March 25, 2019 by directorfsm
by John Owen – March 25th, 2019
Speak No Peace
9. Speak No Peace until God Speaks Peace
The ninth and last preparatory direction for mortification of sin is:
In case God disquiets your heart about the guilt of its distempers, either in respect of sin’s root and indwelling, or in respect of any eruptions of sin, take heed that you speak not peace to yourself before God speaks it. Instead, hearken to what He says to your soul.
This is our next direction. Without its observation, the heart will be exceedingly exposed to the deceitfulness of sin.
This is a business of great importance. It is a sad thing for a man to deceive his own soul in this. All the warnings God gives us in tenderness to our souls to try and examine ourselves do tend to the preventing of this great evil of speaking peace groundlessly to ourselves. Such groundless speaking peace results in blessing ourselves in opposition to God! It is not my business to insist upon the danger of it, but to help believers to prevent it, and to let them know when they do so.
1. Preparatory observations
To manage this direction aright, observe the following.
1). God sovereignly chooses
It is the great prerogative and sovereignty of God to give grace to whom He pleases. He has “mercy on whom he will”; and among all the sons of men, He calls whom He will and sanctifies whom He will (Rom 9:18; 8:30). In the same way, among those so called and justified, and among those whom He will save, He yet reserves this privilege to Himself: to speak peace to whom He pleases and in what degree He pleases, even among them on whom He has bestowed grace. He is the “God of all comfort” in an especial manner in His dealing with believers (2Co 1:3); that is, of the good things that He keeps locked up in His family, and gives out of it to all His children at His pleasure. This the Lord insists on in Isaiah 57:16-18. It is this case we are considering that is there insisted on. When God says He will heal their breaches and disconsolations, He assumes this privilege to Himself in an especial manner. “I create… peace” (57:19)—that is, even in respect of these poor wounded creatures, I create peace. According to my sovereignty, I make it out as I please.
Hence, as it is with the bestowal of grace to them who are in the state of nature, God does it very surprisingly, and His proceedings therein in taking and leaving, as to outward appearances, are quite different, and often contrary, to all probable expectations. So is it in His communication of peace and joy in reference unto them that are in the state of grace: He often gives them out quite besides our expectation as to any apparent basis for His dealings.
2). Christ sovereignly speaks
As God creates peace for whom He pleases, so it is the prerogative of Christ to speak peace home to the conscience. Speaking to the church of Laodicea, who had healed her wounds falsely and spoke peace to herself when she ought not, Christ takes to Himself that title, “the Amen, the faithful and true witness” (Rev 3:14). He bears testimony concerning our condition as it is indeed. We may possibly mistake and trouble ourselves in vain, or flatter ourselves up-on false grounds, but He is “the Amen, the faithful and true witness”; and what He speaks of our state and condition, that it indeed is. He is said not to “judge after the sight of his eyes” (Isa 11:3)—that is, not according to any outward appearance, or anything that may be subject to a mistake, as we are apt to do—but He shall judge and determine every cause as it indeed is.