Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Thomas Boston on our response to Justification

I just enjoyed reading a wonderful sermon/treatise on Justification by Thomas Boston. It's worth the read. He concludes with some "application" points in light of the doctrine-

I shall conclude this use of exhortation with a few directions.

- Labour to get your hearts wrought up to a deep concern for a pardoned state. And for this cause, believe your miserable state by nature, that ye are once condemned. Take a view of the holy, righteous law, and your innumerable transgressions of it, besides your sinful nature. Look to the flaming justice of God? behold it in the case of the damned, in the case of Christ suffering, and see what a fearful thing it is to fall into the hands of the living God.

- Go to God in Christ, and confess your sins, and condemn yourselves. Lay them out before God with shame and confusion of face, with their several aggravations. Make a full and free confession, insisting most on those sins that have been most dishonouring to God in you. Acknowledge yourselves justly condemned by the law, and God to be righteous, if he should put the sentence into execution.

- Solemnly and sincerely accept of Christ in the covenant of grace held forth in the gospel. Receive him with his righteousness, and enter under the covert of his blood. And lay all your guilt over on him, believing his ability and willingness to remove it. And accepting of Christ for justification and sanctification, ye shall be accepted and pardoned.

To justified persons: This privilege calls you to several duties.

- Love the Lord, and love him much, for much is forgiven you. This may be oil to that holy flame, and therefore love will continue in heaven for ever.

- Be of a forgiving disposition, Eph. 4.ult. 'Be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you.' The same Saviour that brought in remission of sins, binds us to love our enemies. And the bitter revengeful spirit against those we think have wronged us, is a sad sign that our own sin is unforgiven of God, Matt. 4.12. 'Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.' They who have found what a dreadful weight sin unpardoned is, and have at length got it removed, will thereby be helped to forgive.

- Walk humbly. Ye are justified, but it is by the righteousness of another. Ye are pardoned, but it was procured to you by the satisfaction of a Saviour. Your debt is paid, your discharge is got up; but thanks to free grace, not to you, for it.

- Bear your troubles and crosses in a world patiently.—Your life that was forfeited by sin is safe by grace; therefore take thankfully any troubles you meet with. For why should a living man complain, especially one that deserved to die, and yet is adjudged to life?

- Lastly, Walk tenderly. God pardoning a sinner, dismisseth him as Christ did the penitent adulteress, John 12.11. 'Go, and sin no more.' Let not your broken bones be forgotten, but walk softly all your years. And if ye be pardoned, shew it by your holy and tender walk.


Jack Sawyer said...

Very rich and edifying. How very connected are justification and sanctification in our moment-to-moment lives. Thanks for sharing.

Rick Calohan said...

Reading this post I am reminded of the five petitions that Dr. D. James Kennedy said that we should pray daily for:

Five Petitions by Dr. D. James Kennedy

"Lord, slay me."Lord, cleanse me." "Lord, fill me." "Lord, guide me." "Lord, use me."

1. Slay me

The first prayer that I would recommend that you pray every morning is this: "God, slay me." I can almost feel the shock. "God slay me."
As you know, every one of us fell in Adam, and so we are born with a corrupt old nature. It is, unless we have been converted, the only nature we have. It is always contrary to the will of God.
We are converted, regenerated, and then we have a new nature implanted in us by Christ. This new nature continues to grow; at the same time the old nature must diminish and die.
Dying to your old nature is crucial to transforming your prayer life.

2. Cleanse me

I would suggest that each morning we pray this prayer: "O God, cleanse me by Thy blood, O Christ"; for the Scripture says: "Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? . . . He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart" (Psalm 24:3-4).
If we are going to approach the Lord in prayer for all of our prayers, we need to do it with clean hands and a pure heart.
How shall we come into the presence of a God who is of purer eyes than to look upon iniquity or to behold evil, unless we first come to be cleansed?
"What can wash away my sin?" says the hymn. "Nothing but the blood of Jesus."
The Bible says that we are not to be filled with wine wherein is excess, but rather we are to "be filled with the (Holy) Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18) where there is peace and joy.

3. Fill me

That word "filled" is not in what the Greeks called the aorist or punctiliar tense, in which we do it once and it is done. It is in a continuous present tense, which means, "Lord, continue to fill me with the Holy Spirit."
You see, unfortunately, we are leaky sieves, and we may be filled one day, but gradually that power leaks away. Therefore, we need to pray daily, "Lord, fill me, continue to fill me with your Holy Spirit."
Then we will find that we are able to do things we would never be able to do.
Reflection: You can learn to serve God with a right motive. You can learn to separate the truth from the lies of Christianity.

4. Guide me

You should pray every day that God would lead you in all things. So, why don’t you?
You know, the problem is that we don’t pray for God to "lead me today" because, you see, we just don’t have any place to work Him into our schedule.
We say that God is our Savior and our Lord, but if we never seek to be led by Him, we are not going to be accomplishing anything He wants of us.
He does not come and adjust Himself to our schedule. We are to begin by saying, "Lord, take my life this day, lead me where You would have me go, and to do what You would have me do."
You will find that life can get very exciting when it is led by the Spirit of God.
God can use you for His glory—if you only ask Him . . .

5. Use me

"Lord, use me today." God has a magnificent plan for this world, and we can have a part of bringing that plan into fruition.
I trust that some of you pray that God would use me, but how many of you pray that God would use you today?
"Lord, let the preacher do it." Well, he has his part, but so do you. "Lord, use me today for your great purposes and for your glory."
When you do that, you will be amazed at the opportunities you have to do good.

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the wonder of your grace, for the exciting and adventuresome plan that You have for each of our lives. We pray, O God, that we may not miss it. Help us, Lord, to surrender ourselves to Thee, because we know that Thou art the infinitely gracious and loving God, and that Your plan for us is perfection. Amen.

Frontier Forest said...

Very providential timing! Our men’s study for this week, the lesson from Lou Priolo’s book, “The Complete Husband” was unending forgiveness received from our Lord that must be understood and returned unconditionally in every relationship, especially our marriages. I believe justification can be must easier understood if we sinners viewed the meaning in light of how Christ has unconditionally forgiven and redeemed us. Allow me to paraphrase some of what I got from the lesson. “True Forgiveness (implied by me, the thought of be justified by His grace) can only be received when we understand completely, our position in Christ. Forgetting is not the same as not remembering. God does not have amnesia. God’s forgetting our sins amounts to His not receiving our sins, not holding them against us. God remembers the righteousness of His Son and imputes that same righteousness to our account, based upon our trust in the merits of Christ and Christ alone. Similarly, we are required to “impute” forgiveness to those who ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness is an act of the will, not an act of the emotions. Forgetting in not the means of forgiving, but the result of forgiving. If you are a Christian, you must forgive.” I have been justified by Christ, thus I understand His limitless forgiveness.