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

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The excellence of marriage

“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge”—Hebrews 13:4.

We will begin by pointing out the excellency of wedlock: “Marriage is honourable,” says our text, and it is so first of all because God Himself has placed special honor upon it. All other ordinances or institutions (except the Sabbath) were appointed of God by the medium of men or angels (Act 7:35), but marriage was ordained immediately by the Lord Himself—no man or angel brought the first wife to her husband (Gen 2:19). Thus, marriage had more Divine honor put upon it than had all the other Divine institutions because it was directly solemnized by God Himself. Again, this was the first ordinance God instituted, yea, the first thing He did after man and woman were created, and that, while they were still in their unfallen state. Moreover, the place where their marriage occurred shows the honorableness of this institution: whereas all other institutions (save the Sabbath) were instituted outside of paradise, marriage was solemnized in Eden itself! intimating how happy they are that marry in the Lord.
“God’s crowning creative act was the making of woman. At the close of each creative day, it is formally recorded that God saw what He had made, that it was good (Gen 1:31). But when Adam was made, it is explicitly recorded that God saw it was not good that the man should be alone (Gen 2:18). As to man, the creative work lacked
completeness, until, as all animals and even plants had their mates, there should be found for Adam also a help, meet for him—his counterpart and companion. Not until this want was met did God see the work of the last creative day also to be good.
“This is the first great Scripture lesson on family life, and it should be well learned…The Divine institution of marriage teaches that the ideal state of both man and woman is not in separation but in union, that each is meantand fitted for the other. God’s ideal is such union, based on a pure and holy love, enduring for life, exclusive of all rival-ry or other partnership, and incapable of alienation or unfaithfulness because it is a union in the Lord—a holy wedlock of soul and spirit in mutual sympathy and affection.”

As God the Father honored the institution of marriage, so also did God the Son.  First, by His being “born of a woman” (Gal 4:4). Second, by His miracles, for the first supernatural sign that He wrought was at the marriage of Cana in Galilee (Joh 2:8), where He turned the water into wine, thereby intimating that if Christ be present at your wedding (i.e., if you “marry in the Lord”) your life shall be a joyous or blessed one. Third, by His parables, for He compared the kingdom of God unto a marriage (Mat 22:2) and holiness to a “wedding garment” (Mat 22:11). So also in His teaching: when the Pharisees sought to ensnare Him on the subject of divorce, He set His imprimatur"on the original constitution, adding “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mat 19:4–6).

The institution of marriage has been still further honored by the Holy Spirit: For He has used it honored by the Holy Spirit:  as a figure of the union which exists between Christ and the church: “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (Eph 5:31, 32). The relation, which obtains between the Redeemer and the redeemed, is likened again and again unto that which exists between a wedded man and woman: Christ is the “Husband” (Isa 54:5), the church is the “Wife” (Rev 21:9). “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord, for I am married unto you” (Jer 3:14). Thus, each person of the blessed Trinity has set His seal upon the honorableness of the marriage state.

There is no doubt that in true marriage, each party helps the other equally; and in view of what has been pointed out above, any who venture to hold or teach any other doctrine or philosophy join issue with the Most High.  {emphasis mine} This does not lay down a hard and fast rule that every man and woman is obliged to enter into matrimony: there may be good and wise reasons for abiding alone [and] adequate motives for remaining in the single state—physical and moral, domestic and social. Nevertheless, a single life should be regarded as…exceptional, rather than ideal. Any teaching that leads men and women to think of the marriage bond as the sign of bondage and the sacrifice of all independence [or] to construe wifehood and motherhood as drudgery and interference with woman’s higher destiny, any public sentiment [that cultivates] celibacy as more desirable and honorable or [that substitutes] anything else for marriage and home not only invades God’s ordinance, but opens the door to nameless crimes and threatens the very foundations of society. 


Continue reading A. W. Pink's excellent writings on marriage here...

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The origin of the word 'homosexual'

One of the main arguments homosexuals use against Christians is that the word 'homosexual' is not found in the Bible until the 1940's; this is true. I thought it would be good to do some research on the origin of this phrase, here is what I came up with...

The word 'homosexual' was first coined by an Austrian born journalist named Karl-Maria Kertbeny. His birth name was Karl Maria Benkert, which he later changed to Kertbeny, a Hungarian name. 

In 1869, during the course of his writings, he coined the phrase 'homosexual' as part of his own personal system for the classification of sexual types. He desired to replace the words used by the German and French speaking world in his day, 'sodomite' and 'pederast'. He also labeled sex between men and women 'heterosexualism', masturbators 'monosexualists', and one who practices anal intercourse 'pygists'. He contributed a chapter on homosexuality to Gustav Jäger's book 'Discovery of the Soul', but the publisher of the book thought Kertbeny's writings were too controversial, so it was omitted. However, his terminology was borrowed and found elsewhere in Jäger's book. 

Kertbeny formed the word 'homosexual' out of the Greek word 'homo', which means 'same', and the Latin word sexualis, which means 'sex'. The Latin word 'homo' means man, but he never used this, it wasn't clear enough. His intent was to get away from the word 'sodomite', which was way too offensive. He wanted to come up with a word that was more 'socially acceptable', thus, we have the birth of the word 'homosexual'. His motive behind all this was to change the sodomy laws of his day, using the same arguments we find in our day.The agenda has never changed, the goal is always to make sin less offensive and more palatable to man. He claimed his stance for homosexuality stemmed from a close friend who was homosexual,was black-mailed, and as a result, committed suicide. 

'Homosexual' was introduced into the English language from a book written by German sex researcher Richard von Krafft-Ebing entitled 'Psychopathia Sexualis' { which borrowed the terminology from Gustav Jager's book}; this book was translated into English by Charles Gilbert Chaddock, an American Neurologist, in 1892. This was the first time the English language was introduced to the phrase homosexual, which from then on out replaced 'sodomy'. Any translation from the 20th century on will include this new 'terminology' for same sex sex.

So the 'hang-up' seems to be on terminology, which takes the focus of the actual issue...that the practice of same sex sex is forbidden by God. The argument is against a translation, and not what the word of God actually says. 

Translators of God's word use the word[s] that best fit with the language of the day. The English language has been modified since the days of the Geneva, KJV, and Wycliffe translations. Let's look at some examples of translations of the Bible using 1 Corinthians 6:9...

1. From the Geneva Bible [1587]-  Knowe yee not that the vnrighteous shall not inherite the kingdome of God? Be not deceiued: neither fornicatours, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor wantons, nor buggerers'...

2. From the 1611 KJV - Know yee not that the vnrighteous shall not inherite the kingdome of God? Be not deceiued: neither fornicatours, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselues with mankinde'

3. From the Wycliffe BibleWhether ye know not, that wicked men shall not wield the kingdom of God? Do not ye err; neither lechers, neither men that serve maumets [neither men serving to idols], neither adulterers, neither lechers against kind, neither they that do lechery with men'.

These verses were translated with the English of that day; abusers of mankind is now translated as homosexual, according to our modern day English. Same goes for buggerers' and they that do lechery with men. This is a rabbit trail that homosexuals will take you down, they think a translation is what's important. God is not cloudy in His condemning of any sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman, the condemning of sexual immorality and sexual perversion is found throughout His word. Let's not lose our focus, as is the goal of the militant homosexual. 

