Daily Archives: February 5, 2020

February—5 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son. And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.—John 5:22, 27.

Here, my soul! here is a sweet and blessed portion to take with thee, night by night, as a sleeping draught, to lie down with, in holy composure; or, if thou lie watchful, to give thee songs in the night. Every night is a new watch-word of the night of death; and none can tell thee, when thou droppest asleep, whether, in the next opening of thine eyes, thou mayest not open them in eternity, and find thyself standing before the judgment-seat of Christ! Dost thou not wish to be prepared for such an event, and not to leave so infinitely momentous a thing to a peradventure? Read over, again and again, this sweet scripture. I take for granted, that thou knowest Jesus; and art acquainted, yea, savingly acquainted, with his glorious person, as thy surety, and the merits of his blood and righteousness as thy salvation! See, then, what this blessed scripture saith, that all judgment is committed unto thy Jesus, because he is the Son of man. Mark that, my soul! Not because he is the Son of God; for, in that case, judgment could not have been committed to him, for it was his before, in common with the Father and the Holy Ghost; the whole Three Persons constituted the One eternal Jehovah. But judgment is committed to Christ, and is peculiarly his, “because he is the Son of man.” Cherish the sweet, the soul-transporting, the soul-comforting truth. Thy Jesus, who is now thy surety, is then to be thy judge He that hath died for thy sins is then to be thy advocate. And he that hath paid the ransom with his blood in this life, is then to see the reward of it in another.—Now then behold where alone thy confidence is to be found. Bring forward to thy view the solemn, the awful day. Realize it, as if the archangel’s trumpet was now sounding, and thou beheld Jesus coming to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all that believe.—Let others, who now boast of their good works, and hope allowance will be made for human frailty, and the like; or all that troop of half-disciples who, partly to Christ, and partly to themselves, look for salvation; let those do as they will; there is but this one thing left for thee to do, and this one thing, well done, will do for all. Remember, Jesus is thy judge; and all judgment is committed unto him, “because he is the Son of man.”—Humbly, my soul, but with the boldness of faith through his blood, draw near to his gracious seat; and against all law charges, and the divine demands of justice, hold up the blessed testament of Jesus’s blood. Here, Lord, I would say, are the Father’s promises of redemption, in thy name and righteousness; and this is the record God hath given of his dear Son. And here, Lord, is the new testament in thy blood, which thou hast given for sinners. Thou, blessed Lord, wilt know thine hand, and own thy word. Thou therefore shalt answer for me, O Lord my God![1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 41–42). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

Today In 1837, Dwight Lyman Moody Was Born To Become The Man God Would Use To Lead The Last Great Revival This World Has Ever Seen — Now The End Begins

It has been 121 years since he went home to Heaven, but the legacy that D.L. Moody left behind continues to bear untold fruit for the Kingdom of God

Well I remember when I got saved back in 1991, plucked out of the fire of Hollywood and wonderfully put into the Body of Christ as a born again believer in Jesus. Shortly after that, someone placed in my hands a book about the life of a 19th century evangelist named D.L Moody, and what I read filled me with a passion for lost souls and would be the inspiration for my new-found Christian life. So much so that even this ministry which the Lord gave me, Now The End Begins, is bearing fruit that will be applied to Moody’s account at the Judgment Seat.

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5,6 (KJB)

D.L. Moody was a man born into poverty and hardship, was schooled only until the 6th grade, saved at 19 years old, entered full-time Christian service at 23, and would go on to be the greatest evangelist of the 19th century, and perhaps since the apostle Paul. He didn’t do it perfectly, received a fair amount of criticism in his day, and was in the unenviable position of having learn the Bible while preaching it. Yet towards the end of his life, he has this to say about his impending death:

Some day you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody, of East Northfield, is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now, I shall have gone up higher, that is all; out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal — a body that death cannot touch; that sin cannot taint; a body fashioned like His glorious body. I was born of the flesh in 1837. I was born of the Spirit in 1856. That which is born of the flesh may die, that which is born of the Spirit will live forever.

Is that your testimony? It was Moody’s, and in the process of his preaching and teaching the Bible all across America and Europe, God used him to lead millions to the Lord Jesus Christ and hundred of thousands to become preachers, bible teachers, pastors and evangelists.

One of my favorite anecdotes about Moody revolves around the time he met with Scottish revivalist Henry Varley in 1873, and the two were having a conversation about the current state of the preaching campaign. During that private talk, Varley casually said to Moody that “The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in a man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him”. This was Moody’s take on that event when asked about it years later:

“Ah,” said Mr. Moody, “those were the words sent to my soul, through you, from the Living God. As I crossed the wide Atlantic, the boards of the deck of the vessel were engraved with them, and when I reached Chicago, the very paving stones seemed marked with ‘Moody, the world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to him.’ Under the power of those words I have come back to England, and I felt that I must not let more time pass until I let you know how God had used your words to my inmost soul.”

Those words were sent to my soul, as a baby Christian in 1991, and continues to propel and inspire me to this day. Perhaps the biggest lesson we learn from the faithful life of D.L. Moody is that when we obey God and follow Him in service, what we do will work to lead and inspire others as well.

Here now we present to you a wonderful snapshot of the life and labor of D.L. Moody, enjoy!

Salvation

At Mt. Vernon Moody became part of the Sunday school class taught by Edward Kimball. On April 21, 1855, Kimball visited the Holton Shoe Store, found Moody in a stockroom, and there spoke to him of the love of Christ. Shortly thereafter, Moody accepted the love of God and devoted his life to serving Him. The following year brought Moody to Chicago with dreams of making his fortune in the shoe business. As he achieved success in selling shoes, Moody grew interested in providing a Sunday School class for Chicago’s children and the local Young Men’s Christian Association.

YMCA

During the revival of 1857 and 1858, Moody became more involved at the YMCA, performing janitorial jobs for the organization and serving wherever they needed him. In 1860 when he left the business world, he continued to increase his time spent serving the organization. In the YMCA’s 1861–1862 annual report, Moody was praised for all his efforts. Although they could not pay him, the YMCA recommended he stay “employed” as city missionary.

Moody’s Sunday School

Meanwhile, Moody’s Mission Sunday School flourished, and it was different. Moody’s desire was to reach the lost youth of the city: the children with little to no education, less than ideal family situations, and poor economic circumstances. Soon the Sunday School outgrew the converted saloon used as a meeting hall. As the classes grew, associates encouraged Moody to begin his own church. Eventually, on February 28, 1864, the Illinois Street Church (now The Moody Church) opened in its own building with Moody as pastor.

The Civil War

As the political landscape of the United States changed in the 1860s, Moody’s connection with the YMCA proved a useful tool in his ministry. With the Civil War approaching, the Union Army mobilized volunteer soldiers across the north. Camp Douglas was established outside of Chicago, which Moody saw as a great evangelistic opportunity. Along with a few others, Moody created the Committee on Devotional Meetings to minister to the troops stationed at Camp Douglas, the 72nd Illinois Volunteer Regiment. This was just the beginning of Moody’s Civil War outreach. From 1861 to 1865, he ministered on battlefields and throughout the city, state and country to thousands of soldiers, both Union and Confederate. All the while, he maintained the Mission Sunday School.

Moody Gets Married

While ministering in Chicago, Moody and his wife met a woman named Emma Dryer, a successful teacher and administrator. Moody was impressed with her zeal for ministry and her educational background. He knew that women had a unique ability to evangelize to mothers and children in a way that men never could, and saw Dryer as just the person to help him encourage this group. Moody asked Dryer to oversee a ministry specifically to train women for evangelistic outreach and missionary work. Under Dryer’s leadership, the training program grew rapidly, and so did her desire for this ministry to reach men as well as women. She continued to pray that the Lord would place the idea for such a school on Moody’s heart.

Heartache In The Chicago Fire

On Sunday, October 8, 1871, as Moody came to the end of his sermon for the evening, the city fire bell began to ring. At first, no one thought much about it, as these city bells often rung. However, this night was different—it was the beginning of the Great Chicago Fire. Moody’s first concern was for his family, locating them and making sure they were somewhere safe. After securing his family’s safety, Moody and his wife stayed on the north side of the city to help other residents. The fire finally burned out Tuesday afternoon, after consuming much of what Moody had built.

This was a poignant time in Moody’s life and the fire forced him to reevaluate his ministry. It was during this time of evaluation he realized he needed to heed the Lord’s call on his life. For years, he had been moving forward and then asking God to support his plans. He knew from this point on, his call was to preach the Word of God to the world.

Revival!

In June 1872 Moody made his first trip to the United Kingdom. While he was there a few close contacts urged him to come back in a year. In June 1873, Moody and his family, and his good friend and musician Ira Sankey with his wife all traveled from New York to Liverpool, England. Moody and Sankey traveled throughout the UK and Ireland holding meetings, helping fuel the revival that was slowly sweeping the region. Moody’s visit made a lasting impression, and inspired lay people across the region to begin children’s ministries and ministry training schools for women.

Moody was revolutionary in his evangelistic approach. Despite conflicting counsel from friends and trusted contacts, he and Sankey traveled to Ireland during a time when Catholics and Protestants were constantly at odds with each other. Moody was different: he did not care what denomination a person claimed, but just wanted the message of Christ to be heard. As a result, the revival swept into Ireland, and he won praises of both Catholics and Protestants.

After two years overseas, the Moody family finally returned to the United States. They settled in Northfield, where Moody was born and raised, and he began to plan his next round of evangelistic city campaigns. From October 1875 to May 1876, Moody and three other evangelists toured through the major cities of the Midwest and Atlantic coast, preaching the message of salvation. Moody would embark on yet another city campaign before the desire to train young Christian workers would grip him again.

Moody’s Schools

Moody was on the cutting edge of ministry, and in 1879, Moody opened the Northfield Seminary for Young Women to provide young women the opportunity to gain an education. Not long after, Moody created the Mount Hermon School for Boys with the same goal as the girls’ school: to educate the poor and minorities. Moody had an amazing ability to bridge the gap between denominations, which was apparent in the diverse religious backgrounds of the school’s students.

In 1886 Dryer’s prayers were answered and the Chicago Evangelization Society (today, Moody Bible Institute) was founded. Moody had been focused on ministry near his home in Northfield but he came out to Chicago to help raise money for the Society, support Dryer, and see his dream become a reality. The Chicago Evangelization Society had been Moody’s vision but really came to fruition because of Dryer’s hard work. See History of Moody Bible Institute.

That same year, Moody assembled a large group of college students at Mount Hermon for the first “College Students’ Summer School.” This conference would birth the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions. By 1911 it was estimated that 5,000 student volunteers from America alone had come out of the program. Moody’s vision for the mission movement grew as it spread around the world to Europe and South Africa.

D.L. Moody Founder Of Moody Bible Institute

The story of evangelist, teacher and urban ministry pioneer, Dwight Lyman (D.L.) Moody, the founder of Moody Bible Institute and it’s original ministries.

via Today In 1837, Dwight Lyman Moody Was Born To Become The Man God Would Use To Lead The Last Great Revival This World Has Ever Seen — Now The End Begins

February 5 Streams in the Desert

Ye shall not go out with haste.” (Isa. 52:12.)

I DO not believe that we have begun to understand the marvelous power there is in stillness. We are in such a hurry—we must be doing—so that we are in danger of not giving God a chance to work. You may depend upon it, God never says to us, “Stand still,” or “Sit still,” or “Be still,” unless He is going to do something.

This is our trouble in regard to our Christian life; we want to do something to be Christians when we need to let Him work in us. Do you know how still you have to be when your likeness is being taken?

Now God has one eternal purpose concerning us, and that is that we should be like His Son; and in order that this may be so, we must be passive. We hear so much about activity, may be we need to know what it is to be quiet.—Crumbs.

Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!

Nor deem these days—these waiting days—as ill!

The One who loves thee best, who plans thy way,

Hath not forgotten thy great need today!

And, if He waits, ’tis sure He waits to prove

To thee, His tender child, His heart’s deep love.

Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!

Thou longest much to know thy dear Lord’s will!

While anxious thoughts would almost steal their way

Corrodingly within, because of His delay—

Persuade thyself in simple faith to rest

That He, who knows and loves, will do the best.

Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!

Nor move one step, not even one, until

His way hath opened. Then, ah then, how sweet!

How glad thy heart, and then how swift thy feet

Thy inner being then, ah then, how strong!

And waiting days not counted then too long.

Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!

What higher service could’st thou for Him fill?

’Tis hard! ah yes! But choicest things must cost!

For lack of losing all how much is lost!

’Tis hard, ’tis true! But then—He giveth grace

To count the hardest spot the sweetest place.

