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– historical references meaningful at the time of the writing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]

GO FORWARD! A MESSAGE FOR THE NEW YEAR 2023

GO FORWARD! A MESSAGE FOR THE NEW YEAR 2023

by A.W. Pink [January, 1947]

Though the writer has passed the sixtieth milestone of life and completed a quarter of a century’s hard but happy work on this magazine—yet he feels that “GO FORWARD!” [Exodus 14:15] is the Lord’s pressing word unto him at this time. If he should have acquired any laurels, he certainly does not wish to rest upon them; nor does he—while health and strength are granted—intend to moderate his own studies or relax in his efforts.

It has long been his desire to WEAR out—rather than RUST out; or, to express it in Scripture language, to “very gladly spend and be spent” [2 Corinthians 12:15] in endeavoring to serve the Lord and minister to His beloved people. Nor could he warrantably look for any measure of realizing that desire, if he slackened; rather should he seek to “Go forward” with increased earnestness and diligence, “redeeming the time, because the days are evil” [Ephesians 5:16]. The more evil the days—the grander the opportunity for proving the sufficiency of God’s grace, and the greater the privilege in serving His children.

GO FORWARD!” Is not this a TIMELY WORD for each of us as we enter a new year? Is not this a suitable motto for us to keep in mind as we journey through [if God permits] 1947? We need to clearly realize there is no such thing as remaining STATIONARY in the spiritual life: if we do not progress—we inevitably retrograde. How that solemn fact should search our hearts! Christian friend, your history this year will be either one of going forward—or backsliding. This New Year will mark either an increased fruitfulness in your soul and life—to the glory of Him whose name you bear; or increased leanness and barrenness—to His reproach! It will witness either a growing in grace—or a decline in your spirituality. It will record either an increased love for the Word, use of the Throne of Grace, strictness of walk and closer communion with Christ—or a growing coldness and a following of Him afar off.

O Christian reader, before reading any further, will you not now close your eyes and lift up your heart in earnest prayer for yourself and for all your brethren and sisters in Christ?

GO FORWARD!” The HISTORIC OCCASION on which those words were uttered is noteworthy, and a brief consideration of the same the better enables us to make application of them unto ourselves. The situation confronting Israel was a hopeless one, so far as they were concerned; and had not the Lord intervened, they had undoubtedly perished. After their exodus from Egypt, Pharaoh at the head of a great military force pursued and overtook them. With impassable obstacles on either side, the Red Sea in front, and the enemy in the rear—that company of ex-slaves with their wives and children were in a truly desperate plight, and death was all they expected [Exodus 14:10, 12]. Then it was that Moses said, “Do not be afraid. Stand still—and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today—you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” [Exodus 14:13-14].

Those words, “stand still—and you will see the deliverance of the Lord,” have been grossly carnalized and grievously wrested by those who foster a FATALISTIC INERTIA. “Stand still” obviously has the force here of “be not dismayed, do not panic, keep calm,” as the “you need only to be still” shows. Then followed, “and you will see the deliverance of the Lord,” which signified, Lift up your hearts and eyes in the exercise of faith. But faith must have a foundation to rest upon, even the Word of Him who cannot lie; and hence, the sure promise was given, “which the LORD will bring you today…The Lord shall fight for you.” Previously, they had “lifted up their eyes” and beheld Egyptians [Exodus 14:10]; and in consequence, were sore afraid. But there was something else and some One else for faith to “see”—namely, the promised salvation or deliverance of Jehovah, which was not yet visible to outward sight! If their faith were steadfastly occupied with that, their trembling hearts would be stilled, and strength obtained for the performance of duty or the discharge of their responsibility.

