Daily Archives: May 26, 2013

What does the healing of the blind man in John 9 teach us about unbelief? – John MacArthur

In ancient times, severe physical deformities, such as congenital blindness (vv. 8, 9), sentenced a person to begging as the only means of support (Acts 3:1–7). The drastic change in the healed man caused many to faithlessly believe that he was not the person born blind.

If you read through vv. 13–34, this section in the story of the healing of the blind man reveals some key characteristics of willful unbelief: 1) unbelief sets false standards; 2) unbelief always wants more evidence but never has enough; 3) unbelief does biased research on a purely subjective basis; 4) unbelief rejects the facts; and 5) unbelief is self-centered. John included this section on the dialogue of the Pharisees with the blind man most likely for two reasons: 1) the dialogue carefully demonstrates the character of willful and fixed unbelief, and 2) the story confirms the first great schism between the synagogue and Christ’s new followers. The blind man was the first known person thrown out of the synagogue because he chose to follow Christ (see 16:1–3).

Even though the neighbors had confirmed that the man had in fact been blind (v. 9), that was not evidence enough. So the authorities called the parents (v. 18). While neighbors may have been mistaken as to the man’s identity, the parents would know if this was their own son. And the authorities considered the witness of the healed man worthless.

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, http://www.thomasnelson.com.

Ethical Behavior: Does Motive Matter When Considering “Good Works”? – J. Warner Wallace

Imagine the following scenario: While standing next to a young man on a street corner, you both watch as an elderly woman cautiously attempts to cross the street. She stumbles at one point and falls to the ground, right in the middle of the crosswalk. Before you even have the chance to leap from the curb, the young man next to you runs to the aid of the fallen woman, picking her up gently and carefully escorting her to a bench on the opposite side of the street. This young man then takes the time to tend to the woman’s injuries and even uses his cell phone to call the paramedics. He waits for several minutes and calms the woman as she is waiting for medical treatment. After the paramedics treat her and transport her to the hospital, the young man gathers himself and slowly walks away from the intersection.

As you assess the behavior of this noble young man, it’s hard to consider him as anything other than honorably virtuous. After all, he jumped into action as you simply stood there and watched! What if, however, you knew that the only reason this young man stepped from the curb was because he knew you were standing there watching him. What if he later confessed that he would simply have walked away had you not been watching? Would it change your assessment of his character? I bet it would. This young man was motivated not by a heart that truly loved the fallen woman, but by a desire to impress you. I think most of us would now assess the young man in a different way. It’s one thing to act selflessly even when no one’s looking, but another to act only because you think someone’s watching.

This simple truth highlights the wondrous nature of Christianity. In the historic religious smorgasbord of works-based religious choices, Christianity remains the only grace-based option. While other religious moral systems encourage adherents to behave well because someone is watching and evaluating your merit, Christianity alone removes this driving factor related to salvation. Christianity is, as a result, the one religious system that provides the structure and foundation for truly virtuous moral behavior. Christians have already been assured of their salvation; it’s a free gift of grace. Our “good works” have nothing to do with our justification. When Christians properly appreciate the gift they have been given and the extent to which they have been forgiven, we find ourselves wanting to live in a way that reflects this appreciation. As a result, we jump from the curb to lend a hand; not because we are worried God is watching, but because we simply want to extend to others what has already been extended to us.

We Christians sometimes abuse the freedom we have in Christ. We don’t always appreciate the gift we’ve been given or live as though we do. My Mormon friends and family members, for example, often seem to perform far better than the Christians I know (including me). That should shame us as Christians, but it really shouldn’t surprise us. Works-based religious systems require their adherents to perform “good works” in order to be saved. If that was the case for Christians, I bet more of us would work harder and look better to the world around us. But I don’t think it would result in us becoming better people; we would just start to look better. Motive matters. When we, as Christians, respond rather than perform, we become the people God wants us to be.

