Daily Archives: March 23, 2021

42% of religious Americans report attending in-person worship at least once in the past month: Pew

As the pandemic continues, 42% of U.S. adults who identify as religious said they’ve attended worship at least once in the past month, according to the Pew Research Center.

Source: 42% of religious Americans report attending in-person worship at least once in the past month: Pew

When the State Controls the Church — CultureWatch

This pastor puts most others to shame:

Any excuse will do for the state to increase its powers. And any and all rivals must be challenged, which is why the state seeks to intimidate and dominate the church, since this is the last great obstacle to full secular power and control. Tyrants have always targeted the churches since they have always known of its desire and ability to keep the state in check.

The Rona has worked a real trick in this regard. As the state and media push alarmism and panic porn to the max, the masses have been more than happy to give up basic freedoms and human rights – all under the foolish notion of being kept ‘safe.’

And so too have most churches and church leaders. They have allowed themselves to be completely shut down for months on end – no questions asked. Most bought the hysteria and the hype and allowed themselves to effectively stop doing what God has called them to do.

Sure, most played the Zoom game, thinking that church simply amounts to a bunch of scared folks sitting at home and looking at a computer screen. Um, that might do for a week or two, but that is a great way for the church to cease to operate as a body of believers meeting together and worshipping under their Lord.

Thankfully some brave pastors have refused to let the state decide what the church can do. Some have stood up for religious freedom while so many have simply submitted, and done everything they were told to do. And some of these brave champions have already paid a heavy price.

Some of you might have seen moving photos today of one such pastor who has just been reunited with his family. After spending five full weeks in jail for daring to keep his church open, he has finally gotten out after paying a fine. One report about this story begins as follows:

Canadian pastor James Coates, who has been in jail for well over a month for holding church services amid COVID lockdowns, will be a free man this afternoon after a $1,500 fine was paid “as time served.” 

“Pastor Coates is being released. My understanding is that the $1500 fine is counted as paid already, because of the time served,” Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) lawyer Jay Cameron told LifeSiteNews.

Coates, pastor of Grace Life Church in Spruce Grove, Alberta, appeared virtually along with his legal team from the JCCF, before an Alberta provincial court judge today in Stony Plain, Alberta today.

Last Wednesday, the JCCF announced that Coates will soon be released from prison. His legal team also announced at the time that Crown prosecutors agreed to drop most of the charges leveled against him. 

Cameron confirmed with LifeSiteNews that Coates will be released this afternoon, but said that the JCCF is disappointed with some of the judge’s comments regarding Coates. 

“Our office is looking at the judge’s comments which we are disappointed in, regarding how he (Coates) was an endangerment to the community, and that he was acting irresponsibly somehow,” Cameron told LifeSiteNews.

“Pastor Coates has exercised his constitutional right to assemble and to worship, we’re disappointed that the judge made comments to the effect that these rights are not of fundamental importance under the current (COVID health restrictions) circumstances.”

Cameron told LifeSiteNews that the “Constitution is not suspended simply because of COVID, it remains in full force and effect, and the government of Alberta has yet to justify its lockdown measures, all of which are subject to a constitutional challenge.” http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-jailed-canadian-pastor-to-officially-walk-from-jail-this-afternoon-after-paying-1500-fine-as-time-served

An earlier article had offered his rationale for why he felt he must obey God rather than man:

Jailed Canadian Pastor James Coates took direct aim at government-imposed COVID-19 restrictions in Alberta in his last sermon before being locked up, saying he refuses to “give the government what isn’t theirs.” He said the government has “no jurisdiction” to tell churches what to do, adding it should repent.

“For the first time in my ministry, the government is reaching into the life of the church. That’s my domain, that’s the domain of the elders here at Grace Life Church, that’s the Lord Jesus Christ’s domain,” said Coates in a sermon titled, “Directing Government to its Duty.”

“Attempting to dictate to us the terms of worship is not the government’s jurisdiction, and I refused to give the government what isn’t theirs. Caesar has no jurisdiction here.” The sermon was Coates’ last before being jailed last week, and was given on February 14.

The article continued:

Coates said that government needs to be informed of its “God-ordained” purpose and that people have a “responsibility” to ensure leaders understand it is the church that is the pillar of truth. In his sermon, Coates noted that the “reason we’re to be subject to the governing authorities” is because all “authority is from God.”

“That means all authority originates with God, which means all authority is delegated authority, and that means the governing authorities are accountable to who? To God,” said Coates. “In other words, the governing authorities have a stewardship from God for which they will be judged. They are not autonomous, they are not sovereign they are servants of God.”…

Coates then said that if “the church refuses to fulfill this role and function,” then it’s “walking in negligence.” “I’m doing what I am doing in obedience to Christ,” noted Coates. In his sermon, Coates noted that complying with “unbiblical and unjust government laws is neither faithful nor loving.”

“Affirming the government has an authority it doesn’t actually have is neither faithful nor loving. It doesn’t demonstrate true love for those in authority, it doesn’t demonstrate true love for our neighbor, it doesn’t demonstrate true love for the church, it doesn’t demonstrate true love primarily for the Lord Jesus Christ,” said Coates.

