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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New Calvinism?

There are multitudes of religious affiliates -those who claim to adhere to the word of God and yet, even the slightest variation from that word leads to disaster. One such 'affiliate' is known as 'new Calvinism'. What is it and is it biblical? I found a website that exposes this 'religion' and those who are involved; several big names are included in this religion. Be on your guard, delusion comes through 'religion'...

 The past decade has seen rapid growth in the ideas and ministry of a movement that has become known as ‘New Calvinism’. Such is its influence that an article in Time magazine (March 2009), which presented a list of ‘10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now’, placed New Calvinism third on the list.
 We contend that New Calvinism is a movement that is based on the ideas of men rather than God’s Word. Rather than proclaiming the faith once delivered to the saints, New Calvinism seeks a religion that is pleasing to men, a religion that glories in contemporary worship and that encourages worldly behaviour in the church. New Calvinism is a movement that skilfully combines the holy with the profane, and that has carelessly separated conduct and doctrine. The result is a confused religion that tends towards antinomianism and unbecoming, undignified conduct in the church.  Prominent leaders of the New Calvinist movement include Dr John Piper, Pastor Mark Driscoll, Dr Tim Keller and Dr Albert Mohler among many others.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Unchangeable, Immutable, Jehovah God

. But God is perpetually the same. He is not composed of any substance or material, but is spirit—pure, essential, and ethereal spirit—and therefore he is immutable. He remains everlastingly the same. There are no furrows on his eternal brow. No age hath palsied him; no years have marked him with the mementoes of their flight; he sees ages pass, but with him it is ever now. He is the great I AM—the Great Unchangeable. Mark you, his essence did not undergo a change when it became united with the manhood. When Christ in past years did gird himself with mortal clay, the essence of his divinity was not changed; flesh did not become God, nor did God become flesh by a real actual change of nature; the two were united in hypostatical union, but the Godhead was still the same. It was the same when he was a babe in the manger, as it was when he stretched the curtains of heaven; it was the same God that hung upon the cross, and whose blood flowed down in a purple river, the self-same God that holds the world upon his everlasting shoulders, and bears in his hands the keys of death and hell. He never has been changed in his essence, not even by his incarnation; he remains everlastingly, eternally, the one unchanging God, the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, neither the shadow of a change.

Whatever the attributes of God were of old, that they are now; and of each of them we may sing "As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, Amen." Was he powerful? Was he the mighty God when he spake the world out of the womb of nonexistence? Was he the Omnipotent when he piled the mountains and scooped out the hollow places for the rolling deep? Yes, he was powerful then, and his arm is unpalsied now, he is the same giant in his might; the sap of his nourishment is undried, and the strength of his soul stands the same for ever. Was he wise when he constituted this mighty globe, when he laid the foundations of the universe? Had he wisdom when he planned the way of our salvation, and when from all eternity he marked out his awful plans? Yes, and he is wise now; he is not less skillful, he has not less knowledge; his eye which seeth all things is undimmed; his ear which heareth all the cries, sighs, sobs, and groans of his people, is not rendered heavy by the years which he hath heard their prayers. He is unchanged in his wisdom, he knows as much now as ever, neither more nor less; he has the same consummate skill, and the same infinite forecastings. He is unchanged, blessed be his name, in his justice. just and holy was he in the past; just and holy is he now. He is unchanged in his truth; he has promised, and he brings it to pass; he hath saith it, and it shall be done. He varies not in the goodness, and generosity, and benevolence of his nature. He is not become an Almighty tyrant, whereas he was once an Almighty Father; but his strong love stands like a granite rock, unmoved by the hurricanes of our iniquity. And blessed be his dear name, he is unchanged in his love. When he first wrote the covenant, how full his heart was with affection to his people. He knew that his Son must die to ratify the articles of that agreement. He knew right well that he must rend his best beloved from his bowels, and send him down to earth to bleed and die. He did not hesitate to sign that mighty covenant; nor did he shun its fulfillment. He loves as much now as he did then, and when suns shall cease to shine, and moons to show their feeble light, he still shall love on for ever and for ever. 

C.H. Spurgeon, from 'The Immutability of God'

Free will - a slave

C. H. Spurgeon

"And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life."—John 5:40.
his is one of the great guns of the Arminians, mounted upon the top of their walls, and often discharged with terrible noise against the poor Christians called Calvinists. I intend to spike the gun this morning, or, rather, to turn it on the enemy, for it was never theirs; it was never cast at their foundry at all, but was intended to teach the very opposite doctrine to that which they assert. Usually, when the text is taken, the divisions are: First, that man has a will. Secondly, that he is entirely free. Thirdly, that men must make themselves willing to come to Christ, otherwise they will not be saved. Now, we shall have no such divisions; but we will endeavour to take a more calm look at the text; and not, because there happen to be the words "will," or "will not" in it, run away with the conclusion that it teaches the doctrine of free-will. It has already been proved beyond all controversy that free-will is nonsense. Freedom cannot belong to will any more than ponderability can belong to electricity. They are altogether different things. Free agency we may believe in, but free-will is simply ridiculous. The will is well known by all to be directed by the understanding, to be moved by motives, to be guided by other parts of the soul, and to be a secondary thing. Philosophy and religion both discard at once the very thought of free-will; and I will go as far as Martin Luther, in that strong assertion of his, where he says, "If any man doth ascribe aught of salvation, even the very least, to the free-will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he hath not learnt Jesus Christ aright." It may seem a harsh sentiment; but he who in his soul believes that man does of his own free-will turn to God, cannot have been taught of God, for that is one of the first principles taught us when God begins with us, that we have neither will nor power, but that he gives both; that he is "Alpha and Omega" in the salvation of men.

Continue reading here...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Unfit to preach

I scarcely ever come into this pulpit without bemoaning myself that ever I should be called to a task for which I seem more unfit than any other man that ever was born. Woe is me that I should have to preach a gospel which so overmasters me, and which I feel that I am so unfit to preach! Yet I could not give it up, for it were a far greater woe to me not to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Unless the Holy Ghost blesses the Word, we who preach the gospel are of all men most miserable, for we have attempted a task that is impossible, we have entered upon a sphere where nothing but the supernatural will ever avail.
 If the Holy Spirit does not renew the hearts of our hearers, we cannot do it. If the Holy Ghost does not regenerate them we cannot. If he does not send the truth home into their souls, we might as well speak into the ear of a corpse. All that we have to do is quite beyond our unaided power; we must have our Master with us, or we can do nothing. We deeply feel our need of this great truth; we not merely say it, but we are driven every day, by our own deep sense of need, to rejoice that our Lord has declared, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth,” for we need all power. Every kind of power that there is in heaven and in earth we shall need before we can fully discharge this ministry. 

