Impeccability and Approachability of Christ (2)

“The Lord Jesus is filled with tender compassion and the most profound,
lively, and comprehensive sympathy. This belongs to the perfection of His
high-priesthood. For this very purpose He was tempted. He suffered. Our
infirmities, it is true, are ultimately connected with our sinfulness; the
weakness of our flesh is never free from a sinful concurrence of the will;
and the Savior knows from His experience on earth how ignorant, poor,
weak, sinful, and corrupt His disciples are. He loved them, watched over
them with unwearied patience; prayed for them that their faith fail not;
and reminded them the spirit was willing, but the flesh is weak. He
remembers also His own sinless weakness; He knows what constant
thought, meditation, and prayer are needed to overcome Satan, and to be
faithful to God. He knows what it is for the soul to be sorrowful and
overwhelmed, and what it is to be refreshed by the sunshine of Divine
favor, and to rejoice in the Spirit. We may come in to Him expecting full,
tender, deep sympathy and compassion. He is ever ready to strengthen
and comfort, to heal and restore, He is prepared to receive the poor,
wounded, sin-stained believer; to dry the tears of Peter weeping bitterly;
to say to Paul, oppressed with the thorn in the flesh, ‘My grace is
sufficient for thee.’
“We need only understand that we are sinners, and that He is High Priest.
The law was given that every mouth may be shut, for we are guilty. The High Priest is given that every mouth may be opened . . . We come in faith as sinners. Then shall we obtain mercy; and we always need mercy, to wash our feet: to restore to us the joy of salvation, to heal our backslidings, and bind up our wounds. We shall obtain help in every time of need. For God may suffer Satan and the world, want and suffering, to go against us; but He always causes all things to work together for our good. He permits the time of need, that we may call upon Him, and, being delivered by Him, may glorify His name” (Saphir).


Impeccability and Approachability of Christ (1)

The apostle reminds us of the holiness and purity of Christ, that we may
not imagine that He was liable unto any such temptations unto sin from
within as we find ourselves liable unto, who are never free from guilt and
defilement. Whatever temptation He was exposed unto or exercised
withal, as He was with all and of all sorts that can come from without,
they had none of them in the last degree any effect unto Him. He was
absolutely in all things ‘without sin’; He neither was tempted by sin, such
was the holiness of His nature; nor did His temptation produce sin, such
was the perfection of His obedience” (Dr. John Owen).

Our great High Priest in the highest glory is our righteousness and strength.
He loves, He watches, He prays, He holds us fast, and we shall never
perish. Jesus is our Moses, who in the height above prays for us. Jesus
our true Joshua, who gained the victory over our enemies. Only be
strong, and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed. In
that mirror of the Word in which we behold our sin and weakness, we
behold also the image of that perfect One who has passed through the
conflict and temptation, who as the High Priest bears us on His loving
heart, and as the Shepherd of the flock holds us in safety forever more.
Boldly we come to the throne of grace. In Jesus we draw near to the
Father. The throne of majesty and righteousness is unto us a throne of
grace. The Lord is our God. There is not merely grace on the throne, but
the throne is altogether the throne of grace. It is grace which disciplines
us by the sharp and piercing Word, it is grace which looks on us when we
have denied Him, and makes us weep bitterly. Jesus always intercedes:
the throne is always a throne of grace. The Lamb is in the midst of the
throne. Hence we come boldly.

“Boldly is not contrasted with reverently and tremblingly. It means
literally ‘saying all,’ with that confidence which begets thorough honesty,
frankness, full and open speech. ‘Pour out your heart before Him.’ Come
as you are, say what you feel, ask what you need. Confess your sins, your
fears, your wandering thoughts and affections. Jesus the Lord went
through all sorrows and trials the heart of man can go through, and as He
felt affliction and temptation most keenly, so in all these difficulties and
trials He had communion with the Father. He knows therefore, how to
succor them that are tempted, how fully and unreservedly, then, may we
speak to God in the presence and by the mediation of the man Christ

The Man Christ Jesus was the Holy One of God, and therefore He could
not sin. But were not Satan and Adam created without sin, and did not
they yield to temptation? Yes; but the one was only a created angel the
other merely man. But our Lord and Savior was not a created being;
instead, He was “God manifest in flesh.” In His humanity He was “holy”
(Luke 1:35) and, as such, as high above unfallen Satan or Adam as the
heavens are above the earth. He was not only impeccable God, but
impeccable Man. The prince of this world came, but found nothing in
Him (John 14:30). Thus, He is presented before us not only as an
example to be followed, but as an Object upon which faith may rest with
unshaken confidence.


CPRC Saturday Night Bible Study

Hebrews 6:4-12

    The unforgivable sin consists unbelief and rejection of Christ which is manifest in a) blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:29) or b) apostasy which is a public denial of Christ. In the case of the Hebrews they were tempted to revert to Judaism for their salvation and abandon Christ. The word “impossible” proves they could not be forgiven if they did so. They had been enlightened meaning they had heard and understood the gospel and had a historical or intellectual grasp of it (Matthew 13:20-22) but it had not changed their heart and enlightened them savingly (2 Cor.4:4-6). Among these are all the false teachers (1 John 3:2, 2 Peter2). The heavenly gift is Christ and the gospel (2 Cor.9:15).

   They partook of the Holy Spirit in that they came under his influence in church, heard the external call, and may well have professed faith and even used supernatural gifts BUT deep down they resisted the Spirit (Acts 7:51 cf. 1 Thess. 2:13). The powers of the world to come are all that Christ does in redemption and spiritual gifting. These people had tasted these things perhaps even relished them, but they had not eaten or assimilated Christ by true faith which makes folk his people (John 6:54, 1 Cor.10:17,18, Heb.3:14). Remember Herod with  John and Agrippa with Paul. It is impossible to renew them because they have hardened their hearts (God has too) (Heb.12:16,17, 10:26,29,38,39) and instead of publicly confessing Christ and cleaving to him they had publicly denied him.

 To deny Christ publicly or return to a works righteousness is the same as crucifying him afresh, you are siding with his enemies that put him to death and calling him an imposter. As Christ said, “for iye believe not that I am he, (I am the divine messiah) ye shall die in your sins.” John 8:24. Denying him after being in the church brings scorn on the church and his name (Rom.2:24). The allegory is of soils and what grows on them. The rain falling either brings forth good plants and fruit (of true conversion) or weeds like thorns and brambles (apostasy is seen as “by their fruits that ye shall  know them”). The rain is vital moisture that allows growth and transport of nutrients from the soil

“the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;”. Matthew 13:38.

The word of God, symbolized by rain (Isaiah 55:10,11) has a twofold effect (2 Cor.2:16).

  The things that accompany salvation are faith and hope expressed by prayer, love, attending on the means of grace and good works. The writer had seen these fruit in the beloved Hebrews’ lives. Their work had been hospitality and care shown their brethren. We can only guess they shared spiritual and material gifts.

  To show diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end means working hard in every aspect of life but especially the means of grace, serving others and forgiving (Heb.12:15) right to the end of our lives. The opposite is to be spiritually (and physically) slothful by not working (1 Thess.4) neglecting the means of grace and ignoring or mistreating our fellow saints (Matthew 24).

  Those who throughout life exhibit faith and patience inherit the promises which are eternal life now and an inheritance in glory. It is by continued faith and patience (in affliction/persecution-see Hebrews 11) i.e. persevering, that we inherit the promises. But note that an inheritance is a gift of grace, something in a last will and testament given to children without them meriting it.

Next study (DV) Saturday March 13th 8pm on line Hebrews 6:13-7:3.

Join On-line Meeting…

Meeting ID: 718 962 8817

Passcode: 2dsSxA

The Fight of Faith

Excellent article by A.W.Pink

There are some who teach that those Christians who engage in spiritual fighting are
living below their privileges. They insist that God is willing to do all our fighting for us.
Their pet slogan is, “Let go, and let God.” They say that the Christian should turn the battle
over to Christ. There is a half truth in this, yet only a half truth, and carried to extremes, it
becomes error. The half truth is that the child of God has no inherent strength of his own.
Says Christ to His disciples, “Without me, ye can do nothing” (Joh 15:5). Yet this does not
mean that we are to be merely passive, or that the ideal state in this life is simply to be
galvanized automatons. There is also a positive, an active, aggressive side to the Christian
life, which calls for the putting forth of our utmost endeavours, the use of every faculty, a
personal and intelligent co-operation with Christ. There is not a little of what is known as “the victorious life” teaching which is virtually a denial of the Christian’s responsibility. It is lop-sided. While emphasizing one aspect of truth, it sadly ignores other aspects equally necessary and important to be kept before us.
God’s Word declares that, “Every man shall bear his own burden” (Gal 6:5), which means
that he must discharge his personal obligation. Saints are bidden to, “Cleanse ourselves
from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit” (2Co 7:1), and to, “Keep himself unspotted from
the world” (Jam 1:27). We are exhorted to, “Overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:21). The
apostle Paul declared, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection” (1Co 9:27).
Thus, to deny that a Christian is called upon to engage in a ceaseless warfare with the
flesh, the world, and the devil, is to fly in the face of many plain Scriptures.
There is a very real twofoldness to the Christian life and every aspect of divine truth is
balanced by its counterpart. Practical godliness is a mysterious paradox, which is
incomprehensible to the natural man. The Christian is strongest when he is weakest,
wealthiest when he is poorest, happiest when most wretched. Though unknown (1Jo 3:1),
yet he is well known (2Ti 1:18). Though dying (1Co 15:31), yet, behold, he lives. Though
having nothing, yet he possesses all things (2Co 6:10). Though persecuted, he is not
forsaken. Cast down, he is not destroyed. He is called upon to “rejoice with trembling”
(Psa 2:11), and is assured, “Blessed are ye that weep now” (Luk 6:21). Though the Lord
maketh him to lie down in green pastures and leadeth him beside still waters, he is yet in
the wilderness, and “in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is” (Psa 63:1). Though
followers of the Prince of peace, Christians are to endure “hardness, as good soldiers of
Jesus Christ” (2Ti 2:3), and though “more than conquerors” (Rom 8:37), they are often
“Fight the good fight of faith” (1Ti 6:12). We are called upon to engage in a ceaseless
warfare. The Christian life is to be lived out on the battlefield. We may not like it, we may
wish that it were otherwise, but so has God ordained. And our worst foe, our most
dangerous enemy, is self, that “old man” which ever wants his way, which rebels against
the “yoke” of Christ, which hates the “cross.” That “old man” which opposes every desire
of the “new man,” which dislikes God’s Word and ever wants to substitute man’s word.
But self has to be “denied” (Mat 16:24), his affections and lusts crucified (Gal 5:24). Yet
that is by no means an easy task. O what a conflict is ever going on within the true

Christian. True, there are times when the “old man” pretends to be asleep or dead, but soon
he revives and is more vigorous than ever in opposing that “new man.” Then it is that the
real Christian seriously asks, “If it be so (that I truly am a child of God) why am I thus?”
Such was Rebekah’s puzzling problem when “the children struggled together within her”
(Gen 25:22).
What a parable in action is set before us in the above Scripture! Do we need any
interpreter? Does not the Christian have the key which explains that parable in the
conflicting experiences of his own soul? Yes, and is not the sequel the same with you and
me, as it was with poor Rebekah? “She went and inquired of the LORD” (Gen 25:22). Ah,
her husband could not solve the mystery for her. No man could, nor did she lean unto her
own understanding and try and reason it out. No, the struggle inside her was so great and
fierce, she must have divine assurance. Nor did God disappoint her and leave her in
darkness. “And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of
people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the
other people; and the elder shall serve the younger” (Gen 25:23). But the meaning of such
a verse is hid from those who are, in their own conceits, “wise and prudent.” But, blessed
be God, it is revealed to those who, taught of the Spirit, are made to realize they are babes,
that is, who feel they are ignorant, weak, helpless—for that is what “babes” are.
And who were the two nations that “struggled together” inside Rebekah? Esau and
Jacob, from whom two vastly different nations descended, namely, Edom and Israel. Now,
observe closely what follows. “And the one people shall be stronger than the other.” Yes,
Esau was so strong that Jacob was afraid of him and fled from him. So it is spiritually, the
“old man” is stronger than the “new man.” How strange that it should be so! Would we not
naturally conclude that that which is “born of the Spirit” is stronger than that which is
“born of the flesh” (Joh 3:6)? Of course, we would naturally think so, for, “The natural
man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God” (1Co 2:14). But consider the matter from
the standpoint of spiritual discernment. Suppose the “new man” were stronger than the
“old man”—then what? Why, the Christian would be self-sufficient, proud, haughty. But
God, in His infinite wisdom, allows that “new man” in His children to be weaker than the
“old man.” Why? That they may depend upon Him. But it is one thing to know the theory
of this, and it is quite another to put it into practice. It is one thing to believe the “new
man” (Jacob) is weaker than the “old man” (Esau, who was born first!), and it is quite
another thing to daily seek and obtain from God the needed strength to “fight” against the
“old man.” That is why it is called the “good fight of faith,” for faith treats with God.
“Fight the good fight of faith” (1Ti 6:12). Our circumstances are the battleground. The
“flesh” is never long satisfied with the “circumstances” in which God places us, but always
wants to change them, or get into another set than we are now in. Thus it was with Israel of
old. The “circumstances” into which God had brought the children of Israel was the
wilderness, and they murmured, and wished they were back in Egypt. And that is written
as a warning for us! The tendency of circumstances is to bind our hearts to the earth. When
prosperous, to make us satisfied with things. When adverse, to make us repine over or
covet the things which we do not have. Nothing but the exercise of real faith can lift our
hearts above circumstances, for faith looks away from all things seen, so that the heart
delights itself and finds its peace and joy in the Lord (Psa 37:4). This is never easy to any

of us. It is always a fight, and only divine grace (diligently sought) can give us the victory.
Oftentimes we fail. When we do, this must be confessed to God (1Jo 1:9), and a fresh start
Nothing but faith can enable us to rise above “circumstances.” It did so in the case of
the two apostles, who, with feet fast in the stocks, with backs bleeding and smarting, sang
praises to God in Philippi’s dungeon. That was faith victorious over most unpleasant
circumstances. We can almost imagine each reader saying, “Alas, my faith is so weak.” Ah,
ponder again this word, “Fight the good fight of faith”—note the repetition! It is not easy
for faith to rise above circumstances. No, it is not. It is difficult, at times, extremely
difficult. So the writer has found it. But remember, a “fight” is not finished in a moment,
by one blow. Oftentimes the victor receives many wounds and is sorely pounded before he
finally knocks-out his enemy. So we have found it, and still find it. The great enemy, the
“flesh” (self) gives the “new man” many a painful blow, often floors him, but, by grace, we
keep on fighting. Sometimes the “new man” gets the victory, sometimes the “old man”
does. “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again” (Pro 24:16).
Yes, dear reader, every real Christian has a “fight” on his hands. Self is the chief enemy
which has to be conquered, and our circumstances, the battleground where the combat has to be waged. And each of us would very much like to change the battleground. There are unpleasant things which, at times, sorely try each of us, until we are tempted to cry with
the afflicted Psalmist, “O that I had the wings like a dove! for then I would fly away” (Psa
55:6). Yes, sad to say, the writer has been guilty of the same thing. But, when he is in his
right mind (spiritually), he is thankful for these very “circumstances.” Why? Because they
afford an opportunity for faith to act and rise above them, and for us to find our peace, our
joy, our satisfaction, not in pleasant surroundings, not in congenial friends, nor even in
sweet fellowship with brethren and sisters in Christ. But—in God! He can satisfy the soul.
He never fails those who truly trust Him. But it is a fight to do so. Yes, a real, long, hard
fight. Yet, if we cry to God for help, for strength, for determination, He does not fail us,
but makes us “more than conquerors.”
There is that in each of us which wants to play the coward, run away from the
battlefield—our “circumstances.” This is what Abraham did (Gen 12:10), but he gained
nothing by it. This is what Jacob did (Gen 28), and in consequence, his trials were
multiplied. This is what Elijah did (1Ki 19:3), and the Lord rebuked him for it. And these
instances are recorded “for our learning” (Rom 15:4), as warnings for us to take to heart.
They tell us that we must steadfastly resist this evil inclination, and call to mind that
exhortation, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you [act] like men, be strong” (1Co
“Fight the good fight of faith.” Nor does the Lord call upon us to do something from
which He was exempted. O what a “fight” the Captain of our salvation endured! See Him
yonder in the wilderness, “forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts”
(Mar 1:13), and all that time without food (Mat 4:2). How fiercely the devil assaulted Him,
renewing his attack again and yet again. And the Saviour met and conquered him on the
ground of faith, using only the Word of God. See Him again in Gethsemane. There the
fight was yet fiercer, and so intense were His agonies that He sweat great drops of blood.
Nor was there any comfort from His disciples. They could not watch with Him one hour.
Yet He triumphed and that on the ground of faith, “When he had offered up prayers and
supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death,
and was heard in that he feared.” (Heb 5:7).
Those two instances are recorded for our instruction, and, as ever, their order is
beautifully significant. They teach us how we are to “fight the good fight of faith.” Christ
Himself has “left us an example”! And what do we learn from these solemn and sacred
incidents? This—the only weapon we are to use is the sword of the Spirit, and victory is
only to be obtained on our knees—“with strong crying and tears.” The Lord graciously
enables us so to act. O that each of us may more earnestly seek grace to fight the good fight
of faith. We shall have happy and peaceful fellowship together in heaven, but before we
get there, the “fight” has to be fought, and won or we shall never get there at all (2Ti 4:6-

World Indoor Rowing Chump!

