Tests from 1 John

“So, then, the essential of a Christian character is that the light of purity and moral goodness shall be as the very orb, in the midst of which it stands and advances. That implies effort, and it implies activity, and it implies progress. And we are only Christians in the measure in which the conscious activities of our daily lives, and the deepest energies of our inward being, are bathed and saturated with this love of, and effort after, righteousness. It is vain, says John, to talk about fellowship with God, unless the fellowship is rooted in sympathy with Him in that which is the very heart of his Being, the perfect light of perfect holiness. Test your Christianity by that.”

– Alexander Maclaren

The Love of God

“Above all things, get the love of God in thy heart. This will constrain us to obedience. If we look altogether upon our discouragements, alas! we shall soon flag and fall away. But if we eye our encouragements, it is impossible we should desert Christ, or his truth. Who would not hold out, having such a captain, and such a cause as we fight for. Where the truth is received in the love of it, there is constancy.”

– Richard Sibbes, from “The Danger of Backsliding” (The Works of Richard Sibbes, Volume 7)

Matthew 11:28

cross“To Him, therefore, let all come who would be made whole. Let them receive the medicine which He has brought down from His Father and made in heaven, preparing it of the juices of those celestial fruits that wither not. This is of no earthly growth, for nature nowhere possesses this compound. Of wondrous purpose took He our flesh, to the end that He might show that the law of the flesh had been subjected to the law of the mind. He was incarnate, that He, the Teacher of men, might overcome as man.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan, from Exposition of the Christian Faith

2 Peter 1:10


“Be earnest and diligent in making sure to yourself your discharge from the sentence and penalty of the law. Sue out the great fact in the Lord’s own court by fervent prayer and simple faith. Your Surety has cancelled your debt, and purchased your exemption from death. Avail yourself of the comfort and the stimulus of the blessing. You may be certain, yes, quite certain, of its truth. No process is more easy. It is but to look from off yourself to Christ, and to believe with all your heart that he came into the world to save sinners, and assurance is yours. The order is, ‘We believe, and are sure.’ Oh, do not leave this matter to a bare peradventure. Make sure of your union with Christ, and you may be sure of no condemnation from Christ.”

– Octavius Winslow, from No Condemnation in Christ Jesus, p. 16-17

Who’s in Charge?

Alan Redpath

Alan Redpath

“While it is true that Jesus is King according to our lips, in truth and in practice do we act in utter contradiction to Him? Do we acknowledge His right of sovereignty, Christian friends, but are not crowning Him in our lives? We say, ‘Thine is the kingdom'; we trust in Him and receive Him as our Saviour. We believe that He indwells our hearts by the Holy Spirit. In theory He is King, but let me ask you, in practice, who is running your life?”

– Alan Redpath, from Victorious Praying, p. 124

Proverbs 5


Reading through the book of Proverbs this month and today’s reading brings me to Proverbs 5. I’m wondering if verse 21 brings comfort to us or convicts us. There is a shiny veneer we can put on our lives each day, aided by the fact that no one sees who we are or what we do when the eyes of the world are elsewhere. But verse 21 is a piercing reminder that no matter what we tell ourselves, we are never truly “alone”. God sees; our actions and even intentions are always before Him. Solomon has spent most of this chapter relating this specifically to adultery, but we’d be wise to carry his words into a broader context as well. Otherwise, we can ensure that Solomon’s words a few verses earlier in 5:11-12 will sadly be our own:

And you groan at your final end,
When your flesh and your body are consumed;
And you say, ” How I have hated instruction!
And my heart spurned reproof!”

Moral Reformation


“Moral reformation which leaves the heart untouched is about as useful as tying bunches of grapes on to a briar-bush. Jesus is inviting his hearers to a way of life which is so completely new that it will need a change of heart, a change deep down in the personality. There are many alternatives to Jesus’ invitation on the market today, just as there were in his time, but they don’t touch the real problem.”

– N.T. Wright, from Luke for Everyone, p. 77-78