From the Four Winds
Ezekiel 37:9 ESV (9) Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live."
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
themselves rightfully. By trials, God reveals
much of a man's sinful self to his pious self.
When the fire is put under the pot—then the
scum appears; so when God tries a poor soul,
Oh! how does . . .
the scum of pride,
the scum of murmuring,
the scum of distrust,
the scum of impatience,
the scum of worldliness,
the scum of carnality,
the scum of foolishness,
the scum of willfulness—
reveal itself in the heart of the poor creature?
Trials are God's looking-glass, in which
His people see their own faults. Oh! . . .
that sink of filthiness,
that gulf of wickedness,
which trials show to be in their hearts!
"I have tested you in the furnace of affliction."
--Thomas Brooks, The Mute Christian Under the Smarting Rod
Courtesy of Grace Gems
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
"Give me understanding, and I will keep Your law
and obey it with all my heart." Psalm 119:34
Determine to PRACTICE whatever you read. Christians
should be walking Bibles, living the truths written. The
Word is not only a guide to knowledge, but a guide to
obedience. A holy reading of God’s Word, results in our
fleeing from sins, and practicing the duties commanded.
"I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I
might obey Your word." Psalm 119:101
From: Grace Gems
Monday, February 15, 2010
(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)
"Turn to the Lord with weeping and with mourning."
The best way to be holy is to accuse, indict, arraign,
and condemn yourself for your unholiness. Greatly
lament and mourn over your own unholiness, over
your own wickedness. Go to your closet, and fall
down before the most high and holy God, and
mourn bitterly over . . .
the unholiness of your nature,
the unholiness of your heart,
the unholiness of your affections,
the unholiness of your intentions,
the unholiness of your thoughts,
the unholiness of your words,
the unholiness of your life.
Oh, who can look upon sin . . .
as an offence against a holy God,
as the breach of a holy law,
as the wounding and crucifying of a holy Savior,
as the grieving and saddening of a holy Sanctifier,
and not mourn over it?
Oh, who can cast a serious eye . . .
upon the heinous nature of sin,
upon the exceeding sinfulness of sin,
upon the aggravations of sin—
and not have . . .
his heart humbled,
his soul grieved,
his spirit melted,
his mouth full of penitential confessions,
his eyes full of penitential tears, and
his heart full of penitential sorrow?
The Christian mourns that he has sinned against . . .
a God so great,
a God so gracious,
a God so bountiful,
a God so merciful.
Oh, how should a sinner fall a-weeping when he
looks upon the greatness of his wickedness, and
his lack of holiness! As ever you would be holy,
mourn over your own unholiness.
Those who weep not for sin here—shall weep
out their eyes in hell hereafter! It is better to
weep bitterly for your sins on earth, than to
weep eternally for your folly in hell.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they
will be comforted." Matthew 5:4
From: Grace Gems
Sunday, February 07, 2010
If you value the health of your soul, cease hearing and quit reading—all that is lifeless, unctionless, and powerless. Life is too short to waste valuable time on that which does not profit. Ninety-nine out of every hundred of the religious books, booklets, and magazines now being published—are not worth the paper on which they are printed!
"Those who live according to the flesh—have their minds set on what the flesh desires," (Romans 8:5). They are charmed with . . .
witty allusions, and
On just such husks, do the religious swine feed!
Ah, it is a great thing when once the Holy Spirit teaches a soul—that it is power which is lacking from the lifeless preaching of dead professors. It is power which the renewed soul seeks—a message which has power to search his conscience, to pierce him to the quick, to write it upon his heart; a message which has power to bring him to his knees in broken-hearted confession to God; a message which has power to make him feel that he is "vile"; a message which has power to drive him to Christ, for the binding up of his wounds, for Him to pour in "oil and wine," and send him on his way rejoicing. Yes, what the renewed soul longs for (though at first he knows it not) is that Divine message which comes to him "not simply with words—but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction!" 1 Thessalonians 1:5. Sooner or later, every Christian comes to value "power," and to count as worthless, whatever lacks it.
It is by Divine power, that he is taught in his own soul, by which he is made to feel acutely his sinnership, his carnality, his beggarliness.
It is Divine power working in his heart—which draws his affections unto things above, and makes his soul pant after God "as the deer pants after the water brooks." Psalm 42:1
It is this Divine power working in him—which reveals to his burdened spirit the Throne of Grace, and causes him to implore mercy and to seek grace "to help in time of need."
It is this Divine power working in him—which makes him cry "Make me walk along the path of Your commands—for there I find delight!" Psalm 119:35
--Arthur W. Pink
courtesy of Grace Gems
Friday, February 05, 2010
“If one does not make human knowledge wholly dependent upon the original self-knowledge and consequent revelation of God to man, then man will have to seek knowledge within himself as the final reference point. Then he will have to seek an exhaustive understanding of reality. He will have to hold that if he cannot attain to such an exhaustive understanding of reality he has no true knowledge of anything at all. Either man must then know everything or he knows nothing. This is the dilemma that confronts every form of non-Christian epistemology.”
--Cornelius Van Til
It is grace, free, sovereign grace, which has made you to differ!
Should any here, supposing themselves to be the children of
God, imagine that there is some reason "in them" why they
should have been chosen, let them know, that as yet they are in
the dark, concerning the first principles of grace, and have not
yet learned the gospel.
If ever they had known the gospel, they would, on the other
hand, confess that they were less than the least- the offscouring
of all things- unworthy, ill-deserving, undeserving, and hell-
deserving, and ascribe it all to distinguishing grace, which has
made them to differ; and to discriminating love, which has
chosen them out from the rest of the world.
Great Christian, you would have been a great sinner
if God had not made you to differ!
O! you who are valiant for truth, you would have been
as valiant for the devil if grace had not laid hold of you!
A seat in heaven shall one day be yours; but a chain in hell
would have been yours if grace had not changed you!
You can now sing his love; but a licentious song might have been
on your lips, if grace had not washed you in the blood of Jesus!
You are now sanctified, you are quickened, you are justified;
but what would you have been today if it had not been for the
interposition of the divine hand?
There is not a crime you might not have committed;
there is not a folly into which you might not have run.
Even murder itself you might have committed
if grace had not kept you.
You shall be like the angels; but you would have been like the
devil if you had not been changed by grace!
Therefore, never be proud- all the garments you have
are from above; rags were your only heritage.
Never be proud, though you now have a wide domain of grace;
you had once not a single thing to call yours own, except your
sin and misery.
You are now wrapped up in the golden righteousness of the
Savior, and accepted in the garments of the beloved!
But you would have been buried under the black mountain of
sin, and clothed with the filthy rags of unrighteousness,
if he had not changed you!
And are you proud?
Do you exalt yourself?
