Psalm 133

I’ve often wondered why Christian love and unity was compared with Aaron’s anointing or the dew of Hermon. Here are my insights plus that of the great commentator John Gill.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” Psalm 133.

Christian love from our anointing is a public demonstration (John 13:34,35) and personal reassurance of one’s calling (I John 2:27). In Christ we are all anointed as prophets, priests and kings so as to minister to each other. Christian fellowship, like the oil, is precious and refreshing like the dew to invigorate.

“David means the superior aperture of the garment, that which we call the neck or collar band; This anointing oil was typical of the grace of the Spirit, the unction from the Holy One; which has been poured on Christ, the head of the church, without measure; and with which he has been anointed above his fellows; and from him it is communicated to all his members (I John 2:27); to every one of which is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ; and who from his fullness receive, and grace for grace: and particularly brotherly love is compared to this ointment; because of the preciousness of it, which is true of every grace; and because of the extensiveness of it, reaching to head and members, to Christ and all his saints, the meanest and lowest of them; and because of its fragrancy and sweet odour to all that are sensible of it; and because of its delightful, cheering, and refreshing nature; like ointment and perfume it rejoices the heart; yea, the worst things said, or reproofs given, in brotherly love, are like oil, pleasant and useful, ( Proverbs 27:9 ) ( Psalms 141:5) ; and is as necessary for the saints, who are all priests unto God, to offer up their spiritual sacrifices; particularly that of prayer, which should be “without wrath”, as well as without doubting; and to do all other duties of religion, which should spring from charity or love; as the anointing oil was to Aaron and his sons, in order to their officiating in the priest’s office.” John Gill

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Romans 5:1-5

I love this quote from that great Scottish worthy Robert Haldane recently in LRF bulletin: “What fullness and variety of instruction and consolation are contained in the first five verses of this chapter! The work of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is exhibited, all severally acting, as God alone can act, in the various parts of man’s salvation. The righteousness of God is imputed to the believer, who is therefore justified, and pronounced by the Judge of all the earth righteous. As righteous, he has peace with God, and free access to Him through Jesus Christ; and being thus introduced into the favour of God, he stands in a justified state, rejoicing in hope of future glory. Being justified, he is also sanctified, and enabled to glory even in present afflictions. He enjoys the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, through whose Divine influence the love of God is infused into his soul. Here, then, are the peace, the joy, the triumph of the Christian. Here are faith, hope, and love, the three regulators of the Christian’s life. Faith is the great and only means of obtaining every privilege, because it unites the soul to Christ, and receives all out of His fullness. Hope cheers the believer in his passage through this world, with the expectation of promised blessings to be accomplished in future glory, and is thus the anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, which holds it firm, and enables it to ride out all the storms and troubles of life. Love is the renewal of the image of God in the soul, and the true principle of obedience” (Romans, p. 191).

Robert Haldane 1764-1852

What Christ says or promises, he does!

 

When the disciples, fearing for their lives in the storm on the sea called upon Christ to save them, what had they forgotten? (Luke 8:22-25). Simply this, that Jesus had said, “Let us go over to the other side…” NOT let us sink in the middle of the sea!

When life’s storms assail us, remember Christ is with us, he is our anchor, the guarantee we will join him in heaven and the one who even in the midst of the storms bids us be still and know his peace (John 14:27).

Their lack of faith, which is sin, was not in calling upon their Lord to help, but in saying, “Don’t you care?” Faith prays, but faith also trusts in the infinite love and care of God!

Grace and the Holy Spirit

All of God’s grace comes to us by the work of the Holy Spirit. The Person of the Spirit is the purchase of Christ’s blood and the one who effects all his ministry in us.

  1. Christ prays that the Father sends the Spirit and both Father and Son dispense him to us (Acts 2:33). He is poured out upon us in Spirit baptism.
  2. He continually supplies the Spirit, who is the chief means of our mortifying the flesh (Rom.8:13).
  3. Owen speaks of the habit of grace, the new heart, the permanent residence of the Spirit,  the source of the seven-fold fruit.
  4. He speaks separately of actual grace which is transient and consists God’s enabling of all the good works he has decreed for us (Eph. 2:10, Phil.2:13). This may wax and wane.
  5. The Spirit continually purifies (sanctifies) as the blood of sprinkling.

All this grace is irresistible effecting our salvation from beginning to end.

It should be obvious that in both the initial reception of the Spirit and his on-going work the sign with water of pouring and sprinkling is the only one which adequately and correctly portrays the reality of his work (not immersion!).

Adapted from “Communion with God” by John Owen.

Communion with God the Son (6)

JOHN OWEN ON GRACE:

1. Grace of personal presence and comeliness (beauty). So we say, “A graceful and comely person,” either from himself or his ornaments. This in Christ  is the subject of near one-half of the book of  Song of Solomon; it is also mentioned, Psalm. 45: 2 and John 1:14, “Thou art fairer than the children of men;grace is poured into thy lips.”  Those inconceivable gifts and fruits of the Spirit which were bestowed on him, and brought forth in him, concur to his personal excellency;

2. Grace of free favour and acceptance. “By this grace we are saved;” that is, the free favour and gracious acceptation of God in Christ. In this sense is it used in that frequent expression, “If I have found grace in thy sight;” that is, if I be freely and favourably accepted before thee. So he “giveth grace” (that is, favour) “unto the humble,” James 4:6; Gen. 39:21, Acts 7:10; 1 Sam. 2:26;  Paul introduces most of his epistles or ends them with a doxology that equates grace with Jesus Christ-indeed there is NO GRACE outside of Christ-JK.