Before the nations shall all be brought to hear the gospel of Christ, before testimony to him shall be borne in every land, we shall need the whole omnipotence of God; we shall want every forge in heaven and earth ere this is done. Thank God that this power is all laid by ready for our use, the strength that is equal to such a stupendous task as this is already provided. ( The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 42)

HT-Samuel at Gilgal

The perfection of God

Perfection is something that man knows nothing about, for he has never had any experience in perfection. Indeed, he can only theorize about it, and understand it only as mental concept, for everything in creation falls far below the level of perfection. This is not to impugn God’s work in creation, for the day that each thing was created, it was pronounced “good,” (Gen. 1:4,10,12,18,21,25), and the whole creation was viewed as “very good,” (Gen. 1:31). The creation was good in God’s sight in that it was fitted to fulfill the purpose for which it was created, but it was not perfect because it had within it the seeds of its own corruption and dissolution. That which is only temporarily perfect is not perfect at all.
It is to be granted that in Scripture many things are called “perfect” but generally the word used does not mean perfect in an absolute sense but rather means complete, mature, adequately fitted for the end for which it was devised. In the absolute sense, perfection can only be predicated of God, Who alone is eternal, immutable and self-existent. Even goodness in a limited sense is not truly predicated of man by nature, for Jesus taught that God alone is absolutely good in “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God,” (Matt. 19:16-17). Jesus was not denying His own deity here, but was rather responding to the man’s own incorrect assumption, for the man did not believe Jesus to be God, yet he gave a flattering title to Him that belongs to God only in an absolute sense.
The perfection of God is the logical consequence of those attributes of God that we have already studied, and those that we have yet to study, for each of these exist in God alone in the fullest degree.
Nothing can be plainer than that the positing of a perfection is equivalent to the exclusion of an imperfection. Whatever has the perfection is shut out from the imperfection. As regards the item of self-limitation, that implies only that the infinite, forming plans in unblemished wisdom and entering upon their execution, may be found by self-consistency to shape action in conformity with the plans. [H. C. Sheldon, System of Christian Doctrine, p. 34.].
No perfection of Deity is wanting in him; as appears from what has been under consideration. There is a fullness of the Godhead which dwells in Christ, and the same therefore must be in each divine person, and especially in God, essentially considered; and every attribute of his isperfect. [John Gill, Body of Divinity, p. 122.].

Continue reading here... 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Is Christ your Lord?

by A.W. Pink (1886-1952)

We do not ask, Is Christ your "Savior," but is He, really and truly, your Lord? If He be not your Lord, then most certainly He is not your "Savior." Those who have not received Christ Jesus as their "Lord," and yet suppose Him to be their "Savior," are deluded, and their hope rests on a foundation of sand. Multitudes are deceived on this vital point, and therefore, if the reader values his or her soul, we implore you to give a most careful reading to this little tract.

When we ask: Is Christ your Lord?, we do not inquire, Do you believe in the
Godhood of Jesus of Nazareth? The demons do that (Matt. 8:28, 29) and yet perish notwithstanding! You may be firmly convinced of the Deity of Christ, and yet be in your sins. You may speak of Him with the utmost reverence, accord Him His Divine titles in your prayers, and yet be unsaved. You may abominate those who traduce His person and deny His Divinity, and yet have no spiritual love for Him at all.

When we ask, Is Christ your Lord, we mean, does He in very deed occupy the
throne of your heart, does He actually rule over your life? "We have turned every one to his own way" (Isa. 53:6), describes the course which all follow by nature. Before conversion every soul lives to please self. Of old it was written, "every man did that which was right in his own eyes", and why? "In those days there was no king in Israel" (Judges 21:25). Ah! that is the point we desire to make clear to the reader. Until Christ becomes your King (1 Tim. 1:17; Rev. 15:3), until you bow to his scepter, until His will becomes the rule of your life, SELF dominates, and thus Christ is disowned.

When the Holy Spirit begins His work of grace in a soul, He first convicts of sin. He shows me the real and awful nature of sin. He makes me realize that it is a species of insurrection, a defying of God's authority, a setting of my will against His. He shows me that in going my "own way" (Isa. 53:6), in pleasing myself, I have been fighting against God. As my eyes are opened to see what a lifelong rebel I have been, how indifferent to God's honor, how unconcerned about His will, I am filled with anguish and horror, and made to marvel that the thrice Holy One has not long since cast me into Hell. Reader, have you ever gone through this experience? If not, there is very grave reason to fear you are yet spiritually dead!

Conversion, true conversion, saving conversion, is a turning from sin to God in
Christ. It is a throwing down the weapons of my warfare against Him, a ceasing to despise or ignore His authority. New Testament conversion is described thus: "Ye turned to God from idols to serve (be in subjection to, obey) the living and true God" (1 Thess. 1:9). An "idol" is any object to which we give what is due alone unto God--the supreme place in our affections, the molding influence of our hearts, the dominating power of our lives.

Conversion is a right-about-face, the heart and will repudiating sin, self, and the world. Genuine conversion is always evidenced by "Lord what wilt Thou have me to do?" (Acts 9:6). It is an unreserved surrendering of ourselves to His holy will. Have you yielded yourself to Him? (Rom. 6:13)There are many people who would like to be saved from Hell, but who do not want to be saved from self-will, from having their own way, from a life of (some form of) worldliness. But God will not save them on their terms. To be saved, we must submit to HIS terms. Listen to His terms. "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord (having revolted from Him in Adam), and He will have mercy upon him" (Isa. 55:7). Said Christ, "Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath (all that is, opposed to Me), he cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:33). Men must be turned "from darkness to light, and the power of Satan unto God" before they can "receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified" (Acts 26:18).

"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk ye in Him" (Col. 2:6). That is an exhortation to Christians, and its force is, Continue as you begin. But how had they "begun" By receiving "Christ Jesus the Lord"; by surrendering to Him, by subjecting themselves to His will, by ceasing to please themselves. His authority was now owned. His commands now became their rule of life, His love constrained them to a glad and unreserved obedience. They "gave their own selves to the Lord" (2 Cor. 8:5). Have you, my reader, done this? Have you? Do the details of your life evidence it? Can those with whom you come into contact see that you are no more living to please self? (2 Cor. 5:15)O my reader, make no mistake upon this point: a conversion which the Holy Spirit produces is a very radical thing. It is a miracle of grace. It is the enthroning of Christ in the life. And such conversions are rare indeed. Multitudes of people have just sufficient "religion" to make them miserable. They refuse to forsake every known sin--and there is no true peace for any soul until he does. They have never "received Christ Jesus the Lord" (Col. 2:6). Had they done so, "the joy of the LORD" would be their strength (Neh. 8:10). But the language of their hearts and lives (not their "lips") is, "We will not have this Man to reign over us" (Luke 1.9:14). Is that your case?