O! strange mystery, that you, who have borrowed everything,
should exalt yourself; that you, who have nothing of your own,
but have still to draw upon grace, should be proud- a poor
dependent pensioner upon the bounty of your Savior, and yet
proud; one who has a life which can only live by fresh streams of
life from Jesus, and yet proud!
Go, hang your pride upon the gallows, as high as Haman!
Hang it there to rot, and you stand beneath, and execrate it to all
eternity; for sure of all things most to be cursed and despised is
the pride of a Christian.
He, of all men, has ten thousand times more reason than any
other to be humble, and walk lowly with his God, and kindly and
humbly toward his fellow-creatures.
--Excerpt from a sermon by Charles Spurgeon entitled "The Fruitless Vine"
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
"Indeed for us murder is forbidden once and for all, so it is not permitted even to destroy what is conceived in the womb. To prohibit the birth of a child is only a faster way to murder; it makes little difference whether one destroys a life already born or prevents it from coming to birth. It is a human being, who is to be a human being, for the whole fruit is already present in the seed."
Monday, February 01, 2010
I thank Thee that many of my prayers have been refused. I have asked amiss and do not have, I have prayed from lusts and been rejected, I have longed for Egypt and been given a wilderness. Go on with Thy patient work, answering 'no' to my wrongful prayers, and fitting me to accept it. Purge me from every false desire, every base aspiration, everything contrary to Thy rule. I thank Thee for Thy wisdom and Thy love, for all the acts of discipline to which I am subject, for sometimes putting me into the furnace to refine my gold and remove my dross.
No trial is so hard to bear as a sense of sin. If Thou shouldst give me choice to live in pleasure and keep my sins, or to have them burnt away with trial, give me sanctified affliction. Deliver me from every evil habit, every accretion of former sins, everything that dims the brightness of Thy grace in me, everything that prevents me taking delight in Thee. Then I shall bless Thee, God of jeshurun, for helping me to be upright.
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Calvin's Commentary on Matthew 4:8--
We must keep in mind, what I have already stated, that it was not owing to any weakness of Christ’s nature, but to a voluntary dispensation and permission, that Satan produced this effect upon his eyes. Again, while his senses were moved and powerfully affected by the glory of the kingdoms which was presented to them, no inward desire arose in his mind; whereas the lusts of the flesh, like wild beasts, are drawn, and hurry us along, to the objects which please us: for Christ had the same feelings with ourselves, but he had no irregular appetites. The kind of temptation here described was, that Christ should seek, in another manner than from God, the inheritance which he has promised to his children. And here the daring insolence of the devil is manifested, in robbing God of the government of the world, and claiming it for himself. All these things, says he, are mine, and it is only through me that they are obtained.
We have to contend every day with the same imposture: for every believer feels it in himself and it is still more clearly seen in the whole life of the ungodly. Though we are convinced, that all our support, and aid, and comfort, depend on the blessing of God, yet our senses allure and draw us away, to seek assistance from Satan, as if God alone were not enough. A considerable portion of mankind disbelieve the power and authority of God over the world, and imagine that every thing good is bestowed by Satan. For how comes it, that almost all resort to wicked contrivances, to robbery and to fraud, but because they ascribe to Satan what belongs to God, the power of enriching whom he pleases by his blessing? True, indeed, with the mouth they ask that God will give them daily bread, (Mt 6:11) but it is only with the mouth; for they make Satan the distributor of all the riches in the world.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
"They say--The Lord doesn't see it. The God of Jacob
doesn't pay attention." Psalm 94:7
"The wicked say to themselves--'God isn't watching!
He will never notice!' Arise, O Lord! Punish the wicked,
O God!" Psalm 10:11-12
Nothing more derogatory to the character of God can
possibly be said, than that He does not rule the world.
God reigns is a logical conclusion from God is. To deny
God's providence is as atheistic as to deny His existence!
A God, who neither sees, nor hears, nor knows, nor cares,
nor helps, nor saves--is a vanity, and can never claim
homage from intelligent men. Such a God should be
derided--not worshiped! He might suit the mythology
of Paganism, or meet the demands of an infidel heart
--but could never command the allegiance, or win the
confidence of an enlightened and pious man!
The world may as well be without a God--as have one
who is incompetent to rule it, or, who, wrapping Himself
in a mantle of careless indifference, abandons creation
to the governance of puny mortals, to the rule of devils,
or to the sway of a blind chance! Such conduct may well
comport with the character of false gods--but is wholly
abhorrent to the nature of Jehovah! God's tender mercies
are over all His works. His kingdom rules over all!
"Our God is in heaven and does whatever He pleases!"
"For I know that the Lord is great; our Lord is greater than
all gods. The Lord does whatever He pleases in heaven and
on earth, in the seas and all the depths!" Psalm 135:5-6
"Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns!"
---William S. Plumer, "A Treatise on Providence" 1865
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
by Arthur Pink, Studies in the Scriptures, May, 1939
How diligently should they scrutinize their motives, who think of entering the ministry; for thousands have abused this Divine institution through love of ease, desire for authority and reputation, or love of money--and brought upon themselves "greater damnation" (James 3:1). Thousands have invaded the pastoral office in an unauthorized manner, to fleece sheep rather than feed them, robbing Christ of His honor and starving His people.
Solemn beyond words is it to observe how sternly our Lord denounced these false shepherds of His day. (Matthew 23) As J. C. Ryle rightly said, "Nothing seemed so offensive to Christ as a false teacher of religion, a false prophet, or a false shepherd. Nothing ought to be so much feared by the Church, be so plainly rebuked, opposed and exposed."
What are the marks of a true shepherd, how are God’s people to identify those called and qualified by Him to minister unto His people?
First, the genuine pastor has the doctrine of Christ on his LIPS. The ministers of the new covenant are described as those who had "renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness." Christendom today is infested with men who are full of deceit and hypocrisy, trimming their sails according to whatever direction the breeze of public opinion is blowing.
"We have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God." (2 Cor. 4:2). The true servant of Christ holds back nothing which is profitable, no matter how unpalatable it may be unto his hearers. He is one who magnifies not himself, nor his denomination, but Christ--His wondrous Person, His atoning blood, His exacting claims.
Second, the genuine pastor has the Spirit of Christ in his HEART. It is the Spirit who opens to him the mysteries of the Gospel, so that he is "the faithful and wise servant" (Matt. 24:45). It is the Spirit of Christ who gives him a love for His sheep, so that it is his greatest delight to lead them into the green pastures of His Word. It is the Spirit of Christ who enables him to use "great boldness of speech" (2 Cor. 3:12), so that he shuns not to declare all the counsel of God. It is the Spirit of Christ who makes him to be "prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction" (2 Tim. 4:2). It is the Spirit of Christ who gives efficacy to his ministry, making it fruitful according to the sovereign pleasure of God.
