Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Life Of God In The Soul Of Man - by Henry Scougal

"...true religion is a union of the soul with God, a real participation of the Divine nature, the very image of God drawn upon the soul, or, in the apostle's phrase, 'it is Christ formed within us'." (pg. 41-42)

"The root of the Divine life is faith; the chief branches are love to God, charity to man, purity and humility;..." (pg. 52)

"...I had rather see the real impressions of a godlike nature upon my own soul, than have a vision from heaven, or angel sent to tell me that my name were enrolled in the book of life." (pg. 55)

"The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its love: he who loveth mean and sordid things doth thereby become base and vile; but a noble and well-placed affection doth advance and improve the spirit unto a conformity with the perfections which it loves." (pg. 68)

"The true way to improve and ennoble our souls is, by fixing our love on the divine perfections, that we may have them always before us, and derive an impression of them on ourselves, and 'beholding with open face, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, we may be changed into the same image, from glory to glory'." (pg. 69)

"Love is the greatest and most excellent thing we are masters of; and therefore it is folly and baseness to bestow it unworthily;..." (pg. 69-70)

"But oh! how happy are those who have placed their love on him who can never be absent from them!" (pg. 75)

"...let us never look upon any sin as light and inconsiderable; but be fully persuaded, that the smallest is infinitely heinous in the sight of God, and prejudicial to the soul of men: and that if we had the right sense of things, we should be as deeply affected with the least irregularities as now we are with the highest crimes." (pg. 100)

"The love of the world, and the love of God, are like the scales of a balance, as the one falleth, the other doth rise:..." (pg. 110)

"...the deepest and most pure humility doth not so much arise from the consideration of our own faults and defects, as from a calm and quiet contemplation of the divine purity and goodness." (pg. 129)

Henry Scougal, The Life Of God In The Soul Of Man (Scotland, Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 1996, 2001, 2002)

Future Grace - by John Piper

"Sin is what you do when your heart is not satisfied with God. No one sins out of duty. We sin because it holds out some promise of happiness. That promise enslaves us until we believe that God is more to be desired than life itself (Psalm 63:3)." (pg. 9-10)

"Could it be that gratitude for bygone grace has been pressed to serve as the power for holiness, which only faith in future grace was designed to perform?" (pg. 11)

"...faith is the God-appointed means of justification and sanctification because, better than any other act, it highlights the freedom of grace and magnifies the glory of God." (pg. 19)

"In regard to justification, faith is not the channel through which a power or a transformation flows to the soul of the believer, but rather faith is the occasion of God's forgiving and acquitting and reckoning as righteous. ... However, in regard to sanctification, faith is indeed the channel through which divine power and transformation flow to the soul; and the work of God through faith does indeed touch the soul, and change it." (pg. 26)

"The only debt that grace creates is the "debt" of relying on more grace for all that God calls us to be and do." (pg. 42)

"As unbelief gets the upper hand in our hearts, one of the effects is anxiety. The root cause of anxiety is a failure to trust all that God has promised to be for us in Jesus." (pg. 54)

"Every act of grace shown to a person because he is a sinner is also an act of mercy because his sin brings misery. And every act of mercy shown to a person because of his miserable plight is also an act of grace because he doesn't deserve it." (pg. 77)

"God made us alive and secured us in Christ so that he could make us the beneficiaries of everlasting kindness from infinite riches of grace. This is not because we are worthy. Quite the contrary, it is to show the infinite measure of his worth." (pg. 82-83)

"Belief is not merely an agreement with facts in the head; it is also an appetite for God in the heart, which fastens on Jesus for satisfaction." (pg. 86)

"Pride does not like the sovereignty of God. Therefore pride does not like the existence of God, because God is sovereign." (pg. 92)

"God reigns so supremely on behalf of his elect that everything which faces us in a lifetime of obedience and ministry will be subdued by the mighty hand of God and made the servant of our holiness and our everlasting joy in God." (pg. 116-117)

"Justification by faith secures final glorification. God has ordained it. God accomplishes it. The future grace of glorification is guaranteed by the past grace of justification." (pg. 125)

"...much of what makes us feel shame is not that we have brought dishonor to God by our actions, but that we have failed to give the appearance that other people admire. Much of our shame is not God-centered but self-centered. Until we get a good handle on this, we will not be able to battle the problem of shame at its root." (pg. 134)