Then came the Divine order to Moses, “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they GO FORWARD” [Exodus 14:15]. That was a challenge to faith. To carnal reason, compliance appeared suicidal. To “Go forward” meant walking into the Red Sea—which, at that time, presented an unbroken mass of water. Ah—but they had been promised Divine deliverance. Yes—but God required them to lay hold of that promise and act on it. And they did: “By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land” [Hebrews 11:29]. If “by faith,” then certainly not “by sight”—the two things being opposed the one to the other [2 Corinthians 5:7]. Not until they stepped out with confidence in God’s Word—did He appear for them and begin to open the waters; and as they continued onward—He continued to open a way for them. It is in response to the actings of faith, that God works, for He never sets a premium on unbelief. Here—then, is the first signification of this word for us: “Go forward” with your heart resting on the sure promises of God—and with the eyes of faith steadfastly fixed upon Him.

“Go forward!” Second, this was a call to obedience—namely, the obedience of “faith” [Romans 1:5].

There was a COMMAND annexed to the promise—to prove them and show whether or not they had received the promise sincerely. There are certain grand benefits which God gives to His people without imposing any condition—such as the providing of a Redeemer who took our nature, fulfilled the Law, satisfied God’s provoked justice on our behalf, and merited grace sufficient for our salvation. But having laid this glorious foundation, God treats with us as MORAL AGENTS, propounds to us a covenant which requires our cordial consent or agreement. Repentance and faith are required of us—in order to the forgiveness of our sins. All through the Christian life, our concurrence is necessary. God requires from us FAITH in each of His promises—and OBEDIENCE to the commands annexed to them. Obedience is the path He has appointed, and in which His blessing is to be found. We must follow the course He has prescribed, if we would have Him show Himself strong on our behalf. If we honor His precepts, He will honor us. “Go forward,” then, in complete subjection to His revealed will, and walking according to His Word.

“Go forward!” Third, this was a command to advance. It was so to Israel; it is so unto us. Onward Christian soldiers! Steadfastly persevere along the path of duty, walking in that narrow way which the Divine precepts have marked out for us. No matter what is your condition and circumstances, what obstacles may confront you, what RED SEA OF DIFFICULTY OR DANGER is before you, “Go forward” is your marching orders.

Raise no objections. “The slothful man says: There is a lion outside, I shall be slain in the streets!” [Proverbs 22:13], let no such idle excuse issue from your lips. Rather say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” [Philippians 4:13]. When your heart fails, when your soul is well-near overwhelmed by the problem or task facing you, do not panic, but lift up the EYES OF FAITH unto the Lord, realize He it is who bids you advance. Go forward depending on His promise—and you will not be confounded.

Christ’s oft-repeated “follow me” is but another form of “Go forward.” So too is every exhortation for us to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord” [2 Peter 3:18]. We are ever in need of such a word of exhortation, for we are prone to relax and take things easy—the more so as old age creeps upon us. Rest not satisfied with your present knowledge and apprehension of the Truth—but seek for a deeper and fuller one. Be not content with your present spiritual attainments, for “there remains yet very much land to be possessed!” [Joshua 13:1].

The manna you gathered yesterday—will not suffice for today. “Be not weary in well doing” [2 Thessalonians 3:13]. “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back—is fit for the kingdom of God” [Luke 9:62]. Let the prayerful resolve of each of us be: “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus!” [Philippians 3:13-14]. Beg God to write this word in your heart!

ARE YOU READY FOR THE NEW YEAR?

ARE YOU READY FOR THE NEW YEAR?

J. C. Ryle

I ASK you a plain question at the beginning of a New Year: ARE YOU READY?

It is a solemn thing to part company with the old year. It is a still more solemn thing to begin a new one. It is like entering a dark passage: we know not what we may meet before the end. All before us is uncertain: we know not what a day may bring forth, much less what may happen in a year. Reader, ARE YOU READY?

Are you ready for SICKNESS? You cannot expect to be always well. You have a body fearfully and wonderfully made: it is awful to think how many diseases may assail it.

“Strange that a harp of thousand strings
Should keep in tune so long!”

