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Friday, March 1, 2013

The Riches of Sovereign Grace!

O the riches of sovereign grace! O the wonders of redeeming love!


"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things are passed away; behold, new things have come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17


He who is saved from the guilt of sin--is also saved from the POWER of sin. Man by nature is "under sin." "The whole world lies in wickedness." Sin like a tyrant, has usurped authority--and man yields to its imperious demands. Sin reigns in his heart, and over every faculty he possesses. He knows nothing of liberty--but is the slave of corruption. He lives "in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and is by nature a child of wrath even as others!" (Ephesians 2:3) Man by nature is . . .
  influenced by corrupt motives,
  ruled by evil principles,
  led captive by carnal passions,
  and lives under the power of sin!
The sinner feels his bondage--as well as his guilt; and struggles for liberty--as well as seeks for pardon.

Salvation is a deliverance from the power of sin, and removes us from under its authority; so that it may be said of every saved person, "Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law, but under grace." Romans 6:14

The Holy Spirit . . .
  imparts a principle of spiritual life, 
  applies the Word of God with power, 
  and takes up His residence in the soul.

When the gospel of grace is unfolded to the understanding, and applied to the heart by the Spirit--the entire man is changed! 
His hard heart is softened,
his stubborn will yields,
his carnal affections rise above earthly things,
his conscience now agrees with God, and
he is "changed into the image of Jesus, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Corinthians 3:18

Sin will still struggle--but it cannot reign.
Sin may for a time prevail--but it will be subdued. 
The conflict may be severe, and it will last through life--but sin shall not regain the throne, or reduce the Christian to a state of slavery again. The gracious principles implanted within him are immortal, they are holy, they must overcome at length!

Through the Spirit, the believer mortifies the sinful deeds of the body, that he may live. (Romans 8:13) Being Christ's, he crucifies the flesh with its affections and lusts. (Galatians 5:24) And while he walks in, or under theinfluence of the Spirit--he does not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16) Sin has no authority over him, for . . .
  he has renounced it,
  he daily mourns over it, 
  he confesses it before God,
  he strives against it, and 
  he longs for Heaven, because there he shall be entirely free from sin! 

He who is saved from the guilt and power of sin--is also delivered from the LOVE of sin. Sin is no longer his element, his business, his pleasure. He did love sin once--as does everyone in a state of nature. The unbeliever may not love every species of sin--but
  some favorite sin,
  his darling sin,
  his idol, which he worships, which he wishes to have spared.

But salvation delivers from the love of every sin, and sets the heart on striving for universal holiness. True, it is possible for a regenerate person for a time, to find his affections running out after a forbidden object, or what is grossly evil; but it will soon be detectedconfessed before God, and mourned over in secret. The renewed heart cannot habitually love sin--but must hate it. Sin is hated . . .
  because God hates it, 
  because it is opposed to our best interests, 
  because it crucified the Son of God, 
  because it grieves the Holy Spirit, and 
  because it is contrary to the new nature of the Christian.

As soon may the bird love to be confined under water, or the fish prefer the the barren wilderness to its native element--as for a true believer habitually to love sin. No, he hates it--he hates it naturally, constantly, and with an unconquerable hatred! His views are changed--and he thinks of sin in some degree as God thinks of it! His desires are changed--and he desires to cleanse himself from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 7:1) His hopes are changed, so that though he once hoped for worldly wealth, honor and pleasure--he now hopes to be forever delivered from sin, and be exactly like, and eternally with his precious Savior! 
He fears sin--and nothing so much as sin! 
He finds pleasure in holiness--and no such pleasure in anything else! 
He is pained at sin--and nothing causes him so much grief and sorrow!

This is indeed salvation, to be delivered . . .
  from guilt of sin, with its attendant horrors and punishments; 
  from the power of sin, with its consequent degradation; and
  from the love of sin, which is the principal feature in the image of Satan!

He who is thus saved--is delivered also from all the penal consequences of sin. 
To him there is no curse--for Christ was made a curse for him. 
To him there is no wrath--for God is at peace with him, and loves him with an everlasting love. 
To him there is no future punishment--for he is justified from every charge, and entitled to everlasting life! 

He deserved Hell for his sins--but he is saved from it, by his Redeemer's sacrifice and death!

O the riches of sovereign grace! O the wonders of redeeming love!


~James Smith~

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