Thomas Watson, Body of Divinity, p. 581:
“When do we forgive others?”
When we strive against all thoughts of revenge; when we will not do our enemies mischief, but wish well to them, grieve at their calamities, pray for them, seek reconciliation with them, and show ourselves ready on all occasions to relieve them.
We forgive others when:
1. We resist taking revenge: Romans 12:19, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
2. We no longer seek to repay evil with evil: 1 Thessalonians 5:15, “See that no one repays another with evil for evil.
3. We sincerely wish them well: Luke 6:28, “Bless those who curse you.”
4. We grieve at their calamities: Proverbs 24:17, “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles.”
5. We Pray good for them: Matthew 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.”
6. We seek reconciliation with them: Romans 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”
7.We are willing to come to their aid: Exodus 23:4, “If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey wandering away, you shall surely return it to him.”
What Forgiveness is Not:
8. Forgiveness is not a lack of anger towards sin.
9. Forgiveness is not blind trust
10. Forgiveness is not lack of consequence
11. Forgiveness is not remaining in an unsafe, unstable, hostile environment.
“Not as the world, the Saviour gives: He is no fickle friend; Whom once He loves, He never leaves, But loves him to the end.
Though thousand snares enclose his feet, Not one shall hold him fast; Whatever dangers he may meet, He shall get safe at last.
The spirit that would this truth withstand Would pull God’s temple down, Wrest Jesus’ sceptre from His hand, And spoil Him of his crown.
Satan might then full victory boast, The Church might wholly fall; If one believer may be lost, It follows, so may all.
“But Christ, in every age, has prov’d, His purchase firm and true; If this foundation be removed, What shall the righteous do?”
My friend Timmy Brister has issued a challenge for 2008:
“Towards the close of 2007, I began thinking of a way I could challenge myself to grow spiritually through a reading regiment and schedule. While riding home from work one morning, I came up with the idea of reading one Puritan Paperback a month, along with incorporating the Valley of Vision in my devotional meditations and prayers. I shared my personal challenge publicly, not thinking much about it.
To my surprise, this Puritan reading challenge has resonated with more people than I could have ever imagined. Due to the high level of interest and encouragement from many people wanting to take on this reading challenge together, I have worked to make this Puritan reading project the best it could be.”
Take up the challenge! Log on to www.TimmyBrister.com and sign on today.
…the (soon to be) Westminster divine, Richard Heyrick, modestly told his parishioners that “heaven itself cannot show forth a more excellent creature than a faithful preacher.”
The history of preaching is currently receiving significant attention. Hughes Oliphant Old has published six volumes in a magisterial study of the subject from the biblical period to the present.1 Early seventeenth-century preaching has received significant attention in the doctoral work of Arnold C. Hunt as well as the older studies by Paul Seaver and Horton Davies, and the preaching of puritans has earned an almost endless number of historical treatments, too many to mention here. These studies of Christian preaching are profoundly useful and some are comprehensive in nature.
“True faith takes Christ and Him only to be it’s Lord. Many will come to Christ and have a feast, but few come to Christ to bear His scepter. Some would come under the safety of His blood, but disdain the authority and dominion of His sword; they like Christ the priest, but not Christ the Lord. I will briefly show you two things – unbelievers will not accept Christ to be their Lord only, because their heart has another Lord. He is our Lord to whom we give service, and we His servants who obey Him. Let the commands of profit or pleasure versus Christ come into competition and you shall see that the unbelieving heart will go after it’s lord; it will not hearken to Christ, for it prefers sin before Him. The unbelieving heart will easily adventure Christ’s displeasure to fulfill it’s own lusts. Again, the unbelieving heart cannot chose Christ; it cannot like him for a Lord.
Why? Because the dominion of Christ is holy and heavenly; it is directly opposite to the solid principles and affections, and ways of an unbelieving heart. Secondly, every believer admits to Christ as being their Lord as Thomas said, “My Lord, and my God” (John 20:28) – and so (1) Faith sets up the scepter of Christ, and sweetly frames the soul to a willing subjection, (2) Again faith takes the whole Christ, and therefore Christ is the only King and Lord to faith, (3) Again, faith knows that the whole person is Christ’s purchase, His blood has bought us, and so passed us into the entire dominion of Christ: “ye are bought with a price; ye are not your own,” said the apostle, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
Now then try yourself in this: who is your Lord? If by faith you have sworn fidelity to Christ, then though all temptations beset you, to captivate you, or to alienate your heart from the service of Christ, yet amidst all oppressions, yes, under all the knocks and buffetings, and interruptions by sin, the heart cries out, I acknowledge no Lord but Christ; him I would obey; Him I honor, I love; His I am, and yet hate those sins which yet I cannot conquer.”
Obadiah Sedgwick, Day by Day with the English Puritans