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

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Being content with Christ


Before your conversion, before God wrought upon your souls, you were contented with the world without grace, though you had no interest in God nor Christ; why cannot you now be contented with grace and spiritual things without the world? If you yourselves were content with the world without grace, there is reason you should be content with grace without the world. Certainly there is infinitely more reason. You see that many men of the world have a kind of contentment; they do not murmur or repine with the world, though they have no interest in God and Christ. Then cannot you have as much contentment with God and Christ, without the world, as they can, with the world, without God and Christ? It is an infinite shame that this should be so.~Jeremiah Burroughs~
from 'the rare jewel of Christian Contentment'


HT- Old Guys



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Lovers of God love His people

This comes from a blog that I recommend highly...the 'old guys'
 
 
If we are lovers of God, we love what God loves….
(b) We love a saint, though he has many personal failings. There is no perfection here. In some, rash anger prevails; in some, inconstancy; in some, too much love of the world. A saint in this life is like gold in the ore, much dross of infirmity cleaves to him, yet we love him for the grace that is in him. A saint is like a fair face with a scar: we love the beautiful face of holiness, though there be a scar in it. The best emerald has its blemishes, the brightest stars their twinklings, and the best of the saints have their failings. You that cannot love another because of his infirmities, how would you have God love you? {emphasis mine}
~Thomas Watson~

Friday, January 25, 2013

a sinner doesn't 'decide' for Christ

 

 
 
 
“[The] term ‘decide’ has always seemed to me to be quite wrong…A sinner does not ‘decide’ for Christ; the sinner ‘flies’ to Christ in utter helplessness and despair saying —
Foul, I to the fountain fly,
Wash me, Saviour, or I die.
No man truly comes to Christ unless he flies to Him as his only refuge and hope, his only way of escape from the accusations of conscience and the condemnation of God’s holy law. Nothing else is satisfactory. If a man says that having thought about the matter and having considered all sides he has on the whole decided for Christ, and if he has done so without any emotion or feeling, I cannot regard him as a man who has been regenerated. The convicted sinner no more ‘decides’ for Christ than the poor drowning man ‘decides’ to take hold of that rope that is thrown to him and suddenly provides him with the only means of escape. The term is entirely inappropriate.”
- D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981)
taken from: Preaching and Preachers, Zondervan, 1972, pp. 279-280.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Saved from spiritual cancer, content with physical cancer

 

 
by on 2010-03-19
Ayla has cancer and was recently saved by the Grace of God. She went through struggles with homosexuality/bisexuality, and ultimately with her selfish desires until the Lord broke her of self and led her to Christ alone. She recently died and went to be with Christ on January 11, 2013