Around The Wicket Gate

Great numbers of persons have no concern about eternal things. They care more about their cats and dogs than about their souls. It is a great mercy to be made to think about ourselves, and how we stand towards God and the eternal world. This is full often a sign that salvation is coming to us. By nature we do not like the anxiety which spiritual concern causes us, and we try, like sluggards, to sleep again. This is great foolishness; for it is at our peril that we
trifle when death is so near, and judgment is so sure. If the Lord has chosen us to eternal life, he will not let us return to our slumber. If we are sensible, we shall pray that our anxiety about our souls may never come to an end till we are
really and truly saved. Let us say from our hearts,

 “He that suffered in my stead,
 Shall my Physician be;
 I will not be comforted
 Till Jesus comfort me.”

It would be an awful thing to go dreaming down to hell, and there to lift up our eyes with a great gulf fixed between us and heaven. It will be equally terrible to be aroused to escape from the wrath to come, and then to shake off the warning influence, and go back to our insensibility. I notice that those who overcome their convictions and continue in their sins are not so easily moved the next time: every awakening which is thrown away leaves the soul more drowsy than before, and less likely to be again stirred to holy feeling.

Therefore our heart should be greatly troubled at the thought of getting rid of its trouble in any other than the right way. One who had the gout was cured of it by a quack medicine, which drove the disease within, and the patient died. To be cured of distress of mind by a false hope, would be a terrible business: the remedy would be worse than the disease. Better far that our tenderness of conscience should cause us long years of anguish, than that we should lose it, and perish in the hardness of our hearts.

continue reading here...

Another Gospel

Satan is not an initiator but an imitator. God has an only begotten Son—the Lord Jesus, so has Satan—“the son of Perdition” (2 Thess 2:3). There is a Holy Trinity, and there is likewise a Trinity of Evil (Rev 20:10). Do we read of the “children of God,” so also we read of “the children of the wicked one” (Matt 13:38). Does God work in the former both to will and to do of His good pleasure, then we are told that Satan is “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Eph 2:2). Is there a “mystery of godliness”(1 Tim 3:16), so also is there a “mystery of iniquity” (2 Thess 2:7). Are we told that God by His angels “seals” His servants in their foreheads (Rev 7:3), so also we learn that Satan by his agents sets a mark in the foreheads of his devotees (Rev 13:16). Are we told that “the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Cor 2:10), then Satan also provides his “deep things” (Greek\Rev 2:24). Did Christ perform miracles, so also can Satan (2 Thess 2:9). Is Christ seated upon a throne, so is Satan (Greek\Rev 2:13). Has Christ a Church, then Satan has his “synagogue” (Rev 2:9). Is Christ the Light of the world, then so is Satan himself “transformed into an angel of light” (2 Cor 11:14). Did Christ appoint “apostles,” then Satan has his apostles, too (2 Cor 11:13). And this leads us to consider: “The Gospel of Satan.”

Satan is the arch-counterfeiter. The Devil is now busy at work in the same field in which the Lord sowed the good seed. He is seeking to prevent the growth of the wheat by another plant, the tares, which closely resembles the wheat in appearance. In a word, by a process of imitation he is aiming to neutralize the Work of Christ.
Therefore, as Christ has a Gospel, Satan has a gospel too; the latter being a clever counterfeit of the former. So closely does the gospel of Satan resemble that which it parodies, multitudes of the unsaved are deceived by it.
It is to this gospel of Satan the apostle refers when he says to the Galatians, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another, but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ” (Gal 1:6,7). This false gospel was being heralded even in the days of the apostle, and a most awful curse was called down upon those who preached it. The apostle continues, “But though we, or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” By the help of God we shall now endeavor to expound, or rather, expose this false gospel.

The gospel of Satan is not a system of revolutionary principles, nor yet a program of anarchy. It does not promote strife and war, but aims at peace and unity. It seeks not to set the mother against her daughter nor the father against his son, but fosters the fraternal spirit whereby the human race is regarded as one great “brotherhood.” It does not seek to drag down the natural man, but to improve and uplift him. It advocates education and cultivation and appeals to “the best that is within us.” It aims to make this world such a comfortable and congenial habitat that Christ’s absence from it will not be felt and God will not be needed. It endeavors to occupy man so much with this world that he has no time or inclination to think of the world to come. It propagates the principles of self-sacrifice, charity and benevolence, and teaches us to live for the good of others, and to be kind to all. It appeals strongly to the carnal mind and is popular with the masses, because it ignores the solemn facts that by nature man is a fallen creature, alienated from the life of God, and dead in trespasses and sins, and that his only hope lies in being born again.

In contradistinction to the Gospel of Christ, the gospel of Satan teaches salvation by works. It inculcates justification before God on the ground of human merits. Its sacramental phrase is “Be good and do good”; but it fails to recognize that in the flesh there dwelleth no good thing. It announces salvation by character, which reverses the order of God’s Word—character by, as the fruit of, salvation. Its various ramifications and organizations are manifold. Temperance, Reform Movements, “Christian Socialist Leagues,” Ethical Culture Societies, “Peace Congresses” are all employed (perhaps unconsciously) in proclaiming this gospel of Satan—salvation by works. The pledge-card is substituted for Christ; social purity for individual regeneration, and politics and philosophy, for doctrine and godliness. The cultivation of the old man is considered more practical than the creation of a new man in Christ Jesus; whilst universal peace is looked for apart from the interposition and return of the Prince of Peace.

continue reading here...

Our Sovereign God

What a scene of confusion and chaos confronts us on every side! Sin is rampant; lawlessness abounds; evil men and seducers are waxing "worse and worse" (2 Tim. 3:13). Today, everything appears to be out of joint. Thrones are creaking and tottering, ancient dynasties are being overturned, democracies are revolting, civilization is a demonstrated failure; half of Christendom was but recently locked-together in a death grapple; and now that the titanic conflict is over, instead of the world having been made "safe for democracy", we have discovered that democracy is very unsafe for the world. Unrest, discontent, and lawlessness are rife every where, and none can say how soon another great war will be set in motion. Statesmen are perplexed and staggered. Men’s hearts are "failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth" (Luke 21:26). Do these things look as though God had full control?

Does not everything seem to show that the Devil has far more to do with the affairs of earth than God has? Ah, it all depends upon whether we are walking by faith, or walking by sight. Are your thoughts, my reader, concerning this world and God’s relation to it, based upon what you see? Face this question seriously and honestly. And if you are a Christian, you will, most probably, have cause to bow your head with shame and sorrow, and to acknowledge that it is so. Alas, in reality, we walk very little "by faith". But what does "walking by faith" signify? It means that our thoughts are formed, our actions regulated, our lives molded by the Holy Scriptures, for, "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17). It is from the Word of Truth, and that alone, that we can learn what is God’s relation to this world.

