I would like to focus this response on the first of the three things which Ursinus wrote are necessary in order for one to enjoy this comfort referenced in Lord's Day #1.
1. I understand the "enjoying" to mean for the professing believer's assurance
of the great salvation promised in Christ.
2. What predominates my thoughts on this first item is what our Lord Christ said:
John 16:8,9 (ASV) "And he, when he is come, will convict the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me;"
3. The world in total does not acknowledge the person nor the work of God's Christ who was sent into this world to redeem a people for himself in order to reconcile them to God, for they are His enemies, to atone for their sins by offering himself in their place, to impute to them his own perfect righteousness, and to give to them the Holy Spirit to dwell within them in order to sanctify them in holiness. The ONLY way anyone will ever know and also desire these things is if FIRST they are shown "how great their sins and miseries are".
4. This is accomplished by the sovereign and secret work of the Holy Spirit when a sinner is regenerated, made alive spiritually through the true Gospel message. It is then that they are given eyes to see and a mind to comprehend these naturally hidden truths about themselves. In other words, the new nature created by the Spirit reveals, in part, how God knows them. When this happens, the person is smitten with deep guilt over a) how wretched they are, b) how odious are their thoughts, words and lives in every aspect without exception. They suddenly realize as did Paul, "there is no good thing that dwells within me" (Rom 7:18). And, because of their sinfulness, they are under the just condemnation and wrath of God.
5. This genuine conviction of sin drives
the person to the Lord Jesus Christ for they realize that He is their only hope, both in the deliverance of their miserable condition, but also that He and He alone can supply the needed righteousness which God demands. He becomes to them "altogether lovely" (Song 5:16). And they are thus drawn with irresistible cords of love to Him and embrace Him with a true faith and dependence. THIS is true, biblical conversion.
6. What grieves me today, indescribably so, is how little these truths are known due to the lack of teaching and preaching them in the modern church. All one need do is peruse most church websites and read their "statement of faith" and their "way of salvation" sections, which are variously named and it will become painfully obvious that there is little to no mention of the necessity of "knowing how great my sins and miseries are". Typically, all one reads is that all one needs to do is to profess they are a sinner, or they haven't lived a perfect life, etc., etc. After that is done, a person only needs to confess that Jesus is God, and that He was crucified, buried and rose from the dead. Some don't even require that to be acknowledged. And then the person is assured
that they are saved. Yet, these "converts" have never experienced the life-giving work of the Spirit which begins with a deep sense of conviction and guilt and subsequently repent of their sins and whole-heartily run to Christ and cling to Him for pardon, forgiveness and the power to live a life of holiness which is pleasing to God.
7. I find something which Calvin wrote very interesting too. He wrote (paraphrased) that he was not sure which came first; the knowledge of the one true God or a knowledge of one's sinfulness. Methinks that the two are inseparable for they are two sides of the same coin and they compliment each other. Both are needed as they exemplify the infinite gulf which exists between sinful man and the thrice holy God.
8. Lastly, although a tome could be written on this subject alone, The biblical understanding of the incredible love and grace of God can only be truly understood when one realizes just how miserable a person they are by nature. And that from all eternity, God in His infinite wisdom, love and grace set His eyes upon ME
and determined to save ME
of all the people's of the earth and to adopt ME
as His son.
Psalms 40:1-5 (ASV) "<<For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.>> I waited patiently for Jehovah; And he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay; And he set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: Many shall see it, and fear, And shall trust in Jehovah. Blessed is the man that maketh Jehovah his trust, And respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. Many, O Jehovah my God, are the wonderful works which thou hast done, And thy thoughts which are to us-ward; They cannot be set in order unto thee; If I would declare and speak of them, They are more than can be numbered."