The great miracle of grace consists in changing a lawless rebel into a loving and loyal subject. It is a "renewing" of the heart, so that the favored subject of it has come to loathe what he loved, and the things he once found irksome are now winsome (2 Cor. 5:17). He delights "in the law of God after the inward man" (Rom. 7:22). He discovers that Christ's "commandments are not grievous" (1 John 5:3), and that "in keeping of them there is great reward" (Psa. 19:11). Is this your experience? It would be if you received Christ Jesus THE LORD!  But to receive Christ Jesus the Lord is altogether beyond unaided human power.
That is the last thing which the unrenewed heart wants to do. There must be a
supernatural change of heart before there is even the desire for Christ to occupy its throne. And that change, none but God can work (1 Cor. 12:3). Therefore, "Seek ye the Lord while He may be found" (Isa. 55:6). "Search" for Him "with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13). Reader, you may have been a professing Christian for years past, and you may have been quite sincere in your profession.
But if God has condescended to use this tract to show you that you have never really and truly "received Christ Jesus the Lord", if now in your own soul and conscience you realize that SELF has ruled you hitherto, will you not now get down on your knees and confess to God your self-will, your rebellion against Him, and beg Him to so work in you that, without further delay, you may be enabled to yield yourself completely to His will and become His subject, His servant, His loving slave, in deed and in truth?

Essential truths

“I feel that we all need more and more of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, to guide, to teach and to keep us sound in the faith. There are certain great truths, which, in a day like this [1874!], we are especially bound to keep in mind. I believe there are times and seasons in the Church of Christ when we are bound to tighten our hold upon certain great leading truths, to grasp them with more than ordinary firmness in our hands, to press them to our hearts and not let them go.”

#1: The Total Corruption of the Human Nature

“The corruption of human nature is no slight thing. It is no partial, skin-deep disease, but a radical and universal corruption of man’s will, intellect, affections, and conscience. We are not merely poor and pitiable sinners in God’s sight: we are guilty sinners; we are blameworthy sinners: we deserve justly God’s wrath and God’s condemnation. I believe there are very few errors and false doctrines of which the beginning may not be traced up to unsound views about the corruption of human nature. Wrong views of a disease will always bring with them wrong views of the remedy. Wrong views of the corruption of human nature will always carry with them wrong views of the grand treatment and cure of that corruption.”

#2: The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible

“Let us boldly maintain, in the face of all the opposition, that the whole of the Bible is given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that all is inspired completely, not one part more than another, and that there is an entire gulf between the Word of God and any other book in the world. We need not be afraid of difficulties in the way of the doctrine of absolute inspiration. There may be many things about it far too high for us to comprehend: it is a miracle, and all miracles are necessarily mysterious. But if we are not to believe anything until we can entirely explain it, there are very few things indeed that we shall believe. We need not be afraid of all the assaults that criticism brings to bear upon the Bible. From the days of the apostles the Word of the Lord has been incessantly ‘tried,’ and has never failed to come forth as gold, uninjured and spotless.”

#3: The Atonement and Priestly Office of Christ

“We must boldly maintain that the death of our Lord on the cross was no common death. It was not the death of one who died only as a martyr. It was not the death of one who only died to give us a mighty example of self-sacrifice and self-denial. The death of Christ was an offering up to God of Christ’s own body and blood, to make satisfaction for man’s sin and transgression. It was a sacrifice and appeasement; a sacrifice typified in every offering of the Mosaic law, a sacrifice of the mightiest influence on all mankind. Without the shedding of that blood there could not be, there never was to be, any remission of sin.”

#4: The Work of God in the Holy Spirit

“Let us settle it in our minds that His work is no uncertain invisible operation on the heart: and that where He is, He is not hidden, not unfelt, not unobserved. We do not believe that the dew, when it falls, cannot be felt, or that where there is life in a man it cannot be seen and observed by his breath. So is it with the influence of the Holy Spirit. No man has any right to lay claim to it, except its fruits and its experimental effects can be seen in his life. Where He is, there will ever be a new creation, and a new man. Where He is, there will ever be new knowledge, new faith, new holiness, new fruits in the life, in the family, in the world, in the Church. And where these new things are not to be seen we may well say, with confidence, there is no work of the Holy Spirit.”

~ J.C. Ryle

HT- Erik

Conversations that matter...homosexuality and the Christian faith

Here is an amazing testimony to the power of God, His patience, His mercy, His love. All too often we spend a brief amount of time speaking truth to sinners, and then go on our way. We fail to understand the necessity of laboring for the souls of men, day in and day out. Our loved ones who are in sin, they need to hear truth, in love, often. I am afraid many of us have become complacent and slothful when it comes to rescuing the lost; this testimony reminded me and convicted me of that...

There also a 'follow-up' video with a Q & A session if you are interested, go here for that.

Friday, July 26, 2013

'Thy will be done'

