“Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you.” [John 15:16]

Sometimes, when I see some of the worst characters in the street, I feel as if my heart must burst forth in tears of gratitude that God has never let me act as they have done! I have thought, if God had left me alone, and had not touched me by His grace, what a great sinner I should have been! I should have run to the utmost lengths of sin, dived into the very depths of evil, nor should I have stopped at any vice or folly, if God had not restrained me. I feel that I should have been a very king of sinners, if God had let me alone.

I cannot understand the reason why I am saved, except upon the ground that God would have it so. I cannot, if I look ever so earnestly, discover any kind of reason in myself why I should be a partaker of Divine grace. If I am not at this moment without Christ, it is only because Christ Jesus would have His will with me, and that will was that I should be with Him where He is, and should share His glory. I can put the crown nowhere but upon the head of Him whose mighty grace has saved me from going down into the pit.

Looking back on my past life, I can see that the dawning of it all was of God; of God effectively. I took no torch with which to light the sun, but the sun enlightened me. I did not commence my spiritual life—no, I rather kicked, and struggled against the things of the Spirit: when He drew me, for a time I did not run after Him: there was a natural hatred in my soul of everything holy and good. Wooings were lost upon me—warnings were cast to the wind—thunders were despised; and as for the whispers of His love, they were rejected as being less than nothing and vanity. But, sure I am, I can say now, speaking on behalf of myself, “He only is my salvation.” It was He who turned my heart, and brought me down on my knees before Him. I can in very deed, say with Doddridge and Toplady—
“Grace taught my soul to pray,
And made my eyes o’erflow;”

and coming to this moment, I can add—
“‘Tis grace has kept me to this day,
And will not let me go.”

Well can I remember the manner in which I learned the doctrines of grace in a single instant. Born, as all of us are by nature, an Arminian, I still believed the old things I had heard continually from the pulpit, and did not see the grace of God. When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me.

I do not think the young convert is at first aware of this. I can recall the very day and hour when first I received those truths in my own soul—when they were, as John Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron, and I can recollect how I felt that I had grown on a sudden from a babe into a man—that I had made progress in Scriptural knowledge, through having found, once for all, the clue to the truth of God. One week-night, when I was sitting in the house of God, I was not thinking much about the preacher’s sermon, for I did not believe it. The thought struck me, HOW DID YOU COME TO BE A CHRISTIAN? I sought the Lord. BUT HOW DID YOU COME TO SEEK THE LORD? The truth flashed across my mind in a moment—I should not have sought Him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to MAKE ME seek Him. I prayed, thought I, but then I asked myself, HOW CAME I TO PRAY? I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures. HOW CAME I TO READ THE SCRIPTURES? I did read them, but what led me to do so?

Then, in a moment, I saw that GOD WAS AT THE BOTTOM OF IT ALL, and that HE was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, “I ascribe my change wholly to God.”

The FIRST CAUSE of your union with Christ lies in the PURPOSE OF GOD who gave you grace in Christ Jesus from before the foundation of the world. And as to the purpose, so to the power of God is your union with Christ to be attributed. HE brought you into Christ; you were a stranger, HE brought you near; you were an enemy, He reconciled you.

You had never come to Christ to seek for mercy if first of all the Spirit of God had not appeared to you to SHOW YOU your need, and to LEAD YOU to cry for the mercy that you needed. Through God’s operation as well as through God’s decree you are this day in Christ Jesus. It will do your souls good, my brethren, to think of this very common-place truth. Many days have passed since your conversion, it may be, but do not forget what a high day the day of your new birth was; and do not cease to give glory to that mighty power which brought you out of darkness into marvellous light.


Your regeneration was not of the will of man, nor of blood, nor of birth; if it were so, let me tell you the sooner you are rid of it the better. THE ONLY TRUE REGENERATION IS OF THE WILL OF GOD AND BY THE OPERATION OF THE HOLY GHOST. “By the grace of God I am what I am.” He “has begotten us again unto a lively hope.” “He that hath wrought us to the selfsame thing is God.” “OF HIM are ye in Christ Jesus.” Through the operation and will and purpose of God are you this day a member of Christ’s body and one with Jesus.

Give all the glory, then, to the Lord alone!




 Michael Jeshurun

 The Apostle said, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content”. [Phil 4:11].

Notice, he did not say that it was something which he was born with, but something which he had learned. Contentment is something which we all need to LEARN.

The only thing promised to the Christian in the New Testament as far as temporal things are concerned are Food and Clothing! [see Mat 6:25-33, 1Tim 6:8]]. Everything else is a BONUS!

Yes that’s right! The roof over your head, that vehicle you go around in, and even that wristwatch on your hand is all a bonus. Scripture says that, “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord”.  And again the servant is not greater than his Master! If you remember well, the Master said, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head”.

But thanks be to God, that He has given us so much more than what He Himself had on earth. In fact Scripture says that “His divine power hath given unto us ALL THINGS THAT PERTAIN UNTO LIFE and godliness”. [2pet 1:3] And the ALL THINGS include the roof over your head, the job that you hold, your vehicle, your wristwatch etc.

Now these things along with the blessing of the Lord should keep us content. But sadly there is within the best of us a covetous spirit. The old nature does not vanish once you become a born-again Christian. David the man after God’s own heart prayed – “Incline my heart unto Thy testimonies, and NOT TO COVETOUSNESS”.[Psa 119:36].

Covetousness is nothing but a strong or inordinate desire of obtaining and possessing some supposed good. This strong or inordinate desire is what I term as a ‘MUST-HAVE’ MENTALITY.

From time to time we Christians fall prey to this ‘must-have’ mentality even without consciously knowing it. In order for us to be happy or be fulfilled we feel we ‘must have’ a certain thing. It could be something as obvious as the shining ‘new car’ parked in your neighbour’s yard or something as harmless as the new leather bound Scofield Reference Bible your pastor was using in Church this Sunday. It matters little that you already have a car (though an old dinky one) and you have a Gideon’s Bible in almost every room!

