Author Archive

22nd December

Written by Steven Black on 22/12/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“In whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” 1 Peter 1:8

Here we have linked together faith, love, joy, and glory. The word translated “rejoice” means a high degree of joy, and signifies literally, to leap with joy. Spiritual joy, holy joy, is therefore distinguished from earthly joy, natural joy, not only in nature, but in degree. Natural joy can never rise very high, nor last very long. It is of the earth, earthy, and therefore can never rise high nor long endure. It is always marred by some check, damp or disappointment; and, as in the bitterest cup of the righteous “There’s some thing secret sweetens all,” so in the sweetest cup of the ungodly there is something secret embitters all. All their mirth is madness; for even “in laughter the heart is sorrowful, and the end of that mirth is heaviness.” God frowns upon all the worldling’s pleasure, conscience condemns it, and the weary heart is often sick of it, even unto death. It cannot bear inspection or reflection, has perpetual disappointment stamped upon it here and eternal sorrow hereafter.

But how different is the joy of faith and love. It is unspeakable, for it is one of the things which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man; and therefore human language, which can only express human thoughts and feelings, has no words for this. Those who have experienced it understand it when spoken of by others, but not from the words themselves, but because those words are as if broken hints, dim and feeble shadows, imperfect and insufficient utterances, but interpreted by their own experience.

“And full of glory.” It is literally “glorified,” that is, the joy is a joy which God especially honours by stamping upon it a divine glory. It is, therefore, a blessed preparation for, and foretaste of the glory that shall be revealed.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

21st December

Written by Steven Black on 21/12/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“Whom having not seen, ye love.” 1 Peter 1:8

How this speaks to our hearts; and cannot some, if not many of us say too, “Whom having not seen, we love?” Do we not love him, dear readers? Is not his name precious to us as the ointment poured forth? But we have not seen him. No, not by the eye of sense and nature; but we have seen him by the eye of faith; for he has manifested himself to us, or to some of us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. It is, then, by faith that we see Jesus. We read of Moses that, “by faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” So by faith we see Jesus who is invisible; for as faith is “the substance of things hoped for,” so is it “the evidence of things not seen.” Thus we see that it is by Jesus coming to the soul and manifesting himself unto it that we see him. And as he always comes with his love, and in manifesting himself manifests himself in his love, that manifested love kindles, raises, and draws up a corresponding love in the believer’s heart. It is the express, the special work of the Holy Ghost to testify of Christ, to glorify him, to receive of the things which are Christ’s and to shew them unto the soul; and thus in the light of Christ’s own manifestations of himself and the blessed Spirit’s work and witness of him, what faith believes of the Person and work of Christ love embraces and enjoys.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

20th December

Written by Steven Black on 20/12/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope; and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.” Hosea 2:15

Now the “valley of Achor” signifies the “valley of trouble.” It was the valley in which Achan was stoned. And why stoned? Because he had taken the accursed thing; because his eye had been captivated by the Babylonish garment and golden wedge, and he had buried them in the tent. This may throw a light on what the “valley of Achor” is spiritually. Perhaps you have been guilty of Achan’s sin; you have been taking the accursed thing; have been too deeply connected with the world; have done things which God’s displeasure is against. Let conscience speak in the bosom of each. The consequence has been, that you have got into the “valley of Achor!” Trouble, sorrow, and confusion are your lot, and you do not know whether the lot of Achan may not await you there.

Now it is in this “valley of Achor,” or sorrow, confusion, and fear, that the “door of hope” is opened. But why “in the valley of Achor?” That we may cease to hope in self; that a sound and true gospel hope may enter within the veil as an anchor sure and steadfast, and there be no hope but in the precious blood of the Lamb, and in a sweet manifestation of that blood to the conscience. This is the “door of hope” through which the soul looks into the very presence of God; sees Jesus on the throne of grace, the sprinkled mercy-seat, and the great High Priest “able and willing to save to the uttermost.”

Through this “door of hope,” by which Christ is seen, the soul goes forth in desires, breathings, hungerings, and thirstings after him; and through this “door of hope” descend visits, smiles, tokens, testimonies, mercies, and favours. And thus, there is “a door of hope,” no longer barred, closed, and shut back, but thrown wide open in the bleeding side of an incarnate God. Here is a renewing of visits almost despaired of; of joys that seemed never to return; of hopes almost extinct; of consolations remembered, but remembered almost with fear, lest they should have been delusive. “She shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.”

