the Second Week of Lent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“The just shall live by faith.”
In this passage the apostle shows that Abraham’s righteousness was gained by his faith; that the covenant made with him was upon the tenure of faith; and that by the way of faith alone we who are sinners of the Gentiles are made partakers of covenant blessings.
Not the trusters in works and boasters in circumcision; these, even among the Jews, are but his children by the power of nature, to whom no more belongs than to Ishmael. Abraham was the father of the faithful, or believing. In his grandest aspect he is not the sire of a rebellious nation, but of the believing seed.
For in no other way can all nations share in the blessing, since they neither inherit it by descent, nor obtain it by circumcision, nor earn it by merit.
Let us learn this verse well, and may it ring the death knell of all legal hopes. All that the law can do for sinners is to judge them, condemn them, and curse them. Let us flee from the vain hope of ignorant and proud men, and look to another way of salvation; which, indeed, is the only one.
The only just men before God are the men of faith, and these do not live by their works, but by believing; hence it is clear that the law has nothing to do with their righteousness.
Hence we cannot be saved partly by faith and partly by works. The roads are distinct. We must keep the whole law if we would be saved by it. Our only hope is in the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ received by faith.
Galatians 3:13 , Galatians 3:14
His the curse, that ours might be the blessing. By the gate of Substitution all blessings come to us, and even that best of blessings the Holy Spirit.
Once made, a covenant cannot be justly altered by an afterthought, or affected by an unforeseen event. What consolation is here!
Mark how the apostle believed in verbal inspiration, for he finds a meaning in so small a matter as the use of a singular word instead of a plural.
Sinai and Leviticus cannot supersede the covenant of grace. Notwithstanding the law, the believer is secure in faith.
And we by faith grasping the promise are made partakers of it, not at all by our doings, but by the simple act of reliance upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
In vain we ask God’s righteous law
To justify us now;
Since to convince and to condemn,
Is all the law can do.
Jesus, how glorious is thy grace!
When in thy name we trust,
Our faith receives a righteousness
That makes the sinner just.
“Be ye also ready.”
Into the holiest and happiest households death will come, but faith learns how to make him welcome.
Dear as our beloved ones maybe in life, we cannot endure to look upon their dead bodies, but affection itself demands that we hide them in the dust. What an instructive expression is that, ”the possession of a burial place;” it is often the only landed estate the godly possess.
But this would not be after Abraham’s mind. He would not wish to sleep in the same grave with those from whom he was separated in life. He would maintain his separateness unto God even to the end.
Courtesy is due even to the ungodly. A believer should not be any the less gentle in manners because gracious in heart.
This is a second time mentioned. The truly noble are conciliatory and courteous. A believer is not a bear.
Abraham would not put himself under obligation to idolaters. True faith produces an independent spirit.
This is as precise as a legal document. Faith does not make a man less business-like in his transactions.
In firm faith that the land would one day be all his own he laid down the bones of his beloved spouse in the promised soil, and so, as it were, took possession of the country till the set time should come for entering upon it.
What though this goodly mortal frame
Sink to the dust, from whence it came;
Though buried in the silent tomb,
Worms shall my skin and flesh consume;
Yet on that happy rising morn,
New life this body shall adorn;
These active powers refined shall be,
And God my Saviour, I shall see.