IF THE GOD YOU WORSHIP ‘REPENTS, REGRETS AND HAS REMORSE’ OVER HIS ACTIONS OR PLANS, YOU’VE GOT ANOTHER GOD OTHER THAN THE SOVEREIGN GOD OF THE SCRIPTURES

IF THE GOD YOU WORSHIP ‘REPENTS, REGRETS AND HAS REMORSE’ OVER HIS ACTIONS OR PLANS, YOU’VE GOT ANOTHER GOD OTHER THAN THE SOVEREIGN GOD OF THE SCRIPTURES

A man recently wrote us stating, “Why did God wish he had never made man at the time of Noah? (Gen 6) Couldn’t he see out into the future and decide to not make man and save the regret? God decided to destroy his people and Moses pleaded with him and God repented or changed his mind. How can God change his mind if he knew he was going to? I conclude he didn’t know.” etc

“Why does Genesis 6:6 say ‘it repented the LORD that he had made man’ if he knew in advance how sinful man would get?” etc

Let us take an honest look at these verses and rightly divide the Word of truth –

You may be thinking that the word “repent” there means God REGRETTED He made man, and my dictionary says “regret” can mean “a looking back with dissatisfaction.” This cannot be the meaning here, however, for it is not possible that God would be dissatisfied with anything He has done.

Like all words, REPENT can have different meanings. My dictionary defines it as “to feel pain, sorrow, or regret for something one has done.” The word “or” here suggests that God didn’t REGRET making man, He rather felt pain and sorrow for having done so. The way the verse is worded makes this clear. It doesn’t say THE LORD REPENTED making man, as it would if He regretted it. It says IT REPENTED THE LORD, it pained Him, for their sin caused Him sorrow. The rest of the verse verifies this interpretation when it explains, “and it grieved Him at His heart.”

Sin STILL grieves the Lord, even after we are saved, so “grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30).

Some texts in the Bible, if isolated from the rest of Scripture, challenge us. To overcome problems in our understanding we need to know a few things:

1. What did the original words mean to those to whom they originally were written?
– basic grammatical meaning
– literary use of the expressions common to the original readers
– historical references meaningful at the time of the writing

2. What is the whole context of the portion in question?
– local context: the flow of thought in the rest of the book in which it is found
– theological context: what God has revealed in the other inspired books
– historical context: how much God had revealed about his redemptive plan at that time.

IN ABOUT 30 PLACES IN THE BIBLE GOD IS SAID TO “REPENT”.

Genesis 6:6-7 is a prime example, “And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them.”

Did God regret something he had done? Did he really repent as if he had made a mistake? Did God have to change his plan from what he had formerly wanted it to be? If so, then he is not the God we read about in the rest of the Bible. A careful study of these passages removes the apparent conflict.

First we need to take a look at the larger context. What do clear Bible passages teach about God’s nature?

GOD’S NATURE IS “IMMUTABLE” (HE DOES NOT CHANGE).

The answer to Westminster Shorter Catechism question 4 “What is God?” is, “God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.”

If this is true, God can never regret, make errors, or change his plans. He answers to nothing greater than himself, therefore he is perfect and needs no improvement. God’s knowledge is perfect. It includes all things that ever will happen, there can be no reason to ever change or modify his plans.

James makes a direct statement in his epistle in James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is NO VARIATION OR SHADOW OF TURNING.”

With God the Father there is “no variableness” (parallagae, παραλλαγη). This is an astronomical term. From it we get the word “parallax,” a term still used in astronomy. Even in those ancient times they could see that constellations appeared in different places as the seasons changed. Some dots of light move from constellation to constellation, we now know these “wandering stars” as planets. Some objects in the night sky change their brightness regularly. However, there is no such change with God. There is no variableness like that which we see in the night sky.

With God there is “no shadow of turning” (tropaes aposkiasma, τροπης αποσκιασμα). This is another astronomical term, It has to do with changes in shadows cast by the sun and moon. As the sun and moon change their positions in the sky during the day or night, there is an observable change in the length and direction of the shadows they cast. This word was also used in reference to the eclipses of the sun and moon where darkness took over parts of them. With God the Father there is no such change. He is a steady and reliable light.

There is a direct statement in Psalm 102:26-27, “They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will have no end.” This reminds us that though the earth and heavens perish and wear with time. God does not change.

There are many texts where God’s inability to change is made clear. For example, Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man, that He should lie, NOR A SON OF MAN, THAT HE SHOULD REPENT. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” And Malachi 3:6, “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”

God has all things under his sovereign control as it says in Psalm 135:6, “Whatever the LORD pleases He does, In heaven and in earth, In the seas and in all deep places.”