J. Danson Smith.[1]

 

[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (pp. 40–41). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

How Christian Certainty Can Aid Your Well Being (Podcast) — Cold Case Christianity

In this podcast, J. Warner is interviewed by Dr. Ben Edwards on the You’re the Cure Radio Show. Dr. Edwards believes that four pillars undergird well-being, one of which is “peace”. Dr. Ben and J. Warner discuss the differences in a naturalistic versus a supernatural worldview. This is a cause for much of the doubt in peoples’ minds. J. Warner helps explain why this isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem. He explains how abductive reasoning and explaining things beyond reason/possible doubt can help one wrestle with the unanswered doubts in their minds. He used his detective skills to go through 6 atheistic explanations for rejecting Jesus’s story and found they weren’t reasonable. Please visit Dr. Ben’s website to listen to more of his radio shows.


via
How Christian Certainty Can Aid Your Well Being (Podcast) — Cold Case Christianity

Speaker Pelosi tears up the president’s speech: Three biblical responses to the divisions in our nation — Denison Forum

Listen to The Daily Article Podcast, then subscribe.

Yesterday was unusually chaotic even for American politics.

Democratic Party officials announced partial results from the Iowa caucuses at 5 p.m. EST showing Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders in the lead. Their statement came nearly a full day after the results were delayed due to reporting issues. Four hours later, President Trump began his State of the Union address.

He became only the second president to do so while under impeachment. The atmosphere in the room was unusually tense and partisan.

The president handed copies of his speech to Vice President Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She extended her hand, but he turned away without shaking it. She then introduced him, but not with the customary, “Members of Congress, I have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you the president of the United States.” Instead, she said simply, “Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States.”

During the speech, the president honored a Tuskegee Airman and his grandson who intends to become an astronaut. He welcomed home a soldier who reunited with his family for the first time in months. The speech recounted remarkable economic good news and called on Congress to make progress on a variety of fronts.

Then, at the conclusion of the speech, the Speaker of the House stood, took her copy of the address, and tore it in two. She said later that she destroyed the speech “because it was the courteous thing to do considering the alternatives.” She added that she was “trying to find one page with truth on it” but “couldn’t.”

My purpose in responding today is emphatically not to advance a partisan agenda. I would offer the same response to last night’s divisiveness if the president were a Democrat and the House Speaker a Republican.

In such a bitterly divided culture, my purpose today is to consider biblical ways to deal with disagreements as a nation and as individuals.

One: Honor the position if not the person 

First, we must honor the position even if we disagree with the person.

Peter instructed us: “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good” (1 Peter 2:13–14). Paul agreed: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Romans 13:1).

Note that the emperor to whom they referred was Nero, one of the most despotic tyrants in Roman history.

In light of God’s word, it was wrong for Republican Congressman Joe Wilson to cry out “You lie!” when President Obama was delivering a joint address to Congress in 2009. (The congressman soon apologized, and the president accepted his apology.) It was also wrong for Speaker Pelosi to rip up President Trump’s speech.

Congressman Wilson and Speaker Pelosi obviously disagreed with the presidents whose speeches they protested. But Scripture teaches us to honor the position, even if we disagree with the person.

Two: Initiate reconciliation 

Second, God’s word calls us to go to those with whom we disagree.

Jesus was clear: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone” (Matthew 18:15). Conversely, our Lord also taught us: “If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23–24).

Whether someone sins against us or we sin against them, we are to go to them. We are not permitted to speak about them before we speak to them. When we discuss public figures, we must avoid slander (Psalm 101:5; James 4:11) and gossip (Proverbs 20:19; 1 Timothy 5:13), only saying about them what we would say to them.

These commitments break the cycle of retribution and initiate the process of healing. If the person will not respond to our initiative, we will know that we have done what we can.

Three: Love our enemies in prayer 

Our third principle may be the hardest: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:44–45).

“Love” translates agape, the unconditional commitment to put the other person first. We demonstrate this commitment when we pray for “those who persecute you”—the Greek syntax is translated literally, “for them as they are persecuting you.”

You know that you love your enemies when you pray for God’s best for them regardless of how they treat you. Such forgiveness obeys God’s word and will (Mark 11:25) and models his grace to a graceless culture.

Imagine a culture living by biblical forgiveness 

Discussion of the divisiveness on display during last night’s State of the Union is likely to continue for days. In response, let’s model Christian behavior for a post-Christian culture. Let’s choose to honor the position of those with whom we disagree. Let’s refuse to slander them, speaking to them rather than about them. And let’s pray for God’s best for them as we share the forgiveness we have received.

Imagine the difference in our country if everyone followed these biblical principles. Now let’s model the behavior we ask others to exhibit.

With whom will you begin today?

 

via Speaker Pelosi tears up the president’s speech: Three biblical responses to the divisions in our nation — Denison Forum

Iowa, the State of the Union & the Last Days of America’s Democratic Republic — Capstone Report

Nancy Pelosi violated tradition in her introduction of the president and capped the night by tearing up the State of the Union speech. Her actions demonstrate something—something important. Her tearing up a speech on the State of the Union telegraphs what Democrats want to do to the Union. Shatter it. Rip it to shreds. Destroy it and replace our rights and privileges with a new system where power is concentrated not in the states and the people but the elite power centers of New York, LA., Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C.

The desire to eliminate the uniqueness of the states is at the heart of Democratic calls to abolish the Electoral College and change representation in the Senate.

Democrats want to force on flyover country rules designed for their liberal enclaves.

No thanks.

We see the poop-covered streets of San Francisco and would prefer that not to be the case in the rest of the Union.

But, Democrats assault on the Union doesn’t stop there. They’ve weakened our very system.

Democrats spent the last three years undermining confidence in our institutions and elections. The institutions were tarnished by idiotic and unfounded impeachment. The elections were undermined by a constant perpetuation of a Russia-Putin-Trump myth. This has done great harm to our trust in elections.

Now, Democrats illustrate that they really don’t care what the people have to say. With their dawdling release of Iowa Caucus results, the Democrats made our political process into a joke.

The Elites of the Democratic Party don’t care about what is good for flyover country. They would prefer to ignore the demands from the people for good jobs and security from threats both without and within.

So, how should a Christian respond to what the Democrats are doing?

The Christian response to the Democrats assault on America and our liberties begins with the answer one question: Is America a force for good?

If America is a force for good, and its defense of religious liberty and work as a selfless bulwark against the abuses of autocracy demonstrated throughout the 20th century seems to prove that it is, then, America must be defended.

If it is to be defended, then we must fight Democrats.

The Christian duty is to deny Democrats access to office—at all levels—for anyone committed to the Democratic Party platform.

Three cheers for Russell Moore

I can’t believe I’m writing this. But, as one of Dr. Moore’s tireless critics, I should point out something positive. Last night, Dr. Moore, the head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) and a rabid Never Trumper praised President Donald Trump.

Dr. Russell Moore’s statement on the State of the Union.

Dr. Moore said, “I am thankful to President Trump for raising the issue of the sanctity of human life at the State of the Union. He is right that the abortion culture is an injustice and should be ended.” He continued, “I look forward to working with the President and other elected officials toward that end in terms of policy.” The entire statement is embedded here.

Does this mean that Dr. Moore realized the Democratic Party is the party of infanticide and it is the Christian’s duty to make sure they never seize power? That’d be real progress. However, before we can judge that to be the case, Dr. Moore should take real steps to show he’s abandoned his Never Trump ways.

First, he should openly admit that it is the Christian’s duty to deny the Democrats the machinery of the state.

Second, he should state that in 2020, it is a moral option to support Donald Trump.

Such steps would restore a measure of confidence in the ERLC.

It is doubtful we will see those confidence building measures taken.

via Iowa, the State of the Union & the Last Days of America’s Democratic Republic — Capstone Report

RenewAmerica Newsletter for February 4, 2020

February 4, 2020
FOX NEWS — The Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) still has not reported official vote totals in the critical Iowa caucuses as of early Tuesday morning, in a largely unexplained and unprecedented delay that has raised questions about the legitimacy of the contest – – and Democratic campaign officials are livid, Fox News has learned…. (more)


February 4, 2020
‘You do not know what you’re talking about…who said that?’
ART MOORE — Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden got testy with the “Today” show’s Savannah Guthrie for confronting him about the conflict of interest in his son Hunter’s position with a corrupt Ukrainian firm. Biden charged in an interview aired Monday that Guthrie didn’t know what she was talking about as she pressed him on an arrangement that “seems kind of sleazy” to many people…. (more)


February 4, 2020
NEW YORK POST — President Trump called Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders a “communist” in an interview that aired Sunday. “I think he’s a communist. I mean, you know, look, I think of communism when I think of Bernie,” the president told Sean Hannity in a pre-Super Bowl interview on Fox News…. (more)

February 4, 2020
YOUTUBE — Sean Hannity, host of ‘Hannity’, previews his pre-game interview with President Trump on ‘Fox and Friends.’… (more)


February 4, 2020
DAILY CALLER — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Friday stared down California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris while she was laughing on stage during a press conference regarding the impeachment of President Donald Trump…. (more)


February 2, 2020
JOE KOVACS — Broadcast legend Rush Limbaugh has advanced lung cancer, the talk-radio giant announced during his Monday broadcast. “I have to tell you something that I wish I didn’t have to tell you. And it’s a struggle for me because I had to inform my staff earlier today” Limbaugh somberly said…. (more)

February 2, 2020
Mild language advisory
YOUTUBE — Sen. Lindsey Graham stops by to walk us through how Mitch McConnell got 51 votes to stop further witnesses. But Senator Cruz knows a lot could happen between now and acquittal…. (more)


February 2, 2020
‘Religion is being driven out of the marketplace of ideas’
WORLDNETDAILY — “Militant secularists” across America long have charged that religious people are “imposing” their views on them. But it’s actually the other way around, contended Attorney General William Barr in an interview with Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Sirius XM. “I feel today religion is being driven out of the marketplace of ideas and there’s a organized militant secular effort to drive religion out of our lives,” Barr told Dolan, the Federalist reported…. (more)

February 1, 2020
Nation’s ‘recaptured sovereignty’ occurs amid parties and protests
WORLDNETDAILY — The United Kingdom officially left the European Union on Friday, and the occasion was marked by both celebrations and protests across the country. An hour before the official Brexit countdown clock hit zero, Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation with a statement released on social media, where he urged the country to come together and seize the opportunities made available by the UK’s “recaptured sovereignty.”… (more)

February 1, 2020
McConnell: No need for Senate to
re-open investigation which House chose to conclude
THE HILL — Senate Republicans rejected a mid-trial effort to call witnesses and documents on Friday, paving the way for President Trump’s acquittal on two articles of impeachment passed by the House. Senators voted 49-51, with Republican Sens. Mitt Romney (Utah) and Susan Collins (Maine) breaking ranks to join Democrats in voting for witnesses. Fifty-one votes were needed to approve witnesses…. (more)

February 1, 2020
Dems’ behavior a ‘three-year-long, never ending temper tantrum’
YOUTUBE — Tonight, the witch hunt – the Schumer Schiff sham show – is, for the sake of the country, thankfully over…. (more)


February 1, 2020
Bemused Trump team, staffers watch him outrun colleague to Senate well
WORLDNETDAILY — When House impeachment managers were asked Thursday night to give a closing argument, lead manager Rep. Adam Schiff rose from his seat, but Rep. Jerry Nadler beat him to the well of the Senate as the California Democrat called out “Jerry, Jerry, Jerry.”… (more)


February 1, 2020
YOUTUBE — PolitiZoid: ‘Schiff Hits the Fan’ – spoof of Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, starring Adam Schiff… (more)

January 30, 2020
SELWYN DUKE — A common belief among conservatives is that Democrats have blundered in their impeachment trial argumentation, that they’ve shot themselves in the foot. Perhaps so. But we should remember that their goal cannot, logically, be to win over the Senate so President Trump can be ousted from office before November…. (more)

January 30, 2020
JERRY NEWCOMBE — How is it that a communist, for all practical purposes, is winning in the Iowa caucuses at present? If there is anything that history shows repeatedly, it is that socialism, including its more violent form, communism, is an utter failure by every criterion imaginable…. (more)

January 30, 2020
BRYAN FISCHER — We’ve seen it happen before. There was Brett Kavanaugh, attacked relentlessly and shamelessly with scurrilous, unfounded, and uncorroborated accusations from decades ago. Then there was Judge Roy Moore, again ambushed with defamatory and manufactured accusations from decades ago, all of which fell apart on closer examination. For the past three plus years, regressives have been trying to politically decapitate the president of the United States using the same sleazy tactics…. (more)

