Jewish Captivity

Background to Jeremiah and Lamentations.

 

Lam.4:11-13, “The Lord hath accomplished his fury; he hath poured out his fierce anger, and hath kindled a fire in Zion, and it hath devoured the foundations thereof. The kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy should have entered into the gates of Jerusalem. For the sins of her prophets, and the iniquities of her priests, that have shed the blood of the just in the midst of her..” Note that the persecution of God’s saints was one reason for the captivity just as the crucifixion of Christ was followed by the sacking of Jerusalem by the the Romans in 70 AD-JK.

The Babylonian captivity or Babylonian exile is the period in Jewish history during which a number of people from the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylonia (as a result of God’s righteous punishment for their persistent idolatry and societal wickedness-JK). Their sin is called filthiness (Lam.1:22) and typifies the persistent sin of a Christian believer who is thereby impoverished and chastised by God.

Jehoiakim burns Jeremiah’s scroll; as in the Book of Jeremiah 36:21-32

Jehoiakim was appointed king by Necho II, king of Egypt, in 608 BC, after Necho’s return from the battle in Haran, three months after he had killed King Josiah at Megiddo. Necho deposed Jehoiakim’s younger brother Jehoahaz after a reign of only three months and took him to Egypt, where he died. Jehoiakim ruled originally as a vassal of the Egyptians, paying a heavy tribute. To raise the money he “taxed the land and exacted the silver and gold from the people of the land according to their assessments.”

After the Battle of Carchemish in 605 BCE (in which King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon defeated Pharaoh Neco of Egypy, he besieged Jerusalem, resulting in tribute being paid by King Jehoiakim, Jehoiakim refused to pay tribute in Nebuchadnezzar’s fourth year, which led to another siege in Nebuchadnezzar’s seventh year, culminating with the death of Jehoiakim and the exile of King Jeconiah, his court and many others;Jehoiakim was a king of Judah from 608 to 598 BC. He was the second son of king Josiah and he was succeeded by his son Jeconiah (also known as Jehoiachin). After three months, Nebuchadnezzar deposed Jeconiah and Jechoniah  was imprisoned for many years but finally freed by Evil Merodach, Nebuchadnezzar’s successor, and cared for at his court. Jeconiah’s successor, his uncle Zedekiah and others were exiled in Nebuchadnezzar’s eighteenth year; a later deportation occurred in Nebuchadnezzar’s twenty-third year. The dates, numbers of deportations, and numbers of deportees given in the biblical accounts vary. These deportations are dated to 597 BCE for the first, with others dated at 587/586 BCE, and 582/581 BCE respectively.

After the fall of Babylon to the Persian king Cyrus the Great in 539 BCE, exiled Judeans were permitted to return to Judah. According to the biblical book of Ezra, construction of the second temple in Jerusalem began around 537 BCE. All these events are considered significant in Jewish history and culture, and had a far-reaching impact on the development of Judaism.

Archaeological studies have revealed that not all of the population of Judah was deported, and that, although Jerusalem was utterly destroyed, other parts of Judah continued to be inhabited during the period of the exile. The return of the exiles was a gradual process rather than a single event, and many of the deportees or their descendants did not return, becoming the ancestors of the Iraqi Jews.

WIKIPEDIA

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Scottish Indoor Rowing Championships 2018

Tomorrow (DV) I pay a flying visit to Scotland to compete in the above for I think the fourth year. I usually get a medal of some hue (see pic). I have trained hard all year and am just around the correct weight of 75Kg to be “lightweight”.

The hall at Ravenscraig Sports Centre, Motherwell.

The score board showing race in progress.

Publicity for 2017 champs, I am just behind Roger (black and yellow shirt) and Stewart, one of my competitor friends is in red vest.

Last year a silver (1000m)  and a bronze (500m).

If you care to pray for my witness I would appreciate that.

RESULTS 2018

M60 1000m Lwt medallists.

Giving 100%

 

The guys in 1000m from England were just too good and of course in the 500m I was the only lightweight but I was told next year they will have separate medals.

Preparing for Persecution (2)

Why is there persecution of Christian believers in the world?

The answer is the Antithesis (Gen.3:15, 1 Peter 5:9, Is. 63:9, Acts 9:4, John 15:20) There is a cosmic-wide war going on, centred on planet earth with God’s arch enemy Satan (and the seed of the serpent are all the reprobate wicked) versus Christ (the seed of the woman and all his elect sons and daughters i.e believers in every age), Satan’s henchmen the fallen angels and the reprobate wicked versus the elect angels and the righteous in Christ, the false church versus the true church, and on the human level the basic reason is because our lives and words testify against the wicked. Jesus stated that because he was hated his followers would be hated too (Matt.10:22).In the first Scriptural case of persecution Abel (Gen 4:3-15,Heb.11;4, I John 3:12, Amos 5:12) is murdered by his brother Cain because of jealousy and his corrupt religious practice (offering a bloodless sacrifice). Persecution can be traced throughout Scripture. Ultimately persecution will bring horrible judgement on the persecutors but it is part of the cup of iniquity that has to be full when Christ returns. (Gen.4:10-16, I John 3:12, Rev.6:10, Ps. 10:2, 94:5,23, 119:86, 161, Jer.17:18) conversely the persecution is part of the cup of suffering Christ’s church must fill up too. The very end times will bring unprecedented persecution on the church through Antichrist who will demand obedience (taking his mark) and worship from all on earth. The followers of Christ will not comply just as the three Hebrews declined when faced with being told to worship Nebuchadnezzar’s image. Antichrist will then persecute Gods people to death through which they shall be delivered just like the myriads burnt at the stake, hanged and mutilated by evil men in previous generations of history. Jesus warned his disciples that just as he would be hated and persecuted, so would they. David, a type of Christ, in a previous age complains about all who persecuted him including Saul and Absalom in many of the Psalms. We will see God’s reasons for decreeing persecution later.

The Trespass Offering

Trespass Offering

Reading Lev. 5:14-6:7 and 7:1-7

Occasion: Sins quantifiable monetarily where recompense is made for sin.

Sins of property pertaining to God* or men, sometimes things forgotten for sacrifice, sometimes deliberate sins against neighbour.

Key words, “make amends,” (v16) and “restore” (6:4).

It was always a ram for sacrifice plus the restitution except Lev.14:12 and Num.6:12.

“in the holy things” (v15) e.g. *tithes, first fruits, first born, poll tax (Ex.30), pilgrimage feast offerings, vows, spoils of war.

C.f. Lev.22:14 and Ex.22:1 in the latter where civil law broken and person caught.

Ritual:

Slaughter-c.f. burnt/sin off both killed north side of altar.

Blood application- blood splashed (B.O.) sprinkled/smeared (S.O)

Burning like P.O and S.O. all fatty covered innards.

Eating- priest as S.O (when common man or ruler)

C.f. Num.5:5-10 when there is no-one known to recompense.

Cross refs: Psalm 69:4 (messianic fulfilment where Christ not only pays for our sins but gives us bountifully blessings on top) and Isaiah 53:10 (sin means literally trespass). Luke 19:8 where Zacchaeus applies this in reparation on conversion.

Click image for clarity.

 

 

Preparing for persecution

Preparing for persecution.

The impetus to write on this topic was given me after it was NOT chosen as the topic of the next BRF conference in 2020 (maybe 2022!), because I believe it is a vitally important topic as yet not addressed at the conferences and to an extent undeveloped in our churches’ literature and teaching. It is a topic about which many are ignorant or perhaps choose to ignore out of fear or foreboding.  Persecution will always test the authenticity of a Christian believer because it is necessary and divinely decreed and when experienced exposes the believer to the cost of following Christ and not denying him. It is the inevitable consequence of being a believer, especially a sincere consecrated one (II Timothy 3:12). It is not a topic comprehensively addressed in the “Three Forms” but we all remember that the author of the Belgic Confession, Guido de Bres died for his Saviour. The series of articles will seek to answer these questions:

 

  1. Why is there persecution?
  2. What form does it take?
  3. Biblical examples?
  4. Where is it happening?
  5. What should be our response?
  6. What is God’s purpose in it and the final outcome?
  7. When in history has it been most evident and what will happen as the end approaches?
  8. How should we support others in it?

Precious Remedies (50)

Last blogpost on Brooks treatise Precious Remedies against Satan’s devices.

The conclusion: FIVE REASONS WHY WE ARE TEMPTED.

Reason (1). That our hearts may be kept in a humble, praying, watching frame.

Oh! has Satan so many devices to ensnare and undo the souls of men? How should this awaken dull, drowsy souls, and make them stand upon their watch! A Christian should be like the seraphim, beset all over with eyes and lights, that he may avoid Satan’s snares, and stand fast in the hour of temptation.

The Lord has in the Scripture discovered the several snares, plots, and devices that the devil has to undo the souls of men, that so, being forewarned, they may be forearmed; that they may be always upon their watch-tower, and hold their weapons in their hands, as the Jews did in Nehemiah’s time.

2). To expose the malice, envy, and enmity that is in Satan against the souls of men.

Satan is full of envy and enmity, and that makes him very studious to suit his snares and plots to the tempers, constitutions, fancies, and callings of men, that so he may make them as miserable as himself.

Reason (3). The third reason is drawn from that long experience that Satan has had.

He is a spirit of mighty abilities; and his abilities to lay snares before us are mightily increased by that long standing of his. He is a spirit of over five thousand years’ standing. He has had time enough to study all those ways and methods which tend most to ensnare and undo the souls of men. And as he has time enough, so he has made it his whole study, his only study, his constant study, to find out snares, traps, and stratagems, to entangle and overthrow the souls of men. When he was but a young serpent, he did easily deceive and outwit our first parents. But now he is grown into that ‘old serpent,’ as John speaks (Rev. 12:9). He is as old as the world, and is grown very cunning by experience.

Reason (4). God judges the men of the world, that they may stumble and fall, and be ensnared forever.

Wicked men who withstand the offers of mercy, and despise the Spirit of grace; who will not open, though God knocks ever so hard by his Word and rod, by his Spirit and conscience—are given up by a hand of justice, to be hardened, deceived, and ensnared by Satan, to their everlasting ruin (1 Kings 22:23). And what can be more just than that they should be taken and charmed with Satan’s wiles, who have frequently refused to be charmed by the Spirit of grace, though he has charmed ever so wisely, and ever so sweetly?

Reason (5). To show the excellency and power of God’s grace illustrated and manifested, by making his people able to grapple with this mighty adversary, and that notwithstanding all the plots, devices, and stratagems of Satan, yet he will make them victorious here, and crown them with glory hereafter. I Cor.10:13,Romans 16;20, James 4:7. PTL!

The greater and the subtler the enemies of the children of Israel were—the more did divine power, wisdom, and goodness, sparkle and shine; and that, notwithstanding all their power, plots, and stratagems, yet to Canaan God would bring them at last. When Paul had weighed this, he sits down and glories in his infirmities and distresses and Satan’s buffetings—that the power of Christ might rest upon him (2 Cor. 12:7-9).

Thanks to Thomas Brooks who being dead yet speaketh. Great work.

Precious Remedies (49)

Thomas Brooks b1608

Proposition 5.

Satan known by his names: sometimes called Behemoth, whereby the greatness and brutishness of the devil is figured (Job 40:15). Called the accuser of the brethren for their slanders; and evil ones, for their malice. Satan is an
adversary, that troubles and molests (1 Pet. 5:8). Abaddon is a destroyer (Rev. 9:11). He and his evil spirits are tempters, for their suggestions; lions, for their devouring; dragons, for their cruelty; and serpents, for their subtlety. As his names are, so is he; as face answers to face, so do Satan’s names answer to his nature. He has the worst names and the worst nature of all created creatures.


Proposition 6: God will shortly tread down Satan under the saints’ feet.Christ, our champion, has already won the field, and will shortly set our feet upon the necks of our spiritual enemies. Satan is a foiled adversary. Christ has led him captive, and triumphed over him upon the cross. Christ has already overcome him, and put weapons into your hands, that you may overcome him also, and set your feet upon his
neck. Though Satan be a roaring lion, yet Christ, who is the lion of the tribe of Judah, will make Satan fly and fall before you. Let Satan do his worst, yet you shall have the honour and the happiness to triumph over him. Cheer up, you precious sons of Zion, for the certainty and sweetness of victory will abundantly recompense you for all the pains you have taken in making resistance against Satan’s temptations. The broken horns of Satan shall be trumpets of our triumph and the coronets of our joy. “The God of
“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” Romans 16:20. The Greek word signifies to break or crash a thing to pieces. Being applied to the feet—it means that crushing which is by stamping upon a thing.

Precious Remedies (48)

 

Brooks now hits on the key to defeating Satan and living in victory:

Proposition (4). That no weapons but spiritual weapons can be used effectively against the devil.

