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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

Luther's Stand

Truth is sometimes more exciting than any fiction. Read and enjoy this article by Chris Castaldo here:

October 28, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Do Not Quench the Spirit - Test Everything

Dr. Sam Storms once stated, "Many Christians are either woefully deficient in their knowledge of Scripture or noticeably devoid of any experience of God's power. The Lord never intended this for His people. We have all seen firsthand the joyless intellectual arrogance the absence of spiritual power can produce, as well as the fanatical emotional excess that comes from the lack of theological integrity."

Yesterday, here on the blog I made the point that there seems to be extremes both on the cessationist side and on the continualist side. Personally speaking, I am a continualist, but I would be very quick to state that I am much more comfortable with the stance that fellow continualists such as Dr. John Piper or Dr. Wayne Grudem take than say the "crazies" out there who seem to be the main voices on so called "Christian" television in America. I shudder inside to think that my non-Christian neighbor friends tune in to these television shows and conclude that this is the Christianity I represent. Many times I would have to say that I abhor what I see portrayed there probably as much as they would.

Having said that, I wonder just how cessationist my cessationist friends are. Some dismiss all inward impressions as being either an over-active imagination or worse, having its source in the demonic. They would never be open to the fact that God might speak to someone through a dream or guide through an inward leading of some sort.

I realise that there are vast dangers involved here because (generally) the people who speak about God leading them are not normally known for their discernment, or know enough Scripture to be able to have a biblical filter in place. These dangers however are not new. They were the same dangers prevalent at the time of the writing of the New Testament. In 1 Thessalonians 5 Paul wrote, "Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil." (v. 19-22) All things should be tested by that which is theopneustos - the God breathed Scripture. All Scripture is God breathed. All claims to be a word from God certainly are not. That is why all things should be tested.

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October 26, 2010  |  Comments (25)   |  Permalink

Divine Healing Has Not Passed Away

James 5: 13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

I was just reading Tim Challies blog where he was quoting a commentary on the book of James by Daniel Dorian on the subject of Divine healing. As I understand it, there are extremes on both sides of the cessationist v. continuationist issue. There seems to be just as much error on the part of the extreme cessationist as there is in the extreme continualist camp. Whatever our stance, I trust we can all agree that it is entirely biblical to continue to expect great things from a great God. He still answers prayer. I could add to the testimony below having seen countless answers to prayer as God has graciously intervened to heal. - JS

Here is the quote: During the autumn when I first studied James in earnest, a friend suffered a viral infection of the heart. While it was not a heart attack, it mimicked many of the symptoms of one. My friend felt listless; he looked gray and lifeless. One day at church, I told him that James 5 instructs elders to lay hands on the sick and to pray for their healing; I suggested that he call the elders for that very purpose. Two weeks later, he told me he wanted to proceed. No one in our church had done this before, so we did something very Presbyterian: we studied the matter another six weeks and hoped he didn’t die in the meantime.

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October 25, 2010  |  Comments (6)   |  Permalink

Psalm Twenty-Five: Redeem Israel, O God, Out of All His Troubles

Images of the Savior from the Psalms
Psalm Twenty-Five: Redeem Israel, O God, Out of All His Troubles

Psalm Twenty-Five is a little unusual in that it is one of several acrostic poems in the psalter – that is, each verse begins with the twenty-two respective letters of the Hebrew alphabet in order, and thus proceeds, as it were, from “A” to “Z”. This arrangement seems to underscore the nature of the psalm's content, which contains a little bit of every facet of the life of faith – it gives the qualities and characteristics of the saint's walk and manner of life from “A” to “Z”. Thus, the arrangement of the psalm answers well to the material of which it consists.

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October 25, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Chile: God at work amongst "the 33" miners

A minister friend of mine from England wrote the following to me today: "Reports have been flooding in of the way that each one of the Chilean miners (‘los 33’) either continued in their faith or came to know the Lord Jesus during their prolonged stay underground. Just as the Lord moved amongst the three in the fiery furnace (Dan. 3:24-25) so they movingly recorded that the 33 became 34, because they were so aware of the Lord Jesus right there with them. Many of them had the words "In whose hand are the depths of the earth" (Psalm 95:4) inscribed on the back of their jackets. It is a wonderful reminder that there really is no place that the Lord cannot reach. cf. see here.

