SALVATION – OF GOD FROM FIRST TO LAST

jonah-whale-77

SALVATION – OF GOD FROM FIRST TO LAST

Octavius Winslow

No truth shines with clearer luster in the Bible than that salvation, from first to last, is of God. God is sovereign in salvation! He often selects . . .the poorest, the vilest, the most depraved, the most fallen, as if utterly to explode all idea of human merit, and to reflect the free grace of His heart in its richest luster. O precious truth! It stains the pride of human merit! It lays the axe at the root of self! It humbles and abases! It empties and lays low! It ascribes all the praise, honor and glory, might, majesty and dominion, of the new creation in the soul, to the Triune God!

No worthiness of the creature allures Him to the sinner’s heart! What worthiness can be supposed to exist–what merit can there be in . . . a guilty criminal, an outlawed rebel, a poor insolvent, one whose mind is enmity, one whose heart is swelling with treason against God, His government, and His Son? One who owes millions, but has ‘nothing to pay’? None whatever!

And that the eternal Spirit should enter the heart of such a one . . . convincing of sin; subduing the hatred; breaking down the rebellion; leading to Jesus, and sealing pardon and peace upon the conscience; oh! what but free grace, unmerited mercy, and sovereign love could thus have constrained Him? “Lord, what did You see in me,” exclaims the converted soul, “that moved You with compassion, that drew You to my heart, and that constrained You to make me Your child? Nothing on my part, but poverty, wretchedness, and misery! Nothing on Your part, nothing but love, sovereignty, and unmerited favor!” O the riches of His grace!

THE WONDERFUL EXCHANGE

Hands exchanging bags with dollars and euro

THE WONDERFUL EXCHANGE

by Gary Shepard

 When I was a young boy in elementary school, I often came home to face the frown of my mother because I had been “trading” at school. I had been swapping marbles or toys or trinkets with the other boys at school. She often made me take them back and undo the swap. She was not so much afraid that I would not “get” a fair trade as that I would not “give” a fair trade. So many of my trades had to be reversed.

Thank God this is not the case in the exchange of grace! Martin Luther called it the “wonderful exchange.” Writing to a friend he said, “Learn Christ and Him crucified. Learn to pray to Him, and despairing of yourself to say this, ‘Lord Jesus, You are my righteousness, I am Your sin. You have taken upon Yourself what is mine and given me what is Yours. You have made me what I was not. You have taken to Yourself what You were not.’ “

There has been a wonderful exchange. The Son of God has taken our guilt and given to us His righteousness. He has taken our sin and there can be no reversal because He has put it away. He has assumed our place before the law and justice of God and there can be no change because both are honored and satisfied. And here is a glorious thought! What He got from us separated Him from God, brought the disfavor and wrath upon Him to the highest degree.

By the same standard, what we receive from Him brings us inseparably to God, brings His highest favor and blessing to us, raises us to the heavenlies. Our poverty was changed for His riches. Our ignorance was changed for His wisdom. Our curse was changed for His crown, for He was made a curse for us. Why be so sad because of the poor exchanges of this life? We exchange youth for old age, strength and health for weakness and affliction, and much more. But, in Christ, we have a wonderful exchange! The thought of this exchange alone will give us hope.

Let us think upon this as Augustus Toplady did: “From whence this fear and unbelief? Has not the Father put to grief His spotless Son for me? And will the righteous Judge of men Condemn me for that load of sin Which, Lord, was charged on Thee?” Never, never! As children, we would often say after a trade, “No trade back!” This is what both Christ and the believer say concerning this wonderful exchange!

 

THE SPECIAL CALL OF GOD!

Day of Gods power

THE SPECIAL CALL OF GOD!

A.W. Pink

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power!” [Psalm 110:3]

We must first distinguish carefully between God’s ‘Effectual call’ which is received by the Elect and that which comes to ALL who are under the sound of the Word: the one is PARTICULAR, the other GENERAL. Whosoever comes under the sound of the Word, yea, all who have it in their hands in its written form, are called by God to forsake their sins and seek His mercy in Christ.

This general call comes to the elect and non-elect alike: but alas, it is refused by all of them. It is described in such passages as, “Unto you, 0 men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man” (Prov. 8:4), “many [are] called, but few chosen” (Matt. 20:16). Their rejection of the same is depicted thus: “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded” (Prov. 1:24), “They all with one consent began to make excuse” (Luke 14:18). But it is with the special and particular call, of which the elect alone are the subjects, that we are now concerned.

Second, then, this calling of the elect is an INDIVIDUAL AND INWARD ONE, falling not upon the outward ear, but penetrating to their very hearts. It is the Word of God’s power, reaching them in their natural state of spiritual death and quickening them into newness of life. It is the Good Shepherd seeking and saving His lost sheep and restoring them to His Father: as it is written, “He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him; for they know His voice” (John 10:3, 4). From the legal side of things the salvation of God’s elect became an accomplished fact when Christ died and rose again, but not until the Spirit of God’s Son is sent into their hearts— “whereby they cry Abba, Father”—is it made good in their actual experience. It is by the Spirit alone that we are given a saving knowledge of the Truth, being led by Him into a right apprehension thereof: The Spirit so shines upon our understanding that we are enabled to take in the spiritual knowledge of God and His Son Jesus Christ.

Third, then, it is an EFFECTUAL call, being accomplished by the supernatural operations of the Spirit. It holds equally good of the new creation as of the old that, “He [God] spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (Ps. 33:9). It is in such passages as “Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power” (Ps. 110:3), this effectual call is referred to—their natural unwillingness to surrender themselves completely to the Lord’s claims is sweetly melted down by the communication of an overwhelming sense of God’s grace and love to them. Again; “All Thy children shall be taught of the Lord” (Isa. 54:13), so taught that He “hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true” (1 John 5:20). Once more, this effectual call is God’s making good the promises of the new covenant: “I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people” (Heb. 8:10).

Theologians have wisely designated this the “effectual call” so as to distinguish it from the GENERAL AND OUTWARD ONE which comes to all who hear the gospel.

THIS EFFECTUAL CALL IS NOT AN INVITATION, but is the actual bestowment of life and light!

It is the immediate fruit of God’s wondrous and infinite love to our persons when we are altogether unlovely, yea, the subjects of nothing but what renders us repulsive and hateful (see Ezek. 16:4-8!). It is then that the Holy Spirit is given to the elect—given to make good in them what Christ wrought out for them. Let it be clearly recognized and thankfully owned that the gift of the Spirit to us is as great and grand a gift as the gift of Christ for us. By the Spirit’s inhabiting us we are sanctified and sealed unto the day of redemption. By the Spirit’s indwelling of us we become the temples of the living God, His dwelling-place on earth.

