Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Bondage of Sin

"For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity."  - Acts 8:23

Sin is not fully understood by most, even those who profess Christ do not thoroughly understand this deadly poison. It is the bondage to sin that keeps sinners from being able to simply choose to believe in and follow Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Peter exposed Simon the sorcerer for what he really was, even though he claimed to believe and was baptized {Acts 8:13}. How many today profess, as Simon did, to believe and undergo baptism and yet are in the gall of bitterness and the bondage of iniquity? Countless sinners are on the broad road and yet insist they are saved simply because they repeat prayers or follow the 'Roman road', or countless other methods of salvation. They continue on day in and day out sinning against God and never come under conviction to the point of repentance. A broken and contrite heart is a heart that sees its own vileness, this is the one who has been set free from the power of sin.  Those who continue in willful rebellion against God will face His wrath. I am not speaking of sinless perfection, no one will attain sinless perfection this side of heaven. We are commanded to strive for holiness and to kill sin, those who have been born again will do just that.

Peter knew Simon was still in bondage to sin because he'd tried to buy the authority to lay hands on people. Simon wanted this supernatural power and he was willing to pay for it. He was not born again, for if he had been, he would have known his money was useless and he would not have desired wrongly for such power.  Simon desired to rob God of glory by attempting to purchase a supernatural power only God possesses. Perhaps he wanted such power to further enhance his sorceries,  this is merely speculation on my part.
 Peter points to Simon's ignorance in Acts 8:20, 'But Peter said to him, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!' Salvation is not attainable by any human effort, you cannot buy it, earn it, or obtain it by any work; it is a gift given by God to those He chooses.
 Peter exclaims 'you are in the gall of bitterness', meaning what? John Gill explains in his commentary, "Alluding to Deu_29:18 with which compare Heb_12:15 and signifying, that he was in a state of nature and unregeneracy; under the power and dominion of covetousness, ambition, and hypocrisy; and in a way pernicious to himself, infectious to others, and ungrateful to God, and to good men; and that instead of the root of the matter, the truth of grace being in him, there was nothing in him but the bitter root of sin; which bore gall and wormwood, and everything that was nauseous and disagreeable."
 Gall is likened to poison, it is defined as 'bile, wormwood - which means bitterness and is associated with curses and poison. To put it simply, it is deadly. What kind of deadly poison filled Simon? A bitterness, an extreme wickedness; this is how sin is defined by God.  Bitterness is from the Greek word πικρία and is translated pikria, meaning 'acridity' {sharp, bitter to the taste or smell}. Pikria comes from the root word pikros meaning 'piercing, sharp, pungent, bitter'. Sin pierces, it is bitter, foul, drank down by all like water without understanding the horrible 'aftertaste', the results it brings: it poisons from the inside out.
Matthew Henry rightly says this concerning the 'gall of bitterness', "Now the character here given of Simon is really the character of all wicked people. First, They are in the gall of bitterness—odious to God, as that which is bitter as gall is to us. Sin is an abominable thing, which the Lord hates, and sinners are by it made abominable to him; they are vicious in their own nature. Indwelling sin is a root of bitterness, that bears gall and wormwood, Deu. 29:18. The faculties are corrupted, and the mind embittered against all good, Heb. 12:15. It intimates likewise the pernicious consequences of sin; the end is bitter as wormwood."
 Peter goes on to say 'in the bondage of sin'. He knew from Simon's foolish actions that he was still unregenerate, now he points to Simon's bondage, which is why he attempted to buy the Holy Spirit.
Bondage is from the Greek word σύνδεσμος and is translated sundesmos. This word is defined as a union, a bond, that which binds together.  Sundesmos is made up from two words, sun - denoting union with or together- and desmon desmos - shackled, chain, prisoner. This describes sin's  grip of death and its hold on every sinner ever born. We are shackled to sin, chained to it with no humanly possible way of breaking free. The evidence of this is seen in our thoughts, actions, words, motives, feelings, and understanding. There is not a part of us that is not tainted by sin and imprisoned to it. To understand this is to cherish what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for those who believe on the cross.
For more on the bondage of sin, we turn once again to John Gill's excellent commentary, " referring to Pro_5:22 and suggesting, that he was held fast bound in the bonds of sin, and with the cords of iniquity, or was entirely under the government of his lusts: the preposition εις, which we render "in", may retain here, as is by some observed, its proper sense of "for", or "into"; and have the same signification it has in Heb_1:5 "I will be to him for a father", or "a father", and "he shall be to me for a son", or "a son": and then the sense of Peter is, I plainly perceive and clearly see by thy words and actions, that thou art nothing else but a lump of bitter gall, and a bundle of sin and wickedness."
Sinners will never see the beauty of the cross if they are not told of their own vileness and their inability to free themselves from sin. They need to be told of their status before a holy God; we are all wicked and unclean, despised, repulsive, utterly disgusting and profane before a God who is holy, pure, undefiled, set apart. The Lord Jesus Christ took the wrath of God upon Himself when He bore the sins of His people in His own flesh, when He gave Himself, even unto death, so that God the Father would be appeased.  He was sinless, holy, the perfect sacrifice for sin; we could never appease God's hatred of our filth. The fact that God slaughtered His own Son should terrify those who continue on in sin, for if God did so to His own Son, what will He do to rebellious sinners who hear this news of Christ's sacrifice and their hopeless condition and yet continue on in sin? May sinners cry out for mercy, may the bondage to sin be broken through the Lord Jesus Christ...may God be gracious to rebellious, wicked sinners who love sin, who cling to sin, and have no power over it. Sin controls all and takes many an unsuspecting soul to Hades each day; sin will definitely take you farther than you want to go and in the end, you will be destroyed by it and because of it. God desires mercy, it pleases Him to save those who cry out to Him for mercy.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Will you betray the Son of man with a kiss?

