Devotional: December 5th
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.- John 17:17.
With what confidence and joy are we assured of our sanctification, both from the prayer of Jesus on earth, and his intercession in glory! Man cannot sanctify himself, it is the work of the Lord the Spirit; he effects it by his sovereign power; earth and hell shall not prevent it. O special mercy! Not to be left to act with the generality of professors, who, like Pilate, demand "What is truth?" and then turn away from it as offensive, and hate and oppose it. Yet, if there is but kept up a great cry and vehement zeal for good works and holiness, it is enough; no matter what principles they spring from. Nay, under pretence for these, truth is trampled under foot. But not so Jesus prayed, nor taught; nor are his members thus sanctified. Jesus is essentially the truth. We are sanctified to God no other way than in him, and by the faith of him. "We are chosen from the beginning through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth." "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,"- John 8:32 -saith Jesus; free from the deceitful hopes and vain confidences that are natural to us. Souls sanctified through the truth, are no longer left to deny the foundation truths of God’s word; his sovereign, everlasting, electing love of sinners in Christ Jesus this essential truth, of their sins being atoned by the precious blood, and their persons justified by the perfect righteousness of Jesus imputed to them; the certain perseverance and sure glorification of every believing member of Christ. Thus our judgments are sanctified in truth, in opposition to the false notions of self-righteousness and sinless perfection. These proceed from self-ignorance, blindness to God’s law, and leave its professors under a fatal error; nor are we left to dream of universal redemption which detracts from the glory of God by ascribing salvation to freewill; nor to reject the sovereign agency of the Holy Spirit, which reduces the gospel of grace to a covenant of works.
Glory to our Lord, not only are we sanctified as to a right judgment in all things, but our affections are also sanctified to love the truth and cleave to it, seeing all our hopes center in it, and deriving all our comforts from it; and it is the delight and joy of our souls to live in conformity to the truth. Jesus hath our hearts. Fellowship with him is our heaven upon earth. What is contrary to that is hateful to us. Sin is become the burden, and holiness most pleasant to the sanctified soul. To fancy thyself perfectly freed from all sin, is a mark, not of a soul sanctified through the truth, but deceived by lies: but daily to feel a holy striving against sin, fervent desires after greater conformity to Jesus, and abiding in the truth of his word, is a full proof "of the sanctification of his Spirit unto obedience."- 1 Peter 1:2.
Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified. Isaiah 43:26.
The Lord had just laid open the rich love of his gracious heart to poor sinners, in fully blotting out their transgressions and in not remembering their sins. To keep down their pride and exalt the riches of his mercy, he tells them plainly, I do all this, for my own sake. But he knows what is in man. He sees the abominable pride of our hearts, and how many would reject his free declaration, and not accept of free-grace mercy, by free-gift of love, without money and without price. Such will have some hand in procuring pardon and justification, by fulfilling terms, and performing conditions. These words may be considered, (1st.) as a reflection upon such persons, and a derision upon their notions. Says the Lord, Put me in remembrance. What spiritual act could you do, when dead in trespasses and in sins, in order to obtain life? What good works sprang out of your flesh, in which dwelleth no good thing? Remind me of your power to will and to do what I command, and how you have done all things perfectly well to my glory. Let us plead together. Let us come into open court and try this matter. Declare thou. Thy own righteousness, for which of all thy good works dost thou challenge my grace, and a right to be justified? Verily, if thou canst face this, as the prophet says, “thou hast a whore’s forehead, and refusest to be ashamed.” (Jeremiah 3:3.) But, (2nd.) we may consider them as spoken to the Lord’s people. Put me in remembrance-of free declaration, of full pardon. Believe it. Pray the Spirit to apply the sense and comfort of it to thy conscience. Give me no rest till I have made thee thus happy. Let us plead together. Confess our vileness. Own your wretchedness. Acknowledge your sinfulness. I will plead? my grace reigns over the aboundings of sin, through righteousness unto eternal life. (Romans 5:21.) Declare thou that thou mayest be justified. Plead at thy throne, what I am ever well pleased with, the blood and righteousness of my beloved Son ONLY: and thou shalt be justified from all things; have my peace in thy conscience, which passeth all understanding; be filled with joy and peace in believing, and abounding in hope by the power of the Holy Ghost. Now, is not all this amazing love, and these gracious dealings enough to make thee ashamed of thy folly and slowness of heart to believe the truths of a covenant God in Christ?
Grace reigns, and over sin abounds,
And justifies the soul:
While grace our pride and lust confounds,
It makes poor sinners whole.
O for an heart of faith and love,
Rejoicing in the Lord,
To imitate the blest above,
And spread his praise abroad.
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