It is not sufficiently recognized that all covenant mercies are in the hand of the blessed Holy Spirit, whose office and work it is to bring home the elect (by effectual calling) to Christ, and to make known and apply to their souls the salvation which the Lord Jesus has fulfilled and wrought out for them. He comes from Heaven in consequence of Christ’s atonement and ascension, and proclaims salvation from the Lord for wretched sinners. He enters their hearts of sin and woe and makes known the salvation of God.

He puts them by believing on the person and work of Christ into possession of the things that accompany salvation, and then He becomes a Comforter to them. Such do not pray for the Spirit to come and regenerate them, for they have already received Him as a life-giving and sanctifying Spirit. What they must now do is pray for grace to receive Him as the Spirit of adoption, that He may witness with their spirit that they are the children of God.

Now this effectual call is a necessary and proper consequence and effect of God’s eternal election, for NONE are the recipients of this supernatural vocation but HIS CHOSEN ONES! Wherever predestination unto everlasting glory goes before concerning any person, then effectual calling unto faith and holiness infallibly follows. “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thess. 2:13).

The elect are chosen unto salvation by the free and sovereign grace of God; but how is that salvation actually obtained? How are His favored ones brought into the personal possession of it? Through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, and not otherwise. God’s decree of election is an ordination unto everlasting life and glory, and it is evident by holiness being effectually wrought in its objects by the regenerating and sanctifying operations of the Spirit. It is thereby that the Spirit communicates what Christ purchased for them.

“And that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom He hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles” (Rom. 9:23, 24). In the verses immediately preceding the apostle had treated of the unspeakably solemn subject of how God shows His wrath and makes known His power in connection with the non-elect, but here he takes up the blessed theme of how God discovers the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy. This is by the effectual call which is received individually by His people.

That call is what serves to make manifest God’s everlasting grace toward us: as Romans 8:28 expresses it we are “the called according to His purpose”; in other words, the Spirit is given to us in order to the accomplishment of God’s decree, or to put it in another way, through his effectual call the believer may look upward to the eternal love of God unto him, much as he might through a chink in his wall peer through to the shining of the sun in the heavens.

MAN IN HIS FALLEN ESTATE

Man degraded below beasts

MAN IN HIS FALLEN ESTATE

A ‘must read’ by John Newton

We hear much in the present day of the dignity of human nature. And it is allowed that man was an excellent creature as he came out of the hands of God; but if we consider this question with a view to fallen man, as depraved by sin, how can we but join with the Psalmist in wonder that the great God should make any account of him?

Fallen as man is from his state of original happiness and holiness, his natural faculties and abilities afford sufficient evidence that the hand that made him is divine. He is capable of great things. His understanding, will, affections, imagination and memory are noble and amazing powers. But view him in a moral light, as an intelligent being, incessantly dependent upon God, accountable to Him, and appointed by Him to a state of existence in an unchangeable world; considered in this relation, man is a monster, a vile, base, stupid, obstinate, and mischievous creature; no words can fully describe him.

Man, with all his boasted understanding and attainments, is a fool: so long as he is destitute of the saving grace of God, his conduct, as to his most important concernments, is more absurd and inconsistent than that of the meanest idiot; with respect to his affections and pursuits, he is degraded far below the beasts; and for malignity and wickedness of his will, can be compared to nothing so properly as the devil.

The question here is not concerning this or that man, a Nero or a Heriogabolus, but concerning human nature, the whole race of mankind, the few excepted who are born of God. There is indeed a difference among men, but it is owing to the restraints of Divine Providence, without which earth would be the very image of hell. A wolf or a lion, while chained, cannot do so much mischief as if they were loose, but the nature is the same in the whole species. Education and interest, fear and shame, human laws, and the secret power of God over the mind, combine to form many characters that are externally decent and respectable; and even the most abandoned are under a restraint which prevents them from manifesting a thousandth part of the wickedness which is in their hearts. But the heart itself is universally deceitful, and desperately wicked.

Man is a fool. He can indeed measure the earth and almost count the stars; he abounds in arts and inventions in science and policy; and shall he then be called a fool? The ancient heathens, the inhabitants of Egypt, Greece and Rome, were eminent for this kind of wisdom. They are to this day studied as models by those who aim to excel in history, poetry, painting, architecture, and other exertions of human genius, which are suited to polish the manners without improving the heart. But their most admired philosophers, legislators, logicians, orators, and artists, were as destitute as idiots or infants of that knowledge which alone deserves the name of true wisdom.

Professing themselves to be wise they became fools (Rom.1:22). Ignorant and regardless of God, yet conscious of their own weakness, and of their dependence upon a power above their own, and stimulated by a principle of inward fear, of which they knew neither the origin nor right application, they worshiped the creature instead of the Creator, yea, placed their trust in stocks and stones, in the works of men’s hands, in non-entities and chimeras. An acquaintance with their mythology, or religious fables passes with us, for a considerable branch of learning, because it is drawn from ancient books, written in languages not known to the vulgar; but in point of certainty of truth, we might receive as much satisfaction from a collection of dreams, or from the ravings of lunatics. If, therefore, we admit these admired sages as a tolerable specimen of mankind, must we not confess that man, in his best estate, while uninstructed by the Spirit of God is a fool? But are we wiser than they? Not in the least, till the grace of God makes us so. Our superior advantages only show our folly in a more striking light.

Why do we account any persons foolish? A fool has no sound judgment; he is governed wholly by appearances, and would prefer a fine coat to the writings of a large estate. He pays no regard to consequences. Fools have sometimes hurt or killed their best friends, and thought they did no harm. A fool cannot reason, therefore arguments are lost upon him. At one time, if tied with a straw, he dares not stir; at another time, perhaps, he can hardly be persuaded to move, though the house were on fire. Are these the characteristics of a fool? Then there is no fool like the sinner, who prefers the toys of earth to the happiness of heaven, who is held in bondage by the customs of the world, and is more afraid of the breath of man, than the wrath of God.

Again, Man in his natural state is a beast, yea below the beasts that perish. In two things he strongly resembles them; in looking no higher than to sensual gratification, and in that selfishness of spirit which prompts him to propose himself and his own interest as his proper and highest end. But in many respects he sinks sadly beneath them. Unnatural lusts, and the want of natural affection toward their offspring , are abominations not to be found among the brute creation. What shall we say of mothers destroying their children with their own hands, or of the horrid act of self-murder! Men are worse than beasts likewise, in their obstinacy; they will not be warned. If a beast escapes from a trap he will be cautious how he goes near it again, and in vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird. But man, though he be often reproved, hardens his neck; he rushes upon his ruin with his eyes open, and can defy God to his face, and dare damnation.