 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The new birth

Regeneration or The New Birth by A.W. Pink

Chapter 1 - Its Necessity


1. The need for regeneration lies in our natural degeneration. In consequence of the fall of our first parents, all of us were born alienated from the Divine life and holiness, despoiled of all those perfections wherewith man’s nature was at first endowed. Ezekiel 16:4, 5 gives a graphic picture of our terrible spiritual plight at our entrance into this world: cast out to the loathing of our persons, rolling ourselves in our own filth, impotent to help ourselves. That "likeness" of God (Gen. 1:26) which was at first stamped on man s soul, has been effaced, aversion from God and an inordinate love of the creature having displaced it. The very fountain of our beings is polluted, continually sending forth bitter springs, and though those streams take several courses and wander in various channels, yet are they all brackish. Therefore is the "sacrifice" of the wicked an abomination to the Lord (Prov. 15:8), and his very ploughing "sin" (Prov. 21:4).
There are but two states, and all men are included therein: the one a state of spiritual life, the other a state of spiritual death; the one a state of righteousness, the other a state of sin: the one saving. the other damning; the one a state of enmity, wherein men have their inclinations contrary to God, the other a state of friendship and fellowship, wherein men walk obediently unto God, and would not willingly have an inward notion opposed to His will. The one state is called darkness, the other light: "For ye were (in your unregenerate days, not only in the dark, but) darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord" (Eph. 5:6). There is no medium between these conditions; all are in one of them. Each man and woman now on earth is either an object of God’s delight or of His abomination. The most benevolent and imposing works of the flesh cannot please Him. but the faintest sparks proceeding from that which grace hath kindled are acceptable in His sight.
By the fall man contracted an unfitness to that which is good. Shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin (Ps. 51: 5), man is a "transgressor from the womb" (Isa. 48:8): "they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies" (Ps. 58:3), and "the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth" (Gen. 8:21). He may be civilized, educated, refined, and even religious, but at heart he is "desperately wicked" (Jer. 17:9), and all that he does is vile in the sight of God, for nothing is done from love to Him, and with a view to His glory. "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit" (Matt. 7:18). Until they are born again, all men are "unto every good work reprobate" (Titus 1:16).
By the fall man contracted an unwillingness to that which is good. All motions of the will in its fallen estate, through defect of a right principle from whence they flow and a right end to which they tend, are only evil and sinful. Leave man to himself, remove from him all the restraints which law and order impose, and he will swiftly degenerate to a lower level than the beasts, as almost any missionary will testify. And is human nature any better in civilized lands? Not a whit. Wash off the artificial veneer and it will be found that "as in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man" (Prov. 27:19). The world over, it remains solemnly true that "the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Rom. 8:7). Christ will prefer the same charge in a coming day as when He was here on earth: "Men loved darkness rather than light" (John 3:19). Men will not come to Him that they might have "life."
By the fall man contracted an inability to that which is good. He is not only unfitted and unwilling, but unable to do that which is good. Where is the man that can truthfully say he has measured up to his own ideals? All have to acknowledge there is a strange force within dragging them downward, inclining them to evil, which, notwithstanding their utmost endeavors against it, in some form or other, more or less, conquers them. Despite the kindly exhortations of friends, the faithful warnings of God’s servants, the solemn examples of suffering and sorrow, disease and death on every side, and the vote of their own conscience, yet they yield. "They that are in the flesh (in their natural condition) cannot please God" (Rom. 8:18).
Thus it is evident that the need is imperative for a radical and revolutionary change to be wrought in fallen man before he can have any fellowship with the thrice holy God. Since the earth must be completely changed, because of the curse now resting on it, before it can ever again bring forth fruit as it did when man was in a state of innocency; so must man, since a general defilement from Adam has seized upon him, be renewed, before he can "bring forth fruit unto God" (Rom. 7:4). He must be grafted upon another stock, united to Christ, partake of the power of His resurrection: without this he may bring forth fruit, but not "unto God." How can any one turn to God without a principle of spiritual motion? How can he live to God who has no spiritual life? How can he be fit for the kingdom of God who is of a brutish and diabolical nature?
2. The need for regeneration lies in man’s total depravity. Every member of Adam’s race is a fallen creature, and every part of his complex being has been corrupted by sin. Man’s heart is "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked" (Jer. 17:9). His mind is blinded by Satan (2 Cor. 4:4) and darkened by sin (Eph. 4:18), so that his thoughts are only evil continually (Gen. 6:5). His affections are prostituted, so that he loves what God hates, and hates what God loves. His will is enslaved from good (Rom. 6:20) and opposed to God (Rom. 8:7). He is without righteousness (Rom. 3:10), under the curse of the law (Gal. 3:10) and is the captive of the Devil. His condition is truly deplorable, and his case desperate. He cannot better himself, for he is "without strength" (Rom. 5:6). He cannot work out his salvation, for there dwelleth no good thing in him (Rom. 7:18). He needs, then, to be born of God, "for in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation" (Gal. 6:15).
Man is a fallen creature. It is not that a few leaves have faded, but that the entire tree has become rotten, root and branch. There is in every one that which is radically wrong. The word "radical" comes from a Latin one which means "the root," so that when we say a man is radically wrong, we mean that there is in him, in the very foundation and fiber of his being, that which is intrinsically corrupt and essentially evil. Sins are merely the fruit, there must of necessity be a root from which they spring. It follows, then, as an inevitable consequence that man needs the aid of a Higher Power to effect a radical change in him. There is only One who can effect that change: God created man, and God alone can re-create him. Hence the imperative demand, "Ye must be born again" (John 3:7). Man is spiritually dead and naught but all-mighty power can make him alive.
"By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men" (Rom. 5:12). In the day that Adam ate of the forbidden fruit, he died spiritually, and a person who is spiritually dead cannot beget a child who possesses spiritual life. Therefore, all by natural descent enter this world "alienated from the life of God" (Eph. 4:18), "dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1). This is no mere figure of speech, but a solemn fact. Every child is born entirely destitute of a single spark of spiritual life, and therefore if ever it is to enter the kingdom of God, which is the realm of spiritual life (Rom. 14:17), it must be born into it.
The more clearly we are enabled to discern the imperative need of regeneration and the various reasons why it is absolutely essential in order to a fallen creature being fitted for the presence of the thrice holy God, the less difficulty are we likely to encounter when we endeavor to arrive at an understanding of the nature of regeneration, what it is which takes place within a person when the Holy Spirit renews him. For this reason particularly, and also because such a cloud of error has been cast upon this vital truth, we feel that a further consideration of this particular aspect of our subject is needed.
Jesus Christ came into this world to glorify God and to glorify Himself by redeeming a people unto Himself. But what glory can we conceive that God has, and what glory would accrue to Christ, if there be not a vital and fundamental difference between His people and the world? And what difference can there be between those two companies but in a change of heart, out of which are the issues of life (Prov. 4:23): a change of nature or disposition, as the fountain from which all other differences must proceed—sheep and goats differ in nature. The whole mediatorial work of Christ has this one end in view. His priestly office is to reconcile and bring His people unto God; His prophetic, to teach them the way; His kingly, to work in them those qualifications and bestow upon them that comeliness which is necessary to fit them for the holy converse and communion with the thrice holy God. Thus does He "purify unto Himself a peculiar people zealous of good works" (Titus 2:14).
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived" (1 Cor. 6:9). But multitudes are deceived, and deceived at this very point, and on this most momentous matter. God has warned men that "the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jer. 17:9), but few will believe that this is true of them. Instead, tens of thousands of professing Christians are filled with a vain and presumptuous confidence that all is well with them. They delude themselves with hopes of mercy while continuing to live in a course of self-will and self-pleasing. They fancy they are fitted for Heaven, while every day that passes finds them the more prepared for Hell. It is written of the Lord Jesus that "He shall save His people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21), and not in their sins: save them not only from the penalty, but also from the power and pollution of sin.
To how many in Christendom do these solemn words apply, "For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful" (Ps. 36:2). The principal device of Satan is to deceive people into imagining that they can successfully combine the world with God, allow the flesh while pretending to the Spirit, and thus "make the best of both worlds." But Christ has emphatically declared that "no man can serve two masters" (Matt. 6:24). Many mistake the force of those searching words: the true emphasis is not upon "two," but upon "serve"—none can serve two masters. And God requires to be "served"—feared, submitted unto, obeyed; His will regulating the life in all its details, see 1 Samuel 12:24, 25. "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve" (Matt. 4:10).
3. The need for regeneration lies in man’s unsuitedness to God. When Nicodemus, a respectable and religious Pharisee, yea, a "master in Israel," came to Christ, He told him plainly that "except a man be born again" he could neither see nor enter the "kingdom of God" (John 3:3, 5 )—either the Gospel-state on earth or the Glory-state in Heaven. None can enter the spiritual realm unless he has a spiritual nature, which alone gives him an appetite for and capacity to enjoy the things pertaining to it; and this, the natural man has not. So far from it, he cannot so much as "discern" them (1 Cor. 2:14). He has no love for them, nor desire after them (John 3:19). Nor can he desire them, for his will is enslaved by the lusts of the flesh (Eph. 2:2,3). Therefore, before a man can enter the spiritual kingdom, his understanding must be supernaturally enlightened, his heart renewed, and his will emancipated.
There can be no point of contact between God and His Christ with a sinful man until he is regenerated. There can be no lawful union between two parties who have nothing vital in common. A superior and an inferior nature may be united together, but never contrary natures. Can fire and water be united, a beast and a man, a good angel and vile devil? Can Heaven and Hell ever meet on friendly terms? In all friendship there must be a similarity of disposition; before there can be communion there must be some agreement or oneness. Beasts and men agree not in a life of reason, and therefore cannot converse together. God and men agree not in a life of holiness, and therefore can have no communion together (Condensed from S. Charnock).
We are united to the "first Adam" by a likeness of nature; how then can we be united to the "last Adam" without a likeness to Him from a new nature or principle? We were united to the first Adam by a living soul, we must be united to the last Adam by a quickening Spirit. We have nothing to do with the heavenly Adam without bearing an heavenly image (1 Cor. 15:48, 49). If we are His members, we must have the same nature which was communicated to Him, the Head, by the Spirit of God, which is holiness (Luke 1:35). There must be one "spirit" in both: thus it is written, "he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit" (1 Cor. 6:17). And again God tells us, "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His" (Rom. 8:9). Nor can anything be vitally united to another without life. A living head and a dead body is inconceivable.