Pain and weakness are a hard trial. They can bow down the strong man and make him like a child. They can weary the temper and exhaust the patience, and make men cry in the morning, “Would God it were evening,” and in the evening, “Would God it were morning.” All this may come to pass this very year. Your reason may be shattered, your senses may be weakened, your nerves may be unstrung: the very grasshopper may become a burden. Reader, if sickness comes upon you, ARE YOU READY?

Are you ready for AFFLICTION? “Man,” says the Scripture, “is born to sorrow.” This witness is true. Your property may be taken from you, your riches may make themselves wings and flee away, your friends may fail you, your children may disappoint you, your servants may deceive you; your character may be assailed, your conduct may be misrepresented: troubles, annoyances, vexations, anxieties, may surround you on every side, like a host of armed men; wave upon wave may burst over your head; you may feel worn and worried, and crushed to the dust. Reader, if affliction comes upon you, ARE YOU READY?

Are you ready for BEREAVEMENTS? No doubt there are those in the world that you love. There are those whose names are graven on your heart, and round whom your affections are entwined: there are those who are the light of your eyes, and the very sunshine of your existence. But they are all mortal: any one of them may die this year. Before the daisies blossom again, any one of them may be lying in the tomb. Your Rachel may be buried, your Joseph may be taken from you, your dearest idol may be broken: bitter tears and deep mourning may be your portion. Before December you may feel terribly alone. Reader, if bereavement comes upon you, ARE YOU READY?

Are you ready for DEATH? It must come some day: it may come this year. You cannot live always. This very year may be your last. You have no freehold in this world, you have not so much as a lease: you are nothing better than a tenant at God’s will. Your last sickness may come upon you, and give you notice to quit, the doctor may visit you, and exhaust his skill over your case, your friends may sit by your bedside, and look graver and graver every day: you may feel your own strength gradually wasting, and find something saying within, “I shall not come down from this bed, but die.” You may see the world slipping from beneath your feet, and all your schemes and plans suddenly stopped short. You may feel yourself drawing near to the coffin, and the grave, and the worm, and an unseen world, and eternity, and God. Reader, if death should come upon you, ARE YOU READY?

Are you ready for the SECOND COMING OF CHRIST? He will come again to this world one day. As surely as He came the first time, 1800 years ago, so surely will He come the second time. He will come to reward all His saints, who have believed in Him and confessed Him upon earth. He will come to punish all His enemies, the careless, the ungodly, the impenitent, and the unbelieving. He will come very suddenly, at an hour when no man thinketh: as a thief in the night. He will come in terrible majesty, in the glory of His Father, with the holy angels. A flaming fire shall go before Him. The dead shall be raised, the judgment shall be set, the books shall be opened! Some shall be exalted into heaven: many, very many, shall be cast down to hell. The time for repentance shall be past. Many shall cry, “Lord, Lord, open to us!” but find the door of mercy closed forever. After this there will be no change. Reader, if Christ should come the second time this year, ARE YOU READY?

O reader, these are solemn questions! They ought to make you examine yourself. They ought to make you think. It would be a terrible thing to be taken by surprise. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

But shall I leave you here? I will not do so. Shall I raise searchings of heart, and not set before you the way of life? I will not do so. Hear me for a few moments, while I try to show you the man that is ready.

He that is ready has A READY SAVIOUR. He has Jesus ever ready to help him. He lives the life of faith in the Son of God. He has found out his own sinfulness, and fled to Christ for peace. He has committed his soul and all its concerns to Christ’s keeping. If he has bitter cups of affliction to drink, he knows they are mixed by the hand that was nailed to the cross for his sins. If he is called to die, he knows that the grave is the place where the Lord lay. If those whom he loves are taken away, he remembers that Jesus is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother, and a husband who never dies. If the Lord should come again, he knows that he has nothing to fear. The Judge of all will be that very Jesus who has washed his sins away. Happy is that man who can say, with Hezekiah, “The Lord was ready to save me” (Isa 38: 20).

