Due to the mainline churches of today increasingly becoming more prone to apostasy and heresy in their desire to be “relevant” in a changing society, I find it increasingly more fruitful to re-discover the words of mighty stalwarts from our Christian past. -g.w.
From the Letters of John Newton: Letter to a new Christian
March 18, 1767
You have one hard lesson to learn, that is–the evil of your own heart. You know something of it, but it is needful that you should know more; for the more we know of ourselves–the more we shall prize and love Jesus and His wondrous salvation.
The more you know Him–the better you will trust Him.
The more you trust Him–the better you will love Him.
The more you love Him–the better you will serve Him.
This is God’s way. He is teaching you these things, and I trust He will teach you to the end.
Do not be surprised to find yourself to be poor, helpless, and vile. All whom God favors and teaches–will find themselves so. The more grace increases–the more we shall see in ourselves to abase us in our own eyes!
I hope what you find in yourself by daily experience, will humble you–but not discourage you.
For if our Physician is almighty–our disease cannot be desperate.
Our sins are many–but His mercies are more.
Our sins are great–but His righteousness is greater.
When our sins prevail, remember that we have an Advocate with the Father, who is able to pity, to pardon, and to save to the uttermost!
Think of the names and relations which Jesus bears to us. He calls Himself . . .
and our Husband!
He has made known unto us . . .
His wondrous love,
His atoning sacrifice,
His power, and
His grace–and all for our encouragement!
It is better to be admiring the compassion and fullness of grace which is in our Savior–than to dwell and pore too much upon our own poverty and vileness.
Remember that He has loved you with an everlasting love–and therefore in loving-kindness has drawn you to Himself. He will surely accomplish that which He has begun. Nothing which can be named or thought of–shall ever be able to separate you from Him!
This persuasion will give you strength for the battle!
This is the shield which will quench the fiery darts of Satan!
This is the helmet which the enemy cannot pierce!
Be strong, therefore, not in yourself–but in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
Remember, the growth of a believer is not like a mushroom–but like an oak, which increases slowly–but indeed surely. Many suns, showers, and frosts, pass upon it before it comes to perfection. And in winter, when it seems to be dead–it is gathering strength at the root. Be humble, watchful, and diligent in the means of grace; and endeavor to look through all, and fix your eye upon Jesus–and all shall be well. I commend you to the care of the good Shepherd and Guardian of your souls!”
John Newton, Letters
–If I am aware of and acknowledge the evil that resides in my own heart, that is – in my natural man – it will seem, on occasion, that I can read the minds of other people in certain of their behaviors. For the evil I hate within me I know is natural to all human nature. There is only One cure. And it’s not a prescribed, sold-in-the-market-place self-improvement program. That is well for me. If I am diseased root, trunk, limb and crown it is well that I know of it that I may know the Cure. It is also well that I trust my Physician. -g.w.