The Right Way

“And He led them forth by the right way,
that they might go to a city of habitation.” (Psalm 107:7)

My soul, what are thy daily exercises concerning the way the Lord thy God is leading thee through a wilderness dispensation? Art thou convinced that it is the right way? What if it be a thorny way, a tempted way, frequently a dark way; yet art thou satisfied that it is the right way, because it is thorny, tempted, dark, and with numberless other exercises? This is the plan to judge by. And though, my soul, I trust thou hast grace enough given thee to see and know, in thy cool hours of thought, that whatever thy God appoints must be right, and His holy will must be done; yet there is an exercise of grace which goes much beyond these views of the subject, and which a believer is enabled to bring into practice, when he not only submits to a painful dispensation, but rejoiceth in it, because it is the right way. When he saith, I am afflicted; but afflictions are useful. I am in dark and trying circumstances; but these also are useful. I am buffeted by Satan; but this also I find to be right, because Christ is the more endeared thereby, and His strength is perfected in my weakness. My God is bringing me by a right way, to a city of habitation. Of this I am sure. And every step leading to the final attainment, is already marked by infinite wisdom, and provided for by infinite love; and Jesus Himself is with me through all the pilgrimage. Hence then, I conclude, that if at any time I am at a loss to see my way, to find comfort in my way, or if I am obstructed in my way, still it is the right way, because Jesus Himself is the Way, and His unerring wisdom is in the appointment. Oh for grace in lively exercise to be as satisfied now of all the dispensations concerning the church and people, as when of old, in the wilderness! The Lord is leading forth by a right way, to bring to a city of habitation, whose Builder and Maker is God.

Robert Hawker

Printed in the Bulletin of the First Baptist Church in Almont MI

Dear friend,

Wickedness prevails and increases in our city to a dreadful degree! Our streets are filled with the sons of Belial, who neither fear God, nor regard man. I wish my heart was more affected with what my eyes see and my ears hear every day! I am often ready to fear lest the Lord should show His displeasure in some dreadful way!

And surely, if He were strict to mark all that is amiss—I myself would tremble! Oh, were He to plead against me—I could not answer Him one word! Alas! my dear friend, you know not what a poor, unprofitable, unfaithful creature I am! If you knew the evils which I feel within, and the snares and difficulties which beset me from without—you would pity me indeed!

So much forgiven—yet so little love to Jesus.
So many mercies—yet so few returns.
Such great privileges—yet a life so sadly below them.

Indwelling sin presses me downwards; when I would do good, evil is present with me! I can attempt nothing—but it is debased, polluted and spoiled by my depraved nature! My sins of omission are innumerable. In a word, there is . . .

much darkness in my understanding,
much perverseness in my will,
much disorder in my affections,
much folly and madness in my imagination!
In short, I am a riddle to myself—a heap of inconsistency!

Alas! when shall it be otherwise? I have a desire of walking with God—but I cannot attain unto it. Surely it is far better to depart, and to be with Jesus Christ—than to live here up to the ears in sin and temptation!

But, “We have an Advocate with the Father.” Here my hope revives! Though wretched in myself—I am complete in Him! He is my wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. On this “Rock” I build—for time and eternity!