Ephesians 1:11-12 says, “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”

God even controls the directions of the plans of humans. Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. .” and Proverbs 19:21, “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD . . .  that shall stand.”

Open Theism teaches that God is open to change and adjusts his plans to new circumstances. Those promoting this view reject the classic attributes of God (immutable, omnipotent, omniscient …). They say there are philosophical contradictions in the belief systems that accept the infinite and unchangeable understanding of God. However, their claims of contradictions are based upon total misstatements and misunderstandings of the actual historical and biblical doctrines. They often quote the verses about God repenting as if he adjusts to things outside of himself.

SO THEN, HOW DOES AN UNCHANGEABLE GOD REPENT?

The word here for “repent” is nakham (נחם). It is translated many ways in the Bible depending upon the context. Most often it is translated either “to repent” or “to comfort”, two seemingly very different words. The Brown Driver and Briggs Hebrew Lexicon (BDB) defines it this way: “to be sorry, to be consoled, to be moved to pity, to have compassion, to be comforted, to be relieved.”

A study of the primary uses of this Hebrew word show that it describes the reaction of a person to some sorrowful event, and the person either finds comfort from the sorrow, or grieves over the tragedy of the event. The focus of the word is upon the impact some disturbing thing has upon him. The word does not fit with our English words “repent” or “regret” as we commonly use those words today.

When WE repent over our sins, our response is grief over the offense they cause to God. When GOD repents, he has nothing to regret in himself. He has nothing for which to be sorry. God answers to no one but himself and to his own perfect and eternal plan. However, the sins of mankind offend him deeply. He has decreed that they would occur for his own good reasons. They are used to display his justice in his judgments, and his mercy in redemption. These sorrowful occurrences are used by God as means to accomplish all the things he has purposed to happen. When God observes these tragic outworkings of evil, he is morally offended. The word nakham (נחם) beautifully conveys this response.

To communicate to us the offense toward God which is produced by the sins of his creatures, the Bible uses a human response we all understand. We often experience grief, sorrow, and a need for consolation. When a human emotion is used to explain how God responds to something, we call it an “anthropopathism.”

We are probably more familiar with the term, “anthropomorphism.” That is when some physical part of man is used to represent something about God. The Eternal God has no physical body. He is revealed as spirit. However, the Bible speaks of God’s hands, eyes, feet, wings, feathers, … etc. These communicate to us that he controls, sees, comforts, etc.

In an “anthropopathism” some emotion or feeling of man is used to explain something about God. God’s spirit nature is very different in comparison with our human soul. Yet to know how much God is offended by sin and rebellion, these human terms are used to approximate his response in the best way possible for us.

Changes in how God treats people are based upon changes in them, not upon changes in God. It shows how God reveals his unfolding decrees to us in time. For example, in Eden before the fall, God is seen blessing man in his innocence. Then he casts man out for his sin and deep offense. In the time of Noah, he warned that the whole human race deserved destruction. By grace he chose Noah and preserved the human race beyond the flood.

All of these events of history were carried out according to God’s decree. The plan included allowing man to sin. God’s judgments show no change neither in God’s mind, nor in his plan. His repentance shows us the affront of sin to his holiness.

The changes in the relationships of persons with God reflect the Creator’s eternal and immutable decree as it unfolds. His plan takes into account human rebellions which accomplish his goal, even though that means enduring great offense from men’s sins.

NOW WE APPLY THIS TO THE TEXT IN GENESIS 6:6-7

Genesis 6:6-8, “And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”

REGRET HAS NO PLACE HERE AT ALL. It could not be the meaning intended, since God cannot regret or make mistakes. Even the grief of God in verse 6 is not the same as human grief. God’s eternal blessedness is never interrupted even though in time God permitted sin. In Romans 1:25 God is said to be “blessed forever.” Dr. Charnock points out that grief as we know it is inconsistent with undefiled blessedness. His blessedness cannot be impaired or interrupted.

This language is an accommodation to our “limited creaturely capacity” to understand. God’s intentions are always perfect and infinite, ours are not.

Genesis 6:6 reflects a change in God’s treatment of mankind. It fulfills his unchanging promise and resolution to punish justly, and it shows how he detests sin. The need in God is not for external comfort, but to satisfy his own justice as his decree unfolds. If he regretted, or admitted that his plan did not turn out as he intended, it would be contrary to direct statements where God tells us that he is totally Sovereign, and that he has foreseen all that will come to pass.

Other similar passages are handled in the same way.