There can be no communion with God without a renewed soul. God is unable on His part, with honour to His law and holiness, to have fellowship with such a creature as fallen man. Man is incapable on his part, because of the aversion rooted in his fallen nature. Then how is it possible for God and man to be brought together without the latter experiencing a thorough change of nature? What communion can there be between Light and darkness, between the living God and a dead heart? "Can two walk together, except they be agreed? (Amos 3:3). God loathes sin, man loves it; God loves holiness, man loathes it. How then could such contrary affections meet together in an amicable friendship? Sin has alienated from the life of God (Eph. 4:18), and therefore from His fellowship; life, then, must be restored to us before we can be instated in communion with Him. Old things must pass away, and all things become new (2Cor. 5:17).
Gospel-duties cannot be performed without regeneration. The first requirement of Christ from His followers is that they shall deny self. But that is impossible to fallen human nature, for men are "lovers of their own selves" (2Tim. 3:2). Not until the soul is renewed, will self be repudiated. Therefore is the new-covenant promise, "I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh" (Ezek. 11:19). All Gospel duties require a pliableness and tenderness of heart. Pride was the condemnation of the Devil (1 Tim. 3:6), and our first parents fell through swelling designs to be like unto God (Gen. 3:5).Ever since then, man has been too aspiring and too well opinionated of himself to perform duties in an evangelical strain, with that nothingness in himself which the Gospel requires. The chief design of the Gospel is to beat down all glorying in ourselves, that we should glory only in the Lord (1 Cor. 1:29-31); but this is not possible till grace renews the heart, melts it before God, and moulds it to His requirements.
Without a new nature we cannot perform Gospel-duties constantly. "They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh" (Rom. 8:5). Such a mind cannot long be employed upon spiritual things. Prickings of conscience, terrors of Hell, fears of death, may exert a temporary influence, but they do not last. Stony-ground may bring forth blades, yet for lack of root they quickly wither away (Matt. 13). A stone may be flung high into the air, but ultimately it falls back to the earth; so the natural man may for a time mount high in religious fervor, but sooner or later it shall be said of him, as it was of Israel, "their heart was not right with Him, neither were they stedfast in His covenant" (Ps. 78:37). Many seem to begin in the Spirit, but end in the flesh. Only where God has wrought in the soul, will the work last forever (Eccl. 3:14: Phil. 1:6).
As regeneration is indispensably necessary to a Gospel-state, so it is to a state of heavenly glory. It seems to be typified by the strength and freshness of the Israelites when they entered into Canaan. Not a decrepit and infirm person set foot in the promised land: none of those that came out of Egypt with an Egyptian nature, and desires for the garlic and onions thereof, with a suffering their old bondage, but dropped their carcasses in the wilderness; only the two spies who had encouraged them against the seeming difficulties. None that retain only the old man, born in the house of bondage; but only a new regenerate creature, shall enter into the heavenly Canaan. Heaven is the inheritance of the sanctified, not of the filthy: ‘that they may receive an inheritance among them which are sanctified through faith that is in Me’ (Acts 26:18). Upon Adam’s expulsion from paradise, a flaming sword was set to stop his reentering into that place of happiness. As Adam, in his forlorn state, could not possess it, we also, by what we have received from Adam, cannot expect a greater privilege than our root. The priest under the law could not enter into the sanctuary till he was purified, nor the people into the congregation: neither can any man have access into the Holiest till he be sprinkled by the blood of Jesus: Hebrews 10:22" (S. Charnock).
Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. Said Christ, "I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2). For whom? For those who have, in heart, "forsaken all" to follow Him (Matt. 19:27). For those who love God (1 Cor. 2:9) love the things of God: they perceive the inestimable value and beauty of spiritual things. And they who really love spiritual things, deem no sacrifice too great to win them (Phil. 3:8). But in order to love spiritual things, the man himself must be made spiritual. The natural man may hear about them and have a correct idea of the doctrine of them, but he receives them not spiritually in the love of them (2 Thess. 2:10), and finds not his joy and happiness in them. But the renewed soul longs after them, not by constraint, but because God has won his heart. His confession is "Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee" (Ps. 73:25). God has become his chief good, His will his only rule, His glory his chief end. In such an one, the very inclinations of the soul have been changed.
The man himself must be changed before he is prepared for Heaven. Of the regenerate it is written, "giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light" (Col. 1:12). None are "made meet" while they are unholy, for it is the inheritance of the saints; none are fitted for it while they are under the power of darkness, for it is an inheritance in light. Christ Himself ascended not to Heaven to take possession of His glory till after His resurrection from the dead, nor can we enter Heaven unless we have been resurrected from sin. "He that hath wrought (polished) us for the self-same thing (to be clothed with our Heavenly house) is God," and the proof that He has done this is, the giving unto us "the earnest of the Spirit" (2 Cor. 5:5); and where the Spirit of the Lord is "there is liberty" (2 Cor. 3:17), liberty from the power of indwelling sin, as the verse which follows clearly shows.
"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God" (Matt. 5:8). To "see" God is to be introduced into the most intimate intercourse with Him. It is to have that "thick cloud" of our transgressions blotted out (Isa. 44:22), for it was our iniquities which separated between us and our God (Isa. 58:2). To "see" God, here has the force of enjoy, as in John 3:36. But for this enjoyment a "pure heart" is indispensable. Now the heart is purified by faith (Acts 15:9). for faith has to do with God. Thus, a "pure heart" is one that has its affections set upon things above, being attracted by "the beauty of holiness" (Ps. 17:15). But how could he enjoy God who cannot now endure the imperfect holiness of His children, but rails against it as unnecessary "strictness" or puritanical fanaticism? God’s face is only to be beheld in righteousness.
"Follow peace with all, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" (Heb. 12:14). None can dwell with God and be eternally happy in His presence unless a radical change has been wrought in him, a change from sin to holiness. This change must be, like that introduced by the fail, one which reaches to the very roots of our beings, affecting the entire man: removing the darkness of our minds, awakening and then pacifying the conscience, spiritualizing our affections,, converting the will, reforming our whole life. And this great change must take place here on earth. The removal of the soul to Heaven is no substitute for regeneration. It is not the place which conveys likeness to God. When the angels fell. they were in Heaven, but the glory of God’s dwelling place did not restore them. Satan entered Heaven (Job 2:1), but he left it still unchanged. There must be a likeness to God wrought in the soul by the Spirit before it is fitted to enjoy Heaven.
"Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor. 15:50). If the body must be changed ere it can enter Heaven, how much more so the soul, for "there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth" (Rev. 21:27). And what is the supreme glory of Heaven? Is it freedom from toil and worry, sickness and sorrow, suffering and death? No: it is, that Heaven is the place where there is the full manifestation of Him who is "glorious in holiness"—that holiness which the wicked, while presumptuously hoping to go to Heaven, despise and hate here on earth. The inhabitants of Heaven are given a clear sight of the ineffable purity of God and are granted the most intimate communion with Him. But none are fitted for this unless their inner being (as well as outer lives) have undergone a radical, revolutionizing, supernatural change.
Can it be thought that Christ will prepare mansions of glory for those who refuse to receive Him into their hearts and give Him the first place in their lives down here? No, indeed; rather will He "laugh at their calamity and mock when their fear cometh" (Prov. 1:26). The instrument of the heart must be tuned here on earth to fit it to produce the melody of praise in Heaven. God has so linked together holiness and happiness (as He has sin and wretchedness) that they cannot be separated. Were it possible for an unregenerate soul to enter Heaven, it would find there no sanctuary from the lashings of conscience and the tormenting fire of God’s holiness. Many suppose that nothing but the merits of Christ are needed to qualify them for Heaven. But this is a great mistake. None receive remission of sins through the blood of Christ, who are not first "turned from the power of Satan unto God" (Acts 26:18). God subdues their iniquities whose sin He casts into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19). Pardoning sins and purifying the heart are as inseparable as the blood and water which flowed from the Saviour’s side (John 19:34).
Our being renewed in the spirit of our mind and our putting on of the new man "which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph. 4:23, 24), is as indispensable to a meetness for Heaven, as an having the righteousness of Christ imputed to us is for a title thereto. "A malefactor, by pardon, is in a capacity to come into the presence of a prince and serve him at his table, but he is not in the fitness till his noisome garments, full of vermin be taken off" (S. Charnock). It is both a fatal delusion and wicked presumption for one who is living to please self to imagine that his sins have been forgiven by God. It is "the washing of regeneration" which gives evidence of our being justified by grace (Titus 3:5-7). When Christ saves, He indwells (Gal. 2:20), and it is impossible for Him to reside in a heart which yet remains spiritually cold, hard, and lifeless. The supreme pattern of holiness cannot be a Patron of licentiousness.
Justification and sanctification are inseparable: where one is absolved from the guilt of sin, he is also delivered from the dominion of sin, but neither the one nor the other can be until the soul is regenerated. Just as Christ’s being made in the likeness of sinflesh was indispensable for God to impute to Him His people’s sins (Rom. 8:3), so it is equally necessary for us to be made new creatures in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) before we can be legally made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21). The need of our being made "partakers of the Divine nature" (2 Pet. 1:4) is as real and as great as Christ’s taking part in human nature, ere He could save us (Heb. 2:14-17). "Except God be born, He cannot come into the kingdom of sin. Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of righteousness. And Divine power—the power of the Holy Spirit, the plenipotentiary and executant of all the will of Godhead—achieves the incarnation of God and the regeneration of man. that the Son of God may be made sin, and the sons of God made righteous" (H. Martin).
How could one possibly enter a world of ineffable holiness who has spent all his time in sin, i.e., pleasing self? How could he possibly sing the song of the Lamb if his heart has never been tuned unto it? How could be endure to behold the awful majesty of God face to face, who never before so much as saw Him "through a glass darkly" by the eye of faith? And as it is excruciating torture for the eyes that have been long confined to dismal darkness, to suddenly gaze upon the bright -beams of the midday sun, so it will be when the unregenerate behold Him who is Light. Instead of welcoming such a sight "all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him" (Rev. 1:7); yea, so overwhelming will be their anguish, they will call to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us. and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb" (Rev. 6:17). And, my reader, that will be your experience, unless God regenerates you!
When the Lord Jesus said "That which is born of the flesh is flesh" (John 3:6) He not only intimated that every man born into this world inherits a corrupt and fallen nature, and therefore is unfit for the kingdom of God; but also that this corrupt nature can never be anything else but corrupt, so that no culture can fit it for the kingdom of God. Its tendencies may be restricted, its manifestations modified by education and circumstances, but its sinful tendencies and affections are still there. A corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit, prune and trim it as you may. For good fruit, you must have a good tree or graft from one. Therefore did our Lord go on to say, "And that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

