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Following Jesus, The Pioneer Pilgrim (via Jonathan Gibson)

A reflection on the longing for the better world which Christians experience, and how Jesus has walked through the darkness of this life to bring us to eternity with himself.
From Jonathan Gibson:

One of the ways in which the Psalms connect to Jesus Christ is in the sphere of typological experience. The psalmist or the person described in the psalm (like the blessed man in Psalm 1, God’s anointed king in Psalm 2, or the righteous sufferer in Psalm 3) is a type of Christ in their experience. That is, the fullest and most perfect expression of their desires, disappointments, and sufferings is found in the life experience of Jesus Christ. In this regard, the psalms are not just about Jesus; they were also experienced by Jesus.
As the true, faithful Israelite, Jesus perfectly experienced the desires expressed in this psalm, especially the vivid, intense pulsebeat for heaven and for God. Jesus was the Son of Man, born of Mary, but throughout his life he never forgot that he was a son of heaven. During his earthly ministry, he wandered from place to place like his patriarch fathers before him. In fact, he didn’t even have a tent to dwell in. “Foxes have holes, birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Matt. 8:20). Why? Because for the joy set before him, he endured the cross and then sat down at his Father’s right hand in his presence (Heb. 12:2). This world was not his home, he was just a-passing through.
The life of our Lord is one of those parts of the Bible—like those of the patriarchs in Canaan and those of the pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem—where the affectional pulsebeat for heaven, for God, is pumping strong. Jesus was the pioneer pilgrim, the one who in his earthly life embodied the perfect longing for heaven, the perfect longing for God. And because he perfectly lived out this longing, God looked with favor on him as our Anointed King. When Christ died, the temple curtain was torn in two: God removed the angelic barrier that had stood between him and humanity since the day Adam was expelled from the garden-temple of Eden.

Jesus loves me! He who died
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let his little child come in.

And when God does let us “come in” to his heaven after our earthly pilgrimage, we will find that C. S. Lewis and Augustine were right: we were made for another world, we were made for God. The deep longings we experience now will be met then, fully and finally, not simply in heaven itself, but in God himself.

Read the whole post here.


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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.