Volume 17—Studies in the Scriptures—No. 7
July, 1938
The Lord’s Prayer—Part 5 

“Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven” (Matt. 6:10). The connection between this petition and the preceding ones is not difficult to trace. First must be our concern for God’s glory, then our desire for His kingdom, and then an honest endeavour to serve Him. The glory of God is the grand object of our desires: the coming of His kingdom is the chief means by which it is secured: our personal obedience makes it manifest that His kingdom is come to us. When God’s kingdom really comes to a soul he must necessarily be brought into obedience to its laws and ordinances, for it is worse than useless to call God our King if His commandments are disregarded by us. Broadly speaking, there are two parts to this petition: a request for the spirit of obedience and the manner in which it is to be performed.
 “Thy will be done.” This may present a difficulty to a few of our readers: is not God’s will always done? In one respect, Yes—in another, No. Scripture presents the will of God from two main viewpoints: His secret will and His revealed will, or His decretive and His preceptive will. The former is the rule of His own actions: in creation (Rev. 4:11), in providence (Dan. 4:35), and in grace (Rom. 9:15)—this is always unknown to men until revealed by prophecies of things to come or by events which transpire. The latter is the rule of our actions, God having made known in the Scriptures that which is pleasing in His sight. The secret or decretive will of God is always done, equally on earth as in Heaven, for none can thwart or even hinder it.
 This distinction in connection with God’s will is clearly drawn in, “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this Law” (Deut. 29:29). The same is true of His “counsel.” “My counsel (His eternal decree) shall stand” (Isa. 46:10). “The Pharisees and lawyers rejected (margin “frustrated”) the counsel (or revealed will) of God” (Luke 7:30). On the one hand we read, “Who hath resisted His will?” (Rom. 9:19), and on the other hand, “This is the will of God, even your sanctification” (1 Thess. 4:3). The revealed or preceptive will of God is stated in the Word, defining our duty,making known the path we should walk in: “that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2).  “The will of God,” then, is a phrase which, taken by itself, may express either what God has purposed to do, or what He has commanded to be done by us. With regard to the will of God in the first sense, it is already and always done upon earth as it is in Heaven, for neither human policy nor infernal power can prevent it. The text which is now before us contains a prayer that we might be brought into complete accord with God’s revealed will. We do the will of God when, from a regard for His authority, we regulate our hearts and lives according to His commandments. Such is our bounden duty, and should be our fervent desire and diligent endeavour. We mock God if we present this request and then do not make the conforming of ourselves to His will our main business—ponder the solemn warning in Matthew 15:8.  “Thy will be done on earth.” The one who sincerely prays this, necessarily intimates his unreserved surrender to God, and implies the renunciation of the will of Satan (2 Tim. 2:26), his own corrupt inclinations (1 Peter 4:2), and the rejecting of all things opposed to God. Nevertheless, such a soul is painfully conscious that there is still much in him that is in conflict with God, and therefore he humbly and contritely acknowledges that he cannot do His will without Divine assistance, and earnestly desires and seeks enabling grace.
Possibly the meaning and scope of this petition will best be opened up if we express it thus: O Father, let Thy will be revealed to me, let it be wrought in me, let it be performed by me.
 From the positive side, when we pray, “Thy will be done,” we beg God, first, for spiritual wisdom to learn His will: “Make me to understand the way of thy precepts . . . Teach me, O LORD, the way of Thy statutes” (Psa. 119:27, 33). Second, we beg God for spiritual inclination unto His will: “I will run the way of Thy commandments, when Thou shalt enlarge my heart . . . Incline my heart unto Thy testimonies” (Psa. 119:32, 36).
Third, we beg God for spiritual strength to perform His bidding: “Quicken Thou me according to Thy Word . . . Strengthen Thou me according unto Thy Word” (Psa. 119:25, 28). “Draw me: we will run after Thee” (Song. 1:4). “Make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight” (Heb. 13:21). “Thy will be done on earth”: because this is the place of our discipleship, where we are to practise self-denial—and because if we do not His will here, we never shall in Heaven.
 “As it is in Heaven”—by the saints and the angels. This is the standard set before us on earth. How is God’s will done in Heaven? Not sullenly and reluctantly, not pharisaically nor hypocritically, not tardily or fitfully, nor partially and fragmentally. But gladly and joyfully: both “the living creatures” (not “beasts”) and the “elders” of Revelation 5:8 are pictured with “harps” in their hands! Yet humbly and reverently: the seraphim veil their faces before the Lord: Isaiah 6:2. With alacrity: “Then flew one of the seraphim” (Isa. 6:6). Constantly: “therefore are they before the Throne of Grace, and serve Him day and night in His temple” (Rev. 7:15). The angels obey God promptly, wholly, perfectly, with ineffable delight. But we are sinful and full of infirmities; with what propriety, then, can the obedience of celestial beings be proposed as an example for us? We raise this question not as a concession to our imperfections, but because honest souls are exercised by it.
 First, to sweeten our subjection to the Divine will: we on earth are set no harder task than those in Heaven. O my reader, Heaven is what it is because the will of God is done by all who dwell there: and the measure in which a foretaste of its bliss may be obtained by us upon earth will largely be determined by the degree to which we perform the Divine bidding. Second, to show us the blessed reasonableness of our obedience to God:
“Bless the LORD, ye His angels, that excel in strength, that do His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His word” (Psa 103:20)—then can God require less of us? O my reader, if we are to have communion with the angels in Glory, then we must be conformed to them in grace. Third, to make known to us the standard at which we must ever aim: “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing . . . That ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” (Col. 1:10; 4:12). Fourth, to teach us not only what to do, but how to do it: we are to imitate the angels in the manner of their obedience, though we cannot equal them in measure or degree.
 “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven”: weigh this attentively in the light of what precedes. First, “our Father which art in Heaven”: then should we not do His will?
We must, if we are His children—disobedience is what characterizes His enemies. Did not His own dear Son render Him perfect obedience! Second, “hallowed by Thy name”:does not a real concern for God’s glory obliges us to make a conformity to His will our supreme quest? We certainly must if we desire to honour God, for nothing dishonours Him more than self-will and defiance. Third, “Thy kingdom come”: should we not seek to be in full subjection to its laws and ordinances? We must if we are subjects thereof—it is alienated rebels who despise His sceptre.— A. W. Pink