He that is ready has A READY HEART. He has been born again, and renewed in the spirit of his mind. The Holy Ghost has shown him the true value of all here below, and taught him to set his affections on things above. The Holy Ghost has shown him his own deserts, and made him feel that he ought to be thankful for everything; and satisfied with any condition. If affliction comes upon him, his heart whispers, “There must be a needs be. I deserve correction. It is meant to teach me some useful lesson.” If bereavement comes upon him, his heart reminds him that the Lord gave and the Lord must take away, whenever He sees fit. If death draws near, his heart says, “My times are in Thy hand: as Thou wilt, when Thou wilt, and where Thou wilt.” If the Lord should come, his heart would cry, “This is the day I have long prayed for: the kingdom of God is come at last.” Blessed is he who has a ready heart.

He that is ready has a HOME READY FOR HIM IN HEAVEN. The Lord Jesus Christ has told him that He is gone “to prepare a place” for him. A house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, awaits him. He is not yet come to his full inheritance: his best things are yet to come. He can bear sickness, for yet a little time he shall have a glorious body. He can bear losses and crosses, for his choicest treasures are far beyond the reach of harm. He can bear disappointments, for the springs of his greatest happiness can never be made dry. He can think calmly of death: it will open a door for him from the lower house to the upper chamber, even the presence of the King. He is immortal till his work is done. He can look forward to the coming of the Lord without alarm. He knows that they who are ready will enter in with Him to the marriage supper of the Lamb. Happy is that man whose lodging is prepared for him in the kingdom of Christ.

Reader, do you know anything of the things I have just spoken of? Do you know anything of a ready Saviour, a ready heart, and a ready home in heaven? Examine yourself honestly. How does the matter stand?

Oh, be merciful to your own soul! Have compassion on that immortal part of you. Do not neglect its interest, for the sake of mere worldly objects. Business, pleasure, money, politics, will soon be done with forever. Do not refuse to consider the question I ask you, ARE YOU READY? ARE YOU READY?

Reader, if you are not ready, I beseech you to MAKE READY WITHOUT DELAY. I tell you, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that all things are ready on God’s part for your salvation. The Father is ready to receive you, the Lord Jesus is ready to wash your sins away, the Spirit is ready to renew and sanctify you, angels are ready to rejoice over you, saints are ready to hold out the right hand to you. Oh, why not make ready this very year?

Reader, if you have reason to hope you are ready, I advise you TO MAKE SURE. Walk more closely with God, get nearer to Christ, seek to exchange hope for assurance. Seek to feel the witness of the Spirit more closely and distinctly every year. Lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily besets you. Press towards the mark more earnestly. Fight a better fight, and war a better warfare every year you live. Pray more, read more, mortify self more, love the brethren more. Oh that you may endeavour so to grow in grace every year, that your last things may be far more than your first, and the end of your Christian course far better than the beginning!

AS A SAVED CHRISTIAN GOD NOW COMMANDS YOU TO REPENT OF OBSERVING PAGAN HOLIDAYS OF CHRISTMAS AND EASTER

AS A SAVED CHRISTIAN GOD NOW COMMANDS YOU TO REPENT OF OBSERVING PAGAN HOLIDAYS OF CHRISTMAS AND EASTER

That’s right! It’s that awkward time of the year that I almost wish didn’t come around. The time to tell Christians that the Christmas they’ve been celebrating all along has nothing to do with either the Jesus they worship or the Bible they claim to follow. It’s that time when nominal colors really begin to show, when compromising Christian folk will use all kinds of arguments and sickening excuses to justify their little Christmas idol. But as an iconoclast I have to smash it . . . . even at the cost of losing some ‘friends’ and family! So help me God!

