18 September 2013

You Cannot Sneak into Heaven without a Cross

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2–4)
Samuel Rutherford
If your Lord calls you to suffering, do not be dismayed, for he will provide a deeper portion of Christ in your suffering. The softest pillow will be placed under your head though you must set your bare feet among thorns. Do not be afraid at suffering for Christ, for he has a sweet peace for a sufferer. God has called you to Christ's side, and if the wind is now in his face, you cannot expect to rest on the sheltered side of the hill. You cannot be above your Master who received many an innocent stroke.

The greatest temptation out of hell is to live without trials. A pool of standing water will turn stagnant. Faith grows more with the sharp winter storm in its face. Grace withers without adversity. You can't sneak quietly into heaven without a cross. Crosses form us into his image. They cut away the pieces of our corruption. Lord cut, carve, wound; Lord do anything to perfect your image in us and make us fit for glory.

We need winnowing before we enter the kingdom of God. O what I owe to the file, hammer, and furnace! Why should I be surprised at the plough that makes such deep furrows in my soul? Whatever direction the wind blows, it will blow us to the Lord. His hand will direct us safely to the heavenly shore to find the weight of eternal glory.

As we look back to our pains and sufferings, we shall see that suffering is not worthy to be compared to our first night's welcome home in heaven. If we could smell of heaven and our country above, our crosses would not bite us. Lay all your loads by faith on Christ, ease yourself, and let him bear all. He can, he does, and he will bear you. Whether God comes with a rod or a crown, he comes with himself. 'Have courage, I am your salvation!' Welcome, welcome Jesus!

– Samuel Rutherford, The Loveliness of Christ, as quoted in Voices from the Past, ed. Richard Rushing, (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2009).

Further Reading
Nurturing Perversion
What God Says about His Word
Witnessing to a Blank Stare

2 comments:

  1. "As we look back to our pains and sufferings, we shall see that suffering is not worthy to be compared to our first night's welcome home in heaven." This whole post is a message we need to keep in front of us! Too often the opposite of this is preached... that we won't suffer. But how wonderful when we can lean in to suffering and trials, realizing that "For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison," 2 Cor. 4:17

    ReplyDelete
  2. Amen. Reminds me of Philippians 1:28-29 which I've just read today morning which says; "And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake."

    Glory be to God for these sufferings we come across for they help us to grow more and more in faith. I just wonder why Charismatics are vehemently opposed to suffering for us Christians, but Isaiah 8:20 gives me the answer; "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

    ReplyDelete

Please keep it pithy (in other words, if your comment is long enough to be its own blog post, don't bother), pertinent (please don't go off-topic), and respectful (to the author, to the other readers, and to the subject of the post). If you can't do that, your comment will not be posted.

If you haven't already, please read the Comment Policy in its entirety.