Say Not That You Cannot Be Saved

Say not, O but my sins are greater than can be forgiven: the difficulties of my salvation are too great to be overcome, especially by a poor creature as I am, that am able to do nothing, no, not to raise one penny towards the discharge of that great debt I owe to God. For here thou wilt find, upon thy union with Christ, that there is merit enough in his blood, and mercy enough in his bowels, to justify and save such a one as thou art. Yea, and I will add for thine encouragement, that it is a righteous thing, with God to justify and save thee, that canst not pay him one penny of all the vast sums thou owest him; when, by the same rule of justice, he condemns the most strict, self-righteous Pharisee, that thinks thereby to quit scores with him. It is righteous for a judge to cast him that has paid ninety-nine pounds of the hundred, which he owed, because the payment was not full; and to acquit him, whose surety has paid all, though himself did not, and freely confess that he cannot pay one farthing of the whole debt.”
~ John Flavel
Advertisements

Godly Fear

By this fear the people of God are excited to, and confirmed in the way of their duty. Eccles. 12:13. Fear God, and keep “his commandments.” It is,the keeper of both tables, because the duties of both tables are influenced by it. It is this fear of God that makes us have a due respect to all his commands, and it is as powerful to confirm us in, as it is to excite us to our duties. Jer. 32: 40. ” I will put my fear into ” their inwards, and they shall not depart from me.” Look as he that sows does not regard the winds, but goes on in his labour whatever weather the face of heaven threatens ; so he that fears God, will be found in the way of his duty, let the aspect of the times be never so lowering and discouraging: and, truly, this is no small advantage, in times of frights and distractions. Slavish fear sets a man upon the devil’s ground, religious fear upon God’s ground : And, how vast an odds is there in the choice of our ground, when we are to endure a great fight of affliction!
Another excellent use of this fear is, to preserve the purity and peace of our consciences by preventing grief and guilt therein, Prov. 16: 6. The fear of the  Lord is to depart from evil.” See how it kept Joseph, Gen. xxxix. 9. and Nehemiah, chap. v. 15. And this benefit is invaluable, especially in a day of outward calamity and distress. Look, in what degree the fear of God prevails in our hearts, answerable thereunto will the serenity, peace, and quietness of our consciences be; and proportional unto that will our strength and comfort be in the evil day, and our courage and confidence to look dangers in the face.
T o conclude, a principal use of this fear of God is, to awaken us to make timely provisions for future distresses, that whensoever they come, they may not come by way of surprise upon us. Thus Noah, being moved with fear, prepared an ark,” Heb. 11: 7 I t was the instrument of his and his family’s salvation. Some men owe their death to their fears, but good men, in a sense, owe their lives to their fears; sinful fears have slain some, and godly fears have saved others. A wise man fears and departs from evil, (saith Solomon) but a fool rages and is confident. His fears give a timely alarm  before the enemy falls into his quarters, and beat them up; by this means he hath time to get into his chambers of security and rest before the storm fall : But the fool rages, and is confident,” he never fears till he begin to feel yea, most times he is past all hope before he begin to have any fear.
~ John Flavel

The Importance of Doctrine for Young Believers

A young ungrounded Christian, when he sees all the fundamental truths, and sees good evidence and reasons of them, perhaps may be yet ignorant of the right order and place of every truth. It is a rare thing to have young professors to understand the necessary truths methodically: and this is a very great defect: for a great part of the usefulness and excellency of particular truths consisteth in the respect they have to one another. This therefore will be a very considerable part of your confirmation, and growth in your understandings, to see the body of the Christian doctrine, as it were, at one view, as the several parts of it are united in one perfect frame; and to know what aspect one point has upon another, and which are their due places. There is a great difference betwixt the sight of the several parts of a clock or watch, as they are disjointed and scattered abroad, and the seeing of them conjointed, and in use and motion. To see here a pin and there a wheel, and not know how to set them all together, nor ever see them in their due places, will give but little satisfaction. It is the frame and design of holy doctrine that must be known, and every part should be discerned as it has its particular use to that design, and as it is connected with the other parts.”
~ John Flavel

Oh the Depth of the Evil of Sin!

“If the death of Christ was that which satisfied God for our sins, there is infinite evil in sin, since it could be not expiated but by an infinite satisfaction. Fools make a mock at sin, and there are few in the world who are duly sensible of its evil; but certainly, if God should exact of thee the full penalty, thy eternal sufferings could not satisfy for the evil there is in one vain thought. You may think it severe, that God should subject His creatures to everlasting sufferings for sin, and never be satisfied with them any more; bit when you have well considered that the Being against whom you sin is the infinitely blessed God, and how God dealt with the angels that fell, you will change your mind.
Oh the depth of the evil of sin! If ever you wish to see how great and horrible an evil sin is, measure it in your thoughts, either by the infinite holiness and excellency of God, who is wronged by it, or by the infinite sufferings of Christ, who died to satisfy for it; and then you will have deeper apprehensions of its enormity.”
~John Flavel

Work to Know Christ More Purely

Take heed that you rest not satisfied with that knowledge of Christ you have attained, but grow on towards perfection. It is the pride and ignorance of many professors, when they have got a few raw and undigested notions, to swell with self-conceit of their excellent attainments. And it is the sin, even of the best of saints, when they see (veritas in profundo) how deep the knowledge of Christ lies, and what pains they must take to dig for it, to throw by the shovel of duty, and cry, Dig we cannot. To your work, Christians, to your work; let not your candle go out: sequester yourselves to this study, look what intercourses, and correspondence are betwixt the two world; what communion soever God and souls maintain, it is in this way; count all, therefore, but dross in comparison of that excellency which is in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.”
~ John Flavel

Be Found in Christ!

Look to it, my dear friends, that none of you be found Christless at your appearance before him. Those that continue Christless now, will be left speechless then. God forbid that you that have heard so much of Christ, and you that have professed so much of Christ, should at last fall into a worse condition than those that never heard the name of Christ.”
~ John Flavel

A Powerful Knowledge of Christ

Let us see that our knowledge of Christ be not a powerless, barren, unpractical knowledge: O that, in its passage from our understanding to our lips, it might powerfully melt, sweeten, and ravish our hearts! Remember, brethren, a holy calling never saved any man, without a holy heart; if our tongues only be sanctified, our whole man must be damned. We must be judged by the same gospel, and stand at the same bar, and be sentenced to the same terms, and dealt with as severely as any other men.”
~ John Flavel