Coates also mentioned that the “right to life,” the right to “work,” and the right to be with one’s family, especially when they are dying, are fundamental rights.

“We live in a fallen world. Viruses are inevitable in a fallen world and it isn’t the government’s responsibility to protect us from a virus. What’s their responsibility to protect our God-given rights,” said Coates.

Coates called for respect for law enforcement, but that they need “to do the right thing,” noting that he has received a lot of support from officers across the country. http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pastor-said-government-has-no-business-telling-churches-what-to-do-then-he-was-jailed

He is not the only Christian leader to stand up for his God-given rights and responsibilities. But he has become one of the more well-known figures in this battle. When the corona virus first became big news a year ago I penned a piece on this matter of churches bowing down to the state.

I raised a number of questions in that article, and also quoted Catholic commentator Matt Walsh on the issue:

I am trying to imagine a definition of “religious liberty” that includes the government closing churches indefinitely on the basis that they are not essential enough to remain open. I cannot think of one that would be at all cogent or meaningful. Indeed, it has become obvious (if it wasn’t already) that our mainstream notions of “liberty” and “rights” and “freedom” are largely nonsensical, as evidenced by the people who normally assert these concepts as absolutes but now insist that the government has the unquestioned power to lock us in our homes and shut our businesses for as long as it pleases.

Most of us, it turns out, do not have a governing philosophy or set of principles. We are slaves to our emotions. So, if the government scares us enough, we will rip the “Give me liberty or give me death” and “Don’t tread on me” bumper stickers off of our cars and stuff them in the closet while we cower alongside it. Then when the threat has passed — or at least we are told that it has passed — we will proudly affix the bumper stickers back on our bumpers again, and sing bravely about our love of freedom. billmuehlenberg.com/2020/04/01/closing-churches-during-the-corona-crises/

Some of us were warning early on that unchecked statism and the rapid demise of the church could well be the result of the corona fear-mongering being pushed on us. A year later that has certainly come to pass – big time. Yet most folks – including most Christians – have simply rolled over and played dead. Most have not said a word about the ominous direction most Western nations are now heading.

If it is this easy to shut all of our churches down, those wanting to see them closed for good must be jumping with joy. If this is a test run for how the state can finally and fully silence its main rival, we have seen the result. It is scary stuff indeed.

As James White tweeted last month:

BTW, if you are sitting there smugly saying, “There is no persecution…he had it coming…people are dying…he’s killing grandma!” let me tell you: you will be the first one in line to get the coming gov’t “Church Certificates of Compliance” when they come out, too.

You will be the first to sign up for the online “Sermon Submission and Approval” service, too. And you will be one of the first to rat out any “radical” and “non-compliant” members of the “fellowship” as well. Your type is well known in China, North Korea, etc.

Back in 1994 R. C. Sproul wrote the following: “A number of years ago I shared a taxi with Francis Schaeffer in St. Louis. During our cab ride I asked Dr. Schaeffer: ‘What is your greatest concern for the future of America?’ Without hesitation or interval given to ponder the question, Schaeffer replied simply, ‘Statism’.”

If these two men of God were alive today, I think they would be shocked at what is now occurring. They and others tried to sound the alarm. But it seems such warnings have mainly fallen on deaf ears.

When the State Controls the Church — CultureWatch

State Legislatures Must Step Up And End The Mask Tyranny

Instead of waiting around for governors and bureaucrats to allow people to breathe freely again, state legislatures should do away with oppressive and scientifically unsupported mask mandates.

Source: State Legislatures Must Step Up And End The Mask Tyranny

WH Confirms Joe Biden and Barack Obama Regularly Talk, Consult on a ‘Range of Issues’

President Joe Biden keeps in regular contact with Barack Obama to canvass his opinion on a range of issues, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

Source: WH Confirms Joe Biden and Barack Obama Regularly Talk, Consult on a ‘Range of Issues’

Holy Bible blasted as ‘bigoted document’: Equality Act ‘explicitly targets’ Scripture | WND

(Pixabay)

The Democrats’ Equality Act “explicitly targets” the Bible with provisions that erase any allowance for differences between men and women, warns Yaakov Menken, the managing director of the Coalition for Jewish Values.

He explained in an article for The Federalist that just before COVID-19 limits were imposed, some 100,000 observant American Jews filled MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and other locations across the country.

The gatherings honored religious education, called “The Siyum,” meaning “the completion.” They recognized the thousands of men – and women  – who finished a seven-and-a-half year program of Torah study. The program has been held regularly since 1931.

So what’s the issue?

The Equality Act would ban Jews from gathering to celebrate such religious education “or any other occasion, in accordance with their beliefs.”

“The reason is simple: not only prayer services, but family lifecycle events of all kinds – from circumcisions to bar mitzvahs to weddings to funerals – are commonly divided by biological sex in traditional Orthodox Judaism. This is true whether or not ceremonies are held in synagogues,” Menken explained.

But the bill classifies virtually all venues, from restaurants to catering halls and funeral homes as “public accommodations,” subjecting them to a mandatory ban on division by sex.

“This directly forbids traditional Jewish practice in any such location,” he said.

