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He Who Has Said, ‘It Is Finished,’ Will Never Leave Anything Undone (via Charles Spurgeon)

Tomorrow, for those of us who have not been called home, the work of our salvation will continue toward its completion:
From Charles Spurgeon, quoted at Tolle Lege:

If, when we were sinners, Christ loved us so as to die for us, now that He has redeemed us, and has already reconciled us to Himself, and made us His friends and His disciples, will He not finish the work that is necessary to make us fit to stand among the golden lamps of heaven, and to sing His praises in the country where nothing that defileth can even enter?
I believe it, my brethren. He who has said, ‘It is finished,’ will never leave anything undone. It shall never be said of Him, ‘This Man began, but was not able to finish.’

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For Our Stories of Greatest Grief (via Scotty Smith at Heavenward)

Another day at the graveside with those who are grieving.
This prayer for saddened hearts from Scotty Smith is apt.

Jesus wept. John 11:35
Lord Jesus, though it’s the shortest verse in the Bible, these two words bring immeasurable comfort. Your hot tears, shed outside Lazarus’s tomb, are one of the greatest showers that ever kissed the face of the earth. You wept a waterfall of mercy, a river of compassion, a reservoir of grace.
You knew that within moments, your friend would breathe again, and walk out of his tomb. You knew you’d enjoy Lazarus’ company very soon. And yet you wept full-heartedly, as you allowed yourself to feel the harsh reality of his death. Those who witnessed your sacred fury and fierce sadness, offered this commentary. “See how he loved him!” (John 11:36). Indeed, no one loves like you, in life and in death.
Jesus, today we’re thankful you’re such a tenderhearted Savior, because many of us are in the agony of grief. Some of us have lost a friend, a parent, a spouse, or most painfully, a child. Others of us are coming upon the painful anniversary of great loss. Thank you for validating the pain and emptiness, the confusion and sadness we feel. We grieve with hope, but we really do grieve.
At times, like Martha, Lazarus’ sister, we cry, “Lord, if only you’d been here,” assuming you could have done more. You don’t respond with a lecture on sovereignty, rather you say with great understanding, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). No one hates death more than you, Jesus. No one grieves death’s ugly violation more deeply. No one is more looking forward to the day of “no more death” (Rev. 21:4) than you. And no has done more to put death to death than you.
Today we rest our sobered, saddened hearts on your shoulder, trusting you for the peace and comfort we need. Jesus, we honor you as “the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). Death, the “last enemy,” will soon be a long-gone enemy (1 Cor. 15:26). Because of your resurrection, we sing in advance of ours, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:55). We praise, bless, and adore you, as we rest our heavy hearts in your loving hands. So very Amen we pray, in your grave-robbing name.

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Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 29

Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 29

Chapter 18 – Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation (Cont.) (Paragraphs 3-4)

III. This infallible assurance does not so belong to the essence of faith but that a true believer may wait long and conflict with many difficulties before he be partaker of it: yet, being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of God, he may, without extraordinary revelation, in the right use of ordinary means, attain thereunto. And therefore it is the duty of everyone to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure; that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance: so far is it from inclining men to looseness.
IV. True believers may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and intermitted; as, by negligence in preserving of it; by falling into some special sin, which wounds the conscience, and grieves the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement temptation; by God’s withdrawing the light of his countenance and suffering even such as fear him to walk in darkness and to have no light: yet are they never utterly destitute of that seed of God, and life of faith, that love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart and conscience of duty, out of which, by the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may in due time be revived, and by the which, in the meantime, they are supported from utter despair.


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Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 27

Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 27

Chapter 17 – Of The Perseverance of the Saints
I. They whom God has accepted in his Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.
II. This perseverance of the saints depends, not upon their own free-will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ; the abiding of the Spirit and of the seed of God within them; and the nature of the covenant of grace; from all which arises also the certainty and infallibility thereof.
III. Nevertheless they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalence of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their perseverance, fall into grievous sins; and for a time continue therein: whereby they incur God’s displeasure, and grieve his Holy Spirit; come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts; have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded; hurt and scandalise others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves.