Keeping the heart

A. W. Pink Header

Booklets and Pamphlets 
by A.W. Pink

Keeping the Heart

In Christendom today there are thousands of professing Christians against whom little or nothing in the way of fault could be found so far as their outward lives are concerned. They live moral, clean, upright, honest lives while at the same time the state of their hearts is totally neglected. It is not sufficient to bring our outward deportment into harmony with the revealed will of God. He holds us accountable for what goes on inside, and requires us to keep check on the springs of our actions, the motives which inspire and the principles which regulate us.
God requires "truth in the inward parts" (Ps. 51:6). Christ has enjoined us to "take heed" to ourselves "lest at any time our hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkeness, and cares of this life" (Luke 21:34). If I do not look within how then shall I be able to ascertain whether I possess that poverty of spirit, mourning for unholiness, meekness, hungering and thirsting after righteousness and purity of heart upon which the Saviour pronounces His benediction (Matthew 5:1-8)? We must remember that salvation itself is both subjective and objective, for it consists not only of what Christ did FOR His people, but also what He by the Holy Spirit did in them. I have no evidence whatever of my justification apart from my regeneration and sanctification. The one who can say "I am crucified with Christ" judicially can also add "Christ liveth in me" (experimentally), and living by faith in Him is proof that "He loved me and gave himself for me" (Gal. 2:20).
The heart is the center of man’s moral nature, of the personality; it equals the whole inner man, it is the fount out of which everything else comes, and is the seat of his thoughts and of his affections and of his will (Gen. 6:5). To guard the heart means that we should live to the glory of God in every respect; that that should be the supreme desire of our life, that we desire to know Him, love Him and serve Him.
If we are to be approved of God it is by no means sufficient that "we make clean the outside of the cup and platter", yet many suppose that that is all that matters. "Cleanse first that which is within" (Matthew 23:26) is our Lord’s command. This is rarely given any attention these days, or none at all. It is the devil who seeks to persuade people that they are not responsible for the state of their hearts, that it is impossible for them to change them. Such is most agreeable unto those who think to be "called to heaven on flowery beds of ease." But no regenerate soul, with God’s Word before him, will credit such falsehood. The Divine command is plain: "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Prov. 4:23). This is the principal task set before us, for it is at the heart God ever looks, and there can be no pleasing Him while it is unattended to; yea, woe be unto those who disregard it. He who makes no honest endeavor to cast out sinful thoughts and evil imaginations, and who does not mourn over their presence, is a moral leper. He who makes no conscience of the workings of unbelief, the cooling of his affections, the surgings of pride, is a stranger to any work of grace in his soul.
Not only does God bid thee to "keep thy heart," but He requires that you do it "with all diligence;" that is, that you make it your main concern and constant care. The Hebrew word of "keep" signifies to "guard," to watch over this heart (that is, the soul or inward man) as a precious treasure of which thieves are ever ready to rob thee. The devotions of your lips and the labors of your hands are unacceptable to the Lord if your heart is not right in His sight. What husband would appreciate the domestic attentions of his wife if he had good reasons to believe that her affections were alienated from him?
God takes note not only of the matter of our actions but the springs from which they are done and the design of the same. If we become slack and careless in any of these respects, it shows that our love is cooled and that we have become weary of God. The Lord God is He that "ponders the heart" (Prov. 24:12) observing all its motions. He knows whether your alms-deeds are done in order to be seen of men and admired by them, or whether they issue from disinterested benevolence. He knows whether your expressions of good will and love to your brethren are feigned or genuine!
The Bible lays open, as no other book, the turpitude (shameful depravity) and horrid nature of sin as "that abominable thing" which God "hates" (Jer. 4:4), and which we are to detest and shun. It never gives the least indulgence or disposition to sin, nor do any of its teachings lead to licentiousness. It sternly condemns sin in all its forms, and makes known the awful curse and wrath of God which are its due. It not only reproves sin in the outward lives of men, but discovers the secret faults of the heart which is its chief seat. It warns against the first motions, and legislates for the regulating of our spirits, requiring us to keep clean the fountain from which are "the issues of life." Its promises are made unto holiness, and its blessings bestowed upon "the pure in heart." The ineffable (that which cannot be expressed) and exalted holiness of the Bible is its chief and peculiar excellence, as it is also the principal reason why it is disliked by the majority of the unregenerate. The Bible forbids all impure desires and unjust thoughts as well as deeds. It prohibits envy (Prov. 23:17), and all forms of selfishness (Rom. 15:1). It requires us to "cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and to perfect holiness in the fear of God" (2 Cor. 7:1), and bids us to "abstain from all appearance of evil" (1 Thess. 5:22). Heavenly doctrine is to be matched with heavenly character and conduct. Its requirements penetrate into the innermost recesses of the soul, exposing and censuring all the corruptions found there. The law of man goes no farther than "Thou shall not steal," but that of God "Thou shalt not covet." The law of man prohibits the act of adultery, but the law of God reprehends (finds fault with, censures, blames) the looking upon a woman "to lust after her" (Matthew 5:28). The law of man says, "Thou shalt not murder," that of God forbids all ill-will, malice or hatred (1 John 3:15). It strikes directly at that which fallen nature most cherishes and craves. "Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you" (Luke 6:26). It prohibits the spirit of revenge enjoins the forgiveness of injuries. and, contrary to the self-righteousness of our hearts, inculcates humility.
Such a task calls for Divine aid, hence help and grace need to be earnestly and definitely sought of the Holy spirit each day. And as, so many today are just playing with the solemn realities of God, never embracing and making them their own. How about you, reader? Is this true of you? Selah.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Infinity of God

“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? Deeper than hell; what canst thou know?” (Job 11:7-8). Although the word “infinite” is not used here, it is implied in these questions. Indeed, this word appears only one time in Scripture concerning God: “Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite,” (Ps. 147:5). Yet, the thought of God’s infinity runs throughout all the Scriptures. We have only to under­stand the meaning of the term to realize this.
By infinity we mean, not that the divine nature has no known limits or bounds, but that it has no limits or bounds. That which has simply no known limits is the indefinite. The infinity of God implies that he is in no way limited by the universe or confined to the universe; he is transcen­dent as well as immanent. [A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology, p. 254.].
God is infinite. In its negative sense, His infinity implies that the bounds which confine us do not confine Him, whether in respect of knowledge or of power, of space or time. In its positive sense, infinity indicates that God possesses every perfection in its complete and absolute fullness, so as to contain exhaustively all that belongs to the conception of those perfections. [A. J. Mason, The Faith of the Gospel, p. 26.].
This attribute of God sometimes is known by the term “absoluteness.” It speaks of God’s divine perfection in every realm. The following Scriptures reveal some of these. Psalm 147:5 (cited above) refers to His Infinite Knowledge;Infinite Power: “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable,” (Ps. 145:3). Infinite Wisdom “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! “How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” Infinite Righteousness: “My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof,” (Ps. 71:15).Infinite Glory:“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory,” (Isa. 6:3). This same text, and others like it, in the three-fold ascription of holiness to God, reveals His infiniteholinessThis could be extended greatly, for every aspect of God’s being is infinite.

Death of death in the death of Christ - by John Owen

Chapter I.