J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker at Stand to Reason, and the author of Cold-Case Christianity


Subjectivity and the Will of God (Biblically Discerning God’s Guidance and Direction)

Many good souls still fall into that same error. As mentioned earlier, many (perhaps most) Christians believe God uses subjective promptings to guide believers in making major decisions. A thorough search of church history would undoubtedly confirm that most believers who lean heavily on immediate “revelations” or subjective impressions ostensibly from God end up embarrassed, confused, disappointed, and frustrated.

Nothing in Scripture even suggests that we should seek either the will of God or the Word of God (personal guidance or fresh prophecy) by listening to subjective impressions. So how are we supposed to determine the divine will?

Virtually every Christian grapples with the question of how to know God’s will in any individual instance. We particularly struggle when faced with the major decisions of adolescence—what occupation or profession we will pursue, whom we will marry, whether and where we will go to college, and so on. Most of us fear that wrong decisions at these points will result in a lifetime of disaster.

Unfortunately, many of the books and pamphlets on discerning God’s will are filled with mystical mumbo-jumbo about seeking a sense of peace, listening for a divine “call,” putting out a “fleece,” and other subjective signposts pointing the way to God’s will.

That kind of “discernment” is not at all what Scripture calls for. If we examine everything the Bible has to say about knowing God’s will, what we discover is that everywhere Scripture expressly mentions the subject, it sets forth objective guidelines. If we put those guidelines together, we get a fairly comprehensive picture of the will of God for every Christian. We can summarize them like this:

•     It is God’s will that we be saved. “The Lord is … not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). “God our Savior … desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:3–4).

•     It is God’s will that we be Spirit-filled. “Do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.… Be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:17–18).

•     It is God’s will that we be sanctified. “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thess. 4:3).

•     It is God’s will that we be submissive. “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men” (1 Peter 2:13–15).

•     It is God’s will that we suffer. “Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right” (1 Peter 4:19). “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Phil. 1:29). “And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12).

If all those objective aspects of God’s will are realities in your life, you needn’t fret over the other decisions you must make. As long as the options you face do not involve issues directly forbidden or commanded in Scripture, you are free to do whatever you choose.

Whatever you choose? Yes, within the limits expressly set forth in God’s Word. If those five objective principles are consistently true in your life—if you are saved, Spirit-filled, sanctified, submissive, and suffering for righteousness’ sake—you are completely free to choose whatever you desire.

In fact, God providentially governs your choice by molding your desires. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” That doesn’t mean merely that He grants the desires of your heart; it suggests that He puts the desires there. So even when we choose freely, His sovereign providence guides the free choices we make! What confidence that should give us as we live our lives before God!

This is not to suggest that we should attempt to try to decipher God’s will through what we can observe of His providence. That would thrust us right back into the realm of determining truth subjectively. But we can be confident as we make choices that God will providentially work all things together in accord with His perfect will (Rom. 8:28; Eph. 1:11). We needn’t be paralyzed with fear that a wrong decision might ruin our lives forever.

There are some caveats that need to be stressed here: obviously if your desires are sinful, selfish, or wrongly motivated, then you are not really Spirit-filled, or else you are not pursuing sanctification the way you should. Your first responsibility is to set those areas of your life in order. In other words, if you are pursuing self-will and fleshly desire, you have stepped out of God’s will with regard to one or more of the major objective principles. You need to come into line with the objective, revealed will of God before you can make whatever decision you may be contemplating.

And again, our freedom to choose extends only to issues not specifically addressed in Scripture. Obviously, no one who is truly saved, Spirit-filled, sanctified, submissive, and suffering for Christ would willfully disobey the Word of God. No Christian has the freedom, for example, to violate 2 Corinthians 6:14 by marrying an unbeliever.

Above all, we must use biblical wisdom in the choices we make. We are to apply wisdom to all our decisions. Look again at the beginning of Ephesians 5:17: “Do not be foolish.” To be Spirit-filled is to be wise—to be discerning (see Ex. 35:31; Deut. 34:9; also see Eph. 5:18 with Col. 3:16). The biblical wisdom that is the hallmark of the Spirit-filled person is the platform on which all right decision making must be based. We are to consider our options in this light and pursue the choices that seem most wise—not merely what feels best (Prov. 2:1–6).