Having spent months and many hours training I blew it! Lined up with six other men age 65-70 on my machine at home, having spent perhaps an hour trying to get weigh in done and the video uploaded, I got left on the starting line because I was NOT WATCHING MY MONITOR for instructions: READY, ATTENTION, ROW! I was watching the U tube coverage oin the PC and only realised they had gone when the commentator said so and even she was taken unawares. So starting 200m behind the rest and giving away 43 secs* I did my best finishing last in 8 mins 15 secs (so make that 7m32s in reality) which would have been my best for a number of years, sixth placer was 7m29s.

I will need to redeem myself in the 2000m this Saturday run by Olderfleet Rowing Club in Larne (I managed 7:46)


Hoeksema-the author.

“Thus God works continuously in us to will and to do of his good pleasure. He not only regenerates us in principle, but he also continuously sanctifies us through the Spirit of Christ. That work of God in us is of such a nature that we consciously and willingly bear fruit unto righteousness. It is not true that God works our sanctification and that we work also, and these two aspects of the work of salvation stand independently from each other or must be conceived as an irreconcilable contradiction. Nor is it true that God alone accomplishes sanctification and that he drags us along the way as stocks and blocks, as is the presentation of the antinomians. Still less is it true that the relation between God’s work and our work is such that we must work, and that if we work, God will help us, as is the view of the Pelagians. All these wrong conceptions are repudiated by Scripture. Rather the relationship is always that we work out of the power of the work of God in us. God is first, and we follow. God is the fountain out of which we live. God works salvation to will and to do of His good pleasure, and we work out our own salvation as the fruit of the work of God (Phil. 2:12,13). ‘God is light’ (1 John 1:5), and we are always the light-bearers. God energizes us through Christ, and we manifest his energy as rational, moral creatures. He gives, preserves, and strengthens our life and we live. He works and continues to work in us true faith, and we believe. He works in us continued conversion, and we turn. He gives us and preserves in us the love of God, and we taste his love and love him. He works within us sorrow after God, and we call upon him in penitence for forgiveness of sins. He gives us true humility, and we walk in meekness of heart and life. He enlightens us, and we know. He leads us by his Spirit, and we walk. He makes us hungry and thirsty for the bread and water of life, and we hunger and thirst after righteousness. He calls efficaciously, and we come. He gives us the power to preserve, and we persevere. The power and the operation of the power–faith and believing, love and loving, hope and hoping, the eye and the seeing, the ear and the hearing, the understanding and the knowledge, the will and the willing, the power to fight and the fighting–all in connection with gifts, talents, means, circumstances, and time–are from God alone. He sanctifies us, and we walk in sanctification. Exactly from this relationship arises the possibility and the high calling of the people of God to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, because this obligation does not violate the moral, rational nature of the sanctified people of God, but rather persevere it. We must not say, therefore ‘work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, but God must do it.’ But according to Philippines 2:12,13, we must say ‘work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.’ Of him, through him, and unto him are all things. To him be the glory forever (Rom. 11:36).” – Herman Hoeksema, Reformed Dogmatics: Vol. 2 (RFPA, 2005), pages 129-131.

The Assurance of Faith (continued)

The Spirit-our seal.

Sung Psalm 27:1-5

Reading  Romans 4

Faith brings justification before God (through imputed righteousness) and in our own conscience.

Calvin defends his definition of faith as assurance extensively in his Institutes.

Hebrews 11: 1 reveals faith as the realisation (understanding) and conviction of future blessing and glory.

It is encouraging to remember that just as Peter’s confession of Christ was God-given so is our faith in Christ’s person and work.

Assurance is in the faith itself and in the justification and this brings blessedness.

Check out the PRC website quotes on assurance (especially Calvin)

Quotations by John Calvin on Assurance of Salvation – CPRC

The Salt of the Covenant

Nothing like salt!

“And every oblation of thy meat (cereal) offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.” Leviticus 2:13

“All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the Lord, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever before the Lord unto thee and to thy seed with thee.”

Numbers 18:19

“ought ye not to know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?” 2 Chronicles 13:5

Why was salt an integral part of every meat (cereal) offering?

“The cereal offering was presented never as something separate and independent but always with the burnt offering and peace offering; and with it was connected a quantity of wine, that is, this flour or these cakes as prepared with the oil, salt, and frankincense were added, together with the wine, to the carcass of the animal sacrifice and with it burnt upon the altar. And in its state of consumption, this offering, too, was a sweet savor unto the Lord. The remnant of it, that is, what remained of the flour or of the cakes, was Aaron’s and his sons, and theirs only. Thus these materials might not be eaten by the common members of the theocracy, for they were things “most holy of the offerings unto the Lord made by fire.” The meat offering, as was said, had to be prepared with oil, frankincense, and salt, but never with honey and leaven (which ferment or corrupt), “And when any will offer a meat offering unto the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon; and he shall bring it to Aaron’s sons, the priests: and he shall take thereout his handfuls of flour thereof, and of the oil thereof: and the priest shall burn the memorial of it upon the altar, to be an offering made by fire, a sweet savour unto the Lord: and the remnant of the meat offering shall be Aaron’s and his sons’: it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the Lord made by fire” (Lev. 2:1-3).

Salt has always been valued as a preservative and a seasoning. It was often used for ratifying agreements so it became a symbol of fidelity and constancy. In its addition to an offering it typified the eternal nature of the “covenant of salt” between God and his people. New Bible Dictionary. Where is the proof of this-JK?

Is salt mentioned for its preservative properties in Scripture? No, this idea fails for three reasons. 1) Nowhere in Scripture is salt referred to as a preservative, but always as a substance that makes food tasty and pleasing. 2) Jesus does not say, “Ye are the salt of the world” (a spiritual ethical concept), but “Ye are the salt of the earth” (that is, the planet, the earthly creation). 3) It ought to be obvious that salt cannot preserve that which is already stinking and corrupt, which the world of unbelief surely is.

John Owen taught and wrote on the unchangeableness of God’s covenant, which is “the very salt of the covenant of grace.” Salt preserves. It keeps. What keeps the saints in God’s covenant is God’s unchangeableness, and what keeps sweet consolation in the hearts of
the covenant members is the truth that God’s eternal covenantal love for them is steadfast and unchangeable. Salt also seasons. Assurance of preservation is to the taste of
the members of God’s covenant most delightful. Of course! What is covenant fellowship with God, and what is union with Christ, and what is life in the Holy Spirit, and what is a walk in faith and holiness if it is all only temporary and losable? To be assured of everlasting
preservation is indeed the very salt of the covenant of grace. The Arminian theology of conditional salvation has no savor. It also spoils. It eats at the truth of the covenant and the hearts of believers like a canker. Owen saw the destruction of this invasive teaching in
England. For the glory of God and the welfare of the church, Owen defended the truth of an unconditional covenant of grace that God sovereignly establishes and maintains with His elect people so that His people are forever secure. The knowledge of this security is the
very salt of the covenant of grace.

  “Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.” Mark 9:50.
“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men” Matthew 5:13-16

“The meat offering was mingled also with salt. It is especially the New Testament Bible that enables one to accurately ascertain the symbolical significance of salt. There are the utterances of Christ to which regard must be had. “Ye are the salt of the earth. . . .” (Matt. 5:13). “Salt is good, but if the salt have lost its saltness, wherewith shall ye season it? Have salt in yourselves and have peace with one another” (Mark 9:50). “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Col. 4:6). In these passages salt is the emblem of: 1) the believers again in their corporate capacity (ye are the salt of the earth); 2) a conscious and thus flowering spiritual life (have salt in yourselves); 3) that spiritual wholesomeness of which the fear of the Lord, the life of regeneration, is the principle, and that renders the speech of the believer agreeable to the palate of God and of believing men. The prevalent view seems to be that salt appears in Scripture also as the emblem of the element of preservation in the kingdom of heaven, preventing corruption and preserving nutriment. However, there is not one passage in the whole of Holy Writ which so speaks of salt as to lend support to the view that it has this symbolical significance. Christ says not, “If the salt have lost its preserving properties” but He says, “If the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted. “

George Ophoff Standard Bearer 4/1/1939

 “In other words, salt has covenant significance in both the Old and New Testaments. God’s covenant embraces the entire earthly creation which He made and loves, which came under the curse for man’s sake, and which is redeemed in Christ and the salvation of the elect. We are to think of the earth, hanging in space, as an offering to God. This earth-offering is made tasty to God by the presence of redeemed saints scattered throughout the nations. They are salt on the offering. What an exalted position! Let men say of the church what they will; God says, “Ye are the salt of the earth!” Dale Kuiper. Standard Bearer 2/1/1991

The Assurance of Faith (continued)

Sealed by the Spirit

Sung Psalm 23 (note all the personal references to faith)

Reading Hebrews 11:1-16

Revising previous classes to proove that assurance and faith are synonymous:

Source is God, by a gift of grace bringing us into a covenant relationship with our heavenly Father.

Subject is us, who personally express the conviction of our heart (Gal.2:20)

Objective includes the Persons of the Godhead, the Promises of Scripture (e.g. John 5:24) and the Propositions which are living spiritual words (John 6:63) that work faith/assurance in those elect who hear them. God’s promises lead him to act. He works in us the bond of faith uniting us to Christ, the activity of faith which is knowledge and confidence and the fruit of faith namely good works (Hebrews 11 is a catalogue of these). faith works by love-love for God and man.

Heidelberg Catechism LD 7

Q. 21.  What is true faith?
A.  True faith is not only a certain knowledge,3 whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in His Word, but also an assured confidence,4 which the Holy Ghost5 works by the gospel in my heart;6 that not only to others, but to me also, remission of sin,7 everlasting righteousness, and salvation8 are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ’s merits.9

  1. Eph. 3:12Rom. 4:1620, 21Heb. 11:1.
  2. Acts 16:14Mat. 16:17John 3:5.
  3. Rom. 10:1417Rom. 1:161 Cor. 1:21.
  4. Rom. 5:1Mat. 9:2.
  5. Gal. 2:20.
  6. Rom. 3:24-26.

CPRC Saturday Night Bible Study

Hebrews 5:8-6:3

Christ learned obedience as a child with his parents and through a lifetime of suffering when it cost him to obey (Heb.12:4). Prior to his incarnation he commanded. In the same way he learned as a young person, he grew in the experience of perfectly obeying his Father, submitting to God’s law and obeying the two great commandments, much of this was a new experience for him hence he “learned” obedience. He was made perfect (tested and tried) through suffering and rising from the dead. He earned our salvation and grants it to all the elect, given to him before the foundation of the world, applying it to them by his Spirit. (John 6:39, 10:28, 17:2,24). His perfection in righteousness is bequeathed to all his people who are justified, forgiven by his substitution as the spotless Lamb and pronounced righteous with his righteousness, who will follow him to heaven.

Melchisedec was a unique priest-king of whose order Christ was anointed.

Being dull of hearing means lacking understanding and to a greater or lesser extent, being unbelieving or resistant to God’s truth e.g. disciples on Emmaus road, Jews in Isaiah 6. These converted Jews addressed in the book were tempted to return to Judaistic practices. They had the Scriptures (Old testament and some of New Testament). Their milk was the typology and prophecy of the Old Testament law, a schoolmaster that was meant to lead them to Christ. The strong meat was the reality of Christ and his fulfilling the Old Testament. To be skillful in the word of righteousness is to be able to apply it practically in everyday life as a mature believer (1 John 2:12) whose age and experience has taught them, giving them discernment like the increased ability to sense things e.g. tough, smell, taste and hearing that distinguish an adult from a baby. Adam thought that by sinning he could make his own decision as to what was right and wrong, a mature believer is able to make right decisions about this.

The principles of the doctrine of Christ are what the Old Testament teach about him in their types and prophecies. Jewish believers must leave them because they are only a foundation (Gal.3:24,25). They are dead works (Heb.9:9-14), baptisms (washings) were ceremonial washings with water (Ex.30:18, Lev.16:4, Num.19:19), blood or ashes of the Red Heifer, laying on of hands was the transmission or imputation of sin from the sinner to the sacrificial animal (Lev.16:21), resurrection and judgment was believed by the Jews (Eccles.12:14, Acts 24:14,15, John 11:24). These foundations must not be laid again because that would be a backward step, they had to be built on by the doctrine of Christ, the reality to which they all pointed and this they would do if God permit or DV (Deo Volente) because every step in spiritual progress depends on God’s grace and Holy Spirit.

Next study (DV) Saturday February 27th 8pm on Hebrews 6:4-12 on Zoom here:

Join On-line Meeting

Meeting ID: 718 962 8817

Passcode: 2dsSxA

Pink on Sanctification

March, 1937 Studies in the Scriptures 27

The Doctrine of Sanctification.

  1. Its Process. By the process of sanctification we mean the principal actings of those who have already been manifestatively set apart by God unto Himself and for Himself. To speak of the actings of sanctification necessarily presupposes a previous principle of holiness from which they arise. Sanctification, as we have pointed out in previous articles, begins with, and continues as a consequent of, regeneration. Viewed from the experimental and practical side, sanctification is not a Divine act, but a work of God’s grace, wherein He sustains and develops, continues and perfects, that which He imparted at the new birth. Thus considered, sanctification is a growth, under the supporting and fructifying influences of the indwelling Holy Spirit: a growth from spiritual infancy to childhood, from childhood
    to youth, from youth to spiritual maturity. This growth follows a two-fold process: the
    mortification of the old nature, and the vivification of the new nature. Throughout that twofold process there is a concurrence between the Spirit and the believer, and this, because holiness is both a privilege and a duty, a Divine gift and a human attainment. To our last statement some are likely to take exception, for the balance of Truth has been well-nigh lost on this subject. Antinomians insist that sanctification is solely the work of God, and that the believer has no part or hand in it. Pelagians virtually affirm that it is entirely the product of human industry. From one viewpoint, sanctification is indeed the work of God, but from another it is the work of man, assisted by supernatural grace. As a privilege, sanctification is the subject of promise and prayer: see Ezekiel 36:25-27, John 17:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:23. But as a duty, sanctification is the subject of exhortation: see Ezekiel 18:31, 2 Corinthians 7:1, 1 Peter 1:15.
    Those who are so insistent upon affirming that sanctification is entirely the work of
    God, and that man has no part in it, overlook God’s general method of working. Behold
    His handiwork in Nature. God does not create trees fully grown, nor even plants with
    flowers fully developed. Instead, they first exist as tiny seeds, and then they develop
    gradually unto maturity, and their growth is made dependent on the outworking of natural
    laws—supplies of rain and sunshine—and often of human cultivation. So it is spiritually.
    In the realm of grace, God works by means and according to the sequences of law. “Although the strength with which we believe is wholly and entirely from the Spirit, and put
    into the soul by Him who is said to ‘strengthen us in the inner man’ (Eph. 3:16), yet He
    useth apt and suitable motives, by and with which He conveys it, and conveys it answerable to the fitness and force that is in such motives to work upon an intelligent creature”
    (Thomas Goodwin, Vol. 8., p. 108).
    Sanctification is our work not as though we could change our own hearts from the
    love of sin to the love of God, nor even when they are changed to carry forward that
    change to perfection or completion; no, it is only as we are enabled from on High, for of
    ourselves we can do nothing (John 15:5). It is our work as we diligently use the appointed
    means, and trust God to make them effectual. It is God’s work as the Spirit employs
    powerful motives to influence us to action. For instance, He impresses us with the fact
    that God’s eye is ever upon us, and this causes us to walk softly before Him. Or, He applies to our hearts the solemn warnings of Scripture, so that we are afraid to sport with sin
    or give heed to Satan’s allurements. Or again, He fills the heart with a sense of Christ’s
    dying love for us, so that the springs of gratitude are set in motion, and we endeavour to
    please and glorify Him. By various considerations the Holy Spirit stirs up the believer to
    resist sin and cultivate holiness. The process of our sanctification, then, is both a Divine and a human one
    . Having dwelt so much upon the Divine side in the earlier articles we now continue our consideration of the human. This process is a protracted one, so that the believer gradually becomes more and more out of love with sin and in love with holiness. Now, as we have said above, this spiritual growth follows the twofold process of mortification and vivification. Yet those two actings are not so distinct that the one can go on independently, or at a distinct time from the other, for the one necessarily accompanies the other; nevertheless, in explaining that process of experimental and practical sanctification they need to be separately expounded; and a little reflection will show the order in which they need to be contemplated—we have to die to sin before we can live to God. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness,
    inordinate affection” etc. (Col. 3:5). This means, put to death those fleshly lusts which are
    set upon earthly objects, and thus prevent their evil fruits of “fornication” etc.: with this
    expression “your members which are upon the earth” compare “the body of sin” (Rom.
    6:6), which does not mean our physical body, though sin acts through it. The term “mortify” is not used in Scripture absolutely to kill and destroy, so as that which is mortified
    no longer has any being, but rather that it should be rendered impotent and useless, unable to produce its wicked works. In proof of this assertion, let it be carefully noted that
    the same Greek word which is translated “mortify” in Colossians 3:5 is rendered “and
    being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now “dead”, when he was about a
    hundred years old” (Rom. 14:19). Now the body of Abraham was not absolutely dead,
    but the natural force and vigour of it was considerably abated. The object of this duty of mortification is indwelling sin, which may he viewed in a threefold manner: its root or principle, its disposition and powers, its effects or fruits. The root of indwelling sin is that depraved habit or principle which inclines fallen man unto all that is evil: it is “the flesh” or “our old man.” The disposition or powers of indwelling sin are designated its “affections and lusts” (Gal. 5:24), “deceitful lusts” (Eph. 4:22), “secret (hidden, inward) faults” (Psa. 19:12). Its effects or fruits are its open transgressions against God’s Law. Now to “mortify” sin is a continual act or work, whereby we are to strive against sin, sap its power, rendering it impotent to beget evil works. The same duty (with relation to the death of Christ as the meritorious and efficient cause of it), is expressed by crucifying the flesh (Gal. 5:24)—a form of death which is a painful and lingering one. Mortification consists of a deliberate and diligent opposition to the solicitations of sin. It is the exercise and working of that hatred of sin which the Spirit communicated to the heart at the new birth. It is taking sides with the new nature against the flesh. It is the acting out of the grace received at regeneration unto a continual endeavour in the subjugating of the old nature, so that we may be able to truthfully say with the Apostle “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection” (1 Cor. 9:27). It is the putting forth of our utmost endeavours to resist our corruptions by all those methods prescribed in the Gospel. It is the “putting off of the old man” (Eph. 4:22): a displacing it from its former throne in the heart, so as no longer to yield obedience to its lusts or walk according to its dictates.