We aren't saved by believing a creed...

This is from J. R. Miller and Grace Gems...

"Do not be amazed that I said to you: You must be born again!" John 3:7

That which makes one a Christian, is not . . .
the agreeing with Christ's teachings,
the uniting with His Church,
the adoption of His morals,
the espousing of His cause--
but the receiving of Him as our personal Lord and Savior, and entering into a covenant of eternal friendship with Him. We are not saved by believing a creed which gathers up in a few golden sentences, the essence of the truth about Christ's person and work--we must have the Christ Himself, whom the creed holds forth, in His radiant beauty and grace!
Many people think that being a Christian is . . .
to pray a few moments morning and evening,
to read a daily chapter or two in the Bible,
and to attend church on Sundays.
These duties are important as means of grace--but they are not true religion. Real religion is living out the principles of Christianity in one's ordinary week-day life. It is getting the Bible and the prayers and the services--into our thoughts and acts and character.
We must not cut our lives in two, and call one part secular, governing it by one set of principles--and regarding the other part as sacred, to be controlled by another set of rules. All of life is to be made sacred in the sense that everything is to be done in such a way as to please God, under the direction of His counsel. We have just as much true religion as we get into our week-day life, and not a whit more!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Satisfaction of Christ

from Studies in the Atonement
By A. W. Pink



"In approaching this solemn and sacred mystery we should do so with awe and reverence, remembering it is rather a subject of faith and adoration than of reasoning and arguing; a sanctuary open indeed to the meek and sorrowful, to the earnest and contrite, but always to be approached with solemnity and godly fear" (A. Saphir). It is written, "The meek will he guide in judgment; and the meek will he teach his way" (Ps. 25:9). The "meek" are they who have no confidence in the flesh, who lean not unto their own understanding, whose dependence is in and upon God alone.
The source of the Atonement or Satisfaction of Christ is God. This of necessity, for only God can produce that which satisfies Himself. Men can no more provide that which will meet the requirements of God's holiness and justice against their sins than they can create a universe: "None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give a ransom for him" (Ps. 49:7). A perfect law can only be kept by a perfect creature. One who has been rendered impotent by sin is "without strength" (Rom. 5:6) to do anything that is good; therefore deliverance must come from without himself: "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us" (Rom. 8:3,4).
"In the beginning, God" (Gen. 1:1). Such words at the commencement of Holy Writ are worthy of their Divine Author. God is both the Alpha and Omega. He is the Beginning and the End of everything, for "of him, and through him, and to him, are all things" (Rom. 11:36). Nothing can exist apart from God. In creation, in providence, and in redemption, God is the Beginning. But for God, not a creature would have had being. But for God, not a creature could continue for a moment, for "in Him we live, and move, and have our being." But for God's direct permission, sin could not have entered the world; and but for His will in determining, His grace in providing, His power in securing, His Spirit in applying, there bad been no satisfaction made for the failed responsibilities of His people.
Yes, God and God alone is the Source of the great and glorious Atonement. His will was the determining factor, His love the motive-spring, His righteousness the incentive, His manifested glory the end. In humbly attempting to amplify the several members of the preceding sentence, we earnestly cry with one of old, "That which I see not teach thou me" (Job 34:32). May it please the God of all grace to prepare the hearts of both writer and reader to contemplate the supernal glories of the Divine character.
1. THE WILL OF GOD
Of necessity this must be the starting-point when considering the ultimate source of anything, for God "worketh all things after the counsel of his own will" (Eph. 1:11). It is nowhere said that He worketh all things according to "the requirements of His holiness," though God does not and cannot do that which is unholy. There is no conflict between the Divine will and the Divine nature, yet it needs to be insisted upon that God is a law unto Himself. God does what He does, not simply because righteousness requires Him so to act, but what God does is righteous simply because He does it. All the Divine works issue from mere sovereignty.
"Creation could be nothing else but a sovereign act. To deny sovereignty here, would be to deny sovereignty altogether: for, if the created universe came into being, and is what it is, as a necessary consequence of a 'First Cause,' that first cause could not be a person, could not be endowed with freedom of will, could not be God. Besides, if the existence of this first cause necessitated the existence of the universe, it must have done so from all eternity. There could have been no beginning of the created universe.
"Redemption, as well as creation, must also be a purely sovereign determination of the Divine will. This is required by the necessities of the case, as well as plainly declared in Scripture. No doctrine of Redemption that in any way casts the slightest shadow over the high mountain of Divine Sovereignty can be tolerated for a moment. All theologies that in any manner teach or imply that there was any obligation upon God to do this or that for fallen, rebellious subjects of law, are unscriptural, unreasonable, if not blasphemous. Divine sovereignty is to be recognized as determined to save any fallen ones, in determining who should be saved, in 'choosing,' raising up,' and 'delivering up' the Savior, and in the Savior's giving of Himself; but this Sovereign Redemption once determined, was wrought out under law, and in exact accordance with law" (Dr. J. Armour, "Atonement and Law," 1917).
What follows may be deemed to savor of metaphysics, yet do we feel it to be called for in view of modem slanderers of God. Even some who are regarded as quite orthodox have drawn a broad distinction, almost a gulf, between the nature of God and the will of God, failing to perceive that God's will is an essential part of His nature. Some have descended so low as to affirm there is in the very nature of things a standard of right which exists independently and apart from God, according to which He Himself acts, must act. Such a conception is not only degrading, but blasphemous. Others who have not adopted this insulting figment, have, nevertheless, been injuriously infected by it, and suppose that God's nature, as quite distinct from His will, is what determines His actions.
There is nothing determined by the nature of God which is not determined by the will of God. "When we affirm that God is holy, we do not mean that He makes right right, by simply willing it, but that He wills it because it is right. There must be, therefore, some absolute standard of righteousness" -is how a so-called Bible teacher has recently expressed himself. Even if it be said that the "absolute standard of righteousness" is the Divine nature, if by this be meant God's nature as separate from His determining will, the expression is, to say the least, faulty and misleading. The will of God is an essential part of His nature, and therefore His will is "the absolute standard of right." The will of God is not something related, dependent and determined; but is sovereign, imperial, regnant.
God Himself is the ultimate and absolute standard of righteousness. Man is commanded to recognize a standard of righteousness outside of and above himself, and his will and conduct must conform thereto. That standard of righteousness is the revealed will of God. But shall we reason from this that God also recognizes a standard of righteousness to which His will must be conformed, a standard which makes right right, and right being made right, He wills it because it is right? No, indeed. The truth is, that we best discover what the nature of God requires Him to do, by noting what He, by His will, actually does. When God says, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy" (Rom. 9:15), He assuredly sets before us His will, in its utmost freedom and sovereignty. But this supreme act of sovereign grace is the act of God Himself, an act into which the whole nature of God (His will being included in that nature) moved Him.
We fail to trace anything to its original source unless we track it right back to the sovereign will of God. This is true alike of creation, of providence, and of redemption. God was not obliged to have created this world; He did so simply because it so pleased Him (Rev. 4:10). Having created it, when Adam fell, He could have well left the whole race to perish in its sins, and would have done so, unless His sovereign will had, previously, determined otherwise. Justice did not require Him to intervene in mercy, for as the righteous Governor of the world, He might have proceeded to uphold the authority of His law by exacting its penalty upon all the disobedient, and thus have given to the unfallen angels a further example of His awful vengeance. Nor did His goodness require that He should rescue any of His rebellious subjects from the misery, which they had brought upon themselves, for He had already given a complete display of thatin creation. Nor did His love, abstractly considered, demand that a Savior should be provided; had that been the case one must also have been given to the angels which fell.
It needs to be pointed out that the manifestative glory of God does not depend upon the display of any particular attribute, but rather upon the exhibition of them all, in full harmony, and on proper occasions. He is glorified when He bestows blessings upon the righteous, and is equally glorified when He inflicts Punishment on the wicked. God's manifestative glory consists in the revelation of His character to His creatures; yet this is purely optional on His part: it is quite voluntary, and contributes nothing to His happiness, and might have been withheld had He so pleased. Yet, as God always acts consistently with Himself, if He shows Himself at all to His creatures, the discovery will ever correspond to the greatness and excellency of His nature.
That the atoning death of Christ had its source in the will of God, is plainly declared in Acts 2:23, "Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God." Though accomplished in the fullness of time, it was resolved upon before time, decreed and enacted in heaven by the Eternal Three. Therefore do we read in Revelation 13:8 of "The Lamb slain from the foundation [or "founding"] of the earth." Christ was "the Lamb slain" determinately, in the counsel and decree of God (Acts 2:23); promissorily, in the word of God passed to Adam after the fall (Gen. 3:15); typically, in the sacrifices appointed immediately after the promise of redemption (Gen. 3:21; 4:4); efficaciously, in regard of the merit of it, applied by God to believers before the actual sufferings of Christ (Rom. 3:25; Heb. 9:15).
"He [God] made him [Christ, the Mediator] to be sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21): "made" or "constituted" by a Divine statute (i.e., He was ordained to enter the place of the penal condition of sinners). Had not God appointed it, the death of Christ had had no meritorious value. Once more in Hebrews 10 the efficacy of Christ's sacrifice unto the elect is traced back and directly ascribed to the eternal and sovereign will of God. In verse 7, we find Christ Himself saying, as He was about to become incarnate and enter this world, "Lo, I come to do thywill, O God"; while in verse 10 we are told, "by the which will we are sanctified [consecrated to God] through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." That which saves, or sanctifies, us is not simply the offering of Christ-for that had availed us nought if it had not been Divinely appointed-but the "will" and decree of the Eternal Three concerning that offering.
2. THE LOVE OF GOD
