THERE’S NO DENYING THIS…

THERE’S NO DENYING THIS…

The root cause of every aspect of every single person’s personal, familial, social, academic, occupational, ecclesiastical, economic, mental, physical, and [fill in the blank] troubles is sin. Whether directly or indirectly; whether committed by the individual or by others; sin is the foundation of all of our woes.

Heaven is free of troubles because it, and its inhabitants, are (1) free of sin and (2) free from sin. Where there is sin, there are difficulties and miseries; where there is no sin, there is perfect peace and bliss. It is impossible to be utterly free from sin, and to be surrounded by those who are likewise utterly free from sin, and to still experience affliction or distress. Similarly, it is impossible to have sin, and to be surrounded by those who likewise have sin, and to not experience affliction or distress.

Test this truth for yourself. Look at your own life. Trace back every sorrow, every source of pain, every torment, and you will find (if you are being honest), the transgression of God’s extant law as its direct or indirect origin.
To the extent that one loves God’s law, they hate sin. Likewise, to the extent that one truly hates sin, they love God’s law. The desire of every TRUE Christian is to keep God’s commandments, to delight in his law, and to walk in His way. To the extent that they do this, there is peace, to the extent that they do not, there is woe. The question is, can this be proven biblically? The answer is, of course it can!

Psalm 119:174 “I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law [is] my delight.”

Romans 7:22 “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man…”

Psalm 119:165 “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”

Ezekiel 36:27 “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do [them].”

Revelations 22:14 “Blessed [are] they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”

John 15:10 “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and [that] your joy might be full. 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”

1 John 5:2-3 “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”

2 John 1:6 “And THIS IS love: that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.”

Romans 13:9 “For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if [there be] any other commandment, it is BRIEFLY COMPREHENDED [G346 / anakephalaioō / ἀνακεφαλαιόω: “it is summed up;” “it is condense into [the following] summary;” ‘it is gathered/condensed together…’] in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

To KEEP the extant law of God is to ‘protect it, guard it, store it up securely’ in your heart so as to do it, to obey it, as God enables. To OBEY the extant law of God requires God working in you BOTH to will, and to do, of His good pleasure. To truly (agape) LOVE anyone is to act towards them in a manner that is in complete accordance with the commands/imperatives of God. We keep perfectly, obey perfectly, delight perfectly, and love perfectly after the inward man, which cannot sin, by the Holy Spirit, and through eternal vital union with God the Son. However, in this body of death, we (due to indwelling sin) still manifestly sin. For God’s people, there is no perfection on this side of glory. And yet, for those already made perfectly holy and righteous in/by/through Christ, there is no requirement to keep the (extant) law to “get saved” or to “stay saved.” Instead, the perfect law of liberty has set us free from the bondage/dominion of sin, and has freed God’s people to be able to do what they could never do before… and that is to serve God, please God, and to obey God, all by His effectual workings and might. The Christian cannot keep/guard, obey, delight, or love perfectly in this life; however, we can pray for grace/mercy/strength to abound in these things more, and more, and more. Let us do so, Lord willing.

To God be the glory, forever and ever, amen.

Sovereignty: Comfort In The Midst Of Great Difficulty

Comfort In The Midst Of Great Difficulty

File:Job Rebuked by His Friends Butts set.jpg

“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,
ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain…”
Acts 2:23

“For my sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters.
For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.

I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.”
Job 3:24-26

The greatest evil on Earth was used to bring about the greatest good.  God the Word made flesh, never ceasing to be perfect God, was taken, mocked, scourged, and slain in an exceedingly agonizing manner — all by vile, wicked, sinners. Yes, the Lord went willingly; yes, it was so that He could atone for, be the propitiation for, His people; yes, it was to put away their sin forever, ushering in a perfect righteousness for them (guaranteeing every aspect of their salvation); all these blessed things are true but consider the actual historic moment. Consider just how savage it all was, how vicious and barbaric the abuse was. We read in Isaiah 52:14 that ‘…many were astonied at [Him]; His visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men.’ The Lord was so brutalized that Pontius Pilate could hardly believe it; we read in John 19:5 “Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And [Pilate] saith unto them, Behold the man!” — as if to say, “isn’t this enough? Look at him, look at his miserable physical condition.”

Christ, through the Messianic Psalms, also reveals to us His thoughts regarding His tormentors:

Psalm 22:12-16 “Many bulls have compassed me: strong [bulls] of Bashan have beset me round. 13 They gaped upon me [with] their mouths, [as] a ravening and a roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. 16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.”