    There are but two masters which divide the world between them; sin and God. Every
    man serves one of them, but no man can serve both. Every man serves either sin or righteousness, God or Satan, for there is no middle or neutral state: either their time and
    strength are spent in the service of the flesh, or the service of God. “For they that are after
    the flesh, do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit, the things of
    the Spirit” (Rom. 8:5); “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption;
    but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Gal. 6:8). How it
    concerns us, then, to consider what or who it is that employs our souls! The faculties of
    the soul and the energies of the body cannot be inactive: they must be employed one way
    or the other—Heavenwards or Hellwards. Both of these services are entered by consent: “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness” (Rom. 6:16). It is true there are degrees in this, some yielding up themselves more completely and entirely than others; nevertheless, the service which the unregenerate render to sin and the service which the regenerate render to righteousness, is quite voluntary. Of the one we read “The heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Eccl. 8:11), and again “Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (Eph. 4:19); of the other it is written “but first gave their own selves to the Lord” (2 Cor. 8:5).
    No excuses, no quibblings, no reasonings can neutralize the plain testimony of these
    Scriptures. Each man freely follows the bent of his own heart and pursues that which he
    is most in love with. The great difference between the regenerate and the unregenerate is
    this: the one denies self, the other gratifies it. “Self denial lies in a man’s renouncing, foregoing, and postponing all his pleasures, profits, relations, interest, and whatever he enjoys, which may be in competition withChrist. From love to Him, and to be given up at His command. A self-denying person seeks first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and leaves all other things with God, to bestow upon him as He thinks fit; and what He has given him, he is ready at His command to bring all he has and place it at His feet, as the first Christians brought all they had and laid it at the Apostles’ feet. This is self-denial” (John Gill). The great motive to this is the example left us by the Son of God Himself: see Philippians 2:5-8. Mortification consists in the application to the heart and life of the principle of the
    Cross. It does not denote the abolition of sin in the believer or the present destruction of
    its being: our corruptions are not put off until we leave this world. Nor is the work of
    mortification to be understood in the literal and natural sense of the term, by the starving
    or scourging of the body: many deluded souls mistake the mortification of the body for
    the mortification of sin. Nor does it consist in the suppressing of the external acts of sin
    only, for sin may reign over the heart where the outward conduct is highly esteemed
    among men. Nor should it be supposed that the mortification of sin has taken place because some particular inclination which formerly predominated is now weakened, for the
    effects of illness or the advances of old age often produce this consequence. No, mortification is the purging of the soul, the freeing of it from that slavery of the
    flesh which detained it from God and disabled it from the duties of a holy and heavenly
    life. It is the resisting and denying of our corrupt inclinations. It is founded in a hatred of
    them, and not simply in fear of their consequences. It is not a bare abstinence from acts of
    evil, but an abhorrence for them from a regard to the authority of God in His Law, which
    forbids them. This is most important to note, for there is much abstaining from outward
    acts of sin where there is not a grain of holiness in the heart. There are various prudential
    considerations which deter many from crime, such as the fear of human punishment, the
    loss of reputation among men, the jeopardizing of a lucrative position, or concern for
    their health. But evangelical mortification proceeds from an abhorrence of evil and has
    respect to the will of Him who forbids its exercise.
    Evangelical mortification rises from the principle of grace in the renewed soul, for that
    principle heartily approves both the precepts and prohibitions of the Law. And herein lies
    the imperative need of self-examination, observing our hearts and ascertaining from what
    views and motives we act, otherwise there will be little or no real holiness, even though
    our outward conduct be such as raises it above the censure of those who know us best.
    We have no warrant whatever to deem ourselves any further holy than as we act under
    the influence of spiritual considerations: that is, doing what we do out of love to God,
    with a respect unto His authority, seeking His glory. It is a very dangerous mistake to
    suppose that all opposition to sin is genuine mortification, and therefore we need to carefully examine into the design and ends of our actions.
    Mortification of sin is one of the chief duties and should be the daily business of every
    Christian. Some who seem much mortified to bodily lusts, are yet greatly captivated by
    intellectual lusts. They do not wallow in the mire of immorality, drunkenness, and other
    fleshly gratifications, but they are full of pride, envy, covetousness, malice, contempt of
    others, which lusts are just as vile in themselves and as hateful to God as the others. True
    grace opposes lusts of every kind, for it will not connive at any evil. The new nature is
    just as much antagonistic to internal eruptions of sin as to the outward acts: necessarily
    so, for without this there is no purity of heart and nothing of that holiness which is indispensably requisite for eternal happiness. Many appear to think otherwise, and therefore so long as their lusts break not forth into outward acts of sin, they are well pleased with themselves.
    Alas, what multitudes are fatally deceived at this very point: the externals of religion
    and the outward acts of morality are all that concern them. But God is to be worshipped
    “in spirit and in truth,” if He is to be worshipped acceptably; and none but the pure in
    heart are admitted into Heaven. O how few make conscience of evil thoughts, or the first
    motions of the affections after that which is prohibited: the “plague of his own heart” (1
    Kings 8:38) occasions them no concern—which is sure proof that they are not indwelt by
    the Holy Spirit. God requires the heart (Prov. 23:26), and if we give not that to Him, then
    He receives nothing which He values in the slightest degree. Such was the case with the
    Pharisees—and they have numerous successors today—whom our Lord compared to
    whited sepulchres, which are beautiful without, but within are full of putridity.
    Here is the great difference between faith and presumption: the one hates sin, is
    plagued by its presence, and mourns over its activities; the other is bold in sinning, persuades itself of security in Christ, lightly passes over its commission, having little remorse when guilty of it. Evangelical mortification of sin, then, respects not only the behaviour, but the heart, for there it begins. Its aim is to produce spirituality of mind, for “to
    be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6).
    Abhorrence of evil, love of God, and a delight in conformity to His will, is the root of it,
    and where these be not in some measure, there is nothing of that mortification which God
    requires. Indwelling sin must not he spared, but attacked, for there is no other way of being freed from bondage to it, but by constantly opposing it, root and branch.
    Every unmortified sin will weaken the soul, so as to deprive it of its strength Godwards, and it will darken the soul, so as to deprive it of its peace and comfort. Observe
    what an unmortified lust in the heart did for David: “When I kept silence, my bones
    waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy
    upon me; my moisture is turned into the drought of summer” (Psa. 32:3, 4). So too unmortified lust spreads a cloud over the soul, so that the beams of God’s favour are intercepted: “Your sins have hid His face from you” (Isa. 59:2). Nothing is so destructive of
    communion with God as the allowance of sin. Nothing is so opposed to our best interests
    as the indulgence of fleshly lusts. Nothing presents so serious a stumbling block to babes
    in Christ’s family as to behold the older members of it trifling with that which caused His
    crucifixion. If He died for sin, surely we must die to sin.
    On the other hand, there is a blessedness which results from mortification which
    should set every Christian to be more diligent and earnest in the prosecution of it. There
    is a double comfort in mortification: one in the nature of the work itself, as it is a God-appointed duty; the other as it respects Christ, affording evidence of our union with Him.
    God will be no man’s debtor, and He richly rewards those who set themselves to the
    work He has assigned. What a blessed tranquility of conscience and joy of heart is ours
    when we have faithfully repelled temptations and successfully resisted our corruptions!
    What recompense is found in the smile of God! There is then a Heaven within—whereas
    the wicked have a taste of Hell, in their gripes of conscience and terrors of the wrath to
    come. Moreover, mortification evidences our interest in Christ (Gal. 5:24): those endeavours of mortification, sincere yet feeble, plainly show that the Holy Spirit is in me, and
    what joy such assurance brings!
    Further, the daily mortification of indwelling sin not only has much to do with the
    comforts enjoyed by our souls, but it is instrumental in fitting us to be used by Christ, in
    whatever humble capacity He is pleased to employ us. “If a man therefore purge himself
    from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the Master’s use,
    and prepared unto every good work” (2 Tim. 2:21). What is the blessedness of life but in
    being of some use in the Lord’s vineyard? Only so far as we live a fruitful life unto God,
    do we answer the end of our being. But let a proud, a carnal, or a worldly heart be employed in any service to the Lord, and such an heart is certain to spoil the work by managing it for some self end. Sin is a disease, a consumption upon the inner man, and so far
    as it prevails, unfits us to be used by Christ. When the Lord employed Isaiah, He first
    purged his iniquity: Isaiah 6:7, 8!
    Temptations can only be resisted in proportion as we devote ourselves to the work of
    mortification. It is the condition of our heart which determines whether or not we respond
    to Satan’s allurements. So too afflictions are unsupportable without mortification. My
    reader, you live in a mutable world, where Providence rings the changes in all its affairs.
    You that have husband or wife may be left desolate tomorrow. You that have riches or
    children may be bereft of both before you are aware. Sickness treads upon the heels of
    health, and death as surely follows life as the night does the day. Consider well with
    yourself: are you able to bear the loss of your sweetest enjoyments with patience? O get
    the heart mortified to all these things, and you will bless a taking as well as a giving

More: Microsoft Word – STUD-437.doc ( p26ff

More: Microsoft Word – STUD-537.doc ( p25ff

More: Microsoft Word – STUD-637.doc ( p26ff

More: Microsoft Word – STUD-737.doc ( p25ff

Conclusion: Microsoft Word – STUD-C37.doc ( p26ff

Herman Bavinck on Sin

Bavinck 1854-1921

God always exercises his rule over sin. He remains king yet still gives sin free reign in his kingdom. He allows it to have everything-his world, his creatures, even his Anointed-for evils cannot exist without goods. He allows it opportunity to show what it can do in order ultimately to destroy itself, sin dies of its own diseases; it dooms itself to death. At the apex of its power, it is, by the cross alone, publicly shown up in its powerlessness. “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it”- (the cross). Col.2:15. For that reason God willed there to be sin. Because he knew he was absolutely able to control sin.

It is true that also and especially in God’s government over sin his attributes are splendidly displayed. The riches of God’s grace, the depth of his compassion, the unchanging nature of his faithfulness, the inviolable character of his justice, the glory of his wisdom and power have shone out all the more brilliantly as a result of sin. Hallelujah-JK

The possibility of sinning is from God. The idea of sin was first conceived in his mind. It was included in his decree or else it would never have been able to exist. God created humans and angels so that they could sin and fall (they did not have the grace by which they could stand in perpetuity). They were good but changeably so. What has been formed can be deformed and hence again be reformed.

Satan’s sin was produced in himself, Adam’s temptation and sin came from without. Bavinck rightly says the tree of knowledge of good and evil offered our first parents the right and the capacity to distinguish good and evil on their own.

Sin is a phenomenon whose possibility was indeed given in the creation of the finite, mutable beings, but whose reality could only be called into being by the will of the creature. It is there, it is no accident, and God assigned it a place.

(Adapted slightly)

The Spirit and Assurance (cont)

Assurance of Faith

The Witness of the Spirit

The Spirit is our seal

Sung Psalm 23

Reading Romans 8:11-17 (Gal.4:6,7)

Is assurance of the essence of faith?

Puritan errors were:

  1. Assurance comes from an experience (mystical)
  2. Assurance is the Spirit assessing the evidence of new birth/our good works. It should be noted that a holy life* (evidences to our spirit) does promote assurance in a secondary way (1 John).

In actual fact assurance is the Spirit witnessing to the truth of Scripture: e.g. Romans 8

1.That we are adopted

2.That we are loved

3.That we are victors

These things are written that you may KNOW that ye have eternal life (1 John 5:13)

  • some of the evidences in our spirit are: our clear conscience, the beatitudes, love for God, his commandments and his people (1 John), good works.

The believer is active in sanctification!

  1. Romans 8:13 “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”
  2. Colossians 3:5 “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:”

I believe sanctification is monergistic in its origin (“through the Spirit”) but synergistic in it’s operation and expression (“if ye…”).

God sanctifies us in principle when we are regenerated and continues the work (Phil.1:6) but we are called to strive after sanctification with all our might (Hoeksema). We are called to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit (2 Cor.7:1) and put off the old man and put on the new man (Eph.4:22). God’s work always first, preserves us as rational, moral creatures so that we bear fruit consciously and willingly. He works in us continuous conversion and we turn. Christ lives in us, out of our new man.

John Owen has to be one of the masters of explaining this having written a whole treatise on it!

Mortification of Sin (2) – Jules’ jewels (

More: Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers by John Owen – Jules’ jewels (

John Owen on Mortification. – Jules’ jewels (

Mortification of Sin (38) ultimate post – Jules’ jewels (

Training theory

Runners, rowers, cyclists, skiers……

Watch this video to unlock the secrets of the best endurance athletes-it appears LSD (long slow distance) is the basis for all endurance fitness:

How “normal people” can train like the worlds best endurance athletes | Stephen Seiler | TEDxArendal – YouTube

So according to this your training programme should incorporate sessions in the following percentages:

EasyGreenHR up to 65% max80%
ModerateYellowHR 65-80% max10%
IntenseRedHR 0ver 80% max10%
Training needs to be sustainable and effective i.e. you need to be able to sustain it without burning out, getting too tired causing a drop in performance. Rest and sleep are when the training adaptations occur-hence their importance.
The great Peter Snell

The Spirit and Assurance

The Spirit seals.
 NatureRomans 8Significance
Puritan ViewWonderful experience. Deep communion.Occasional., Not for all i.e. separates brethren. Mystical.  
Reformed ViewAll believers. Now. Received at regeneration. Gal.4:6, 2 Cor.1:22 Word based. Belgic conf. Art 5 on proof of God’s word being true by church, Spirit and evidences e.g. prophecy. Westminster Conf. I (5) 1 Peter 1:8 joy. Heidelberg LD 22 Q58    


The Supreme Importance of Christ’s Priesthood

“How wonderful and blessed it is to know that the honor of Christ and the
procuring of our salvation are so intimately connected that it was His
glory to be made our Mediator! There are three chief offices which Christ
holds as Mediator: He is prophet, priest and potentate. But there is an
importance, a dignity and a blessedness (little as carnal reason may be
able to perceive it) attaching to His priestly office which does not belong
to the other two. Scripture furnishes three proofs of this. First, we never
read of “our great prophet,” or “our great King,” but we do of “our great
High Priest” (Heb. 4:14)! Second, the Holy Spirit nowhere affirms that
Christ’s appointment to either His prophetic or His kingly office
“glorified” Him; but this is insisted upon in connection with His call to
the sacerdotal office (Heb. 5:5)! Third, we read not of the dread solemnity
of any divine “oath” in connection with His inauguration to the prophetic
or the kingly office, but we do His priestly—”The Lord hath sworn, and
will not repent, thou art a priest forever.” (Ps. 110:4)! Thus the priesthood
of Christ is invested with supreme importance. ” A.W. Pink

Moses anoints Aaron as High Priest

“It is to be observed that Psalm 2:7 opens with the words, “I will declare
the decree,” which signifies a public announcement of what had been
eternally predestinated and appointed in the everlasting covenant. It was
God making known that the Mediator had received a Divine commission,
and therefore was possessed of all requisite authority for His office. The
deeper meaning, in this connection, of the proclamation, “Thou art My
Son,” tells us that Christ’s sufficiency as Priest lies in His Divine nature. It
was the dignity of His person which gave value to what He did. Because
He was the Son, God appointed Him High Priest: He would not give this
glory to another. Just as, because He is the Son, He has made Him “Heir
of all things.” (Heb. 1:2.)

