Oh! the volumes of blessed truth that are couched in these few words; thrown in out of the Apostle's full heart as if to give a moment's vent to his love of salvation by grace! Mercy, love, and grace are all in the bosom of God toward his saints; and yet they differ from each other. But how? Mercy regards the criminal; love regards the object; grace, perhaps, is a blending of the two,—the union of mercy and love. God loves the holy unfallen angels; there is an object of sovereign, distinguishing, free, and superabounding. Every attribute of Jehovah is distinct, and yet so blended that the whole shine forth in one glorious effulgence. The rays of the sun united form one complete body of pure, bright light; but the prism or the rainbow separates these rays into distinct colours. So the attributes of God are not confused though blended, and all shine forth in one pure bright glory. But this is the peculiar character of grace, that any intermixture of worth or worthiness in the object would destroy it. For if the gospel require merit, we are damned by it as inevitably as by the law. This Luther felt when, racked and torn by the words "the righteousness of God without the law is manifested," he cried out in the agony of his soul, "What! am I damned not only by the law, but damned by the gospel also!"
This pure, free, unadulterated grace is the joy of every soul that is able to receive it; for it comes as a blessed cordial when sinking and swooning under a sight and sense of the deserved wrath of God. When, then, the pure gospel of the grace of God comes as a cordial from the Most High, it lifts up his drooping head, revives his sinking soul, and pours oil and wine into his bleeding wounds. By this grace we are justified, pardoned, accepted, sanctified, and saved with an everlasting salvation. Oh! glad tidings to perishing sinners! Oh! blessed news to those who are sinking under a sense of guilt and misery, in whom the law of God is discharging its awful curse! When we get a view by faith, and a sweet taste of the pure grace of God, what a balm, what a cordial, what a sweet reviving draught it is. It is this which makes us prize so highly, and exalt so gladly the free grace of God; because it is so pure, so free, and so superabounding over all the aboundings of sin, guilt, filth, and folly. It never can be laid down too clearly, it never can be too much insisted on that "by grace," and grace alone, "ye are saved."
If free grace has reached your soul, it has saved your soul; if free grace has come into your heart, it has blessed you with an everlasting salvation, and you will live to prove it, when your happy soul joins the throng of the blessed. If anything can lift up a drooping sinner, restore a backslider, break a hard, or soften a stony heart; draw forth songs of praise, and tears of contrition; produce repentance and godly sorrow for sin; a humble mind and a tender conscience; it is a sweet experience of the superabounding grace of God. Can we then exalt it too much? Can we prize it too highly? Can we cleave to it too closely? No; in proportion as we feel our ruin and misery, we shall cleave to it with every desire of our soul; for it is all our salvation, as it is all our desire.
--- J.C. Philpot - 1802-1869
BEWARE OF MYSTICISM
Mysticism is forever being injected into the way we are to view the scriptures. It is a subtle error not easily distinguished. The idea is that the truth depends on how I see it subjectively rather than being an objective revelation from God. It follows that some may know some truth by an inward revelation that cannot be known simply by the written word of God. Furthermore, men do not receive the scriptures as saying what they actually say, they see and know more. Granted the Spirit of God must reveal the truth of the written word of God. But His revelation of the truth is based solely on that written word. He does not reveal anything more or different from that objective standard of the truth. Christ said that the Holy Spirit takes the things of Christ and shows them to His people. Something is not true because one believes it but rather what we believe is to be judged true or false by a measure outside of us, the Holy Scriptures. It does not matter what we feel or what might be logical to us, it matters what “Thus saith the Lord.” God-given faith believes God not our own deceitful hearts or any other sinner. Paul’s word on the ship state the principle: “Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.” Acts 27:25 Thus it is with every true believer, we believe God which means we believe “that it shall be even as it WAS TOLD me” by God in His word! It is not my subjective experience of Christ’s work in me that saves me but the work He accomplished outside me, on the cross, that saves and justifies me before God. Oh, the revelation of Christ in us is glorious but it is the realization of what He has done for us that makes us to rejoice. The truth is the truth whether anyone believes it or experiences its benefits within them or not. The seat of authority is not the mind of man but the word of God. The more mysticism influences our thought the more the words of men are exalted above the word of God. The more man is exalted the more he is proud and self-righteous. A distinction between the knowing ones (gnostics) and the ordinary believer is made and priest craft thrives which God hates! If I am a preacher of the truth, let me say what God says in His word, no less and certainly no more. His word of truth is the gospel of our salvation. Let this forever be our standard: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”Isaiah 8:20