January 30, 2020
Wrap up of Jan. 30 proceedings
YOUTUBE — The president has every reason to be glad and happy, because it’s about to be game over. Chuck Schumer said the Democrats do not have the votes to keep this going any longer. Today, he said it would be an uphill fight to call additional witnesses…. (more)


January 30, 2020
REAL CLEAR POLITICS — President Trump tweets a video of a Radio Free Europe interview with then-National Security Adviser John Bolton describing President Trump’s call with Ukraine President Zelensky as cordial. “I will be meeting President Zelensky. He and President Trump have already spoken twice. The president called to congratulate President Zelensky on his election and on his success in the parliamentary election,” Bolton said in August 2019…. (more)


January 30, 2020
YOUTUBE — Question: “Did the President’s Tweets about John Bolton help or hurt him?” Meadows: “Look, the media each and every day is going to critique every single Tweet that the President puts out, and try to be the jury, whether it helps or not…”… (more)

January 30, 2020
YOUTUBE — The Senate continues the impeachment trial of President Trump. U.S. lawmakers and impeachment managers will take questions on the Senate floor as the trial enters its eighth day…. (more)

January 30, 2020
WORLDNETDAILY — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee took Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah to task, accusing the one-time GOP presidential nominee of only caring about himself, and not the good of the country…. (more)


January 30, 2020
WORLDNETDAILY — Sen. Rand Paul is not happy about impeachment, particularly when it comes to rhetoric involving who’s making money off of access to power. The libertarian-leaning Republican from Kentucky appeared Tuesday on Fox News, the same day that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer held a news conference in which he accused both Donald Trump and his children of making money off of the presidency…. (more)

January 29, 2020
NEWSMAX — The European Union grudgingly let go of the United Kingdom with a final vote Wednesday at the E.U.’s Parliament that ended the Brexit divorce battle and set the scene for tough trade negotiations in the year ahead…. (more)

January 28, 2020
Trump’s legal team eviscerates Dems’ articles of impeachment
BITCHUTE — Finally, the adults are up to bat, and they are absolutely eviscerating the Schumer Schiff Sham Show. Finally, the truth is being told, finally…. (more)

 

February 5, 2020 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

The Republican-led U.S. Senate is expected to acquit President Donald Trump on Wednesday at the end of his impeachment trial on charges that he abused his power in dealings with Ukraine and obstructed efforts to uncover the alleged misconduct.

A bitter feud between U.S. President Donald Trump and top Democrat Nancy Pelosi boiled over at his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, with Trump denying her a handshake and Pelosi ripping apart a copy of his remarks behind his back.

Russia is alarmed by the U.S. Navy’s decision to deploy low-yield nuclear missiles on submarines since they heighten the risk of a limited nuclear war, a Russian official said on Wednesday.

Thousands of passengers and crew on two cruise ships in Asian waters were placed in quarantine for China’s coronavirus on Wednesday as airlines, car manufacturers and other global companies counted the cost of the fast-spreading outbreak.

The White House in Washington said on Wednesday it will welcome Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido to visit U.S. President Donald Trump, the day after Trump used a national address to support Guaido’s effort to oust socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

The U.S. trade deficit fell for the first time in six years in 2019 as the White House’s trade war with China curbed the import bill, keeping the economy on a moderate growth path despite a slowdown in consumer spending and weak business investment.

The bodies of two U.S. firefighters killed battling Australian blazes were sent home on Wednesday in emotional ceremonies attended by officials and relatives.

AP Top Stories

Former mayor Pete Buttigieg held a narrow lead over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders after the release Tuesday of a fresh wave of results from the Iowa Democratic caucuses.

The Virginia Senate blocked one of Gov. Ralph Northam’s top gun-control bills Monday, adding to the list of measures the Democratic governor supports that may not pass the legislature.

The British on Tuesday began to restore their once-formidable capabilities for maritime patrol with the arrival to the Royal Air Force base at Kinloss, Scotland, of the first of a fleet of Boeing P-8A Poseidon jets.

On April 20, 2019, Russia’s TASS Agency reported that Vice Admiral Oleg Burtsev announced Russia’s intention to take two of its decommissioned Typhoon-class ballistic submarines and pack them full of hundreds of cruise missiles. “The dimensions of these submarines allow arming each of them with at least 200 cruise missiles [each],” he said. But there’s a big problem with this plan-revamping the two mothballed subs would likely cost more than simply building newer, better submarines for the job.

China said it will ban illegal wildlife markets and trade in light of the Wuhan coronavirus, which has killed at least 426 people and infected more than 20,000.

A former inmate whose newborn died in a prison toilet in South Carolina will receive more than $1 million from the state and two medical companies.

Ten people on a Japanese cruise ship that has been quarantined near Tokyo since Monday have tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus. Medics started screening all 3,711 people aboard on Tuesday. Nobody can leave the ship for the next 14 days.

BBC

Thirty-three people have been killed and dozens more trapped after a second avalanche struck a mountainside in Turkey on Wednesday, officials said. About 300 rescue workers were at the site, near the eastern border with Iran, dealing with an earlier avalanche on Tuesday that killed five people. More than 50 people were believed to be trapped in vehicles in the area following the incident on Wednesday.

Nine people, including at least four boys aged under 18, have been shot dead in an amusement arcade in the city of Uruapan in western Mexico. Investigators say the arcade is used by the Los Viagra gang to sell drugs.

The wife of the prime minister of Lesotho has been formally charged in court with murdering his previous wife.

Tanzania’s Boniface Mwamposa, who refers to himself as “the apostle”,has been released on bail after he was arrested over a stampede that killed 20 people on Sunday during an outdoor religious service he was leading in the northern town of Moshi. Twenty people – including five children – lost their lives following a rush to be anointed with “blessed oil”.

Olympic organizers are “seriously concerned” about the spread of coronavirus and the impact it could have on the Tokyo Games this summer.

Finland’s new government has announced plans to give all parents the same parental leave, in a push to get fathers to spend more time with their children. Paid allowance will increase to a combined 14 months, which works out as 164 days per parent.

WND

The Chinese province adjacent to the one where the coronavirus first appeared is facing an outbreak of H5N1 bird flu, according to news reports.

Iowa Democrats rejected an offer from the federal Department of Homeland Security to test the election app that failed Monday night, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Tuesday.

An “amateur or terrorist” organization could easily generate a “poor man’s EMP nuke” that would disable the infrastructure or the electric grid through devices such as a Tesla coil or a Marx generator.


Mid-Day Snapshot · Feb. 5, 2020

The Foundation

“He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” —U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 3

2020: The Great State of the Union

“I say to the people of our great country and to the members of Congress: The state of our Union is stronger than ever before.”


Democrats Panic After Iowa

James Carville says he’s “scared to death” that Dems have gone too far left.


A (Carter) Page Turns in the Annals of the Deep State

Former Trump campaign adviser surveilled by the Clinton’s FBI hacks fights back.


Barr Defends Religious Liberty Against Militant Secularists

“Militant secularists are trying to impose their values on religious people.”


Twitter Democrats Are Most Extreme Leftists

Study finds Democrats on social media favor more extreme leftist politicians and policies.


Wishing Black History Weren’t ‘Black’

…But a call to freedom, excellence, triumph, and hope. These ideals have no color.


Video: Pelosi’s BIG State of the Union Lie

“I tore it up. I was trying to find one page with truth on it. I couldn’t.”


Video: Super Bowl Halftime Show: Cultural Decay

Recent NFL Halftime Shows represent a culture crisis, because they treat women as sex objects.


Video: CNN Slams Trump’s ‘Unwoke’ Coronavirus Panel

Diversity is more important than mitigating death by flu in the mind of the Leftmedia.


Video: Everyone’s a Criminal

Thanks mostly to unelected bureaucrats, you probably broke the law today.



Today’s Opinion

Kay C. James
The State of Our Union Has Never Been Better
Gary Bauer
Chaos Wins in Iowa
Star Parker
It Doesn’t Matter Which Democrat Wins
Ken Blackwell
Religious Freedom: An Inconvenient Right to American Progressives
Walter E. Williams
Economics Reality
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Wednesday News Executive Summary

Trump’s SOTU address, Pelosi’s petulance, Virginia gun-control skirmish, and more.


Wednesday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Joni Ernst, Mitch McConnell, Jim Acosta, and more.



Today’s Meme

For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

Today’s Cartoon

For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

Headlines – 2/5/2020

Rivlin calls for resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks

Report: Netanyahu suggested to US that Arab Israeli towns be placed in Palestine

In Abu Dis, the notion of becoming capital of Palestine is deemed ‘preposterous’

Israeli Arabs say no to Palestine

The Real Reason Arabs in Israel Do Not Want to Live in ‘Palestine’

Iran’s Zarif phones Abbas to voice opposition to Trump plan

How Trump’s Mideast Plan Is Angering Both Annexationists and Peaceniks

The art of no deal: Who’s subverting Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan?

What is the ‘Jordan Option’ and is it good for Israel?

Draft UN Resolution Condemns Israeli Annexation in Trump Peace Plan

EU declaration against ‘Deal of the Century’ thwarted

6 countries block EU resolution that would have condemned Trump plan, annexation

Israel warns EU its biased rhetoric will ‘minimize’ its role in any peace process

EU warns Israel any West Bank annexation can’t go unchallenged

Top EU diplomat warns against Trump Middle East peace plan, annexation

UK to Israel: Take a Breather on Settlement Annexation

Netanyahu suggests he’ll move annexation forward only after elections

Israel’s path to annexation is lined with legal thorns

Report: Hamas Weighing Renewal of Weekly Gaza Border Riots

Israel imposes restrictions on Gaza after wave of attacks following Trump peace plan

IDF strikes Hamas in Gaza in response to 3 rockets fired into Israel

Navy thwarts smuggling of weapons to Hamas in Gaza

Israeli, UAE officials reportedly met in secret in US to discuss countering Iran

EU foreign minister visits Iran in attempt to save nuclear deal

Europe to avoid taking Iran nuclear dispute to UN, EU’s top diplomat says

Rocket fire targets Syria oil facilities: State media

Syria: half a million people have fled Idlib offensive, says UN body

Syria war: Turkey will not let Syrian army advance in Idlib, says Erdogan

Turkey, Russia can tackle Syria escalation ‘without anger’: Erdogan

Putin, Erdogan agree to improve coordination of actions in Syria: Kremlin

‘Wind Of Madness’ Is Sweeping Earth, U.N. Secretary-General Says

Trump ignores Pelosi’s offer of handshake at start of State of Union address

Trump uses State of the Union to campaign; Pelosi rips up speech

Pelosi tears up Trump’s State of the Union speech: ‘It was the courteous thing to do’

McConnell blasts impeachment, will vote to acquit Trump

Trump’s acquittal may have profound impact on presidential power

Republican Rand Paul names purported ‘whistleblower’ in the Senate

Buttigieg, Sanders lead in 1st party caucus as Iowa releases partial results

Biden’s poor showing in Iowa shakes establishment support

No Iowa Caucus Results Spark Democrat Frustration; Trump Gloats

US President Trump calls Iowa caucus ‘unmitigated disaster’

Iowa Might Have Screwed Up The Whole Nomination Process

The delayed Iowa caucus results erode trust in elections at a really bad time

Google says it accidentally sent some users’ private videos to strangers

Asteroid 2020 CW flew past Earth at a very close distance of 0.04 LD – 8th closest on record

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Little Sitkin Island, Alaska

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Maketu, New Zealand

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Raoul Island, New Zealand

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Gizo, Solomon Islands

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Sechura, Peru

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Barranca, Peru

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Ashkasham, Afghanistan

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Guanica, Puerto Rico

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 20,000ft

Ruiz volcano in Colombia erupts to 20,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 19,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 19,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 16,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,000ft

Semeru volcano in Indonesia erupts to 14,000ft

Drought hits Barbados following driest year in 70 years

‘Locust Invasion, January Rain Not Normal. Repent.’ – Pastor Ng’ang’a Urges

Chinese pastor in Wuhan issues urgent call to prayer as Coronavirus cases rise above 20,000

Mainland China coronavirus deaths rise to 490, cases exceed 24,000

World currently ‘not in a pandemic’ of China coronavirus: WHO

WHO calls for improved data-sharing on coronavirus, sending team to China

Coronavirus: cruise ship carrying 3,700 quarantined in Japan after 10 test positive

Larry Kudlow: Coronavirus will slow U.S. farm exports to China

Gasoline prices tumble toward $2 a gallon The spread of the coronavirus has undercut world oil

Saudi Arabia reports H5N8 bird flu on farm: OIE

Kanye West says record labels make artists sign contracts to stop them talking about Jesus


Apostasy Watch

Jim Jenkins – And We’ve Got the Evangelicals… Why Mark Galli Doesn’t Speak For Me

Shawn Bolz/Bob Jones & the prophetic Significance of the Chiefs Super Bowl Win

‘Locust Invasion, January Rain Not Normal. Repent.’ – Kenyan Pastor Urges

Donald Trump to appoint first black pastor of Jimmy Carter’s church to help former prisoners

Virginia Bill Making it Illegal for Homosexuals to Seek Help From Christians on the Verge of Becoming Law


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“A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it…” – Martin Luther

February 5th The D. L. Moody Year Book

(Mr. D. L. Moody’s birthday.)