“Lest you imagine that such a Jewish event would be protected by its religious nature, the act goes out of its way — for the first time in history — to prohibit recourse to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). That law was specifically to shield religious practice from ‘laws ‘neutral’ toward religion [which] may burden religious exercise as surely as laws intended to interfere with religious exercise,'” Menken said.

“Stripping this protection from religious practice cannot be described as incidental. The Equality Act claims the notion that marriage is between a man and a woman is merely a ‘sex stereotype,’ and that opposition to same-sex marriage is inherently discriminatory. Any ‘discrimination’ on the basis of ‘gender identity’ is likewise prohibited, even in the private sector,” said Menken.

“Thus, the Equality Act explicitly targets the Bible, calling it a bigoted document filled with discriminatory stereotypes. These include the idea that male and female sexes are biological, not psychological (Genesis 1:27), created with procreation in mind (1:28), and that marriage is the unique, holy contract between man and woman forming the environment in which that procreation is intended to take place (2:24). And one cannot forget that which the Bible proscribes as an ‘abomination’ in Leviticus 18:22.

“If bigots were bent on eliminating Orthodox Judaism from American soil, it is difficult to imagine a more ruthlessly efficient tool than the Equality Act,” he wrote.

Source: Holy Bible blasted as ‘bigoted document’: Equality Act ‘explicitly targets’ Scripture

Andy Woods: Vaccines, Red Flags, and Freedom — Stand Up For The Truth

Podcast: Download

TODAY’S GUEST:  Dr. Andy Woods, author, pastor and teacher at Sugar Land Bible Church in Texas, President of Chafer Theological Seminary, and founder of Andy Woods Ministries. A few of his books: The Coming KingdomThe Falling Away, Ever Reforming, and The Middle East Meltdown: The Coming Islamic Invasion of Israel.

We discuss several ethical and moral concerns about Covid-19 vaccines; virtue signaling, being informed, the new world order, the silencing of conservative thought, and the evolution of Pope Francis’ worldview. 

Connect with Andy Woods on Facebook!

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Andy Woods: Vaccines, Red Flags, and Freedom — Stand Up For The Truth

In the aftermath of Atlanta (and now Colorado), some thoughts… — Denny Burk

There has been another mass shooting, this time in Colorado and less than a week after the mass shooting in Atlanta. Perhaps reporters and other commenters might draw some lessons from last week about how to conduct themselves this week. To that end, just a handful of thoughts about last week.

1. The shootings in Atlanta last Tuesday were unspeakable. It was two days after the shooting before I read a detailed report of the events as they unfolded in real time. And that report was truly horrific. I can hardly imagine the terror of those moments and the grief and dismay of those left behind. Grieving the loss and sympathizing with those left to pick up the pieces really ought to be the primary focus in the immediate aftermath of such an event.

2. The rush to explain and assign blame for this horrific event seems to have been a spectacular failure. As Bret Stephens has written in today’s New York Times, the racial narrative has almost nothing to support it. Andrew Sullivan has reported the same. In spite of suggestions otherwise, there has been no reporting to support the idea that killer was influenced by so-called evangelical “purity culture.” Likewise, the “church made him do it” narrative has no basis whatsoever in the facts as we know them to this point. As Rod Dreher wrote last week, “It is slanderous and inciteful on its face to blame Southern Baptist theology for these murders, with almost no evidence whatsoever.” The evidence so far does not suggest that the killer was too committed to his church’s teaching but that he wasn’t committed to it at all.

Maybe more information will come out to change our assessment on the motives of the killer. I can see where there might be a racial angle in addition to the killer’s confessed motives. But that’s just the point. The rush to judgment based on predetermined narratives and not based on facts is a fool’s errand. It leads to false accusation and bearing false witness. I guess I kind of expect this from secular ideologues and propagandists. That so many Christians got caught up in these baseless accusations is more than a little disappointing.

3. One of the most grievous parts of the story is that the killer was a professed Christian and a member of a Southern Baptist Church. As best I can tell, this church has responded to the killings in an exemplary way. They have done exactly what you would hope a faithful church would do if one of its members committed a heinous crime. They read the names of the victims during their worship service on Sunday and mourned their loss. They released a statement last week (which has since been updated) lamenting the suffering of the victims and their families, and they spoke with moral clarity about the killings. An excerpt:

We want to be clear that this extreme and wicked act is nothing less than rebellion against our Holy God and His Word. Aaron’s actions are antithetical to everything that we believe and teach as a church. In the strongest possible terms, we condemn the actions of Aaron Long as well as his stated reasons for carrying out this wicked plan. The shootings were a total repudiation of our faith and practice, and such actions are completely unacceptable and contrary to the gospel.

No blame can be placed upon the victims. He alone is responsible for his evil actions and desires. The women that he solicited for sexual acts are not responsible for his perverse sexual desires nor do they bear any blame in these murders. These actions are the result of a sinful heart and depraved mind for which Aaron is completely responsible.

No “purity culture” there, just a simple biblical understanding of sin and judgment. They followed scriptural commands concerning discipline and excommunicated the killer on Sunday and explained

These actions do not in any way reflect the biblical character of a true follower of Jesus Christ and member of His Church. In accordance with the biblical pattern and our church bylaws, Crabapple First Baptist Church has completed the process of church discipline to remove Robert Aaron Long from membership since we can no longer affirm that he is truly a regenerate believer in Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 5).