This the apostle shows: ‘Therefore take unto you,’ says he, ‘the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand’ (Eph. 6:13). So the same apostle tells you, ‘That the weapons of your warfare are not carnal—but mighty through God, to the casting down of strongholds (in the mind!-JK)’ (2 Cor. 10:4). David’s faith in the name of the Lord Almighty defeated Goliath. ‘You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a shield—but I have come to you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied’ (1 Sam. 17:45).

The only way to stand, conquer, and triumph, is still to plead, ‘It is written,’ as Christ did (Matt. 4:10). There is no sword but the two-edged sword of the Spirit, that will be found to be metal of proof when a soul comes to engage against Satan; therefore, when you are tempted to impurity, plead, ‘It is written, be holy, as I am holy’ (1 Peter 1:16); and, ‘Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord’ (2 Cor. 7:1). If he tempts you to distrust God’s providence and fatherly care of you, plead, It is written, ‘Those who fear the Lord shall lack no good thing.’ (Psalm 34:9).

It is written, ‘The Lord will give grace and glory, and no good thing will he withhold from those who live purely’ (Psalm 84:11).

If he tempts you to fear that you shall faint, and fall, and never be able to run to the end of the race that is set before you, plead, It is written, ‘The righteous shall hold on his way, and he who has clean hands shall be stronger and stronger’ (Job. 17:9).

It is written, ‘I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good—but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they may not depart from me’ (Jer. 32:40).

It is written, ‘Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint’ (Is. 40:31).

If Satan tempts you to think that because your sun for the present is set in a cloud, that therefore it will rise no more, and that the face of God will shine upon you no more; that your best days are now at an end, and that you must spend all your time in sorrow and sighing; plead, It is written, ‘He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us, and cast all our sins into the depth of the sea’ (Micah 7:19).

It is written, ‘For a small moment have I forsaken you—but with great mercies will I gather you. In a little wrath I hid my face from you for a moment—but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer’ (Is. 54:8, 10).

It is written, ‘The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed—but my kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, says the Lord who has mercy on you.’

It is written, ‘Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, they may forget, yet will not I forget you. Behold, I have engraved you upon the palms of my hands, your walls are continually before me’ (Is. 49:15, 16).

If ever you would be too hard for Satan, and after all his assaults, have your bow abide in strength, then take to yourself the Word of God, which is ‘the two-edged sword of the Spirit, and the shield of faith, whereby you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the devil’ (Eph. 6:17). Satan will certainly fly from you (James 4:7).

Precious Remedies (47)

Thomas Brooks b1608

Proposition (2). That Satan has a great hand and stroke in most (?all-JK) sins.

It was Satan who tempted our first parents to rebellion. It was Satan who provoked David to number the people. It was Satan who put Peter upon rebuking Christ; therefore says Christ, ‘Get behind me, Satan’. It was Satan who put Cain upon murdering of righteous Abel, therefore it is that he is called ‘a murderer from the beginning’. It was Satan who put treason into the heart of Judas against Christ, ‘And supper being ended, the devil having put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him’. It was Satan who put Ananias upon lying; Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?’ (Gen. 3:1-5; 1 Chron. 21:1; Matt. 16:22, 23; John 8:44, 13:2; Acts 5:3)

As the hand of Joab was in the tale of the woman of Tekoah, so Satan’s hand is usually in all the sins that men commit. Such is Satan’s malice against God, and his envy against man, that he will have a hand one way or other in all the sins, though he knows that all the sins he provokes others to shall be charged upon him to his greater woe, and eternal torment.

Proposition (3). That Satan must have a double permission before he can do anything against us.

He must have permission from God, and permission from ourselves, before he can do anything against our happiness. He must have his permission from God, as you may see in the example of Job (Job 1:11, 12; 2:3-5). Though the devil had malice enough to destroy him, yet he had not so much as power to touch him, until God gave him permission.

They could not so much as enter into the swine without permission from Christ (Luke 8:32). Satan would gladly have combated with Peter—but this he could not do without leave. ‘Satan has desired to have you, to winnow you’ (Luke 22:31). So Satan could never have overthrown Ahab and Saul—but by permission from God (1 Kings 22). Ah! what a cordial, what a comfort should this be to the saints—that their greatest, subtlest, and most vigilant enemy cannot hurt nor harm them, without permission from him who is their sweetest Saviour, their dearest husband, and their choicest friend.

And as Satan must have permission from God, so he must have permission from us. When he tempts, we must assent; when he makes offers, we must hearken; when he commands, we must obey, or else all his labour and temptations will be frustrated, and the evil that he tempts us to shall be put down only to his account. That is a remarkable passage in Acts 5:3, ‘Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?’ He does not expostulate the matter with Satan; he does not say, Satan, ‘Why have you filled Ananias’s heart to make him lie to the Holy Spirit?’ but he expostulates the case with Ananias; Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?’ Why have you given him an advantage to fill your heart with infidelity, hypocrisy, and obstinate audacity, to lie to the Holy Spirit? As if he had said, Satan could never have done this in you, which will now forever undo you, unless you had given him permission.

Marriage, divorce and remarriage.

REFORMED FREE PUBLISHING ASSOCIATION

The Grammatical Gymnastics of an

Advocate for Divorce and

Remarriage

BLOG POST | November 8, 2018

Recently I have come across some novel arguments to justify remarriage after divorce while the original spouse is still living. I will not name the advocate of remarriage on the blog: suffice to say that on social media he began commenting on a video link to Prof. David Engelsma’s lecture at the British Reformed Fellowship Conference (2018), “Unbiblical Divorce and Adulterous Remarriage: A Scandal.” He labeled it “proscribed heresy” and called those who agreed with the lecture “hypocritical legalists” who “damage the church and mock the grace of Christ,” adding that we were “perfect illustrations of the haughty Pharisees,” and called us to repent. Then he called our position “false, anti-Reformed, and unbiblical,” as well as “schismatic and destructive of true Christian compassion.” He argued (correctly) that neither Luther nor Calvin agreed with our position, which Prof. Engelsma fully admits in his book Marriage: The Mystery of Christ and the Church. While we admire the Reformers, they were (sadly) not strong on the subject of divorce and remarriage. This is reflected in the otherwise excellent Westminster Confession of Faith.

Because I did not want my answer to be buried in a long Facebook thread where the advocate for remarriage made his novel arguments, I decided to make it public here. I hope it will serve as a witness to the truth of the unbreakable marriage bond. Some of the arguments from Greek grammar are quite involved, so I ask for the reader’s indulgence.

In addition, I am not interested in attacking personalities or churches. I am merely interested in the arguments, especially exegetical arguments, for God’s word is the final arbiter on this and all matters.

I should point out right at the beginning, however, that knowledge of Greek grammar is not necessary for the child of God. The King James Version of the Bible is an accurate translation of the original Greek and Hebrew, and no theologian or pastor should give the impression that the Bible cannot be comprehended without recourse to the original languages: we believe in the perspicuity of holy scripture, that is, we believe that the Bible is clear, so clear that, if a child of God has a good translation, he can understand the scriptures; yet the Bible is so profound and rich that the greatest theologian cannot plumb its depths. Moreover, we believe in the office of believer according to which every child of God has the blessed privilege of knowing and understanding God’s word without the need of “experts” or a “priestly class” in the church.

In addition, the main issue is clear. Marriage is a lifelong, unbreakable bond between one man and one woman, in which the two become one, enjoying intimate fellowship with one another, which fellowship, both in the Old Testament and New Testament reflects the relationship between Christ and the church. In scripture God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16); and even when he gives his adulterous, unfaithful wife a “bill of divorce” (Jer. 3:8), he still declares himself married to his people (v. 14), and he never takes another people (i.e., the Lord never remarries).

Moreover, when Jesus deals with the subject of divorce and remarriage, he does so in the context of a controversy he has with the Pharisees, many of whom had a very permissive view of divorce and subsequent remarriage. The Pharisees made their main appeal to Deuteronomy 24:1–4, where they interpreted the “some uncleanness” as allowing divorce for every cause. Before Jesus addressed that text, however, he reminded the Pharisees of God’s original command in Genesis (showing, incidentally, that Jesus believed in the authority and historicity of the creation account of Genesis 1–2):
Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder (Matt. 19:4–6; see also Mark 10:6–9).
In those words, Jesus defines marriage as between one man and one woman and confirms that God created two (and only two) genders, refuting the “same sex marriage” and “transgender” movements of our day.

The Pharisees counter in Matthew 19:7 with an appeal to Moses in Deuteronomy 24: “Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?” Notice how Jesus reframes the issue in his response: the Pharisees speak of a “command,” but Jesus refers to Deuteronomy 24 as permission or concession (God “suffered you”). This is accurate, for in Deuteronomy God does not command the people to put away their wives, but he legislates for divorce in such a way that the woman who is put away receives legal protection. To paraphrase: “If you are so stubborn and hardhearted as to desire to put away your wife, you may not do so unless you give her a bill of divorcement, which bill will protect her and give her some legal rights. Otherwise, you are, as it were, throwing her to the wolves when you divorce her.” God’s command is: Do not put away your wife; the concession is: if you divorce, give her a bill of divorcement.

This is clearly Christ’s authoritative interpretation of the law: “Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you [permitted you] to put away your wives, but from the beginning it was not so” (Matt. 19:8). Hardhearted Pharisees appealed to Deuteronomy 24 because they desired to rid themselves of their spouses. Hardhearted people in the church follow their Pharisaical forebears, which is ironic, for it makes them (and not churches who argue for the permanency of the marriage bond, and who forbid divorce and remarriage in the preaching and in discipline) the children of the Pharisees on this issue.

Moses permitted it, but Jesus does not permit it. “For the hardness of your heart he [Moses] wrote you this precept, but from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female” (Mark 10:5–6). “But from the beginning it was not so, and I say unto you…” (Matt. 19:8–9).

In addition, of course, the stipulation of Deuteronomy 24 no longer applies in the New Testament. What applies is Christ’s authoritative teaching on the permanency of marriage in which he gives no concession to hard hearts!

The apostle Paul repeats the teaching of Jesus, insisting that a divorced and remarried woman (one living with a second or subsequent husband) is an adulteress (and he makes no reference to the “permission” of Deuteronomy 24): “If, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man” (Rom. 7:3). Only death breaks the marriage bond to permit remarriage: widows and widowers may remarry; divorced persons may not as long as their original spouse lives.

In 1 Corinthians 7 Paul applies the teaching of the Lord to marriage: “Let not the wife depart from her husband” [No divorce] (v. 10). “But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried [No remarriage], or be reconciled to her husband [The original bond of marriage could and should be restored]: and let not the husband put away his wife” [No divorce] (v. 11). Remarriage after divorce makes reconciliation with one’s original spouse almost impossible, which is another reason why God forbids it. The permanency of marriage applies even, says Paul, when there is a marriage between a believer and an unbeliever: “Let him not put her away” (v. 12); “let her not leave him” (v. 13). The only exception is where the believer is wickedly abandoned by his unbelieving spouse: then, divorce is possible: “Let him depart” (v. 15). Nevertheless, the abandoned believer may not remarry. Verse 15 does not permit remarriage in the case of desertion, but rather the deserted believer may live without shame and enjoy peace: “A brother or sister is not under bondage [the meaning is not “is not bound;” that is a different verb] in such cases: but God hath called us to peace” (v. 15).

Paul ends the chapter by reaffirming the permanency of the marriage bond: “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead [with real, physical death that puts him in the grave], she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord” (v. 39).

The Bible is clear: marriage is a lifelong bond broken only by death; divorce is permitted, although not required, only on the grounds of adultery; and remarriage (a second or subsequent marriage) is not permitted to either party in the marriage while the original spouse is alive.

Having set forth the teaching of Christ, I plan to address the novel grammatical arguments of the advocate of remarriage. Again I ask for the reader’s indulgence, as some of this will be complicated; however, I hope that most readers will be able to grasp most of what I write.

To be continued…

This post was written by Rev. Martyn McGeown, missionary-pastor of the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Northern Ireland stationed in Limerick, Republic of Ireland. If you have any questions or comments, please post them in the comment section on the blog.

Precious Remedies (46)

Brooks now comes near to his conclusion:

SIX CONCLUSIONS CONCERNING SATAN AND HIS DEVICES

Proposition (1). That though Satan has his devices to draw souls to sin, yet we must be careful that we do not lay all our temptations upon Satan neglecting the lust of our own base hearts.

