Love. There are many different kinds of love. Love of benevolence, beneficence and complacency. Consubstantial Love. Eros. Philia. Agape. Storge. Mania. Ludus. Pragma. And Philautia. This post will focus on Love of complacency with a brief definition of all the others.
Love of benevolence. A heart disposition to do good. Good will. Desiring the good of the object of its affection whether or not the object is holy or not. :Love your enemies.”
Love of beneficence. Beneficence is a fruit or expression of benevolence. “Beneficence may be inherently a very beautiful thing, fitting real benefits to real occasions, even without true benevolence.” True benevolence and beneficence go together if its in the heart it will be in life. Heart and body are one. Pity is an example of a fruit of benevolence that is an act of beneficence for “one effect of true benevolence is to cause persons to be uneasy when the objects of it are in distress, and to desire their relief.”
Consubstantial Love. This is an Eternal, immutable inter Trinitarian Love. Consubstantial means of the same substance or essence. For more on consubstantial love and God’s consubstantial idea of Himself click here.
The new heart has both a delight in holiness and has a will bent on doing good therefore acts of love of complacency and acts of benevolence will happen given the opportunity. And an act of benevolence or an act of good will is called beneficence.
And 8 different greek words for love.
- Eros (romantic, passionate love, erotic) …
- Philia (affectionate love of a friend) …
- Agape (selfless, universal love, complete love and unconditional) …
- Storge (familiar love, natural or instinctual affection. 2 Tim. 3:3 and Romans 1:31.) …
- Mania (obsessive love) …
- Ludus (playful love) uncommitted love. It can involve activities such as teasing and dancing, or more overt flirting, seducing, and conjugating…
- Pragma (enduring love or longstanding) …
- Philautia (self love)
What will I endeavor to do?
1 Define in detail love of complacency
2 Give examples in Scripture. God. Jesus. Believers.
3 Give examples in Solomon’s Song of Songs
4 Complacency is often used with other words.
A. In order to make sure in your idea of complacency that in context something else is going on that they don’t want you to miss that is included with complacency. Therefore you have words like satisfaction, pleasure, delight, approbation/agreeable, rest
5 Complacency begins at conversion.
1 Defining love of Complacency
- A relishing a sweetness in the qualifications of the beloved, and a being pleased and delighted in his excellency, holiness or love. Or any delight in the outward manifestation of an excellency is a delight in that excellency or beauty.
- Also as that joy that the soul has in the presence and possession of the beloved. which is different from the first definition of love of complacency which is the soul’s relish of the beauty of the beloved. Ps. 27:4 3. God doesn’t change nor does His Beauty but our eyes wander and therefore so does the love that is felt. The feeling is not dead and gone but more like sleeping and the heart more like a smoldering wick that God will not put out.
- Complacence can also be used in place of the word delight. “A strong habit of virtue and great degree of holiness may cause a moral inability to love wickedness in general, may render a man unable to take complacence in wicked persons or things; or to choose a wicked life, and prefer it to a virtuous life.”JE
Love. We can know what love is by it’s exercises. Love is exercised is in complacence. Hereby a saint takes pleasure in God and the contemplation of God. The beauty and love of God are pleasant to him. He takes most contentment in it and delights and rejoices in it. The same love that will cause soul-longing desires are after an object when distant will cause joy and complacence in it when present. “In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.” Psalm 94:19
There is a sweet contentment that the holy soul has in God. This love tends to cause the soul to account it enough to have God. Own him and belong to Him alone. There is a holy jealous bond. The soul of the saint finds a fullness in Him: God seems enough to him. There is that sweetness that is accompanied with rest. “I sat down under his shadow with delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.” Christ is shepherding her heart closer to his and his mouth was sweetness itself. She has a new taste for God and its in God. Love in the heart comes with delight in the lord/LORD.
This love comes with peace and joy. A peace that passes the understanding and a joy unspeakable and full of glory. The joy that a saint has in God and in a Redeemer is unspeakable. The unspeakableness of it seems to be a special property that belongs to it. There are no words to express that kind of sweetness or humble exultation that arises from the sensible presence of God to the soul that is filled with Divine Love. (The glory and honor of God pg. 304 )
2 Examples in Scripture. God always had this love. God is Eternal therefore there was never a time when God began to have a love of complacency. He always had it in His Eternal view of His Son by an Eternal Generation or Eternal Begetting. God had this love when with His Son, The Word John 1:1-3. This Eternal Delight in Holiness that was in the Father by way of His Eternal Spirit being in Him, Love. This love to His Son was made manifest at his baptism when the Father said of the Son “In him I am well pleased.”
Notice 1 It is heart felt. 2 Both beings must be holy. 3 There is an effect or effects to having this feeling. 4 Esteem or highly valuing the one you love is included. 5 There is an approval and approbation of any acts flowing from such love. “How right they are to…” show their affection for you.”
1a It is heart felt. A love of complacency is a feeling with knowledge base on the unchanging holy character of the beloved. A sensible feeling. A feeling in the soul.
1b This feeling is the heart is that of delight or joy.
1c This feeling is subjective. Meaning that it changes in degree and when it sleeps it is not felt much at all. It sparks and flames up and also sleeps.
1d The feeling is subjective but the foundation and it’s object is unchanging and objective.
1b Complacency assumes that there are two holy beings that delight in each other. Both natures are holy. Both souls are morally excellent. Both beings have love to God in their hearts and minds.
2 Both beings must be holy. Only a being that is holy can truly delight in holiness and have a love of complacency in another holy being. The branch of holy love that is called delight or complacence requires goodness of character to constitute an object worthy of regard. Therefore love of complacency is limited to those who have a holy character and are characterized by love. Complacent love to God and brothers in Christ and a benevolent love to all neighbors and enemies.
3 There are effects of a love of complacency sparked in the soul. Act of love flow from a heart of love. Delight in holy things and persons. Delight in the law of God. When not living in sin is your delight in meditating on Scripture, thinking of Jesus who is holy.
4 Esteem or highly valuing the one you love is included.
5 Thoughts, feelings, decisions, words and actions will flow from a heart that has love of complacency in it. There will be fruits that grow out of this Divine principle wherever it dwells and sparks. So like a true love of beneficence comes from a true benevolent heart so also do acts of complacency come from a heart filled with love of complacency. Or other words a heart filled with delight in holiness. Or a hear filled with moral excellency or moral beauty.
Complacency in holiness.
Complacency in Love.
If I love God it is because he is holy. If God were evil then I would hate Him. My heart has nothing in common with the devil except in his faculties. Meaning Satan has a mind and I have a mind. He thinks and I think. There are some things that are the same about his heart and mine is that both are minds think and have information in them. Intellectual knowledge is shared between both Satan and I.
In the heart of Satan you have a mind and sinful hatred. In the hearts of the Bride of Christ is a mind and love to our Heavenly Husband and other holy beings. Not only a love of benevolence and a love of beneficence but a love of complacency as well. Yet not an erotic love to God or others for erotic love is feelings reserved for a spouse.
Complacence doesn’t mean lazy when a puritan talk about complacency in God or holiness. What is meant is an “agreement of natures”. His image and hers are the same, Christ is holy. That is His nature. The bride of Christ is holy that is her nature. They have an agreement of holiness as part of their character. Therefore they delight in one another.
The greater your holiness the greater your delight in Christ and His delight in you!! Want Christ to delight in you more and come sup with you then put off sin and put on holiness by beholding His holiness while communing with Him and delighting in Him alone!
Most all of what I write in my blog deals with some aspect of the Song of Songs. I believe understanding “Complacency in Holiness” is crucial to understand the love Solomon has for his wife.
Below is a picture of a Dove that represents the Holy Spirit of Love, the Holy lion our Lord Jesus Christ and the believer the holy, blameless, free from all evil bride of Christ. All is white representing holiness. They delight in one another because they are holy. Separate the holiness from the bride or take the indwelling Holy Spirit out of her and she is no longer precious, valuable and delightful to Christ.
In Song 4:10 Solomon say of his wife after she listens to him that her “love is delightful”. Why is her love delightful to Solomon? Mainly because it is a HOLY love. Solomon’s greatest delight is being loved with a holy love. Solomon has a complacency in her holiness. And she has a love of complacency in his holy “name” which is like perfume poured out. Song 1:2-3
Below are screen shots from a chapter called “Complacence in Holiness” in a book titled “Hermony of Divine Truth” by Seth Williston. The book is free for download.
Understanding complacence in holiness is crucial to understanding the love Solomon and his bride share between them, thus understanding complacence in holiness is crucial to understand the greatest Lover’s love for us, the Love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. See, behold and delight in the Love of Christ and doing so will change you into His likeness.
Mutual delight in each other’s holy love. His delight is to love her, her delight is for Him to love her and her delight is to love Him and He delights to receive her love. Enjoying holy communion with the Greatest Prophet, Priest and King
The Father gave the Son a sinful bride. When Christ died for his sinful bride she had no delight in His holiness and she had no holiness for Him to delight in. Then the Holy Love of God, the very Flame of the Lord comes to dwell in her heart. That experience is better than any other, “more delightful than wine” Song of Songs 1:2
The non believer has no holiness for Christ to delight in. The non believer delights in evil. The love of complacency in a non believer is in sin and evil. They love their sin. They have affection for their sin.
Religious Emotions or religious feelings. Or feeling and emotions that relate to God and man. From a vigorous, affectionate, and fervent love to God, will necessarily arise other religious affections: hence will arise an intense hatred and abhorrence of sin, fear of sin, and a dread of God’s displeasure, gratitude to God for his goodness, COMPLACENCE and joy in God when God is graciously and sensibly present, and grief when he is absent, and a joyful hope when a future enjoyment of God is expected, and fervent zeal for the glory of God . And in like manner, from a fervent love to men, will arise all other virtuous affections towards men.
Solomon see’s the glory of God in her, His image upon her heart, Christ in her, love to God Song 4:10, holiness. So he uses symmetrical body parts to truly compliment her inner holy beauty.
The longer I live, and the more I have to do with the souls of men, in the work of the ministry, the more I see of this. Notions of this sort are one of the main hindrances of the success of the preaching of the Word, and other means of grace, in the conversion of sinners. This especially appears, when the minds of sinners are affected with some concern for their souls, and they are stirred up to seek their salvation. Nothing is more necessary for men, in such circumstances, than thorough conviction and humiliation; than that their consciences should be properly convinced of their real guilt and sinfulness in the sight of God, and their deserving of his wrath. But who is there, that has had experience of the work of a minister, in dealing with souls in such circumstances, that does not find that the thing, that mainly prevents this, is men’s excusing themselves with their own inability, and the moral necessity of those things, wherein their exceeding guilt and sinfulness in the sight of God, most fundamentally and mainly consist: such as, living from day to day, without one spark of true love to the God of infinite glory, and the Fountain of all good; their having greater complacency, in the little vile things of this world, than in him; their living in a rejection of Christ, with all his glorious benefits and dying love; and after all the exhibition of his glory and grace, having their hearts still as cold as a stone towards him; and their living in such ingratitude, for that infinite mercy of his laying down his life for sinners.
His delight is in her love. Love to God. Love to holiness. How does she see the holiness of her heart? Can she see the holiness of her heart in metaphoric language? Temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate. Both sides of your thought processes are equal, proportionate, delightful to behold, holy, without disproportion, but symmetrical, perfectly matched when viewed side by side. God’s image of His Son in me. I see holiness in Christ and I see that same holiness in me, perfectly matched and holy to some degree.
“ACCORDING to the Scripture, communicating good to the creatures is what is in itself pleasing to God: and that this is not merely subordinately agreeable, and esteemed valuable on account of its relation to a further end, as it is in executing justice in punishing the sins of men; which God is inclined to as fit and necessary in certain cases, and on the account of good ends attained by it: but what1 God is inclined to on its own account, and what he delights in simply and ultimately. For though God is sometimes in Scripture spoken of as taking pleasure in punishing men’s sins— Deuteronomy 28:63, “The Lord will rejoice over you, to destroy you”; Ezekiel 5:13, “Then shall mine anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted”— 2 yet God is often spoken of as exercising goodness and showing mercy, with delight, in a manner quite different, and opposite to that of his executing wrath. For the latter is spoken of as what God proceeds to with backwardness and reluctance, the misery of the creature being not agreeable to him on its own account. Nehemiah 9:17, “That thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great lovingkindness.” Psalms 103:8, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” Psalms 145:8, “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and of great mercy.” We have again almost the same words, Jon 4:2. Mic 7:18, “Who is a God like thee, that pardoneth iniquity, etc…? He retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy.” Ezekiel 18:32, “I have no pleasure in the death of
him that dieth, saith the Lord God; wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” Lamentations 3:33, “He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.” Ezekiel 33:11, “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”3 2 Peter 3:9, “Not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” JE
?How is she seeing the glory of God in the face of Solomon? Jesus Christ reflects the glory of God. Solomon reflects the glory of God
What is love of complacency?
She loved him and he loved her. Their love was mutual. Love “the flame of the LORD” Song 8:6 we know is a holy love. A Holy Love hates evil and delights in holiness. Holiness is what beautifies the soul. The Love shared is liked to a “Flame” giving both light of the knowledge of God in the face of Christ along with heat or burning desire for greater manifestations of His Beauty and Glory. Included in Love to God is joy and delight in Him as well. A delight in His Holiness. You are holy and delight in God who is Holy. The unbeliever does not take delight in God’s Holiness, the sinner delights in evil. Their is no holy love of Complacency in the sinner for God. The sinner takes no delight in God. Their love is to self first, and not out of Love for and delight in God.
Love of complacency= Joy in God
As all the exercises of the inclination and will, are either in approving and liking, or disapproving and rejecting; so the affections are of two sorts; they are those by which the soul is carried out to what is in view, cleaving to it, or seeking it; or those by which it is averse from it, and opposes it.
Of the former sort are love, desire, hope, joy, gratitude, complacence. Of the latter kind, are hatred, fear, anger, grief, and such like; which it is needless now to stand particularly to define.
Dr. Owen, on the Spirit, p. 199, speaking of a common work of the Spirit, says, “The effects of this work on the mind, which is the first subject affected with it, proceeds not so far, as to give it delight, complacency and satisfaction in the lovely spiritual nature and excellencies of the things revealed unto it. The true nature of saving illumination consists in this, that it give the mind such a direct intuitive insight and prospect into spiritual things, as that in their own spiritual nature they suit, please, and satisfy it; so that it is transformed into them, cast into the mold of them, and rests in them; Romans 6:17, Romans 12:2, I Corinthians 2:13–14, II Corinthians 3:18, II Corinthians 4:6.
“Complacence” and “benevolence” in JE remain a subject for careful study. Here esteem seems the more fundamental of the two loves; in the second dissertation, benevolence. Here, complacence in complacent being (delight or esteem of another’s delight or esteem); there, benevolence to benevolent being.
IT IS COMMON when speaking of the Divine happiness to say that God is infinitely happy in the enjoyment of Himself, in perfectly beholding and infinitely loving, and rejoicing in, His own essence and perfection, and accordingly it must be supposed that God perpetually and eternally has a most perfect idea of Himself, as it were an exact image and representation of Himself ever before Him and in actual view, and from hence arises a most pure and perfect act or energy in the Godhead, which is the Divine love, complacence and joy.