Lightweights Monthly Ranking Challenge

100m Jan 2021

Entries were at 19 this month which is pretty close to last years 24 which of course was still just pre Covid-19 really hitting – therefore I’d say this was a good turnout.

100m brings the specialists to the fore – Steve RoeddeTyson WhittJulian KennedyRick Gadde and Mike De Petris all showing impressive turns of speed!

The results are in and the top three are :- (Full Results link at the end of the report)

– 1275 Points 1st – Steve Roedde
– 1245 Points 2nd – Tyson Whitt
– 1152 Points 3rd – Julian Kennedy

Congratulations to Steve for just getting in front of Tyson again this year – I note however the gap was a little smaller being 30 points this year and 36 points last year so Tyson is putting the pressure on.Steve Roedde – 1275 Points – Steve managed to put in a couple of great efforts on Slides at 14.9 and Static machine at 15.4 seconds – both significantly under 1:20/500m pace! Also time seems to not be affecting Steve who at 66 is moving faster than either of the last 2 years.

Tyson Whitt – 1245 Points – Tyson also put in efforts on the slides and static machines with times of 13.7 and 14.1 so just 0.4 seconds slower on the static. The slides seem to give a bit of an advantage on the sprints in that they allow you to rate that bit higher and so get more strokes in with less chance of flying off your seat! Both of these are huge efforts and also faster than last year on both counts by at least 0.2 seconds.

Julian Kennedy – 1152 Points – A welcome podium place here – Julian has shown great improvement over the last couple of years with a 17.2 in 2019 then 16.7 last year and a 16.6 this year – which incidentally equals the British Record for his age group which is a superb achievement. He also hit that time of 16.6 twice in the month just to prove it wasn’t a fluke.
Other Notables!!!!There were definitely some more great sprints this month with Mike De Petris taking 0.4 seconds off his time from last year and pushing Julian close for a podium place with 1142 points (just 10 points shy). Mike also managed somehow to average 89 SPM which is astounding. Rick Gadde also took 0.4 seconds off last years time and fell just behind Mike on 1134 points (again another tight margin of just 8 points). Juzzy Reston is then the first of perhaps the not out and out sprinters – Justine by her own admission is not a sprinter but I think of course you still wouldn’t bet against her and certainly wouldn’t want to line up against her in a race you wanted to win! Justine turned back the clock and equaled her time of 2 years ago continuing this trend for maintaining or improving power as you get older – didn’t work for me so I’m not jealous at all 🙂

For the rest of us I think there were some good times in there and good results. Derrick Towell managed a 3 seasons best with 17.2 while I believe there were PB’s from Andy Lane (17.6), Adam Yalowich (18.9) Vicks Johannes (22.5) and Tom Maloney (19.9) so it’s always good to hit a record!

Concept 2 Monthly Ranking Distance Lightweight Challenge – Google Sheets

Analysis and Comparison

19 entries in total this month included 12 repeat entries from last year. Of those 12 there were 7 improvements – with Andy Lane I think the most improved with a nearly 1 second speed boost in the 100m (which is massive of course).

Average points this month were 1067.

DF high this month was 224 for Tyson Whitt and a low of 103 for Vicks Johannes . The average was 180.

A Stroke rate high of 89 (yes 89!!!) was hit by Mike De Petris while a of 33 was put in by Tom Maloney – good improvement potential there in the sprints when the confidence to push that rate up arrives.

CPRC Saturday Night Bible Study

Hebrews 4:14-5:10

The Priesthood of Christ

Christ is a great High Priest because, being divine, he can sacrifice (himself) for, care for (because he knows each intimately) and intercede for, all his elect people for evermore in the real holy place which is heaven.

Christ, having a weak human body was subject to human feelings e.g. tiredness, disease and sorrow but without sin e.g. fear, dread of death, unrighteous anger etc.

It is a comfort to us that he was tested in all points as we are e.g. our desire to indulge (lust of the flesh), possess (lust of the eyes), to impress (pride of life) all these as external temptations presented to him in the wilderness (stones to bread, “I’ll give you the world, jump off the temple”) all of which would have avoided the cross, but having come through he was victorious (on our behalf). Having no sin nature Satan had nothing “in him” to work on so he remained impeccable, but he suffered as the testing intensified.

Therefore being a man, albeit a glorified one, he understands human nature and we are exhorted to come to him to find mercy (pity, compassion and forgiveness) and grace (power of salvation and granting of his beauty) which we obtain through the gospel.

John Gill’s commentary (adapted)

Hebrews 2:18

For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted
By Satan, at his entrance on his public ministry, a little before his death and throughout his life; which was done, not by stirring up sin in him, for he had none, nor by putting any into him, which could not be done, nor could Satan get any advantage over him; he solicited him one thing and another, but in vain; though these temptations were very troublesome, and disagreeable, and abhorrent to the pure and holy nature of Christ, and so must be reckoned among his sufferings, or things by which he suffered: and as afflictions are sometimes called temptations, in this sense also Christ suffered, being tempted, with outward poverty and meanness, with slight and neglect from his own relations, and with a general contempt and reproach among men: he was often tempted by the Jews with ensnaring questions; he was deserted by his followers, by his own disciples, yea, by his God and Father; all which were great trials to him, and must be accounted as sufferings: and he also endured great pains of body, and anguish of mind, and at last death itself. And so

he is able to succour them that are tempted (tested-JK);
as all the saints, more or less, are, both with Satan’s temptations, and with afflictions in the world, which God suffers to befall them, on various accounts; partly on his own account, to show his grace, power, and faithfulness in supporting under them, and in delivering out of them; and partly on his Son’s account, that they might be like unto him, and he may have an opportunity of succouring them, and sympathizing with them; and also on their own account, to humble them, to try their faith, to excite them to prayer and watchfulness, and to keep them dependent on the power and grace of God: and these Christ succours, by having and showing a fellow feeling with them; by praying for them; by supporting them under temptations; by rebuking the tempter, and delivering out of them: and all this he is able to do; he must be able to succour them as he is God; and his conquering Satan is a convincing evidence to the saints of his ability; but here it intends his qualification, and fitness, and readiness to help in such circumstances, from the experience he himself has had of these things.

Hebrews 4:15

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities;
such as bodily diseases and wants, persecutions from men, and the temptations of Satan; under all which Christ sympathizes with his people; and which sympathy of his arises from his knowledge and experience of these things, and the share he has had of them, and from that union there is between him and his people: and it is not a bare sympathy, but is attended with his assistance, support, and deliverance; and the consideration of it is of great comfort to the saints:

but was in all points tempted like as we are:
of the temptations of Christ, and of the saints, (See Gill on Hebrews 2:18)

yet without sin;
there was no sin in his nature; though he was encompassed about with infirmities, yet not with sinful infirmities, only sinless ones; nor was there any sin in his temptations; though he was solicited to sin by Satan, yet he could find none in him to work upon; nor could he draw him into the commission of any sin.

Hebrews 5:9  “and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;” Sanctified suits the passage better than “made perfect”. “For their sakes I sanctify myself ” (John 17:19). Christ was consecrated.

Hebrews 5:12 ” ye ought to be teachers” one is to retain what he knows to himself, but to communicate it to the edification of others Calvin): hence participation in Bible studies!

Just as the Aaronic priests were publicly ordained (Ex. 28:41, 29:4,5,44, 30:7, Numbers 4, 8:7) so was Christ at his baptism in Jordan. The high priest was in charge of all the other priests and the upkeep of the tabernacle, offered sacrifices,  and incense i.e. prayed for the people, taught holiness, circumcised, put out the showbread, trimmed the candlesticks, judged lepers , guarded the book of the law , blew the trumpets and annually went into the holiest place (Ex.20:10). These are all aspects of covenant fellowship of the people and their God. All the priests were weak because human, but Christ, offering the perfect sacrifice, and being also divine, escapes or avoids the besetting infirmity of the O.T. priests.

People “out of the way” would be backsliders, walking in disobedience.

The high priest had to be descended from Aaron (Ex.31:10, Num.3:10) and ordained by another priest.

Christ was anointed and ordained by God, using John (the son of a priest) in the Jordan though he was in a sense ordained from eternity past (Lamb slain).

He was different, not being a Levite, but like Melchizedek, a priest-king (of Salem).

It was in death that Christ fulfilled the Aaronic type, making a full and
perfect atonement for the sins of His people. It is in resurrection that He
assumed the character in which Melchizedek foreshadowed Him—a royal
Priest. It was after He had been officially “perfected” and had become
“the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him” that the
Lord Jesus announced, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in
earth” (Matthew 28:18). There was first the Cross and then the Crown:
first He “offered up Himself” (Heb. 7:27), then He entered “into heaven
itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Heb. 9:24); and there
He is seated “a Priest upon His throne” (Zech. 6:13). A.W.Pink

Christ prayed with crying and tears in Gethsemane and was diligent in his office going as far as the cross in his work on his people’s behalf fulfilling to the letter his office as high priest.

“He learned obedience”……But what is “obedience?” It is subjection to the will of another: it is an owning of the authority of another; it is performing the pleasure of
another. This was an entirely new experience for the Son. Before His
incarnation, He had Himself occupied the place of authority, of supreme
authority. His seat had been the throne of the universe. From it He had
issued commands and had enforced obedience. But now He had taken the
place of a servant. He had assumed a creature nature. He had become
man. And in this new place and role He conducted Himself with befitting
submission to Another. He had been “made under the law,” and its
precepts must be honored by Him.”

“Again; the “obedience” of Christ formed an essential part of His priestly
oblation. This was typified of old—though very few have perceived it—in
the animals prescribed for sacrifice: they were to be “without spot,
without blemish.” That denoted their excellency; only the “choice of the
flock” (Ezek. 24:5) were presented to God. The antitype of this pointed to
far more than the sinlessness of Christ—that were merely negative. It had
in view His positive perfections, His active obedience, His personal
excellency. When Christ “offered Himself without spot to God” (Heb.
9:14), He presented a Sacrifice which had already fulfilled every
preceptive requirement of the law. And it was as Priest that He thus
offered Himself to God, thereby fulfilling the Aaronic type. But in all
things He has the pre-eminence, for at the cross He was both Offerer and
Offering. ”

He excelled them at every point, thus demonstrating the
immeasurable superiority of Christ over Aaron. First, Aaron was but a
man (verse 1); Christ, the “Son.” Second, Aaron offered “sacrifices” (verse
1); Christ offered one perfect sacrifice, once for all. Third, Aaron was
“compassed with infirmity” (verse 2); Christ was the “mighty” One (Ps.
89:19). Fourth, Aaron needed to offer for his own sins (verse 3); Christ
was sinless. Fifth, Aaron offered a sacrifice external to himself; Christ
offered Himself. Sixth, Aaron effected only a temporary salvation. Christ
secured an eternal one. Seventh, Aaron’s atonement was for Israel only;
Christ’s for “all them that obey Him.”

It was in death that Christ fulfilled the Aaronic type, making a full and
perfect atonement for the sins of His people. It is in resurrection that He
assumed the character in which Melchizedek foreshadowed Him—a royal
Priest. It was after He had been officially “perfected” and had become
“the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him” that the
Lord Jesus announced, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in
earth” (Matthew 28:18). There was first the Cross and then the Crown:
first He “offered up Himself” (Heb. 7:27), then He entered “into heaven
itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Heb. 9:24); and there
He is seated “a Priest upon His throne” (Zech. 6:13)

A.W. Pink

Next study (DV) Saturday February 13th 8pm on line looking at Hebrews 5:9-6:3

Join On-line Meeting

Meeting ID: 718 962 8817

Passcode: 2dsSxA

Grow in Grace

2 Peter 3:18

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Grow in the beauty of Christ and experience his power to sanctify.

This is a command to every believer.  How?

The means of grace:

1.The word: must join a true church and hear the preaching, read your Bible daily, study the Bible alone and in a group and read good Christian books.

2.Prayer-daily along with Bible reading (devotions or the “quiet time”)

3.Fellowship-do not forsake meeting with God’s people to worship and share.

4.Witness-live godly and as opportunity arises speak of Christ and his gospel.

All these take discipline! Well we are disciples of Christ!

Witsius on Christ’s work

Crowned King

  “Seeing the sinner man, says he, was, according to what God had threatened, become liable to death, till he had satisfied divine justice  and was brought into that condition by the devil, who had  con- quered man, and thereby was become his lord,  under whose dominion and captivity man afterwards lived ; in order to deliver, and perfectly restore him, it was necessary, because he could do neither of these things himself, both that another could undergo and conquer for him the death which he deserved and that another rescue him from the power of the devil, who was rescued from him by violence and military prowess. The former requires a Surety, who, taking guilt upon himself in man’s name, should willingly and patiently undergo the just penalty at the hands of the most righteous Judge, to his full satisfaction. The latter calls for a Redeemer or Avenger, who, by a just claim, may rescue slaves out of the hands of an unjust tyrant (such as he who, by fraud and violence, acquires a dominion) and, by opposition and resistance, injures the innocent. To both these purposes God appointed his own Son, whom, by an eternal covenant, he chose to the mediatorial office ; and revealed in his word, that he should be the valiant conqueror of the serpent, and the deliverer of some men, also, a vicarious Surety, and afterwards a sacrifice, which was pointed out by clothing our first parents with skins, the sufferings of Christ therefore are of two sorts : One judicial, which he endured as Surety, justly on the part of God, for the debts of others, which he had undertaken to pay, and which being done, a reconciliation is the consequence : the other, warlike, which he endured as Deliverer [or Redeemer] unjustly brought on him by his enemies, Satan and his instruments, because he will bring to salvation those whom he redeemed by his ransom. Both these kinds of sufferings belong to the perfecting of Christ.”

Herman Witsius.

Causes of Lack of Assurance (part 2)

Previous post: Lack of Assurance – Jules’ jewels (

We have the sealing of the Spirit.

Sung Psalm 51: 8-15 (when David prayed for reassurance)

Reading Ephesians 4:20-5:11

3. Unbelief-certain doctrines like reprobation, hell, sexuality, heaven, scripture’s authority, providence. Doubting these will weaken faith so that assurance is lost. The antidote is the shield of faith and reliance on the truth of God’s word.

4. Grieving the Spirit-he withdraws as we “hurt” him (although he is forever infinitely and unassailably blessed). We do this by lying, stealing, unrighteous anger, malice, unforgiveness, sexual sin and covetousness. The antidote is to repent, forgive, restore anything stolen and get restored by God. (Psalm 51:10-13).

The Spirit, then, does not grant the believer assurance irrespective of his own carefulness and diligence. “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning” (Luke 12:35): the latter being largely determined by the former. The Christian is not always in the enjoyment of a child-like confidence. And why? Because he is often guilty of “grieving” the Spirit, and then, He withholds much of His comfort. Hereby we may ascertain our communion with God and when it is interrupted, when He be pleased or displeased with us—by the motions or withdrawings of the Spirit’s consolation. Note the order in Acts 9:31, “Walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit”; and again in Acts 11:24, “He was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit.” Hence, when our confidence toward “the Father” is clouded, we should search our ways and find out what is the matter. A.W. Pink.

5.Walking in darkness-Eph.5:3-6 outlines this, also unequal yoke relationships, drunkenness, family sins, love of money, being outside the church, worldliness. Answer-repent, 1 John 1:9, Eph. 4:22-24.

6. Lack of evidences of good works-not loving the brethren, not loving and seeking to obey his commandments, not hating and mortifying sin. Answer-again repent, do your first works, return to your first love, see sin as God does (the cross).