The President of Chile’s chaplain gave a well handled interview on BBC Radio 5 Live, which really gives the glory to the Lord. "Revd Cooper: “I am a chaplain in the presidential palace and so we had to quickly put together an emergency prayer meeting and it was with all our hearts because to imagine these 33 men a kilometre under the earth not knowing whether they were alive or what was going through their minds. 17 days we prayed and then the miracle came when the boring machine glanced off a rock and hit them – hit the cavern they were in – and of course we just erupted in praise. The second service the president called for was a praise meeting so we had a thanksgiving service and then of course we’ve had constant prayer. And this has been one of the interesting factors for folk like us to notice. Many of the miners went down as atheists or unbelievers or semi-believers and they have come up to a man testifying that they were not 33 but that there were 34 down there – that Jesus was there with them and that they had a constant sense of his presence and guidance.” You can read or listen to it all here." - JS

October 23, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Who is Jesus Anyway?

I so appreciate someone like Pastor John MacArthur who takes the opportunities given to him and speaks boldly about Christ. Here he is doing so in the midst of the mass confusion around him on the Larry King show (from a few years back). - JS


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October 22, 2010  |  Comments (3)   |  Permalink

How Can Regeneration Precede Faith in Light of Eph 1:13?

Visitor:

If regeneration precedes faith, how can we explain Ephesians 1:13? This verse lists hearing, believing and sealing with the Holy Spirit in that order. If being sealed with the Holy Spirit is the same thing as being indwelled by the Holy Spirit, or if this happens when the heart is changed (ie., with regeneration, as per Ezekiel 36:26-27), doesn't that mean that regeneration follows belief rather than precedes it?


Response:
Paul's main point of the first 12 verses in Ephesians is to show that all spiritual blessings we have are because of the sovereign grace of Jesus Christ ALONE, in Whom we are predestined and adopted as sons, thereby making the Spirit's work of grace, by definition, causally prior to our faith. But, if this were not enough, Jesus himself explicitly teaches that regeneration precedes faith in John 6:63-65 & 37. Take the time to meditate on that passage in context. Are you suggesting that Paul is teaching in Ephesians 1:13 that a person can come to faith in Jesus apart from the Holy Spirit? That he can simply rely on his own native resources apart from grace? That the spiritually blind do not need their eyes opened, that the deaf do not need their ears unplugged, that the hard-hearted can make their own heart of stone into a heart of flesh, without God's help? In other words, specifically related to you question about Eph 1:13, are you suggesting that because the Spirit comes to indwell the believer after he believes and is justified, that the Spirit does not also work in people prior to this? That the Spirit is dormant and is waiting for a graceless person to believe first? The Biblical evidence is so overwhelming that the Spirit also works prior to belief that this should not even be a debate in the church. The believer hears only because the Holy Spirit opens his ears. The sinner believes only because the Spirit has worked faith in Him. They "are born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:13). That which is born of flesh is flesh, but that which is born of Spirit is Spirit (John 3:7). "The Spirit gives life the flesh counts for nothing." (6:65). The "flesh"means the person without the Spirit who can neither know nor understand spiritual truth, and faith, therefore is not born of man's will.

Why do you "thank" God for your conversion? It is because the Bible gives witness that God was entirely responsible for it. You thank God because you know your repenting and believing cannot be ascribed to your own wisdom, sound judgment, or good sense. Jesus Christ gets ALL the glory. Even the very humility you have to believe is a gift of grace, for what do you have that you did not receive.. Or would you rather tell God that you thank him for everything else, but that your faith is something you came up with on your own??? Jesus Christ is the author and perfecter of our faith. Why do some believe and not others? What makes us to differ? Jesus or something else?

October 20, 2010  |  Comments (18)   |  Permalink

Christian - Where did your faith come from?

You placed your trust in Christ as Savior and Lord. You came to Him in repentance and faith. You were the one taking those actions. God did not exercise faith for you. On this point the monergist (reformed) person and the syngergist (arminian) agrees. However, we then need to ask the deeper question which is "where did this faith come from?" Was it found in the natural ability of the unregenerate heart or was it something God gave as a gift?

Does Scripture address this issue? The answer is a resounding "yes."

Do all people have faith? The answer is no. "Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith." 2 Thess 3:1, 2

So where did the faith come from? Clearly it is God's gift to His elect people.

Phil 1:29 says, "It has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake..."

Our minds tend to focus on the suffering part of the verse, but notice that the faith (believe) part is also something GRANTED to God's people.

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October 20, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

A Bible Overview Series Recommendation

Do you have a strategic grasp of the main things taught in the Bible? Do you wish for good resources for teaching your teenage children? Need ideas for teaching an adult Sunday School Bible class? Do you want a resource that will help people understand the main contours of the Bible?