We readily acknowledge that life is a profound problem, and that we are surrounded by mystery on every side; but we are not like the beasts of the field—ignorant of their origin, and unconscious of what is before them. No: "We have also a more sure Word of Prophecy", of which it is said ye do well that ye "take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts" (2Pet. 1:19). And it is to this Word of Prophecy we indeed do well to "take heed," to that Word which had not its origin in the mind of man but in the Mind of God, for, "the prophecy came not at any time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake moved by the Holy Spirit." We say again, it is to this "Word" we do well to take heed. 

As we turn to this Word and are instructed there, we discover a fundamental principle which must be applied to every problem: Instead of beginning with man and his world and working back to God, we must begin with God and work down to man—"In the beginning God"! Apply this principle to the present situation. Begin with the world as it is today and try and work back to God, and everything will seem to show that God has no connection with the world at all. But begin with God and work down to the world and light, much light, is cast on the problem. Because God is holy His anger burns against sin; because God is righteous His judgments fall upon those who rebel against Him; because God is faithful the solemn threatenings of His Word are fulfilled; because God is omnipotent none can successfully resist Him, still less overthrow His counsel; and because God is omniscient no problem can master Him and no difficulty baffle His wisdom. It is just because God is who He is and what He is that we are now beholding on earth what we do—the beginning of His out-poured judgments: in view of His inflexible justice and immaculate holiness we could not expect anything other than what is now spread before our eyes.

It is in view of what we have briefly referred to above. that we say, Present-day conditions call loudly for a new examination and new presentation of God’s omnipotency, God’s sufficiency, God’s sovereignty. From every pulpit in the land it needs to be thundered forth that God still lives, that God still observes, that God still reigns. Faith is now in the crucible, it is being tested by fire, and there is no fixed and sufficient resting-place for the heart and mind but in the Throne of God. What is needed now, as never before, is a full, positive, constructive setting forth of the Godhood of God. Drastic diseases call for drastic remedies. People are weary of platitudes and mere generalizations—the call is for something definite and specific. Soothing-syrup may serve for peevish children, but an iron tonic is better suited for adults, and we know of nothing which is more calculated to infuse spiritual vigor into our frames than a scriptural apprehension of the full character of God. It is written, "The people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits" (Dan. 11:32).

Here is the fundamental difference between the man of faith and the man of unbelief. The unbeliever is "of the world," judges everything by worldly standards, views life from the standpoint of time and sense, and weighs everything in the balances of his own carnal making. But the man of faith brings in God, looks at everything from His standpoint, estimates values by spiritual standards, and views life in the light of eternity. Doing this, he receives whatever comes as from the hand of God. Doing this, his heart is calm in the midst of the storm. Doing this, he rejoices in hope of the glory of God.

A due apprehension of God’s Sovereignty promotes the spirit of worship, provides an incentive to practical godliness, and inspires zeal in service. It is deeply humbling to the human heart, but in proportion to the degree that it brings man into the dust before his Maker, to that extent is God glorified.
A. W. Pink

Friday, June 28, 2013

The point- of- beginning

Peter Eldersveld

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world...being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”—Ephesians 1:4, 11

ONE day several years ago, the surveyor was working on our street, checking the property lines of vacant lots where new houses were to be built. I noticed that he was very careful about placing his transit-compass, the instrument surveyors use for measuring. When I questioned him about it, he told me that it was absolutely necessary to locate the exact point-ofbeginning before any surveying could be done. His transit-compass had to be set precisely over this point, for otherwise all the work would be in vain. If the point-of-beginning were wrong, everything else in the whole area surveyed would be wrong, too; property lines would be confused, and houses misplaced; and the courts would be overrun with cases of angry citizens whose property rights had been violated. So great is the danger, that builders refuse to begin their work until the surveyor has completed his.

There is a lesson in that for a world that is badly askew. Sin has brought disorder and chaos. But the problem has been immensely complicated by our failure to find the right point-of-beginning in the matter of our salvation. We are always prone to think that we must begin with man—which is another evidence of our sinfulness. We should begin with God; He is the only right point-of-beginning in the search for salvation (John 1:1). And if we don’t begin with Him, we will only go farther astray.
Not only in the world at large but even in the history of the Christian Church do we find evidence of our failure on this score. Both preaching and theology, whether conservative or liberal, have often made man, instead of God, the point-of-beginning. We are so easily tempted to be man-centered in our conception of the Gospel. Evangelism seems to be more appealing that way, and theology, too. But that humanistic approach has often led the Church astray, for it invariably accommodates the Word of God to suit the notions of men. In fact, almost every instance of heresy in the history of the Church can be traced directly to that wrong point-of-beginning.

You cannot bring men back to God unless that way of their salvation begins with God. Humanism always ends where it starts, namely, with man. The Bible also ends where it starts, namely with God—which is where we want to be, isn’t it?
The predicament in which we sinners find ourselves is so utterly hopeless that divine redemption is our only way out. The Bible says, what we know to be true from our own honest introspection, that we are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph 2:1). And such dead men cannot begin their own resurrection. They must be raised by another—by God. You cannot expect sinners who are depraved by nature to initiate the work of their own redemption. It will have to be initiated by God.
Now the Word of God proves beyond all doubt that He is our point-of-beginning. The classic passage on that is Ephesians 1:4-12. Among other things, it says: “He hath chosen us in him [Christ] before the foundation of the world...having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his whom [Christ] also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”

read on here...

        1. Lord, 'tis not that I did choose Thee;
        That, I know, could never be;
        For this heart would still refuse Thee
        Had Thy grace not chosen me.
        Thou hast from the sin that stained me
        Washed and cleansed and set me free
        And unto this end ordained me,
        That I ever live to Thee.

        2. 'Twas Thy grace in Christ that called me,
        Taught my darkened heart and mind;
        Else the world had yet enthralled me,
        To Thy heavenly glories blind.
        Now my heart owns none above Thee;
        For Thy grace alone I thirst,
        Knowing well that, if I love Thee,
        Thou, O Lord, didst love me first.

        3. Praise the God of all creation;
        Praise the Father's boundless love.
        Praise the Lamb, our Expiation,
        Priest and King enthroned above.
        Praise the Spirit of salvation,
        Him by whom our spirits live.
        Undivided adoration
        To the great Jehovah give.

 by Josiah Conder, 1789-1855

A call to separation

A. w. Pink

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14-18)
This passage gives utterance to a Divine exhortation for those belonging to Christ to hold aloof from all intimate associations with the Ungodly. It expressly forbids them entering into alliances with the unconverted. It definitely prohibits the children of God walking arm-in-arm with worldlings. It is an admonition applying to every phase and department of our lives—religious, domestic social, commercial. And never, perhaps, was there a time when it more needed pressing on Christians than now. The days in which we are living are marked by the spirit of compromise. On every side we behold unholy mixtures, ungodly alliances, unequal yokes. Many professing Christians appear to be trying how near to the world they may walk and yet go to Heaven.