He asked life of Thee, and Thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever,—Psalm 21:4.

I WAS down in Texas some time ago, and happened to pick up a newspaper, and there they called me “Old Moody.” Honestly, I never got such a shock from any paper in my life before! I never had been called old before. I went to my hotel, and looked in the looking-glass. I cannot conceive of getting old, I have a life that is never going to end. Death may change my position but not my condition, not my standing with Jesus Christ. Death is not going to separate us.

Old! I wish you all felt as young as I do here to-night. Why, I am only sixty-two years old! If you meet me ten million years hence, then I will be young. Read that ninety first Psalm, “With long life will I satisfy him.” That doesn’t mean seventy years. Would that satisfy you? Did you ever see a man or woman of seventy satisfied? Don’t they want to live longer? You know that seventy wouldn’t satisfy you. Would eighty? would ninety? would one hundred? If Adam had lived to be a million years old, and then had to die, he wouldn’t be satisfied. “With long life will I satisfy him”—life without end! Don’t call me old. I am only sixty-two. I have only begun to live.[1]

 

[1] Moody, D. L. (1900). The D. L. Moody Year Book: A Living Daily Message from the Words of D. L. Moody. (E. M. Fitt, Ed.) (pp. 29–30). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

February 5, 2020 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

joy verse

Confidence in a Personal Fellowship with Christ

and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, (1:8)

Love and trust are the two crucial ingredients in any meaningful relationship. In this verse, the apostle exalts those two aspects as essential to believers’ relationship with Christ and vital to the joy that results. He also reflects genuine pathos and personal humility with these words, based on his past, personal experience as one of the Twelve.

Excluding Judas Iscariot (Matt. 26:14, 16; Luke 22:47–48), Peter was the one disciple who exhibited the most egregious breach of faith and trust in his Lord. Not long after Peter’s three-time denial of Christ (Luke 22:54–62), Jesus confronted him and three times asked him, “Do you love Me?” (John 21:15–22). In humble fashion he reflected on that time and by implication commended his persecuted readers for their relationship to Christ. Peter, even though he was the leader of the apostles and lived with Jesus for three years, in a crucial time failed to sustain his love and trust in Him. In marked contrast, his readers, though they had not seen Him, maintained a true love for and strong trust in Jesus in the midst of threatening persecution and sufferings.

The word love (agapate) is the love of the will, the noblest form of love. The present tense indicates that Peter’s audience constantly loved their Lord, which love defines the essence of being a Christian. Peter underscores this fact later in the letter, “Unto you therefore which believe he [Christ] is precious” (2:7, kjv; cf. 1 Cor. 16:22; Eph. 6:24; 1 John 4:19). Real joy flows from a love for the unseen Master, the One whom believers also obey (cf. John 14:21).

Peter next commends his readers’ faith and trust in Christ. Obviously to believe in Him goes hand in hand with loving Him. The soul that loves Christ cannot help but believe in Him, and the soul that believes cannot help but love. Though Christians do not see Him now, still they believe in Him. Jesus told Thomas, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed” (John 20:29; cf. Heb. 11:1). Faith accepts the revealed, written record of Jesus Christ (the Gospels; 2 Tim. 3:15; cf. 2 Chron. 20:20; Acts 24:14), which portrays Him in all His glory and leads believers to love Him (cf. Heb. 11:6). The more faith can know of Christ, and the more such knowledge possesses the heart, the stronger believers’ love for Him becomes (cf. 2 Cor. 8:7; Gal. 5:6; 1 Tim. 1:5; 1 John 2:5) and the more joy they exhibit (cf. Pss. 5:11; 16:11). Thus love and trust are the two elements that bind believers to a living fellowship with Jesus Christ.

That wondrous relationship caused Peter’s readers to greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory. Inexpressible (aneklalētō) literally means “higher than speech.” Those who live in personal communion with Christ experience a joy so divine that they cannot communicate it; humanly speaking, such joy is beyond the reach of speech and expression. And that joy is also full of glory (doxazō), meaning “to render highest praise” and from which doxology derives. In their fellowship with the Lord, believers have both a supernatural love (cf. Gal. 5:22; 2 Thess. 3:5; 1 John 4:19) and a transcendant joy (cf. Eccl. 2:26; Pss. 4:7; 21:6; 68:3; 97:11; Jude 24).[1]


8  Yet the focus of their joy is not the inheritance nor the glory, but the returning Christ. Here one finds a paradox. Unlike Peter and others of the first generation who had seen Jesus, they have neither seen him in the past nor do they see him at present; their faith is not based on their perceptual experience.  Yet, despite this apparent deprivation, they in no way come behind the first generation of disciples in Palestine, for they love and believe on Jesus. This paradox of faith without sight is often found in the NT (see John 20:24–29; 2 Cor. 5:7; Heb. 11:1, 27), for as soon as the church expanded outside Palestine it was the experience of most Christians. The really important thing is not what they can see (e.g., the trials they have and their enemies), but whom they love and are committed to (cf. also 2 Kings 6:14–17), even though they do not see him.

In the OT and the Gospels love and commitment (or faith) are normally directed toward God (e.g., Mark 12:29–30, which draws on Deut. 6:4–5). But even in the Gospels (e.g., Matt. 18:6; John 8:42; 11:25; 14:21) and especially in the epistles (e.g., 1 Cor. 16:22; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 6:24) the implicit command in the call to love and commit oneself to Jesus (e.g., Mark 10:21) is made explicit. In our text Peter clearly points to Jesus as the object of their love and the goal of their commitment and joy.

Their commitment to Jesus (“believing”) causes them to rejoice. The verb is present (although some copyists later changed it to a future, misunderstanding the paradox),  for Peter’s point is that in the midst of outward trials we can already experience by faith and rejoice in our coming Lord. Thus the joy is “unspeakable” or inexpressible, for it defies outward circumstances (and thus is hard to explain) and is rooted in a realm that is beyond our physical experience (cf. 2 Cor. 2:9 citing Isa. 64:4).  The joy is also “filled with glory,” a joy that has already been glorified, not in the sense that they already experience the fullness of glory of the coming of Christ, but in the sense that in their love and commitment to Christ they experience a joy that partakes of and anticipates the joy of the final day of salvation. 18 It is in their focus on Christ, rather than on circumstances or even on doctrine, that they find this joy.[2]


1:8 / Unlike Peter himself, his readers, for reasons of time and geography, never saw Jesus in the flesh, and now that he has ascended back into heaven they will not have an opportunity in this life of setting eyes on him. The next life will be another story (1 John 3:2). Yet the inability to see him in this world has not prevented them from becoming believers, for faith does not depend upon sight (2 Cor. 5:7). And more: committing their lives to Christ as Savior has not been restricted to an unemotional transaction. As a consequence of their conversion, they found, and are continuing to find, love for the unseen Christ growing within them. His presence in their lives is real, even if unseen. And more even than that: they are being blessed in a special way. Peter knew the reason. He was present when the risen Christ told Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). So Peter’s readers in every generation are eligible for such a blessing—which he interprets as inexpressible and glorious joy.

That joy is inexpressible, beyond human description, for in truth it does not belong to this world-order, and it is certainly not of human origin. It is a divine gift (Ps. 16:11; John 15:9–11; 16:24; Rom. 15:13; Gal. 5:22) and a direct consequence of a living relationship with the Lord (1 Cor. 2:9). As such, it is a witness to others (Luke 15:4–10) of divine care and loving activity in the believer’s life.[3]


1:8 you love him … even though you do not see him now. God expresses his love to believers by shielding them and caring for them during times of suffering. As a result, even though believers do not see Jesus during this time, they grow in their love for him through suffering.

you believe in him. Peter writes “believe in him” rather than simply “believe him.” This observation, together with his use of the verb “love,” highlights that Peter has in mind personal trust in Jesus in the context of a relationship with him. This is not just a statement that the readers are Christians. It is a statement that they are actively depending on Jesus in the midst of the sufferings and trials of daily life. The result of this active trust is joy. Joy in the midst of trials is the experience, not of all believers, but only of those who are loving Jesus and placing their trust in him in the midst of such trials.[4]


8. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9. for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

These two verses depict parallelism and balance. To demonstrate this point, I place the parallel lines in separate columns:

though you have

 

 

 

and even

 

not seen him,

 

 

 

though you do

 

you love him;

 

 

 

not see him now,

 

 

 

 

 

you believe in him

 

 

 

and are filled with an

 

 

 

 

 

inexpressible and glorious joy,

 

 

 

 

 

for you are receiving

 

 

 

the goal of

 

 

 

the salvation of

 

your faith,

 

 

 

your souls.

 

  • Believe

Peter implies that he has seen the Lord, and that the readers of his epistle have not had this privilege. Notice that Peter uses the first person plural in verse 3: “Our Lord Jesus Christ … has given us new birth.” But in verse 8 he employs the second person plural you: “Though you have not seen him.” Also notice the past tense, “have not seen him.” He contrasts the past tense with the present tense of the parallel statement, “And even though you do not see him now, you believe in him.” All these points imply that Peter has seen the Lord and that he is an eyewitness of Jesus’ ministry. Later in the epistle he explicitly calls himself “a witness of Christ’s sufferings” (5:1).

Because of time and distance, the recipients of Peter’s letter had not seen Jesus; yet, because of the gospel, they love Jesus and believe in him. Indeed, they are a living commentary on the beatitude Jesus spoke to Thomas: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). They love Jesus and put their trust in him, even though they are unable to see him in this earthly life. The recipients do this on the basis of the message spoken by the apostles (compare John 17:20). As Paul put it, “We live by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7; also see 4:18).

Is it possible that the apostles who saw and heard Jesus were of the opinion that their faith in the Lord was not so great as the faith of those who would believe without seeing Jesus? This possibility is real, first, because Peter was present when Jesus spoke the beatitude to Thomas (John 20:29). Second, Peter resorts twice to the use of concessive clauses that in translation begin with the word though—“though you have not seen him” and “though you do not see him now.” Third, he stresses the temporal adverb now. In brief, Peter commends the readers for their faith in Jesus Christ.

  • Joy

“You believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” Already in this present life believers experience indescribable joy; they do not have to wait until they leave this earthly scene. Even now they are filled with joy that is “inexpressible and glorious.”

The emphasis in this part of the verse is on the joy that fills the hearts of Christians. A literal translation conveys this concept in both verb and noun: “You greatly rejoice with joy” (NASB). This is the second time in this first part of his epistle that Peter introduces the subject joy. Peter repeats the word he used earlier, “you greatly rejoice” (v. 6). The word depicts shouting for joy that cannot be contained.

Besides, Peter qualifies the noun joy with two unusual adjectives: “inexpressible” and “glorious.” The first word, “inexpressible,” occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. Peter uses it to describe the activity of a person who possesses great joy. That person cannot express his joy in human terms. In fact, he copes with not only an inability but also an impossibility to convey the depth of his joy. The second word, “glorious,” signifies that which has been glorified and continues to be glorified. It connotes the presence of heavenly glory that characterizes this particular joy (compare 2 Cor. 3:10).

  • Receive

The writer states the reason for this joy. He says, “For you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” Although many translators have chosen the verb to receive to convey the meaning of the Greek, the word means “to obtain something that is due to a person.” In this case, the word signifies that through the work of Christ the believer obtains salvation. Already in this life the Christian claims for himself the salvation Christ provides (see 1 Cor. 1:18).

What do believers obtain? Peter gives them a direct answer. He tells them that they will obtain “the goal of [their] faith,” as the New International Version has it. The text actually says, “the end of your faith.” However, if we stop at this point, Peter’s answer is deficient, for we need to know what the goal of faith is. Peter, however, completes the sentence by adding the explanatory phrase the salvation of your souls.

Scripture teaches that salvation belongs to us already in principle. We will have full possession when we are with Christ eternally. The wording of verse 9, “the salvation of your souls,” agrees with the teaching of numerous New Testament passages that our salvation in Christ affects our total life. Christ Jesus saves completely, so that every believer can say:

He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,

and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.