As a father, there is nothing more important to me than teaching my children the word of God. In my role as pastor, that is also true for the people I serve. If I could recommend only one product to help in that task it would be the 57 Lecture (each lasting 23 minutes) "Dust to Glory" DVD series by Dr. R. C. Sproul. I use the series with my own teenage children and have been so impressed with the tangible benefits I am seeing. I wish this series was in the home of every Christian family or Church library and used often.

Dr. J. Ligon Duncan, III, Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Miss. says this about the series, “Never before has there been a greater need for Christians to know their Bibles than now. And yet, we know them less well than we have at any time since the Reformation. That’s one reason that I am so delighted to commend R.C. Sproul’s Dust to Glory. It gives you the big picture — the major themes, events, and people of the Bible — the very thing we need to help us know our Bibles better. And it does so in a gripping, memorable way. Know your Bible better. Start here.”

Being such a comprehensive Bible overview (57 lectures by Dr. Sproul), I realise that the series is definitely a financial investment, but one that I believe will pay for itself many times over. I am glad to see that there is currently a special price available from Ligonier Ministries. Though normally $142.50, the DVD series is currently available for $95.00. - JS Buy "Dust To Glory" by R.C.Sproul. Shop Now!

October 18, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Interview: Dr. R. C. Sproul and The Holiness of God

Dr. R. C. Sproul's book "The Holiness of God" (written 25 years ago) has had a very profound effect upon me in my understanding of the majesty of God and the gospel of grace. I know I speak for many who could echo the same exact words.

I recently came across this interview of Dr. Sproul and found it fascinating to read of Dr. Sproul's own personal story as he was awakened to God's holiness. It is taken from the November 1990 issue of Tabletalk magazine. - JS

Q. What inspired you to study the holiness of God?
A. In my own theological studies, my favorite theologians – Augustine, Luther, Calvin and Edwards – all seem to have a common thread woven through their works. Each of these theological giants wrote with an exuberant sense of adoration for God. God’s majesty would just jump off the page at me. They made a tremendous impression on my own thinking and development. One of the things that seems so obviously absent from contemporary evangelical Christianity was any kind of focus on the majesty of God the Father. So I decided to pursue a study of the topic myself. These men had whet my appetite. I wanted to learn more.

Q. How many years did you study the topic?
A. I haven’t stopped studying it. But I started thinking about it seriously in 1958 when I was in college. That experience is described in the opening sentences of my book The Holiness of God; “I was compelled to leave the room. A deep undeniable summons disturbed my sleep; something holy called me.”

The first time I organized my thoughts on the topic was in 1970. I put together a series of five lectures for a Young Life leadership meeting at Saranac Lake, New York. The response was overwhelming. At the presentation was Dora Hillman, who was instrumental in building the Ligonier Valley Study Center in Pennsylvania. Also present was Roger Gulick, an assistant minister of Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga. He audio taped the series and placed it in the lending library at his church. A year went by- maybe two – and Roger invited me to his church to do the series. While there, I spoke at chapel at Covenant College. The president of Covenant’s student body was Mike Cromartie, who later became Chuck Colson’s research assistant and introduced Chuck to the series. Chuck was deeply touched by the series and it was through him that the Maclellan Foundation- one of Ligonier’s biggest sponsors throughout the years- found out about us. In many ways, Ligonier Ministries began when I gave those first lectures at Saranac Lake New York.

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October 18, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Psalm Twenty-Four: Lift Up Your Heads, O You Gates!

Images of the Savior from the Psalms
Psalm Twenty-Four: Lift Up Your Heads, O You Gates!

In this Psalm, we may see the boundless greatness of the infinite God brought down nearer and nearer to mankind, until the climax of all time and history explodes upon the scene in a brilliant crescendo of triumph, and the unthinkable becomes reality, as the uncontainable God of the universe steps through the gates of Zion to dwell among his people. This, then, is the drama of all redemptive history, played out before the eyes of our heart in three terse scenes, which wrap up infinite import in little swaddling bands of words, just as the infinite Christ child, the eternal Word of God, was later swaddled and laid in a manger – the boundless bound in mean strips of cloth, the uncontainable contained in a feeding trough. Mystery of mysteries! For what deeper mystery could there be than that which is contained in these words, “God with us”?

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October 18, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

An Illustration - Two Federal Heads - Adam and Christ

A few days ago I posted an article here about Adam being our federal head representing us in the garden of Eden. Romans 5 and 1 Cor 15 were quoted to show how Adam's sin affected us all with severe and dire consequences.