In general of the end of the death of Christ, as it is in the Scripture proposed.
By the end of the death of Christ, we mean in general, both, — first, that which his Father and himself intended in it; and, secondly, that which was effectually fulfilled and accomplished by it. Concerning either we may take a brief view of the expressions used by the Holy Ghost:—
I. For the first. Will you know the end wherefore, and the intention wherewith, Christ came into the world? Let us ask himself (who knew his own mind, as also all the secrets of his Father’s bosom), and he will tell us that the “Son of man came to save that which was lost,” Matt. xviii. 11, — to recover and save poor lost sinners; that was his intent and design, as is again asserted, Luke xix. 10. Ask also his apostles, who know his mind, and they will tell you the same. So Paul, 1 Tim. i. 15, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Now, if you will ask who these sinners are towards whom he hath this gracious intent and purpose, himself tells you, Matt. xx. 28, that he came to “give his life a ransom for many;” in other places called us, believers, distinguished from the world: for he “gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father,” Gal. i. 4. That was the will and intention of God, that he should give himself for us, that we might be saved, being separated from the world. They are his churchEph. v. 25–27, “He loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish:” which last words 158express also the very aim and end of Christ in giving himself for any, even that they may be made fit for God, and brought nigh unto him; — the like whereof is also asserted, Tit. ii. 14, “He gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Thus clear, then, and apparent, is the intention and design of Christ and his Father in this great work, even what it was, and towards whom, — namely, to save us, to deliver us from the evil world, to purge and wash us, to make us holy, zealous, fruitful in good works, to render us acceptable, and to bring us unto God; for through him “we have access into the grace wherein we stand” Rom. v. 2.
II. The effect, also, and actual product of the work itself, or what is accomplished and fulfilled by the death, blood-shedding, or oblation of Jesus Christ, is no less clearly manifested, but is as fully, and very often more distinctly, expressed; — as, first, Reconciliation with God, by removing and slaying the enmity that was between him and us; for “when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son,” Rom. v. 10. “God was in him reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them,” 2 Cor. v. 19; yea, he hath “reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ,” verse 18. And if you would know how this reconciliation was effected, the apostle will tell you that “he abolished in his flesh the enmity, the law of commandments consisting in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby,” Eph. ii. 15, 16: so that “he is our peace,” verse 14. Secondly, Justification, by taking away the guilt of sins, procuring remission and pardon of them, redeeming us from their power, with the curse and wrath due unto us for them; for “by his own blood he entered into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” Heb. ix. 12. “He redeemed us from the curse, being made a curse for us,” Gal. iii. 13; “his own self bearing our sins in his own body on the tree,” 1 Pet. ii. 24. We have “all sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” but are “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins” Rom. iii. 23–25: for “in him we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins,” Col. i. 14. Thirdly, Sanctification, by the purging away of the uncleanness and pollution of our sins, renewing in us the image of God, and supplying us with the graces of the Spirit of holiness: for “the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself to God, purgeth our consciences from dead works that we may serve the living God,” Heb. ix. 14; yea, “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin,” 1 John i. 7. “By himself he purged our sins,” 159Heb. i. 3. To “sanctify the people with his own blood, he suffered without the gate,” chap. xiii. 12. “He gave himself for the church to sanctify and cleanse it, that it should be holy and without blemish,” Eph. v. 25–27. Peculiarly amongst the graces of the Spirit, “it is given to us,” ὑπὲρ Χριστοῦ, “for Christ’s sake, to believe on him,” Phil. i. 29; God “blessing us in him with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places,”Eph. i. 3. Fourthly, Adoption, with that evangelical liberty and all those glorious privileges which appertain to the sons of God; for “God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons,” Gal. iv. 4, 5. Fifthly, Neither do the effects of the death of Christ rest here; they leave us not until we are settled in heaven, in glory and immortality for ever. Our inheritance is a “purchased possession,” Eph. i. 14: “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance,” Heb. ix. 15. The sum of all is, — The death and blood-shedding of Jesus Christ hath wrought, and doth effectually procure, for all those that are concerned in it, eternal redemption, consisting in grace here and glory hereafter.
III. Thus full, clear, and evident are the expressions in the Scripture concerning the ends and effects of the death of Christ, that a man would think every one might run and read. But we must stay: among all things in Christian religion, there is scarce any thing more questioned than this, which seems to be a most fundamental principle. A spreading persuasion there is of a general ransom to be paid by Christ for all; that he died to redeem all and every one, — not only for many, his church, the elect of God, but for every one also of the posterity of Adam. Now, the masters of this opinion do see full well and easily, that if that be the end of the death of Christ which we have from the Scripture asserted, if those before recounted be the immediate fruits and products thereof, then one of these two things will necessarily follow:— that either, first, God and Christ failed of their end proposed, and did not accomplish that which they intended, the death of Christ being not a fitly-proportioned means for the attaining of that end (for any cause of failing cannot be assigned); which to assert seems to us blasphemously injurious to the wisdom, power, and perfection of God, as likewise derogatory to the worth and value of the death of Christ; — or else, that all men, all the posterity of Adam, must be saved, purged, sanctified, and glorified; which surely they will not maintain, at least the Scripture and the woeful experience of millions will not allow. Wherefore, to cast a tolerable colour upon their persuasion, they must and do deny that God or his Son had any such absolute aim or end in the death or 160blood-shedding of Jesus Christ, or that any such thing was immediately procured and purchased by it, as we before recounted; but that God intended nothing, neither was any thing effected by Christ, — that no benefit ariseth to any immediately by his death but what is common to all and every soul, though never so cursedly unbelieving here and eternally damned hereafter, until an act of some, not procured for them by Christ, (for if it were, why have they it not all alike?) to wit, faith, do distinguish them from others. Now, this seeming to me to enervate the virtue, value, fruits and effects of the satisfaction and death of Christ, — serving, besides, for a basis and foundation to a dangerous, uncomfortable, erroneous persuasion — I shall, by the Lord’s assistance, declare what the Scripture holds out in both these things, both that assertion which is intended to be proved, and that which is brought for the proof thereof; desiring the Lord by his Spirit to lead us into all truth, to give us understanding in all things, and if any one be otherwise minded, to reveal that also unto him.

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Thank you Darrel for this excellent recommendation

Morning meeting

When, streaming from the Eastern skies,
the morning light salutes my eyes,
O Son of Righteousness divine,
On me with beams of mercy shine.
Oh chase the clouds of guilt away,
And turn my darkness into day.

When to Heaven's great and glorious King,
My morning sacrifice I bring,
And mourning o'er my guilt and shame,
Ask mercy in my Savior's name.
Then, Jesus, sprinkle with Thy blood,
And be my advocate with God.