“Be ye not unequally yoked together.” This is a call to godly separation. In each dispensation this Divine demand has been made. To Abraham Jehovah’s peremptory word was, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house.” To Israel He said, “After the doings of the land of Egypt wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do; neither shall ye walk in their ordinances.” (Lev. 18:3) And again, “Ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation which I cast out before you.” (Lev. 20:23) It was for their disregard of these very prohibitions that Israel brought down upon themselves such severe chastisements.
At the beginning of the New Testament we are shown the forerunner of Christ standing outside the organized Judaism of his day, calling on men to flee from the wrath to come. The Savior announced that, “He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.” (John 10:3) On the day of Pentecost the word to believers was, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” (Acts 2:40) Later, to the Christian Hebrews Paul wrote, “Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp.” (13:13) God’s call to His people in Babylon is, “Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” (Rev. 18:4)

“Be ye not unequally yoked together.” This is God’s word unto His people today. Nor does it stand alone. In Rom. 16:17 it is said, “Mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them.” In 2 Tim 2:20 we read, “In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the Master’s use.” 2 Tim. 3:5 speaks of those “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof,” then it is added, “from such turn away.” What a word is that in 2 Thess. 3:14, “If any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him.” How radical is the admonition of 1 Cor. 5:11, “Now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an
extortioner: with such an one no, not to eat.”

continue reading here...

Is Homosexuality Perversion or Progression?

I have heard many who defend homosexuality say the term 'homosexuality' is not found in the Bible, this sermon by John Swindlehurst answers this in a way I have never heard before. This is the first of a three-part series on homosexuality, all of which I recommend...

To listen to 'is homosexuality perversion or progession?', click here.

To listen to 'homosexuality, part two', click here.

To listen to 'homosexuality, part three', click here.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The perfect wisdom of our God

the infernal dungeon of hell

O God, help us

Today's Supreme court decision does not anger me, it breaks my heart. Wickedness is increasing and souls are sinking deeper into depravity; how should we respond? This video from Dr. James White is from back in February, but his message is relevant at this hour.

 "Most sin goes through six stages before God responds in judgment: (1) Shock at it. (2) Joking about it. (3) Curiosity about it. (4) Indulgence in it. (5) Excuses made for it. (6) Stoutly defended as right. Classical writers of old tell how this was a very common and accepted sin among the pagans. Modern attitudes toward this sin are already in the fifth or sixth stage. Has America become so idolatrous that God has given it up as He did the nations of old? Only the saved, as the salt of the earth, (Matthew 5:13), now prevent the utter corruption of the earth. " - Davis Huckabee

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


“Then said Jesus unto His disciples, if any man will”—the word “will” here means “desire to” just as in that verse, “If any will live godly.” It signifies “determine to.” “If any man will or desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross (not a cross, but his cross) and follow me.” Then in Luke 14:27 Christ declared, “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple.” So it is not optional. The Christian life is far more than subscribing to a system of truth or adopting a code of conduct, or of submitting to religious ordinances. Preeminently the Christian life is a person; experience of fellowship with the Lord Jesus, and just in proportion as your life is lived in communion with Christ, to that extent are you living the Christian life, and to that extent only.

The Christian life is a life that consists of following Jesus. If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” O that you and I may gain distinction for the closeness of our walk to Christ, and then shall we be “close communionists” indeed. There is a class described in Scripture of whom it is said, “These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.” But sad to Say, there is another class, and a large class, who seem to follow the Lord fitfully, spasmodically, half-heartedly, occasionally, distantly. There is much of the World and much of self in their lives, and so little of Christ. Thrice happy shall he be who like Caleb followeth the Lord fully.

Now, beloved, our chief business and aim is to follow Christ, but there are difficulties in the way. There are obstacles in the path, and it is to them that the first part of our text refers. You notice that the words “follow Me” come at the end. Self, self stands in the way, and the world with its ten thousand attractions and distractions is an obstacle; and therefore Christ says, “If any man will come after Me—(first) let him deny himself, (second) take up his cross, (third) and follow Me.” And there we learn the reason why so few professing Christians are following Him closely, manifestly, consistently.

The first step toward a daily following of Christ is the denying of self. There is a vast difference, brethren and sisters, between denying self and so-called self-denial. The popular idea that obtains both in the world and among Christians is that of giving up things which we like. There is a great diversity of opinion as to what should be given up. There are some who would restrict it to that which is characteristically worldly, such as theatre-going, dancing, and the racecourse. There are others who would restrict it to a certain season when amusements and other things which are followed during the remainder of the year are rigidly eschewed at that time. But such methods as those only foster spiritual pride, for surely I deserve some credit if I give up so much as. My friends, what Christ speaks of in our text (and O may the spirit of God apply it to our souls this morning) as the first step toward following him, is, the denial of self itself not simply some of the things that are pleasing to self. not some of the things after which self hankers, but the denying of self itself. What does that mean—“If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself?” It means in the first place, abandoning his own righteousness; but it means far more than that. That is only its first meaning. It means refusing to rest upon my own wisdom. It means far more than that. It means ceasing to insist upon my own rights. It means repudiating self itself. It means ceasing to consider our own comforts, our own ease, our own pleasure, our own aggrandizement, our own benefits. It means being done with self. It means, beloved, saying with the apostle, For me to live is, not self, but Christ. For me to live is to obey Christ, to serve Christ, to honor Christ, to spend myself for Him. That is what it means. And “if any man will come after Me,” says our Master, “let him deny himself, “ let self be repudiated, be done with. In other words it is what you have in Romans 12:1, “Present your bodies a living sacrifice unto God.”

Now the second step toward following Christ is the taking up of the cross. “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross.” Ah, my friends, to live out the Christian life is something more than a passive luxury; it is a serious undertaking. It is a life that has to be disciplined in sacrifice. The life of discipleship begins with self-renunciation and it continues by self-mortification. In other words, our text refers to the cross not simply as an object of faith, but as a principle of life, as the badge of discipleship, as an experience in the soul. And, listen! Just as it was true that the only way to the Father’s throne for Jesus of Nazareth was by the cross, so the only way for a life of communion with God and the crown at the end for the Christian is via the cross. The legal benefits of Christ’s sacrifice are secured by faith, when the guilt of sin is cancelled: but the cross only becomes efficacious over the power of indwelling sin as it is realized in our daily lives.

I want to call your attention to the context. Turn with me for a moment to Matthew 16, verse 21: “From that time forth began Jesus to show unto His disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him.” He was staggered and said, “Pity Thyself, Lord.” That expressed the policy of the world. That is the sum of the world’s philosophy—self shielding and self-seeking; but that which Christ preached was not spare “but” sacrifice.” The Lord Jesus saw in Peter’s suggestion a temptation from Satan and He flung it from Him . Then He turned to His disciples and said, if any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” In other words what Christ said was this: I am going up to Jerusalem to the cross: if anyone would be My follower there is a cross for him. And, as Luke 14 says, “Whosoever doth not bear his cross cannot he My disciple.” Not only must Jesus go up to Jerusalem and be killed, but everyone who comes after Him must take up his cross. The “must” is as imperative in the one case as in the other. Mediatorialy the cross of Christ stands alone, but experimentally it is shared by all who enter into life.