“The second object of a virtuous propensity of heart is benevolent being.7 A secondary ground of pure benevolence is virtuous benevolence itself in its object. When anyone under the influence of general benevolence sees another being possessed of the like general benevolence, this attaches his heart to him, and draws forth greater love to him, than merely his having existence: because so far as the being1 beloved has love to Being in general, so far his own being is, as it were, enlarged; extends to, and in some sort comprehends, Being in general: and therefore he that is governed by love to Being in general, must of necessity have complacence in him, and the greater degree of benevolence to him, as it were out of gratitude to him for his love to general existence, that his own heart is extended and united to, and so looks on its interest as its own. ‘Tis because his heart is thus united to Being in general, that he looks on a benevolent propensity to Being in general, wherever he sees it, as the beauty of the being in whom it is; an excellency that renders him worthy of esteem, complacence, and the greater good will..”
“if the essence of virtue or beauty of mind lies in love, or a disposition to love, it must primarily consist in something different both from complacence, which is a delight in beauty, and also from any benevolence that has the beauty of its object for its foundation. Because ’tis absurd to say that virtue is primarily and first of all the consequence of itself. For this makes virtue primarily prior to itself”
Good Will is the same thing as benevolence. Love is distinguished into a love of benevolence and a love of Complacence. Thus God loves the Elect while sinners and Enemies With a love of benevolence. that is he loves them with such a love as Inclines God to their Wellfare and happiness. a love that seeks their Good he loves the Elect after Conversion With a love of Complacence that is he delights in them. for the sake of X. and delights in that beauty and excellency he has Given them.
“what Christian love is, and how it is variously denominated according to the various objects and exercises of it; and particularly how that, as it respects the good enjoyed or to be enjoyed by the beloved, it is called love of benevolence; and as it respects good to be enjoyed in the beloved, it is called love of complacence.”
Distinguishing different loves.
Love of Benevolence
Love of Beneficence
Beneficent – From the Latin facere = to do. Hence, the focus on action.
Benevolent – From the Latin velle = to wish. Hence, the focus on thought/intention.
Love of Complacence
This doesn’t not mean a lazy love. Most don’t understand this word. It is usually best described by illustration.
First, I will illustrate a love of complacency in holy brethren
2nd, I will illustrate those who do not have a love of complacency in each other.
3rd, I will illustrate how a husband and wife can have each various type of love in a marriage. Love of benevolence, beneficence, complacence, Agape, familial, phileo
Love of complacency
Prerequisites to two who love each otters to have a complacent love in one another.
The same nature must be in both. Their is an agreement of natures.
The devil has a nature and Angels have a nature. Devils have an evil nature and so do non believers. Angels have a good nature along with believers.
What don’t the devils and non believers have in them that Angels and believers do?
A True Holy Love in their hearts that has God and the beauty of His divine nature as it primary Object.
Love of complacence.
When a husband see’s his wife obey God and he delights in her. This is love of complacency.
Holiness of heart is presupposed in the beloved. Holiness is presupposed in the object of a love of complacence.
Think of the opposite of a love of complacency as a hatred of evil. The only difference is what are you thinking of. Are you thinking holiness then their should be delight because holiness is beautiful to the pure in heart. Are you thinking of sin and evil then their should be a righteous hatred of the Devil, sin and your flesh.
God’s love has Himself as the primary object or His Son. God the Father is holy and God the Son is holy. They have the same nature. Both are holy. Love of complacence assumes the same nature in beloved.
She is a holy bride acting like she loves God. Her inner holiness manifesting itself in outward actions of answering his call, opening the door, coming down from the mountains, arising, catching the foxes and living out who she is in relation to God and her husband is beautiful to see. Her moral beauty is more lovely than her outer beauty. Her inner beauty grows.
Christian to a non believer
A Christian can’t have a love of complacence in a non believer. They can have a love of benevolence or a disposition to do good to the non believer and also have a love of beneficence which does good but the Christian and the non believer’s natures are not in agreement, therefore the two can’t walk together in a relationship based on a holy love for the non believer doesn’t have the love of God in him.
A holy upright people to a holy king with name like perfume poured out.
Love of benevolence
Love of benevolence= When a husband has in his heart a disposition to do good. To have his wife’s chief good in mind in all his thoughts, feelings, words and actions. Love of benevolence has in mind the intentions of the heart. The intentions of a love of benevolence can be toward the holy and good being or the evil being. Love of benevolence are the intentions toward the object of its affection. The same nature is not necessary for this love to manifest itself.
A tender good will to all those God created.
A Christian husband can have a love of benevolence to a non believing wife and a believing wife. But he will only have a love of complacence in the believing wife because they have the same love in them which is from God, is something of God and has God for it’s primary object.
Love of Benevolence
Love of Complacency
Love of complacence is first
Love of complacence is the foundation of Love of Benevolence.
Love of complacence defined.
Like meets like. Like Natures.
God’s image is reflected in the outward beauty of the body or anything in creation. The Beautiful Creator creates and is the Author of Beauty.
The amiableness of God’s nature which consists in God’s holiness or Love to Himself must be delighted in before the lover can wish well of the beloved.
Love is the souls relish of the excellency of the Divine Nature. Excellencies of the Divine Nature are any of His Attributes. Yet the primary Excellency of God that true holy believers delight to behold is the Beauty of God. The Beauty of God is the chief Attribute of God that believers delight most to meditate on and a relish or delight in holiness where ever it be found is the spring and foundation of all other holy emotions or virtue.
Love is a feeling. Love is a feeling. Love to God. God is the object. Love must love someone. Knowledge of that someone/Someone must be in the mind before or rather come with the feeling. The Spirit communicates both knowledge of God with feelings of love to Him at the same time. The souls relish of the holiness of God is the same as having the feeling of love to God. Without any delight in God you have no love to God. God commands your emotions. Love is an emotion. If you love God you will obey Him. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Thinking of all the ways God or man manifest the holiness of God and delighting most in them, having a heart agreement with them is the same as having a love to God. At least the emotional part. The other part of love to God consists not in our subjective emotions but in the objective reality of the unchanging Character of God in Christ.
A perfect natural holiness would be the body of Adam or Eve before the fall. No flaw in them. No deformity. No natural deformity of either body or soul. Possibility of change, yes. But not deformed. Having the possibility of change does not imply deformity of nature. Adam and Eve were born holy and sinless yet could and did become unholy and sinful after they disobeyed God. Adam and Eve lost their holiness and moral beauty of their soul when they disobeyed God. The natural beauty of their bodies continued to some degree yet kept changing for the worse as time went on until they died. The natural beauty of the body fades, ye the internal moral beauty of the soul can be renewed by faith in Jesus Christ and then grow even more beautiful as our Heavenly Bridegroom and Bride sanctifies her soul.
Love is God’s Beauty. Holiness is God Beauty. Holiness consists in Love to God. Without Love to God there is no holiness. Those who have the Love of God in them and delight in the holiness of God will delight in the manifestation of it where ever it may be. Holiness, or natural holiness is all around us, for God is Holy, Holy, Holy, the whole earth is full of His glory.
By natural Holiness I mean natural in contrast to moral. There is a natural holiness of God that is Beautiful in and of itself, yet is not in and of itself because God is not divisible into parts or succession of time. Meaning that knowledge of God is a natural attribute. Yet true knowledge of God must have a feeling with it, for God is love, joy, peace and infinitely blessed. God’s knows everything. He knows Himself Perfectly. God is Love. He always knew what Love felt like, therefore He knew Himself perfectly for God is Love. Not only did God know Himself or His Son from all Eternity, along with that knowledge of Himself is Love to Himself for God always had the Spirit without measure.
The first Object of love of benevolence is being, simply considered. Just thinking of God, do you love Him. Do you love all of Him including His Holiness and hatred of sin and Eternal Wrath towards sinners because you love God who is Just and Holy. You do not love God’s Holiness if you think the eternal punishment of sinners is to much or to severe or to long.
Out of our Love to God we hate His enemies. Out of our Love of complacency and love of Benevolence to God we have a love of benevolence to God’s enemies or sinners here on earth, but we have no love of complacency in them for their nature is evil and not holy. Love of complacency respect the character and nature of the one loved, but love of benevolence has no respect to the nature of the one loved.
Love of complacency in God is a special love. Special because only believers have it. Only those who have the Love of God dwelling in them. Only those who’s greatest delight is in holiness have a relish in it, therefore they delight most in any manifestation of the Love of God for holiness consists in love to God.
Trinity and love of complacency. Same Nature. 1 God in three Persons. Same Nature. The Father’s Nature is Love. The Son’s Nature is Love and God is Love.
QUESTION 4: What is it to enjoy God?
ANSWER: To enjoy God, is to acquiesce or rest in God as the chief good, with complacency and delight. “Return unto thy rest, O my soul” (Ps. 116:7).
QUESTION 5: How is God enjoyed here?
ANSWER: 1. God is enjoyed here, when people settle themselves upon and cleave to the Lord by faith. “But cleave unto the Lord your God” (Josh. 23:8). 2. When they taste the Lord’s goodness, and delight themselves in the gracious presence and sensible manifestations of God’s special love for them. “O taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8). “Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 5:5).
Vincent, T. (1996). A family instructional guide (electronic edition based on the first Banner of Truth ed., 1980., p. 15). Simpsonville, SC: Christian Classics Foundation.
By faith, διὰ τη̂ς πίστεως, by means of faith. There are two essential conditions of this indwelling of Christ; a rational nature, and, so far as adults are concerned, faith. The former is necessarily presupposed in all communion with God. But it is not with every rational nature that God enters into fellowship. The indwelling of Christ includes more than the communion of spirit with spirit. It implies congeniality. This faith produces or involves; because it includes spiritual apprehension—the perception of truth and excellence of “the things of the Spirit;” and because it works by love; it manifests itself in the exercise of complacency, desire and delight. The most beautiful object might be in the apartment of a blind man, and he not be sensible of its presence; or if by any means made aware of its nearness, he could have no delight in its beauty. Christ dwells in us by faith, because it is by faith we perceive his presence, his excellence, and his glory, and because it is by faith we appropriate and reciprocate the manifestations of his love. Faith is to this spiritual communion, what esteem and affection are to the fellowships of domestic life.
in order that, being rooted and grounded in love, ye may understand, etc. The effect of the inward strengthening by the Spirit, or of the indwelling of Christ, is this confirmation of love; and the effect of the confirmation of love, is ability to comprehend (in our measure) the love of Christ
Hodge, C. (1996). Commentary on Ephesians (electronic ed., p. 187). Simpsonville, SC: Christian Classics Foundation.
His goodness includes (a) Benevolence, or goodliness viewed as a disposition to promote the happiness of his sensitive creatures; (b) Love, or goodness viewed as a disposition to promote the happiness of intelligent creatures, and to regard with complacency their excellences; (c) Mercy, or goodness exercised toward the miserable; (d) Grace, or goodness exercised toward the undeserving.
Hodge, A. A., & Hodge, C. (1996). The confession of faith: with questions for theological students and Bible classes (p. 53). Simpsonville, SC: Christian Classics Foundation.
The commencement of the kingdom of grace, in the sanctification of the sabbath day, v. 3. He rested on that day, and took a complacency in his creatures, and then sanctified it, and appointed us, on that day, to rest and take a complacency in the Creator; and his rest is, in the fourth commandment, made a reason for ours, after six days’ labour. Observe
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 7). Peabody: Hendrickson.
Faith lays hold upon the Lord Jesus with a firm and determined grasp. She knows his excellence and worth, and no temptation can induce her to repose her trust elsewhere; and Christ Jesus is so delighted with this heavenly grace, that he never ceases to strengthen and sustain her by the loving embrace and all-sufficient support of his eternal arms. Here, then, is established a living, sensible, and delightful union which casts forth streams of love, confidence, sympathy, complacency, and joy, whereof both the bride and bridegroom love to drink. When the soul can evidently perceive this oneness between itself and Christ, the pulse may be felt as beating for both, and the one blood as flowing through the veins of each. Then is the heart as near heaven as it can be on earth, and is prepared for the enjoyment of the most sublime and spiritual kind of fellowship.
Spurgeon, C. H. (1896). Morning and evening: Daily readings. London: Passmore & Alabaster.
Psalm 11:7 his countenance—literally, “their faces,” a use of the plural applied to God, as in Ge 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; Is 6:8, &c., denoting the fulness of His perfections, or more probably originating in a reference to the trinity of persons. “Faces” is used as “eyes” (Ps 11:4), expressing here God’s complacency towards the upright (compare Ps 34:15, 16).
Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 350). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
Ah! beloved, what more could Christ have done in proof of his love than he has done? Jesus has a delighted love towards his spouse: He prizes her affection, and delights in her with sweet complacence. Believer, you wonder at Jesus’ love; you admire it—are you imitating it? In your domestic relationships is the rule and measure of your love—“even as Christ loved the church?”
Spurgeon, C. H. (1896). Morning and evening: Daily readings. London: Passmore & Alabaster.
In respect of complacency, however, God’s love is personal and partial. It is not possible that a holy God should find delight in unholy creatures: for, he is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity,” without the utmost abhorrence. “He is angry with the wicked every day:” and, though he would still have compassion on them if they would turn unto him, he contemplates with satisfaction the judgments which their impenitence will bring upon them: “I will hide my face from them; I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith”———It is his faithful and obedient people alone in whom he can take any pleasure. On them he does look with sweet complacency; as the prophet says: “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty: he will save: he will rejoice over thee with joy: he will rest in his love: he will joy over thee with singing:” “As a bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so will thy God rejoice over theeh.” In a word, he esteems them as “his peculiar treasure above all the people upon earth,” and as composing the brightest jewels of his crown.]
2. The resemblance which the believer’s love bears to it—
[His benevolence also is universal, extending to all, whether friends or enemies, whether known or unknown: he has learned to “bless those who curse him, to do good to them that hate him, and to pray for those who despitefully use him and persecute him.” In his beneficence too, so far as his circumstances will admit of it, he is unbounded. The first object of his attention will, doubtless, be those of his own household, and his more immediate neighbourhood: but he will not rest there; he will take an interest in the welfare of all mankind, so far as to pray for them, and to assist in conveying to them the blessings of salvation. He feels himself a debtor to the whole human race; and he pants to discharge his debt to the very utmost of his power. But in the objects of his complacency he is more confined and partial.
Simeon, C. (1833). Horae Homileticae: James to Jude (Vol. 20, pp. 503–504). London: Holdsworth and Ball.
Christ loves them as His believing disciples. He loves them with complacency and delight. His heart is set upon them. His words—His smiles—His communications to them, are all evidences of His love. They are His flock, His jewels, etc. (John 15:9). He pities them. Bears with them. Keeps them. Blesses them. Saves them, etc.
Burns, J. (1993). Christ’s Unchanging Love to His People. In A. Bryant (Ed.), Sermon outlines on the life of Christ (p. 60). Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications.
That in that due and regular employment, each man might be in some measure serviceable and advantageous to another. That although the great Lord of this Family, can receive no Advantage by the Service of His Creature, because he is Perfect and All-sufficient in himself; yet he receives Glory and Praise by it, and a Complacency in the beholding a Conformity in the Creature, to his own most Perfect Will.
Federer, W. J. (2001). Great Quotations: A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Quotations Influencing Early and Modern World History Referenced according to their Sources in Literature, Memoirs, Letters, Governmental Documents, Speeches, Charters, Court Decisions and Constitutions. St. Louis, MO: AmeriSearch.