Once more, let us observe how man resembles the devil. There are spiritual sins and these, in their height the scripture teaches us to judge of Satan’s character. Every feature in this description is strong in man; so then what the Lord said to the Jews is of general application, “Ye are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do.” Man resembles Satan in pride; this stupid, weak creature values himself upon his wisdom, power, and virtue, and will talk of being saved by his good works; though if he can, Satan himself need not despair. He resembles him in malice. and this diabolical disposition often proceeds to murder., and would daily if the Lord did not restrain it. He derives from Satan the hateful spirit of envy. He is often tormented beyond expression, by beholding the prosperity of his neighbors; and proportionally pleased with their calamities, though he gains no other advantage from them than the gratification of this rancorous principle. He bares the image, likewise, of Satan in his cruelty. This evil is bound up, even in the heart of a child.

A disposition to take pleasure in giving pain to others appears very early. Children, if left to themselves, soon feel a gratification in torturing insects and animals. What misery does the wanton cruelty of men inflict upon cocks, dogs, bulls, bears, and other creatures, which they seem to think were formed for no other end than to feast their savage spirits with their torments! If we form our judgment of men, when they seem most pleased, and have neither anger nor resentment to plead in their excuse, it is too evident, even in the nature of their amusements, whose they are and whom they serve; and they are the worst of enemies to each other.

Think of the horrors of war, the rage of duelists, of the murders and assassinations with which the world is filled, and then say, “Lord, what is man!” Further if deceit and treachery belong to Satan’s character, then surely man resembles him. Is not the universal observation, and complaint of all ages, an affecting comment upon the prophet’s words, “Trust ye not in a friend, put not confidence in a guide, keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom, for they hunt every man his brother with a net.” How many at this moment have cause to say with David, “The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.” Again, like Satan, men are eager in tempting others to sin; not content to damn themselves, they employ all their arts and influence to draw as many as they can with them into the same destruction.

Lastly, in direct opposition to God and goodness, in contemptuous enmity to the Gospel of His grace, and a bitter persecuting spirit to those who profess it, Satan himself can hardly exceed them. Herein, indeed they are his agents and willing servants; and because the blessed God himself is out of their reach, they labor to show their despite to him in the persons of His people.

I have drawn but a sketch, a few outlines of the picture of fallen man. To give an exact copy of him, to charge every feature with it’s full aggravation of horror, and to paint him as he is, would be impossible. Enough has been observed to illustrate the propriety of the exclamation, “Lord, what is man!” Perhaps some of my readers may deny or extenuate the charge, and may plead that I have not been describing mankind but some of the most abandoned of the species, who hardly deserve the name of “men”. But I have already provided against this exception. It is human nature I describe; and the vilest and most profligate individuals can not sin beyond the powers and limits of that nature which they possess in common with the more mild and moderate.

Though there may be a difference in the fruitfulness of trees, yet the production of one apple, decides the nature of the tree upon which it grew, as certainly as if it had produced a thousand: so in the present case, should it be allowed that these enormities cannot be found in all persons, it would be a sufficient confirmation of what I advanced, if they can be found in any; unless it could be likewise proved, that those who appeared more wicked than others, were of a different species from the rest. But I need not make this concession; they must be insensible indeed who do not feel something within them so very contrary to our common notions of goodness, as would perhaps make them rather submit to be banished from human society, than to be compelled to be bona fide to disclose their fellow-creatures every thought and desire which arises in their hearts.

The nature of fallen man agrees to the description the apostle has given us of his boasted wisdom: it is earthly, sensual, devilish. I have attempted some general delineation of it in the preceding letter; but the height of its malignity cannot be properly estimated, unless we consider its actings with respect to the light of the Gospel. The Jews were extremely wicked at the time of our Lord’s appearance upon earth; yet he said of them, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin;” that is, as the light and power of his ministry deprived them of all excuse for continuing in sin, so it proved the occasion of showing their wickedness in the most aggravated manner; and all their other sins were but faint proofs of the true state of their hearts, if compared with the discovery they made of themselves, by their pertinacious opposition to Him.

In this sense, what the apostle has observed of the law of Moses, may be applied to the Gospel of Christ: it entered, that sin might abound. If we would estimate the utmost exertions of human depravity, and the strongest effects it is capable of producing, we must select our instances from the conduct of those to whom the Gospel is known. The Indians, who roast their enemies alive, give sufficient proof that man is barbarous to his own kind; which may likewise be easily demonstrated without going so far from home; but the preaching of the Gospel discovers the enmity of the heart against God, in ways and degrees of which unenlightened savages and heathens are not capable.

By the Gospel, I now mean not merely the doctrine of salvation as it lies in the holy Scripture, but that public and authoritative dispensation of this doctrine, which the Lord Jesus Christ has committed to his true ministers; who having been themselves, by the power of his grace, brought out of darkness into marvelous light, are by his Holy Spirit qualified and sent forth to declare to their fellow-sinners what they have seen, and felt, and tasted, of the word of life. Their commission is, to exalt the Lord alone, to stain the pride of all human glory. They are to set forth the evil and demerit of sin, the strictness, spirituality, and sanction of the law of God, the total apostasy of mankind; and from these premises to demonstrate the utter impossibility of a sinner’s escaping condemnation by any works or endeavors of his own; and then to proclaim a full and free salvation from sin and wrath, by faith in the name, blood, obedience, and mediation of God manifest in the flesh; together with a denunciation of eternal misery to all who shall finally reject the testimony which God has given of his Son.

Though these several branches of the will of God respecting sinners, and other truths in connection with them, are plainly revealed and repeatedly inculcated in the Bible; and though the Bible is to be found in almost every house, yet we see, in fact, it is a sealed book, little read, little understood, and therefore but little regarded, except in those places which the Lord is pleased to favour with ministers who can confirm them from their own experience, and who, by a sense of his constraining love, and the worth of souls, are animated to make the faithful discharge of their ministry the one great business of their lives: who aim not to possess the wealth, but to promote the welfare of their hearers; are equally regardless of the frowns or smiles of the world; and count not their lives dear, so that they may be wise and successful in winning souls to Christ.