The Spirit of God is faithful to remind you that you can’t afford that new shiny car and there is no need for the Scofield Bible! But then you have already been enticed and the lust hath conceived! YOU MUST HAVE IT!  You know that as a Christian you cannot rob! So what’s the answer?

When we reject God’s warning and decide to follow the lusts of our heart the devil ALWAYS HAS AN ANSWER FOR US. “You can still buy that car, dude” he whispers. But how, you ask? ……. “Buy it on CREDIT! Buy now and pay tomorrow”!

So the covetous Christian unwittingly buys the ‘shiny new car’ which he CANNOT AFFORD and BINDS HIMSELF TO THE LENDER! He is not the ‘free man’ that Christ wants him to be! Scripture says, “THE BORROWER IS SERVANT TO THE LENDER”. [Prov 22:7] God never intended His Children to borrow! He says , “thou shalt LEND unto many nations, but THOU SHALT NOT BORROW’. [see Duet 15:6 & 28:12].

And sadly his covetousness does not end with the shiny new car. He realizes that he is still living in a RENTED HOUSE while his unsaved brother-in-law has just bought his own mansion in Beverly Hills! “No problemo” says the devil. “Your credit score is good and the banker likes you”. So he buys that house too on credit and spends the rest of his life slogging to pay off his debts.

So you see, how refusing to be content and living within our income leads to unwanted sorrow. [I personally worked for a Collection Agency as a collector for four years and I know what I am talking about]. I guess ‘peer-pressure’ has a lot to contribute to it. “Oh what will my neighbours think of me if they see me going around in this old dinky car”?

We must determine to be like the Master who cared little about what men around Him thought, but was always concerned about pleasing His Father![see Mat 22:16]. And the Apostle said, “Do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for IF I YET PLEASED MEN, I SHOULD NOT BE THE SERVANT OF CHRIST”. [Gal 1:10]

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and BE CONTENT WITH SUCH THINGS AS YE HAVE: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”. [Heb 13;5] is more than just good advice. It is a rule to live by for the Christian, if he is to be sober and vigilant and steer clear of the devils jaws [1Pet 5:8].

If there is one lesson that life has taught me and in many ways I am still learning, in my twenty seven years as a Christian, it is this – “A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth”. [Lk 12:15]

Think about it – Even if I had a room full of mattresses, I can only lie down on only one!



Henry Sant

I do thank God that I can now look back and remember, in my early experience, being in that place. I did believe in God. I accepted the Bible, and believed what this book says concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. But I knew that this was just natural belief. It was not saving faith that I possessed, and above all things I wanted true faith in Christ. I can still recall being in that situation, and I see now that I was then shut up in unbelief. I believed naturally, yet I did not believe savingly.

To say to someone in that condition you must simply take the promises, you have to come to Christ, you must receive him, is nothing less than mockery. When the Lord has shut a man up in his own unbelief, all talk of duty faith is falsehood. It is little use to one who feels himself lost and helpless, it has been rightly called, “striking the dying dead.”

As I have said natural belief is very different to saving faith. All are responsible before God. All are to be theists, “The fool hath said in his heart, (there is) no God” (Psalm 14:1 and 53:1). Man is to believe, but saving faith is beyond the power of any man. It is a sovereign gift of God, and he bestows it only upon his elect. And in bestowing it what does God do? He makes them dwell in bondage long enough to learn that all doctrines contrary to the sovereignty of grace are contrary to the gospel, and of no use to the soul.

That is why God shuts a man up in his unbelief. The elect sinner is brought to despair totally of himself and his faith is born of that utter self despair. There are many lessons that he has to learn in that prison, “I am shut up, and I cannot come forth” (Psam 88:8).

God will have his people dwell in bondage long enough to know that without Christ they can do nothing. The intention is that Christ might be all in all to them. To those thus sought out, and brought in guilty before God, Christ is most attractive when held forth in the gospel. And it is life from the dead when they are enabled by the Spirit so to believe in Christ as to find courage to come to him in true prayer and humble confession of all sin, even unbelief.



J.C.  Philpot

 Truth wrapped up in vague, general declaration is the sword in the scabbard which, as it wounds no conscience, so it pierces no error. Clear, plain, positive statements of divine truth are the two-edged sword which pierces even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit. This naked sword discovers the foundations of error unto the neck…

Much that passes for union in a church is merely natural feeling of friendship and regard as worshippers in the same place, and as from time to time brought together in a kind of social religious intercourse. REAL SOUL UNION IS ONE OF THE RAREST THINGS IN THE WORLD. There may be much warm shaking of hands, kind enquiry’s, and friendly looks and expressions, a few words about the sermon or general soul matters, where the Holy Ghost has neither given spiritual life nor cemented spiritual union…

Another prominent evil is the loose Antinomian spirit so widely prevalent in Calvinistic churches. This denial of practical godliness appears under a resting upon mere doctrinal truth in vain confidence of interest therein, without any vital experience of its liberating power or sanctifying effects manifest in the walk and life. Books, periodicals, and sermons are coming continually under our eye, sound in letter of truth, in which there is not the faintest attempt to enforce vital, practical godliness, either in its experience in the heart or in its influence on the life.

The highest doctrine is set forth in the most decided unflinching way; free will so called, is chased over hill and dale; the Arminians and Pharisees, soundly rated as the most weak and foolish of men, and shouts of victory are pealed forth to the triumph of sovereign grace. But there it begins and ends. A little shallow experience may be named; but of fruit, inward or outward, a godly life, a Christian walk, not a syllable.

Is fruit generally insisted upon as the mark of union with Christ?

