Devotional: December 3rd
As new-born babes desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby.- 1 Peter 2:2.
"What I cannot comprehend shall never be the object of my faith," is the weak language of a proud skeptic. "Where I cannot comprehend, I silently adore; what I cannot explain, yet I humbly believe, because divine truths bear the impress, "The Lord hath spoken." This is the language of an humble, gracious heart. "Marvellous are thy works, O Lord, in wisdom hast thou made them all." Glorious is thy grace in Christ Jesus; in love hast thou revealed it to the children of men. Here is the wisdom of saints, to learn from the images of nature the mysteries of grace. From the book of the former we are taught sweet and precious instructions in the latter.
How kindly has the God of nature provided for the infant cry of the new-born babe! It soon discovers its wants; and though as sensible of the provision it has brought, and its right unto it, it scarce breathes the air, but it hunts for the breast of its parent, and its tender appetite is drawn out after the milk. No less pleased and delighted is the affectionate mother to administer to its wants and relieve its sorrows, and nourish and strengthen her new-born infant. Dwelleth such love in parents to their offspring? Infinitely greater is the love of God to his babes in Christ. Dwelleth such a disposition in the babe of nature after milk? So also is this exemplified in every child of grace in his love to and hunting after the milk of God’s word. Hath the God of nature made such suitable provision for the children of this world? Glory to his grace, so hath he richly provided spiritual milk for the children of his kingdom. Desire it, saith he, and grow thereby; feed on it and be strengthened: but the Spirit of wisdom hath given us a caution to try the milk, to see that it be sincere milk; not any milk, but the pure and unmixed milk of God’s word and truth; Jesus is the very essence and substance of it. If the nourishing doctrines of God’s everlasting love and election in Christ, pardon by his blood, clothing by his righteousness, and final salvation of all his dear people through him, are omitted by ministers, they administer skimmed milk, which has lost its strengthening and nourishing qualities: hence, it will not edify and cause the soul to "grow strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus." When from the word of God its rich qualities are extracted, carnal reason is set up, human pride is established, creature righteousness is exalted: hence, instead of "growing up unto Christ in all things," professors grow into selfcomplacency and vain confidences. O, love the revealed word above all human teaching; prize and attend upon the faithful ministers of Jesus, that thou mayest be "nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine."- 1 Timothy 4:6.
Nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine. 1 Timothy 4:6.
Many a soul is saying, Alas! I hear and hear again, and do not see that I am profited. I obtain little or no comfort from what I hear. Consider, (1st.) what you hear. Is it the words of faith, and of good doctrine? There is more danger in words than we are aware of. Words convey corrupt ideas to the mind, and nourish vain hopes and false confidences in the heart. They subvert the promises, and pervert the soul. Many words of this sort have obtained amongst us. Such as the merit of works-perhaps you start at that. You would not hear preachers who use the phrase. But these amount to just the same thing, the terms of the gospel-the conditions of salvation. These are not the words of faith, nor of good doctrine; not the words which the Holy Ghost teaches. They are the words of man’s proud wisdom. They were hatched in the church of Rome, and are contended for by the greatest enemies of our Lord’s divinity, his atonement for sin, and justifying righteousness. One of this stamp in our day, says, “he longs to pull down that idol, Christ, from his throne.” It is well if he does not plunge into hell in the attempt. The notion of terms and conditions of salvation swells sinners with pride, nourishes them up in self-complacency and selfrighteousness: they tend to obscure the glory of the finished work of Christ, the freeness of gospel grace, and the need of the agency of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, (2d.) avoid such preachers who contend for these phrases. Seek and attend those, who follow the example of an old, a very old preacher. He had true wisdom. Therefore he says, “The preacher sought to find out acceptable words, written words, and that which was upright, even words of truth.” (Ecclesiastes 12:10.) (3d.) Consider, what it is to be nourished up in faith and good works. It is to have a sound judgment of the truth, a peaceful conscience through the truth, warm affections to the truth, the heart in love with the truth, and the hope of salvation and glory founded solely on the truth. What is truth? Jesus says, I am the truth. (John 14:6.) The truths of the gospel nourish the soul, and cause it to “grow up into Christ in all things, who is the head.” (Ephesians 4:15.) Prize the words of faith. Diligently attend good doctrine. But evermore remember, all nourishment of souls comes from Christ the head. To him look: upon him live: study to please him in all things. “Of his fulness have we all received.” John 1:16.
Christ’s words are full of truth and grace,
And nourish up the soul
In love, and peace, and holiness,
And all our lusts control.
Speak, Lord, unto my heart with pow’r,
Make me grow up in thee:
O may I feed on thee each hour,
‘Till I thy glory see.
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