And yet it was God the Father, Christ’s own Father, who ordained that His Son be taken, crucified, and slain in such manner. Think deeply on that. God specifically purposed this for the good of not only the elect, but for the good of The Elect. We read in Isaiah 42:1 “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; MINE ELECT, [in whom] my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.” The Lord Jesus is the Servant Son, He is The Elect of God, and God’s people are elect IN Christ. He is the Perfect One, the One without spot or blemish, the One who did no wrong, the One in Whom the Father delights. And yet, God the Father “…made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we [the elect] might be made the righteousness of God in Him,” that is, IN Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21), through His (excruciating) substitutionary work of redemption at Calvary. Again, God did this not only for our good but for Christ’s good as well for “…we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose” (Romans 8:28). Christ loves the Father (and Holy Ghost) perfectly and He is the First and Foremost Called One of God (being called from eternity unto the eternal purpose of His Father in the redemption of men). See,

John 14:31 “But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.”

Isaiah 42:1-7 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, [in whom] my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. 2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. 3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. 4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. 5 Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: 6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; 7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, [and] them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”

Let us consider carefully the wording at issue in Acts 2:23: “…being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God…”

First, we see being delivered. Ekdotos means to be given over; Christ was given over to the wicked by God the Father; God literally delivered Him up to them. However, this was not done on a whim; no… there was eternal, there was everlasting purpose to this. God says “…being delivered by the determinate…” That word in the Greek is horizō, the source of our English word horizon, and the second half of that popular Koine Greek word proorizō (to predestinate). It is in the perfect participle (verb) form meaning that it is used like an adjective to describe something that was completed in the past, once and for all, not needing to be performed again, but with the results/effect continuing into the present and/or beyond. In modern English, it would be translated in this instance as determinating, or determining, or ordaining. The idea is that God the Father marked out the scope, boundary, limit, and thus the entirety of Christ’s ordeal in light of whatever the word determinate is modifying. God precisely decreed every aspect of this delivering over of the Lord Jesus. He appointed it in such an exact manner, that no aspect of it could have fallen short of fruition, and no facet could have gone beyond the scope and boundaries He thoroughly set.

The question we must ask now is what is determinate modifying? What word is in view here, that is governed by such divine precision? We see that determinate is modifying the word counsel (boulē). Though the word does mean counsel, it directly relates to will, or volition. It is basically indicative of one’s will and purpose as part of an overall plan. Boulē is the noun form of the verb boulomai which means to will deliberately, to have a purpose, to be minded. So God is telling us that the giving over or delivering up of the Lord Jesus, was a once and for all, one time act, with everlasting consequences. It was a perfectly and precisely designed act (laid out with scope, intent, and limits) brought about by His sovereign will (volition) as it relates to His overall divine purpose. This was precision work. God the Father knew every aspect of every detail of every moment the Lord would endure. Everything that happened to Christ, every single thing, was under the complete control and ordaining (providential) will of God.

Yet, the Holy Spirit drives this home even further. He doesn’t just stop with determinant counsel but goes on to speak of (determinant) foreknowledge as well. God didn’t just know precisely what He was doing around the time He was doing it; God has always intimately and perfectly known what He would do. This is a foreknowledge that has always been from eternity; it is part of God’s everlasting purpose and eternal plan. The word foreknowledge (prognōsis; the source of our English words prognosis and prognosticate), means knowledge beforehand, prearrangement, forethought. It is a noun deriving from the verb proginōskō, which means to have (deep, intimate) knowledge of beforehand; to foreknow. Perhaps the most common use of proginōskō is found in Romans 8:29 “For whom He did foreknow [proginōskō/G4267], He also did predestinate [proorizō/G4039 mentioned above] [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Note that this knowledge (the root being ginōskō) is indeed that same type of intimate knowledge spoken of in  the following passages:

Matthew 1:24-25 “Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew [ginōskō/G1097] her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.”

Matthew 7:21-23 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?And then will I profess unto them, I never knew [ginōskō/G1097] you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

1 Corinthians 8:3 “But if any man love God, the same is known [ginōskō/G1097] of him.

So again we see that everything that happened to the Lord Jesus Christ during his Passion was in total accordance with the preexisting plan (or course) of action that God the Father meticulously laid out, and brought to pass, in accordance with His sovereign will and purpose, which He foreknow from before the world was. And how do we know that God designed it all, and purposed it all, and foreknew it all before man was even made, and before this world had either form or existence? God makes it clear to us as follows:

Revelation 13:8 “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Ephesians 1:3-9 “Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated [proorizō/G4039] us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself…

Titus 1:1-2 “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; 2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began….”