1. Consider what God has directly stated elsewhere. This rules out what the passages cannot mean. Since God is perfect and his plan is unchangeable, NO PASSAGE OF THE BIBLE CAN TEACH THAT GOD REGRETS OR REPENTS AS WE DO.

2. Discover what the original words mean, and how they were commonly used. The word translated as “repent” is not equivalent to our word “regret”. It includes mainly the discomfort that is connected with sorrowful things.

3. Consider the attitude of God described in these passages. In an anthropopathism we need to understand what the human emotion might represent in an infinite and unchangeable being of God. God is offended by sin. It appalls him, and causes what was created in a blessed state to be treated at a later time with judgment and contempt.

GOD’S IMMUTABILITY IS BOTH A SOBER WARNING,
AND A COMFORTING ASSURANCE.

God’s true nature is an uncomfortable fact for those who remain unredeemed by Christ. For those brought into the family of God by grace, it is a wonderful truth. God cannot go back on his promises, nor can his plan fail in any way. His blessings and judgments are sure.

“And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for He is not a man, that He should repent.”  [1Sam 15:29]

[Post compiled from ‘Geneva Institute for Reformed Studies’ by Bob Burridge, and other sources by Michael Jeshurun]

GOD DECREES, ORDAINS AND CONTROLS EVERYTHING!

GOD DECREES, ORDAINS AND CONTROLS EVERYTHING!

C.H. Spurgeon

“I believe that every particle of dust that dances in the sunbeam does not move an atom more or less than God wishes – that every particle of spray that dashes against the steamboat has its orbit as well as the sun in the heavens – that the chaff from the hand of the winnower is steered as the stars in their courses.

The creeping of an aphid over the rosebud is as much fixed as the march of the devastating pestilence – the fall of sere leaves from a poplar is as fully ordained as the tumbling of an avalanche. He that believes in a God must believe this truth.”

If God’s eye is on that tiny insect and seemingly insignificant bird, then we know He’s watching over us too. Hallelujah!

O LORD, Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, Thou understandest my thought afar off.
Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, Thou knowest it altogether.
Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid Thine hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy presence?
If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there.
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
Even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me. . . . . [{Psalm 139:1-10]

THE CHRISTIAN DELIVERED

THE CHRISTIAN DELIVERED

C.H. Spurgeon


“Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler.” [Psalm 91:3]

God delivers His people from the snare of the fowler in two senses. FROM, and OUT OF. First, He delivers them FROM the snare—does not let them enter it; and secondly, if they should be caught therein, He delivers them OUT OF it. The first promise is the most precious to some; the second is the best to others.

“He shall deliver thee FROM the snare.” How? Trouble is often the means whereby God delivers us. God knows that our backsliding will soon end in our destruction, and He in mercy sends the rod. We say, “Lord, why is this?” not knowing that our trouble has been the means of delivering us from far greater evil. Many have been thus saved from ruin by their sorrows and their crosses; these have frightened the birds from the net. At other times, God keeps His people FROM the snare of the fowler by giving them great spiritual strength, so that when they are tempted to do evil they say, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” But what a blessed thing it is that if the believer shall, in an evil hour, come into the net, yet God will bring him out of it!

O backslider, be cast down, but do not despair. Wanderer though thou hast been, hear what thy Redeemer saith—”Return, O backsliding children; I will have mercy upon you.” But you say you cannot return, for you are a captive. Then listen to the promise—”Surely He shall deliver thee out of the snare of the fowler.” Thou shalt yet be brought out of all evil into which thou hast fallen, and though thou shalt never cease to repent of thy ways, yet He that hath loved thee will not cast thee away; He will receive thee, and give thee joy and gladness, that the bones which He has broken may rejoice.

No bird of paradise shall die in the fowler’s net.

Hallelujah!

BE YE THANKFUL (Col 3:15)

BE YE THANKFUL (Col 3:15)

“According as His divine power hath given unto us (or provided for us) all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” [2 Peter 1:3]

A bathroom with running water may not seem much to you, but if you are from a ‘third world country’ where many are deprived of this luxury, then maybe you’ll thank the Lord even for the toilet and bathing privacy He has provided for you!

An old song says: “Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

It’s easy to lose perspective. We all face challenges and difficulties in life. And if we are not on guard, they can divert our attention from all the Lord has done for us.

Yes, you may face obstacles, but you need to remember the man who complained that he had no shoes till he saw a man who had no feet.

We may not have everything we would like, but we all have something to be thankful for.

Your children may be a challenge, but at least you have children.

Your spouse may tempt you to pull your hair out, but there are millions who would gladly trade places with you.

Your boss may be ruthless, but there are many in the world who would literally give anything to have any job so they could feed their family.

