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Romans

(73 posts)

Works of the Law versus Works of Faith

Wednesday··2007·09·19 · 3 Comments
knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified. —Galatians 2:16 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. —Ephesians 2:8–9 for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. —Romans 2:13 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. —James 2:24 Contradictions! The Bible is full of them. How are we to make sense of this? Let’s ask Dr. Luther: Here [in Romans 3:1–20] the question arises: How can a person be justified without the works of the Law, or how can it be that justification does not flow from our works? For St. James writes: “We see how that by works a man is justified, and and not by faith only” (Jas. 2:24). So also St. Paul: “Faith . . . worketh by love” (Gal. 5:6); and: “The doers of the law shall be justified” (Rom. 2:13). To this we reply: as the Apostle distinguishes between the law and faith, the letter and grace, so also he distinguishes between the works resulting from these. He calls those deeds “works of the Law” that are done without faith and divine grace, merely because of the law, moved by either fear of punishment or the alluring hope of reward. By works of faith he calls those deeds which are done in the spirit of (Christian) liberty and flow from love to God. These can be done only by such as are justified by faith. Justification, however, is not in any way promoted by the works of the Law, but they rather hinder it, because they keep a person from regarding himself as unrighteous and so in need of justification. When James and Paul say that a man is justified by works, they argue against the false opinion of those who think that (for justification) a faith suffices that is without works. Paul does not say that true faith exists without its proper works, for without these there is not true faith. But what he says is that it is faith alone that justifies, regardless of works. Justification therefore does not presuppose the works of the law, but rather a living faith which performs its proper works, as we read Galatians 5:67. By the law is the knowledge of sin (3:20). Such knowledge of sin is obtained in two ways. First, by meditation (of the Law), as we read in Romans 7:7: “I had not know lust except the law had said, thou shalt not covet.” Secondly, by experience, namely, by trying to fulfill the Law, or we may say, through the Law as was assure to fulfill its obligations. Then the Law will become to us as occasion to sin, for then the perverted will of man, inclined to evil, but urged by the Law to do good, becomes all the more unwillingly and disinclined to do what is good. It hates to be drawn away from what it loves; and what it loves is sin, as we learn from Geneses 8:21. But just so, man, forced by the Law and obeying it unwillingly, sees how deeply sin and evil are rooted in his soul. He would never notice this, if he did not have the Law and would not try to follow it. The Apostle here only mentions this though, since he intends to treat it more fully in Chapters 5 and 7. Here he merely meets the objection that the Law would be useless if its works could not justify. —Martin Luther, Luther’s Commentary on Romans, trans. J. Theodore Mueller (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1954), 59–60.

Abraham Believed God

Thursday··2007·09·20
“I believe in God.” I have had some interesting conversations that began with that statement. Sadly, few who make it can honestly drop that little preposition: in. Most people I know will say, yes, I believe in God, but when confronted with what God has said about himself and about them, have to admit that, well, no, I don’t actually believe that. Then I have told them that it isn’t those who believe in God who will be saved, but only those who believe God. And this is the great stumbling block. Here are a few words from Luther on what it means to believe God: Abraham believed God (4:3). This must be understood in the sense that Abraham was always ready to believe God. He steadfastly believed God. This fact we learn from Genesis 12 and 13, where we are told that Abraham believed God who called and commanded him to leave his country and go into a strange land. Again he believed God when, according to Genesis 1:22ff., he was commanded to slay his son Isaac, and so forth. Whatever he did, he did by faith as the Apostle declares in Hebrews 11:8–10. So also what is stated in our text (v. 3) is said of Abraham’s faith in general, and not merely with regard to the one promise recorded in Genesis 15:4–6. To believe God means to trust him always and everywhere. —Martin Luther, Luther’s Commentary on Romans, trans. J. Theodore Mueller (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1954), 66.

“Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress.”

Monday··2007·09·24
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. —Romans 5:3–5 Knowing that tribulation worketh patience (5:3). He who has faith indeed has all the excellent things (which are mentioned in the text), but in a hidden way. Through tribulation they are tried and purified to the highest degree. Whatever (virtues) tribulation finds in us, it develops more fully. If anyone is carnal, weak, blind, wicked, irascible, haughty, and so forth, tribulation will make him more carnal, weak, blind, wicked and irritable. On the other hand, if one is spiritual, strong, wise, pious, gentle and humble, he will become more spiritual, wise, pious, gentle, and humble, as the Psalmist says in Psalm 4:1: “Thou hast enlarged me when in was in distress.” Those speak foolishly who ascribe their anger or their impatience to such as offend them or to tribulation. Tribulation does not make people impatient, but proves that they are impatient. So everyone may learn from tribulation how his heart is constituted. Those are ignorant, childish and indeed hypocritical who outwardly venerate the relics of the holy Cross, yet flee and detest tribulation and affliction. Holy Scripture calls tribulation the cross of Christ in a special sense, as in Mathew 10:38: “He that taketh his not cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” Let everyone be sure that he is not Christian but a Turk and an enemy of Christ who refuses to bear this cross; for here the Apostle speaks of all (believers) when he says: “We glory in tribulations.” And in Acts 14:22 we read: “We must through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God.” “Must” does not mean that tribulation comes by chance, or that it is a matter of choice for us, of that we may take it or leave it. In many Scripture passages our Lord is called a “Savior” and a “Helper in need,” and this means that all who do not desire to endure tribulation, rob him of his titles and names of honor. To such people our Lord will never become a Savior, because they do not admit that they are under condemnation. To them God is never mighty, wise and gracious, because they do not desire to honor Him as creatures that are weak, foolish and subject to punishment. —Martin Luther, Luther’s Commentary on Romans, trans. J. Theodore Mueller (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1954), 74–75.

Love—for God’s Sake

Tuesday··2007·09·25
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. —Romans 5:3–5 Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts 5:5. Hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God, that is, the love which of God and works in us as unshakable adherence to Him, is shed abroad in our hearts. This love we receive by grace and not on account of our merit; and it makes us willing to endure tribulation. If men are unwilling and of an unstable mind, they do not endure it by the Holy Ghost. St. Augustine remarks on the passage: “Step by step he (the Apostle), leads us toward love, which, as he says, we have as a gift from the Holy Spirit. He shows us thereby that we must ascribe all that we might claim for ourselves to God who by grace grant us His Holy Spirit.” We must understand these words as an added motivation or instruction of the Holy Spirit, showing why we can glory in tribulation, though this is impossible by our own strength. It is not the effect of our own power, but it comes from the divine love which is given us by the Holy Ghost. Let us note: 1. It is shed abroad, hence not born in us or originated by us. 2. It is by the Holy Ghost, therefore it is not acquired by our virtuous efforts as we may acquire good habits which lie on merely moral plane. 3. In our hearts, that is, it is in the innermost course of our being, not merely on the surface, as a foam is swimming on the top of the water. Such (superficial) love is that of the hypocrites who imagine and pretend to love. 4. Which is given unto us, that is, which is not merited, for we deserve the very opposite. 5. It is called love (caritas) in contradistinction to the inert and lower form of love with which we love creatures. It is a precious and worthy love, by which we most highly esteem that which we love, as we esteem God above all things, or as we love Him with highest esteem. He who loves God merely for the sake of His gifts or the sake of any advantage, loves Him with the lowest form of love, that is, with a sinful desire. Such (earthly) love means to use God, but not to delight in God. 6. Of God, because only God is so loved. The neighbor is loved for God’s sake, that is, because God wills this. —Martin Luther, Luther’s Commentary on Romans, trans. J. Theodore Mueller (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1954), 76–77.

True Holiness

Thursday··2007·09·27
and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification. —Romans 6:18–19 Yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness (6:19). The Apostle when here speaking of holiness has in mind the chastity of the body, in particular, that purity which comes from the Spirit of faith, who sanctifies us both inwardly and outwardly. Otherwise it would be a pagan chastity and not holy chastity, or (true) holiness, since the soul remains defiled. First the soul must become pure through faith, so that the sanctified mind purifies also the body for God’s sake. Of this our Lord speaks in Mathew 23:26: “Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” —Martin Luther, Luther’s Commentary on Romans, trans. J. Theodore Mueller (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1954), 90.

Luther the Calvinist

Friday··2007·09·28
I know it’s not quite right to call Luther a Calvinist, but it’s kind of fun. In any case, I might still be a Lutheran if Lutheranism more accurately reflected the doctrine of Luther, and if Lutherans didn’t work so hard to distance themselves from Calvin. The following commentary on Romans 8:28 sounds a lot like the Calvinist heresy I was warned about as a young Lutheran. I apologize for the length, but it didn’t seem right to cut it up. We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (8:28.) The Greek text has the singular “works together” (sunergei), which is more fitting, since the referece is to the Holy Ghost; for this is the (Apostle’s) meaning: We must not be surprised that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, since He works together with God’s saints in all they do. That is the true exposition of the statement: “He maketh intercession for the saints.” In this (intercession) He works together with us, as He works together with us in all other things (Luther here follows the Greek reading: Panta sunergei ho Theos: in all things God works together with us for good.) The Apostle here says without any qualification: “Who are the called according to his purpose.” There is only this one purpose, namely, the purpose of God, which those recognize who recognize God. There is no other purpose than the one divine purpose (of salvation). This passage is the foundation on which rests everything that the Apostle says to the end of the chapter; for the means to show that to the elect who are loved of God and who love God, the Holy Spirit makes all things work for good even though they are evil (in themselves, e.g., sickness, persecution, etc.) He here takes up the doctrine of predestination which is not so incomprehensible as many think, but it is rather full of sweet comfort for the elect and for all who have the Holy Spirit. But it is most bitter and hard for (those who adhere to) the wisdom of the flesh. There is no other reason why the many tribulations and evils cannot separate the saints from the lover of God than the are the called “according to His purpose.” Hence God makes all things work together for good to them, and to them only. If there would not be this divine purpose, but our salvation would rest upon our will or work, it would be based upon chance. How easily in that case could one single evil hinder or destroy it! But when the Apostle says: “Who is he that condemneth?” “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (8:33, 34, 35), he shows that the elect are not saved by chance, but by God’s purpose and will. Indeed for this reason, God allows the elect to encounter to many evil things as are here named, namely, to point out that they are saved not by their merit, but by His election, His unchangeable and firm purpose (of salvation in Christ). They are saved despite their many efforts (to lead them into perdition). What then is there to our own righteousness? To our good works? To the freedom of the will? To chance in the things that occur? That (denial of all these things) is what we must preach, (as does the Apostle), for that means to preach rightly. That means to destroy the wisdom of the flesh. So far the Apostle has destroyed merely the hands, feet, and tongue of the wisdom of the flesh; now he wipes it out utterly. Now he makes us see that it amounts to nothing, and that our salvation altogether lies in His hands. God absolutely recognizes no chance; it is only men who speak of chance. Not a single leaf falls from the tree without the will of the Father. All things are essentially in His hands, and so are our times. There are yet three thoughts that should be considered in connection with the subject (of divine predestination). First there are the proofs of God’s unchangeable election, gathered from the words of Scripture and His (divine works. The Apostle says: “Who are the called according to his purpose .” “Purpose” here stands for God’s predestination, or His free election, of His (eternal) counsel (regarding the salvation to individual persons) later, in chapter 9, the Apostle illustrates God’s eternal election by referring to Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau (v. 8f.). As he clearly shows, the difference between these men rests solely upon divine predestination. Lastly, for God’s eternal election the Apostle quotes two passages: “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy” (9:15); and : “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth” (9:18). Similar passages are found elsewhere in Chapters 9 and 10. There are passages treating of God’s eternal election also in other books of Scripture. Thus we read in John 13:18: “I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen” and in John 10:27-29: “My sheep here my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal love; and they shall never perish. Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater that all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand’; and in II Timothy 2:19: “The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knows them that are his.” A further proof of God’s eternal purpose of election we find in His works. First, in the works which God did to Ishmael and Esau, Pharaoh and the Egyptians, as they are reported in this chapter and the following, Again, in the divine acts by which He gives over His saints to so many evil and rapacious enemies and yet does not permit them to lose their salvation. This clearly proves that His election stands firm and so cannot be hindered by any creature. Then also this act of God proves the divine election that He permits may to commit great sins and yet they are brought to repentance and are saved (David: II Samuel 12:13). While others who in the beginning lead a pious life and do may good works not saved (Saul: I Samuel 13:13). Compare for this also Judas and the thief on the cross (Matt. 26:14; Luke 23:41). The second thought (that we should consider in connection with God’s eternal election) is that all objections to predestination proceed from the wisdom of the flesh (human reason). Hence, whoever does not deny himself and does not learn to keep his thoughts in subjection to the divine will, never will find an answer to his questions. And that rightly so, for the foolish wisdom of the flesh exalts itself above God and judges His will, just as though this were of little importance. It should rather let itself be judged by God. For this reason the Apostle refutes all objections with two brief statements. First, he checks our arrogance by asking: “O man, who art thou that thou replies against God?” (Rom. 9:20) Then he defends the divine election by asking: “Hath not the potter power over the clay?” (v.21) The first and most flimsy objection against divine election is this, that man has been given a free will by which he can earn for himself either merit or demerit. To this I reply: Man’s free will without divine grace has not the least ability to secure righteousness, but is totally corrupt. The second objection is this: “Who will have all men to be saved” (I Tim. 2:4); that is, God gave His Son into death for us, as He has created us for life eternal. Again: All things exist on account of man; but he himself exists for God’s sake to enjoy first; for all these statements are realized properly in the elect, as the Apostle writes in II Timothy 2:10: “I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that thy may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” A third objection reads: Where there is not sin, there God does not condemn. But whoever is a sinner of necessity is condemned unjustly. To this I reply: We are all sinners of necessity and so under condemnation, but no one is a sinner by coercion, or against his will. A fourth objection is this: God hardens the will of man so that he desires to transgress the divine Law all the more. Hence, God is the cause why men sin and are condemned. This is the strongest and most weighty objection. But the Apostle meets it by saying that so it is God’s will, and that if God so wills He does not act unjustly, for all things belong to Him as the clay belongs to the potter. He thus establishes His law in order that the elect may obey it, but the reprobates may be caught in it, and so He may show both His wrath and His mercy. Here indeed the wisdom of the flesh objects saying: “It is cruel and regrettable that God seeks His glorification in my misery.” Ah, it is the voice of the flesh that says: “My, my!” strike out this “my, my” and say instead: “Glory be to Thee, O Lord!” Then you will be saved. The wisdom of the flesh seeks its own glory and is more afraid of suffering than of desecrating God. Hence it follows its own will rather than the divine will. We must think differently of God than we do of men; for He owes us nothing. That is what the Apostle teaches at the close of the eleventh chapter: “Who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?” (11:35) The third thought (that we could consider in connection with God’s eternal election) is that this doctrine is indeed most bitter to the wisdom of the flesh, which revolts against it and even becomes guilty of blasphemy on this point. But it is fully defeated when we learn to know that our salvation rests in no wise upon ourselves and our e conduct, but is founded only upon what is outside us, namely on God’s election. Those who have the wisdom of the Spirit become ineffably happy through the doctrine, as the Apostle himself illustrates this. To them, (His elect), Christ says: Fear not , little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). So also God says in Isaiah 35:4: “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.” Everywhere in Scripture those are praised and encouraged who listen to Gods Word with trembling. As they despair of themselves, the Word of God performs its work in them. If we anxiously tremble at God’s Word and are terrified by it, this is indeed a good sign. If one fears that he is not elected or is otherwise troubled about his election, he should be thankful that he has such fear; for then he should surely know that God cannot lie when in Psalm 51:17 He says: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken on contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Thus he should cheerfully cast himself on the faithfulness of God who gives this promise, and turn away from the foreknowledge the threatening God. Then he will be saved as one who is elected. It is not the characteristic of reprobates to tremble at the secret counsel of God; but that is the characteristic of the elect. The reprobates despise it, or at least pay no attention to it, or else they declare in the arrogance of their despair: “Well, if I am damned, all right, then I am damned.” With reference to the elect we might distinguish between three classes. First, there are those who are satisfied with God’s will, as it is, and do not murmur against God, but rather believe that they are elected. They do not want to be damned. Secondly, there are those who submit to God’s will and are satisfied with it in their hearts. At least they desire to be satisfied, if God does not wish to save, but reject them. Thirdly, there are those who really are ready to be condemned if God should will this. These are cleansed most of all of their own will and carnal wisdom. And these experience the truth of Canticles 8:6: “Set me a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death.” Such love is always joined with cross and tribulation, for without it the soul should becomes lax, and does not seek after God, nor thirst after God, who is the Fountain of Life. —Martin Luther, Luther’s Commentary on Romans, trans. J. Theodore Mueller (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1954), 111–116.

Be Transformed

Tuesday··2007·10·02 · 5 Comments
I am not a preacher, but I have occasionally played one when asked to fill in. Of the few times I have done so, there is really only one that I can look back on with any satisfaction that I did right with that responsibility. On that occasion, I chose Romans 12:1–2 for my text. Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Since then, I have always been interested in seeing how real expositors handle that text. I am always gratified to find that I didn’t botch it completely, and in fact agreed almost entirely with those who know far better than I. However, I am also severely humbled to see how much I missed. Luther heaps more shame upon me: Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind (12:2). In this way the Apostle describes (Christian) progress; for he addresses those who already are Christians. The Christian life does not mean to stand still, but to move from that which is good to that which is better. St. Bernard (of Clairvaux) rightly says: “As soon as you do not desire to become better, then you have ceased to be good.” It does not help a tree to have green leaves and flowers if it does not bear fruit besides its flowers. For this reason—(for not bearing fruit)—many (nominal Christians) perish in their flowering. Man (the Christian) is always in the condition of nakedness, always in the state of becoming, always in the state of potentiality, always in the condition of activity. He is always a sinner, but also always repentant and so always righteous. We are in part sinners, and in part righteous. No one is so good as that he could not become better; no one is so evil, as that he could not become worse. This (fact) the Apostle expresses very nicely by saying “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” He adds “By the renewing of your mind” to stress that renewal of the mind, which takes place from day to day and progresses farther and farther, according to the words, II Corinthians 4:16: “The inward man is renewed day by day”; of Colossians 3:10: “Be ye renewed in the spirit of your mind” or “Put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” —Martin Luther, Luther’s Commentary on Romans, trans. J. Theodore Mueller (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1954), 151–152. What a rich passage this is! Maybe I’ll live long enough to thoroughly appreciate it. I have long said that being a Christian is not a matter of doing, but of being. I think I’ll have to replace being with becoming.

Paul’s Example: Slave of Christ

Tuesday··2008·06·03 · 1 Comments
Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me. —1 Corinthians 4:16 When Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says we should follow his example, it behooves us to give attention to that example. Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, 4 who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake, 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; —Romans 1:1–6 In this passage, we see more than one important characteristic of Paul; but we need read only three words to find the first, and most important: he considered himself to be a slave of Jesus Christ. Of all the Bible translations on my shelf, not one renders this phrase as it should, with the word slave. The NASB, quoted here, comes closest, yet still softens the word to “bond-servant.” But the word used here (δουλος, for those who care) is correctly translated as slave. Paul did not think of himself as possessing any independence. There was no sense of self-ownership. He was owned by the Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore had no rights to anything that the Lord himself did not grant him—and he was even willing to yield those rights, if doing so would enable better service to his master (2 Thessalonians 3). He was completely yielded to serving God in the calling he had been given. All of his own needs and desires were entirely subservient to his assigned task: preaching “the gospel of God.” Are you and I yielded to God as slaves? Do we think of ourselves as his property, serving him because he owns us, or is our service to him something that is ours to give to him? Paul said “I am the property of the Lord Jesus Christ,” and lived accordingly. Let us do the same.

Paul’s Example: Loving Care in the Gospel

Wednesday··2008·06·11
Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me. —1 Corinthians 4:16 When Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says we should follow his example, it behooves us to give attention to that example. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world. 9 For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you, 10 always in my prayers making request, if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established; 12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. —Romans 1:8–15 Paul was personally invested in the spiritual growth of those whom God had placed under his care. He was thankful for those who would read his letter, that their faith was proclaimed, that they, like him, were “not ashamed of the gospel” (v. 8).He prayed for them “unceasingly” (v. 9–10). He desired to be with them (v. 10–12) to encourage them in the faith, and to be encouraged by them. Paul, though an apostle, was humble, recognizing his need for fellowship with the saints. Though he was their ecclesiastical superior, he knew he was also their equal in Christ. He was “eager to preach the gospel” to them (v. 15). We see that Paul’s desire for the saints in Rome makes a full circle: he is thankful for their faith; he desires to encourage that faith; and he wants to bring them back to the object of their faith, i.e., the gospel. The gospel is central to his every thought concerning them. Should not the gospel be central to our desires for and interactions with those whose welfare God has entrusted to us?

WLC Q13: Romans 8:2930; Ephesians 1: 36; 1 John 3:2; Hebrews 12:13

Tuesday··2011·03·29
Originally posted at The Calvinist Gadfly. Q. 13. What has God especially decreed concerning angels and men? A. God, by an eternal and immutable decree, out of his mere love, for the praise of his glorious grace, to be manifested in due time, has elected some angels to glory; and in Christ has chosen some men to eternal life, and the means thereof: and also, according to his sovereign power, and the unsearchable counsel of his own will (whereby he extends or withholds favor as he pleases), has passed by and foreordained the rest to dishonor and wrath, to be for their sin inflicted, to the praise of the glory of his justice. Question 13 definitely takes us into the deep end of the theological pool, and if we get too caught up in those things that pertain to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, we will only tread water until we become fatigued and drown. Am I one of those chosen . . . to eternal life? Are you? Never mind that. That you are even thinking about it is Gods call to you to Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the Lord, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:67 This is the todays word for you if you are in doubt of your place in eternity: Seek the Lord; seek him today! Have you sought the Lord? Have you found him? Then now is the time to consider his eternal decree for you: For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. Romans 8:2930 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:36 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 1 John 3:2 Before the creation of the world, we were predestined to ultimate glory. Our entire salvation was worked out, from our election in Christ to our final glorification with Christ. In the in-between time, we are day-by-day being conformed to his image. One day, in our glorified state, we will be like him. We will be like him because we will see him, not in a mirror dimly (1 Corinthians 13:12), but just as he is in the full glory of his perfection. We will see Christ as he is, holy and blameless, and we will finally be perfectly holy and blameless, conformed to his image. What a glorious day that will be! What, then, are we to be doing now? If seeing Christ as he is will be the final cause of our future glorification, does it not stand to reason that looking to Christ now will be the means of our present sanctification? The writer to the Hebrews tells us it is so: Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:13 Q. What has God especially decreed concerning you? A. Look to Jesus! Get your own copy of The Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms here.

As Adam, So Christ

Friday··2011·05·20
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned 13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. 17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. 18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. 20 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:1221 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. . . . So also it is written, The first man, Adam, became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 1 Corinthians 15:2022, 45 Can one believe in theistic evolution and still be a Christian? Yes, he can, given enough ignorance,* and lacking logical thinking skills. But no one who knows what the New Testament says about the gospel and about Adam, and can perform simple mathematic functions, can hold to any evolutionary theory without denying the gospel. John MacArthur, commenting on Romans 5:1214, explains: The fact that Adam and Eve not only were actual historical figures but were the original human beings from whom all others descended is absolutely critical to Pauls argument here and is critical to the gospel of Jesus Christ. If a historical Adam did not represent all mankind in sinfulness, a historical Christ could not represent all mankind in righteousness. If all mankind did not fall with the first Adam, all mankind could not be saved by Christ, the second and last Adam (see 1 Corinthians 15:2022, 45). John MacArthur, MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Romans 18 (Moody, 1991), 294. * I know: given enough ignorance is not a logical phrase, but you know what I mean.

WLC Q22: Romans 5:1214

Wednesday··2011·06·08
Originally posted at The Calvinist Gadfly. Q. 22. Did all mankind fall in that first transgression? A. The covenant being made with Adam as a public person, not for himself only, but for his posterity, all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him in that first transgression. Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinnedfor until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. Romans 5:1214 Lest any doubt the catechisms answer, take note: everyone dies. The universal mortality we witness all around us tells us that something has gone horribly wrong, and none are untouched. Death is in the news daily. We watch our friends and family get old, get sick, and die. Indeed, we look in the mirror and witness the steady decay of our own bodies. We are going to die. How did this dreadful state of affairs come to be? The Apostle explains: Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, . . . It might seem odd that Paul says, through one man. After all, Eve was there too, and actually started it, right? Yet God held Adam fully responsible, and a little more than five thousand years later, inspired the words, For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22). The headship of the man is shown to be a creation ordinance. It is not a result of the Fall, and certainly not an invention of a chauvinist apostle. Notice that Paul does not speak of plural sins, but of sin. It does not refer to specific unrighteous acts, but to an innate condition. Cattle moo; that is something they do. But cattle are ruminants. It is a characteristic of cattle to ruminate because that is what they are. Just so, sin is a part of the human condition. We do not become sinners when we sin. Rather, we are born that way. and death through sin, . . . God warned Adam that if he disobeyed, he would surely die (Genesis 2:17), and so he did. and so death spread to all men, because all sinned . . . As emphasized in the first paragraph above, the human race has a 100% mortality rate. With the exception of two men whom God miraculously caught away, every single person who has ever lived has died or is dying. Death awaits everyone, because everyone is a sinner. If in Adam all die, and all die because all sinned, it is just simple math to conclude that all mankind did indeed fall in that first transgression. Only one man has ever been without sin. He is the lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit. And even he died, when he took our sin upon himselfwhich brings us to the good news. Our text begins with a therefore, connecting the following verses to the previous promise of reconciliation to God, and ends with a hopeful finger pointed toward him who was to come, through whom we have now received the reconciliation (v. 11). However, the Westminster Divines require us to wait for that. Well pick this up again around Question 30. Get your own copy of The Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms here.

WLC Q23: Romans 3:918

Wednesday··2011·06·15
Originally posted at The Calvinist Gadfly. Q. 23. Into what estate did the fall bring mankind? A. The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery. What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for god; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one. Their throat is an open grave, With their tongues they keep deceiving, The poison of asps is under their lips; Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; Their feet are swift to shed blood, Destruction and misery are in their paths, And the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes. Romans 3:918 (cf. Psalm 14:13, 53:13, 5:9, 140:3, 10:7, 59:7, 36:1)In the beginning of the chapter, Paul responds to the slanderous charge of licentiousness, concluding that his accusers are justly condemned. Then he turns back on himself and his fellow Christians, asking, As bad as they are, are we any better? (v. 8). No, we are all under sin, Jews and Greeks, Pagans and Christians alike. Then he presents the evidence, a litany of Old Testament declarations that his Jewish audience could not challenge: as it is written . . . All mankind is characterized by unrighteousness, ignorance, indifference toward God, rebelliousness. Consequently, they are spiritually useless and universally unprofitable (v. 1011). This character is evident in their speech (Luke 6:45), which is marked by deceit, cursing, and bitterness (v. 1314). That may sound a bit extremesurely not everyone has such corrupt speechbut everyone, in his natural state, is indeed a man of unclean lips (Isaiah 6: 5). Its only a matter of degree, really, and God isnt interested in comparing malicious lies with little white lies and half-truths, or vitriolic, hate-filled invectives with condemnation muttered sotto voce. Sinful speech is sinful, whether or not its turned up to eleven. The corrupt character of sinners is also evident in their actions (v. 1517). Again, the charge may sound extremeTheir feet are swift to shed bloodbut again, it is only a matter of degree. Jesus taught us that Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer. The natural man, whether or not he actually extinguishes a life, has a murderous heart, and is swift to respond with hostility when crossed. He does not naturally seek peace, except though conquest, and so he leaves a trail of destruction and misery in his own life, and the lives of others. Why is he like this? Because he has no fear of God (v. 18). Because he has no fear of God, he makes a god of himself, living as though his purpose is to glorify himself and enjoy himself forever. Consequently, when he is offended, or deprived of his desire, he reacts as though divine justice has been violated, and visits judgment, inasmuch as he is able, on the offenders. This describes every human being, to one degree or another. This is the estate of sin and misery into which mankind fell. Get your own copy of The Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms here.