1 Peter 1:17-20 “And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning [here] in fear: 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you…”

Ephesians 3:9-11 “And to make all [men] see what [is] the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly [places] might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:

Remember that I stated “God the Father, Christ’s own Father, ordained that His Son would be taken, crucified, and slain by the wicked. God specifically purposed this for the good of not only the elect, but for the good of The Elect.” God the Father ordained all of these things primarily for the good of the Lord Jesus Christ, and not (first and foremost) for the good of those in Christ, though it clearly is for the good of those who are IN Christ Jesus. Through the Passion, through the harsh betrayal and the grotesque brutality, mockings, and blasphemies that God not only foreknew and foreordained, but manifested providentially by way of the wickedness within man, good came to Christ. The evil hour was followed by a blessed one. The Father led the Son through the Fire so as to bring Him out of it manifestly more blessed, and more glorified, than before (seeing that the Body was cleansed, and the Bride was made whole). 

In light of all of this child of God, consider your own adversities, aren’t they for –your– perfect good, and for -your- blessing, delivered to you (providentially) by your Father’s sovereign hand? Consider your own sorrows, miseries, sins, failures, agonies, frustrations, and so on. Think of your fear, despair, anxiety, and depression. Think of the betrayals you’ve endured, the loneliness, the letdowns, the abandonment. Think of the injustices, the cruelties, the ridicule, the slander you’ve experienced. Think of every single aspect, of every single negative experience you’ve lived through, and ask yourself…

DID GOD HAVE ANY LESS OF A HAND IN IT?
WAS ANY PART OF IT OUTSIDE OF HIS ETERNAL PURPOSE AND DECREE
(FOR YOU SPECIFICALLY AND FOR HIS KINGDOM AS A WHOLE)?

If The Father led His Beloved Son, His only-begotten, Eternal Son, through so many anguishes, pains, and afflictions (so much so that one of the titles for the Lord is A MAN OF SORROWS), do you expect not to be given hardships of your own? Have you forgotten that “unto you it is GIVEN [as a gift, even a gift from The Father Himself], in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake?” Philippians 1:29. “The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master” per Luke 6:40. We see similar language in:

Matthew 10:24-26 “The disciple is not above [his] master, nor the servant above his lord. 25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more [shall they call] them of his household? 26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.”

John 15:18-21 “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me..

Think on the woman who had an issue of blood for twelve long years (Matthew 9:20); think of the Samaritan woman who had five husbands and was (at first) despised by her community (John 4:7); what of the woman with the spirit of infirmity, for eighteen years, who was bowed together, and could in no way lift herself up (Luke 13:11); think on Mary Magdalene (and the other now godly women), out of whom, the Lord Jesus cast out devils (Luke 8:2); think on the numerous sins mentioned in the Bible, committed by God’s regenerated people, by God’s true believers (Lot, Samson, Abraham, David, Solomon, Peter, etc.); think on the many sorrows God’s people endured (the barren wombs of some of the Patriarchal wives; the wars, invasions, slaughters, and captivity; the family of the many children two and under slaughtered by the decree of Herod); and think on those mentioned in Hebrews 11 who were tortured, not accepting deliverance (that they might obtain a better resurrection), and those who had trials of [cruel] mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment, and those who were stoned, and those who were sawn asunder, and those who were tempted, and those who were slain with the sword: and those who wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented (Of whom the world was not worthy)…

Remember all of these things when you are down, afflicted, and conflicted. Moreover, reread Romans 8 and see the outcome wherein we read in verse 37 “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” Everyone in Christ already has the victory, the warfare is both done and won, and our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory (2 Corinthians 4:17). When we have this perspective, when our thinking is aright (i.e. when our thoughts are on Christ and His promises), and when we are looking not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen (for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal), we are glorifying God. In addition to glorifying God, by His grace, we are also benefiting ourselves, helping ourselves, seeing that peace soon follows such a mindset. God promises in Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep [him] in perfect peace, [whose] mind [is] stayed [on thee]: because he trusteth in thee.” The mind focused on Christ, His Gospel, His Word, His Kingdom, and the Triune Godhead (of Whom He is the fulness bodily) is the ultimate fulfilment of:

Philippians 4:6-9 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, THINK ON THESE THINGS 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

The battle is indeed for our minds; they should be conformed to Christ’s image, being transformed by His word. Don’t focus on your losses, sorrows, fears, anxieties, past failures, the past failures of others, etc. focus instead… on Him. Pray that God will give you such focus (even if your mind is far from it now and your heart feels no powerful desire for it). Seek Him now, seek Him now whilst He can still be found. God Promises as follows (albeit in His time, and in His manner, which is often not how we desire it but it is for our good) “…I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Luke 11:9). So do just that, praying for grace… upon grace… upon grace … to seek Him all the more.