Love was, or better is, the motive-spring of all God's goodness and grace toward His people. He has for them an "everlasting love" (Jer. 31:3). It was "in love" that He "predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself" (Eph. 1:5). Proof of this is, that, from all eternity He, "accepted us in [not "in Christ," but] the Beloved" (Eph. 1:6)-note carefully that this declaration is given before reference is made to the forgiveness of our sins in verse 7. Had it so pleased God, He could have prevented the entrance of sin into this world, He could have restricted the progeny of Adam to the persons of His elect, and He could have taken them to heaven without their having been polluted by sin and redeemed from it, there to enjoy eternal bliss forever. That would have been an astonishing demonstration of His love for us. Yet it pleased God to grant unto His people still further, fuller, deeper, higher, manifestations of His love to and for them.
God loved His people in ordaining them to eternal life (Acts 13:48; Rom. 9:11-13), but He gave yet grander proof by suffering them to fall into a state of spiritual death, and then sending His own dear Son to redeem them out of it. Three hundred years ago Dr. Thomas Goodwin, in his incomparable exposition of Ephesians 1, pointed out that, "Had we at first been brought to that communion with Christ which we shall have in heaven after the day of judgment, without having known either sin or misery, it had been a good and blessed condition indeed; we should have infinitely rejoiced in it, and had reason to so have done. But certainly heaven will be sweeter to us by reason of our having once fallen into sin and misery, and then having a Redeemer that came and freed us from all, and then brought us to heaven. Oh, how sweet will this make heaven to be unto you!...
"I would have you observe this that it may mightily and wonderfully instance the love of God toward us. The last words of Ephesians 1:6 are that God hath accepted us in His Beloved, while the first of verse 7 are 'In whom we have redemption through his blood.' What! Was He God's Beloved, and have you redemption in Him too? Shall God sacrifice His Beloved! God chose us to be holy in heaven with Himself (v. 4), to be sons with Him there (v. 5), to delight in us there (v. 6)! Let that purpose stand: let them never come to be sinful, let Me have them up in heaven presently with My Son. One would have thought God might have said this. No, God would commend His love yet further. He would let them fall into sin; to redeem them. He would sacrifice this Beloved. He had so much love in His heart that He could commend it to us no way but by sacrificing His Beloved. How wondrously has He displayed His love!"
That love was the motive-spring which caused God to provide for His people an atoning sacrifice for their sins, is clear from the well-known words of John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son." So too in 1 John 4:9, 10, "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." Thus the sacred oracles celebrate the work of redemption as the highest and most remarkable instance and exhibition of Divine love, and direct us to behold it acted out in the highest degree and to the utmost advantage, to be seen and admired by all the elect as an exhaustless and endless source of gratitude and praise. The more unworthy and ill-deserving the objects of that love were in themselves - sinners, enemies (Rom. 5:7-10) - the more amazing that love. The greater the deliverance effected by it, and the costlier the sacrifice to procure that deliverance, the more is such love crowned. The greater the difficulties to be overcome - sin, death, the-grave - the more was that love magnified. The greater the blessings bestowed - justification, sanctification, glorification - the more is that love to be adored.
"Herein was the emphasisof Divine love to us, that 'He sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins' (1 John 4:10). It was love that He would restore men after the Fall; there was no more necessity of doing this than of creating the world. As it added nothing to the happiness of God, so the want of it had detracted nothing from it. There was no more absolute necessity of setting up man again after his breaking with God, than a new repair of the world after the destructive deluge. But that He might wind up His love to the highest pitch, He would not only restore man, but rather than let him lie in his deserved misery, would punish His own bowels to secure man from it. It was purely His grace [which is lovebestowing favors on the hell-deserving - A.W.P.] which was the cause that His Son 'tasted death for every' son, Hebrews 2:9" (S. Charnock, 1635).
3. THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD
The Atonement of Christ directs our thoughts toward God as One whose governmental holiness demanded satisfaction, whose inflexible justice insisted that its claim be fully met, and whose righteous law must be magnified and made honorable, before any resultant blessings could flow to His elect, considered as the guilty and depraved children of Adam. God can "by no means clear the guilty" (Exodus 34:7). Unlike so much that passes for it in the human realm, the love of God is not lawless; it is not exercised in defiance of righteousness. God is "light" (1 John 1:5), as well as love; and because He is such, sin cannot be ignored, its heinousness minimized, nor its guilt cancelled. True it is that, where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. Yet grace did not abound at the expense of righteousness, rather does "grace reign through righteousness'' (Rom. 5:21).
But could not God remit the sins of His people without an atoning satisfaction? This question is explicitly and authoritatively answered for us in Hebrews 9:22, "Without shedding of blood is no remission." Commenting on this in his remarkable book "The Atonement" (1871), the late Hugh Martin said, "No doubt, at first sight, this seems merely to allege a fact, without assigning a reason. It seems to intimate nothing more than the historical truth, that in point of fact God never has remitted the sins of men without shedding of blood. But if emphasis is placed on the word remission, and if a true idea is entertained of the transaction which that word represents, the proposition, 'without shedding of blood is no remission,' will be found not merely to allege the fact, but also assign a reason for that fact - to embody not only the historical verity, but the underlying principle which justifies it, and which only needs to be carefully investigated and apprehended to furnish a satisfactory answer to the question, Why should not God remit the sins of men without an Atonement?
"For, when the inspired writer affirms that without shedding of blood is no remission, it is as if he had said: You may imagine a forgiveness without shedding of blood, if you will; you may conjecture, or conjure up, some other scheme or principle of pardon; you may conceive of God as dealing with the sinner, and delivering him from the punishment due to his iniquities, without these iniquities being expiated, without the penalty incurred by them being exacted, without the law of which they are transgressors being relieved from the stain of dishonor which they had cast upon it, without any costly sacrifice, any solemn propitiation, any priceless ransom. But whatever this transaction might be, it would not be remission. Granting that it were quite possible for God to let the sinner off; to wipe out, by a mere arbitrary decree, and without any satisfaction to divine justice, the debt which the sinner had contracted; to cease from His anger toward His enemies and return to a state of friendship; to say, Your sins be forgiven you, you have nothing now to fear; all this, 'without shedding of blood,' without any sacrifice, or atonement, or expiation: still all this, whatever it might amount to, does not amount to remission. Call it what you please: be it what it may; it is not remission. It may be held up as an equivalent for it; it may be in room and lieu of it; it may be all that multitudes care to inquire after, or have ever felt the need of, or troubled themselves to seek. But, however possible it might be on God's part, however satisfactory it might be on their part, it is not remission. It may look like it. It may seem to carry with it all that the unenlightened have any thought of when thinking of remission; but real remission it is not. Without shedding of blood it is not remission.
"What the enlightened conscience of an anxious inquirer longs for is 'remission' -remission of sin. And what is that? It is removal of guilt; removal of liability to the wrath of God; removal of Criminality or ill-desert. It is a sentence of 'Not Guilty.' It is a recognition of blamelessness before the Holy One of Israel; a position and relation toward God, therefore, in which His wrath would be undue, unrighteous, impossible. That would be Remission."
We must not anticipate the ground which we hope to cover in later chapters, except to say here that, the great problem which confronted God, and which we make so bold as to say could never have been solved by either human or angelic intelligence, was, How mercy might act freely without justice being insulted, or how justice might exact its full due without mercy's hands being tied. A marvelous, perfect and completely satisfactory solution to this problem has been found and furnished in the Satisfaction made to God by the mediatorial Redeemer. It is in this satisfaction that "Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other" (Ps. 85:10). It is this satisfaction which has enabled God to be "just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Rom. 3:26).
4. THE GLORY OF GOD
Rightly has it been said that "The ultimate reason and motive of all God's actions are within Himself. Since God is infinite, eternal and unchanging, that which was His first motive in creating the universe must ever continue to be the ultimate motive or Chief end in every act concerned in its preservation and government. But God's first motive must have been just the exercise of His own essential perfections, and in their exercise the manifestation of their excellence. This was the only end which could have been chosen by the Divine mind in the beginning, before the existence of any other object" (The Atonement, Dr. A. A. Hodge). The Scriptures are very explicit on this point, "The Lord hath made all things, for himself" (Prov. 16:4). "For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things" (Rom. 11:36). "Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created" (Rev. 4:11).
The ultimate motive, therefore, which moved God to ordain Christ as Satisfaction for the failed responsibilities of His people must have been the Divine glory, and not the effects intended to be produced in the creature. But glory is manifested excellence, and moral excellence is manifested only by being exercised. The infinite justice and love of God both find their highest conceivable exercise in the sacrifice of His own Son as the Substitute of guilty men. God did ordain to have other sons beside Christ (Rom. 8:29), but it was in order that they might behold His glory (John 17:24), and that He might "be glorified in them" (John 17:10). To ordain Christ to come into this world as Man, onlyupon the occasion of man's sin and for the work of redemption, would be to subject Christ unto us, and to make our good the "end" of God's action. Such a conception is not only extremely absurd, but terribly impious. Adam was not made for Eve, but Eve for Adam; and as the woman is "the glory of the man" (1 Cor. 11:7) so the saints are called "the glory of Christ" (2 Cor. 8:23); and as the saints are Christ's, so is Christ, the Mediator, "God's" (1 Cor. 3:23).
5. THE COVENANT OF GOD
Though we have made this a heading distinct from the preceding four, yet we would point out that it is in the Everlasting Covenant we find the will, the love, the righteousness, the glory of God, united, as the moving cause or causes of the perfect provision found in the Satisfaction of Christ.
As we have insisted in previous paragraphs, had God so pleased He might never have created a single being to admire His perfections. When creatures were admitted to that wondrous spectacle, and then became guilty of dishonoring Him, He might have further revealed Himself only in wrath, pouring out the vials of His indignation upon the spot which they inhabited, and turning it into a scene of desolation. What would be the loss of a world to Him in whose eyes it is as nothing, yea, less than nothing and vanity (Isa. 40:17)?
It follows from these premises, the truth of which cannot be gainsaid, that the plan which God designed for the salvation of His elect, who by nature also shared in the ruins of Adam's fall, originated not only in His sovereign grace, but was determined solely by His own imperial will. Therefore, in contemplating the work of redemption we need to ascend to its source, and begin with the consideration of that eternal agreement between the Persons of the Godhead, on which the whole dispensation of grace to fallen men is founded. That agreement is spoken of in the Scripture as "The everlasting covenant" (Heb. 13:20).

