FRIDAY MORNINGS IN THE VALLEY: ELECTION

As this edition of “Friday Mornings in the Valley” goes live, I’ll be taking off for a vacation with my wife to Florida as we celebrate our one-year anniversary.  We’re really looking forward to spending 6 days celebrating God’s grace to us over the past year, along with a visit to Disney World, St. Andrew’s, and our great friends, The Beaudrys.

I hope that today’s prayer will be particularly encouraging as it relates to a proper understanding of feelings, the reality of the gospel, and the believer’s position in Christ.

I am a person who often struggles very much with allowing my feelings to get the best of me.  Feelings can be so intense, fickle, fleeting, and easily influenced by our immediate circumstances, that it is unwise to draw conclusions about reality based simply on how we feel.  For this reason, as Christians we must be people who are not too easily taken by what we feel at any given moment.  The truth of God’s Word and the objective reality of Christ’s person and work determine reality for the Christian, not personal feelings.  At every point, the Scriptures command us first to believe its declarations, then to allow our feelings to be influenced and directed by this unchanging Word; not the reverse.

The writer of this prayer hits on this reality at several points:

+”I believe it, help me experience it to the full.”

+”Continue to teach me that Christ’s righteousness

satisfies justice and evidences thy love;

Help me to make use of it by faith as the ground of my peace

and of thy favour and acceptance”

+”It is not feeling the Spirit that proves my saved state

but the truth of what Christ did perfectly for me”

Lest I end up referencing the entire prayer before you read it, let me simply say that I hope it helps encourage you, as it did me, to be a person who is first living life believing in the objective reality of the gospel; then, by the Spirit’s power, may our feelings be brought under the authority of God’s Word and Christ’s work, as we preach the good news to ourselves daily!

HOLY TRINITY

All praise to thee for electing me to salvation,

by foreknowledge of God the Father,

through sanctification of the Spirit,

unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus;

I adore the wonders of thy condescending love,

marvel at the true believer’s high privilege

within whom all heaven comes to dwell,

abiding in God and God in him;

I believe it, help me experience it to the full.

Continue to teach me that Christ’s righteousness

satisfies justice and evidences thy love;

Help me to make use of it by faith as the ground of my peace

and of thy favour and acceptance,

so that I may live always near the cross.

It is not feeling the Spirit that proves my saved state

but the truth of what Christ did perfectly for me;

All holiness in him is by faith made mine,

as if I had done it;

Therefore I see the use of his righteousness,

for satisfaction to divine justice and making me righteous.

It is not inner sensation that makes Christ’s death mine

for that may be delusion, being without the Word,

but his death apprehended by my faith,

and so testified by the Word and Spirit.

I bless thee for these lively exercises of faith,

for the righteousness that is mine in Jesus,

for grace to resign my will to thee;

I rejoice to think that all things are at thy disposal,

and I love to leave them there.

Then prayer turns wholly into praise,

and all I can do is to adore and love thee.

I want not the favour of man to lean upon,

for I know that thy electing grace is infinitely better.

[Taken from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotionsed. Arthur Bennett (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1975), 49.]

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