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13 January, 2014

God's Sovereignty in the Way of Rejection

For My New Year's Resolution!

Father God, you have changed my own heart and I thank you for it. I love you because you are a Just God, Holy, Merciful, Gracious, Lovely, and all Sovereign and Powerful. My heart cries out after holiness, keep me close to you and teach me every day how to live a life set apart for your glory.  I pray that you would bring all those who made a new year's resolution to live a holy life, to reach their goals. Put a determination in their hearts so that they can withstand the pain it takes to get there. Sustain and restrain them my Lord as they walk with you. I thank you for overlooking our shortcomings and our failures. Thank you for the grace you lavished upon us. We are so undeserving. Keep us morning and longing for holiness everyday while you purify our heart, mind and soul so that one day we can see you.  (Sorry for the length of this prayer, I could not stop myself after one or two lines)

To find out why this short prayer, read January 1 post)

 This post below is an excerpt from the new uploaded Kindle 

"The Heavenly Birth and its Earthly Counterfeits "  by J. C. Philpot 

But as we have looked at God's sovereignty in the way of rejection, and then endeavored to trace out the various causes by which the great mass of the Jewish nation rejected the Lord of life and glory, so will we endeavor (having seen God's sovereignty in choosing a peculiar people), to trace out also the secret causes which led some to receive Him whom the others received not.

1. The first cause, then, was the quickening life of God's Spirit put into their souls; according to those words--"You has He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins." (Eph. ii. 1). Until God by His Spirit quickens the soul into spiritual life, there must be a determined rejection of Christ. However a man may receive Him into his judgment, the inward bias of his heart and the secret speech of his soul is, "Not this Man, but Barabbas" (Luke xviii, 40.) If, then, there be any who do believe in Him, receive Him, love Him, and have a blessed union with Him, it all springs from the quickening Spirit of God, working with power in their souls.
Now this quickening work of God the Spirit upon the heart is manifested by certain fruits and evidences, which ever flow out of His blessed operations. For instance, wherever the quickening power of God's Spirit has passed upon a man's conscience, he is invariably brought to see and feel himself to be a sinner. This inward sight of self cuts him off sooner or later from all legal hopes, all Pharisaic righteousness, all false refuges, and all vain evidences, with which he may seek to prop up his soul. In many cases the work may begin in a way scarcely perceptible, and in other instances may go on very gradually, for we cannot lay down any precise standard. But I am sure of this, that the Lord will "bring down the hearts" of all His people "with labor;" will convince them all of their lost state before Him, and cast them as ruined wretches into the dust of death--without hope, strength, wisdom, help, or righteousness, except that which is given to them, as a free gift, by sovereign grace.

And when the soul is brought down by the hand of God upon it to know the exceedingly heavy burden of sin, the wretchedness of the malady with which we are infected, the holiness and justice of God who cannot clear the guilty; and feels itself not only implicated in Adam's transgression, but also condemned by actual commission of sin, it then begins to find its need of such a Savior as God has revealed in the Scriptures. And this work of grace in the conscience, pulling down all a man's false refuges, stripping him of every lying hope, and thrusting him down into self-abasement and self-abhorrence, is indispensable to a true reception of Christ. Whatever a man may have learned in his head, or however far he may be informed in his judgment, he never will receive Christ spiritually into his heart and affections, until he has been broken down by the hand of God in his soul to be a ruined wretch.

2. We cannot indeed tell how long a man may be in coming here; some may be weeks, others may be months, and some may be years; but when he is effectually brought here, the Lord is pleased, for the most part, to open up to his astonished view, and to bring into his soul some saving knowledge of the Lord of life and glory. And this He does in various ways, for we cannot "limit the Holy One of Israel;" (Ps. lxxviii, 41) sometimes by a secret light cast into the mind; sometimes by the application of a passage of Scripture with power; sometimes alone in the secret chamber; sometimes under the preached Word. In various ways, as God is pleased Himself to choose, He casts into the mind a light, and He brings into the heart a power, whereby the glorious Person of Christ, His atoning blood, dying love, finished work, and justifying righteousness, are looked upon by spiritual eyes, touched by spiritual hands, and received into a spiritual and believing heart.