To God be the Glory! Amen

Idolatry: On Images/Icons Purporting To Be Of God

Idolatry: On Images/Icons Purporting To Be Of God

Shaun King [BLM, etc.] wants all “jesus” images and icons removed; personally, so do I (albeit for very different reasons).

Exodus 20:4 “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or ANY LIKENESS [temuwnah, H8544, form, image, representation, semblance] [OF ANYTHING] THAT [IS] IN HEAVEN ABOVE, in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth.”
The Lord Jesus Christ (Jehovah the Anointed Saviour) came down from Heaven, and (after His victory on the cross) returned thereto. In general, making any image of GOD INCARNATE is blasphemous idolatry despite what the masses within churchianity would argue (not trying to be offensive, just honest). Besides, the representations vary greatly. Those images are far more likely to be based upon someone’s uncle Luigi, or Michelangelo, or some other friend/relative/random model, etc., than they are of the actual physical form taken by the Lord during His earthly sojourn. Some greatly resemble occult (Luciferian) Saint Germain imagery, or the other way around perhaps, such as the following:

Consider also,

Leviticus 26:1 “Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up [any] image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I [am] the LORD your God.”
Deuteronomy 5:8-10 “Thou shalt not make thee [any] graven image, [or] ANY LIKENESS [OF ANYTHING] THAT [IS] IN HEAVEN ABOVE, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the waters beneath the earth: 9 Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me, 10 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.”

The Christian is to worship God in spirit and in truth, not via icons, images, idols, empty crosses, etc. Nowhere does God command or encourage such things in the New Testament (or in the Old Testament, as it relates to creating a representation of Himself). In light of the regulative principle, and more importantly… God’s word, we should abstain from any appearance/form/manifestation of such evil. Introducing anything not specifically approved or commanded by God into the worship service (or worship/reverence methodology) is akin to introducing strange fire into the Tabernacle/Temple (Leviticus 10:1).

There are many deeply concerning things going on in the world today; however, we must be careful concerning our chosen battles. We do not want to be on the side of calling good what God calls evil, or defending evil, for the sake of some real or perceived “greater good.” Personally, I want nothing to do with such images and icons, see no need to defend them whatsoever, but understand that in a (secularly) “free” society, people do have the legal (earthly) right to display them… just wish better judgment would prevail in the matter.

To God be the glory, in Christ Jesus, forever and ever. Amen!

The Gifts Of Spiritual Life, Hearing, Repenting, and Believing.

The Gifts Of Spiritual Life, Hearing, Repenting, and Believing.

Mark 1:15 “…The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: REPENT YE, and BELIEVE THE GOSPEL.

Romans 10:8-15 “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, [even] in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt CONFESS with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt BELIEVE in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man BELIEVETH unto righteousness; and with the mouth CONFESSION is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever BELIEVETH on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that CALL UPON him. 13 For whosoever shall CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD shall be saved. 14 How then shall they CALL on him in whom they have not BELIEVED? and how shall they BELIEVE in him of whom they have not HEARD? and how shall they HEAR without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”

All who spiritually call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. To truly call upon the name of the Lord requires believing in Him (i.e. having faith in Him). Having faith in Christ Jesus is a gift from God the Father which is wrought in us through (preexisting) union with the Lord, all by the power of the Holy Spirit. This God-wrought faith requires hearing, spiritual hearing, which means they must be given spiritual ears to hear in the first place. None but the quickened, the already born from above, children of God have such ears to hear (seeing that the spiritually dead cannot hear). And what is it that they need to hear? It is the Gospel. They need to hear the preacher, the faithful witness, the proclaimer of God’s Gospel truth.

When the good news is proclaimed, the soul already quickened by the Holy Spirit hears that preaching, and they hear it with spiritual ears (ears indicative of newness of life). It is that spiritual hearing that God uses to manifest faith in that individual, and through such faith, the quickened soul goes on to call upon God for experimental salvation. Yes, the fact that they hear, repent, and believe means that God already saved them. Yes, the initial salvific work was already performed. However, this still needs to be manifested in the heart, mind, and conscience of the believer. God must bring them to not only know, but cry out for, that which He has already given them.