As I read this devotion, I thought of all those who verbally profess Christ and turn around and betray Him in how they live. Charles Spurgeon gives much to think about this day with this devotion...

"Betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?"—Luke 22:48.

HE kisses of an enemy are deceitful." Let me be on my guard when the world puts on a loving face, for it will, if possible, betray me as it did my Master, with a kiss. Whenever a man is about to stab religion, he usually professes very great reverence for it. Let me beware of the sleek-faced hypocrisy which is armour-bearer to heresy and infidelity. Knowing the deceivableness of unrighteousness, let me be wise as a serpent to detect and avoid the designs of the enemy. The young man, void of understanding, was led astray by the kiss of the strange woman: may my soul be so graciously instructed all this day, that "the much fair speech" of the world may have no effect upon me. Holy Spirit, let me not, a poor frail son of man, be betrayed with a kiss!
But what if I should be guilty of the same accursed sin as Judas, that son of perdition? I have been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus; I am a member of His visible Church; I sit at the communion table: all these are so many kisses of my lips. Am I sincere in them? If not, I am a base traitor. Do I live in the world as carelessly as others do, and yet make a profession of being a follower of Jesus? Then I must expose religion to ridicule, and lead men to speak evil of the holy name by which I am called. Surely if I act thus inconsistently I am a Judas, and it were better for me that I had never been born. Dare I hope that I am clear in this matter? Then, O Lord, keep me so. O Lord, make me sincere and true. Preserve me from every false way. Never let me betray my Saviour. I do love Thee, Jesus, and though I often grieve Thee, yet I would desire to abide faithful even unto death. O God, forbid that I should be a high-soaring professor, and then fall at last into the lake of fire, because I betrayed my Master with a kiss.

from Spurgeon

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Does God desire all men to be saved?

The title of this post stems from a conversation with another believer concerning the doctrine of election. This was a verse used to state God desires everyone to be saved, but does He? If this were true, then why aren't all men saved?

'who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.'
- 1 Timothy 2:4

You have to break down the verse to get the actual meaning of the text, so we will. 'Who desires', defined by Thayer as 'to will, to purpose'. Strong's defines 'desires' as 'to determine', Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary defines it as 'to will'. Was there ever a time in the Bible when God willed something and it did not come to pass? Why is it if God wills all men to be saved they aren't? Has God failed, is He not sovereign, is His power not enough to save all of men? God is sovereign, His power is beyond human comprehension; God could save everyone who ever lived if that were His will, but we know that's not the case.