This means that if we contemplate God’s will biblically, we will remain in the realm of objective truth. The Bible never encourages us to try to determine God’s will by subjective impressions, “promptings” from the Holy Spirit, the “still, small voice” of God, or miraculous signs like Gideon’s fleece (Judg. 6:36–40). If we seek to be led in subjective ways like those—especially if we neglect objective truth and biblical wisdom—we will surely run into trouble. Making decisions based on subjective criteria is a subtle form of reckless faith.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (1994). Reckless faith: When the church loses its will to discern (188–191). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Questions about Parables: What is the meaning of the parable of the friend in need (persistent neighbor)?

Immediately after teaching the disciples to pray the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus told the story of the neighbor who was in need of bread for a visitor (Luke 11:5–10). The disciples had just asked Him to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1), and the lesson He is teaching through this parable is to be persistent in prayer. This is the first of two parables Jesus used to drive this concept home—the second is the parable of the persistent widow and the unjust judge in Luke 18:1–8. Paul reiterates this same concept in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

The characters in the story are a villager who is in bed with his family at midnight and a neighbor with a need. Hospitality was a strictly-observed custom in the Middle East, and a man caught without bread for a visitor would be in a shameful and desperately needy position. Only such a need would drive a man to his neighbor’s house at midnight. And only such a need would drive the man to this level of persistence. The Greek word translated “boldness” in the NIV and “persistence” in the NASB implies impudence and audacity. This is what Jesus is saying should be our attitude as we approach the throne of grace—a confident boldness that persists in pursuing God until He grants us mercy and grace (Hebrews 4:16).

A word of caution is appropriate here. Never are we to approach God with impertinence or a demanding or disrespectful attitude. James tells us that we don’t have because we don’t ask, or we ask with the wrong motives (James 4:3). That God allows us to approach Him at all is an indication of His mercy and graciousness toward sinners. But He is our Abba Father (Romans 8:15), and we are His children. We come before Him as a child comes before his earthly father, in confidence that his father loves him and wants the best for him. And if this man would give his neighbor what he wanted not out of friendship, but just because of his shameless boldness, how much more will God who loves us perfectly give us when we come into His presence?

Jesus tells us to ask and keep on asking (Matthew 7:7) and whatever we ask in God’s will is assured to us. He had just taught the disciples to pray the Lord’s Prayer, which includes the phrase “Your will be done” (Luke 11:2). So putting it all together, we see that we are to be persistent in asking for God to work in our lives and answer our prayers according to His perfect will and timing, having confidence that He will do so.

When we pray without ceasing and have confidence in God, the benefits are many. We experience the goodness of God as we commune with Him. We become eager participants in the purposes of God, yielding our lives and wills to Him. And we enter His presence with boldness and security, knowing that He will bless us with His fellowship and love.[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about the Bible: What is the gospel of Judas?

Sometime in the 1970s, in a cave in Egypt, a copy of the “gospel of Judas” was discovered. The circumstances of the discovery have been described as shady, with those who possessed the copy asking for exorbitant amounts of money for the codex. For decades, no institution was willing to pay for the purchase due to its dubious origins. Eventually the codex of the gospel of Judas was purchased by a foundation in Switzerland. The existence of the gospel of Judas codex was made public in 2004, but the actual release of the content of the codex has been repeatedly delayed, finally being released in April, 2006. The dating of the gospel of Judas codex is likely the 5th century A.D. According to various accounts, up to one third of the codex is missing or illegible.

Prior to this discovery, the only reference to the gospel of Judas was in the writings of a 2nd century Christian named Irenaeus. Irenaeus essentially wrote that the gospel of Judas was the “invented history” of a long line of heretics and rebels against God. The essential message of the gospel of Judas is that Jesus wanted Judas to betray Him because it was necessary to fulfill Jesus’ plan. If it was Jesus’ plan for Judas to betray Him, why would Jesus label Judas the “son of perdition” (John 17:12) and state that it would have been better if Judas had never been born (Matthew 26:24). If Judas were simply following Jesus’ instructions, why would he commit suicide once he saw that Jesus was condemned (Matthew 27:5)?

