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

Monday, April 29, 2013

Making a thorough work of sin

When was the last time you heard a sermon dealing with sin? A sermon that urged you to deal with your sin, to get serious about it? This is a reminder of sin, from James Smith and Grace Gems...



"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life!" Psalm 139:23-24

Let us commence the work of self-examination at once, and let us be impartial in the work . . . 
  sparing no sin, 
  tampering with no lust, 
  listening to no temptation! 


And let us make thorough work of it! Let every sin we detect be confessed over the blood of atonement; let us . . .
  deplore it, 
  grieve over it, 
  seek the pardon of it, and 
  pray for grace at once to depart from it!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Love God Hates

This is an excellent brief teaching from Mike Ratliff...





1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2 NASB)
One of the markers of genuineness in a Christian is separation from the World. This isn’t a physical removal from planet Earth or a disintegration of the body of a Christian. A genuine Christian’s character should be in a continual upgrade unto Christlikeness. That means that as he or she cooperates with God in their sanctification, working out their salvation with fear and trembling, their character will take on more and more of Christ’s character. They will love what He loves and hate what he hates. God is love, but He hates a certain type of love.


continue on here...

O God, be merciful to me...


Luk 18:10-13  "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: 'God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.'But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!'


The one thing I never noticed about these verses before was the NASB's rendering of verse 13, 'God be merciful to me, the sinner!' I can appreciate the commentary on this from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown - 'literally, “the sinner”; that is, “If ever there was one, I am he.”
 
I went on to read Matthew Henry's entire commentary on these verses and was so blessed by what he said; I want to share it with you...



Two men went up into the temple (for the temple stood upon a hill) to pray. It was not the hour of public prayer, but they went thither to offer up their personal devotions, as was usual with good people at that time, when the temple was not only the place, but the medium of worship, and God had promised, in answer to Solomon's request, that, whatever prayer was made in a right manner in or towards that house, it should therefore the rather be accepted. Christ is our temple, and to him we must have an eye in all our approaches to God. The Pharisees and the publican both went to the temple to pray. Note, Among the worshippers of God, in the visible church, there is a mixture of good and bad, of some that are accepted of God, and some that are not; and so it has been ever since Cain and Abel brought their offering to the same altar. The Pharisee, proud as he was, could not think himself above prayer; nor could the publican, humble as he was, think himself shut out from the benefit of it; but we have reason to think that these went with different views. 1. The Pharisee went to the temple to pray because it was a public place, more public than the corners of the streets, and therefore he should have many eyes upon him, who would applaud his devotion, which perhaps was more than was expected. The character Christ gave of the Pharisees, that all their works they did to be seen of men, gives us occasion for this suspicion. Note, Hypocrites keep up the external performances of religion only to save or gain credit. There are many whom we see every day at the temple, whom, it is to be feared, we shall not see in the great day at Christ's right hand. 2. The publican went to the temple because it was appointed to be a house of prayer for all people, Isa_56:7. The Pharisee came to the temple upon a compliment, the publican upon business; the Pharisee to make his appearance, the publican to make his request. Now God sees with what disposition and design we come to wait upon him in holy ordinances, and will judge of us accordingly.

II. Here is the Pharisee's address to God (for a prayer I cannot call it): He stood and prayed thus with himself (Luk_18:11, Luk_18:12): standing by himself, he prayed thus, so some read it; he was wholly intent upon himself, had nothing in his eye but self, his own praise, and not God's glory; or, standing in some conspicuous place, where he distinguished himself; or, setting himself with a great deal of state and formality, he prayed thus. Now that which he is here supposed to say is that which shows,
1. That he trusted to himself that he was righteous. A great many good things he said of himself, which we will suppose to be true. He was free from gross and scandalous sins; he was not an extortioner, not a usurer, not oppressive to debtors or tenants, but fair and kind to all that had dependence upon him. He was not unjust in any of his dealings; he did no man any wrong; he could say, as Samuel, Whose ox or whose ass have I taken? He was no adulterer, but had possessed his vessel in sanctification and honour. Yet this was not all; he fasted twice in the week, as an act partly of temperature, partly of devotion. The Pharisees and their disciples fasted twice a week, Monday and Thursday. Thus he glorified God with his body: yet that was not all; he gave tithes of all that he possessed, according to the law, and so glorified God with his worldly estate. Now all this was very well and commendable. Miserable is the condition of those who come short of the righteousness of this Pharisee: yet he was not accepted; and why was he not? 
(1.) His giving God thanks for this, though in itself a good thing, yet seems to be a mere formality. He does not say, By the grace of God I am what I am, as Paul did, but turns it off with a slight, God, I thank thee, which is intended but for a plausible introduction to a proud vainglorious ostentation of himself. 
(2.) He makes his boast of this, and dwells with delight upon this subject, as if all his business to the temple was to tell God Almighty how very good he was; and he is ready to say, with those hypocrites that we read of (Isa_58:3), Wherefore have we fasted, and thou seest not? 
(3.) He trusted to it as a righteousness, and not only mentioned it, but pleaded it, as if hereby he had merited at the hands of God, and made him his debtor. 
(4.) Here is not one word of prayer in all he saith. He went up to the temple to pray, but forgot his errand, was so full of himself and his own goodness that he thought he had need of nothing, no, not of the favour and grace of God, which, it would seem, he did not think worth asking.

2. That he despised others.
 (1.) He thought meanly of all mankind but himself: I thank thee that I am not as other men are. He speaks indefinitely, as if he were better than any. We may have reason to thank God that we are not as some men are, that are notoriously wicked and vile; but to speak at random thus, as if we only were good, and all besides us were reprobates, is to judge by wholesale. 
(2.) He thought meanly in a particular manner of this publican, whom he had left behind, it is probable, in the court of the Gentiles, and whose company he had fallen into as he came to the temple. He knew that he was a publican, and therefore very uncharitably concluded that he was an extortioner, unjust, and all that is naught. Suppose it had been so, and he had known it, what business had he to take notice of it? Could not he say his prayers (and that was all that the Pharisees did) without reproaching his neighbours? Or was this a part of his God, I thank thee? And was he as much pleased with the publican's badness as with his own goodness? There could not be a plainer evidence, not only of the want of humility and charity, but of reigning pride and malice, than this was.