‘And the Lord said unto the woman, What is this that you have done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat’ (Gen. 3:13). Sin and shifting of blame came into the world together. This is no small baseness of our hearts, that they will blame that naughtiness upon Satan. Man has an evil root within him; that were there no devil to tempt him, nor no wicked men in the world to entice him, yet that root of bitterness, that cursed sinful nature which is in him, would draw him to sin, though he knows beforehand that ‘the wages of sin is eternal death’ (Rom. 6:23). ‘For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, thefts, false witness, blasphemies’ (Matt. 15:19). The understanding of man is dark, the will wicked, the memory slippery, the affections crooked, the conscience corrupted, the tongue poisoned, and the heart wholly evil, only evil, and continually evil. Should God chain up Satan, and give him no liberty to tempt or entice people to vanity or folly, yet they could not but sin against him, by reason of that cursed nature that is in them, that will still be a-provoking them to those sins that will provoke and stir up the anger of God against them (Jude 15, 16).

Satan may tempt us—but without ourselves he cannot conquer us; he may entice us—but without ourselves he cannot hurt us. Our hearts carry the greatest guilt in every sin. Satan can never undo a man without himself; but a man may easily undo himself without Satan. Satan can only present the golden cup—but he has no power to force us to drink the poison that is in the cup; he can only present to us the glory of the world, he cannot force us to fall down and worship him, to enjoy the world; he can only spread his snares, he has no power to force us to walk in the midst of his snares. Therefore do the devil so much right, as not to excuse yourselves, by your accusing him, and laying the load upon him, that you should lay upon your own hearts.

Precious Remedies (45)

Brooks now turns to the characteristics of false teachers who are the source of much evil, temptation, backsliding and the damnation of themselves and sinners who listen to them.

 SEVEN CHARACTERISTICS OF FALSE TEACHERS

Satan labours powerfully by false teachers, which are his emissaries, to deceive, delude, and forever undo the precious souls of men (Jer. 23:13) ‘I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err.’ Micah 3:5: ‘The prophets make my people to err.’ They seduce them, and carry them out of the right way into by-paths and blind thickets of error, blasphemy, and wickedness, where they are lost forever. ‘Beware of false prophets, for they come to you in sheep’s clothing—but inwardly they are ravening wolves’ (Matt. 7:15). These lick and suck the blood of souls (Phil. 3:2), ‘Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers.’ These kiss and kill; these cry, Peace, peace, until souls fall into everlasting flames! (Prov. 7). (Acts. 20:28-30; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Eph. 4:14; 2 Tim. 3:4-6; Titus 1:11, 22; 2 Peter 2:18,19.)

Now the best way to deliver poor souls from being deluded and destroyed by these messengers of Satan is, to expose them so, being known, poor souls may shun them, and fly from them as from hell itself.

Now you may know them by these characters following:

[1.] False teachers are men-pleasers.

Such are not true teachers; Gal. 1:10, 1 Thess. 2:1-4. They preach more to please the ear than to profit the heart (Is. 30:10): ‘Who say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things: speak to us smooth things; prophesy deceits.’ Jer. 5:30, 31: “A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” Jeremiah 5:30-31. False teachers handle holy things rather with wit and trifling, rather than with fear and reverence. False teachers are soul-murderers. Flattering words do all the mischief, they are sweet soul-poisoners. “This is my warning to my people,” says the Lord Almighty. ‘Do not listen to these prophets when they prophesy to you, filling you with futile hopes. They are making up everything they say. They do not speak for the Lord! They keep saying to these rebels who despise my word, ‘Don’t worry! The Lord says you will have peace!’ And to those who stubbornly follow their own evil desires, they say, ‘No harm will come your way!'” (Jer. 23:16, 17). Among these are those who promise health and wealth and preach free will and a universal love of God-JK

[2.] False teachers are notable for reproach upon Christ’s most faithful ambassadors.

Thus Korah, Dathan, and Abiram charged Moses and Aaron that they took too much upon them, seeing all the congregation was holy (Num. 16:3). You take too much state, too much power, too much honour, too much holiness upon you; for what are you more than others, that you take so much upon you? And so Ahab’s false prophets fell foul on good Micaiah, paying of him with blows for lack of better reasons (1 Kings 22:10-26). Yes, Paul, that great apostle of the Gentiles, had his ministry undermined and his reputation blasted by false teachers: ‘For his letters,’ say they, ‘are weighty and
powerful—but his bodily presence is weak and his speech contemptible’ (2 Cor. 10:10). They rather condemn him than admire him; they look upon him as a dunce rather than a doctor. Christ and his servants have filth and scorn thrown upon them of whom the world is not worthy!

[3.] False teachers invent devices and visions of their own heads and hearts.

Benny Hinn and Joyce Meyer are cases in point as regards descent into hell etc-JK. Jer. 14:14: “Then the Lord said unto me—These prophets are telling lies in my name. I did not send them or tell them to speak. I did not give them any messages. They prophesy of visions and revelations they have never seen or heard. They speak foolishness made up in their own lying hearts.” “This is my warning to my people,” says the Lord Almighty. “Do not listen to these prophets when they prophesy to you, filling you with futile hopes. They are making up everything they say. They do not speak for the Lord!” Jeremiah 23:16. Harold Camping’s false prophecy was another recent case in the USA. Matt. 24:4,5; Titus 1:10; Rom. 16:18

[4.] False teachers major on minors and legalism.

1 Tim. 1:5-7: ‘Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith sincere; from which some having swerved, have turned aside unto vain jangling, desiring to be teachers of the law, and understand neither what they say nor whereof they affirm.’ Matt. 23:23: ‘Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; for you pay tithe of mint, and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith; these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone.’ False teachers are nice in the lesser things of the law, and as negligent in the greater. 1 Tim. 6:3-5: ‘If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing—but doting about questions and strife of words, whereof comes envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw yourself.’ Such teachers are hypocrites. (Rom. 2:22). The earth groans to bear them, and hell is fitted for them (Matt. 24:32). Luther complained of such in his time as would strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. This age is full of such teachers, such monsters! The high priest’s spirit (Matt. 23:24) lives and thrives in these days.

[5.] False teachers cover and colour their dangerous principles and soul deceptions with very fair speeches and plausible pretences, with high notions and golden expressions.

Many in these days are bewitched and deceived by the magnificent words, lofty strains, and stately terms of deceivers. As strumpets paint their faces, and deck and perfume their beds, the better to allure and deceive simple souls; so false teachers will put a great deal of paint and garnish upon their most dangerous principles and blasphemies, that they may the better deceive and delude poor ignorant souls. They know sugared poison goes down sweetly; they wrap up their pernicious, soul-killing pills in gold! (Gal. 6:12; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Rom. 16:17, 18; Matt. 16:6,11,12; 7:15.)

[6.] False teachers strive more to win over men to their opinions, than to better them in their lives.

Matt. 23:15: ‘Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves!’ They busy themselves most about men’s heads. Their work is not to better men’s hearts, and mend their lives; and in this they are very much like their father the devil, who will spare no pains to gain proselytes.

[7.] False teachers make merchandise of their followers.

“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” 2 Peter 2:13. They eye your goods more than your good; and mind more the serving of themselves, than the saving of your souls. So they may have your substance, they care not though Satan has your souls (Rev. 18:11-13). That they may the better pick your purse, they will hold forth such principles as are very indulgent to the flesh. False teachers are the great worshippers of the golden calf. “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit.” (Jer. 6:13). Crates threw his money into the sea, resolving to drown it, lest it should drown him. But false teachers care not who they drown—so they may have their money.

Now, by these characters you may know them, and so shun them, and deliver your souls out of their dangerous snares.

Well said back in the 1600s and applies for all of NT age-JK

Running the Race

Always enjoyed running including cross country but it appears running days are over with a worn out right knee.

man and woman running near green leaf trees photo

Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

 

Young Calvinists

I recently went to a cross country meet for Covenant Christian High School (Grand Rapids, MI). For those of you who don’t know much about the sport, it’s running a distance through grass (which can slow you down more than you think). For high schoolers it is a distance of 5 kilometers (3.1 miles). Needless to say, the weather is not always perfect. Rain or shine, sleet or snow, grass or mud, they run. I was even crazy enough to run on the team for two years through high school. I loved it even though some days were tough.  Attending the meet made me realize how much I missed that atmosphere.

I was reminded again why the Bible often compares the life of a Christian to that of a runner, and participation in this sport taught me a lot of lessons for everyday life. Cross country taught me how to set goals and…

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The Sin Offering (4)

Sung Psalm 51:1-7

Read Leviticus 4:1-21

The Sin Offering deals with the pollution of sin.

Sin brings guilt and pollution. Christ’s death frees us from the wages or penalty of sin namely death and condemnation, then the pollution of sin by sanctification and finally when we meet him, from the presence of sin forever.

Where was the blood of the sin offering applied?

  1. Before the veil (v17)
  2. On the horns of the altar of incense (v7) see also Ex.30:7-10
  3. Beside the burn altar (v7)

Exodus 20:24 describes the first altar for Israel, chapters 27 and 38 the making of the bronze altar and chapter 26:31 of the veil.

The common factor in the first two places is “before the Lord” i.e. getting nearer to where he resided in the holiest place.

The application of blood purifies from the pollution of sin. The fact that these utensils for worship needed cleansing proves that all our works and worship similarly need purified from their defilement.

Even the land (where God dwelt) was defiled by sin (Lev.18:24-30, Deut.21:1-8, Ex.29:43-46).

All these places need sanctified-namely the land, the tabernacle and the holy place because God requires a perfectly clean habitation (which is why we must be sanctified by the Holy Spirit!)

The greatest sin offering was the day of atonement (Lev.16:3-16) when both a goat, for the people and a bullock for the high priest were sacrificed and the blood used to cleanse tabernacle, altar and holy place (16:16,19,20 c.f. 8:15).

Uncleanness in Leviticus 11-15: Leviticus 11-foods, 12-childbirth, 13,14-leprosy in people, cloth and buildings, 15-defiling bodily issues (also 5:2,3-touching unclean things).

Check also Hebrews 12:14-15 bitterness defiles, Eph.4:30 sin defiles and when anything defiles God cannot dwell there, Matt.15:18 our mouths defile us, 1 Cor.3:17, I Tim.1:10 sexual sin defiles, Rev.7:14 shows how Christ’s blood cleanses and Rev.21:27 describes fact that no-one and nothing defiled enters the realm of glory in the new Jerusalem.

Daily cleansing is promised, the only condition is confession of sin I John 1:9.

Precious Remedies (44)

DEVICE 5: By making a sinner mind more the secret decrees and counsels of God, that is whether he is elect or not, rather than his own duty.

Why should you receive and embrace Christ? says Satan; if you are elected, you shall be saved; if not, all that you can do will do you no good. No, he will work the soul not only to doubt of its election—but to conclude that he is not elected, and therefore, let him do what he can, he shall never be saved.

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That not all the angels in heaven, nor all the men an earth, nor all the devils in hell know whether you are an elect person, a chosen vessel. You may be confident of this, that God never made Satan one of his privy council, God never acquainted him with the names of such that he has set his love upon to eternity.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, not to meddle with that which you have to do. ‘Secret things belong to the Lord—but revealed things belong to you’ (Deut. 29:29). Your work, sinner, is, to be prompt in believing, and in returning to the Lord; your work is to cast yourself upon Christ, lie at his feet, to wait on him in his ways; and to give him no rest until he shall say, Sinner, I am your portion, I am your salvation—and nothing shall separate between you and me.

And if you are a believer-your job is to make your calling and election sure (II Peter 1:10).

Precious Remedies (43)

 

Yet another ploy of Satan Brooks lists that may be used to discourage penitents from coming to Christ:

DEVICE 4: By suggesting to a sinner Christ’s unwillingness to save.  

How daft-JK!

It is true, says Satan. Christ is able to save you—but is he willing? Surely, though he is able, yet he is not willing to save such a wretch as you are, who has trampled his blood under your feet, and who has been in open rebellion against him all your days.

Remedy (1). First, The great journey that he has taken, from heaven to earth, on purpose to save sinners, strongly demonstrates his willingness to save them. Matt. 9:13: ‘I came not to call the righteous—but sinners to repentance.’ 1 Tim. 1:15: ‘This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.’ He also said , “Him that cometh to me I shall in no wise cast out.” John 6:37.

Secondly, His divesting himself of his glory in order to sinners’ salvation, speaks out his willingness to save them. He leaves his Father’s bosom, he puts off his glorious robes, and lays aside his glorious crown, and bids adieu to his glistering courtiers the angels; and all this he does, that he may accomplish sinners’ salvation. From the cradle to the cross, his whole life was a life of sufferings.

Thirdly, That sea of sin, that sea of wrath, that sea of trouble, that sea of blood that Jesus Christ waded through, that sinners might be pardoned, justified, reconciled, and saved, strongly evidences his willingness to save sinners (2 Cor. 5:19, 20).