CPRC Saturday Night Bible Study

Further expository notes on Hebrews 4:9-14

“There remaineth therefore a Sabbath-keeping for the people of God.” The reference is not to something future, but to what is present. The Greek verb (in its passive form) is never rendered by any other English equivalent than “remaineth.” It occurs again in Hebrews 10:26. The word “remain” signifies “to be left after others have withdrawn, to continue unchanged.” Here then is a plain, positive, unequivocal declaration by the Spirit of God: “There remaineth therefore a Sabbath-keeping.” Nothing could be simpler, nothing less ambiguous. The striking thing is that this statement occurs in the very epistle whose theme is the superiority of Christianity over Judaism; written to those addressed as “holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling.” Therefore, it cannot be gainsaid that Hebrews 4:9 refers directly to the Christian Sabbath. Hence we solemnly and emphatically declare that any man who says there is no Christian Sabbath takes direct issue with the New Testament scriptures. See also LD 38 of Heidelberg catechism and John Calvin’s Institutes Book II chapter 8.

“Does God give us righteousness? He Himself is our righteousness, Jehovah-Tsidkenu. Does God give us peace? Christ is our peace. Does God give us light? He is our light. Does God give us bread? He is the bread we eat. As the Son liveth by the Father, so he that eateth Me shall live by Me (John 6). God Himself is our strength. God is ours, and in all His gifts and blessings He gives Himself. By the Holy Spirit we are one with Christ, and Christ the Son of God is our righteousness, nay, our life. Do you want any other real presence?  God dwells and lives in us, and we in Him? What more real presence and indwelling, awful and blessed, can we have than that which the apostle described when he said: ‘I live; yet not I, But Christ liveth in me?’ Or again, ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”Thus God gives us His rest as our rest” 

The “soul” is the seat of the emotions ( 1 Samuel 18:1Judges 10:16Genesis 42:21, etc.). It is that part of our nature which stirs into exercise the “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” The unregenerate man is termed “the soulish man” ( 1 Corinthians 2:14), the Greek word there being the adjectival form of “psyche” or “soul.” That is to say, the unregenerate man is entirely dominated by his soul, his lusts, his desires, his emotions. Spiritual considerations have no weight with him whatsoever, for he is “alienated from the life of God.” True, he has a “spirit,” and by means of it he is capable of perceiving all around him the evidences of the “eternal power and godhead” of the Creator ( Romans 1:20). It is the “candle of the Lord” ( Proverbs 20:27) within him; yet it has, because of the fall, no communion with God. Now at regeneration the spirit is restored to communion with God, united with Him, “reconciled.” The spirit is raised from its immersion in the soul, and once more functions separately: “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit”Romans 1:9); “my spirit prayeth” ( 1 Corinthians 14:14).

The word of God, “is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The Word of God now exposes our innermost being. Having eyes to see, we discover, for the first time, what a vile, depraved and hell-deserving creatures we are. Though, in the mercy of God, we may have been preserved from much outward wickedness in our unregenerate days, and so passed among our fellows as an exemplary character, we now perceive that there dwelleth “no good thing” in us, that every thought and intent of our desperately wicked heart has, all our life, been contrary to the requirements and claims of a holy God. The Word has searched us out, and discovered our real selves. We see ourselves as lost, ruined, undone sinners. This is ever the first conscious effect of the new birth, for one who is still “dead in trespasses and sins” has no realization of his awful condition before God.

“He was tempted—tried, exercised—for no more doth the word impart. Whatever is the moral evil in temptation it is due to the depraved intention of the tempter, or from the weakness and sin of the tempted. In itself, it is but a trial, which may have a good or bad effect. He was tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Sin may be considered as to its principle, and as to its effect. Men are tempted to sin by sin, to actual sin by habitual sin, to outward sin, by indwelling sin. And this is the greatest source of sin in us who are sinners. The apostle reminds us of the holiness and purity of Christ, that we may not imagine that He was liable unto any such temptations unto sin from within as we find ourselves liable unto, who are never free from guilt and defilement. Whatever temptation He was exposed unto or exercised withal, as He was with all and of all sorts that can come from without, they had none of them in the last degree any effect unto Him. He was absolutely in all things ‘without sin’; He neither was tempted by sin, such was the holiness of His nature; nor did His temptation produce sin, such was the perfection of His obedience” (Dr John Owen).

The Man Christ Jesus was the Holy One of God, and therefore He could not sin. But were not Satan and Adam created without sin, and did not they yield to temptation? Yes; but the one was only a created angel the other merely man. But our Lord and Saviour was not a created being; instead, He was “God manifest in flesh.” In His humanity He was “holy” ( Luke 1:35) and, as such, as high above unfallen Satan or Adam as the heavens are above the earth. He was not only impeccable God, but impeccable Man. The prince of this world came but found nothing in Him ( John 14:30). Thus, He is presented before us not only as an example to be followed, but as an Object upon which faith may rest with unshaken confidence.

Mostly from A.W.Pink’s commentary on Hebrews.

Virtual Irish Indoor Rowing Champs

Local newspaper publicity

Saturday January 23rd 2021

I was training hard for this event following my coach Desmond Brown’s plan. I competed in the 1000m and 500m M65-69 and in both races against heavier men as these were mixed weight races ( I was just into the heavyweight category as it didn’t matter).

In the 1000m at 11am I got a bad start as GO instead of ROW came up on my screen and put me off, nevertheless true to form beaten by the strong Ken Lake of Malta with him doing 3m.22s and me 3.39.5s (results at 11.47). Long wait till 500m at 4.15pm. I ran out of steam with 150 to go but nevertheless was satisfied with a good time of 1.36.5 for fourth (second if lightweight).

1000m race at half way.

The races can be viewed here: Virtual Irish Indoor Rowing Championships 2021 (V-IIRC 2021) – YouTube

Representing Great Britain.

Latest publicity below:

Evidences of Spiritual Growth

Arthur W. Pink Studies 1946


Its Evidences
What are the principal marks of spiritual growth? What are the outstanding characteristics of the Christian’s progress? If we bear in mind the real nature of spiritual growth and remember it is like that of a tree―downward as well as upward; inward as well as outward―we shall be preserved from mere generalisations. If, too, we take into
account the three grades under which Christians are grouped, we shall be careful to distinguish between those things which, respectively, evidence growth in the “babes,” in the “young men,” and in the “fathers” in Christ.

When a young Christian is favoured with pious parents, or brothers and sisters
who encourage him both by counsel and example, how much more may be looked for from him than another who dwells in the home of the ungodly. An unmarried woman who does not have to earn her living has much more opportunity for reading, meditation, prayer, and the nurture of her spiritual life, than one who has the care of a young family. One who is privileged to sit regularly under an edifying ministry has better opportunity for Christian progress, than another who is denied such a privilege. Again, the man with two talents cannot produce as much as another with five, yet if the former gain another two by them, he does just as well proportionately as the one who makes his five into ten. The Lord Himself takes note of such differences: “For unto whomsoever much is given, of
him shall be much required” (Luk 12:48).

If the Christian expects to find an improvement in the “old man,” he will most certainly be disappointed: If he looks for a waning of natural pride, a lessening of the workings of unbelief, a cessation of the risings within him of rebellion against God, he will look in
vain. Yet how many Christians are bitterly disappointed over this very thing and greatly cast down by the same. But they ought not to be―for God has nowhere promised to sublimate or spiritualise the “flesh” nor to eradicate our corruptions in this life―yet it is the Christian’s duty and privilege to so “walk in the Spirit” that he “shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Gal 5:16). Though we should be deeply humbled over our corruptions and mourn for
them, yet our painful awareness of the same should not cause us to conclude we have made no spiritual growth. An increasing realization of our native depravity, a growing discovery of how much there is within us that is opposed to God―with a corresponding despising of ourselves for the same―is one of the surest evidences that we
are growing in grace. The more the light of God shines into our hearts, the more are we made aware of the filth and wickedness which indwell them. The better we become acquainted with God and learn of His ineffable purity, the more conscious do we become of our base impurity and bewail the same. That is a growing downwards, or becoming less in our own esteem. And it is that which makes way for an increasing valuation of the atoning and cleansing blood of Christ, and a more frequent betaking of ourselves to that Fountain which has been opened for sin and for uncleanness. Thus, if Christ is becoming more precious unto you, if you perceive with increasing clearness His suitability for such a vile wretch as you know yourself to be, and if that perception leads you to cast yourself more
and more upon Him―as a drowning man does to a log―then that is clear proof you are growing in grace.

Growth is silent, and at the same time, imperceptible to our senses―though later, it is evident. Growth is gradual; and full development is not reached in a day, nor in a year. Time must be allowed before proof can be obtained. We should not attempt to gauge our growth by our feelings, but rather, by looking into the glass of God’s Word and measuring ourselves by the standard which is there set before us. There may be real progress, even where there be less inward comforts. Am I denying myself more now than I did formerly? Am I less enthralled by the attractions of this world than I used to be? Are the details of my daily life being more strictly regulated by the precepts of Holy Writ? Am I more resigned to the blessed will of God, assured that He knows what is best for me? Is my confidence
in God growing, so that I am more and more leaving myself and my affairs in His hands? Those are some of the tests we should apply to ourselves, if we would ascertain whether or not we be growing in grace.

Consider the work of mortification and seek to ascertain what proficiency you are making therein. There can be no progress in the Christian life while that work be unattended to. God does not remove indwelling sin from His people, but He does require them to make no provision unto its lusts, to resist its strivings, and to deny its solicitations. His call is: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth” (Col 3:5). “Put off concerning the
former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (Eph 4:22). “Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1Pet. 2:11). “Keep yourselves from idols” (1John 5:21). That is the lifelong task God has assigned us: For as long as we remain in this body, the flesh will oppose from within; and the world, from without. If we become slack in the performance of this duty, sin and Satan will gain more and more of an advantage over us. But if we be faithful and diligent therein, our efforts―by the Spirit’s enablement―will not be altogether in vain.
But most of our readers―perhaps all of them―will exclaim, But his is the very matter in which I meet with most discouragement; and if I am honest, it appears to me that my efforts are utterly in vain. Despite my utmost endeavours, my lusts still master me, and I am repeatedly brought into captivity by sin. Though such be the case, that goes not to show your efforts were useless. God has nowhere promised that if you do so and so, indwelling sin shall become inoperative, or that your lusts shall become weaker and weaker. There is widespread misunderstanding on this subject. The word “mortify” signifies “put to death,” but it must be carefully borne in mind that it is used figuratively and not literally―for it is a physical term applied to what is immaterial. Through no possible process can the Christian―not with the Spirit’s help―render his lusts lifeless. They may at times appear so to his consciousness, yet it will not be long ere he is again aware that they are vigorous and active. The holiest of God’s people, in all ages, have borne testimony to the power and prevalency of their corruptions; and that, to their last hour.
It needs then to be carefully defined what is meant by the word “mortify.” Since it does not signify, “slay or extinguish indwelling sin” nor “render lifeless your lusts,” what is intended? This: Die unto them in your affections, your intentions, your resolutions, your efforts. We mortify sin by detesting it: “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer” (1John 3:15); and just so far as we really hate our corruptions, have we morally slain them. The Christian
evidences his hatred of sin by mourning when it has gained an advantage over him. If it be his sincere intention and honest resolution to subdue every rising of his native depravity and the commission of every sin, then in the sight of Him who accepts the will for the deed, he has “mortified” them. Whenever the believer contritely confesses his sins unto God and “forsakes” them, so far as any purpose to repeat them is concerned, he has “mortified” them. If he truly loathes, grieves over, and acknowledges his failures unto God, then he can say, “that which I do I allow not” (Rom 7:15). “The LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1Sam 16:7) needs to be borne in mind on this subject. “If a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the
man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die” (Deut 22:25). In the verses which follow, we read, “there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death” (Deut 22:26). Not only did she not consent hereto, but we are told “the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her” (Deu 22:27). Now, that has a spiritual application to us. If a believer be suddenly surprised by a temptation which is unto something forbidden by God, and his heart agrees not thereunto―but he offers a resistance, which is, however, unavailing―though he be not guiltless therein, yet his case is very different from that of the unregenerate who found the temptation agreeable and responded heartily thereto. Note how the Spirit has recorded of Joseph of Arimathea, that though he was a member of
the Sanhedrin which condemned Christ to death, yet “the same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them” (Luke 23:51)!
“What is sanctification? Sanctification is a work of God’s grace, whereby they whom God hath before the foundation of the world chosen to be holy, are in time, through the powerful operation of His Spirit applying the death and resurrection of Christ unto them, renewed in their whole man after the image of God; having the seeds of repentance unto life and all other saving graces put into their hearts, and those graces so stirred up, increased and
strengthened, as that they more and more die unto sin and rise unto newness of life” (Westminster Catechism). The words we have emphasized have occasioned much grief and anxiety unto many―for measuring themselves by them, they concluded they had never been sanctified. But it should be noted, it is not there said that “sin is more and more dying in them,” but that they “more and more die unto sin”―which is a very different thing. Christians do, as pointed out above, die more and more unto sin in their affections, intentions, and efforts. Yet we fail to find any warrant in Scripture for saying, “the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened.” Having sought to show what the word “mortify” does not denote in its application to the Christian’s conflict with sin―and what it does signify―let us, in a few words, point out wherein the believer may be said to be making progress in this essential work. He is progressing therein when he girds himself more diligently and resolutely unto this task, refusing to allow seeming failure therein to cause him to give up in despair. He is making progress therein as he learns to make conscience of things which the world condemns not, by being regulated by God’s Word, rather than public opinion, or leaning unto his own understanding. He is making progress therein when he obtains a clear insight of spiritual corruptions, so that he is exercised not only over worldly lusts and gross evils, but over coldness of heart, unbelief, pride, impatience, self-confidence; and thus, he would cleanse himself from all filthiness of “spirit,” as well as “of the flesh” (2Cor 7:1). In short, he is growing in grace, if he be maintaining a stricter and more regular watch over his heart.

Consider the work of living unto God and seek to ascertain in what proficiency you are making therein. The measure and constancy of our yieldedness and devotedness unto God is another criterion by which we may ascertain whether or not we be really growing in grace―for to lapse into a course of self-pleasing is a sure symptom of
backsliding. Am I increasingly giving up myself unto God, employing my faculties and powers in seeking to please and glorify Him? Am I endeavouring, with intensified earnestness and diligence, to act in accordance with the surrender I made of myself to Him at my conversion, and to the dedication of myself to His service at my baptism?
Am I finding deeper delight therein, or is His service becoming irksome? If the latter, then that is clear proof that I have deteriorated―for there has been no change in Him, nor in His claims upon me. If love be healthy, then my greatest joy will be in making Him my chief Object and supreme End; but if I seek to do so only from a sense of obligation and duty, then my love has cooled. “Be filled with the Spirit” (Eph 5:18). Probably that means, in part at least, Let no compartment of your complex being be reserved or retained for self, but desire and pray that God may possess you wholly. Is that the deepest longing and endeavour of your heart? Are you finding increasing pleasure in the will and ways of the Lord? Then you are following on to know Him. Are you making a more determined and continuous effort to “Walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col 1:10)? Then that evidences you are growing in grace. Are you less influenced than formerly by how others think and act,
and requiring nothing less than a “Thus saith the Lord” for your monitor? Then you are becoming more rooted and grounded in the Faith. Are you more watchful against those things which would break, or at least chill, your communion with God? Then you are going forward in the Christian life. To be increasingly devoted unto God requires that I be increasingly occupied and absorbed with Him. To that end, I need to daily study the revelation which He has made of Himself in the Scriptures, and particularly in Christ.
I need also to meditate frequently upon His wondrous perfections: His amazing grace, unfathomable love, His ineffable holiness, His unchanging faithfulness, His mighty power, His infinite longsufferance. If I contemplate Him thus with the eyes of faith and love, then shall I be able to say, “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD [the place of nearness and fellowship with Him] all the days
of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD” (Psa 27:4). The one who can do that must perforce exclaim, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee” (Psa 73:25). That, my reader, is not a mere rhetorical utterance, but the language of one whose heart has been won by the Lord Consider the Word of God and seek to measure yourself by the degree in which you really honour it. What place do the contents of the Sacred Volume have in your affections, thoughts, and life: a higher one than formerly, or not? Is that divine communication more valued by you today than when you were first converted? Are you more fully assured of its divine inspiration, so that Satan himself could not make you doubt its Authorship? Are you more solemnly impressed by its authority, so that at times, you tremble before it? Does the Truth come with greater weight, so that your heart and conscience is more deeply impressed by it? Are more of its very words treasured up in your memory and frequently meditated upon? Are you really feeding upon it: appropriating it unto yourself, mixing faith therewith, and being nourished by it? Are you learning to make it your Shield, on which you catch and quench the fiery darts of the wicked? Are you like the Bereans (Act 17:11), bringing to this infallible Scale and weighing therein all you read and hear? Carefully bear in mind the purpose for which the Scriptures were given to us, the particular benefits they are designed to bestow. They are “profitable for doctrine” (2Ti 3:16), and their doctrine is far more than a theological treatise addressed to the intellect or a philosophical system which furnishes an explanation of man’s origin, constitution, and relation to God. It is “the doctrine which is according to godliness” (1Ti 6:3)―every part of which is designed to exalt God and abase man according to Him, His rightful place over us, and our dependence upon and subjection to Him. It is profitable “for reproof,” to acquaint us with our innumerable faults and failures, and to admonish us for the same. It is “a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb 4:12), probing into our innermost beings and condemning all within us which is impure. It is profitable “for correction,” to teach us what is right and pleasing unto God; and such is its potency that the more we are regulated by it, the more are our souls renovated and purified. It is profitable “for instruction in righteousness,” for producing integrity of character and conduct. It is for the enlightening of our minds, the instructing of our consciences, the regulating of our wills.
Now, my reader, test yourself by those considerations, fairly and impartially. Are you finding the Scriptures increasingly profitable for “the doctrine which is according to godliness”? If so, they are producing in you a deeper and more extensive piety. Are you more and more opening your heart unto their “reproof,” not confining yourself to those portions which comfort, and avoiding those parts which admonish and condemn you? If so, then you are
cultivating closer dealings with God. Are you increasingly desirous of being “corrected” by their searching and holy teachings? If so, then you diligently endeavour to promptly put right whatever they show is wrong in you. Are they really instructing you in righteousness, so that your deportment is becoming in the fuller conformity to their standard? If so, you are more shunned by worldlings and less esteemed by empty professors. Do you frequently
examine yourself by God’s Word and test your experience by its teaching? If so, you are becoming more skilled in the Word of Righteousness (Heb 5:13) and more pleasing unto its Author.