Your attitude is determined by your focus. When you focus on the negative — you turn negative, making your life, and those around you, miserable.

It is amazing how different you feel after taking just a few minutes to truly thank God for what you have.

I can read! I can see! I can smell! I can hear! I can talk! I can think! God loves me! Jesus died for me! I have a home in Heaven!

Say from your heart: “Thank you Lord for every blessing You have provided for me!”

Love ❤️
Brother Mike

GOD’S LEADING AND CONSOLATION

GOD’S LEADING AND CONSOLATION

A special thanks to every single one of you who remembered, greeted and prayed for me on my birthday.

I turned 56 just yesterday February 14th ! And beloved, I can look back and see that the Lord has indeed brought me A LONG WAY from what I once was! As one divine put it – “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am” [John Newton]

Things which once meant THE WORLD to me seem SO TRIVIAL now! And the funny thing is, I spent a greater part of my life wondering what I would be someday, when every day of every year I was being exactly what the great God had designed me to be. I know there is much written about ‘finding the will of God for one’s life’ and doing it. But methinks that for the most part that we children of God are being swept along by the current of God’s will just as a helpless driftwood in the rapids!

Please do not read me wrong here. Yes, THERE IS a place to seek God’s will and go about doing that . . . and yet for all that for the most part HE IS LEADING US IN THE PATH WHICH HE HAS CHALKED OUT FOR US. As that good ol’ hymn says –

“HE leadeth me: O blessed thought!
O words with heavenly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be,
still ‘TIS GOD’S HAND THAT LEADETH ME.

And thank God for that, dearly beloved! Because for the most part WE know not what to do or even how to do it! As Brother Philpot said long ago – “The Christian thus learns that if he stands, God must hold him up; if he knows anything aright, God must teach him; if he walks in the way to heaven, God must first put, and afterwards keep him in it; if he has anything, God must give it to him; and that if he does anything, God must work it in him.” And THIS I have found to be the truth! As the prophet says, “LORD, THOU wilt ordain peace for us: for THOU also hast wrought ALL OUR WORKS IN US!”[Isaiah 26:12] And again, “it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure!” [Phil 2:13]

Just the other day this song came to mind – “God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform; He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm!” This is one of my favourite hymns! And God does indeed move in MYSTERIOUS WAYS, does He not?! As said the prophet – “Thy way is in the sea, and Thy path in the great waters, and THY FOOTSTEPS ARE NOT KNOWN!” [Psalm 77:19]

This is my Father’s world
He shines in all that’s fair
In rustling grass, I hear Him pass
He speaks to me everywhere

Yes, for the most part we can only see the hand of God by the EFFECTS caused, but He Himself makes His presence known only as a rustle or the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, (2Sam 5:24) but however invisible to the natural senses WE KNOW as did the patriarch when HE IS THERE – i.e. Jehovah Shammah – The LORD is there! [Ezk 48:35] But soon and very soon these shadows and types and feelings of His presence shall give way to the reality – the reality that to be ‘absent from the Lord is to be present with Him’ and ‘in His presence is fullness of joy and at His right hand are there pleasures forevermore’!

HOW LONG still the Lord will tarry we know not, but one thing WE DO KNOW, i.e. that we ourselves have not much long to live and that soon we shall be in the LAND OF THE LIVING!

When John Owen, the great Puritan, lay on his deathbed his secretary wrote (in his name) to a friend, “I am still in the land of the living.” “Stop,” said Owen. “Change that and say, I am yet in the land of the dying, but I hope soon to be in the land of the living.” And again, “I am going to Him whom my soul loveth, or rather who has loved me with an everlasting love, which is the sole ground of all my consolation.”

And this is the sole ground of OUR CONSOLATION TOO. Is it not brethren? Oh blessed hope that maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us!” [Rom 5:5]

The Psalmist said, “For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth!” [Psalm 74:12] And again our Lord said, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” [John 5:17] So amidst all this ‘hustle and bustle’ of politics, religion, entertainment and in general the carnal activities of man which is going on in the world, unknown to the natural man there is a great spiritual work going on and hastening toward a determined end! i.e. the salvation of God’s elect and the destruction of the seed of the serpent!

May the Lord give us the needed grace to stay close to Him and walk in the light even as He is in the light and eagerly await His coming! Amen! [1 John 1:7]

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the Judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation!” [Heb 9:27,28]

Even so come quickly Lord Jesus! [Rev 22:20]

With lots of love
Your servant for His sake
Brother Mike

KEEP YOURSELVES IN THE LOVE OF GOD

KEEP YOURSELVES IN THE LOVE OF GOD

“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (Jude 20,21)

Have you ever wondered what it means to “keep yourself in the love of God”? You might ask, if God’s love is unconditional, then why are we commanded to keep ourselves in it?