When the Gospel, in this sense of the word, first comes to a place, though the people are going on in sin, they may be said to sin ignorantly; they have not yet been warned of their danger. Some are drinking down iniquity like water; others more soberly burying themselves alive in the cares and business of the world; others find a little time for what they call religious duties, which they persevere in, though they are utter strangers to the nature or the pleasure of spiritual worship; partly, as thereby they think to bargain with God and to make amends for such sins as they do not choose to relinquish; and partly because it gratifies their pride, and affords them (as they think) some ground for saying, “God, I thank thee I am not as other men.”

The Preached Gospel declares the vanity and danger of these several ways which sinners choose to walk in. It declares, and demonstrates, that, different as they appear from each other, they are equally remote from the path of safety and peace, and all tend to the same point, the destruction of those who persist in them. At the same time it provides against that despair into which men would be otherwise plunged, when convinced of their sins, by revealing the immense love of God, the glory and grace of Christ, and inviting all to come to him, that they may obtain pardon, life, and happiness.

In a word, it shows the pit of hell under men’s feet, and opens the gate and points out the way to heaven. Let us now briefly observe the effects it produces in those who do not receive it as the power of God unto salvation. These effects are various, as tempers and circumstances vary; but they may all lead us to adopt the Psalmist’s exclamation, “Lord, what is man !”

Many who have heard the Gospel once or a few times, will hear it no more; it awakens their scorn, their hatred and rage. They pour contempt upon the wisdom of God, despise his goodness, defy his power; and their very looks express the spirit of the rebellious Jews, who told the prophet Jeremiah to his face, “As to the word which thou hast spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken to thee at all.” The ministers who preach it, are accounted men that turn the world upside down; and the people who receive it, fools or hypocrites. The word of the Lord is a burden to them, and they hate it with a perfect hatred. How strongly is the disposition of the natural heart manifested, by the confusion which often takes place in families, where the Lord is pleased to awaken one or two in a house, while the rest remain in their sins!

To profess, or even to be suspected of, an attachment to the Gospel of Christ, is frequently considered and treated as the worst of crimes, sufficient to cancel the strongest obligations of relation or friendship. Parents, upon such a provocation, will hate their children, and children ridicule their parents: many find, agreeable to our Lord’s declaration, that from the time a sense of his love engaged their hearts to love him again, their worst foes have been those of their own household; and that they who expressed the greatest love and tenderness for them before their conversion, can now hardly bear to see them.

The bulk of a people will perhaps continue to hear, at least now and then; and to those who do, the Spirit of God usually, at one time or other, bears testimony to the truth: their consciences are struck, and for a season they believe and tremble. But what is the consequence? No man who has taken poison seeks more earnestly or speedily for an antidote, than those do for something to stifle and smother their convictions. They run to company, to drink, to anything, for relief against the unwelcome intrusion of serious thoughts; and when they succeed, and recover their former indifference, they rejoice as if they had escaped some great danger. The next step is, to ridicule their own convictions; and next to that, if they see any of their acquaintance under the like impressions, to use every art, and strain every nerve, that they may render them as obstinate as themselves. For this purpose, they watch as a fowler for the bird, flatter or revile, tempt or threaten; and if they can prevail, and are the occasion of “hardening any in their sins” they rejoice and triumph as if they accounted it their interest and their glory to ruin the souls of their fellow creatures.

By frequent hearing, they receive more light. They are compelled to know, whether they will or not, that the wrath of God hangs over the children of disobedience. They carry a sting in their consciences, and at times feel themselves most miserable, and cannot but wish they had never been born, or that they had been dogs or toads, rather than rational creatures. Yet they harden themselves still more. They affect to be happy and at ease and force themselves to wear a smile when anguish preys upon their hearts. They blaspheme the way of truth, watch for the faults of professors, and with a malicious joy publish and aggravate them. They see perhaps how the wicked die, but are not alarmed; they see the righteous die, but are not moved. Neither providences nor ordinances, mercies nor judgments, can stop them, for they are determined to go on and perish with their eyes open, rather than submit to the Gospel.

But they do not always openly reject the Gospel-truths. Some who profess to approve and receive them, do thereby discover the evils of the heart of man, if possible, in a yet stronger light. They make Christ the minister of sin, and turn his grace into licentiousness. Like Judas, they say, Hail, Master ! and betray him. This is the highest pitch of iniquity. They pervert all the doctrines of the Gospel. From election they draw an excuse for continuing in their evil ways; and contend for salvation without works, because they love not obedience. They extol the righteousness of Christ, but hold it in opposition to personal holiness. In a word, because they hear that God is good, they determine to persist in evil. “Lord, what is man!”

Thus willful and impenitent sinners go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. The word which they despise becomes to them a savor of death unto death. They take different courses, but all are traveling down to the pit; and, unless sovereign mercy interpose, will soon sink to rise no more. The final event is usually twofold. Many, after they have been more or less shaken by the word, settle in formality. If hearing would supply the place of faith, love, and obedience, they would do well; but by degrees they become sermon-proof: the truths which once struck them lose their power by being often heard; and thus multitudes live and die in darkness, though the light has long shone around them.

Others are more openly given up to a reprobate mind. Contempt of the Gospel makes Infidels, Deists, and Atheists. They are filled with a spirit of delusion to believe a lie. These are scoffers, walking after their own lusts; for where the principles of religion are given up, the conduct will be vile and abominable. Such persons sport themselves with their own deceivings, and strongly prove the truth of the Gospel while they dispute against it. We often find that people of this cast have formerly been the subjects of strong convictions; but when the evil spirit has seemed to depart for a season, and returns again, the last state of that person is worse than the first.

It is not improbable that some of my readers may meet with their own characters under one or other of the views I have given of the desperate wickedness of the heart, in its actings against the truth. May the Spirit of God constrain them to read with attention Your case is dangerous, but I would hope not utterly desperate—Jesus is mighty to save. His grace can pardon the most aggravated offences, and subdue the most inveterate habits of sin.

The Gospel you have hitherto slighted, resisted, or opposed, is still the power of God unto salvation. The blood of Jesus, upon which you have hitherto trampled, speaks better things than the blood of Abel, and is of virtue to cleanse those whose sins are scarlet and crimson, and to make them white as snow. As yet you are spared; but it is high time to stop, to throw down your arms of rebellion, and humble yourselves at his feet. If you do, you may yet escape; but if not, know assuredly that wrath is coming upon you to the uttermost; and you will shortly find, to your unspeakable dismay, that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Quickening or Regeneration And Conversion

the good ground

Quickening or Regeneration And Conversion

A Study by Lucien LeSage

IN THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER, THE SEED DID NOT MAKE THE GROUND GOOD BUT FELL ON GOOD GROUND.