Fourthly, His sending his ambassadors, early and late, to woo and entreat sinners to be reconciled to him, does with open mouth show his readiness and willingness to save sinners.

Fifthly, His complaints against such as refuse him, and who turn their backs upon him, and who will not be saved by him, strongly declares their responsibility- (John 1:11): ‘He came to his own, and his own received him not.’ So in John 5:40, ‘But you will not come to me, that you may have life.’

Sixthly, The joy and delight that he takes at the conversion of sinners demonstrates his willingness that they should be saved (Luke 15:7): ‘I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.’ God the Father rejoices at the return of his prodigal son; Christ rejoices to see the travail of his soul; the Spirit rejoices that he has another temple to dwell in; and the angels rejoice that they have another brother to delight in (Is. 53:11).

Acts 5:17-42

 

Acts 5:17-33

Confrontation between Jewish authorities and the apostles

  1. The Sadducees are specifically mentioned in v 17 because they appeared to control the council and certainly occupied chief positions e.g. high priest.
  2. They arrested and imprisoned the apostles to try and stop the church growing. See Luke 3:20.
  3. God counteracted this by freeing the apostles because he wanted their ministry to continue.
  4. The “words of this life” are the whole counsel of God/the gospel.
  5. The purpose of calling together the council or Sanhedrin was to hear different views and make a combined decision about how to act.
  6. Upon discovering the prison shut but the apostles gone their concern was how the movement would grow.
  7. They really ought to have wondered how the apostles got out. See Luke 21:12 ans Acts 12:19.
  8. The authorities (Captain of temple guard and his officers) were afraid of being stoned because the apostles had such a following and even unbelievers esteemed them.
  9. Being accused of bringing Christ’s blood upon them, the authorities, because it was true must have had troubled consciences.
  10. It was the intention of the apostles to blame the unbelieving authorities for Christ’s death. See Acts 2:36.
  11. Peter emphasized the need to obey God rather than men to make clear their stance.
  12. Peter in v 30 did agree with the accusation of v 28.
  13. Peter emphasized the resurrection in v 30 because it is a gospel fundamental, it exposed the Jews’ impotence and the power of God to irresistibly fulfil his purposes.
  14. Mentioning the “God of our fathers” and “Israel” implies that the Jews ought to have known about the coming Messiah from the Pentateuch who was sent to bless Israel.
  15. Since he is divine the Spirit clearly witnessed, indeed decreed the death resurrection and exaltation of Christ but he also convinces the elect of all these truths.
  16. The Jews were enraged because they were being pronounced guilty, they hated Christ and wanted to silence the apostles and their consciences.
    • This reaction shows that sin:
    •  a)  Hates being exposed by the truth (John 3:19-21)
    • b) Hates repentance
    • c) Enslaves and holds people till irresistible grace frees them.

Acts 5:34-40

  1. Gamaliel was a revered Pharisee and teacher and member of the council who taught Saul of Tarsus (Acts 22:3).
  2. His advice was given without the apostles being present perhaps because the council would not want the apostles to know they had any support in the council.
  3. His warning was for the council to take care because two men who had caused previous insurrections namely Theudas and Judas had both been killed and their followers scattered.
  4. Gamaliel’s advice was just to leave the apostles alone because if the movement was of God it could not be successfully opposed but if it was not it would fizzle out.
  5. It seemed a principled suggestion and actually sensible and pragmatic.
  6. From the Jews’ viewpoint it may have appeared bad advice because their influence would wane if the apostles message spread.
  7. They beat the apostles because they were cruel and vindictive, wanted to assert their authority and try to deter them.

Acts 5:41-42

  1. The apostles rejoiced because they were counted worthy of suffering for Christ. (Matt.5:11,12, II Cor.1:7, I Pet.4:12,13, Rom.8:17, I Pet.2:20)
  2. They continued to teach and preach.
  3. Their attitude and action are examples for us to:

Obey the Lord by preaching and witnessing to the true Christ as opportunity presents and being ready to suffer for his sake.

 

Next study Acts 6:1-15 Saturday December 1st 8pm DV.

 

Please remember that we are all called to study Scripture to be approved by God and personal Bible Study is always blessed and remembered, so come prepared and recruit others!

Precious Remedies (42)

DEVICE 3 : By suggesting the sinner is not prepared.

Says Satan, You are not prepared to entertain Christ; you are not humbled; you are not heart-sick of sin; you have not been under horrors and terrors as such; you must stay until you are prepared and qualified to receive the Lord Jesus.

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That such as have not been so prepared and qualified as Satan suggests, have received Christ, believed in Christ, and been saved by Christ. Matthew was called, sitting at the tax collector’s booth, and there was such power went along with Christ’s call, that made him to follow Christ (Matt. 9:9). We read not of any horrors or terrors that he was under before his being called by Christ. Reader! what preparations and qualifications were found in Zacchaeus, Paul, the jailor, and Lydia, before their conversion? (Luke 19:9, Acts 16:14.) God brings in some by the sweet and still voice of the gospel, and usually such that are thus brought into Christ are the sweetest, humblest, choicest, and most fruitful Christians.

God is a free agent to work by law or gospel, by smiles or frowns, by presenting hell or heaven to sinners’ souls. Some are brought to Christ by fire, storms, and tempests; others by more easy and gentle gales of the Spirit. The Spirit is free in the works of conversion, and, as the wind, it blows when, where, and how it pleases (John 3:8).

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly To dwell upon these following scriptures, which clearly evidence that poor sinners who are not  prepared and qualified to meet with Christ, may, notwithstanding that, believe in Christ; and rest and lean upon him for happiness and blessedness, according to the gospel. Read Prov. 1:20-33, and chap 8:1-11, and chap. 9:1-6; Ezek. 16:1-14; John 3:14-18, 36; Rev. 3:15-20. Here the Lord Jesus Christ stands knocking at the Laodiceans’ door; he would gladly have them to sup with him, and that he might sup with them; that is, that they might have intimate communion and fellowship one with another.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That the Lord does not in all the Scripture, require such and such preparations and qualifications before men come to Christ, before they believe in Christ, or entertain, or embrace the Lord Jesus. Believing in Christ is the great thing that God presses upon sinners throughout the Scripture, as all know that know anything of Scripture.

Obj. But does not Christ say, ‘Come unto me all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’? (Matt. 11:28). To this I shall give these three answers:

(1.) That though the invitation be to such that ‘labour and are heavy laden,’ yet the promise of giving rest, it is made over to ‘coming,’ to ‘believing.’

(2.) That all this scripture proves and shows is, that such as labour under sin as under a heavy burden, and that are laden with the guilt of sin and sense of God’s displeasure, ought to come to Christ for rest; but it does not prove that only such must come to Christ, nor that all men must be thus burdened and laden with the sense of their sins and the wrath of God, before they come to Christ.

‘I will give you rest.’ I that have the greatest power to give it, the greatest will to give it, the greatest right to give it, ‘Come, heavy laden sinners, and I will give you rest.’ Rest is the most desirable good, the most suitable good, and to you the greatest good. ‘Come,’ says Christ, that is, ‘believe in me, and I will give you rest’; I will give you peace with God, and peace with conscience; I will turn your storm into an everlasting calm; I will give you such rest, which the world can neither give to you nor take from you.

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider, That all that trouble for sin, all that sorrow, shame, and mourning which is acceptable to God, and delightful to God, and prevalent with God, flows from faith in Christ, as the stream does from the fountain, as the branch does from the root, as the effect does from the cause. Zech. 12:10, ‘They shall look on him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him.’ All gospel mourning flows from believing; they shall first look, and then mourn. All who know anything about the gospel, know this, that ‘whatever is not of faith is sin’ (Rom. 14:33). Until men have faith in Christ, their best services are but splendid sins!

Adapted.

Uncontrolled immigration’s consequences.

Sarah’s children taken away

Two weeks ago, we updated you on the case of ‘Sarah’ after Baroness Cox had asked the government how it would support survivors of Islamic sex-grooming gangs. We ask that you continue to cry out to God for justice, as it has now been revealed that Sarah’s two children – born to different members of the gang – have been taken away from her after social services declared Sarah an ‘unfit mother’, with the possibility of her youngest daughter being adopted by a Muslim family.

 

Sadly, Sarah’s case is not unique. So far, Muslim sex-groomers have been convicted in 27 towns and cities across the UK, with an estimated 250,000 young girls having been affected. But it seems that the government is unwilling to accept the Islamic connection, resulting in thousands of girls being “sacrificed on the altar of multiculturalism“, as Tim Dieppe suggests. But until the government is willing to answer for its failures, the survivors of Islamic sex-grooming gangs will continue to fall through the cracks in the system. We must speak up for justice where the state will not.

The above is a prime reason why I post this below!

Britain First

 

Recently, thanks to Britain First complaints, a Remembrance Day parade was reinstated in Cornwall – a great victory.

Now we can use our combined might to help Paul Golding.

The police in Northern Ireland have arrested and charged Paul for handing out leaflets that oppose immigration.

Over 1,000 patriots have already sent complaints to apply pressure to the police to drop these ridiculous charges.

Click the button below to send your complaint – we all need to get involved to help Paul:

Yours sincerely,

Precious Remedies (41)

 

DEVICE 2: By suggesting to sinners their unworthiness.

Ah! says Satan, as you are worthy of the greatest misery, so you are unworthy of the least crumb of mercy. Do you think, says Satan, that ever Christ will own, receive, or embrace such an unworthy wretch as you are? No! No! if there were any
worthiness in you, then, indeed, Christ might be willing to be entertained by you. You are unworthy to entertain Christ into your house, how much more unworthy are you to entertain Christ into your heart

Remedy (1). God has nowhere in the Scripture required any worthiness in the creature before believing in Christ. If you make a diligent search through all the Scripture, you shall not find, from the first line in Genesis to the last line in the Revelation, one word that speaks out God’s requiring any worthiness in the creature before the soul’s believing In Christ, before the soul’s leaning and resting upon Christ for happiness and blessedness; and why, then, should that be a bar and hindrance to your faith, which God does nowhere require of you before you come to Christ, that you may have life? (Matt. 19:8; John 5:29). Ah, sinners! remember Satan objects your unworthiness against you only out of a design to keep Christ and your souls asunder forever; and therefore, in the face of all your unworthiness, rest upon Christ, come to Christ, believe in Christ, and you are happy forever (John 6:40, 47).

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, wisely to consider, That none ever received Christ, embraced Christ, and obtained mercy and pardon from Christ—but unworthy souls. Pray, what worthiness was in Matthew, Zacchaeus, Mary Magdalene, Manasseh, Paul, and Lydia, before their coming to Christ, before their faith in Christ? Surely none! Ah, sinners! you should reason thus: Christ has bestowed the choicest mercies, the greatest favours, the highest dignities, the sweetest privileges, upon unworthy sinners, and therefore, O our souls, do not faint, do not despair—but patiently and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. Who can tell but that free grace and mercy may shine forth upon us, though we are unworthy, and give us a portion among those blessed ones who are now triumphing in heaven.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, That if the soul will keep off from Christ until it is worthy—it will never close with Christ, it will never embrace Christ. It will never be one with Christ, it must lie down in everlasting sorrow (Is. 50:11). God has laid up all worthiness in Christ, that the creature may know where to find it, and receive it. There is no way on earth to make unworthy souls worthy—but by believing in Christ (James 2:23). Believing in Christ—of slaves, it will make you worthy sons; of enemies, it will make you worthy friends. God will count none worthy, nor call none worthy, nor carry it towards none as worthy—but believers, who are made worthy by the worthiness of Christ’s person, righteousness, satisfaction, and intercession (Rev. 3:4).

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That if you make a diligent search into your own hearts, you shall find that it is the pride and folly of your own hearts which puts you upon bringing of a worthiness to Christ. Oh! you would gladly bring something to Christ that might render you acceptable to him; you are reluctant to come empty-handed. The Lord cries out, ‘Come, everyone who is thirsty, come to the waters; and you without money, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost! Why do you spend money on what is not food, and your wages on what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and you will enjoy the choicest of foods!’ (Is. 55:1, 2). Here the Lord calls upon penniless souls, upon unworthy souls—to come and partake of his precious favours freely. But sinners are proud and foolish, and because they have no money, no worthiness to bring, they will not come, though he sweetly invites them. Ah, sinners! what is more just than that you should perish forever—who prefer husks among swine, before the milk and wine, the sweet and precious things of the gospel, which are freely and sweetly offered to you. Well, sinners! remember this, it is not so much the sense of your unworthiness, as your pride, that keeps you off from a blessed closing with the Lord Jesus.

Precious Remedies (40)

Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices Thomas Brooks

APPENDIX 1: FIVE MORE OF SATAN’S DEVICES

Whereby he keeps poor souls from believing in Christ, from receiving of Christ, from embracing of Christ, from resting, leaning, or relying upon Christ—for everlasting happiness and blessedness, according to the gospel; and remedies against these devices.

