Dear Sovereign Redeemer and other friends,
A couple of years ago I posted some wisdom from John Calvin regarding birthdays. Now some more from J.C. Ryle’s “Holiness” (the chapter on “Assurance”):
I believe it ought to be our continual aim and desire to go forward, and our watchword on every returning birthday and at the beginning of every year should be “more and more” (1 Thessalonians 4:1) – more knowledge, more faith, more obedience, more love. If we have brought forth thirty-fold, we should seek to bring forth sixty; and if we have brought forth sixty, we should strive to bring forth a hundred. The will of the Lord is our sanctification, and it ought to be our will too (Matthew 13:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:3).
Here are the texts he references, with the sections he quotes in italics and underlined:
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8, Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; 2 for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. 7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. 8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.
Matthew 13:23, “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
Exactly! Our glorious God is worthy of a lifetime of progress in the faith. The sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ is worthy of a lifetime of demonstrated thankfulness. More and more indeed! Not to earn favor, but because we have inexplicably received unearned favor.
What could make for a happier birthday?