The ground was made good before the seed fell on it.
Paul said in his flesh dwelt no good thing (Romans 7:18).

Concerning the seed:
While it was not the seed that made the ground good it was the seed that caused the good ground to bring forth fruit. Without the seed there is no fruit. Without the Gospel there is no object for our faith.

In our passage the Lord also said: “He that HATH EARS to hear, let him hear.” (Luke 8:8).

What is needed first, the hearing or the hearing ear?
A man needs a hearing ear before he can hear. This is true in the natural world and is true in the spiritual world as well or else Jesus would have never used it as an example.
One must be present before the other can take place. The potential to hear must be present in order to hear.

Where does the hearing ear come from?
Where does the seeing eye come from?
Proverbs 20:12 The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.
Both physical and spiritual.

So what part does the seed or the word of God preached or read play in our salvation?
Our salvation does not stop at quickening or regeneration. There is a deliverance that takes place.

Brother Curtis Pugh told me of a statement that Brother Milburn Cockrell had related to him in order to better understand this. I think his statement hits the nail on the head.

Br Cockrell said that, “the Holy Spirit regenerates or quickens the spirit of man. The spirit of man – when made alive by regeneration is that which can know and experience God. The Word of God converts the soul of man. The soul of man is that by which man has self consciousness and is also aware of natural surroundings.”

W. E. Best in his book on regeneration said, “To the spiritual mind, creation is the lattice work behind which God hides himself.”

“My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice” (Song of Solomon 2:9).

So where is the POWER of the Gospel?
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation” – but the verse does not stop there does it?

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

It is only the power of God to them that believeth. The potential to believe must be present before the Gospel can be believed. Then there is light for the seeing eye. Then it has power unto salvation. Then it has power to deliver.

Compare:
1Corinthians 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. … 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

The difference is not you or the preaching of the Gospel but the effectual call of God. The difference is the quickening power of the Holy Spirit. The difference is God.
“Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it…” (Psalm 127:1).

True Conversion as a Result of Regeneration

Conversion begins immediately after quickening and that is what takes place in time, and surely in this experience that one writer called “Pilgrim’s Progress”, the word of God becomes involved. It must be involved in the deliverance of sinners.

Back to Brother Milburn Cockrell’s Quote:
Br Cockrell said, “The Holy Spirit regenerates or quickens the spirit of man. The spirit of man – when made alive by regeneration is that which can know and experience God. The Word of God converts the soul of man. The soul of man is that by which man has self consciousness and is also aware of natural surroundings.”

W. E. Best rightly says that quickening is not an experience but results in an experience. When a blind man sees he experiences site only when light is involved not when he is healed.
We are not laboring to put a time gap in here but to make the order right.

“Regeneration is not in itself an experience; conversion is a series of Christian experiences…. A person knows nothing of the beginning of his existence. Conversion, however, is always an awareness of what is taking place; therefore, it is experimental. Repentance and faith are experiences known to the person born of God.” (W. E. Best).

In John’s gospel Nicodemus is presented with the truth of regeneration by the Holy Spirit. It is a sovereign act of God Almighty in the person of the Holy Spirit.

What follows regeneration is conversion. Conversion consists of a godly sorrow that worketh repentance toward salvation or trusting Jesus Christ as savior never to be repented of. So what follows the truth of the new birth from above or regeneration is the truth that the son of man who came down from heaven would be lifted up in like manner as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness. In that event we see a picture of the sting of death which is sin and the lifting up of the substitute who was being made sin for all that looked to it.

Here we have the sting of conviction; a knowledge that it will lead to death and a looking to the only one who can redeem from that awful condition.

They didn’t look to Moses. They didn’t look to each other for help. They didn’t even try and fight the serpents. They simply looked to the fiery brazen serpent lifted up on a pole which was a picture of our suffering substitute being made sin for us and suffering the divine wrath of God for our sins in our place and yet not consumed by it.

All of this is the result of regeneration and not the cause.

Salvation is an experience. It is something we know experimentally.

But the Bible says 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” and also that “the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”

A few questions:
Is “godly sorrow that worketh repentance” the product of a carnal mind?

Is it pleasing to God?

“Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” (Luke 15:10).
Oh, it is well pleasing to God.

Is “godly sorrow that worketh repentance”, the product of the natural man that recieveth not the things of the Spirit of God?

But the complete verse is “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death” (2Cor 7:10).

“Worketh” means to accomplish. So godly sorrow accomplishes repentance and that repentance “to” or “unto” or “towards” salvation.

Here we have conversion in action.

The example of the thief on the cross:
1) He railed on Christ at first (He may have feared Rome but not God). “The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth” (Matthew 27:44). In this verse we see he was no different than the other thief. This has perplexed some and so they come up with the idea that there were more than two, because at least two (plural) railed on Christ and mocked him along with those around that scene. We contend that there were only two as the Bible plainly states in Matthew 27:38 and Mark 15:27. One on his left and one on his right.

2) But what happened?

Bam! Something certainly happened to this one thief.
I contend that what happened was immediate or instantaneous.
What follows is a manifestation of the instantaneous event that came within him but from without. It was from God the Holy Spirit.

The good ground is he that understandeth and has a good and honest heart and receives the word as Jesus tells us.
Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”
Instead of joining the other thief he now tells him, “Dost not thou fear God seeing thou art in the same condemnation?” (Luk 23:40).

He was about to die and face God.
He now fears God, not Roman justice.

THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS MADE THE GROUND GOOD TO RECEIVE THE WORDS THAT AT FIRST HE MOCKED.

All those mocking words, “he saved others”, and “if thou be the Son of God”, and “if he be the King of Israel”, and “for he said, I am the Son of God” was suddenly truth to his heart .
The Lord has taken away the stony heart and given him a heart of flesh.

3) Now the godly sorrow is working repentance.
“For godly sorrow worketh repentance TO salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” (2Cor 7:10).

He now says, “And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds:” vs 41.
Justly before God who is to be feared, not simply the law of the land.

“It has been suggested that some may be sensible to the evil of sin with regard to themselves, but they do not recognize that their sin is against God. Damnation may scare them, but pollution does not. Hell may frighten them, but offending God does not” (W. E. Best).

The thief was convinced of sin, righteousness, and judgment as a result of the work of the Holy Spirit.

4) He now sees the righteousness of Christ and now believes all that had been said about him in a mocking way.
He says “but this man hath done nothing amiss”. vs 41.
He now believes that Jesus is the Son of God, the King of Israel and the Lord of the kingdom.