III. Here is the publican's address to God, which was the reverse of the Pharisee's, as full of humility and humiliation as his was of pride and ostentation; as full of repentance for sin, and desire towards God, as his was of confidence in himself and his own righteousness and sufficiency.
1. He expressed his repentance and humility in what he did; and his gesture, when he addressed himself to his devotions, was expressive of great seriousness and humility, and the proper clothing of a broken, penitent, and obedient heart. 
(1.) He stood afar off. The Pharisee stood, but crowded up as high as he could, to the upper end of the court; the publican kept at a distance under a sense of his unworthiness to draw near to God, and perhaps for fear of offending the Pharisee, whom he observed to look scornfully upon him, and of disturbing his devotions. Hereby he owned that God might justly behold him afar off, and send him into a state of eternal distance from him, and that it was a great favour that God was pleased to admit him thus nigh. 
(2.) He would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, much less his hands, as was usual in prayer. He did lift up his heart to God in the heavens, in holy desires, but, through prevailing shame and humiliation, he did not lift up his eyes in holy confidence and courage. His iniquities are gone over his head, as a heavy burden, so that he is not able to look up, Psa_40:12. The dejection of his looks is an indication of the dejection of his mind at the thought of sin. 
(3.) He smote upon his breast, in a holy indignation at himself for sin: “Thus would I smite this wicked heart of mine, the poisoned fountain out of which flow all the streams of sin, if I could come at it.” The sinner's heart first smites him in a penitent rebuke, 2Sa_24:10. David's heart smote him. Sinner, what hast thou done? And then he smites his heart with penitent remorse: O wretched man that I am? Ephraim is said to smite upon his thigh, Jer_31:19. Great mourners are represented tabouring upon their breasts, Nah_2:7.
2. He expressed it in what he said. His prayer was short. Fear and shame hindered him from saying much; sighs and groans swallowed up his words; but what he said was to the purpose: God, be merciful to me a sinner. And blessed be God that we have this prayer upon record as an answered prayer, and that we are sure that he who prayed it went to his house justified; and so shall we, if we pray it, as he did, through Jesus Christ: “God, be merciful to me a sinner; the God of infinite mercy be merciful to me, for, if he be not, I am for ever undone, for ever miserable. 

God be merciful to me, for I have been cruel to myself.” 

(1.) He owns himself a sinner by nature, by practice, guilty before God. Behold, I am vile, what shall I answer thee? The Pharisee denies himself to be a sinner; none of his neighbours can charge him, and he sees no reason to charge himself, with any thing amiss; he is clean, he is pure from sin. But the publican gives himself no other character than that of a sinner, a convicted criminal at God's bar. 
(2.) He has no dependence but upon the mercy of God, that, and that only, he relies upon. The Pharisee had insisted upon the merit of his fastings and tithes; but the poor publican disclaims all thought of merit, and flies to mercy as his city of refuge, and takes hold of the horn of that altar. “Justice condemns me; nothing will save me but mercy, mercy.” 
(3.) He earnestly prays for the benefit of that mercy: “O God, be merciful, be propitious, to me; forgive my sins; be reconciled to me; take me into thy favour; receive me graciously; love me freely.” He comes as a beggar for an alms, when he is ready to perish for hunger. Probably he repeated this prayer with renewed affections, and perhaps said more to the same purport, made a particular confession of his sins, and mentioned the particular mercies he wanted, and waited upon God for; but still this was the burden of the song: God, be merciful to me a sinner.
IV. Here is the publican's acceptance with God. We have seen how differently these two addressed themselves to God; it is now worth while to enquire how they sped. There were those who would cry up the Pharisee, by whom he would go to his house applauded, and who would look with contempt upon this sneaking whining publican. 
But our Lord Jesus, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secret is hid, who is perfectly acquainted with all proceedings in the court of heaven, assures us that this poor, penitent, broken-hearted publican went to his house justified, rather than the other. The Pharisee thought that if one of them must be justified, and not the other, certainly it must be he rather than the publican. “No,” saith Christ, “I tell you, I affirm it with the utmost assurance, and declare it to you with the utmost concern, I tell you, it is the publican rather than the Pharisee.” The proud Pharisee goes away, rejected of God; his thanksgivings are so far from being accepted that they are an abomination; he is not justified, his sins are not pardoned, nor is he delivered from condemnation: he is not accepted as righteous in God's sight, because he is so righteous in his own sight; but the publican, upon this humble address to Heaven, obtains the remission of his sins, and he whom the Pharisee would not set with the dogs of his flock God sets with the children of his family. The reason given for this is because God's glory is to resist the proud, and give grace to the humble.
 1. Proud men, who exalt themselves, are rivals with God, and therefore they shall certainly be abased. God, in his discourse with Job, appeals to this proof that he is God, that he looks upon every one that is proud, and brings him low, Job_40:12. 
2. Humble men, who abase themselves, are subject to God, and they shall be exalted. God has preferment in store for those that will take it as a favour, not for those that demand it as a debt. He shall be exalted into the love of God, and communion with him, shall be exalted into a satisfaction in himself, and exalted at last as high as heaven. 

See how the punishment answers the sin: He that exalteth himself shall be abased. See how the recompence answers the duty: He that humbles himself shall be exalted. See also the power of God's grace in bringing good out of evil; the publican had been a great sinner, and out of the greatness of his sin was brought the greatness of his repentance; out of the eater came forth meat. See, on the contrary, the power of Satan's malice in bringing evil out of good. It was good that the Pharisee was no extortioner, nor unjust; but the devil made him proud of this, to his ruin.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

John Piper doesn't get it

John Piper has been featured at World Magazine; the topic...homosexuality. As I read his writings on this sin, I realized he is like so many within the church today; he just doesn't get it. This sexual sin seems to have Christians stupified, they simply do not know how to accurately respond. For example, Piper says ---

"So I can choose to let that brokenness govern me and turn it into sins. Or I can choose to say, “I’m going to deal with the brokenness I have and try to steer my way through my brokenness to do as much good for others and avoid as much sin as I can.” { from World Magazine}


I find so much wrong with that statement; for starters, sinners do not choose to let sin no longer enslave them if they are unregenerate. Sin is a bondage, it enslaves all {John 8:34}. Even if we forsake one sin, we more than likely exchange it for another. 
This statement from Piper seems to be implying that we can choose to steer away from sin and just do as much good as possible, doesn't that sound like a 'works righteousness' type of Christianity, which is no Christianity at all?  Yes, we who are born from above are to mortify sin, we are to strive for holiness, we are to walk worthy. These are all done under the careful work of the Spirit of God and our own disciplining of and dying to 'self'. But to those who are still in bondage to sin, we cannot expect them to choose to not let that 'brokenness' govern them. I also do not like the lessening the severity of homosexuality by referring to it as a 'brokenness'...it is SIN.  We MUST tell sinners of their sins, and the severity and cost of them. To imply that it's anything other than what the Bible calls it is to lessen the blow. Evangelicals are terrified of 'offending' sinners, so much so that we are willing to re-define sin to make it less offensive. 