He also watches over me in such a way

that not a hair can fall from my head

without the will of my Father in heaven:

in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.

Doctrinal Considerations in 1:8–9

What is joy? Joy is not only an emotional outburst that lasts momentarily. It is not simply a response to external circumstances that favor and encourage expression of joy. Joy often appears in the midst of hardship, suffering, trials, and persecutions. Joy is a gift that we receive from God, for Scripture shows that God is the giver of joy (see Ps. 16:11; John 16:24; Rom. 15:13). This gift, then, comes to the believer who puts his complete trust in God.

Joy is a gift that must be shared with others. The shepherd who finds his sheep and the woman who finds her coin share their joy with neighbors, while the angels in heaven rejoice over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:4–10). In Scripture, joy is often related to God’s almighty acts of saving man. As a result, man expresses his joy by loving God and by obeying his commands (see especially John 15:9–11). And last, joy is the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22).[5]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2004). 1 Peter (pp. 46–47). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] Davids, P. H. (1990). The First Epistle of Peter (pp. 58–59). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[3] Hillyer, N. (2011). 1 and 2 Peter, Jude (p. 34). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Samra, J. (2016). James, 1 & 2 Peter, and Jude. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (pp. 111–112). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books: A Division of Baker Publishing Group.

[5] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude (Vol. 16, pp. 49–51). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

February 5 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

February 5.—Morning. [Or March 11.]
“I know that Thou canst do everything.”

Job 42:1–13

THEN Job answered the Lord, and said, I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. (The patriarch made an unreserved submission. He felt that the very idea of judging the conduct of the Almighty was preposterous. Omnipotence and Omniscience render the thought of calling the Eternal into question superlatively ridiculous.)

Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. (That first question of the Lord abides in his memory, and now in humble wonder at his own temerity he asks it of himself. It is tantamount to that apostolic question, “Nay, but O man, who art thou that repliest against God?” The patriarch illuminated with new light sees his own folly, and humbly confesses it before the Lord. A very great part of our religious talk consists of utterances which we ourselves do not understand, and all our complaining is based upon ignorance.)

Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.

Job desired to enter God’s school, and to be taught of him. He will no longer be a pleader but a humble enquirer.

I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.

Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. (Hearing goes for little till the Lord’s arm is revealed in a man’s heart. Caryl well observes, “No man knoweth what a nothing he is in knowledge, grace, and goodness till the Lord is pleased to reveal himself to him.” While we compare ourselves with ourselves, or with others who are below us, we fancy ourselves important personages, but when the Lord unveils himself we become as nothing in our own eyes. The more we see of God the less shall we think of ourselves. Sound knowledge is the death of conceit.)

¶ And it was so, that after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. (Out of zeal to defend God’s providence they were not fair in argument. We have no business to defend truth with lies or suppressions. God will have honest defenders or none. He is displeased with untruthful advocates even though they fancy that they are upon the Lord’s side, and at any rate desire to be so.)

Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. (Let us never judge others, for it may be we may come to be indebted to them for their prayers. We may have to crave their intercession, therefore let us not now judge them harshly.)

So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the Lord commanded them: the Lord also accepted Job. (If the Lord accepted Job and blessed his friends for his sake, how much more doth he accept the Lord Jesus Christ who offered himself a sacrifice for sin, and how safe we, his poor offending friends, are in him.)

10 And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.

When in a forgiving spirit we pray for those who have behaved harshly to us some blessing is in store for us.

11, 12 Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.

13 He had also seven sons and three daughters.

Thus shall the Lord’s procedures vindicate themselves, and his people shall be no losers by their afflictions.

If peace and plenty crown my days,

They help me, Lord, to speak thy praise;

If bread of sorrows be my food,

Those sorrows work my real good.

I would not change my blest estate

For all that earth calls good or great;

And while my faith can keep her hold,

I envy not the sinner’s gold.

February 5.—Evening. [Or March 12.]
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise.”

Exodus 1:1–14; 22

OUR reading will now take us back from the land of Uz to the land of Egypt, where we left the chosen family in Goshen.

Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob. (The Lord knoweth them that are his. The names of the godly seed are precious to his heart.)

Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah,

Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin,

Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.

And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already.

And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation.

And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them. (Thus the ancient covenant that Abraham’s seed should be many received its first fulfilment. God is not unmindful of his promises.)

Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. (Out of sight out of mind; a man may confer on a nation permanent advantages, but he cannot hope for permanent gratitude. Those who serve man are generally rewarded with forgetfulness.)

And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we:

10 Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. (The ungodly always try to make out that God’s people are a dangerous set, but indeed, if they would treat them kindly they would find them the best of neighbours. It is only when they wilfully stumble at this stone that it breaks them. The Egyptians tried to prevent the increase of Israel. Vain was this attempt. Pharaoh might as well have tried to stem the sea, or prevent the rising of the Nile. Jehovah had determined that the people should be multiplied, and no policy of kings and princes could prevent it. Great was the monarch’s worldly wisdom, his plan had in it both the subtlety and cruelty of Satan, and yet he was but a fool, and his schemes failed at every point.)

11 Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.

12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.

Unscrupulous and determined as the enemies of God’s people have been, they have nevertheless been unable to achieve their design. The church must spread, and spread too by the very means made use of to destroy her. There are herbs which increase rapidly when they are trodden upon, and true religion is one of them.

13 And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour:

14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.

This was with the view of degrading them, crushing their spirit, and lessening their vigour, but the cruel device succeeded not. No weapon can prosper against the Lord’s chosen. Hard labour is after all less injurious than pampered indolence. Better slave in a brick-kiln than canker in laziness.

After a futile attempt to procure the murder of all the male children by those who attended at their birth, Pharaoh passed a tyrannical decree which is thus recorded.

22 And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.

Murder was thus called in to make an end of the elect people, but it was in vain. The Lord of Israel was greater than the King of Egypt, and proved more than a match for all his plots and plans.

What though to make our numbers less

Our foes their wisdom try,

The more our enemies oppress.

The more we multiply.

Then let the world forbear its rage,

Nor put the church in fear,

Israel must live through every age

And be th’ Almighty’s care.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 71–72). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

February 5 From Weeping to Joy

Jeremiah 31:13

I will turn their mourning to joy, will comfort them, and make them rejoice rather than sorrow.

Sadness is an everyday truth in this life, and one we have to reckon with. But just as a day can bring sadness with it, it is also true that the day of sadness passes. We can be accused of being trite or trivial when we say it, but it is true that “things are going to get better; just hang on; you’ll get through this.” That’s the truth. Sadness does turn to joy.

I don’t know how many times I have faced a group of family and friends who have lost a loved one un-expectedly—a funeral can be the saddest day of our lives. Looking at people’s faces, we wonder if they will ever smile again. And yet, I will see those same people in a matter of weeks or months and the joy has returned. It’s just the process of life. We weep and then we rejoice. God gives us the grace to move from one phase to the next, from one day to the next.[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 38). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

February 5 Thoughts for the quiet hour

Ye servants of the Lord, which by night stand in the house of the Lord.… The Lord that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion

Ps. 134:1, 3

If I would know the love of my friend, I must see what it can do in the winter. So with the divine love. It is very easy for me to worship in the summer sunshine, when the melodies of life are in the air and the fruits of life are on the tree. But let the song of the bird cease, and the fruit of the tree fall; and will my heart still go on to sing? Will I stand in God’s house by night? Will I love Him in His own night? Will I watch Him even one hour in His Gethsemane? Will I help to bear His cross up the via dolorosa? My love has come to Him in His humiliation. My faith has found Him in His lowliness. My heart has recognized His majesty through His mean disguise, and I know at last that I desire not the gift, but the Giver. When I can stand in His house by night, I have accepted Him for Himself alone.

George Matheson[1]

 

[1] Hardman, S. G., & Moody, D. L. (1997). Thoughts for the quiet hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing.

February 5, 2020 Morning Verse Of The Day

13 Not only is wisdom the means of making progress in life, it is life itself. (The father’s instruction and wisdom are equated here with life.) Anything so essential must be enthusiastically guarded.[1]


13  Whereas the father used two commands in the initial frame (4:10) to encourage total commitment to wisdom’s way, now he uses three in its conclusion to persevere in it. First, the command hold on to (haḥazēq be; see 1:18; cf. Mic. 7:18) can have an inchoative nuance “to lay hold of” (cf. 3:18), but the parallels suggest that it has its durative notion here (cf. Exod. 9:2; Judg. 7:8). “To keep hold” of instruction or “discipline” (mûsār; see 1:2), which intensifies “my words” (4:10), is like committing oneself to an athlete’s regimen of a wise diet, exercise, and training. By limiting themselves in this way, athletes are free to run at top form and speed, without “stumbling.” Second, do not stop (ʾal-terep) means literally “to cause/let oneself to drop or to cease from an activity” (cf. 1 Sam. 15:16; Ps. 46:1[2]), implicitly from holding on to instruction. According to Ezek. 18:26–27, if the righteous let go of their righteousness, they will fall into death. Third, guard it (niṣṣerehā; see 2:8). The pronominal object is feminine, showing that the antecedent now is “wisdom,” not its nearer antecedent “instruction,” suggesting that no distinction is intended between them. The motivating promise in 4:13bβ, for it is your life (ḥayyekā) completes the frame (see v. 10b). Four times (3:22; 4:22; 8:35) in Collection I wisdom/instruction is equated with life. The figure, a metonymy of effect, equates the father’s instruction (v. 10) and wisdom (v. 13)—two sides of the same coin—with life. The road metaphor does not depict life from the cradle to the grave, but the road to eternal life versus the road to eternal death.[2]


4:13. Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life.

We have already been exhorted to lay hold of wisdom (vv. 5, 7). Now, having laid hold of wisdom, we are exhorted never to let go of her (Prov. 23:23). It requires great energy and commitment to attain wisdom. It requires as much or more of the same to remain in her ways, once attained. Solomon himself is perhaps the supreme example of this. He began his reign in wisdom, but ended in the shame of folly.

The reason to spend, and be expended, to gain and keep wisdom is that, it is not only the way to life, it is life itself (Prov. 3:18, 22; 8:35; Deut. 32:47; Eccles. 7:12). Compare this with the statements concerning Jesus, who is not only the way to life, but is life itself (John 14:6; Col. 3:4; 1 John 5:11–12).[3]


Ver. 13. Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.The hold-fast religion:

Faith may be well described as taking hold upon Divine instruction. To take “fast hold” is an exhortation which concerns the strength, the reality, the heartiness, and the truthfulness of faith, and the more of these the better. If to take hold is good, to take fast hold is better. The best instruction is that which comes from God: the truest wisdom is the revelation of God in Christ Jesus; the best understanding is obedience to the will of God, and a diligent learning of those saving truths which God has set before us in His Word.

  1. The method of taking fast hold upon true religion. At the outset much must depend upon the intense decision which a man feels in his soul with regard to eternal things. This depends much on a man’s individuality and force of character. Many are truly religious, but are not intense about anything. Some who in other matters have purpose enough, and strength of mind enough, when they touch the things of God are loose, flimsy, superficial, half-hearted. If the religion of Christ be true, it deserves that we should give our whole selves to it. Our taking fast hold depends upon the thoroughness of our conversion. Another help to a fast hold of Christ is hearty discipleship. Another is a studious consideration of the Word of God. An established Christian is one who not only knows the doctrine, but who also knows the authority for it. An earnest seriousness of character will help towards maintaining a fast hold of Christ. If these things are in us and abound, there will grow around them an experimental verification of the things of God. And in the mode of taking fast hold upon the gospel practical Christianity, practical usefulness, has a great influence.
  2. The difficulties of taking fast hold of instruction.
  3. This is an age of questioning. Conceited scepticism is in the air.
  4. This is an age of worldliness.
  5. There is, and always has been, a great desire for novelty.
  6. The worst difficulty of all is the corruption of our own hearts.

III. The benefits of taking fast hold. It gives stability to the Christian character to have a firm grip of the gospel. It will also give strength for service. It will bring joy. Persons of this kind are the very glory of the Church.

