Daily Archives: February 9, 2019

What Mind Can Grasp “I AM”? (Augustine)

The Reformed Reader

Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers 1.7: St. Augustin: Homilies on the Gospel of John, Homilies on the First Epistle of John, Soliloquies Commenting on John 8:24, Augustine had some brilliant reflections on Jesus’ words: Unless you believe that I am [εγω ειμι] you will die inyour sins.  Note below how Augustine went back to Exodus 3 to explain Jesus’ words in John 8.  (Side note: this is why non-Christian groups like Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons tend to avoid Augustine):

There is much implied in His only saying “I Am;” for so also had God said to Moses, “I Am who Am.” Who can adequately express what that AM means?

…Perhaps it was too much even for Moses himself, as it is too much for us also, and much more so for us, to understand the meaning of such words, “I am who am;” and, “He who is hath sent me to you.” And supposing that Moses comprehended it, when would those to whom he was sent comprehend it? The Lord…

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Christian Idolatry

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” 2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods which are among you, and purify yourselves and change your garments; 3 and let us arise and go up to Bethel, and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” Genesis 35:1-3 (NASB) 

idolatry 1: the worship of a physical object as a god 2: immoderate attachment or devotion to something (from Webster’s Ninth Collegiate Dictionary)

I’m sure that most Christians’ conception of idolatry is one in which people fall down and worship some statue or image or a…

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Riper for Repentance? — Gentle Reformation

Typically, many Christians tend to think of repentance as something they do at the start of their experience. Perhaps in more Reformed circles (and I put it no stronger than that) we have come to understand that repentance ought to be an ongoing, lifelong, process which expands with time and is repeated every day.

I paused briefly to reflect on the reason why the longer you are a Christian the deeper should be your sorrow. What follow amount to a number of suggestions why that is both the right conclusion to draw and a firm conviction to form. It is because more mature Christians…

firstly, have an increasing self-awareness and understanding of the sinful workings of their heart, mind, soul, words, thoughts, deeds, vows, duties and neglects.

secondly, have a growing understanding of the teaching of scripture on the anatomy and doctrines of sin, repentance and forgiveness.

third, have a deepening perception of the righteousness of the law, holiness of God, justice of judgment, wrath to come and final state of the damned and what law-breakers deserve.

fourth, have a firmer appreciation of what confessions and catechisms teach about factors which aggravate human guilt.

fifth, have heard more sermons and instructions on the doctrines concerned and on the duty and demand to heed the call of Christ to repent.

sixth, have a heightened sense that the superficial sins which troubled us before our conversion are really only the tip of the iceberg of (mixing my metaphors) the ‘can of worms’ of sin with all its subtle shifts, twists and turns – all these increase our sense of stubborn, ingrained and inward defilement, pollution, ill-deserts and self-disgust.

seventh, have a more constant, structured, focused prayer-life, informed by biblical understanding, that has trained itself to pray for the light of the Spirit to be shone on secret sins – the goal of such Spirit-suppliants is that the heart might be truly contrite (or crushed) in confession.

eighth, have a fuller understanding of the love of the Father who sent His Son to suffer for our crimes and to bear the wrath of the now better-appreciated, and more-felt, weight of guilt: as we think of Jesus’ glorious person, infinite condescension, union of two natures, voluntary mediation, perpetual intercession, triplex prophet-priest-king office, and especially His harrowing ordeal as He suffers for us on the Cross; further, as we come to terms slowly with what the Cross really cost the Christ, then sin, in our heart’s eye, swells into into the most hideous, ugly, monster: Calvary breaks our heart and breeds a true lament – O the wondrous length, breadth, height and depth of the Love of God in Christ!

ninth, have a more diligent grasp of and response to the Holy Covenant LORD’s calling to be holy as He is Holy.

tenth, have a truer realization of the divine decree of election and the eternal purpose of sovereign, triune, grace – it was this gracious, saving, plan to redeem the lost that determined to rid creation of strain and Christ’s flock of every stain.

eleventh, have a clearing vision of the glory of Christ who was crucified for us: to His purest, radiant, likeness we will one day be fully conformed – we shall see Him as He is.

twelfth, have a higher, over-spilling, abundance of the exultant joy of escape, freedom, life and peace as we drink deeply, and fully of the riches of divine grace: what cooling draughts to delight – of expanding dimensions and broadening horizons of what it means to obtain undeserved abundant pardon, mercy, acceptance and assurance for Christ’s sake.

Of course, there are many other reasons we might give for increasing, ongoing, repentance in the life of the saints. However, these twelve points may be used, I suggest, to teach us the necessity of making progress as penitents: if it makes, at first, the taste of godly sorrow-for-sin more bitter, may the aftertaste, later on, of joy-in-washing in God’s merciful fountain, be increasingly purer and sweeter.

via Riper for Repentance? — Gentle Reformation

February 9 The Divine Scapegoat

Scripture Reading: Leviticus 16:1–22

Key Verse: Isaiah 53:6

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Through repeated usage, the term scapegoat has become quite familiar to our secular culture. Its meaning—“an innocent party being blamed”—has its roots, however, in an ancient Hebrew ritual known as the Day of Atonement.

This holy day occurred once each year. The high priest took two male goats as a sin offering for the iniquities of the people. One goat was slaughtered, and its blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat. The remaining goat was sent into the wilderness—after the high priest had placed his hands on the goat’s head and confessed the sins of the nation over it. Through this “scapegoat” observance, God showed His mercy to the Israelites, allowing Him to continue His covenant relationship with them.

In much the same way, Jesus became the divine scapegoat for the sins of the world. He was and is the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 nasb).

Our sins were placed on Him at Calvary. Indeed, our sins put Him there.

Jesus took the blame so that we could live. Have you trusted in His atonement? Have you come to Him for the forgiveness of your sins? Have you been healed of your transgressions through His sacrifice?

Almighty God, thank You for the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus, as the divine scapegoat for my sins. I praise You that He took the blame, so I could live. I rejoice in the liberating truth of His atonement for me.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 42). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

King David: A Lesson of Sin and Repentance — Ligonier Ministries Blog

King David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:22). He burst onto the scene as a boy to slay the giant Goliath. Later, he became Israel’s king, led the people in great conquests, and composed many beautiful psalms.

Yet at the same time, David was a sinner. At the height of his power, he committed adultery with Bathsheba and then conspired to murder her husband. How could such a godly man do such a terrible thing?

In today’s message from his video teaching series Dust to Glory, R.C. Sproul surveys David’s complex and contradictory character. He also recounts an important lesson we can learn from David’s life: the lesson of repentance. For when David was compelled to confront his sin, he laid bare his soul and cast himself on God’s mercy (Ps. 51). Like David, we are all sinners, and like David, we must rely upon God’s grace alone for salvation.

Watch today’s message, or for a limited time, request your copy of the full teaching series Dust to Glory for a donation of any amount. You can also dig deeper into the Scriptures with the Reformation Study Bible.


via King David: A Lesson of Sin and Repentance — Ligonier Ministries Blog