Covenant of Grace

Marriage covenant .

What is the covenant of grace?

“The covenant of grace is an agreement between God and the elect sinner ; God declaring his free good- will concerning eternal salvation, and every thing relative thereto, freely to be given to those in covenant, by and for the sake of the Mediator Christ ; and man consenting to that good-will by a sincere faith. “ Witsius. Is he correct? No!

“The covenant of grace is an unconditional promise of eternal life made to every elect sinner who has been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. Christ as the only propitiation and mediator satisfied the judgment and justice of God by his substitution for them on the cross”


Lack of Assurance

Sung Psalm 43 (note esp. v 5 where the Psalmist pours out the feelings of his heart to God.

Reading 1 John 2:18-29

Reasons for lack of assurance

  1. Doctrinal.   Roman Catholicism-a false gospel that does not save or produce assurance, whose teaching denies assurance and which feeds on the guilt of its members to make them dependent and generous. See Canons of Dordt V r5

                     Arminianism which denies perseverance

                     Easy-believism and “once saved always saved”, no assurance from a “decision”.

                     Puritanism with the teaching of a second blessing that has to be sought and

                     assurance being for a few, not normal

                      Lack of teaching-answered by the tenets of Calvinism

  • Non-doctrinal. Poor health-pain, terminal illness, mental health, sleep deprivation.

                           Feelings-overly sensitive conscience, critical spirit/negativity, too  


                          Current situation-unemployed, retired, divorced (and too much time!)

                           Past life. Criminality, addiction, being a victim of abuse or crime, war.

John’s reasons for writing 1 John are seen in 2:19 and it was apostasy. Seceders left the church probably arrogantly self-deceived regarding special knowledge they allegedly possessed which also deceived others and as their lives were also wicked they left the church (rather than be disciplined!)

CPRC Saturday Night Bible Study

Hebrews 4:9-13

  All God’s people have a rest to enter (Matthew 11:29). It is the rest of faith on the promise of eternal life. The ceasing from one’s own works probably means ceasing from attempting merit or seeking  salvation by our own works (Rom.10:3, Phil.3:9), ceasing from evil works (and self-righteousness is an evil work), by mortifying sin and eventually entering our eternal rest in glory. Entering the rest of faith necessarily means renouncing all self -righteousness, typically keeping the sabbath day and eventually heavenly rest. God’s resting on the seventh day is the standard we follow or reject to our destruction (Gen.2:2,3, Isaiah 57:20,21, Rev.14:11,14). Christ’s rest, entered into after the resurrection and ascension was also mentioned. Heidelberg Catechism is helpful LD38 Q. 103.”  What doth God require in the fourth commandment? A. First, that the ministry of the gospel and the schools be maintained; and that I, especially on the sabbath, that is, on the day of rest, diligently frequent the church of God, to hear His word, to use the sacraments, publicly to call upon the Lord, and contribute to the relief of the poor, as becomes a Christian. Secondly, that all the days of my life I cease from my evil works, and yield myself to the Lord, to work by His Holy Spirit in me; and thus begin in this life the eternal sabbath.” The Greek word used throughout this section of Scripture is KATAPAUSIS which means repose and by inference from Hebrew an abode (home).Vine’s dictionary of N.T. words states, “ In opposition to the burdens imposed by the pharisees, Christ’s rest is not a rest from work but in work, not the rest of inactivity but the harmonious working of all the faculties and affections-of will, heart, imagination, conscience-because each has found in God the ideal sphere for its satisfaction and development.” It is the covenant lived out and perfected.

  We labour to enter into the rest by self-denial and the means of grace, we seek the pearl of great price (Christ) and this is not meriting because it is the rest of faith alone, in Christ alone by faith alone! The warning is that if we fail to do so, we fall and perish in unbelief as the Jews in the wilderness. The word of God which is likened to a sharp two-edged sword is the word the Jews rejected and that word judged and damned them, i.e. it slays the wicked (and the old man!) That same word because it is living, active, pure and powerful and is linked to God’s omniscience, wounds consciences, exposes our sin and wicked motives and renews our minds (Isaiah 55:10,11, Rom.8:11-13). The word is Scripture read and preached and wielded by the Holy Spirit as God’s instrument, acting on people to produce blessed spiritual effects (1 Thess.2:13, Rom.10:14, Rev.19:13). Each of the pairs that this word divides are so closely associated that it takes a very sharp penetrating instrument to do so, to expose heart motives (Psalm 139:2,23,24, Acts 2:37, 5:33, 7:54, Psalm 94:11, Isaiah 66:18, Matt.9:4). But we need to be thankful because it is the means of our sanctification (John 17:17).

More: CPRC Saturday Night Bible Study – Jules’ jewels (

Next study Saturday January 30th 8pm on line looking at Hebrews 4:14-5:10

Join On-line Meeting

Meeting ID: 718 962 8817

Passcode: 2dsSxA


The Spirit as dove and water of life.

Verses in 1 John that show how a godly life supports assurance

1 John 2   And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him

1 John 3 14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death 18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

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 us.

1 John 4 13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

1 John 5 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

Note how often John says that godly living helps us KNOW we are God’s children.

Sung Psalm 27

Reading 1 John 1:1-2:5

Main points concerning assurance (recap):

  1. Assurance is of the essence of faith.  1 John 4:16 and by it we overcome 5:4,5. Check Heidelberg Cat. L.D. 7
  2. Assurance comes from the witness of the Spirit 1 John 2:20,27, 3:24,5:10-13,18,19 also 2 Cor.1:22,5:5.
  3. Assurance is strengthened in the way of a godly life.  1 John 3:24, 2:3, Canons V 9.
  4. Assurance is strengthened through observation of self. 1 John 2:3-5 but 1 John is replete with similar verses (see above)

Assurance (continued)

“Let it also be remarked, that though no sins can affect the state of the justified, yet some sins may deprive them of the sense of their justification.”

“For without holiness no man shall see the Lord, Heb. 12: 14. We must not only be desirous to be found in Christ but also to be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless, 2 Pet.3: 14. In fine, it is not possible that one be found in Christ, not having personal, or evangelical righteousness. For the end of deliverance from the curse is, that men may serve the Lord in holiness and righteousness, Luke 1: 74. Every branch vitally united to the true vine, brlngeth forth much fruit, John.15: 5. Such as are married to him who is raised from the dead, bring forth fruit unto God, Rom. 8: 4. They are his workmanship* created in Christ Jesus unto good works, Eph.2:10. And hence, these their works shall be honourably mentioned at the last day, Matt. 25: 34-40 not as the causes of their right to the kingdom, but as its evidences.”

  • Literally poem.

Assurance (3)

Fruit of the Spirit
Sealing of the Spirit
Promises of the word.

“Saving faith itself is assurance. Assurance is also connected with sanctification. The degree of this assurance can and does vary. Believers are certain according to the measure of faith. Not only does one believer differ from another in degree of assurance; but the degree of assurance in the same believer may differ at times. That variation is according to the measure of faith. If and when the activity of his faith is strong, his assurance is clear and bright; if and when the activity of his faith is weaker, the degree of assurance is also smaller. The one way of assurance is threefold. It is: 1). The way of God’s Word, His promises. 2). The way of the testimony of the Holy Spirit that we are children and heirs of God. 3). The way of a walk in sanctification: an earnest and holy exercise of a good conscience and of good works. These 3 elements belong to the one way of assurance. They belong together. Take any one of them away and assurance becomes impossible, changes to doubt and despair.Assurance is God’s work…the question is not: how do I obtain assurance…but how does God assure, what is God’s way of assurance? When I know this and walk according to this, I can grow in assurance day by day. For in order to enjoy assurance, I must be in God’s way. I must walk by faith in the way in which God always assures His children. In the way of a sanctified walk, God’s people enjoy the testimony of the Spirit with their spirit, through and in connection with the Word, that they are children and heirs.”HCH

37You, Samuel Watterson, Ed Bos and 34 others27 commentsLikeComment


“Since this paradise was given to man to be cultivated and kept, the Lord thereby reminded him, that he took no pleasure in a lazy idleness, but in an active industry. His will was, that man should employ his labour and care upon the garden, that he might have something to do, and in which he might continually experience the goodness and providence of his Crea- tor. He did not choose, that angels themselves should be idle, whom he made ministering spirits. God assigned to man the care of cultivating and keeping paradise, that he might have something to employ himself in the works of God ; just as a king’s son has some office assigned him, left he should become indolent by an excess of pleasures, honor, and riches. Thus he became obliged to be conformed to his God by the purest actings, and to be employed about the very work of God’s hands, till he should come to enjoy an eternal sabbath with himself” (in heaven). Herman Witsius

Work is a creation ordinance, man is made to work and work wholeheartedly-this is the Protestant work ethic! Paul say that any professing Christian who does not work should not eat either!

Ephesians 6:5-7

 “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:”

Futhermore (Witsius) says concerning God and man(adapted)

Paradise was a type of heaven, for the careful keeping of it reminded man to have heaven continually in his mind and thoughts. The labour and culture of paradise taught him, that only he that (through faith) labours and does that which is acceptable to God, can get to the heavenly habitation. He was also instructed to keep his soul for God, as a most pleasant garden, cultivated like the paradise of God, and show forth those trees of virtues, which God planted, as producing the most excellent fruits, that is, works proceeding from good habits : that so the Lord might come into this his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits. It pointed out to him, that he should, above all things, solicitously keep his soul, that garden of God, lest any wild beasts of depraved passions should break in, to lay every thing there in waste. And. when God said to him. Keep this my garden, may he not at the fame time be supposed to say, ” Keep thy heart with all diligence” or above all keeping ?

Calvin on Assurance

Calvin’s Catechism (1537): “14. What True Faith Is. One must not imagine that the Christian faith is a bare and mere knowledge of God or an understanding of the Scripture which flutters in the brain without touching the heart, as it is usually the case with the opinion about things which are confirmed by some probable reason. But faith is a firm and solid confidence of the heart, by means of which we rest surely in the mercy of God which is promised to us through the Gospel. For thus the definition of faith must be taken from the substance of the promise. Faith rests so much on this foundation that, if the latter be taken away, faith would collapse at once, or, rather, vanish away. Hence, when the Lord presents to us his mercy through the promise of the Gospel, if we certainly and without hesitation trust him who made the promise, we are said to apprehend his word through faith. And this definition is not different from that of the apostle (Heb. 11:1) in which he teaches that faith is the certainty of the things to be hoped for and the demonstration of the things not apparent; for he means a sure and secure possession of the things that God promises, and an evidence of the things that are not apparent, that is to say, the life eternal. And this we conceive through confidence in the divine goodness which is offered to us through the Gospel. Now, since all the promises of God are gathered together and confirmed in Christ, and are, so to speak, kept and accomplished in him, it appears without doubt that Christ is the perpetual object of faith. And in that object, faith contemplates all the riches of the divine mercy.
15. Faith Is a Gift of God. If we honestly consider within ourselves how much our thought is blind to the heavenly secrets of God and how greatly our heart distrusts all things, we shall not doubt that faith greatly surpasses all the power of our nature and that faith is a unique and precious gift of God. For, as St. Paul maintains (I Cor. 2:11), if not one can witness the human will, except the spirit of man which is in man, how will man be certain of the divine will? And if the truth of God in us wavers even in things that we see by the eye, how will it be firm and stable where the Lord promises the things that the eye does not see and man’s understanding does not comprehend? Hence there is no doubt that faith is a light of the Holy Spirit through which our understandings are enlightened and our hearts are confirmed in a sure persuasion which is assured that the truth of God is so certain that he can but accomplish that which he has promised through his holy word that he will do. Hence (II Cor. 1:22Eph. 1:13), the Holy Spirit is called like a guarantee which confirms in our hearts the certainty of the divine truth, and a seal by which our hearts are sealed in the expectation of the day of the Lord. For it is the Spirit indeed who witnesses to our spirit that God is our Father and that similarly we are his children (Rom. 8:16).”
For more, see

Witsius on Witness

Herman Witsius 1636-1708

Finally, he who sincerely loves God, never thinks he loves and glorifies his God enough : he discovers so much excellency in him, he fees his name so illustrious, and so exalted above all praise, that he earnestly desires to have all men, nay all creatures, join him in loving and celebrating the infinite perfections of God. Now, this is the most sincere and pure love of our neighbour, to seek that God may be glorified in him, and he himself be for the glory of God. Hence it appears, that the love of our neighbour is inseparably connected with the love of God. If therefore it flows from the nature of God, to enjoin us the love of himself, as we have just proved ; it will likewise flow from the nature of God, to enjoin us the love of our neighbour.

From his “Economy of the Divine Covenants”

Assurance (2) and 1 John

The dove-emblem of the Spirit.

Sung Psalm 23-the great Psalm of assurance

Read 1 John 3:9-24

We have looked at adoption, justification, calling and regeneration in connection with assurance. A believer has experienced all these and they are vital and basic to assurance.

Assurance is knowledge! Knowing this about myself, that I AM SAVED!

Saved from destruction and safe in the arms of Jesus

  1. It is a mystical syllogism (x infers y) to say that I have had an experience e.g. a vision and hence I am saved-this is unbiblical and wrong!
  2. It is a practical syllogism to say that I do good works and endeavour to keep God’s commandments hence I am saved. This is true.
  3. The witness of the Spirit is the main basis of our assurance. Based on Scripture we believe the promises and our conscience also bears witness.

 “As love is the special fruit of the Spirit, it is also a sure symbol of regeneration. Then the Apostle draws an argument from the sign, and not from the cause. For as no one sincerely loves his brethren, except he is regenerated by the Spirit of God, he hence rightly concludes that the Spirit of God, who is life, dwells in all who love the brethren. But it would be preposterous for any one to infer hence, that life is obtained by love, since love is in order of time posterior to it. The argument would be more plausible, were it said that love makes us more certain of life: then confidence as to salvation would recumb on works. But the answer to this is obvious; for though faith is confirmed by all the graces of God as aids, yet it ceases not to have its foundation in the mercy of God only. As for instance, when we enjoy the light, we are certain that the sun shines; if the sun shines on the place in which we are, we have a clearer view of it; but yet when the visible rays do not come to us, we are satisfied that the sun diffuses its brightness for our benefit. So when faith is founded on Christ, some things may happen to assist it, still it rests on Christ’s grace alone” (Calvin’s Comm. on I John 3:14; italics added).

Our love and good works are also a powerful witness to the godless world, (Matthew 5:16 and John 13:34,35)

Contemplating a New Year.

Proverbs 16:9
“A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.”