Such fruits as self-denial, crucifixion of the flesh with its affections and lusts; laboring to know and do the will of God; repentance and godly sorrow for sin; mourning and sighing over a backsliding heart; a prayerful meditative spirit, and that sweet spirituality of mind which is life and peace – are not these vital realities positively ignored and not even named, much less insisted upon?

It would almost seem, from the general neglect of enforcement upon believers practical godliness, as if the elect might do anything they liked, and that we are saved not FROM SIN, but IN SIN; delivered from the curse of the law, not to walk in obedience of the gospel, but almost to do any abomination in which the carnal mind delights! (Jeremiah 7:10)

“To hope to be delivered by Christ while continuing in a known course of sin is one of the greatest delusions of the Devil!” [A.W. Pink]



Michael Jeshurun

“Alexander Scourby was an accomplished Broadway actor, radio personality, narrator of many television documentaries, and a highly paid voice over talent for some of the largest United States corporations. His expressive way of narrating the Bible is more than just a narration, it was a performance of a lifetime. His narration of the Bible has been the most widely listened to narration of the Bible in the world and is still the most sought after narration on the market today.” – Ryan Mcguire

As far as diction, fluency, enunciation and feeling goes there is no comparison to Scourby’s reading of the KJV. It is the best there is! I have been listening to him almost every time I am cooking or doing dishes in the kitchen for the last 29 years. Sadly it is not without error. And some errors can doctrinally lead you astray, such as when he reads Psalm 58:3 as “The wicked are estranged from the TOMB!” or when he narrates 1John 2:18 as “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard AN that antichrist shall come . .” the KJV does not say “AN Antichrist” but just “as ye have heard that antichrist shall come”. There are many more. Just Google – “Does Alexander Scourby Read the King James Version Accurately?”

Maybe this was not done deliberately, but then maybe it was! You never know. Men just cannot stomach how an ‘innocent’ looking baby can go astray ‘from the womb’. But hey, if God said it . . . IT IS SO! As A.W. Pink said long ago – “Our business is not to REASON about it, but to BOW to Holy Scripture. Our first duty is not to UNDERSTAND, but to BELIEVE what God has said.” One preacher when asked if he truly believed that a whale swallowed Jonah, retorted – “I could care less whether the whale swallowed Jonah or Jonah swallowed the whale, if my Bible says it is so . . . IT IS SO!” Amen! For with God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE! [Mark 10:27]

WHAT is the ‘moral’ behind all this? THIS – be familiar with the Word of God, so that no preacher or teacher deceives you or beguiles you with vain words. [Eph 5:6]. Read the naked Word of God everyday regularly and familiarize yourselves with the Scriptures. As the Spirit says – “Keep My commandments, and live; and My law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, WRITE THEM UPON THE TABLE OF THINE HEART.” [Prov 7:2,3] That means ‘MEMORIZE’ Scripture as much as you can. Remember, the Holy Spirit can only bring to mind the Scripture YOU already know. He doesn’t bring to your mind verses out of ‘thin air’!

Because there are a lot of people out there misquoting Scripture. Some like Scourby may be doing it ignorantly, while other enemies of the Truth do it DELIBERATELY!

Consider for instance Dave Hunt – he reads [Acts 13:48] as “and as many as were DISPOSED to eternal life believed” not “and as many as were ORDAINED to eternal life believed.” and WHY would he do that? Because he is an enemy of Sovereign Grace! And if while listening to such heretics you are not familiar with the Scriptures you could be taken for a chump!

Don’t let it happen to YOU. Strive to be as Apollos – ‘mighty in the Scriptures’! [Acts 18:24] The Word! The Word! The Word beloved! It’s all in the Word! It’s the secret of victory, success, blessing and fruitfulness! It all depends on what place you give the Word of God in your life! May it be the FIRST! For “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God!” [John 1:1] Praise His Name!



Letter to a dear brother in response to his article on ‘Decisional Regeneration’ . . . .

Dear brother Matthew, yours was such an uplifting and scriptural article that I read it more than once and have even shared it with my friends and they in turn have shared it with their friends. (2Tim 2:2) This is indeed a MESSAGE FOR THE TIMES which those who claim to be Christians need to hear. I like the point that you brought out about the similarities between ‘baptismal regeneration’ and ‘decisional regeneration’. It’s the same error with a different coat of paint, is it not?!

When I was a newly regenerated believer who was fairly new to the Faith I had a great zeal for the Lord (I still do) and had a great desire to ‘win’ as many as I could to the Lord. After all does not Scripture teach that “He that winneth souls is wise?” The whole verse reads – “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” (Prov 11:30) It was many years later before the Lord taught me that both the ‘righteous’ and the ‘wise’ in that scripture is none other than the Lord of glory! It is HE who wins the rebellious and God hating soul by His sovereign grace. You and I can no more ‘win a soul’ than we can raise the dead!

But to return, those days I was deluded into thinking that all it took was a ‘decision’ that someone could make to invite Jesus into their heart because THAT is what I was taught. And I had a great burden to win my then Roman Catholic girlfriend of six years to the Lord. And so I would pray for her as though everything depended on prayer and preach to her at every given opportunity to get her to ‘make that decision’ for the Lord.

Little did I know that she was a lover of the writings of one Krishnamurti who is a New-Ager and she had been reading his books. So one day when I was compelling her to make this decision for the Lord and explaining to her how it was all about her choice etc, she abruptly stopped me and said “Honey, what choice are you talking about? We do not even have a choice when it comes to our birth. IF I had had a choice in the matter I would’ve chosen a different set of parents and a different country to be born in. So what ‘choice’ are you talking about? We really do not have a choice!”

Back then as an Arminian, even though I was stumped I tried to reason with her saying that “yes, while we do not have a choice as far as our birth is concerned, we still do have a choice as far as being ‘born again’ is concerned,” etc. But now looking back as someone who is established in the doctrines of Sovereign Grace especially the truth of The Total Depravity of man; I can clearly see how right she was even as an unbeliever and how wrong I was though I knew the Lord!