Sir R. Grant

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Studies on the word 'all'

"All" is another good Bible word that is seriously misunderstood by many students of Scripture, for most people assume that it is a word that is totally unlimited, but such is not the case at all. Not only is it not unlimited in its meaning in some of its usages, it is not absolutely unlimited in any of its usages, and to think so is to show a tragic ignorance of its grammatical usage.
Sadly many people are ruled more by cute little ditties that appeal to their blind prejudices than they are by infallible truth and the established laws of correct grammar that must always enter into any right understanding of Scripture. Some such people like to say that "All means all, and that is all that all means," as if this were part of the engravings in stone at Sinai. This is an asinine statement for one never defines any term by the term itself. It is meant to make seemingly foolish any departure from that which it is supposed to establish so that no one would dare dispute this statement.
This is not a matter of no consequence, for many people deceive themselves into believing that they are included in the occasional use of "all" in some of the texts that have to do with the atonement of Christ. They do so though they do not conform to the character of those for whom Christ is said to die. As we have said earlier many people play into the eager hands of Universalists —those that believe that everyone without exception, including even Satan, is going to be saved eventually. And they are easily overcome by them because they have imbibed an erroneous application of the words "all" or "world," both of which are generally clearly limited in their meanings.
Many people erroneously assume that "all" is consistently used of every human being without exception. That is, they use it in the absolute sense as allowing no exceptions. But in doing so they show an abysmal ignorance of both Greek and English grammar.
Grammatically "all" is used in only three ways: (1) As a pronoun. (2) As an adjective. Or, (3) As an adverb. But in whichever way it is used it cannot stand alone, but refers to the part of speech that it defines or modifies, and by which it is limited. Hence, in any context, it is limited in its application to that noun, pronoun, verb, adjective or adverb that it modifies. Now it is readily acknowledged that the word that it modifies is not always expressed. Sometimes the word is only implied, and the context must determine what it is. But never does the word alone mean or refer to all mankind without exception unless the governing word does. But many make the very serious mistaken assumption that "all" automatically refers to all mankind in many contexts. In most instances in the Bible the context itself will show that this word is limited in its application to a distinct class of beings. We must always allow the context to interpret the application of any given word, for if we do not, we shall be guilty of "going beyond what is written," and therefore teaching falsehood.
This principle is most often violated in these last degenerate times when so many have departed from the faith of Baptists of the past, in regard to the extent of the atonement of Christ. This incorrect view was relatively unknown among Baptists until about two centuries ago when "evangelists" and " soul-winners," both terms of rare usage in Scripture, came on the scene. These men seem to want to glorify themselves as great men of God when most of them are seriously defective on many of the elements of "The Faith that was once delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). This doctrinal compromise is often foretold as coming to past in the last days before the Lord’s return (2 Thess. 2:3; 1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 4:3-4; 2 Pet. 2:1-3; 1 John 4:1-6). So much so, in fact, that Jesus Himself questioned whether at His return He would even be able to find "the Faith" (Greek) on earth (Luke 18:8). These men of shallow understanding of doctrinal truth are mainly to blame for making the extent of the atonement more extensively than Scripture does. And their extensive influence over others because of the prominence that the doctrinally unsound religious world gives them has led many to accept their views without studying the Scriptures.
The question as to whom Jesus came to save is not hard to determine if we but let Scripture speak. The very first reference to Jesus’ saving work—and first mentions are often the most defining—is in Matthew 1:21, which tells us why this One was to be called "Jesus." "For He shall save HIS people from their sins." That is clear enough, isn’t it? Nor is this out of harmony with other passages on the subject. When the subject of the propitiation—a sacrifice made to God to appease His wrath and to reinstate people in His favor, a term that no one doubts has to do with the atonement it is shown to be limited solely to believers (Rom. 3:24-26). None but believers have any part in this sacrifice that Jesus made for He is a propitiation only through faith.
And even clearer yet is the declaration that Peter was inspired to make as to the purpose for the Son of God being manifested to be the Redeemer in 1 Peter 1:18-21. ""Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers: but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times FOR YOU WHO BY HIM DO BELIEVE IN GOD..." For whom was He manifested as the Redeemer? For believers.
Not only so, but repeatedly John records that the Father gave to Jesus a distinct people to be redeemed and kept saved by Him. At least seven tunes in John alone reference is made to "those whom the Father hath given me." And though the Son of Man was given authority over all flesh, He was to redeem only those given to Him by the Father to be redeemed (John 17:2-3). And there are yet other texts that limit the redemptive work of the Son of God to the elect only.
Yea, and even that term that denotes substitution—"for"—which is sometimes associated with the word "all" —bears the same witness that it is not all mankind for whom He died, but rather all of the elect. Both the English "for" and the corresponding Greek huper have a two-fold signification. They mean first in the place of another, which might be applicable to all mankind but for the other signification. This word means also for the benefit of another, yet no sinner that dies impenitent gets any benefit from Jesus’ atonement. On the contrary his sorrow and suffering are intensified beyond imagination by his rejection. Let the honest Christian study any context where "all" is used of the Lord’s redemption and he will find that it never refers to all mankind, but rather that the context limits it to the Lord’s chosen people alone. It could not be otherwise, else we would find Jesus’ redemptive work conflicting with His intercessory work, which is an integral part of it, for He Himself said that He does not pray for any but those given Him by the Father to redeem (John 17:9).
Much of the false doctrine concerning a general atonement and a universal salvation stem from the failure to understand the limited nature of the words "all" and "world." In the case of "all" the misunderstanding stems almost entirely from ignorance of the grammatical usage of the word, and the substitution in the place of proper usage of the word, of a preconceived meaning and application of the word. Always and without exception "all" modifies a noun, pronoun, verb, adjective or adverb, and is limited to that word, and it is never used with "men" in a salvation context.
Having said all this, it is also necessary to notice another way in which "all" is used in Scripture. Most people assume without reason that it is always used absolutelyall without exception, but though it is sometimes so used, it is commonly used in a generic senseall without distinction, that is, "all kinds." Many appearances of this word can only be understood in this sense, as in Matthew 3:5 where "all" cannot be understood in the absolute sense. See also John 11:47-53 where the "all" that would believe on Him could not be used in an absolute sense, for the Pharisees themselves were excepted. But the inspired comment on this shows that the "all" were the "children of God scattered abroad" the elect.
That this is generally the sense when redemption is in view is proven by what we read in Revelation 5:9. For there the redeemed are shown to be "all kinds," not all without exception, for the redeemed are from "every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" —all kinds of people. Conversely, Revelation 20:11-15 shows great multitudes of people that are eternally lost and the reason given is that their names were not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world (v. 15. Cf. Rev. 17:8).
This view of the redemption of the Saviour works no hindrance to the work of evangelism of those that correctly understand it, for the command is to "preach the Gospel to every creature" that we have opportunity to (Mark 16:15). It is the Holy Spirit’s work alone to make application of the Gospel and enable one to believe it. But a correct view will hinder presumptuous sinners from thinking that they have a free pass into heaven regardless of how they live and however they may remain in unbelief. It is to be greatly feared that marry people, by making the Lord’s redemptive work broader than Scripture does, encourage sinners to continue in their unbelief on the presumption that Jesus died for them, when they give no evidence of being the ones for whom Jesus died. The universal statement of hope of everlasting life is given only to those that will believe on the Saviour. To all else there is the threat of the wrath of God.