1. God’s grace. (Ver. 24.) This is the fountain-head, whence all salvation issues. Importance of holding forth this truth; not that God loves us because Christ died, but that Christ died because God loved us. So John 3:16. And yet the error has some element of truth. It was God’s compassionate love which prompted the bestowal of the gift, and the “setting forth” of the Propitiation (ver. 25); but only when the gift has been received, and the propitiation made ours through faith, does God, can God, love with an intimate, complacent love. First the pitying Father, then the forgiving Father, and then the reconciled, rejoicing Father.
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). The Pulpit Commentary: Romans (p. 97). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
With what pleasure and delight he would praise God, v. 5. 1. With inward complacency: My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, not only as with bread, which is nourishing, but as with marrow, which is pleasant and delicious,Isa. 25:6. David hopes he shall return again to the enjoyment of God’s ordinances, and then he shall thus be satisfied, and the more for his having been for a time under restraint.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 832). Peabody: Hendrickson.
By love. The instinctive love of an infant makes way for the intelligent affection, founded on esteem, which the youth feels towards a father who has trained him in habits of obedience. Disobedience begets dislike; submission strengthens love. The pruning and training of wise discipline is rewarded by the copious fruits of love. We most honour God when our love is not merely the love of gratitude even for redemption, but of complacent delight in the character of our Father. In that character there are no flaws such as a partial son may nevertheless see in his earthly father (Jas. 1:17). Let him not have to say John 5:42
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Malachi (p. 6). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
Song 6:10 Ver. 10.—The desire of the beloved. The assurance of mutual possession and affection occurs in an earlier part of the poem; but its repetition here is not without significance. Love has not lessened as time has passed; it has rather deepened, as experience has revealed, to each of the married lovers, the faithfulness and kindness, the purity and devotion, of the other. Hence the bride adds to this later exclamation, “I am my beloved’s,” the statement which is the expression of experience, “His desire is toward me.” Transferring the language to the relations and sentiments distinctive of the mutual attachment of Christ and his people, we observe here a declaration—
I. Of the good will and compassionate affection of Christ for his Church. 1. The Lord takes a deep satisfaction in his people, and regards them with a holy complacency. 2. He desires that they should participate in his character and reflect his image. Spiritual fellowship with him tends to bring about this result,
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Song of Solomon (p. 177). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
The effects of this inward testimony are, (1.) What the Scriptures call “spiritual discernment.” This means two things: A discernment due to the influence of the Spirit; and a discernment not only of the truth, but also of the holiness, excellence, and glory of the things discerned. The word spiritual, in this sense, means conformed to the nature of the Spirit. Hence the law is said to be spiritual, i.e., holy, just, and good. (2.) A second effect flowing necessarily from the one just mentioned is delight and complacency, or love. (3.) The apprehension of the suitableness of the truths revealed, to our nature and necessities. (4.) The firm conviction that these things are not only true, but divine. (5.) The fruits of this conviction, i.e., of the faith thus produced, good works,—holiness of heart and life.
Hodge, C. (1997). Systematic theology (Vol. 3, pp. 69–70). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
“He is a holy God, he is a jealous God, he will not forgive your sin.” But consider only the purity of God, since it is contrary to sin, and, consequently, hating the sinner; the guilty person cannot be reduced to God, nor can the holiness of God have any complacency in a filthy person, but as fire hath in stubble, to consume it. How the holy God should be brought to delight in man without a salvo for the rights of his holiness, is not to be conceived without an impeachment of the nature of God.
Charnock, S. (1853). The existence and attributes of God (Vol. 2, p. 184). Robert Carter & Brothers.
The heavens were rent asunder and opened, indicating the interest taken in the Redeemer’s career by the great God of heaven himself, and the Spirit, in the form and with the swift, gentle, hovering movement of a dove, descended upon Jesus. How beautiful an emblem of the Divine power of the ministry which was thus inaugurated, and solemnly, sacredly blessed from above! Surely it is significant that Christ should be represented as the Lamb of God, and the Holy Spirit as the Dove from heaven. A lesson as to the gentleness and grace characteristic of Christ’s gospel. 2. Observe, further, what was heard. Language proceeded from the opened heavens, indicative of the Divine approval and complacency. Notice (1) the statement of relation and dignity, “Thou art my beloved Son;” and (2) the statement of satisfaction and approbation, “In thee I am well pleased.”
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). St. Mark (Vol. 1, p. 12). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
Observe, my brethren, God’s heart cannot stand towards a barren fig-tree. You know thus it is with yourselves. If you have a tree in your orchard or vineyard that doth only cumber the ground, you cannot look upon that tree with pleasure, with complacency and delight. No; if you do but go by it, if you do but cast your eye upon it: yea, if you do but think of that tree, you threaten it in your heart, saying, I will hew thee down shortly; I will to the fire with thee shortly: and it is in vain for any to think of persuading of you to show favour to the barren fig-tree; and if they should persuade, your answer is irresistible, It yields me no profit, it takes up room and doth no good; a better may grow in its room.
Bunyan, J. (2006). The Barren Fig-Tree (Vol. 3, p. 571). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
The prize of victory. “And thou shalt rejoice in the Lord.” The Church will not be filled with a perilous complacency; it will rejoice in the Lord its God—in the honour in which he is universally held; in the love with which all hearts are filled toward him; in the service which every human life is paying him. These ingredients will fill to the brim its pure cup of joy.
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1910). Isaiah (Vol. 2, p. 110). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
IV. Religion asks the devotement of our young life. The daily offering consisted of a “lamb.” Why this particular sacrifice was commanded can have but one explanation; viz. that our earliest years should be consecrated to God. While religion in its final end is sublime, in its essential principle it is simple enough. It is love—love to the worthiest Being, and a child has capacity to love. God takes especial interest in children. When Jesus took into his arms young infants and blessed them, he said substantially, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father!” Inasmuch as God regards things which are not as yet as though they were, he smiles with Fatherly complacency on faith in embryo—on the tiny buds of character not yet unfolded. The first breath of prayer ascends to heaven more fragrant than temple incense.
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Ezekiel (Vol. 2, p. 442). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
Whatever we most esteem, we desire it when absent, hope for if it be attainable, love the means of attaining it, and rejoice in it when secured. If there be danger of losing it, we fear; we hate the means that would deprive us of it; and if it be lost, we grieve. The carnal mind is thus exercised about carnal objects: the spiritual mind is thus exercised about spiritual objects. Hence that caution given us with respect to the affections
Simeon, C. (1833). Horae Homileticae: Romans (Vol. 15, p. 200). London: Holdsworth and Ball.
Vers. 17, 18.—The dedicated life. That the Father loved him Jesus was constantly asserting, and here we have the reason for that love.
I. Notice the general element of devotion. Upon all self-sacrificing devotion the Father must look with a complacent eye. Because, if the spirit of devotion be in a man at all, the extent and the character of the devotion will depend upon the necessity and the claim.
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). St. John (Vol. 2, p. 82). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
We are here counselled to live a life of confidence and complacency in God, and that will keep us from fretting at the prosperity of evil-doers; if we do well for our own souls, we shall see little reason to envy those that do so ill for theirs. Here are three excellent precepts, which we are to be ruled by, and, to enforce them, three precious promises, which we may rely upon.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 793). Peabody: Hendrickson.
It is no pleasure to him. God has indeed expressed himself in his word well pleased with the righteous; his countenance beholds them and his delight is in them and their prayers; but all that adds nothing to the infinite satisfaction and complacency which the Eternal Mind has in itself. God can enjoy himself without us, though we could have but little enjoyment of ourselves without our friends. This magnifies his condescension, in that, though our services be no real profit or pleasure to him, yet he invites, encourages, and accepts them.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 699). Peabody: Hendrickson.
The Saviour’s response to the saint (vers. 21, 22). As the sacrifice of Noah was well-pleasing unto God, so will the worship of the saints find acceptance in his sight. And this acceptance of the sacrifices of the glorified, like the reception of Noah’s offering—1. Will consist in the cherishing by God of a feeling of sweet complacency towards the worshippers. As from the burning victims upon Noah’s altar there came up into the Divine nostrils a savour of rest, so from the spiritual sacrifices of Christians even here there ascends an odour of a sweet smell unto God (Phil. 4:18), while in the upper sanctuary the services of the redeemed go up continually before God like the smoke of incense (Rev. 8:4). 2. Will be based upon the odour of the sacrifice of Christ, of which Noah’s as the type. It was not the actual service of Noah, considered as an opus operatum, that produced the feeling of complacency in God (Micah 6:7), but the sacrificial work of Christ, to which the faith of the patriarch had an outlook (Ephes. 5:2).
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Genesis (pp. 136–137). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
2. Favour is expressed in the assurance that those who had been disowned as the subjects of God shall yet be regarded as his sons. The very spot that had echoed with the thunder of wrath should resound with the language of fatherly complacency and affection.
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Hosea (pp. 30–31). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
If a man loves, fears, or believes, he must love, fear, or believe some object, for it is evident that these states of mind can exist only in relation to their appropriate objects. If a real object is not present the imagination may present an ideal one, but that very fiction of the imagination must first be apprehended as true (or known) before it can be assented to as true (or believed) Just as it is impossible for a man to enjoy beauty without perceiving it in some object of the mind, or to exercise complacent love in a virtuous act without perceiving it, so it is, for the same reason, impossible for a man to exercise faith without knowing what he believes.
Hodge, A. A. (1998). Outlines of Theology (pp. 468–469). Simpsonville, SC: Christian Classics Foundation.
Have of love of benevolence not complacency to your enemies.
“I say unto you, Love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you; that ye may be sons of your Father which is in heaven,” etc. (Matt. 5:44, 45). He loved us with the love of compassion before he could love us with the love of complacency. Let us imitate him in this respect in our relation to those who are yet in their sins. 2. In relation to the Christian brotherhood in particular. (Cf. ch. 3:10–18.) Let us evince our relation to the Father, who is infinite Love, by our unfeigned love to our Christian brethren. Let the supreme manifestation in regard to us of his love thus produce its appropriate effect in us.—W. J.
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). 1 John (p. 121). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies—
The word here used denotes moral love, as distinguished from the other word, which expresses personal affection. Usually, the former denotes “complacency in the character” of the person loved; but here it denotes the benignant, compassionate outgoings of desire for another’s good.
Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 24). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
The life which I now live, I live by the faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me; then, and not till then, the love of God is shed abroad in his heart. And this love sweetly constrains him to love every child of man with the love which is here spoken of; not with a love of esteem or of complacence; for this can have no place with regard to those who are (if not his personal enemies, yet) enemies to God and their own souls; but with a love of benevolence,—of tender good-will to all the souls that God has made.
Wesley, J. (1999). Sermons, on several occasions. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
he is bound to purpose and to do what his absolute holiness requires. He has no attribute, no will, no sovereignty, above this law of his being. He cannot lie, he cannot deny himself, he cannot look upon sin with complacency, he cannot acquit the guilty without an atonement.”
Strong, A. H. (1907). Systematic theology (p. 293). Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society.
E. G. Robinson, Christian Theology, 80—“Holiness is moral purity, not only in the sense of absence of all moral stain, but of complacency in all moral good.”
Strong, A. H. (1907). Systematic theology (p. 273). Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society.
The evidence of this great change. “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren.” There may be a reference in the term “brethren” to the common brotherhood of all men; but it seems to us that its chief meaning is the Christian brethren. The love spoken of is not simply natural affection, as the love of parent for child, child for parent, husband for wife, wife for husband, etc. Again, there may be certain social qualities in a Christian which are attractive to others, yet not distinctively Christian. He may be a useful man; in society he may be interesting and agreeable, and therefore he is admired and loved; but such love does not prove that they who exercise it “have passed out of death into life.” Again, we may love Christians, not because they are Christians, but because they belong to our ecclesiastical party or share our theological opinions; but this affection is not to be taken as an evidence that we have experienced the great and saving change. The love of which St. John writes is a love of the brethren, not because they belong to us or to our party, but because they belong to the Lord Jesus. The affection which is a proof that we have passed from death unto life is a love of the brethren: 1. Because of their relation to Christ and God. They are one with Christ by faith and love. Through the Saviour they are children of the Divine Father. They are regarded by him with complacency. They are loved by him with tit love of approbation. And they possess the filial spirit in relation to him (Rom. 8:14–16). If we love God we shall love them, because they are his. “Whosoever loveth him that at begat loveth him also that is begotten of him” (ch. 5:1.). And such love is an evidence “that we have passed out of death into life.” 2. Because of their resemblance to God in Christ. Our
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). 1 John (p. 91). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil (comp. ch. 1:3). God cannot look with complacency on evil (Ps. 5:5, 6)
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Habakkuk (p. 4). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
Believers take a great complacency in Christ, and in communion with him. To you that believe he is precious, above any thing in this world, 1 Pt. 2:7. Observe,
1. The humble reverence believers have for Christ as their Sovereign, v. 12. He is a King in respect both of dignity and dominion; he wears the crown of honour, he bears the sceptre of power, both which are the unspeakable satisfaction of all his people. This King has his royal table spread in the gospel, in which is made for all nations a feast of fat things, Isa. 25:6. Wisdom has furnished her table, Prov. 9:1. He sits at this table to see his guests (Mt. 22:11), to see that nothing be wanting that is fit for them; he sups with them and they with him (Rev. 3:20); he has fellowship with them and rejoices in them; he sits at his table to bid them welcome, and to carve for them, as Christ broke the five loaves and gave to his disciples, that they might distribute to the multitude. He sits there to receive petitions, as Ahasuerus admitted Esther’s petition at the banquet of wine. He has promised to be present with his people in his ordinances always. Then believers do him all the honour they can, and study how to express their esteem of him and gratitude to him, as Mary did when she anointed his head with the ointment of spikenard that was very costly, one pound of it worth three hundred pence, and so fragrant that the house was filled with the pleasing odour of it (Jn. 12:3), which story seems as if it were designed to refer to this passage, for Christ was then sitting at table. When good Christians, in any religious duty, especially in the ordinance of the Lord’s supper, where the King is pleased, as it were, to sit with us at his own table, have their graces exercised, their hearts broken by repentance, healed by faith, and inflamed with holy love and desires toward Christ, with joyful expectations of the glory to be revealed, then the spikenard sends forth the smell thereof. Christ is pleased to reckon himself honoured by it, and to accept of it as an instance of respect to him, as it was in the wise men of the east, who paid their homage to the new-born King of the Jews by presenting to him frankincense and myrrh. The graces of God’s Spirit in the hearts of believers are exceedingly precious in themselves and pleasing to Christ, and his presence in ordinances draws them out into act and exercise. If he withdraw, graces wither and languish, as plants in the absence of the sun; if he approach, the face of the soul is renewed, as of the earth in the spring; and then it is time to bestir ourselves, that we may not lose the gleam, not lose the gale; for nothing is done acceptably but what grace does, Heb. 12:28.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1059). Peabody: Hendrickson.
IV. The friendship between our Lord and his beloved disciple is an encouragement to seek a close and affectionate intimacy with the Redeemer. There is nothing on Christ’s side to preclude the possibility at present of such a friendship as that recorded to have existed during his earthly ministry. The conditions of hallowed fellowship with Jesus are such as all Christians should aspire to fulfil. “Ye are my friends,” said our Lord, “if ye do whatsoever things I command you.” There is no caprice, no favouritism, in our Lord’s intimacies. The reverent, the lowly, the obedient, are encouraged to aspire to his precious friendship. His love of compassion is towards us all; that love may become towards any disciple who does his will and seeks his Spirit—a love of complacency, sympathy, and delight.—T.