Concerning our choice with regards to our first birth, Loraine Boettner writes – “It is almost universally admitted that God determines when, where, and under what circumstances, each individual of our race shall be born, live, and die, whether it shall be male or female, white or black, wise or foolish. God is no less sovereign in the distribution of His favors. He does what He will with His own. To some He gives riches, to others honor, to others health, to others certain talents for music, oratory, art, finance, statesmanship, etc. Others are poor, unknown, born in dishonor, the victims of disease, and live lives of wretchedness. Some are placed in Christian lands where they receive all the benefits of the Gospel; others live and die in the darkness of heathenism. Some are brought through faith unto salvation; others are left to perish in unbelief. And to a very large extent these external things, which are not the result of individual choice, decide the person’s life course and eternal destiny. Both Scripture and every day experience teach us that God gives to some what He withholds from others. If it be asked why He does this, or why he does not save all, the only available answer is found in the words of the Lord Jesus, “Yea, Father, for so it was well-pleasing in thy sight.” – [Boettner in ‘The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination’] 

I am glad that you mentioned in your article “However, it was Billy Graham, with his prominent emphasis on “decision”, who brought this semi-Pelagian, unwarranted, but highly congenial exaltation of man’s will to world-wide acceptance. This delusion quickly overtook the “Fundamentalists”, Independent and Southern Baptists, Wesleyans, Pentecostals, Charismatics and virtually all who professed salvation in Christ.”

This same ‘Rev’. Billy Graham once wrote a 170 pages book titled – ‘How to be born-again”. He might as well have written a book on how to be born. For in many ways the natural birth is very similar to spiritual birth!

And just as we had no say in the former, neither do we have any say in the latter! And as far as ‘choice’ goes, every man who comes into the world by natural GENERATION ALREADY MADE THAT CHOICE IN ADAM as far his eternal destiny is concerned! “In Adam all die!” (1Cor 15:22) To humbly accept this truth and preach it from the rooftops is to sign your ‘death warrant’ as far as any ‘success’ in the Ministry goes! This truth can only be received by truly regenerated men, the rest of the bench-warmers will trample it under their feet, and turn again and rend you if they could!

In natural birth, we know that the one who is BORN DOES NOT WILL TO BE BORN–in fact, he (as as my old girlfriend reminded me) has NO SAY IN THE MATTER WHATSOEVER! He does not decide the time, place, or circumstances of his birth. He has no power to determine the family into which he will be born etc. The analogy holds true with regard to the spiritual birth. GOD determines the time, place and circumstances. The sinner can no more resist this than can an infant resist and refuse to be born naturally.

This fact is shown so clearly in John 1:13 where speaking of believers it is said, “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” i.e. “The new birth is “not of blood (by natural descent), nor of the will of the flesh (his own volition), nor of the will of man (the preacher’s persuasion), but OF GOD” [John 1:13] [A.W. Pink]

This verse kills the doctrine of those who teach that men are saved when they exercise their “free wills” and accept God’s “offer” of salvation.

God Sovereignly saves us in Regeneration and THEN CALLS US OR ILLUMINATES US BY THE GOSPEL. “Who hath SAVED US (regeneration), and CALLED US (by the Gospel) with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace etc”. [2Tim 1:9] As I always say we must beware of putting the proverbial ‘cart before the horse’! A man does not believe the Gospel and GET SAVED but believes the Gospel BECAUSE HE IS SAVED!

This is the reason the Gospel is referred to in the Scriptures as a MYSTERY! Because only to the regenerate it is the ‘power of God unto salvation’. The rest can only behold it, wonder about it and perish! “BEHOLD, ye despisers, and WONDER, and PERISH: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in NO WISE BELIEVE, though A MAN DECLARE IT UNTO YOU”. [Act 13:41]

Regeneration is a ONETIME sovereign act of God whereas Conversion is always PARTIAL (on this earth) and CONTINUAL, and can be seen in different parts of our lives at different times. A genuine backslider does not need to be regenerated but he needs to be converted. A backslider no matter how far he has strayed is still God’s son and the Lambs bride! “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I AM MARRIED UNTO YOU”! [Jer 3:14] (my eyes well-up as I write this, for I was the greatest backslider of them all) Prior to Peter’s backsliding, the Lord told him – “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and WHEN THOU ART CONVERTED, strengthen thy brethren”! [Lk 22:31,32]

And I may finally add that it is in conversion that we unlearn much of the error which we held on to initially after our regeneration. Errors such as ‘Free will’, Universal Atonement, The Pentecostal errors etc.

The path of the just is as the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect Day! [Prov 4:18] Hallelujah!

Great article again from you my dear Brother Matthew! Keep them coming!

Your servant for His sake
Michael Jeshurun



Terpstra Charles J [The Standard Bearer]

Why Read?

“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” Mortimer J. Adler

“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” Mark Twain

“. . . Of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.”Ecclesiastes 12:12b

“. . . Give attendance to reading. . . .” I Timothy 4:13a

Have you started to read a good Reformed book yet? If not, find one and get started! If you have, keep at it! As we pointed out in our initial article, we want to encourage our Standard Bearer readers to become greater readers, that is, to read more books and to read better books.

In this article encouraging you to read, we want to explore the “WHY” of good reading. That is, why should you as a Reformed Christian want to become a greater reader? Or, to put it another way, what are the reasons for reading solid Reformed/Christian books? We believe there are many reasons that may be given; we will highlight a few of them in this article.

First of all, we begin with the most important reason, the THEOLOGICAL reason (where all good Calvinists should begin!): We should read good books because GOD wants us to! Why do we say this, and how do we know this? We have several points in mind under this reason. First, God wants/expects/calls us to read as His people because He gave us the greatest book to read—His Holy Word, the Scriptures!