THIS is what sets me apart from your average run of the mill preacher, beloved! I am not here to ‘win friends and influence people’ . . . I tell it like it is and let the chips fall where they may! – Michael Jeshurun

“For what peace in the Church without Truth? All conformity to anything else is but the agreement of Herod and Pilate to destroy Christ and His Kingdom”. And again, “An agreement without truth is no peace, but a covenant with death, a league with hell, a conspiracy against the Kingdom of Christ and a stout rebellion against the God of Heaven”. [John Owen]

God does not want His church to take pagan days, and those pagan and popish rites and paraphernalia that go with them and adapt them to Christian use. He simply commands us to abolish them altogether from the face of the earth forever. YOU may not be offended by the Easter eggs and the Easter bunnies and the selection of a pagan day to celebrate Christ’s resurrection, but GOD is offended! God commands us to get rid of the monuments and paraphernalia of paganism!

If your wife was promiscuous before you married her would you be offended if she had pictures of her old boyfriends on her dresser? Would it bother you if she celebrated the various anniversaries relating to her past relationships? Would you be offended if she kept and cherished the various rings, jewelry and mementos given to her by her old boyfriends? Of course you would be offended! The Lord God is infinitely more zealous of His honor than you are; He is a jealous God. Could Israel take festival days to Baal, Ashteroth, Dagon and Molech and alter them to make them pleasing to God? Of course not! The Bible makes very clear which kings of Judah pleased God the most. God is pleased when idols, their temples, their religious dress, earrings, sacred houses, sacred trees, poles, ornaments, rites, names and days are utterly cut off from the earth, never again to be restored.

God wants His bride to eliminate forever the monuments, the days, the paraphernalia and the mementos of idolatry. “Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain” (Jer. 10:2-3). “Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods” (Deut. 12:31).

Christians must not only put away the monuments of past idolatry but also everything associated with present idolatry. Easter like Christmas is one of the most important holy day in Roman Catholicism. The term ‘Easter’ is not of Christian origin. It is another form of Astarte, one of the titles of the Chaldean goddess, the queen of heaven. The festival of Pasch [Passover and the Feast of Unleavens] was a continuation of the Jewish [that is, God’s] feast….from this Pasch the pagan festival of ‘Easter’ was quite distinct and was introduced into the apostate Western religion, as part of the attempt to adapt pagan festivals to Christianity.” (W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, William White, Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, article: Easter, p.192)

The Roman Catholic Church hates the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Roman church uses human inventions, such as Christmas and Easter, to keep millions of people in darkness. The fact that millions of Bible-believing Protestants are observing a Roman Catholic holy day which has not been commanded anywhere in God’s Word reveals the sad state of modern Evangelicalism.

“We cannot conform, communicate, and symbolize with the idolatrous Papists, in the use of the same, without making ourselves idolaters by participation.” Our attitude should be that of the Protestant Reformer Bucer who said, “I would to God that every holy day whatsoever besides the Lord’s day were abolished. That zeal which brought them first in, was without all warrant of the Word, and merely followed corrupt reason, forsooth to drive out the holy days of the pagans, as one nail drives out another. Those holy days have been so tainted with superstitions that I wonder we tremble not at their very names.”

The common objection against the argument that pagan monuments must be abolished is that these things occurred so long ago as to be harmless to us. But this is totally untrue. Not only do we have the present idolatry of Romanism, but there is a revival going on at this very moment in Europe and North America of the old pagan European religions. The radical feminist movement is presently reviving the fertility goddesses and gods of the ancient Near East. God’s law-Word says to get rid of the monuments to idolatry. God’s law is not rendered null and void with the passage of time.

The ONLY day that God has authorized as a holy day is the Lord’s day. If the church wants to please Jesus Christ and honor Him, then it should do so by keeping His day and by setting an example to the outside world. When Christians make Easter or Christmas more special than the Lord’s Day, they disobey the teachings of Christ and dishonor His day!

[copied from sources on the web]

WHAT ‘THANKSGIVING’ MEANS TO ME

WHAT ‘THANKSGIVING’ MEANS TO ME

Many Americans will celebrate ‘Thanksgiving’ this month. Some will sincerely thank the Lord for all that He is to them and all that He has done for them, while the majority will only be concerned about the ‘roast Turkey’, the booze and the revelry.

I just wanted to share in a few words what the word ‘Thanksgiving’ itself means to me personally.