Third, the genuine pastor has the example of Christ in his LIFE, which is a conforming of him to the image of his Master. It is true, sadly true, that there is not one of them who does not fall far short both of the inward and outward image of Christ. Yet there are some faint tracings of His image visible in all His true servants. The image of Christ is seen in their words, spirit, actions; otherwise we have no warrant to receive them as God’s servants.
Find a man (no easy task today!) who has the doctrine of Christ on his lips, the Spirit of Christ in his heart, and the example of Christ in his life--and you find one of His genuine ministers--all others are but "thieves and robbers."
Friday, October 20, 2006
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
"Unbelievers stumbling; Believers rejoicing"
There are some who stumble at Christ because of his holiness.
He is too strict for them; they would like to be Christians,
but they cannot renounce their sensual pleasures; they
would like to be washed in his blood, but they desire still
to roll in the mire of sin.
Willing enough the mass of men would be to receive Christ,
if, after receiving him, they might continue in their drunkenness,
their wantonness, and self-indulgence. But Christ lays the axe
at the root of the tree; he tells them that these things must be
given up, for “because of these things the wrath of God comes
upon the children of disobedience,” and “without holiness no
man can see the Lord.”
Human nature kicks at this.
“What! May I not enjoy one darling lust? May I not indulge
myself at least now and then in these things? Must I altogether
forsake my old habits and my old ways? Must I be made a
new creature in Christ Jesus?”
These are terms too hard, conditions too severe, and so the
human heart goes back to the flesh pots of Egypt, and clings
to the garlic and the onions of the old estate of bondage, and
will not be set free even though a greater than Moses lifts up
the rod to part the sea, and promises to give to them a Canaan
flowing with milk and honey.
Christ offends men because his gospel is intolerant of sin.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
The 'third use' of the law is to function as the rule of life for the believer. One of the most famous statements of this comes from the Puritan Samuel Bolton in his The True Bounds of Christian Freedom -
'The law sends us to the gospel for our justification; the gospel sends us to the law to frame our way of life'.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Of old, God complained to an apostate Israel, "Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself" (Ps. 50:21). Such must now be His indictment against apostate Christendom. Men imagine the Most High is moved by sentiment, rather than by principle. They suppose His omnipotency is such an idle fiction that Satan can thwart His designs on every side. They think that if He has formed any plan or purpose at all, then it must be like theirs, constantly subject to change. They openly declare that whatever power He possesses must be restricted, lest He invade the citidel of man’s free will and reduce him to a machine. They lower the all-efficacious atonement, which redeems everyone for whom it was made, to a mere remedy, which sin-sick souls may use if they feel so disposed. They lessen the strength of the invincible work of the Holy Spirit to an offer of the Gospel which sinners may accept or reject as they please.
The god of this century no more resembles the Sovereign of Holy Writ than does the dim flickering of a candle the glory of the midday sun. The god who is talked about in the average pulpit, spoken of in the ordinary Sunday school, mentioned in much of the religious literature of the day, and preached in most of the so-called Bible conferences, is a figment of human imagination, an invention of maudlin sentimentality. The heathen outside the pale of christendom form gods of wood and stone, while millions of heathen inside christendom manufacture a god out of their carnal minds. In reality, they are but atheists, for there is no other possible alternative between an absolutely supreme God, and no God at all. A god whose will is resisted, whose designs are frustrated, whose purpose is checkmated, possesses no title to deity, and far from being a fit object of worship, merits nothing but contempt.
AW Pink (from Gleanings in the Godhead - Chapter 5 "The Supremacy of God")
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Wonderful mystery! God was manifest in the flesh!
Our Lord Jesus Christ became incarnate, lived, acted,
obeyed, suffered, died and rose again--for His people.
He came down to earth--that they might go up to heaven.
He suffered--that they might reign.
He became a servant--that they might become kings
and priests unto God.
He died that--they might live.
He bore the cross--that their enmity might be slain,
and their sins expiated.
He loved them--that they might love God.
He was rich and became poor--that they, who
were poor, might be made rich.
He descended into the grave--that they might
sit in heavenly places.
He emptied Himself--that they might be filled
with all the fullness of God.
He took upon Him human nature--that they
might be partakers of the divine nature.
He made Himself of no reputation--that they might
wear His new name, and obtain eternal excellency.
He became a worm, and no man--that they, who were
sinful worms, might be made equal to the angels.
He bore the curse of a broken covenant--that they
might partake of all the blessings of the everlasting
covenant, ordered in all things and sure.
Though heir of all things, He was willingly despised
of the people--that they, who were justly condemned,
might obtain an inheritance which is incorruptible,
undefiled, and which fades not away.
His death was a satisfaction to divine justice, a ransom
for many, a propitiation for sin, a sweet smelling savor
to God--that we, who were an offence to God, might
become His sons and daughters.
He was made sin for His people--that they might be
made the righteousness of God in Him.
Though Lord of all, He took the form of a servant--that
they, who were the servants of sin, might prevail like
princes with God.
He had no where to lay His head--that they who otherwise
must have lain down in eternal sorrow, might reach the
mansions in His Father's house.
He drank the cup of God's indignation--that they
might forever drink of the river of his pleasures.
He hungered--that they might eat the bread of life.
He thirsted--that they might drink the water of life.
He was numbered with the transgressors--that they might
stand among the justified, and be counted among His jewels.
Though He existed from everlasting, from the beginning,
before ever the earth was, yet He became a helpless infant
--that creatures of yesterday, sentenced to death, might
He wore a crown of thorns--that all who love His
appearing, might wear a crown of life.
He wept tears of anguish--that His elect might
weep tears of godly repentance.
He bore the yoke of obedience unto death--that
they might find His yoke easy and His burden light.
He poured out his soul unto death, lay three days in
the heart of the earth, then burst the bars of death,
and arose to God--that they, who through fear of
death were all their lifetime subject to bondage,
might obtain the victory over the grave and become
partakers of His resurrection.
He exhausted the penalty of the law--that His redeemed
might have access to His inexhaustible treasures of mercy,
wisdom, faithfulness, truth and grace.
He was matchless in grace--that they might be matchless
Though a Son, He became a voluntary exile--that they, who had
wickedly wandered afar off, might be brought near by His blood.
His visage was so marred more than any man--that His
ransomed ones might be presented before God without
spot, or blemish, or wrinkle, or any such thing.
For a time He was forsaken of his Father--that they, whom
He bought with His blood, might behold the light of God's
He came and dwelt with them--that they might be forever
with the Lord.
He was hung up naked before His insulting foes--that all
who believe on His name, might wear a glorious wedding
garment--a spotless righteousness.
Wonderful mystery! God was manifest in the flesh!
Blessed is he who loves the incarnate mystery, and
rests upon it. It is a mystery . . .
It is the great study of the inhabitants of heaven,
and shall be while immortality endures!
Friday, August 04, 2006
The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus - A.D. 130
Chapter IX.—Why the Son was sent so late.