Now then, what does “the cross” stand for? What did Christ mean when He said that except a man take up his cross? My friends, it is deplorable that at this late date such a question needs to he asked, and it is more deplorable still that the vast majority of God’s own people have such unscriptural conceptions of what the “cross” stands for. The average Christian seems to regard the cross in this text as any trial or trouble that may be laid upon him. Whatsoever comes up that disturbs our peace, that is unpleasing to the flesh, that irritates our temper is looked upon as a cross. One says, “Well, that is my cross,” and another says, “Well, this is my cross,” and someone else says something else is their cross. My friends, the word is never so used in the New Testament.
The word ‘cross” is never found in the plural number, nor is it ever found with the indefinite article before it—“a cross,” Note also that in our text the cross is linked to a verb in the active voice and not the passive. It is not a cross that is laid upon us, but a cross which must be “taken up”! The cross stands for definite realities which embody and express the leading characteristics of Christ’s agony.

Others understand the “cross” to refer to disagreeable duties which they reluctantly discharge, or to fleshly habits which they grudgingly deny. They imagine that they are cross-bearing when, prodded at the point of conscience, they abstain from things earnestly desired. Such people invariably turn their cross into a weapon with which to assail other people. They parade their self-denial and go around insisting that others should follow them. Such conceptions of the cross are as Pharisaical as false, and as mischievous as they are erroneous.

Now, as the Lord enables me, let me point out three things that the cross stands for. First, the cross is the expression of the world’s hatred. The world hated the Christ of God and its hatred was ultimately manifested by crucifying Him. In the 15th chapter of John, seven times over, Christ refers there to the hatred of the world against Himself and against His people; and just in proportion as you and I are following Christ, just in proportion as our lives are being lived as His life was lived, just in proportion as we have come out from the world and are in fellowship with Him, so will the world hate us.
We read in the Gospels that one man came and presented himself to Christ for discipleship, and he requested that he might first go and bury his father—a very natural request, a very praiseworthy one surely (?) and the Lord’s reply is almost staggering. He said to that man, “Follow Me: and let the dead bury their dead.” What would have happened to that young man if he had obeyed Christ? I do not know whether he did or not, but if he did, what would happen? What would his kinsfolk and his neighbours think of him? Would they be able to appreciate the motive, the devotion that caused him to follow Christ and neglect what the world would call a filial duty? Ah, my friends, if you are following Christ the world will think you are mad, and some natures and dispositions find it very hard to bear reflections on their sanity. Yes, there are some who find the reproaches of the living a harder trial than the loss of the dead.

Another young man presented himself to Christ for discipleship and he requested the Lord that he might first be allowed to go home and say farewell to his friends—a very natural request, surely—and the Lord presented to him the cross: “No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God!” Affectionate natures find the wrench of home ties hard to bear; harder still are the suspicions of loved ones and friends for having been slighted. Yes, the reproach of the world becomes very real if we are following Christ closely. No man can keep in with the world and follow Him.

Another young man came and presented himself to Christ and fell at His feet and worshipped Him, and said, “Master, what good thing shall I do?” and the Lord presented to him the cross. “Sell all that thou hast and give to the poor. ..and come and follow Me.” And the young man went away sorrowful. And Christ is still saying to you and to me this morning, “Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple.” The cross stands for the reproach and the hatred of the world. But as the cross was voluntary for Christ, so it is for His disciple. It can either be avoided or accepted; ignored or “taken up”!

But secondly, the cross stands for a life that is voluntarily surrendered to the will of God. From the standpoint of the world the death was a voluntary sacrifice. Turn for a moment to the 10th of John, beginning at the 17th verse: “Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” Why did He thus lay down his life? Look at the closing sentence of verse 18: “This commandment have I received of My Father.” The cross was the last demand of God upon the obedience of His Son. That is why we read in Philippians 2 that, He “being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death” (that was the climax, that was the end of the path of obedience) —“even the death of the cross.”

Christ has left us an example that we should follow His steps. The obedience of Christ should be the obedience of the Christian—voluntary, not compulsory—voluntary, continuous, faithful, without any reserve, unto death. The cross then stands for obedience, consecration, surrender, a life placed at the disposal of God. “If any man will come after Me, let him take up his cross and follow Me” and “Whosoever doth not bear his cross and come after Me, cannot be My disciple.” In other words, dear friends, the cross stands for the principle of discipleship, our life being actuated by the same principle that Christ’s was. He came here and He pleased not Himself: no more must I. He made Himself of no reputation: so must I. He went about doing good: so should I. He came not to be ministered unto but to minister: so should we. He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. That is what the cross stands for: First, the reproach of the world—because we have antagonized it, raised its ire by separating ourselves from it, and are walking on a different plane, and through being actuated by different principles from those by which it walks. Second, a life sacrificed unto God—laid down in devotion to Him.

In the third place, the cross stands for vicarious sacrifice and suffering. Turn to the first Epistle of John, the third chapter, verse 16: “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives.” That is the logic of Calvary. We are called unto fellowship with Christ, our lives to be lived by the same principles that His was lived by—obedience to God, sacrifice for others. He died that we might live and, my friends, we have to die that we may live. Look at the 25th verse of Matthew 16: “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it”: that means every Christian, for Christ was speaking there to disciples. Every Christian who has lived a self-centered life, considering his own comforts, his own peace of mind, his own welfare, his own advantages and benefits, that “life” is going to be lost forever—all wasted so far as eternity is concerned; wood, hay and stubble, that will go up in smoke. But “whosoever will lose his life for My sake, “ that is, whosoever has not lived his life considering his own wellbeing, his own interests, his own profit, his own advancement, but has sacrificed that life, has spent it in the service of others for Christ’s sake; he shall find—“find” what? —he shall find it, not something else: it, not another: he shall find it. That life has been immortalized, perpetuated, it has been built of imperishable materials that will survive the testing-fire in the day to come. He shall find “it”. He died that we might live, and we have to die if we are to live! “Whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.”

Again, in the 20th chapter of John, Christ said to His disciples, “As the Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.” What was Christ sent here to do? To glorify the Father: to express God’s love; to manifest God’s grace; to weep over Jerusalem; to have compassion on the ignorant and those that are out of the way; to toil so assiduously that He had no leisure so much as to eat; to live a life of such self-sacrifice that even His kinsfolk said, “He is beside Himself.” and, “as the Father hath sent Me, even so,” says Christ, “send I you”: In other words, I send you back into the world out of which I have saved you. I send you back into the world to live with the cross stamped upon you. O brethren and sisters, how little “blood” there is in our lives! How little is there the bearing of the dying of Jesus in our bodies (2 Cor. 4:10)

Have we begun to “take up the cross” at all? Is there any wonder that we are following Him at such a distance? Is there any wonder that we have such little victory over the power of indwelling sin? There is a reason for that. Mediatorially the Cross of Christ stands alone, but experimentally the cross is to be shared by all His disciples. Legally the cross of Calvary annulled and put away our guilt, the guilt of our sins; but, my friends, I am perfectly convinced that the only way of getting deliverance from the power of sin in our lives and obtaining mastery over the old man within us, is by the cross becoming a part of the experience of our souls. It was at the cross sin was dealt with legally and judicially: it is only as the cross is “taken up” by the disciple that it becomes an experience— slaying the power and defilement of sin within us. And Christ says, “Whosoever doth not bear his cross, cannot be My disciple”. O what need has each Christian here this morning to get alone with the Master and consecrate Himself to His service.   A. W. Pink

Jesus is God and Savior

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The grace of God saves another sinner!