Romans 5:12 says, "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned..." Verses 15 through 19 say, "But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. 18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous."

I know that many people struggle with this concept of Adam as our representative, but there's no doubt as to its biblical reality - so perhaps it may be of help to suggest the following as an illustration of the situation. I hope it helps. Here goes:

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October 18, 2010  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Book Review: A Portrait of Paul, by Rob Ventura and Jeremy Walker

Go to Monergism Books

In the modern Evangelical world of incessant novelties and pastoral pop-stardom, how can a church discern between a glitzy, charismatic, flash-in-the-pan pulpiteer and a faithful, humble, minister of the gospel? The question is perhaps more difficult than most Christians appreciate – and answering it correctly can have immense consequences for the health of a church. If this matter is currently on the front burner of any church or pastoral search committee today – and I suspect it must be – then I can say this to you without reservation: before you take another step, read A Portrait of Paul, by Rob Ventura and Jeremy Walker. The portrait that these men draw out faithfully from the text of Colossians will prove to be invaluable for showing in a full-orbed way just what a faithful and worthy (even if not perfect!) gospel minister should be striving for – imitating Paul even as he imitated Christ.

Colossians 1:24 through 2:5 – the passage forming the basis of this book – is one of those passages which, when you start to examine it in detail, cannot fail to surprise you in the depths and expansiveness with which it treats of its subject. How manifold and daunting are the roles and attitudes and actions that a true gospel minister must be characterized by as he pursues his work! And how easy to lose balance and perspective! What a daunting array of tasks to perform: warning against false doctrine without losing gentleness and humility; admonishing and rebuking those who err without failing to display a genuine, soul-deep love and compassion for them; pleading in prayer, leading in the pursuit of holiness, showing patience and compassion to the weak, preaching God's word faithfully, shedding the light of doctrine and the heat of practical application, and most of all, bringing every passage to bear on the Person and work of Christ, who is the sum and substance of divine revelation. Where can a minister find all of these various elements brought out and made to co-exist, not at variance with each other but in a mutually-supportive whole? The portrait of Paul in Colossians is one outstanding such case, and Ventura and Walker's book is an outstanding treatment of that passage.

It is difficult to highlight a few chapters from the book, because every chapter, in its way, is worthy of spotlighting; but if I had to pick a favorite, after a few moments of waffling, I would probably settle on the sixth chapter, which describes in detail what an effective preaching ministry looks like. After all, as the book suggests, the “declaration of Jesus is the central duty of the true servant of the Lord”. Faithful pastors “never proclaim a mere system, nor a set of rules...They do not preach positive thinking. They do not preach themselves...[they] declare a person, a living person who is the source of all true life, in whom lies the hope of glory, the only fulfillment of the deepest needs of sinful men... This matter reveals the crucial difference between a true servant of Christ and a false one”. After thus emphasizing the importance of a scriptural, Christ-centered preaching ministry, the chapter then goes on in very practical terms to describe just what that means and does not mean. This segment of the book should be required reading for any preacher or aspiring preacher.

As I previously suggested, this book is a must-read for anyone involved in searching for a pastor; but it is also geared for a much wider audience than that – it is not simply a “how to” manual for pastoral search committees. Its nature as a book describing in detail what a faithful minister looks like makes it an obvious choice for present or aspiring pastors; and one structural feature both underscores that use and effectively extends the target audience to virtually any believer in Christ: after the bulk of each chapter deals at a very practical and expositional level with a portion of the passage in Colossians, there are concluding segments addressed first of all to fellow-believers, and then to fellow-pastors of the authors. These segments are always suffused with intentional, practical wisdom appropriate both for the sheep and the shepherds. Not only will the pastor gain much insight into how to fulfill his ministry well, but the sheep will gain much insight into how to benefit from the labors of the pastor most fully, and how to support and uphold him, not just for his own good, but also for their own. I cannot think of any class of believer that does not stand to benefit by this marvelous book. It really is, as John MacArthur expresses it, “a wonderful, powerful, soul-stirring examination”.

Available at Monergism Books.

October 16, 2010  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Friday Sale at Ligonier Ministries

Fantastic sale for the next few hours only at Ligonier Ministries. Especially recommended is the "Evangelism According to Jesus" Conference CD set normally $65, but today just $5. I just bought 10 sets to hand out to the leaders at my church. Might be a good idea for others to do the same. But its only a limited time offer. - JS Get your Ligonier $5 Friday Items

October 15, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Celebrating Five Years

This week we pass the five year mark for this Reformation Theology blog site. If this website has been a blessing to you, I am sure it would be a great encouragement to John Hendryx (and others on the writing team) if you were to write a line or two to express how the site has been useful to you in your walk with the Lord.