As long then as the former time endured, He permitted us to be borne along by unruly impulses, being drawn away by the desire of pleasure and various lusts. This was not that He at all delighted in our sins, but that He simply endured them; nor that He approved the time of working iniquity which then was, but that He sought to form a mind conscious of righteousness, so that being convinced in that time of our unworthiness of attaining life through our own works, it should now, through the kindness of God, be vouchsafed to us; and having made it manifest that in ourselves we were unable to enter into the kingdom of God, we might through the power of God be made able. But when our wickedness had reached its height, and it had been clearly shown that its reward, punishment and death, was impending over us; and when the time had come which God had before appointed for manifesting His own kindness and power, how the one love of God, through exceeding regard for men, did not regard us with hatred, nor thrust us away, nor remember our iniquity against us, but showed great long-suffering, and bore with us, He Himself took on Him the burden of our iniquities, He gave His own Son as a ransom for us, the holy One for transgressors, the blameless One for the wicked, the righteous One for the unrighteous, the incorruptible One for the corruptible, the immortal One for them that are mortal. For what other thing was capable of covering our sins than His righteousness? By what other one was it possible that we, the wicked and ungodly, could be justified, than by the only Son of God? O sweet exchange! O unsearchable operation! O benefits surpassing all expectation! that the wickedness of many should be hid in a single righteous One, and that the righteousness of One should justify many transgressors! Having therefore convinced us in the former time that our nature was unable to attain to life, and having now revealed the Saviour who is able to save even those things which it was [formerly] impossible to save, by both these facts He desired to lead us to trust in His kindness, to esteem Him our Nourisher, Father, Teacher, Counsellor, Healer, our Wisdom, Light, Honour, Glory, Power, and Life, so that we should not be anxious concerning clothing and food.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
"For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil." Ecclesiastes 12:14
God has appointed a day in the which He will judge the world. Respecting this day several things are noticeable.
All shall be judged.
Saints and sinners,
great and small,
living and dead,
the servant and his master,
the prisoner at the bar and the judge who sat on his trial,
the assassin and the assassinated,
the seducer and his victim,
the invader and the invaded,
the hireling and his oppressor,
the king and his subjects,
the fool and the wise man,
the persecutor and the persecuted,
the child of God and the child of the devil,
shall all be there! No one shall be so mighty, and no one shall be so lowly--as to elude the eye or the sentence of Him who shall sit upon the throne of judgment! What a massive multitude will this be--when prophets, apostles, martyrs, confessors, saints of all ages; when sinners, liars, infidels, blasphemers, moralists, and murderers--shall all be there; when the sea and the dry land shall give up their dead; when death and hell shall deliver up the dead who are in them; when all who lived before the flood, all who have lived since the flood, and all who shall have lived to the end of time shall stand before God! This will be the first and the last assembly--in which are found every person whom God ever made.
To God, it is a certain and fixed day. He has appointed it. Acts 17:31. Nothing can hasten it; nothing can retard it. The purpose of God concerning it is fixed, unalterable.
To all creatures, it is an unknown day. "Of that day and hour knows no man; no, not the angels of heaven."
The day of judgment will be THE great day. It will be the greatest day in the annals of the universe! It is the day for which all other days were made. This day is so well known to inspired men, that they call it the day, that day--as preeminent over all others.
It will be the LAST day. After it, time will be no more--time will cease to exist. Duration will no more be measured by seconds, minutes, days, months, years, centuries, cycles; but all will be boundless, shoreless, fathomless, unmeasured eternity!
It will be a day of astounding exposures. Villainy will be covered up no more. Every disguise will be taken away. There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed; neither hidden, that shall not be known.
It will be a day of intense excitement. There will be no listless spectators of those scenes. Every faculty of the intellect and of emotion will be aroused to the highest possible exercise. Men may sleep under sermons concerning the judgment, but they will not be dull when they go to judgment!
It will also be a day of final separation. The precious and the vile; the wheat and the tares; the sheep and the goats; saints and sinners--shall no longer mingle together. The separations of this day will be final. The righteous and the wicked shall part that day to meet no more.
It shall be a day of despair to all the unregenerate. Everywhere sinners will be crying to the rocks and the mountains: "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb!" Was ever despair more dreadful than this?
This will be a day full of surprise. Not only will it come unexpectedly, but its awards will fill both saints and sinners with astonishment. So Christ teaches at length in Matthew 25. The wicked will be amazed that they are lost. They will be especially surprised that God sets no value on their self-righteousness. The sons of God will receive more honor than they ever asked or thought of. The sons of Belial will receive more wrath than they ever feared. Christians will marvel why they are saved. Sinners will wonder why they are not saved. Many will be lost--contrary to the opinions formed of them by their neighbors. Many will be lost--contrary to the opinions they had formed of themselves!
"For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil." Ecclesiastes 12:14.
The judgment is coming!
The Judge stands at the door!
The time is short!
Thursday, July 13, 2006
"He holds all creation together." Col. 1:17
"He sustains the universe by the mighty power of His
command!" Hebrews 1:3
Jesus Christ upholds, preserves, and governs the worlds
which He has made!
Thus all creatures, from the smallest insect which is seen
by the microscope; up to the archangel which worships
before the eternal throne; all events, from the falling of
a hair of the head to the destruction of nations by famine,
pestilence, and war; all rule and authority, from that of a
petty official, to that of thrones and principalities in heaven;
the material universe, from the least particle which floats
in the sunbeam to the grandest system of worlds which roll
in immensity--all hang dependent on His powerful
providence! And if one link in the chain of that dependence
were broken, they would all rush headlong to destruction!
Jesus always has governed this world; and He shall ever hold
the scepter over it, until His last foe shall is vanquished, and
His last hidden one made victorious!
Friday, July 07, 2006
The following is a great biblical explanation of why we are to pray for the unconverted....
I am often asked, "If you believe God works all things according to the counsel of his will (Ephesians 1:11) and that his knowledge of all things past, present, and future is infallible, then what is the point of praying that anything happen?" Usually this question is asked in relation to human decision: "If God has predestined some to be his sons and chosen them before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4,5), then what's the point in praying for anyone's conversion?"
The implicit argument here is that if prayer is to be possible at all man must have the power of self-determination. That is, all man's decisions must ultimately belong to himself, not God. For otherwise he is determined by God and all his decisions are really fixed in God's eternal counsel. Let's examine the reasonableness of this argument by reflecting on the example cited above.
1. "Why pray for anyone's conversion if God has chosen before the foundation of the world who will be his sons?" A person in need of conversion is "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1); he is "enslaved to sin" (Romans 6:17; John 8:34); "the god of this world has blinded his mind that he might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ" (II Corinthians. 4:4); his heart is hardened against God (Ephesians 4:18) so that he is hostile to God and in rebellion against God's will (Romans 8:7).