Is there a contradiction here? No. It’s merely two sides of the same coin. To grasp this, we must first understand something about God’s love from the Book of Jude.

Believers have a promise from God: They are kept safe in Jesus. Writing to first-century believers, Jude addresses his letter “to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:” (Jude 1).

If you go to a public place like Disneyland with your children, you know where they are. You don’t leave the park and forget them, because you protect what you love.

How much truer it is with God—even when we’re feeling shaken by crisis and feeling trapped in our circumstances. In the original language, the clear implication is, “You are CONTINUALLY kept by Jesus Christ.”

Continually kept. What could be more encouraging than that? Whatever your difficulties may be today, you need to know that you are preserved in Christ, and that He will maintain His investment, which He purchased at such a great cost at the cross. He WILL protect you, preserve you, watch over you, and keep you.

But here’s the interesting part: Jude then tells us, “Keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 21). So which is it?
It’s actually both. The Bible is teaching that God will keep us, but at the same time WE must keep ourselves in His love.

This does not mean we have to do certain things to ‘merit’ God’s love. The love of God for His own is always unmerited and absolutely sovereign!

Rather, Jude is telling us to keep ourselves in a place where God can cause His face to shine upon us and actively bless us, and to keep ourselves away from all that is unlike Him, and those things that would drag us down spiritually. In other words, we don’t keep ourselves saved, but we keep ourselves safe.

And that simply means to walk in the light, as He is in the light, that might we have fellowship one with another . . . . (1Jn 1:7) Often, that includes denying ourselves and embracing what God has for us.

Let there be no misunderstanding here, God CAN be displeased! “But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.” (2Sam 11:27)

Those who argue that God doesn’t get angry at His children might treat such portions of Scripture as purely hypothetical: “Keep yourselves in the love of God (you can’t help but do otherwise)….” But this won’t do, for it not only ignores the plain sense of the many texts on this subject, it cheapens the grace of God to the point of making Him unable to sanctify or chasten His people (Rom. 8:18-25; James 1:2-3; 1 Peter 4:12-13). It also may lead to a church’s exalting preference and lawlessness under the guise of “freedom in Christ.”

But that freedom has obligations. Consider: “Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love…” (John 15:9b-10a). Even the ancients were not unfamiliar with such conditions: “I the Lord thy God am a jealous God…showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments” (Ex. 20:5-6).The Psalmist agrees: “But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep His covenant and remember to do His commandments” (103:17-18). While we may understand the motivation behind easing these demands – eschewing anything that smacks of legalism – we ignore these Scriptures at our peril. Yet they can also be misused, and indeed they are, even within Reformed circles.

If the love of God is tied entirely to our obedience, or to our faithfulness to the covenant, we will find ourselves in an anxious tailspin. It’s one thing to combat lawless “freedom” with these injunctions, it’s quite another to make God’s covenant love conditioned solely upon them. Such notions would drive us away from the Gospel and back to the vicious angst that characterized us before the Spirit’s gracious call and the freeing forgiveness of the cross of Christ.

The answer to this is: the “love” that Jude wrote about, for example, is different from the efficacious, electing love of God; it is the love that distinguishes our every-day relationship with Him. This we can mess up. Badly. But in no way can we remove ourselves from God’s foreordaining love.

In John 6:37-40 we see that if Jesus were to lose one whom the Father has given Him, then He would either be deliberately disobeying His Father’s will or finding Himself unable to enact it. Denying this, then, does real violence to the doctrine of God and the Trinity. In short, God’s electing love is unconditional, steadfast, and gripping. But His constant smile, blessings in providence and joyful fellowship with Him are conditional and can be hindered by disobedience.

May the Lord grant us the grace to be obedient children, keeping ourselves in the Love of God. Amen!

PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS

PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS

For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his SAINTS; they are PRESERVED for ever…. (Psalm 37:28) (Emphasis mine)

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I GIVE unto them ETERNAL LIFE; and they shall NEVER PERISH, neither shall any man pluck them
out of my hand.

My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one. (John 10:27-30)

Our Lord calls the elect sheep. They hear the voice of the Good Shepherd. Where? They hear His voice in the Holy Bible. They do not hear the voice of strangers (false messiahs, false prophets and false teachers). They flee from strangers.

Our Lord knows (with love and approval) his own sheep. He laid down His life for them at Calvary’s Cross. He rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures. He leads and they follow, in trust and obedience. He gives to us ETERNAL LIFE. We shall never perish.