  1. The arguments of the text. They are three.
  2. Take fast hold of true religion, because it is your best friend.
  3. It is your treasure.
  4. It is your life. Mr. Arnot, in his book upon the Proverbs, tells a story to illustrate this text. He says that in the southern seas an American vessel was attacked by a wounded whale. The huge monster ran out for the length of a mile from the ship, and then turned round, and with the whole force of its acquired speed struck the ship and made it leak at every timber, so as to begin to go down. The sailors got out all their boats, filled them as quickly as they could with the necessaries of life, and began to pull away from the ship. Just then two strong men might be seen leaping into the water who swam to the vessel, leaped on board, disappeared for a moment, and then came up, bringing something in their hands. Just as they sprang into the sea down went the vessel, and they were carried round in the vortex, but they were observed to be both of them swimming, not as if struggling to get away, but as if looking for something, which at last they both seized and carried to the boats. What was this treasure? What article could be so valued as to lead them to risk their lives? It was the ship’s compass, which had been left behind, without which they could not have found their way out of those lonely southern seas into the high-road of commerce. That compass was life to them, and the gospel of the living God is the same to us. You and I must venture all for the gospel: this infallible Word of God must be guarded to the death. Men may tell us what they please, and say what they will, but we will risk everything sooner than give up those eternal principles by which we have been saved. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Education the business of life:

  1. Education is the business of life. Begin with the infant, and observe how, from the very first breath, every stage in its growth is but the antecedent of another, its chief occupation being to get ready for the next. Infancy spreads out into childhood, &c. Thus obviously is life occupied with preparation for the future. To cause men to enter on that future with the best advantage is the purpose of education, in whatever form dispensed. Consisting thus in preparation for the future, it evidently implies three things—
  2. The development of the faculties. These lie folded up in the child, unobserved and inactive. By assiduous culture they are to be unfolded in their true proportions, and to be made skilful by judicious exercise.
  3. The acquisition of knowledge—without which one rushes upon the future like a blind man into a wilderness. Knowledge is safety, light, and power; ignorance is darkness, peril, and imbecility.
  4. Special fitness for the special employment on which one is to enter. Education is not to be conducted at random, nor with a merely general intent. It has regard to the peculiar calling of the individual. It would fit him to act well his part in the precise sphere which he is destined to fill. This, then, is one sense in which education is the business of life. It is the business of every season to prepare for the next. But there is yet a higher sense. Life itself is but one period of existence, antecedent to another and final period. Life itself is but the childhood of the immortal spirit, getting ready for its future youth and eternal manhood. Life itself, therefore, is but one long school-day; its great purpose the discipline of the powers, the acquisition of knowledge, the fitting of the character, in preparation for that immortal action to which the grave introduces. The perfect man—he who is thoroughly furnished by the completest culture of all his powers, faculties, and affections—is educated for heaven. To stop short of this is to leave the Divine work incomplete. Made to reach indefinitely after wisdom, goodness, and happiness, in this world and the next, he can rightfully propose to himself no other end; and his education is in no just sense finished until this end is attained. Whence we observe there are two essential deficiencies in the common judgment: first that the cultivation of the intellect is limited to that small exercise of the mind which just fits for some one occupation; and second, that the cultivation of character is left almost altogether (in all formal education) to circumstance and accident.
  5. By what method the desired result is to be effected. There are three processes—by instruction, by circumstances, by self-discipline.
  6. Instruction; by which I intend all the express external means of human or of Divine appointment which are used in early or later life. This is sometimes spoken of as including the whole of education. But a little thoughtful observation convinces us that it is far from being so in fact; that in truth formal teaching is little more than offering favourable opportunities and excitements to the individual, which he may neglect, and so, with the best instruction, remain uneducated. Essential as direct instruction may be, if left to itself, unaided and alone, it can accomplish scarce anything. It needs the concurrence of circumstances, and of the will of the instructed.
  7. Circumstances have more to do with the acquisition of knowledge and the formation of character than is often supposed. They make the atmosphere by which one is surrounded, the climate in which he resides. They make up that assemblage of invisible, intangible, indescribable influences which, in the moral world as in the natural, give a complexion, hue, constitution, character, to all who are subjected to it; influences to which they of necessity yield, and which they in vain seek to counteract. It is of the first importance in education to give heed to this consideration. Inattention to this is the cause of frequent ill-success in what appear to be the best arranged processes of instruction. Great pains have been taken, and expensive apparatus employed, with most unsatisfactory results. It was the wrong sort of pains. The controlling power of circumstances was overlooked. The influences of situation, companions, example, and social habits, were disregarded.
  8. To these processes is to be added that of self-discipline. Without it nothing efficient can be done by force of teaching, or by the best arrangement of most favourable circumstances. The individual must have a desire to make progress, and must exercise his own powers in making it. It is when he cheerfully, with voluntary labour and watching, applies himself to learn and to become good, that success crowns the endeavour. The general uses of this subject are as obvious as they are important.

(1) It rebukes the prevalent misconceptions, which bind down the aim of intellectual effort to that drudgery of the world by which the body is supported; which account the rational and immortal spirit sufficiently taught, and well enough employed, when it has become skilful to answer the question, “What shall we eat, and what shall we drink, and wherewithal shall we be clothed?”

(2) It rebukes the negligence and self-indulgence of those who, possessing, as we possess, peculiar advantages for the highest intellectual progress, content themselves with the lowest, think mental toil a drudgery, repine at the requisites for improvement, and set the enjoyments of indolence above the solid honours of attainment.

(3) It rebukes the yet more common error of setting aside from our notions of education the progress of character, and establishment in virtue.

(4) It brings us to the great duty of man, the leading object of life; the self-discipline of the character by which preparation is made for eternity. (H. Ware, D.D.)

Take fast hold:

It is only “instruction” that we must take fast hold of. There are some things that we must not even touch, much less must we try to grasp them. Take fast hold of the wonderful things that are contained in the Bible.

  1. We take fast hold of instruction by praying over it. If we pray often over it we shall, of course, think much about it, and then we may understand it better. And if we truly do this we shall, without fail, strive to put the truth that we have thus taken hold of into practice.
  2. It is a great help if we seek to impart what we have learned of Jesus. If we tell what we know, it will fix it upon our minds. If we do not thus take fast hold of instruction, we may lose it. (J. J. Ellis.)

Hold fast:

  1. Fast hold must be laid upon wisdom’s precepts.
  2. Because many thieves lie in the way to rob us of what wisdom teacheth us—the devil, wicked men, the world, the flesh.
  3. Because we may lose our wisdom ourselves—by negligence, by sinful courses.
  4. Wisdom’s precepts must not be parted withal, but kept safe.
  5. Because parting with it brings loss of other things, as of our safety and likewise of our comfort.
  6. Because it brings much danger, and that to all that is dear to us.

III. Holding fast wisdom is the way to life. What thou losest of heavenly wisdom, so much thou losest of thy life. (Francis Taylor, B.D.)

Religious instruction:

Instruction is not here used for acquisition of knowledge or intellectual enlargement. It is synonymous with wisdom, understanding, heavenly teaching. Note—

  1. The extreme earnestness which the wise son of David displays in pressing his advice.
  2. The text suggests the natural alienation of the heart from instruction. It does not receive it willingly. It does not retain it, if received, without difficulty.
  3. The last clause of the text resolves the whole question into a simple and intelligible proposition. It brings the matter to a point. Dost thou desire to live—not the life that now is, the transient and ephemeral existence of a corruptible body—but in that never-ending state when a thousand years will be as one day? Then take fast hold of instruction—in obtaining her thou hast secured thy object, for she is thy life. There is, in that word life, a comprehensiveness which conveys the fulness of joy to the penitent soul. (Lord Bishop of Winchester.)

Vigorous steadfastness:

The path of wisdom requires the most vigorous steadfastness. Hold the lessons of wisdom with a firm and unrelaxable tenacity; grasp them as the drowning man the rope that is thrown out for his rescue. “Firmness,” said Burns, “both in sufferance and exertion, is a character which I would wish to possess. I have always despised the whining yelp of complaint, and the cowardly, feeble resolve.” (David Thomas, D.D.)

A wise caution:

  1. We must take heed of falling in with sin and sinners. Our teacher having, like a faithful guide, shown us the right paths (ver. 11), here warns us of the by-paths into which we are in danger of being drawn aside. Those that have been well educated, and trained up in the way they should go, let them not so much as enter into it, no, not to make a trial of it, lest it prove a dangerous experiment, and difficult to retreat with safety. “Venture not into the company of those who are infected with the plague, no, not though thou think thyself guarded with an antidote.”
  2. If at any time we are inveigled into an evil way, we must hasten out of it. If, ere thou wast aware, thou didst enter in at the gate, because it was wide, go not on in the way of evil men. As soon as thou art made sensible of thy mistake, retire immediately; take not a step more, stay not a minute longer, in the way that certainly leads to destruction.

III. We must dread and detest the way of sin and sinners, and decline them with the utmost care imaginable. (Matthew Henry.)

Popular amusements:

This advice bears, in its practical relation, on two important features developed in practical affairs. It strikes at the way of the wicked—

  1. As it is traced in those open violations of integrity which are condemned alike by the laws of man and the laws of God; and—
  2. In that great class of sins which falls under the term “dissipation” in ordinary life, which is condemned by the laws of God, and too frequently tolerated by the laws of man, which is, in itself, in fact, too evanescent, too much a thing of the heart, sinks into too great triviality, is too personal in its character, involving too exclusively the sacrifice of a man’s own soul and life, and the dishonour of his Creator, to fall within the province of human legislation. Popular amusements bear directly upon both these classes of crime. They form a certain fascinating territory—a frontier lying between them and the practice of godliness. To allure the youth, the territories of criminality must be surrounded with a frontier of fascinating pleasures.
  3. Every step you take in these forbidden gratifications is taken at your own cost. All the difficulties that will occur to you there are encountered at your own expense. In the very first principle of starting you forfeit all the protection, the guidance, and the help which man may expect at any time, in justifiable engagements, at the hand of God. God has designed that the whole of life should be conducted in a subjugation of the mind to His own teachings; and, in the path of these forbidden pleasures, amongst the allurements that awaken thoughtlessness of Him, and draw the heart from Him, there is no covenanted protection and guidance, and in that abandonment from God he has the elements of the final curse.
  4. The popular amusements of our time are to be reprehended and forsaken, because they are always attended with inducements to greater wrong. It is not merely the stealing and subtle influence that draws the heart away from God; it is not merely the dreadful effect which the fascination has in soothing down the mind into a state of self-gratification; it is not merely the fact that these delusive pleasures draw the mind away from everything distinctly religious; but they stand surrounded with inducements to drive the spirit home to the point in which it must break through the restrictions, not of Divine law only, but of human law also.

III. The direct influence of the habits formed in scenes of popular amusement is altogether opposed to the exercise of vital godliness. In cases I have known, there was the declination of the habits of godliness, and the very gift of prayer had almost ceased; every element of piety was crippled. It is said that these popular amusements are patronised by religious people, and that they may at times be rendered subservient to virtue. The answer is that the peril in them wholly outweighs every advantage that can be derived from them. (Charles Stovel.)

Curiosity a temptation to sin:

One chief cause of wickedness is our curiosity to have some fellowship with darkness, some experience of sin, to know what the pleasures of sin are like. Not to know sin by experience brings upon a man the laughter and jests of his companions. Curiosity brought about Eve’s fall; and a wanton roving after things forbidden, a curiosity to know what it was to be as the heathen, was one chief source of the idolatries of the Jews. This delusion arises from Satan’s craft. He knows that if he can get us once to sin, he can easily make us sin twice or thrice, till at length we are taken captive at his will. He sees that curiosity is man’s great and first snare. He therefore tempts men violently while the world is new to them, and hopes and feelings are eager and restless. The great thing in religion is to set off well, to resist the beginnings of evil; to flee temptation; and for these reasons—

  1. It is hardly possible to delay our flight, without rendering flight impossible. Directly we are made aware of temptation we shall, if we are wise, turn our backs upon it, without waiting to think and reason about it; we shall engage our mind in other thoughts.
  2. If we admit evil thoughts we shall make ourselves familiar with them. Our great security against sin lies in being shocked at it.
  3. There is a tendency to repeat an act of sin once committed.
  4. The end of sinning is to enslave us to it. Our safeguard lies in obeying our Lord’s simple but comprehensive precept, “Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.” (Plain Sermons by Contributors to the “Tracts for the Times.”)

Breakers ahead:

To the young it may be said, “Whatever be the evil course that tempts you, your only safety lies in determined refusal to take a single step in that direction, to tamper for a moment with the temptation”; and that this axiom may be as a nail fastened in a sure place, Solomon gives it six strong blows with the hammer, saying in regard to every such devious and sinful path, “Enter not, go not in it, avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.” Some of the courses against which we need to be warned.

