The Spirit of Christ in the Christian

baxter

“1. The Christian indeed, hath not only reason for his religion, but also hath an inward, continual principle, even the Spirit of Christ, which is as a new nature, inclining and enlivening him to a holy life; whereby he mindeth and savoureth the things of the Spirit. Not that his nature doth work blindly, as nature doth in the irrational creatures; but at least it much imitateth nature as it is found in rational creatures, where the inclination is necessary, but the operations free, and subject to reason. It is a spiritual appetite in the rational appetite, even the will, and a spiritual, visive disposition in the understanding. Not a faculty in a faculty; but the right disposition of the faculties to their highest objects, to which they are by corruption made unsuitable. So that it is neither a proper power in the natural sense, nor a mere act, but nearest to the nature of a seminal disposition or habit. It is the health and rectitude of the faculties of the soul. Even as nature hath made the understanding disposed to truth in general, and the will disposed or inclined to good in general, and to self-preservation and felicity in particular; so the Spirit of Christ doth dispose the understanding to spiritual truth, to know God and the matters of salvation, and doth incline the will to God and holiness, not blindly, as they are unknown, but to love and serve a known God. So that whether this be properly or only analogically called a nature, or rather should be called a habit, I determine not; but certainly it is a fixed disposition and inclination, which Scripture calleth the “Divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4.), and “the seed of God abiding in us;” 1 John 3:9. But most usually it is called the Spirit of God, or of Christ in us. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, the same is none of his;” Rom. 8:9. “By one p 388 Spirit we are all baptized into one body;” 1 Cor. 12:13. Therefore, we are said “to be in the Spirit, and walk after the Spirit, and by the Spirit to mortify the deeds of the body;” Rom. 8:1. 9. 13. And it is called, “the Spirit of the Son, and the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father;” or are inclined to God, as children to their father; and the “Spirit of grace and supplication;” Rom. 8:15. 23. 26. Gal. 4:6. 5:17, 18. Eph. 2:18. 22, 4:3, 4. Phil. 1:27. 2:1. Zech. 12:10. From this Spirit, and the fruits of it, we are called new creatures, and quickened, and made alive to God; 2 Cor. 5:17. Eph. 2:15. Rom. 6:11. 13. It is a great controversy, whether this holy disposition and inclination was natural to Adam or not, and consequently, whether it be a restored nature in us, or not. It was so natural to him as health is natural to the body, but not so natural as to be a necessitating principle, nor so as to be inseparable and unlosable.

2. This same Spirit and holy inclination is in the weakest Christian also, but in a small degree, and remissly operating, so as that the fleshly inclination oft seemeth to be the stronger, when he judgeth by its passionate strugglings within him. Though, indeed, the Spirit of life doth not only strive, but conquer in the main, even in the weakest Christians; Rom. 8:9. Gal. 5:17–21.

3. The seeming Christian hath only the ineffectual motions of the Spirit to a holy life, and effectual motions, and inward dispositions to some common duties of religion. And from these, with the natural principles of self-love and common honesty, with the outward persuasions of company and advantages, his religion is maintained, without the regeneration of the Spirit; John 3:6
Richard Baxter and William Orme, The Practical Works of the Rev. Richard Baxter, vol. 8 (London: James Duncan, 1830).
Exported from Logos Bible Software, 9:54 AM November 14, 2015.

Christ's Rule

calvin 2,15,4

“We may patiently pass through this life with its misery, cold, contempt, reproaches, and other troubles—content with this one thing: that our King will never leave us destitute, but will provide for our needs until, our warfare ended, we are called to triumph. Such is the nature of his rule, that he shares with us all that he received from the Father. Now he arms and equips us with his power, adorns us with his beauty and magnificence, enriches us with his wealth.”

John Calvin, Institutes, 2.15.4

Christ’s Rule

calvin 2,15,4

“We may patiently pass through this life with its misery, cold, contempt, reproaches, and other troubles—content with this one thing: that our King will never leave us destitute, but will provide for our needs until, our warfare ended, we are called to triumph. Such is the nature of his rule, that he shares with us all that he received from the Father. Now he arms and equips us with his power, adorns us with his beauty and magnificence, enriches us with his wealth.”

John Calvin, Institutes, 2.15.4

Cardiphonia

john-newton

From John Newton’s Cardiphonia:. This book strongly influenced poet Hannah More, of the Clapham Sect, the group (Wilberforce was a member) that was instrumental in abolishing the slave trade in the United Kingdom.

Romans 7:21 (ESV)

21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.

“But, blessed be God, though we must feel hourly cause for shame and humiliation for what we are in ourselves, we have cause to rejoice continually in Christ Jesus, who, as he is revealed unto us under the various names, characters, relations, and offices, which he bears in the Scripture, holds out to our faith a balm for every wound, a cordial for every discouragement, and a sufficient answer to every objection which sin or Satan can suggest against our peace. If we are guilty, he is our Righteousness; if we are sick, he is our infallible Physician; if we are weak, helpless, and defenceless, he is the compassionate and faithful Shepherd who has taken charge of us, and will not suffer any thing to disappoint our hopes, or to separate us from his love. He knows our frame, he remembers that we are but dust, and has engaged to guide us by his counsel, support us by his power, and at length to receive us to his glory, that we may be with him for ever.”