The Pharisee in the temple prayed, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers …etc.” Truth is, I too many times pray thus, but not in pride or self-righteousness, but in humility and a deep sense of thankfulness! For by the grace of God I am what I am! And by that same grace I have been taught and established in the doctrine of the ‘Absolute Sovereignty of God’ to realize full well that but for God’s sovereign choice I could have been the Pharaoh, Saul or Judas or any one of the ‘many’ vessels of wrath prepared afore for destruction! And I would have had no say in the matter whatsoever. A contemplation of this truly makes me shudder at who Jehovah really is!

On the other hand I look around me and see people who are so morally good and religiously faithful (unlike me), but notwithstanding are lost; my heart melts with gratitude and thankfulness for the God who CHOSE ME to be His son! As the apostle said- “Behold, WHAT MANNER OF LOVE the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. [1John 3:1] And again, “NOT by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to HIS MERCY he saved us! [Titus 3:5].

The objector to God’s Sovereign grace questions God saying “why hast Thou made me thus”? And the Apostle rightly rebukes him for this! But I too often times find myself asking this very question. Not in rebellion or hatred to God’s sovereignty, but in sheer awesomeness and awareness of my own unworthiness! As the Psalmist exclaimed , “Who am I, O Lord GOD? and what is my house, that Thou hast brought me hitherto”? [2Sam 7;18] Or as Mephibosheth after him, “What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a DEAD DOG AS I AM”? [2Sam 9:8]

Spurgeon commenting on this verse says –

“If Mephibosheth was thus humbled by David’s kindness, what shall WE be in the presence of our gracious Lord? The more grace we have, the less we shall think of ourselves, for grace, like light, reveals our impurity. Eminent saints have scarcely known TO WHAT TO COMPARE THEMSELVES, their sense of unworthiness has been so clear and keen. “I am,” says holy Rutherford, “a dry and withered branch, a piece of dead carcass, dry bones, and not able to step over a straw.” In another place he writes, “Except as to open outbreakings, I want nothing of what Judas and Cain had.”

I believe we shall never grasp the awesomeness of what it means to be saved until we grasp the awesomeness of what it means to be LOST FOR ETERNITY. So terrible is this that the Master said, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the WHOLE WORLD, and lose his OWN SOUL? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul”? [Mark 8:36,37] And again – “it had been good for that man if HE HAD NOT BEEN BORN”. [Mat 26:24]. As an ex-Satanist I have had some horrific experiences with demons, and to think that the one who is damned to Hell will spend an eternity with them is more frightening and fearful than tongue can tell! [See Matt 25:41]

And when I begin to understand that I of my own free will would have never chosen the Lord and on the contrary was enmity itself toward Him, it breaks and melts my heart beyond measure so that I realize my unworthiness and exclaim with Peter, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord”. [Luke 5:8].

Another comforting thought and experience in my Christian walk is that not only has He saved me but KEEPS ME SAVED! Oh how oft have we provoked him and grieved Him with our sins. Both sins of omission and sins of commission. And that in spite of a sound knowledge of the Word! But praise His Name He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities [Psa 103:10]. But as a father pitieth his children he pitieth us remembering that we are dust! As the grand old hymn says –

His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundary known unto men,
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth and giveth and giveth again. [Hallelujah!]

Once again I look around and see men schooled in some of the best Universities and Theological Seminaries money can afford, and yet for all that they are as blind as a bat and deaf as an adder concerning the knowledge of God and His ways. And here I am the dumbest in my family and with not so much education as most of them had , and yet the Lord Jesus has come and given me an understanding of who the Mighty Jehovah is and His ways, all because He sovereignly chose to do so!

Even when many Christians who claim to know Him are deluded with the devil’s lies,  speaking of ‘the free will of man’ and ‘creature ability’ – Christ has chosen to teach me the true doctrine of my Total Depravity and His Absolute Sovereignty and what the plan of God is concerning His dealings with men. A knowledge known and understood ONLY by Divine revelation. Oh I am not worthy of this. Thank you Jesus!