The gospel of Judas is a Gnostic gospel, espousing a Gnostic viewpoint of Christianity. The gospel of Judas is simply a heretical forgery, much the same as the gospel of Thomas, the gospel of Mary, and the gospel of Philip. Just as Judas Iscariot rejected Jesus and betrayed Him with a kiss, the gospel of Judas rejects the true Gospel and truth of God with a fraudulent appearance of validity.[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Angels and Demons: Can a Christian today perform an exorcism? What does the Bible say about casting out demons?

Exorcism (commanding demons to leave other people) was practiced by various people in the Gospels and the Book of Acts—the disciples as part of Christ’s instructions (Matthew 10); others using Christ’s name (Mark 9:38); the children of the Pharisees (Luke 11:18–19); Paul (Acts 16); and certain exorcists (Acts 19:11–16).

It appears that the purpose of Jesus’ disciples performing exorcisms was to show Christ’s dominion over the demons (Luke 10:17) and to verify that the disciples were acting in His name and by His authority. It also revealed their faith or lack of faith (Matthew 17:14–21). It was obvious that this act of casting out demons was important to the ministry of the disciples. However, it is unclear what part casting out demons actually played in the discipleship process.

Interestingly, there seems to be a shift in the latter part of the New Testament regarding demonic warfare. The teaching portions of the New Testament (Romans through Jude) refer to demonic activity, yet do not discuss the actions of casting them out, nor are believers exhorted to do so. We are told to put on the armor to stand against them (Ephesians 6:10–18). We are told to resist the devil (James 4:7), be careful of him (1 Peter 5:8), and not give him room in our lives (Ephesians 4:27). However, we are not told how to cast him or his demons out of others, or that we should even consider doing so.

The book of Ephesians gives clear instructions on how we are to have victory in our lives in the battle against the forces of evil. The first step is placing our faith in Christ (2:8–9), which breaks the rule of “the prince of power of the air” (2:2). We are then to choose, again by God’s grace, to put off ungodly habits and to put on godly habits (4:17–24). This does not involve casting out demons, but rather renewing our minds (4:23). After several practical instructions on how to obey God as His children, we are reminded that there is a spiritual battle. It is fought with certain armor that allows us to stand against—not cast out—the trickery of the demonic world (6:10). We stand with truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, the Word of God, and prayer (6:10–18).

It appears that as the Word of God was completed, the Christians had more weapons with which to battle the spirit world than the early Christians did. The role of casting out demons was replaced, for the most part, with evangelism and discipleship through the Word of God. Since the methods of spiritual warfare in the New Testament do not involve casting out demons, it is difficult to determine instructions on how to do such a thing. If necessary at all, it seems that it is through exposing the individual to the truth of the Word of God and the name of Jesus Christ.[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about False Doctrine: Does the Bible teach that Sophia is the goddess of wisdom?

The Bible does not teach that Sophia is the goddess of wisdom. In fact, no one by the name of Sophia is even mentioned in the Bible. While relying heavily on the book of Proverbs and verses that evangelicals point to as evidence for the Incarnation, adherents to the Sophia goddess movement are gaining numbers by the thousands as conferences are held, books are published, and, most profane of all, worship services for Sophia in the name of Jesus Christ are held each year across the United States and around the world.

Although goddess worship can be traced back as far as the earliest civilizations (the Romans gave Sophia the title of god of wisdom), the most recent uprising occurred after the social reforms of the 1960s and 70s in America. The most notable event occurred when one pastor in the mid-1970s did a survey of his female church population and found that most women were dissatisfied with the portrayal of masculine symbols depicting the God of the Bible. His solution was the introduction of the Greek word sophia, or wisdom, into corporate worship. This allowed for a feminine goddess named Sophia to be worshipped freely. This traces its origins to the time of the Gnostics in the late first and early second centuries. Recall that Gnosticism in itself sought to discover the “secret wisdom” of God and did not embrace that Jesus was the true God-man. The goddess’s characteristics were likened to that of the Trinity, noting perhaps that she is a fourth member left out by the early patriarchal church fathers. Various trends continued through the next two decades until it climaxed in 1993 when the Re-Imagining Conference was held in Minnesota. There participants worshipped Sophia freely, advocated praying to trees in nature, cast off the need for the atoning work of Jesus Christ, declared God the Father was an “abusive parent” in sending Jesus to die for the sins of humanity, and issued an ultimatum for the continued progress of Sophia worship in congregational gatherings. Most recently, Sophia goddess worship has been embraced by laypeople and clergy alike.

