineÂ to support me.”
Faith looks upon theÂ wisdom of Christ, and
says, “This wisdom isÂ mineÂ to direct me.”
Faith looks upon theÂ blood of Christ, and
says, “This blood isÂ mineÂ to save me.”
Faith hasÂ a kind of omnipotence in it;
it is able to do all things.
(Thomas Brooks, “Heaven on Earth” 1667)
Excellent quote from J.C. Ryle on the necessity of a new nature.
Life is the mightiest of all possessions. From death to life is the mightiest of all changes. And no change short of this will ever avail to fit a personâ€™s soul for heaven. It is not a little mending and alteration â€“ a little cleansing and purifying â€“ a little painting and patching â€“ a little whitewashing and varnishing â€“ a little turning over a new leaf and putting on a new outside that is needed. It is the bringing in of something altogether new â€“ the planting within us of a new nature, a new being â€“ a new principle â€“ a new mind. This alone, and nothing less than this, will ever meet the necessities of personâ€™s soul. We need not merely a new skin, but a new heart.
I was listening to Tim Challies and David Murray talk about entitlement today and this stuck out to me. Â Right now we’re in a time where people think we’re entitled to everything we want. Â This quote is specifically from David Murray about the only entitlement that we truly have.
As a Christian, I believe in oneÂ entitlement.
Iâ€™m entitled to Hell. Thatâ€™s the only entitlement I have. Thatâ€™s all I deserve, because of my sin. Anything else is grace, an unmerited bonus from the God of all grace. I donâ€™t deserve a breath of life, a crumb of food, a drop of water, a stitch of clothing, a cent in my wallet, or an hour of education. Iâ€™m not entitled to one friend, one vacation, one verse of Scripture, or even one sermon. Iâ€™m certainly not entitled to salvation and heaven. Iâ€™m entitled to damnation andÂ Hell.
That sense of entitlement makes me seek mercy, receive mercy, enjoy mercy, and be merciful to others. To paraphrase the Apostle Paul, â€œWhat have I that I did not receive as a free gift of divine grace? How therefore can I ever boast as if I had actually been entitled to it or earned it?â€
So, there are basically only two ways to live: with a proud and angry sense of entitlement or with a humble and thankful sense ofÂ responsibility.
To summarize, â€œThe wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lordâ€ (Rom.Â 6:23).
You can listen to the full podcast on Challies website. Â It’s a quick listen, only about Â 14 minutes long, but very informative and packed with a lot of truth.
“Fight the good fight of faith.”Â 1 Timothy 6:12
True Christianity is a fight!
True Christianity! Let us mind that word “true.” There is a vast quantity of religion current in the world which is not true, genuine Christianity. There are thousands of men and women who go to churches and chapels every Sunday and call themselves Christians. They make a “profession” of faith in Christ. Their names are in the baptismal register. They are reckoned Christians while they live. They are married with a Christian marriage service. They mean to be buried as Christians when they die.
But you never see any “fight” about their religion! Of spiritualÂ strifeandÂ exertionÂ andÂ conflictÂ andÂ self-denialÂ andÂ watchingÂ andÂ warring–they know literally nothing at all. Such Christianity may satisfyÂ man, and those who say anything against it may be thought very hard and uncharitable; but it certainly is not the Christianity of the Bible. It is not the religion which the Lord Jesus founded, and His apostles preached. It is not the religion which produces real holiness.Â True Christianity is “a fight!”
The principal fight of the Christian is with . . .
the flesh, and
These are his never-dying foes! These are the three chief enemies against whom he must wage war. With a corruptÂ heart, a busyÂ deviland an ensnaringÂ world–he must either “fight” or be lost!
To be at peace with the world, the flesh and the devil–is to be at enmity with God and in the broad way that leads to destruction! We have no choice or option.Â We must either fight–or be lost!
It is a fight ofÂ universal necessity. No rank or class or age can plead exemption, or escape the battle–all alike must carry arms and go to war.
All have by nature aÂ heartÂ full of pride, unbelief, sloth, worldliness and sin!
All are living in aÂ worldÂ beset with snares, traps and pitfalls for the soul.
All have near them a busy, restless, malicious devil.
All, from the queen in her palace down to the pauper in the workhouse–all must fight, if they would be saved.
We may take comfort about our souls, if we know anything of an inward fight and conflict. It is the invariable companion of genuine Christian holiness.
The saddest symptom about manyÂ so-calledÂ Christians, is the utter absence of anything likeÂ conflictÂ andÂ fightÂ in their Christianity. They eat, they drink, they dress, they work, they amuse themselves, they get money, they spend money, they go through a scanty round of formal religious services once or twice every week. But of the great spiritual warfare–its watchings and strugglings, its agonies and anxieties, its battles and contests–of all this they appear to know nothing at all.
(J.C. Ryle, “The Fight!“)