Lords Day 25, 2011

Sunday··2011·06·19 · 1 Comments
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. " />We Know Not When Christina Rossetti (18301894) We know not when , we know not where,    We know not what that world will be; But this we know: it will be fair       To see. With heart athirst and thirsty face    We know and know not what shall be: Christ Jesus bring us of His grace       To see. Christ Jesus bring us of His grace,    Beyond all prayers our hope can pray, One day to see Him face to Face,       One day. Christina Rossetti, Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1993). Romans 1:14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. Paul has many names for himself; none of them lofty, all of them lowly; the highest, simply an apostle. Sometimes it is Paul the servant of Jesus Christ; sometimes, Paul the aged; sometimes, Paul the prisoner; sometimes it is less than the least of all saints; sometimes, the chief of sinners. Here it is another, a debtor. It is then of Paul the debtor we are to speak. It is himself that takes the name; he proclaims his debts; no man lays them to his charge; God does not accuse him. It is some profound, inexpressible feeling that leads him to cry out, I am debtor. I. To whom is he a debtor? Not to self; not to the flesh; not to the law. He owes nothing to these. We might say, he is debtor to God; to Christ; to the cross. But these are not now in his mind. It is to Greek and Jew, wise and unwise; men of all nations; the whole fallen world, that he feels himself a debtor. He seems to stand on some high eminence, and looking round on all kingdoms, and nations, and tongues, with all their uncounted millions, he says, To all these I am debtor, and I must pay the debt. They have done nothing for him indeed; they have persecuted, stoned, condemned, reviled him; yet that does not alter his position or cancel his debt. Do to him what they like,hate him, imprison him, scourge him, bind him,he is their debtor still. His debt to them is founded on something which all this ill-usage, this malice cannot alter. He loves them still; pities them, pleads with them, beseeches them to be reconciled to God; confesses himself to be their debtor in spite of all. We speak of the world being a debtor to Paul; so, in one sense, it was; but in another, Paul is a debtor to the world. Yes, a Christian is debtor to the world,not to his family only, or his nation,but to the whole world. Let this thought dwell in us, and work in us; expanding and enlarging us; elevating our vision; throwing back our horizon, delivering us from all narrow heartedness on the one hand, and all false liberality on the other. We speak of the world being debtor to the church; let us never forget that according to Pauls way of thinking, and to the mind of the Holy Spirit, the church is debtor to the world. II. When and how he became a debtor. Even as a Jew he was a debtor; for he possessed something which the world did not; and the moment I come into possession of something which my neighbor or my fellow man has not, I become debtor to that fellow man! This is Gods way of reckoning, though it is not mans; for Gods thoughts are not our thoughts; and it is love only that can teach us to feel and reason thus. Yet it is true reasoning, it is divine logic. It was when Paul became possessed of the unsearchable riches of Christ that he felt himself a debtor to the world. He had found a treasure, and he could not conceal it; he must speak out; he must tell abroad what he felt. He was surrounded by needy fellow men, in a poor empty world: Should he keep the treasure to himself? No. As the lepers of Samaria felt themselves debtors to the starving city, so did Paul to a famishing world. But there is much more than this,a higher when and how. Who had done all this for him, and made him to differ? It was God,Christ Jesus. It is to God, then, that in the first place he feels himself an infinite debtor in the fullest sense. To God Himself he cannot pay this debt directly, but he can indirectly, by pouring out the God-given treasure upon others. His debt directly is to God; but then, indirectly, it is to the world. Thus the Christian man feels his debt,his obligation to the world because of his obligation to God. But then a man must know that he has the treasure himself before he can be quickened into a feeling of his responsibility to others. The love of Christ must constrain us; a sense of what we owe to him must impel and stimulate us. Do you know yourself to be the possessor of this infinite treasure? and under the expanding pressure of this, are you roused to feel your infinite debt to all? III. How he pays the debt. By carrying to them that gospel which he had received. That gospel, or the gift which that gospel reveals, has enriched himself infinitely, he takes these riches to others; and so he endeavors to pay his debt to God by enriching the world. He goes to Corinth,doing what? Paying there a part of his infinite debt. He goes to Athens, to Thessalonica, to Rome,doing what? Paying in each place part of the infinite debt which he owes to God, for his love, his pardon, and the hope of the glory. He is a rich man, and can afford to give! We pay our debt, (1.) By making known the gospel to others. Speak out the glad tidings, wherever you go. You are debtors. Thus pay the debt. (2.) By prayer for others. We can reach millions by prayer, otherwise inaccessible to us. Pray for others; not your own circle only, but the world. Go round the world. Embrace all nations in your intercessions. (3.) By our givings. In giving let us remember what we are doing, paying our debt to God. Shew your sense of his love, his gifts, by your generosity. (4.) By our consistent life. This, at least, is expected of us. Do not misrepresent the gospel. Be a true and faithful witness for God. Yes, you are debtors to all. Shew that you feel this. Be constrained by a loving sense of your infinite obligations and responsibilities to Him who loved you. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

WLC Q24: Romans 3:23

Wednesday··2011·06·22
Originally posted at The Calvinist Gadfly. Q. 24. What is sin? A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, any law of God, given as a rule to the reasonable creature. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God Romans 3:23 With apologies to Westminster, I think the catechism needs a little help here. Not that the given answer is wrong, but that it doesnt quite get to the bottom of things. Sin, it says, is any variance from Gods law. But what is that? Gods law is nothing more or less than a picture of his own character. In giving the commandments, he was telling us, This is how I am. Do this, and you will be like me, as you must (Matthew 5:48; 1 Peter 1:1516). None of us do, of course, which brings us to Romans 3:23, which paraphrased says, I am the standard. You dont measure up. With the bar set so high, we cannot help despairing of any hope. But remember, these are the middle chapters in the book. Weve read the introduction, and are now in the midst of conflict. The resolution is coming. Get your own copy of The Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms here.

Lords Day 26, 2011

Sunday··2011·06·26
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Continual Repentance O God of grace, Thou hast imputed my sin to my substitute, and hast imputed his righteousness to my soul, clothing me with a bridegrooms robe, decking me with jewels of holiness. But in my Christian walk I am still in rags; my best prayers are stained with sin; my penitential tears are so much impurity; my confessions of wrong are so many aggravations of sin; my receiving the Spirit is tinctured with selfishness. I need to repent of my repentance; I need my tears to be washed; I have no robe to bring to cover my sins, no loom to weave my own righteousness; I am always standing clothed in filthy garments, and by grace am always receiving change of raiment, for thou dost always justify the ungodly; I am always going into the far country, and always returning home as a prodigal, always saying, Father, forgive me, and thou art always bringing forth the best robe. Every morning let me wear it, every evening return in it, go out to the days work in it, be married in it, be wound in death in it, stand before the great white throne in it, enter heaven in it shining as the sun. Grant me never to lose sight of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the exceeding righteousness of salvation, the exceeding glory of Christ, the exceeding beauty of holiness, the exceeding wonder of grace. The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. It is of great moment to know the proper value of a thing before we either praise or dispraise it. Let us beware of either overrating or underrating anything of which we are called to speak. Of the gospel the apostle speaks as one who knew its value. Do we so know its value as to say, What shall it profit me to gain the world and lose the gospel? The apostle so knew it as to be able to say, I am not ashamed of it; just as elsewhere speaking of the cross he says, God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was not ashamed of it at Jerusalem, or Athens, or Rome. Many things were there to make him ashamed of it; Jewish prejudice and Gentile pride. But these prevailed not. In spite of contempt and hatred he held it fast. We are apt to be ashamed of it. It looks weak, foolish, unintellectual, unphilosophical. It lags behind the age. It has become obsolete! It is beginning to be supplanted by learning and eloquence! Men are apt to shun the gospel as a feeble, childish thing, that has done its work in time past, but is giving place to something higher and more in accordance with the deep instincts of humanity. There were some places in which the apostle might have been specially tempted to be ashamed of the gospel, or afraid of preaching it. At Jerusalem, for there the whole strength of Jewish ritualism rose against it; at Athens, for there it was confronted by the power of Grecian wisdom; at Ephesus, for there the dazzling subtleties of heathen magic rose against it; at Corinth, for there the torrent of human lust and pleasure rushed against it; at Rome, for there was time concentrated energy of earthly idolatry. Yet none of these things moved him. He was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, though all that was intellectual, and eloquent, and sensual, and refined, and powerful in humanity protested against it, or mocked it as folly. We are tempted in our day to be ashamed of the gospel. It is thought to be bare, unintellectual, almost childish by many. Hence they would overlay it with argument and eloquence, to make it more respectable and more attractive. Every such attempt to add to it is being ashamed of it. The old apostolic gospel seems so bald that before we can avow connection with it, we must introduce something like philosophy into it! This is not treating it as Paul did. Some mistake it, others reject it, others are indifferent to it. But there are others who are ashamed of it. If any might have been ashamed of it, Paul much more. His education, his life, his teachers, his companions were all such as to make him turn aside from a thing so plain. But, rising above all, he protests that he is not ashamed of that which so many of his former friends and teachers scorn. But why was the apostle not ashamed of it? Had it been the feeble, childish thing which men said it was, he would have been ashamed of it. But it was not so. It was mighty; mightier than philosophy, or argument, or eloquence. It was power. Many apologists for the gospel have, in their defense of it, assumed somewhat different ground from that of the apostle here. They defend it because it is noble, philosophical, reasonable, benevolent. It is all this, and more. Yet such are not Pauls reasons for glorifying in it. He has fathomed mans infinite need and misery; he has, with divinely opened eyes, looked into mans present condition and his prospects. He sees in that gospel that which meets mans great necessity as a lost being; and it is this glorious suitableness that makes him prize it so much. He is not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, because it is the power of God unto salvation. Had it been less than this, however intellectual and philosophical, he would have been ashamed of it. No other excellence, however great, however appreciated by the human intellect, could compensate for the want of this. To be the wisdom of man, the wisdom of the world, the wisdom of words, was nothing to him. In thus listening to Pauls reasons for not being ashamed of the gospel, let us learn what he thinks of that gospel, and what he understands it to be. (1.) It is the embodiment of Gods power for the salvation of the sinner; (2.) it is the revelation of Gods righteousness to the sinner. This is the sum of his reasons for glorying in the gospel of Christ. I. It is Gods power unto salvation. Men were lost. Nothing but a great salvation could deliver; a salvation which embodied omnipotence. We may say it is a gospel preceded by omnipotence, succeeded by omnipotence, accompanied by omnipotence, containing omnipotence. Gods power was needed. Where has God placed it? In the gospel! Out of that gospel it goes forth to save the sinner. In that gospel omnipotence is wrapped up. Out of that gospel omnipotence goes forth to save. The power that is needed for the salvation of a sinner is that which is contained in the gospel. The gospel alone contains this saving power, and as such the apostle is not ashamed of it. But every one is not saved, even by this mighty gospel. Who, then, are saved by it? Only they who believe. Into all who believe, this mighty gospel comes with saving power, working in them and for them the reversal of all that made them lost; the whole of that which God calls salvation. It is in believing this gospel that we are saved; saved at once, freely, completely, forever. This gospel is wide as the world. It embraces all kindreds, and nations, and tongues. It goes first to the Jew; it begins at Jerusalem; but it does not end there. It goes round the earth; it takes in all men, the Greek as well as the Jew,barbarian, Scythian, bond and free. To every man this mighty gospel comes and says, Believe and be saved. There is salvation for thee; not by working, or waiting, or praying, or reforming, but simply not by believing. He who believes is saved, whoever or whatever he may be. II. It is the revelation of Gods righteousness. This mighty gospel saves in a righteous way. Its power unto salvation consists in its being a revelation of the righteousness of God. This righteousness is not that which we call the attribute of God. Nor does it merely mean Gods method of justification; though it is indeed such. It is that righteousness which was displayed in Him who is the righteous One, whose name is Jehovah our righteousness. It is a righteousness planned by God, provided and prepared by God, exhibited and unfolded by God to the sinner. (1.) It is a righteousness revealed. No longer concealed, or but darkly unfolded; but fully and brightly displayed by God in Christ. (2.) It is a divine righteousness. Not merely human, yet still human; human, yet divine; the righteousness of Him who was both God and man. (3.) It is a righteousness by faith. This is the meaning of the words. Therein is that righteousness of God, which comes to us by believing, revealed to be believed. We get the whole of this glorious righteousness in accepting Gods testimony to it and to Him who wrought it out. (4.) It is righteousness presented to us to be believed. God holds it out to us. He says, Take this from my hand; and if you ask, How am I to take it? the answer is, Believe what God says to you concerning it, and straightway it is yours. (5.) It is the same righteousness which was possessed by the Old Testament saints. The just shall hive by faith, or the just by faith shall live, are the words of the ancient prophet, not merely predicting what shall be, but what has been and what is. It was Pauls favorite text. It was also Luthers. We become, or are constituted just, by or in believing; and we live by and in believing; for both these propositions are contained in the passage. One justification from the beginning, one faith, one life! The patriarchs lived by believing in Him who was to come; we live by believing in Him who has come. But it is one Saviour, one salvation, one cross. Gods testimony to this righteousness is very full and explicit. He tells us what kind of righteousness it is, whose it is, and how we get it. It is divine, perfect, glorious, suitable; begun, carried out, completed by Christ during His life and death below: For as by one mans disobedience many were made sinners; so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. He who believes the divine testimony gets the righteousness. It becomes at once the property of him that believeth,not of him that worketh. He that believeth is justified from all things. All the evil that is in us passes over to Christ, our surety; all the excellence that is in Him passes over to us as soon as we accept time testimony. He was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. The power of the gospel is wholly saving; it is armed with power,just in order to save. There is nothing else in our world that can save but this. This gospel contains in it all that is needful to save. It reaches and reverses the condition of the lost. Nothing else does this. It saves, heals, comforts, gladdens, brings out of darkness into light. Salvation! This is its object. Nothing less than this. Not merely to reform, or elevate, or refine; but to save. Whatever it does less than this is in vain. It is salvation that we preach in preaching the gospel,present, immediate, sure, eternal salvation! What then has the gospel done for you? Has it saved you? If not, it has come to you in vain. If it has only made you moral, or kept you moral, it has fallen short of its end. It is through believing that this salvation is realized. We are saved when we believe the gospel. A gospel not believed will do nothing for us, but condemn. A believed gospel saves; and saves as soon as believed. That gospel is the Holy Spirits testimony to Gods free love, and to the finished propitiation of the cross. The reception of that divine testimony is salvation. Has this salvation, O man, found its way into you? Or is it still resisted? Is the evil heart of unbelief still shutting it out? Is it still appealing to you in vain? Is it still telling to you the old story of the love of God, the love of Christ, but telling it in vain? Have you not yet discovered the good news which it brings to you! Are you still unsaved? Unsaved, because rejecting this gospel, and refusing the free gift it brings. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Lords Day 27, 2011

Sunday··2011·07·03
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Hymn 57. (c. m.) Original sin. Rom. v. 12, &c.; Psa. li. 5; Job xiv. 4. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) Backward with humble shame we look On our original; How is our nature dashd and broke In our first fathers fall! To all thats good averse and blind, But prone to all thats ill What dreadful darkness veils our mind! How obstinate our will! [Conceived in sin, O wretched state! Before we draw our breath The first young pulse begins to beat Iniquity and death. How strong in our degenrate blood The old corruption reigns, And, mingling with the crooked flood, Wanders through all our veins.] [Wild and unwholesome as the root Will all the branches be; How can we hope for living fruit From such a deadly tree? What mortal power from things unclean Can pure productions bring? Who can command a vital stream From an infected spring?] Yet, mighty God! thy wondrous love Can make our nature clean, While Christ and grace prevail above The tempter, death, and sin. The second Adam shall restore The ruins of the first; Hosannah to that sovereign power That new-creates our dust! from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer . . . Romans 1:28 They quickly forgot His works . . . Psalm 106:13 God has well remembered man; remembers him every day. God might easily forget man; he is so insignificant, worthless, unloveable. But He does not. He has never done so. This world, evil as it is, has been truly, what one has called it, His well-beloved world,His well-remembered creation. Each of us, however poor, however sinful, is a fragment of that world, that race which He has never forgotten: Thou shalt not be forgotten of me. Each moments mercies are tokens of the divine mindfulness. He ever retains us in His knowledge and memory. God desires to be remembered by man. He has taken unspeakable pains to keep Himself before His creatures, so as to make forgetfulness on their part the greatest of all impossibilities. In everything that God has set before our eyes or ears, He says, Remember me. In every star, every flower, every mountain, every stream,in every joy, every comfort, every blessing of daily life,God says, Remember me. How affecting this desire of God to be remembered by man! Yet how has man responded to it? We shall see. The worlds history, and Israels history not less, have shewn how Gods wish to be kept in affectionate remembrance by the creatures He has made has been met. They gave me hatred for my love. They did not like to retain Him in their knowledge. It is not, however, merely a deity, a divine being, that is to be remembered. It is the one living and true God. Every departure from this is idolatry and dishonour. This true God wishes to be remembered, (1.) Reverently. He is great and glorious; to be had in reverence of all creature hood. Reverence and godly fear are His due. (2.) Confidingly. His character is such that He deserves to be trusted. Trustful, childlike remembrance, is what He expects of us. (3.) Joyfully. Not by constraint, or through terror, or hope of profit; but with the full and happy heart. (4.) Lovingly. We love Him because He first loved us. Loving remembrance He would fain have. Nothing less will do. (5.) Steadfastly. Not by fits and starts; at certain devotional seasons, but always. Perpetual remembrance is what God asks,everlasting remembrance. This God, whose name is Jehovah, is worthy to be remembered, He is so infinitely glorious, and good, and great, and loveable. The wonder is, how one so great should ever for a moment be forgotten. That He should forget us, so insignificant, would not be surprising; but that we should forget Him, so great and mighty, is inconceivably marvelous. We may suppose a creature, an atom of the dust, sitting alone and admiring this great Being, and saying, He may not think of me, or notice me, who am such a grain of sand, but I cannot help continually thinking of Him, looking up to Him, praising Him, loving Him, whether He cares for me or not; whether I am overlooked or not,if He will only allow me thus to praise and love. But can we suppose the opposite? the worm of the earth never thinking of this great God at all, and yet this God continually thinking of Him! Yet man forgets God! He hears of Him, and then forgets Him. He sees His works, and then forgets Him. He acknowledges deliverances, and then forgets Him. Thus it is that man deals with God. For his fellow men mans memory serves him well, but towards God it is utterly treacherous. Israel is frequently charged with such things as these: (1.) They forgot His words. All that He had spoken, in grace or righteousness, as warning or as love, they forgot. His words were to them as idle tales. Thus we treat our God. (2.) They forgot His works. Miracle on miracle of the most stupendous kind did He for Israel, in Egypt and in the desert, as if never wearied with blessing them, yet the work was no sooner done than it was out of mind. They sang His praise, and then forgot His works. (3.) They forgot Himself. Yes, Himself! Their God, their Redeemer, their Rock, their Strength! They thrust Him out of their thoughts and memories. He and they were to live apart; to have no intercourse with each other. They were to live in His world, and forget Himself; to enjoy His gifts, but not Himself; to breathe His air, bask in His sunshine, drink His rivers, climb His mountains, sail over His wide sea in storm or calm, and forget Himself? They did not like to retain God in their knowledge. Forgetfulness of God is Gods charge against His creatures. He does not exaggerate their guilt, or bring out into view the gross and hideous crimes of the race. He simply says, You have forgotten me. That is enough. My people have forgotten me. It is they who forget God that are turned into hell. This may seem to some a small sin, a negative evil, a sin of omission; but God places it in the foreground of iniquity. Consider this ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces when none can deliver (Psalm 50:22). God lays great stress upon remembering Him and His works. Often did He use that word to Israel, Remember. Remember the way that the Lord led thee. Remember the commandments of the Lord. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Remember thy Creator. In the New Testament the words of the Lord himself must occur to every one, This do in remembrance of me; amid the response of the church, We will remember Thy love more than wine. Forget not, O man, the God that made thee. He has given thee no cause to forget Him. He ever keeps thee in mind; keep Him in mind. Amid all thy forgetfulness let not Him be forgotten. Amid all thy remembrances let Him be ever uppermost. His remembrance will be joy and peace, fragrance, and refreshment, and strength. Retain Him in thy knowledge; root Him in thy memory; fix Him in thy heart forever. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Much More Powerful

Thursday··2011·07·07 · 1 Comments
But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. Romans 5:15 It may indeed be justly inferred, that since the fall of Adam had such an effect as to produce the ruin of many, much more efficacious is the grace of God to the benefit of many; inasmuch as it is admitted, that Christ is much more powerful to save, than Adam was to destroy. John Calvin, Calvins Commentaries Volume XIX, Commentaries on the Epistle of Paul to the Romans (Baker Books, 2009), 206.

Sin vs. Christ

Friday··2011·07·08
But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. Romans 5:15 Jesus Christ broke the power of sin and death, but the converse is not true. Sin and death cannot break the power of Jesus Christ. The condemnation of Adam’s sin is reversible, the redemption of Jesus Christ is not. The effect of adam’s act is permanent only if not nullified by Christ. The effect of Christ’s act, however, is permanent for believing individuals and not subject to reversal or nullification. We have the great assurance that once we are in Jesus Christ, we are in Him forever. John MacArthur, MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Romans 18 (Moody, 1991), 304.

Lords Day 29, 2011

Sunday··2011·07·17
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. The Assistance and Influence of the Blessed Spirit Philip Doddridge (17021751) Tis not in my weak powr alone, To melt this stubborn heart of stone, My soul to change, my life to mend, Or seek to Christ, that genrous friend. Tis Gods own Spirit from above Fixes our faith, inflames our love. And makes a life divine begin In wretched souls, long dead in sin. That most important gift of heaven To those that ask and seek is given; Then be it my immediate care With importunity of prayer, To seek it in a Saviors name, Who will not turn my hopes to shame. God from on high, His grace shall pour, My soul shall flourish more and more. Press on with speed from grace to grace, Till glory end and crown the race. Since then the Father and the Son, And Holy Spirit, three in one, Glorious beyond all speech and thought, Have jointly my salvation wrought; Ill join them in my songs of praise, Now and through heavens eternal days. Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets Romans 3:21 It is of sin and righteousness that the apostle speaks so fully and so minutely throughout this whole epistle. Up to the verse from which our text is taken, he has been settling this point, that man is a sinner, and needs a righteousness, else he cannot stand before God. Circumcision cannot give a righteousness; it merely tells us that a righteousness is needed, no more. The law cannot give a righteousness; it is merely a declaration of what righteousness is, and that the unrighteous shall not stand before God. It condemns, it cannot justify. By the law is the knowledge of sin, and thus every mouth is stopped, and the whole world brought in guilty before God. But, notwithstanding this, there is a righteousness; a righteousness which meets the case of the unrighteous in every part; a righteousness which can reverse even the verdict of the law against the unrighteous; a righteousness on the footing of which we can stand with boldness in the presence of the holy God without either shame or fear. It is of this righteousness that he proceeds to speak in the words of our text. Let us hear what he affirms regarding it. I. First, it is the righteousness of God. It is a divine, not a human righteousness. That righteousness which we had lost in Adam was, after all, but a human thing, finite hike him who lost it; but that which we gain is a divine righteousness, and by being divine, forms an infinite compensation for that which Adam lost for us; and we, in receiving it, are made partakers of a most glorious exchange. It is called the righteousness of God, because it is a righteousness provided by Him; a righteousness which was conceived by Him, set on foot, and carried out in every part by Him, entirely and by Him alone; a righteousness, in the providing of which we had nothing to do, even in thought or in desire, far less in execution; a righteousness, the origin and accomplishment of which are wholly and purely Gods, not mans at all. Again, it is called the righteousness of God, because it is a righteousness founded on the sufferings of the Son of God. It behoved Him, who is the only-begotten of the Father to take flesh and suffer, ere the very first step towards the providing of that righteousness could be taken. And He has suffered, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God; and thus the foundation of a divine righteousness has been laid. Again, it is called the righteousness of God, because it is a righteousness made up of time doings of the Son of God. It is not merely with His sufferings that this righteousness has to do, but it is with His doings as well. These two things enter into its composition, so that, without both of them, it would be imperfect. What He did on earth in magnifying the law and making it honourable; what He did on earth in obeying the Fathers will in every jot and tittle, makes up this righteousness. These doings of His were infinitely pleasing to the Father, infinitely glorifying to the Fathers holiness, and infinitely honouring to that law which our unrighteousness had violated and dishonoured. Further, it is called the righteousness of God, because it provides such a compensation for human unrighteousness, that it not only takes it all away, but brings in a new and far higher and surer footing for the sinner to rest on. It introduces a new standing of acceptance, so that the man who becomes a partaker of this provided righteousness becomes divinely accepted, divinely righteous, divinely blessed. It is not a mere simple righteousness that God sets forth; it is a super abounding one, an infinite one, one which can leave no room for doubt on our part at all, one that is most amply sufficient to meet our case were we the very guiltiest on whom the sun has ever shone. II. Secondly, it is a righteousness without the law. He does not mean that it is in any sense an unlawful righteousness,a righteousness not based on law,a righteousness, in providing which, law has been set aside in any sense; but it means a righteousness which, in so far as we are concerned, has nothing to do with law at all. It is not a righteousness which asks any doing, or working, or obeying, on our part, in order to complete it, in order to make it what it isthe righteousness of God; for did it require anything of this kind on our part, it would cease to be what it is here represented to be, the righteousness of God, and would become, to a large extent at least, the righteousness of man. This righteousness does not send us to the law in order to be justified; it does not throw us upon our own works, either in whole or in part; it proceeds from first to last upon such principles as these, announced elsewhere in this epistle, and in the Epistle to the Galatians: By time deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified. And again, as it is written To him that worketh not, but believeth in Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. In no sense, and at no time, does it say to us, Do this, and thou shalt live; do this, and thou shalt be saved. In no sense does it give us the idea of a thing far off, but of a thing nigh, at our very side; not of a thing to be toiled for, a thing to be waited for on our part. In no such sense has this righteousness anything to do with law, or with our doing of the law. For what is the whole of the Epistle to the Galatians but a protest against the idea that this righteousness of God has anything to do with the law, in so far as the sinner is concerned? In so far as God is concerned, in so far as the Son of God is concerned, it had everything to do with law; but in so far as we are concerned, it has nothing to do with it; it is a righteousness without the law. Let us, brethren, hold fast then this truth of the gospel, this foundation truth; righteousness without law, righteousness founded in no sense upon our keeping of the law; but wholly and absolutely upon this fact, that another has kept the law for us, and that other no less than the Son of God Himself. III. Thirdly, This righteousness has been manifested acceptance. Now, he says, the righteousness of God is manifested; it has been clearly brought to light, so that there can be no mistake concerning it, and no mystery in it. It is not a thing hidden, wrapped up, reserved, held back, veiled from our view. It is a thing clearly brought out today, and shone upon by Gods own light, so that the difficulty seems to be, not how to see it, but how to miss seeing it, how to keep ourselves from apprehending it. It has been clearly manifested. God has been at infinite pains to bring it forward to view, both on our own account, and on account of Him whose righteousness it is. In every way He has sought to guard it against the possibility of being mistaken by man. In every way has He taken precautions against this being hidden from view, or darkened by the words of mans wisdom. He has set this righteousness as a star in the firmament above us, that every eye may see it, that no mountains of earth may come between us and the heavenly vision; He has made it peculiarly bright, that every eye may be attracted to it. He has removed other stars from around it, that it may not be mistaken, but stand alone in its brilliance. It is to this star we point the eye of each sinner here; the Star of Bethlehem, the brightest in Gods firmament, the bright and morning star, the star which God has set there as His light to the world. He presents it to each one of you, that on recognizing it you may not walk in darkness, but have the light of life, and that, knowing it as it has been manifested, you may no longer stand in doubt as to your relationship with God, as to your personal acceptance. He so puts this righteousness at your disposal that you may come to Him in confidence, using it as if it were entirely your own. IV. Fourthly, This righteousness is a righteousness to which the law and the prophets bear witness. By this expression, we understand the whole of the Old Testament. It is not something (he means to tell us) now come to light for the first time, not understood in the ages gone by; it is something which has been proclaimed from the beginning hitherto. To these oracles the eye of every saint, from Abel downward, has been directed; on this righteousness the feet of every saint from the beginning have stood; of this righteousness every prophet has spoken; to this righteousness every type has borne witness; and this righteousness every sacrifice has set forth. It is this Star which shone down upon the pilgrimage of Old Testament worthies, and in the light of which they walked. It is this Star which sheds light on every page of their history; it was to this Star that they, with one consent, age after age, pointed the eye of all around. They knew none but this; they cared for none but this; to them, as to those who believe now, Christ was all and in all On this righteousness they rested, in it they rejoiced. It is no new righteousness which we preach. It is no new foundation of which we tell. It is the old one, the well-proved one. It has been abundantly sufficient in past ages, and it has lost none of its efficiency now in these last days. It was enough for the saints in former ages, it is enough for us now. They who found salvation, ages and generations ago, found it here; and he who finds salvation now finds it also here. V. Fifthly, This righteousness is a righteousness which is by the faith of Jesus Christ: Even the righteousness of God, which is by the faith of Jesus Christ, unto all, and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference. He means to say by this expression, that it is a righteousness which comes to us by believing in Jesus Christ. It is not our faith that is our righteousness; it is not our act of believing that justifies. If your faith were your righteousness, then faith would be just reduced to the level of all other works, and would be itself a work. If it were our faith, our act of faith, that justified, then should we be justified by our own acts, by our own deeds. The expression, then the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, means simply that it is a righteousness which passes over to us, and becomes available for us, by believing in Him whose righteousness it is; that is, by believing the Fathers testimony concerning Jesus Christ. It is by believing that we are identified with Him, so that His doing becomes our doing in the eye of God, and in the eye of the law; His suffering becomes our suffering; His fulfilling of the law becomes our fulfilling of the law; His obedience to the Fathers will is our obedience to the Fathers will. Such is the position into which we are brought by being made, in believing, one with Him. Thus the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ, is presented to us, that in believing on Him, He may become ours. Righteousness is here laid down at our feet. It is there, whether we receive it or not. It is there, whether we believe it or not; whether we reject it or receive it. Your receiving it does not create it; your receiving it does not complete it; it is all created, it is all completed, it is all free, it is all at our feet, whether we take it or thrust it away; and our condemnation hereafter, if we be lost, will be not that there was no righteousness, not that we refused to complete a righteousness which had been begun, but that we rejected the righteousness which was completed, and which was so presented to us by God himself. It is in believing, or, as the apostle expresses it, by faith in Jesus Christ, that this righteousness, with all its privileges, and with all its results, passes over to us. For in believing, what are we saying but just this: I have no works to bring to God; I am a sinner, but I take this work of the Son of God, and I ask to be dealt with by God according to its value, and just as if I had done the work, and not He. Or, it is just as if we were saying, I have no righteousness, seeing I am wholly a sinner; but I take this righteousness of the Son of God, and I draw near, expecting to be treated by God, just as if I and not He were the righteous person. I cannot present any suffering to Him in payment of penalty; bat I take this suffering of the Son of God, and I claim to have it reckoned to me as payment of my penalty. Thus it is, Christ is the end of the law, for righteousness to every one that believeth. VI. Sixthly, This righteousness is a righteousness for the unrighteous. It is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. It is righteousness for the unrighteous. It is not righteousness for the good, but for the evil. It is not righteousness for the worthy, but for the unworthy. It is our unrighteousness that fits us for this righteousness. It is the evil that is in us that fits us for the excellency that is found in it. How foolish, then, to say as men, when convinced of sin, or when going back into former iniquity, are sometimes found saying, I am too great a sinner to be for given. Why, if you were not such a sinner, you would not need such a righteousness. It is the extent of your unrighteousness that fits you for a righteousness so infinite, so divine. If the righteousness were not the righteousness of God, if it were a human and not a divine righteousness, if finite and not infinite, your fear would be natural; but seeing it is divine not human, infinite, not finite, can anything be more foolish, more presumptuous, more profane, than to say, My unrighteousness is too great for the righteousness of the Son of God? This righteousness for the unrighteous is said by the apostle to be unto all. It is a righteousness which is like the sun in the heavens. It is one sun; yet it is enough for every one, it is free to every one. God works out a righteousness, and then sets it down on this fallen earth, that every one may avail himself of it. We are, therefore, not to say, Is this righteousness provided for this one or for that one, for many or for few? but there it is, there is the righteousness, go and take it. That is the gospel. Looking at the natural sun, do you ever think of asking, Is it for me, for this man or for that, the many or the few? You open your eye and enjoy its beams without asking any questions. Your making such inquiries would indicate a very unhealthy state of body; and so your asking such questions regarding Gods intention as proposed in this righteousness, indicates an unhealthy state of mind. To every sinner here, we preach the good news of this righteousness; a righteousness not only suitable and sufficient, but glorious and free; righteousness for the unrighteous; righteousness for the most unrighteous of the children of men. Again, it is a righteousness which is upon all them that believe: It is unto all; but it is only upon them that believe. The moment that we believe through grace, we are accepted in the Beloved, redeemed from condemnation and from wrath. Till then the wrath of God abideth upon us. It is in believing that this righteousness is put upon us; and in believing what? In believing what God has testified concerning this righteousness, and concerning Him whose righteousness it is. Again, the apostle affirms regarding this righteousness for the unrighteous, that there is no difference, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. There is no difference as to its fitness for the sinner, whatever his sin may be; and there is no difference as to the fitness of the sinner for the righteousness. There is this twofold fitness: the fitness of the righteousness for the sinner, and the fitness of the sinner for the righteousness. There is no difference; there is no man more fit than another; all are equally fit or equally unfit, equally qualified or equally unqualified, for all have sinned; and it is this that brings down all to the same level, and down to this level it is that the righteousness comes. For it is not a righteousness which has only come down to a certain level,which has lighted upon earth, but only upon some of its highest peaks; it is a righteousness which has come down to the very lowest valleys, a righteousness which may be found out without climbing, and even beside our very dwellings. No one, then, can say, I deserve it, therefore it is for me; and no one, on the other hand, can say, I do not deserve it, therefore it is not for me. There is no difference, for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Thus it suits the case of all; so that no one can put it away, and say, It does not suit my case, but it may suit others. Nay, friend, if you are not an unrighteous man it will not suit you, I grant; but if you are an unrighteous man it must suit you. There is no question as to the kind of your unrighteousness, the length of time, the amount or degree; there is no question about that, the simple question is, Are you an unrighteous man? Then it suits your case. And it is a righteousness near to each one of you; it is not afar off: it is not in heaven above, so that you have to climb to the seat of God to obtain it; and it is not down so low that you must dig to earths center to find it: it is near, it is at your very side; and if you reject it, it cannot be because of its distance. God has brought it near. He ells you it is near. I bring near my righteousness. God says that; and who are you that you should say, It is far off? Nay, more, it is free,Without money and without price. There is no payment asked; no payment can be taken. The very idea of payment is insulting to the righteousness, and insulting to Him whose righteousness it is. Yet many seek to buy it,not perhaps by their gold and silver, but by other things equally worthless. Some would buy it by their penances and fastings, some by their confessions; some would buy it by their repentance, some by their prayers, some by their self-mortification and privations, some by their fair lives and excellent deeds. It is righteousness for the unrighteous that we proclaim, the righteousness of God, a righteousness which has come down from heaven to earth on very purpose that it may be presented to you. It is Gods wish that you should take it. Do you refuse it? He hinders not. Where then lies the hindrance? In you, not in Him. The refusal will not be on His part; it must be on yours; and if you perish, you perish, not because He would not be reconciled to you, but because you would not be reconciled to Him; not because there was not a provided righteousness, but because you rejected it; not because there was not sufficient love in God to give you that righteousness, but because you willfully put away from you both the righteousness and the love. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