Next it says 'all men'; Thayer's defines 'all' as 'some of all types', Strong's definition states 'as many as' and Mounce's Dictionary states this about 'pas' {the Greek word for all} 'pas generally means 'each, every' in the singular, 'all' in the plural. For example, in 1 Cor. 15:22 Paul writes, for as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive'. His emphasis here is on two 'all' groups, the all group that dies because of Adam's sin {i.e., every single human being} and the all group that lives in Christ {i.e., those who believe in Him}.'- Mounce's Dictionary pg. 13
The definition found in Thayer's most accurately describes the content of this verse, which we will see more clearly when we get to commentary from John Gill.

The word 'all' does not mean everyone every time we see it in Scripture, as was pointed out in Mounce's dictionary. Another example is found in Matthew 28:19, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit". Did the Lord mean that every person from every nation should be discipled and baptized? Of course not, the Bible teaches that the broad way is wide and many are on it, which proves that all does not mean every person who ever lived.

This is commentary from John Gill concerning 'all men'-
" hence by all men, whom God would have saved, cannot be meant every individual of mankind, since it is not his will that all men, in this large sense, should be saved, unless there are two contrary wills in God; for there are some who were before ordained by him unto condemnation, and are vessels of wrath fitted for destruction; and it is his will concerning some, that they should believe a lie, that they all might be damned; nor is it fact that all are saved, as they would be, if it was his will they should; for who hath resisted his will? but there is a world of ungodly men that will be condemned, and who will go into everlasting punishment: rather therefore all sorts of men, agreeably to the use of the phrase in 1Ti_2:1 are here intended, kings and peasants, rich and poor, bond and free, male and female, young and old, greater and lesser sinners; and therefore all are to be prayed for, even all sorts of men, because God will have all men, or all sorts of men, saved".

God wills that sinners from all walks of life and every part of the globe be saved {not every person whose ever lived} - this is the 'all men' Paul was referring to in the text.


I need to add what I discovered when reading Revelation 5:9, 'And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.' The word 'every' in this verse is the same Greek word found in 1 Timothy 2:4 - 'pas'. This describes who God saves - men from all/every tribe {race, clan, kindred}, tongue {the language or dialect used by a particular people distinct from that of other nations}, people and nation {a multitude of individuals of the same nature or genus}. This shows us more clearly who God saves; sinners from all parts of the globe and all walks of life, which is what the Apostle Paul states in 1 Timothy 2:4 when he used the same Greek verb, 'pas', saying God saves 'some of all types'.

A right understanding of man's total depravity opens up a right understanding of the doctrines of grace, which includes the doctrine of election.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Praying Calvinist

"Since grace is the source of the life that is mine
and faith is a gift from on high
I'll boast in my Savior, all merit decline,
and glorify God 'til I die"

{pg. 179 'the doctrines of grace'}

*One way true Calvinists demonstrate the complete dependence of a submissive will is by making a commitment to the life of prayer. Prayer is not a way of getting God to do what we want him to do, rather, it is a way of submitting to God's will in all things. True prayer is prostration before the sovereignty of God, and Calvinism simply maintains this posture all through life. From B.B. Warfield, "The Calvinist is the man who is determined to preserve the attitude he takes in prayer in all his thinking, in all his feeling, in all his doing...other men are Calvinists on their knees; the Calvinist is the man who is determined that his intellect and heart and will shall remain on their knees continually, and only from this attitude think and feel and act".

*pg. 190-191 of Dr. Boice's book 'The Doctrines of Grace'

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

If Sinners could, they would hurl God from His throne

Thanks to Grace gems for this...

Henry Law, "Forgiveness of Sins" 1875)

"The carnal mind is enmity against God!"
Romans 8:7

If the sinner's power were equal to his will--

he would invade the heaven of heavens, and
hurl God from His throne! Man's secret
chambers of imagination swarm with
thoughts tainted with dislike of . . .
His name,
His nature,
His perfections,
His cause,
His people,
His Word,
His scepter,
His kingdom,
His Christ.

Sin has strong inclinations, and they all
are arrayed against God's righteous ways.

Sin has an ungodly bias towards the
abominable things which God hates!

"The carnal mind is enmity against God!"

Monday, March 12, 2012

A perfect prayer to start the day...

I read this over at Christina's blog and was so very blessed, this morning prayer says it all, I encourage you to visit Christina's blog and read her post connected with this prayer...