DEVICE 1: By suggesting to the soul the greatness and vileness of his sins. What! says Satan, do you think you shall ever obtain mercy by Christ—you who have sinned with so high a hand against Christ? you who have slighted the offers of grace? you who have grieved the Spirit of grace? you who have despised the word of grace? you who have trampled under feet the blood of the covenant by which you might have been pardoned, purged, justified, and saved? you who have spoken and done all the evil that you could? No! no! says Satan, he has mercy for others—but not for you; pardon for others—but not for you; righteousness for others—but not for you. Therefore it is in vain for you to think of believing in Christ, or resting and leaning your guilty soul upon Christ (Jer. 3:5).

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider, That the greater your sins are, the more you stand in need of a Saviour. The greater your burden is, the more you stand in need of one to help to bear it. The deeper the wound is, the more need there is of the surgeon. The more dangerous the disease is, the more need there is of the physician. Who but madmen will argue thus: My burden is great, therefore I will not call out for help; my wound is deep, therefore I will not call out for balm; my disease is dangerous, therefore I will not go to the physician. Ah! it is spiritual madness, it is the devil’s logic to argue thus: My sins are great, therefore I will not go to Christ, I dare not rest nor lean on Christ. Whereas the soul should reason thus: The greater my sins are, the more I stand in need of mercy, of pardon—and therefore I will go to Christ, who delights in mercy, who pardons sin for his own name’s sake, who is as able and as willing to forgive pounds as pence, thousands as hundreds (Micah 7:18; Is. 43:25).

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That the promise of grace and mercy is to returning souls. And, therefore, though you are ever so wicked, yet if you will return, God will be yours, and mercy shall be yours, and pardon shall be yours (2 Chron. 30:9): ‘For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful. If you return to him, he will not continue to turn his face from you.’ So Jer. 3:12: ‘This is what the Lord says: O Israel, my faithless people, come home to me again, for I am merciful. I will not be angry with you forever.’ So Joel 2:13: ‘Don’t tear your clothing in your grief; instead, tear your hearts.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful. He is not easily angered. He is filled with kindness and is eager not to punish you.’ So Is. 55:7 ‘Let the wicked forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon,’ or, as the Hebrew reads it, ‘He will multiply pardon.’ So Ezekiel 18.

Ah! sinner, it is not your great transgressions that shall exclude you from mercy, if you will break off your sins by repentance and return to the fountain of mercy. Christ’s heart, Christ’s arms, are wide open to embrace the returning prodigal. it is not simply
the greatness of your sins—but your decided persisting in sin, that will be your eternal overthrow.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That the greatest sinners have obtained mercy, and therefore you may obtain mercy. Manasseh was a notorious sinner. “Manasseh did what was evil in the LORD’s sight, imitating the detestable practices of the pagan nations whom the Lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites. He rebuilt the pagan shrines his father, Hezekiah, had destroyed. He constructed altars for Baal and set up an Asherah pole, just as King Ahab of Israel had done. He also bowed before all the starry hosts and worshiped them. He even built pagan altars in the Temple of the Lord, the place where the Lord had said his name should be honoured. He built these altars for all the starry hosts in both courtyards of the Lord’s Temple. Manasseh even sacrificed his own son in the fire. He practised sorcery and divination, and he consulted with mediums and spiritists. He did much that was evil in the Lord’s sight, arousing his anger. Manasseh even took an Asherah pole he had made and set it up in the Temple!” (2 Kings 21:1-7). Ah! what a devil incarnate was he in his actings! Yet when he humbled himself, and sought the Lord, the Lord was entreated of him and heard his supplication, and brought him to Jerusalem, and made himself known unto him, and crowned him with mercy and loving-kindness, as you may see in 2 Chron. 33.

So Paul was once a blasphemer, a persecutor and injurious, yet he obtained mercy (1 Tim. 1:13). So Mary Magdalene was a notorious strumpet, a common whore, out of whom Christ cast seven devils, yet she is pardoned by Christ, and dearly beloved of Christ (Luke 7:37, 38). So Mark 16:9, ‘Now, when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.’

Christ hangs out still, as once that warlike Scythian did, a white flag of grace and mercy to returning sinners who humble themselves at his feet for favour. But if sinners continue to rebel, Christ will put forth his red flag, his bloody flag, and they shall die for ever by a hand of justice. Sinners! there is no way to avoid perishing by Christ’s iron rod—but by kissing his golden scepter!

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider, That Jesus Christ has never refused the worst of sinners who are willing to receive him, to believe in him, to rest upon him for happiness and blessedness. Ah! sinners, why should you be more cruel and unmerciful to your own souls than Christ is? Christ has not excluded you from mercy, why should you exclude your own souls from mercy? Oh that you would dwell often upon that choice Scripture (John 6:37): ‘Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out.’ Or as the original has it, ‘I will not, no never cast out.’ 1 Cor. 6:9-11, ‘Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were! But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.’ The three tongues that were written upon the cross, Greek, Latin, and Hebrew (John 19:19, 20), to witness Christ to be the saviour of all kinds and nations of men.

Remedy (5). The fifth remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider, That the greater sinner you are, the dearer you will be to Christ, when he shall behold you as the travail of his soul (Is. 53:11): ‘He shall see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied.’ The dearer we pay for anything, the dearer that thing is to us. Christ has paid most, and prayed most, and sighed most, and wept most, and bled most for the greatest sinners; and therefore they are dearer to Christ than others that are less sinful. Rachel was dearer to Jacob than Leah, because she cost him more; he obeyed, endured, and suffered more by day and night for her than for Leah. Ah! sinners, the greatness of your sins does but set off the freeness and riches of Christ’s grace, and the immensity of his love! This makes heaven and earth to ring of his praise, that he loves those who are most unlovely, that he shows most favour to those who have sinned most highly against him, as might be showed by several instances in Scripture, as Paul, Mary Magdalene, and others. Who sinned more against Christ than these? And who had sweeter and choicer manifestations of divine love and favour than these?

Remedy (6). The sixth remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That the longer you keep off from Christ, the greater and stronger your sins will grow. All divine power and strength against sin flows from the soul’s union and communion with Christ (Rom. 8:10; 1 John 1:6, 7). While you keep off from Christ, you keep off from that strength and power which is alone able to make you trample down strength, lead captivity captive, and slay the Goliaths that bid defiance to Christ. It is only faith in Christ that makes a man triumph over sin, Satan, hell, and the world (1 John 5:4). It is only faith in Christ that binds the strong man’s hand and foot, that stops the issue of blood, that makes a man strong in resisting, and happy in conquering (Matt. 5:15-35). Sin always dies most where faith lives most. The most believing soul is the most mortified soul.

Ah! sinner, remember this, there is no way on earth effectually to be rid of the guilt, filth, and power of sin—but by believing in the Savior. It is not resolving, it is not complaining, it is not mourning—but believing, which will make you divinely victorious over that body of sin that to this day is too strong for you, and that will certainly be your ruin, if it be not ruined by a hand of faith.

Remedy (7). The seventh remedy against this device of Satan is, wisely to consider, That as there is nothing in Christ to discourage the greatest sinners from believing in him, so there is everything in Christ that may encourage the greatest sinners to believe on him, to rest and lean upon him for all happiness and blessedness (Cant. 1:3). If you look upon his nature, his disposition, his names, his titles, his offices as king, priest, and prophet—you will find nothing to discourage the greatest sinners from believing in him— but many things to encourage the greatest sinners to receive him, to believe in him. (Col. 1:19; 2:3; Cant. 5:10.)

Christ is the greatest good, the choicest good, the chief good, the most suitable good, the most necessary good. He is a pure good, a real good, a total good, an eternal good, and a soul-satisfying good (Rev. 3:17, 18). Sinners, are you poor? Christ has gold to enrich you. Are you naked? Christ has royal robes, he has white clothing to clothe you. Are you blind? Christ has eye-salve to enlighten you. Are you hungry? Christ will be manna to feed you. Are you thirsty? He will be a well of living water to refresh you. Are you wounded? He has a balm under his wings to heal you. Are you sick? He is a physician to cure you. Are you prisoners? He has laid down a ransom for you. Ah, sinners! tell me, tell me, is there anything in Christ to keep you off from believing? No! Is there not everything in Christ that may encourage you to believe in him? Yes! Oh, then, believe in him, and then, Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool’ (Is. 1:18). No, then, your iniquities shall be forgotten as well as forgiven, they shall be remembered no more. God will cast them behind his back, he will throw them into the bottom of the sea! (Is. 43:25; 38:17; Micah 7:19).

Remedy (8). The eighth remedy against this device of Satan Is, seriously to consider, The absolute necessity of believing in Christ. Heaven is too holy to hold unbelievers; their lodging is prepared in hell (Rev. 21:8): ‘But the fearful and unbelieving etc. shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.’ ‘If you believe not that I am he,’ says Christ, ‘you shall die in your sins’ (John 8:24). And he who dies in his sins must go to judgement and to hell in his sins. Every unbeliever is a condemned man: ‘He who believes not,’ says John, ‘is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And he who believes not the Son, shall not see life—but the wrath of God abides on him’ (John 3:18, 36). Ah, sinners! the law, the gospel, and your own consciences, have passed the sentence of condemnation upon you, and there is no way to reverse the sentence but by believing in Christ. And therefore my counsel is this—Stir up yourselves to lay hold on the Lord Jesus, and look up to him, and wait on him, from whom every good and perfect gift comes, and give him no rest until he has given you that jewel ‘faith’—which is more worth than heaven and earth, and which will make you happy in life, joyful in death, and glorious in the day of Christ (Is. 64:7; James 1:17; Is. 62:7).

And thus much for the remedies against this first device of Satan, whereby he keeps off thousands from believing in Christ.

Adapted

Eternal life.

Heidelberg Catechism, LD 22

Q. 58.  What comfort takest thou from the article of “life everlasting”? A.  That since I now feel in my heart the beginning of eternal joy, after this life I shall inherit perfect salvation, which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive, and that, to praise God therein for ever.

SERMON

Rev. Martyn McGeown, missionary pastor of Limerick Reformed fellowship.

Herman Hoeksema: “[Eternal life] is both a present reality in the believers, and a future state of glory. It is a life that has its source, its fountain in God, and that reaches us only through Jesus Christ, the Son of God come into flesh. In order to obtain and possess this life, we must, therefore, have fellowship with God through Christ. We must dwell in him, and he in us, by faith. It is, therefore, wholly the gift of grace. And its essence is this, that we know God and Jesus Christ whom God has sent… Adam knew the love of God as it was revealed in all the goodness of creation: he did not know the love of God in that depth of blessedness and in that unchangeable faithfulness that is revealed in the death of the Son of God. In the state of rectitude, man tasted the grace of God positively, as his favor: he did not know the depth of that grace as it is revealed in redemption, even the forgiveness of sins. He knew and tasted that God is merciful, for he was encompassed with divine blessings, but the abundant mercy revealed in the wonder of deliverance, whereby God saves us from the power of sin, the curse, and death, to raise us to the highest possible blessedness of heavenly glory in his tabernacle—this he could not possibly know. He certainly knew God in his great power, knowledge, and wisdom, for the things that are made loudly declared them unto him: but he could not possibly know the mighty power of God revealed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (Triple Knowledge, pp. 304, 311-312).

I believe he knew Christ afar off, in his state of grace after the gospel was shared with him by God in Gen.3:15 and thus he inherited eternal life-JK

Albert Barnes: “The word [translated as ‘undefiled’] does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. As applied to an inheritance, it means that it will be pure. It will not have been obtained by dishonesty, nor will it be held by fraud; it will not be such as will corrupt the soul, or tempt to extravagance, sensuality, and lust, as a rich inheritance often does here; it will be such that its eternal enjoyment will never tend in any manner to defile the heart. ‘How many estates,’ says Benson, ‘have been got by fraudulent and unjust methods; by poisoning, or in some other way murdering the right heir; by cheating of helpless orphans; by ruining the fatherless and widows; by oppressing their neighbours, or grinding the faces of the poor, and taking their garments or vineyards from them! But this future inheritance of the saints is stained by none of these vices; it is neither got nor detained by any of these methods; nor shall persons polluted with vice have any share in it.’ Here no one can be heir to an inheritance of gold or houses without danger of soon sinking into indolence, effeminacy, or vice; there the inheritance may be enjoyed for ever, and the soul continually advance in, knowledge, holiness, and the active service of God … The word [‘that fadeth not away’] is properly applied to that which does not fade or wither, in contradistinction from a flower that fades. It may then denote anything that is enduring, and is applied to the future inheritance of the saints to describe its perpetuity in all its brilliance and splendour, in contrast with the fading nature of all that is earthly. The idea here, therefore, is not precisely the same as is expressed by the word ‘incorruptible.’ Both words indeed denote perpetuity, but that refers to perpetuity in contrast with decay; this denotes perpetuity in the sense that everything there will be kept in its original brightness and beauty. The crown of glory, though worn for millions of ages, will not be dimmed; the golden streets will lose none of their lustre; the flowers that bloom on the banks of the river of life will always be as rich in colour, and as fragrant, as when we first beheld them” (Notes on 1 Peter, pp. 113-114).