  1. The way of the fraudulent. If you cannot be rich without guile be content to be poor. To act or imply what is false is as bad as to utter a lie.
  2. The way of the extravagant. Spending money you do not possess; against debt. Start in life as you mean to continue, and let this be one of your maxims, “Owe no man anything.”
  3. The way of the gambler. This loathsome cancer is eating into the very vitals of English society. There is no evil course that is more insidious in its commencement, or more insatiable in the appetite it awakens.
  4. The way of the drinker. Have the good sense to make a disaster impossible by simply refusing to touch the dangerous thing.
  5. The way of the libertine. Shut your ear against every whisper of immodesty.
  6. The path of the scoffer. This danger almost always springs from unwise companionships. One sceptic in an office may unsettle all his fellows. (J. Thain Davidson, D.D.)

Contamination of evil society:

On the moors of Yorkshire there is a stream of water which goes by the name of the “Ochre Spring.” It rises high up in the hills, and runs on bright and sparkling for a short distance, when it suddenly becomes a dark and muddy yellow. What is the reason of this? It has been passing through a bed of ochre, and so it flows on for miles, thick and sluggish, useless and unpleasant. The world is full of such beds of ochre.… Enter not in the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. (Church of England Teachers’ Magazine.)

The two paths:

  1. The path of the wicked. Bad men are here described in such terms as imply a very wretched state of society. They delight in acts of violence and plunder. Such men form the criminal classes. There are other evil-doers who are much more dangerous, because their evil-doing is not so criminal, is not usually of a sort that exposes them to the penalties of the law. One feature of bad men is pointed out. They cannot rest unless they do mischief to some one. There are men who take an intense pleasure in corrupting their juniors and making them as bad as themselves. One of the chief pleasures of sin lies in making others sinful, just as, on the other hand, one of the chief pleasures of goodness is making others good. The tempter prefers the form of the serpent, and does his evil work subtly, slyly, stealthily. Yet the wicked are blind, blinded sometimes by ignorance, sometimes by passion. They do not see what their true interest is.
  2. The path of the just. “As the shining light.” By the “just” we are to understand the good man; not a man altogether free from sin, but one who, though far from faultless, sincerely desires and earnestly strives to live in all things according to the will of God. The word “just” signifies “commanded.” A just man is a commanded man, a man whom God commands, a man who acts according to God’s commandments. The just man is something more than a man who is true, honest, fair in his treatment of his fellow-men. The just man is he who, to the full extent of the knowledge of God’s will, obeys it, or does his best to obey it, and so is a commended man. The path of the just is the just man’s course of life. We have a description of a good man’s life in its character, its progress, its perfection. Light in Scripture bears several meanings. It means knowledge in relation to the mind, holiness in relation to the conscience, happiness in relation to the heart. The life of a just man is a life of growing knowledge, holiness, and happiness. “Unto the perfect day.” What is the perfect day? Never seen or experienced by Christians in this world. A poor idea of the perfect day that man must have who thinks that he has already attained to it. The difference between day and night is due to this, that the portion of the earth on which we live turns towards or from the sun. And it is the turning of our souls towards Him who is the Sun of Righteousness that makes our night of ignorance and sorrow turn into the day of knowledge and goodness and happiness. (Hugh Stowell Brown.)[4]

[1] Ross, A. P. (2008). Proverbs. In T. Longman III, Garland David E. (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Proverbs–Isaiah (Revised Edition) (Vol. 6, p. 73). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Waltke, B. K. (2004). The Book of Proverbs, Chapters 1–15 (pp. 288–289). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[3] Kitchen, J. A. (2006). Proverbs: A Mentor Commentary (p. 107). Fearn, Ross-shire, Great Britain: Mentor.

[4] Exell, J. S. (n.d.). Proverbs (pp. 114–119). New York; Chicago; Toronto: Fleming H. Revell Company.

02/04/2020 — Wretched

  WR2020-0204

•The Bible is more exciting than you may realize
•Should baptism be required for membership or communion?
•How do we express sympathy?
•China bans religious funerals
•Franklin Graham is not welcome in the UK
•Why do we let kids determine their own gender?
•Elizabeth Warren wants cabinet members vetted by trans children
•The Pope compares President Trump to King Herod
•The religious affiliation of the Democratic candidates

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via 02/04/2020 — Wretched

Should Christians Expect to Hear a “Still Small Voice” from God? — BLOG – Beautiful Christian Life

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning Beautiful Christian Life LLC may get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through its links, at no cost to you.

One of the first things I learned when I became an evangelical Christian in 1976, the year America elected a self-proclaimed “born again” Christian (Jimmy Carter), was that every Christian should expect to hear a “still small voice” from God. I learned this phrase from the King James Version (1611) of 1 Kings 19:12, long before I ever learned the location of the phrase in Scripture and long before I learned anything about the context of the phrase. I entered American evangelical theology, piety, and practice entirely naive about the history of revivalism and Pietism. Rather, I was given to think that every Christian receives direct revelations from the Holy Spirit—specific guidance as to what to do in a given situation.

Sometimes it was said or implied that whether one heard God’s “still, small voice” was determined by the degree of one’s faith. More typically, however, it was said or implied that hearing God’s still, small voice is a spiritual discipline not unlike proficiency in high-technology. The noise of life, perhaps our successes, it is said, can drown out God’s voice; but if we quiet ourselves, if we attend to God, we can “tune out” the background noise and “tune in” to the Spirit’s still, small voice.

This question recently arose at a conference at which I spoke—I do not recall which one, and it does not particularly matter. I try to collect the question and answer cards so that I can address those that we do not get to during the conference, and this one was at the top of the pile on my desk.

Allegorical interpretation is pervasive in the church today.

That this use of 1 Kings 19 is so widely accepted is a testament to the pervasiveness of allegorical interpretation of Scripture among evangelicals and even among those who profess the Reformed faith. Beginning in the third century (at least), there began to develop a way of reading Scripture that sought to ask and answer from a passage what it says about faith (doctrine), hope (eschatology), and love (ethics).

These are good questions, but the way by which the answers were often derived in the (late) Patristic and medieval periods were found wanting by the Reformers. They criticized this approach to Scripture because it sometimes assumed that a text must have embedded within it multiple senses. Second, the Reformers criticized it because it tended to ignore the literal or historical sense of the text in favor of one of the figurative (doctrinal, eschatological, or moral) senses. It was not that they did not know that there was a historical sense (they did), but that too often it was less interesting to them than the putative, figurative senses. They were less interested in what the text intended to say in its original context or even in its broader redemptive-historical context.

The attraction of the figurative senses is as strong today as it was then. The real question behind the search for the figurative senses is: what does the text mean to me or for me? It is one thing to ask, “What does this passage, taken in its original context, accounting for the intent of the human author—so far as possible—and the divine author—so far as the text allows us to determine it—teach us about what we ought to believe, for what we ought to hope, and how we ought to live?” and quite another to ignore the original context or worse, mention that context and then apply it as though the original context and intent is irrelevant.

In some ways, the latter approach is even more dangerous because it is practically identical to the first but covers itself with a fig leaf of respectability. In truth, neither approach cares to allow original intent or the original context to govern how the text is understood and applied. To move from 1 Kings 19 to post-canonical “still, small voices” is an allegorical reading (i.e., a figurative interpretation seeking a doctrine) of which Origen or Ambrose of Milan would be proud. [1]

We are not Elijah. 

I doubt that John Chrysostom used this text this way, because he was so committed to the original intent and context of the text of Scripture. The first point to be made here is that you and are not Elijah. This passage is not about you or me. It speaks to us about how God delivered Elijah, but it is not about us. The proper approach to Scripture is not to haul it out of its context but rather, as Michael Horton has taught us, for us to seek to find ourselves in God’s story of redemption.

1 Kings 19 tells the story of the consequences of Elijah’s slaughter of the prophets of Baal, of the wrath of an ungodly ruler (Jezebel), and Elijah’s unbelieving response. Jezebel had sworn a covenant, an oath “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow” (1 Kings 19:2; ESV). This was a blood oath. This is the same sort of oath Yahweh himself had implied when he walked between the pieces (Gen. 15). Elijah was terrified (v. 3). He knew what such an oath meant. He was depressed (vv. 4–8). It is in this context that Scripture says that the Word of Yahweh came to him (v. 9).

The God of the covenant, who himself had sworn a covenant to redeem his people, queried him, and Elijah laid out his complaint to the Lord, that he, Yahweh, was falling down on the job by allowing his prophets to be killed and persecuted (vv. 9–10). Yahweh responded by instructing him to stand on a mount “before Yahweh.” A great wind passed by, an earthquake shook the earth, and fire raged, but Yahweh was said not to be “in” them. Counterintuitively, he was, however, in “the still, small voice.”

God is faithful to his promises.

The point of the passage is that Yahweh defied Elijah’s expectations. He was no less sovereign than he had been when he slayed the prophets of Baal or when he had defeated Pharaoh. His point was that, despite Elijah’s unbelief and fear, he was fulfilling his promise. He was with Elijah. He was not done saving his people. He had not abandoned them. Elijah was wrong. He was not alone. There were yet 7,000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal (v.18).

The intent of the passage is not to teach a doctrine or practice of secret revelation or private guidance. The point of the passage is Yahweh’s faithfulness to his promises. Nothing in this passage suggests that we should be listening for a “still, small voice” from Yahweh.

The point is that salvation comes in unexpected ways. It would be a far better application of this passage to say that Jesus is God’s still, small voice. The Jews were looking for a Messiah with earthly, political, and military power. They would not accept a crucified and risen Messiah. Like the “still, small voice,” God the Son incarnate was unexpected and unsatisfactory. People often ignore the fact that Elijah continued to complain after the “still, small, voice.” He wanted more.

At the conference the objection was made that God is still able to speak in still, small voices. Certainly, but the objection misses the point. He is also able to use his prophets to slaughter false prophets, chase his prophets into the wilderness, and use his prophets to install kings. He is also capable of speaking into nothing and making worlds. God is what he is. What God is able to do is beside the point. What matters here is what God has promised to do and what he has commanded us to do.

God’s Word written is sufficient for the Christian faith and the Christian life.

God has nowhere promised to reveal himself privately, directly, specifically apart from his Holy Scriptures. God’s Word written is sufficient for the Christian faith and the Christian life. Sola scriptura. Everything we need to know, to believe, is revealed in his Word. Everything we need to know to live the Christian life, all the guidance we need is in his Word.

The abuse of 1 Kings 19:12 presumes that Scripture is not sufficient. The truth is that God is not going to tell you directly, privately, through a “still, small voice” whether to attend this college or that, whether to take this job or that, or to marry this person or not. He has commanded us to work. He has told us to fulfill our vocation in this world, to love God with all our faculties and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Education is a good thing. Which school to attend is a prudential judgment. Which person to marry comes down to the way one answers some important questions: is your intended a believer? Are you prepared to live with and love this person for the rest of your life?”

Asking God for special, extra-biblical revelation is not only unwise, it marginalizes God’s Word and seeks to know what is secret, what is hidden (Deut. 29:29) at the expense of what has already been revealed. Perhaps we seek extra-biblical revelation because we are dissatisfied with what God has already said?

Whatever the reason, believer, know that you are free to live your life without the bondage of the “still, small voice.” Unless you are Elijah the Prophet (and you are not) there is no such thing. The good news is that God has revealed his Word and his moral will and we are free in Christ to follow that Word and to obey his will, in union with Christ, in communion with his church.

More Resources:

1.     “The Secret of Knowing God’s Will
2.     Audio: 
The Secret of Knowing God’s Will (1)
3.     Audio: 
The Secret of Knowing God’s Will (2)
4.     Audio: 
The Secret of Knowing God’s Will (3)
5.     Audio: 
The Secret of Knowing God’s Will (4)
6.    Audio:  
http://www.agradio.org/resource/a-still-small-voice


R. Scott Clark is professor of Church History and Historical Theology at Westminster Seminary California (Escondido, California) and the author of Recovering the Reformed Confession (P&R, 2008).

This article by R. Scott Clark was first published under the title “On Still Small Voices and Allegories” at https://heidelblog.net/2017/11/on-still-small-voices-and-allegories/.

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[1] I do not see the Fathers appealing to this text often. Tertullian appealed to it contra Marcion to defend the reality of divine manifestations in the OT. Matthew Henry uses the phrase to distinguish between the thundering of the law and the sweetness of the gospel. “Whenever it thunders let us think of this psalm; and, whenever we sing this psalm, let us think of the dreadful thunder-claps we have sometimes heard, and thus bring God’s words and his works together, that by both we may be directed and quickened to give unto him the glory due unto his name; and let us bless him that there is another voice of his besides this dreadful one, by which God now speaks to us, even the still small voice of his gospel, the terror of which shall not make us afraid.” Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 782.

via Should Christians Expect to Hear a “Still Small Voice” from God? — BLOG – Beautiful Christian Life

One-On-One with God | Devotional by Katy Huth Jones

The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. Ezekiel 18:20

My father was a good man in many ways, but he was an agnostic. While he lay dying from lung cancer, I tried to talk to him about spiritual things. He refused, saying, “I’m not convinced there is a God.”

