Believing that the Father is MY Father Too.

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De Jager

Puritan Board Sophomore
When I read the Psalms, I am touched by how the Psalmists often have such confidence in the Lord's fatherly care for them.

I have been plagued by a lack of assurance of faith for over 15 years. I have a hard time reading Psalms and believing that they can actually apply to me too. I have confidence that God is a father...I have doubts about whether is actually my father.

Oh how I would love to have the confidence that God is favourably disposed towards me.

And to be clear, I place no hope of salvation in any other than the person of Jesus Christ, and his work on the cross. I know there is no other way.

It is hard to explain but oftentimes when I read the scriptures I am not even comforted. In fact, I feel great anxiety. I feel a nervousness in my core that I cannot explain. It is depressing to say the least.

I feel like the Psalmist in Psalm 77 - my Spirit refuses to be comforted; when I think of God, I am troubled. The catechism teaches me that my only comfort in life and death is that I am not my own, but belong body and soul to my father - oh how I wish I could be assured that this is true.
 

jw

Administrator
Dear Izaak,

You are not alone in your feelings of inadequacy, but this is where the Christian must walk by faith and not by sight (i.e. sense, feelings, etc.). Our duty when such is our case is to continue to take hold and cling to Jesus Christ by faith, trusting not in our own accomplishments, our own sense and sorrow over our sins, or any other vestige of self-righteousness which might arise in competition with the child like faith of coming as children unto a Father.

It is true that many too often err on the side of presumption of God's mercies, but it is also a testimony to our remaining corruption that we might doubt God's promises of mercy, believing that He thinks the way we think, or has ways that are the same as our ways. No, the Lord promises, and all His promises are yea and Amen, forever. So, we must echo the Psalmist who -communing with himself- says "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me . . . hope thou in God," (Pss. 42, 43).

It is unbelief to disbelieve or misbelieve God's unequivocal promises to save to the uttermost any and all who come to Him by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Ergo, though we know our sins intimately, and we know what they deserve, we also know and believe that there is promised relief from the guilt of them in Christ. We dare not merely echo the Psalmist when he says, "If thou, O Lord, shouldst mark iniquity, who could stand?" No, we follow up with him and confess, "But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared!"

This does not excuse our sins, nor excuse us from a hearty endeavor to self-examination, and free and full confession of particular sins, particularly. In fact, the very truths aforementioned ought to stir us up to a more robust practice of such things. Neither do these truths excuse us from a more hearty endeavor to obedience, but I am confident you would not think so in the first place.

A tender conscience is a gift from the Lord, but it must not only be tender. It must also be biblically informed. Continue to hate your sins. Embrace the conviction of sin. Embrace the endeavor to be rid of your sins and forsake them. But do not stop there. Take them to Christ, the Only One Who can relieve a guilty conscience. Share your burden with your mature Christian brothers and the session God has placed over you in your local church. Remember, God has promised the sure mercies of David to the penitent, and there is a Fountain opened to the house of David for sin and uncleanness. Your duty is not to doubt those truths, but to believe them and make use of them.

It is the opposite of piety -though neverso counterintuitive- to refuse the promises of God. It is, rather, a sign of the remaining corruption -the poison of Eden as has been preached- that we would have something to contribute to the salvation of our souls.

I commend for your reading a book from Mr. Richard Sibbes (I think it is in Vol. 2 of his Works) called "The Soul's Conflict and Victory Over Itself by Faith." Be encouraged, be courageous, and quit yourself like a man, running with a full heart toward obedience, never trusting in that running, confessing the failures along the way, but pressing on to your high calling in Jesus Christ.
 

De Jager

Puritan Board Sophomore
Dear Izaak,

You are not alone in your feelings of inadequacy, but this is where the Christian must walk by faith and not by sight (i.e. sense, feelings, etc.). Our duty when such is our case is to continue to take hold and cling to Jesus Christ by faith, trusting not in our own accomplishments, our own sense and sorrow over our sins, or any other vestige of self-righteousness which might arise in competition with the child like faith of coming as children unto a Father.

It is true that many too often err on the side of presumption of God's mercies, but it is also a testimony to our remaining corruption that we might doubt God's promises of mercy, believing that He thinks the way we think, or has ways that are the same as our ways. No, the Lord promises, and all His promises are yea and Amen, forever. So, we must echo the Psalmist who -communing with himself- says "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me . . . hope thou in God," (Pss. 42, 43).

It is unbelief to disbelieve or misbelieve God's unequivocal promises to save to the uttermost any and all who come to Him by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Ergo, though we know our sins intimately, and we know what they deserve, we also know and believe that there is promised relief from the guilt of them in Christ. We dare not merely echo the Psalmist when he says, "If thou, O Lord, shouldst mark iniquity, who could stand?" No, we follow up with him and confess, "But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared!"

This does not excuse our sins, nor excuse us from a hearty endeavor to self-examination, and free and full confession of particular sins, particularly. In fact, the very truths aforementioned ought to stir us up to a more robust practice of such things. Neither do these truths excuse us from a more hearty endeavor to obedience, but I am confident you would not think so in the first place.

A tender conscience is a gift from the Lord, but it must not only be tender. It must also be biblically informed. Continue to hate your sins. Embrace the conviction of sin. Embrace the endeavor to be rid of your sins and forsake them. But do not stop there. Take them to Christ, to Only One Who can relieve a guilty conscience. Share your burden with your mature Christian brothers and the session God has placed over you in your local church. Remember, God has promised the sure mercies of David to the penitent, and there is a Fountain opened to the house of David for sin and uncleanness. Your duty is not to doubt those truths, but to believe them and make use of them.

It is the opposite of piety -though neverso counterintuitive- to refuse the promises of God. It is, rather, a sign of the remaining corruption -the poison of Eden as has been preached- that we would have something to contribute to the salvation of our souls.

I commend for your reading a book from Mr. Richard Sibbes (I think it is in Vol. 2 of his Works) called "The Soul's Conflict and Victory Over Itself by Faith." Be encouraged, be courageous, and quit yourself like a man, running with a full heart toward obedience, never trusting in that running, confessing the failures along the way, but pressing on to your high calling in Jesus Christ.

Thank you for this post.
 

jw

Administrator
It is my pleasure, truly. I found an individual copy of the aforementioned book by Master Sibbes. You can download the pdf image here.
 

jw

Administrator
Josh, you are a physician of the soul. Well said my friend, well said.
Pastor Lewis, thank you for the kind words. I think I'm barely an orderly, however. Many thanks be unto the Lord Whose provision of Pastor, Session, Covenant Community, and old Puritans has been a much-needed succor, each providentially applying the balm of Gilead according to place and station.
 
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