Piper also gets it wrong when he 'reflects upon' Romans 1---


"As I reflect on Romans 1 and the way Paul unpacks the problem with homosexuality, it appears to me that Paul is saying something like this: When you exchange the glory of God for idols, the main one that you exchange the glory of God for is yourself. The idol that you have is yourself. Well, what sex is yourself? My sex is male. If you’re a woman watching this, your sex is female. And he seems to draw out the fact that in exchanging God for our most cherished idol, which is usually self, we are prone to fall in love with the same sex.

So, implication: Same-sex attraction is a dysfunctional form of idolatry. Now there are other kinds! Don’t hear me saying that homosexual temptations are the only way that kind of self-idolatry emerges. But go to Romans 1:24-29 and just think that through yourself—ask how verse 23, the exchange of God for created things, relates to the exchange talked about in verse 26 (“They exchanged the natural for the unnatural”). The same words “exchanged” are used throughout that passage."{from World Magazine}


Romans 1 is not about homosexuality being a result of idolatry; it is about idolatry, yes. I prefer John MacArthur's view on these passages; Romans 1 shows the downward progression of sin as society suppresses the truth of God's word, which does lead to idolatry; in turn, idolatry leads to all forms of sin, namely sexual sin. God then turns them over to what their depraved minds desire, sexual immorality {which includes the meltdown of 'family'} which leads to the next progressive step downward... the unnatural way- homosexuality. I encourage you to watch this half-hour teaching on Romans 1 by MacArthur by going here. 
Piper's reasoning is faulty, to say we fall in love with the same sex because of our idol of 'self' is not true at all. For starters, homosexuals do not love one another, this sexual sin is based on lust. That too is found in Romans 1:26-27,  particularly in verse 27, ' burned in their lust one toward another' So that in itself blows Piper's 'theology' out of the water. Same sex sin, not attraction as Piper calls it - we simply MUST stop using worldly terminology when referring to sin - is not some dysfunctional form of idolatry, it is a sin birthed out of forbidden lust, not because we love ourselves, but because we HATE God. Why is this so hard to comprehend by so many in the church?!?!?! Why do we dance around this sexual perversion and make claims that aren't biblical concerning it? Let's call it what it is for crying out loud...SIN! Let's not act like it's some mystical 'brokenness' that is so misunderstood by so many! I am mad as can be at those who claim to be godly men and yet, they cannot even get this sin right! Piper needs to go back to his bible and study sin, its origin, its bondage, and where it is birthed from. He, like so many others, does more harm than good when he writes articles like he's written and doesn't have it correct.

What was the Apostle Paul referring to in Romans 1:23 when he said 'and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures' ? Let's look at some commentary on this verse, starting with Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, notice the list of 'idols' and the absence of 'self' from the list - The allusion here is doubtless to the Greek worship, and the apostle may have had in his mind those exquisite chiseling of the human form which lay so profusely beneath and around him as he stood on Mars’ Hill; and “beheld their devotions.” (See on Act_17:29). But as if that had not been a deep enough degradation of the living God, there was found “a lower deep” still.
and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and to creeping things — referring now to the Egyptian and Oriental worship. In the face of these plain declarations of the descent of man’s religious belief from loftier to ever lower and more debasing conceptions of the Supreme Being, there are expositors of this very Epistle (as Reiche and Jowett), who, believing neither in any fall from primeval innocence, nor in the noble traces of that innocence which lingered even after the fall and were only by degrees obliterated by willful violence to the dictates of conscience, maintain that man’s religious history has been all along a struggle to rise, from the lowest forms of nature worship, suited to the childhood of our race, into that which is more rational and spiritual. 
Nowhere in that commentary do we find a reference to idolatry as being that of loving 'self' to the point of causing 'self love' to be the reason behind homosexual sin.

Concerning 'corruptible man' from Romans 1:23, Albert Barnes comments -This stands opposed to the “incorruptible” God. Many of the images or idols of the ancients were in the forms of men and women. Many of their gods were heroes and benefactors, who were deified, and to whom temples, altars, and statues were erected. Such were Jupiter, and Hercules, and Romulus, etc. The worship of these heroes thus constituted no small part of their idolatry, and their images would be of course representations of them in human form. It was proof of great degradation, that they thus adored human beings with like passions as themselves; and attempted to displace the true God from the throne, and to substitute in his place an idol in the likeness of men.
And to birds - The “ibis” was adored with special reverence among the Egyptians, on account of the great benefits resulting from its destroying the serpents which, but for this, would have overrun the country. The hawk was also adored in Egypt, and the eagle at Rome. As one great principle of pagan idolatry was to adore all objects from which important benefits were derived, it is probable that all birds would come in for a share of pagan worship, that rendered service in the destruction of noxious animals.
And fourfooted beasts - Thus, the ox, under the name “apis,” was adored in Egypt; and even the dog and the monkey. In imitation of the Egyptian ox, the children of Israel made their golden calf, Exo_22:4. At this day, two of the most sacred objects of worship in Hindostan are the cow and the “monkey.”
And creeping things - Reptiles. “Animals that have no feet, or such short ones that they seem to creep or crawl on the ground.” “(Calmet.)” Lizards, serpents, etc. come under this description. The “crocodile” in Egypt was an object of adoration, and even the serpent so late as the second century of the Christian era, there was a sect in Egypt, called “Ophites” from their worshipping a serpent, and who ever claimed to be Christians, (Murdock’s Mosheim, vol. i. p. 180, 181). There was scarcely an object, animal or vegetable, which the Egyptians did not adore. Thus, the leek, the onion, etc. were objects of worship, and people bowed down and paid adoration to the sun and moon, to animals, to vegetables, and to reptiles. Egypt was the source of the views of religion that pervaded other nations, and hence, their worship partook of the same wretched and degrading character. (See “Leland’s” “Advantage and Necessity of Revelation.”) Their man-made gods were mythical, created from the images formed in the mind of man, not a 'self-image' at all, as Piper insists.

 Nowhere in Romans do we find idolatry as being a reference to 'self-love', although one could make 'self' an idol. However, that is not what Romans 1 refers to. Images are indeed made to resemble self in the sense that the image bears resemblance to what we desire, our passions, our lusts, etc. These images were graven in the form of man and woman, as well as beasts. 

In reference to Romans and its speaking out against homosexuality, it's amazing Charles Spurgeon would not even read the text found in Romans, instead he said this - This first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans is a dreadful portion of the Word of God. I should hardly like to read it all through aloud; it is not intended to be so used. Read it at home, and be startled at the awful vices of the Gentile world.” (Spurgeon)


Take note of this as well concerning Romans 1:26-27, ' For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.'  

Commentary from David Guzik points this out -Paul doesn’t even use the normal words for men and women here; he uses the words for male and female, using categories that describe sexuality outside of human terms, because the type of sexual sin he describes is outside of human dignity.