Now, seeing that the initial work of grace was already done, He that began such a good and blessed work, is faithful to see it through unto the end — with the end being final glory, even all of eternity with Christ (and the Triune Godhead) in perfect peace, forever more.

How do we know all of this for sure? God’s word declares it! We read in Proverbs 20:12 “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.” Consider also Romans 10:17 “So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” But not all have been given the GIFT of hearing as we read in Deuteronomy 29:4 “Yet the LORD hath not GIVEN you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day” and also Romans 11:8 “(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.”

Yet all those receiving the GIFT of (spiritual) ears to hear, have also been given the GIFT of faith, and “…by grace are ye saved through FAITH; and that not of yourselves: [it is] THE GIFT of God…” (Ephesians 2:8), “For unto you it is GIVEN in the behalf of Christ, not only TO BELIEVE on him [i.e. to have faith in Him], but also to suffer for his sake…” (Philippians 1:29).

The one born again is likewise given the GIFT of repentance as we read in 2 Timothy 2:25 “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will GIVE [didōmi, bestow the GIFT, grant] them REPENTANCE to the acknowledging of the truth; and in Acts 11:18 “…God also to the Gentiles GRANTED [same didōmi] REPENTANCE unto life.” See also Romans 2:4 “the goodness of God LEADETH [agō, leads by laying hold of, brings, drives] thee to REPENTANCE…” which carries the same idea.

Now once these gifts have been bestowed, they are eternal, they can never be taken back, “being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ…” (Philippians 1:6), “for the GIFTS and calling of God [are] without repentance” (Romand 11:29).

Consider also:

Romans 8:35-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

So let us repent, let us believe, let us call upon the name of the Lord, let us confess our sins, and let us otherwise ‘work out our own salvation with fear and trembling’ (Philippians 2:12), knowing that if we do all such, we only have Him to thank for such doing. It is only because of the sovereign grace and mercy of God, and His effectual working, that we can do anything aright. “Every good GIFT and every perfect GIFT is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17). So any spiritual good we do is strictly a result of the good pleasure, and perfect gifts, of God the Father, through eternal vital union with God the Son, by the effectual working of God the Holy Spirit, ‘for it is God which worketh in [us] both TO WILL and TO DO of [His] good pleasure.’ (Philippians 2:12-13).

But what of remaining sin? What of the wretchedness of this body of death? What if we repent, believe, confess our sin, and call upon His name, but still struggle mightily against sin and corruption within? Remember the promise of God: “If we confess our sins, HE IS FAITHFUL AND JUST to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9) and even “if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” (1 John 3:20-21). Pray God for grace, strength, and full assurance of faith — but also pray for not only a desire to, but abundant strength to walk more and more in accordance with these blessed gifts that God has bestowed upon us

Finally, remember that the GIFTS are actually GIFTS… from… GIFTS. We must never forget the true (source) Gift from whence all of these other spiritual blessings derive. The Lord Jesus Christ is first and foremost out blessed Gift, for He said of Himself in John 4:10 “If thou knewest THE GIFT OF GOD, AND WHO IT IS that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” The righteousness that He established for His people is one of the great gifts that flow forth from Him, “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of THE GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS shall reign in life BY ONE, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17). The eternal life we have in/by/through Him is also one of those great gifts “For the wages of sin [is] death; but THE GIFT OF GOD [is] ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23)… and what is eternal life? “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). Christ says of His people, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I GIVE UNTO THEM eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which GAVE [THEM] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father’s hand.” (John 10:27-29). And so we see the precious gift from the Father is Christ Himself, and life and righteousness in Him. However, let us not forget that other perfect and divine gift, even the Gift of the Holy Spirit to God’s people, as we read in 1 John 3:24 “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which HE HATH GIVEN” and again in 1 John 4:13 “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because HE HATH GIVEN us of His Spirit.”

Thank God that He gave all aspects of Himself, for the eternal peace, joy, and salvation, of those who deserved nothing but eternal wrath. Thank God for the depths of His limitless, unfathomable, and everlasting, mercy. To God be the glory for ever, and ever, and ever, in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Venture Your Soul Upon Christ by Tobias Crisp

Venture Your Soul Upon Christ

By Tobias Crisp

Oh, forget every thing that seems worthy in you, or done by you; and let all your triumphing and glorying be in the free grace of God, in Christ, and look upon yourselves only in that and all things coming to you, receive as flowing from that fountain only. And if you have more ability than others in doing, let it not come into your thoughts as an inducement to think better of yourselves, as if you were more accepted of God, or pleasing in His sight.

