Thursday, May 04, 2017

Tillotson: the promises of the Gospel

Thursday, May 4, 2017
    Feast of English Saints & Martyrs of the Reformation
    [Jesus:] “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
    —Mark 11:25-26 (ESV)
    It is a great mistake, and of very pernicious consequence to the souls of men, to imagine that the gospel is all promises on God’s part, and that our part is only to believe them, and to rely upon God for the performance of them, and to be very confident that He will make them good, though we do nothing else but only believe that He will do so. That the Christian religion is only a declaration of God’s good-will to us, without any expectation of duty from us: this is an error which one could hardly think could ever enter into any who have the liberty to read the Bible, and do attend to what they read and find there.
    The three great promises of the gospel are all very expressly contained in our Saviour’s first sermon upon the Mount. There we find the promise of blessedness often repeated; but never absolutely made, but upon certain conditions, plainly required on our parts; as repentance, humility, righteousness, mercy, peaceableness, meekness, patience. Forgiveness of sins is likewise promised; but only to those who make a penitent acknowledgement of them, and ask forgiveness for them, and are ready to grant that forgiveness to others, which they beg of God for themselves. The gift of God’s Holy Spirit is likewise promised, but it is upon condition of our earnest and importunate prayer to God. The gospel is everywhere full of precepts enjoining duty and obedience upon our part, as well as of promises on God’s part, assuring blessings to us; nay, full of terrible threatenings also if we disobey the precepts of the gospel.
    ... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. V, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon XCVII, p. 205-206 (see the book)
    See also Mark 11:25-26; Matt. 6:14-15; Luke 6:37; Eph. 4:32; Tit. 2:11-14; 2 Pet. 1:4
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, grant me Christian character.
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