A Stronger Antidote

Tuesday··2011·07·19
But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. Romans 5:15 I have lately been stuck on Romans 5:1521, particularly the much more statements in 15, 17, and 20. If there was so much power and efficacy, as it seems there was, in the sin of a man, who was of the earth, earthy, to condemn us, much more are there power and efficacy in the righteousness and grace of Christ, who is the Lord from heaven, to justify and save us. The one man that saves us is Jesus Christ. Surely Adam could not propagate so strong a poison but Jesus Christ could propagate as strong an antidote, and much stronger. Matthew Henry, Matthew Henrys Commentary on the Whole Bible (Hendrickson, 1991), 6:323.

Lord’s Day 30, 2011

Sunday··2011·07·24
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” The Voice from Galilee. Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) I heard the voice of Jesus say, Come unto me and rest; Lay down, thou weary one, lay down Thy head upon my breast. I came to Jesus as I was, Weary, and worn, and sad; I found in Him a resting-place, And He has made me glad. I heard the voice of Jesus say, Behold, I freely give The living water: thirsty one, Stoop down, and drink, and live. I came to Jesus and I drank Of that life-giving stream; My thirst was quenched, my soul revived, And now I live in Him. I heard the voice of Jesus say, I am this dark world’s light, Look unto me, thy morn shall rise, And all thy day be bright. I looked to Jesus, and I found In Him my Star, my Sun; And in that light of life I’ll walk, Till travelling days are done. —Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness —Romans 4:3–5 Justification by faith is a very old doctrine,—one of the oldest dogmas on record. It is as old as Abraham; as old as Abel. The patriarchs knew it well, and lived thereby. It was as believing men that they were justified. The old pagans had not so much as a glimpse of this. It required a divine revelation to communicate even the idea or possibility of it, much more the actual thing. The apostle goes back to Abraham for his illustration of this free justification, and reminds us that his faith was counted for righteousness, that is, his believing was reckoned instead of his working, in the great question of acceptance. He took God at His word, and in thus honouring Him, “pleased God.” Hence the apostle thus strongly puts the matter,—“To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” I. Who justifies? “It is God that justifieth.” The Judge, the Lawgiver, is the Justifier. Self-justification is as useless as it is impossible. To acquit myself is of no avail, unless the law and the lawgiver do the same. I must have my sentence of acquittal or justification from God Himself. It is only His verdict that can satisfy me now, or can avail me in the day of the great reckoning. “Not guilty” from my own hips or from man’s lips, will profit nothing; “not guilty” from His lips is altogether sufficient; I need no more to set my soul at rest, and to give me peace of conscience, tranquility of soul. II. What sort of justification does He give? Man’s ideas of justification are vague and low; we must recognize God’s thoughts upon the question. His justification is,— (1.) Righteous. The adjustment of the question between us and God is a righteous adjustment. Its basis is righteousness. Nothing but this would satisfy God or ourselves, or make us feel safe in accepting it in our dealings with a holy God. This righteousness is secured by the full payment of the penalty by a surety or substitute. He does what we should have done; He suffers what we should have suffered; He lives our life, He dies our death, He descends to our grave. Thus He exhausts the penalty, and so makes justification a righteous thing; and our justification is that of men who have suffered the law’s full penalty for our sins; our pardon is that of men who, in the person of their substitute, have undergone all that they deserved eternally to undergo. The Just One suffering for the unjust makes the justification of the unjust a just and righteous thing. (2.) Complete. It extends to our whole persons; to our whole lives; to every sin committed by us. The whole man is justified. It is no half-pardon, no semi-acceptance, that we receive, but something complete and divine; perfect as God can make it; so perfect as to satisfy conscience here, and to stand the test of the judgment seat hereafter. Nothing in us or about us that goes to make up our character as sinners, is left unjustified. (3.) Irreversible. No second verdict can alter our legal position. God is not a man that He should lie. Pardoned once, then pardoned forever. “Who is he that condemneth?” “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” (4.) Divine. It is a justification worthy of God; a justification which shall place the justified on a far higher level than the first Adam stood upon; a justification which can only be likened to that of the Son of God Himself when He rose from the dead, being “justified in the Spirit” (1 Timothy 3:16). III. For whom is it? For the ungodly. Yes; for such alone. Righteousness for the unrighteous is that which the Righteous One came to bring. In this matter of pardon and acceptance, the principle is not, “To him that hath shall more be given, but to him that hath nothing shall all be given. It is not partial or incipient godliness that attracts this justification to an individual. The only fitness or qualification is our need, our ungodliness, our unrighteousness, total and complete, without one particle of goodness or deservingness. It was for the ungodly that Christ died. It was for the ungodly that this righteousness was provided; and he who thinks to have it on any other footing save that of simple need or in any other character save that of unrighteousness or ungodliness, cannot possibly obtain it. The “good news” which we bring concerning this righteousness is that it is for the ungodly,—for the ungodliest; and he who would qualify or explain away that word ungodly, subverts and denies the whole gospel of the grace of God. IV. How we get it. By believing. In accepting God’s testimony to the righteousness,—in crediting His word concerning this justification,—we are justified at once. The righteousness becomes ours; and God treats us henceforth as men who are righteous, as men who, on account of the righteousness which has thus become theirs, are entitled to be dealt with as righteous, out and out. Of Abraham it is said, “His faith was counted for righteousness’; that is, God counted this believing man as one who had done all righteousness, just because he was a believing man. Not that his act or acts of faith were substituted as equivalent to work, but his believing brought him into the possession of all that working could have done. Thus, in believing, we get the righteousness. Our believing accomplishes for us all that our working could have done. The apostle’s words are very bold, and the comparison between the working and believing which they embody, brings out the great distinction between man’s thoughts and God’s, man’s ways and God’s, “To him that worketh not, but believeth.” We are so apt to mix up the two together, the believing and the working, the believing and the feeling, that it is needful to have a strong statement like this thoroughly to clear up our thoughts, and to prevent confusion. The expression here, “believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly,” is another way of expressing the truth, “believing in the Lord Jesus Christ’; for it points us to God, who laid our sins upon His Son, that by this bearing of them, in the person of a divine surety, God might be just, and the Justifier of him who believes. Come and be justified, is His message to the sinner. Credit my testimony, and be freely pardoned! For our gospel is not, “Do this” or “that,” but, Come, reap the fruits of what another has done. Come, and, without working, or waiting, or praying, or feeling, enter into the complete justification of him who believeth! —Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Lords Day 31, 2011

Sunday··2011·07·31
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Hymn LVIII. O Lord, I will praise thee! Isaiah xii. William Cowper (17311800) I will praise thee every day Now thine angers turned away! Comfortable thoughts arise From the bleeding sacrifice. Here in the fair gospel field, Wells of free salvation yield Streams of life, a plenteous store, And my soul shall thirst no more. Jesus is become at length My salvation and my strength; And his praises shall prolong, While I live, my pleasant song. Praise ye, then, his glorious name, Publish his exalted fame! Still his worth your praise exceeds, Excellent are all his deeds. Raise again the joyful sound, Let the nations roll it round! Zion shout, for this is he, God the Savior dwells in thee. Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, And whose sins have been covered. 8 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account. Romans 4 The apostle asks, How was Abraham justified? He answers, By believing. Then he asks, How was David justified? And he answers, By believing. In both cases by the righteousness of God; a righteousness without works; a righteousness without law and yet a righteousness witnessed by the law and the prophets; a righteousness in accordance with all true law and government; a righteousness for the unrighteous. Again, the apostle raises the question, What makes a blessed man? And he refers to Davids announcement respecting blessedness, and its cause or root. The blessed man is the man to whom God imputeth righteousness without works. To a sinner this is absolutely essential; it is a sine qua non, indispensable. There can be no blessedness in any other way. After the imputation has taken place, there are innumerable sources of blessedness, all pouring in their joy and peace; but this is the beginning. No blessedness without this divine reckoning of righteousness; but with this a mans blessedness commences. Heaven is begun within him, the heaven that David tasted, and which he so often speaks of: in His favor is life. (Psalm 3:5.) There is, then, blessedness on earth, even to a sinner,true blessedness,that which God calls by that name. In spite of weariness, sorrow, conflict, cares, fears, burdens, there is such a thing as blessedness. And this blessedness God freely presents to each unblessed, sorrowful, burdened son of Adam, without money and without price. The apostle, in quoting the words of David, thus prefaces and interprets them: David describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works. Righteousness without works was that which David enjoyed. He obtained righteousness without working for it at all; righteousness by simply taking it from another, and using it as if it were his own. We must have a righteousness, else we cannot stand before God; we cannot have a religion. God must deal with us, and we must deal with God, on the footing of righteousness; not simply of grace; for He is the righteous as well as the gracious God. When we go to Him we must do so with a righteousness in our hand, either our own or anothers. Our transactions with God must all be of this nature. They must be righteous transactions; dealings between a righteous God and men who are, at the same moment, in His eye, both righteous and unrighteous, and therefore needing both grace and righteousness. A personal righteousness on our part is an impossibility. We cannot work for it; and we cannot get it by working. In going to God we must begin, not encl with righteousness; so that we must have it before we can please God or do any good thing; in other words, it must be free, and it must come to us at once, and it must satisfy both God and our own conscience. Only the righteousness of another can do this; righteousness without works; righteousness which does not depend on our doing, or feeling, or praying, or repenting, but which comes to us at once from God, as the root and fountainhead of all working, and goodness, and holiness on our part. The prodigal did not work for the best robe, but got it all ready-made from his fathers hands; Joseph did not work for his coat of many colors, but received it as the gift of his fathers love; Adam did not work for the skins with which the Lord God clothed him: so is it with the sinner in his approaches to God, and in Gods approaches to him. Righteousness without works is given him; nay, put upon him as a raiment, a divine raiment, to fit him for drawing near to God. There are three things noted here as making up this blessedness, and indispensable to its existence: I. Iniquities are forgiven. It is transgression in the original Psalm. This is one kind of sin, and generally denotes the worst. There is then transgression or iniquity; but it is forgiven (or borne, as the word means); for there is forgiveness with God, that He may be feared; a complete, free, divine forgiveness; such as God delights to give, and the sinner to receive. He forgiveth all our iniquities; He forgives without reserve, or stint, or uncertainty. He removes our iniquities from us as far as east is from the west. He retains not one; He blots out all. II. Sins are covered. There is, and there has been, sin; but it is no longer visible; it is buried; it is covered; it is put out of sight, as if God himself no longer saw it. It is God who covers, not man; He covers by means of the blood of atonement; He covers by burying it in the grave of Christ. Thus our sins are completely covered, hidden, forgiven. They are first borne, and then buried. Could any words more completely express forgiveness? III. Sin is not imputed. There are three words in this passage expressive of sin, as in Gods first full announcement of Himself as the great forgiver (Exodus 34:6.); transgression, iniquity, sin; meaning every kind and form of sin. And there are three words used in reference to the putting away of sin,forgiving (bearing), covering, not imputing. This last,the non-imputation,is said specially to be Jehovahs doing. This non-imputation is without works; it is free; it is divine; it is perfect; it is sure; it comes as the consequence of believing. Thus there are three foundation stones laid for the sinners blessedness; each of them ample; all of them together fully sufficient. On these he must rest. Without these he can have no joy. His belief of Gods testimony to these is that which connects him with this threefold foundation, and with the blessedness. He believes, and becomes a blessed man. The grace or free love of God, contained in these three things, is that which pours blessedness into his soul. The Psalmist adds, and in whose spirit there is no guile. Forgiveness makes him a guileless man; it takes away all temptation to speak or act untruly and deceitfully with God, or with man, or with himself. He becomes an Israelite indeed. Pardon has made him such. Being fully forgiven, he has no longer any motive to conceal the very worst of himself. Gods forgiveness frank and ample has superseded the necessity of any palliation or excuse; has delivered him from the temptation to make the best of his case and of himself. He thinks, feels, acts, speaks honestly. He confesses sin, and he finds God faithful and just to forgive his sins. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

WLC Q30: Romans 5:15–21

Monday··2011·08·01
Q. 30. Does God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery? A. God does not leave all men to perish in the estate of sin and misery,into which they fell by the breach of the first covenant, commonly called the covenant of works; but of his mere love and mercy delivers his elect out of it, and brings them into an estate of salvation by the second covenant, commonly called the covenant of grace. But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. —Romans 5:15–21 In the previous verses (Romans 5:12–14), Question 22 was answered in the affirmative: all mankind fell with Adam in the first transgression. We were left hopelessly fallen, waiting for Question 30 to pick us up out of our “estate of sin and misery.” Verses 12–14 connected us to Adam. Verses 15–21 connect us to Christ, exploring the one man/one act analogy of Adam and Christ. But the free gift is not like the transgression. . . . The free gift—“having now been justified by His blood”—is like the transgression—through which “death spread to all men”—in only one way: it came through one man. In effect, it is the polar opposite. Through Adam’s sin, “the many died’; through the free gift, grace was poured out to many, and not in equal proportions to the transgression, but abounding “much more.” Calvin wrote, It may indeed be justly inferred, that since the fall of Adam had such an effect as to produce the ruin of many, much more efficacious is the grace of God to the benefit of many; inasmuch as it is admitted, that Christ is much more powerful to save, than Adam was to destroy. —John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries Volume XIX, Commentaries on the Epistle of Paul to the Romans (Baker Books, 2009), 206. The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned . . . The condemnation of Adam’s sin is unlike grace in that it rose from one transgression, whereas, for those who believe, grace rises from every transgression, resulting in justification. We see two great truths in these verses: first, that God hates sin so much that one was enough to damn all of humanity; second, God loves mankind so much that he offers forgiveness to all men for all sins. For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one . . . Now we have another of these “as that, so this, only moreso” statements. As the one sin of one man brought the reign of death over all men, “much more” will the elect (“those who receive the abundance of grace”) reign in life through Christ. Why “much more”? I believe Calvin’s comments (above) apply, but I also tend to think in terms of intent and efficacy. If the unthinking act of a finite man produced these unintended consequences, how much more efficacious is the intentional corrective act of an infinite God? If Adam stumbled into disaster, God’s calculated response—planned well in advance—is much more certain. In fact, “much more” is an understatement. So then as through one transgression . . . through one act of righteousness . . . through the one man’s disobedience . . . through the obedience of the One . . . Verses 18–19 set Adam and Christ in opposite categories: obedient, and disobedient. The essence of Adam’s sin is that he was disobedient. The necessary antidote was an act of supreme obedience. We, as Adam’s heirs, are unrighteous, disobedient. Those who are in Christ are, by virtue of his obedience, declared righteous and justified before God. His obedience is our obedience. . . . where sin increased, grace abounded all the more . . . Those whom God has delivered out of their “estate of sin and misery . . . into an estate of salvation” are not merely sinners, but great sinners. We have known the Law, and through it have known God, and have yet fallen short of his holiness. Our sin, in the light of the Law, has increased. But, praise God, as sin increased, grace abounded. Just as sin reigns in death—those who are spiritually dead are slaves to sin—grace reigns “through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” And we cannot overemphasize the point that the righteousness through which grace reigns is not our own, but Christ’s. If you are in Christ, you are no longer in “an estate of sin and misery.” Sin does not reign in you. Therefore, you can take your rest in Christ, through whose righteousness you have received abundant grace. Grace rules. Get your own copy of The Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms here.

Lord���s Day 32, 2011

Sunday··2011·08·07
I was glad when they said to me, ���Let us go to the house of the Lord.��� Tune Me, O Lord Christina Rossetti (1830���1894) Tune me, O Lord, into one harmony With Thee, one full responsive vibrant chord; Unto Thy praise all love and melody, Tune me, O Lord. Thus need I flee nor death, nor fire, nor sword. A little while these be, then cease to be, And sent by Thee not these should be abhorred. Devil and world, gird me with strength, To flee the flesh, and arm me with Thy word: As Thy Heart is to my heart, unto Thee Tune me, O Lord. ���Christina Rossetti, Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1993). through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. ���Romans 5:2 Let us note here���(1) The grace; (2) The introduction into it; (3) The abiding, or standing; (4) The rejoicing. I. The grace.���It is here called ���this grace,������a well known, most suitable, and sufficient grace, or free love; the free love of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This is ���the true grace of God���; free love in the heart of God to the ungodly, to the unloving and unloveable. This grace, or free love, is absolute and unconditional; considering not our deservings or qualifications, but simply our need. It looks at us not as good, but as evil; not as sensible, but insensible; not as penitent, but impenitent; not as good in any sense or degree, but as wholly evil. It is not created or awakened by our amendments, or good feelings, or love, or prayers, or regeneration. It regards us simply as sinners, ungodly, needing God���s favor and help. It is this free love that begins, carries on, and consummates a sinner���s deliverance. The knowledge of this divine free love is life eternal. Out of this fountain, ever full and flowing, there comes to us pardon, and joy, and health, and consolation, and light. He that knows that free love, knows that which saves him, and draws him into happy fellowship with God. He that knows it not, is still afar off; the child of darkness, and the worshipper of an unknown God. We can neither be happy nor holy till we know it. It is the good news of God���s free love that we preach. This is ���the ministry of the reconciliation���; this is our mission and commission, ���to testify the gospel of the grace of God,��� and to tell that it is ���by his mercy that he saves us���; to speak of ���the exceeding riches of the grace of God.��� II. The access, or introduction.���We do not create or awaken this free love by any goodness or qualification of our own. It exists independent of these. Nor did Christ, by His coming and death, create that love. This love existed before; it was this that sent Christ. ���God so loved the world, that He gave his Son.��� Yet, without Christ, this love could never have reached us. It would have been a distant and inaccessible well, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. It is through Him that this free love has found its way to us. He brings it to us, and us to it. He gives access, and entrance, and introduction; for the word implies all these, and is used elsewhere to signify the bringing or introducing one person to another (Luke 9:41; Acts 16:20); and is employed not simply in reference to the grace of God, but to God himself (1 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 2:18, 3:12). Our outward or objective Introducer and introduction is Christ himself; our inward or subjective introduction and introducer is faith. Jesus brings us to time Father and the Father���s grace, but He does so by producing faith in us. Without, or apart from Christ, the grace cannot come to us; and without faith, Christ and we are kept at a distance from each other. God has given us His true testimony, both as to His grace and as to His Son; and we, in believing that testimony, become connected with both. The grace is deposited in Christ for us; and we, in coming to Him, get the grace that is in Him. The grace that is in Him, He has received for men, even for the rebellious; and this was the grace which He manifested when here on earth, both in his words and deeds. He was the gracious One, and, as such, the representative of the Father. We go to Him to get His own and the Father���s grace, the free love of Godhead. III. The standing, or abiding.���In this grace, or free love, we have stood since we were introduced into it; and in it we are standing, and shall stand. ���We stand in it!��� This is a believing man���s true position. He takes his stand on the free love of God. This raises him up and holds him up; keeps him from fainting, or falling, or sliding. This free love is to him���(1) abiding peace, (2) abiding strength, (3) abiding security. This free love is to him���(1) sunshine, (2) rain, (3) food, (4) water, (5) medicine, (6) wine. At this well he stands and drinks, in this sun he basks, to this storehouse he comes for everything. Have we used this free love as we ought? Are we using it constantly? Do we use it for strengthening our faith, for quickening our daily life, for increasing our holiness, for dispelling our doubts, for ministering consolation? In the constant recognition of this love, there is provision for a close walk with God, and for a useful, zealous life. Are we thus employing it? Are we using it pure and undiluted; love���true, free, unmingled, unmerited love? Or are we diluting it,���polluting it, by mingling something of our own with it; making it less pure, and heavenly, and generous ; less absolutely, and unconditionally, and entirely free? Let us remember how much our steadfastness and progress depend on our constant recognizing of, and living on, this free love. Apart from it, all is weakness, bondage, darkness, and instability. O free love of God, what a fountain of life and strength thou art to the weary, helpless sinner! IV. The rejoicing.���This grace is not merely stability for us, but joy, and hope, and glory. Standing in this grace, we are filled with joy. This joy comes not merely from the past and present, but from the future; not merely from the knowledge that we are beloved of God, but from the knowledge of what that love is to do for us hereafter. We rejoice because our future is filled with hope,���the hope of the glory of God. Joy comes, then, from hope; hope from the God of love; hope sure and steadfast; hope that maketh not ashamed; everlasting hope. Glory is ours in prospect,���the glory of God; and so great is it, that we reckon that the sufferings of this life are not worthy to be compared with the glory to be revealed,���the ���exceeding and eternal weight of glory.��� It is the glory of the new heavens and earth, the glory of resurrection, the glory of the kingdom, the very glory of Christ. And it is all ours, simply as those who have known and believed this free love of God. Hence the apostle���s prayer, ���The God of (the) hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing.��� Take these lessons: 1. Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.���It is on this we plant our feet; it is this that makes us strong. This love is our strength. 2. Rejoice in the Lord.���Ours should be a full and constant gladness; for, both before and behind, we are compassed about with that which gladdens. 3. Abound in hope.���It is bright, blessed, and glorious. It is the hope of reigning with Christ. It will sustain and sanctify. It will animate and cheer. Thus do we glorify the God of hope. 4. Realize the glory. Keep the eye steadfastly fixed upon it, till its brightness fills our whole being. ���Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Lords Day 33, 2011