Also concerning Romans 1:27, Matthew Henry says this, "Man being in honour, and refusing to understand the God that made him, thus becomes worse than the beasts that perish, Psa_49:20. Thus one, by the divine permission, becomes the punishment of another; but it is (as it said here) through the lusts of their own hearts - there all the fault is to be laid. Those who dishonoured God were given up to dishonour themselves. A man cannot be delivered up to a greater slavery than to be given up to his own lusts."

We need men like Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Watson, John Calvin, and a host of others who indeed trembled at God's word, who preached with power and authority. The pulpits are filled with men-pleasers who do not want to offend anybody. Sin is hardly ever hit hard upon, as if it isn't an 'issue' today!!! Is it any wonder America is sliding at lightening speed into the Abyss? We have so much access to bibles, study tools, etc, and yet, we are the most Godless nation on the face of the earth. We cannot bear to call sin what it is, so we must come at it with different worldly angles and terminology. Is it any wonder the Spirit of God does not empower the majority of preaching from the pulpits in this nation?


Let those of us who stand firm make it our goal to live for the glory of God, even if we stand alone.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~





Thursday, April 25, 2013

I'm not a bum, I'm a human being!

We have lost our compassion for one another, all too often society looks down its nose at those who are less fortunate and passes some kind of pre-supposed judgment on a person based on appearance, skin color, age, etc. We forget we are all sinners in the eyes of the Lord, and wealth does not exalt us above other human beings. God sees the rich man just as He sees the poor...wicked, sinful, and in desperate need of grace.
We forget we are dealing with human beings who are in need of help. I am not advocating the 'social gospel', for this man's greatest need is the same of the one who passes judgment on him...Christ's gospel and God's grace. That does not mean we should not reach out to meet the physical needs of those who are 'down and out'. This video is so sad, and I believe it is a huge problem in this nation; one you will not hear about in mainstream media. Let us remember to pray for the lost, the down and out, the hurting, the helpless and hopeless souls we are surrounded by. Feeling sorry for people isn't enough; remember, biblical love is not an emotion, it is an action...


Shun them as the plague!

 'They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed'. Titus 1:16


'holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these'. 2 Timothy 3:5


In today's culture, compromise is the modern theme/cry of the visible church. Embrace others and love them, even if what they believe and teach is false, even if they live in rebellious sin. Is that what the word of God teaches? 



This is a wonderful daily meditation from A. W. Pink; go here to listen to this short meditation

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Enoch Walked with God



by J. C. Ryle

"Enoch walked with God, and he was not—for God took him." Gen. 5:24.

You all wish to go to heaven. I know it. I am fully persuaded of it. I am certain of it. There is not one of you, however false may be his views of what he must believe and what he must do, however unscriptural the ground of his hope, however worldly-minded he may be, however careless when he gets outside that church door—there is not one of you, I say, who does not wish to go to heaven when he dies. But I do sadly fear that many of you, without a mighty change, will never get there! You would like the crown—but you do not like the cross! You would like the glory—but not the grace! You would like the happiness—but not the holiness! You would like the peace—but not the truth! You would like the victory—but not the fight! You would like the reward—but not the labor! You would like the harvest—but not the ploughing! You would like the reaping—but not the sowing! And so I fear that many of you will never get to heaven!
Well, you may say—"These are sharp words, this is hard teaching! We would like to know what sort of people they are, who will be saved." I shall give you a short and very general answer. Those who have the same faith as those holy men whose names are recorded in the Bible—those who walk in that same narrow path which all the saints of God have trodden—such people, and only such—shall have eternal life and never enter into condemnation.
Indeed, beloved, there is but one way to heaven; and in this way every redeemed soul that is now in Paradise has walked. This is the way you must yourselves be content to follow; and if you are really wise, if you really love life, as you profess to do, you will take every opportunity of examining the characters of those who have gone before you, you will mark the principles on which they acted, you will note the end they had in view, you will try to profit by their experience, you will follow them so far as they followed Christ.
Now, I purpose this morning to speak to you about the history of Enoch, who was one of the first among those who by faith and patience have inherited the promises; and I shall divide what I have to say upon the subject into four parts.



continue reading here...

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Nation coming unglued

I read this article and was so saddened by it, we need to pray for America.



The United States is a deeply unhappy place.  We are a nation that is absolutely consumed by fear, stress, anger and depression.  It isn't just our economy that is falling apart - the very fabric of society is starting to come apart at the seams and it is because of what is happening to us on the inside.  The facts and statistics that I am going to share with you in this article are quite startling.  They are clear evidence that America is a nation that is an advanced state of decline.  We are overwhelmed by fear, stress and anxiety, and much of the time the ways that we choose to deal with those emotions lead to some very self-destructive behaviors.  Americans have experienced a standard of living far beyond the wildest dreams of most societies throughout human history, and yet we are an absolutely miserable people.  Why is this?  Why is America #1 in so many negative categories?  Why are we constantly looking for ways to escape the pain of our own lives?  Why are our families falling apart?  There is vast material wealth all around us.  So why can't we be happy?
Just look around you.  Are most of the people around you teeming with happiness and joy?  Sadly, the truth is that most Americans are terribly stressed out.  Yeah, many of them may be able to manage to come up with a smile when they greet you, but most of the time they are consumed by internal struggles that are eating away at them like cancer.
So why is this happening?  Is modern life structured in a way that is fundamentally unhealthy?-----

 The United States leads the world in divorce and in single person households.  We are having an increasingly difficult time relating to one another, and many of us drown our sorrows in our addictions.  We are addicted to pills, to alcohol, to food, to entertainment, to sex, to gambling, to shopping and to anything else that will make us feel good and forget about our problems for a while.
The following is a collection of facts and statistics that prove that America is being absolutely consumed by fear, stress, anger and depression...
Suicide has now actually surpassed car accidents as the number one cause of "injury death" in the United States.
-More U.S. soldiers killed themselves than were killed in combat last year.
-As I mentioned in another article, Americans will spend more than 280 billion dollars on prescription drugs during 2013.
-Nearly one out of every four women in the United States are taking antidepressants.
-The percentage of women taking antidepressants in the U.S. is higherthan in any other country in the world.




Sunday, April 21, 2013

Indwelling Sin


Others who have found out a new way to it, by denying original, indwelling sin, and tempering the spirituality of the law of God unto men’s carnal hearts, as they have sufficiently discovered themselves to be ignorant of the life of Christ and the power of it in believers, so they have invented a new righteousness that the gospel knows not of, being vainly puffed up by their fleshly minds.