I asked the Lord that I might grow

words - John Newton




I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.

’Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“’Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Atonement

By A.W. Pink

It is unspeakably sad that the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ-the most wonderful event that has ever happened or will happen-should have been made the occasion of contention and controversy. That it has been so, affords an awful example of human depravity. The more so, that throughout the centuries of this Christian era, some of the hottest theological battles have been waged over the vital truth of the Atonement.
Speaking generally, only two views or interpretations of the Cross have received much favor among the professed people of God: the one which affirmed that the Atonement was effected to make certain the salvation of all who believe; the other which supposed that atonement was made in order to make possible the salvation of all men. The former is the strict Calvinist view; the latter, the Arminian. Even here, the difference was not merely one of terms, but of truth over against error. The one is definite and explicit; the other indefinite and intangible. The one affirms an Atonement which actually atones (i. e. fully satisfied God for those on whose behalf it was made); the other predicates an Atonement which was a sorry failure, inasmuch as the majority of those on whose behalf it was supposed to be offered, perish notwithstanding. The logical and inevitable corollary of the one is a satisfied, because triumphant Savior; the other (if true) would lead, unavoidably, to a disappointed, because defeated Savior. The former interpretation was taught by such men as Wickcliff, Calvin, Latimer, Tyndale, Bunyan, Owen, Dodderidge, Jonathan Edwards, Toplady, Whitefield, Spurgeon, etc. The latter by men who, as theologians, were not worthy to unloose their shoes.

Of late, a new theory has been propounded to the Christian public, a theory which approximates perilously near that of the Universalists. Erroneously based upon a few texts whose scope is confined to the people of God, the view which is now rapidly gaining favor in circles which are regarded as orthodox, is to the effect that, at the Cross, the sin question was fully and finally settled. We are told, and told by men who are looked up to by many as the champions of orthodoxy, that all the sins of all men were laid upon the crucified Christ. It is boldly affirmed that at the Cross the Lamb of God did as much for those who would not believe, as He did for those who should believe on Him. It is dogmatically announced that the only grievance which God now has against any man, is his refusal to believe in the Savior. It is said that the single issue between God and the world, is not the sin question, but the Son question.

We have said that this theory of the Atonement is a new one, and new it surely is. So far as the writer is aware, it was never propounded, at least in orthodox circles, till within the last two or three decades. It appears to be another product of this twentieth century, and like most if not all other of them, it is far inferior to what went before. Yet, strange to say, an appeal is made to the Holy Scriptures in support of it. But in one way we are thankful for this, inasmuch as the Word of God supplies us with an infallible rule by which we may measure it. We shall, therefore, examine this strange and novel theory in the light of Holy Writ, and doing this, it will not be difficult to show how thoroughly untenable and fallacious it is.
 
 
 
 
continue reading here...