Just as Arius looked to the personification of the wisdom in literature to support his false stance on Christ, Sophists garner the majority of their theological thrust from the first nine chapters of the book of Proverbs. The focus of the argument says that towards the end of the Old Testament, specifically in Proverbs, the feminine noun for wisdom (chokmah in Hebrew) was personified. By definition, personification is “the attribution of a personal nature or character to inanimate objects or abstract notions, such as rhetorical figure.”

Clearly, no reader of Proverbs or Scripture can say personification does not occur. Rather, the astute reader will exegete, or draw out from the text, in accordance with good Bible study methods. For instance, meaning should always be determined by its context. In this case, Proverbs 8:22–31 is often quoted to support Sophia goddess worship. Wisdom declares her supremacy in the gifts she is able to bestow from the creation of the world. History tells us that many of the earliest cultures used the personification of deity so the divine being could praise itself.

In other words, wisdom here is praising itself by making claims that only belong to God. God is source of all true wisdom (Romans 11:33; James 1:5, 1:17–18, 3:13–17) and, consequently, any reference to wisdom in Scripture that includes divine language should be attributed to His character and nature. The Jews believed in only one God (Deuteronomy 4:35–4:36, 6:4; Isaiah 42:8, 44:6–8, 45:5–6; Jeremiah 10:10–11). Therefore, to suggest that wisdom is a separate god or goddess alongside God Himself is to blaspheme the name of God, which is punishable by death in the Old Testament. The Jews would have dismissed the writings of Proverbs just as they did the extra books of the Septuagint that depict late historical instances.

The Sophia-goddess controversy leads to some simple conclusions. First, the Bible must be read for what type of literature it is. A proper understanding of feminine personification in relation to this passage and many others is necessary to stay within the framework of biblical doctrine. There is one God who eternally exists in three persons—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18; Eph. 4:4–7; 1 Peter 1:2). Such a position excludes any mention of a goddess or secondary deity. Finally, one must acknowledge that poetry is a type of fiction and can contain elements that are clearly not to be taken literally. For example, the Bible is full of poetic language that speaks in personified metaphors rather than pure scientific rhetoric. Cain really did kill Abel, but the God said that “ ‘the voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground” (Genesis 4:10). Literally, the blood did not cry from the ground, but the rhetorical device used here communicates another form of personification found in Scripture to emphasize the killing. As Proverbs 8:22–31 describes, poetry and personification do not invalidate Scripture. Instead, these essentials are necessary to demonstrate words, phrases, feelings, and meanings that cannot be understood easily any other way or that continue from a previous argument. In the latter case, the Lord created the heavens by His wisdom found in Proverbs 3:19, and 8:22–31 exists to continue a figurative speech (personification) used in a non-literal sense.

Historic Christianity is at a crossroads like never before. The goddess worship thrust of Sophia and other similar deities shows the ever-changing landscape of the spiritual climate of the world. What may be politically or socially acceptable in the form of worship, however, is diametrically opposed to the Bible. One must learn to recognize the subjective difference between literal truth and metaphors in the Bible through constant practice (2 Timothy 2:15). Both areas of speech are the infallible, inerrant, and inspired Word of God, but demand a patient and Spirit-led eye for interpretation. Otherwise, one will be left to replay the words of the prophet Jeremiah:

“But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath. “Tell them this: ‘These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens’ ” (Jeremiah 10:10–11).[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Family / Parenting: Are children always a blessing from God?