5) He has no place to turn but the LORD Jesus Christ.
He is shut up to the mercy of God.
He’s hanging on a tree with no way out.
“He saved others” he had heard. He needed saving.
He now seeks mercy from Christ.
This is a plea for mercy and not a demand or a right that he thought he had.
He says, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” vs 42
It’s a plea because if the Lord does not remember him, he is toast and doomed to eternal damnation.
He knows Jesus as Lord and a King before he knows him as his personnel savior.

6) Then he receives the assurance of salvation from the Lord’s promise.
“And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” vs 43.
Now he knows Him experimentally as savior.

7) He now has rest in the promise of Christ. He is saved from his sins. He is safe. Death cannot separate him from the love that is in Christ Jesus. He has Jesus’ promise. Somewhere in there between his mocking of Christ and his question to the other thief when he asked “dost not thou fear God” he was quickened and then his soul was converted.

If “godly sorrow” comes before trusting and resting in Jesus Christ and is not the product of a carnal mind then what caused it? From what mind did it come?
It might be argued that it is the preparatory work of the Holy Spirit.
But, where was this work done?
In the heart.

Peter’s message on the day of Pentecost:
Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

Someone will say. See there the Holy Spirit used the preaching of the word to prick their heart which was regeneration.
Well, hold the phone.
The word did prick their hearts but why?

Acts 7:54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.
Here is another group that were cut to the heart by the preaching of the word.

The word of God is the sword of the Spirit but it cuts both ways.

Did Peter use a better message than Stephen? No, in fact they were very similar.

With one group the sword of the Spirit pricked their hearts and with the other group it cut their hearts.
Didn’t Stephen say, “ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.”

The difference was in the ground of the heart that the word of truth fell on.

The first group had a prickable heart. A heart of flesh.
The second group had a heart of stone.

Regeneration made the difference on how that word was reacted on.

Regeneration took away the stony heart and gave a heart of flesh and then the word had power to prick rather than cut to anger.
With the second group the word had power to cut to anger but was not the power of God unto salvation.

The difference was in the ground which the Holy Spirit made good ahead of time if I can say that without causing a mess.

What about 1 Peter 1:23 and James 1:18

Without explaining these verse in detail, Peter and James are dealing with a bringing forth and not initial quickening. A proper study of these Greek words is necessary to understand this.

Curtis Pugh on these verses:

The first verse for our consideration is as follows: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever,” (1 Peter 1:23). Immediately someone says, “Why that verse teaches that regeneration is accomplished by the Word of God.” If that is the meaning of this verse, then we have a contradiction in the Bible because Jesus said that regeneration is accomplished by the Holy Spirit. John 3:6, 7 says: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” Jesus used the word “gennao” both times that we have the word “born” in these two verses. He speaks of the work of the Spirit in infusing life into a spiritually dead sinner.

But Peter in his statement used a different word. He uses “anagennao” – a related word, but with an important difference in meaning and in a different tense. Surely every Baptist knows what the prefix “ana” means. It has to do with redoing something such as baptism. Our anabapist forefathers always denied that they re-baptized saying that they only baptized aright for the first time those who had been baptized by other sects. The tense is clear in the English for it says “being.” It does not say “having been,” (in the past), but present tense, “being” – an ongoing birthing. Jesus spoke of regeneration as a birth. Peter spoke of the Christian’s ongoing conversion or sanctification.

Jesus said regeneration is a work of the Holy Spirit. Peter said conversion is a work of the Word of God. It is important to remember that it is the spirit of man that is dead prior to regeneration. The spirit of man is that which if alive is capable of knowing God. His soul is very much alive for by a man’s soul he is self conscious and conscious of his natural surroundings. A man’s soul does not need life, his spirit does. A man’s spirit does not need conversion, it needs regeneration. It is a man’s soulish life – his life as a natural man – that needs conversion. And so, rightly understood, there is no conflict between the Lord Jesus and Peter.

Regeneration is a work of the Spirit and conversion is a work of the Word in a regenerated individual. Regeneration is the cause of conversion for by it a dead sinner is made spiritually alive, is no more in the flesh and therefore can profit from the Word. Thus an unregenerate individual will not receive the Word nor can he know it in a spiritually profitable way. Paul taught that in 1 Corinthians 2: 12-14 which says: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But 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.”

On to the second verse for consideration. This verse is James 1:18 which says:“Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” On the surface this verse, while stating that the new birth rests solely upon the will of God does seem to say that He begat us with the Word of God. However two things must be considered. First of all, James uses a completely different word from either Christ or Peter. His word is “apokueo” and according to James Strong means primarily “to bring forth.” The second noteworthy thing is that in the phrase “the word of truth” the word “the” is not there. Young’s Literal Translation puts it “…He did beget us with a word of truth…” What did Christ say about regeneration? “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live,” (John 5:25).

It was the voice of the Son of God that raised Lazarus from his grave. It is the voice of Christ that is the effectual call. The written and preached Word of God is merely the general call, both inviting and instructing lost men and women to believe and to come to Christ. Those are two things they cannot do as spiritually dead sinners. Only upon Christ’s effectual call have they life. Only upon His call will they come forth from their tombs. Only upon His effectual word – “a word of God” – can the impotent man stretch forth his withered arm. The general call and the effectual call are both seen in the Lord’s words, “For many are called, but few are chosen,” (Matthew 24:14). “Many” hear the words of Scripture, but only a comparatively “few are chosen” and do therefore hear “a word of truth” – that is, “hear the voice of the Son of God.”

I would add that the word that James used in 1:18 was actually translated “bring forth” in verse 1:15.
“Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

Where does lust come from?
Romans 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
How is death brought forth?
Wouldn’t this person have been dead spiritually from the beginning?

A quote from Charles Spurgeon:

THE WOMB OF CONVICTION (Spurgeon – Sermon #564)

“You have profited in nothing by the flesh, but in all things by the Spirit of the living God. Taking you from your first conviction and tracking you to the present moment, it has been God’s creating [quickening, LL] and forming[conversion, LL]. In the womb of conviction he fashioned you, and he hath nurtured you until now. Let this be your comfort: if God could quicken you when you were absolutely dead, and if he has kept you until this moment, can he not revive you again? Can he not make that spark again become a flame? Have you fallen too low for him? Is his arm shortened that he cannot save? Is his ear heavy that he cannot hear? No; he that hath delivered thee aforetime will deliver thee yet again; therefore be thou of good comfort.” [Brackets added by LL]

I would add:
Creating is by the Holy Spirit quickening the dead sinner.
Forming or fashioning is by the Holy Spirit using the word of God in conversion.
This is what Peter is referring to which involves more than quickening.
It’s a delivery!