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

19th December

Written by Steven Black on 19/12/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:15

It is true that real grace can suffer neither loss nor diminution, but its manifestations and its actings may. Who that possesses faith is not conscious that it ebbs and flows, rises and sinks, is strong and weak, and varies from day to day and from hour to hour? Thus when a sharp trial comes, its immediate effect is to depress faith. It falls upon it like a weight, and bends it down to the ground. Faith may be compared to the quicksilver in a weather-glass, or in a thermometer. The quantity of mercury in the bulb never varies; but it rises or falls in the tube, according to the weight of the air, or the heat of the day. Thus faith, though it abides in the heart without loss or diminution, yet rises or sinks in the feelings, as the weather is fair or foul, or as the sun shews or hides himself.

Did Job’s faith, for instance, mount equally high when “in the days of his youth”—the spring of his soul—”the secret of God was upon his tabernacle,” and when “he cursed his day,” and cried, “O that I knew where I might find him?” Was Peter’s faith as strong when he quailed before a servant girl as when he was ready to go to prison and to death? Or Abraham’s when he denied Sarah to be his wife, and when with but three hundred and eighteen men he pursued and smote the army of four mighty kings?

If faith never fluctuates, never sinks and never rises, then we have at once the dead assurance of a professor; then faith is in our own keeping; then it does not hang on the smile or frown of God; then we are no more beggars and bankrupts, living on supplies given or withholden, but independent and self-sufficient; then we “have no changes, and so fear not God.”

But if faith ebb and flow, what is the cause? Is it in self? Can we add to its stature one cubit, or make one hair of it black or white? If not, then must its ebbings and flowings come from God.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

18th December

Written by Steven Black on 18/12/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“That I may be found in him.” Philippians 3:9

The Apostle knew a time was coming when God would search Jerusalem as with candles. He knew a day was hastening on when the secrets of all hearts would be revealed. He knew an hour was approaching when the eyes of the Lord would try, and the eyelids of the righteous judge would weigh the words and actions of men. And he knew in his own soul’s experience, that all who, in that awful day, were not found in Christ, would be consigned to the eternal pit of woe. He knew that when the judge took his seat upon the great white throne, and heaven and earth fled away from his presence, no one could stand before his look of infinite justice and eternal purity, but those who had a vital standing in the Son of God. And therefore, looking to that awful time, and the solemnities of that day of judgment, that day of wonders, this was the desire of his soul—and towards that he pressed forward, as an active runner presses towards the goal—”that he might be found in him;” that when the Lord comes a second time to judgment, and his eyes run over the assembled myriads, he might be found in the Man who is “a refuge from the storm, and the shadow of a great rock in a weary land,” the only Saviour from the wrath to come, which will one day burst upon the world.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

17th December

Written by Steven Black on 17/12/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Isaiah 55:1

How many a poor sensible sinner has, upon the strength of these words, looked unto Jesus and been lightened (Psalm 34:5), come to him and met with a kind reception. By the power which attends such invitations the heart is opened, as was the heart of Lydia, to attend unto the things spoken in the gospel. It is not put away as too holy for a poor polluted sinner to touch, nor is the Lord Jesus viewed as an angry judge; but in these invitations his clemency, tenderness, and compassion are seen and felt, and beams and rays of his mercy and grace both enlighten the understanding and soften and melt the heart. Thence spring confession of sin, self-loathing, renunciation of one’s own righteousness, earnest desires and breathings after the Lord, and an embracing of the love of the truth so far as made known.

And as all these effects, so different from the old dead pharisaic religion, are produced by the power of the word upon the heart, the Bible becomes a new book, and is read and studied with attention and delight. The ears, too, being unstopped, as well as the eyes opened, if there be the opportunity of hearing the preached gospel, with what eagerness is it embraced, and what a sweetness there is found in it. All who have passed through these things will agree with us that there are no such hearing days as what Job calls “the days of our youth, when the secret of God is upon our tabernacle” (Job 29:4).

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

16th December

Written by Steven Black on 16/12/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“Beloved of God, called to be saints.” Romans 1:7

The very word “saint” has become, through man’s perverseness and wickedness, a word of reproach and contempt. But God will honour it, let men dishonour it as they please. God has put a crown of glory upon it, let men despise it as they may. There is no privilege or blessing that God can confer so great and glorious as to crown you with the crown of saint. He might have given you titles without number; he might have showered riches upon your head in the greatest profusion; rank, fame, talent, beauty, health, all might have been poured at your feet; but what would all these be compared to making you a saint of God?

But what is it to be a saint? It is to be sanctified by God the Father, set apart for himself, to shew forth his praise. It is to be washed in the atoning blood and clothed in the justifying righteousness of the Son, and to be regenerated by the Spirit of God. It is to be introduced into a new world by being delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son.