Again how thankful should we be for the Holy Spirit who comes to us again and again in our times of discouragement and despair, when we no longer feel the presence of God because of some disobedience. In times like these the Spirit comes to us and assures us that WE ARE STILL GOD’S CHILDREN and brings to mind every verse we know on assurance; assuring us that God will never leave us nor forsake us and that He hath inscribed us on the palms of His hand!

Oh Beloved, He is not called the Comforter without a good reason. Many a time this is the only comfort we ever get! Friends, theologians and well-meaning loved ones most often turn out to be like Job’s comforters! [see Job 16:2]. But our Lord has ALWAYS been our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble!

Dearly Beloved, I wrote all this because I just wanted to share with someone what God has done for my soul and how gracious He has been to me in healing my backsliding and loving me freely [Hosea 14:4]. Yes many a time I have become quite bitter and exclaimed with Jeremiah- “I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His Name. But His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay”. [Jer 20:9] ‘Let the redeemed of the Lord say so whom He hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy! [Psa 107:2]

Love
Michael Jeshurun

MAN’S ABILITY TO CREATE – PROOF THAT HE IS MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD

MAN’S ABILITY TO CREATE – PROOF THAT HE IS MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD

Michael Jeshurun

The lion in the photo is created from a collection of nothing else but plain driftwood.

In the first book of the Bible we read, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.” [Genesis 1:27]

One of the undeniable proofs that man did not ‘evolve’ from an ape but was rather created in the image of God like the Bible says he was, is his creativity or his ability to ‘create’.

Though he can never create something out of nothing like God can, he sure can create some amazing masterpieces using what the great God has already created and that notwithstanding his Fall.

None of the other created beings possess this talent or gift save the one created in His image and likeness. (Genesis 1:26; 5:1)

The Psalmist does not say, “I will praise Thee; for I have fearfully and wonderfully evolved!” But rather “I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully MADE!” [Psalm 139:14]

i.e. made by YOU O Lord God – Creater of ALL THINGS!

For “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made!” [John 1:3]

And again, “For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.” [Col 1:16,17]

Say, “Praise the Lord!”

THE CONTEMPLATION OF GOD

THE CONTEMPLATION OF GOD

compiled by Michael Jeshurun

If the contemplation of God does not ‘blow your mind’, then he is probably not THE GOD of the Bible you are contemplating. If the God you believe in can be understood and explained to satisfy your peanut brain, he is probably not THE GOD of the Bible! If after you are done with your preaching, the natural unregenerate man does not exclaim- “that is not MY idea of God” or “that is not the God of love I believe in” you probably haven’t preached it right!

As Boettner rightly said- “If the Gospel does not startle and terrify and amaze a man when presented to him, it is not the true Gospel”!

It has been well said that, “Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued, investigation of the great subject of the Deity. The most excellent study for expanding the soul is the science of Christ and Him crucified and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity.” (C. H. Spurgeon).

Let us quote a little further from this prince of preachers.

The proper study of the Christian is the God-head. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the doings, and the existence of the great God which he calls his Father. There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can comprehend and grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go on our way with the thought, “Behold I am wise.” But when we come to this master science, finding that our plumb-line cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought “I am but of yesterday and know nothing.” (Sermon on Mal. 3:6).

Yes, the incomprehensibility of the Divine nature should teach us humility, caution and reverence. After all our searchings and meditations we have to say with Job, “Lo, these are parts of His ways: but how little a portion is heard of Him!” (26:14). When Moses besought Jehovah for a sight of His glory, He answered him “I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee” (Ex. 33:19), and, as another has said, “the name is the collection of His attributes.”