3. The power of God producing the fruit of the Spirit, saving, sanctifying and renewing our natures, enabling unto good, and preventing from evil, are so termed. Thus the Lord tells Paul, “his grace was sufficient for him;” that is, the assistance against temptation which he afforded him, Titus 2:10, I Peter 5: 10-12, Col. 3:16; 2 Cor. 8:6, 7; Heb. 12: 28.

There is no grace outside of Christ for mankind in general, specifically the reprobate wicked-JK

Killing Sin (12)

 

Besetting sin is rooted in our nature, and often cherished, fomented, and heightened from our constitution.

1. This does not absolve of the guilt of your sin.
It is from the fall, from the original depravation of our natures, that the kindles and nourishment of any sin abides in our natural temper. David reckons his being shapen in iniquity and conception in sin aggravated his guilt. That you art peculiarly inclined unto
any sinful distemper is but a peculiar breaking out of original lust in your nature, which should peculiarly abase and humble you.

2. That in reference to your walking with God, without extraordinary watchfulness, care, and diligence, the sin will assuredly prevail against your soul.

3. For the mortification of any sin so rooted in the nature of a man, this is the key states the apostle, 1 Cor. 9: 27, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection.” The bringing of the very body into subjection is an ordinance of God tending to the mortification of sin. This gives check unto the natural root of the sin, and withers it.
That the means whereby this is done, — namely, by fasting and watching, and the like, — cannot of their own power, produce true mortification of any sin; for if they would, sin might be mortified without any help of the Spirit in any unregenerate person in the world. They are to be looked on only as ways whereby the Spirit may, and sometimes does, put forth strength for the accomplishing of his own work, especially in the case mentioned.

___________

Killing sin (mortification).

Notes from John Owen’s treatise.

Based on Romans 8:13, “ For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”

Indwelling sin, which battles against us spiritually all our lives, has to be killed daily.  It wants to overcome us.

“Every unclean thought or glance would be adultery if it could;” “Now nothing can prevent this but mortification; that withers the root and strikes at the head of sin every hour..” We are given the Spirit to fight. “Where sin, through the neglect of mortification, gets a considerable victory, it breaks the bones of the soul, Ps. 31:10, 51: 8, and makes a man weak, sick, and ready to die, Ps. 38:3-5, so that he cannot look up, Ps. 40:12;” Thus although in principle sin is dethroned by our death with Christ on the cross, nevertheless it is our duty to put sin to death daily.

Sermon on mortification (HC LD 33)

Temperance (1)

TEMPERANCE—The third property that we should supply in our supernatural faith is “temperance” (egkrateian, accusative of egkrateia, which means self-control or self-restraint). Paul preached the faith in Christ before Felix and “reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come…” (Acts 24:25). Temperance is one of the fruits of the Spirit proclaimed by Paul (Gal. 5:23). This word, as well as the other excellencies to be supplied in our faith, was used twice by Peter (II Pet. 1:6). Self-control is the mastery of desires and passions. It prevents excesses of any kind in the life of a Christian. Self-control includes more than abstinence from alcohol. A person may be a glutton and be just as guilty of the absence of self-control. Sorrow and laughter are all right, but a person does not want to spend all his time in either. Therefore, we will gird our mirth and restrain our sorrow. The apostle Paul refused to be mastered by bodily appetites. He disciplined his body into subjection that he might not become disqualified (1 Cor. 9:27).
The Christian is both the governor and the governed. The new nature within us enables us to control the old Adamic nature. From God’s word, we learn we have the new nature which is capable of controlling our old nature within. Hence, we learn that by the help of the grace God has given us that we are governors and we are governed. Without Christ we are nothing, but with Him and His grace we are governors. This is what Paul meant when he said he would keep his body under subjection (I Cor. 9:27). He taught this same truth in Romans 7. There is a warfare between the outward man and the inward man. But we can thank God that we have victory through Jesus Christ (Rom. 7:25).
Knowledge, the preceding property, defends itself by the excellence of self-control. True knowledge leads to self-restraint from every inordinate desire. 

Thanks Barry Watson.

Our responsibility regarding the Holy Spirit

Owen is brilliant (Communion with God).

There are three things considerable in the Holy Ghost: (1) his person, as dwelling in us; (2) his actings by grace, or his motions; (3) his working in the ordinances of the word, and the sacraments—all for the same end and purpose. To these three are the three cautions before suited: (1) Not to grieve him, in respect of his person dwelling in us. (2) Not to quench him, in respect of the actings and motions of his grace. (3) Not to resist him, in respect of the ordinances of Christ, and his gifts for their administration. Now, because the whole general duty of believers, in their communion with the Holy Ghost, is comprised in these three things, I shall handle them severally. TBC.