Letters of John Newton

Printed in the bulletin of the First Baptist Church in Almont MI

“And being found in fashion as a Man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). The law of God required two things: exact obedience to its precepts and punishment for all violators and that standard has not been lowered through the passing of time. God can never be satisfied with anything less than perfection. “It shall be perfect to be accepted” (Leviticus 22:21). Moreover, the penalty for transgressing His law–death–has not changed either. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4). When the Lord Jesus came in the stead of His chosen people, He lived His life in perfect conformity to the law’s requirements. “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law to redeem them that were under the law” (Galatians 4:4-5). When the Savior was circumcised on the eighth day, He obligated Himself to keep the entire law. “For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law” (Galatians 5:3). As the perfect Man, He loved God with all His heart, mind, soul and strength and loved His neighbor as Himself. “…I do always those things that please Him” (John 8:29).
     His obedience to God would not be complete, however, apart from His substitutionary death. The penalty for the sins of His people must be carried out; justice demanded satisfaction for our transgressions which had been imputed to the Savior. We know that the Son of God had assumed responsibility for the salvation of His people in the covenant of grace and the law’s requirement was clear: “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). The Substitute of sinners must suffer just retribution for the sins of His people. It was, therefore, by His death that sins were removed. It is written that everlasting righteousness was brought in when Messiah was cut off, not for any sins of His own, but for the sins of those in whose stead He laid down His life (Daniel 9:24-26). We are made the righteousness of God in Him by His death (2 Corinthians 5:21). The sacrifice of Christ was the culmination of His obedience to the Father. He willingly laid down His life, “the Just for the unjust to bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). The sword of vengeance pierced His heart; divine wrath was poured upon His soul so that God could justify the ungodly without compromising His holy demands. Was His “obedience unto death” effectual to the putting away of sin? Did He make full compensation to offended law and justice? His resurrection, ascension and enthronement stand as lasting testimonies that He finished the work of redemption and completely satisfied the legal demands of the Father for the salvation of His people.
Pastor Jim Byrd
From the bulletin of the Thirteenth Street Baptist Church in Ashland KY
Christ came to take away our sins, to roll off our curse, to unbind our chains, to open our prison house, to cancel our debt; in a word, to give us the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Is not this joy? Where can we find a joy so real, so deep, so pure, so lasting? There is every element of joy; deep, ecstatic, satisfying, sanctifying joy in the gospel of Christ. The believer in Jesus is essentially a happy man. The child of God is, from necessity, a joyful man. His sins are forgiven, his soul is justified, his person is adopted, his trials are blessings, his conflicts are victories, his death is immortality, his future is a heaven of inconceivable, unthought of, untold and endless blessedness. With such a God, such a Savior and such a hope, is he not, ought he not, to be a joyful man?
Octavius Winslow
Printed in the bulletin of the Thirteenth Street Baptist Church in Ashland, KY

“Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save” (Isaiah 63:1). The Captain of our salvation came forth from heaven to conquer our enemies, put away our sins and bring in everlasting righteousness. He is our great Champion, the victorious Warrior who defeated all our foes and overcame every obstacle in order to save the people of His choice.

  1. HE IS THE RIGHTEOUS SAVIOR. “…I that speak in righteousness.” “…There is no God else beside Me; a just God and a Savior, there is none beside Me” (Isaiah 45:21). When Christ came into this world it was not to override or set aside divine justice, but to honor and fulfill it. He knew the requirements of the law and fully satisfied its demands by His perfect life and His penal sufferings and death. Saving mercy cannot be shown at the expense of God’s justice, but where justice has been satisfied, saving grace must flow freely: a powerful, unstoppable river of life, gushing from the throne of God. Christ answered every demand of the law and gives this word of assurance to all who believe Him. “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:34).
  2. HE IS THE MIGHTY SAVIOR. “…I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” Such was the severity of our case that no power but that which is divine could accomplish our salvation. Bless His Name, the One who came to our rescue was God of very God. There was nothing too hard for Him to overcome in order to save us from the law of God, the bondage of Satan and our own sinfulness. He is “the mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6). “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save” (Zephaniah 3:17). “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
  3. HE IS THE ONLY SAVIOR. “And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me” (Isaiah 63:5). No one else could do the work that Christ did. He alone could uphold the integrity of the law and fulfill the just requirements of a holy God. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Pastor Jim Byrd

Printed in the August 7 Bulletin of the Thirteenth Street Baptist Church, Ashland Kentucky

There are no conditions upon sinners to obtain or maintain salvation. As the Surety and Substitute of His people, the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled all conditions required for His people to be saved. This is God’s grace based on the righteousness of Christ imputed to them. Unbelievers conclude that if this is true, there is no reason for faith, repentance, love, and obedience. But this is only the sinful reasoning of unregenerate people who have no motive for believing and serving God but legalism. You see, though there are no conditions upon sinners to obtain or maintain salvation, there are fruits and evidences of salvation working in those who are graced by God through Christ. Christ said, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). This is NOT fruit that believers produce by their own power, goodness, or wills, but it is the fruit of God’s grace in Christ that they bear from Him who is the Vine. It is the fruit of faith, repentance, love, and the obedience of faith as believers walk after the Spirit and looking unto Christ as the Author and Finisher of faith.
Pastor Bill Parker
printed in the bulletin of the Eager Avenue Grace Church in Albany, Georgia
“For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). When the written Word is accompanied by the Holy Spirit it is full of divine, irresistible energy and when sent to the hearts of sinners it will convince of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8-11). It calls to Christ powerfully, it cleanses powerfully and it comforts powerfully. Such is its omnipotence that it will break down all opposition. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong-holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). The Word is powerful to cleanse the leper, raise the dead, make the deaf to hear, the blind to see, the dumb to speak and the lame to walk. It is of such potency that it will evict Satan from the heart and set up the kingdom of Christ in its stead.
Pastor Jim Byrd
printed in the July 24 bulletin of the Thirteenth Street Baptist Church in Ashland, Kentucky
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