October 15, 2010  |  Comments (7)   |  Permalink

Two Federal Heads - Adam and Christ

We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners. Like Humpty Dumpty, we all had a great fall, but not by accident, but by deliberate choice. The human race had a Federal Head in the Garden of Eden, namely Adam, who represented the entire human race. When he sinned, he sinned "for us" - we all sinned in him - He acted on our behalf. Because he was our Federal Head, this had huge and drastic consequences for us. Romans 5:12 "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man (Adam), and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned..."

Did you catch that? We all sinned in Adam. When he disobeyed, he was disobeying on our behalf. His act brought death to us. We died in him. Just as Adam was cut off from the life of God (spiritually) as a result of his sin, all those born after him were born spiritually "dead on arrival" on planet earth.

The Bible teaches us clearly that there are two Federal Heads for the human race, Adam and Christ. "As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive." (1 Cor 15:22). If we remain only represented by Adam, there is no hope for us whatsoever. Adam failed us all. He offers no redemption. God takes the sin of Adam and imputes it to all the human race. When Adam sinned, we sinned in him. That is the bad news - we were born sinners.

Before we say it is not fair that we are credited with Adam's sin when we were not there in the garden, thousands of miles away, thousands of years ago, we need to remember, that the other side of the coin in imputation (crediting) is that Christ's righteousness is credited to all those who place their trust in Him.

This is the really good news! Let me explain.

Continue reading "Two Federal Heads - Adam and Christ" »

October 15, 2010  |  Comments (5)   |  Permalink

Images of the Savior (8 - Othniel)

And the children of Israel cried out to Yahweh, and Yahweh raised up a savior for the children of Israel, Othniel, the son of Kenaz, the younger brother of Caleb; and he saved them. – Judges 3:9

The period of history in which Joshua was still alive was a time of great victory and success for the children of Israel. Joshua, the savior of the people, was strong in the Lord to do what Moses had failed to do, that is, to bring the people into the promised land, give them victory over all their enemies, and confirm to them all the promises made to the patriarchs. In this, he was a very notable type of the Savior, showing in a figure how a greater One than Moses should one day arise to confirm to the people all the promises that Moses had announced, and of which we may read in great detail in the five books that he wrote.

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October 14, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Free will vs. blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

Visitor:

Free will vs. blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Please help me to understand how it is possible to blasphem against the Holy Spirit if man does not have free-will. ESV by Crossway notes at Luke 12:10?????????????

Response:
Apart from God's grace in Christ, no one believes the gospel. That man needs God's grace to believe (John 6:6:63-65) is itself proof that man has no free will. Left to himself he remains in bondage to sin.... Is He not? Ask yourself a simple question: Does the Bible teach that a person can come to faith in Christ apart from any work of the Holy Spirit? No, in his native, fallen, unregenerate state man will always choose to reject Christ. No one is coercing him to reject Christ, he does so voluntarily because his heart is corrupt and loves darkness. (John 3:19, 20)

You may ask, how can he be responsible then? Answer. Consider if a man borrowed $1 billion from the bank to finance a new company. Instead the man squandered the money in a week of wild living in Las Vegas. Is he responsible to repay the debt to the bank? Of course. Is he able to repay? No, he is bankrupt. So his inability to repay the bank does not alleviate him of his responsibility. Likewise God commands men everywhere to perfectly obey His commandments. Do they? no. Are they responsible to obey? Yes. So again inability does not alleviate responsibility. God likewise commands us to repent and believe the gospel? Can we do so apart from His Holy Spirit and grace ? No? Are we responsible to believe nonetheless? Yes. Our inability to believe is because, in Adam, we are sinners by nature and we continue to choose to sin. Unless God renews our heart to understand spiritual things we would never believe the gospel. (1 Cor 2:14).

So regarding your question about blaspheming the Holy Spirit. All those who reject the gospel, in the end, have blasphemed the Holy Spirit. They are completely responsible for their rejection of Christ (Whom the Holy Spirit gives witness). Furthermore, God is not obligated to save anyone ... and the greatest judgment is to leave them to their own so-called "free-will. So anyone who is saved can give God the glory for it was purely a work of His mercy and grace, in spite of ourselves. Praise the Lord.