For us, who dare not be wise above what is written, nor boast by other men’s lines of what God has not done for us, we say that indwelling sin lives in us, in some measure and degree, while we are in this world. We dare not speak as “though we had already attained, or were already perfect” (Phil. 3:12). Our “inward man is to be renewed day by day” while here we live (2 Cor. 4:16), and according to the renovations of the new are the breaches12 and decays of the old. While we are here we “know but in part” (1 Cor. 13:12), having a remaining darkness to be gradually removed by our “growth in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18); and “the flesh lusts against the Spirit . . . so that we cannot do the things that we would” (Gal. 5:17), and are therefore defective in our obedience as well as in our light (1 John 1:8). We have a “body of death” (Rom. 7:24), from whence we are not delivered but by the death of our bodies (Phil. 3:20). Now, it being our duty to mortify, to be killing of sin while it is in us, we must be at work.

He that is appointed to kill an enemy, if he leave striking before the other ceases living, does but half his work (Gal. 6:9; Heb. 12:1; 2 Cor. 7:1).


John Owens - Overcoming Sin and Temptation

Sin and temptation- John Owens




The choicest believers,
who are assuredly freed from the condemning power of sin,
ought yet to make it their business all their days
to mortify the indwelling power of sin.

******************************************************


The mortification of indwelling sin remaining in our mortal bodies,
that it may not have life and power
to bring forth the works or deeds of the flesh,
is the constant duty of believers.

******************************************************


Do you mortify;
do you make it your daily work;
be always at it while you live;
cease not a day from this work;
be killing sin or it will be killing you.


You can read John Owen's 'Overcoming Sin and Temptation' by going here.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Our Repentance


Some may ask the question—whether our repentance and sorrow must always be at the same level.Although repentance must be always kept alive in the soul—yet there are two special times when we must renew our repentance in an extraordinary manner:

(1) Before the receiving of the Lord's Supper. This spiritual Passover is to be eaten with bitter herbs. Now our eyes should be fresh broached with tears, and the stream of sorrow overflow. A repenting frame is a sacramental frame. A broken heart and a broken Christ do well agree. The more bitterness we taste in sin—the more sweetness we shall taste in Christ! When Jacob wept—he found God: "Jacob named the place Peniel—face of God—for I have seen God face to face!" (Gen. 32:30). The way to find Christ comfortably in the sacrament, is to go weeping there. Christ will say to a humble penitent, as to Thomas: "Put your hand into the wound in my side" (John 20:27), and let those bleeding wounds of mine heal you.

(2) Another time of extraordinary repentance is at the hour of death. This should be a weeping season. Now is our last work to be done for heaven, and our best wine of tears should be kept until such a time. We should repent now—that we have sinned so much—and wept so little; that God's bag of our sins has been so full—and his bottle of our repenting tears has been so empty (Job 14:17). We should repent now—that we repented no sooner; that the garrisons of our hearts held out so long against God before they were leveled by repentance. We should repent now—that we have loved Christ no more—that we have fetched no more virtue from him and brought no more glory to him. It should be our grief on our death-bed that our lives have had so many blanks and blots in them—that our duties have been so tainted with sin, that our obedience has been so imperfect—and we have gone so lame in the ways of God. When the soul is going out of the body—it should swim to heaven in a sea of tears!
 


From Thomas Watson's 'The Doctrine of Repentance'

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Old Truth - "I ascribe my change wholly to God." C.H. Spurgeon

"The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, that Paul preached, is the truth that I must preach to-day, or else be false to my conscience and my God. I cannot shape the truth; I know of no such thing as paring off the rough edges of a doctrine. John Knox's gospel is my gospel. That which thundered through Scotland must thunder through England again."—C. H. Spurgeon





IT IS A GREAT THING to begin the Christian life by believing good solid doctrine. Some people have received twenty different "gospels" in as many years; how many more they will accept before they get to their journey's end, it would be difficult to predict. I thank God that He early taught me the gospel, and I have been so perfectly satisfied with it, that I do not want to know any other. Constant change of creed is sure loss. If a tree has to be taken up two or three times a year, you will not need to build a very large loft in which to store the apples. When people are always shifting their doctrinal principles, they are not likely to bring forth much fruit to the glory of God. It is good for young believers to begin with a firm hold upon those great fundamental doctrines which the Lord has taught in His Word. Why, if I believed what some preach about the temporary, trumpery salvation which only lasts for a time, I would scarcely be at all grateful for it; but when I know that those whom God saves He saves with an everlasting salvation, when I know that He gives to them an everlasting righteousness, when I know that He settles them on an everlasting foundation of everlasting love, and that He will bring them to His everlasting kingdom, oh, then I do wonder, and I am astonished that such a blessing as this should ever have been given to me! 



"Pause, my soul! adore, and wonder!
Ask, 'Oh, why such love to me?'
Grace hath put me in the number
Of the Saviour's family:
Hallelujah!
Thanks, eternal thanks, to Thee!"

 I suppose there are some persons whose minds naturally incline towards the doctrine of free-will. I can only say that mine inclines as naturally towards the doctrines of sovereign grace. Sometimes, when I see some of the worst characters in the street, I feel as if my heart must burst forth in tears of gratitude that God has never let me act as they have done! I have thought, if God had left me alone, and had not touched me by His grace, what a great sinner I should have been!




continue reading C. H. Spurgeon's 'defense of Calvinism' here...

Praise and Prayer




"Praise waiteth for Thee, O God, in Zion; and unto Thee shall the vow be performed. O Thou that hearest prayer, unto Thee shall all flesh come."-- Psa_65:1-2.

WHAT RAPTURES there is here! It reminds one of a lark at dawn filling regions of air with music which threatens to rend its tiny throat. The Psalmist is in fellowship with God. He is enjoying his prayer and praise so much that it seemed to him as though all flesh must wake up to enjoy it also. His iniquities and transgressions are purged away. He feels that God is causing him to approach into His secret place, and all nature takes on a new radiance and beauty.
The personal pronouns for God--Thou, Thee, Thy, occur at least twenty times in thirteen verses! We remember that Wordsworth speaks of a Presence that rolls through all things: "A sense sublime of something deeply interfused, whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, and the round ocean, and the living air, and the blue sky--a motion and a spirit." The poet was a lover of the meadows, and the woods, and mountains!
To many of us, also, Nature seems but the slight covering or garment, which only partially, conceals the glory and beauty of God's Presence. The bush still burns with fire. The mountain-heights are filled with the horses and chariots of angelic guardians. "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth His handiwork." There is no voice or language that the ordinary sense of man can detect, but when our hearts are clean, and our ears open, we realize that we are in touch with Him whom some day we shall see face to face, but who even now reveals Himself to the pure in heart (Mat_5:8).

PRAYER
O God our Heavenly Father, renew in us the sense of Thy gracious Presence, and let it be a constant impulse within us to peace, trustfulness, and courage on our pilgrimage. AMEN.



F. B. Meyer

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

If God were not eternal...