Rightly did the Puritan John Howe declare:
The notion therefore we can hence form of His glory, is only such as we may have of a large volume by a brief synopsis, or of a spacious country by a little landscape. He hath here given us a true report of Himself, but not a full; such as will secure our apprehensions—being guided thereby—from error, but not from ignorance. We can apply our minds to contemplate the several perfections whereby the blessed God discovers to us His being, and can in our thoughts attribute them all to Him, though we have still but low and defective conceptions of each one. Yet so far as our apprehensions can correspond to the discovery that He affords us of His several excellencies, we have a present view of His glory.

As the difference is indeed great between the knowledge of God which His saints have in this life and that which they shall have in Heaven, yet, as the former should not be undervalued because it is imperfect, so the latter is not to be magnified above its reality. True, the Scripture declares that we shall see “face to face” and “know” even as we are known (1 Cor. 13:12), but to infer from this that we shall then know God as fully as He knows us, is to be misled by the mere sound of words, and to disregard that restriction of the same which the subject necessarily requires. There is a vast difference between the saints being glorified and their being made Divine. In their glorified state, Christians will still be finite creatures, and therefore, never able to fully comprehend the infinite God.

The saints in heaven will see God with the eye of the mind, for He will be always invisible to the bodily eye; and will see Him more clearly than they could see Him by reason and faith, and more extensively than all His works and dispensations had hitherto revealed Him; but their minds will not be so enlarged as to be capable of contemplating at once, or in detail, the whole excellence of His nature. To comprehend infinite perfection, they must become infinite themselves. Even in Heaven, their knowledge will be partial, but at the same time their happiness will be complete, because their knowledge will be perfect in this sense, that it will be adequate to the capacity of the subject, although it will not exhaust the fulness of the object. We believe that it will be progressive, and that as their views expand, their blessedness will increase; but it will never reach a limit beyond which there is nothing to be discovered; and when ages after ages have passed away, He will still be the incomprehensible God. (John Dick, 1840).

THE VANITY OF RICHES AND A WORD ON CONTENTMENT

THE VANITY OF RICHES AND A WORD ON CONTENTMENT

“There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.” [Prov 13:7]

“And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” [1Tim 6:8-11]

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot

“He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it!” [Matt 10:39]

THE HUMAN BODY – GOD’S GREAT MASTERPIECE

THE HUMAN BODY – GOD’S GREAT MASTERPIECE

KNOW YE THAT THE LORD HE IS GOD: IT IS HE THAT HATH MADE US, AND NOT WE OURSELVES! [PSALM 100:3]

The human body is a marvelous machine that is fearfully and wonderfully made. King David declared this in Psalm 139:14. “I will praise Thee: for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

Some amazing facts about the human body :

There is over 10 billion cells in your body. These cells are very complex structures that make up our brain, bones, muscles, skin, eyes, blood and many other organs. Take the human eye for instance, it is just one four-thousandth of the adults weight and yet gives us 80% of the information that we need. The eye contains 130 million rod-shaped cells that detect light intensity and transmit visual impulses to the brain via some one million nerve fibers while nearly six million cone-shaped cells do the same job, but respond specifically to color variation. The eyes can handle 500,000 messages simultaneously.

Next, there is the heart in the human body. It is not much bigger than a clenched fist and weighs 10-11 ounces. It beats automatically about 100,000 times a day and over 2,500 million times in the average life span. The heart pumps blood through the body’s 80,000 miles of blood vessels at a rate which means that every day the blood cells travel an accumulated distance of 168 million miles, equivalent to 6,720 times the earth’s circumference. Speaking of the blood, a single drop contains 250 million separate blood cells. Truly, the Bible is correct about the life of man is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11,14).

Our brain contains a hundred billion neurons. Over an eighty year life time the human brain processes ten terabytes of data. Somewhere between 10,000 and 100,000 inputs from other neurons will converge on each individual brain cell.

The ear is so marvelous that when an air wave moves one millionth of a second across the eardrum, that movement is immediately translated into intelligible sounds by processes involving 30,000 nerve endings in an area a fraction of an inch long.

Speaking of both the ear and the eye, Proverbs 20:12 says, “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made both of them.”

And again – “Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Have not I the LORD?” [Ex 4:11]

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!