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echoes of thought in love with God through Christ crucified

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The grace of Christ alone provides true satisfaction for sin and peace to the conscience.

Christ has provided full satisfaction. But such is their perversity, they say that both forgiveness of sins and reconciliation take place once for all when in Baptism we are received through Christ into the grace of God; that after Baptism we must rise up again through satisfactions; that the blood of Christ is of no avail, except in so far as it is dispensed through the keys of the church. And I am not speaking of a doubtful matter, since not one or another, but all the Schoolmen, have, in very clear writings, betrayed their own taint. For their master, after he confessed that Christ on the tree paid the penalty of our sins, according to Peter’s teaching [1 Peter 2:24], corrected that statement by adding the exception that in Baptism all temporal penalties of sins are relaxed, but after Baptism they are lessened by the help of penance, so that the cross of Christ and our penance may work together. But John speaks far differently: “If anyone has sinned, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ …; and he is the propitiation for our sins” [1 John 2:1–2]. “I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven in his name.” [1 John 2:12] Surely he is addressing believers, to whom, while he sets forth Christ as the propitiation of sins, he shows that there is no other satisfaction whereby offended God can be propitiated or appeased. He does not say: “God was once for all reconciled to you through Christ; now seek for yourselves another means.” But he makes him a perpetual advocate in order that by his intercession he may always restore us to the Father’s favor; an everlasting propitiation by which sins may be expiated. For what the other John said is ever true: “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!” [John 1:29; cf. John 1:36]. He, I say, not another, takes them away; that is, since he alone is the Lamb of God, he also is the sole offering for sins, the sole expiation, the sole satisfaction. For while the right and power of forgiving sins properly belong to the Father, in which respect he is distinguished from the Son, as we have already seen, Christ is here placed on another level because, taking upon himself the penalty that we owe, he has wiped out our guilt before God’s judgment. From this it follows that we shall share in the expiation made by Christ only if that honor rest with him which those who try to appease God by their own recompense seize for themselves.

—John Calvin
Institutes, 3.4.26.

For a man to have his will, and whatsoever he desires, what a happiness is that! If his soul be set upon holy things, he shall have what he desires, the Lord will not be wanting: Prov. 10:24, ‘The fear of the wicked, it shall come come upon him; but the desire of the righteous shall be granted.’ The desires of the righteous are suitable to the constitution and frame of their heart. He will grant the desires of their souls, Ps. 10:17. A man that makes God his heart’s delight shall have his heart’s desire: Ps. 37:4, ‘Delight thyself in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desire of thy heart;’ his business is to maintain communion with God, and his desires will not miscarry.

—Thomas Manton
Works, 6:431.

I can truly say, that the want of Christ’s love is a greater grief and burden to my soul, than the want of any outward thing in this world. I am in a wanting condition, as to temporals; I want health, and strength, and trading, friends, and money, ‘that answereth all things,’ as Solomon speaks, Eccles. 10:19. And yet all these wants do not so grieve me, and so afflict and trouble me, as the want of Christ, as the want of grace, as the want of the discoveries of that favour that is better than life, Ps. 63:3, 4.

—Thomas Brooks
Works, 3:79.

Go and take your fill of earthly pleasures if you will—you will never find your heart satisfied with them. There will always be a voice within, crying, like the leech in Proverbs 30:15, ‘Give! Give!’ There is an empty place there, which nothing but God can fill. You will find, as Solomon did by experience, that earthly pleasures are but a meaningless show—promising contentment but bringing a dissatisfaction of spirit—gold plated caskets, exquisite to look at on the outside, but full of ashes and corruption within.

—J. C. Ryle
Thoughts for Young Men, 34.

As divine love doth advance and elevate the soul, so it is that alone which can make it happy. The highest and most ravishing pleasures, the most solid and substantial delights, that human nature is capable of, are those which arise from the endearments of a well-placed and successful affection.—That which embitters love, and makes it ordinarily a very troublesome and hurtful passion, is the placing it on those who have not worth enough to deserve it, or affection and gratitude to requite it, or whose absence may deprive us of the pleasure of their converse, or their miseries occasion our trouble. To all these evils are they exposed, whose chief and supreme affection is placed on creatures like themselves: but the love of God delivers us from them all.

—Henry Scougal
The Works of the Rev. H. Scougal, 24.

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