~ Thoughts from The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes
12. Christ's Wise Government
God will have no blind sacrifices, no unreasonable services (Isaiah 1:13), but will have us to love him with all our mind (Romans 12:2), that is, with our understanding part, as well as with all our hearts (Luke 10:27), that is, the feeling part of the soul.
~ RICHARD SIBBES
There’s only one way it’s possible—if you base your decisions on rock solid truth. It’s the only way not to be swayed by lies or selfishness.
The foundation for good judgment can’t be just your conscience. Or how you were raised. Or who you’re listening to.
Truth is truth, and error, error, and that which is unlawful is unlawful, whether men think so or not.
God has put an eternal difference between light and darkness, good and ill, which no creature's conceit can alter; and therefore no man's judgment is the measure of things further than it agrees to truth stamped upon things themselves by God.
Good judgment has to be founded on Truth. Truth then trains consciences and steers parents and guides mentors.
It has to start with Truth.
But it can’t end there. It’s not enough to just understand it. Truth also has to order our ways.
Christ sets up his throne in the very heart and alters its direction, so making his subjects good, together with teaching them to be good.
When Truth embeds himself in, he must work his way out in behaviors. Christ doesn’t just teach you better thought patterns for your brain; he also works on your heart to change your actions.
Other princes can make good laws, but they cannot write them in their people's hearts (Jeremiah 31:33). This is Christ's prerogative: he infuses into his subjects his own Spirit.
Upon him there does not only rest the spirit of wisdom and understanding, but likewise the spirit of the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2).
The knowledge which we have of him from himself is a transforming knowledge (2 Corinthians 3:18).
The same Spirit who enlightens the mind inspires gracious inclinations into the will and affections and infuses strength into the whole man.
Where his Spirit of Truth is, mind and heart reside in sweet harmony. “Until then, truth does us no good, but helps to condemn us.” And vice-versa. A man with a good heart but no foundation of truth is not a wise man.
Without Christ's Spirit the soul is in confusion, without beauty and form, as all things were in the chaos before the creation.
Head and heart.
God sets both aright in good judgment through Truth.
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For more on Chapters 12 and 13, visit our reading group at Tim Challies’ blog.
13. Grace Shall Reign