If God were not eternal, he were not immutable in his nature. It is contrary to the nature of immutability to be without eternity; for whatsoever begins, is changed in its passing from not being to being. It began to be what it was not; and if it ends, it ceaseth to be what it was; it cannot therefore be said to be God, if there were neither beginning or ending, or succession in it (Mal. 3:6): "I am the Lord, I change not;" (Job 37:23): "Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out." God argues here, saith Calvin, from his unchangeable nature as Jehovah, to his immutability in his purpose. Had he not been eternal, there had been the greatest change from nothing to something. A change of essence is greater than a change of purpose. God is a sun glittering always in the same glory; no growing up in youth; no passing on to age. If he were not without succession, standing in one point of eternity, there would be a change from past to present, from present to future. The eternity of God is a shield against all kind of mutability. If anything sprang up in the essence of God that was not there before, he could not be said to be either an eternal, or an unchanged substance.

 God could not be an infinitely perfect Being, if he were not eternal. A finite duration is inconsistent with infinite perfection. Whatsoever is contracted within the limits of time, cannot swallow up all perfections in itself. God hath an unsearchable perfection. "Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the A1mighty unto perfection?" (Job 11:7.) He cannot be found out: he is infinite, because he is incomprehensible. Incomprehensibility ariseth from an infinite perfection, which cannot be fathomed by the short line of man's understanding. His essence in regard of its diffusion, and in regard of its duration, is incomprehensible, as well as his action: if God, therefore, had beginning, he could not be infinite; if not infinite, he did not possess the highest perfection; because a perfection might be conceived beyond it. If his being could fail, he were not perfect; can that deserve the name of the highest perfection, which is capable of corruption and dissolution? To be finite and limited, is the greatest imperfection, for it consists in a denial of being. He could not be the most blessed Being if he were not always so, and should not forever remain so; and whatsoever perfections he had, would be soured by the thoughts, that in time they would cease, and so could not be pure affections, because not permanent; but "He is blessed from everlasting to everlasting" (Psalm 12:13). Had he a beginning, he could not have all perfection without limitation; he would have been limited by that which gave him beginning; that which gave him being would be God, and not himself, and so more perfect than he: but since God is the most sovereign perfection, than which nothing can be imagined perfecter by the most capacious understanding, He is certainly "eternal;" being infinite, nothing can be added to him, nothing detracted from him.

 God could not be omnipotent, almighty, if he were not eternal. The title of almighty agrees not with a nature that had a beginning; whatsoever hath a beginning was once nothing; and when it was nothing, could act nothing: where there is no being there is no power. Neither doth the title of almighty agree with a perishing nature: he can do nothing to purpose, that cannot preserve himself against the outward force and violence of enemies, or against the inward causes of corruption and dissolution. No account is to be made of man, because "his breath is in his nostrils" (Isa. 2:22); could a better account be made of God, if he were of the like condition? He could not properly be almighty, that were not always mighty; if he be omnipotent, nothing can impair him; he that hath all power, can have no hurt. If he doth whatsoever he pleaseth, nothing can make him miserable, since misery consists in those things which happen against our will. The almightiness and eternity of God are linked together: "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and ending, saith the Lord, which was, and which is, and which is to come, the Almighty" (Rev. 1:8): almighty because eternal, and eternal because almighty.

 God would not be the first cause of all if he were not eternal; but he is the first and the last; the first cause of all things, the last end of all things: that which is the first cannot begin to be; it were not then the first; it cannot cease to be: whatsoever is dissolved, is dissolved into that whereof it doth consist, which was before it, and then it was not the first. The world might not have been; it was once nothing; it must have some cause to call it out of nothing: nothing hath no power to make itself something; there is a superior cause, by whose will and power it comes into being and so gives all the creatures their distinct forms. This power cannot but be eternal; it must be before the world; the founder must be before the foundation; and his existence must be from eternity; or we must say nothing did exist from eternity: and if there were no being from eternity, there could not now be any being in time. What we see, and what we are, must arise from itself or some other; it cannot from itself: if anything made itself, it had a power to make itself; it then had an active power before it had a being; it was something in regard of power, and was nothing in regard of existence at the same time. Suppose it had a power to produce itself, this power must be conferred upon it by another; and so the power of producing itself, was not from itself, but from another; but if the power of being was from itself, why did it not produce itself before? Why was it one moment out of being? If there be any existence of things, it is necessary that that which was the "first cause," should "exist from eternity." Whatsoever was the immediate cause of the world, yet the first and chief cause wherein we must rest, must have nothing before it; if it had anything before it, it were not the first; he therefore that is the first cause, must be without beginning; nothing must be before him; if he had a beginning from some other, he could not be the first principle and author of all things; if he be the first cause of all things, he must give himself a beginning, or be from eternity: he could not give himself a beginning; whatsoever begins in time was nothing before, and when it was nothing, it could do nothing; it could not give itself anything, for then it gave what it had not, and did what it could not. If he made himself in time, why did he not make himself before? What hindered him? It was either because he could not, or because he would not; if he could not, he always lacked sufficient power, and always would, unless it were bestowed upon him, and then he could not be said to be from himself. If he would not make himself before, then he might have made himself when he would: how had he the power of willing and nilling without a being? Nothing cannot will or nill; nothing hath no faculties; so that it is necessary to grant some eternal being, or run into inextricable labyrinths and mazes. If we deny some eternal being, we must deny all being; our own being, the being of everything about us; unconceivable absurdities will arise. So, then, if God were the cause of all things, he did exist before all things, and that from eternity.

 How dreadful is it to lie under the stroke of an eternal God! His eternity is as great a terror to him that hates him, as it is a comfort to him that loves him; because he is the "living God, an everlasting king, the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation" (Jer. 10:10). Though God be least in their thoughts, and is made light of in the world, yet the thoughts of God's eternity, when he comes to judge the world, shall make the slighters of him tremble. That the Judge and punisher lives forever, is the greatest grievance to a soul in misery, and adds an inconceivable weight to it, above what the infiniteness of God's executive power could do without that duration. His eternity makes the punishment more dreadful than his power; his power makes it sharp, but his eternity renders it perpetual; ever to endure, is the sting at the end of every lash. And how sad is it to think that God lays his eternity as a security for the punishment of obstinate sinners, and engageth it by an oath, that he will "whet his glittering sword," that his "hand shall take hold of judgment," that he will "render vengeance to his enemies, and a reward to them that hate him;" a reward proportioned to the greatness of their offences, and the glory of an eternal God! "I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live forever;" (Deut. 32:40, 41): 1:e., as surely as I live forever, I will whet my glittering sword. As none can convey good with a perpetuity, so none can convey evil with such a lastingness as God. It is a great loss to lose a ship richly laden in the bottom of the sea, never to be east upon the shore; but how much greater is it to lose eternally a sovereign God, which we were capable of eternally enjoying, and undergo an evil as durable as that God we slighted, and were in a possibility of avoiding! The miseries of men after this life are not eased, but sharpened, by the life and eternity of God.



 from Stephen Charnock's 'Discourse on the Eternity of God'

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The way is broad?