Sunday··2011·08·14
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Confession and Petition Holy Lord, I have sinned times without number, and been guilty of pride and unbelief, of failure to find thy mind in thy Word, of neglect to seek thee in my daily life. My transgressions and short-comings present me with a list of accusations, But I bless thee that they will not stand against me, for all have been laid on Christ. Go on to subdue my corruptions, and grant me grace to live above them. Let not the passions of the flesh nor lustings of the mind bring my spirit into subjection, but do thou rule over me in liberty and power. 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. The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; Romans 5:24 How simply does the apostle put the good news in the conclusion of the previous chapter! It was not written for his (Abrahams) sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered because we had sinned, and was raised because we were justified. Then in the fifth chapter he thus continues,Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom we have access (introduction) by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we even glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience (?, approval after trial,approval by God; perhaps here a sense of approval), and experience hope, and hope maketh not ashamed (will not disappoint), because the love of God is shed abroad (poured out of one vessel into another) in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. Thus, then, all true religion begins with our being justified; this justification is immediate,by believing; then follows inseparably, peace with God; and this peace is through Jesus Christ, who is our peace, and who has made peace by the blood of His cross. This Jesus who has effected the peace has brought us at the same time into a state of favor, and placed us on a new footing, namely, of grace or free love, so that all our intercourse and transactions with God henceforth proceed on this new footing; God deals with us in free love, and we count on being dealt with at all times in free love; we expect nothing save from free love, and from it we expect everything. This fountain of Gods free love, thus opened for us, and to which, we are brought by Jesus Christ, is all we need for the fullest supply of our innumerable wants. Let us give all credit to the divine testimony concerning it; and act upon it continually; so shall we be kept in peace, and strength, and liberty. But let us look at the second verse a little more closely. The two things which the apostle brings before us in connection with our justified condition, are the grace and the glory. Let us take up these two subjects. I. The grace. This means, of course, the state of favor with God; as when we read, Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. It is that state in which we are dealt with by God in free love, and in free love alone; that state in which not law but free love regulates everything, gives everything; so that keeping this in mind, we may live, and act, and pray as those who are entitled to feel themselves absolutely sure of everything that free love can bestow. The apostle refers to two things in our connection with this state, our introduction or access into it, and our abiding in it. (1.) Access or introduction. It is Christ that introduces us into it, places us in it,Christ himself; for through Him we have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Christ is the revealer of the Father, the embodiment of the Fathers free love. Christ takes us by the hand, and leads us in to the Fathers presence; and thus led in by Him, we find there nothing but grace, favor, love. There is no other Introducer but He; there is no other introduction or recommendation but His blood. He leads us in, saying, Father, here is one who is willing to be indebted to me for everything, to my blood for cleansing, to my righteousness for covering, to my merit for acceptance, receive him graciously, love him freely. Thus by Christ we are introduced into the favor of God. (2.) Abiding in it. It is a state of permanence, unchanging permanence. It is not free love today and law tomorrow, but free love perpetually henceforth; we are not under the law but under grace; where sin abounded, grace has much more abounded. We are not in favor one hour, and out of favor the next, according to our frames; but always in favor, through Him who has introduced us into a state, out of which we can never be cast. There may be much inconsistency, much conscious evil, much that is in itself fitted to separate us from God, or draw His frown upon us; but we are now in a state of favor,and God deals with us now only in free love. This free love faith realizes; keeping us ever under a sense of it, rooted and grounded in love. Out of the happy consciousness of this, nothing but unbelief can drive us or keep us. Let us, then, know our privilege as believing men, and stand in this free love; let us be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. It is often hard so to abide; to realize Gods free love in the midst of much conscious evil; but that is the condition of every one who has believed in Jesus; and on this free love he ever falls back when Satan would prompt him to despond, or lead him to self-righteousness. The remembrance of this free love will alone keep him in perfect peace. Nothing else will avail. II. The glory. It is the glory of God; not the essential glory of the divine character, but the glory conferred on us by God; the glory of His kingdom; the glory of His glorious heaven; the glory of resurrection, when that which is sown in dishonour shall be raised in glory; the glory of the inheritance of the saints in light. Connected with this glory there is first joy, and then hope. (1.) Joy. The word is more properly to triumph, or boast, or exult. It is the expression of the souls exuberant fullness at the tidings of such a glory. It is joy more than sufficient to counterbalance all earthly sorrows, as well as to eclipse all earthly joys. We glory in the glory. We triumph every time we think of what God has promised to us, and will ere long bring to pass. (2.) Hope. This glory is expressly given us as a hope, as something for hope to feed upon; an object large enough and bright enough to gladden the hoping eye, and fill the hoping soul. It is preeminently the thing hoped for, the blessed hope. We are men of hope. We are saved by hope. We love by hope. We are comforted by hope. We are sustained and sanctified by hope. It is a hope that maketh not ashamed. It will not fail nor disappoint. It will, when realized, prove itself to be worthy of the joy which it gave us here; worthy of that God who prepared it for us, of that Christ who bought it for us. The root of all this is faith,faith beginning at the cross and stretching forward to the throne; faith which brings us into the possession of the divine favor, and keeps us in perfect peace, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God. Let us live the lives of believing men; at peace with God; rooted and grounded in love; free, happy, earnest, self-denied; never losing hold of the free love of God, and never losing sight of the glory to be revealed; walking not only in the love of God, but in the law of God, which is holy, and just, and good, keeping our eye continually on the statutes, and judgments, and testimonies, and commandments of the Lord our God, knowing that great peace have they that love this law, and that it is to this that we are called,that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. 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Lords Day 34, 2011

Sunday··2011·08·21
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Hymn 62. (c. m.) Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God, worshipped by all the creation. Rev. v. 1113. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) Come, let us join with cheerful songs With angels round the throne; Ten thousand thousand are their tongues, But all their joys are one. Worthy the Lamb that died, they cry, To be exalted thus: Worthy the Lamb, our lips reply, For he was slain for us. Jesus is worthy to receive Honor and power divine; And blessings more than we can give, Be, Lord, for ever thine. Let all that dwell above the sky, And air, and earth, and seas, Conspire to lift thy glories high, And speak thine endless praise. The whole creation join in one, To bless the sacred name Of him that sits upon the throne, And to adore the Lamb. from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Romans 5 There are four distinct facts or events given us here, on which the argument of the passage builds itself. Two of these have reference to the history of the sinner, and two of them to tile history of the sinners deliverer. The first two are, mans enmity and mans reconciliation; the last two are, the Saviours death and the Saviours life. Out of these four facts the apostles argument is constructedan argument as profound as it is simple, as convincing as it is natural. It is apparently but one argument, and yet it divides itself very easily into three quite separate parts, rising out of these two classes of facts. The first argument isIf God did so much for us when enemies, what will He do for us when friends? The second isIf Christs death has done so much for us, what will His life do? The third argument isIf Christs death did so much for us when enemies, what will his life do for us when friends? Such is the argument of our text,threefold in its construction, and yet each part not merely linked to the other, but most naturally and simply rising out of the other, so that a person in possession of the facts could not help following time steps of his reasoning, and acquiescing in his triumphant conclusions. But before proceeding to consider these, there is a truth which may be brought out here, and kept in mind as we pass along, being implied in and illustrative of time argument. It is this If Gods thoughts were gracious before sending His Son, they cannot be supposed to be less so after He has been sent. Now, we know that His thoughts were thoughts of peace and grace from all eternity. Had they not been so, He never would have sent His Son. And we know that it is written: God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son; God commendeth His love towards us, in that, while ye were yet sinners, Christ died for us; Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. There having been in His infinite bosom this exceeding love before He gave His Son, it is wholly incredible that He should be less gracious now, less compassionate, less loving, less willing to bestow all needed gifts. For (1) that gift did not exhaust His love. It did not empty the heart of God, nor dry up the fountain of His grace. Gods love is not like mans love, ebbing and flowing, bursting forth and then subsiding. No. The gift, though unspeakable, was not the exhaustion but the manifestation of the love, demonstrating it to be an infinite love, and shewing the infinite lengths to which it is willing to go. So far from having made God unwilling to do more for us, it has proved that there are no limits to His willingness to do for us exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. (2.) That gift has not thrown any hindrance in the way of Gods love. It is not now a more difficult thing for God to love us; nay, if we can say so, it is easier than ever. All hindrances have now melted away. That gift which displayed the love, contained in it provision for the removal of all barriers that stood in its way. There are now no breaks nor barriers to stay its course. It is at liberty to roll on unhindered in its amplest fullness. It is now a righteous thing in God to love, to pardon, and to bless. And will He love less now that there exist no longer any obstacles to check the course of love? Will He love less when His love is no longer pent up, but has free course; when He is free to love; nay, to give vent to it, even to the uttermost;nay, when in doing so, He magnifies His law, glorifies Himself, and puts honour on His Son? Instead, then, of Gods loving us less, we should be led to conclude, that, if that were possible, He must love us immeasurably more! Having thus briefly noticed this important truth, we now pass on to consider time three special heads of argument. 1. If God did so much for us when enemies, what will he do, or rather, what will He not do, for us now that we are friends? He is speaking, of course, in the name of those who have entered into reconciliation over time blood of the great sacrificewho, in believing, have found peace with God, and have exchanged enmity for friendship, hatred for love. Speaking in their name, he reasons If, when we were enemies, He reconciled us to Himself, much more now, when reconciled, will He bless us. Our enmity did not hinder His blessing us, much less surely will our reconciliation. Our enmity, great as it was, did not hinder His bestowing such an unspeakable gift; what is there, then, within the whole circle of the universe, which we may not count upon, now that that enmity has been removed, and we have entered into eternal friendship with Him? Nothing was too costly for us when we were enemies; can anything be too costly now that we are friends. The great difficulty of our enmity being surmounted, what is there that remains to hinder the fullest outflow of His hove? Nay, what is there that will not tend to draw out that love in larger and larger measures? He loved and blessed us when enemies; will He not much more love us when friends? He loved us when we hated Him; will He not love us more when we return His love? He loved us when aliens, strangers, prodigals; will He not love us more when we have become sons, and, as sons, have returned to the parental home, and have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father? He loved us when unrighteous,when we had not even so much as a creatures righteousness,will He not love us unspeakably more when we stand before Him in righteousness, and that the righteousness of His only-begotten Son? He loved us when unholy; will He not love us now when His Spirit has taken old timings away, and made all things new? He loved us when there dwelt in us only the spirit of the world, nay, the very god of this world himself; will He not love us when His own Spirit dwells in us, making us temples of the living God? He loved us when we were heirs of wrath; will He not love and bless us more when we are heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ? There may be said to be three stages in this love, at each of which it rises and increases:First, He loved us when enemies. Secondly, He loves us more when friends, even in this imperfect state of still-remaining sin. Thirdly, He will love us yet more when imperfection has been shaken off, and we are presented without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. The first stage of this love is, when we were heirs of perdition; the second is, when we become heirs of the kingdom; the third is, when we actually get possession of the kingdom, and are seated with Christ upon His throne. Here, then, is love in which we may assuredly triumph. It was love which expressed itself by an infinite gift. It did so when we were afar off when we were enemies; what expression, then, will it give, or rather, what expression will it not give to itself now when we have been brought nigh to God, and have entered into covenant with Him? Nay, more, what a portion must be ours hereafter, what a sum of blessedness, what an exceeding and eternal weight of glory! Especially when, in giving vent to His love to us, He is getting vent to His love towards His Son; when, in honouring and glorifying us, He is honouring and glorifying His Son! Being, then, justified by faith, not only have we peace with God, not only have we access into this grace wherein we stand, but we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. We reason thus: If God has lavished on us such a love when we knew Him not, what will He not do for us now that we know Him? If He is loving us and blessing us here, oh! will He not love us and bless us in the day when we take possession of the provided inheritance? II. If Christs death did so much for us, what will not His life do? If a dying Saviour did so much for us, what will not a living Saviour be able to do? The expression saved used here, denotes the whole blessing which God has in store for uscomplete deliverance in every sense of that worda complete undoing of our lost estatethe full possession of every blessing. Salvation, in Gods sense of it, takes in the very widest compass of blessing, from the forgiveness of the first sin to the possession of the eternal glory. Of this salvation, reconciliation was the commencement. In being brought nigh to God through the blood of the cross, our salvation began. Its consummation is, when Jesus comes the second time without sin unto salvation. The apostles argument rests on the fact of the existence of these two opposite states of beingthe two opposite extremities of being, death and life. Death is the lowest pitch of helplessness, lower even than the feebleness of infancy. It is the extremity of weakness. It is the utter cessation of all strength. Life is the opposite of this. It is the full possession of being, with all its faculties and powers. It is the guarantee for the forth putting of all the vigor and strength which belongs to the individual in whom it dwells. And it is thus that the apostle reasons: If Christ in His lowest state of weakness accomplished such marvels for us, what will He not be able to do for us now that He is in the full exercise of His almighty strength? If when reduced to the very extremity of helplessness, He did so much for us, what will He not do for us now when He can say, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth? If, when going down into the tomb, He yet wrought such achievements for us, what will He not do when rising from the tomb, nay, ascending on high? If when under the power of His enemies, and nailed in helpless agony on the tree, He yet prevailed in our behalf how will He not prevail now that He has triumphed over all? If when made a little lower than the angels, He did so much for us, what will He not do when raised far above principalities and powers, and every name that is named? If, when subjected to the dominion of him who had the power of death, He yet conquered for us, and won such glorious spoils, what will He not do now when He has led captivity captive, and completed His mighty victory? If the cross and the tomb have done so much for us, what will not the throne secure? How perfect the reasoning! How blessed the conclusion! Resting on such an argument, we may stand unshaken and unruffled. Using this as our shield, what fiery darts of the wicked one may we not repel? And shall we not ply it to the utmost in dispelling our darkness, in banishing our doubts, in making us thoroughly ashamed of our fears? Using it as time apostle does, and reasoning with ourselvesIf a dying Saviour did so much for us, what will not a living Saviour do? let us say, Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? still trust in God; for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. III. If Christs death did so much for us when enemies, what will not His life do for us when friends? In other words, If a dying Saviour did so much for us when enemies, what will not a living Saviour do for us when friends? This is the conjunction of the two previous conclusions. It completes the whole argument by thus putting the two into one. It is a double argument; double in its structure, and double in its strength. It is an argument of resistless power, making us feel the perfect and absolute security which we have for everything included in that word salvation. If enemies have tasted such love, and received such blessings, at the hands of a dying Saviour, what may not friends receive at the hands of Him who is not only alive, but liveth for evermore? If, in the extremity of His weakness, and in the extremity of our alienation, such wonders were wrought for usin spite of that weakness on His part, and that alienation on ourswhat may we not expect now that He is invested with the perfection of all power, and when we have not simply been reconciled, but have been made friends and sons, nay, taken to His bosom as His chosen bride? If a father, in the midst of poverty and weakness, will do much for a prodigal child, what will he not, in the day of his riches, and power, and honour, do for a reconciled son? Here, then, are two truths which, in assuring us of pardon, assure us of everything. Jesus died, and Jesus liveth,these are the truths which contain everything for us. Jesus died!that contains everything that we need for reconciliation and peace: Jesus liveth!that contains everything pertaining to the promised inheritance. In knowing the former, I enter into friendship with God; in knowing the latter, I get hold of a security for all heavenly blessing, which takes away the possibility of a suspicion arising in my soul, even in my most troubled hours, as to my joy and glory for eternity. Jesus diedJesus liveth! The simple knowledge of these simple truths is salvation, forgiveness, peace, eternal life. All that the death and life of Christ combined can accomplish is ours! All that can come forth from His grave, or down from His throne, all that a dying and a living Saviour can do, is ours! All that is embraced in the wide compass between the lowest depths of the tomb of Jesus and the infinite heights of His eternal crown, all is ours! Many were the wonders which His death achieved for enemies; many more will be the wonders yet to be accomplished for His friends! Hear how Scripture speaks of His life. When He who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory. His appearing as our life shall bring with it all that blessedness and glory which pertain to Him as the living Oneas our life. Because I live ye shall live also. He cannot die; He liveth forever. He is the resurrection and the life; therefore life, and all that life comprises, shall be ours. He ever liveth to make intercession for us. He lives as if just on purpose to intercede for us; and oh, what will not the intercession of this ever living One secure for us! Fear not, He says, I am He that liveth and was dead; and am alive for evermore; and have the keys of hell and death. What more can we need, not simply to dissipate all fear, but to call up in us the most assured hopenay, to fill us with the joy unspeakable and full of glory? Of what, then, is it that this life of Christ gives us the assurance? Of salvation says the apostle: We shall be saved by His life. Reconciliation is the result of His death; salvation, of His life! But what does this salvation include? It is, as we have already seen, the entire reversal of our lost estate. And this includes much. It is, in the very largest sense, a manifold salvation. It is deliverance from the wrath to come, from the horrors of an eternal hell. Of this, His death gives us the assurance; His life, much more; for hell itself, with all its powers and potentates, cannot prevail against Him who has subdued its prince. It is deliverance from guilt. However infinite that guilt may be, there is entire salvation from it all, salvation sure and irreversible. It is deliverance from sin. It assails sin in its very citadel, the inmost soul, and casts it out. No amount of corruption can withstand it. Self gives way, the flesh is crucified; the old man dies; the inward man is renewed day by day. It is deliverance from death,the death both of body and soul, the first and second death. The Saviour has shaken the grave, and flung open its gates. Life,life beyond the tomb, life in resurrection,is what He has secured for us. I am the resurrection and the life; Because I live ye shall live also; I have the keys of hell and death. Thus he speaks to us assuring us of redemption from the power of the grave. It is deliverance from want. His fullness takes away the possibility of any want, from the moment that our connection with Him began. Want from that time became impossible; for all His riches became ours. His fullness was always at command. It is deliverance from enemies and perils. Many and mighty as these might be, they could not affect us. We were beyond their reach. They might aim at us, but they could not harm. Our victory over them was sure. And as we are thus assured not only of reconciliation but of salvation from all evil in every form, so are we put in possession of every good. All things become ours: for He who saves us makes full provision for His saved ones. All that a dying Saviour could secure for us is freely given; nay more, all that a living Saviour possesses for Himself becomes also ours. Joy, glory, dominion, royalty, priesthood, and a boundless inheritance,all these are ours, and all of them made irreversibly sure to us from the fact that Jesus liveth. He was dead and is alive; yea, and He liveth for evermore. This is our pledge for the perpetuity of our possession. He lives; and all that a living Saviour can do for us shall be done. He ever liveth to make intercession for us: what more do we need to assure us that things present, things to come, life and death, all are ours; for we are Christs, and Christ is Gods? If His death made such a glorious commencement for us when we were enemies, what will not His life carry out and consummate for us now that we are friends? Here, then, let us rest, for surely the resting place is a sufficient one. With arguments such as those of the apostle, let us confront Satan, breaking all his snares, overthrowing all his might; and disentangling ourselves from his subtlest sophistries. On grounds such as these, let us cast aside the various processes of doubting through which so many seem to think it necessary to pass; not listening to the whispers of unbelief, but meeting them all with the resistless argument of our text. Here, too, let us greatly rejoice, turning this argument into a song of triumph; for surely it is both. It is as much the latter as it is the former. And more especially let us do so in these last days, when we are looking for the return of this same living Saviour. The prospect of His speedy arrival seems to impart to it double edge and force. Carrying out the argument we can say, If an absent Saviour has done so much for us, what will not a present Saviour do? If, when afar off, He has done such things for us, what will He not do when He is nigh? If the Man of Sorrows did so much for us, what will not the mighty Conqueror do? If, when put to shame, He did such great things for us, what will He not do when He is glorified? If, upon the cross, He so blessed and befriended us, what may we not expect when He sits upon His throne? If when He appeared on earth without form or comeliness, He wrought such wonders for us, what may we not look for when He comes in His beauty as the Churchs Bridegroom? If, when He came as the son of the carpenter,the despised son of Mary,He achieved such victories and won such honours for us, what may we not anticipate when He comes in glory as the King of kings and Lord of lords. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Lords Day 35, 2011

Sunday··2011·08·28
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Petitionary Hymns Poem XXXIII. Augustus Toplady (17401778) Come from on high, my King and God, My confidence thou art; Display the virtue of thy blood, And circumcise my heart. From heavn, thy holy place, on me Descend in mercy down; Water of life, I thirst for thee, To know thee for my own. Rend, O rend the guilty veil, That keeps me from my God; Remove the bar, and let me feel That I am thine abode. O might this worthless heart of mine The Saviours temple be! Emptyd of evry love but thine, And shut to all but thee! The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). 19 . . . the revealing of the sons of God. Romans 8 The name, sons of God, is not exclusively applicable to the church. Angels are called sons (Job 38:7); so is Adam (Luke 3:38); so is Israel (Hosea 1:10). Yet the redeemed get that name in a deeper, fuller sense, by reason of their higher standing and their closer connection with the Son of God (1 John 3:1; Romans 8:17, 29; Revelation 21:7). There are thus outer and inner, higher and lower, circles of sonship; Christ the one center; and His redeemed occupying the innermost circle or region nearest to Himself, and nearest to the Father. The history of these sons,these heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, the redeemed from among men,divides itself into the following parts or epochs: I. Their past eternity. They had a history ere they were born; not conscious to themselves, but truly in the eye and purpose of God. (Roman 8:29; Ephesians 1:3, 5; 2 Timothy 1:9; Revelation 17:8.) In these passages the history of each saint and of the church of God is traced to that eternity in which God only existed. Even then they were sons of God by anticipation; sons of God in the Fathers purpose, and in the everlasting covenant. How marvelous, how glorious their history! II. Their unregenerate life on earth. They were born no better than others; shapen in iniquity; children of wrath; able to claim kindred only with the first Adam, only with the flesh and with earth; not a vestige of the second Adam about them; no trace of heavenly sonship; no lineament of their Father in heaven; walking according to the course of this world; hateful and hating one another; their hearts enmity against God. III. Their adoption. In Gods purpose this adoption stood from eternity; but it was seen when they actually passed out of the family of the evil one into that of God. When they were begotten again they became sons, receiving the name, privileges, legal rights of Sons. Let us note the different statements of Scripture as to these things: (1.) They are begotten again. (1 Peter 1:3.) They are born of time Spirit (John 3:3), born from above. (2.) They believe. (Galatians 3:26.) They pass out of the region of unbelief into that of faith. In believing they become sons. (3.) They receive Christ. (John 1:12.) They accept the Fathers testimony to Him as the Son of God, and the Christ of God. (4.) They get the name of sons. (1 John 3:1) They are now called sons of God. This is their new name, given by God himself. (5.) They receive the spirit of adoption. (Galatians 4:5,6.) A new spirit fills them; the spirit of sonship; and, Abba, Father, is their cry. (6.) They are led by the Spirit. (Roman 8:14.) They are not their own guides; nor do they trust in human guidance; but are led by Him. (7.) They are chastened. (Hebrew 12:7.) Discipline is their lot; and chastisement is the badge of sonship. (8.) They are brought to glory. (Hebrew 2:10.) To this are they redeemed and called. Whom He justified, them He also glorified. (9.) They are made like Christ himself. (Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2.) Conformity to the Son of God is their destiny and their privilege: We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. IV. Their time of obscurity. For a season they are hidden; mens eyes are holden so that they do not recognize them; they are in disguise; the world does not believe that they are what they claim to be, or that their prospects are so very glorious. Their life is hid with Christ in God. It doth not yet appear what they shall be. They do not wear the raiment either of kings or of sons. They are strangers and pilgrims. This is the day of their obscurity and non-acknowledgment by men. As it was with their Lord, so with them. He was unknown and unrecognized; nay, despised and rejected. This is the discipline through which they are passing; this the manner in which they glorify the Father upon earth; this the trial of their faith, and this the touchstone of the worlds willingness to own their Lord. Are we content with obscurity? V. The manifestation. The obscurity does not last always; nay, not long. The day is coming when the disguise shall drop off, and their royal robes display themselves; when He who is their life shall appear, they shall appear with Him. Then shall they be like Him to whom they adhered in the day of sorrow and gloom. But let us see, (1.) What this manifestation is. (The word is the same as in 1 Corinthians 1:7; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:7, 13; 4:13.) It is revelation, or outshining, or transfiguration. They are in this conformed to their Lord. They were like Him in their obscurity; they shall be like Him in their manifestation. It shall be transfiguration glory; resurrection glory; royal glory; bridal glory; priestly glory. What a contrast between the obscurity and the manifestation will be presented in that day of unveiling, when they shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. What a future is ours! how unlike our present! (2.) When shall the manifestation be? In the day of Christs appearing; not in the day of death. The soul of the saint is blessed when he dies; he is with Christ in Paradise; but still the glory is not full, and the body is still in the grave; the grave is part of our obscurity. But when time Lord descends from heaven, then the dead in Christ shall rise; then this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and death be swallowed up in victory. (3.) How long shall the manifestation be? Forever. A whole eternity of glory. Our obscurity was but a day; our glory is everlasting. We are to shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars forever and ever. What a blaze of splendor will break forth from the glorified church, in the day of manifestation! What, in comparison with this, is the brightness of the sun or stars? Let us walk worthy of our prospects; content with present obscurity and shame; passing the time of our sojourning here in fear. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Lords Day 36, 2011

Sunday··2011·09·04
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. The Riches of Gods Word Samuel Stennett (17271795) Let avarice, from shore to shore, Her favorite god pursue; Thy word, O Lord, we value more Than India or Peru. Here mines of knowledge, love, and joy, Are opened to our sight; The purest gold without alloy, And gems divinely bright. The councils of redeeming grace, These sacred leaves unfold; And here the Savior’s lovely face Our raptured eyes behold. Here, light descending from above Directs our doubtful feet; Here, promises of heavenly love Our ardent wishes meet. Our numerous griefs are here redrest, And all our wants supplied; Nought we can ask to make us blessed, Is in this book denied. For these inestimable gains, That so enrich the mind, O may we search with eager pains, Assured that we shall find! Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. Romans 8 When the night is darkest, and the stars are hidden, and the clouds are black, then we think most of the clear fair day, and long for its dawn. When the storm is roughest, with the waves and wind roaring round the labouring vessel, then we are troubled, and look eagerly out for the glad and sunny calm. When winter binds earth in its chain of frost, and wraps it in snow and ice, then we begin to ask for spring, with its flowers, and songs, and verdure. So with the saint, as represented by the apostle here. This is night, and storm, and winter to him; he is ever thinking of the day, and the calm, and the spring. Like one sitting amid the ruins of the earthly Jerusalem, lie sighs for the glory of the heavenly city. From banishment she more and more, Desires to see her country dear; She sits and sends her sighs before, Her joys and treasures all be there.(Old Hymn.) The weariness, and conflict, and sufferings of this present life, call up in the apostle the wonderful thoughts contained in these verses relating to creation and to the Church of God, to the wretchedness of this evil world and groaning earth, and the perfection of that world that is to come,that new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. We thus interpret the whole passage, beginning, as it ought, at the middle of the seventeenth verse:If indeed we suffer together, it is that we may be also glorified together; for I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to be revealed in us, (which reaches towards us, ??). For the earnest expectation of creation waiteth for the revelation of the sons of God; for creation was subjected to vanity, not willingly, but on account of the subjecter (God), who (for His own purposes), hath subjected it in hope, because creation itself shall be delivered from the bondage of the corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans together and travails together until now. And not creation only, but we ourselves also, (although) possessing the first fruit of the Spirit, (the Spirit as a first fruit), even we groan in ourselves, waiting for the adoption, that is, the redemption of our body; for (moreover) by this hope we are saved; (the things of this hope are no doubt unseen, otherwise it would not be hope) but a hope that is seen is not a hope. But if we do not see, and yet hope, then we wait in patience. Such is the meaning of the passage; let us now learn in detail what the apostle reveals as to creation, and as to the church. I. Creation. Here (as in Matthew 10:6, from the beginning of the creation,) (the word signifies the earth and the fullness thereof (1 Corinthians 10: 26), or that which the Holy Spirit describes in the first chapter of Genesis, and pronounced good and very good. For matter (no less than spirit) is Gods handiwork, and therefore precious in His sight. Let us read and understand Genesis 1; Psalms 8:19, 148:; Proverbs 8. (1.) Its subjection to vanity. Vanity means that which is vanishing, liable to change and decay, vanity of vanities. It means evil in opposition to good, emptiness in contrast with fullness. This material creation was made good and stable; but mans sin let in evil upon it, brought on it the curse, made it crumble down and wither, till it not only decays and waxes old, but is ready to vanish away. To this vanity the Creator has subjected it, in consequence of its connection with man: Cursed is the ground for thy sake (Genesis 3:17). This passage in Genesis contains the act or sentence of subjection, as putting it under the power of vanity,decay, corruption, disease, death. Not its own sin but mans was the cause: for thy sake.[8] (2.) Its earnest expectation. The word signifies the eagerness expressed by the head bent forward and the neck outstretchedintense and anxious longing. Such is the feeling figuratively ascribed to creation, as in Psalm 96:2, when it is called on to be glad, and rejoice, and clap hands, in expectation of its coming Deliverer and King. This, then, is creations attitude as seen and interpreted by God. He looks down on creation, and regards it as expecting, waiting, watching, longing, just as He is said to hear the cry of the young lions for food. (3.) Its groans and travail-pangs. It is hike a sick man racked with pain, and crying out for relief; it is as a woman in labour, suffering the pains of childbirth, and longing for the moment when she shall be delivered. All nature sighs as if conscious of imperfection, as if bowed down under the curse. Blight, decay, death, storms, earthquakes, lightnings, are all the groans of creation, and perhaps still more, the sufferings of the beasts of the field, and fowls of the air; for their case seems unspeakably sad, suffering at the hands of man in a thousand ways not by any fault of their own. Perhaps also the labour pangs of earth may not simply be to shake of the corruption with its bondage; but especially to be delivered of the millions and millions of bodies which it contains. Does it not travail in pain to be delivered of the dust of the saints which it has carried in its womb for ages? and of earth also shall it not be said, in the beauties of holiness from (more than) the womb of the morning thou hast the dew of thy youth (Psalm 110:3)? (4.) Its deliverance. This is the day of creations bondage, in which corruption (the corruption or old curse) holds it; the day of its liberty,the liberty of the glory,is coming, the times of the restitution of all things; the revocation of the curse; the bestowal of the long deferred blessing; the renewal of the heavens and earth which are now. Creation is represented as knowing this its glorious destiny, and looking forward to it, as simultaneous with the manifestation of the sons of God, the day when these sons shall shine forth in the kingdom of their Father; for, when He who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory. Thus all creation looks forward to its perfection, groaning under imperfection; anticipating the new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Bright hope! Sweet consolation to us when moving about each day amid the vanity of a sin-laden earth, and listening to its groans and pangs! Rest for a weary world, tarry not! Earths days of weariness are now drawing to a close. These long ages of suffering and vanity have surely been enough to demonstrate the exceeding sinfulness of sin. II. The church. It is described as we who have the first fruits of the Spirit,as the sons of God. It is composed of the redeemed from among men from him by whom the curse and the vanity were brought in, to the last of His redeemed sons; a glorious church,whose members are heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ,the general assembly and church of the firstborn,Gods kings and priests, prepared for His everlasting kingdom. What, then, says the apostle here of this churchof its present and its future. Mark, (1.) Its sufferings. He calls them the sufferings of this present time; sufferings with Christ, as well as sufferings for Christ. There are fightings without, and fears within; enemies all around; tribulation on every hand,in body, and soul, and spirit; weary limbs, weeping eyes, drooping hands, feeble knees, fainting spirits, aching heads, broken hearts: even when outward persecution assails not. Through much tribulation we must enter the kingdom of God. I fill up that which is behind of the sufferings of Christ. (2.) Its groans. We ourselves groan within ourselves, sometimes articulately, and sometimes with the groanings that cannot be uttered. As Jeremiah says, Our sighs are many, and our heart is faint. The churchs groans are in unison and sympathy with a groaning creation. An absent King, a present usurper, a cursed soil, overflowing evil, disease, sorrow, death: these make it groan even in the midst of its joy unspeakable. (3.) Its waiting. Waiting,patient waiting,hoping,this is the churchs attitude, in harmony with creation. The feeling and attitude of the church intimates that the inheritance is yet to come. Not now, not yet; but soon and surely; therefore we wait, may be said to be its language. It waits now, in accordance with the saints of all ages past, for deliverance from the bondage of the corruption, and for the liberty of the glory, for the reversal of all the evil which the first Adam introduced, and for the in bringing of all the good and the glory which the second Adam has purchased. (4.) Its adoption. Even now are we the sons of God; we have already received the Spirit of adoption, crying, Abba, Father. But as it was resurrection that manifested (Romans 1:4) Christs own Sonship (though He was the eternal Son), so by resurrection is our sonship or adoption to be manifested. The day of adoption is here called the day of the redemption of the body. For this fullness of divine, and visible, and proclaimed adoption, we wait in hope and patience. (5.) Its manifestation. It doth not yet appear what we shall be. As Christ is hidden, so are we just now. We are sons, and kings, and heirs, in disguise. But the day of revelation comes; when He who is our life shall appear, we shall appear with Him in glory. If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him. The day of His recognition and crowning shall be ours also. (6.) Its liberty. In one sense we are free, Christ bath made us free. In another, we are sharers of the bondage of the corruption; we groan within ourselves; we cry, O, wretched men, who shall deliver us; we are carnal, sold under sin. The day of full freedom is at hand, eternal and glorious. (7.) Its glory. This is the glory to be revealed; it is the day of the glory for heaven and earth, of which it is said, The wise shall inherit glory,Christs glory, the churchs glory, creations glory,glory such as that described in the two last chapters of Revelation, an exceeding and eternal weight of glory. See then, 1. The power and poison of sin. It was one sin that ruined man, and marred creation, and introduced death. The effects of that one sin are still felt; they have lasted nearly six thousand years, and are as terrible as ever. What must sin be! 2. The completeness of the deliverance. Not man only, but mans earth, shares this; not mans soul alone, but mans body too; it will be the undoing of the wrongs, and sorrows, and groans, of ages. The second Adams triumph will be complete. His blood will not only give white raiment to His saints, but will wash creation white. 3. The unbelieving mans loss. He loses his soul; he loses heaven, and God, and glory, and the resurrection unto life; the incorruptible inheritance; the blessedness of the eternal rest, and the liberty of the glory, the joy and brightness of the manifestations of the sons of God. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Lord���s Day 37, 2011