"Loving your enemy doesn't earn you the reward of heaven. Treasuring the reward of heaven empowers you to love your enemy." (pg. 163)

"...the strength of patience hangs on our capacity to believe that God is up to something good for us in all our delays and detours. This requires great faith in future grace, because the evidence is seldom evident." (pg. 174)

"All future obedience comes by the power of future grace." (pg. 185)

"Therefore, two things are necessary for saving faith to emerge. One is to use our perception and our mind to hear and see and understand and validate a testimony to the truth of Christ. The other is that we must apprehend and embrace the spiritual beauty and worth of Christ through the illumination of the Holy Spirit." (pg. 202)

"The safest place in the universe is with our arms around the neck of God. And the most dangerous place is any path where we flee from his presence." (pg. 243)

"It is not the memory of past grace that 'wills and works for God's good pleasure.' It is God himself, graciously arriving each moment, that brings the future into the present." (pg. 292)

"When something drops into your life that seems to threaten your future, remember this: the first shockwaves of the bomb are not sin. The real danger is yielding to them. Giving in. Putting up no spiritual fight. And the root of that surrender is unbelief - a failure to fight for faith in future grace. A failure to cherish all that God promises to be for us in Jesus." (pg. 307)

"The key to assurance is not to eliminate the biblical commands for endurance, but rather to magnify grace as a future power to believe, as well as a past pardon of sin." (pg. 317)

"All true virtue comes from faith in future grace; and all sin comes from lack of faith in future grace." (pg. 323)

"Faith stands or falls on the truth that the future with God is more satisfying than the one promised by sin. Where this truth is embraced and God is cherished above all, the power of sin is broken." (pg. 326)

"...the test of whether our faith is the kind of faith that justifies is whether it is the kind of faith that sanctifies." (pg. 332)

"The challenge is not merely to pursue righteousness, but to prefer righteousness." (pg. 338)

"God so values our wholehearted faith in future grace that he will, graciously, take away everything else in the world that we might be tempted to rely on - even life itself." (pg. 347)

"If the nature of faith is to be satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus, then the universal biblical mandate to believe is a radical and pervasive call to pursue our own happiness in God." (pg. 386)

"My discovery is that God is supreme not where he is simply served with duty but where he is savored with delight." (pg. 399)

John Piper, Future Grace (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 1995)

When People Are Big And God Is Small - by Edward T. Welch

"1. We fear people because they can expose and humiliate us. 2. We fear people because they can reject, ridicule, or despise us. 3. We fear people because they can attack, oppress, or threaten us." (pg. 23)

"The roots of shame-induced fear of man lie in our relationship with God. We stand ultimately under his penetrating, holy gaze." (pg. 35-36)

"What is it that shame-fear and rejection-fear have in common? To use a biblical image, they both indicate that people are our favorite idol. We exalt them and their perceived power above God." (pg. 44)

"Feelings have become the inarticulate mutterings of the divine soul: to be morally upright is to do whatever your heart inspires you to do. When following inner impulses, this assumption declares, we can do no wrong." (pg. 81)

"Yet if our use of the term "needs" is ambiguous, and its range of meaning extends all the way to selfish desires, then there will be some situations where we should say that Jesus does not intend to meet our needs, but that he intends to change our needs." (pg. 89)

"Most sins are ungodly exaggerations of things that are good. As a result, we can supply proof texts to justify our behavior long after it has become idolatrous." (pg. 101)

"The triune God delights in showing us his grandeur and holiness, and we should never be satisfied with our present knowledge of him. So aspire to the fear of the Lord." (pg. 133)

"When psychological needs, rather than sin, are seen as our primary problem, not only is our self-understanding affected, but the gospel itself is changed." (pg. 146)

"The main reason why there is an epidemic of emptiness is that we have created and multiplied our needs, not God." (pg. 151)

"People are most similar to God when he is the object of their affection. People should delight in God, as he does in himself." (pg. 156)

"To image God means to imitate and represent God for the sake of his glory." (pg. 199)

"No one should have to ask what their gifts are; we should tell people their gifts as they minister to us." (pg. 205)

Edward T. Welch, When People Are Big And God Is Small (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1997)

The Knowledge Of The Holy - by A. W. Tozer

"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us." (pg. 1)