This is an excellent quote from Martyn Lloyd-Jones, I found this at the thirsty theologian...



"[False teaching] does not emphasize repentance in any real sense. It has a very wide gate leading to salvation and a very broad way leading to heaven. You need not feel much of your sinfulness; you need not be aware of the blackness of your own heart. You just “decide for Christ” and you rush in with the crowd, and your name is put down, and is one of the large number of “decisions” reported by the press. It is entirely unlike the evangelism of the Puritans and of John Wesley, George Whitefield and others, which led men to be terrified of the judgment of God, and to have an agony of soul sometimes for days and weeks and months" - M.L. Jones

Homosexuals and marriage

Erin Benziger posted this at CRN, this is not shocking to me, or you, I'm sure. As I read this, I saw the 'mess' this activist labels as her 'family'; her kids having five parents. This is acceptable in the sinner's mind because of their depravity. When I read stories like this, it causes me to long for the coming of the Lord. The greatest need here is not necessarily to defend the covenant of marriage which God has already defined, the greatest need is the Gospel of Christ.



Even knowing that there are radicals in all movements, doesn’t lessen the startling admission recently by lesbian journalist Masha Gessen. On a radio show she actually admits that homosexual activists are lying about their radical political agenda. She says that they don’t want to access the institution of marriage; they want to radically redefine and eventually eliminate it. Here is what she recently said on a radio interview:

  “It’s a no-brainer that (homosexual activists) should have the right to marry, but I also think equally that it’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist. …(F)ighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there — because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that is a lie. 

 The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change. And again, I don’t think it should exist. And I don’t like taking part in creating fictions about my life. That’s sort of not what I had in mind when I came out thirty years ago. 

 I have three kids who have five parents, more or less, and I don’t see why they shouldn’t have five parents legally… I met my new partner, and she had just had a baby, and that baby’s biological father is my brother, and my daughter’s biological father is a man who lives in Russia, and my adopted son also considers him his father. So the five parents break down into two groups of three… And really, I would like to live in a legal system that is capable of reflecting that reality, and I don’t think that’s compatible with the institution of marriage.”


read the entire article here...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

An 'Abomination'


What does abomination mean?

From Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, 'Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.' 
 'If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.' 


Sexual sin is a serious sin against God; in the Old Testament to sin sexually required the life of those who were guilty of adultery, homosexuality and bestiality. {Leviticus 20:10-16 }
God no longer requires the life of those who commit sexual sin, but that doesn't mean their spiritual life is not in danger. What hasn't changed is God's view on sexual sin, particularly the sin of homosexuality.
We find two passages in Leviticus that state homosexuality is an 'abomination'.
What does it mean to say this sin -men lying with men, fulfilling their sexual lustful desires with each other -that this act is an abomination?
The Hebrew word from which we get 'abomination' is tô‛êbah  tô‛êbah. Strong's defines this as 'an abhorrence, a disgusting thing'. The primitive root word of this is tâ‛ab; this is defined as 'to loathe, abhor, to be detested {from Brown-Driver-Brigg's Hebrew Definitions}. This is an action considered to be a repulsive act before the Lord. Concerning Leviticus 18:22, Matthew Henry states 'A law against unnatural lusts, sodomy and bestiality, sins not to be named nor thought of without the utmost abhorrence imaginable.' 


I thought it would be good to look up some  words in Noah Webster's dictionary, the 1828 edition.
Let's start with 'abomination' - The object of detestation, a common signification in scripture.
Now let's move on to 'abhor' - To hate extremely, or with contempt; to loathe, detest or abominate.  To cast off or reject.
 Up next, 'detest' - To abhor; to abominate; to hate extremely
One more, 'disgusting' - Provoking aversion; offending the taste. Provoking dislike; odious.

When you go deeper into this word 'abomination', you see exactly how God sees homosexuality - it is a sin He detests- it is repulsive to Him: He loathes, is sickened by, and hates in the strongest sense of the word, this sin. He will cast off/reject all who practice same sex sex. 

The only hope for the practicing homosexual, and for all who are in sin,  is the finished work of Jesus Christ, and the grace of God. There must be a forsaking of sin, which is known as repentance. The heart of the sinner must be broken over sin, and they must be born from above by God. None of this is humanly possible, which is why we should not tell sinners they can repent on their own or be born again if they follow a certain 'procedure'. How is repentance and regeneration wrought if we do not give them 'steps' to follow? The power to transform a dead sinner lies in the proclaiming of the Gospel of Jesus Christ {Romans 1:16}. Do not add to this, nor take from it. Simply give truth and trust in God for the outcome. We must tell them the Bible commands sinners to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus. Sadly, too many evangelicals in our day are disappointed if they don't see 'results' after telling sinners of Christ, so they start adding steps to follow. They coerce sinners into silly methods to go through in order to bring about their salvation; in doing this, they sin because they add to the word of the Lord. This is why the Arminian view is so deadly, dangerous, and wrong. It puts the results/response to the Gospel in the hands of the unregenerate, as if they could repent and believe apart from the supernatural power and undeserving grace of God. Most professing Christians that I have encountered who struggle with sin, with understanding man's depravity, sin's bondage, God's grace, God's attributes, etc. do so because they adhere to the 'free will' theology. This is so deadly, it leaves sinners confused, uncertain, and with a very shallow understanding of most of the essential doctrines of the Christian faith...namely soteriology. 

Let us give truth, and let us trust in God for the results. Either He will save, or He will use His truth to condemn on that final day. Either way, our God is just, trustworthy, faithful, merciful and true.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Godly sorrow


