A Single Day

When we take the history of a child of God, compressed within the short period of a single day – mark what flaws, what imperfections, what fickleness, what dereliction in principle, what flaws in practice, what errors in judgment and what wanderings of heart make up that brief history – how we are led to thank God for the stability of the covenant, that covenant which provides for the full redemption of all believers, which from eternity secures the effectual calling, the perfect keeping and certain salvation of every chosen vessel of mercy!

—Octavius Winslow
Personal Declension and Revival of Religion in the Soul

Via: Ray Ortlund

Night of Fire

This is an exerpt from a great article by Jill Carattini on the conversion of Blaise Pascal, the brilliant French mathematician and physicist. You can read the entire article over at A Slice of Infinity, an online publication of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM).

Shortly after the death of Blaise Pascal in 1662, a housekeeper was sorting through closets and clothing and happened to notice something sewn into Pascal’s coat. Beneath the cloth was a parchment and inside this was another faded piece of paper. In Pascal’s handwriting, on both the parchment and the paper were nearly the same words. Beside hand-drawn crosses, Pascal had carefully written:

The year of grace 1654.
Monday, 23 November, feast of St. Clement…
From about half-past ten in the evening
until about half-past midnight.
Fire.

The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob…
The God of Jesus Christ…
Your God will be my God.

More than 30 descriptive lines tell the story (unbeknownst to friends and family) of Pascal’s conversion to Christ. He is said to have been reading of the crucifixion when he was suddenly overwhelmed with the nearness of Christ. Pascal then meticulously transcribed the night of his conversion, his “night of fire,” as he called it thereafter, sewing it into his jacket where it would remain beside him until his death eight years later. Though the details of the story and the parchment were unknown to those around him, the change in his life could have scarcely gone unnoticed. Whatever else it marked, November 23, 1654 marked both death and life for Pascal. He reoriented all his activities (including his unparalleled work in the field of mathematics) to further serve a life of worship and service to God. He retired to the monastery at Port Royal and set to writing his Pensees, a collection of thoughts on life and theology.

The Incarnation boldly assures us that Christ is always near. The Cross assures that he can come nearer still and forgive you completely and instantaneously. He will also walk with you over a lifetime, transforming and shaping you according to the will of God. Whether by fire, water, or Spirit, in an instance of spiritual certainty or a lifetime of wordless mystery, Christ comes near not to beckon better children but to make his creations entirely new.

—Jill Carattini
A Slice of Infinity

Via: A Slice of Infinity – RZIM

A Summary of the Gospel

The gospel of Christ is the good tidings that God has revealed concerning Christ. As all mankind was lost in Adam and became the children of wrath, put under the sentence of death, God, though He left His fallen angels and has reserved them in the chains of eternal darkness, yet He has thought upon the children of men and has provided a way of atonement to reconcile them to Himself again.

The second Person in the Trinity takes man’s nature upon Himself, and becomes the Head of a second covenant, standing charged with sin. He answers for it by suffering what the law and divine justice required, and by making satisfaction for keeping the law perfectly. This satisfaction and righteousness He tenders up to the Father as a sweet savor of rest for the souls that are given to Him.

And now this mediation of Christ is, by the appointment of the Father, preached to the children of men, of whatever nation or rank, freely offering this atonement unto sinners for atonement, requiring them to believe in Him and, upon believing, promising not only a discharge of all their former sins, but that they shall not enter into condemnation, that none of their sins or unworthiness shall ever hinder the peace of God with them, but that they shall through Him be received into the number of those who shall have the image of God again to be renewed unto them, and that they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

That these souls and bodies shall be raised to that height of glory that such creatures are capable of, that they shall live forever enjoying the presence of God and Christ, in the fullness of all good, is the gospel of Christ. This is the sum of the gospel that is preached unto sinners.

—Jeremiah Burroughs

Via: Ligonier Ministries Blog