"The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him." (pg. 3)

"The first step down for any church is taken when it surrenders its high opinion of God." (pg. 4)

"For while the name of God is secret and His essential nature incomprehensible, He in condescending love has by revelation declared certain things to be true of Himself. These we call His attributes." (pg. 11)

"What God declares the believing heart confesses without the need of further proof. Indeed, to seek proof is to admit doubt, and to obtain proof is to render faith superfluous." (pg. 19)

"Need is a creature-word and cannot be spoken of the Creator. God has a voluntary relation to everything He has made, but He has no necessary relation to anything outside of Himself." (pg. 32)

"The unbeliever denies the self-sufficiency of God and usurps attributes that are not his. This dual sin dishonors God and ultimately destroys the soul of the man." (pg. 35)

"Nothing in God is less or more, or large or small. He is what He is in Himself, without qualifying thought or word. He is simply God." (pg. 46)

"Wisdom, among other things, is the ability to devise perfect ends and to achieve those ends by the most perfect means." (pg. 60)

"We rest in what God is. I believe that this alone is true faith. Any faith that must be supported by the evidence of the senses is not real faith." (pg. 62)

"The testimony of faith is that, no matter how things look in this fallen world, all God's acts are wrought in perfect wisdom." (pg. 62)

"With the goodness of God to desire our highest welfare, the wisdom of God to plan it, and the power of God to achieve it, what do we lack? Surely we are the most favored of all creatures." (pg. 64)

"Science observes how the power of God operates, discovers a regular pattern somewhere and fixes it as a 'law'." (pg. 66)

"When men no longer fear God, they transgress His laws without hesitation. The fear of consequences is no deterrent when the fear of God is gone." (pg. 71)

"The greatness of God rouses fear within us, but His goodness encourages us not to be afraid of Him. To fear and not be afraid - that is the paradox of faith." (pg. 84)

"God's compassion flows out of His goodness, and goodness without justice is not goodness." (pg. 88)

"Because God is immutable He always acts like Himself, and because He is a unity He never suspends one of His attributes in order to exercise another." (pg. 98)

"Theological knowledge is the medium through which the Spirit flows into the human heart, yet there must be humble penitence in the heart before truth can produce faith. The Spirit of God is the Spirit of truth. It is possible to have some truth in the mind without having the Spirit in the heart, but it is never possible to have the Spirit apart from truth." (pg. 104)

A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge Of The Holy (New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1961)

The Cross Centered Life - by C. J. Mahaney

"Only when we hear the very bad news that we're deserving of judgment can we appreciate the very good news that God has provided salvation through His Son." (pg. 14-15)

"Only one thing can be of first importance to each of us. And only the gospel ought to be." (pg. 21)

"'Whenever the periphery is in danger of displacing the center, we are not far removed from idolatry.'" [quote from D.A. Carson] (pg. 22)

"Legalism is seeking to achieve forgiveness from God and acceptance by God through obedience to God." (pg. 25)

"We can either listen to ourselves and our constantly changing feelings about our circumstances, or we can talk to ourselves about the unchanging truth of who God is and what He's accomplished for us at the cross." (pg. 47)

"...our emotions shouldn't be vested with final authority. This should be reserved for God's Word alone." (pg. 48)

"'We never move on from the cross, only into a more profound understanding of the cross.'" [quote from David Prior] (pg. 74)

C. J. Mahaney/Sovereign Grace Ministries, The Cross Centered Life (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 2002)

The Cross and Christian Ministry - by D. A. Carson

"...Paul here sets forth the only polarity that is of ultimate importance: he distinguishes between those who are perishing and those who are being saved. The dividing line between these two groups is the message of the cross...(1 Cor. 1:18-21)." (pg. 14)

"...the demand for signs becomes the prototype of every condition human beings raise as a barrier to being open to God. I will devote myself to this God if he heals my child. I will follow this Jesus if I can maintain my independence." (pg. 21)

"We depend on plans, programs, vision statements - but somewhere along the way we have succumbed to the temptation to displace the foolishness of the cross with the wisdom of strategic planning." (pg. 26)

"The only thing of transcendent importance to human beings is the knowledge of God." (pg. 32)

"When the pressure to 'contextualize' the gospel jeopardizes the message of the cross by inflating human egos, the cultural pressures must be ignored." (pg. 34)