Finally, they shared the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. What else can you ask of a church in the midst of an event like this? I can hardly think of anything more they could have done. The rush to condemn the church and its teaching appears to have been totally baseless.

4. Maybe the best advice for all of us in the immediate aftermath of an event like this one is the familiar word from James:

James 1:19-20: “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

It’s probably best to admit when we don’t know what we don’t know and that it’s morally hazardous to fill in the gaps of our knowledge with a predetermined narrative. That is a tendentious, opportunistic mode of argument that cannot lead anywhere good.

In the aftermath of Atlanta (and now Colorado), some thoughts… — Denny Burk

‘He Loved His Family and His Lord Jesus’: Police Officer Among 10 Killed During Shooting at CO Supermarket — Faithwire

Ten people, including a police officer, were killed after a gunman opened fire in a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado Monday afternoon.

The shooting started in the parking lot of King Soopers before police say the suspect went inside. A lone gunman rained terror on the stunned shoppers, sending them scrambling for safety. 

Hart Van Denburg/Colorado Public Radio via AP
People are led out of a King Soopers grocery store after a shooting in the store, Monday, March 22, 2021, in Boulder, Colo. (Hart Van Denburg/Colorado Public Radio via AP)

Dozens in the store were running for their lives and taking cover. Supermarket employee Andy Arellano told ABC News that he couldn’t forget the terror of that moment. 

“We were like sitting ducks, you know, and that’s one thing that I’m reliving it and looking at it in my head,” said Arellano. “And that, that bothers me, I’m still shivering, I’m still shaking.”

About an hour later, police emerged with a bloody shirtless man in handcuffs. Police arrested the suspect but did not reveal his name or a possible motive for the shooting. 

The officer who died was 51-year-old Eric Talley, an 11-year veteran of the Boulder Police Department.  

“We know of 10 fatalities at the scene, including one of our Boulder PD officers by the name of Eric Talley, who has been on the Boulder Police Department since 2010,” said Police Chief Maris Herold. 

“My heart goes out to the victims of this incident and I’m grateful for the police officers that responded,” Herold added, calling Talley’s actions “heroic” while holding back tears. “I am so sorry about the loss of Officer Talley.”

Skillet Frontman John Cooper: Cardi B’s Grammy Performance Shows How Culture Is Redefining Good and Evil

https://www.faithwire.com/2021/03/19/skillet-frontman-john-cooper-cardi-bs-grammy-performance-shows-how-culture-is-redefining-good-and-evil/embed/#?secret=MjGYFdguh3

Officer Talley, who was first on the scene, had seven children, said his father Homer Talley. “Above all else, he loved his family and his Lord Jesus Christ,” he added.

Jeremy Herko, who described himself as a friend of Talley’s, wrote on Facebook, “He was a devout Christian, he had to buy a 15-passenger van to haul all his kids around, and he was the nicest guy in the world. I’ve known him since we went to the academy together, and we talked all the time. Please keep his wife and kids in your thoughts.”   

Additionally, Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty vowed to deliver justice to everyone impacted by the tragic incident. 

“These were people going about their day, doing their shopping,” Dougherty said. “I promise the victims and the people of the state of Colorado that we will secure justice.”

AP Photo/Joe Mahoney
Police outside a King Soopers grocery store where a shooting took place Monday, March 22, 2021, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

Andrew Hummel, who was shopping in the store prior to the shooting, was able to safely get out once he heard the gunshots.

“I pray that everybody impacted by this is doing all right,” Hummel said.

The police department is working to identify the other victims and the shooter’s motive.

Colorado’s Acting U.S. Attorney, Matthew Kirsch pledged for “the full weight of federal law enforcement” to support the investigation. He said investigators from the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives were at the crime scene.

‘He Loved His Family and His Lord Jesus’: Police Officer Among 10 Killed During Shooting at CO Supermarket — Faithwire

Leaked Docs Show Obama FTC Gave Google Its Monopoly After Google Execs Helped Obama Get Re-Elected — Christian Research Network

“Perhaps the most stunning takeaway in the 2012 documents is the extent to which the recommendations of the FTC’s lawyers sharply differed from those of the agency’s economists, on whose judgment the FTC commissioners ultimately relied in their decision to drop the investigation into Google.”

(Rachel Bovard)  Eight years ago, the Federal Trade Commission had the chance to face down Google — the giant of Silicon Valley whose power now alters the free flow of information at a global scale, distorts market access for businesses large and small, and changes the nature of independent thought in ways the world has never experienced.

Instead, the FTC blinked — and blinked hard, choosing to close the investigation in early 2013. A remarkable leak to Politico of agency documents about the 2012 Google investigation reveals that, despite ample evidence of market distortions and threats to competition presented by the agency’s lawyers, the five commissioners of the FTC deferred instead to speculative claims by their economists. View article →

Leaked Docs Show Obama FTC Gave Google Its Monopoly After Google Execs Helped Obama Get Re-Elected — Christian Research Network

Oxymoron Christians — The Watchman’s Bagpipes

I have said over and over that REAL Christians should never vote for Democrats. And yet we have a groups called “Evangelicals For Biden” who wonder why he didn’t give them what they wanted.  They got what they voted for — an anti-Christian, anti-God government.

