28th January

Written by Steven Black on 28/01/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“And hath raised us up together,
and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
Ephesians 2:6

There is a distinction between being quickened together with Christ and being raised up together with him. Is not this true in the experience of God’s people? To be quickened into divine life, to be convinced of sin, to have the fear of God planted deeply in the soul, is the commencement of a work of grace. But this is not a deliverance, not a being raised up out of darkness, bondage, doubt, guilt, and fear. This is not a knowledge of Christ, and the power of his resurrection; this is not a full coming out of the dark and silent tomb into the glorious light and warmth of day.

But here is the great blessedness of a mystical union with the Lord Jesus Christ that, as by virtue of interest in him there is a partaking of the benefit and power of his having been quickened, so there is a partaking in the benefit and power of his having been raised up. God does not quicken a soul into divine life to let it remain in the dark tomb of doubt, fear, guilt, and bondage. In raising up Christ there was not only a pledge of the spiritual, but a virtual resurrection of the members of his body. Liberty, then, the liberty of the gospel, deliverance from all doubt and fear, the manifestation of pardon and peace, the shedding abroad of the love of God in the heart, are blessings as much assured to the members of Christ’s mystical body as their first quickening into spiritual life, and both are equally assured them in Christ their covenant Head.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

27th January

Written by Steven Black on 27/01/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.”
Ephesians 2:1

Death in sin is of course a figure, and must be interpreted as such; for moral death is its meaning, and by moral death we understand the utter absence of everything holy, heavenly, spiritual, and divine; the entire want of participation in, and conformity to the life which God lives as essentially and eternally holy, pure, wise, and good, and for ever dwelling in the glorious light of his own infinite perfections. To be dead, then, is to have no present part or lot with God; no knowledge of him, no faith, no trust, no hope in him; no sense of his presence, no reverence of his terrible Majesty; no desire after him or inclination toward him; no trembling at his word, no reliance on his promise, no longing for his grace, no care or concern for his glory.

It is to be as a beast before him, intent like a brute on satisfying the cravings of lust, or the movements of mere animal passion, without any thought or concern what shall be the issue, and to be bent upon carrying out into action every natural purpose, as if we were self-creators, and were our own judge, our own lord, and our own God. O what a terrible state is it to be thus dead in sin, and not to know it, not to feel it, to be in no way sensible of its present danger and certain end, unless delivered from it by a mighty act of sovereign power! It is this want of all sense and feeling which makes the death of the soul to be but a representation of, as it is the prelude to, that second death which stretches through a boundless eternity.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

26th January

Written by Steven Black on 26/01/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“And he taught them many things by parables.”
Mark 4:2

The Scripture employs two beautiful figures to illustrate the reception of the divine testimony. One is the committing of the seed to the ground, as in the parable of the sower. The husbandman scatters the seed in the bosom of the earth, and the ground having been previously ploughed and reduced to a beautiful tilth, opens its bosom to receive the grain. After a little time the seed begins to germinate, to strike a root downward, and shoot a germ upward; as the Lord speaks, “First the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear.”

This emblem beautifully represents how the testimony of Jesus Christ finds an entrance to the soul, takes root downward and carries a shoot upward. The root downward is into the depths of a tender conscience, and the shoot upward is the aspiration, breathing, and longing of the soul for the living God.

The other figure is that of grafting. “Receive,” says James, “with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” Now when a scion is first put into the stock, after a little time sap begins to flow out of the stock into the scion, and this sap unites the two together. So it is spiritually when the soul receives the testimony of Christ. The testimony of Christ is received into a broken heart, as the scion is inserted into and received by the stock. As, then, life flows out of the stock into the scion, it creates and cements a sweet and blessed union with God’s word and him of whom the word testifies. Thus it grows up into a living bough, which brings forth blossoms of hope, leaves of a consistent profession, and fruit of a godly life.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

25th January

Written by Steven Black on 25/01/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“Turn thou us unto thee, O Lord, and we shall be turned;
renew our days as of old.”
Lamentations 5:21

Are you not often destitute of the power to repent, and confess your sins before God? Does not conscience often bring to view a melancholy retrospect of carnal thoughts, wicked desires, vain imaginations, foolish words, frivolous speeches, and all that catalogue of evils, that huge bill which godly fear sometimes files in the court within, as seen in all our departures from the life of God? But are you able to repent? are you able to feel cut to the = very heart? are you able to mourn and sigh because conscience brings against you this long indictment? Can you always feel your soul melted down with sorrow on account of it? Are you always able to feel contrition because you are proud, worldly, covetous, everything that is evil, everything that is hateful in God’s sight?