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). St. John (Vol. 2, p. 209). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
Why is it that what is beautiful in itself, and in the judgment of all competent judges, is without form or comeliness in his eyes? Why is it that the supreme excellence of God, and all that makes Christ the chief among ten thousand and the one altogether lovely in the sight of saints and angels, awaken no corresponding feelings in the unrenewed heart? The inability of the sinner, therefore, neither consists in his disinclination to good nor does it arise exclusively from that source.
According to the Scriptures and to the standards of doctrine above quoted, it consists in the want of power rightly to discern spiritual things, and the consequent want of all right affections toward them. And this want of power of spiritual discernment arises from the corruption of our whole nature, by which the reason or understanding is blinded, and the taste and feelings are perverted. And as this state of mind is innate, as it is a state or condition of our nature, it lies below the will, and is beyond its power, controlling both our affections and our volitions. It is indeed a familiar fact of experience that a man’s judgments as to what is true or false, right or wrong, are in many cases determined by his interests or feelings. Some have, in their philosophy, generalized this fact into a law, and teach that as to all æsthetic and moral subjects the judgments and apprehensions of the understanding are determined by the state of the feelings. In applying this law to the matters of religion they insist that the affections only are the subject of moral corruption, and that if these be purified or renewed, the understanding then apprehends and judges rightly as a matter of course. It would be easy to show that this, as a philosophical theory, is altogether unsatisfactory. The affections suppose an object. They can be excited only in view of an object. If we love we must love something. Love is complacency and delight in the thing loved, and of necessity supposes the apprehension of it as good and desirable. It is clearly impossible that we should love God unless we apprehend his nature and perfections; and therefore to call love into exercise it is necessary that the mind should apprehend God as He really is. Otherwise the affection would be neither rational nor holy. This, however, is of subordinate moment.
Hodge, C. (1997). Systematic theology (Vol. 2, pp. 261–262). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
God’s good pleasure in his son Jesus Christ. “Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” The sentiment of Divine complacency and gladness in Jesus Christ probably had regard to: 1. Our Lord’s past earthly life, to the innocency of his childhood, to the integrity of all his life at home, to the preparation he had been making in solitary study and devotion for his life-work. 2. To his then spiritual condition, especially to his attitude toward his Divine Father, his submission to his holy will, his readiness to undertake whatever that holy will should appoint him, and, therefore: 3. To his sacred and sublime purpose, his intention to enter on that great work which should issue in the redemption of mankind. It must have been no slight access of holy strength to the Saviour to be so strikingly assured of his Father’s love and good pleasure as he entered on that most arduous and lofty enterprise.
II. God’s good pleasure in us. We cannot hope to have for ourselves the measure of Divine complacency which was possible in the Person of our Lord. Yet in our measure may we hope to have and to enjoy the good pleasure of our heavenly Father. For us there may be: 1. Full forgiveness of the faulty past. Grieved with all that is guilty, and resting on the abounding mercy of God in Jesus Christ, we are freely and frankly forgiven; so truly and thoroughly forgiven that our past transgressions and shortcomings are buried from the sight of the Supreme; they do not come between our souls and his favour; they are to him as if they were not; they do not make us less dear to his parental heart. 2. Positive Divine delight in our filial loyalty and love. As God, searching our hearts with pure and benign regard, sees in us a true filial spirit, a spirit of grateful love and of cheerful submission and of glad consecration to himself, he is glad in us with a Divine, parental joy. 3. Divine satisfaction with our purpose for the future—our intention to dedicate our life to the service of God and to spend our powers in the service of our kind.—C.
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). St. Luke (Vol. 1, p. 80). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
Believers can’t have a love of complacency in the openly wicked and profane enemies of God.
“Love your enemies.” “We cannot have complacency in one that is openly wicked and profane, nor put a confidence in one that we know to be deceitful; for are we to love all alike; but we must pay respect to the human nature, and so far honour all men; we must take notice with pleasure of that even in our enemies which is amiable and commendable; ingenuity, good temper, learning, moral virtue, kindness to others, profession of religion, etc., and love that, though they are our enemies. We must have a compassion for them, and a good will toward them” (Matthew Henry
Pink, A. W. (2005). An exposition of the Sermon on the Mount (p. 127). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
God viewed, views and will always view the Son with infinite complacency.
He did not regard Him personally in any other light than as His beloved Son, on whom He looked with infinite complacency, as at once His righteous Servant and His only Son. But as the surety of His people, the Lord descended into the lowest abyss of that curse which we had incurred, and tasted death, the penalty of sin, that we might never taste of it.
Smeaton, G. (1996). Paul’s doctrine of the atonement : taken from The Doctrine of the Atonement According to the Apostles (p. 150). Simpsonville, SC: Christian Classics Foundation.
This spiritual beauty is akin to Christ’s own. The influence is well known which the marriage state exercises in the gradual assimilation to one another in character and habits of those wedded for long years. The resemblance between the Divine Head and his spouse the Church is so striking that none can overlook it. They who accept Christ’s doctrine, place themselves beneath his guardianship, cherish his love, cultivate his society, are hereby transformed into his likeness. Who has not seen in faithful and devoted friends of Jesus traits of their Lord’s spiritual character, lineaments unmistakably his? The sympathy, beneficence, the purity and tenderness, the patience and self-denial, which are “notes” of the true Church, are evidently Christ’s; from the Divine Lord, and from no lower source, have all these virtues been derived.
The infinite complacency which the Father had in him, and he in the Father (v. 30): I was by him, as one brought up with him. As by an eternal generation he was brought forth of the Father, so by an eternal counsel he was brought up with him, which intimates, not only the infinite love of the Father to the Son, who is therefore called the Son of his love (Col. 1:13), but the mutual consciousness and good understanding that were between them concerning the work of man’s redemption, which the Son was to undertake, and about which the counsel of peace was between them both, Zec. 6:13. He was alumnus patris—the Father’s pupil, as I may say, trained up from eternity for that service which in time, in the fulness of time, he was to go through with, and is therein taken under the special tuition and protection of the Father; he is my servant whom I uphold, Isa. 42:1. He did what he saw the Father do (Jn. 5:19), pleased his Father, sought his glory, did according to the commandment he received from his Father, and all this as one brought up with him. He was daily his Father’s delight (my elect, in whom my soul delighteth, says God, Isa. 43:1), and he also rejoiced always before him. This may be understood either, 1. Of the infinite delight which the persons of the blessed Trinity have in each other, wherein consists much of the happiness of the divine nature. Or, 2. Of the pleasure which the Father took in the operations of the Son, when he made the world; God saw every thing that the Son made, and, behold, it was very good, it pleased him, and therefore his Son was daily, day by day, during the six days of the creation, upon that account, his delight, Ex. 39:43. And the Son also did himself rejoice before him in the beauty and harmony of the whole creation, Ps. 104:31. Or, 3. Of the satisfaction they had in each other, with reference to the great work of man’s redemption. The Father delighted in the Son, as Mediator between him and man, was well-pleased with what he proposed (Mt. 3:17), and therefore loved him because he undertook to lay down his life for the sheep; he put a confidence in him that he would go through his work, and not fail nor fly off. The Son also rejoiced always before him, delighted to do his will (Ps. 40:8), adhered closely to his undertaking, as one that was well-satisfied in it, and, when it came to the setting to, expressed as much satisfaction in it as ever, saying, Lo, I come, to do as in the volume of the book it is written of me.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 972). Peabody: Hendrickson.
my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased—The verb is put in the aorist to express absolute complacency, once and for ever felt towards Him. The English here, at least to modern ears, is scarcely strong enough. “I delight” comes the nearest, perhaps, to that ineffable complacency which is manifestly intended; and this is the rather to be preferred, as it would immediately carry the thoughts back to that august Messianic prophecy to which the voice from heaven plainly alluded (Is 42:1), “Behold My Servant, whom I uphold; Mine Elect, in whom My soul delighteth.” Nor are the words which follow to be overlooked, “I have put My Spirit upon Him; He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.”
Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 12). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
That Jesus Christ is one in whom the Father is well pleased, in whom his soul is pleased; which denotes the highest complacency imaginable. God declared, by a voice from heaven, that he was his beloved Son in whom he is well pleased; well pleased in him, because he was the ready and cheerful Undertaker of that work of wonder which God’s heart was so much upon, and he is well pleased with us in him; for he had made us accepted in the Beloved, Eph. 1:6. All the interest which fallen man has or can have in God is grounded upon and owing to God’s well-pleasedness in Jesus Christ; for there is no coming to the Father but by him, Jn. 14:6.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (pp. 1672–1673). Peabody: Hendrickson.
III. Hence this spiritual beauty yields satisfaction and delight to the Saviour himself. If it seems at first an extravagance to suppose that the Lord of all can find joy and complacency in beholding his Church on earth, the explanation must be sought in the principles just stated. Humanity was originally created in the image of God and for the glory of God. The purpose of Eternal Wisdom in creating this human race was that his own attributes might be visibly and manifestly embodied and displayed, according to the measure of the creature, in his own highest handiwork on earth. Nor has this purpose been defeated by sin
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Song of Solomon (p. 116). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
That faith in Christ and the consecration of ourselves result in his perfect pleasure with us: “It is an offering … of a sweet savour unto the Lord” (vers. 5, 16). When the oblation was complete, then the offerer stood in the position of one who might rejoice in the Divine Presence and feast with the holy people and with God. Accepted in Christ, and having “yielded ourselves unto God” in unreserved consecration, we may feel that God’s good pleasure, his full Divine complacency, rests upon us; we may walk in the light of his reconciled countenance all the day long. Two
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1910). Leviticus (p. 48). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
For my part, I had rather enjoy the sweet influences of the Spirit, showing Christ’s spiritual divine beauty, infinite grace, and dying love, drawing forth the holy exercises of faith, divine love, sweet complacence, and humble joy in God, one quarter of an hour, than to have prophetical visions and revelations the whole year.
Edwards, J. (1996). Jonathan Edwards on Revival (electronic ed., pp. 140–141). Simpsonville SC: Christian Classics Foundation.
The character of the Father’s love. 1. It originates in his benevolent nature. His love is not caused by ours. “We love him, because he first loved us.” But the love of Divine pity revealed in Christ enkindles the flame of love upon our hearts. 2. It manifests itself in the mediation of the Son. The love of God is not caused by the intercession of our Divine Advocate and Representative. 3. It is, towards those who believe in Christ, the love of satisfaction and complacency. Beginning (if we may use language so human) with pity, the Divine love goes on to approval. The Father recognizes in the friends and followers of Christ the same moral features and expressions which he looks upon with delight in his Son. This is a view of God which is eminently and distinctively Christian. The God whom we worship is a God who can love man, whose love flows forth in streams of compassion towards all men, but whose favour is revealed to those who display moral sympathy with his own beloved Son.
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). St. John (Vol. 2, p. 322). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
To be complacent in God is to have him as our portion.
God is the supreme Object of our desire (Ps. 27:4) and also of our delight. Since love to God is the complacence of the soul in Him who is the sum of all perfection and our all-sufficient portion, it follows that we shall find our highest pleasure in Him. “If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt … lift up thy face unto God” (Job 22:23, 26). Fullness of joy is reserved for heaven, yet even in this vale of tears “we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:11). It cannot be otherwise. As the soul perceives God’s excellence and is admitted to communion with Him, it exults in Him: “I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste” (Song 2:3). The saints look upon God reconciled as their best Friend: “My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord” (Ps. 104:34). “Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee … My soul shall be satisfied” (Ps. 63:3, 5)
Pink, A. W. (2005). Gleanings from Paul studies in the prayers of the Apostle (p. 321). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
Psalm 16:5 “†The Lord is my portion.” his entire complacency and satisfaction in God and the interest he had in him.
Ver. 26.—Wonderful love. Human love is, in proportion to its purity and strength, a gift of Divine love. It also illustrates the love from which it proceeds, by reflecting its image as in a mirror. It is of a twofold nature—viz. benevolence or charity towards all, even the unworthy; and complacency towards those in whom it perceives the signs of excellence, or resemblance to itself. Of the latter kind was the love of Jonathan to David; and it was wonderful, considered in the light of (1) the selfishness that prevails among men
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). 2 Samuel (p. 29). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
“a sight and sense of the filthiness and odiousness of his sins, as contrary to the holy nature, and righteous law of God.” There is not only that painful sense of wrong–doing inflicted by conscience on the sinner; conscience, which a depraved will, although fully set on transgression, cannot corrupt nor wholly silence. But there is the pain arising from a true hatred of sin, now existing in the will, as a moral disposition and principle, and from the preference for and love of conformity to God, arising out of a thorough approval of and complacency in His moral perfection. Of course, this hatred of sinfulness and appetency of holiness, are not two principles, but one, expressing its spontaneous nature as to two opposite objects—sin and righteousness. And last, that view of the odiousness of sin, and attractiveness of godliness, proceeds chiefly in the believer’s experiences, from the Cross; from the exhibitions of mercy, purity, goodness, and hope there made. True repentance may be defined as the moral emotion and act of the regenerate nature towards its personal sinfulness, and towards godliness, especially as the two are exhibited in the Cross.
Dabney, R. L. (1996). Systematic Theology (electronic ed. based on the Banner of Truth 1985 ed., p. 374). Simpsonville SC: Christian Classics Foundation.
While He was personally the object of the Father’s everlasting love and complacency, He was officially guilty in our guilt
Smeaton, G. (1996). Paul’s doctrine of the atonement : taken from The Doctrine of the Atonement According to the Apostles (p. 122). Simpsonville, SC: Christian Classics Foundation.
The claim made by Christ to a spiritual property in the Christian. 1. The Saviour regards his people with an especial favour and affection. In a sense, all men are Christ’s; he assumed the human nature which is common to us all, and he died for all. But in a peculiar manner they are his who acknowledge his mission, receive his gospel, confide in his mediation, obey his commandments. Towards such his regard is one of complacency and personal affection. 2. The Saviour regards his people as his to care for, to protect, and to save. Having loved his own, he loves them unto the end. There are no circumstances in which he will not remember them, interpose upon their behalf and for their deliverance. 3. The Saviour possesses his people in order to exercise over them a peculiar authority. As the husband is the head of the wife, and as his affection does not destroy his authority, but makes it benign and welcome; so our Divine Lord, who loves his spouse, the Church, which he purchased with his precious blood, directs and governs the object of his tender interest with kindness which is yet authoritative. It is the prerogative and joy of Christ’s people to take their Lord’s will as the binding law of their individual and social life.
Application. It is for every Christian to remember that in this relation the Lord Jesus is the superior. “We love him, because he first loved us.” This fact should infuse gratitude into our affection, and should urge us to responsive consecration and obedience
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Song of Solomon (p. 73). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
Self complacency is sinful.
Or a confidence in ones own supposed righteousness that is actually filthy rags in the eyes of God.
In what a wretched state are they, who hear only in a customary manner!
A revival, whether individual or national, supposes an antecedent religion, the power of which has declined or been lost. The spirit of our relation to Christ has evaporated, and left little but the forms of Christianity. “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love;” “Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead;” “Thy works are not perfect before God;” “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm.” And all this may be conjoined with a complacent satisfaction with ourselves. “Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing,
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Psalms (Vol. 3, p. 102). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
“Blessed are the poor,” not the poor in purse, but the poor in heart: those who realize themselves to be spiritual bankrupts in themselves, paupers before God. That felt poverty of spirit is the very opposite of the Laodiceanism which is so rife today, that self-complacency which says, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.”