Oxymoron Christians — The Watchman’s Bagpipes

March 23 Morning Quotes of The Day

Avoid Too Much Food and Too Much Sleep
Proverbs 6:10; 23:1–2, 20–21; 24:33

The hiccupping of those who are loaded with wine, and the snortings of those who are stuffed with food, and the snoring rolled in the bed-clothes, and the rumblings of pained stomachs, cover over the clear-seeing eye of the soul, by filling the mind with ten thousand fantasies. And the cause is too much food, which drags the rational part of man down to a condition of stupidity. For much sleep brings advantage neither to our bodies nor our souls; nor is it suitable at all to those processes which have truth for their object, although agreeable to nature.

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA

Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Early Church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

The Richness of the Church
Romans 12:4–5; 1 Corinthians 12:1–11; Ephesians 2:19–22

It is impossible, Bible in hand, to limit Christ’s Church to one’s own little community. It is everywhere, in all parts of the world; and whatever its external form, frequently changing, often impure, yet the gifts wherever received increase our riches.

ABRAHAM KUYPER

Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Modern church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

March 23 Morning Verse of The Day

33:19 my goodness … my name. Though the visible magnificence of this theophany is apparent from the text, the emphasis falls on a revelation to Moses of God’s sovereign, gracious, and compassionate nature (cf. 34:5–7). In Jesus Christ, the glory of the gracious and compassionate God that was withheld even from Moses is displayed to believers through the Spirit (John 1:14; 2 Cor. 3:18).

to whom … on whom. The Lord is sovereign in His purposes of mercy (Rom. 9:14–16). See “The Purpose of God: Predestination and Foreknowledge” at Mal. 1:2.[1]


33:19 the name of Yahweh’ Yahweh has already revealed His name to Moses (3:14). In ot theology, the “name” (shem) of God was another way to refer to the person of God Himself (e.g., Isa 24:15; 30:27; Prov 18:10; Psa 75:1).[2]


33:19 The Lord’s words appear to be a response to Moses’ requests—that the Lord would show him his ways (v. 13) and his glory (v. 18). The description points forward to the event of the Lord’s self-declaration that is to come: “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord’ (see 34:5–6) … I will be gracious … and will show mercy” (see 34:6). Paul cites this in Rom. 9:15 to show that, when God shows mercy, it is because he has chosen to do so.

33:19 God as sovereign works his will in election (Rom. 9:15).[3]


33:19 — “ … I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

God consistently reveals Himself as a God of grace and compassion—something that greatly comforts us during difficult times or when we sin or make errors in judgment. It’s a promise we can always count on.[4]


33:19 Amazingly, the Lord responded positively. My goodness speaks of the sense of the wonder of God, of His divine attributes, of His essential worth and majesty. Proclaim the name of the Lord: The name of God is the expression of His person, who He is. be gracious … have compassion: The Lord’s sovereignty is paramount in His dealings with people. God can do anything He wants. Yet, in His mercy, He responded to Moses’ plea. What a great gift this is: The Creator of the universe tenderly granting the audacious request of His servant (Ps. 40:1).[5]


Ver. 19. I will be gracious.—Election no discouragement to seeking souls:—Because God is the Maker, and Creator, and Sustainer of all things, He has a right to do as He wills with all His works.

  1. Let us begin with this assertion, which we are absolutely sure is correct: this doctrine does not oppose any comfort derived from other scriptural truths. There is not the slightest shadow of a conflict between God’s sovereignty and God’s goodness. He may be a sovereign, and yet it may be absolutely certain that He will always act in the way of goodness and love. It is true that He will do as He wills; and yet it is quite certain that He always wills to do that which, in the widest view of it, is good and gracious.
  2. That this doctrine has a most salutary effect upon sinners. To the awakened sinner, next to the doctrine of the Cross, the doctrine of distinguishing grace is perhaps the most fraught with blessings and comfort.
  3. In the first place, the doctrine of election, applied by the Holy Ghost, strikes dead for ever all the efforts of the flesh.
  4. Again, this doctrine gives the greatest hope to the really awakened sinner.
  5. Moreover, do not you see how the doctrine of election comforts the sinner in the matter of power. His complaint is, “I find I have no power to believe; I have no spiritual power of any kind.” Election stoops down and whispers in his ear “But if God wills to save you, He gives the power, gives the life, and gives the grace; and therefore since He has given that power and might to others as weak as you, why not to you? Have courage, look to the Cross of Christ and live.” And oh! what emotions of gratitude, what throbbings of love does this doctrine cause in human hearts. I wanted to have said a word as to the effect of this gospel upon incorrigible sinners. If you are ever to be pardoned, God must do it. (C. H, Spurgeon.)