When God chose to communicate to us, His covenant friends, He chose to do so in WORDS. It is true that these words were initially given ORALLY (and in some cases VISUALLY—cf. the visions of Ezekiel and John), that is, out of God’s mouth through the mouths of His spokesmen (prophets, apostles, etc.). But in the end God committed these spoken words to writing and had them placed in His Book, the Bible (cf.Ex. 24:7; I Sam. 10:25; Neh. 8; Luke 3:4, 20:42; II Tim. 3:15, 16; II Pet. 1:20, 21; Rev. 1:11), or scripture (Mark 12:10, 24; Rom. 1:2, 15:4).

And therefore, this holy Book God charges His people to READ (cf. Neh. 8; Is. 34:16). That means that we must first and foremost be readers of this Book! Not just any book under the sun, but the Bible must be the first book we turn to! Every Christian must be devoted to reading the word of God, like the Bereans of old searching the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:11). This is chiefly what Paul meant when he instructed Timothy to “give attendance to reading” (I Tim. 4:13). And what was true for that young pastor is to be true of every member of God’s covenant. God wills that we be readers because He gave us this marvellous Book of His words!

Second, and closely related to this, is the truth that this chief and fundamental book God gave us to read centers in His Son, Jesus Christ. The most important Word God gave us to read was His Son, the living and abiding Word of God (John 1:1, 14; Heb. 1:1, 2; I Pet. 1:23). Everywhere we go in the Scriptures we must read “Jesus Christ” the “Word of God.” That is true not only in the New Testament portion of the Bible, but also in the Old Testament (cf. Ps. 40:7; Luke 24:27; John 5:39). This is why the Scriptures are able to make us “wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (II Tim. 3:15). This is why they are “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” so that we may be complete and mature Christians (II Tim. 3:16). But only if this word be read! So read, people of God! Read the Bible chiefly and diligently! Set yourself to do so faithfully in this new year! Let SOLA SCRIPTURA be the motto we live by in 2015! Indeed, God wants us and calls us to be readers, because He gave us this holy Book, centered in His Son, our Savior.

There are more reasons why we should be and become better readers. And we may confidently say that the other reasons we will now list are all rooted in that first one. The fact that God gave us His Book to read is the principle that governs all our other reasons for reading. This will become plain as we proceed.

So then, why should we read? In the second place, because reading is vital to the growth of our faith and walk in godliness. God in His sacred Book calls us to spiritual growth. II Peter 3:18, e.g., states, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (cf. also Eph. 4:15; I Pet. 2:2; Jude 20). Earlier in that same epistle Peter wrote that we should be “giving all diligence” to “add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness” (I Pet. 1:5, 6). And how are we going to do this? By reading! By reading (and hearing!) the Scriptures, of course (cf. I Pet. 2:2). But also by reading other sound Reformed/Christian books that teach us and encourage us to spiritual growth.

So then, are you tired of not being as strong in your faith as you should be and could be? Are you frustrated by the fact that your walk with God is not as close as it ought to be? Do you struggle with being spiritually mature and wise in handling trials and temptations in your life? Then READ. Yes, again, read the BIBLE, so that your faith becomes more grounded in Jesus Christ and your walk is brought closer to the Lord! But also read the books that your fellow believers have written to help you grow in faith and godliness! They stand with you and support you in this calling to grow. They have wisdom and experience to share with you as we walk the common path of the Christian in this world. Our fellow Reformed Christians have written books because of their own struggles and hardships. Let us read them to benefit from them; to enhance our own spiritual life; to become stronger in faith and more holy in life! This too is why we must read!

In the third place, we should read good Reformed/Christian books because it is important to defend our faith and abide in the truth of God’s word. We are talking about the area of APOLOGETICS, the defense of the Reformed-Christian faith and walk. In this present world there are always threats to our faith and life. The devil and his hosts walk about as a roaring lion seeking to devour us with lies and deception (I Pet. 5:8). The world of unbelief with its “lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” seeks to lead us astray from the Father (I John 2:16).

False prophets and teachers in the church “bring in damnable heresies” and “pernicious ways,” trying to overthrow “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3; I John 4:1ff.; II Pet. 2:1ff.). And, yes, our own sinful nature is still inclined to and tempted by all these lies and errors and ungodliness. We are Christian soldiers, called to be on the defensive against all these spiritual dangers (Eph. 6:10ff.). We are exhorted to resist doctrinal lies and remain steadfast in the faith (I Pet. 5:9). We are admonished to abide in godliness and stay obedient to our Savior, suffering accordingly (I Pet. 3, 4).

And how shall we be able to do this? By READING! Yes, again, by reading the Scriptures (Eph. 6:17). But also by reading good Reformed books that lead us and help us in the battle for the truth and for godliness! By reading we stay abreast of dangerous trends in the church and in the world. By reading we are informed of and warned about wolves in sheep’s clothing. By reading we are encouraged by the courageous stands of our fellow believers in other times and places. By reading we are urged to be faithful when the majority fall away into error and lawlessness. Yes, we must read for this reason too! Do you see the need for reading, especially now in these last days? Will you become a greater reader with this in mind too? We pray that you will, for the honor of Christ and His word, and for the safety of your own soul.

Finally, we have a very practical reason for reading good Reformed/Christian books. That is that by reading such books we set a good example for our children and young people. This too is so important, especially in the world in which we now find ourselves. As we mentioned in our opening article, we and our children are exposed to so many temptations and hindrances to good reading.

We are in constant competition with TV, video games, the Internet, iPods, etc. But when our children and young people see us as adults taking time to read, to read the Bible and to read books that make us grow in our faith and walk, we provide a great example and encouragement for them to do the same. Then we are better able to gain their respect when we tell them to read good books. And, of course, at the same time, when we have on our shelves and on our tables (and in our hands!) good Reformed/Christian books that we are reading, we provide them with the very materials we want them to read too! And that is a win-win situation!