Now I would like to turn the question back to my questioner: If you insist that this man must have the power of ultimate self-determination, what is the point of praying for him? What do you want God to do for Him? You can't ask that God overcome the man's rebellion, for rebellion is precisely what the man is now choosing, so that would mean God overcame his choice and took away his power of self-determination. But how can God save this man unless he act so as to change the man's heart from hard hostility to tender trust?
Will you pray that God enlighten his mind so that he truly see the beauty of Christ and believe? If you pray this, you are in effect asking God no longer to leave the determination of the man's will in his own power. You are asking God to do something within the man's mind (or heart) so that he will surely see and believe. That is, you are conceding that the ultimate determination of the man's decision to trust Christ is God's, not merely his.
What I am saying is that it is not the doctrine of God's sovereignty which thwarts prayer for the conversion of sinners. On the contrary, it is the unbiblical notion of self-determination which would consistently put an end to all prayers for the lost. Prayer is a request that God do something. But the only thing God can do to save a lost sinner is to overcome his resistance to God. If you insist that he retain his self-determination, then you are insisting that he remain without Christ. For "no one can come to Christ unless it is given him from the Father" (John 6:65,44).
Only the person who rejects human self-determination can consistently pray for God to save the lost. My prayer for unbelievers is that God will do for them what He did for Lydia: He opened her heart so that she gave heed to what Paul said (Acts 16:14). I will pray that God, who once said, "Let there be light!", will by that same creative power "shine in their hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" (II Corinthians 4:6). I will pray that He will "take out their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26). I will pray that they be born not of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man but of God (John 1:13). And with all my praying I will try to "be kind and to teach and correct with gentleness and patience, if perhaps God may grant them repentance and freedom from Satan's snare" (II Timothy 2:24-26).
In short, I do not ask God to sit back and wait for my neighbor to decide to change. I do not suggest to God that He keep his distance lest his beauty become irresistible and violate my neighbor's power of self-determination. No! I pray that he ravish my unbelieving neighbor with his beauty, that he unshackle the enslaved will, that he make the dead alive and that he suffer no resistance to stop him lest my neighbor perish.
2. If someone now says, "O.K., granted that a person's conversion is ultimately determined by God' I still don't see the point of your prayer. If God chose before the foundation of the world who would be converted, what function does your prayer have?" My answer is that it has a function like that of preaching: How shall the lost believe in whom they have not heard, and how shall they hear without a preacher, and how shall they preach unless they are sent (Romans 10:14f.)? Belief in Christ is a gift of God (John 6:65; II Timothy 2:25; Ephesians 2:8), but God has ordained that the means by which men believe on Jesus is through the preaching of men. It is simply naive to say that if no one spread the gospel all those predestined to be sons of God (Ephesians 1:5) would be converted anyway. The reason this is naive is because it overlooks the fact that the preaching of the gospel is just as predestined as is the believing of the gospel: Paul was set apart for his preaching ministry before he was born (Galatians 1:15), as was Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:5). Therefore, to ask, "If we don't evangelize, will the elect be saved?" is like asking, "If there is no predestination, will the predestined be saved?" God knows those who are his and he will raise up messengers to win them. If someone refuses to be a part of that plan, because he dislikes the idea of being tampered with before he was born, then he will be the loser, not God and not the elect. "You will certainly carry out God's purpose however you act but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John." (Problem of Pain chapter 7, Anthology, p 910, cf. p 80)
Prayer is like preaching in that it is a human act also. It is a human act that God has ordained and which he delights in because it reflects the dependence of his creatures upon Him. He has promised to respond to prayer, and his response is just as contingent upon our prayer as our prayer is in accordance with his will. "And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us" (I John 5:14). When we don't know how to pray according to God's will but desire it earnestly, "the Spirit of God intercedes for us according to the will of God" (Romans 8:27).
In other words, just as God will see to it that His Word is proclaimed as a means to saving the elect, so He will see to it that all those prayers are prayed which He has promised to respond to. I think Paul's words in Romans 15:18 would apply equally well to his preaching and his praying ministry: "I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles." Even our prayers are a gift from the one who "works in us that which is pleasing in his sight" (Hebrews 13:21). Oh, how grateful we should be that He has chosen us to be employed in this high service! How eager we should be to spend much time in prayer!
Thursday, June 29, 2006
No two things are more contrary to each other,
than the vileness of man and the purity of God.
Sin is hateful to God.
It has dug every grave.
It fills hell with groans.
"From the sole of your foot to the top of your
head there is no soundness--only wounds
and welts and open sores." Isaiah 1:6
The whole nature of man is affected by sin:
the understanding is darkened;
the will is corrupt;
the conscience is defiled;
the memory is polluted;
the imagination is depraved;
the throat is an open sepulcher;
the tongue is deceitful;
the mouth is full of cursing and bitterness;
the feet are swift to shed blood;
the eyes are full of adultery;
the heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately wicked.
The whole head is sick,
the whole heart is faint!
Man is by nature ruined. He is lost.
Men are . . .
children of the devil,
slaves of iniquity.
"But God, who is abundant in mercy, because
of His great love that He had for us, made us
alive with the Messiah even though we were
dead in trespasses. By grace you are saved!
He also raised us up with Him and seated us
with Him in the heavens, in Christ Jesus, so
that in the coming ages He might display the
immeasurable riches of His grace in His
kindness to us in Christ Jesus." Eph. 2:4-7
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Newman Hall, "Leaves of Healing
from the Garden of Grief" 1891)
"Shall I not drink the cup the Father
has given Me?" John 18:11
The hand that presented the bitter cup to Jesus
was the hand of Him whom the Sufferer addressed
as 'Dear Father'. Love decreed the cup!
Christians must not think that the bitterness of the
cup given to them is any sign of diminished love in
their Father who gives it. "Whom the Lord loves He
chastens." He says, "I have loved You with an
everlasting love." By love He first drew us to Himself;
and ever since He has held us by 'cords of love.' Love
daily feeds us with heavenly manna and living water.
Love . . .
ordains every struggle to strengthen us,
lights every furnace to purify us,
mingles every bitter cup to heal us.
Such confidence in our Father's love should render
easy submission to His will. We may confidently
surrender our own will to that of our Father, whose
infinite resources are at the service of infinite
love, and say with our Elder Brother, "May Your
will be done. Shall I not drink the cup the
Father has given Me?
Friday, June 23, 2006
old things have passed away; behold, all things
have become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17
What condemnation do these words pronounce upon
the shallow, meager religion so common among
us--making us feel that hardly any description of its
professors could be more exaggerated or unreal,
than that of being "new creatures."
Take yon member of the church. He wears the
garb and bears the name of Christ. He is a fair
average specimen of a large class. He has the
profession of being a Christian; yet . . .
he is fond of the world;
he grasps at its gold;
he loves its fashionable gaiety;
he reads its novels;
he frequents its haunts of amusement;
he enjoys its company;
he relishes its foolish talking and jesting.