As much as it broke my heart when he died denying Christ, when my oldest son renounced his faith in God in his mid-thirties, I was devastated. I had wrongly believed that all I had to do was train him up in the faith and he would remain a faithful Christian. Though my heart will always be pained at the choices my father and my son made, I can’t let their unfaithfulness destroy my steadfast faith and hope in my Savior.

In the Bible there are many instances of godly parents who had ungodly children. But there are also wicked parents whose children become faithful to God. Each of us has free will to choose or deny the Lord, apart from what our parents or children decide. God is our heavenly Father, and we are his spiritual children. That’s the family relationship that matters most.

If you have unbelieving parents or children, keep putting God first in your life. 

Your example of faithfulness may be the way to shine the light of truth for them. Our relationship with God is not dependent upon what our family members believe. We are one-on-one with our Father in heaven.

Heavenly Father, thank you for loving your creation enough to give us free will to choose to love you and devote our lives to you. Please, give us the strength to remain faithful, even if beloved family members choose otherwise. Amen.

By Katy Huth Jones
Used by Permission

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Repeated Sinning and the Hope of Forgiveness — BLOG – Beautiful Christian Life

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I recently asked a group of church members if they had ever struggled with assurance of salvation. There was an overwhelming affirmation that all had struggled in the quest for that sweet subjective assurance for which believers often long in their souls. This is not at all a strange thing in the history of the church. Many of the Reformers, Puritans, and other Reformed theologians wrote volumes to address the intricacies of this important subject.

For instance, John Owen’s The Forgiveness of Sin, William Guthrie’s The Christian’s Great Interest, John Colquhoun’s Spiritual Comfort, David Dickson and James Durham’s The Sum of Saving Knowledge, Gisbertus Voetius and Johannes Hoornbeeck’s Spiritual Desertion, and D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure were all products of pastoral concern to help believers gain and maintain the assurance of salvation.

How can a true believer commit a particular sin—sometimes repeatedly—after he or she comes to Christ?

Many who have trusted in Christ struggle deeply in their consciences over their post-conversion sins. How can a true believer commit a particular sin—sometimes repeatedly—after he or she comes to Christ? How do I know whether I have really repented of my sin if I have committed it on a recurrent basis? Have I really and truly repented if I fall into it again?

How do we reconcile the fact that the apostle John says, “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning” (1 John 3:9) with the fact that the apostle James says, “We all stumble in many ways” (James 3:2)? These and a myriad of other questions are bound up with the issue of the subjective assurance of salvation.

God has redeemed us so that we would walk in paths of righteousness. Jesus died to both the guilt and the power of sin so that those for whom he died can walk in newness of life. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,” writes the apostle, “training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12). Paul reminds believers, “for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:20). The apostle Peter explains,

And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. (1 Pet. 1:17-19)

We should have the singular goal of pursuing holiness since Christ has set us free from

the guilt of sin, and condemning wrath of God, the curse of the moral law…this present evil world, bondage to Satan, and dominion of sin; from the evil of afflictions, the sting of death, the victory of the grave, and everlasting damnation. (Westminster Confession of Faith 20.1)

The reality of indwelling sin is something with which every Christian has to grapple throughout life.

While no serious-minded Christian will ever dismiss the severity of the sin in his or her life, the reality of indwelling sin is something with which he or she will have to grapple throughout the entirety of life.

The greatest saints have been the first to acknowledge the greatness of their sin. David, on more than one occasion, admitted the variegated dimensions of his sin. For instance, in Psalm 31:10, he wrote: “For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away” (Ps. 31:10). When considering just how much sin he had committed, David concluded,

For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me.” (Ps. 40:12)

And, when he finally came to confess his post-conversion sin of adultery and premeditated murder to the Lord, in Psalm 51 he confessed: “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me” (Ps. 51:3). The Prince of the Puritan theologians, John Owen, wrote, “As no man had more grace than David, so none had a greater instance of the power of sin, and guilt upon the conscience.”[1]

When our hearts are weighed down with a sense of the guilt of our sin, we must necessarily turn the eyes of our hearts to Christ crucified.

Owen himself battled for assurance of salvation throughout various seasons of his life. It was on account of this that he wrote his magnificent discourse on Psalm 130. Toward the end of that work, Owen wrote:

Notwithstanding all your sins, all the evil that your own hearts know you to be guilty of, and that hidden mass or evil treasure of sin which is in you, which you are not able to look into; notwithstanding that charge that lies upon you from your own consciences, and that dreadful sentence and curse of the law which you are obnoxious unto; notwithstanding all the just grounds that you have to apprehend that God is your enemy, and will be so unto eternity;—yet there are terms of peace and reconciliation provided and proposed between Him and your souls….There is a way whereby sinners may come to be accepted with God; for “there is forgiveness with Him, that He may be feared.”[2]

When our hearts are weighed down with a sense of the guilt of our sin, we must necessarily turn the eyes of our hearts to Christ crucified. Owen illustratively painted the grounds of forgiveness when he wrote, “Pardon flows from the heart of the Father through the blood of the Son.”[3]The apostle John emphasized this truth when he wrote,

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness….But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John 1:8-2:1)

When we return to God in brokenness and in confidence in Christ, we will make it our renewed aim to be well-pleasing to him.

Believers must be confident in the fact that “there shall be a fountain opened…to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness” (Zech. 13:1). David was confident in the promise of God to forgive and cleanse through the blood of Christ, when he cried out, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Ps. 51:7). Jesus holds forth the cup in the Supper to assure the hearts of his people that his blood was shed for the remission of sin (Matt. 26:28).

The more we are convinced of the truth that the Father has already provided legal forgiveness through the shedding of the blood of the Son, the more readily we will go to him for the paternal forgiveness of our particular sins. The apostle Peter explained that when growth in grace and holiness is lacking in someone’s life it is because he has “forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins” (2 Pet. 1:9).

When we return to God in brokenness and in confidence that he has already provided forgiveness in the blood of Christ, we will make it our renewed aim to be well-pleasing to him. And, we will repeat this process again and again, all the days of our life, until we are “saved to sin no more.”

[3] John Owen, The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold, vol. 6 (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 510.

Related Articles:


Rev. Nick Batzig is an associate editor for Ligonier Ministries and a pastor at Wayside Presbyterian Church (PCA). He formerly served as the organizing pastor of New Covenant Presbyterian Church in Richmond Hill, Georgia.

This article is adapted from “The Hope of Forgiveness” at feedingonchrist.com.

[1] John Owen, A Practical Exposition of the Cxxx. Psalm(Ulan Press, 2012), 6.

[2] John Owen, The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold, vol. 6 (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 516.

[3] Owen, The Works, 516.

Recommended Book:

Overcoming Sin and Temptation by John Owen; edited by Kelly M. Kapic and Justin Taylor

via Repeated Sinning and the Hope of Forgiveness — BLOG – Beautiful Christian Life

February 5 – Beth: Pure living — Reformed Perspective

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” – Psalm 119:9

Scripture reading: Psalm 119:9-16

This second stanza is about being cleansed and washed in the Holy Spirit through a living faith. How can we be cleansed and washed in such a way? How will our young people be that? By being in God’s Word every day.

The psalmist makes use of the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet, beth, in an interesting way. In most of the eight verses he uses the letter in a preposition meaning “in,” “on,” or “with.” We read: with my whole heart, in my heart, with my lips, in the way, on your precepts, in your statutes. Do you see the pattern? The way to holiness and purity is to envelop our whole lives with, to give our whole hearts to and to bathe ourselves completely in seeking to do God’s will. We must dedicate our mouths, ears, eyes, minds and hearts to God and His ways. That leads to blessed purity and holiness!

It means looking to our Lord Jesus Christ. First, He is the ground of our righteousness and purity through His death on the cross. Second, He is our example to follow, showing us the way of delightful obedience. In Christ’s blood, we are made pure and in Christ’s Spirit, we make our way pure. Looking to Jesus, searching the Scriptures for Him, listening to God’s law, acting on it, we are led to pure living. O Lord, perfect us in Your love, so that we are cleansed and conformed unto Your will.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that you really devote yourself every day to being enveloped and bathed in God’s Word and law, thus seeking His will.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Slaa is pastor of the Smithers Canadian Reformed Church in British Columbia, Canada.

via February 5 – Beth: Pure living — Reformed Perspective

Clarifying the Gospel, Part 2: How the Apostles Preached Christ — Conservative Resurgence: Voices

[See Part 1 of this series.]

Although the salvation accomplished by the cross work of Jesus Christ entails multiple dimensions of deliverance—from the power of Satan, from the dominion of sin, from this present evil age, etc.—there is no greater deliverance accomplished by Christ than that which is from the looming judgment of God over humanity. Having surveyed this theme in the Old Testament, my purpose in this installment is to show that the preaching of the gospel by the apostles in the book of Acts demonstrates the same truth.

The sermons in Acts consistently build up to the same appeal for repentance/faith/baptism in light of the threat of the coming divine judgment, which will be executed by Jesus Christ, risen from the dead and now exalted to the right hand of God. This is why the forgiveness of sins is held out as the preeminent hope of those who repent and believe. Sometimes the threat of judgment is implicit, as in Acts 2:36, where Peter proclaims to the crowd gathered on the day of Pentecost, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” The threat is implicit, but still easy to spot: You who crucified God’s Messiah will have to answer for it, because he is no longer in the tomb! It’s no wonder that the crowd cries out, “Brothers, what shall we do?” (v. 37), to which Peter responds, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” In verse 40 Peter’s exhortation is summarized in as a warning: “Save yourselves from this crooked generation,” a generation destined to answer to God for its sins.

Moving ahead to chapter 10, where we have the next sermon of Peter recorded at length in the book, Peter proclaims the gospel for the first time in the Gentile world to the household and guests of Cornelius, a Roman centurion (vv. 34-43). After narrating the events of the story of Jesus’ ministry, death, and resurrection, Peter proclaims, “And [Jesus] commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (v. 42). Once again the climactic point of the sermon calls for a response of faith, holding out the promise of the forgiveness of sins as the only hope to escape the coming judgment that will be executed by the One appointed judge of the living and dead.

On their first missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas preached the gospel at the synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia. After placing the story of Jesus in context of the larger story of Israel, Paul concludes with these words from Acts 13:38-41:

Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is justified from everything from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about: ‘Look, you scoffers, be astounded and perish; for I am doing a work in your days, a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.’

Once again, the sermon builds to the promise of the forgiveness of sins in light of the coming judgment. Although Paul does not specifically use the word “judgment,” he clearly refers to it, not only by the use of the courtroom term “justified” (which the ESV weakens with the translation “freed”), but also with his warning to beware the threat of Habakkuk 1:5, which in its original context foretold of the coming judgment of God upon Israel through the Babylonians.

Another sermon of Paul is recorded in chapter 17, this one preached at the Areopagus at Athens. Here Paul does not appeal to the Hebrew Scriptures in order to set the context for understanding the story of Jesus. Instead, he appeals to his pagan audience by drawing from God’s general revelation, seeking to establish the truth that there is one God over all, and that all people are accountable to him. Luke’s record of this sermon concludes with the declaration, “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31). Once again, everything leads up to the threat of the coming judgment.

The consistent orientation of the apostolic preaching of the gospel to the coming final judgment, resulting in a call for repentance and faith in the hope of the forgiveness of sins, makes it little surprise that, when Paul speaks to the Roman governor Felix and his wife Drusilla during his imprisonment at Caesarea, Luke summarizes his message in this way: “And he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment” (Acts 24:25). Christ has died, has risen, and is now seated at the right hand of God. Therefore, know for sure that judgment is coming, and take hold of the amnesty God offers to you now before it is too late.

This message is the heart of the gospel. It is not primarily a message about how to live a better life, or a happier life. Nor is it a message about how to make the world a better place. Nor is its primary focus how to be delivered from the oppression of Satan or how to live in harmony with your neighbors. To be sure, the gospel touches all of these things and more. But as a message of salvation, there is one looming threat from which we all need to be delivered that makes all of these other matters seem paltry by comparison. And that looming threat is the impending judgment of God over this rebellious world. Thank God, there is a Mediator!

via Clarifying the Gospel, Part 2: How the Apostles Preached Christ — Conservative Resurgence: Voices