“As we launch out into another year, there is little visible prospect of a smooth and pleasant voyage. To the natural eye, the clouds are dark and fierce storms seem imminent. The very uncertainty of what the morrow may bring forth, fills many with uneasiness and trepidation. But how different should be the state of God’s children—an all-sufficient Object is presented to the eyes of their faith, from which unbelief derives no comfort. If the poor worldling is concerned with what lies before him, it is the blessed privilege of the believer to be occupied with Who goes before him—the One who is his Captain, his Guide, his Forerunner. “The Lord! HE it is who goes before you” (Deut. 31:8). What a difference that makes! O that writer and reader may be enabled to lay hold of this grand Truth as we enter another period of time and keep it steadily in mind throughout the coming days! The Lord has gone before you in the grand decree of His PREDESTINATION. Last year was one of suspense and sorrow, of trial and trouble—and perhaps you tremble at what this one has in store. Well, here is solid comfort. Your future has all been marked out for you! You shall not tread a step which is not mapped on the grand chart of God’s foreordination. All your circumstances have been Divinely ordered for you. Ah, Christian reader, what an immense difference this makes that you are not a child of chance, that your lot is not decided by the caprice of fickle fortune. Infinite wisdom and infinite love have arranged everything. You will go nowhere during 1943 (2021!)—but where God has decreed, His “goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2), planning your path, your life. A predestinating God has appointed “the bounds of your habitation” (Acts 17:26). You may be thrust into the furnace of affliction—yet you will not be deserted. You may be brought low—yet it will be for your future blessing. You may be chastened—yet the rod is in the hand of your Father. “Your times of trial and of grief, Your times of joy and sweet relief, All shall come and last and end—As shall please your heavenly Friend.” The Lord has gone before you in the preparations of His PROVIDENCE. “My God shall supply all your needs” (Phil. 4:19), full provision has already been made for it. Jehovah does not have to improvise. No unexpected emergency can overtake Him, “known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18). Therefore is it written, “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer” (Isaiah 65:24). Before we reach a place, God has provided for us wherever the road leads, all has been made ready. “He went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in” (Deut. 1:33); and He will not do less for His people today. Canaan was fully prepared for Israel long before they arrived there, “The Lord your God will soon bring you into the land he swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is a land filled with large, prosperous cities that you did not build. The houses will be richly stocked with goods you did not produce. You will draw water from cisterns you did not dig, and you will eat from vineyards and olive trees you did not plant” (Deut. 6:10, 11). Here is comfort for the preacher too, “The Lord, He it is who goes before you,” to prepare hearts for the message, for the reception of the Truth. The Lord has gone before you in PERSON. The path which He calls you to tread—has first been traversed by Himself. None other than the Lord of Glory became incarnate, entered this world of ours and tabernacled here for thirty-three years in the flesh, that He might be the Captain of our salvation (Heb. 2:10). “When He puts forth His own sheep, He goes before them” (John 10:4). Are they required to tread the way of obedience? Well, their Shepherd has Himself preceded them therein. Are they required to deny themselves and take up their cross? Well, He Himself did nothing less. Are they called upon to be buffeted, not for their faults but when they do well, to be persecuted for righteousness’ sake? Well, “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that you should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21). What comfort is there here—that the trials we endure for the Truth’s sake, that the unkind treatment we meet with from professing brethren because we dare not compromise are an essential part of the process of our being conformed to the image of God’s Son! Shall we be called upon to pass through the valley of the shadow of death? Well, the Christian has nothing to fear, for Christ has gone before Him and extracted the sting of death. The Lord has gone before you in the directions of His PRECEPTS. “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet—and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105), revealing the way of peace and blessing through this dark world. Especially is that true of its preceptive portions, for they make known the paths of righteousness which we are to tread. Ignorance of God’s will concerning the way we should go is inexcusable, for He has already clearly and definitely made known His will. The highway of holiness does not have to be made by us—it is there plainly enough before us in the Word and it is ours to walk in it. “You shall guide me with Your counsel—and afterward receive me to glory” (Psalm 73:24). A “guide” is one who goes before us, directing our course and the “counsel” of our Divine Guide is contained in His prohibitions and commandments and according as we heed them shall we escape the dangers around us and be kept in the narrow way which leads unto Life. The Lord has gone before you in the provisions of His PROMISES. What are the Divine promises, but so many anticipations of our varied needs and guarantees, which God stands pledged to supply. They are so many proofs of His omniscience which foresaw what would meet our requirements. They are so many tokens of His loving-kindness to manifest His tender concerns for us, long before we had any historical existence. They are so many evidences of His faithfulness, that He will withhold no good thing from those who walk uprightly. Whatever tomorrow may hold, the Divine promises assure the Christian that the Lord has gone before and made every provision for him. No dire situation, no pressing emergency, no desperate peril can possibly arise, but what there is one of the “exceeding great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:4) exactly suited to our case. Their value lies in the fact that they are the word of Him who cannot lie. “This God is our God forever and ever—He will be our Guide even unto death” (Psalm 48:14).6. The Lord has gone before you into PARADISE. Did He not expressly announce before He left this scene, “In My Father’s House are many mansions—if it were not so I would have told you—I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2)? Not for Himself, but for His redeemed—nor would He entrust this task unto the angels. How it tells of the love of the Bridegroom for His Bride! Christ has entered Heaven on our behalf, taking possession thereof in our name, “where the Forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus” (Heb. 6:20). His entry, ensures ours. “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world” (John 17:24).”The Lord, He it is who goes before you” (Deut. 31:8). Here, then, is real substantial comfort—and what shall be my response thereto? First, my eye should be constantly fixed upon Him, “looking unto Jesus” (Heb. 12:2), looking away from all else, trusting none other. Second, then it is my business to follow Him—for what other purpose is a Guide? “When He puts forth His own sheep, He goes before them, and the sheep follow Him” (John 10:4). And as they do, so they find that He makes them to lie down in green pastures, that He leads them beside the still waters. Ah, who would not follow such a Shepherd! O that the Lord may say of us as He did of Caleb, “he has followed Me fully” (Num. 14:24).Third, then fear should be entirely banished from my heart. And will it not be so—if faith really lays hold of this, “The Lord, HE it is who goes before you, He will be with you, He will not fail you, neither forsake you; fear not, neither be dismayed” (Deut. 31:8).That does not mean that all will be smooth sailing. It did not mean that for the Apostles, as the book of Acts shows. But it did mean that they were not left without a Pilot. HE not only went before them but gave assurance, “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). That is the grand consolation of this writer. May it be yours, too!“~ Arthur Pink, “New Year’s Comfort”

Filthy Rags


“But we are all as an unclean thing,
and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;
and we all do fade as a leaf;” (Isaiah 64:6)

Is this referring to the works of believers or unbelievers?

“It deserves our notice, that according to scripture, filthy garments are emblematic of a sinful state. So in Zechariah’s vision, 3: 3. Joshua is seen clothed with filthy garments, and they being taken away, the angel says unto him, ” Behold I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee,” ver. 4. When therefore the church exclaims, we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags! it seems to refer to their morals in an unregenerate state. Then, and then only it was, that they were all as an unclean thing, Job. 14: 4, and of consequence, then all their righteousnesses were as filthy rags. Note, “righteousnesses” blighted human morals to be contrasted with Christ’s singular imputed righteousness!-JK. Then they were dead, Matt.8: 22, Eph.2: 1— 5, 1 Tim. 5: 6. and therefore so were all their works, Heb. 6:1,9:14. Sure, as filthy rags can never adorn, these words are quite inapplicable to that conversation of the saints which adorns the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things, Tit. 2:10,  quite inapplicable to the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price, 1 Pet. 3: 4. The saints are said to be washed, Ezek. 16: 9, 36: 25. John 18: 10, 1 Cor. 6: 11, Tit. 3: 5. But if so, how can they be all as an unclean thing, or their new obedience as filthy rags? Their righteousness is said to remain for ever, 2 Cor. 9: 9. and to be fine linen, clean and white, Rev. 19: 8. They are said to be in the beauties of holiness, more than those of the womb of the morning, Ps. 110:3. that is, more beautiful than the chambers of the east, when the sun is about to come forth. Compare Ps. 51: 7. I shall be clean, I shall be whiter than the snow. The holy people, Isa. 62: 12 are said to have put off the old man with his deeds, and to have put on the new, Col. 3: 9. 10.

Now though the deeds of the one (the unregenerate) may justly be called filthy rags, the duties resulting from the, other (regenerate) cannot. Evangelical righteousness (should never be) styled filthy rags. It remains therefore, that the prophet’s words must be understood of the morals of the unregenerate. Their mind and conscience being defiled, Tit.1: 15, so must all their works. For as the fountain is, so must be the streams. They being dead in sins; the best of which they can boast, are but dead works. Being abominable and unto every good work reprobate, Tit.1: 16. what can their boasted morals be? Being hateful as haters of God, Rom.1:30, Tit. 3: 3, what can their best works be in his sight, but as a menstruous cloth?” Herman Witsius.

“Let it also be remarked, that though no sins can affect the state of the justified, yet some sins may deprive them of the sense of their justification.”

Winter 2020-2021 training plan.

Thanks to Desmond Brown, City of Derry Boat Club.

Think about your best time.

Pick a realistic target time, say 7min 30sec for 2000m. That’s a split of 1min 52sec (T)

Then allow 10-12 weeks to get there, assuming you are already fit.

Start week 1

5 minutes steady state about 18/min and keep it steady at T+ 30sec.  i.e. 2min 22 sec.

(that’s your warm up warm down) keep it steady concentrate on good technique, don’t waste any energy. Get into the habit of holding the time and the rate constant.

Then 3 minutes @ T+10 (2:02) at your full rate (remember this should be easy, stick with it)

Back to 5 minutes of T+30 at the steady 18/min.

Then 3min T+10 sec

Break for 2 minutes.

Restart 4 minutes steady T+30

2 min full rate T+5 (1:57)

4 min T+30

2 min T+5

Break 2 min

Restart 3min T+30

1 min T+0 (1:52)

3 minT+30

1 min T+O

If you are feeling really good do it again. Remember to keep the T+30 steady at 18 and concentrate on efficient technique.

Do at least 3-4 times/week in week 1 and thereafter. I wouldn’t go above 5/week

Week2                Week 3                  Week4                  Week 5         Week 6

5 min T+30          5@T+30                 5@T+30                T+30            T+30

3@ T+9                3@T+8                   3@T+7                   T+6              T+5       

5@ T+30              5@T+30                 5@T+30                T+30            T+30

3@T+9                 3@T+8                   3@T+7                   T+6               T+5

Break 2 min

4@T+30               4@T+30                   T+30                    T+30             T+30

2@T+4                2@T+3                     T+2                      T+1                T+0

4@T+30               4@T+30                   T+30                    T+30             T+30

2@T+4                 2@T+3                       T+2                      T+1               T+0

Break 2 min

3@T+30               3@T+30                  T+30                    T+30              T+30

1@T-1                  1@T-2                     T-3                       T-4                   T-5

3@T+30               3 @T+30                 T+30                    T+30               T+30

1@T-1                  1@T-2                     T-3                       T-4                   T-5

If you find it too easy half-way through say week 5-6, change your target a few seconds, if you find in the next few weeks you can’t hold the schedule, that’s fine relax it a few seconds. By the end you should have a “T” fixed in your mind. The next thing you should be familiar with is the rate that suits you, possibly high 20s? Plan to hold the T i.e. “the split” absolutely steady. It’s you and the clock, nothing else matters. You can adjust the rate as you go but remember if the rate goes up the split must fall or you are losing efficiency, losing technique. If it’s 1:52, sit at 1:52 after the first 5 strokes or so. Hold it steady it is the most efficient way. Thinking about slowing a bit to gather yourself doesn’t help. The man who set the record time for the marathon had a laser spot playing on the road in front of him from a vehicle driving at the precise steady speed he needed. If the last 300m or so arrive and you feel good, go for it!

There are many alternatives but if you have done plenty of distance, essentially you do HIT intervals and this way will give you an idea of what you can do.

In one race I found myself cruising 1 second faster than planned. It felt good, I was counting in my head….. It’s just less than 1% Then it hit me 1% in a 2000m race is 20m, races are won by fractions of a m! I finished a little slower than planned.

Week 7           week 8           week 9         week 10

5 min T+30       T+30             T+30              T+30

3 min T+4         T+3                T+2                T+1

5 min T+30       T+30             T+30              T+30

3 min T+4          T+3               T+2                T+1     


4 min T+30        T+30             T+30             T+30

2 min T-1           T-2                 T-3                T-4

4 min T+30        T+30              T+30             T+30

2 min T-1           T-2                 T-3                T-4


3 min T+30         T+30             T+30             T+30     

1 min T-6            T-7                 T-8                T-9

3 min T+30         T+30              T+30             T+30  

1 min T-6            T-7                 T-8                T-9


Regeneration a review

From an incorruptible seed
1 John1 Peter 1:3-211 Peter 1:22-2:10James 1:18-27Psalm 87
  Heart-Love/faithHope-eternal life with ChristLove-genuine/ferventPreachingIn the church by preaching
Law-righteous/no sin   Immediate-seed
Mediate (by means)-word c.f. Jas.1:18, Philemon 10, 1 Cor.4:5
 Proper response 
  Success v world/devil    

Witsius on the Covenant(s)

Intro: Motives for writing.

“And to whom, reverend and learned sirs, should I render these reasons rather than to you, who are competent judges of what I write, and by whom, next to God and my own conscience, I wish to have my studies approved. In the first place, then, I sincerely declare, that it is not an incurable itch of writing, a raging thirst after vain-glory, an envious disposition of mind, a detestable desire of widening the wounds already made in the churches, the odious pleasure of blackening another’s character, by giving a wrong turn to what is really right; nor, lastly, the infamous desire to make, increase, or continue strifes, which have occasioned my writing at this time. Besides my own declaration to the contrary, the whole work itself, though but slightly attended to, will acquit me of acting on such motives.”


“I have chosen to enter on this subject from its very beginning, and have endeavored, as far as I could, to explain it methodically and clearly, enlightening the obscurer passages of Scripture, carefully examining the phrases used by the Holy Ghost, and referring the whole to the practice of faith and godliness, to the glory of God in Christ, that my exposition might be the more useful and entertaining. And as nothing was more profitable and delightful to myself, so nothing could more evidently and fully convince the mind of others, than a clear and sober demonstration of the truth to the conscience and by its efficacy present to the inmost soul some truths before unknown, fixing it with a degree of astonishment in contemplation on the admirable perfections of God.”

Assurance (1)

“As surety-righteousness is necessary to our safety so is evangelical righteousness to our comfort. The one is our confidence the other our evidence. These two, though quite distinct, are no how contrary to one another. Evangelical righteousness, being the fruit of the Spirit, can no more supplant Christ’s, than the Spirit can oppose the Son. Though good works cannot bear a weight of confidence they do bear a weight of evidence, Matt. 7:20, John 13:35, 2 Cor. 13:5, James 2:18, 2 Pet. 1:10, 1 John 2:3, 3:14. To value the evidences of my interest in Christ, is so far from implying any disregard to his surety- righteousness, that it supposes the very reverse:” Witsius

“Although hypocrites and other unregenerate men may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favour of God, and estate of salvation; which hope of theirs shall perish; yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love Him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before Him, may, in this life, be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God; which hope shall never make them ashamed.

 This certainty is not a bare conjectural and probable persuasion, grounded upon a fallible hope; but an infallible assurance of faith, founded upon the divine truth of the promises of salvation,the inward evidence of those graces unto which these promises are made, the testimony of the Spirit of adoption witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God: which Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance, whereby we are sealed to the day of redemption.”

Westminster Confession of Faith Ch.18 – Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation.

More: Homer Hoeksema in Standard Bearer 1988.

Assurance (Homer Hoeksema)

First of all, saving faith itself is assurance. This is very clear from Lord’s Day VII. True faith is not only a certain knowledge . . . but also an assured confidence . . . that not only to others, but to me also, remission of sin, everlasting righteousness and salvation, are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ’s merits.” In Question and Answer 44 this assurance is connected with Christ’s descent into hell: “That in my greatest temptations, I may be assured, and wholly comfort myself in this, that my Lord Jesus Christ, by His inexpressible anguish, pains, terrors, and hellish agonies, in which he was plunged during all his sufferings, but especially on the cross, hath delivered me from the anguish and torments of hell.” In Question and Answer 54, concerning the holy catholic church, we find the familiar language of assurance on the part of the Christian: “. . . and that I am and for ever shall remain, a living member thereof.” Lords Day XXIII, concerning justification by faith, speaks the language of assurance. The sacraments, according to the Catechism, serve the purpose of assurance (Q. & A. 67, 69, 75). In answering the question, “Why must we still do good works?” the Catechism states in part: “. . . also, that every one may be assured in himself of his faith, by the fruits thereof . . . .”

Significantly, our Confession of Faith in Article 24 addresses the subject of assurance in connection with sanctification, and it does so at the conclusion of the article in a rather negative way, as follows: “Moreover, though we do good works, we do not found our salvation upon them; for we do no work but what is polluted by our flesh, and also punishable; and although we could perform such works, still the remembrance of one sin is sufficient to make God reject them. Thus then we would always be in doubt, tossed to and fro without any certainty, and our poor consciences continually vexed, if they relied not on the merits of the suffering and death of our Savior.”