 

John Newton, Richard Cecil, The Works of the John Newton, vol. 1 (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 439.

The Christian, The Weak Christian and the Seeming Christian

Baxter Quote

A Christian

1. A Christian indeed not only knoweth why he is a Christian, but seeth those reasons for his religion, which disgrace all that the most cunning atheist or infidel can say against it; and so far satisfy, confirm, and establish him, that emergent difficulties, temptations, and objections, do not at all stagger him, or raise any deliberate doubts in him of the truth of the word of God. He seeth first the natural evidence of those foundation-truths which nature itself maketh known; as that there is a God of infinite being, power, wisdom, and goodness, the Creator, the Owner, the Ruler, and the Father, felicity and end of man; that we owe him all our love and service; that none of our fidelity shall be in vain, or unrewarded, and none shall be finally a loser by his duty; that man who is naturally governed by the hopes and fears of another life, is made and liveth for that other life, where his soul shall be sentenced by God his Judge, to happiness or misery, &c. And then he discerneth the attestation of God to those supernatural, superadded revelations of the Gospel, containing the doctrine of man’s redemption. And he seeth how wonderfully these are built upon the former, and how excellently the Creator’s and Redeemer’s doctrine and laws agree; and how much countenance supernatural truths receive from the presupposed naturals; so that he doth not adhere to Christ and religion by the mere engagement of education, friends, or worldly advantages; nor by a blind resolution, which wanteth nothing but a strong temptation (from a deceiver or a worldly interest) to shake or overthrow it. But he is built upon the rock, which will stand in the assault of satan’s storms, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it;

Matthew 16:18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 13:23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

John 6:68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,

John 6:69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

 

A Weak Christian

2. But a weak Christian hath but a dim and general kind of knowledge of the reasons of his religion; or, at least, but a weak apprehension of them, though he have the best, and most unanswerable reasons. And either he is confident in the dark upon grounds which he cannot make good, and which want but a strong assault to shake them; or else he is troubled and ready to stagger at every difficulty which occurreth. Every hard saying in the Scripture doth offend him; and every seeming contradiction shaketh him. And the depth of mysteries, which pass his understanding, do make him say as Nicodemus of regeneration, “How can these things be?” And if he meet with the objections of a cunning infidel, he is unable so to defend the truth, and clear his way through them, as to come off unwounded and unshaken, and to be the more confirmed in the truth of his belief, by discerning the vanity of all that is said against it;

Hebrews 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,

Hebrews 5:13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.

Matthew 15:16 And he said, “Are you also still without understanding?

1 Corinthians 14:20 Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.

John 12:16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him.

 

The Seeming Christian

3. The seeming Christian either hath no solid reasons at all for his religion, or else if he have the best, he hath no sound apprehension of them; but though he be never so learned and orthodox, and can preach and defend the faith, it is not so rooted in him as to endure the trial; but if a strong temptation from subtlety or carnal interest assault him, you shall see that he was built upon the sand, and that there was in him a secret root of bitterness, and an evil heart of unbelief, which causeth him to depart from the living God;

Hebrews 3:12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.

Matthew 13:20–22 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.

Matthew 7:26-27 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;

John 6:60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”

John 6:64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)

John 6:66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

1 Timothy 6:11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.
Richard Baxter and William Orme, The Practical Works of the Rev. Richard Baxter, vol. 8 (London: James Duncan, 1830), 384–386.

Knowing God

Owen knowing God

“We know so little of God, because it is God who is thus to be known,—that is, he who hath described himself to us very much by this, that we cannot know him. . . . We know little of God, because it is faith alone whereby here we know him.”

John Owen, The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold, vol. 6 (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 67.

Objective Faith

Commenting on Ephesians 6:12, Lloyd-Jones writes:

Ephesians 6:11–13 (ESV)

11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

“Is it not strange, Christian people, that we think so little about these things, that this whole aspect of the matter comes so little into our thoughts? It is because we are too subjective. We start with ourselves and we end with ourselves. ‘I want peace with God, I want my sins forgiven, I want to feel happy, I want joy in my life, I want this, I want that, I want to overcome temptation …!’ Why do we not realize that our salvation is always to be thought of in objective, scriptural terms primarily? You may have many experiences, and enjoy what you regard as blessings, but if you do not realize this truth you will still be in bondage and your Christian life will be very poor. As the Scriptures state the case, we have to be delivered from the power of darkness, from the power of the devil, before we can receive forgiveness of sins. That is the first thing according to what our Lord told Paul in His commission on the road to Damascus.”

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Christian Warfare: An Exposition of Ephesians 6:10–13 (Edinburgh; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1976), 60–61.

Christianity is Reasonable

Lloyd-Jones Eph 6,11

We are to put on the whole armour of God—for, or because, ‘we wrestle not’ etc. This is one of the most glorious aspects of the Christian faith. You cannot reason yourself into it, but the moment you are in it you find that it is the most reasonable thing in the world, full of understanding, full of explanations. Christianity, unlike so many of the cults, is not merely something which teaches you to persuade yourself in a thoughtless manner. It does not just tell you to say something, and to go on saying it mechanically, whether it be true or not, and whether you feel it or not. That is not Christianity. It always gives reasons.”

The Christian Warfare: An Exposition of Ephesians 6:10–13 (Edinburgh; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1976), 38–39.