Hope this helps
John H.

October 12, 2010  |  Comments (6)   |  Permalink

Psalm Twenty-Three: The LORD is My Shepherd

Images of the Savior from the Psalms
Psalm Twenty-Three: The LORD is My Shepherd

It is not without reason that Psalm Twenty-Three is one of the best known and best loved psalms in the bible. How many saints have taken courage and comfort from these blessed lines, when passing through some dark valley of despair? How many overwhelmed and fearful christians have clung to the promise that God's goodness and mercy would pursue them and bring them home to the Lord, no matter where they should find themselves in this cruel life? What a tender and comforting image: the almighty God of the universe, come down to be a pitiful Shepherd, to gather up his lambs in his bosom and gently lead those who are with young (Isaiah 40:10-12). When the cup that we should have drunk down was filled with the foaming wrath of God, he gave us instead a cup of mercy and salvation, full to the brim, and spread out a feast for us in the presence of all our enemies. What amazing love!

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October 11, 2010  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

What a Waste of Space... Unless

What a waste of space... unless the whole purpose of the vast size of the Universe is something other than you and me, but to put on display the glory and majesty of God.

Psalm 19: 1 - "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork."

October 08, 2010  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Justification by Christ Alone by Dr. John Gerstner

Witness the passion of the late Dr. John Gerstner as he explains the biblical doctrine of sola fide:

October 06, 2010  |  Comments (2)   |  Permalink

Good Days and Bad Days

"Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace....Pharisee-type believers unconsciously think they have earned God's blessing through their behavior. Guilt-laden believers are quite sure they have forfeited God's blessing through their lack of discipline or their disobedience. Both have forgotten the meaning of grace because they have moved away from the gospel and have slipped into a performance relationship with God." - Jerry Bridges, http://bit.ly/1bnrPf

October 06, 2010  |  Comments (2)   |  Permalink

Images of the Savior (7 - The End of Joshua's Life)

And Yahweh gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it, and dwelt in it. And Yahweh gave rest to them on every side, according to all that he had sworn to their fathers. And not a man stood before their face, of all their enemies; Yahweh gave all their enemies into their hand. There did not fail a word of all the good words that Yahweh had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass – Joshua 21:43-45

As we come to the second half of the book of Joshua, we will soar high above it, as a bird on the wing, in order to gain a sense of the coherence and significance of the whole, rather than walking through it piece by piece, as we have largely done heretofore. For although there are many wonderful things to be discovered in each passage and every event, yet the sum of the whole is this: that Joshua, in his great victories and apportionings of the land at large, was acting, true to his name, as a type of the coming Savior; and so, although we might profitably discover rich lessons in each individual occurrence, which it would be very advantageous for us to do at another time, yet seeing the character of the whole sum of Joshua's actions, and how he served as a foreshadow of the coming Christ in the entire scope of what he did, provides us with the necessary broad principles that will be of great assistance for seeking Christ in all the minutia of the text; and that is really the burden of this whole series of reflections – not, that is, to bring out every particular of the text in detail, which is an undertaking far too great for the narrow confines of this book, but rather to show in a general fashion how the whole of scriptures is centered in every way on the person and work of Christ, so that more detailed studies might thence become much more fruitful.

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October 06, 2010  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Psalm Twenty-Two: My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

Images of the Savior from the Psalms
Psalm Twenty-Two: My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

Never has there been a more violent and shocking contrast than that which we encounter between what we just read in the previous psalm, of the great glory and majesty and eternal life with which God in his delight has crowned the Messianic King, and the unutterable cry of horror which is this psalm's first line. “My God,” he cries out in anguish, as it were in disbelief. “My God!” – And can you not feel in that tortured shriek but a whisper of the pain of divine abandonment, undeserved dereliction, the very rupture, as it were, of the most holy and blessed Trinity? “My God, in whom has ever been my delight, my joy, my infinite and divine love – My God, in whose fellowship from eternity past I have ever rejoiced – My God, when I have done this, when I have stooped to do your will, when in that Garden of terrors, weeping out my heart all in a sweat of agony, I nevertheless set my brow to do what you had commanded – My God, when never I had shown my obedience so perfectly, no, nor my love for you, no, nor my regard for your honor, no, nor my tender compassion for your chosen people – Ah, my God, when this is what I have offered up to you, a most perfect and holy sacrifice, why is it that even now, in the extremity of my need, you have forsaken your holy and beloved Son? Ah, my God, my God!”

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October 04, 2010  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink