Monday, October 18, 2010

There is a Kind of Omnipotence in Faith (Richard Sibbes)

Richard Sibbes said that faith is about apprehending the love of God in Christ. He then writes in Bowels Opened 8 of 20 of the effect this love has upon us. Sibbes offers eleven answers in this sermon to the question of how we may come out of spiritual laziness to attain a spiritual taste and relish of heavenly things again, expounding from The Song of Songs 5:3.
This is from the ninth part of his answer which is to see that sin is the greatest evil and grace and goodness are the best things in this world:
"There is a kind of omnipotence in faith, 'woman, be it to you as you will,' Mark 15:28. We have abundance of strength in Christ. Faith is but an empty hand, that goes to Christ to draw from him what it has need of; 'In Christ I can do all things.' So, to have our hearts warmed with love to him. This grace of the Spirit will make us pass through all discouragements, for it has a compelling power. 'The love of Christ compels us,' says the apostle, 2 Cor. 5:14.
If our hearts once be warmed with the love of Christ, this will make us to think nothing too dear for Christ, and will cut off all excuses and pretences whatsoever, which come from coldness of affection. 'Love is strong as death,' as we have it in this book,  'much water cannot quench it,' Song 8:6. All oppositions and discouragements whatsoever, all the water which the devil and the world has or uses, cannot quench the heavenly fire of love, when it is kindled in any measure.
What carried the blessed saints and martyrs of God in all times through discouragements? The Spirit of God, by the spirit of love, from a spirit of faith, and heavenly conviction of the excellence and truth of the things. They saw such a light, which wrought upon their affections, and carried them against the stream of the times in which they lived so that the worse the tunes were, the better they were."
We need to know this love strong as death, this unquenchable love. Let us take up the prayer of Ephesians 3:13ff, and invite the Spirit to show us the love of the Father in his Son to us afresh, he who can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, in the church and in Christ...

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