"...the possibility of knowing God and of understanding his ways does not belong to any human being as an essential component of his or her being. The distance is too great; our self-centeredness is too deep. ... What is required, then, is revelation." (pg. 53)

"...truly grasping the truth of the cross and being transformed cannot be separated - and both are utterly dependent on the work of the Spirit." (pg. 65)

"If the church is being built with large portions of charm, personality, easy oratory, positive thinking, managerial skills, powerful and emotional experiences, and people smarts, but without the repeated, passionate, Spirit-anointed proclamation of 'Jesus Christ and him crucified,' we may be winning more adherents than converts." (pg. 80)

"The way of destroying the church are many and colorful. Raw factionalism will do it. Rank heresy will do it. Taking your eyes off the cross and letting other, more peripheral matters dominate the agenda will do it - admittedly more slowly than frank heresy, but just as effectively on the long haul." (pg. 83)

"...what is required in some sense of all believers is peculiarly required of the leaders of believers. There is a difference of degree." (pg. 95)

"...a leader's ultimate allegiance must not be to the church, or to any individual leader or tradition. It must be to the Lord alone and to the 'secret things of God' he has entrusted to him or her." (pg. 98)

"Leaders in the church suffer the most. They are not like generals in the military who stay behind the lines." (pg. 108)

"Strong Christians may be right on a theological issue, but unless they voluntarily abandon what is in fact their right they will do damage to the church and thus 'sin against Christ' (1 Cor. 8:12). To stand on your rights may thus involve you in sin after all - not the sin connected with your rights (there, after all, you are right!), but the sin of lovelessness, the sin of being unwilling to forgo your rights for the spiritual and eternal good of others." (pg. 125)

D. A. Carson, The Cross and Christian Ministry (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1993, 2003)

The Practice Of Godliness - by Jerry Bridges

"Devotion is not an activity; it is an attitude toward God. This attitude is composed of three essential elements: 1) the fear of God; 2) the love of God; and, 3) the desire for God." (pg. 14)

"The practice of godliness is an exercise or discipline that focuses upon God." (pg. 14)

"As we mature in our Christian lives we are increasingly aware of God's holiness and our own sinfulness." (pg. 25)

"True godliness engages our affections and awakens within us a desire to enjoy God's presence and fellowship. It produces a longing for God Himself." (pg. 28)

"...minimum characteristics necessary for training" in godliness: 1) commitment; 2) A competent teacher/coach (Holy Spirit); and, 3) practice. (pg. 34ff)

"...five methods of intake of the Word of God - hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating." (pg. 37ff)

"...we can build Godlike character only upon the foundation of a wholehearted devotion to God." (pg. 54)

"...Devotion to God is the only acceptable motive for actions that are pleasing to God." (pg. 57)

"...The power or enablement for a godly life comes from the risen Christ." (pg. 59)

"...Though the power for godly character comes from Christ, the responsibility for developing and displaying that character is ours." (pg. 61)

"...The development of godly character entails both putting off and putting on character traits." (pg. 63)

"...We are to pursue growth in all of the graces that are considered the fruit of the Spirit." (pg. 65)

"...Growth in all areas is progressive and never finished." (pg. 67)

"We must not treat the Scriptures only as a source of knowledge about God, but also as the expression of His will for our daily lives." (pg. 75)

"The Scriptures repeatedly affirm that the focal point of our joy should be our hope of the eternal inheritance that awaits us in Jesus Christ and the final revelation of His glory." (pg. 116)

"...the most essential elements of holiness. They can be summed up in five words: conviction, commitment, discipline, dependence, and desire." (pg. 123)

"This is where holiness begins: with the knowledge of the truth that renews our minds and enables us to understand how God wants us to live." (pg. 125)

"A conviction is not truly a conviction unless it includes a commitment to live by what we claim to believe." (pg. 125)

"...Self-control is the exercise of inner strength under the direction of sound judgment that enables us to do, think, and say the things that are pleasing to God." (pg. 134)

"...love is a vigorous spirit that rules the whole man, ever directing him to the humble and loving fulfillment of his duties to God and man." (pg. 210)

"...Godlike character is both the fruit of the Spirit as He works within us and the result of our personal efforts." (pg. 211)

Jerry Bridges, The Practice Of Godliness (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1983, 1996)