Friday, October 18, 2013

Applications of the Truth that the Just Shall Live by Faith, part 4--“The just shall live by faith”— A Study of the Relationship of Faith to Salvation in its Justifying, Sanctifying, and Glorifying Fulness, part 27

Do you wish for your faith to grow?  John’s Gospel teaches that your faith is strengthened and deepened through the exercise of believing receipt of greater revelations through the Word of the Triune God in His ontology and economy and through your response, enabled by grace, of fuller surrender to and entrusting of yourself to Him.  Therefore, while unbelievers refuse, to their eternal ruin, to see the Lord Jesus in the Word and entrust themselves to Him at all, you must seek to see more and more of Christ and the entire Triune Godhead in the Word, and entrust yourself to Him in an ever greater way as the revelation of Him in the Scripture is illuminated to your soul, through the supernatural grace decreed by the Father for your good by Christ the Mediator through the applicatory work of God the Holy Spirit.  See ever the more of the glory of the Lord Jesus’ Divine Person.  Wonder ever the more at the condescending love manifested in His incarnation.  Meditate upon all the aspects of His glorious saving work.  Think in amazement about His exercise of all the Divine attributes towards you for your good.  Rejoice with exceeding joy at His exercise of all the attributes of His glorified Human nature towards you for your good.  Fill yourself up with these things.  You will be worshipping and praising your Triune God through your precious Lord Jesus for them for all eternity.
1.) Passionately desire that God the Spirit will illumine to you the revelation of the Triune Jehovah, and of Christ the Blessed Mediator, in the Word.  How necessary it is that God reveals Himself to you!  Left to yourself, you are utterly unable to discover Him.  You will not know whether to turn to the right hand or the left.  Furthermore, your heart contains such corruption and wickedness within it that God would be perfectly just to immediately thrust you into the depths of hell, separated from His blessed face for all eternity.  Is the infinite King of glory obliged to show Himself to such a worm?  God forbid! Recognize that both the initial bestowal of faith upon you, and the increase of faith in its exercise in you, are supernatural gifts from God, not autonomous products of your fallen will, and look to the Lord to perform in you what you cannot perform yourself. Without the free, gracious, and sovereign work of the Spirit in revealing Christ to you, you will never find Him.  How necessary it is, then, that God takes the initative and reveal Himself to your soul!  

You certainly should have no such expectation of a gracious revelation, and you will not be looking to the Lord and seeking for God to reveal Himself to you in Christ, if you are not upright in heart—if you are wilfully choosing sin over Christ, you evidence that you do not desire a part in any of this glory, as you prefer your sinful abominations to that knowledge of and communion with God that is the greatest treasure of eternity. 

2.) Diligently apply yourself to the reading, study, memorization of, and meditation on the Word, praying for the illumination of the Spirit, depending on His sovereign grace alone, hungering and thirsting after knowledge of God in Christ.  The Bible is the very Word of God, the infallible, inerrant, revelatory speech of the Most High to man.  It is a more sure Word than even the audible testimony of the Father to Christ as heard on the Mount of Transfiguration (2 Peter 1:16-21).  It is the perfect, unbreakably authoritative revelation of the Father to you through Christ by the Spirit.  Oh, the sureness, the power, the infinite value of the Scriptures!  Here is a sure anchor for your faith.  Here is pure knowledge of God.  Here is a genuine revelation, each jot and tittle of which is more sure and more lasting than the heavens and the earth.  Here is the spring from whence the waters of life flow.  Here is the love-letter of the Most High to His blood-bought people.  The Bible is the instrument that the Spirit uses to show God in Christ to those who cry out for knowledge of Him.  Do you treat the Bible as the invaluable treasure that it is?  Does your use of time reflect such a view of God’s Word?  What is your attitude when you read and study it?  “[T]o this man will I look . . . saith the LORD . . . even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word” (Isaiah 66:2).  Furthermore, read, study, memorize, and meditate upon the Word with the expectation that God will work.  He has promised that if you draw nigh to Him, He will draw nigh to you.  He both supernaturally produces initial saving faith and supernaturally strengthens faith through the instrumentality of the Word (Romans 10:17).  If you hunger and thirst after Him, He will certainly satisfy your longings for Him and will sup with you, and you with Him—for He Himself, in His gracious love, has placed those desires within you.  He will shine in your heart the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  Seek, then, oh Christian—seek your God in His Word!

3.) Indeed, the believer should seek for the highest intellectual knowledge of Christ’s Person, of his Triune God, and of the specific character of all their works.  Careful, detailed, and taxing theological work and careful study contributes, rather than detracts, from affective appreciation of God in Christ.  Carelessness or disinterest in careful thought about God is not piety, but ungodliness.  Do you love the truth represented by the Nicene homoousios? Do you love the truth represented by the Chalcedonian definition of Christ’s Person and natures?  Throughout John’s Gospel, learning and understanding more about Christ led to greater faith in Him.  Do you long to learn and understand more about the Lord Jesus Christ?  While the intellectual apprehension of facts is not enough—commital to Him, based on those facts, must follow (John 2:23-3:3)—unknowing determinations of the will without knowledge are also insufficient (John 9:1-34 vs. 35-41).[i]  The embrace of faith requires a properly known and apprehended object.  Do you seek God with your mind, as well as your will and affections?

            Furthermore, since the Biblical Christ is a real Person—the Creator and Redeemer of the world, and the only begotten Son of God—believing fellowship with Jesus Christ is both a product of and a means to a greater knowledge of Him, and leads to a holy abhorrance of every counterfeit “Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4) set forth by the world, the flesh, and the devil.  Love for the living Christ and views of His glory will lead to a love of holy and spiritual worship and a rejection of the fleshly worship of fleshly “Jesus”;  a love for the Redeemer who boldly and plainly rebuked the false doctrines of the Pharisees and Saduccees will lead the Christian to reject the ecumenical “Jesus” that unites false doctrine with the true;  knowledge of the true Christ will lead one to reject the fanaticism of the charismatic “Jesus,” the annihilationist “Jesus” of sundry cults, the Arian or Sabellian “Jesus” of others, the wafer “Jesus” of Romanism, and all other false Christs.


[i]           That is, those in John 2:23-25 knew that Christ did miracles and had intellectual apprehension of various facts about Him, but did not commit themselves to Him, and were thus still unconverted (3:1-3).  The blind man Christ healed in John 9 was willing to get cast out of the synagogue for His sake, yet he did not know that the Lord Jesus was the Son of God (9:36), or that He was not a sinner (9:25), and was only converted at the end of the chapter when he found out the proper knowledge of the Person of Christ (9:35-41).

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