3. But wherever faith is given to the soul thus "to receive" Christ, there will be mingled with this faith, and blessedly accompanying it, love to the Lord of life and glory; and sometimes we may know the existence of faith when we cannot see it, by discerning the secret workings and actings of love towards that Savior, in whom God has enabled us to believe.
There will be from time to time, in living souls, a flowing forth of affection towards Jesus. From time to time He gives the soul a glimpse of His Person--He shows Himself, as the Scripture speaks, "through the lattice" (Song ii. 9), passing, perhaps, hastily by, but giving such a transient glimpse of the beauty of His Person, the excellency of His finished work, dying love, and atoning blood as ravishes the heart, and secretly draws forth the affections of the soul, so that there is a following hard after Him, and a going out of the desires of the soul towards Him.

Thus, sometimes as we lie upon our bed, as we are engaged in our business, as we are occupied in our several pursuits of life; or at other times under the Word, or reading the Scriptures, the Lord is pleased secretly to work in the heart, and there is a melting down at the feet of Jesus, or a secret, soft, gentle going forth of love and affection towards Him, whereby the soul prefers Him before thousands of gold and silver, and desires nothing so much as the inward manifestations of His love, grace, and blood.
And thus a living soul "receives" Christ; not merely as driven by necessity, but also as drawn by affection. He does not receive Christ merely as a way of escape from "the wrath to come," merely as something to save a soul from "the worm that dies not, and the fire that is not quenched," but mingled with necessity, sweetly and powerfully combined with it, and intimately and intricately working with it, there is the flowing forth of genuine affection and sincere love, that goes out to Him as the only object really worthy of our heart's affection, our spirit's worship, and our soul's desire. And we cannot say that less than this comes up to the meaning of the Scripture expression--"to receive Christ." If we cannot, then, trace out in our hearts more or less of this work, which I have attempted feebly to describe, we cannot yet be said spiritually to have "received Christ."

This is a very different thing from receiving Him into our judgment, or into our understanding in a doctrinal manner. To receive Him in the depths of a broken heart, as the only Savior for our guilty soul, as our only hope for eternity, as the only Lord of our heart's worship, and the only object of our pure affection; so that in secret, when no eye sees but the eye of God, and only the ear of Jehovah hears the pantings of our pleading heart, there is the breathing out of the spirit after the enjoyment of His love, grace, and blood--to know and feel this stamps a man to have "received" Christ into his heart by faith.

IV. But in the words of the text we read of a peculiar privilege, a sacred blessing, which is connected with and attached to the receiving of Christ. And perhaps you have been struck sometimes with the words--"As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to those who believe on His name." Did the word 'become' never strike you as a singular word? Does it not intimate a further step? Does it not clearly imply that to "receive Christ," and to "become a son of God" are two distinct things, and that one precedes the other?"
It is so. For it is only to those who "receive Christ," that the "power" (or "the privilege," as we read in the margin), is given, "to become sons of God."

What then is it to "become a son of God?" For it is evidently not the same thing as "receiving Christ," but a step that follows on after receiving Christ; a privilege given to and reserved for those who do spiritually "receive Him." To "become a son of God" is to become so experimentally; to receive the Spirit of adoption, whereby the soul cries. "Abba, Father;" to have that love which "casts out all fear that has torment;" and not merely to receive Christ as our hope of salvation from eternal perdition, but to be enabled by the witness and work of the Spirit in the soul to enjoy that relationship.
V. But in speaking of these "sons of God," the apostle describes them negatively as well as positively; he tells us what they are not, and he tells us what they are. And it is by contrasting what they are not with what they are, that we may arrive at some spiritual knowledge of their real character and position.