“The Christian’s armour will rust, except it be furbished and scoured with the oil of prayer.”
–William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1662/2002), 2: 289.
“No one was ever saved other than by grace, from Abel to the present moment. Since mankind was banished from the east-ward Garden, none has ever returned to the divine favor except through the sheer goodness of God.
And wherever grace found any man it was always by Jesus Christ. Grace indeed came by Jesus Christ, hut it did not wait for His birth in the manger or His death on the cross before it became operative.
Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. The first man in human history to be reinstated in the fellowship of God came through faith in Christ.
In olden times men looked forward to Christ’s redeeming work; in later times they gaze back upon it, but always they came and they come by grace, through faith.
We must keep in mind also that the grace of God is infinite and eternal. As it had no beginning, so it can have no end, and being an attribute of God, it is as boundless as infinitude.
Instead of straining to comprehend this as a theological truth, it would be better and simpler to compare God’s grace with our need.
We can never know the enormity of our sin, neither is it necessary that we should. What we can know is that “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.’ (Rom. 5:20)”
—A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy: The Attributes of God (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1961/1978), 148-149.
“Hence, since the Virgin conceived and brought forth a Son, because of His manifest nature of servant, we read: ‘A child is born to us’ (Isaiah 9:6); but, because the Word of God, which remains forever, became flesh so that He might dwell with us, on account of His real, though hidden nature of God, we, using the words of the Angel Gabriel, call ‘his name Emmanuel.’ (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23)
Remaining God, He has become Man so that the Son of Man may rightly be called ‘God with us’ and so that in Him God is not one person and man another.
Let the world rejoice in those who believe, for whose salvation He came, by whom the world was made, the Creator of Mary born of Mary, the Son of David yet Lord of David, the Seed of Abraham who existed before Abraham, the Fashioner of this earth fashioned on this earth, the Creator of heaven created as Man under the light of heaven.
This is the day which the Lord has made and the Lord Himself is the bright Day of our heart.
Let us walk in His light; let us exult and be glad in Him.”
–Augustine of Hippo, “Sermon 187: On the Birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Sermons on the Liturgical Seasons (ed. Hermigild Dressler; trans. Mary Sarah Muldowney; vol. 38; The Fathers of the Church; Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1959), 38: 16-17.
“That day is called the birthday of the Lord on which the Wisdom of God manifested Himself as a speechless Child and the Word of God wordlessly uttered the sound of a human voice.
His divinity, although hidden, was revealed by heavenly witness to the Magi and was announced to the shepherds by angelic voices.
With yearly ceremony, therefore, we celebrate this day which saw the fulfillment of the prophecy: ‘Truth is sprung out of the earth: and justice hath looked down from heaven.’ (Psalm 84:12)
Truth, eternally existing in the bosom of the Father, has sprung from the earth so that He might exist also in the bosom of a mother.
Truth, holding the world in place, has sprung from the earth so that He might be carried in the hands of a woman.
Truth, incorruptibly nourishing the happiness of the angels, has sprung from the earth in order to be fed by human milk.
Truth, whom the heavens cannot contain, has sprung from the earth so that He might be placed in a manger.
For whose benefit did such unparalleled greatness come in such lowliness? Certainly for no personal advantage, but definitely for our great good, if only we believe.
Arouse yourself, O man; for your God has become man. ‘Awake, sleeper, and arise from among the dead, and Christ will enlighten thee.’ (Eph. 5:14)
For you, I repeat, God has become man.
If He had not thus been born in time, you would have been dead for all eternity.
Never would you have been freed from sinful flesh, if He had not taken upon Himself the likeness of sinful flesh.
Everlasting misery would have engulfed you, if He had not taken this merciful form.
You would not have been restored to life, had He not submitted to your death; you would have fallen, had He not succored you; you would have perished, had He not come.
Let us joyfully celebrate the coming of our salvation and redemption. Let us celebrate the festal day on which the great and timeless One came from the great and timeless day to this brief span of our day.
He ‘has become for us righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption; so that, just as it is written, ‘Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord. (1 Cor. 1:30-31)'”
–Augustine of Hippo, “Sermon 185: On the Birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Sermons on the Liturgical Seasons (ed. Hermigild Dressler; trans. Mary Sarah Muldowney; vol. 38; The Fathers of the Church; Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1959), 38: 6-7.
“The truth here taught is full of strong consolation for all true Christians. We live in a world full of difficulties and snares.
We are ourselves weak and compassed with infirmity.