[Of all the New Year ‘resolutions’ we generally make, let us resolve that by God’s grace and enabling the coming year 2015 would be a year given to much reading and meditation of God’s Holy Word! – M.J.]



 Michael Jeshurun

And another of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
But Jesus said unto him, “Follow Me; and let the dead bury their dead”! [Matt 8:21,22]

When we read a scripture like this the thought that first comes to our mind is – “how can the dead do ANYTHING, let alone bury their dead’? The question is a perplexing one, because we have all been raised with the thought that death usually means inactivity or annihilation.

“But in Scripture “death” never signifies annihilation, but is a state of SEPARATION”. [A.W. Pink]

At the very beginning of human history the Divine Lawgiver had threatened “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof THOU SHALT SURELY DIE”. [Gen 2;17] He had announced that – “THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH”—death spiritual, death judicial, death eternal if pardon was not obtained.

As said before, in Scripture DEATH IS NOT ANNIHILATION BUT SEPARATION. Physical death is the separation of the soul from the body, expulsion from this earth. So spiritual death is the separation of the soul from God, expulsion from His favor.

In that tragic yet hope-inspiring parable of the prodigal son our Lord represented the sinner as being in “THE FAR COUNTRY” a “GREAT WAY OFF” from the Father’s house [Luke 15:13,20], and when he returned in penitence the Father said, “THIS MY SON WAS DEAD (separated from Me) AND IS ALIVE AGAIN (restored to Me); HE WAS LOST AND IS FOUND.”

The prodigal son was “dead” while he was in the far country (Luke 15:24), because he was SEPARATED from his father. “ALIENATED FROM the life of God” (Eph. 4:18) describes the fearful state of one who is unregenerated, so does “she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth” (1 Tim 5:6).
That which is dead spiritually is dead GODWARDS, while alive in sin the spirit, soul and body, each being active against God.

So the SPIRITUALLY DEAD SOUL can and does many things including ‘burying the physically dead’. So when the Master said, “Let the dead bury their dead” He meant let the SPIRITUALLY DEAD BURY THEIR PHYSICALLY DEAD!


Scripture affirms that “In Adam ALL die”! [1Cor 15:22] All the children of Adam are born spiritually separated from God. They are dead to the things of the Spirit! Having eyes they cannot see and having ears they cannot hear! They walk, as the Scripture affirms ‘in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart”! [Eph 4:17,18]

The Bible classifies the unregenerate man as the ‘man in the flesh’ – a natural man, and testifies, that “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” [1Cor 2:14]

Thus the spiritually dead man may see the letter of the Word with his physical eyes, but he lacks the ability to behold its glory. He may hear the Word preached with his natural ears, but cannot perceive the excellence and beauty thereof! This is why we constantly read in the Scriptures – ‘he that hath ears to ear let him hear”!

“The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them”. [Prov 20:12]

This is true both of the physical and the spiritual. If a man is going to see the ‘need for salvation’ or ‘the Kingdom of God’ then he must first be regenerated or ‘born-again’! He must be brought out of ‘spiritual death’ into ‘spiritual life’! Writing to true Christians, the Apostle wrote –“We know that we have PASSED FROM DEATH UNTO LIFE, because we love the brethren”. [1John 3:14]

“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, EXCEPT a man be born again, he CANNOT SEE the kingdom of God. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye MUST be born again”. [John 3:3,4]

The spiritually dead person can no more hear or respond to the gospel anymore than the physically dead!

Now against all this, Arminians either knowingly or unknowingly parrot once again the same old LIE OF THE DEVIL (Gen 3:4), saying to the unsaved masses – “You are not dead! Only sick! Nothing that a little medicine cannot heal, if only you will reach forth and take it”.

Commenting on this A.W. Pink once said –
“When addressing the unsaved, preachers often draw an analogy between God’s sending of the Gospel to the sinner, and a sick man in bed, with some healing medicine on a table by his side: all he needs to do is reach forth his hand and take it.

But in order for this illustration to be in any wise true to the picture which Scripture gives us of the fallen and depraved sinner, the sick man in bed must be described as one who is blind (Ephesians 4:18) so that he cannot see the medicine, his hand paralyzed (Romans 5:6) so that he is unable to reach forth for it, and his heart not only devoid of all confidence in the medicine but filled with hatred against the physician himself (John 15:18). O what superficial views of man’s desperate plight are now entertained! Christ came here not to help those who were willing to help themselves, but to do for His people what they were incapable of doing for themselves:”

Along the same lines, it is sad to see untaught men portray Christ as standing at the ‘door’ of every man’s heart knocking patiently to be let in. But even if there is such a ‘door’ to the heart which must be opened, the Scripture leaves us with no doubt as to WHO it is that opens this ‘door’!

Luke records – “And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: WHOSE HEART THE LORD OPENED, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul”. [Acts 16:14]

As we always say, the Christian contributes to his ‘New-birth’ as much as he does to his ‘Natural-birth’!

Salvation is of the LORD all the way – and even the faith, repentance and obedience which man renders are all gifts of God; and God ordained salvation in this manner that no flesh should glory in His presence . . . for as it is written –

‘He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord”! [1Cor 1:26-31]



Michael Jeshurun

Much of the preaching in the Church of God is a repeat of the Truth which the saints ALREADY KNOW! As said the Apostle – “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you ALWAYS IN REMEMBRANCE of these things, THOUGH YE KNOW THEM, and be established in the present truth.” [2Pet 1:12]

Unless one is a babe in the Lord who has just been born into the Kingdom, much of what he hears will be a repetition of what he has heard BEFORE. But unlike the wisdom of the world the Word of the Lord is quick and powerful and will speak in a DIFFERENT WAY every time hears it! And the saint never tires of hearing the same Word again and again though he may have heard it a thousand times; because to him God’s mercies (another synonym for the Word) are NEW EVERY MORNING! And great is God’s faithfulness in ministering to His people afresh ever day!