Sunday··2011·09·11
I was glad when they said to me, ���Let us go to the house of the Lord.��� This Do in Remembrance of Me. Horatius Bonar (1808���1889) Here, O my Lord, I see Thee face to face; Here would I touch and handle things unseen; Here grasp with firmer hand the eternal grace, And all my weariness upon Thee lean. Here would I feed upon the bread of God; Here drink with Thee the royal wine of heaven; Here would I lay aside each earthly load, Here taste afresh the calm of sin forgiven. This is the hour of banquet and of song, This is the heavenly table spread for me; Here let me feast, and, feasting, still prolong The brief bright hour of fellowship with Thee. Too soon we rise; the symbols disappear; The feast, though not the love, is passed and gone. The bread and wine remove, but Thou art here, Nearer than ever, still my Shield and Sun. I have no help but Thine; nor do I need Another arm save Thine to lean upon. It is enough, my Lord, enough, indeed; My strength is in Thy might, Thy might alone. I have no wisdom, save in Him who is My wisdom and my teacher, both in one; No wisdom can I lack while Thou art wise, No teaching do I crave, save Thine alone. Mine is the sin, but Thine the righteousness; Mine is the guilt, but Thine the cleansing blood; Here is my robe, my refuge, and my peace, Thy blood, Thy righteousness, O Lord my God. I know that deadly evils compass me. Dark perils threaten, yet I would not fear. Nor poorly shrink, nor feebly turn to flee, Thou, O my Christ, art buckler, sword, and spear. But see, the Pillar-cloud is rising now. And moving onward through the desert-night; It beckons, and I follow, for I know It leads me to the heritage of light. Feast after feast thus comes and passes by; Yet, passing, points to the glad feast above, Giving sweet foretaste of the festal joy, The Lamb’s great bridal feast of bliss and love. ���Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; ���Romans 8 It is with the Holy Spirit that we are here brought face to face; or set side by side. As Christ does the whole work for us, so the Holy Spirit does the whole work in us. He is not visible, nor audible, nor palpable; but not on that account the less real and personal. He is infinitely real and personal; and His work is like Himself. Though He is specially ���a Spirit,��� yet all that He is, and says, and does, is thoroughly real. His presence is real; His indwelling is real; His words are real; His voice is real; His touch is real; His mode of operation, though not sensibly felt apart from the truth which He presents to us, is yet real and true; nay, perfect and divine; the very work of Him who created the heavens and the earth. Here, it is His way of dealing with us and our infirmities that is particularly referred to. We are described as feeble men, bearing on our shoulders a burden too heavy to be borne; He comes up to us; not exactly to take away the burden; nor to strengthen us under it; but to put His own Almighty shoulder under it, in the room of (���?�ь?), and along with (�ɜ֌?) ours; thus lightening the load, though not changing it; and bearing the heavier part of it with His own Almightiness. Thus it is that He ���helpeth��� (�ɜ֌?���?�ь?�������挱�?���ь��?) our infirmities; making us to feel both the burden and the infirmity all the while that He helps; nay, giving us such a kind and mode of help, as will keep us constantly sensible of both. This is especially true in regard to our prayers. Here it is that His ���help��� comes in so effectually and so opportunely; so that we are made to ���pray in the Holy Ghost��� (Jude 20); to ���pray with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit��� (Ephesians 6:18). We neither know the things we ought to pray for; nor, when we know these, do we know how to pray for them. The apostle here seems specially referring to the latter of these; the right way of praying. For this we need the Holy Ghost. Ah, what a thing is prayer! The simplest��� form of speech,���such as even a child could utter,���yet the highest and divinest of all utterances; such as the Holy Spirit alone can enable us to give forth. So entirely does the Spirit identify Himself with us, that our desires are reckoned His, and His desires ours. He not only helps our infirmities, but He comes into us, unites Himself, as it were, to us, makes Himself one with us; fills us, joins His desires to ours, His voice to ours, His cries to ours, so that they come both up as one before God. Thus He is ���intercessor,��� one who falls in with us,��� ���takes up our case,��� ���intercedes for us,��� over and above (���Č��?) the intercession of Christ. Our heart is cold; He infuses His warmth. Our desires are poor, He infuses His own full, rich longings. Our voice is feeble, He joins His voice to ours, and gives strength, and tone, and vigor, and loudness, so that thus filled with His, transfused with His, it goes up with power, and reaches the very heaven of heavens. But that which He is said specially to call up, or produce, or create in us, is ���groanings that cannot be uttered.��� Not simply words; nay, not words at all. Not simply desires, but groans���desires of the deepest and most earnest kind; groans so full, and deep, and fervent, that they cannot get vent in human words. They are divine longings, though coming out of the heart and lips of a man, and as such, cannot get themselves clothed or embodied in earthly words. Let us, then, learn, 1. True prayer is from the indwelling Spirit. It is He that wakes up prayer in us, both as to its matter and its manner. We knew not what or how to pray. He alone can teach us both; and He does this by coming in to us, and filling our whole being with Himself; so that while our longings are really ours, they are as really His. God receives them as both. 2. True prayer takes the form of a divine intercession. We have Christ in heaven on the throne, and the Spirit on earth in our hearts, interceding; Christ pleading for us as if we were one with Him, the Spirit pleading in us as if we were one with Him, and He with us. Intercession in the case of the Spirit, means His taking us up, undertaking for us; infusing Himself into each petition, so that He becomes the petitioner, the pleader. Thus He pleads both for us and in us. He throws Himself into our case; He seizes hold of us in our weakness; He bears us up as one who has come to our help; He drowns our cries in His, so that God hears not us but Him. 3. True prayer often takes the form of groans. The longings produced in us by the indwelling Spirit are such as cannot get vent to themselves in words. Our hearts are too full; our voice is choked; articulation is stifled; we can only groan. The groan is the truest part of true prayer. It seems to us sometimes the most imperfect part. We try to pray; our hearts are too full; we cannot; we break down; it may be with sorrow, or ignorance, or the intensity of our feelings, or the soreness of our trials, or the multitude of our longings. Yes, we break down before God; we become dumb; we can only groan. But the groan is true prayer. Man could not interpret it; we ourselves do not fully understand it. But God does. ���He knows the meaning of the Spirit���s ���groans������ (Baxter). He accepts it; yes, accepts it as prayer; as the best of prayer; the fine gold of prayer; the sweetest of the sweet incense that goes up from earth to heaven. These broken, stifled cries, thus dictated by the Spirit, and sent up on the wings of His own voice; or, as we may say, these cries of the Spirit, expressive of our longings, and sent up on the wings of our voice,���these groanings which cannot be uttered,���are well-pleasing to God. For thus we groan with the rest of a groaning creation; and all these groans are at length to be heard and fully answered. (1.) Put yourself into the hands of the Spirit, for prayer and everything else. (2.) Grieve not the Spirit. He is willing to come to you, and take up your case; but beware of grieving Him. (3.) Pray much. Pray in the Spirit. Delight in prayer. Cherish the Spirit���s groans. ���Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Lords Day 38, 2011

Sunday··2011·09·18
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Hymn LIX. The Refuge, River, and Rock of the Church. Isaiah xxxii. 2. John Newton (17251807) He who on earth as man was known, And bore our sins and pains; Now, seated on th eternal throne, The God of glory reigns. His hands the wheels of nature guide With an unerring skill; And countless worlds extended wide, Obey his sovreign will. While harps unnumberd sound his praise, In yonder world above; His saints on earth admire his ways, And glory in his love. His righteousness, to faith revealed, Wrought out for guilty worms, Affords a hiding place and shield, From enemies and storms. This land, thro which his pilgrims go, Is desolate and dry; But streams of grace from him oerflow Their thirst to satisfy. When troubles, like a burning sun, Beat heavy on their head; To this almighty Rock they run, And find a pleasing shade. How glorious he! how happy they In such a glorious friend! Whose love secures them all the way, And crowns them at the end. Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Romans 8 This is inspired logic; yet it is most simple and natural reasoning. It goes straight down to understanding, heart, and conscience. It is irresistible. It contains, moreover, the whole gospel of the grace of God. It announces to us that perfect love which casteth out fear; and shews us the gracious character of God, as interpreted and illustrated by the gift of his Son. It says, herein is love, and what will that love not do for you? here is the measure of that love, and does not that measure take in all you need? Let us put the statement in this waythe one gift, and the many gifts,or the one great gift, and the many lesser gifts flowing out of it, and pledged to us by the love which gave it. I. The one gift. It is the unspeakable gift, of which it is said, God so loved the world that he gave his Son. Our text thus expresses it, he spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all. It is then of his Son, his own Son, his only begotten Son, his beloved Son, that the passage speaks. And regarding him it says, that he spared him not. He might have spared him; he did not need to do otherwise; it was an infinite sacrifice; yet he spared him not, that he might spare us. It was not want of love to him, but it was love to us that led him not to spare him. How shall I give thee up? he said to rebellious Israel, how much more to his obedient holy Son, How shall I deliver thee up? How shall I nail thee to the cross, and lay thee in the grave? My heart is turned within me, my repentance is kindled together. This one great gift He freely gave. He spared not his Son, but delivered Him up for us all. To lowliness, to shame, to weariness, to banishment, to sorrow, to hunger and thirst, to agony and death, He delivered Him up. He spared not Him, that He might spare us; he delivered Him up, that He might not deliver up us. The gift is one, but it is infinite. There is none like it; none; nor can be. It is the great gift, the gift of gifts. But the delivering up, is that which so greatly enhances the giving and the gift. He was delivered up (1) not to honour, but to dishonour; (2) not to joy, but to sorrow; (3) not to the blessing, but to the curse,nay, was made a curse for us, was made sin for us; (4) not to angels to worship, but to devils to tempt; (5) not to a throne, but to a cross; (6) not to life, but to death. How immense then the gift! Though but one, it transcends myriads; nay, all other gifts gathered together. It was a test of love such as nothing else could have been. How real, how true, how vast must that love have been. Here is its sincerity demonstrated. Here are its dimensions measured. What is its height? The answer is, He spared not His Son. What is its depth? He spared not His Son. What is its length? He spared not His Son. What is its breadth? He spared not His Son. Nay, He delivered Him up. Nay, He laid our sins upon Him; He made Him a curse for us. The more that we meditate on this one gift, the more does its greatness display itself. It passeth all measurement and all understanding. Such a gift for such creatures! Such a gift for sinners; for those whose portion was wrath and condemnation! II. The many gifts. These are the all things of which the apostle speaks. His argument is, He who has given you His Son, will He deny you anything? We cannot possibly need or ask anything half so precious as that which He has already given, and therefore we need not fear obtaining anything. He who has given a whole ocean, will He refuse a drop? He who has given all earth and heaven, will He refuse an inch of land? His willingness to give, and to give to any extent whatever, has been so manifested in the gift of His Son, that we cannot doubt. That one great gift was given freely, will He not give all other things as freely? That one gift was given unasked, will He not give all others for the asking? That one gift cost Him much, these others cost Him nothing but the delight of giving. That one gift was sent to us when we were turning away from Him, will He not bestow these lesser gifts on those who are turning towards Him? That one gift came when there was no intercessor, what, then, may we not expect when there is such an Intercessor as He who is Himself both gift and intercessor? When the great gift was sent there was no blood, no righteousness, no sacrifice; what may we not count upon as to the lesser gifts, now that blood, and sacrifice, and righteousness have come? We are thus thrown upon Gods character as interpreted by His great gift, and we are taught how to reason from that gift, how to draw our confidence towards God from that gift, respecting all things. Among these all things, let us note the following: (1.) Forgiveness of sins. Forgiveness,complete, and free, and unchangeable,for the chief of sinners; regarding which we reason, as did the apostle, He that spared not His own Son, will He not forgive my sins? will He not give me peace of conscience, and a sense of acceptance, and deliverance from condemnation? (2.) Light and love. These are what He delights to give; and they have been purchased for the sinner. There is now no hindrance to His giving these. For the darkest mind there is light; for the coldest heart there is love. He that spared not His own Son, will He refuse us these? (3.) Renewal in the whole man. He who spared not His own Son, will He not renew us in the spirit of our mind? Will He not take out of us the stony heart, and give the heart of flesh? (4.) The Holy Ghost. He that gave His Son, will He refuse His Spirit? It cost Him much to give His Son; but it costs Him nothing to give His Spirit. Will He not give Him when we ask? He that spared not His Son, will He not give us all things? Will He not quicken, and comfort, and heal, and bless, and cheer, and save? Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Lords Day 39, 2011

Sunday··2011·09·25
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Petitionary Hymns Poem XXXIV. I know that in my flesh dwelleth no good thing. Augustus Toplady (17401778) Lord, is not all from thee? Is not all fulness thine? Whateer of good there is in me, O Lord, is none of mine. Each holy tendency Did not thy mercy give? And what, O Saviour, what have I That I did not receive? I cannot speak a word, Or think a thought thats good, But what proceedeth from the Lord And cometh forth from God. Jesus, I know full well, What my best actions are: Theyd sink my grievous soul to hell, If unrefind they were. Myself and all I do, O sprinkle with thy blood; Renew me, Saviour, ere I go, To stand before my God. I of myself have nought, That can his justice please; Not one right word, nor act, nor thought, But what I owe to grace. The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). 33  Who will bring a charge against Gods elect? God is the one who justifies; Romans 8 One of the churchs names is elect of God; and each of its living members is one whose name is written in the book of life from the foundation of the world (Revelation 17:8). Of these chosen ones the history is thus summed up: Whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified (Romans 7:30). The state in which each one of these is born into the world is that of condemnation; the state into which each one is brought, in believing, is that of no condemnation (Romans 8:1). Forgiveness of sinspresent, conscious, complete forgivenessis that into which faith introduces us, and out of which unbelief alone can keep us. Justification from all thingscertain, immediate, and unchanging justificationis our portion here. It is respecting us, as men forgiven and justified, that the apostle asks, Who shall lay anything to the charge of Gods elect? On believing the gospel of forgiveness, they were placed beyond the reach and risk of any charge or impeachment whatsoever; they are brought by God into such a state as to render condemnation an impossibility; for the forgiveness is irreversible, and the righteousness in which they stand is divine. Not that they cease to be sinners. But they cease to be treated as guilty. Iniquities prevail; but there is continual forgiveness to cancel these, and a perfect righteousness to cover these, and the ever-flowing blood of the everlasting covenant to wash all guilt away as it comes up, and to prevent their peace with God from being broken. They do sin; but they have an Advocate with the Father; and who can demand the execution of the penalty in their case? Who shall condemn? Who can do it? Who dare do it? Who has the right to do it? Not angels. They are too glad to welcome back the sinner, and to take the side of those whose sight God has taken. Devils would, if they could. But they cannot. The prey is taken from the mighty, and placed beyond their grasp. The law might have done it; but it has been satisfied; nay, magnified. It has therefore no claim, and could gain no object by accusing us; for our acquittal is a righteous onean acquittal in which law itself rejoices. Mark, then, how complete and how satisfactory the challenge is; for the words of our text are not so much a question as a challengea challenge thrown down before the universe! I. It is a righteous challenge. It is not the challenge of one who, through might, had baffled right, and triumphed over law. It is that of one who sees all righteousness fulfilled, and all good confirmed, by that very sentence which acquits himself; who, unable to contribute aught toward his own acquittal, has recognized Gods righteous way of justifying the unrighteous, and in doing so, has found deliverance from condemnation. It is a challenge so righteous, that every righteous being responds to it; so righteous, that his own conscience, even when most fully awakened and enlightened by the Holy Spirit, rests satisfied and unalarmed; so righteous, that none can undertake to answer it, save those who are prepared to reject Gods way of saving the lost, and forgiving the condemned. II. It is a holy challenge. it is not that of one who was seeking to sin that grace may abound, but of one who saw that this is Gods way of delivering him from sin, and making him hate sin. Gods way of forgiveness brings out all the loathsomeness of sin, shews it to be the enemy both of God and of the sinner. Thus the man who says, Who shall hay anything to my charge? who is he that condemneth? is the man who is also saying, Now I have some hope of being holy; now I shall be delivered from sin; now sin has received its death-blow; and now love and a free pardon will do what terror and uncertainty, and an unsatisfied law, could never have done. Being delivered from the first and great matter of seeking a forgiveness, by having got that question for ever laid to rest, I am free to attend undistractedly to the one question, How shall I be holy, and by a holy life serve and glorify God? III. It is a joyful challenge. The question, and the way of putting it, shew the exulting gladness of the soul. It is the joy of a soul delivered from an infinite fear; from overwhelming foreboding of wrath; from the uncertainties of the future, and the dreaded vengeance of an angry God. What gladness is this! To be forgiven all sin, and clothed with an infinite righteousness! To be as thoroughly assured of the favor of God, as formerly of His displeasure! To see the dark cloud of wrath which had wrapped the soul round rise upwards, and pass away, leaving the wide azure clear and bright, with not a mist to intercept the light of reconciliation and love, pouring down from the heaven of heavens! What joy unspeakable and full of glory is this! IV. It is an unanswerable challenge. It is boldly put, and with no muffled voice. It is spoken aloud, that all may hear, and answer if they can. But no one can take it up. There is silence in heaven, and earth, and hell. It is Pauls challenge to the universe. Nay rather, it is the Holy Spirits challenge. Who shall answer Paul? Who shall answer the Holy Ghost? Who shall condemn us? Who shall lay anything to our charge? Who shall trouble our conscience or break our peace? We ask aloud; we repeat the challenge to the devil and all his legions. But no answer is given. We hear only the echo of our own voice. It is unanswerable even now; for from the first moment that we believed, we were entitled to take it up. It shall be no less unanswerable when we go down to the tomb; and we may make the caverns of the dead re-echo with it. It shall be unanswerable in the day of the Lord; so that, even when standing before the judgment seat, surrounded with angels, or surrounded with devils, we may lift up our voice and say, Who shall lay anything to my charge? Nor is there anything presumptuous in this challenge. It is one of simple faith. It is meant for every believing man; and there is something lacking in that faith which falters here. A believed gospel ought to lead him who believes it to adopt this bold and blessed attitude. For a believed gospel is meant to assure the believing soul of forgiveness and eternal life. It is a challenge which God himself will own. He does not reckon it too bold or too decided. He puts it into our lips, and He will acknowledge it. In our believing, we set our Amen to His testimony; and in His giving us this challenge, He is setting His Amen to our faith. Nay, not only will He own it, but He will take it up out of our lips, and Himself proclaim it through the universe, Who shall lay anything to the charge of my elect? Our right to take up this challenge is simply our having believed the gospel. It is not our graces or evidences that embolden us thus to speak. It is not as holy men, or old Christians, or deeply humbled souls, that we have a warrant to do so. Our warrant is simply our having believed the gospel. How much we lose from not seeing the sure and high standing into which a believed gospel brings us, long before we have time to consider our own selves, or number up our graces! It would indeed be presumption to rest an assurance like this, or a challenge like this, upon our own graces; but it is no presumption to rest this on the gospel of the grace of God. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Lords Day 40, 2011

Sunday··2011·10·02
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. The Efficacy of Gods Word Philip Doddridge (17021751) With reverend awe, tremendous Lord, We hear the thunders of Thy Word; The pride of Lebanon it breaks; Swift the celestial fire descends, The flinty rock in pieces rends, And earth to its deep centre shakes. Arrayed in majesty divine, Here sanctity and justice shine, And horror strikes the rebel through, While loud this awful voice makes known The wonders which Thy sword hath done. And what Thy vengeance yet shall do. So spread the honors of Thy name; The terrors of a God proclaim; Thick let the pointed arrows fly, Till sinners, humbled in the dust, Shall own the execution just, And bless the hand by which they die. Then clear the dark tempestuous day. And radiant beams of love display; Each prostrate soul let mercy raise; So shall the bleeding captives feel, Thy word, which gave the wound, can heal, And change their notes to songs of praise. Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). 37  But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. Romans 8 Within the six verses preceding this, we have no less than six most striking questions; some apparently abrupt, but all of them very expressive: (1.) What shall we say to these things? (2.) Who can be against us? (3.) How shall He not give us all things? (4.) Who shall lay anything to the charge of Gods elect? (5.) Who is he that condemneth? (6.) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? At the close of these questions mention is made of seven evils, all which were more or less the portion of the saints: (1) tribulation; (2) distress; (3) persecution; (4) famine; (5) nakedness; (6) peril; (7) sword. And to shew that such was the lot of the saints even under the New Testament, Paul quotes a psalm referring to Old Testament saints, thus assuming the oneness of the church in all ages, even in suffering and in consolation; the oneness of the church in battle and in victory. One faith, one covenant, one blood, one church, from the beginning! Here are two things: (1) the victory; (2) How to win it. I. The victory. Our life is a warfare. (1.) The good fight. It is to battle that the church is called; not to a mere parade, or review, or display of arms; each saint is to war a good warfare; for the moment we take our stand on Christs side, our enemies gather to the assault. (2.) The victory. Conquerors! Yes; not merely warriors but conquerors. This verse links itself with the seven promises to the seven conquerors in the churches of Asia. To him that overcometh, is the message sent. (3.) The abundant victory. For this is the meaning of the word (Č???錺?). It corresponds to Peters expression as to the abundant entrance into the kingdom (2 Peter 1:2). It is not a mere victory, no morea bare overthrow of the enemies, but a complete and glorious victory. It is not being saved so as by fire,mere salvation and nothing beyond, but a marvelous and perfect salvation. Yes, that which we win is an abundant victory. (4.) The victory over all the sevenfold evils. We are made to triumph over them,every one of them. They assail us, we meet them face to face. Each is in itself an evil, a sorrow, a pang; or rather a series,a long series it may be of such,but over each of them in succession we triumph: Thou shall tread upon the lion and the adder, the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under foot (Psalm 91:13). Thus evil becomes good, and time bitter sweet. (5.) The victory through means of these sevenfold evils. For this I suppose to be the real point of the passage;Nay, it is in all these things (or rather by means of as ? very often signifies), that we win an abundant victory. We not only conquer these, but we take them up and make use of them as our weapons for overthrowing our other enemies. These seeming evils are the very instruments of victory. They seem dragswe make them ladders for ascending, wings for raising us above things seen and temporal. Thus we glory in tribulations (Romans 5:3). This is the last and noblest use of trial; which we are apt to lose sight of. It is not always easy thus to use tribulation, and to convert it into a means of triumph; yet certainly it is to this that we are called. Say not, I will submit, I will not murmur, I will try to fight. All this is right; but thou art called to much more than this. So use thy sorrows as to make them the very means of conquer; so use them, as that thou shalt say at last, Had it not been for these tribulations my victory had been a poor one,but half a victory; thus out of the eater there shall come forth meat, and out of the strong shall come forth sweetness. We must learn how to use affliction; not passively, but actively; nay, aggressively. II. The way in which it is won. Through Him that loved us,yes, Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood. (1.) He provides the strength. Weakness is ours; and we begin time fight with the acknowledgment of this. But all power is given to Christ for us; and out of that fullness of power we receive. The power of Christ rests (pitches its tent over us), on us (2 Corinthians 12:9): My strength is made perfect in weakness; so that when we are weak then we are strong. Anothers strength, as well as anothers righteousness, is placed at our disposal. (2.) He provides the weapons. Our weapons are from a divine arsenal,the tower of David builded for an armory. Spear, sword, buckler, girdle, and helmet, are all of His making and bestowing. (Ephesians 6:11-15.) (3.) He provides the battlefield. The skillful general chooses his battlefield. So does our Captain. It is not the choice of the enemy; or of self; still less is it taken up at random, or by chance. It is carefully selected by Him that loved us. The time of battle, the nature of the battle, the duration of the battle, the intensity or peculiarity of the assault, all these are chosen by Him. Each sorrow, each tribulation, each peril, is of His appointment in every item and detail. (4.) He provides the battle cry. As at Trafalgar, the word that Nelson sent through each vessel and every heart, was, England expects every man to do his duty; so our Captain gives His battle words. They are such as these: The love of Christ constraineth us; Who is he that condemneth? fight the good fight of faith; behold I come quickly. (5.) He provides the rewards. Of these, seven are named in the epistles to the Asian churches. These are representative rewards, as the churches are representative churches. Each reward is glorious; and each corresponding with the battle and the victory. O Christian! fight bravely. Face every enemy, small or great. Turn the guns of the enemy against himself. Seize the hostile batteries, and man them. It is an evil day; a day of yielding and compromise. Stand fast in the faith, and in the Lord. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. 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Lords Day 41, 2011