HT - Dale Mcalpine

And the Lord was angry with Aaron

"The LORD was angry enough with Aaron to destroy him; so I also prayed for Aaron at the same time. - Deut. 9:20

Aaron was the brother of Moses, he was picked to be the 'mouthpiece' for Moses, to speak to the nation Israel, all the words that God would give to Moses. God chose Aaron because of Moses' reluctance to speak to the people, Aaron could speak fluently. Aaron was under Moses' authority, "You are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I, even I, will be with your mouth and his mouth, and I will teach you what you are to do." Exodus 4:15. Of this text, John Gill states "or speak what Moses should say to Aaron, and what Aaron should say to Pharaoh, and to the people of Israel; so that as Aaron was under Moses, and at his direction, they were both dependent on the Lord, and under his direction; and the one, as well as the other, needed his assistance, even Aaron that could speak well. Moses furnished him with matter, he put it into words, and both were instructed and influenced by the Lord what they should say and do."

Aaron was left in charge of the people while Moses went up the mountain to receive the ten commandments and all instructions from God.
While Moses was absent, the people grew restless and told Aaron to fashion a 'god' for them, which he did, out of the gold of the people. This idol worship caused the anger of God to rise to the level of Him stating He would destroy the people {Exodus 32:10}.  In his anger, Moses destroyed the calf, then turned to Aaron and said " "What did this people do to you, that you have brought such great sin upon them?" {Exodus 32:21} Again, from John Gill, "as idolatry is, than which no sin can be greater, it being not only a breach of the first table of the law, but directly against God, against the very being of God, and his honour and glory; it is a denial of him, and setting up an idol in his room, and giving to that the glory that is only due to his name; and Aaron being the chief magistrate, whose business it was to see that the laws of God were observed, and to restrain the people from sin, and to have been a terror to evil doers; yet falling in with them, and conniving at them, he is charged with bringing sin upon them, or them into that; and is asked what the people had done to him, that he should do this to them, what offence they had given him, what injury they had done him, that he bore them a grudge for it, and took this method to be revenged?"

Aaron attempts to cover his own partaking of wickedness by blaming the people {vs. 22}, then claiming he threw the gold in the fire and this golden calf formed all on its own {vs. 24}. However, Moses would not accept any excuses, vs 25, 'Now when Moses saw that the people were out of control--for Aaron had let them get out of control to be a derision among their enemies'. God, and Moses, held Aaron accountable for the people's actions because of his position of spiritual authority over them. He did not restrain their evil, instead, he participated in it. John Gill  provides commentary on verse 25, 'to part with their ear rings, or lay aside their armour while feasting, could not be so much to their shame among their enemies; but to sin against God, in the manner they did, was to their shame, which Aaron was a means of by not doing all he could to hinder it, and by doing what he did to encourage it; and now he made them naked to their shame by exposing it, saying they were a people set on mischief, and given up to sin and wickedness; and what they had now done served to expose them to shame even among their enemies, both now and hereafter; when they should hear of their shameful revolt from God, after so many great and good things done for them, and of the change of their gods, and of their fickleness about them, which was not usual with the Gentiles: though the last word may be rendered, "among those that rise up from you"; that should spring from them, come up in their room, and succeed them, their posterity, as in Num_32:14 and so Onkelos renders it, "to your generations", and is so to be understood, as Abendana observes; and then the sense is, that this sin of making and worshipping the golden calf, and keeping a holy day, would be to their shame and disgrace, among their posterity, in all succeeding ages. (If is quite possible the people were physically naked, having taken off all their clothes to indulge in the idolatrous worship of the calf and sexual immorality that usually is associated with such wicked practices. Editor.)

How many spiritual leaders today realize they will be held accountable before God for the souls of men? How could a spiritual leader of the people lose control over the people? How could Aaron go along with such wickedness? Look around today at the spiritual leaders that compromise, that embrace religions that worship false gods, or commit acts of sexual immorality and perversion. It is not different now than it was in Moses' day. Loss of control in spiritual matters starts with compromise, and fearing man more than fearing God, which is what happened to Aaron. Aaron's horrific stumbling led to the Lord's anger burning against him, but Moses interceded on his behalf in prayer, 'the Lord was angry enough with Aaron to destroy him, so I prayed for Aaron at the same time'. Matthew Henry gives insight into the text, "o man's place or character can shelter him from the wrath of God if he have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. Aaron, that should have made atonement for them if the iniquity could have been purged away by sacrifice and offering, did himself fall under the wrath of God: so little did they consider what they did when they drew him in. It was with great difficulty and very long attendance that Moses himself prevailed to turn away the wrath of God, and prevent their utter ruin. He fasted and prayed full forty days and forty nights before he could obtain their pardon, Deu_9:18. And some think twice forty days (Deu_9:25), because it is said, as I fell down before, whereas his errand in the first forty was not of that nature. Others think it was but one forty, though twice mentioned (as also in Deu_10:10); but this was enough to make them sensible how great God's displeasure was against them, and what a narrow escape they had for their lives. And in this appears the greatness of God's anger against all mankind that no less a person than his Son, and no less a price than his own blood, would serve to turn it away. 

Aaron escaped God's wrath because of Moses' intercessory prayer, and God's mercy. Aaron was a Godly man, and yet the Lord's anger burned against him, to the point God was ready to destroy him. May we never take the grace of God for granted, may sin always be repulsive to us, may fear and reverence deter us from sin.
 Aaron did not continue in wickedness, unlike so many leaders who do so today. This should serve as a warning to all who profess to be God's people. Do NOT mingle with wickedness, stand fast on the word of God, come out and be separate from among them. Never consider yourself to be so strong that you do not need to pray for yourself or the intercessory prayer of others. The example of Aaron is why we need to pray for our pastors, elders, and deacons. This is why we need to pray for our husbands.
We must always handle the world 'from a distance'. We cannot mingle with the wicked, we cannot be friends with the unregenerate. The power and pull of sin will suck us in and cause us to stumble, just as it did Aaron. I am not saying we should live in communes on mountaintops, but we should take serious the word of God to come out, to be separate, to be unstained by the world. I know in my own life, I have gotten too close to co-workers and been a part of gossiping as a result, to my shame. We all must heed the warning found in 1 Corinthians 10:12, 'Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.'

Jesus 'fashions' us

“He shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory.”
- Zec_6:13

Christ himself is the builder of his spiritual temple, and he has built it on the mountains of his unchangeable affection, his omnipotent grace, and his infallible truthfulness. But as it was in Solomon’s temple, so in this; the materials need making ready. There are the “Cedars of Lebanon,” but they are not framed for the building; they are not cut down, and shaped, and made into those planks of cedar, whose odoriferous beauty shall make glad the courts of the Lord’s house in Paradise. There are also the rough stones still in the quarry, they must be hewn thence, and squared. All this is Christ’s own work. Each individual believer is being prepared, and polished, and made ready for his place in the temple; but Christ’s own hand performs the preparation-work. Afflictions cannot sanctify, excepting as they are used by him to this end. Our prayers and efforts cannot make us ready for heaven, apart from the hand of Jesus, who fashioneth our hearts aright.
As in the building of Solomon’s temple, “there was neither hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron, heard in the house,” because all was brought perfectly ready for the exact spot it was to occupy-so is it with the temple which Jesus builds; the making ready is all done on earth. When we reach heaven, there will be no sanctifying us there, no squaring us with affliction, no planing us with suffering. No, we must be made meet here-all that Christ will do beforehand; and when he has done it, we shall be ferried by a loving hand across the stream of death, and brought to the heavenly Jerusalem, to abide as eternal pillars in the temple of our Lord.

