“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” (Luke 1:46–55)
Mary sees clearly a most remarkable thing about God: He is about to change the course of all human history; the most important three decades in all of time are about to begin.
And where is God? Occupying himself with two obscure, humble women — one old and barren (Elizabeth), one young and a virgin (Mary). And Mary is so moved by this vision of God, the lover of the lowly, that she breaks out in song — a song that has come to be known as “The Magnificat.”
Mary and Elizabeth are wonderful heroines in Luke’s account. He loves the faith of these women. The thing that impresses him most, it appears, and the thing he wants to impress on Theophilus, his noble reader of his Gospel, is the lowliness and cheerful humility of Elizabeth and Mary as they submit to their magnificent God.
Elizabeth says (Luke 1:43), “And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” And Mary says (Luke 1:48), “He has looked on the humble estate of his servant.”
The only people whose soul can truly magnify the Lord are people like Elizabeth and Mary — people who acknowledge their lowly estate and are overwhelmed by the condescension of the magnificent God.
– John Piper
May 27, 1950
2 Peter 3:8, Psalm 90 – I have been considering the greatness of God this morning and am quite amazed that my thoughts of Him have been so human before now. Particularly I am impressed with the eternality of the Godhead. When Peter says that one day is as a thousand years to the Lord, he does not mean that God is on a slower time scale than we are; that is, that 365,000 years of man’s time would equal 365 days of God’s ‘time’. He means only that, in relation to men, God represents Himself as One with whom the passage of time has no effect. “A thousand years are in Thy sight as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” (Ps. 90:4)
The real significance is that god is timeless in His relations with the universe. Eternality is not the length of passing myriads of ages; it is above, beyond, and utterly unrelated to any measurement. This settles much talk of foreknowledge and election. God does not think a thing, and then do it. He can think nothing but it is done instantaneously. Further more, there is no succession in His mind. To Him, eternity is a single act, having no cycles, starts, or ends. What God has become in Christ, God IS from everlasting. It is not that God stooped to become a man and decried to remain such in Christ. God created man in the image He Himself already sustained; this is meaningless unless I believe that God does not become anything. I AM. That settles all possible change. God can neither reverse, go beyond, nor step beneath His eternal mode of being. Thus, none can frustrate His design, for His designing is part of His eternal doing, and those are forever occurring because of His eternal being . . . . He begins, sustains, carries out, and fulfills His every decree—from our point of view. In Himself, however, it is a single act, even as though my entire life were a single breath.
– Jim Elliot
May 18, 1950
Last night I went for a walk around the hills. Found myself again dedicating my clay, asking for God’s presence to be sensed more continually. Analyzed afresh and repudiated my desire to DO something for God in the sight of men rather than to BE something, even if great results are never seen. The clouds over the western hills seemed to speak to me: “What is your life? It is a vapor.” I saw myself as a wisp of vapor being drawn upward from the vast ocean by the sun’s great power and sent landward by the winds. The shedding of blessing upon earth must be as the rain, drawn up first by God, born along by His Spirit, poured out by His own means and in His place, and running down to the sea again as “water poured out.” So my weakness shall be God’s opportunity to refresh the earth. I would that it should be, just as He has shown me.
October 7, 1950
I have just come from the OU-Texas A&M football game, one of the best, I suppose, I shall ever see. A&M led out, and the score read 7-0, 7-7, 14-7, 14-14, 21-14, 21-21, and then 28-21 until the third quarter. Then O.U. failed their conversion attempt, which put the score at 28-27 with 1:55 remaining. With one minute remaining, O.U. scored a touchdown, setting the final score at 34-28. The crowd reaction was interesting to watch.
Ah, what will it be like when, not 40,000 people, but an unnumbered multitude rivet their excited attention upon the Son of God. No need for cheerleaders then! No need to tell people to stand, for all shall mourn or rejoice over Him. Wonderful day! Oh, Jesus, Master and Center of all things, how long before that final glory of Yours which is so long awaited! Now there is not much thought of You among men, but in that day there shall be thought for nothing else. Now other men are praised, but then none shall care for any other’s merits. Hasten, hasten, You who are the Glory of Heaven, take Your crown, subdue all kingdoms, and enthrall Your people!
“The forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” – Ephesians 1:7
Could there be a sweeter word in any language than that word “forgiveness”, when it sounds in a guilty sinner’s ear, like the silver notes of jubilee to the captive Israelite? Blessed, forever blessed, is that dear star of pardon, which shines into the condemned cell, and gives the perishing prisoner a gleam of hope amid the midnight of despair! Can it be possible that sin such as mine can be forgiven, forgiven totally and forever? Hell is my portion as a sinner; there is no possibility of my escaping from it while sin remains upon me. Can the load of guilt be lifted and can the crimson stain be removed?Jesus tells me that I may yet be cleared.
Forever blessed be the atoning love, which not only tells me that pardon is possible, but that it is secured to all who rest in Jesus. I have believed in the appointed offering, Jesus the crucified, and therefore my sins are at this moment and forever forgiven through His substitutionary pains and death. What joy is this! What bliss to be a perfectly pardoned soul!
My soul dedicates all its powers to Him, who of His own love became my surety, and accomplished for me redemption through His own blood. What riches of grace does free forgiveness exhibit! To forgive all, to forgive fully and freely, to forgive forever! When I think of how great my sins were and how gracious was the method by which pardon was sealed to me, I am in a maze of wondering and worshipping affection. I bow before the throne of grace, which pardons me, I clasp the cross which delivers me, and from now on, all my days I serve the incarnate God, through whom I am now a pardoned soul.
– C. H. Spurgeon