Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sacred Meditations Passage

In the spirit of thanksgiving, Gerhard reminds where our true treasure rests and warns against false security:

What are the afflictions of the pious? They are bitter arrows sent from the sweet hand of God. God esteems those unworthy of chastisement in this world whom he will nevertheless reject in eternity. Often the happiness of human success is evidence of eternal damnation to come. Nothing is unhappier than sinful happiness. Nothing is more miserable than one who is ignorant of his misery. Wherever you turn your eyes, there you find a reason for sorrow and gaze upon the remedy for security. Lift up your thoughts to the God whom we have offended. Look down to the hell that we have earned, back to the sins that we have committed, forward to the judgment that we fear, inward to the conscience that we have soiled, outward to the world that we have loved. See where you have come from and be ashamed, where you are and sigh, where you are heading and tremble. Narrow is the gate of salvation, but still narrower is the way (Matthew 7:14).

God gives you the treasure of faith, but you carry this treasure in a jar of clay (2 Corinthians 4:7). God gives you angels for protection (Psalm, 91:11), but the devil is not far away to seduce you. God has renewed you in the spirit of your mind (Ephesians 4:23), but you still have much of the old flesh. You have been established in the grace of God, but you have not yet been established in eternal glory. He has prepared a mansion for you in heaven, but he yet chastises you with the challenges of the world. God promises forgiveness for the penitent, but he has not promised to give a penitent will to the delinquent. The consolations of eternal life await you, but it is nevertheless necessary for you to enter into it through many tribulations (Acts 14:22). The crown of eternal reward has been promised, but first a serious battle remains to be surmounted. God does not change his promises, but neither ought you change your zeal for eternal life. If the servant is not doing what is commanded, God does what is threatened. One therefore ought to continually be ashamed and mourn, putting aside security, lest by the righteous and secret judgment of God we are deserted and relinquished into the power of the devil for destruction.
For that reason delight in divine grace for as long as it is present, although you must never nonetheless presume that you possess this gift of God as an inherited right so that you actually become secure concerning it as if you could never lose it, lest God should suddenly take the gift away and retract his hand and you become disheartened and sorrow more than you ought. You are indeed in every way blessed if you take diligent care to avoid indifference toward the appearance of every evil. God will not desert you, but beware lest God is deserted by you. God has given grace. Pray that he may also give perseverance. God grants certainty about salvation, yet he does not grant security. You must fight bravely so you may also triumph sweetly (2 Timothy 4:7).

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