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Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 22

Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 22

Q & A 79
Q May not true believers, by reason of their imperfections, and the many temptations and sins they are overtaken with, fall away from the state of grace?
A True believers, by reason of the unchangeable love of God,1 and his decree and covenant to give them perseverance,2 their inseparable union with Christ,3 his continual intercession for them,4 and the Spirit and seed of God abiding in them,5 can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace,6 but are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.*7

Q & A 80
Q Can true believers be infallibly assured that they are in the estate of grace, and that they shall persevere therein unto salvation?
A Such as truly believe in Christ, and endeavour to walk in all good conscience before him,8 may, without extraordinary revelation, by faith grounded upon the truth of God’s promises, and by the Spirit enabling them to discern in themselves those graces to which the promises of life are made,9 and bearing witness with their spirits that they are the children of God,10 be infallibly assured that they are in the estate of grace, and shall persevere therein unto salvation.11

Q & A 81
Q Are all true believers at all times assured of their present being in the estate of grace, and that they shall be saved?
A Assurance of grace and salvation not being of the essence of faith,12 true believers may wait long before they obtain it;13 and, after the enjoyment thereof, may have it weakened and intermitted, through manifold distempers, sins, temptations, and desertions;14 yet they are never left without such a presence and support of the Spirit of God as keeps them from sinking into utter despair.15

*1 Jeremiah 31:3.
*2 2 Timothy 2:19; Hebrews 13:20-21; 2 Samuel 23:5.
*3 1 Corinthians 1:8-9.
*4 Hebrews 7:25; Luke 22:32.
*5 1 John 3:9; 1 John 2:27.
*6 Jeremiah 32:40; John 10:28.
*7 1 Peter 1:5.
*8 1 John 2:3.
*9 1 Corinthians 2:12; 1 John 3:14, 18-19, 21, 24; 1 John 4:13, 16; Hebrews 6:11-12.
*10 Romans 8:16.
*11 1 John 5:13.
*12 Ephesians 1:13.
*13 Isaiah 50:10; Psalm 88:1-3, 6-7, 9-10, 13-15.
*14 Psalm 77:1-12; Song of Solomon 5:2-3, 6; Psalm 51:8, 12; Psalm 31:22; Psalm 22:1.
*15 1 John 3:9; Psalm 73:15, 23; Isaiah 54:7-10.


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Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 32

Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 32

86.
Q. Since we are redeemed from our sin and its wretched consequences by grace through Christ without any merit of our own, why must we do good works?
A. Because just as Christ has redeemed us with his blood he also renews us through his Holy Spirit according to his own image, so that with our whole life we may show ourselves grateful to God for his goodness and that he may be glorified through us; and further, so that we ourselves may be assured of our faith by its fruits and by our reverent behavior may win our neighbors to Christ.

87.
Q. Can those who do not turn to God from their ungrateful, impenitent life be saved?
A. Certainly not! Scripture says, “Surely you know that the unjust will never come into possession of the kingdom of God. Make no mistake: no fornicator or idolater, none who are guilty either of adultery or of homosexual perversion, no thieves or grabbers or drunkards or slanderers or swindlers, will possess the kingdom of God.”


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The Situation Of Christians In Syria

Article by Bishop Antoine Audo SJ, the Chaldean Bishop of Aleppo, Syria from the UK Telegraph.
An excerpt:

We hear the thunder of bombs and the rattle of gunfire, but we don’t always know what is happening. It’s hard to describe how chaotic, terrifying and psychologically difficult it is when you have no idea what will happen next, or where the next rocket will fall. Many Christians cope with the tension by being fatalistic: that whatever happens is God’s will.
Until the war began, Syria was one of the last remaining strongholds for Christianity in the Middle East. We have 45 churches in Aleppo. But now our faith is under mortal threat, in danger of being driven into extinction, the same pattern we have seen in neighbouring Iraq.
Most Christians who could afford to leave Aleppo have already fled for Lebanon, so as to find schools for their children. Those who remain are mostly from poor families. Many can no longer put food on the table. Last year, even amid intense fighting, you could see people in the streets running around endlessly trying to find bread in one of the shops.

Read the rest here.

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