What about Regeneration and the Responsibility of Man

W. E. Best said, “Since regeneration is presented as the act of the sovereign God, it is never presented as a duty of the sinner.The demands of the gospel upon sinners are limited to the terms of repentance and faith.” “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21).

Brother Wilbur Johnson when asked what man’s responsibility was, said, “To believe every word that God has said. To love the Lord with all your heart and soul and mind and your neighbor as yourself, but it won’t get you there.” Jesus said that on those two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. And Paul said, “for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.”

No law can give life. There is nothing a spiritually dead sinner can do to give himself life.

We are responsible to live as though we are spiritually alive because we were alive once in Adam, but we are not responsible to give ourselves life. Only God can give life. It was God that breathed into the first man the breath of life.

Ye must be born again or from above.

How do we know that we have been Regenerated or are mere professors?

Are we trusting in the Lord Jesus with all of our being?
Is His work on the cross the object of our hope?
Have we believed in the heart as well as the mind? (Romans 10:9-10)
Have we been converted like the thief and seen our own sinfulness and lostness with no place to go but the righteousness of Christ?
Does God’s Spirit witness with our spirit that we are the sons of God? (Romans 8:16). Do we love the brethren? (1John 3:14).

You say, “Brother Lucien, Yes!”
Then God gave all that to you and it started with quickening your dead spirit and converting your soul by His grace.
Give Him the Glory!

GRAVEN UPON THE PALMS OF THE ALMIGHTY!

I have graven thee

GRAVEN UPON THE PALMS OF THE ALMIGHTY!

C.H. Spurgeon

“Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands.” [Isaiah 49:16]

No doubt a part of the wonder which is concentrated in the word “Behold,” is excited by the unbelieving lamentation of the preceding sentence. Zion said, “The Lord hath forsaken me, and my God hath forgotten me.” How amazed the divine mind seems to be at this wicked unbelief! What can be more astounding than the unfounded doubts and fears of God’s favoured people? The Lord’s loving word of rebuke should make us blush; he cries, “How can I have forgotten thee, when I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands? How darest thou doubt my constant remembrance, when the memorial is set upon my very flesh?”

O unbelief, how strange a marvel thou art! We know not which most to wonder at, the faithfulness of God or the unbelief of his people. He keeps his promise a thousand times, and yet the next trial makes us doubt him. He never faileth; he is never a dry well; he is never as a setting sun, a passing meteor, or a melting vapour; and yet we are as continually vexed with anxieties, molested with suspicions, and disturbed with fears, as if our God were the mirage of the desert.

“Behold,” is a word intended to excite admiration. Here, indeed, we have a theme for marvelling. Heaven and earth may well be astonished that rebels should obtain so great a nearness to the heart of infinite love as to be written upon the palms of his hands. “I have graven thee.”It does not say, “Thy name.” The name is there, but that is not all: “I have graven thee.” See the fulness of this! I have graven thy person, thine image, thy case, thy circumstances, thy sins, thy temptations, thy weaknesses, thy wants, thy works; I have graven thee, everything about thee, all that concerns thee; I have put thee altogether there. Wilt thou ever say again that thy God hath forsaken thee when he has graven thee upon his own palms?

DAUGHTERS OH SO PRECIOUS!

Son is a son

DAUGHTERS OH SO PRECIOUS!

“That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace.” [Psalm 144:12]

A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future. ~ Author Unknown

“There’s something like a line of gold thread running through a man’s words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself.  ~John Gregory Brown

Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express. ~ Joseph Addison

FEEDING ON GOD’S WORD

Eating God's Word

FEEDING ON GOD’S WORD

From A.W. Pink’s ‘Studies in the Scriptures’ Publication: July, 1939

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” [2Timothy 2:15]

From our correspondence we gather that in these strenuous days, there are not a few who deplore the fact that they do not now have the time available for serious reading which they once had. Working conditions are so exacting, competition is so keen and ruthless, the pace has become so feverish, that the majority are too exhausted at the close of the day to apply themselves in the evening to anything which involves much effort. We sympathize with these weary toilers, and would offer to them the following remarks.

First, God is no Egyptian taskmaster, laying upon us a burden grievous to be borne.

Second, there is nothing more restful to the nerves and relief-bringing to an over-taxed mind than half an hour spent alone with God; say five minutes in reading a Psalm or a portion from the Gospels, 15 or 20 minutes at the Throne of Grace–thanking God for the mercies of the day, pouring out to Him our troubles, seeking fresh supplies of grace: and then reading a chapter from the Epistles.

Third, retire to rest half an hour sooner than you have been doing, and rise that much earlier in the morning, so as to spend it with God, preparing yourself for the demands of the day.

Fourth, be most particular in seeing to it that you spend several hours on the Sabbath over God’s Word and reading edifying books. It is not honouring to the Lord for you to rush from one meeting to another and leave yourself little opportunity for private devotions.

But there is another class of young people or those not so hardly pressed by the exigencies of modern life, who write and ask us what we consider to be “the best way to study the Bible.” Recently it has struck us that the term “study” in this relation has an egotistical sound and savours of carnality. Is it not almost irreverent to employ this language here–a dragging down of the holy and unique Word of God to the level of mere human productions? Is it a clear brain or a sensitive conscience which is most essential for profiting from Divine revelation? And WHICH is more likely to be called into exercise by close “study”? “What method do YOU recommend for studying the Bible?” Does not such a question seem to indicate that the inquirer supposes the Sacred Scriptures to be addressed chiefly to the intellect? The questioner may not be conscious of this (for the heart is very deceitful), yet is not that what is really implied? Can you imagine one who had received a missive from his sweetheart proposing to sit down and “study” it? Would not that expression be altogether incongruous in such a connection?

But has not God Himself exhorted us to “study” His Word? Where? In what passage? The actual term “study” occurs but five times in the Bible. Twice in Proverbs (15:28; 24:2) where it signifies to “meditate” beforehand; once in Ecclesiastes 12:12; again in 1 Thessalonians 4:11–“Study to be quiet”; and finally, “study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (2 Tim. 2:15), which is addressed to the preacher, and means he is to make it his paramount concern to endeavour to please God in all things, and is to spare no pains in equipping himself to minister the Word in season to needy souls, so that each may receive a suitable portion. Neither the verse itself nor the context has any reference to partitioning off the Scriptures, allotting one book to this dispensation and another book to that dispensation–which is a subtle device of the Enemy to rob God’s children of many needed parts of their spiritual bread.