“Beneath his eye and care,
The edifice shall rise,
Majestic, strong, and fair,
And shine above the skies.”

C. H. Spurgeon

Thursday, June 20, 2013

What is justification?

The mark of every false religion is their adhering to doing works as a means of being saved. They insist faith and works are a must and immediately point to James 2:17-26, but what do they do with Romans 4:2? Being justified, or being in right standing before God, is not based on us doing a work, it is based on what Christ has already done. So, what is justification? Let's look at A. W. Pink's writings...

Deliverance from the condemning sentence of the Divine Law is the fundamental blessing in Divine salvation: so long as we continue under the curse, we can neither be holy nor happy. But as to the precise nature of that deliverance, as to exactly what it consists of, as to the ground on which it is obtained, and as to the means whereby it is secured, much confusion now obtains. Most of the errors which have been prevalent on this subject arose from the lack of a clear view of the thing itself, and until we really understand what justification is, we are in no position to either affirm or deny anything concerning it. We therefore deem it requisite to devote a whole chapter unto a careful defining and explaining this word "justification," endeavoring to show both what it signifies, and what it does not connote.
Between Protestants and Romanists there is a wide difference of opinion as to the meaning of the term "justify": they affirming that to justify is to make inherently righteous and holy; we insisting that to justify signifies only to formally pronounce just or legally declare righteous. Popery includes under justification the renovation of man’s moral nature or deliverance from depravity, thereby confounding justification with regeneration and sanctification. On the other hand, all representative Protestants have shown that justification refers not to a change of moral character, but to a change of legal status; though allowing, yea, insisting, that a radical change of character invariably accompanies it. It is a legal change from a state of guilt and condemnation to a state of forgiveness and acceptance; and this change is owing solely to a gratuitous act of God, founded upon the righteousness of Christ (they having none of their own) being imputed to His people.
"We simply explain justification to be an acceptance by which God receives us into His favour and esteems us as righteous persons; and we say that it consists in the remission of sins and the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. . . Justification, therefore, is no other than an acquittal from guilt of him who was accused, as though his innocence has been proved. Since God, therefore, justifies us through the mediation of Christ, He acquits us, not by an admission of our personal innocence, but by an imputation of righteousness; so that we, who are unrighteous in ourselves, are considered as righteous in Christ" (John Calvin, 1559).
"What is justification? Answer: Justification is an act of God’s free grace unto sinners, in which He pardoneth all their sins, accepteth and accounteth their persons righteous in His sight; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but only for the perfect obedience and full satisfaction of Christ, by God imputed to them, and received by faith alone" (Westminster Catechism, 1643).
"We thus define the Gospel justification of a sinner: It is a judicial, but gracious act of God, whereby the elect and believing sinner is absolved from the guilt of his sins, and hath a right to eternal life adjudged to him, on account of the obedience of Christ, received by faith" (H. Witsius, 1693).
"A person is said to be justified when he is approved of God as free from the guilt of sin and its deserved punishment; and as having that righteousness belonging to him that entitles to the reward of life" (Jonathan Edwards, 1750).
Justification, then, refers not to any subjective change wrought in a person’s disposition, but is solely an objective change in his standing in relation to the law. That to justify cannot possibly signify to make a person inherently righteous or good is most clearly to be seen from the usage of the term itself in Scripture. For example, in Proverbs 17:15 we read, "He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD": now obviously he who shall make a "wicked" person just is far from being an "abomination to the LORD," but he who knowingly pronounces a wicked person to be righteous is obnoxious to Him. Again; in Luke 7:29 we read, "And all the people that heard Him, and the publicans, justified God": how impossible it is to make the words "justified God" signify any moral transformation in His character; but understand those words to mean that they declared Him to be righteous, and all ambiguity is removed. Once more, in 1 Timothy 3:16 we are told that the incarnate Son was "justified in (or "by") the Spirit": that is to say, He was publicly vindicated at His resurrection, exonerated from the blasphemous charges which the Jews had laid against Him.
Justification has to do solely with the legal side of salvation. It is a judicial term, a word of the law courts. It is the sentence of a judge upon a person who has been brought before him for judgment. It is that gracious act of God as Judge, in the high court of Heaven, by which He pronounces an elect and believing sinner to be freed from the penalty of the law, and fully restored unto the Divine favour. It is the declaration of God that the party arraigned is fully conformed to the law; justice exonerates him because justice has been satisfied. Thus, justification is that change of status whereby one, who being guilty before God, and therefore under the condemning sentence of His Law, and deserving of nought but an eternal banishment from His presence, is received into His favour and given a right unto all the blessings which Christ has, by His perfect satisfaction, purchased for His people.
In substantiation of the above definition, the meaning of the term "justify" may be determined, First, by its usage in Scripture. "And Judah said, What shall we say unto my lord? what shall we speak? or how shall we clear (this Hebrew word "tsadag" always signifies "justify") ourselves?" (Gen. 44:16). Here we have an affair which was entirely a judicial one. Judah and his brethren were arraigned before the governor of Egypt, and they were concerned as to how they might procure a sentence in their favour. "If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked" (Deut. 25:1). Here again we see plainly that the term is a forensic one, used in connection with the proceedings of law-courts, implying a process of investigation and judgment. God here laid down a rule to govern the judges in Israel: they must not "justify" or pass a sentence in favour of the wicked: compare 1 Kings 8:31, 32.
"If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse" (Job 9:20): the first member of this sentence is explained in the second—"justify" there cannot signify to make holy, but to pronounce a sentence in my own favour. "Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu . . . against Job . . . because he justified himself rather than God" (Job 32:2), which obviously means, because he vindicated himself rather than God. "That Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest" (Ps. 51:4), which signifies that God, acting in His judicial office, might be pronounced righteous in passing sentence. "But wisdom is justified of her children" (Matt. 11:19), which means that they who are truly regenerated by God have accounted the wisdom of God (which the scribes and Pharisees reckoned foolishness) to be, as it really is, consummate wisdom: they cleared it of the calumny of folly.
Second, The precise force of the term "to justify" may be ascertained by noting that it is the antithesis of "to condemn." Now to condemn is not a process by which a good man is made bad, but is the sentence of a judge upon one because he is a transgressor of the law. "He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD" (Prov. 17:15 and cf. Deut. 25:1). "For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Matt. 12:37). "It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth?" (Rom. 8:33, 34). Now it is undeniable that "condemnation" is the passing of a sentence against a person by which the punishment prescribed by the law is awarded to him and ordered to be inflicted upon him; therefore justification is the passing of a sentence in favour of a person, by which the reward prescribed by the law is ordered to be given to him.