Monday, January 7, 2013

All that we take for granted

We had a safety meeting at work this morning, and this video was shown. We take so much for granted; being able to see, to taste, to walk and talk...and to hear. Watch this child's reaction to being able to hear his mommie's voice for the first time....



The Shallow Heart

In Jesus' parable on the soils, the second type of soil is described as rocky ground, with shallow depth. Dr. James Boice explains this type of heart in his book 'The parables of Jesus' ...


When the seed fell on this rocky ground it sank in, but only to a very shallow depth. It sprang up quickly, but it also faded quickly in the sun's heat because it had no root. Jesus later described that person,"what was sown on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. when trouble or persecution comes, he quickly falls away." {Matt. 13:20-21}
Many people fit that description; we see them in our thriving evangelical churches. Their shallow hearts are attracted to the joy and excitement of a church where much is happening. They hear the gospel and seem to fit in, many even make a profession of faith. But then some difficulty comes---loss of a job, misunderstandings with other Christians, sickness, even a bad romance---and just as suddenly as they once seemed to embrace the faith, they fall away, because they were really never born again.
Not long ago I noticed an extreme case. The newspapers reported the arrest in Lakeland Florida of a man named Joseph Paul Franklin. He was wanted for questioning about a year-long series of shootings in Salt Lake City, Johnstown {Pa.}, Fort Wayne, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, and Oklahoma City. He had grown up in a bad home, had dropped out of school at seventeen, and began getting into trouble, with several arrests for carrying concealed weapons and disorderly conduct. But then, as one magazine went on to say in tracing his early life, 'he became an Evangelical Christian'. After that, he became a Nazi and then a Ku Klux Klansmen. At one point he told friends he was going to join Ian Smith's Rhodesian Army.
I had been reading that news item with only minimal interest, but when I came to the line about his being an 'evangelical Christian' my attention picked up. I wondered why that had been slipped in and whether it was one more attempt to discredit genuine Christianity. I do not think it was; Franklin had actually gone through Christianity as one stage in his warped development, and the magazine was simply reporting that fact fairly. The tragedy is not that such a thing is reported but that there are far too many in Franklin's category within our churches. Just being in church, mouthing the things you hear other people say, does not make you a Christian. Yours may be the shallow heart, yours may be the rocky soil.

Dr. James Boice, 'the parables of Jesus' p 17, 18

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Before Thee God Who Knowest All

“Lord, be merciful unto me…for I have sinned against Thee.” Psalm 41:4

 

Before Thee, God, Who knowest all,
With grief and shame I prostrate fall,
I see my sins against Thee, Lord,
The sins of thought, of deed, and word.
They press me sore; I cry to Thee:
O God, be merciful to me!

O Lord, my God, to Thee I pray:
O cast me not in wrath away!
Let Thy good Spirit ne’er depart,
But let Him draw to Thee my heart
That truly penitent I be:
O God, be merciful to me!

O Jesus, let Thy precious blood
Be to my soul a cleansing flood.
Turn not, O Lord, Thy guest away,
But grant that justified I may
Go to my house at peace with Thee:
O God, be merciful to me!

 by Magnus Brostrup Landstad

True Repentance

I went to my nephew's basketball game last night which was held at a huge Baptist church, as we entered the gym, music from rapper Nicki Minaj was blaring out of the speakers. I will not post the lyrics to this song, if you desire to read them you may do so here. Trust me when I tell you this song is filth, and nothing more than that.  Since this is an SBC church, I am not surprised to have encountered something of this nature.
Today I received an e-mail from a sister in Christ who'd visited a church in her area and was shocked to see one of the Elder's wives wearing a blouse that was extremely low cut. When she addressed an Elder in the church, he stated this is a problem in all churches and did not know what they could do about it...welcome to the visible church in America. All this prompted me to post on true repentance, which is a work of God, not man. The false gospel of free will is sadly showing the fruit it bears, false converts who've made a decision, invited Christ into their unregenerate hearts, checked off a form which they signed and dated, and now insist they are Christian. A true regenerate knows the importance of true repentance, a false convert knows nothing of forsaking sin; it simply isn't preached in the majority of churches. Why would it be? All you have to do is choose salvation, it's that easy right? God have mercy...there is a famine in the land. We are under judgment as God withholds His truth because sinners reject and suppress that truth, and so we continue to see the circus known as the visible church spiral more and more out of control.
Let's get on with what true repentance is, from J. C. Ryle...

Repentance is a thorough change of person’s natural heart, upon the subject of sin. We are all born in sin. We naturally love sin. We take to sin, as soon as we can act and think—just as the bird takes to flying, and the fish takes to swimming. There never was a child that required schooling or education in order to learn deceitfulness, selfishness, passion, self-will, gluttony, pride and foolishness. These things are not picked up from bad companions, or gradually learned by a long course of tedious instruction. They spring up of themselves, even when boys and girls are brought up alone. The seeds of them are evidently the natural product of the heart. The aptitude of all children to these evil things is an unanswerable proof of the corruption and fall of man. Now when this heart of ours is changed by the Holy Spirit, when this natural love of sin is cast out, then takes place that change which the Word of God calls “repentance.” The person in whom the change is created is said to “repent.” They may be called, in one word, a repentant person.

 True repentance begins with a knowledge of sin. The eyes of the repentant person are opened. They see with dismay and confusion the length and breadth of God’s holy law, and the extent, the enormous extent, of their own transgressions. They discover, to their surprise, that in thinking themselves a “good sort of person,” and a person with a “good heart,” they have been under a huge delusion. They find out that, in reality, they are wicked, and guilty, and corrupt, and evil in God’s sight. Their pride breaks down. Their high thoughts melt away. They see that they are a great sinner. This is the first step in true repentance.

True repentance goes on to work sorrow for sin. The heart of a repentant person is touched with deep remorse because of their past transgressions. They are cut to the heart to think that they have lived so madly and so wickedly. They mourn over time wasted, over talents misspent, over God dishonored, over their own soul being injured. The remembrance of these things is grievous to them. The burden of these things is sometimes almost intolerable. When a person sorrows like this, you have the second step in true repentance.

 True repentance proceeds to produce confession of sin. The tongue of a repentant person is loosed. They feel they must speak to that God against whom they have sinned. Something within them tells them they must cry to God, and pray to God, and talk with God, about the state of their own soul.They must pour out their heart, and acknowledge their iniquities, at the throne of grace. They are a heavy burden within them, and they can no longer keep silent. They can keep nothing back. They will not hide anything. They go before God, pleading nothing for themselves, and are willing to say, “I have sinned against heaven and before You—my iniquity is great. God be merciful to me, a sinner!” When a person goes thus to God in confession, you have the third step in true repentance.

True repentance shows itself in a thorough breaking off from sin. The life of a repentant person is altered. The course of their daily conduct is entirely changed. A new King reigns within their heart. They put off the old man. What God commands they now desire to practice; and what God forbids they now desire to avoid. They strive in all ways to keep clear of sin, to fight with sin, to war with sin, to get the victory over sin. They cease to do evil. They learn to do well. They break off sharply from bad ways and bad companions. They labor, however feebly, to live a new life. When a person does this, you have the fourth step in true repentance.

 True repentance shows itself by producing in the heart a settled habit of deep hatred of all sin. The mind of a repentant person becomes a mind habitually holy. They abhor that which is evil, and cleaves to that which is good. They delight in the law of God. They come short of their own desires not unfrequently. They find in themselves an evil principle warring against the spirit of God. They find themselves cold when they would be hot; backward when they would be forward; heavy when they would be lively in God’s service. They are deeply conscious of their own infirmities. They groan under a sense of indwelling corruption. But still, for all that, the general bias of their heart is towards God, and away from evil. They can say with David, “I count all Your precepts concerning all things to be right, and I hate every false way” (Psalm. 119:128). When a person can say this, you have the fifth, or crowning step, of true repentance.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The word of God and its source of power



This was sent to me by a dear sister, what a blessed treat it is to read. From J. C. Philpot and Grace gems, may you read and be blessed....





