"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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    Psalm Seventeen: Keep Me as the Apple of Your Eye

    Images of the Savior from the Psalms
    Psalm Seventeen: Keep Me as the Apple of Your Eye

    When King David published this psalm, his people must have derived immense comfort from it: how confident was their leader that God would hear his pleas for salvation, and deliver him from all his enemies! His life was pure, his faith was great, and he knew by long experience the wondrous steadfast love that would preserve all those who sought refuge in God the Savior, as the very apple of his eye. But this further consideration must have been particularly pleasing to all the people, that of old God was accustomed to deal with a nation in large part upon the basis of its king. Whenever a king walked uprightly and found favor with God, the whole nation would prosper; but “when a wicked one rules, the people groan” (Prov. 29:2). How the nation must have rejoiced, knowing that God loved their king, and their king represented them to God.

    Then how much more reason do we have to rejoice, seeing that we, too, have a King who represents us to God, and wins divine favors and graces and spiritual blessings only for this reason, that he might shower them upon his people, and make them dwell in peace and safety! Did David's steps always hold fast to God's paths without slipping? Well, once they slipped, when he numbered the people, and the Lord destroyed from among the nation some 70,000 men (1 Chron. 21). Did David's mouth ever transgress? Well, was it not by the word of his mouth that Uriah met an unjust doom (2 Sam. 11)? But tell me, when did the lips of the Son of David ever transgress? When did his steps ever slip? When the omniscient gaze of Yahweh examined his heart, he found nothing at all amiss. And this is our King, whose office it is to save and protect us!

    Only consider it, dear Christian: God has already searched and proved our King, he has already vindicated his righteousness, and when his enemies surrounded him on Calvary, then he made him as the apple of his eye, and covered him with his wings, and arose in the splendor of strength to deliver him from the pit – and we are in him, to share in all his victories and successes! By how strong a twofold assurance may we buttress our hope for eternal salvation: for God has made our King and Representative as the apple of his eye, so that he will preserve him from his enemies with all the power of divinity; and Christ has made us as the apple of his eye, so that he was willing to give up even his own life to preserve us forevermore. We are sheltered safely beneath the wings of Christ, who dwells beneath the wings of God the Father – and what enemy can ever reach us there?

    Tell me, all you who know the Savior, does not that description of the wicked ring true in your heart, that they all have chosen their portion in this life? They spend all their strength for riches and success in this world, and when they come to the end of their days, seeing that they have no kind of treasure which they can take with them, they leave all their substance to their children. Because this is all their treasure and heart, they often accumulate much wealth – but what is it after all, but a pile of dross and dung?

    What will satisfy you? Not the earthly treasures of the wicked, those riches can never finally satisfy. “As for me, I will behold your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied when I awake with your likeness” (vs. 15). Is that blessed promise of the resurrection not a greater treasure by far than all the gold of the wicked? But when God and his Christ have set themselves for the preservation of your soul, then not even death can overcome you, but you will certainly awake to the beauty of the likeness of him who considers you as precious as the very apple of his eye, more dear to him than all the world beside.

    Posted by Nathan on August 30, 2010 11:52 AM

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