Are you sinful in respect of corruptions?

Are the temptations of Satan mighty?

Think not that you are worse or less than others; for iniquity shall not part Christ and you, if you be once joined to Him. Be not discouraged, Christ is more ready to receive you than you are to fly to Him. Come to Him, therefore, and cast your conditions upon Him; for the greatest of sinners, usually, are the persons that partake of the greatest mercies. Publicans and harlots enter into the kingdom of heaven while the zealots and Pharisees are shut out. If you once close with the Lord in the freeness of His grace, and cast your souls upon this rock of your salvation, the Lord Christ, you are past all danger. Venture your soul therefore upon Him.

I Would Have peace

I would have peace if I could just delude myself into thinking that assent to Gospel truth; knowledge of core biblical facts; a love for said truth and facts; and a desire to defend them before men… alone… evidenced salvation; I am under no such delusion.

I would have peace if I had the assurance of those who say full assurance is of the essence of faith, and who claim to have such assurance; I have no such assurance and, thus, I have no such peace (or presumption).

I would have peace if I could just “look to Jesus,” “trust in Jesus,” as so many say, without regard to manifest character and conduct; without regard to spiritual slothfulness and coldness of heart; without regard to worldliness, inner struggles with lust, covetousness, idolatry, arrogance, bitterness, and a whole host of woes that have taken up residence in my mind. I don’t have peace because empty words like “look to Jesus,” and “trust in Jesus” when they are without the true spiritual power that  make these truisms effectual, do nothing for me. Without the Holy Spirit’s effectual work, without that felt sense of eternal vital union, without a hungering and thirsting after righteousness, without a delighting in the riches of God’s grace, law, love, Person, and Gospel, my looking is not really looking at all, and my trusting is anything but. “You’re looking to self,” they say; “you’re trusting in your own works,” they maintain; “you’re trying to establish a righteousness of your own” they add. No, I’m just trying not to be a libertine (anomian, antinomian) fraud. I don’t want a patch, I want a cure. I don’t want legal holiness, and substitutionary holiness, and future (heavenly) holiness, without the kind of manifest/living/experiential holiness that the Bible overflows with (from Job, to Abraham, to David, to Elijah, to Isaiah and the other Prophets, even through to the Apostles, and to godly men of old in both Puritan and Non-conformist/Baptist/Congregationalist traditions). I’m not seeking perfection, not even close; I just don’t want to go back to where I was and I don’t want to be where I am right now (and have been for quite some time). 

It’s funny (not really… but you get what I mean), I see people living any, and every, sort of way who are just “trusting in Jesus” but have no real desire to be conformed to His image, and transformed in their minds, in this life. They are content with waiting for the life to come so they can live as they want to now. It’s a form of godliness without the power thereof. I’m not much different in form from them, I just refuse to pretend that I am loving the Lord, loving His word, and loving His people when my heart is far from Him, and my ‘mental’ (my state of mind) evidences just how far gone it has all gotten. Again, spare me the patches of “I don’t look at myself, I just look to Christ,” when such a mindset is obvious to everyone (i.e. that you aren’t taking any heed to yourself), because your life doesn’t add up to the biblical or historical examples of true, vital Christianity. Yes, I’m being judgmental; heavily so. Yes, I am being hypocritical, being in a similar boat. Yes, I am in no state or position to judge anyone. Nonetheless, the reality of my mind-state is that I am judging, I do not want to be a paper Christian, I want to be the kind of Christian that looks at themselves, takes heed to themselves, and is honest with themselves because they have a real love for (and looking unto) Jesus. Spare me the cheap clique mentality wherein everyone reinforces each other’s anomianism/antinomianism when there is no real fear of God in their eyes (you know, they’re the type that says “Godly fear is reverence, not actual fear;” the only ones saying that are those who have no true fear of God). 

I would have peace if I didn’t allow my fear of vain head-knowledge, being puffed up even further, and not hearing God’s word aright (given the woes associated with being a hearer only and not a doer and with otherwise hearing amiss) to stop me from reading, listening to sermons, etc. as I ought (even as I once did). I would have peace if I stopped all of the other things, and gave up all the other excuses, that regularly keep me from the means that God has ordained for His people to grow in grace (once must be alive to grow… no?  One must be of His people to be His people… no?).