Moral glory:

How precious is the thought suggested by this—that when God is seen to be most good to His creatures, He is then seen to be most glorious in the universe; that the glory and the goodness of God are so connected together that where the one is most revealed, the other shines in its richest splendour. Not power in creating, not justice in punishing, but goodness in saving, sets forth most the glory of God. Creation is the mirror of His power; Sinai is the pedestal of His justice; but Calvary is the scene of His goodness, and therefore of His great glory. And we all know that great genius may make us wonder, great riches may make us envy, great strength may startle us; but great goodness rises upon the soul with an influence like the sun in his shining light, making us love as well as admire, and reverence, and esteem. Lost as man is, goodness is still most impressive on the heart of the very worst. Even with all our depravity, who does not admire Howard, the philanthropist, vastly more than Byron, the poet? There may have been little genius in Howard, as the world calls genius, but there was a beneficence that went into the retreats of fever, into the lairs of vice, shut its eyes to monumental remains of ancient days, and opened his heart only to the cry of them that were appointed to die. And when one hears what he did, and what he dared under the inspiration of goodness, one is not awed, but charmed and delighted, with the character of Howard. But when we see, on the other hand, great genius—and one cannot but admire such a genius as that gifted nobleman had—we wonder at the greatness and the versatility of intellect; but when that intellect was used only to scathe, and to wither, and to blast, we look upon it in the same way as upon the sirocco in the desert, we are rather terrified at it, or retreat from it, or would rather wish we should not see it at all. But how complete is the contrast between goodness in a Howard, and mere power in a Byron! And is there one in this assembly that would not infinitely rather take the example of Howard as his model, than wish the power of Byron to be his possession? But this is in the human, and I quote it in the human only to show you more clearly the truth I am trying to teach; that not the manifestation of power, not the manifestation of justice, but the manifestation of goodness, is the most impressive on the heart. (J. Cumming, D.D.)[6]


19. Proclaim before you my name. God’s revelation will be of his ‘name’ (that is, his nature) proclaimed in terms of his deeds to man. God’s nature is here defined as ‘goodness’ (Heb. ṭûb), and this is further described in terms of ‘grace’ and ‘mercy’. Driver rightly says that the object of this divine grace and mercy is sinful Israel: without this quality of ‘loving-kindness’ as God’s basic characteristic, Israel would be utterly lost. See Hyatt for various meanings of ṭûb in the Bible. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious. Romans 9:15 quotes this verse with reference to the sovereignty of God. Israel can only marvel that she has been chosen as an object for divine mercy, for she cannot explain it in any human terms. Commentators point out that the Hebrew phrase used here does not imply any abrupt arbitrariness on the part of God, as its English translation might suggest. It simply draws attention to the fact that these are qualities of God which may be seen in certain specific historic instances, without going into further detail.[7]


19. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass. At the outset He declares how far He has listened to Moses; but a limitation is presently added to prevent excess. Thus his prayer is not altogether rejected, but only so far as he was too eagerly set on beholding the perfection of God’s glory. The passing by signifies a vision of brief duration; as if He had said, Let it suffice thee to have seen once, as for a moment, my glory, when it shall pass before thine eyes. The word טוב, tub, which I have rendered beauty, (decorem,) others translate good, (bonum😉 and hence, some take it to mean goodness; but the expression beauty (pulchritudinis, vel decoris) is more suitable, in which sense we find it used more than once. Hence that which is pleasing and delectable is said to be good to be looked upon.

“To call in the name of the Lord,” I understand thus, to declare in a clear and loud voice what it is useful for us to know respecting God Himself. It had been said before to Moses, “I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob,—but by my name,—was I not known to them.” (Exod. 6:3.) Whereas, then, Moses was already superior to the patriarchs, he is now still more highly exalted, inasmuch as God makes Himself more fully known to him, and carries His manifestation of Himself to its very utmost. First, therefore, it must be borne in mind that God was now known to Moses more familiarly than heretofore; still, at the same time, let it be observed, that although a vision was exhibited to his eyes, the main point was in thethe voice; because true acquaintance with God is made more by the ears than by the eyes. A promise indeed is given that he shall behold God; but the latter blessing is more excellent, that God will proclaim His name, so that Moses may know Him more by His voice than by His face; for speechless visions would be cold and altogether evanescent, did they not borrow efficacy from words. Thus, therefore, just as logicians compare a syllogism to the body, and the reasoning, which it includes, to the soul; so, properly speaking, the soul of a vision is the doctrine itself, from whence faith takes its rise.