Is he "a new creature" in Christ Jesus?
Is it possible that, with . . .
so much worldliness,
so much selfishness,
so much self-indulgence,
so much pleasing of the flesh,
he can have been "born again,"
whatever his profession may be?
"A new creature!" Then . . .
--all are gone! Old things have passed
away, all things have become new!
Formerly, I sought the things of this world.
So now, by the necessity of my new nature,
I seek the things above. Sin has become
hateful, holiness supremely attractive.
My vision has been purged, so that now I see
everything as with a new eye; the evil, with an
eye which loathes it; the holy, with an eye which
loves it. I approach everything with . . .
I behold everything in a new light, and from a new
point of view. Myself, this world, the world to come,
God, Christ, and the everlasting joys--all these are
to me now, what they have never been before! My
whole inner man has changed respecting them.
There has been a new creation! What, then, have I
to do with sin, with the flesh, with the vanities of so
vain a life, as the men of this world are leading?
Oh, the unimaginable blessedness of those on whom
this new creation has taken place! Oh, the unutterable,
the endless misery of those on whom no change has
passed--in whom old things still remain!
--Horatius Bonar, "Christ and the New Creation"
Saturday, June 17, 2006
As one who has studied science and practiced it now for over 20 years, I am amazed just how much science reveals the intelligence of God. After all, He created everything..we should be thankful that He even allows us to understand an infinitesimal amount of this complex universe. I thought this quote below reveals the futile nature of atheistic scientists who try to explain the origin of the Universe.
A Bad Dream- A sound explanation may exist for the explosive birth of our Universe; but if it does, science cannot find out what the explanation is. The scientist's pursuit of the past ends in the moment of creation. This is an exceedingly strange development, unexpected by all but the theologians. They have always accepted the word of the Bible: In the beginning God created heaven and earth... At this moment it seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries. Professor Robert Jastrow, PhD, God and the Astronomers, 1978, W.W. Norton, NY, pp115-116
Thursday, June 15, 2006
I just picked up Kim Riddlebarger's latest work, The Man of Sin, at the local bookstore. I enjoyed Kim's last work on amillennialism, so I expect this to be a good read. So far, so good. I may do a book review when I am done, we'll see, so long as I don't get freaked out too much reading it. :-)
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Spiritual Warfare has nothing to do with human strategy. Let me unpack a little passage of scripture for you. It is found in 2 Cor 10:3-5. Paul says that we are engaged in a spiritual war. We talk about spiritual warfare a lot, but the weapons of our warfare (he says) are not fleshly, what he means by that is that they are not human. We are fighting a war and we can't use human weapons. We can't use them. This war is not a time space war, this is not a material war, it isn't fought on an intellectual level. This is a spiritual battle. This is on another dimension, we can't use human ingenuity, human gimmicks, humans tricks, etc, etc. (I love this passage) He says, "but our weapons are (the Greek says) mighty unto God". We got to fight this spiritual war with divine weapons (ok, I understand that you say but what does that mean? What is this divine weapon?) Well then he goes on to say, "For we are destroying fortresses" "Fortresses" is a word (in the Greek) that means "massive fortification". If you have been in the Middle East or you have traveled in Europe and you have seen those great granite, and stone fortresses. It is the same word for "prison" and it is the same word for "tomb".
So here we have this picture, we are engaged in war and the enemy that we are assaulting is a massive granite fortification, it is not something that falls easily, it is not a paper house, it is not a card board box. What are we going to use against this? Well, what is this fortress? The next verse he says, "We are destroying speculations". In verse 4, he says, "we are destroying fortresses". In verse 5, "we are destroying speculations". Therefore fortresses equal speculations. Speculations is the Greek word "logismos" - ideas (ideologies, concepts, philosophies, psychology's, theories, religions), further defined as, "every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God". Spiritual warfare is not chasing demons around and pronouncing formulas on them. Spiritual warfare is fought against ideologies. Any theory, and idea, any viewpoint, any religion, any belief raise up against the knowledge of God. That is to say any anti-biblical idea, any anti-biblical idea.
So the simple question is, What is the one weapon we have against lies? What is the one weapon we have against error? Truth! So we go out to make battle (and I love what it says) with a view to smashing the fortresses of lying viewpoints and ideologies and then it says, and leading everyone in there and bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." That is what we do in this world. We smash the fortresses. It is not a matter of chasing demons, it is a matter of smashing ideological fortresses with the power of Biblical Truth, made clear to the mind that is captive and Then you watch the fortress fall and you lead the person out and bring every thought they have captive to Christ. That is having the mind of Christ. That is not mystical, I have the mind of Christ and you have the mind of Christ revealed right here (pointing to the Bible). As you know this, you have His mind. That is what we do. That is the great struggle and the great strategy. If you want to get in the war, you learn how to wield the Sword. That is the only weapon that we really have.
By John MacArthur
Not Ashamed of the Gospel Conference - September 21, 1999
Monday, June 12, 2006
and I will have compassion on whom I will have
compassion." Exodus 33:19
Because God is the maker, and creator, and sustainer of
all things, he has a right to do as he wills with all his works.
“Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it,
Why have you made me thus? Has not the potter
power over the clay of the same lump to make one
vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?”
God’s absolute supremacy and unlimited sovereignty
naturally flow from his omnipotence, and from the fact
that he is the source and support of all things.
Moreover, if it were not so, the superlative excellence of
the divine character would entitle him to absolute dominion.
He should be chief who is best. He who cannot err, being
perfect in wisdom; he who will not err, being as perfect in
holiness; he who can do no wrong, being supremely just;
he who must act in accordance with the principles of kindness,
seeing he is essentially love, is the most fitting person to rule.
Tell me not of the creatures ruling themselves: what a chaos
would this be! Talk not of a supposed republic of all created
existences, controlling and guiding themselves. All the creatures
put together, with their combined wisdom and goodness- if, indeed,
it were not combined folly and wickedness -all these, I say, with
all the excellencies of knowledge, judgment, and love, which the
most fervid imagination can suppose them to possess, could not
make the equal of that great God whose name is holiness, whose
essence is love, to whom all power belongs, and to whom alone
wisdom is to be ascribed.
Let him reign supreme, for he is infinitely superior to all other existences.
--Spurgeon’s sermon, “Election No Discouragement to Seeking Souls”
Saturday, June 10, 2006
- Jonathan Edwards
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Saturday, June 03, 2006
The Word of God may be taken up from various motives. Some read it to satisfy their literary pride. In certain circles it has become both the respectable and popular thing to obtain a general acquaintance with the contents of the Bible simply because it is regarded as an educational defect to be ignorant of them. Some read it to satisfy their sense of curiosity, as they might any other book of note. Others read it to satisfy their sectarian pride. They consider it a duty to be well versed in the particular tenets of their own denomination and so search eagerly for proof-texts in support of "our doctrines." Yet others read it for the purpose of being able to argue successfully with those who differ from them. But in all this there is no thought of God, no yearning for spiritual edification, and therefore no real benefit to the soul.