 "I will be sorry for my sin." (Psalm 38:18) Ambrose calls sorrow the embittering of the soul. The Hebrew word "to be sorrowful" signifies "to have the soul, as it were, crucified". This must be in true repentance: "They shall look upon me whom they have pierced—and they shall mourn" (Zech. 12:10), as if they did feel the nails of the cross sticking in their sides. A woman may as well expect to have a child without pangs—as one can have repentance without sorrow! He who can repent without sorrowing, suspect his repentance. Martyrs shed blood for Christ, and penitents shed tears for sin: "she stood at Jesus' feet weeping" (Luke 7:38). See how this tear dropped from her heart. The sorrow of her heart—ran out at her eye!
The brazen laver for the priests to wash in (Exod. 30:18) typified a double laver: the laver of Christ's blood we must wash in by faith—and the laver of tears we must wash in by repentance. A true penitent labors to work his heart into a sorrowing frame. He blesses God when he can weep. He is glad of a rainy day, for he knows that it is a repentance he will have no cause to repent of. Though the bread of sorrow is bitter to the taste—yet it strengthens the heart (Psalm 104:15; 2 Cor. 7:10).
This sorrow for sin is not superficial: it is a holy agony. It is called in scripture a breaking of the heart: "The sacrifices of God are a broken and a contrite heart" (Psalm 51:17); and arending of the heart: "Rend your heart" (Joel 2:13). The expressions of smiting on the thigh (Jer. 31:19), beating on the breast (Luke 18:13), putting on of sackcloth (Isaiah 22:12), plucking off the hair (Ezra 9:3), all these are but outward signs of inward sorrow. This sorrow is:
(1) To make Christ precious. O how desirable is a Savior to a troubled soul! Now Christ is Christ indeed—and mercy is mercy indeed. Until the heart is full of sorrow for sin—it is not fit for Christ. How welcome is a surgeon—to a man who is bleeding from his wounds!
(2) To drive out sin. Sin breeds sorrow—and sorrow kills sin! Holy sorrow purges out the evil humours of the soul. It is said that the tears of vine-branches are good to cure the leprosy. However that may be, it is certain that the tears which drop from the penitential eye, will cure the leprosy of sin. The saltwater of tears—kills the worm of conscience.
(3) To make way for solid comfort. "Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy" (Psalm 126:5). The penitent has a wet sowing-time—but a delicious harvest. Repentance breaks the abscess of sin—and then the soul is at ease! Hannah, after weeping, went away and was no longer sad (1 Sam. 1:18). God's troubling of the soul for sin, is like the angel's troubling of the pool (John 5:4), which made way for healing.
But not all sorrow evidences true repentance. There is as much difference between true and false sorrow—as between water in the spring, which is sweet—and water in the sea, which is briny. The apostle speaks of "godly sorrow" (2 Cor. 7:9). What is this godly sorrowing? There are six qualifications of it:



True godly sorrow is INTERNAL.

It is inward in two ways:

(1) It is a sorrow of the heart. The sorrow of hypocrites lies in their faces: "they disfigure their faces" (Matt. 6:16). They make a sour face—but their sorrow goes no further. It is like the dew which wets the leaf, but does not soak to the root. Ahab's repentance was in outward show. His garments were rent—but not his heart (1 Kings 21:27). Godly sorrow goes deep, like a vein which bleeds inwardly. The heart bleeds for sin: "they were pricked in their heart" (Acts 2:37). As the heart bears a chief part in sinning—so it must insorrowing.
(2) It is a sorrow for heart-sins, the first outbreaks and risings of sin. Paul grieved for the law of sin in his members (Romans 7:23). The true mourner weeps for the stirrings of pride and lust. He grieves for the "root of bitterness" even though it never blossoms into overt act. A wicked man may be troubled for scandalous sins; a real convert laments heart sins.
2. Godly sorrow is SINCERE. 
It is sorrow for the offence—rather than for the punishment. God's law has been infringed—and his love abused. This melts the soul in tears. A man may be sorry—yet not repent. A thief is sorry when he is caught, not because he stole—but because he has to pay the penalty! Hypocrites grieve only for the bitterconsequence of sin. Their eyes never pour out tears—except when God's judgments are approaching. Pharaoh was more troubled for the frogs—than for his sin.
Godly sorrow, however, is chiefly for the trespass against God—so that even if there were no conscience to smite, no devil to accuse, no hell to punish—yet the soul would still be grieved because of the offense done to God. "My sin is ever before me" (Psalm 51:3); David does not say, The sword is ever before me—but "my sin". "O that I should offend so good a God, that I should grieve my Comforter! This breaks my heart!" Godly sorrow shows itself to be sincere, because when a Christian knows that he is out of the gun-shot of hell and shall never be damned—yet he still grieves for sinning against that free grace which has pardoned him!
3. Godly sorrow is always intermixed with FAITH. 
Sorrow for sin, is chequered with faith, as we have seen a bright rainbow appear in a watery cloud. Spiritual sorrow will sink the heart—if the pulley of faith does not raise it. As our sin is ever before us, so God's promise must be ever before us. As we much feel our sting, so we must look up toChrist our brazen serpent. Some have faces so swollen with worldly grief, that they can hardly look out of their eyes. That weeping is not good—which blinds the eye of faith. If there are not some dawnings of faith in the soul—it is not the sorrow of humiliation, but of despair.
4. Godly sorrow is a GREAT sorrow. 
"In that day shall there be a great mourning" (Zech. 12:11). Two suns did set that day when Josiah died, and there was a great funeral mourning. To such a height must sorrow for sin be boiled up.


Question 1. Do all have the same degree of sorrow?
Answer: No, there may be greater or lesser sorrow. In the new birth all have pangs—but some have sharper pangs than others.
(1) Some are naturally of a more rugged disposition, of higher spirits—and are not easily brought to stoop. These must have greater humiliation, as a knotty piece of timber must have sharper wedges driven into it.
(2) Some have been more heinous offenders—and their sorrow must be suitable to their sin. Some patients have their abscess let out with a needle, others with a lance. Heinous sinners must be more bruised with the hammer of the law.
(3) Some are designed and cut out for higher service, to be eminently instrumental for God—and these must have a mightier work of humiliation pass upon them. Those whom God intends to be pillars in his church—must be more hewn. Paul, the prince of the apostles, who was to be God's ensign-bearer to carry his name before the Gentiles and kings, was to have his heart more deeply lanced by repentance.
Question 2. But how great must sorrow for sin be in all?
Answer: It must be as great as for any worldly loss. "They shall look upon me whom they have pierced—and they shall mourn as for an only son" (Zech. 12:10). Sorrow for sin must surpass worldly sorrow. We must grieve more for offending God—than for the loss of dear relations. "The Lord, the Lord Almighty, called you on that day to weep and to wail, to tear out your hair and put on sackcloth" (Isaiah 22:12). This repentance was for sin. But in the case of the burial of the dead, we find God prohibiting tears (Jer. 22:10; 16:6), to intimate that sorrow for sin must exceed sorrow at the grave. And with good reason, for in the burial of the dead it is only a friend who departs—but in sin God departs!
Sorrow for sin should be so great as to swallow up all other sorrow, as when the pain of the kidney-stone and gout meet—the pain of the kidney-stone swallows up the pain of thegout. We are to find as much bitterness in weeping for sin—as ever we found sweetness in committing it. Surely David found more bitterness in repentance—than ever he found comfort in Bathsheba.
Our sorrow for sin must be such as makes us willing to let go of those sins which brought in the greatest income of profit or delight. The medicine shows itself strong enough—when it has purged out our disease. Just so, the Christian has arrived at a sufficient measure of sorrow—when the love of sin is purged out.