and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious. It will be well to consider how this sentence is connected with the foregoing, which has been either altogether neglected, or not sufficiently attended to. As to me, although I think that God’s mercy is magnified by the fact, that He deals so indulgently to this guilty people, still I have no doubt but that He desired purposely to cut off occasion from the audacity of men, lest they should exclaim against His unwonted and as yet unheard of liberality; for, whether God executes His judgments, or mercifully pardons sins, profane men never cease to quarrel with Him; thus, out of mere disputatiousness, they ask why He delayed the advent of His Son for so many ages; why He has deigned to bring forth the light of the Gospel out of darkness in our own days; nay, they take flight even to the creation of the world, inasmuch as it seems absurd to them that God should have been idle for so many ages, and therefore they inquire, in ridicule, why it at length entered His mind to make the world, which has not yet reached its sixth millennium? Especially, however, does the frowardness of many advance beyond all due bounds on this point, viz., because the reason does not appear, why God should be merciful to one nation or one age, and severe both to other ages and other nations. Hence the admirable counsel of God, whereby He has chosen some, and reprobated others, has always been exposed to the calumnies of ungodly men; for unless they see the cause of the diversity, they do not hesitate to condemn the injustice of God in making this distinction between the two.2 God here checks this insanity, and asserts His power, which men, or rather worms of the earth, would gladly deprive Him of, viz., that according to His own will He exercises peculiar mercy towards whomsoever He pleases. When the Prophet relates how the fathers obtained possession of the land of Canaan, he assigns no other reason except that God “had a favour unto them.” (Ps. 44:3.) And this doctrine, which filthy dogs endlessly assail with their barking, everywhere occurs in the Scriptures. Especially, however, do they rail when God shews Himself to be propitious, and beneficent towards the unworthy. For this reason Paul reminds believers of the incomprehensible counsel of God, because, by the preaching of the Gospel, He revealed the mystery, which was kept secret from all eternity. (Rom. 16:25.) Again, because by ingrafting the Gentiles into the body of the Church, from which they had so long been aliens, He commends the depths of that mystery, which, though hidden even from angels, He made known to all men in the fulness of time. (Eph. 3:9.) With the same intent, He here expressly declares that the cause why He manifests Himself to Moses more fully than of old to the patriarchs, is only to be sought in His own counsel or good-pleasure. Now, although this in the first place relates to Moses, still, inasmuch as he beheld the glory of God for the common good of the people, this mercy, which is referred to, extends to them all. And assuredly it was an inestimable proof of God’s grace that, after this most disgraceful fall and wicked apostasy of the people, He nevertheless revealed Himself more clearly than before to Moses for their spiritual good. This, indeed, is certain, that by this reply a restraint is put upon whatever carnal feelings might allege in consideration of the novelty of the act; as if God had declared in one word that the dispensation of His grace is in His own sole power; and that men not only do amiss, but are carried away by impious and blasphemous madness when they endeavour to interfere with Him; as if it were their business to arraign that supreme Judge whose subjects they are. The mode of expression simply tends to this, that God’s will is superior to all causes, so as to be the reason of all reasons, the law of laws, and the rule of rules. And surely, as long as men permit themselves to inquire into the secret counsels of God, there will be no bounds to their seditiousness. God, therefore, does not correct this insanity by disputing with it, but by the assertion of His right to be free in the dispensation of His grace; for in His sovereignty He says that He will be merciful to whomsoever He will. Let us beware, then, lest, when He is kind, our eyes should be evil.

Further, the better to convince dissatisfied men of their pride and temerity, He sets forth His mercy and compassion; as much as to say, that He is under obligation to none; and hence that it is an unworthy thing in them to murmur, because He does not indiscriminately do good to them to whom He owes nothing. Hence it is clear how appropriately Paul, when treating of gratuitous election, accommodates this passage to the matter in hand, (Rom. 9:15,) viz., that God must be by no means accounted unjust, because He passes by some and elects others; for the words loudly proclaim that God’s grace is destined to a certain number of men, so as not to appear equally in all. The phrase itself needs no exposition, for it is common in all languages when we wish to prevent our reasons from being investigated, to repeat the point in question; thus, a person, wishing to rid himself of the censures of others, would say, I will go whither I will go, or I will do what I will do.[8]


19. Observe, God’s glory in the salvation of sinners is his goodness; Jesus is the Father’s glory. Heb. 1:3.[9]


And the Lord said, “I (at my initiative and under my control) will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence” (33:19). ‘Goodness’ and ‘name’ are substituted for ‘glory’. Moses is not going to be exposed to the full intensity of the divine radiance, but he is going to learn all that can be known about the Lord’s covenant dealings with his people. ‘Goodness’ points to the benefits God sovereignly bestows on those whom he calls to himself. What this involves is spelled out in 34:6–7. Moses will also be permitted to hear the divine name, that is, what has been revealed of God’s nature and essence. There is a change from what is visible and perceptible to what is verbal, requiring the inner acceptance of faith before it can be comprehended. ‘Pass’ indicates that this privileged experience is to be transient. It will be a time of special blessing, which Moses is not going to be permitted to enjoy for the rest of his earthly life.

The Lord emphasises the inscrutability of his grace. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. There is no humanly accessible logic that can explain why the Lord works in the way he does, either at the level of his showing favour to mankind who are in rebellion against him or at the level of the individuals he calls to himself. The contemplation of the divine name emphasises the wonder of his mercy and of his compassion. For ‘mercy’, see on ‘gracious’ (34:6), and for ‘compassion’, see on ‘compassionate’ in the same verse. The repetitive nature of the expression is an emphatic device to bring out the sovereignty of God’s action (Rom. 9:15; see discussion at 3:14). There is no formula that can predict the recipients of his mercy.[10]


[1] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 144). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[2] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ex 33:19). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 199). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Ex 33:19). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[5] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 143). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[6] Exell, J. S. (n.d.). The Biblical Illustrator: Exodus (pp. 577–578). New York: Anson D. F. Randolph & Company.