The Canons of Dordrecht, so often characterized as being hard and without a pastoral element, address the subject of assurance more than once. Already in the First Head, where the subject is divine predestination, they speak of the assurance of election as follows:

The elect in due time, though in various degrees and in different measures, attain the assurance of this their eternal and unchangeable election, not by inquisitively prying into the secret and deep things of God, but by observing in themselves with a spiritual joy and holy pleasure, the infallible fruits of election pointed out in the Word of God—such as a true faith in Christ, filial fear, a godly sorrow for sin, a hungering and thirsting after righteousness, etc. (Article 12)

Notice that already here the Canons posit a connection between assurance and sanctification: “filial fear, a godly sorrow for sin, a hungering and thirsting after righteousness” are all concrete manifestations of a walk in sanctification.

But it is in Canons V that the matter of assurance is addressed directly’ and in connection with preservation and perseverance. First of all, in Article 9’the truth of the possibility and the reality of assurance is set forth. The article reads as follows (in my own, corrected translation):

Of this keeping of the elect unto salvation, and of the perseverance of the true believers in faith, the believers themselves are able to be certain, and are certain according to the measure of faith, by which they certainly believe that they are and always shall remain true and living members of the church, that they have the remission of sins and life eternal.

Notice the following in this article: 1) It speaks of the object of assurance as being: the keeping of the elect, and the perseverance of the true believers in faith. It further spells out this object as being “that they are and always shall remain, true and living members of the church,” (a reference to Q. & A. 54 of the Heidelberg Catechism) and “that they have the remission of sins and life eternal.” 2) It presents this assurance as being normal for believers. Assurance is not something elusive, something which is attained only by a few specially pious souls. But “believers themselves are able to be certain, and are certain.” 3) At the same time, it is plain that the article is speaking of the activity of faith, i.e., believing, not of the power of faith as such. Or to use a distinction which has sometimes been used, the article is speaking of the well-being of faith in distinction from the being of faith. For the article recognizes that the degree of this assurance can and does vary. Believers “are certain according to the measure of faith.” (emphasis added) Not only does one believer differ from another in degree of assurance; but the degree of assurance in the same believer may vary at different times. That variation is according to the measure of faith. If and when the activity of his faith is strong, his assurance is clear and bright; if and when the activity of his faith is weaker, the degree of assurance is also, smaller.

But it is Article 10 of Canons V which sets forth the way of assurance and which connects assurance very clearly with sanctification. This article reads as follows (again, in my own, slightly corrected translation):

This assurance, accordingly is not out of any special revelation, outside of the Word of God; but springs from faith in God’s promises, which he has revealed in his Word most abundantly unto our comfort; from the testimony of the Holy Spirit, witnessing with our spirit, that we are children and heirs of God,

Rom. 8:16

and lastly from an earnest and holy exercise of a good conscience and of good works. And if the elect of God in this world were deprived of this solid comfort, that they shall finally obtain the victory, and of this infallible earnest of eternal glory, they would be of all men the most miserable.

This article makes it plain, therefore, that the one way of assurance is threefold. It is: 1) The way of God’s Word, His promises. 2) The way of the testimony of the Holy Spirit that. we are children and heirs of God. 3) The way of a walk in sanctification: an earnest and holy exercise of a good conscience and of good works. These three elements belong to the one way of assurance. They belong together. Take any one of them away, and assurance becomes impossible, changes to doubt and despair.

Now it is impossible within the limitations of this article to expound the instruction of the Canons here completely. For a more thorough exposition, I refer the reader to my book, The Voice of our Fathers. But let me draw a few main lines.

First of all, we must remember that any real assurance is the work of God. The question is not: how do I obtain assurance, as though the obtaining of assurance were my own work; Fundamentally the question is: how does God assure. His children? For any assurance that has its origin in me is not worthy of the name; it is like lifting one’s self up by his own bootstraps. If God, Who is really GOD, assures me, then I may be sure. Hence, the question is: what is God’s way of assurance? Then, when I know this, and when I walk according to this, I can grow in assurance day by day. For in order to enjoy assurance, I must be in Gods way. I must walk by faith in the way in which God always assures His children.

What is that way?

There is, in the first place, the element of the speech of God Himself, objectively, in His Word, the Word of the Scriptures, the Scriptures which are inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of adoption. This does not merely mean that the way of assurance is the way of faithfully reading the Scriptures. No, it means that the way of assurance is the way of faithful use of the means of grace, primarily the preaching of the Word. These are the means through which God is pleased to assure us.

There is, in the second place, the testimony of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of adoption, with our spirit. The Spirit takes that objective revelation of God’s promises in the Word and He applies it effectually and irresistibly—for He is God!—to our hearts.

In the third place, there results the faith-testimony of our own spirit (for the Spirit testifies with our spirit), “I am a child and heir of God. I am and forever shall remain a living member of the holy catholic church. I have the remission of sins and life eternal.”

That brings us to the place of sanctification, or rather, a walk in sanctification in relation to assurance. What is that place? Why is assurance possible only in the way of sanctification?

Is it thus, that here at last the matter of assurance becomes after all dependent on man, on the Christian? Is the exercise of a good conscience and of good works—briefly, sanctification—the condition of assurance, the ground of assurance?

Here we must be reminded that our Confession warns against this in Article 24: “Moreover, though we do good works, we do not found our salvation upon them; for we do no work but what is polluted by our flesh and also punishable . . . .” It also warns that this is precisely not the way of assurance, but of doubt: “Thus then we would always be in doubt, tossed to and’ fro without any certainty, and our poor consciences continually vexed, if they relied not on the merits of the suffering and death of our Savior.”

Nevertheless, the exclusive way of assurance is the way of sanctification. Outside of the latter there is no assurance possible. Without holiness no man shall see the Lord! And without holiness, therefore, no man can be sure that he shall see the Lord!


The root answer is that the Spirit of adoption, the Spirit Who assures us of our salvation through the Word is the HOLY Spirit, and He always operates as such. He operates to assure the people of God, therefore, only in the sphere of holiness, in the light, not in the darkness of sin and corruption. Further, He is the Author of holiness also in the heart and life of the elect. He applies the blessings of Christ to Gods elect. And when He does so, He not only gives assurance of adoption, but He realizes our adoption and changes us into actual children of God, renewed after the image of Christ. His work is such that its sure fruit is the production of a sanctified and holy child of God, a saint.

Now the Spirit’s work and the Spirit’s testimony can never be separated.

He does not assure children of the devil, who are and remain children of the devil, that they are children of God. No, He changes children of the devil into children of God; and to those children of God, and to them only, He gives the assurance that they are God’s children and heirs. It is, therefore, because sanctification is the sure fruit of the operation of the Spirit of adoption, that assurance springs from an earnest and holy exercise of a good conscience and of good works.

This also explains the fact that the degree of assurance can and does vary in the life of the child of God sometimes. If the life of sanctification is not strong and bright, then the degree of assurance is also not strong and bright. And if for a time a child of God departs completely from the way of sanctification and walks in sin, he may even lose his assurance for a time altogether. But in the way of a sanctified walk God’s people enjoy the testimony of the Spirit with their spirit, through and in connection with the Word, that they are children and heirs!


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CPRC Saturday Night Bible Study

Hebrews 4:1-10

The promise of entering into God’s rest is the promise of the gospel (Matt.11:28). Just as a land was promised Abraham and his seed, so that land which is in reality heaven, is promised believers. (Titus 1:2, 2 Thess.11:7, Gal.3:18, Heb.11;16, Rev.14:13, Deut.1:35). We fear God, not apostasy, or an irreversible fall, but we stay away from the cliff edge, fear God and keep his commandments (Eccl.12:13). To come short of the promise means to never believe it and be saved and have eternal life (Titus 1:2). “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian”-Agrippa (Acts 26:28). “Us” is all God’s people, specifically those reading this epistle and “them” is O.T. Israel who fell in the wilderness.

The Gospel is the promise of eternal life made to Christ and all his people and the means of receiving it is by his death on the cross according to the Scriptures.

 The word profits people when it is believed, saves and sanctifies them, indeed beginning the unbreakable chain of salvation (Rom.8:29,30). It did not profit O.T. Israel who left Egypt because of their unbelief. “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul” (Matt.16:26).

What is this rest? The Greek is KATAPAUSIS and the Hebrew MENUCHA both meaning repose. It encompasses rest from labours, from trouble, from battle, from sin and death, from seeking salvation in works (self-righteousness), forgiveness and peace. Think back to David (a man of war) and his successor Solomon (a man of peace). For me personally (JK) it’s like the rest you long for when nearing the end of a strenuous run, bike ride or rowing race.

The reference is Psalm 95:11 (John 8:24, Deut.1:30-35), where David quoting God’s words, swore to unbelieving Israel that they would forfeit this rest because they did not believe the gospel (preached to them by Moses and typified in the Passover and all the sacrifices). God swore to absolutely vouchsafe he would do what he said (cf Hebrews 6:13-20) his swearing because of their unbelief sealed their doom.

The sabbath rest instituted by God after creation, when his work was finished, typified our rest in Christ now, in this life, and eventually in heaven. (Gen.2:2,3). Some must enter the rest because Christ effectually calls them by irresistible grace, as they belong to him in election (John 10:16) and because they, being in him, follow him to his rest in glory. All unbelievers fail to enter because they are not given faith to lay hold on the promises being reprobate. When David quoted these words (Psalm 95:11) and they were sung in the temple, they were teaching and admonishing one another. If Joshua had given them rest, which in a sense he did typically, there would be no need of another day and a further, more important, rest of soul through the gospel. If that was the true rest then Jews would not need rest in Christ (which to this day they mostly believe) and these Hebrew believers, reading this epistle, might be tempted back to Christ-less Judaism (one of the reasons for the book of Hebrews).

Next study (DV) at church and on line will be January 16th 2021 at 7pm.

On Hebrews 4:11-13.

Please do your homework.

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Meeting ID: 718 962 8817

Passcode: 2dsSxA

Appendix (thanks mostly to Sam Watterson)

There are only 21 uses of “menuchah” (Hebrew for rest), (many refer to a location or dwelling) but one of them is this: 1 Chronicles 22:9 “Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest (menuchah); and I will give him rest (nuwach) from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon (from shalom), and I will give peace (shalom) and quietness (sheqet) unto Israel in his days.” Makes me think of this: Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace (shalom).”

As Christ worked during His time on earth before entering heaven (John 9:4), so we labour now before one day also entering God’s rest (Rev. 14:13). As God ceased from the work of creation (Gen. 2:2), but continued His work of providence (John 5:17), so Christ works different works in heaven (ruling, interceding for, gathering, and preserving His people). And as God and Christ rested from these specific types of good works (John 17:4; Heb. 9:28; I Peter 3:18), so one day we will rest from our battles against sin, and all our good works particular to this age (Rev. 14:13), such as relating to marriage, the raising of children, the gathering and building up of the church, etc (Eph. 5:15-16; Gal. 6:9-10; Luke 20:34-35).

Hebrews 4:10-11 “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

Matthew Henry: “Here we have a serious exhortation: Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, v. 11. Observe, 1. The end proposed–rest spiritual and eternal, the rest of grace here and glory hereafter–in Christ on earth, with Christ in heaven. 2. The way to this end prescribed–labour, diligent labour; this is the only way to rest; those who will not work now shall not rest hereafter. After due and diligent labour, sweet and satisfying rest shall follow; and labour now will make that rest more pleasant when it comes. The sleep of the labouring man is sweet, Eccl.5:12. Let us therefore labour, let us all agree and be unanimous in this, and let us quicken one another, and call upon one another to this diligence. It is the truest act of friendship, when we see our fellow-Christians loiter, to call upon them to mind their business and labour at it in earnest. “Come, Sirs, let us all go to work; why do we sit still? Why do we loiter? Come, let us labour; now is our working time, our rest remains.” Thus should Christians call upon themselves and one another to be diligent in duty; and so much the more as we see the day approaching.”

John Gill [though he claims the verse only refers to entering spiritual rest by degrees in this present life, which I think does not fit the examples given of God and Christ]: “by believing … and this is to be laboured for by prayer, hearing the word, and attendance on ordinances; and this requires strength, diligence, and industry; and supposes difficulties and discouragements, through the corruptions of the heart, and the temptations of Satan”

Finally, our rest in relation to the Lord’s Supper. Just as Christ and his disciples reposed at the last supper, our participation in the sacrament accompanies repose of soul leaning like John on the bosom of Christ.

Regeneration and assurance (continued)

Whitened tombs

Sung Psalm 87

Reading 1 Peter 1:1-2:4

Regeneration’s source is the mercy of God in election and this grants faith, love and here especially in Peter HOPE (v3) by resurrection power (Eph.2:4,5, 1:18,19).

Hope of our inheritance (in the intermediate and eternal state (Rom.8:23)

Hope of glory (being changed and seeing Christ) (1 Tim.1:1, 1 John 1:1-3) by his indwelling (Col.1:27)

Hope that we are commanded (v13) and that is linked to purpose (to please God and stand before him and be rewarded). Note that the world without Christ is HOPELESS and even Solomon having tried every kind of satisfaction came to the conclusion at the end of Ecclesiastes that the whole duty of man was to fear God, keep his commandments and be ready for the day of judgment.

Sin always hurts

Sin induces slavery

After Witsius proves that in Christ all the sins of his elect are paid for (past, present and future) hence there is no condemnation, he then makes it clear that we do not sin with impunity: “So far is it from being true, that sins do them no harm. For, besides that on their account, they deserve to be in all respects forsaken of God, and disinherited; in the very act they disturb peace of conscience, take away the boldness and the full persuasion of faith, lessen the joy of salvation, grieve the Spirit of grace, hurt the spiritual life, greatly diminish the habits of Christian virtues, as to the facility and promptitude of acting, and sometimes bring on a vehement swooning of the soul, which would choke the very principle of spiritual life, unless the guilt being removed by the blood of Christ, his quickening Spirit graciously repelled their deadly influence. As I am not averse to inculcate that there are no sins of the justified which can bring, them into condemnation, so I would wish, with no less seriousness to put the justified in mind, that the power of sin is pestilential, which they themselves will sometimes find ; not indeed unto death, but to sickness, nigh unto death, and to torments similar to those which arise from the breaking of the bones. ” Hence God’s people need to continually repent, forsake and ask forgiveness for sin brought to mind by the Holy Spirit-JK.

Mortification of sin (36)

On what grounds do we hope in Christ to kill our lusts and sanctify us?

(1.) Consider his mercifulness, tenderness, and kindness, as he is our great High Priest at the right hand of God. Assuredly he pities you in your distress; saith he, “As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you,” Isaiah. 66:13. He has the tenderness of a mother to a sucking child. Heb. 2:17, 18, “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” How is the ability of Christ upon the account of his suffering proposed to us? “In that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able.” Did the sufferings and temptations of Christ add to his ability and power? Not, doubtless, considered absolutely and in it itself. But the ability here mentioned is such as has readiness, proneness, willingness to put itself forth, accompanying of it; it is an ability
of will against all dissuasions. He is able, having suffered and been tempted, to break through all dissuasions to the contrary, to relieve poor tempted souls:  “He is able to help.” He can now be moved to help, having been so tempted. So chap. 4:15, 16: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all
points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” The exhortation of verse 16 is the same that I am upon, namely, that we would entertain expectations of relief from Christ, which the apostle there calls, “grace for seasonable help.” “If ever,” says the soul, “help were seasonable, it would be so to me in my present condition. This is that which I long for, grace for seasonable help. I am ready to die,to perish, to be lost forever; iniquity will prevail against me, if help come not in.” Says the apostle, “Expect this help, this relief, this grace from Christ.” ” Suitable and seasonable help will come in, it will be more available to the ruin of your lust, and have a better and speedier issue, than all
the rigid means of self-maceration that ever any of the sons of men engaged themselves unto. Yea, let me add, that never any soul did or shall perish by the power of any lust, sin, or corruption, who could raise his soul by faith to an expectation of relief from Jesus Christ.
See also I Cor.10:13-JK

(2.) Consider His faithfulness who has promised; which may raise you up and confirm you in this waiting in an expectation of relief. He has promised to relieve in such cases, and he will fulfill his word to the utmost. God tells us that his covenant with us is like the “ordinances” of heaven, the sun, moon, and stars, which have their certain courses, Jer. 31:36. Thence David said that he watched for relief from God “as one watched for the morning,”  a thing that will certainly come in its appointed season. So will be your relief from Christ. It will come in its season, as the dew and rain upon the parched ground; for faithful is he who has promised. Particular promises to this purpose are innumerable; with some of them, that seem peculiarly to suit his condition, so let the soul be always furnished.

From John Owen