God is essentially invisible. "He dwells in the light which no man can approach unto, whom no man has seen, nor can see." (1 Tim. 6:16.) When, therefore, he would make himself known to the sons of men, it must be by his works or by his words. The first way of making his power and glory known is beautifully unfolded in Psalm 19—"The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or a word; their voice is silent in the skies; yet their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to all the world." This is the testimony which God gave of himself to the Gentile world, but which, through the depravity of man's heart, has been universally misunderstood, perverted and abused, as the Apostle speaks—"since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened." (Rom. 1:19-21.)
The secret spring whence this flows, and the eternal foundation on which this rests, is the incarnation of God's dear Son. He is "the Word"—the Word emphatically, originally, essentially; and so called not only because he is the express image of the Father, as the word is the image of the thought, but because he has declared or made him known, as our uttered word makes our thoughts known. John therefore bare witness of him—"No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known." Had there, then, been no incarnate Word, there would have been no revealed word; and had there been no revealed word, there would have been no written word; for all that was revealed was not necessarily written, as John was bidden to seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. (Rev. 10:4.) And as without the incarnate Word there would have been no revealed or written word—so the power of the written word is derived from the power of the incarnate Word.


continue reading here...

Ah Lord God!

 









 Think of all the hard things there are in your life

(Susannah Spurgeon, "Words of Cheer and Comfort for Sick and Sorrowful Souls!" 1898)

"Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You!" Jeremiah 32:17

"Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for Me?" Jeremiah 32:26-27

Dear reader, your difficulties and trials may not be similar to those of "the weeping prophet," but they are very real, and seemingly insurmountable to you; and it is a fact that, of yourself, you can neither overcome nor endure them, so I want to remind you that the Lord's hand is not shortened--that what was true of His power in Jeremiah's time, is as certainly true today--and that whatever present hardship may press upon you, or whatever burden may be weighing you down--you, yes, you may look up to Him with confident faith, and say, "There is nothing too hard for You!"

Oh, the blessed peace which such an assurance brings! I do not know what your particular sorrow or hardship may be--but I do know that, whatever its nature--cruel, or bitter, or hopeless--it is as "nothing" to Him! He is able to deliver you--as easily as you can call upon Him for support and help.

Now, dear friend, think of all the hard things there are in your life:
  hard circumstances,
  difficult duties,
  grievous pains,
  sore struggles,
  bitter disappointments,
  harsh words,
  sinful thoughts,
  a hard heart of your own,
  a hard heart in others.
Gather all these, and many more together, and pile them one on another till you have one great mountain of afflictions--and your God still calmly asks the question, "Is there anything too hard for Me?"

When our hearts are weary of life's cares and crosses, when our courage flags because of our helplessness, and we cry out with the patriarch, "All these things are against me!"--what a support and stronghold is the fact that our God has all power in Heaven and on earth! There is nothing too mighty for Him to manage--there is nothing too insignificant to escape His notice! Jeremiah's faith . . .
  sees no obstacles,
  stumbles at no hindrances,
  faints under no burden,
  shrinks from no responsibilities--
because he realizes the sublime Omnipotence of God, and fortifies himself by calling to remembrance His "outstretched arm" in the creation of the Heavens and the earth. Cannot we do likewise?

I took up a book, in a leisure moment the other day, opened it carelessly, and this is what I read: "It is a scientifically proved fact, that this great globe on which we live, spins around on its axis at the rate of a thousand miles an hour, and propels through space in its orbit at a speed immensely greater!"

The thought of this, seemed almost to take away my breath! Was I calmly and constantly living in the swirl of such a stupendous miracle as this? Then surely I could say, "Ah, Lord God! there is nothing too hard for You! My little troubles and afflictions--how small they must be to You; yet with what tender compassion, do You stoop from guiding the worlds in their courses, to support and comfort the hearts of those who fear You!"

Never let us give up in despair, while we have such a God to trust in. If there is a great mountain of sorrow or difficulty in your way, dear friend--do not be cast down by the darkness of its shadow. Your God can either make a way for you through it--or He can guide you around it--or, just as easily, He can carry you right over it! There is nothing too hard for Him! Expect Him to make the crooked things straight, and to bring the high things low; and while you keep humbly at His feet, He will work wondrously, and you shall see His salvation!


from Grace Gems

Friday, January 4, 2013

the vow









What does it mean to say , 'God's true emissary is a Nazirite'? A Nazirite was one who made a special vow - the vow of one who is willing to be separated from worldly pursuits and snares; to separate himself totally so he may be put to service by the Lord. The special vow meant total abstinence, even from certain things which were not wrong in themselves and which, to other people, might actually be beneficial.
"As long as he is a Nazirite, he must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, not even the seeds or the skins". {Numbers 6:4}
Not eve the seeds or the skins? How often have we, as Christians, heard other Christians ask in reference to certain books, or pursuits, or recreations, 'what's the harm in it?' Really the question is 'what's the harm in it even it if is unprofitable?'
'Surely there is no harm in recreation?!' I have often heard this question asked, in a tone of reproach or surprise or disgust, depending on the frame of mind of the questioner. To this, I must answer, 'No, there is no harm in recreation, if by that you mean a pastime that will re-equip you for future work, and will not cause a leakage of spiritual power.' We must have a fresh in-flooding of life for soul and body too, or we will dry up and be like deserts in a desert.
The real question, however, is this: Where are we to find our fresh springs of life? "Glorious things are said of you, O city of God...All my springs [of joy] are in you!" -Ps. 87:3,7
Can you or I say the same thing truthfully? Or is it not a fact that, quite without our realizing it, certain forms of recreation have taken hold of us and hinder rather than help?
On this point I must remember that I am not dealing with the question of what is right or wrong for another, any other, but whether, as God's emissary, I have something to learn from the special vow of separation taken by the Nazirites. The essence of that vow, remember, is to abstain from things that, in themselves, were lawful and permissible but were not expedient. Even raisins were contraband. Surely there is no harm in raisins!
Those of us who are God's emissaries are to treat the world [not just its corruptions, but its legitimate joys, its privileges and blessings also] as a thing to be touched at a distance. We must be aware at all times that, if we are caught by its spirit, or fed by its meat, we will lose our sensitivity to the very breath of the Highest and will no longer receive the manna that falls from heaven to feed our souls.
It's not that He forbids us this or that indulgence or comfort; not that He is stern, calling us to a life of harsh asceticism, as if that would make Him more pleased with us. No, it is that we who love our Lord, and we whose affections are set on the things that are heavenly for us today, will voluntarily and gladly lay aside things that charm the world, so that we may be charmed and ravished with the things of heaven. Then our whole being may be poured forth in constant and unreserved devotion in serving our Lord, who died to save us.
Therefore, we may bind ourselves to God with the kind of vow that commits us to this: to look upon the world, in all its delights and attractions, suspecting that traps are set there for us, reserving ourselves for a higher way. The world is not for us. We are called to live daily in a higher Kingdom, where we are touched and our souls drink from the Spirit of God.


Amy Carmichael....'God's Missionary'

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Time






                                                         
                                                           

God's clock!

"What I am doing you do not understand now — but afterward you will understand." John 13:7

In divine providence, nothing comes a moment too soon or too late — but everything comes in its own complete time. God's clock is never too slow. Every link of the chain of God's providence, fits into its own place.

We do not see God's hand at the time. Not until afterward, will you see that your disappointments, hardships, trials, and the wrongs inflicted on you by others — are parts of God's good providence toward you, and full of blessing. Not until afterward will you see it, but the "afterward" is secure to faithful followers of Christ. The "afterward" of every disappointment or sorrow — is blessing and good. We only need to learn to wait in patience for Him.

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28



From J.R. Miller