Are we intimating, then, that the rank and file of God’s people should devote less time to the Scriptures, or that they should be encouraged to scan them superficially? No, indeed–God forbid! That against which we are here protesting IS THE GOD-DISHONOURING IDEA THAT HIS WORD IS MERELY A PIECE OF LITERATURE, WHICH MAY BE “MASTERED” BY A COURSE OF “STUDY.”

That which we would warn against is an undue occupation with the TECHNICAL aspects of the Bible. By all means read and re-read the whole Bible through consecutively, so as to become acquainted with its contents. By all means, “search the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11) in order to test all you hear and read–“compare” one part with another, so that you may obtain fuller light upon what is before you. Pray constantly for the guidance and illumination of the Spirit, that He may open to you its Divine mysteries; slowly ponder each word in every verse.

BUT ABOVE ALL, BEG GOD TO WRITE HIS WORD MORE LEGIBLY AND FULLY UPON THE TABLETS OF YOUR HEART.

God’s blessed Word is not for dissection by the knife of cold intellectuality, but is to be laid to heart. It is not given for us to display our cleverness and “brilliance” upon, but to be bowed before in true humility. It is not designed for mental entertainment, but for the regulation of our daily lives. Far, far more important than “method” is our motive when approaching the Word. Not to acquire that which will puff us up in our own conceits, but that which will subdue pride and bring us as supplicants to the footstool of Mercy, is what we should seek.

OF WHAT VALUE IS A KNOWLEDGE OF THE ORIGINAL HEBREW AND GREEK, OR A THOROUGH ACQUAINTANCE WITH THE HISTORY, GEOGRAPHY, AND CHRONOLOGY OF THE BIBLE, IF THE HEART BE LEFT COLD AND HARD TOWARD ITS AUTHOR?

We very much doubt then, if this word “study” is an appropriate one to apply unto our perusal of the inspired page. What would be thought of a child, away from home, saying he was going to “study” the letters he had received from his parents? And the Bible consists of a series of letters from the Heavenly Father to His dear children. Then let us cherish them as such, and act accordingly.

As we wrote recently to two young friends in the U.S.A.: “I wonder if you will be surprised when I say that, I seriously doubt if God has called or requires you to ‘study’ His Word–what you need to do is FEED thereon. How much nourishment would your body derive from a study of the chemical properties of cereals and fruits, or from seeking to ascertain the various sorts of soil in which they are grown or the different types from which they are derived, or the meaning of their Latin names? None whatever. And I am persuaded that much of the modern ‘study of the Bible’ is equally profitless spiritually. True, such a study as I have mentioned above, would feed pride–acquiring a knowledge which many of your fellows possess not; but would it aid digestion?

Would it not be more practicable to pay closer attention to securing a nutritious and balanced diet? Would it not be more profitable if you gave greater attention to the mastication of your food? So it is, dear friends, with our spiritual food.” “Desire the sincere milk of the Word that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). THAT is the only nutritive food for the soul! Dwell not so exclusively upon favourite books of Scripture that you neglect others equally needful, but vary your reading, and then you will obtain a balanced diet. Memorize a verse or two every day and meditate thereon whenever you have a few spare moments, even when journeying to and from your work, and then you will masticate your Food. Put the precepts into practice, heed the warnings of Scripture, and then you will assimilate what you have fed upon.–A.W.P.

N.B.–It should hardly be necessary for us to point out that this brief editorial is not designed for preachers and teachers.

SODOMY IS A SIN!

adam-and-steve-66

SODOMY IS A SIN!

What does the Bible say about Homosexuality? Is Homosexuality a Sin?

Answer: The Bible consistently tells us that HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVITY IS A SIN!

(See – Genesis 19:1-13; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9).

Romans 1:26-27 teaches specifically that homosexuality is a result of denying and disobeying God. When people continue in sin and unbelief, God “gives them over” to even more wicked and depraved sin in order to show them the futility and hopelessness of life apart from God. 1 Corinthians 6:9 proclaims that homosexual “offenders” will not inherit the kingdom of God.

GOD DOES NOT CREATE A PERSON WITH HOMOSEXUAL DESIRES. The Bible tells us that people BECOME homosexuals because of sin (Romans 1:24-27) and ultimately because of their OWN CHOICE. A person may be born with a greater susceptibility to homosexuality, just as some people are born with a tendency to violence and other sins. That does not excuse the person’s choosing to sin by giving in to sinful desires. If a person is born with a greater susceptibility to anger/rage, does that make it right for him to give into those desires? Of course not! The same is true with homosexuality.

However, the Bible does not describe homosexuality as a “greater” sin than any other. All sin is offensive to God. Homosexuality is just one of the many things listed in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 that will keep a person from the kingdom of God. According to the Bible, God’s forgiveness is just as available to a homosexual as it is to an adulterer, idol worshipper, murderer, thief, etc. God also promises the strength for victory over sin, including homosexuality, to all those who will believe in Jesus Christ for their salvation (1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Philippians 4:13).

[Quoted from Gotquestions.org]

GROUNDED IN THE FAITH!

Change of creed 6

GROUNDED IN THE FAITH!

C.H. SPURGEON

IT IS A GREAT THING to begin the Christian life by believing good solid doctrine. Some people have received twenty different “gospels” in as many years; how many more they will accept before they get to their journey’s end, it would be difficult to predict. I thank God that He early taught me THE gospel, and I have been so perfectly satisfied with it, that I do not want to know any other. 


Constant change of creed is sure loss. If a tree has to be taken up two or three times a year, you will not need to build a very large loft in which to store the apples. When people are always shifting their doctrinal principles, they are not likely to bring forth much fruit to the glory of God.

It is good for young believers to begin with a firm hold upon those great fundamental doctrines which the Lord has taught in His Word. Why, if I believed what some preach about the temporary, trumpery salvation which only lasts for a time, I would scarcely be at all grateful for it; but when I know that those whom God saves He saves with an everlasting salvation, when I know that He gives to them an everlasting righteousness, when I know that He settles them on an everlasting foundation of everlasting love, and that He will bring them to His everlasting kingdom, oh, then I do wonder, and I am astonished that such a blessing as this should ever have been given to me!

“Pause, my soul! adore, and wonder!
Ask, ‘Oh, why such love to me?’
Grace hath put me in the number
Of the Saviour’s family: Hallelujah!
Thanks, eternal thanks, to Thee!”