Thursday, January 19, 2012

Know God is your God - Sibbes

Another sign and evidence that God is our God is victory over our base corruptions in some measure. This you have in Rev. xxi. 7: ‘He that overcometh it shall inherit all things; I will be his God, and he shall be my son.’ How shall I know that God is my God, and that I am his son? If by the power of his Spirit I am able to overcome and conquer in some comparable measure base tentations and my base corruptions and lusts; when I lie not as a beast or as a carnal man under sin, but God hath given me in some measure spiritual strength over sin.

Undoubtedly these and such like works of the Spirit, together with the testimony of the Spirit, will be wheresoever God is our God.

In a word, to name no more trials but this, whosoever God is a God to, there will be a transforming unto God, a transforming unto Christ, in whom God is our God. For we must know that we are renewed according to the image of the ‘second Adam.’ Our comfort is by God revealed in Christ. If God be our God in Christ, we will be like to God; and that will be known that we are like to God, if we be like to God in the flesh, God incarnate. For we are predestinated to be like God incarnate. God, first he is Christ's God before he is ours; and as Christ carried himself to God, so if we be God’s , we must carry ourselves like Christ, be transformed unto him. How did Christ carry himself to God? God was his God. ‘My God, my God,’ saith Christ upon the cross. Now the gospel sheweth that he obeyed his Father in all things, in doing and suffering; ‘Not my will, but thy will be done,’ Luke xxii. 42. You know how full of mercy and compassion he was; how he prayed all night sometimes. Though he knew God would bestow things on him without prayer, yet he would pray in order to God's appointment. You know how full of goodness he was, going about continually doing good, Acts x. 38; and that in obedience and conscience to God's command. In a word, look how Christ made God his God, and carried himself to God. So must we; for we are predestinated to be transformed to the image of the ‘second Adam,’ Christ. Especially observe one thing – I touched it before – whom we run to and trust to in extremity, is our god. Christ in extremity, when he felt the anger and endured the wrath of God, being a surety for our sins, yet ‘My God, my God’ still. So if we make God our God, chiefly in the greatest extremity, in the time of desertion, as Christ did, it is a good sign. I do but touch these things. The point, you see, is large. I only give you matter of meditation. You may enlarge them yourselves in your own thoughts. These I think sufficient trials, whereby you may know whether God be your God.

Having now thus unfolded these terms, let us see what we may draw from thence for our use and comfort.

First, then, if by these trials we find that God be not, or have not been, our God, alas! let us never rest till we make good that God is our God. For what if we have all things, if we have not God with all things? All other things are but streams; God is the fountain. If we have not spring, what will become of us at last? Ahithophel had much wit and policy, but he had not God for his God. Ahab had power and strength, but he had not God for his God. Saul had a kingdom, but he had not God for his God. Herod had eloquence, but he had not God for his God. Judas was an apostle, a great professor, but he had not God for his God. What became of all these? Wit they had, strength they had, honor they had, friends they had, they had not God; and therefore a miserable end they made. What miserable creatures are all such, when they shall say, Friends have forsaken me, wealth hath forsaken me, and health hath forsaken me; terrors lay hold upon me, the wrath of God hath overtaken me. But they cannot say, God is my God. Oh, such are in a miserable case, in a fearful estate indeed. Nay, suppose they have all these, suppose they could say they have a world of riches, they have inheritances, they have friends, &c., yet if they cannot say, God is my God, all is vanity. The whole man is this, to have God to be our God. This is the whole man, to fear God and keep his commandments, Eccles. Xii. 18. If a man has all the world, and have not God for his God, all is but vanity and vexation of spirit. Never rest therefore till we can prove ourselves to be in the covenant of grace, till we can say, God is my God.

But, secondly, when we have found God to be our God, then make this use of it, a use of resolution. Is God my God? then I will result to please him, though all creatures be against me. This was their resolution in Micah iv. 5, ‘Every nation walketh in the name of his god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.’ Resolve with Joshua and others to please God, whosoever saith the contrary; to walk after the commandments of God, whatsoever others do or say. In all discouragements from men or devils, let us set this as a buckler, God is my God. Arm ourselves with resolution against all fears and threatenings of men, of men of terror, against the arm of flesh. They say they will do this and this; ay, but God is my God. All that they do they must do in his strength. Arm ourselves with this against the power and gates of hell. Fear not the devil. If we fear man or devil more than God, fear them so as to do anything to displease God, we make them god. If our conscience rightly tells us that what is to be done by us is the will and command of God, and that herein I serve God, we need not fear any opposer; but oppose this as an armor of proof against all creatures, against all discouragements whatsoever. And certainly experience telleth us, and approveth it to be true, that nothing can dismay a man that doth things in conscience to God, and knows God will bear him out in it, though not from danger in this world; and yet for the most part he doth that too. Those that are the stoutest men for God are as oftentimes most safe, always freed from inward dejection. Yet God disposeth of it so as that he that keeps a good conscience shall always be a king, and rule over the world; and therein he performs his promise. Whatever discouragements he endureth outwardly, yet no discouragement can cast down that soul that looks to God. In his conscience he knows that he takes God to be his, that he serveth him, and that it shall go well with him at last, that God will be all-sufficient to him; and this raiseth him above all, makes him rule and reign over his enemies, and be a terror to those that do him harm.

Richard Sibbes, “The Faithful Covenanter,” in The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes, p. 14-16.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the informative article, it was a good read and I hope its ok that I share this with some facebook friends. Thanks.

otto said...

Of course its ok! You can read or download the full book for free on google books.