Sunday··2011·10·09
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. The Shadow of the Cross. Horatius Bonar (18081889) Oppressed with noon-days scorching heat, To yonder cross I flee; Beneath its shelter take my seat; No shade like this for me! Beneath that cross clear waters burst, A fountain sparkling free; And there I quench my desert thirst; No spring like this for me! A stranger here, I pitch my tent Beneath this spreading tree; Here shall my pilgrim life be spent; No home like this for me! For burdened ones a resting-place, Beside that cross I see; Here I cast off my weariness; No rest like this for me! Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 13  for Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10 Pauls gospel was the good news of a righteousness for Gentile as well as Jew,the righteousness of God,good news of the righteousness of Him who is our God and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:1),good news of the righteousness of Him who is Jehovah-Zidkenu, the Lord our righteousness. There is a remarkable statement in the previous chapter (verse 30): That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith,that is, the Gentiles, who were seeking no righteousness at all, have got the very best; just as the prodigal son received the best robe in the house. This righteousness was offered to Israel first, but rejected by them; and it is of this rejection that the tenth chapter speaks. In speaking of it, Paul first proclaims Christ as the end of the law (the great fulfillment or fulfiller of the law) for righteousness to every one that believeth. Then he contrasts the two kinds of righteousness, namely, that which comes by working, and that which comes by believing. The former assumes that all is yet to be done; the latter, that all has been done, and that no doing (for obtaining pardon) is needed,nothing more of any kind whatsoever than is done by a man when he listens and lets in the word by his ear into his heart (verse 8). This word of faith, or word spoken in order to be believed, is the burden of his preaching. It is that which Isaiah calls our report. He thus describes it If thou shalt confess Christ (as He has enjoined, Matthew 10:32), believing in Him, and in God who raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved; for with the inner man we believe so as to be justified, and with the mouth we make that confession which issues in salvation, and because of which Christ will confess us in the great day. Then in the thirteenth verse come the words of our text, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. We may take calling on the name of, as meaning (1) the recognition of Jehovah as the true God; (2) as the acting on that recognition, and going to Him for salvation. It resembles Hebrew 11:6: He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Hear then, O man, the gospel which Paul here preaches to thee, whether Jew or Gentile! It is the gospel or good news of salvation. Believe his report and live. Faith cometh by hearing. I. The nearness. The word is nigh; the gospel is nigh; the salvation is nigh,as near as the sounds are which enter into the ear of a man. The whole provision made on the cross for sinners is brought nigh to us. We have not to stir,not to move a hairbreadth in order to get at it. It is already at the side of every sinner to whom the gospel has come. It is like the manna which fell around Israels tents; it is like the water of that rock which followed them. As near as it is possible for one thing to be to another, is all this fullness of divine grace. We need not climb to heaven, that would be to deny its nearness, and to act as if Christ had never come down. We need not descend into the earth, that would be to deny its nearness, and to say that Christ had not come up, and needed to be brought up by us. No. All things are ready; all things are near. II. The freeness. A free gospelabsolutely without condition or price; a free salvation, to the obtaining of which man contributes nothing, by his money, or his works, or his sufferings, or his prayers and tears. All is absolutely free; as free as the sunlight or the common air. No merit, no money, no purchase, no previous qualification. The gift of God is that which we see in every part. Freely. freely, are the blessed words in which God promulgates the terms on which man is to be permitted to obtain the blessings of the cross. Freely, freely, is the burden of our message. Price, whether direct or indirect, small or great, is refused. We must take it freely or not at all. III. The speed. The gospel comes at once, the blessing tarries not. Like the touching of the electric wire, so the acceptance of the gospel brings instantaneous acceptance of our persons. No waiting, no interval, no distance, no hesitation. What God does, He does quickly. Swift as lightning the blessing comes to us. Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. It is not, shall get some deliverance, or hope of deliverance, but, shall be saved. We go at once, and at once we are saved. IV. The simplicity. Yes, all is simple here; no mystery, no labyrinth, no toil. Oh how unlike the complex works of man, Heavens easy, artless, unencumbered plan. All is profoundly great, yet unutterably simple; majestic in its own simplicity. Call on the Lords name and be saved, that is all. As our Lord said to the woman of Sychar, Thou wouldest have asked, and He would have given. The simpler the liker God; the simpler the more suitable for helpless man. The gospel is simple; and the great salvation is the exhibition of the simplest plan for saving and for blessing that can be conceived. Too simple to have been devised by man. It is the simplicity of God. It is this simplicity which makes it intelligible to a little child. To ask and to get,that is the whole. V. The certainty. There are no ambiguities nor peradventures in it. All is the most absolute assurance: Shall be saved! God always deals in certainties in His treatment of the sinner,the certainties of eternal life or death: He that believeth shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned. Christ and His cross are certainties; and he who credits Gods testimony to these, becomes identified with certainties; is at once and certainly blessed, forgiven, saved. And if we know that the acceptance of this testimony brings certain salvation; how foolish, how sinful to say, Oh I accept the testimony, but I dont know whether I am saved. If thou givest credit to the divine word concerning the Son of God thou art saved. Of this there can be no doubt; for God is not a man that He should lie. VI. The universality. All are not saved, nor washed, nor pardoned, nor redeemed; but to all the good news come. Whosoever is Gods wide word of invitation. Who shall say, The tidings are not for name unless I can prove my election? The gospel is to the sons of men (Proverbs 8:4). God in it is coming up to each sinner and saying, Here is life,believe and live; here is the cup of salvation, drink and be saved; here is the writ of pardon, take it and be forgiven. Round and round the world this word of reconciliation goes; and to each sinner, as it passes on, is the reconciliation presented. Be thou reconciled to God, is the special and personal message to each. Call on the name of the Lord, is Gods urgent proclamation; call, and thou shalt be saved! Go straight to God for salvation, a present and immediate salvation. Dont say, as some do, Ill go to Him first for faith, and repentance, and feeling; and then when Ive got these, Ill go boldly and ask salvation. Go at once, and go boldly for salvation,for nothing less than this,and thou shalt get it; for God is true. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Lords Day 42, 2011

Sunday··2011·10·16
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. That Where I Am, There Ye May Be Also. Christina Rossetti (18301894) How know I that it looms lovely that land I have never seen, With morning-glories and heartsease and unexampled green, With neither heat nor cold in the balm-redolent air? Some of this, not all, I know; but this is so; Christ is there. How know I that blessedness befalls who dwell in Paradise, The outwearied hearts refreshing, rekindling the worn-out eyes, All souls singing, seeing, rejoicing everywhere? Nay, much more than this I know; for this is so; Christ is there. O Lord Christ, Whom having not seen I love and desire to love, O Lord Christ, Who lookest on me uncomely yet still Thy dove, Take me to Thee in Paradise, Thine own made fair; For whatever else I know, this thing is so; Thou art there. Christina Rossetti, Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1993). 16  However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our report? Romans 10 Let us observe four things here: I. The report. The gospel mentioned in the first clause of this verse is the same as the report in the second. It is short and simple. It is thoroughly true. It is divine and perfect. It is well authenticated, so that doubt seems an impossibility. It is altogether glad. It is for the sons of men. It is the very report, concerning the very things which sinners need. It is truly suitable. It is the story of Jesus of Nazareth. II. Mans rejection of it. Who bath believed? Who? As if there were none who had accepted it! Not one! God has spoken; but men have neither believed nor listened. God has loved; but men have refused His love. Men are not asked to do, but to take; yet they will not. They are not asked to save themselves, but to accept salvation; yet they turn away. Gods words are as the idle wind. His love is the last love they will ever turn to. His truthfulness is time thing which they question most; as if to make Him a liar, and His words of little worth, were no sin at all. This is mans treatment of God and of His Son! God is not to be believed on any account, and least of all when He speaks in love! Christ is preached only to be slighted; and His gospel flung aside as not true; or, if true, still as a gospel which brings no certain pardon, no assurance of salvation; nay, which may be believed without making a man happy, or making him a child of God; which may be believed for years without giving peace, or light, or liberty. III. The prophets disappointment. Lord, who hath believed our report. He expected something very different. He thought men would all receive it at once; that he would be surrounded with believing crowds! But no man receiveth his testimony! He is sorely perplexed, disappointed, confounded. Ah, it is in the very bitterness of disappointment that these words are spoken. He is grieved in spirit; troubled because of the dishonour done to God, and to His truthfulness; sad because of the ruin which men were bringing on themselves. He is like Jeremiah: Oh that my head were waters! He is like Paul, Having sorrow in his heart. He is like Christ weeping over Jerusalem. Such is a ministers disappointment. He expects to be believed; and he is not! He expects God to be believed; and He is not! And were it not that he knows that Gods purpose concerning the many called and few chosen is now fulfilling, he would be a thoroughly disappointed man. IV. The prophets appeal to Jehovah. Like Micah (7:7) in the midst of abounding iniquity, he says, I will look unto the Lord. Like the Lord, he says, Even so, Father. He turns from man to God. He does not upbraid man with unbelief; but turns to God. This is his refuge. Here he stays his soul. Into the bosom of his God he pours out all his griefs. It is a heavy burden; but he casts it on the Lord. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Lords Day 43, 2011

Sunday··2011·10·23
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Contrition O thou Most High, It becomes me to be low in thy presence. I am nothing compared with thee; I possess not the rank and power of angels, but thou hast made me what I am, and placed me where I am; help me to acquiesce in thy sovereign pleasure. I thank thee that in the embryo state of my endless being I am capable by grace of improvement; that I can bear thy image, not by submissiveness, but by design, and can work with thee and advance thy cause and glory. But, alas, the crown has fallen from my head: I have sinned; I am alien to thee; my head is deceitful and wicked, my mind an enemy to thy law. Yet, in my lostness thou hast laid help on the Mighty One and he comes between to put his hands on us both, my Umpire, Daysman, Mediator, whose blood is my peace, whose righteousness is my strength, whose condemnation is my freedom, whose Spirit is my power, whose heaven is my heritage. Grant that I may feel more the strength of thy grace in subduing the evil of my nature, in loosing me from the present evil world, in supporting me under the trials of life, in enabling me to abide with thee in my valleys, in exercising me to have a conscience void of offence before thee and before men. In all my affairs may I distinguish between duty and anxiety, and may my character and not my circumstances chiefly engage me. The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). 21  But as for Israel He says, All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people. Romans 10 Let us mark here, first, Gods treatment of man; secondly, mans treatment of God. I. Gods treatment of man. It is of Israel specially that the apostle is speaking; but what is true of them in this case, is true of all. God in His dealings with man shews us that His thoughts are not our thoughts, nor His ways our ways. As the heavens are to a grain of sand, or as the ocean to a drop, so are His thoughts to ours; wider, fuller, larger, higher, deeper; like Himself and He is love. In all Gods words to Israel in the Old Testament, the good news of His wide and free love come out very simply. The New Testament formula, Believe and be saved, is not there; but the gracious character of Jehovah is fully unfolded, and so presented to sinners, as if it had been said, Whoever owns the true God is saved; whoever is willing to come to Him is welcome; and whoever calls on Him shall not be put to shame. Herein is love. (1.) Long suffering. He stretches out His hands; He does so all the day long. We may take this as simply meaning the whole of each natural day of our lives; or the whole of the day of salvation. In either case we see the same longsuffering; God not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Here we see Him waiting to be gracious; pitying the sinner; not cutting him off in his sins; not easily provoked; merciful and gracious; forbearing anger and judgment; not putting forth His power, but waiting long and patiently; not visiting transgression, nor dealing sharply with the transgressor. (2.) Earnest desire to bless. There is much more in the words than mere longsuffering or forbearance. There is the exhibition of the most intense yearning over the sons of men. There are no words spoken; it is the attitude that marks the earnestness and the longing. Jesus wept over Jerusalem; God stretches out His hands to sinners, like one pleading with them, like one trying to save them, like one beckoning to them, like one expressing by signs feelings too strong for utterance. How shall I give thee up! I have no pleasure in your death! Why will ye die! Come, now, and let us reason together! How often would I have gathered you! Ye will not come to me! O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! Turn ye, turn ye! Come unto me! These are the feelings expressed by the posture in which God is here represented as standing,looking down from heaven upon men, yearning over them, beseeching them to be reconciled. Earnest He is in this thing,honestly, sincerely earnest, for He knows the worth of the soul which He has made, He knows the greatness of the joy or sorrow which must be its portion, He knows what the loss of heaven will be, and what the everlasting darkness will be,and what the unchangeable eternity will be to which they are passing. Yes, Gods desire to bless the sons of men,the chief of sinners amongst them,is sincere and true, earnest and deep and warm; however difficult it may be to reconcile this with the fact of there being an endless hell; however impossible for us fully to answer the question so often put by unbelief within and without, Why then does He let any one perish since He has the power to save? II. Mans treatment of God. Mans thoughts and ways toward God, are the reverse of Gods thoughts and ways toward man. He walks after his own thoughts is Isaiahs expression (65:2). Mans actings and thinkings and feelings toward God may be set out as follows: (1.) Indifference. Occupied with himself and his own world of pleasure and business, man treats God and His claims, whether of law or love, with disregard. God is not in all his thoughts. He tries not to think about God at all; to preoccupy his mind with other objects, so as to induce forgetfulness and indifference. The absence of God, and the want of His favor, are not things which concern him, or make him unhappy for a moment He can do without God! (2.) Unbelief. Man in so far as his fellows are concerned is no unbeliever. He is quite ready to receive the testimony of men; nay, he is often credulous, and believes without evidence or against evidence. But in the things of God he is thoroughly an unbeliever; both as to God Himself, and as to the truth and testimony of God. He disbelieves and he distrusts. He has no confidence in God, or in His word. Faith in God is wholly alien to him. (3.) Disobedience. In Isaiah (65:1) it is called rebellion; walking in a way not good. Gods will is a hateful thing to man; so is Gods law, which is the declaration of that will. To obey God save through terror is what he never thinks of; and even then it is mere outward compliance. Mans heart never obeys God till renewed. His whole life is consistent and deliberate disobedience, sometimes more open and daring, and sometimes less. (4.) Gainsaying. Man speaks against God; he acts against God. In both senses he is a gainsayer. He has no good word to say of God or of his Christ; he sets himself against both. Here we have such things as the following: (a.) Captiousness. He is perpetually finding fault with God; with His word, and ways, and dispensations; with His actings toward individuals and the world at large. Why doth he yet find fault, for who hath resisted His will, is one form of human fault finding with God. If we pine away in our iniquities, how shall we then live? (Ezekiel 33:10) is another form. There are many forms of captious gainsaying or murmuring; this discontent and repining, and charging God either with injustice or unkindness. (b.) Obstinacy. Stout-heartedness and stiff-neckedness are Gods frequent charges against Israel; no less against us. We are stubborn and self-willed; preferring our own way and wisdom to His. We are like the horse or mule; like the bullock unaccustomed to the yoke. We will neither be led nor driven. We resist; we kick against the pricks. (c.) Refusal of blessing. Yes; man refuses to be blest. This is the most unaccountable part of mans gainsaying. He thrusts away the love of God, and the blessing which that love holds out. He does not like (1) the blessing itself; (2) the terms on which it is given; (3) the giver; (4) the effects which would follow receiving it,a holy life. Thus man deals with God, setting himself against Him in all ways and things. Yet thus does God continue to deal with man in unwearied love and patience. He still bends over him to the last, as Jesus did over Jerusalem, yearning, pitying, longing to bless! Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. 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Lords Day 44, 2011

Sunday··2011·10·30
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Hymn 81. (l. m.) A song for morning or evening. Lam. iii. 23; Isaiah xl. 7. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) God, how endless is thy love! Thy gifts are every evening new; And morning mercies from above Gently distil like early dew. Thou spreadst the curtains of the night, Great guardian of my sleeping hours; Thy sovereign word restores the light, And quickens all my drowsy powers. I yield my powers to thy command, To thee I consecrate my days; Perpetual blessings from thine hand Demand perpetual songs of praise. from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). 12  . . . devoted to prayer Romans 12 Prayer takes for granted that God is full, and we are empty; that He is infinitely full, and we unspeakably empty. I do not say infinitely empty, because God only is infinite. The creature is finite, alike in evil and in good. Time emptiness or evil of any creature, or a whole universe of creatures, can never be infinite. Else what would become of us? Infinitude belongs to Godhead; finitude to creature hood. And here is the first ray of hope to us. Our poverty and want must ever be a mere nothing in comparison with the fullness of Him who filleth all in all. We are sometimes alarmed at the thought of His greatness. Foolish alarm! Were He not so great, so full, so infinite, what would become of us? Prayer takes for granted that there is a connection between this fullness and our emptiness. The fullness is not inaccessible. It is not too high for us to reach, or for it to stoop. It is not too great for us, nor too distant, so as to be incommunicable. There is a connection, and it has been established by God himself; it is a divine medium of communication: Ask, and ye shall receive. It is as righteous as it is divine. Prayer takes for granted that we are entitled to use this channel, this medium; and that, in using it, there will be a sure inflow of the fullness into us. Every one that asketh receiveth. It is men, not angels, who are invited to use this medium. It is to sinners that the gate is thrown open; for them is the access provided. Free, yet righteous access for unrighteous men. Gods love has made it free; the blood of His Son hath made it righteous. It takes for granted Gods willingness to receive every applicant. His willingness is like His fullness, infinite. Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out, applies to prayer; but still more does John 4:10, If thou knewest the gift of God, thou wouldest have asked, and He would have given. He makes no exceptions, He does not bid the sinner qualify himself, or ascertain his election, or get up some preliminary preparation, or make sure of the quantity or quality of his faith; He throws open wide His gate and His throne to any applicant, the unworthiest of the human race. His willingness to receive each coming one is infinite. Prayer is not meant to create or produce willingness; to move the heart of an unwilling God. It assumes this willingness, and acts upon it. It is not tentative; it does not go in order to make an experiment on Gods willingness. To experiment upon it is in reality to deny it; and to act upon such an experimenting principle is to deal with an unknown God. Prayer takes for granted expectation on our part. This is in a measure implied in the willingness of God; but it needs special notice; for it is that to which Paul referred when he wrote without faith it is impossible to please Him, for He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Length will not do; nor repetition; nor regularity; no, not even earnestness; nay, earnestness is often the mere expression of unbelief, and the indication of a secret feeling on our part that God is not wholly willing, but requires our earnestness to make Him so. If, then, we examine our prayers, and strip them of all that is not prayer, how little remains? Take away the vain words,the mere meditative parts; the mere expression of solemn feeling; the mere sentimentalism; the mere utterance of petitions, because urged by conscience and a sense of duty; the requests not accompanied with expectation,and how little remains in the best of our prayers! What multitudes of prayers are ascending on this day. How much of these will God recognize as prayer? What a small residuum would remain if divested of all prayerless accessories. I cannot compare it to the amount of grain when the chaff is winnowed away, nor of gold when the dross is purged off; but to the tiny gem or little crystal which you pick out of some great rock, after breaking it in pieces, and sifting its endless fragments. Let us mark such things as the following in reference to this kind of prayer: 1. The irksomeness of non-expecting prayer. Sometimes there may be such an amount of natural feeling as may make what is called devotion pleasant. But in the long run it becomes irksome, if not accompanied with expectation, sure expectation. It is expectation only that can produce and keep up truly devotional feeling; expectation founded on Gods infinite willingness to give, and on His promises to the applicant. 2. Time uselessness of non-expecting prayer. It bears no fruit; it brings no answer; it draws down no blessing. It is expectation that honours God, and that God will honour. The answer always runs in this form, According to thy faith be it unto thee. It is non-expectation that, more than anything else, ruins and nullifies prayer. 3. The sinfulness of non-expecting prayer. The utterance of petitions is nothing to God; it does not recommend the petitioner. Many seem to think so; and to suppose there is some secret virtue or influence, if not merit, in all prayer, however unbelieving. It is not so; nay, there is guilt, deep guilt, in every unbelieving petition; for thus God is dishonoured, His willingness is denied, His Son is set aside, His Spirit is grieved, and He is addressed both as an hard master and an unknown God. Oh the guilt involved in the religion of religious men; men whose prayers are as regular as the rising or setting sun! Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Lord���s Day 45, 2011

Sunday··2011·11·06
I was glad when they said to me, ���Let us go to the house of the Lord.��� Hymn LX. Zion, or the city of God. Isaiah xxxiii. 27, 28. John Newton (1725���1807) Glorious things of thee are spoken, Zion, city of our God! He, whose word cannot be broken, Form���d thee for his own abode: On the rock of ages founded, What can shake thy sure repose? With salvation���s walls surrounded Thou may���st smile at all thy foes. See! the streams of living waters Springing from eternal love; Well supply thy sons and daughters, And all fear of want remove: Who can faint while such a river Ever flows their thirst t��� assuage? Grace, which like the Lord, the giver, Never fails from age to age. Round each habitation hov���ring See the cloud and fire appear! For a glory and a cov���ring, Showing that the Lord is near: Thus deriving from their banner Light by night and shade by day; Safe they feed upon the Manna Which he gives them when they pray. Blest inhabitants of Zion, Wash���d in the Redeemer���s blood! Jesus, whom their souls rely on, Makes them kings and priests to God: ���Tis his love his people raises Over self to reign as kings And as priests, his solemn praises Each for a thank���off���ring brings. Savior, if of Zion���s city I thro��� grace a member am; Let the world deride or pity, I will glory in thy name Fading is the worldling���s pleasure, All his boasted pomp and show; Solid joys and lasting treasure, None but Zion���s children know. ���Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. ���Romans 13 Often throughout Scripture is the figure of clothing or putting on, used, both in reference to good and evil. It is man who first tries the thing with his fig leaves; but he fails. Then God steps in and clothes man with skins. After this the figurative use of clothing is very frequent. Judges 6:34, ���The Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon��� (so it is in the Hebrew); 2 Chronicles 6:4���, ���Let thy priests be clothed with salvation���; Job 7:5, ���My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of the dust���; Job 29:14, ���I put on righteousness, and it clothed me���; Psalm 35:26, ���Let them be clothed with shame���; Psalm 93:1, ���The Lord is clothed with majesty, the Lord is clothed with strength���; Psalm 132:9, ���Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness���; Isaiah 61:10, ���He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation���; Isaiah 59:17, ���He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing���, and was clad with zeal as a cloak���; Isaiah 52:1, ���Put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem���; Luke 15:22, ���Bring forth the best robe and put it on him���; Romans 13:12, ���Let us put on the armor of light���; 1 Corinthians 15:53, ���This corruptible must put on incorruption���; Ephesians 4:24, ���That ye put on the new man���; Ephesians 6:2, ���Put on the whole armor of God���; Colossians 3:52, ���Put on bowels of mercies���; Colossians 3:14, ���Put on charity.��� These passages shew us the use of the figure in Scripture. Something in addition to what we had before, or to what we possess in ourselves, is supposed to be taken on as a garment; something which makes us to appear and to act differently from what we did before; something suited to a peculiar office, or service, or action. The king puts on his royal robe, the priest the priestly robe, the captain his military robe; the robe thus, as it were, altering for a season the individual, and investing him with another character, or office. Clothing is not merely to cover or conceal uncomeliness and shame, but to beautify; to give weight and dignity to our person and our actings; to represent an office. I. What this is that is put on. It is Christ himself that we put on; not one thing merely, such as righteousness, but everything which makes us comely and acceptable to God. Christ himself is here described as a robe. The figure is not of His giving us a robe, but of His being that robe. It is Himself as our robe, that we are to put on. ���As many of you as are baptized unto Christ, have put on Christ.��� ���We are complete in Him.��� He covers us so that no part of our former selves is seen. In looking at us, God sees not us, but Christ himself; and He treats us according to what He sees in Him; He blesses us according to the completeness which we possess in Him; He will recompense us hereafter according to the worthiness and perfection which belong to Him. Christ���s person represents ours before God as the high priest represented Israel. His work is the substitute for us, and for all work of ours in the matter of acceptance, so that we get according to what He did on earth, and not according to what we do. His righteousness comes in room of ours, so that it is on His righteousness, and not on ours, that the great questions turn in regard to which we deal with God; for He is the end of the law for righteousness. His whole life comes in place of ours, His sufferings in place of ours, His death in place of ours; and in regard to every one of our transactions with God, we may plead what He is, not what we are; what He did and suffered, not what we do or suffer. It is not an infusion or transfusion into us of His goodness or perfection. It is the legal reckoning of these to us by God in all His dealings with us, so that in every transaction between us and God, the question is not, what we deserve, but what Christ deserves. Thus we put on Christ, and are ���found in Him���; treated as if He and we were identical or interchangeable. It is a whole Christ whom we put on; it is with a whole Christ that God deals in dealing with us. II. How this putting on is done. The link by which we become personally connected with Christ is our own believing. ���Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.��� We put on Christ simply in believing. Our reception of the Father���s testimony to the work and person of Christ is the ���putting on.��� There is no other. Full and large is that testimony. It is the declaration of what the Father sees Christ to be; and whoever comes to be of one mind with Him in regard to this Son of whom He testifies, is regarded by Him as clothed with Christ. There is nothing mystical about this putting on, nothing unintelligible, nothing laborious. Men may dislike or reject the idea that a man is saved by believing the divine testimony,���that a man puts on Christ by believing what God says about Him,���but Scripture leaves us in no doubt at all. ���Believe,��� and straightway thou art clothed with Christ. He covers thee from head to foot. Not according to thy works, or prayers, or feelings, or convictions, but according to the simplicity of thy faith,���thy acceptance of the Father���s testimony to the person and work, the death, and burial, and resurrection of His only begotten Son,���thou art, from head to foot, clothed with the Lord Jesus Christ; and in the great day of the Lord thou shalt be ���found in Him.��� III. What is the effect? There are two aspects or sides which are to be regarded in this: (1.) God���s side; (2.) the believer���s. (1.) God���s side. God looks at us and sees us as if we were His own Son. He sees not our deformity and imperfection, but His beauty and perfection; not our sin, but His righteousness; not our unworthiness, but His worthiness. ���Thou art all fair,��� He says; ���there is no spot in thee.��� He loves us accordingly, and deals with us accordingly. (2.) Our side. (1.) Our consciences are completely satisfied. Not only have we the blood to purge the guilt, but we have the perfection to cover all imperfection, so that we feel that God ���sees no iniquity in Jacob, and no transgression in Israel.��� (2.) Our bands are completely loosed. The certainty of possessing God���s favor in such surpassing measure gives the fullest liberty. (3.) Our joy overflows. Such love! Such favor! Such nearness! Such dignity! Such glory! Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us! ���That the love wherewith thou hast loved me maybe in them.��� (4.) Our motives to a holy life are increased. What manner of persons ought we to be who are so regarded by God, so beloved of Him! (5.) Our zeal is quickened. Loved with such a love, and treated in so divine a way, what is there that we are not willing to do for Him? Our whole life is to be a daily putting on of Christ. Put on, put on! And regarding the sinner He says, ���Bring forth the best robe and put it on him.��� ���Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Lords Day 46, 2011