Precious Remedies (1-7)

Contents summarising Brook’s book:

CONTENTS

The Epistle Dedicatory

A Word to the Reader

Introduction

I. THE PROOF OF THE POINT

II. SATAN’S DEVICES TO DRAW THE SOUL TO SIN [12 devices and their remedies]

1. By presenting the bait and hiding the hook: For remedies, consider that

1) we ought to keep at the greatest distance from sin and from playing with the bait 2) sin is but a bitter sweet 3) sin will usher in the greatest and the saddest losses 4) sin is very deceitful and bewitching

2. By painting sin with virtue’s colors: For remedies, consider that

1) sin is never the less vile by being so painted 2) the more sin is so painted the more dangerous it is 3) we ought to look on sin with that eye with which within a few hours we shall see it 4) sin cost the life-blood of the Lord Jesus

3. By the extenuating and lessening of sin: For remedies, consider that

1) sin which men account small brings God’s great wrath on men 2) the giving way to a less sin makes way for the committing of a greater 3) it is sad to stand with God for a trifle 4) often there is most danger in the smallest sins 5) the saints have chosen to suffer greatly rather than commit the least sin 6) the soul can never stand under the guilt and weight of sin when God sets it home upon the soul 7) there is more evil in the least sin than in the greatest affliction

4. By showing to the soul the best men’s sins and by hiding from the soul their virtues, their sorrows, and their repentance: For remedies, consider that

1) the Spirit of God records not only the sins of the saints, but also their repentance 2) these saints did not make a trade of sin 3) though God does not disinherit his sinning people, He punishes them severely 4) God has two main ends in recording the falls of His saints

5. By presenting God to the soul as One made up all of mercy: For remedies, consider

1) It is the sorest of judgments to be left to sin upon any pretense whatever 2) God is as just as He is merciful

3) sins against mercy will bring the greatest and sorest judgments on men 4) though God’s general mercy is over all His works, yet His special mercy is confined to those that are divinely qualified 5) the saints now glorified regarded God’s mercy as a most powerful argument against, and not for, sin

6. By persuading the soul that repentance is easy and that therefore the soul need not scruple about sinning: For remedies, consider that

1) repentance is a difficult work above our own power 2) repentance changes and converts the whole man from sin to God 3) repentance is a continued act 4) if repentance were easy, the lack of it would not strike millions with terror and drive them to hell 5) to repent of sin is as great a mark of grace as not to sin 6) Satan now suggests that repentance is easy, but shortly he will drive his dupes to despair by presenting it as the hardest work in the world

7. By making the soul bold to venture upon the occasions of sin: For remedies, consider

1) certain scriptures expressly command us to avoid occasions of sin and the least appearance of evil 2) there is no conquest over sin unless the soul turns from the occasions of sin 3) saints now glorified have turned from the occasions of sin as from hell itself 4) to avoid the occasions of sin is an evidence of grace

8. By representing to the soul the outward mercies enjoyed by men walking in sin, and their freedom from outward miseries: For remedies, consider that

1) we cannot judge of how the heart of God stands towards a man by the acts of His providence 2) nothing provokes God’s wrath so much as men’s abuse of His goodness and mercy 3) there is no greater curse or affliction in this life than not to be in misery or affliction 4) the wants of evil men are far greater than their outward blessings 5) outward things are not as they seem, nor as they are esteemed 6) God has ends and designs in giving evil men outward mercies and present rest from sorrows and sufferings that cause saints to sigh 7) God often plagues and punishes those whom others think He most spares and loves 8) God will call evil men to a strict account for all the outward good that they have enjoyed

9. By presenting to the soul the crosses, losses, sorrows and sufferings that daily attend those who walk in the ways of holiness: For remedies, consider that

1) all afflictions suffered by Christians turn to their profit 2) all such afflictions only reach their worst, not their best, part 3) all such afflictions are short and momentary 4) all such afflictions proceed from God’s dearest love

5) it is our duty and glory to measure afflictions not by the smart but by the end 6) God’s design in saints’ afflictions is to try, not to ruin, their souls 7) the afflictions, wrath and misery consequent upon wickedness are far worse than those linked with holiness

10. By causing saints to compare themselves and their ways with those reputed to be worse than themselves: For remedies, consider that

1) to be quick-sighted abroad and blind at home proves a man a hypocrite 2) it is far better to compare our internal and external actions with the Word than to compare ourselves with others worse than ourselves 3) though our sins may not appear as great as those of others, yet without repentance responding to mercy, we shall be as certainly damned as others

11. By polluting the souls and judgments of men with dangerous errors that lead to looseness and wickedness: For remedies, consider that

1) an erroneous vain mind is as odious to God as a wicked life 2) it is needful to receive the truth affectionately and plenteously 3) error makes its owner suffer loss 4) it is needful to hate and reject all doctrines that are contrary to godliness, that lead to self-righteousness, and that make good works co-partners with Christ 5) it is needful to hold fast the truth 6) it is needful to keep humble 7) errors have been productive of great evils

12. By leading men to choose wicked company: For remedies, consider that

1) there are express commands of God to shun such company 2) wicked company is infectious and dangerous 3) it is needful to look upon the wicked in such terms as Scripture describes them 4) the company of wicked men was once a grief and burden also to saints now glorified

III. SATAN’S DEVICES TO KEEP SOULS FROM HOLY DUTIES, TO HINDER SOULS IN HOLY SERVICES, TO KEEP THEM OFF FROM RELIGIOUS PERFORMANCES [8 devices and their remedies]

1. By presenting the world in such a garb as to ensnare the soul: For remedies, consider that

1) all things here below are impotent and weak 2) they are also full of vanity 3) all things under the sun are uncertain and mutable 4) the great things of the world are hurtful to men owing to the corruption of their hearts 5) all the felicity of this world is mixed 6) it is needful to get better acquainted with, and assurance of, more blessed and glorious things 7) true happiness and satisfaction does not arise from worldly good

8) the value and dignity of the soul is to be a subject of contemplation

2 By presenting to the soul the dangers, losses and sufferings that accompany the performance of certain religious duties: For remedies, consider that

1) all such troubles cannot harm the true Christian 2) saints now glorified encountered such dangers, but persevered to the end 3) all such dangers are but for a moment, whereas the neglect of the service of God lays the Christian open to spiritual and eternal dangers 4) God knows how to deliver from troubles by troubles, from dangers by dangers 5) In the service of God, despite troubles and afflictions, the gains outweigh the losses

3. By presenting to the soul the difficulty of performing religious duties: For remedies, consider that

1) it is better to regard the necessity of the duty than the difficulty of it 2) the Lord Jesus will reveal Himself to the obedient soul and thus make the service easy 3) the Lord Jesus has Himself engaged in hard service and in suffering for your temporal and eternal good 4) religious duties are only difficult to the worse, not to the more noble part of a saint 5) a glorious recompense awaits saints who serve the Lord in the face of difficulties and discouragements

4. By causing saints to draw false inferences from the blessed and glorious things that Christ has done: For remedies, consider that

1) it is as needful to dwell as much upon scriptures that state Christian duty as upon those that speak of the glorious things that Christ has done for us 2) the glorious things that Christ has done and is now doing for us should be our strongest motives and encouragements for the performance of our duties 3) other precious souls who have rested on Christ’s work have been very active and lively in religious duties 4) those who do not walk in God’s ways cannot have such evidence of their righteousness before God as can those who rejoice in the service of the Lord 5) duties are to be esteemed not by their acts but by their ends

5. By presenting to view the fewness and poverty of those who hold to religious practices: For remedies, consider that

1) though saints are outwardly poor, they are inwardly rich 2) in all ages God has had some that have been rich, wise and honorable 3) spiritual riches infinitely transcend temporal riches, and satisfy the poorest saints 4) saints now appear to be ‘a little flock’, but they belong to a company that cannot be numbered 5) it is but as a day before these despised saints will shine brighter than the sun 6) the time will come even in this life when God will take away the reproach and contempt of His people, and make those the ‘head’ who have been the ‘tail’

6. By showing saints that the majority of men make light of God’s ways and walk in the ways of their own hearts: For remedies, consider that

1) certain scriptures warn against following the sinful examples of men 2) those who sin with the multitude will suffer with the multitude 3) the soul of a man is of more worth than heaven and earth

7. By casting in vain thoughts while the soul is seeking God or waiting on God: For remedies, consider that

1) the God with whom we have to do is great, holy, majestic and glorious 2) despite wandering thoughts it is needful to be resolute in religious service 3) vain and trifling thoughts that Satan casts into our souls are not sins if they are abhorred, resisted and disclaimed 4) watching against, resisting and lamenting sinful thoughts evidences grace and the sincerity of our hearts 5) we must labor to be filled with the fullness of God and enriched with all spiritual blessings 6) we must labor to keep up holy and spiritual affections 7) we must labor to avoid multiplicity of worldly business

8. By tempting Christians to rest in their performances: For remedies, consider that

1) our choicest services have their imperfection and weaknesses 2) our choicest services are unable to minister comfort and aid in days of trouble 3) good works, if rested upon, will as certainly destroy us as the greatest sins that we commit 4) God has met our need of a resting place in Christ Himself

IV. SATAN’S DEVICES TO KEEP SAINTS IN A SAD, DOUBTING, QUESTIONING AND UNCOMFORTABLE CONDITION [8 devices and their remedies]

1. By causing saints to remember their sins more than their Savior, yes, even to forget and neglect their Savior: For remedies, consider that

1) though Jesus Christ has not freed believers from sin’s presence, He has freed them from its damnatory power 2) though Jesus Christ has not freed believers from the vexing and molesting power of sin, He has freed them from the reign and dominion of sin 3) it is needful to keep one eye on the promise of remission of sin, and the other eye on the inward operations of sin 4) believers’ sins have been charged to the account of Christ as debts which He has fully satisfied 5) the Lord has good reasons for allowing His people to be troubled with sinful corruption 6) believers must repent of their being discouraged by their sins

2. By causing saints to make false definitions of their graces: For remedies, consider

1) there may be true faith, even great faith, where there is no assurance

2) the Scriptures define faith other than Satan tempts the saints to define it 3) there may be true faith where there is much doubting 4) assurance is an effect of faith, not faith itself

3. By causing saints to make false inferences from the cross actings of Providence: For remedies, consider that

1) many things, though contrary to our desires, are not contrary to our good 2) God’s hand may be against a man when His love and His heart are set upon him 3) Cross providences are sent by God to work some noble good for saints 4) all the strange and deep providences that believers meet with further them in their way to heaven

4. By suggesting to saints that their graces are not true, but counterfeit: For remedies, consider that

1) grace may mean either the good will and favor of God, or the gifts of grace 2) there are differences between renewing grace and restraining grace, between sanctifying and temporary grace (to particulars given)

5. By suggesting to saints that the conflict that is in them is found also in hypocrites and profane souls: For remedies, consider that

1) the whole frame of a believer’s soul is against sin 2) a saint conflicts against sin universally, the least sin as well as the greatest 3) the conflict in a saint is maintained for several reasons 4) the saint’s conflict is constant 5) the saint’s conflict is within the same faculties 6) the saint’s conflict is blessed, successful and prevailing

6. By suggesting to the saint who has lost joy and comfort that his state is not good: For remedies, consider that

1) the loss of comfort is a separable adjunct from grace 2) the precious things still enjoyed are far better than the joys and comforts lost 3) the glorified saints were once in the same condition 4) the causes of joy and comfort are not always the same 5) God will restore the comforts of His people

7. By reminding the saint of his frequent relapses into sin formerly repented of and prayed against: For remedies, consider that

1) many scriptures show that such relapses have troubled saints 2) God nowhere promises that such relapses will not happen 3) the most renowned of glorified saints have, on earth, experienced such relapses 4) relapses into enormities must be distinguished from relapses into infirmities 5) involuntary and voluntary relapses must be distinguished 6) no experience of the soul, however deep or high, can in itself secure the soul against relapses

8. By persuading saints that their state is not good nor their graces sound: For remedies, consider that

1) the best of Christians have been most tempted by Satan 2) all the saints’ temptations are sanctified to them by a hand of love 3) temptations cannot harm the saints as long as they are resisted by them