Finally, I would have peace if I sided with those who despise (rather than envy as I do) the Puritans and their lengthy works on mortifying sin; excelling in prayer; seeking manifest holiness; soul-winning, etc.; and who despise the extant law of God (wanting nothing to do with it, seeing themselves dead to it in any sense possible, having no true, spiritual love for it). If only I could thoroughly immerse myself into the depths of hyper-grace theology; If only I could be baptised into Sandemanian doctrine; if only I could disdain “Calvinism” (whatever that means); and just rest in the notion that Christians can’t keep/walk in/guard in their hearts, any aspect of the law, and that love (in the abstract) and faith (in the abstract) are the only commands we can possibly obey. If only I could have such simple, watered down, unbiblical beliefs… I could be at peace like so many others are. And yet, despite having no peace and even less assurance, I can’t be like that; Lord willing, I won’t be like that. Who wants to be content with a salvation where you consistently talk like Christ but think and act like the world? I want a salvation where my talk matches my walk, and my walk matches what the Bible declares the (true) Christians walk should be like — I’m simply not there. I want real vital Christianity, unto the salvation of my soul, and unto the glory of God in Christ. I’ll pass on the popular Christianity-lite where as long as we use similar catch phrases, hobby-horse the same limited doctrinal set, post similar memes, etc., we can affirm and confirm each other, assuring ourselves that everything really is alright. God don’t let me return to that mess, don’t leave me in the equally bad mess I am in now (where politics and entertainment are my golden idol), but deliver me from self, so that I can actual serve you… NOT IN WORD (or debates, or identifying types and figures, or focusing on doctrine with no clear vision of you — spiritually-speaking, not literally), but in deed, in actual works that serve to glorify you. I have no interesting in trying to earn/establish a salvation of my own (just too mentally/physically/spiritually weak and tired to try something so stupid); however, what I do want, and pray for, is a salvation that manifests that I am in You, and You in me, and that my primary desire is to love, serve, and submit to you. I’m simply not there; not sure I ever have been. I need help and there is only one Helper who can help, and that is God The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I need His help indeed; what I don’t need is delusion.

To God be the glory. 

Knowledge: On Knowledge, Pride, Grace, and Agape Love

Sad Reality

Picture the majority of people operating within the inner square of knowledge. The farther out from center you are, the more apt you are to be proud (puffed up) in your knowledge and to be impatient with (and irritated by) those closer to the center. Contrarily, the closer you are to the center, the more apt you are to be proud (presumptuous) in your ignorance and to mock/dismiss/reject the knowledge held by those farther from the center. The greater the distance between the camps, the greater the negative effect. Thus, knowledge (whether “too much” or “too little”) can be a dangerous and destructive thing. Grace and (agape) love really are better; only when those two abound, can knowledge both truly and safely abound.

Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for LACK OF KNOWLEDGE: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”

1 Corinthians 8:1 “Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. KNOWLEDGE PUFFETH UP, but charity [literally, Agapē/Love] edifieth.”

Christology: The Deity of Christ Revealed In the Lord’s Forgiveness of Sin

The Deity of Christ Revealed
In the LORD’S Forgiveness of Sin

The Jewish leaders understood that none but God could forgive sin. So when this man called Jesus, this perfect God Man, forgave sins in their midst — they understood clearly that He was affirming His deity, and His co-equality with the Father. This infuriated them; they hated Him as a result, accused Him of blasphemy, and sought to kill Him. Remember this the next time a cultist comes knocking on your door, preaching a false gospel, especially one that denies the true deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Daniel 9:7-9 “O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us the shame of our faces, as it is this day to the men of Judah, and to those living in Jerusalem, and to all Israel, who are near and who are afar through all the lands where You have driven them for their unfaithfulness which they have done against You. 8 O Lord, shame of face belongs to us, to our kings, to our rulers and to our fathers, because we have sinned against You. 9 TO THE LORD OUR GOD BELONG MERCIES AND PARDONS [FORGIVENESS], for we have rebelled against Him.”

Micah 7:18-19 “Who is a God like You, FORGIVING INIQUITY and passing by the transgression of the remnant of His possession? He does not make strong His anger forever, for He delights in grace. 19 He will return to pity us; He will subdue our iniquities. Yea, You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”

Mark 2:5-12 :And seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, Child, your sins are forgiven to you. 6 But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 7 Why does this one speak blasphemies this way? WHO IS ABLE TO FORGIVE SINS, EXCEPT ONE, GOD? 8 And instantly knowing in His spirit that they reasoned this way within themselves, Jesus said to them, Why do you reason these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier? To say to the paralytic, Your sins are forgiven to you, or to say, Rise up and take your cot and walk? 10 But that you may know that THE SON OF MAN HAS AUTHORITY TO FORGIVE SINS on the earth, He said to the paralytic, 11 I say to you, Rise up and take up your cot and go to your house. 12 And at once he rose up. And taking his cot, he went out before all, so as all to be astonished and glorified God, saying, Never did we see it this way.