Think of it, most of the time it’s the same old Bread and eggs or meat and potatoes on the table, right? But do we skip breakfast or dinner because it’s the same old meal? No we don’t! Why? Because we NEED THE NOURISHMENT to keep going! How much more the ‘Bread of Heaven’ of which the Lord said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God!” [Matt 4:4]

We must take heed that we are not feeding our body whilst starving our souls! One man said: “I have esteemed the Words of His mouth more than my necessary food!” [Job 23:12]

But that’s not all. We ALL need these constant reminders from God’s Word! Notice again carefully what the Apostle says –

“Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you ALWAYS IN REMEMBRANCE OF THESE THINGS, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.
Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by PUTTING YOU IN REMEMBRANCE;
Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.
Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease TO HAVE THESE THINGS ALWAYS IN REMEMBRANCE.” [2Pet 1:12-15]

The word ‘remembrance’ is used three times in the above portion to show the importance of BEING REMINDED of the truth.

And the reason for this is: “Like every other faculty of our beings, the MEMORY has been affected by the Fall and bears on it the marks of depravity. This is seen from ITS POWER TO RETAIN WHAT IS WORTHLESS, AND THE DIFFICULTY ENCOUNTERED TO HOLD FAST THAT WHICH IS GOOD.

A foolish nursery-rhyme or song heard in youth, is carried with us to the grave; but a helpful sermon is forgotten within twenty-four hours! The first five times the word “remember” is used in Scripture, in each case it is connected with God. And God remembered Noah, and God remembered Abraham etc. But the first time it is used of MAN we read, “Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but FORGOT HIM” (Gen. 40:23)!” [A.W. Pink]

God’s Word and anointed sermons preached which are full of the Word are quite unique! A single Scripture from a sermon spoken from the pulpit can speak to ten thousand different people in ten thousand different ways, applying to their ten thousand different circumstances!

This is because the Bible is no dead book written by man! It is the Word of the Living God, and is quick (alive), and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”! [Hebrews 4:12]

And so we preach, pretty much the same old truth again and again from every possible angle so that as many as possible may hear God’s Word and those who have already heard it may be further established in it.

But if we are like the Athenians of Paul’s day who always crave to hear “some new thing” (Acts 17:21) and are ‘bored’ with the same old truth of God’s Word which true saints rejoice to hear then we will be greatly disappointed!

Here are a few quotes from older saints on the subject at hand –
“After more than sixty years of almost daily reading of the BIBLE, I never fail to find it always new and marvelously in tune with the changing needs of every day” (Cecil B. DeMille Director of The Ten Commandments movie)

“No one ever said at the end of his days; “I have read my BIBLE too much, I have thought of GOD too much, I have prayed too much, I have been too careful with my soul” (J.C. Ryle)

“There’s far more truth in the Book of Genesis than in the quantum theory” (Malcolm Muggeridge)

“This little Book [The BIBLE] – it has said everything there is to be said. Everything is implied and anticipated in it.
Whatever one should like to put into words has already been said in it” (Mordecai Obadiah)

“The BIBLE is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands; it lays hold of me” (Professor M. Monticro)

“Whatever merit there is in anything that I have written is simply due to the fact that when I was a child my mother daily read me a part of the BIBLE and daily made me learn a part of it by heart” (John Ruskin)

“No one ever graduates from BIBLE study until he meets the Author face to face!” (Everett T. Harris)



by Glen Berry

IS THIS merely a matter of semantics or is it a matter of being a serious doctrinal issue? Is the difference small and minor, or major? Is it a matter involving the very glory of God? Even some good preachers don’t seem to be aware.

Is this any more than a denominational “Shibboleth”? A corresponding concept is the matter of “whosoever will.” You know, “For God so loved the world that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Thank God that is forever true! But when we begin to search the scriptures and compare scripture with scripture, we find that such a will that is thus exercised is NOT the will of nature that hates God, in the fallen state. It has to be a changed will, a spiritual will, a GIVEN will, a NEW will that comes as a RESULT (NOT the cause) of the new birth given by the Holy Spirit— “born from above.” “Thy people [not the goats of the devil] SHALL be willing IN THE DAY OF THY POWER .. (Psalm 110:3)

Thus it is, that if you love God, if you hunger after God and His righteousness, if you WILL to trust and live for God, IT IS NOT TO YOUR CREDIT, OR MARKED UP To YOUR INHERENT MERIT. Not at all! If such really be true of you in the “inner man,” it is because it was GIVEN to you by God’s sovereign grace. “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of your- selves: it is the GIFT of God: Not of works. lest any man should boast. For we are HIS workmanship. created in Christ Jesus UNTO good works. .. . ” (Eph. 2:8- 10)

This is a long way, or a far cry, from the way most preachers preach it (but that has not always been so, for in past ages most preached truth more soundly).

Can you begin to see that much more is involved than to tell a man to merely make a decision “to believe.” Even the devils “believe” but they also “tremble.” A truly convicted child of God does not go to some church altar chewing gum in order to carry out the psychological massaging of some zealous evangelist, no matter how “sincere” both parties may be. You can be “sincere,” but sincerely wrong, if your “belief’ and action is not rooted in Scripture and authored by the Holy Spirit of God, even in earth-shaking, mind-enlightening sobriety and humility. Yet so MANY are being deceived with man- exalting “easy believism.” God’s glory is not paramount, if considered at all.