V. SATAN’S DEVICES TO DESTROY AND ENSNARE ALL SORTS AND RANKS OF MEN IN THE WORLD [5 devices and their remedies]

I. DEVICES AGAINST THE GREAT AND HONORABLE OF THE EARTH

1. By causing them to seek greatness, position, riches and security: For remedies, consider that

1) self-seeking sets men upon sins against the law, the Gospel, and Nature itself 2) self-seeking exceedingly abases a man 3) the Word pronounces curses and woes against self-seekers 4) self-seekers are self-losers and self-destroyers 5) saints have denied self and set public good above personal advantage 6) self hinders the sight of divine things: hence prophets and apostles, when seeing visions, were carried out of themselves

2. By causing them to act against the people of the Most High: For remedies, consider that

1) all who have acted against the saints have been ruined by the God of saints 2) the Scriptures show that God gives victory to His people against their enemies 3) to fight against the people of God is to fight against God Himself 4) men of the world owe their preservation from instant ruin, under God, to the saints

II. DEVICE AGAINST THE LEARNED AND THE WISE By moving them to pride themselves on their parts and abilities, and to despise men of greater grace but inferior abilities: For remedies, consider that

1) men have nothing but what they have received, gifts as well as saving grace coming alike from Christ 2) men’s trusting to their parts and abilities has been their utter ruin 3) you do not transcend others more in parts and abilities than they do you in grace and holiness 4) men who pride themselves on their gifts and set themselves against the saints will find that God blasts and withers their gifts

III. DEVICE AGAINST THE SAINTS By dividing them and causing them to ‘bite and devour one another.’ For remedies, consider that

1) it is better to dwell on the saints’ graces rather than on their weaknesses and infirmities

2) love and union best promote safety and security 3) God commands and requires the saints to love one another 4) it is better to eye the things in which saints agree rather than those things wherein they differ 5) God is the God of peace, Christ the Prince of peace, and the Spirit the Spirit of peace 6) it is needful for the saints to make more care and conscience of maintaining their peace with God 7) it is needful to dwell much upon the relationship and union of the people of God 8) discord is productive of miseries 9) it is good and honorable to be the first in seeking peace and reconcilement 10) saints should agree well together, making the Word the only touchstone and judge of their words and actions 11) saints should be much in self-judging 12) saints should labor to be clothed with humility

IV. DEVICE AGAINST POOR AND IGNORANT SOULS By causing them to affect ignorance and to neglect and despise the means of knowledge: For remedies, consider that

1) an ignorant heart is an evil heart 2) ignorance is the deformity of the soul 3) ignorance makes men objects of God’s hatred and wrath 4) ignorance is a sin that leads to all sins

APPENDIX

I. FIVE MORE OF SATAN’S DEVICES

1. By suggesting to men the greatness and vileness of their sins [Eight Remedies] 2. By suggesting to sinners their unworthiness [Four Remedies] 3. By suggesting to sinners their want of certain preparations and qualifications [Three Remedies] 4. By suggesting to sinners that Christ Is unwilling to save them [Six Remedies] 5. By causing sinners to give more attention to the secret decrees and counsels of God than to their own duty [Two Remedies]

II. SEVEN CHARACTERS OF FALSE TEACHERS

III. SIX PROPOSITIONS CONCERNING SATAN AND HIS DEVICES [Five reasons of the point added]

IV. CONCLUSION: TEN SPECIAL HELPS AND RULES AGAINST SATAN’S DEVICES

“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:11-13
Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices

Precious Remedies (39)

IV. DEVICE AGAINST POOR AND IGNORANT SOULS

Fourthly, As Satan has his device to destroy gracious souls, so he has his devices to destroy poor ignorant souls, and that sometimes, By drawing them to esteem ignorance, and to neglect, slight, and despise the means of knowledge. Ignorance is the mother of mistake, the cause of trouble, error, and of terror; it is the highway to hell, and it makes a man both a prisoner and a slave to the devil at once. Ignorance  makes a man a beast, yes, makes him more miserable than the beast which perishes. (Ignorant ones have this advantage—they have a cooler hell.) There are none so easily nor so frequently captured in Satan’s snares—as ignorant souls. They are easily drawn to dance with the devil all day, and to dream of supping with Christ at night. ‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.’ Hosea 4:6. ‘You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.’ Matthew 22:29.

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That an ignorant heart is an evil heart. ‘Without knowledge the mind is not good’ (Prov. 19:2). As an ignorant heart is a naughty heart, it is a heart in the dark; and no good can come into a dark heart—but it must pass through the understanding: ‘And if the eye be dark, all the body is dark’ (Matt. 6:22). A leprous head and a leprous heart are inseparable companions. Ignorant hearts are so evil that they let fly on all hands, and spare not to spit their venom in the very face of God, as Pharaoh did when thick darkness was upon him.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider, That ignorance is the deformity of the soul. As blindness is the deformity of the face, so is ignorance the deformity of the soul. As the lack of fleshly eyes spoils the beauty of the face, so the lack of spiritual eyes spoils the beauty of the soul. A man without knowledge is as a workman without his hands, as a painter without his eyes, as a traveller without his legs, or as a ship without sails, or a bird without wings, or like a body without a soul.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That ignorance makes men the objects of God’s hatred and wrath. ‘It is a people who err in their hearts, and have not known my ways. Therefore I swear in my wrath, they should never enter into my rest’ (Heb. 3:10, 11). ‘My people are a people of no understanding; therefore he who made them will have no mercy on them’ (Is. 27:11). Christ has said that he will come ‘in flaming fire, to render vengeance on them that know not God’ (2 Thess. 1:8). Ignorance will end in vengeance. When you see a poor blind man here, you do not loathe him, nor hate him—but you pity him.  God has sworn that ignorant people shall never come into heaven. Heaven itself would be a hell to ignorant souls. They must needs err that know not God’s ways, yet cannot they wander so wide as to miss of hell. ‘My people are destroyed for want of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you’ (Hosea 4:6).

The Catholic Church says that ignorance is the mother of devotion—but the Scripture says, it is the mother of destruction. In Orwell’s “1984” the totalitarian state said , “Ignorance is strength.”

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider, That ignorance is a sin that leads to all sins. All sins stem from ignorance. ‘You do err, not knowing the Scriptures’ (Matt. 22:29). It puts men upon hating and persecuting the saints. ‘They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because bthey have not known the Father or me.’ (John 16:2, 3). Paul thanks his ignorance for all his cruelties to Christians. ‘I was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly’ (1 Tim. 1:13). (It seems right to note that the apostle does not allege his ignorance, for which he was responsible, as the ground of the ‘mercy’ shown him—but only as the source and explanation of his sin and violence. The clause, ‘but I obtained mercy,’ is parenthetic, and it is of importance to note this.) It was ignorance that put the Jews upon crucifying Christ: ‘Father, forgive them,’ says Christ of his murderers, ‘for they know not what they do’ (Luke 23:34). ‘For if the princes of this world had known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory’ (1 Cor. 2:8).

Sin at first was the cause of ignorance—but now ignorance is the cause of all sin. ‘Swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and whoring abound,’ says the prophet, ‘because there is no knowledge of God in the land.’ There are none so frequent, and so impudent in the ways of sin, as ignorant souls; they care not, nor mind not what they do, nor what they say against God, Christ, heaven, holiness, and their own souls. ‘Our tongues are our own, who shall control us?’ ‘They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens; and their tongue walks through the earth. Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the Lord?’ ‘Therefore, pride is their necklace, and violence covers them like a garment. Their eyes bulge out from fatness; the imaginations of their hearts run wild. They mock, and they speak maliciously; they arrogantly threaten oppression. They set their mouths against heaven, and their tongues strut across the earth. They say—’How can God know? Does the Most High know everything?’ Look at them—the wicked!’ Psalm 73:6-12

Adapted

The Sin Offering (3)

The Sin Offering-“Without the camp”

Psalm 40:6-10

Heb.13:1-17

Lev. 4:11,12,21.

What is the significance of “outside the camp”?

Outside meant not being among God’s people, with the unclean e.g. lepers, not being safe/secure, excommunicated. Examples: those executed (and presumably buried), Lev. 10:4,5, 13:45,46, contaminated buildings 14:41,45, Num. 31:13,19, 5:1-4, toilet area Deut. 23:12-14, Lev.24:23, Num. 15:35,36, Deut. 17:4,5, I Kings 21:13, Acts 7:58, II Chron. 33:15.

This is why in fulfilment of this offering and all it represented, namely uncleanness, curse etc., Christ died outside the city of Jerusalem John 19:20,41.

Hebrews 13 makes it clear Christ fulfilled the sin offering including the blood of atonement sprinkled on the mercy seat I Peter 1:2 and the body suffering under the burning of God’s wrath outside the city.

I Cor.5:5 is the NT equivalent of being put outside the camp (church) by excommunication, hence being consigned to the realm of Satan I Tim. 1:20 and ultimately if unrepentant or unbelieving etc.,into hell and everlasting fire Rev.21:14,15.

As an aside it is worth noting that believers only have a right to communion (close communion) who are able to be excommunicated i.e. are church members.

Our sacrifices now consist praise, thanks, sharing, doing good, submitting to church leaders and being willing to suffer shame.

Further info on outside the camp. Outside the city of Jerusalem which was the city of God and the place of his dwelling was the Valley of Hinnom (south of the city walls in pic). See description. It typifies everlasting destruction in hell which is outside the holy city of the Jerusalem which comes down from above (Rev.21). This was also where Jeremiah pronounced some of his woes (Jeremiah 19:2) which included the captivity or destruction of most of the Jews.

Hinnom a deep, narrow ravine separating Mount Zion from the so-called “Hill of Evil Counsel.” It took its name from “some ancient hero, the son of Hinnom.” It is first mentioned in Joshua 15:8 . It had been the place where the idolatrous Jews burned their children alive to Moloch and Baal. A particular part of the valley was called Tophet, or the “fire-stove,” where the children were burned. After the Exile, in order to show their abhorrence of the locality, the Jews made this valley the receptacle of the offal of the city, for the destruction of which a fire was, as is supposed, kept constantly burning there.

The Jews associated with this valley these two ideas, (1) that of the sufferings of the victims that had there been sacrificed; and (2) that of filth and corruption. It became thus to the popular mind a symbol of the abode of the wicked hereafter. It came to signify hell as the place of the wicked. “It might be shown by infinite examples that the Jews expressed hell, or the place of the damned, by this word. The word Gehenna [the Greek contraction of Hinnom] was never used in the time of Christ in any other sense than to denote the place of future punishment.” About this fact there can be no question. In this sense the word is used eleven times in our Lord’s discourses ( Matthew 23:33 ; Luke 12:5 ; Matthew 5:22 , etc.).

Precious Remedies (38)

III. DEVICES AGAINST THE SAINTS

Thirdly, Satan has his devices to destroy the saints; and one great device that he has to destroy the saints is, By working them first to be cold, and then to divide, and then to be bitter and jealous, and then ‘to bite and devour one another‘ (Gal. 5:15). Our own woeful experience is too great a proof of this. The Israelites in Egypt did not more vex one another, than Christians in these days have done, which occasioned a deadly consumption to fall upon some. )

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell more upon one another’s graces than upon one another’s weaknesses and infirmities. It is sad to consider that saints should have many eyes to behold one another’s infirmities, and not one eye to see each other’s graces, that they should use spectacles to behold one another’s weaknesses, rather than looking-glasses to behold one another’s graces.

Tell me, saints, is it not a more sweet, comfortable, and delightful thing to look more upon one another’s graces than upon one another’s infirmities? Tell me what pleasure, what delight, what comfort is there in looking upon the enemies, the wounds, the sores, the sickness, the diseases, the nakedness of our friends? Now sin, you know, is the soul’s enemy, the soul’s wound, the soul’s sores, the soul’s sickness, the soul’s disease, the soul’s nakedness; and ah! what a heart has that man who loves thus to look! Grace is the choicest flower in all a Christian’s garden; it is the richest jewel in all his crown; it is his princely robes; it is the top of royalty; and therefore must needs be the most pleasing, sweet, and delightful object for a gracious eye to be fixed upon. Sin is darkness, grace is light; sin is hell, grace is heaven; and what madness is it to look more at darkness than at light, more at hell than at heaven!

Tell me, saints, does not God look more upon his people’s graces than upon their weaknesses? Surely he does. He looks more at David’s and Asaph’s uprightness than upon their infirmities, though they were great and many. He eyes more Job’s patience than his passion. ‘Remember the patience of Job,’ not a word of his impatience (James 5:11).