But, then, there are times and seasons when the Lord is pleased to work upon the conscience, to move and stir the soul, to touch the heart with his gracious finger—then repentance and godly sorrow flow forth. It is with us as with the rock that Moses struck. There was water in the rock; but it required to be struck with the rod before the waters flowed out. So we may have the grace of repentance in our souls; but it requires the divine hand to strike the rock, to cause the waters of godly sorrow to gush forth.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

24th January

Written by Steven Black on 24/01/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe.”
Psalm 119:117

We are surrounded with snares; temptations lie spread every moment in our path. These snares and temptations are so suitable to the lusts of our flesh, that we shall infallibly fall into them, and be overcome by them but for the restraining providence or the preserving grace of God. The Christian sees this; the Christian feels this. He has had, it may be, a bitter experience of the past. He has seen how, from want of walking in godly fear, for want of circumspection and standing upon his watch-tower, he has been entangled in times past in the snares of death. He has rued the consequences, felt the misery of having slipped and fallen; the iron has entered into his soul; he has been in the prison house, in bondage, in darkness, and death; in consequence of his transgressions he has been “the fool” described in Psalm 108, as “afflicted because of his iniquity,” and can re-echo Hart’s mournful description of his own miserable folly: “That mariner’s mad part I played, Who sees, yet strikes the shelf.”

As, then, a burnt child dreads the fire, so he dreads the consequence of being left for a moment to himself; and the higher his assurance rises and the clearer his views become of the grace of God which bringeth salvation, and of his own interest in it, the more is he afraid that he shall fall. If his eyes are more widely opened to see the purity of God, the blessedness of Christ, and the efficacy of atoning blood, the more also does he see of the evil of sin, and his own weakness and inability to stand against temptation in his own strength. And all these feelings combine to raise up the earnest cry, “Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe.”

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

23rd January

Written by Steven Black on 23/01/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“Man’s goings are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way?”
Proverbs 20:24

Does not your heart sometimes quake with fear lest you have nothing but a nominal profession, lest the god of this world be blinding you, and lest your conscience be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin? It is good to have such fears. He who feareth not, who has no solemn apprehensions, no anxious inquiries, who is never exercised with some internal trepidation of soul, it is much to be feared has never known what it is to have “the candle of the Lord searching the inward parts of the belly.”

But if God has quickened your soul into spiritual life, and you have ears to hear, I would just put two questions to you: Have you obtained righteousness by a manifestation of Christ’s righteousness; pardon by the application of Christ’s blood; love by a shedding abroad of love; deliverance by a discovery of God’s outstretched hand? My other question is this—If you have not, and let conscience bear its honest testimony—if you have never experienced righteousness, pardon, love, and deliverance, is there a cry in your soul after them? Is there anything like fervent supplication that God would bestow them? Is there anything of a groan in the depth of your spirit that the Lord would reveal them? These are marks of life; and he that has these marks will have the blessing, because God has quickened him into spiritual life. It may be long delayed, but it will come at last; “it will surely come, it will not tarry.” It may be withheld for wise purposes, and you may have to travel through many a dark season and many an anxious hour, but deliverance is sure; it is reserved for you in Christ, and you are reserved for it, kept by God himself unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

22nd January

Written by Steven Black on 22/01/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment:
lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.”
Isaiah 27:3

The Lord Jesus Christ, who lives at God’s right hand, has to send down supplies of his grace continually to keep your soul alive unto himself. Without this life being kept up and maintained by these continual supplies of his grace, you cannot pray, or read, or hear the word, or meditate with any feeling or profit. You cannot love the Lord and his blessed ways; you cannot submit to his righteous dealings; or hear the rod and him who appointed it. You may approach his throne, but your heart is cold, clouded, and unfeeling; your spirit sinks under the weight and burden of the trials and difficulties that are spread in your path; nor are you able to do anything that satisfies yourself, or that you think can satisfy God.