[7] Cole, R. A. (1973). Exodus: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 2, pp. 235–236). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[8] Calvin, J., & Bingham, C. W. (2010). Commentaries on the Four Last Books of Moses Arranged in the Form of a Harmony (Vol. 3, pp. 377–381). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[9] Hawker, R. (2013). Poor Man’s Old Testament Commentary: Genesis–Numbers (Vol. 1, p. 385). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[10] Mackay, J. L. (2001). Exodus (p. 558). Fearn, Ross-shire, Great Britain: Mentor.

His Great Agony – Daily Devotional from Truth For Life

Behold the great Apostle and High Priest of our profession, and sweat even to blood rather than yield to the great tempter of your souls.

His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Luke 22:44

The mental pressure arising from our Lord’s struggle with temptation so forced his frame to an unnatural excitement that his pores sent forth, as it were, great drops of blood, which fell down to the ground. This proves how tremendous must have been the weight of sin, that it was able to crush the Savior to this extent! This demonstrates the mighty power of His love.

It is a very helpful observation that the sap, which exudes from the tree without it being cut, is always the best. This precious camphor tree yielded sweet spices when it was wounded by the whips and pierced by the nails on the cross; but consider how it produces its best spice when there is no whip, no nail, no wound. This presents the voluntariness of Christ’s sufferings, since without a lance the blood flowed freely. No need to put on the leech or apply the knife; it flows spontaneously. No need for the rulers to cry, “Spring up, O well”; of itself it flows in crimson torrents.

When men suffer great pain of mind, the blood apparently rushes to the heart. The cheeks are pale; a fainting fit comes on; the blood has gone inward as if to nourish the inner man while passing through its trial. But look at Christ in His agony; he is so utterly oblivious of self that instead of His agony driving His blood to the heart to nourish Himself, it drives it outward falling to the ground. The agony of Christ, inasmuch as it pours Him out upon the ground, pictures the fullness of the offering that He made for men.

Can we fathom how intense the wrestling must have been through which he passed, and will we not hear its voice to us? “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”1 Behold the great Apostle and High Priest of our profession, and sweat even to blood rather than yield to the great tempter of your souls.

1) Hebrews 12:4

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

  • — Read on www.truthforlife.org/resources/daily-devotionals/3/23/1/
  • Magnify the Lord — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

    “O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.”  Psalm 34:3 (KJV)

    Self-righteousness, self-justification and self-sufficiency do not magnify the Lord’s sacrifice, redemption, and atonement for us on the cross.

    It is only through brokenness, humility, and repentance that we can fully magnify who the Lord is and what He has done in our lives. For it is out of our poverty that we magnify His riches; it is out of our smallness that we magnify His greatness; it is out of our frailty that we magnify His power; it is out of our need that we magnify His fullness; it is out of our flaws that we magnify His perfection; it is out of our deficiency that we magnify His abundance; it is out of our unworthiness that we magnify His mercies; it is out of our imperfection that we magnify His beauty; it is out of our weakness that we magnify His strength; it is out of our insufficiency that we magnify His grace.

    God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 (NKJV)

    By Roy Lessin
    Used by Permission


    FURTHER READING

    •  A Moving Mountain – Have you ever heard of a mountain moving a person?
    •  Searching for a Higher Purpose – Betty Lau shares her story

    Learn more about knowing Jesus at: https://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/


    Magnify the Lord — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

    Works of Beauty — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

    “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, to do good work.”  Ephesians 2:10

    Do you see yourself as a hammer or as a poem? a chisel or as a Michelangelo-like masterpiece?  The words “workmanship” and “works” are frequently defined in utilitarian ways, i.e., God has created us to be useful tools for the purpose of carrying out functional purposes.

    It is interesting, however, that the Greek word used for workmanship is the root for the English word “poem.” How different would be our reactions if we viewed ourselves and others as beautifully created and crafted paintings, sculptures or works of literature? God, the Master Designer of all things beautiful, creates and continues to refine his works of art.

    But we are not created to be merely admired by others. God intends that we are to imitate Him by helping to produce other works of art. Together, we and those to whom we add brush strokes of paint or words of a poem will cause the world to turn in awe to the Creator God.

    Father, your word says that you have made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Help me see that you have lovingly created beauty in me and you want me to be your instrument of beauty in the lives of others.

    By Marilyn Ehle
    Used by Permission


    FURTHER READING

    •  Hope for the Hopeless
    •  Good News for You

    Learn more about knowing Jesus at: https://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/

    Works of Beauty — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

    A Prayer and a Promise (Part 2 of 2) – Programs – Truth For Life

    A free gift brings joy to some of us, but not everyone reacts the same way. Our differences become especially clear when it comes to God’s gift of salvation. Learn about two completely different responses to God’s grace on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg. 
    Listen…

    The Crucifixion – Programs – Truth For Life

    When Christ’s death on the cross was recorded, little was said about the details of His physical suffering. Listen to Truth For Life as Alistair Begg explains that the Gospel writers’ focus wasn’t on Jesus the sufferer but on Christ the Savior. 
    Listen…