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Consolation for the Weak from Sibbes

July 26, 2006

Why the Enemy Seems Victorious

Christ’s work, both in the church and in the hearts of Christians, often goes backward so that it may go forward better.  As seed rots in the ground in the winter time, but after comes up better, and the harder the winter the more flourishing the spring, so we learn to stand by falls, and get strength by weakness discovered….We take deeper root by shaking….When we are foiled, let us believe we shall overcome; when we have fallen let us believe we shall rise again.

From this it follows that weakness may be consistent with the assurance of salvation….Failings, with conflict, in sanctification should not weaken the peace of our justification and assurance of salvation.  It matters not so much what ill is in us, as what good; not what corruptions, but how we regard them…for Christ’s dislike of that which is amiss in us turns not to the hatred of our persons but to the victorious subduing of all our infirmities.

The first use of this is for the great consolation of poor and weak Christians.  Let them know that a spark from heaven, though kindled under greenwood that sobs and smokes, yet it will consume all at last….That little that is in us is fed with an everlasting spring.  As the fire that came down from heaven in Elijah’s time licked up all the water, to show that it came from God, so will this fire consume all our corruption.  No affliction without or corruption within shall quench it.  In the morning, we often see clouds gather about the sun, as if they would hide it, but the sun overcomes them little by little, till it comes to its full strength.  At first, fears and doubts hinder the breaking out of this fire, until at length it gets above them all, and Christ prevails.  And then he upholds his own graces in us.  Grace conquers us first, and we, by it, conquer all else; whether corruptions within us, or temptations from outside us.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 2, 2006 10:28 pm

    ACK! How can this not have a reply?

    What a consolation! We take deeper root by shaking? I remember hearing about a science endeavor (NASA maybe) to test how trees might grow in an artificial environment. As I recall, even though the trees had a “perfectly engineered” environment, they all fell over. The expert said the problem was “no wind.” The roots of the trees are supposed to get strong enough to support their own weight by resisting the wind…. no wind? no strength…

    Yesterday I walked by a beautiful Rose fo Sharon tree. Half of the blossoms were in full bloom, and a few were yet waiting to bud, but a large portion of them had fallen off already, and were in fact rotting on the sidewlak. The Lord impressed on me that I want to be in full bloom ALL THE TIME. I was so convicted. I repented, and have asked Him to show me how to be patient ith the process He has ordained and the timing he has set in motion. Argh! it is soooooooooooooooooo hard…

    “Grace conquers us, and we by it, all else?” AWESOME! We have been watching taped Tour de France stages that my mom made for us (she has cable) and I have been wondering what it would feel like to KNOW that the yellow jersey was going to be yours, that you would have the Tour of your life, and arrive triumphantly in Paris, even though your legs are dead and you feel like you “cracked” and can’t go on. Just like we know we will have the final victory over sin adn death in Christ. Several of the commentators described young riders “rising to the challenge” of that yellow jersey once they tasted the sweetness of victory.

    I think that is what I am trying to do, to believe the promises of God, and to taste the sweetness, so I can rise to the challenge and take the stage day after day until the race is over. I still have to fight for it, but it is God within me making me willing and able to do the good works He has set before me to do, until I recieve the crown of life from His hand! Ahhhhhhhh….. much better than any old piece of yellow cloth!

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