Election & Predestination: “…And A Leper Came To Him…”

“…And A Leper Came To Him…”

Matthew 11:28 Christ said “Come to Me, all those laboring and being burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Mark 1: 40-42 “And a leper came to Him, begging Him, and falling on his knees to Him, and saying to Him, If You desire, You are able to make me clean. 41 And being moved with pity, reaching out the hand, Jesus touched him, and said to him, I am willing. Be made clean! 42 And He having spoken, instantly the leprosy departed from him, and he was made clean.
Is there any instance in the Bible where the Lord Jesus turned someone away, leaving them empty, when they sought His mercy in their time of need? Many may have turned themselves away but I know of no instance where He said “no” to someone crying out to Him. In light of this, I must conclude that the Lord is willing to mercy, save, and deliver all who come to Him. The question is, who will come? The Lord said in:
John 6:44No one is able to come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day” – .
In Psalm 65:2-5 we read:
“To You silence is praise, O God, in Zion; and to You is a vow paid. 2 To You who hears prayer, all flesh comes. 3 Things of iniquity, our transgressions, are mightier than I; You atone for them. 4 Blessed [is the one] You choose and cause to come near You; he shall dwell in Your courts; we shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple. 5 You will answer us in righteousness by awesome things, O God of our salvation; the Confidence of all the ends of the earth and the sea, of [those] afar off.”
The only ones who come are those who have been brought to see their need, their hopelessness, and their natural, filthy state before God; such are the labouring and burdened ones. They are the ones drawn by God the Father unto Christ, the ones He chooses and causes to approach unto the Lord. They will never be cast out. They are God’s people and He delights in mercying them; He delights in saving them and bestowing upon them perfect good. As a result, there is hope for a sinner. If you find yourself beaten down spiritually, utterly sick of your own sin and stupidity, and wanting (needing) to come to the true, biblical Lord and Saviour, then come! Christ declares in Revelation 22:16-17
“I, Jesus, sent My angel to testify these things to you over the assemblies. I am the Root and Offspring of David, the bright and morning Star. 17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come! And the one hearing, let him say, Come! And the one thirsting, let him come; and the one desiring, let him take of the water of life freely.”
The invitation to come, to drink, is out there but not everyone is thirsty… not everyone feels their need. But for those of us who do, for those who know they cannot live without that water, we know that it’s not because we were special in and of ourselves; nor because God knew that we would “choose” to come; nor because we first willed it all to be so, but because God Himself worked in us BOTH to will, and to do, of His good pleasure – Philippians 2:13. We owe everything to God the Father, through Christ, by the Holy Spirit. We owe everything to His good and sovereign will, purpose, and pleasure — all of which come together beautifully in:
Ephesians 1:3-11 “Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies with Christ, 4 even as HE ELECTED US IN HIM before the foundation of the world, for us to be holy and without blemish before Him in love, 5 PREDESTINATING US to adoption through Jesus Christ to Himself, ACCORDING TO THE *GOOD PLEASURE* OF HIS WILL, 6 to the praise of the glory of HIS GRACE in which HE FAVOURED US in the One having been loved, 7 in whom we have REDEMPTION THROUGH HIS BLOODS, the remission of deviations [forgiveness of sins], according to the riches of HIS GRACE. 8 which He caused to abound toward us in all wisdom and understanding, 9 making known to us the mystery of HIS WILL, ACCORDING TO HIS GOOD PLEASURE which He purposed in Himself, 10 for the administration of the fullness of the times to head up all things in Christ, both the things in the heavens, and the things on earth, in Him, 11 in whom WE ALSO HAVE BEEN CHOSEN to an inheritance, BEING PREDESTINATED according to the purpose of the One working all things according to the counsel of HIS OWN WILL. 12 for us to be to the praise of His glory, the ones who had previously trusted in Christ; 13 in whom also you, hearing THE WORD OF TRUTH, THE GOSPEL OF YOUR SALVATION, in whom also believing you were SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE, 14 who is an earnest of our inheritance, to the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” 
Indeed, to God alone be the glory, forever and ever.
Amen