What heart can conceive or tongue express the state of blessedness to which the despised saints of God are advanced even in this time state! They are sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty; jewels in Jesus’ mediatorial crown; members of his mystical body, and as such united to him by indissoluble ties; pillars in the temple of God which shall go no more out; sheep redeemed by precious blood; virgin souls espoused to the Lord the Lamb. They are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, and mansions of glory are prepared for them beyond the skies. There they shall sit as overcomers with Christ on his throne, and there they shall sing upon harps of gold the praises of a Three-One God to all eternity.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

15th December

Written by Steven Black on 15/12/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength.” Isaiah 45:24

The same blessed Spirit who shines as with a ray of light and life into the conscience, to make it feel the guilt of sin, the curse of the law, and its own miserable state as a transgressor, leads it also into this secret, that it has no strength. Have you never felt that you were utterly powerless—that you would believe, but could not; would hope, but could not; would love, but could not; would keep God’s word, but could not; would obey his commandments, but were not able? Has a sense of your own miserable impotency and thorough helplessness never pressed you down almost to despair?

You felt sure that there was a faith, a hope, a love, a blessing, and a blessedness in the truth of God; a pardon, a peace, a heavenly joy; an assurance of salvation, a union and communion with the Lord Jesus, which you saw, but could not reach. You felt that if you could believe, all would be well, but believe you could not. Thus you learnt you had no strength, and as we learn our weakness in this way, we begin to learn also in whom is our strength; and as we get access to Christ by a living faith, we receive strength out of him for a supply of our spiritual necessities.

Despairing of all strength in self, we look to the Lord Jesus Christ, at the right hand of the Father, to give us his; we lift up our prayers and supplications to the great High Priest over the house of God, to strengthen us with strength in our soul; and when he is pleased, in answer to prayer, to send down his Spirit and grace, we are “strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness.” This is being “strong in the Lord and in the power of his might;” and a being “strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.”

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

14th December

Written by Steven Black on 14/12/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me.” Jeremiah 9:23, 24

So we are allowed to glory. But in what and in whom? Not in ourselves; that is for ever disannulled. The Lord has purposed to pour contempt upon all human glory, that none should glory in himself, whatever he be or whatever he have. But when a man has a view of the Son of God in his beauty, in his suitability, in his heavenly grace and divine glory, then he can and may glory in the Lord. He can say, “O what a Lord there is above! How glorious is he in his excellency, in his suitability, and in his blessedness; how glorious his wisdom, his righteousness, his sanctification, and his redemption. Let my whole glory be there; let me not take to myself a single atom of it. If I am wise, let me give him the glory of being my wisdom; if righteous, let me give him the glory of being my righteousness; if I have any fruit of the Spirit, let me give him the glory of being my sanctification; if I am redeemed from death and hell, let the glory of my redemption be his.” This is doing as God would have us to do, glorying in his dear Son.

And the Lord will bring all his people to this spot sooner or later. He will give them such views of the effects of the fall, of the misery of sin, and of their own helplessness; and will give them such gracious views of his dear Son, as shall wean them from glorying in the creature and make them glory in the Lord as all their salvation and all their desire. It may be by a long course of severe discipline, but the Lord will eventually bring all his people there; for he has determined to glorify his dear Son, and when we can thus glorify him, then we have the mind of Christ, and are doing the will of God.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

13th December

Written by Steven Black on 13/12/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Hebrews 5:9

By his sufferings in the garden and upon the cross the Lord Jesus was made perfect. But what perfection was this? It clearly does not mean that by these sufferings in the garden and upon the cross our Lord was made perfect as the Son of God, nor perfect as the Son of man, for he was perfect before as possessing infinite perfection in his eternal Godhead, and was endued also with every possible perfection of which his sacred humanity was capable. He needed no perfection to be added to his Godhead; it was not susceptible of it; no perfection to be added to his manhood, for it was “a holy thing” in union with eternal Deity.

But he needed to be made perfect as a High Priest. It was through his sufferings that he was consecrated or dedicated in an especial manner to the priesthood, for this corresponds with his own words: “And for their sakes I sanctify myself” (John 17:19); that is, I consecrate or dedicate myself to be their High Priest. The two main offices of the high priest were to offer sacrifice and make intercession. Sacrifice came first; and the sufferings of our Lord in the garden and upon the cross were a part of this sacrifice. He was therefore “made perfect through suffering,” that is, through his sufferings, blood-shedding, and death he was consecrated to perform that other branch of the priestly office which he now executes.

Thus as Aaron was consecrated by the sacrifice of a bullock and a ram, of which the blood was not only poured out at the bottom of the altar and sprinkled upon it, but put also on his right ear and hand and foot, so was his great and glorious Anti-type consecrated through his own sacrifice and blood-shedding on the cross; and thus being made perfect, or rather, as the word literally means, being perfected, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all
them that obey him.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869