Guided by Gurnall: Part Eight

It has been a while since I have picked up Gurnall’s massive volume, The Christian In Complete Armour. However, in today’s reading, Gurnall is discussing the importance of taking the armor of God into battle. As he is working his way through this thought, he offers several reproofs for those who use the armor of God, but not in the way God intended.


One way that we can do this is trusting in the armor of God rather than the God of the armor. Gurnall pens these powerful words, “We must not confide in the amour of God, but in the God of this armour, because all our weapons are only ‘mighty through God’ 2 Cor. X. 4.”[1]


How tempting is it to put our truth in the means of grace rather than the Giver of grace? I immediately think of my own devotional time. I spend most mornings, before everyone arises, in Scripture reading and prayer. It is a constant danger that I take the simple act of reading as the means of grace rather than trusting and depending upon the God of Scripture to speak to me. The Second London Baptist Confession of Faith speaks on this as the doctrine of sanctification. Christians, they write, “are also furthered sanctified, really and personally, through the same virtue, by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them; the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts of it are more and more weakened and mortified, and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of all true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”[2]


As believers engaged in spiritual war, we can, that is to say, we have the potential, of relying on the armor of God in a sinful way. When we replace the means of grace as he main giver of grace, we face unavoidable doom. We must constantly, or “more and more,” as the signers of the 2LBC say, rely on the God of the armor rather than the armor of God.


How are we doing with this? Do we engage in the means of grace in a way that focuses on the God of that grace? Or, like the Pharisees, are we mechanical in our approach to the armor (or any other means of grace) of God?


Let us heed the warnings of Gurnall. “Many souls, we may safely say, do not only perish praying, repenting, and believer after a sort, but they perish by their praying and repenting, &c., while they carnally trust in these.”[3]

[1] William Gurnall, The Christian In Complete Armour: A Treatise of the Saints’ War Against the Devil (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 2013), 53.

[2] 2LBC, 13:1.

[3] Gurnall, The Christian In Complete Armour, 53.

You can purchase Gurnall’s marvelous work through the Banner of Truth here.

Check out previous posts in this series below:

Guided by Gurnall: Part Seven

Guided by Gurnall: Part Six

Guided By Gurnall: Part Five

Guided by Gurnall: Part Four

Guided by Gurnall: Part Three

Guided by Gurnall: Part Two

Guided by Gurnall: Part One

Guided by Gurnall: Introduction

Psalm 119:1-8: A Brief Study

Yesterday (Wednesday 4 December 2019) I shared some thoughts to our Prayer Group from Psalm 119:1-8. I have been studying affliction in this particular psalm for some time, but I thought it might be a good idea to start on the sufficiency of God’s Word for the life of the believer.

Without going into much detail, here is the basic outline we examined.

I. There is a happiness that comes from sincere obedience to God’s Word- vss. 1-3
II. There is an expectation to observe God’s Law- vs. 4
III. There is a God-dependency revealed in keeping God’s Word- vs. 5
IV. There is a God-honoring confidence in keeping God’s Word- vss. 6-7
V. There is a Gospel-reminding quality with God’s Commandments- vs. 8

I have thoroughly enjoyed working through this psalm. There is so much meat, it fills my spiritual belly!

What thoughts do you have on these verses? How do you apply them to your daily life?

Six Reasons to Be Content (Part 2)

Thomas Manton, pastor and theologian, preached an extraordinary series through the Lord’s Prayer. The words of Jesus, recorded in Matthew’s Gospel (6:9-13), are pregnant with meaning and use.

In the typical Puritan manner, Manton discusses the text itself, providing rich insight into the meaning of Scripture. Afterwards, he applies the teachings to the lives of people. In his exposition of Matthew 6:11, “Give us this day our daily bread” (KJV), he provides numerous uses. One of the uses, as he phrases it, is “[to] be contented with that portion which God hath given us of worldly things, if the Lord be the donor.” (Manton, 164)

The second reason we should be contented is, “Nothing is deserved, and therefore certainly everything should be kindly taken.” (Manton, 164)

This reason flies in the face of current, American culture. We expect to get paid more for doing less. We deserve a better grade on that assignment. The list of expectations and perceived misappropriation of certain items could go on. Popular media provides examples of this mentality as well. Although it is older, Burger King’s motto is, “Have it your way.” The implication is obvious. You should get the burger the way you want it.

Now, I am not arguing about fast food burger joints not offering customized food. In fact, as one who detests cheese, I am very grateful for it. However, this mentality only feeds our views of entitlement.

Naturally, we are sinful beings. Consider Paul’s description of humanity, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” (Romans 1:21, KJV) Thus, our society only feeds the ungrateful beast within us.

Thomas Manton reminds us that we deserve nothing. There is no worldly good that we deserve. In fact, in the face of the infinitely holy God, we deserve immediate, painful, enduring torment (see Isaiah 59:2; Matthew 25:30, 41).

But God in His graciousness often showers us with good things (see Matthew 5:45). Thus, we should meditate often upon the goodness of God. While you and I deserve eternal punishment for the horrible crimes we have committed against an all-holy God, we enjoy blessing after blessing. Every breath we take should be breathed in with praised and exhaled with exalting the great name of our God. When life is lived in this manner, we cannot help but be content.

Brothers and sisters, let us be content with the knowledge that we deserve nothing. Everything we have is a good gift from our gracious Heavenly Father.