Sunday··2011·11·13
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Petitionary Hymns Poem XXXV. Refuge in the Righteousness of Christ. Augustus Toplady (17401778) From thy supreme tribunal, Lord, Where justice sits severe, I to thy mercy seat appeal, And beg forgiveness there. Tho I have sinnd before the throne, My advocate I see: Jesus, be thou my Judge, and let My sentence come from thee. Lo, weary to thy cross I fly, There let me shelter find: Lord, when thou callst thy ransomd home, leave me not behind! I joyfully embrace thy love To fallen man reveald; My hope of glory, dearest Lord, On thee alone I build. The law was satisfyd by him Who flesh for me was made: Its penalty he underwent, Its precepts he obeyd. Desert and all self-righteousness I utterly forego; My robe of everlasting bliss, My wedding garment thou! The spotless Saviour livd for me, And dyd upon the Mount: Th obedience of his life and death Is placd to my account. Canst thou forget that awful hour, That sad, tremendous scene, When thy dear blood on Calvary Flowd out at evry vein ? No, Saviour, no; thy wounds are fresh, Evn now they intercede; Still, in effect, for guilty man Incessantly they bleed. Thine ears of mercy still attend A contrite sinners cries, A broken heart, that groans for God, Thou never wilt despise. Love incomprehensible, That made thee bleed for me! The Judge of all hath sufferd death To set his prisoner free! The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). 13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15 It will be good to take this apostolic prayer to pieces, and mark each separate part and truth. I. The hope. It is of the things hoped for that the apostle is speaking. It is not to hope, or to a hope, but to the hope, that he is pointing. It is not that thing called hope, as springing up in our breasts, that he would have us dwell upon; it is the glory to be revealed, the hope which is laid up for us in heaven. This is the bright star on which he fixes our eye. The inheritance, the kingdom, the glory, the new heavens and earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness; these make up what the apostle announces as the churchs hope, her one resplendent hope, which is to be realized when her Lord appears. This is the hope that fills up her future, and sheds brightness on her present, even amid all her heaviness through manifold temptations. II. The God of the hope. Of that hope He is the beginning, the middle, and the end; the center and the circumference; its root, and stem, and branches; its seed, its blossom, and its fruit. There is not one of these things hoped for but is to be traced to Him as its sole fountain head. Hence its peculiar blessedness and glory; hence also the security which we have for its realization when the fullness of the time is come. That hope cannot fail us, because the God of the hope is faithful and true. He will most surely introduce us into its glory; or rather, He will make that glory rise on us like the glory of the rising sun. III. Fill you with all joy and peace. There is joy; joy unspeakable and full of glory; but it is not of earth. It comes down from heaven. There is peace; the peace which passeth all understanding; but its fountain is above. It is God who gives these; and He does so as the God of the hope. The author of the hope is the provider of the joy and the peace; so that we may be sure these will be like Himself, and like the hope. They will be like the hope, and the hope will be like them; they the earnest of the hope; and the hope their consummation and fullness. This God of the hope not only gives the joy and peace, but He fills us with them; nay, He fills us with all joy and peace, leaving out no part of the joy and the peace, and leaving no part of us unfilled! Blessed and glorious petition, the God of the hope fill you with all joy and peace! IV. In believing. This joy and peace, though heavenly in their origin and nature, were not miraculous. They did not gush up into the soul like water springing from the sand by some supernatural touch. They found their way into the soul by a very natural, very simple, but very effectual channel,the belief of Gods good hews about His only begotten Son. They were not the reward of believing; they were not purchased by believing nor did they come in after believing: they were obtained in believing. Faith did nothing but hand in its report to the soul. That report was both glad and true. As soon then as the report thus found its way in, all was changed. The joy and the peace which that report contained filled the soul. And as it was thus that the joy and peace came in, so it is thus that they continue in. They began in believing, and they are maintained in precisely the same way; so that if at any time they are interrupted, we must have recourse to the same report which gladdened us at first, and which is still as sufficient to gladden us again. The thing that gladden us was the thing which we believed. Not our way of believing it; not the quality nor the quantity of our faith; but simply the thing believed the glad tidings of great joy concerning Him who died, and was buried, and rose again. If the thing believed proves ineffectual to gladden, no considerations as to the satisfactory nature or composition of our own faith will prove sufficient. The attempt to believe in our own faith instead of believing in Christ must be abortive both in itself and in its results; and the incessant efforts of some to get up a faith worthy of being believed in, and capable of recommending them to God, are the dictate and the development of as hateful a self-righteousness as was ever exhibited by ancient Pharisee or modern Romanist. No. When the God of the hope fills us with all joy and peace, He does so by presenting us with objects full of joy and peace, so that, in believing, we are filled with the blessedness which they contain. V. That ye may abound in the hope. The hope not only fills, but overflows, as the word abound might be rendered. It comes in and lights up the soul with its heavenly brightness; but it does more. It is so glorious and so boundless that the soul cannot contain it. We fix our eye on it; and as we gaze it expands, and enlarges, and intensifies. It grows brighter, and more real, and more excellent as we continue to dwell upon it. Our faith becomes more and more the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. VI. Through the power of the Holy Ghost. He comes in and dwells in us; thus working in us from within, not from without. He comes in as the Spirit of power, and love, and of a sound mind. He comes in as the Spirit of truth, the Spirit of faith, the Spirit of joy and peace, the Spirit of Christ. He comes in as the seal by which we are sealed unto the day of redemption; Gods own seal which stamps us as Gods property. He comes in as the witness, witnessing with our spirits that we are the sons of God. He comes in as the earnest of the inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession. He comes in, not in feebleness, but in power; in almighty power, to work a work in us and for us, which but for Him must remain unaccomplished forever. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Lords Day 47, 2011

Sunday··2011·11·20
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Ministers a Sweet Savor, Whether of Life or Death Philip Doddridge (17021751) Praise to the Lord on high, who spreads his triumphs wide! While Jesus fragrant name is breathed on every side. Balmy and rich, the odors rise, And fill the earth, and reach the skies. Ten thousand dying souls, its influence feel and live; Sweeter than vital air, the incense they receive: They breathe anew and rise and sing Jesus the Lord, the conquering King. But sinners scorn the grace that brings salvation nigh; They turn their face away, and faint, and fall, and die. So sad a doom, ye saints, deplore, For, Oh, they fall to rise no more. Yet, wise and mighty God, shall all thy servants be, In those who live or die, A savour sweet to thee; Supremely bright, Thy grace shall shine, Guarded with flames of wrath divine. Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). 20  The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. Romans 16 Let us note here, I. Satans overthrow. The whole history of the world is interwoven with the doings of him whom Scripture calls the serpent (2 Corinthians 11:3); the old serpent (Revelation 12:9); the God of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4); the great dragon (Revelation 12:9); the wicked one (Matthew 13:19, 1 John 5:18) ; the devil (Matthew 4:8); the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2); the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10); the adversary (1 Peter 5:8). He is a living person,originally connected with heaven, now with earth, once associated with angels, now with men, full of malice, a murderer and a liar, a deceiver. His dealings first with Eve, and then with Christ, are the two great specimens of his nature, his tactics, and his aims. The first promise announced a battle between him and the seed of the woman. This battle has been going on without intermission, between him and Christ, and between him and the members of Christs body. With them it is warfare, with the rest of mankind it is friendship. The warfare has been fierce as well as long, open as well as secret, outward as well as inward. In all his assaults and stratagems he has to a certain extents succeeded, but always in the end been baffled. It is to this ultimate baffling or bruising that the apostle here alludes. In four ways has this final bruising been manifested, or is to be manifested: (1.) In Christ Himself. He seemed for a while to conquer; he succeeded in stirring up men against Him; Judas to betray Him, and His disciples to forsake Him. He specially seemed to triumph over Him on the cross. There He bruised his heel. But that was the means and commencement of his defeat. His bruising began at the cross. There he received his deadly wound, his death stroke, which is to be completed at His second coming. Christs personal victory over Satan by Himself and for Himself is yet to be manifested. (2.) In the Church. Satan has bruised the churchs heel, but the church is yet to bruise his head. Each age of the church has shewn this double process more or less; but the last age is to shew it fully; when Christ comes to deliver her from her oppressor forever. (3.) In each saint. We wrestle with principalities and powers. Each of us has a daily battle with Satan. In this we are often worsted, yet in the end we overcome. We resist, and he flees from us. We pursue, and the God of peace enables us to overtake him and to bruise him under our feet. (4.) In the world. He is prince of this world, and he has long exercised dominion therein. But the day is coming when he will be bound with the great chain and cast into the bottomless pit,and after that into the lake of fire. That shall be his final bruising and binding; that shall be earths deliverance from his power,the end of the reign of evil, and the beginning of the reign of good and righteousness. II. The saints deliverance. We have briefly alluded to this already; but let us notice still further the peculiar expression used in reference to this. It is evidently of individual Christians that He is speaking when He says, the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. (1.) He shall bruise, that is crush, grind to powder, overwhelm. (2.) Satan, as the adversary, as the tempter, as the inflicter of pain, and him who has the power of death,not merely his head, but himself. (3.) Under your feet. He shall place your feet upon his head and neck, as in the case of a conquered foe,as if you had won the whole battle yourself, and triumphed over the enemy. (4.) Shortly. It will not be a long warfare in any sense. A short work will God make of this. Thus shall the saint be delivered; thus shall he conquer; thus shall he triumph; thus shall all his enemies be put under his feet. It will not be long! Hold fast, O saint; hold out! Resist, contend, use the whole armor, smite with the sword of the Spirit; for no other weapon will avail in the conflict with such a foe. Fight! For God is on your side. III. The victory of the God of peace. It is as the God of peace that He wins the victory for us, and bruises Satan tinder our feet. It is as the bruised one that He bruises. He whom Satan smote, is He who smites Satan. The God of peace has made peace; and having made peace by the blood of His cross, He proceeds to destroy all that had once marred the peace,all His enemies and ours,giving us complete victory and triumph. It is on the basis of the reconciling blood, the peace-giving work on the cross, that the operations against Satan are carried on. It is under the banner of the God of peace that we fight. He is our captain, and the peace which He has made is that which secures the victory to us. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb,the blood that has made our peace. It is the righteous peace made on the cross that makes it a righteous thing in God to bruise Satan under our feet; for, to bruise (or punish) him is one thing, and to do so under our feet is another. It is one thing to triumph over him, and another to make us triumph over him,to make us conquerors,more than conquerors,to make us sharers of the honour and the spoils of victory; for with us He divides the spoil. In fighting for us and with us, God has respect to this blood made and blood bought peace. We in maintaining the fight have our eye constantly on it. We fight and conquer as men who know the God of peace, having believed His testimony to the work which has produced the peace. We fight and conquer as men who have obtained the peace, and by that peace are nerved and animated for the conflict, as men who know that God is with us. The peace within, and the consciousness of friendship with God, emboldens us and rouses usmakes us brave and invincible. What consolation, too, in that word shortly. It will not be long. Take the word as referring to the saints simply, or to the church, the victory is near. Behold I come quickly. Fight on. Resist the devil. Wrestle with the principalities and powers. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Lord���s Day 48, 2011

Sunday··2011·11·27
I was glad when they said to me, ���Let us go to the house of the Lord.��� Christ Our Peace. Horatius Bonar (1808���1889) I thought upon my sins, and I was sad, My soul was troubled sore and filled with pain; But then I thought on Jesus, and was glad, My heavy grief was turned to joy again. I thought upon the law, the fiery law, Holy, and just, and good in its decree; I looked to Jesus, and in Him I saw That law fulfilled, its curse endured for me. I thought I saw an angry, frowning God, Sitting as Judge upon the great white throne; My soul was overwhelmed; then Jesus showed His gracious face, and all my dread was gone. I saw my sad estate, condemned to die, Then terror seized my heart, and dark despair; But when to Calvary I turned my eye, I saw the cross, and read forgiveness there. I saw that I was lost, far gone astray, No hope of safe return there seemed to be; But then I heard that Jesus was the way, A new and living way prepared for me. Then in that way, so free, so safe, so sure, Sprinkled all o���er with reconciling blood, Will I abide, and never wander more, Walking along in fellowship with God. ���Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, 26 but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; 27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen. ���Romans 16 What a doxology! What a burst of praise! Full of divine melody; full of grace and truth! Glory to God in the highest is here, yet also peace on earth, and goodwill to man. The great Jehovah, the wise, the mighty, the good, the loving God, is the theme. Let us look at the contents of this glorious hymn of praise, this rapturous hallelujah of a redeemed man, this utterance of marvelous song. I. The Stablisher. He is the Creator; it was He who spake and it was done, who commanded and it stood fast; who laid the foundation of earth and heaven. (1.) He is the mighty God. He is ���of power��� (literally, ���able���) to stablish you. He is the Lord God Almighty, infinite in might, whose is the ���strength,��� and the ���power,��� and the ���dominion,��� and the ���greatness,��� and the ���majesty��� (1 Chronicles 29:2; Revelation 4:2). Let us notice the different connections in which this power is introduced in Scripture: (1.) ���God is able of these stones to raise up children��� (Matthew 3:9); (2.) ���Thou canst (art able to) make me clean��� (Matthew 8:2); (3.) ���Unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above,��� &c. (Ephesians 3:20); (4.) ���He is able to subdue all things to Himself��� (Philippians 3:21); (5.) ���He is able to succor them that are tempted��� (Hebrew 2:18); (6.) ���He is able to save to the uttermost��� (Hebrew 7:25); (7.) ���To Him that is able keep you from falling��� (Jude 24); (8.) ���To Him that is of power to stablish you��� (Roman 16:25). What comfort to the feeble, and weary, and Satan-tempted, in this truth! He who strengthens and stablishes us is the mighty God. (2.) The fountainhead of the mystery of hidden wisdom. The mystery (or secret) now revealed in Christ and His cross (that ���God so loved the world,��� &c., John 3:16), which had been kept secret (hidden) in ���the eternal ages,��� was God���s everlasting purpose concerning His own, His saints, His chosen ones, His church of all ages. It is out of this purpose and this Purposer that our establishment flows. This eternal Purposer, the birthplace and well head of all being, and truth, and blessedness, is He who worketh in us according to the good pleasure of His will. He had sketched His great secret, His purpose of grace, in the prophets, giving us in them the outline and shadow of the good things to come; but not till the Word was made flesh, and the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, had declared Him, was the glorious revelation made. (3.) He is the everlasting God. ���From everlasting to everlasting thou art God��� (Psalm 90:1). He is ���the King eternal, immortal, and invisible��� (1 Timothy 1:17); ���with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning��� (James 1:17). It is not with mortality, and finitude, and change, and corruption that we have to do, but with the immortal, the infinite, the unchangeable, the incorruptible. He who stablishes us is ���the everlasting God.��� (4.) He is the God only wise. Wisdom is His in its widest, highest sense; wisdom without weakness, or one sidedness, or imperfection. The perfection of wisdom is His. The God only wise is His name. Such is our Stablisher! Can we fear or be discouraged? Shall our weakness, or frailty, or the number of our foes appal us? Greater is He that is for us than all that are against us, without or within! Let us stand fast, and not be moved, or shaken, or terrified. II. The stablishing. The word expresses steadfastness, fixture, and strength (see Luke 9:51; Romans 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 3:2,13; 2 Thessalonians 2:17, 3:3; James 5:8;1 Peter 5:10). It assumes that on our part there is weakness, wavering, changeableness; that there is peril for us on every hand from snares and assaults, from wiles and enmity, and that we are constantly liable to be uprooted and overthrown. We are without strength; compassed about with infirmities; apt to be carried about with every wind of doctrine; ready to be moved from the faith, or made to err from ways of uprightness. The process of stablishing is what we need so much; it is more than being ���kept from falling,��� and we require both. While this stablishing, in one sense, comes directly from the eternal Stablisher, in another, it comes through present means and influences, such as the gospel (���my gospel��� [10]), and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, and the revelation of the mystery. Through means of these, God establishes us, by the power of the Holy Ghost, working in us according to His mighty power. The gospel (1) says to us, ���Be steadfast���; (2) it shews us what steadfastness is; (3) it supplies us with the means of steadfastness. In clasping that gospel, we are holding that which alone can keep us from being moved. Let us lean on the cross; let us grasp it as the shipwrecked sailor grasps the life buoy, or is lashed to the mast to prevent his being washed overboard. The cross is thus everything for steadfastness. It stands firm, and it keeps firm all who keep hold of it. It is our prop; our resting place; our foundation; our anchor; our strong tower. The true stablishing (whether in faith, or love, or hope, or truth, or holiness) goes on only here. Apart from it, or away from it, all is instability, and feebleness, and destruction. III. The stablished. These are, first of all, the saints at Rome, ���called,��� ���beloved of God,��� whose ���faith was spoken of throughout the whole world.��� They needed ���stablishing,��� though apostles were their pastors and teachers; not once, but all through; day by day; they needed to be ���rooted and grounded in love���; to be ���made perfect, stablished, strengthened, settled.��� And if these noble Roman Christians needed stablishing (men of faith and love, beyond us!), how much more we! For is not the, church of God in these last days far from steadfast? Is she not an unanchored, uncompassed, unballasted vessel, carried about with every wind of doctrine or speculation, departing from old beliefs as obsolete and fossile; rushing after what is new and fascinating; in love with change, and ���progress,��� and ���development,��� and ���breadth,��� and liberality,��� according to modern phraseology proudly disdainful of what she calls ���bigotry,��� and intolerance,��� and ���stereotyping,��� and old-fashioned dogmas and theologies. Surely the church of the last days needs stablishing even more than the church of the first age; there are so many half-and-half disciples now, the mixed multitude that led Israel astray. Let each believing man give heed to this, lest he fall from his steadfastness. Be strong in the Lord; be steadfast and immoveable; hold fast that which thou hast received. This peculiar doxology, at the close of such an epistle, connecting such a song of praise with the steadfastness of the saints of God, is very striking, and fraught with deep lessons to us. The glory of the God only mighty, and eternal, and wise, is connected with our being stablished; and the process of stablishing us depends on His being what He is here represented to be. Let us feel that we have much to do with Him as the God of power, and wisdom, and eternity. ���Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. 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A Living Sacrifice: Cheap Morality vs. Genuine Righteousness

Monday··2012·03·12 · 3 Comments
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. Romans 12:13 What does the living sacrifice look like? Paul first describes it in terms of nonconformity. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world. Here is the point at which many Christians have gone astray. It is clear that we are to be nonconformists. But it is difficult to understand precisely what kind of nonconformity is called for. Nonconformity is a tricky matter and can easily be reduced to superficiality. It is a tragedy that the matter of nonconformity has been treated by Christians at a shallow level. The simplistic way of not conforming is to see what is in style in our culture and then do the opposite. If short hair is in vogue, the nonconformist wears long hair. If going to movies is popular, then Christians avoid movies as worldly. The extreme case of this may be seen in groups that refuse to wear buttons or use electricity because such things too are worldly. A superficial style of nonconformity is the classical pharisaical trap. The kingdom of God is not about buttons, movies, or dancing. The concern of God is not focused on what we eat or what we drink. The call of nonconformity is a call to a deeper level of righteousness that goes beyond externals. When piety is defined exclusively in terms of externals, the whole point of the apostles teaching has been lost. Somehow we have failed to hear Jesus words that it is not what goes into a mans mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out of his mouth. We still want to make the kingdom a matter of eating and drinking. Why are such distortions rampant in Christian circles? The only answer I can give is sin. Our marks of piety can actually be evidences of impiety. When we major in minors and blow insignificant trifles out of proportion, we imitate the Pharisees. When we make dancing and movies the test of spirituality, we are guilty of substituting a cheap morality for a genuine one. We do these things to obscure the deeper issues of righteousness. Anyone can avoid dancing or going to movies. These require no great effort of moral courage. What is difficult is to control the tongue, to act with integrity, to reveal the fruit of the Spirit. I have never heard a sermon on coveting. I have heard plenty of sermons about the evils of whiskey, but none on the evils of covetousness. Strange. To be sure, the Bible declares that drunkenness is sin, but drunkenness never made the top ten. A true nonconformist is a person who stops coveting; he stops gossiping; he stops slandering; he stops hating and feeling bitter; he starts to practice the fruit of the Spirit. R. C. Sproul, The Holiness of God (Tyndale, 1985), 207208.

Lords Day 26, 2012

Sunday··2012·06·24
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against Gods elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered. But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:3139 " />It Is Finished. Horatius Bonar (18081889) Blessed be God, our God, Who gave for us His well-beloved Son, The gift of gifts, all other gifts in one! Blessed be God, our God! What will He not bestow! Who freely gave this mighty gift unbought, Unmerited, unheeded, and unsought, What will He not bestow? He spared not His Son! Tis this that silences each rising fear, Tis this that bids the hard thought disappear, He spared not His Son! Who shall condemn us now? Since Christ has died, and risen, and gone above, For us to plead at the right hand of Love, Who shall condemn us now? Tis God that justifies! Who shall recall His pardon or His grace? Or who the broken chain of guilt replace? Tis God that justifies! The victory is ours! For us in might came forth the mighty One, For us He fought the fight, the triumph won: The victory is ours! Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

The Hand of God Revealed

Monday··2012·07·02
Machen on Romans 8:32: These words constitute a veritable battle cry of faith; they might have served as the motto for countless heroic deeds. Trusting in the God of Israel, men fought mighty battles and won Glorious victories; the Lord of hosts is a powerful ally. Jonathan thought so, when he and his armourbearer made that foolhardy attempt upon a garrison of the Philistines. There is no restraint to the Lord, he said, to save by many or by few. David thought so, with his five smooth stones from the brook and his great boasting adversary. Thou comest to me, he said, with a sword and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel. Elisha thought so, when he and his servant were shut up in Dothan. The Syrians had sought to take his life; he had revealed their plans to the king of Israel; and at last they had caught him fair. When the servant of the prophet arose in the morning, the city was all surrounded by the Syrian hosts. Alas, my master, he said, how shall we do? But the prophet was not dismayed. Open his eyes, he said, that he may see. And the Lord opened his eyes, and behold the hills were covered not only by the Syrian armies, but also by the fiery horses and chariots of Gods protecting care. The apostles thought that God was a powerful ally, when they testified in testified in the council of the Jews: We must obey God rather than men. Luther thought so on that memorable day when he stood before kings and princes, and saidin substance even if not in wordHere I stand, I cannot do otherwise, God help me! Amen. In these Great moments of history the hand of God was revealed. J. Gresham Machen, What Is Faith? (MacMillan, 1925), 6667.

The God That Is Nothing

Tuesday··2012·07·03
Machen on the worthlessness of pantheistic religion: [Pantheism] contains no comfort whatever for oppressed and burdened souls. If God be but another name for the totality of things, then when we possess Him we possess nothing that we did not have before. There is then no appeal from the world to Him; when the world treats us ill, there is no help for us, for we already had our God. If God be for us, who can be against us?these words were spoken by no pantheist, but by one who could appeal from nature to natures God. J. Gresham Machen, What Is Faith? (MacMillan, 1925), 71.

The One Inestimable Gift

Thursday··2012·07·05
Most employees, I dare say, do not think of their employers as friends; the relationship is a mere business arrangement, and they are in it for the payoff. Reciprocally, employers value their employees for the services they provide, which are turned into profit for the employer. No employee, deprived of a paycheck, would continue showing up for work just for the privilege of being near the boss, nor would any employer keep an unproductive employee around just for the pleasure of his company. And there is nothing wrong with that; that is just the nature of a business relationship. None of us have ever sought a position or hired an employee out of love. We form those relationships because they supply our needs and wants. The world thinks of God in much the same way, calling on him in times of need, and sometimes even giving thanks for needs met, but never seeking any personal relationship with him. Believers can fall into that way of thinking, as well. Living in the world as we do, it is easy to let the cares of the world dominate in our minds, and think of God only in relation to those cares, forgetting that God himself is his greatest gift to us. Machen writes: We are subject to many pressing needs, and we are too much inclined to value God, not for his own sake, but only because he can satisfy those needs. There is the need of food and clothing, for ourselves and for our loved ones, and we value God because he can answer the petition, Give us this day our daily bread. There is the need of companionship; we shrink from loneliness; we would be surrounded by those who love us and those whom we can love. And we value God as one who can satisfy that need by giving us family and friends. There is the need of inspiring labor; we would be delivered from an aimless life; we desire opportunities for noble and unselfish service of our fellowmen. And we value God as one who by his ordering of our lives can set before us an open door. These are lofty desires. But there is one desire that is loftier still. It is the desire for God Himself. That desire, too often, we forget. We value God solely for the things that He can do; we make of Him a mere means to an ulterior end. And God refuses to be treated so; such a religion always fails in the hour of need, If we have regarded religion merely as a means of getting thingseven lofty and unselfish thingsthen when the things that have been gotten are destroyed, our faith will fail. When loved ones are taken away, when disappointment comes and failure, when noble ambitions are set at naught, then we turn away from God; we have tried religion, we say, we have we have tried prayer, and it has failed. Of course it has failed! God is not content to be an instrument in our hand or a servant at our beck and call. He is not content to minister to the worldly needs of those who care not a bit for Him. The text in the eighth chapter of Romans does not mean that religion provides a certain formula for obtaining worldly benefitseven the highest and most unselfish of worldly benefits. If God be for us, who can be against us?that does not mean that faith in God will bring is everything that we desire. What it does mean is that if we possess God, then we can meet with equanimity the loss of all besides. Has it never dawned upon us that God is valuable for His own sake, that just as personal communion is the highest thing that we know on earth, so personal communion with God is the sublimest height of all? If we value God for His own sake, then the loss of other things will draw us all the closer to Him; we shall then have recourse to God in time of trouble as to the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. I do not mean that the Christian need expect always to be poor and sick and lonely and to seek his comfort only in a mystic experience with His God. This universe is Gods world; its Blessings are showered upon His Creatures even now; and in his own good time, when the period of its groaning and travailing is over, He will fashion it as a habitation of glory. But what I do mean is that if here and now we have the one inestimable gift of Gods presence and favor, then all the rest can wait till Gods good time. J. Gresham Machen, What Is Faith? (MacMillan, 1925), 7274.

Appeal to Gods Act Alone

Monday··2012·07·09
Is God for us, despite our sin? Joyfully the Christian answers, Yes. But why is he for us? Simple indeed is the Christian answer to the question: He is for us simply because He has chosen to be. He surely has a right to receive whom He will into His fellowship: and as a matter of fact He has chosen to receive us poor sinners who trust in Christ; He chose to receive ours. The if of the text is a stupendous if; but such a word is not allowed to stand very long in the eighth chapter of Romans. If God be for us, who can be against us?it is a large if, but it melts away very soon in the warmth of Gods grace. If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own son but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of Gods elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemeth? Appeal to Gods act alone can enable us to face every adversary. It can of course enable us to face the unjust condemnation of men. What care we what men may say, if we have the approval of God? But it can do vastly more than that; it can enable us to face not only the unjust condemnation of men, but the condemnation of men that is perfectly just. And nothing else on earth or in heaven can enable us to do that. There are some things that the world never forgives; Peter could never, I suppose, have been received again into the society of gentlemen after he had played the traitor under fire. But God chose to receive him, and upon the rock of his faith the Church was built. There may be some foul spot in our lives; the kind of thing that the world never forgives, the kind of thing, at any rate, for which we who know all can never forgive ourselves. But what care we whether the world forgives, if God has received us by the death of His Son? That is what Paul means by boasting in the Cross of Christ. If we could appeal to Gods approval as ours by right, how bravely we should boastboast in the presence of a world of enemies! If God knows that we are right, what care we for the blame of men? Such boasting, indeed, can never be ours. But we can boast in what God has done. Little care we whether our sin be thought unpardonable or no, little interested are we in the exact calculation of our guilt. Heap it up mountain high, yet God has removed it all. We cannot explain Gods act; it is done on His responsibility, not ours. I know not, the Christian says, what my guilt may be; one thing I know: Christ loved me and gave himself for me. Come on now ye moralists of the world, come on ye host of demons, with your whisperings of hell! We fear you not; we take out stand beneath the shadow of the Cross, and standing there, in Gods favor, we are safe. No fear of challenge now! If God be for us, who can be against us? None, in heaven or in earth or in hell. Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. J. Gresham Machen, What Is Faith? (MacMillan, 1925), 8183.

Lords Day 31, 2012

Sunday··2012·07·29
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. Romans 5:611 Petitionary Hymns Poem XLII. Augustus Toplady (17401778) Jesus, thy powr I fain would feel, Thy love is all I want: O let thine ears consider well The voice of my complaint. Thou seest me yet a slave to sin, And destitute of God; O purify and make me clean By thine all-cleansing blood. Far off I stand, O bring me nigh, And bid me sit up highr: Immanuel, now in love pass by, And answer my desire. Jesus, undertake for me, Thy peace to me be givn: For while I stand away from thee, I stand away from heavn. I will not my offence conceal, I will not hide my sin, But all my crimes with weeping tell. And own how vile Ive been. Lord, will thy wrathful jealousy As fire for ever burn? And wilt thou not a succour be, And comfort those that mourn? Reject not Lord my humble prayrs, Nor yet my soul destroy: Thine only Son hath sown in tears That I might reap in joy. The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Sovereign Election in Exodus

Tuesday··2012·08·07
Divine justice plays no part in sovereign election. It is all of Gods mercy. Gods choice of undeserving sinners for salvation is an expression of His sovereign will and free grace. God does not owe salvation to any sinner. Saving grace is entirely unmerited; no sinful creature has any claim to it. All that sinful man rightly deserves is divine condemnation. So the lost human race desperately needs what it does not deserve. But because grace is a gift, God is free to bestow it upon whom He pleases without violating His justice. As He is absolutely sovereign, He chooses which sinners He will save: I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. Exodus 33:19b In this passage, God says nothing about His justice. He speaks only of His mercy. These two divine attributesjustice and mercybelong to totally different categories. Election is always a matter of sovereign mercy, not justice. Without any obligation to bestow grace upon any individual, God shows Himself to be infinitely loving by choosing to show mercy upon some. Grasping the profundity of this verse, John MacArthur writes, God is absolutely sovereign and does elect who will be saved without violating His other attributes. He determines who receives mercy. Albert Barnes adds, Jehovah declares His own will to be the ground of the grace which He is going to show the nation. St. Paul applies these words to the election of Jacob in order to overthrow the self-righteous boasting of the Jews (Rom. 9:15). The point is clearGod chooses by sovereign mercy whom He will save. Steve Lawson, Foundations of Grace (Reformation Trust, 2006), 80.

Preserving Grace in Psalms

Monday··2012·08·27
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ���Romans 3:38���39 The righteous are kept forever secure by God, both in this life and throughout all eternity. Not one of God���s saints will ever perish: The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. . . . For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off. ���Psalm 37:23���28 In this wisdom psalm, David explains that the Lord guards the righteous. Though the saints may fall into sin, they will never fall from grace. Instead, they will be upheld by God and made to stand forever. VanGemeren comments, ���The Lord establishes the godly, even in times of adversity. He may ���stumble���, either by sinning or by being jealous of the wicked or by the traps laid by the wicked, but he will not fall. . . . The ground for all the blessings is the love of God. He loves ���the just��� and therefore will never forsake ���his faithful ones.��� . . . Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ (Rom. 8:38���39).��� [The Expositor���s Bible Commentary, Vol. 5, 302.] God permanently holds the saints in His hand, and will never allow them to slip through His sovereign grip. He will preserve them forever. ���Steve Lawson, Foundations of Grace (Reformation Trust, 2006), 147���148.