The awful thought that we have a mighty spiritual enemy ever near us, subtle, powerful, and malicious as Satan is, might well disquiet us, and cast us down.
But, thanks be unto God, we have in Jesus an almighty Friend, who is ‘able to save us to the uttermost.’
He has already triumphed over Satan on the cross. He will ever triumph over him in the hearts of all believers, and intercede for them that their faith fail not.
And He will finally triumph over Satan completely, when He shall come forth at the second advent., and bind him in the bottomless pit.
And now, Are we ourselves delivered from Satan’s power? This after all is the grand question that concerns our souls.—He still reigns and rules in the hearts of all who are children of disobedience. (Eph. 2:3.)
He is still a king over the ungodly. Have we, by grace, broken his bonds, and escaped his hand? Have we really renounced him and all his works?
Do we daily resist him and make him flee? Do we put on the whole armour of God and stand against his wiles?
May we never rest till we can give satisfactory answers to these questions.”
–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Mark (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1857/2012), 72-73. Ryle is commenting on Mark 5:1-17.
“The Magi see a star in the East and they know that a King has been born in Judea. Who is that King, so small and so mighty, not yet speaking on earth and already issuing commands in heaven?
In truth He did this for us, in His desire that we might learn about Him from the sacred Scriptures, and for the Magi, that they might believe in Him from His prophecies even though He had given them so bright a sign in the heavens and had revealed to their hearts that He was born in Judea.
For, in seeking the place where He whom they desired to see and to adore was born, they had to contact the leaders of the Jews, so that these unfaithful men, wittingly deceptive but unwittingly truthful, might give evidence to the faithful about the grace of faith, evidence drawn from holy Scripture which they carried on their lips but not in their hearts.
How wonderful it would have been if these leaders of the Jews, when they had heard from the Magi that under the guidance of the star they had come desiring to adore Him, had associated themselves with the searchers for Christ, had led them to Bethlehem, which they had pointed out from the sacred books, and had seen, understood, and adored Him along with them?
Instead, after directing others to the fountain of life, they preferred to die of thirst.
They became, as it were, milestones to these strangers; they indicated the path to the travelers but they remained motionless and immovable.”
–Augustine of Hippo, “Sermon 199: On the Epiphany of the Lord,” Sermons on the Liturgical Seasons (ed. Hermigild Dressler; trans. Mary Sarah Muldowney; vol. 38; The Fathers of the Church; Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1959), 38: 60-61.
“God alone is almighty.
God possesses what no creature can: an incomprehensible plenitude of power, a potency that is absolute.”
—A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (New York: HarperCollins, 1961/1978), 65.
“The Lord is never short of men to serve Him. Remember that Omnipotence has servants everywhere.
And out of the ranks of Satan’s army He can take the boldest champion of evil, arrest him by almighty grace, and lay upon him the charge to become a leader to the hosts of the living God.
Never despair, and never doubt, nor let even a desponding thought concerning Christ’s cause flit across your mind. They tell us that dark days are coming; that is quite true, but the Sun of Righteousness will never be eclipsed.
They tell us that the powers of evil will grow stronger and stronger. Suppose they do; the Almighty will never grow weak.
We will fall back upon the omnipotence and all-sufficiency of Jehovah; and then we shall know what it is not to feel any distrust or fear concerning the present or the future of the Church of the living God.”
“I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Fear of falling is healthy. To be reckless is not a sign of wisdom. There are times when we feel that we will collapse unless we have a very special support.
Here we have it. God’s right hand is a grand thing to lean upon. Mind you, it is not only His hand, though it keeps heaven and earth in their places, but His right hand.
It is His power united with skill; His power where it is most dexterous.
And this is not all, for it is written, “I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
That hand which He uses to maintain His holiness and to execute His royal sentences– this will be stretched out to hold up His trusting ones.
Fearful is our danger, but joyful is our security. The man whom God upholds, devils cannot throw down.
Weak may be our feet, but almighty is God’s right hand. Rough may be the road, but Omnipotence is our upholding.
We may boldly go forward. We will not fall. Let us lean continually where all things lean.
God will not withdraw His strength, for His righteousness is there as well. He will be faithful to His promise, and faithful to His Son, and therefore faithful to us.
How happy we ought to be!
Are you happy today?”
–Charles H. Spurgeon, The Promises of God: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on the English Standard Version, Revised and Updated by Tim Chester (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2019), “February 8.” Originally published in The Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith: Being Precious Promises Arranged for Daily Use with Brief Comments (New York: American Tract Society, 1893), 39.