Pink, A. W. (2005). An exposition of the Sermon on the Mount (p. 18). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
[Many there are of this description: they discover themselves by their self-righteousness and self-complacency: but every living soul must be brought low before God. God has established an invariable rule of procedure towards themz. We cannot address them better than in the pathetic language of Jeremiah.]
Simeon, C. (1836). Horae Homileticae: Chronicles to Job (Vol. 4, p. 507). London: Samuel Holdsworth.
Hypocrites always endeavour to attract the attention of the world. The true penitent, on the contrary, affects privacy and retirement: though cheerful before men, his sorrows are deep before God: were his groanings overheard by the world, he would probably be made an object of pity or derision; but God beholds him with pleasure and complacency
Simeon, C. (1832). Horae Homileticae: Jeremiah to Daniel (Vol. 9, p. 228). London: Holdsworth and Ball.
The complacency which Christ takes in his church thus beautified and adorned. She is lovely indeed if she be so in his eyes; as he puts the comeliness upon her, so it is his love that makes this comeliness truly valuable, for he is an unexceptionable judge. 1. He delighted to look upon his church, and to converse with it, rejoicing in that habitable part of his earth: The king is held in the galleries, and cannot leave them. This is explained by Ps. 132:13, 14, The Lord has chosen Zion, saying, This is my rest for ever; here will I dwell; and Ps. 147:11, The Lord takes pleasure in those that fear him. And, if Christ has such delight in the galleries of communion with his people, much more reason have they to delight in them, and to reckon a day there better than a thousand. 2. He was even struck with admiration at the beauty of his church (v. 6): How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love! How art thou made fair! (so the word is), “not born so, but made so with the comeliness which I have put upon thee.” Holiness is a beauty beyond expression; the Lord Jesus is wonderfully pleased with it; the outward aspect of it is fair; the inward disposition of it is pleasant and highly agreeable, and the complacency he has in it is inexpressible. O my dearest for delights! so some read. 3. He determined to keep up communion with his church
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1072). Peabody: Hendrickson.
You will inexpressibly grieve and offend your God—
[God says, “My soul shall have no pleasure in you.” In the humble and steadfast saint he has great delight; “he taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in them that hope in his mercy.” But if any man leave off to behave himself wisely, how can God take pleasure in him? Whilst walking steadfastly and uprightly before God, the believer complies with all God’s gracious designs, and furthers, to that extent at least, the glory of God’s name. But when he draws back from God, he proclaims to all around him, that, in his estimation at least, God is not so worthy to be loved and served as once he had thought him to be; and that, after a full estimate of their respective claims, the world and the flesh are deserving of at least an equal regard with him, if not also a superior regard. Now, I ask, can a jealous God look with complacency on such a man? “Would even a fellow-creature, when once admitted into the nearest relation to us, be satisfied with such an avowal?
Simeon, C. (1833). Horae Homileticae: 2 Timothy to Hebrews (Vol. 19, p. 361). London: Holdsworth and Ball.
“I will seek it also in a way of universal holiness:” for it is the obedient soul alone on which thou canst ever look with complacency and delight———
We mean not to say that “the man of God is perfect;” for there is yet much imperfection cleaving to him: but we do say, that, in the habitual desires and purposes of his soul, he accords with the description here given
Simeon, C. (1836). Horae Homileticae: Psalms, I–LXXII (Vol. 5, p. 83). London: Samuel Holdsworth.
He had given abundant proofs of his love to them, and required of them that they should love him with all their heart and soul. Idolatry was often spoken of as spiritual adultery, and doting upon idols, to prevent which this song was penned, representing the complacency which God took in Israel and which Israel ought to take in God, and encouraging them to continue faithful to him, though he might seem sometimes to withdraw and hide himself from them, and to wait for the further manifestation of himself in the promised Messiah.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1056). Peabody: Hendrickson.
God saw every thing, and behold it was very good, or mighty good; all ordered to declare his goodness wisdom, power, and to make him adorable to man, and therefore took complacency in them. There is a harmony in all things
Charnock, S. (1853). The existence and attributes of God (Vol. 1, p. 388). Robert Carter & Brothers.
He pleads the relation wherein of old they stood to God: “These are thy servants and thy people (v. 10), whom thou hast set apart for thyself, and taken into covenant with thee. Wilt thou suffer thy sworn enemies to trample upon and oppress thy sworn servants? If thou wilt not appear for thy people, whom wilt thou appear for?” See Isa. 63:19. As an evidence of their being God’s servants he gives them this character (v. 11): “They desire to fear thy name; they are not only called by thy name, but really have a reverence for thy name; they now worship thee, and thee only, according to thy will, and have an awe of all the discoveries thou art pleased to make of thyself; this they have a desire to do,” which denotes, (1.) Their good will to it. “It is their constant care and endeavour to be found in the way of their duty, and they aim at it, though in many instances they come short.” (2.) Their complacency in it. “They take pleasure to fear thy name (so it may be read), not only do their duty, but do it with delight.” Those shall graciously be accepted of God that truly desire to fear his name; for such a desire is his own work.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 627). Peabody: Hendrickson.
I find that the goodness of God to his people is diversely expressed in his word: sometimes by the word grace; sometimes by the word love; and sometimes by the word mercy; even as our badness against him is called iniquity, transgression, and sin. When it is expressed by that word ‘grace,’ then it is to show that what he doth is of his princely will, his royal bounty, and sovereign pleasure. When it is expressed by that word ‘love,’ then it is to show us that his affection was and is in what he doth, and that he doth what he doth for us, with complacency and delight. But when it is set forth to us under the notion of ‘mercy,’ then it bespeaks us to be in a state both wretched and miserable, and that his bowels and compassions yearn over us in this our fearful plight. Now, the Holy Ghost chooseth-as it should seem-in this place, to present us with that goodness that is in God’s heart towards us, rather under the term of mercy; for that, as I said before, it so presenteth us with our misery
Bunyan, J. (2006). Israel’s Hope Encouraged (Vol. 1, p. 594). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
The complacency and delight God has in his children is not due to anything in and of themselves apart from Christ.
The doctrine of sanctification also, as presented in the Scriptures, is founded on the substitution of Christ. Sanctification is not a work of nature, but a work of grace. It is a transformation of character effected not by moral influences, but supernaturally by the Holy Spirit; although on that account only the more rationally. The first step in the process is deliverance from the curse of the law by the body, or death of Christ. Then God being reconciled, He admits us into fellowship with Himself. But as the sinner is only imperfectly sanctified, he is still in his state and acts far from being in himself an object of the divine complacency. It is only as united to Christ and represented by Him, that he enjoys the continuance of the divine favour, which is his life, and constantly receives from Him the gift of the Holy Spirit. So that the life that the believer lives, is Christ living in him. Thus in the whole process of salvation the ideas of substitution, of representation, of Christ’s being and doing for us, all that we are required to be and to do, are of necessity involved. And even to the last we are saved only in Him. It is in virtue of this union that believers are raised from the dead, admitted into heaven, and receive the crown of eternal life. It is not for what they have done, nor for what they have been made, but solely for what has been done in their stead that they are made partakers of his life, and, ultimately, of his glory.
Hodge, C. (1997). Systematic theology (Vol. 2, pp. 522–523). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
The love he bears towards them—
[“He loves them,” and looks with peculiar complacency upon them, “rejoicing over them with joy, and resting in his love, and joying over them with singing.” To them he delights to “manifest himself, as he does not unto the worlde,” even to “come and sup with them,” and “make his abode with them”
———“He rejoices over them to do them good.” imparting all needful supplies of grace and strengeth to their soulsh, and ordering all things both in heaven and earth for the promotion of their welfare———He accounts them “his jewelsk” and “his peculiar treasure;” and esteems the salvation of their souls a rich recompence for all the sufferings he ever enduredm———For them does he interest himself day and night in heaven; ever “making intercession for them” with his Father, and preparing kingdoms for them, which they in due season shall inherit, in glory and felicity similar to his own———
O! who amongst you does not desire to partake of this blessedness?———]
Simeon, C. (1833). Horae Homileticae: Proverbs to Isaiah XXVI (Vol. 7, p. 77). London: Holdsworth and Ball.
God declared to his people of old, that, if they would not serve him with joyfulness and gladness of heart for the abundance of all things which he had so liberally bestowed upon them, they should endure all the curses denounced in his law. With how much greater force does this threatening come to us, if we neglect to praise him for the infinitely greater benefits he has conferred on us! We ourselves feel indignant if great and acknowledged virtues be despised, or eminent favours be disregarded. And shall God ever look with complacency on those who are blind to his excellencies, and insensible of his mercies? Whatever we may imagine to the contrary, none shall ever join the choir above, whose hearts have not been tuned to sing God’s praise below.]
Simeon, C. (1836). Horae Homileticae: Psalms, I–LXXII (Vol. 5, p. 236). London: Samuel Holdsworth.
what if it should appear at last (which I shall only offer to the consideration of the judicious) that the divine love, and particularly God’s love in Christ, should be the foundation of the glories of heaven, in the present enjoyment of those ministering spirits that comported with it, and of the salvation of this world, and of the torments of hell? This last will seem most strange. But what if therein it should appear not only that God is love to himself, in vindicating his own law, and government, and love, and glory, but that the damned ones are made so, or are so punished, (1.) Because they despised the love of God already manifested and exhibited. (2.) Because they refused to be beloved in what was further proposed and promised. (3.) Because they made themselves unmeet to be the objects of divine complacency and delight? If the conscience of the damned should accuse them of these things, and especially of rejecting the highest instance of divine love, and if the far greatest part of the intelligent creation should be everlastingly blessed through the highest instance of the divine love, then may it well be inscribed upon the whole creation of God, God is love.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 2451). Peabody: Hendrickson.
1 John 3:14. “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.”
LOVE is said to be “the fulfilling of the law:” and it certainly is also the great end of the Gospel. But love is of different kinds: there is a love of benevolence, a love of beneficence, and a love of complacency. The two former are due to all mankind: the latter is due to the saints alone; because they alone possess that character in which God delights, or in which it becomes us to feel delight. It is of this last kind of love that the Apostle speaks in my text, a “love of the brethren:” and of it he speaks in the highest terms imaginable.
Simeon, C. (1833). Horae Homileticae: James to Jude (Vol. 20, p. 442). London: Holdsworth and Ball.
Let him do to me as seemeth good to him. I have nothing to object. All is well that God does.” Observe with what satisfaction and holy complacency he speaks of the divine disposal: not only, “He can do what he will,” subscribing to his power (Job 9:12),
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 463). Peabody: Hendrickson.
“But God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” It was our sin and suffering and deep need that called forth his compassion toward us; and ere he could love us with the love of complacency, he loved us with the love of tender and Divine pity. 2. God is the Fountain of all love. Love flows from the essential nature of the Divine Being. “Love is of God … God is Love” (vers. 7, 8). As light and heat from the sun, so all true love everywhere flows from him, or took its rise from him. And seeing that he is love, that love is of his essence, the flowing forth of his love to us is the giving of himself to us. But the love of God was manifested in our case—
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). 1 John (p. 120). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
Larger revelation is an evidence of God’s special love. The despatch of a special messenger from the court of heaven was in itself a signal token of God’s favour. Not often in the history of our race had such a favour been shown. Further, Gabriel was well pleased to assure the man of prayer that, in heaven, he was “greatly beloved.” Every act of devotion to God’s cause had been graven on the memory of God. His character was an object of God’s complacency. On account of God’s great love for Daniel he gave him larger understanding, and disclosed to him the purposes and plans for man’s redemption. God’s intention was that Daniel should enlarge the area of his vision, and look with solicitude, not on Israel after the flesh, but on the true Israel of God. Yet all revelation is a mark of God’s love to men. Because men are “greatly beloved” of God, therefore he has given them this complete canon of Scripture, therefore he gives them understanding to discern the meaning, therefore he leads them further into the truth.
Spence, H. D. M. (1909). Daniel (p. 286). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
The special law of Christ’s kingdom is that its members should love one another, not only with the love of complacency and delight, but with brotherly love. A love which leads to the recognition of all Christians as brethren, belonging to the same family, entitled to the same privileges and blessings; and which prompts to and secures ministering to their necessities, so that there be no lack
Hodge, C. (1997). Systematic theology (Vol. 2, p. 603). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
What he comforts himself with. The case was sad, but there were some allays. Three things comforted him:—
(1.) That his conscience witnessed for him that he had a good principle ruling and prevailing in him, notwithstanding. It is well when all does not go one way in the soul. The rule of this good principle which he had was the law of God, to which he here speaks of having a threefold regard, which is certainly to be found in all that are sanctified, and no others. [1.] I consent unto the law that it is good, v. 16, symphēmi—I give my vote to the law; here is the approbation of the judgment. Wherever there is grace there is not only a dread of the severity of the law, but a consent to the goodness of the law. “It is a good in itself, it is good for me.” This is a sign that the law is written in the heart, that the soul is delivered into the mould of it. To consent to the law is so far to approve of it as not to wish it otherwise constituted than it is. The sanctified judgment not only concurs to the equity of the law, but to the excellency of it, as convinced that a conformity to the law is the highest perfection of human nature, and the greatest honour and happiness we are capable of. [2.] I delight in the law of God after the inward man, v. 22. His conscience bore witness to a complacency in the law. He delighted not only in the promises of the word, but in the precepts and prohibitions of the word; synēdomai expresses a becoming delight. He did herein concur in affection with all the saints. All that are savingly regenerate or born again do truly delight in the law of God, delight to know it, to do it-cheerfully submit to the authority of it, and take a complacency in that submission, never better pleased than when heart and life are in the strictest conformity to the law and will of God. After the inward man; that is, First, The mind or rational faculties, in opposition to the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh. The soul is the inward man, and that is the seat of gracious delights, which are therefore sincere and serious, but secret; it is the renewing of the inward man, 2 Co. 4:16. Secondly, The new nature. The new man is called the inner man (Eph. 3:16), the hidden man of the heart, 1 Pt. 3:4. Paul, as far as he was sanctified, had a delight in the law of God. [3.] With the mind I myself serve the law of God, v. 25. It is not enough to consent to the law, and to delight in the law, but we must serve the law; our souls must be entirely delivered up into the obedience of it. Thus it was with Paul’s mind; thus it is with every sanctified renewed mind; this is the ordinary course and way; thitherward goes the bent of the soul. I myself—autos egō, plainly intimating that he speaks in his own person, and not in the person of another.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 2210). Peabody: Hendrickson.
Their privilege is the enjoyment of God’s love, their duty the practice of holiness. “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints.” This is what we mean by Church-membership; it is, when real, an experience of Divine love, and a practice of holiness. And, indeed, we have here the whole plan of salvation. God’s love comes forth first to us, and then we walk in holiness as his grateful people. It has been said somewhere by M.La Harpe that the doctrines of Christianity may be summed up in the words, “God has loved us,” and its morals in the words, “Let us love God.” Of course, God loves all men with the love of pity, and in consequence he sent his Son into the world to save us (John 3:16); but when we respond to his love, he proceeds to lavish on us a particular love—a love of complacency and of delight (John 14:21). These Christians at Rome were, therefore, the objects of this special love; and they manifested the benefit in holy lives.
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). The Pulpit Commentary: Romans (p. 46). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
Its felt in the heart
I. God’s kindness to us—
This is expressed both by the internal regard which he bears towards us, and by the outward manifestations of it to our souls.