Lords Day 43, 2012

Sunday··2012·10·21
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Romans 6:17 Hymn 106. (s. m.) Dead to sin by the cross of Christ. Rom. vi. 1, 2, 6. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) Shall we go on to sin Because thy grace abounds; Or crucify the Lord again, And open all his wounds? Forbid it, mighty God! Nor let it eer be said, That we whose sins are crucified Should raise them from the dead. We will be slaves no more, Since Christ has made us free; Has nailed our tyrants to his cross, And bought our liberty. The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Radical Depravity in Romans (1)

Monday··2012·11·05
Even though allincluding professing atheistsare aware of Gods existence, the innate depravity of the unregenerate mind suppresses the truth about him (Romans 1:1819). When a god is acknowledged, it is a god of the imagination, fashioned to serve individual desires. In their depravity, the unregenerate exchange the truth of the glory of God for vanity, darkening their thoughts. Sinful people know about God through His general revelation, but they refuse to acknowledge Him as God: For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Romans 1:2023 Unregenerate man defiantly rejects the knowledge of God, thereby plunging into mental dullness, emotional despair, and spiritual depravity. His thinking becomes darker and his will unable to choose rightly. When fallen man rejects the clear knowledge of God, he turns to idols of his own making, whether they be objects made from gold or silver, or inferior speculations about God made in their darkened minds. Hodge writes, Foolish hearts are hearts destitute of discernmentthat is, insight into the nature of divine things. The consequence of this lack of divine knowledge was darkness. The word heart stands for the whole soul. . . . It is not merely intellectual darkness or ignorance which the apostle describes in this verse, but the whole moral state. Throughout the Scriptures we find the idea of foolishness and sin, of wisdom and piety, intimately connected. Such is the next step in the corrupting process of radical depravity. Steve Lawson, Foundations of Grace (Reformation Trust, 2006), 345.

Radical Depravity in Romans (2)

Thursday··2012·11·08
Nothing is more fundamental to unregenerate depravity than the absence of a proper fear of God. The unsaved have no fear of God. They lack all due reverence for Him, choosing instead to trivialize and marginalize their thoughts of Him: There is no fear of God before their eyes. Romans 3:18 The proper reverence that is due to Gods name is simply not present with the unconverted. They have no respect, no awe, and no humility toward Him. They have an inadequate concern about Him, no fear about the consequences of their sin. In short, they fail to take God seriously. Robert Haldane writes, It is astonishing that men, while they acknowledge that there is a God, should act without any fear of His displeasure. Yet this is their character. They fear a worm of the dust like themselves, but disregard the Most High. . . . They are more afraid of man than of Godof his anger, his contempt, or ridicule. The fear of man prevents them from doing many things from which they are not restrained by the fear of God. . . . They love not His character, nor rendering to it that veneration which is due; they respect not His authority. Such is the state of human nature while the heart is unchanged. Assessing this complete lack of fear for God, Hodge adds, His sinfulness proves or reveals to me that he does not fear God. The life of wicked men is proof that they are destitute of the fear of God. And by the fear of God we may understand, according to its use in Scripture, reverence for God, piety towards him; or fear in the more restricted sense, dread of his wrath. Either way, the reckless wickedness of men proves that they are destitute of all proper respect for God. They act as if there were no God, no being to whom they are responsible for their behavior and who has the intention and power to punish them for their iniquity.16 Here is the rotten core of radical depravityunconverted men have no fear of God. Steve Lawson, Foundations of Grace (Reformation Trust, 2006), 349.

Sovereign Election in Romans

Tuesday··2012·11·13
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; Romans 8:29 The verse above is often interpreted to mean that God chooses his people according to his foreknowledge of their free choice. In other words, he only rubberstamps, in advance, the choices others will make. That is the majority view among those who identify as fundamentalists and evangelicals. It is the opinion I held for many years, and argued strenuously. But that interpretation displays an ignorance of the meaning of the word foreknew, and, more embarrassingly, a deplorable understanding of simple rules of grammar. Even worse, having committed those errors, those who cling to this view refuse to be corrected when Scripture, that is, God himself, comes right out and states, in the plainest possible language, that they are wrong. God did not choose His elect on the basis of any foreseen faith or good works. To the contrary, God made His choice for reasons found exclusively within Himself: Though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or badin order that Gods purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call . . . Romans 9:11 Gods sovereign choice of whom to save was made long before any person was born. One example is His choice of Jacob over Esau, a selection made before either twin entered the world and did anything to supposedly earn Gods favor or wrath. Hendriksen notes, The divine purpose, springing from election and executing its design, determines who are saved. Everything depends on God who calls (effectively draws) some, not others. . . . In the final analysis the reason why some people are accepted and others rejected is that God so willed it. The divine, sovereign will is the source of both election and reprobation. Steve Lawson, Foundations of Grace (Reformation Trust, 2006), 352.

Definite Atonement in Romans

Wednesday··2012·11·14
The reconciliation of man to God was not merely begun at the cross, nor was it only made possible; it was accomplished, and it was finished. That fact effectively determines how we must answer the question, For whom did Christ die? Jesus died in order to reconcile all believersmentioned repeatedly here as weto God. Upon the cross, those who believe were truly reconciled to God: For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:1011 By its sin, mankind has alienated itself from God. The two partiesholy God and sinful manare declared enemies who are at spiritual war. Gods wrath is being revealed from heaven toward sinners (1:18), and mans rebellion and hatred toward God are being revealed, as well (3:1018). At the cross, Jesus stood between the two offended parties and reconciled God to man and man to God. A real reconciliation occurred there, not a possible one. But not all men are reconciled to God through Christs deathonly the elect. It was for these only that He died. Murray writes, Reconciliation is a finished work. The tenses in verses 18, 19, 21 put this beyond doubt. It is not a work being continuously wrought by God; it is something accomplished in the past. God is not only the sole agent but also the agent of action already perfected. . . . He was made sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Christ took upon Himself the sin and guilt, the condemnation and the curse of those on whose behalf He died. Steve Lawson, Foundations of Grace (Reformation Trust, 2006), 363364.

Lords Day 47, 2012

Sunday··2012·11·18
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. Romans 8:1825 " />A Fair World Tho a Fallen Christina Rossetti (18301894) You tell me that the world is fair, in spite Of the old Fall; and that I should not turn So to the grave, and let my spirit Yearn After the quiet of the long last night. Have I then shut mine eyes against the light, Grief-deafened lest my spirit should discern? Yet how could I keep silence when I burn? And who can give me comfort ?Hear the right. Have patience with the weak and sick at heart: Bind up the wounded with a tender touch, Comfort the sad, tear-blinded as they go: For, though I failed to choose the better part, Were it a less unutterable woe If we should come to love this world too much? Christina Rossetti, Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1993). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Irresistible Call in Romans

Monday··2012·11·26 · 1 Comments
Romans 8:2830 is as good as a mathematical equation, the sum of which is the Doctrines of grace. The equation tells us that all whom God calls will certainly be with him in glory after the judgment, and that their calling was ordained in eternity past. The elect are irresistibly called by God at the appointed time as a result of His foreknowing and predestining in eternity past. This effectual summons is rooted and grounded in the eternal purpose of God: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Romans 8:2830 All whom the Father foreknew before the foundation of the worldthat is, those He foreloved and foreordainedare effectually called within time by the Holy Spirit to come to Christ. Those the Father foreknew and chose He predestined to believe and be saved. And all those who were predestined are irresistibly summoned to believe in Christ. Hodge explains, Every time predestination is spoken about it is clear that the reason for the choice does not lie in us. We are chosen in Christ according to the free purpose of God, etc. This is a fore-ordination, a determination which existed in the divine mind long before the event and even before the foundation of the word (Ephesians 1:4). When it occurs in time it shows the eternal purpose of God, and it executes the plan of which it forms a part. That is to say, all those foreknown by God are called by God. Steve Lawson, Foundations of Grace (Reformation Trust, 2006), 368.

Persevering Grace in Romans

Thursday··2012·11·29
The salvation of believers is not secured by their perseverance. They persevere because their salvation is secured by the power of Gods indwelling Spirit. The elect will never be separated from Gods love in Christ. Nothing presently in this life, prospectively in death, or eternally in the future can sever a true believer from his relationship to God: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:3539 All the elect will be kept secure by God, even in the face of mounting persecution and even martyrdom. Such painful ordeals will be only the means by which they enter into glory. But Christ will never remove His saving love from them. MacArthur writes, Only the true believer perseveres, not because he is strong in himself but because he has the power of Gods indwelling Spirit. His perseverance does not keep his salvation safe but proves that his salvation is safe. Those who fail to persevere not only demonstrate their lack of courage but, much more important, their lack of genuine faith. God will keep and protect even the most fearful person who truly belongs to Him. On the other hand, even the bravest of those who are merely professing Christians will invariably fall away when the cost of being identified with Christ becomes too great. Only true Christians are overcomers because only true Christians have the divine help of Christs own Spirit. Steve Lawson, Foundations of Grace (Reformation Trust, 2006), 371.

Lords Day 1, 2013

Sunday··2013·01·06
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. Romans 7:1425 Mysteries About the Saints Work and Warfare: Sins, Sorrows and Joys Ralph Erskine (16851752) The work is great Im called unto, Yet nothings left for me to do; Hence for my work heavn had prepared No wages, yet a great reward. To works, but not to working dead; From sin, but not from sinning freed. I clear myself from no offence Yet wash my hands in innocence. My Fathers anger burns like fire, Without a spark of furious ire; Though still my sins displeasing be, Yet still I know Hes pleased with me. Triumphing is my constant trade, Who yet am often captive led; My bloody war does never cease, Yet I maintain a stable peace. My foes assaulting conquer me, Yet never obtain the victory; For all my battles lost or won, Were gained before they were begun Im still at ease, and still oppressed; Have constant trouble, constant rest; Both clear and cloudy, free and bound; Both dead and living, lost and found. Sin for my good does work and win; Yet tis not good for me to sin. My pleasure issues from my pain; My losses still increase my gain. Im healed even when my plagues abound, Covered with dust even when Im crowned; As low as death, when living high; Nor shall I live, yet cannot die, For all my sins my heart is sad Since Gods dishonored; yet Im glad Though once I was a slave to sin, Since God does thereby honor win. My sins are ever in His eye, Yet He beholds no sin in me, His mind that keeps them all in store, Will yet remember them no more. Because my sins are great, I feel Great fears of heavy wrath; yet still For mercy seek, for pardon wait, Because my sins are very great. I hope when plunged into despair, I tremble when I have no fear. Pardons dispel my griefs and fears, And yet dissolve my heart in tears. Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Lords Day 2, 2013

Sunday··2013·01·13
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. Romans 8:1825 Come, Lord Horatius Bonar (18081889) Seunit mundus. Augustine. Come, Lord, and tarry not: Bring the long-looked-for Day; O why these years of waiting here. These ages of delay? Come, for Thy saints still wait: Daily ascends their sigh; The Spirit and the Bride say, Come; Dost Thou not hear the cry? Come, for creation groans, Impatient of Thy stay, Worn out with these long years of ill, These ages of delay. Come, for Thy Israel pines, An exile from Thy fold; O call to mind Thy faithful word, And bless them as of old! Come, for Thy foes are strong; With taunting lip they say, Where is the promised Advent now, And where the dreaded Day? Come, for the good are few; They lift the voice in vain: Faith waxes fainter on the earth, And love is on the wane. Come, for the truth is weak, And error pours abroad Its subtle poison oer the earth, An earth that hates her God. Come, for love waxes cold; Its steps are faint and slow: Faith now is lost in unbelief, Hopes lamp burns dim and low. Come, for the grave is full; Earths tombs no more can hold: The sated sepulchres rebel, And groans the heaving mould. Come, for the corn is ripe; Put in Thy sickle now, Reap the great harvest of the earth, Sower and reaper Thou! Come, in Thy glorious might, Come with the iron rod, Scattering Thy foes before Thy face, Most mighty Son of God! Come, spoil the strong mans house, Bind him and cast him hence; Show Thyself stronger than the strong, Thyself Omnipotence. Come, and make all things new; Build up this ruined earth, Restore our faded Paradise, Creations second birth. Come, and begin Thy reign Of everlasting peace; Come, take tho kingdom to Thyself, Great King of righteousness! Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

A Glorious Belief

Wednesday··2013·04·24
Hymn writer Frances Ridley Havergal discovered imputed righteousness through witnessing to a friend: God seemed to help me wonderfully to read and say the right things; I felt that He did so. But while talking to her, the feeling grew stronger daily, that what was true of her was true of me also, especially when we thought over Romans 3:22. I do not think I ever before ventured to really believe that Christs righteousness was imputed even to me; but I knew, I was sure, that I believed in Jesus, and so there seemed no alternative but to accept the glorious belief that the righteousness of God being upon all and unto all them that believe was upon me too. It used to seem too good to be true for me; but how could I doubt Gods word? Then a great tide of sorrow came over me for having ever been so disbelieving; it seemed so very wrong to have doubted, that it threw other phases of sinfulness into comparative shade. And so that 10th of July was one of the happiest days I ever had. Frances Ridley Havergal, quoted in The Old Evangelicalism (Banner of Truth, 2005), 99100.

Worship Is More

Friday··2013·05·24
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12: 12 Popular opinion these days often limits worship to singing. Music leaders are called worship leaders. So the congregation worships for a while, and then hears a sermon, possibly followed by more worship. True worship, however, includes so much more. Most obviously, it includes the entire activity of the church as she assembles for worship each Lords Day, especially the reading and exposition of the Word. But even that is only a small portion of the worship that God expects of us. Worship does not only occur in public services and assemblies. It should occur in the Christians daily living. So Paul exhorted the Christians in Rome, Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to Godthis is your spiritual act of worship. Theology lived out in responsible action and obedience is worshipping God. When performed in faith, all the duties of the Christian life commanded in Scripture are means of worshipping God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Worship of God is the supreme end of the Christian church, whether considered locally or universally, or in the individual lives of its members. Mark Dever, The Church: The Gospel Made Visible (B & H, 2012), 7374.

Lord’s Day 28, 2013

Sunday··2013·07·14
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! —Psalm 19:13 Man a Nothing O Lord, I am a shell full of dust, but animated with an invisible rational soul and made anew by an unseen power of grace; Yet I am no rare object of valuable price, but one that has nothing and is nothing, although chosen of thee from eternity, given to Christ, and born again; I am deeply convinced of the evil and misery of a sinful state, of the vanity of creatures, but also of the sufficiency of Christ. When thou wouldst guide me I control myself, When thou wouldst be sovereign I rule myself. When thou wouldst take care of me I suffice myself. When I should depend on thy providings I supply myself, When I should submit to thy providence I follow my will, When I should study, love, honour, trust thee, I serve myself; I fault and correct thy laws to suit myself, Instead of thee I look to a man’s approbation, and am by nature an idolater. Lord, it is my chief design to bring my heart back to thee. Convince me that I cannot be my own God, or make myself happy, nor my own Christ to restore my joy, nor my own Spirit to teach, guide, rule me. Help me to see that grace does this by providential affliction, for when my credit is good thou dost cast me lower, when riches are my idol thou dost wing them away, when pleasure is my all thou dost turn it into bitterness. Take away my roving eye, curious ear, greedy appetite, lustful heart; show me that none of these things can heal a wounded conscience, or support a tottering frame, or uphold a departing spirit. then take me to the cross and leave me there. —The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Lord’s Day 31, 2013

Sunday··2013·08·04
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. —Romans 8:16–17 Hymns of Thanksgiving Hymn IX. Rom. viii. 16. The Spirit itself bears Witness with our Spirit that we are the Children of Grace. Augustus Toplady (1740–1778) Earnest of future bliss, Celestial Spirit, hail; Fountain of holiness, Whose comforts never fail, The cleansing gift on saints bestow’d, The witness of their peace with God. With our perverseness here, How often hast thou strove, And spar’d us year by year, With never-ceasing love! O set from sin our spirits free, And make us more like thee. What wondrous grace is this, For God to dwell with men; Through Jesus’ righteousness, His favour we regain. And feeble worms, by nature lost, Are temples of the Holy Ghost! Tho’ Belial’s sons would prove That thou no Witness art, Thanks to redeeming love, We feel thee in our heart; Continue, gracious Lord, to bear Thine inward testimony there! By Thee, on earth, we know Ourselves in Christ renew’d, Brought by thy grace into The family of God: Of his adopting love the seal, And faithful teacher of his will. Great Comforter, descend, In gentle breathings, down, Preserve us to the end, That no man take our crown: Our guardian still vouchsafe to be And ever keep us near to Thee. —The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Lord’s Day 32, 2013

Sunday··2013·08·11
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. —Romans 7:21–25 " />Indwelling Sin Lamented Samuel Stennett (1727–1795) With tears of anguish I lament, Here, at Thy feet, my God, My passion, pride, and discontent. And vile ingratitude. Sure there was ne’er a heart so base, So false as mine has been; So faithless to its promises, So prone to every sin! My reason tells me Thy commands Are holy, just, and true; Tells me whate’er my God demands Is His most righteous due. Reason I hear, her counsels weigh, And all her words approve; But still I find it hard to obey, And harder yet to love. How long, dear Savior, shall I feel These struggles in my breast? When wilt Thou bow my stubborn will, And give my conscience rest? Break, sovereign grace, O break the charm, And set the captive free; Reveal, Almighty God, Thine arm, And haste to rescue me. —Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Lord’s Day 41, 2013

Sunday··2013·10·13
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. —Romans 5:12ff Hymn 124. (L. M.) The first and second Adam. Rom. v. 12, &c. Isaac Watts (1674–1748) Deep in the dust before thy throne Our guilt and our disgrace we own; Great God! we own th’ unhappy name Whence sprang our nature and our shame; Adam the sinner: at his fall, Death like a conqueror seiz’d us A thousand new-born babes are dead By fatal union to their head. But whilst our spirits, fill’d with awe, Behold the terrors of thy law, We sing the honors of thy grace, That sent to save our ruin’d race. We sing thine everlasting Son, Who join’d our nature to his own: Adam the second from the dust Raises the ruins of the first. [By the rebellion of one man Through all his seed the mischief ran; And by one man’s obedience now Are all his seed made righteous too.] Where sin did reign, and death abound, There have the sons of Adam found Abounding life; there glorious grace Reigns through the Lord our righteousness. —The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Is God Unjust?

Tuesday··2013·11·26
And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” —Romans 9:10–13 Anticipating objections, the very next verse of Romans 9 says, “What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!” But objections come anyway, as men are determined to impose their sense of justice upon God, declaring with authority what God would and wouldn’t do. “That’s not fair!” is presumed to pass as a theological argument. But God will speak for himself. Reformed Christians affirm that God elects some to salvation “unconditionally,” but this does not mean that He does so arbitrarily. Paul addresses this while confronting the very objection that predestination is unfair: “What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part?” Whenever we find that an objection we are raising is confronted directly in the Bible, we should be careful to heed the answer. Paul says, “By no means!” (Rom. 9:14). Paul’s answer to the question of fairness in unconditional election is important. Essentially, he replies, “Did you say justice?” If justice is what we want—if we want to be treated fairly by God—then the result will be the damnation of us all. No one who wants things to be fair with God can ever hope for heaven, for the simple reason that fairness demands that all sinners be damned. No, says Paul, when it comes to predestination—or salvation in general—the right category is mercy. And mercy, by definition, is sovereignly granted. It cannot be earned. It never is a matter of fairness, but always is a gift of grace. Paul elaborates in Romans 9:15–16: “For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.” This makes the essential point that when the Bible speaks of God’s predestination, or unconditional election, it is always joined to His mercy. Why is that? Paul’s illustration from the life of Moses makes it clear. God’s statement, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,” was made after the Israelites had soiled themselves with the golden calf while Moses was receiving the law on Mount Sinai. They all were under judgment. But in this hopeless situation, God told Moses that He would choose some to be objects of His mercy. This is exactly how it is with the entire human race. The Reformed doctrine of predestination does not teach that God looked down on a neutral mass of humanity and decided to send some to heaven and others to hell. God was not sitting in eternity with a pile of daisies, picking petals and musing, “I love him, I love him not!” Rather, God looked down from on high on humanity wholly lost in sin. When God predestined to salvation, He predestined sinners who were bound for judgment and were utterly opposed to His will. Donald Grey Barnhouse therefore states: “If we may say so, the doctrine of election was God’s secret weapon which made it possible for some men to be saved. If He had not retreated into His sovereignty . . . there would have been nothing but a curse and no one would have been saved.” —Richard D. Phillips, What’s So Great about the Doctrines of Grace? (Reformation Trust, 2008), 38–40.

To Make Known His Glory

Wednesday··2013·11·27
You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. —Romans 9:19–24 Along with the doctrine of unconditional election comes the difficult doctrine of reprobation. It is this doctrine most of all that causes many to cry, “That’s not fair!” That cry comes from the prideful assumption that man is the center of redemptive history. But we are not the center; the center of the biblical narrative, God’s story, is God himself. Barnhouse tells of a shop in Paris that is world—famous for its magnificent, intricate white lace. To display their samples in the store windows, the proprietors place the darkest black velvet behind the lace; only in this way can the intricate details of the craftsmen’s achievement be seen. It is the same with God’s grace. Were no one ever condemned—were there no display of God’s judgment and wrath—there would be no knowledge of the glories of God’s grace. In that case, the true God would be unknown to His creatures, and His purpose in creation—to display the fullness of His glory—would be unrealized. Having failed in this purpose, God would no longer be God. For this reason, God’s decree of reprobation is necessary. God being perfect in every attribute, it is necessary for His every attribute to be exercised: goodness in creation, power in triumph, mercy in grace, and justice in wrath. —Richard D. Phillips, What’s So Great about the Doctrines of Grace? (Reformation Trust, 2008), 44.

Hymns of My Youth III: That Will Be Glory

Saturday··2014·01·04
Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. —Isaiah 40:5 494 O That Will Be Glory When all my labors and trials are o’er, And I am safe on that beautiful shore, Just to be near the dear Lord I adore, Will through the ages be glory for me. Refrain O that will be glory for me, Glory for me, glory for me, When by His grace I shall look on His face, That will be glory, be glory for me. When, by the gift of His infinite grace, I am accorded in Heaven a place, Just to be there and to look on His face, Will through the ages be glory for me. Refrain Friends will be there I have loved long ago; Joy like a river around me will flow; Yet just a smile from my Savior, I know, Will through the ages be glory for me. Refrain —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).

Ryle, Romans 7, and Paul’s Perspective

Tuesday··2014·01·07
For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. —Romans 7:14–25 Concerning this text, there is disagreement over the perspective from which Paul writes. Some say he is writing as unconverted; others say as an immature believer. I fall in with Ryle, who wrote: Is it wise to assert so positively and violently, as many do, that the seventh chapter of the Epistle to the Romans does not describe the experience of the advanced saint, but the experience of the unregenerate man, or of the weak and unestablished believer? I doubt it. I admit fully that the point has been a disputed one for eighteen centuries, in fact ever since the days of St. Paul. I admit fully that eminent Christians like John and Charles Wesley, and Fletcher, a hundred years ago, to say nothing of some able writers of our own time, maintain firmly that St. Paul was not describing his own present experience when he wrote this seventh chapter. I admit fully that many cannot see what I and many others do see: viz., that Paul says nothing in this chapter which does not precisely tally with the recorded experience of the most eminent saints in every age, and that he does say several things which no unregenerate man or weak believer would ever think of saying, and cannot say. —J. C. Ryle, Holiness (Banner of Truth, 2014), xvii–xviii.

Lord’s Day 7, 2014

Sunday··2014·02·16
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. —Romans 8:38–39 The Love of God Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) O Love of God, how strong and true! Eternal and yet ever new, Uncomprehended and unbought, Beyond all knowledge and all thought. O love of God, how deep and great! Far deeper than man’s deepest hate; Self-fed, self-kindled like the light, Changeless, eternal, infinite. O heavenly love, how precious still, In days of weariness and ill! In nights of pain and helplessness. To heal, to comfort, and to bless. O wide-embracing, wondrous love, We read thee in the sky above, We read thee in the earth below, In seas that swell and streams that flow. We read thee in the flowers, the trees, The freshness of the fragrant breeze, The song of birds upon the wing, The joy of summer and of spring. We read thee best in Him who came, To bear for us the cross of shame; Sent by the Father from on high, Our life to live, our death to die. We read thee in the manger-bed, On which His infancy was laid; And Nazareth that love reveals, Nestling amid its lonely hills. We read thee in the tears once shed, Over doomed Salem’s guilty head, In the cold tomb of Bethany, And blood-drops of Gethsemane. We read thy power to bless and save, Even in the darkness of the grave; Still more in resurrection-light, We read the fulness of thy might. O love of God, our shield and stay, Through all the perils of our way; Eternal love, in thee we rest, For ever safe, for ever blest! —Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Who Is the Cessationist Now?

Tuesday··2014·05·27
It is another wonderful irony of the Charismatic debate: continuationists claim that with the New Testament age came a cessation of the Old Testament standard for prophesy, while cessationists insist on a continuation of the Old Testament standard of infallibility. John MacArthur responds to one Charismatic appeal to Scripture in defense of fallible prophesy: No doubt, someone will object by pointing to Romans 12:6, where Paul wrote, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith.” Charismatics use this verse to argue that the accuracy of prophecy is dependent on the measure of a person’s faith. However, that is not even close to Paul’s true meaning in that verse . The word translated “our” in the New King James is actually the definite article in Greek. It is most accurately translated simply as “the.” Hence, Paul is instructing his readers that those with the gift of prophecy must prophesy in accordance with the faith—the body of previously revealed biblical truth (cf. Jude 3–4). Furthermore, the word prophecy in this context does not necessarily refer to future predictions or new revelation. The word simply means “to speak forth,” and it applies to any authoritative proclamation of God’s Word where the person gifted to declare God’s truth “speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men” (1 Cor. 14:3). So a fitting paraphrase of Romans 12:6 would be: “If your gift is proclaiming God’s Word, do it according to the faith.” Again, the idea is that whatever is proclaimed must conform perfectly with the true faith, being consistent with previous biblical revelation. —John MacArthur, Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship (Thomas Nelson, 2014), 121.

Foreknew (Romans 8:29)

Monday··2018·01·22
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. —Romans 8:29–30 Whether you will be an Arminian or a Calvinist (and you will be one or the other*) will depend partly on your understanding of the word “forknew” as it is used in this passage, for herein we meet predestination, sanctification, adoption, calling, justification, and glorification, all tied together. Who will be the recipients of these blessings? “Those whom [God] foreknew.” Arminians and Calvinists have very different views of who that describes. Arminians believe that God, knowing the future, foreknew (knew in advance) who would respond in repentance and faith to the gospel, and predestined them to salvation. In other words, he saw who would respond in repentance and faith to the gospel, and predestined them to respond in repentance and faith to the gospel. (If that seems redundant and nonsensical to you, it’s only because it is.) Calvinists believe that knew has a much more personal, intimate meaning. God did not merely know about certain people and what they would do—certainly, he knows about everyone and everything they will do—he knew them in a personal, intimate way. In order to draw the Arminian conclusion, an idea must be added to the text, that is, “whom he foreknew [would believe], he also predestined.” Not only is that idea not found in this particular text, it collides rather violently with the rest of Scripture, perhaps most obviously, Romans 9:11–13: for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” Therefore, foreknew cannot mean that God predestined individuals based on conditions they would meet, and it cannot mean that God knew them in advance, since he knows everyone in advance, and not all are saved. It has to mean more than that. See again the passage above: “Jacob I loved.” This is how orthodox theologians have always understood the foreknowledge of Romans 8:29. To be known, in this sense of the word, by God is to be loved by him. When the Bible speaks of God knowing particular individuals, it often means that He has special regard for them, that they are the objects of His affection and concern. For example, in Amos 3:2 God, speaking to Israel, says, “You only have I known of the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” The Lord knew about all the families of the earth, but He knew Israel in a special way. They were his chosen people, upon whom He had set his heart. See Deuteronomy 7:7–8; 10:15. Because Israel was His in a special sense, He chastised them (cf. Heb. 15:5–6). God, speaking to Jeremiah, said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you”(Jer. 1:5). The meaning here is not that God knew about Jeremiah, but that He had special regard for the prophet before He formed him in his mother’s womb. Jesus also used the word “knew” in the sense of personal, intimate awareness. “On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’” (Matt. 7:22–23). Our Lord cannot be understood as saying, “I knew nothing about you,” for it is quite evident that He knew all too much about them—their evil character and evil works; hence, His meaning must be, “I never knew you intimately or personally, I never regarded you as objects of my favor or love.” Paul uses the word in the same way in 1 Corinthians 8:3, “But if anyone loves God, he is knownby God,” and also 2 Timothy 2:19, “the Lord knows those who are his.” The Lord knows about all men, but He only knows those “who love God . . . who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28)—those who are His! —The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended, and Documented, 2nd ed. (P&R, 2004), 159–160. * Those who disdain such labels are free to use synergist or monergist, respectively. I actually prefer these, but really, you say tomayto, I say tomahto . . .

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