The scriptures are very clear that God is present in the creation of every human life. The most vivid depiction of this is seen in Psalm 139:13–18. The fact that God sovereignly superintended David’s creation caused him to praise God. David also pointed out the fact that God had the details of his life planned before eternity. In Jeremiah 29:11 God confirms David’s thoughts, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Of course this brings up a very good question. What about those conceived out of rape or illegitimacy? The parent or parents that are responsible for that child may not “feel” as though that child is a blessing from God, but how that child was conceived does not mean that God did not sovereignly superintend its formation in the womb as David speaks of. God has a plan and purpose for every person born regardless of how that birth came about. If this were not so then the Scripture would not have said so. In the New Testament we read that God loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for us (John 3:16).

This love is the same love that compelled the Savior to teach the disciples God’s Word and to demonstrate God’s love for us through His death and resurrection (1 John 4:7–8). There is no end to how much God loves us and desires to bless us. The intention of God in the creation of man was to have fellowship with Him. First John 4 tells us that once we recognize this, it enables us to love others. Whether we view every child as a blessing from God depends on how much we see that child as God sees them. When we look at each child through the eyes of God, there is no question that every one is a blessing from Him. If we look at that child through the eyes of sin, then we would doubt that blessing because we focus on the creature and not the Creator.

It is God’s plan and desire that each child be born according to His plan for us and that is through marriage. When that does not happen, it does not exclude that fact of God’s love and care for the child. David concluded in Psalm 139:17 that God’s thoughts for his people were indeed precious and innumerable. The most practical application of this is seen in the lineage of Christ in Matthew 1. All through the names we recognize those who failed in life in some way and see those who were born of illegitimacy and sin. This fact did not disrupt the fact that God’s Word was fulfilled and brought the blessing of salvation to Man.[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Faultless (Your weekly dose of Spurgeon)

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, volume 54, sermon number 3,074, “Danger. Safety. Gratitude.”

“It will indeed be exceeding joy to be kept from falling, and to be presented faultless at the end.”

We have this word “present” several times in the New Testament. Paul wrote to the saints in Rome, “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” He also wrote to the Christians in Corinth concerning his desire to present them “as a chaste virgin to Christ.”
To the Ephesians, he wrote that “Christ, also loved the church, and gave himself for it,… that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing;” and here Jude writes concerning Christ presenting his people “faultless before the presence of his glory,”—not presenting them unfallen, but “faultless.”
I suppose there are some brethren, who have grown so familiar with the idea of their own perfection, that they can quite understand what it is to feel perfect; but I am so familiar with the sense of my own imperfections that it takes me a long while to grasp the fact that I shall one day be “without fault before the throne of God.”
I can sit down, sometimes, with an aching head, and believe that it will wear a crown by-and-by. I can look at these hands, and believe that I shall one day wave a palm-branch of victory. I can and do fully expect to wear the white robe, and to sing the everlasting song in glory.
But it will be more than all this to be absolutely perfect, with never a risk of a hasty temper rising, or the fear of men checking one’s lips from saying what is right. There will be no undue haste; and, at the same time, there will to no sloth; there will be no preponderance of any grace so as to cause it to grow into a fault, and no deficiency in any point of character.
To be faultless before men is a great thing. To be faultless before the devil, so that even he cannot find any fault in us, is greatly to be desired. But the most wonderful thing of all must be to be presented by Christ “faultless before the presence of his glory.” That is, where the light is brightest, no speck of sin is to be seen; the saints shall be so perfectly purified by the omnipotent grace of God the Holy Spirit that even the Lord himself, in whose sight the heavens are not pure, and who charges his angels with folly, shall look upon his redeemed people, and declare that they are faultless, holy and unblamable and unreprovable in his sight.
Oh, blessed portion, glorious hope! This is something that is worth struggling for; so, brethren and sisters in Christ, let us fight more valiantly than ever against our sins and corruptions. Armed with the two-edged sword of the Spirit, we shall win the day. He who is able to keep us from falling will not be satisfied with acting on the defensive for us, and protecting us from our enemies, but he will enable us to carry the war into the enemy’s country, and we shall be “more than conquerors through him that loved us;” and we shall have this resplendent character at last, that we shall be “without fault before the throne of God.”