1. He loves his people—
[They who fear God are considered as “his people,” in contradistinction to those who belong to Satan. He esteems them as “his peculiar treasure.” He “has pleasure” in their persons, notwithstanding all their vileness; for he views them as “complete in Christ.” When they are mourning and weeping for their extreme sinfulness, he looks on them with heart-felt complacencyc, and delight. Even when they are doubting his love towards them, he marks them as the objects of his tenderest affection and incessant caree.
He takes pleasure also in their services. Their prayers are his delight: their tributes of praise are esteemed his gloryg; their alms, a sacrifice with which he is well pleased: their every grace is in his sight of great pricei. Their holy purposes, though not suffered by him to be carried into effect, are noticed by him with approbation, nor are even their fainter inclinationsl, or their transient thoughts, suffered to pass without a suitable reward.]
Simeon, C. (1836). Horae Homileticae: Psalms, LXXIII–CL (Vol. 6, pp. 523–524). London: Samuel Holdsworth.
A term of endearment—
[This seems the more particular view in which the name is given to God’s people in the text. Just as, in reference to his dear Son, God says, “Behold my servant whom I uphold, mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth,” so he speaks of his people here, as feeling complacency and delight in them
Simeon, C. (1832). Horae Homileticae: Isaiah, XXVII–LXVI (Vol. 8, p. 171). London: Holdsworth and Ball.
Those who perfectly love God are, from his nature, and counsel, and covenant, perfectly assured of his love, and consequently are perfectly free from any dismal dreadful suspicions of his punitive power and justice, as armed against them; they well know that God loves them, and they thereupon triumph in his love. That perfect love casteth out fear the apostle thus sensibly argues: that which casteth out torment casteth out fear or dread: Because fear hath torment (v. 18)—fear is known to be a disquieting torturing passion, especially such a fear as is the dread of an almighty avenging God; but perfect love casteth out torment, for it teaches the mind a perfect acquiescence and complacency in the beloved, and therefore perfect love casteth out fear. Or, which is here equivalent, he that feareth is not made perfect in love (v. 18); it is a sign that our love is far from being perfect, since our doubts, and fears, and dismal apprehensions of God, are so many. Let us long for, and hasten to, the world of perfect love, where our serenity and joy in God will be as perfect as our love!
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 2452). Peabody: Hendrickson.
The Holy Ghost hereby signifies that the Old-Testament institutions were by external carnal ordinances imposed upon them until the time of reformation, v. 10. Their imperfection lay in three things:—1. Their nature. They were but external and carnal meats and drinks, and divers washings. All these were bodily exercises, which profit little; they could only satisfy the flesh, or at best sanctify to the purifying of the flesh. 2. They were not such as were left indifferent to them to use or disuse, but they were imposed upon them by grievous corporal punishments, and this was ordered on purpose to make them look more to the promised Seed, and long more for him. 3. These were never designed for a perpetuity, but only to continue till the time of reformation, till the better things provided for them were actually bestowed upon them. Gospel times are and should be times of reformation,—of clearer light as to all things necessary to be known,—of greater love, inducing us to bear ill-will to none, but good-will to all, and to have complacency in all that are like God,—of greater liberty and freedom both of spirit and speech—and of a more holy living according to the rule of the gospel. We have far greater advantages under the gospel than they had under the law; and either we must be better or we shall be worse. A conversation becoming the gospel is an excellent way of living; nothing mean, foolish, vain, or servile becomes the gospel.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (pp. 2393–2394). Peabody: Hendrickson.
When the whole human race were involved in Adam’s guilt and misery, God could no more look upon them with the smallest measure of complacency.
Simeon, C. (1832). Horae Homileticae: Hosea to Malachi (Vol. 10, p. 362). London: Holdsworth and Ball.
2. Her God (which is much better) shall betroth her to himself in righteousness, Hosea 2:19, 20. He will take pleasure in his church: As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, is pleased with his relation to her and her affection to him, so shall thy God rejoice over thee: he shall rest in his love to thee (Zep. 3:17); he shall take pleasure in thee (Ps. 147:11), and shall delight to do thee good with his whole heart and his whole soul, Jer. 32:41. This is very applicable to the love Christ has for his church and the complacency he takes in it, which appears so brightly in Solomon’s Song, and which will be complete in heaven
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1205). Peabody: Hendrickson.
God has in store for him a higher and richer blessing: it is great indeed to have one’s backslidings healed; but it is greater still to enjoy the light of God’s countenance, and to have his love shed abroad in one’s heart: yet this also shall be vouchsafed to every repenting sinner: God says in my text, “I will heal their backsliding; I will love them freely.” God will feel a joy and a delight over the returning Prodigal; “To this man,” says he, “will I look, that is of an humble and contrite spirit:” I will fix my eyes upon him for good; I will look upon him with complacency; though burning seraphs surround my throne, and myriads of angels brighter than the sun encompass me around, I will look through all their shining ranks, nor shall all of them together divert my attention from the contrite sinner: “To this man will I look:” from whomsoever I hide my eyes, I will be sure to look on him with pleasure and complacency: “I will rejoice over him with joy; I will rest in my love; I will joy over him with singing.” What an unspeakable blessing is this! To have God himself delighting in us, and shedding abroad his love in our hearts, this is inestimable indeed! He adds moreover, “I will love them freely;” i.e. without any desert in them, without any reluctance in himself. Were he to wait till they had something in themselves worthy to attract his notice, they could have no hope: to all eternity they must remain poor, helpless, miserable, undone creatures: they could never of themselves entertain so much as one good thought; much less could they do any thing to merit God’s esteem: God therefore will not wait for any thing in them to attract his regard: if only they be sorry for their sins, and bewail them before him in secret, he will love them freely; not for their sakes, but for his own; not because they are good, but because he will shew forth the freeness of his grace. And
Simeon, C. (1832). Horae Homileticae: Hosea to Malachi (Vol. 10, pp. 143–144). London: Holdsworth and Ball.
If indeed they repented of their sin, they would find mercy with God. A broken and contrite heart he will never despise. Though he will resist the proud, yet he will give grace unto the humble. He will look on him with pleasure and complacency: but nothing can ever reconcile him to “a man that walketh in pride.” He will surely abase the proudx. He has irreversibly decreed their utter destruction. Nor shall the whole universe combined prevent the execution of his vengeance on one single individual amongst them.
Simeon, C. (1832). Horae Homileticae: Hosea to Malachi (Vol. 10, pp. 37–38). London: Holdsworth and Ball.
That all his dependence is upon God: My soul trusteth in thee, v. 1. He did not only profess to trust in God, but his soul did indeed rely on God only, with a sincere devotion and self-dedication, and an entire complacency and satisfaction.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 824). Peabody: Hendrickson.
All gospel duty is summed up in our kissing the Son (Ps. 2:12); so all gospel-grace is summed up in his kissing us, as the father of the prodigal kissed him when he returned a penitent. It is a kiss of peace. Kisses are opposed to wounds (Prov. 27:6), so are the kisses of grace to the wounds of the law. Thus all true believers earnestly desire the manifestations of Christ’s love to their souls; they desire no more to make them happy than the assurance of his favour, the lifting up of the light of his countenance upon them (Ps. 4:6, 7), and the knowledge of that love of his which surpasses knowledge; this is the one thing they desire, Ps. 27:4. They are ready to welcome the manifestation of Christ’s love to their souls by his Spirit, and to return them in the humble professions of love to him and complacency in him, above all.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1057). Peabody: Hendrickson.
regard and treat as just. How would God treat you, if you were a righteous man; if you had, through all your life, faithfully performed all your duties, conforming to all your relations to your fellow-beings,—how would he regard you and treat you? He would look upon you with complacency. He would smile on you as one that was in his sight pleasing. He would bless you as long as you lived in this world, and, when you were done with this world, he would delight to take you home to his bosom, in another world
Broadus, J. A. (1887). Sermons and addresses (2nd ed., p. 87). Baltimore: H. M. Wharton & Co.
How are we bound in our respective spheres to honour and glorify our God!
[Can we reflect a moment on such transcendent mercies, and not feel it our duty to walk worthy of them? If any ask, How shall I requite the Lord? We answer, “Be ye a crown of glory and a royal diadem in his hand.” It is true, we cannot add to his honour, beauty, happiness, or security; but, as a diadem is that on which the prince looks with peculiar complacency, so may we be objects of pleasure and delight in the hand of our God. Let us then endeavour so to walk that we may be his boast: so to shine, that it may be seen to whom we belong; and so to honour him, that he may acknowledge us as his in the day that he shall make up his jewels.
Simeon, C. (1832). Horae Homileticae: Isaiah, XXVII–LXVI (Vol. 8, p. 21). London: Holdsworth and Ball.
Complacency happens at conversion.
God’s delight and complacency in us and ours in him is once the sinner believes the Gospel and repents and the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in them.
“We are reconciled to God by it. The Divine hatred to sin found fitting outlet in the cross of Jesus, and in consequence Christ’s Spirit comes and dwells in the believer as the Source and Fountain of a holy character. The inspired, Christ-inhabited soul becomes the object of restored fellowship and complacency; God looks down in love”
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Colossians (p. 45). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
if they be truly humble, they most of all lothe and abhor themselves, when they are most assured that God is pacified towards them. Such penitents, whatever they may have been in past time, are no less the objects of God’s favour than the angels themselves; yea, if there were but one such person to be found on the face of the whole earth, God would fix his eyes on him with pleasure and complacencyp. He would listen to his groans with parental tenderness, and treasure up his tears in his vial, as the most valuable monuments of true contrition
Simeon, C. (1832). Horae Homileticae: Isaiah, XXVII–LXVI (Vol. 8, p. 488). London: Holdsworth and Ball.
not only ceases to be angry with them, but takes complacency in them
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1493). Peabody: Hendrickson.
Complacency comes with confidence in Christ
The Christian church was raised up from a low and desolate condition by the grace of Christ relied on, Gal. 4:27. Particular believers are amiable, nay, admirable, and divine grace is to be admired in them, when by the power of that grace they are brought up from the wilderness, leaning with a holy confidence and complacency upon Jesus Christ their beloved. This bespeaks the beauty of a soul, and the wonders of divine grace,
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1073). Peabody: Hendrickson.
Ephesians 4:17ff The dimensions of redeeming love are admirable: The breadth, and length, and depth, and height. By enumerating these dimensions, the apostle designs to signify the exceeding greatness of the love of Christ, the unsearchable riches of his love, which is higher than heaven, deeper than hell, longer than the earth, and broader than the sea, Job 11:8, 9. Some describe the particulars thus: By the breadth of it we may understand the extent of it to all ages, nations, and ranks of men; by the length of it, its continuance from everlasting to everlasting; by the depth of it, its stooping to the lowest condition, with a design to relieve and save those who have sunk into the depths of sin and misery; by its height, its entitling and raising us up to the heavenly happiness and glory. We should desire to comprehend this love: it is the character of all the saints that they do so; for they all have a complacency and a confidence in the love of Christ: And to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, v. 19.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 2312). Peabody: Hendrickson.
Complacency implies holiness, love to God or goodness in the being loved.
The love of God is the first and great commandment of all, and the summary of all the commands of the first table. The proper act of love being complacency, good is the proper object of it. Now God, being good infinitely, originally, and eternally, is to be loved in the first place, and nothing loved beside him, but what is loved for him. Love is the first and great thing that God demands from us, and therefore the first and great thing that we should devote to him
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1730). Peabody: Hendrickson.
Ephesians 5:25–27 The duty of the wives is to obey their husbands. The duty of the husband is to love his wife. The word for “love” here is agapoō (ἀγαποω), referring to the love that God is (I John 4:8), that God showed at Calvary (John 3:16), and the love that the Holy Spirit produces in the heart of the yielded believer (Gal. 5:22). This is a self-sacrificial love, a love that impels the one loving to give himself in self-sacrifice for the well-being of the one who is loved. The husband has three other kinds of love for his wife, a love of passion (erōs (ἐρως)), a love of complacency and satisfaction (stergō (στεργω)), and a fondness or affection (phileō (φιλεω)). All these are saturated with the agapaō (ἀγαπαω) love of the Spirit-filled husband, purified and made heavenly in character.
Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 4, p. 131). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
“Think not, either because you have got abundance or are in the way of getting, that therefore you are safe enough; for this is becoming vain in robbery, that is, cheating yourselves while you think to cheat others.” He that trusted in the abundance of his riches strengthened himself in his wickedness (Ps. 52:7); but at his end he will be a fool, Jer. 17:11. Let none be so stupid as to think of supporting themselves in their sin, much less of supporting themselves in this sin. Nay, because it is hard to have riches and not to trust in them, if they increase, though by lawful and honest means, we must take heed lest we let out our affections inordinately towards them: “Set not your heart upon them; be not eager for them, do not take a complacency in them as the rest of your souls, nor put a confidence in them as your portion; be not over-solicitous about them; do not value yourselves and others by them; make not the wealth of the world your chief good and highest end: in short, do not make an idol of it.”
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 831). Peabody: Hendrickson.
He is gracious. This bespeaks both freeness and kindness; it intimates not only that he has a compassion to his creatures, but a complacency in them and in doing good to them, and this of his own good-will, and not for the sake of any thing in them. His mercy is grace, free grace; this teaches us to be not only pitiful, but courteous, 1 Pt. 3:8.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 145). Peabody: Hendrickson.
[It is doubless a mercy to be “babes in Christ,” if we be really such. But what parent in the universe, however pleased with the birth of a child, would take pleasure in it, if, instead of growing towards manhood, it always retained its infantine weakness and stature? Can God then behold with complacency such a monster in his family? Does he not expect that, from “children we become young men, and from young men we advance to be fathers in his Church?” Let us then have our “spiritual senses exercised:” let us endeavour to have them matured “by use and habit;” let us get a nice “discernment of good and evil.”
Simeon, C. (1833). Horae Homileticae: 2 Timothy to Hebrews (Vol. 19, pp. 224–225). London: Holdsworth and Ball.
Love of complacency not in us until born again.
[Much as “he abhors all the workers of iniquity,” he will retain no unkind thought towards us: on the contrary, “he will love us,” approving our spirit, accepting our services, and “rejoicing over us to do us good.” The Lord Jesus Christ also says, “And I will love you.” A love of benevolence he felt towards us when we were yet enemies; but now he will feel a love of complacency, even such a love as shall make him attentive to our every want, our every concern
Simeon, C. (1833). Horae Homileticae: John XIII to Acts (Vol. 14, p. 49). London: Holdsworth and Ball.
That is, we are brought to God according to all that He is. His whole moral nature having been completely satisfied in the death of Christ, He can now rest in us in perfect complacency.
Pink, A. W. (1962). Gleanings in Exodus (p. 116). Chicago: Moody Press.
God takes complacency in the first fruit offerings.
he will require offerings and first-fruits, and will accept them, v. 40. What he does not require he will not accept, but what is done with a regard to his precepts he will be well pleased with. He will accept them with their sweet savour, or savour of rest (v. 41), as being very grateful to him and what he takes a complacency in; whereas, to hypocritical worshippers, he says, I will not smell in your solemn assemblies
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1380). Peabody: Hendrickson.