No man, nor devil, can ever pluck a single sheep out of our Lord’s hand. Nor can they pluck themselves out of His hand. They are secure in Him. It would be easier to pluck a star out of heaven than to pluck a saint out of our Lord’s hand. Ditto with His Father’s Hand.

They whom God hath accepted in His Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from a state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved. (Westminster Confession)

PERSEVERANCE DEPENDS ON PRESERVATION

The saint’s perseverance is due to God’s preservation. It depends, not on the saint’s free will, but on the immutable decree of God’s election. God’s love for his elect is unchangeable.

The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. (Jeremiah 31:3)

The obedience of Christ their Representative secures the saint’s preservation. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (Romans 5:19)

The once for all sacrifice, on the Cross, of our Lord Jesus Christ for His people paid for all their sins. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14)
The continual intercession of Christ for His people guarantees the perseverance of every true believer. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)

True believers are in UNION with Christ. They have God’s promise. His Holy Spirit abides in them. They are thus SEALED unto the Day of Redemption. They have a NEW NATURE implanted in them at their new birth. This is a sphere in which man does not have control.

No creature can change the fundamental principles of its nature. Only God can do that. This new nature will always love God. This new life is ETERNAL and EVERLASTING. It can never be lost. The born-again Christian can never lose his sonship to his Heavenly Father.

NOT SINLESS PERFECTION

Believers may fall into grievous sins. Why? The temptations of Satan and the world, the corruption remaining in them from their old nature, and the neglect of the means of their preservation (such as the Word of God and prayer) are all causes.

They may continue for a time in sin and incur God’s displeasure. Through sin they may have their graces and comforts impaired.

They may have their hearts hardened and their consciences wounded. They may hurt and scandalize others. They may bring temporal judgments upon themselves.

Yet they will renew their repentance and be preserved through faith in Jesus the Messiah to the end. In fact, the very presence of strife between the old, sinful nature and the new, holy nature is the sign of life. It is the promise of final victory to every blood bought child of God.

The Christian is like a man making his way up hill, who occasionally slips back, yet always has his face set toward the summit. The unregenerate man has his face turned downwards, and he is slipping all the way. (A. H. Strong)

The believer, like a man on shipboard may fall again and again on the deck, but he will never fall overboard. (C. H. Spurgeon)

Each one of the elect is like the prodigal son in this, that for a time he is deluded by the world and is led astray by his own carnal appetite. He tries to feed on the husks, but they do not satisfy.

And sooner or later he is obliged to say, I will arise and go to my father, and say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight. And he meets with the same reception … This my son was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

Let it be noticed that … the prodigal was a SON, and could not lose that relationship. Those who are not sons never have the desire to arise and go to the Father. (Loraine Boettner)

NOT ALL THAT GLITTERS IS GOLD

Not all who PROFESS to be Christians are sure of heaven. Only saints (those set apart by the Spirit) PERSEVERE to the end. Multitudes claim the name Christian who are destitute of Christian knowledge, experience and character.

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:14-15)

Baptism, church membership, a good outward appearance, etc. are NO GUARANTEE that the person is truly elect. Many make a great profession of religion although they know nothing of the Lord Jesus in sincerity and truth. Their hearts have never been changed.

Some of these people will finally fall away from the Christian faith. But they were never sheep in the first place. They did not lose their salvation. They never had it. These wolves either have their sheep’s clothing stripped off, of they cast it off themselves.

Only when a person’s faith in Christ issues in a consistently holy life can he be assured of his salvation. By their fruits ye shall know them is the test given by our Lord. Therefore, true believers strive to make their calling and election sure.

They work out their salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that it is God that works in them to will and to do of His good pleasure. They fear God and depart from evil. They love God and keep His Commandments.

They persevere to the end and are saved. They are preserved: kept by the power of Almighty God through faith unto salvation.

[The Above is Quoted from Tulipgems]

WORDS OF CHEER AND COMFORT FOR SORROWFUL SOULS

WORDS OF CHEER AND COMFORT FOR SORROWFUL SOULS

Susannah Spurgeon (1898)

‘In the multitude of my thoughts within me Thy comforts delight my soul.” [Psalm 94:19]
“Thy comforts delight my soul!” Blessed Lord, how sweet is this text in my mouth! The taste of it is “like wafers made with honey.” It is both food and drink to my heart, for every word has joy and refreshing in it; so that, like the “best wine” of the Canticles, it “goes down sweetly.”