Third, That justification is not an experimental change from sin to holiness, but a judicial change from guilt to no-condemnation may be evidenced by the equivalent terms used for it. For example, in Romans 4:6 we read, "Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works": so that legal "righteousness" is not a habit infused into the heart, but a gift transferred to our account. In Romans 5:9, 10 to be "justified by Christ’s blood" is the same as being "reconciled by His death," and reconciliation is not a transformation of character, but the effecting of peace by the removal of all that causes offense.
Fourth, From the fact that the judicial side of our salvation is propounded in Scripture under the figures of a forensic trial and sentence. "(1) A judgment is supposed in it, concerning which the Psalmist prays that it may not proceed on the terms of the law: Psalm 143:2. (2) The Judge is God Himself: Isaiah 50:7, 8. (3) The tribunal whereon God sits in judgment is the Throne of Grace: Hebrews 4:16. (4) A guilty person. This is the sinner, who is so guilty of sin as to be obnoxious to the judgment of God: Romans 3:18. (5) Accusers are ready to propose and promote the charge against the guilty person; these are the law (John 5:45), conscience (Rom. 2:15), and Satan: Zechariah 3:2, Revelation 12:10. (6) The charge is admitted and drawn up in a ‘handwriting’ in form of law, and is laid before the tribunal of the Judge, in bar to the deliverance of the offender: Colossians 2:14. (7) A plea is prepared in the Gospel for the guilty person: this is grace, through the blood of Christ, the ransom paid, the eternal righteousness brought in by the Surety of the covenant: Romans 3:23, 25, Daniel 9:24. (8) Hereunto alone the sinner betakes himself, renouncing all other apologies or defensatives whatever: Psalm 130:2, 3; Luke 18:13. (9) To make this plea effectual we have an Advocate with the Father, and He pleads His own propitiation for us: 1 John 2:1, 2. (10) The sentence hereon is absolution, on account of the sacrifice and righteousness of Christ; with acceptation into favour, as persons approved of God: Romans 8:33, 34; 2 Corinthians 5:21" (John Owen).
From what has been before us, we may perceive what justification is not. First, it differs from regeneration. "Whom He called, them He also justified" (Rom. 8:30). Though inseparably connected, effectual calling or the new birth and justification are quite distinct. The one is never apart from the other, yet they must not be confounded. In the order of nature regeneration precedes justification, though it is in no sense the cause or ground of it: none is justified till he believes, and none believe till quickened. Regeneration is the act of the Father (James 1:18), justification is the sentence of the Judge. The one gives me a place in God’s family, the other secures me a standing before His throne. The one is internal, being the impartation of Divine life to my soul: the other is external, being the imputation of Christ’s obedience to my account. By the one I am drawn to return in penitence to the Father’s house, by the other I am given the "best robe" which fits me for His presence.
Second, it differs from sanctification. Sanctification is moral or experimental, justification is legal or judicial. Sanctification results from the operation of the Spirit in me, justification is based upon what Christ has done for me. The one is gradual and progressive, the other is instantaneous and immutable. The one admits of degrees, and is never perfect in this life; the other is complete and admits of no addition. The one concerns my state, the other has to do with my standing before God. Sanctification produces a moral transformation of character, justification is a change of legal status: it is a change from guilt and condemnation to forgiveness and acceptance, and this solely by a gratuitous act of God, founded upon the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, through the instrument of faith alone. Though justification is quite separate from sanctification, yet sanctification ever accompanies it.
Third, it differs from forgiveness. In some things they agree. It is only God who can forgive sins (Mark 2:7) and He alone can justify (Rom. 3:30). His free grace is the sole moving cause in the one (Eph. 1:7) and of the other (Rom. 3:24). The blood of Christ is the procuring cause of each alike: Matthew 26:28, Romans 5:9. The objects are the same: the persons that are pardoned are justified, and the same that are justified are pardoned; to whom God imputes the righteousness of Christ for their justification to them He gives the remission of sins; and to whom He does not impute sin, but forgives it, to them He imputes righteousness without works (Romans 4:6-8). Both are received by faith (Acts 26:18, Rom. 5:1). But though they agree in these things, in others they differ.
God is said to be "justified" (Rom. 3:4), but it would be blasphemy to speak of Him being "pardoned"—this at once shows the two things are diverse. A criminal may be pardoned, but only a righteous person can truly be justified. Forgiveness deals only with a man’s acts, justification with the man himself. Forgiveness respects the claims of mercy, justification those of justice. Pardon only remits the curse due unto sin; in addition justification confers a title to Heaven. Justification applies to the believer with respect to the claims of the law, pardon with respect to the Author of the law. The law does not pardon, for it knows no relaxation; but God pardons the transgressions of the law in His people by providing a satisfaction to the law adequate to their transgressions. The blood of Christ was sufficient to procure pardon (Eph. 1:7), but His righteousness is needed for justification (Rom. 5:19). Pardon takes away the filthy garments, but justification provides a change of raiment (Zech. 3:4). Pardon frees from death (2 Sam. 12:13), but righteousness imputed is called "justification of life" (Rom. 5:18). The one views the believer as completely sinful, the other as completely righteous. Pardon is the remission of punishment, justification is the declaration that no ground for the infliction of punishment exists. Forgiveness may be repeated unto seventy times seven, justification is once for all.
From what has been said in the last paragraph we may see what a serious mistake it is to limit justification to the mere forgiveness of sins. Just as "condemnation" is not the execution of punishment, but rather the formal declaration that the accused is guilty and worthy of punishment; so "justification" is not merely the remission of punishment but the judicial announcement that punishment cannot be justly inflicted—the accused being fully conformed to all the positive requirements of the law in consequence of Christ’s perfect obedience being legally reckoned to his account. The justification of a believer is no other than his being admitted to participate in the reward merited by his Surety. Justification is nothing more or less than the righteousness of Christ being imputed to us: the negative blessing issuing therefrom is the remission of sins; the positive, a title to the heavenly inheritance.
Beautifully has it been pointed out that "We cannot separate from Immanuel His own essential excellency. We may see Him bruised and given like beaten incense to the fire, but was incense ever burned without fragrance, and only fragrance being the result? The name of Christ not only cancels sin, it supplies in the place of that which it has canceled, its own everlasting excellency. We cannot have its nullifying power only; the other is the sure concomitant. So was it with every typical sacrifice of the Law. It was stricken: but as being spotless it was burned on the altar for a sweet-smelling savor. The savor ascended as a memorial before God: it was accepted for, and its value was attributed or imputed to him who had brought the vicarious victim. If therefore, we reject the imputation of righteousness, we reject sacrifice as revealed in Scripture; for Scripture knows of no sacrifice whose efficacy is so exhausted in the removal of guilt as to leave nothing to be presented in acceptableness before God" (B. W. Newton).
"What is placing our righteousness in the obedience of Christ, but asserting that we are accounted righteous only because His obedience is accepted for us as if it were our own? Wherefore Ambrose appears to me to have very beautifully exemplified this righteousness in the benediction of Jacob: that as he, who had on his own account no claim to the privileges of primogeniture, being concealed in his brother’s habit, and invested with his garment, which diffused a most excellent odor, insinuated himself into the favour of his father, that he might receive the benediction to his own advantage, under the character of another; so we shelter ourselves under the precious purity of Christ" (John Calvin).

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