Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Puritan Reading, Bruised Reed - Chapter 12

Christ's Wise Government


As all things are dung in comparison with Christ (Phil. 3:8), so they are to Paul, a sanctified man. (pg. 84) Can I truly say this? Do I consider that ALL things are dung in comparison to Christ, or do I withhold some of that judgment when I think of myself? God forbid that I should see one shred of worth in myself apart from Christ.

As one day in the courts of God is better than a thousand elsewhere (Psa. 84:10), so it is to David, a man of a reformed judgment. (pg. 84) Is my focus on heaven above, or is it on the "dung" below? Do my actions indicate that "this world is not my home, I'm just a travellin' through"?

Am I wise enough to judge myself rightly? Am I judging against the correct standard? Truth is truth, and error, error, and that which is unlawful is unlawful, whether men think so or not. God has put an eternal difference between light and darkness, good and ill, which no creature's conceit can alter; and therefore no man's judgment is the measure of things further than it agrees to truth stamped upon things themselves by God. (pg. 84)


If I fail the questions that I have posed above it is due to the fact that I have not availed myself of the light that Christ provides. What sin-darkened, depraved son of Adam ever sought the light except that Christ first sought to illumine him? The eye must first be single, and then the whole body and frame of our conduct will be light (Matt. 6:22); otherwise both we and our course of life are nothing but darkness. The whole conduct of a Christian is nothing else but knowledge reduced to will, affection and practice. (pg. 86)


Christ sets up his throne in the very heart and alters its direction, so making his subjects good, together with teaching them to be good. Other princes can make good laws, but they cannot write them in their people's hearts (Jer. 31:33). This is Christ's prerogative: he infuses into his subjects his own Spirit. Upon him there does not only rest the spirit of wisdom and understanding, but likewise the spirit of the fear of the Lord (Isa. 11:2). (pg. 88) Dearest Lord Jesus Christ, be not only the Savior of my soul but also King over my life. Place your precepts upon my heart and rule over me from the inside out. Remove my flippant and low views of your holiness and replace them with the "fear of the Lord".


Judgment should have a throne in the heart of every Christian. Not that judgment alone will work a change. There must be grace to alter the bent and sway of the will before it will yield to be wrought upon by the understanding. But God has so joined these together that whenever he savingly shines on the understanding he gives a soft and pliable heart. For without a work upon the heart by the Spirit of God it will follow its own inclination to that which it loves, whatever the judgment shall say to the contrary. (pg. 88-89) Do I have a soft pliable heart, inclined toward Him, or is it still cold, flinty, and dead; inclined to wickedness? His judgment coupled with His grace works to bring His rule to fruition within our lives, but only after His work of regeneration is active in us.


When the judgment of Christ is set up in our judgments, and thence, by the Spirit of Christ, brought into our hearts, then it is in its proper place and throne. Until then, truth does us no good, but helps to condemn us. The life of a Christian is a regular life, and he that walks by the rule (Gal. 6:16) of the new creature, peace shall be upon him. He that despises God's way and loves to live at large, seeking all liberty to the flesh, shall die (Prov. 19:16). And it is made good by Paul, `If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die' (Rom. 8:13). (pg. 89-90) If I have learned anything in the past 35 years, if is that "in my flesh dwells no good thing" (Rom. 7:18), and that the Spirit of Christ must reign over me. As a result, I need desperately for Him to rule over me. Then, and only then, will peace be upon me. All else is strife and confusion.

Christ as a new conqueror changes the fundamental laws of old Adam and establishes a government of his own. (pg. 90) Christ Jesus, conquer my life, kill off the old Adam, and establish your government in and over me.

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