The first of Thy comforts, gracious God, is this — that You have said unto my soul, “I am Thy salvation!” He SAVES us, not because of any merit in us, or any deservings of our own; but because sovereign grace CHOSE us, and Divine compassion REDEEMED us. And when we were afar off, infinite pity brought us back, and made us near by the precious blood of Christ. This may well comfort our hearts — coming as it does directly from “our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace!” A saved and pardoned sinner can truly say, “THY COMFORTS DELIGHT MY SOUL!”

The next thought is that, having SAVED us — He KEEPS us. “We are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” Comparatively few Christians put GOD’S KEEPING POWER fully to the test. If we would trust Him for the KEEPING, as we do for the SAVING — our lives would be far holier and happier than they are. “I will keep it every moment,” is one of those grandly unlimited promises which most of us are afraid of; and we store them away in the background because we dare not believe them, and bring them out into the light of our DAILY PRACTICE. O foolish and unbelieving hearts, how much of soul-delighting comfort do we thus miss!

Then comes another thought — He CARES for us. Dear friends, if you are His, you know the exceeding comfort of CASTING ALL YOUR CARE UPON HIM — and being quite sure that He will “undertake” for you. Have we not often come to Him oppressed and burdened with an INTOLERABLE WEIGHT OF ANXIETY AND DISTRESS — and been enabled to roll the whole mass of it on Him, leaving it all at His feet, and returning to our work with a lightened and restful heart? Some of us have had burdens and sorrows, which would have crushed the very life out of us — if we had not been enabled to look up and say, “You, O Lord, have helped and comforted me!” Yes, truly, God’s care for us is one of the sweetest comforts of our mortal life!

Closely linked with this, is the thought that He KNOWS all about us. Our enemies — sometimes, even our friends — misunderstand and malign us; they misconstrue our words and actions, and impute to us motives which never actuated us. But our God knows the THOUGHTS and INTENTS of our heart, and never makes a mistake in the judgment He passes on us. The comfort of this knowledge on the Lord’s part, to those who are “suffering wrongfully,” is inexpressibly precious. They can lift up their heads with joy, and say, “The Lord is good. He knows those who trust in Him.” I have known this comfort to so delight my soul, that trials and temptations had no power to vex or annoy it, for my soul was hidden “secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.”

Lastly (though there are many, many more), one of the multitude of thoughts which stand out prominently from the rest, as a comfort which delights the soul — is that He LOVES us. This truth has been running through the fields of previous thought, as a silver streamlet glides through the meadows — here, it would deepen and expand to a broad and fathomless ocean, had I the power to speak of its height, and depth, and length, and breadth, and to tell of the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge! But my pen utterly fails here. You who love Him, and know that He loves you — must each one say to himself what that “comfort of His love” is to your own heart. This will be a better commentary than any I can offer.

And, if some poor distressed soul is mourning the loss of the sweet consolation which Christ’s love alone can give — let him call to remembrance a tenderly precious promise which the Lord put into the lips of the prophet Isaiah, “I have seen his ways — but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him!” Isaiah 57:18

SOMETIMES THERE IS JUST NOTHING TO SAY

SOMETIMES THERE IS JUST NOTHING TO SAY

Gina Kemp


Sometimes there is just nothing to say. There are some things that happen in life that words won’t heal.

There are some things that take our breath away that only silence can breathe life back into our lungs.

They are the things of life that are beyond someone giving a kind word, a positive hopeful thought, a story of so and so who went through this and that and made it through, a good sermon, an uplifting song. I mean don’t get me wrong, these things help especially when they are blanketed by the truth of God’s word but somewhere a midst the things of life that exceed the realm of platitudes there are just some things that happen that can’t be healed by us and our feeble human attempts.

I think of Job, I think of all he suffered, loss of family, loss of things, loss of identity, loss of hope. I think of how his body betrayed him and words fell flat. Have you been here? Have you been in this place? The place where your bones ache? The place where your mind craves hope against hope and there seems to be none? Have you been here?

Job was here. He was tired. He was weak. He was emptied out. We are familiar with the story and of how his friends abused his soul by contributing nothing but awful platitudes and assumptions of his deserving this, crushing him further into his pain. Job’s friends made some poor choices. While perhaps they intended to help they inflicted more pain, they would have done him well to continue in the manner they started with when they first came to offer their condolences:

Silence.

In silence they sat with him. In silence they listened to his pain. In silence they nodded to his pangs of sour grapes and allowed him to borrow their comfort without words being spoken.

“So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.” [Job 2:13]

They didn’t offer great explanations for why this happened. They didn’t say “God has a plan for your life”
They didn’t say “Well maybe if you prayed more”
They didn’t say “Well maybe it was to teach you a lesson”
They didn’t say “God has a great testimony for you out of this pain”

All of those things are quite possibly true in some of our stories. God does use our pain. God does have plans. After all…He is God. But there are some circumstances in which saying these things doesn’t mend our severed hope.
Maybe it makes us feel like we are helping…
Maybe it’s our way of hoping…
Maybe we feel like it’s the right thing to say because it’s the only thing we know to say…
But sometimes the offering of just being there is enough and sometimes it is better.