By these painful but profitable lessons, you are experimentally taught that you want the life of Christ as well as the death of Christ, the resurrection of Christ as much as the crucifixion of Christ; Christ as an ever-living, ever-gracious, ever-glorious Mediator, to send down supplies of his love and power into your soul, as much as you needed him to die upon the cross for your redemption.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

21st January

Written by Steven Black on 21/01/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”—James 5:11

The words translated “endure” and “patience” are the same in the original; and in fact, the example of Job is given as an instance of the happiness of those who endure. The same word is also used by our blessed Lord, where he says, “He that endureth to the end shall be saved” (Matt. 10:22). We have need then of endurance. As he that runs a race needs not so much swiftness as enduring strength to hold out to the end, never to give up as long as he can drag one limb before another; as the British soldier must never suffer himself to be beaten; so it is in the Christian race: we must never give up; we must never say “die;” we must never allow ourselves to be beaten by sin or Satan.

If God himself seem to thrust us away from his throne, we must still plead and not take “No” for an answer, like the widow with the unjust judge. O what need we have of patience or endurance still to fight, though the battle be against us; still to run, though we may almost fear to lose the race; and still to press forward, in spite of every discouraging circumstance! But if in this way we do the will of God, as he would have us, and patience is given to us of which we have such deep need, let us not fear but that we shall receive the promise. “Let us then not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Gal. 6:9). We are bidden therefore to be “steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58).

20th January

Written by Steven Black on 20/01/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord.”—Hosea 6:3

“To know the Lord” is to know experimentally and spiritually the power of Jesus’ blood and righteousness; to know our eternal union with him; to know him so as to be led by the Spirit into soul communion with him, that we may talk with him as a man talketh with his friend; to know him so that the secrets of his heart should be revealed to us, and we enter by faith into the length and breadth and depth and height of the love of Christ which passeth knowledge; to know him so as to drink into his spirit, and to have his image stamped by the Holy Ghost upon our souls; to know him as coming down into our hearts out of his glorious sanctuary, filling our souls with his presence and his love; to know him as formed in us the hope of glory, making our bodies his temple, dwelling in us, breathing himself into us, speaking in us, moving as it were every affection of our heart and every faculty of our soul. Thus to know the Lord is the sum and substance of vital godliness.

And, as “to know the Lord,” implies, as well as comprehends, the knowledge of Jehovah in his Trinity of Persons and Unity of Essence, well may we say that, to know Jehovah the Father in his eternal love, to know Jehovah the Son in his redeeming blood, and to know Jehovah the Spirit in his divine operations and blessed teaching, is the foretaste of bliss below; and to know and see God as he is, is the consummation of bliss above.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

19th January

Written by Steven Black on 19/01/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.”—Romans 8:5

None but those who are partakers of a heavenly birth feel heavenly realities to be their choice element, holy things their sweetest meditation, and the solemn worship of God their supreme delight. Look at this mark as a touchstone of divine life; for to be spiritually-minded a man must be spiritual, and to be spiritual he must have received the Spirit and been made a partaker of that “kingdom of God which is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 14:17).

Have you never found in reading the Scriptures a sweet peace distil over your soul, as the glorious promises came forth one after another as the stars in the evening sky, each one brighter and clearer, and you felt a blessed persuasion of your interest in them? When at the throne of grace, favoured with liberty of spirit and access to your heavenly Friend, have you never felt the peace of God to drop into your heart, and like oil upon the waves, to allay every rising of rebellion within?

Have you never found, in conversing with the saints of God, a sweet flowing of heart to heart and soul to soul, and felt that such conversation left behind a blessed fragrance upon your spirit? Have you never in the house of prayer had your heart and affections drawn up to the things of God; and as you sat and heard Christ, his Person and work, his grace and glory set forth, faith was drawn out to believe, hope to cast forth its anchor, and love and affection to flow, so that you experienced a spirituality of mind, a heavenly calm, and a holy peace that touched every spring of your soul, and watered it as the river that went out of Eden to water the garden?

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869