Hebrews 11:28-29 Fourth, the believer has “received” the kingdom of glory by the embraces of hope. In Scripture, the grace of “hope” is something far better than a vague longing for something we do not yet possess: it is a sure expectation, a definite assurance of what God has promised. Hope supplies a present anticipation of the future realization. Faith believes, hope enjoys those things which God has prepared for them that love Him. Therefore hope is called the “anchor of the soul … which entereth into that within the veil” (Heb. 6:19), for it lays hold on that glory which is there laid up for us. Hope is the taster of our comforts, and excites the same delight and complacency as the fruition itself will impart—the same in kind, though not in degree.
Pink, A. W. (1954). An exposition of Hebrews (p. 1082). Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot.
To “the righteous” who are delivered from the power of sin—
[They are justly deemed “righteous,” who, in the habit of their minds, and the general tenour of their lives, are devoted to God. Allowed sin, of whatever kind it were, would exclude us from this number, and mark us as children of the devil: but if we be really clothed with the Redeemer’s righteousness, and “walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit,” we need not fear to take to ourselves this honourable appellationa. And if this character be ours, the Lord loves us, not merely as he does sinners in general, with a love of pity, but with a love of complacency: “he joys over us with joy, he rests in his love, he joys over us with singing.”
Simeon, C. (1836). Horae Homileticae: Psalms, LXXIII–CL (Vol. 6, p. 504). London: Samuel Holdsworth.
Love of complacency is a worthy disposition.
In like manner must we act towards those who injure us. We must bear with them, and do them good according to our ability: and it is by such conduct only that we can approve ourselves his children. Let us not, however, be misunderstood: it is not necessary that we should deal with such persons altogether as our friends: for even God himself does not do that: he comes to his own people in a more intimate manner, and “sups with them,” and “makes his abode with them,” and “manifests himself unto them as he does not unto the world.” Thus also may we do. There is a love of benevolence, a love of beneficence, and a love of complacency, if we may so speak: the two former must be exercised towards all: the last may fitly be reserved for those who alone possess the dispositions worthy of it. Such a preference God himself authorizes, when he says, “Do good unto all men, but especially unto them who are of the household of faith
Simeon, C. (1832–1863). Horae Homileticae: Matthew (Vol. 11, p. 162). London: Holdsworth and Ball.
Acts that flow from a love of complacency in the heart are called acts of complacency.
Second. At his entrance he was received, and the price accepted which he paid for our souls. Hence it is said, he entered in by his blood-that is, by the merit of it. ‘To receive’ is an act of complacency and delight, and includeth well-pleasedness in the person receiving, who is God the Father; and considering that this Jesus now received is to be received upon our account, or as undertaking the salvation of sinners-for he entered into the heavens for us-it is apparent that he entered thither by virtue of his infinite righteousness, which he accomplished for us upon the earth.
Bunyan, J. (2006). Light for them that Sit in Darkness (Vol. 1, p. 418). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
Love of complacency is better felt than defined.
(v. 8): O taste and see that the Lord is good! The goodness of God includes both the beauty and amiableness of his being and the bounty and beneficence of his providence and grace; and accordingly, (1.) We must taste that he is a bountiful benefactor, relish the goodness of God in all his gifts to us, and reckon that the savour and sweetness of them. Let God’s goodness be rolled under the tongue as a sweet morsel. (2.) We must see that he is a beautiful being, and delight in the contemplation of his infinite perfections. By taste and sight we both make discoveries and take complacency. Taste and see God’s goodness, that is, take notice of it and take the comfort of it, 1 Pt. 2:3. he is good, for he makes all those that trust in him truly blessed; let us therefore be so convinced of his goodness as thereby to be encouraged in the worst of times to trust in him.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 788). Peabody: Hendrickson.
2. His co-existence with the Father: The Word was with God, and the Word was God. Let none say that when we invite them to Christ we would draw them from God, for Christ is with God and is God; it is repeated in v. 2: the same, the very same that we believe in and preach, was in the beginning with God, that is, he was so from eternity. In the beginning the world was from God, as it was created by him; but the Word was with God, as ever with him. The Word was with God, (1.) In respect of essence and substance; for the Word was God: a distinct person or substance, for he was with God; and yet the same in substance, for he was God, Heb. 1:3. (2.) In respect of complacency and felicity. There was a glory and happiness which Christ had with God before the world was (ch. 17:5), the Son infinitely happy in the enjoyment of his Father’s bosom, and no less the Father’s delight, the Son of his love, Prov. 8:30. (3.) In respect of counsel and design. The mystery of man’s redemption by this Word incarnate was hid in God before all worlds, Eph. 3:9. He that undertook to bring us to God (1 Pt. 3:18) was himself from eternity with God; so that this grand affair of man’s reconciliation to God was concerted between the Father and Son from eternity, and they understand one another perfectly well in it, Zec. 6:13; Mt. 11:27. He was by him as one brought up with him for this service, Prov. 8:30. He was with God, and therefore is said to come forth from the Father.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (pp. 1915–1916). Peabody: Hendrickson.
“To this man will I look, even to him that is of a broken and contrite spirit, and that trembleth at my word.” Yes, God himself will look upon you with complacency, and “all the angels around his throne rejoice in your behalf.” Be of good comfort, then: and look to that Saviour “whose blood will cleanse you from all sin:” and fear not, but that in Him you shall be justified from all the iniquities that you have ever committed.]
Simeon, C. (1832). Horae Homileticae: Jeremiah to Daniel (Vol. 9, p. 506). London: Holdsworth and Ball.
Love to brother and sisters in Christ.
We must add brotherly-kindness, a tender affection to all our fellow-christians, who are children of the same Father, servants of the same Master, members of the same family, travellers to the same country, and heirs of the same inheritance, and therefore are to be loved with a pure heart fervently, with a love of complacency, as those who are peculiarly near and dear to us, in whom we take particular delight, Ps. 16:3. 7
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 2434). Peabody: Hendrickson.
To prevent misapprehension, let me again say, that the exercise of love is not to be confined to the saints, but only to be maintained towards them in a superior degree. A love of benevolence and beneficence is due to all: a love of complacency is due to the saints alone: and towards them it should be exercised to such an extent, that we should be willing even to “lay down our lives for them.
Simeon, C. (1833). Horae Homileticae: 2 Timothy to Hebrews (Vol. 19, p. 120). London: Holdsworth and Ball.
Yet, doubtless, we must with a more especial affection “love the brotherhood.” The saints, to whatever nation or sect they belong, ought to be dear to us: for with God there is no respect of persons: there is neither Jew, nor Greek, Barbarian, Scythian, bond, nor free; but all are regarded as one in Christ Jesus.” They are all members of his mystical body, yea, “members one of anothers:” and though we are to “do good unto all men,” there is a special obligation upon us to do good unto “them that are of the household of faith.” Towards the world we should feel a love of benevolence: but towards the saints, a love of complacency. We are united to them in the closest bonds; and should “love them with a pure heart, fervently” and intensely.
Simeon, C. (1833). Horae Homileticae: James to Jude (Vol. 20, pp. 204–205). London: Holdsworth and Ball.
(1.) The method God put them into for salvation and strength. The God that knew them, and knew what was proper for them, and desired their welfare, gave them this prescription; and it is recommended to us all. [1.] Would we be saved from the evil of every calamity, guarded against the temptation of it and secured from the curse of it, which are the only evil things in it? It must be in returning and rest, in returning to God and reposing in him as our rest. Let us return from our evil ways, into which we have gone aside, and rest and settle in the way of God and duty, and that is the way to be saved. “Return from this project of going down to Egypt, and rest satisfied in the will of God, and then you may trust him with your safety. In returning (in the thorough reformation of your hearts and lives) and in rest (in an entire submission of your souls to God and a complacency in him) you shall be saved.”
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1135). Peabody: Hendrickson.
Philein (Φιλειν) is used in John 16:27 where God the Father takes pleasure in and loves those believers who take pleasure in His Son and therefore love Him. It is a love of friendly affection. The Father finds the same kind of love for the Son in the hearts of the saints that is in His own heart for His Son, a love called out of the heart because of the pleasure one takes in the object loved. This is a natural love of complacency as agapan (ἀγαπαν) in John 3:16 is a love of pity (John 16:27, 5:20). These instances of the use of philein (φιλειν) will suffice as illustrations to guide the Bible student in his study of those places where philein (φιλειν) occurs.
Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 18, pp. 121–122). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
And it is a great mercy when God, in his providence, saves us out of the dwelling-places where we have sinned, and keeps us from harm by keeping us out of harm’s way, in answer to our prayer, Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 2. By changing the disposition of their mind: “I will cleanse them (v. 28); that is, I will sanctify them, will work in them an aversion to the pollutions of sin and a complacency in the pleasures of holiness, and then you may be sure they will not defile themselves any more with their idols.” Those whom God has cleansed he will keep clean
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1413). Peabody: Hendrickson.
“His heart’s eudokia (εὐδοκια) (desire) is that in which his heart could rest with complacency; that which would be a perfect satisfaction to it.… His inmost desire and his supplication to God are in their interest, with a view to their salvation.”
Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 2, p. 172). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
[In respect of external appearance, there is no difference between a child of God and any other person: but in reality, as they are viewed by God, they are widely dissimilar. In the one God beholds his own image: in the other, the image of the wicked one. On the one he looks with pleasure and complacency: the other he views afar off, with utter disdain. To the one his ears are open, to hear their every request: “the sacrifices of the other are an abomination to himu.”
Simeon, C. (1833). Horae Homileticae: James to Jude (Vol. 20, pp. 122–123). London: Holdsworth and Ball.
The bestowment of his Divine complacency; so that he not only “receives us graciously,” but “loves us freely” (Hos. 14:2, 4). He feels toward us the love and the delight which a father feels toward the children of his heart and his home.
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1910). Leviticus (p. 67). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
The permissive decree is a decree (a) not to hinder the sinful self-determination of the finite will and (b) to regulate and control the result of the sinful self-determination. “God’s permissive will,” says Howe (Decrees, lect. 1), “is his will to permit whatsoever he thinks fit to permit or not to hinder; while what he so wills or determines so to permit, he intends also to regulate and not to behold as an idle unconcerned spectator, but to dispose all those permissa unto wise and great ends of his own.” It should be observed that in permitting sin, God permits what he forbids. The permissive decree is not indicative of what God approves and is pleasing to him. God decrees what he hates and abhors when he brings sin within the scope of his universal plan (Calvin 1.18.3–4). The “good pleasure” (eudokia) in accordance with which God permits sin must not be confounded with the pleasure or complacency (agapē) in accordance with which he promulgates the moral law forbidding sin. The term good pleasure has the meaning of pleasure in the phrase be pleased or please to do me this favor. What is asked for is a decision to do the favor. The performance of the favor may involve pain, not pleasure; it may require a sacrifice of pleasure on the part of the one who is to “be pleased” to do it. Again, when the permissive decree is denominated the divine will, the term Will is employed in the narrow sense of volition, not in the wide sense of inclination. The will of God, in this case, is only a particular decision in order to some ulterior end. This particular decision, considered in itself, may be contrary to the abiding inclination and desire of God as founded in his holy nature; as when a man by a volition decides to perform a particular act which in itself is unpleasant in order to attain an ulterior end that is agreeable. Again, in saying that sin is in accordance with the divine will, the term Will implies “control.” As when we say of a physician, “the disease is wholly at his will.” This does not mean that the physician takes pleasure in willing the disease, but that he can cure it.
Shedd, W. G. T. (2003). Dogmatic theology. (A. W. Gomes, Ed.) (3rd ed., p. 319). Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Pub.
Their character, v. 7. They are such as are allured by the excellency of God’s loving-kindness to put their trust under the shadow of his wings. [1.] God’s loving-kindness is precious to them. They relish it; they taste a transcendent sweetness in it; they admire God’s beauty and benignity above any thing in this world, nothing so amiable, so desirable. Those know not God that do not admire his loving-kindness; and those know not themselves that do not earnestly covet it. [2.] They therefore repose an entire confidence in him. They have recourse to him, put themselves under his protection, and then think themselves safe and find themselves easy, as the chickens under the wings of the hen, Mt. 23:37. It was the character of proselytes that they came to trust under the wings of the God of Israel (Ruth 2:12); and what more proper to gather proselytes than the excellency of his loving-kindness? What more powerful to engage our complacency to him and on him? Those that are thus drawn by love will cleave to him.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (pp. 792–793). Peabody: Hendrickson.
First, conjugal love is peculiar and exclusive. It can have but one object. As the love of a mother for a child is peculiar, and can have no other object than her own child, so the love of a husband can have no other object than his wife, and the love of a wife no other object than her husband. It is a love not only of complacency and delight, but also of possession, of property, and of rightful ownership. This is the reason why jealousy in man or woman is the fiercest of all human passions. It involves a sense of injury; of the violation of the most sacred rights; more sacred even than the rights of property or life. Conjugal love, therefore, cannot by possibility exist except between one man and one woman. Monogamy has its foundation in the very constitution of our nature. Polygamy is unnatural, and necessarily destructive of the normal, or divinely constituted relation between husband and wife.
Hodge, C. (1997). Systematic theology (Vol. 3, pp. 383–384). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
“The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times;” “The commandment of the Lord is pure.” He looks upon purity wherever it is with complacency, and it has a place with him; but he is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, and evil shall not dwell with him. The things that are pure are also to be in ourselves. We are to be pure in the narrower sense. We are to be chaste in our thoughts, in our words, in our actions. More than that, we are to have chastity as a preservative and a defence to our whole nature.
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Philippians (p. 178). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
And restest in the law; that is, they took a pride in this, that they had the law among them, had it in their books, read it in their synagogues. They were mightily puffed up with this privilege, and thought this enough to bring them to heaven, though they did not live, up to the law. To rest in the law, with a rest of complacency and acquiescence, is good; but to rest in it with a rest of pride, and slothfulness, and carnal security, is the ruin of souls. The temple of the Lord, Jer. 7:4. Bethel their confidence, Jer. 48:13. Haughty because of the holy mountain, Zep. 3:11. It is a dangerous thing to rest in external privileges, and not to improve them.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 2198). Peabody: Hendrickson.
Love of complacency. He could faintly see in them his image and that of his Father. He could hear the music of heaven in their voices, and detect the language of Paradise in their conversation.
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). St. John (Vol. 2, p. 212). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
He had every thing that was charming and diverting, all sorts of melody and music, vocal and instrumental, men-singers and women-singers, the best voices he could pick up, and all the wind and band-instruments that were then in use. His father had a genius for music, but it should seem he employed it more to serve his devotion than the son, who made it more for his diversion. These are called the delights of the sons of men; for the gratifications of sense are the things that the generality of people set their affections upon and take the greatest complacency in. The delights of the children of God are of quite another nature, pure, spiritual, and heavenly, and the delights of angels.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1032). Peabody: Hendrickson.
Complacency among holy beings is mutual.
The actings of faith make it grow perfect, as the truth of faith makes it act. [5.] Such an acting faith will make others, as well as Abraham, friends of God. Thus Christ says to his disciples, I have called you friends, Jn. 15:15. All transactions between God and the truly believing soul are easy, pleasant, and delightful. There is one will and one heart, and there is a mutual complacency. God rejoiceth over those who truly believe, to do them good; and they delight themselves in him.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 2414). Peabody: Hendrickson.
“Whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him” (1 Jn 3:6); “He that doeth evil hath not seen God” (3 Jn 1:11). The inward vision thus clarified, and the whole inner man in sympathy with God, each looks upon the other with complacency and joy, and we are “changed into the same image from glory to glory.” But the full and beatific vision of God is reserved for that time to which the Psalmist stretches his views—“As for me, I shall behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness” (Ps 17:15)
Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 19). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
Complacency in his love
The blessing promised to those that do come: I will give you rest. Christ is our Noah, whose name signifies rest, for this same shall give us rest. Gen. 5:29; 8:9. Truly rest is good (Gen. 49:15), especially to those that labour and are heavy laden, Eccl. 5:12. Note, Jesus Christ will give assured rest to those weary souls, that by a lively faith come to him for it; rest from the terror of sin, in a well-grounded peace of conscience; rest from the power of sin, in a regular order of the soul, and its due government of itself; a rest in God, and a complacency of soul, in his love. Ps. 11:6, 7. This is that rest which remains for the people of God (Heb. 4:9), begun in grace, and perfected in glory.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1670). Peabody: Hendrickson.
The nature of the spark is that it is drawing. It unites. Brings together. Brings lovers closer.
The nature of the work: It is drawing, which denotes not a force put upon the will, whereby of unwilling we are made willing, and a new bias is given to the soul, by which it inclines to God. This seems to be more than a moral suasion, for by that it is in the power to draw; yet it is not to be called a physical impulse, for it lies out of the road of nature; but he that formed the spirit of man within him by his creating power, and fashions the hearts of men by his providential influence, knows how to new-mould the soul, and to alter its bent and temper, and make it conformable to himself and his own will, without doing any wrong to its natural liberty. It is such a drawing as works not only a compliance, but a cheerful compliance, a complacency: Draw us, and we will run after thee.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1954). Peabody: Hendrickson.
Saved in 2000 at age 27. Nearly immediately I fell in love with the Song and grew very fast the first two years memorizing large portions of scripture purifying my mind the started chewing on meat to soon and struggled for 12 years and Christ has me on track like always but I just took the long way around and now I love leading others closer to Christ by seeing His love reflected in Solomons love for an enemy slave girl.
I have experienced God's love to me in the Song in ways that words can't express. There are many portion of the Word where she experiences extra ordinary outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God. If you have a burning desire for a close intimate relationship with God by experiencing His Love to you over and over again at greater and greater heights, depths, lengths and breaths then The Song of Songs is where you need to be.
I can help you with this process of Growing in the experience of God's love. As of 7-23-16 I have experienced everything prior to chapter 8. The Song of Song is progressive in experience. Meaning that if you are mature then you can experience the joys and extraordinary outpourings of God's Love shed abroad in your heart.
If you are not so mature then the delights in the first chapter of the Song will satisfy your thirst for experiencing the Love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Many Christian are living in sin because they do not know how to experience God's love and get hooked on Loving Him. It feels good to be loved and to love Him. His burden is not heavy and His yoke is light, Jesus said in Matt. 10:28
I believe God wants to use me to help beautify His Bride through the Song of Solomon.
If you see the book literally you will not understand nor grasp the Love God has for you. If you see the book and the verses in it relating to Christ's love to you then I would love to show you how to experience this Love to the fullest. I will pray for you daily and guide you every step of the way.
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
I grew up going to church but was a hypocrite. I lived my life how I chose but went to church on Sunday because my family went.
Mom and Dad divorced when I was about 5.
About this time I was sexually abused by "Bob" a made up name. This incident changed my life for the worst. I had no clue how to deal with it.
As I got older I grew in my hatred for Bob. I didn't blame anyone of my family because I was to young to know any better. Some of what happened during the abuse was in a bathroom. So overtime I would use the bathroom and look at my private parts that night would replay in my mind. My hatred for Bob would continue to grow each time.
Now I know this only happened to me one night. I can't image the pain other's go through who have had this happen to them over and over. Even as I write this now I cry with many tears for those hurting. God love you even though you may not know it or feel it. Go to Him in your time of need.
I was a really bad teenager. I only cared about myself and not even my family. I always came first in my mind. Even at the expense of hurting others. I was growing in my hatred for God by now.
I was going to church and was learned that God was in control. I thought well, if God was in control then He must have let me be sexually abused. I didn't understand this, How could a good and loving God allow this. I hated Him for it. My hatred for Bob grew as well. I was still using the bathroom and memories kept coming back. My heart grew even harder for Bob and God. As far as I was concerned God would have nothing to do with my life so I lived even worse. I thought I would be in jail or dead and I really didn't care, I thought it could be much worse than reliving your painful past over and over again. Little did I know that God's plan later would be to use these events to give me a burning passion for the closest most intimate love relationship with Himself through Christ mainly through the love poem in the Song of Songs in the Bible.
I remember hating Bob so much that the only thing that would relieve my pain was actually thinking he would suffer forever for what he did. I grew so much in my hatred for him that I had to continue to think that he would get even worse than what I imaged before. After some time I would only be relieved of hatred for him unless I thought he would burn in a hotter and hotter hell for all the suffering he put me through.
I never told my mom or family what happened, although I think some of them knew something had happened.
I grew up quite rebellious and even went to jail at the age of 20. I was living the fast life pursuing all my sinful desires and wanting more. It never seemed to be enough. I was quite happy in my sin but I just wanted more of it.
I lived life thinking I would die at a young age, riding motorcycle and living on the edge put me in the hospital many times and I should have been dead.
California at age 26.
I moved to California for a job opportunity at the age of 27. While trying to figure out what radio stations to program in my car, I ran across a RC Sproul talking about "people who have the faith that saves and people who only say that have faith" only the people who have the faith that saves will go to heaven. I thought "I don't think I have the faith that saves because my life was so bad." I searched the scriptures to try to get this faith. I found a church and thought people there could help me get this faith that saves. All along God kept showing me how sinful I was and that I deserved punishment from Him for living my life hating Him.
One weekend I read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John desperately trying to find out how to get this faith that saves. By now I knew that if you had the faith that saves that Jesus would be saving you from a life of sin. I still liked my sin and Jesus sure wasn't saving me from a life of sin, so I rightly concluded that I didn't have the faith that saves.
By the time I got to John, I saw "believe" everywhere. John 3:16 and other verses and wow the whole book was written so that you may believe. John 20:31 "these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." So at night I would pray "I believe Jesus died for me, I believe, I believe. This was just an intellectual belief. I knew that in history and the Bible that Jesus died for everyone, so I believed it. But this belief did not change my life.
I would go on night after night saying the same prayer only to wake up the next day wanting to fulfill my sinful desires. The prayer wasn't working so I started to word it different each time hoping some prayer would work. After about 2 weeks of this I was fed up with it all, nothing was happening. I still was living in my sin and wanted more of it. A Christian hates their sin and does something about it, and certainly they don't continue to make plans to sin. The prayers weren't working so I gave up. I thought to myself "God, I tried with all my might, I searched the Scriptures, went to church, read the Bible and prayed all to no avail. If Im going to be saved your going to have to do it because I tried."
So I quit praying but still the Bible kept calling me so I read more. 3 Days later I was laying in a tanning bed and God convicted me really hard that I had offended Him by the life I was living. I was so scared of God, where could I run. You can't hide from God. It seemed like forever that I was under these terrors of being punished by a Holy Angry God. This lasted about 10 minutes then this is how I understood it. God let me understand that all that anger that He had for me for all my sin should come my way but He had poured that anger out on Jesus 2,000 years ago. I immediately started weeping an couldn't stop for about 20 minutes. All the sins that I could think of I confessed for that 20 minutes one after another after another, I was so sorrowful and grieved it physically hurt inside.
After I stopped crying I thought that was the weirdest thing that ever happened. I walked out of the tanning salon and stood outside and everything seemed so beautiful, the tree's, the birds, even the air seemed pleasant. Now I was really wondering what was going on.
I pondered all of this as I drove to work that day. I brought my Bible to work and was thinking what am I doing, I want to take my Bible to work so I can read it. As soon as I got to work I started reading my Bible. I couldn't believe what I was reading!! It all was so wonderful. It felt so good to just read my Bible. My client showed up and as I was training them the only thing I could think about was getting back to my Bible. I read all night and slept about 2 hours and was reading again.
I had sinful things in my apartment and I rounded everything evil up and threw it in the garbage. It was weird I was thinking but it felt good so I left it all in the garbage. I called my girlfriend to break it up and she thought I had another girl, I said no, I just think this is wrong we shouldn't be sleeping together. She didn't understand so I told her I was a Christian now and she still thought I had another girlfriend. She said "Im glad your a Christian, so am I" I thought to myself, "I have a strong conviction that sleeping together is wrong and she thought it was okay" I wondered how she could think that. Anyway we broke up.
I kept reading my bible and repenting, there was so much to repent of and I had lived a very sinful life. I was a thief for some part of my life and all the people I stole from kept coming to mind. I owed so much money. I was instantly in debt about $80,000. As I could I paid them back. As of 7-18-2016 I still owe about $25,000 but it sure is a joy to be paying them back.
The first week of being saved a car just about ran me over, they hit me but I wasn't hurt at all. The guy in the car felt so bad. I just looked at him and said "God bless you and have a great day, I am okay" smiled at him and moved on. Now I was really wondering what was going on because I normally would have cussed him out left and right and instead of cussing I blessed him. That was so weird. But again it felt good. I learned to do good by what my conscience told me was good and that it felt good. I got hooked on this feeling good by doing good and did it more often.
About two weeks after being saved I thought of Bob. I immediately prayed for him, something like "Lord help him.." then I stopped praying and said out loud "What am I doing?" I'm praying for a man that I hated my whole life, but it feels good and right, so I did it again. I stopped again midway in the prayer and started pacing around. I was trying to make sense of what was going on and couldn't figure it out. But again it made me happy to pray for him so I did. Bob would often come to mind when I went to the bathroom and each time I would pray for Him. The more I did this the less weird it got. And the greater my love grew for him.
I started memorizing large portions of scripture and this was wonderful because it felt like the words were cleaning my mind and as Proverbs 2:10 "For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul." I wanted more and more of this pleasantness. So I memorized even more and the joy got more and more.
Then this life changing advice came:
A friend from church told me to find a book of the Bible and really understand it. Read through the Bible and pick one and read it over and over and study it and really get it. So I started in Genesis and read through. When I got to Proverbs I really liked it so I thought that would be the book. I started by memorizing all of Proverbs chapter 3. After that I thought maybe there is a better book than Proverbs. So I read on. Then I came to Song of Solomon. I read it with quite some confusion. It wasn't as good as the other books, I didn't know why. So I bought a commentary on it. George Burrowes commentary on the Song of Solomon.
In the commentary I found that George and other saw the book as illustrating God's love to the Church. And not only illustrating it but displaying the Love of Christ better than any other book. This caught my attention big time, because I was having a burning desire for a closer relationship with God and desperately learning about His Love so that I could Love God. You see I had hated Him for so long that God used that old hard heart to spur me on in loving Him. I so much did not want to hate God anymore that I was on fire to learn to Love Him as much and as fast as possible. So here was a book that would help me do that. So I landed on the Song of Solomon. I committed to learning as much of this book as possible.
I memorized the first chapter and would repeat it often throughout the day. I didn't know much of what I was repeating but it sure made me happier and on fire for God. I grew so fast repeating the first chapter over and over again all day, like a dozen times a day at least. It felt so good and I never found any other book that caused me to weep so much. I would often weep everyday just reading it. I was to immature to know what was going on. Even though it hurt to weep so much, I felt like my heart was being cleansed from the filth that was in it by repeating it over and over again so I did. As I read the commentary I understood more and more. What God was doing in me through the Song was greater and faster than any other portion of Scripture so I tended to stay there often. I was so excited about God that I thought it funny that other's in church weren't the same way. Some where happy but it seemed most of them didn't seem to care much about God. They would talk about work, football the weather. The only thing I wanted to talk about was Jesus and God and how can I grow closer to Him.
About this time there was a mission trip to Ireland.
I started to have convictions that I should try to find Bob and witness to him. I kept praying for him but how could he be saved if he hadn't heard the Gospel that has power unto salvation. So I asked family if they had any information. Like me before, my family hated him and thought he deserved hell. After some time I got his name but no location or phone number. Either they didn't know where he was or didn't want to tell me. I prayed some more and then started to get stronger convictions to do something about finding Bob.
So I went on the internet and typed in "his name and child molestation sex offender court" thinking that some court record would have some info leading to where I may find him" I even talked to a private eye and he couldn't help. So I googled some key words and spent hours each day looking through each page. I believed it was God's will for me to witness to Bob. I wanted him to be saved. Really bad. So much so that I thought God would save Bob if I were to witness to him. So I didn't stop searching for him. I kept my computer on each day and went page by page. It took two years to go through about 15,000 pages but I found someone who matched his name in a prison for molesting his grandchildren. I wrote the prison and he wrote back. All kinds of emotions went through my body when I saw his letter from the jail. I didn't open it right away but two hours later God gave me enough courage to face my fears again and I opened the letter. He admitted to being the one who molested me. We wrote back and forth I told him I was angry before but now I was saved and that I loved him and believed God wanted me to talk to him. He read my letters over and over again. I shared the gospel in each one.
I got mad at Bob 2x. Once he said that he love me. I got really angry with him. He didn't love me. That night it was hard to love Bob, I had to call a friend to pray for me to repent, after he prayed I felt greater love for Bob. Then I wrote him back saying "I'm sorry but you can't say that you loved me. You did not love me you lusted after me." He admitted he didn't love as he should have and admitted that it was lust and sinful. Finally some conviction. Yet I only thought he was saying that because I was being nice to him. All his family had left him and he said I was the only "friend" he had.
Wether or not it was true Bob said that he had cancer in his arm and that the help the prison gives was not enough and if he had money he could see a different doctor and get help. I sent him some money and since I was in jail before I knew what it was like to be in there without money, so I sent him money.
About 4-5 months in the economy went down, it was 2008. Work was hard. I still sent him money and I had to work harder. This was a really good lesson for me because I had to "work hard for the benefit of someone who did not deserve it." This was one of the greatest blessing ever because I realized with great certainty that Jesus was in me. This is what Jesus did. Jesus worked his whole life for me and I didn't deserve it!! Christ was in me! This was one of the best feelings ever and it put me in worship for months.
Then a mission trip to Croatia.
Each time I had to leave my business and amazing as it is I was completely okay each time. I am a self employed personal trainer and it is normally absurd to just leave and start over, but each time I had enough work within 2 weeks of coming back. This is a flat out miracle. I trusted God to provide and he did. How many people can start up a business in 2 weeks. Only with the help of God. God was teaching me early on in my walk that as long as I did what He wanted me to do then I had nothing to worry about.
About 3 years saved now.
I Taught the 4 year old's at church Sunday morning for 10 years.
Left my business 2x for mission trips and God miraculously provided when I came back.
I taught 5 x a week plus held a job.
Sunday morning to the kids.
Sunday night with the 5th graders
Friday afternoons at Good News Clubs. Sponsored by Child Evangelism Fellowship.
Friday Nights with the Kids teaching through Pilgrims Progress, I did this 2x
Teaching Monday afternoons at a nursing home. I taught through the Song of Songs once then John, then Romans then back to the Song again! I love the Song of Songs.
I grew up hating God for what happened to me, and now I love Him because He first loved me. My passion is for children to grow up loving God and not hating Him.
My other passion which has become ever greater is to help others see the Love of Christ to His Church in the Song of Songs!!
I would love to help you, just let me know and I will lead you and pray for you.
God demonstrates His love to us in sending His one and only Son to suffer in our place, taking our sins upon Himself so that whoever believes they get to heaven because of what He did for us will not perish but have everlasting life.