I can think of times in my life when my heart was so sad I just couldn’t cry. I just sat and let myself be what I was. I think of the friends in my life who didn’t have words but sat with me and let me be and were just with me.

Sometimes when someone suffers we say nothing and skip over it, changing the subject. This is not the kind of silence I’m referring to. If you have ever opened your heart to someone about your pain and they said nothing as though you said nothing you know the damage this creates. Saying nothing while being with the person in this place of needing to be silent is the kind of saying nothing I’m referring to. The kind that says “I can’t fix this but I’m here”, “I don’t know what tomorrow will bring but I’m here”, “I am here.”

Henri Nouwen has one of the best quotes regarding silence, friendship, and comfort:

“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing… that is a friend who cares.”

Perhaps it’s just being there that speaks louder than words in times like these. When there is nothing to say, sometimes saying nothing and just being is saying more than you could ever imagine.

I need to remember this, sometimes being a person of many words and wanting to fix, help, cure, it might be in my own silence that God can speak even louder to those who need comfort. I can think of a few people in my life right now who are going through circumstances that my words can’t fix, but maybe my just being there is part of healing.

If you are in a place of needing comfort, I pray that God will speak to you in your silence. Where words fail, I pray that His perfect word would speak into places that no human ever could.

“Thy Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”. [Psalm 119: 105]

Thou, which hast showed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth. Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side. [Psalm 71:20-21]

GOD’S EYES

GOD’S EYES

If the eyes of a created being (like the feline in the picture above) can be so piercing and penetrating, so sharp and searching . . . . . how terrible must be the eyes of the One who created it?!

For the lack of a better comparison, four times the Bible refers to the eyes of the Lord as a flame of fire. [Dan 10:6; Rev 1:14; 2:18; 19:12] and goes on to say that “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” [Heb 4:13]

Strictly speaking ‘The eyes of the Lord’ is an anthropomorphic expression, meaning that it attributes humanlike qualities to God. God, who is spirit [John 4:24], does not have a physical body with eyes and ears, or arms and legs. The omniscience of God is most often the intended implication of the eyes of the Lord, as seen in Proverbs 15:3: “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”

Nothing and no one in heaven and on earth can escape being observed by the watchful, all-pervading eyes of the Lord. God is always assessing, appraising, overseeing, superintending, and safeguarding His creation. God sees all people and knows all people, both the evil and the righteous.

Since the eyes of the Lord are everywhere, so too is His presence. Thus, the idiom also expresses God’s omnipresence- “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect d toward Him.” [2 Chorn 16:9]

The eyes of the Lord conveys the all-knowing, all-seeing limitlessness of God, and yet at the same time His personal, ever-caring nature. The Bible tells us that God is always paying attention to our needs: “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry” [Ps 34:15] Believers can count on the individual, intimate care and concern of a loving God: “Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy. ” [Ps 33:18]

The eyes of the Lord often indicates His recognition and the bestowing of His favor: “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD” [Gen 6:8]; [see also 1Pet 3:12]. Likewise, the phrase frequently expresses His protection: “A land which the Lord thy God careth for: the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.” [Deut 11:12]. The heavenly Father keeps a fond eye on His children: “He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: He that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” [Ps 121:3-4]

The Bible tells us that God sees EVERYTHING: “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. “All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have o to do; see also [Heb 4:13 and Psalm 11:4]. The Lord’s field of vision is omnidirectional and unrestricted. Nothing we do can be hidden or kept secret from Him. Closed doors and locked chambers will not obscure His vision. He sees everything, including our sins, which displease Him, and the depravity of the world, which grieves His heart [Jer 17:9,10]

In His sovereign knowledge and foresight of all things, God is never caught off guard or taken by surprise. Nothing happens to Him or to His children unexpectedly. We may find ourselves in difficult circumstances, but we can rest assured that our God is in control. As the psalmist reassures, God will be there with us: “Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from Thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to Thee.” [Ps 139:7-12]

The concerned and compassionate eyes of the Lord are always on us, penetrating even our darkest night. From the moment we are conceived and every day thereafter, He sees us [Ps.139:16]. The Lord keeps His eyes on His children to protect and preserve them and lead them home. May we pray daily for the Lord to make us perfect in every good work to do His will, working in us that which is wellpleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” [Heb 13:20,21]

[copied from the web]