Of what, then, does a true profiting from the Word consist? Does not 2 Timothy 3:16,17 furnish a clear answer to our question? There we read, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." Observe what is here omitted: the Holy Scriptures are given us not for intellectual gratification and carnal speculation, but to furnish unto "all good works," and that by teaching, reproving, correcting us.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
from earth and hell. Sin is the worst of all evils. Nothing
can compare with it. It is worse than the plague. Sin is
unspeakably hateful. God calls it horrible and abominable.
Godly men in every age lament it--lament it much in
others, most in themselves.
A man's views of sin give a complexion to all his
character. If he regards it as a trifle, he will laugh at
it, when he should weep over it. He will make a mock
of it. He will dally with it. He will take his fill of it. He
will have low thoughts of God, and low estimates of
salvation. He will despise Jesus Christ.
If, on the other hand, he considers sin as very dreadful and
very hateful--he will hate every false way. He will long for
holiness. He will hunger and thirst after righteousness.
He will loathe and abhor himself on account of sin. He will
have exalted thoughts of the being, perfections, word, and
government of God. To him Christ will be most precious,
the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely.
Job's sense of sin was vastly increased by the great
discoveries he had of God's majesty and glory: "I have
heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye
sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust
and ashes!" Increased views of God's glory had the same
effect on Isaiah, and made him cry out, "Woe is me! for
I am undone!" (Job 42:5-6; Isaiah 6:5).
God's presence is infinite; His power is infinite; His nature
is infinite; His existence is infinite; and so to sin against Him
must be an infinite insult and wrong. Sin is an infinite evil.
Sin is that abominable thing which He hates. He hates sin
with infinite loathing.
--William S. Plumer, "The Christian", 1878
Monday, May 29, 2006
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
3Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.. Jude 3
Today's church desperately needs men of faith to hold fast and "earnestly content for the faith that was once delivered to the saints" May God grant his church the boldness to defend His word as He has with those who have gone before us. Whether it is the Holy Trinity, Inerrancy or Soteriology may we be defenders of the Truth and may we speak with gentleness and respect.( will let Luther and Erasmus slide on this point)
The Canons of the Synod of Dort (1618-1619)
Introduction and proof-texts added by the Rev. Daniel R. Hyde
A Brief Introduction on the Nature of History of the Canons of Dort
The five Canons (from the Greek word kanon, “rule, law, standard”) of the Synod of Dort are the crown jewel of Reformed Theology. Here we are plunged to the lowest depths of man’s sinfulness, but are raised up to behold the eternal counsel of God. Here we see the Biblical balancing act, on the one hand, of the sufficiency of Christ’s death which is to be promiscuously published to all, and on the other, of the sovereign, efficacious grace on the Holy Spirit who applies this infinite merit of the Son of God to the Father’s elect. Here we see the pain and struggle of the Christian life in this “present evil age” (Gal 1:4) but also our powerful preservation by the hand of our loving Father, despite our sins, unto the end when we reach the Celestial City. The Canons are filled with many great Biblical themes and characteristics, such as:
First, they are the culmination of the Bible’s teaching on the doctrines of God’s grace towards us in salvation. The voice of the Holy Spirit can be heard as almost every phrase is saturated with the language of the inspired Scriptures on the crucial themes of soteriology. What more vital doctrine than that of the grace of God revealed in Scripture can be attacked by the hands of the Devil? The world? The flesh? No other! Thus the harvest of theology is compiled here for the edification of the believer and the silencing of the scoffer.
Second, they are the most practical and pastoral of all the Church’s historic creeds and confessions. Unlike most theological writings in their day, the Canons were written in popular language so that all God’s people might understand and benefit from them. The Church meets the Academy in the Canons as they are no ivory tower discourse, but the doctrine which all believers should confess heartily. These high doctrines of Scripture are brought down to the level of application upon the most practical problems of the Christian life: the assurance of salvation (I, 12-13, 16; V, 9-13), the ongoing problem of being simultaneously justified yet sinful (V, 1, 4-6), the fate of dead infants of believers (I, 17), the centrality of the means of grace for Christians (I, 14; II, 5; III/IV, 8-9, 17; V, 10, 14), and the imperative of Christian holiness (I, 18; V, 12) to name a few.
Third, they are the production of the first and last ecumenical Reformed Synod. They are not the opinion of a select few theologians and pastors, but the consensus of 84 delegates gathered from all the Reformed Protestant Churches of Holland, Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, and France. For this reason, Protestant Churches of our day, which claim to trace their heritage to the Reformed side of the Reformation must give ear. This is the Protestant heritage! This is the Protestant doctrine of salvation! This is the Evangelical religion!
Fourth, they still speak today just as powerfully as they did in the 17th century as one of our “Three Forms of Unity.” Each of the five Canons consists of a positive and a negative part, the former being an exposition of the Biblical and Reformed doctrine on the subject, and the latter a repudiation of the corresponding Arminian error. Thus what we believe as well as what we do not believe is laid out clearly in the Canons. This powerful clarity is seen as you read the Canons. Upon doing so, you will notice that there is nothing new under the sun, as the Preacher said (Ecc 1:9). The same arguments brought against the free grace of God in Christ and applied by the Holy Spirit were brought in the 17th century as they are today. And Scripture, which does not change but stands forever (Isa 40:8), spoke them as it does now to heretics, schismatics, and the unrepentant. Thus, the crown jewel of the Reformation faith.
But how did the Canons of Dort come about? The historical background is fascinating both for its theological and sociological aspects. Held from November 13, 1618-May 9, 1619 in Dordrecht, Holland, the Synod of Dort was occasioned by the need to respond to the emerging heresy commonly called “Arminianism,” which had sprung up in the Reformed Churches of Holland. This heresy was being perpetuated by the followers of Jacob van Hermanns, known in English as James Arminius (1560-1609). Arminius was a very learned and pious Christian who studied under Calvin’s successor in Geneva, Theodore Beza. After his studies he became a minister in the Reformed Church in Amsterdam in 1588, and then became professor of theology at the University of Leyden in 1603. His departure from Reformed Protestantism came about as he was attempting to defend the Reformed faith against the proto-Arminian Dirik Volckaerts zoon Koornhert. Koornhert was influenced by the great Dutch Rationalist and humanist Desiderius Erasmus, who argued for and defended the Rationalistic idea of free will against the great Martin Luther just as Pelagius did against St. Augustine. Thus this ancient and condemned heresy was revived, and once again was infecting Christ’s Church. Upon giving up on Reformed Christianity, Arminius and his followers developed the implications of their theology. Thus they taught that God’s election of sinners was not grounded in His will and love alone but was conditioned by, and based upon, the foreseen faith of sinful men. They taught that Christ died “universally,” that is, for the sins of every man without limit. They taught that man was only partially depraved, partially sinful. They taught that man, by the act of his free will, could resist the grace of the Holy Spirit. And they taught that no man in this life could have the assurance that he was a child of God, because there was always the possibility of losing one’s salvation.