Even the few lines above are enough to show you that the TRUTH OF GOD involves digging into the Scriptures, and must involve the revelation of the Holy Spirit. Another case in point is the matter of how a preacher interprets the word “world.” Some preach a good sermon, and then end it by denying true grace teaching, but teaching rather that it is FAISE that God has selected or elected a certain people to be saved, because God “so loved the world”—not just some group of “elect.” And they teach that this ‘world” means every child of Adam on the planet, They teach that Jesus died for all the sins Of every child of Adam on the planet. But if this be true, then ALL of them will end up in heaven because there are no more sins to charge against them since Jesus died for them all. Even the sin of unbelief must, then, be covered by the blood of Jesus on the cross.. But most will not carry it this far, though that has to be the logical conclusion, else Jesus did not die for ALL sins or ALL people. So such preachers end up preaching false doctrine rather than the very truth of God.

The Word of God does not contradict itself! If the doctrine you believe is not in harmony with the rest of Scripture, then you can know that somewhere along the line you have placed a man’s private interpretation on God’s Word.

This is quite elementary, but maybe you are wondering, then, what the word “world” means if it does not mean every person in the world. If you will but take the time to search the Scriptures, you will see there are many meanings to that one word “world.” Of course there is the meaning of “cosmos,” our God- created orderly universe. Then you have the meaning of “the earth.” Then you have the meaning of a system of things held in common among people, like “the world of fashion,” or the “world of business,” or the “world of politics,” etc. Of course, then, here is ‘the world of people, all races.” And the systems and material things of this life, “the world.’ And ‘anywhere in the world,” or “out of the world.” And, “the world, the flesh, and the Devil, the world with its interests, the flesh with its appetites, and the Devil with his evil promptings. ” —The World Book Dictionary

Consider also, even in the time of Jesus when He was on earth, then was to be taxed.” Did that mean every person on earth? Of course not. It was very localized. When it speaks of all the world going out after Jesus to see His miracles, this certainly was very localized, and even in that restricted locale, it did not mean EVERY person in that locale, but only a very great number of them, even various groups!

Finally, what about Jesus Himself explaining in John 17 that He was not praying to the Father for the WORLD but for those the Father had given Him OUT of the world.” Big difference!

I am well aware that no man knows ALL the truth about anything. And it behooves us to realize “how little we know.” But I am amazed that educated preachers do not take the time, or may even lack the gut-rending honesty to admit error as they fail to search out the truth and bow to what the Bible actually says! If they be true children of God, how this must grieve the Holy Spirit, and they thus don’t render anything close to proper glory to God! On the other hand, if they really believe in their HEART, a man-exalting gospel that denies the true nature and lack of ability of natural man, one may wonder if they themselves have ever been born again—when they attribute the new birth to themselves. But only God knows all those that are truly His.

But Christ’s sheep follow Him and obey Him; and the Holy spirit teaches them. But there is a DIFFERENCE between following the Jesus Christ of the Bible and some fantasized Christ that MAN makes up with his imagination!

Now let us get to the subject of the title of this article.

Is the GIFT of salvation, the purchase of salvation—is redemption a GIFT or is it an OFFER of a gift? Would you ask, “At this point, WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE”? (Hillary should have never said that.)

Some that even believe in grace, say the Gift was for the elect but it is legitimately OFFERED to everyone. This is but a cop-out to try to answer the dilemma that man has made, “kicking the can down the road,” so to speak, without giving any real solution.

Go to the Word of God, O man or woman of God. If you will take the time to look up “offer,” “offered,’ and “offering,” you will find the real answer mainly in the book of Hebrews. Even there, and in all the Bible it does NOT say that Jesus offers Himself to people, to be accepted or rejected by the natural human will. He is NOT spoken of OFFERING Himself to them at all but He offered Himself as the Supreme Sacrifice as the Lamb of God TO GOD THE FATHER. That was to whom the OFFER was made. Look up the scriptures for yourself. That is what it says. Just like in Hebrews 9:14— “How much more shall the blood of Christ. who through the eternal Spirit OFFERED Himself without spot TO GOD .

The OFFERING of Christ Jesus our Lord is always as a High Priest, as a sacrificial Lamb OFFERED to God the Father, which action He performed on the cross of Calvary for the SINS OF HIS PEOPLE. And being of- fered to the Father, it was to be rejected or accepted by God. The resurrection proved that the Father did accept the Sacrifice, else Christ would not have been resurrected. And this IS our justification. Without the resurrected Christ, none of His people, His sheep could ever be justified and redeemed to God.

So this also means that Salvation or Redemption was not merely made a “possibility” left in the hands of man; but it was an actual PURCHASE from the slave- market of sin, a real redemption for ALL the lost sinners in the whole wide world that are spoken of as Christ’s sheep, of whom He the good Shepherd will lose NONE—not even one lost sheep.

“And this is the Father’s will which hath sent Me, that of all WHICH HE HATH GIVEN ME, 1 should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”— John 6:39

Jesus’ name was called “Jesus” “for He shall save His people from their sins.” “And I give unto them eternal life; and they SHALL NEVER PERISH . ‘ (10:28)

Why won’t any of them perish? Because He is NOT WILLING that any of them should perish because God GAVE them to Christ to save and He GAVE Christ to a chosen bride, as a GIFT and not as an offering. Yes, the Father gave Christ as a Savior and Husband to the bride, not as an offering but as a GIFT.

Does God have the power to bring all this to pass? When Peter declared that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, Jesus told him that flesh and blood did not reveal that, but it was by His Father in heaven. And that brings us back to Psalm 110:3 where God’s people are MADE WILLING in the day of His power. It also takes us to John 6:44, “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Finally, in closing, we must realize that in the old Jewish world, the Jews had long received the oracles and laws of God, exclusive of all the other nations of the world. They began to think that they were “it,” and looked down on other nations of the world, as God having no interest in them. But the New Testament, even in John 3:16, makes it plain that God “so loved the world,” meaning that He has a people in all the world, as it states in Revelation 5:9 and 14:6 “redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people and nation . and we shall reign on earth.” “Fear God and give glory to Him.”

For more such Christian doctrinal articles exalting the Sovereign Grace of God please visit –

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