- Judgment and Wisdom
- The Need for Heavenly Light
- Where Christ's Government is Set Up
- How Christ Governs Us
- The Effects of this in Practice
Sibbes begins by showing that spiritually regenerate men, because Christ has rule in their heart, will have a correct judgment upon spiritual matters. He does make a disclaimer that, "truth is truth, and error, error, and that which is unlawful is unlawful, whether men think so or not." A wise man, when Christ has the rule in his heart, will agree to these things. Therefore, we must "let truth have full scope without check or restraint, and let Satan and his instruments do their worst, they shall not prevail."
This then is the importance of receiving "heavenly light". If we have not been given the Spirit of truth then we will not be able to make correct judgments as we ought. Christ so works in our hearts and forms in us correct judgments that we often can be mistaken in thinking that "that good which is in [us] and issues from [us] is from [ourselves], and not from the powerful work of grace." Only through heavenly light being imparted will men have sound judgment.
Because of this we come to understand that "wherever true wisdom and judgment are, there Christ has set up his government, because where wisdom is it directs us, not only to understand, but to order our ways aright". What happens, then, is that Christ not only teaches that which we should do we are taught the very act of doing it. So that we are "not only taught that [we] should love, fear, and obey, but [we] are taught love itself, and fear and obedience themselves.
But how does Christ do this you ask? He does this by not only shining on us the light of understanding but by also doing a work upon our hearts to cause us to treasure that truth. If Christ does not do this might work by His Spirit then the truth "does us no good, but helps to condemn us." Unless Christ comes in and does this work we will not be wise and will have no true judgment, Christ must overcome Satan and take charge of our souls.
There is little that needs to be discussed from this chapter, it is all pretty straight-forward. One wonders how different our approach to sharing the gospel, preaching, writing, etc. would be if we really believed what is in this chapter. If we really believe that it takes a work of the Spirit to understand and treasure truth, then we would not be so surprised by the "ignorance" of the world. Why are we so surprised that some politicians argue for the killing of babies? Why are we so surprised that homosexuality is celebrated? Why are we so surprised that Christ is not treasured?
If we really get what Sibbes is saying here then we will preach the truth as it stands and not try to twist the truth so that men might accept it easier. The truth is they probably will accept it, because it is adulterated, tainted, and no longer the truth; that is what unregenerate men love to swallow--falsehood. Therefore, out of deep love we must be passionate about proclaiming the truth, all the while trusting in the sovereign mercy of God to soften men's hearts.
Pearls and Diamonds:
"Truth is truth, and error, error, and that which is unlawful is unlawful, whether men think so or not." (p.84)
"Let truth have full scope without check or restraint, and let Satan and his instruments do their worst, they shall not prevail..." (p.85)
"There is no natural proportion between an unsanctified heart and a sanctified judgment." (p.89)
"When the judgment of Christ is set up in our judgments, and thence, by the Spirit of Christ, brought into our hearts, then it is in its proper place and throne. Until then, truth does us no good, but helps to condemn us." (p.89)
"And Satan by corruption gets all the holds of the soul, till Christ, stronger than he, comes and drives him out, taking possession of all the powers and parts of soul and body to be weapons of righteousness, to serve him." (p.90)