One such follower of Arminius was the preacher Janus Uytenbogaert (1557-1644), who drafted a set of Arminius’ followers’ beliefs, in what he called the “Remonstrance,” in 1610. The result of Arminius’ teaching came to be called the “Five Points of the Remonstrance.” His followers also included the theologian Simon Episcopius (1583-1644), who succeeded him at Leyden. They were supported by the Dutch statesman John van Oldenbarneveldt (1549-1619) and the scholar Hugo Grotius (1583-1645). Soon after the five Remonstrants were published, the Reformed responded with the Counter-Remonstrants. Supporting them was Prince Maurice, who was the leader of Holland’s military. Thus the interesting developments leading up to the Synod of Dort were more than just theological unrest, but also political and sociological in the land of Holland.
After drafting the “Counter-Remonstrance,” two meetings between the sides ensued, but with no avail as both parties would not budge. Thus a National, and in fact, International, Synod was called. The result was the Five Points, now commonly called the “Five Points of Calvinism.”
May the Lord of the Church, once again, grant His people a mighty Reformation for the glory of His name, the edification of His people, and the salvation of multitudes in these last days.
* Scripture abbreviated as normal; HC = Heidelberg Catechism; BC = Belgic Confession
1. God’s Eternity (A.W. Pink)
Regarding the Being of God’s existence, some attributes are clear to us. The first and most obvious of these attributes is that He has no beginning, and no end. By God’s eternity divines also intend a third thing: His existence without succession. These three propositions express their definition of His eternity: existence not related to time. For the first: His being never had a beginning: for had there ever been a time when the First Cause was not, nothing could ever have existed. So natural reason indicates that His being will never end, by this, that all pagans and philosophers make their gods immortal. The account of this conclusion seems to be, that it follows from God’s independence, self-existence, and necessary existence. These show that there can be no cause to make God’s being end. The immortality of the First Cause then is certain, unless we ascribe to it the power and wish of self-annihilation. But neither of these is possible. What should ever prompt God’s will to such a volition? His simplicity of substance (to be separately proved anon) does not permit the act; for the only kind of destruction of which the universe has any experience, is by disintegration. The necessity of God’s existence proves it can never end. The ground of His existence, intrinsic in Himself, is such that it cannot but be operative; witness the fact that, had it been, at any moment of the past infinite duration, inoperative, God and the universe would have been, from that moment, forever impossible.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
"'It is written.' Stand upon it, and if the devil were fifty devils in one, he could not overcome you. On the other hand, if you leave 'It is written,' Satan knows more about reasoning than you do. He is far older, has studied mankind very thoroughly, and knows all our weak points. Therefore, the contest will be an unequal one. Do not argue with him but wave in his face the banner of God's Word. Satan cannot endure the infallible truth, for it is death to the falsehood of which he is the father."
~ Charles Spurgeon
"Water in the glass looks clear, but set it on the fire, and the scum boils up. In prosperity, a man seems to be humble and thankful, the water looks clear; but set this man a little on the fire of affliction, and the scum boils up ñ much impatience and unbelief appear."
Thomas Watson - All Things for Good
"The 30,000 Foot View"
By Michael Horton
The problem that all of humanity faces is the wrath of God, which is entirely justified because the Gentiles know God according to general revelation and the Jews know God according to special revelation. Yet both have failed to truly acknowledge God since they have violated His law. Since everyone is under sin and God's wrath the only way out is the Gospel, the announcement that in Christ God has provided a righteousness that satisfies his holy requirements. Christ has absorbed God's wrath in His death and justifies the wicked in his resurrection. All of this is received by faith alone apart from works as the examples of Abraham and David demonstrate Yet God has not only secured our life from the condemnation of the law, but also from the dominion of sin and death. Baptized into Christ's death and resurrection we are made new creatures and yet we continue to struggle throughout our lives with indwelling sin and the only hope we have is to look outside of ourselves to Christ, with the indwelling Spirit testifying in our hearts to our free adoption and keeping alive within us the hope that not only we but the whole creation will share in the final redemption.
In the light of all this, nothing can separate us from God's love. But how then can we trust this gospel if God has been unfaithful to his early promises to Israel? Well, God has always maintained his prerogative of Election, even among the physical descendents of Abraham. So salvation isn't a matter of physical decent or of human decision or effort, but of God's mercy alone. God HAS been faithful to His promises, because even now an elect remnant is being saved from among Jews and Gentiles and after God adds alien Gentile branches to the tree of Israel he will finally bring in the fullness of the Jews as well. In view of all these mercies that stagger our imagination, we can now offer, not the dead sacrifices of animals for atonement, but our own bodies as living sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving. In that light, stop judging each other about things indifferent and get on with the business of loving and serving each other.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Regeneration is an instantaneous work.
Conversion to God, the fruit of regeneration, occupies all
our life, but regeneration itself is effected in an instant.
A man hates God-- the Holy Spirit makes him love God.
A man is opposed to Christ, he hates his gospel, does not
understand it and will not receive it-- the Holy Spirit comes,
puts light into his darkened understanding, takes the chain
from his bondaged will, gives liberty to his conscience, gives
life to his dead soul, so that the voice of conscience is heard,
and the man becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus.
And all this is done, mark you, by the instantaneous
supernatural influence of God the Holy Spirit working
as he wills among the sons of men.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
26"At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. Mark 13:26,27
Monday, May 15, 2006
Saturday, May 13, 2006
This is a group blog, consisting of six friends who, as we like to say, "came from the four winds" to become close brothers in the Lord. Our friendship is based solely on the free grace and mercy of Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We all come from varying backgrounds. We were all converted to Christ as adults. We all came to the Reformed faith long after being converted. Hence, we understand the monergistic, regenerating grace of God the Holy Spirit quite well, because without His regenerating power in our souls, none of us would care about the things of the Spirit. (1 Cor. 2:14). The passage we chose to feature in the header above is a wondrous picture of God's regenerating Spirit on spiritually dead, sinful humans.
None of us have attended bible school or seminary. It has, myself included, been a desire of some of us to attend seminary, but at this point in our lives, seminary is out of the question. We all enjoy reading good books, listening to good sermons, and studying the Scriptures together.
One point of interest is the fact that our group has a mix of ecclesiological commitments. Three of us are Reformed Presbyterians, and three are Reformed Baptists. Guess what? We get along! Imagine that! Our unity lies in the Gospel of God.
We hope you enjoy our blog. It will be quite random, sometimes funny, sometimes serious, but hopefully, in our pursuits, we can glorify God in what we say. None of us has arrived; we are all pilgrims, on our way to the celestial city above.