Davis Huckabee

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Spirituality of God

Chapter One

“The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth,” (John 4:23-24). In this text we see one of the intensely practical reasons for understanding the attributes of God.
This one—the spirituality of God—has important bearings upon man’s worship of God, for if one does not understand that God is spiritual and that the worship of Him must conform to that spirituality, one may be tempted to have a mere formal and ritual­istic worship. Indeed, this verse probably indicts the worship of ninety percent of professing Christianity because they rise no higher than formal and ritualistic worship.
Here is a most solemn and suggestive statement: “True worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth.” The implication is that there will be false worshippers that will be manifest by their worship not measuring up to this standard. Consider the contrasts implied here: true worshippers are contrasted by implication with those that worship falsely. This worship is of the Father, as opposed to any other objects of worship. But inasmuch as another of God’s attributes is the unity of the Godhead, worship of the Father implies the worship of the Son and of the Spirit as well. This worship is in spirit as opposed to a mere formalistic or ritualistic worship. And finally, worship in truth is opposed to worshipping falsely, or insincerely.

“Spirit” is frequently used as the opposite of body, or of anything of a material nature. In man, though body and spirit are united for a time, the spirit is not dependent upon the body, but the body is upon the spirit. The spirit can exist without the body, but the body cannot exist without the spirit, as shown in James 2:26.
This implies, negatively, that (a) God is not matter. Spirit is not a refined form of matter but an immaterial substance, invisible, uncompounded, indestructible. (b) God is not dependent upon matter. It cannot be shown that the human mind, in any other state than the present, is dependent for consciousness upon its connection with a physical organ­ism. Much less is it true that God is dependent upon the material universe as his sensorium. God is not only spirit, but he is pure spirit. He is not only not matter, but he has no necessary connection with matter. [A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology, pp. 249-250.].
The declaration of this text is that God is spirit, as the inspired text says, for there is no definite article here, and the Greek language has no indefinite article “a” or “an” as in English. But not all spirits are of God, for there are also unclean spirits, demon spirits, the spirit of the world, the spirit of the Antichrist, etc. It might be well to retain the reading “God is a spirit” lest any that might have imbibed a pantheistic spirit might hold wrongly that all spirits are somehow a part of the Divine Spirit. And this is a common belief in many of the Eastern religions.

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Daily Communion with God

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Original sin

Original sin is not a subject that is prominent in modern theology, for it is contrary to a great deal of the proud modern beliefs, and consequently, no mere time-serving preacher will dare to present it to the congregation he serves lest he offend some one’s tender sensibilities. Yet this has long been one of the most fundamental and important doctrines of the Scriptures, for it lies at the very basis of so many others. For if there was no original sin, then there is no inherited sinful nature in man, no need for a redemption from sin, no need for a crucified Christ, no work therefore for the churches to do, and so a great deal of Christian belief and practice is made senseless in one stroke. But the Scriptures leave no room for any one to deny this great and weighty doctrine, for one of the earliest revelations is concerning original sin, and all the rest of the Scriptures assume the truth of this, and are actually built upon it. Len G. Broughton says:
We cannot dwell too much upon the fact that the race of Adam since the fall of man has been under the curse and penalty of sin. There is where every man is today who is not a Christian. It does not take any Bible to prove that man is a depraved being. The history of the race proves it. Our own experience proves it. There is not a man in the world who does not know that the inclinations of the natural man are toward evil. It is a struggle to go the other way. The natural tendency is toward that which is evil. That is true of the race everywhere. —Salvation And The Old Theology, p. 50. Hodder And Stoughton Publishers, London, no date.
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Friday, July 19, 2013

God's Providence

We live in an age in which the generality of people have trouble seeing God anywhere, yet our spiritual ancestors of a hundred years ago saw God everywhere, and in everything. It is greatly to be regretted that we live in such a materialistic age, and there can be little doubt that the failure to preach and teach the doctrine of God’s providence is in great degree responsible for much of the materialism. Charles Spurgeon says:
It seems to me that the hand of God in providence is as clear as in creation; and whilst I am sure that if saved at all I must be saved by God, I feel equally certain that every matter which concerns all of us in daily life, bears upon itself the evident trace of being the handiwork of Jehovah, our God. We must, if we would be true believers in God, and would avoid all Atheism, give unto him the kingship in the three kingdoms of creation, grace and providence. It is in the last, however, that I think we are the most apt to forget him. —New Park Street Pulpit, Vol. IV, p. 178. Zondervan Publishing House reprint, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1963.
Many people have a very limited or even an incorrect idea of what providence is; some think that it has only to do with the providing of the physical needs of believers. This is certainly a part of providence, but it is a very limited part of it. It is a very blessed truth that God "giveth food to all flesh" (Ps. 136:25), but providence involves so much more than this, as such texts as John 5:17; Acts 17: 28; Hebrews 1:3, et al., show, that it is hard to find a limit to providence.
To get the meaning of providence clearly in our minds, the following definitions may be considered: "In its common and technically proper sense, providence designates simply God’s temporal preservation and governing of all things according to his eternal purpose." —A. A. Hodge, Outlines of Theology, p. 208. T. Nelson and Sons, London, 1872. "Providence is that continuous agency of God by which he makes all the events of the physical and moral universe fulfill the original design with which he created it. —A. H. Strong,Systematic Theology, Vol. II, Chapter IV, Sect. III, p. 419. Fleming H. Revell Co., 1954. W. A. Brown shows the relation of creation to providence when he says:
As the doctrine of creation carries back the origin of the universe to God, so that of providence expresses his present relation to the world he has made. When we speak of the divine providence, we mean that the universe as a whole, as well as all its parts, is being sustained and ordered by God for the wise, holy and loving end which Christ reveals. —Outline of Christian Theology, pp. 211-215. T. and T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1929.
More detailed is the definition of J. M. Pendleton, who says:
That God created all things by his power and for his glory may be considered an established fact. In doing this he began, as already stated, to execute his purposes and his plans, but there was only a beginning. Many divine works follow, though none precede, creation. What is commonly called Providence, the providence of God, is suggested by creation, and may be inferred from it. For it is natural to suppose that God takes care of that which he was pleased to bring into existence...But it is time to inquire, What is embraced in the providence of God? My answer is threefold: 1. The preservation of what he has made...2. The control of what he has made...3. The ordering of all events. Christian Doctrines, pp. 129-132. American Baptist Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1878. { Emphasis mine}

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"And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honored him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, That doest thou?"