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That love and union makes most for your own safety and security. We shall be invincible if we are inseparable. The world may frown upon you, and plot against you—but they cannot hurt you. Unity is the best bond of safety in every church and commonwealth.

Pliny writes of a stone in the island of Scyros, that if it be whole, though a large and heavy one, it swims above water—but being broken, it sinks. (No doubt a volcanic, porous product.) So long as saints keep whole, nothing shall sink them; but if they break, they are in danger of sinking and drowning.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell upon those commands of God which require you to love one another. ‘This is my commandment, That you love one another, as I have loved you.’ ‘These things I command you, that you love one another.’ ‘Owe no man anything—but love one another: for he who loves another, has fulfilled the law.’ ‘Let brotherly love continue.’ ‘Love one another, for love is of God, and everyone who loves is born of God, and knows God.’ ‘See that you love one another with a pure heart fervently.’ ‘Finally, be all of one mind, having compassion one for another. Love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.’ ‘For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.’ ‘And this is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.’ ‘Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.’ Oh! dwell much upon these precious commands, that your love may be inflamed one to another. (John 15:12, 17; Rom. 13:8; Heb. 13:1; 1 John 4:7; 1 Peter 1:22, and 3:8; 1 John 3:11, 23; 4:11.)

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell more upon these choice and sweet things wherein you agree, than upon those things wherein you differ. Ah! did you but thus, how would sinful arguments be abated, and your love raised, and your spirits sweetened one to another! You agree in most things, you differ but in a few; you agree in the greatest and weightiest things, as concerning God, Christ, the Spirit, and the Scripture. You differ only in those points that have been long disputable among men of greatest piety and parts. You agree to own the Scripture, to hold to Christ the head, and to walk according to the law of the new creature.

Remedy (5). The fifth remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That God delights to be styled—’the God of peace’; and Christ to be styled—’the Prince of peace, and King of peace’; and the Spirit is a Spirit of peace. ‘The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace’ (Gal 5:22). Oh! why then should not the saints be children of peace? Certainly, men of froward, unquiet, fiery spirits cannot have that sweet evidence of their interest in the God of peace, and in the Prince of peace, and in the Spirit of peace, as those precious souls have, who follow after the things that make for love and peace. The very name of peace is sweet and comfortable; the fruit and effect thereof pleasant and profitable, more to be desired than innumerable triumphs. Peace is a blessing which ushers in a multitude of other blessings. Where Peace is, there is Christ, because Christ is peace. (2 Cor. 13:11; Is. 9:6).

Remedy (6). The sixth remedy against this device of Satan is, To make more care and conscience, of keeping up your peace with God. Ah! Christians, I am afraid that your remissness herein is that which has occasioned much of that sourness, bitterness, and divisions that be among you. Ah! you have not, as you should, kept up your peace with God, and therefore it is that you do so dreadfully break the peace among yourselves. The Lord has promised, ‘That when a man’s ways please him, he will make his enemies to be at peace with him’ (Prov. 16:7). Ah! how much more then would God make the children of peace to keep the peace among themselves, if their ways do but please him! All creatures are at his beck and check. Laban followed Jacob with one troop. Esau met him with another, both with hostile intentions; but Jacob’s ways pleasing the Lord, God by his mighty power so works that Laban leaves him with a kiss, and Esau met him with a kiss; he has a promise from one, tears from the other, peace with both. If we make it our business to keep up our league with God, God will make it his work and his glory to maintain our peace with men; but if men make light of keeping up their peace with God, it is just with God to leave them to a spirit of pride, envy, passion, contention, division, and confusion, to leave them ‘to bite and devour one another, until they are consumed one by another.’

Remedy (7). The seventh remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell much upon that near relation and union that is between you. This consideration had a sweet influence upon Abraham’s heart: ‘And Abraham said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray you, between me and you, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen—for we are brethren’ (Gen.13:8). The Hebrew signifies, ‘Oh! let there be no bitterness between us—for we are brethren.’

Remedy (8). The eighth remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell upon the miseries of discord. Dissolution is the daughter of dissension. Ah! how does the name of Christ, and the way of Christ, suffer by the discord of saints! How are many who are entering upon the ways of God hindered and saddened, and the mouths of the wicked opened, and their hearts hardened against God and his ways—by the discord of his people! Remember this—the disagreement of Christians is the devil’s triumph; and what a sad thing is this, that Christians should give Satan cause to triumph! Our dissensions are one of the Jews’ greatest stumbling-blocks. Can you think of it, and your hearts not bleed?

Remedy (9). The ninth remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That it is no disparagement to you to be first in seeking peace and reconciliation-but rather an honour to you, that you have begun to seek peace. Abraham was the elder, and more worthy than Lot, both in respect of grace and nature also, for he was uncle unto Lot, and yet he first seeks peace of his inferior, which God has recorded as his honour.

Ah! how does the God of peace, by his Spirit and messengers, pursue after peace with poor creatures! God first makes offer of peace to us: ‘Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be you reconciled to God’ (2 Cor. 5:20). God’s grace first kneels to us, and who can turn their backs upon such a blessed and bleeding embrace—but souls in whom Satan the god of this world reigns? God is the party wronged, and yet he sues for peace with us at first: ‘I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name’ It is doubled to show God’s exceeding forwardness to show favour and mercy to them. (Is. 65:1).

Ah! how does the sweetness, the freeness, and the riches of his grace break forth and shine upon poor souls. When a man goes from the sun, yet the sunbeams follow him; so when we go from the Sun of righteousness, yet then the beams of his love and mercy follow us. Christ first sent to Peter who had denied him, and the rest who had forsaken him: ‘Go your ways, and tell his disciples and Peter, that he goes before you into Galilee: there shall you see him, as he said unto you’ (Mark 16:7). Ah! souls, it is not a base, low thing—but a God-like thing, though we are wronged by others, yet to be the first in seeking after peace. Such acting will speak out much of God with a man’s spirit. They shall both have the name and the note, the comfort and the credit, of being most like unto God, who first begin to pursue after peace with alienated mankind.

Christians, it is not matter of liberty whether you will or you will not pursue after peace—but it is matter of duty that lies upon you; you are bound by express precept to follow after peace; and though it may seem to fly from you, yet you must pursue after it: ‘Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man can see the Lord.’ So the psalmist: ‘Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace and pursue it’ (Psalm 34:14). ‘Let us follow after the things that make for peace, and things wherein one may edify another’ (Rom. 14:19).

Remedy (10). The tenth remedy against this device of Satan is, For saints to join together and walk together in the ways of grace and holiness so far as they do agree, making the word of God their only touchstone and judge of their actions.  And be sure you make the word of God the only touchstone and judge of all people and actions: ‘To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them’ (Is. 8:20). It is best and safest to make that to be the judge of all men and things now, that all shall be judged by in the latter day: ‘The word, says Christ, that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day’ (John 12:48). Make not your dim light, your notions, your fancies, your opinions, the judge of men’s action—but still judge by rule, and plead, ‘It is written.’

When an ignorant man cried out in contest with a holy man, ‘Hear me, hear me,’ the holy man answered, ‘Neither hear me, nor I you—but let us both hear the apostle.’

Remedy (11). The eleventh remedy against this device of Satan is, To be much in self-judging. ‘Judge yourselves, and you shall not be judged by the Lord’ (1 Cor. 11:31). Ah! were Christians’ hearts more taken up in judging themselves and condemning themselves, they would not be so apt to judge and censure others, and to carry it sourly and bitterly towards others who differ from them. There are no souls in the world who are so fearful to judge others—as those who do most judge themselves; nor so careful to make a righteous judgment of men or things—as those who are most careful to judge themselves. There are none in the world who tremble to think evil of others, to speak evil of others, or to do evil to others—as those who make it their business to judge themselves. There are none who make such sweet constructions and charitable interpretations of men and things—as those who are best and most in judging themselves.

‘Judge not (hypocritically-JK), that you be not judged; for with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged; and with what measure you mete out, it shall be measured to you again’ (Matt. 7:1, 2). ‘Judge not according to appearance—but judge righteous judgment’ (John 7:24). ‘The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.’ (Rom. 14:3, 10, 13).

‘We shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ. Let us not judge one another any more—but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling-block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.’ ‘Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.’ (1 Cor. 4:5). ‘Speak not evil one of another, brethren: he who speaks evil of his brother, and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law, and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law—but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy’ (James 4:11, 12). ‘Who are you that judges another man’s servant? to his own master he stands or falls; yes, he shall be held up, for God is able to make him stand’ (Rom. 14:4).

Remedy (12). The twelfth remedy against this device of Satan is this, above all, Labour to be clothed with humility. Humility makes a man peaceable among brethren, fruitful in well-doing, cheerful in suffering, and constant in holy walking (1 Pet. 5:5). Humility fits for the highest services we owe to Christ, and yet will not neglect the lowest service to the lowest saint (John 13:5). Humility can feed upon the lowest dish, and yet it is maintained by the choicest delicacies, as God, Christ, and glory. Humility will make a man bless him who curses him, and pray for those who persecute him. An humble heart is an habitation for God, a scholar for Christ, a companion of angels, a preserver of grace, and a fitter for glory. Humility is the nurse of our graces, the preserver of our mercies, and the great promoter of holy duties. Humility cannot find three things on this side heaven: it cannot find fullness in the creature, nor sweetness in sin, nor life in an ordinance without Christ. An humble soul always finds three things on this side heaven: the soul to be empty, Christ to be full, and every mercy and duty to be sweet wherein God is enjoyed.

Humility can weep over other men’s weaknesses, and joy and rejoice over their graces. Humility will make a man quiet and contented in the lowest condition, and it will preserve a man from envying other men’s prosperous condition (1 Thess. 1:2, 3). Humility honors those who are strong in grace, and puts two hands under those who are weak in grace (Eph. 3:8). Humility makes a man richer than other men, and it makes a man judge himself the poorest among men. Humility will see much good abroad, when it can see but little at home.

Ah, Christian! though faith be the champion of grace, and love the nurse of grace, yet humility is the beautifier of grace; it casts a general glory upon all the graces in the soul. Ah! did Christians more abound in humility, they would be less bitter, willful, and sour, and they would be more gentle, meek, and sweet in their spirits and practices. Humility will make a man have high thoughts of others and low thoughts of himself; it will make a man see much glory and excellency in others, and much baseness and sinfulness in himself; it will make a man see others rich, and himself poor; others strong, and himself weak; others wise, and himself foolish.

Humility will make a man excellent at covering others’ infirmities, and at recording their gracious services, and at delighting in their graces; it makes a man rejoice in every light which outshines his own, and every wind which blows others good. Humility is better at believing, than it is at questioning other men’s happiness. I judge, says a humble soul, it is well with these Christians now—but it will be far better with them hereafter. They are now upon the borders of the New Jerusalem, and it will be but as a day before they slide into Jerusalem. A humble soul is more willing to say, Heaven is that man’s, than mine; and Christ is that Christian’s, than mine; and God is their God in covenant, than mine. Ah! were Christians more humble, there would be less contention, and more love among them than now is.

 

Importance of Doctrine

Beautiful article on the vital importance of faith and that our faith and Christian walk stand on Biblical doctrine.

REFORMED FREE PUBLISHING ASSOCIATION

Doctrine

BLOG POST | October 29, 2018

The Hebrew word for doctrine means “to take, receive, seize”; then it means that which is received mentally: instruction. The Greek has a whole family of words relating to our topic: one means that which is taught; another refers to the one doing the teaching, the doctor or master; the verb form simply means to instruct or indoctrinate. The word doctrine appears fifty-two times in scripture, good evidence of its importance. Strikingly, when we read of doctrines in the plural the reference is always to strange doctrines, the doctrines of men, or the doctrines of devils. False doctrines are legion and contradictory, but true doctrine is one, for it has its unity in Jesus Christ.

The doctrine of God drops from heaven as rain (Deut. 32:2), it is pure and good (Job 11:4). The people were amazed at the teaching of Jesus, saying, “What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority commandeth he . . .” (Mark 1:27). But Jesus did not teach new doctrine; it was not his but the Father’s, and it agreed with the teaching of Moses (John 7:16–19). The children of God obey from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered unto them (Rom. 6:17). Since all scripture is given by inspiration of God, it has the primary profit of giving us doctrine (2 Tim. 3:16). Adding to the peril of the times in which we live is the fact that men “will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers; having itching ears” (2 Tim. 4:3). The purpose of God in giving ministers to the church is “that henceforth we be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine . . .” (Eph. 4:14). Of such central importance is the truth that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is come in the flesh that the denial of this is antichrist, and “if there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed” (2 John 10).

Christ is the master, the teacher, the prophet sent from God. When he was but twelve years old he was found in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them and asking them questions; already then the people were astonished at his understanding and answers (Luke 2:46). Six other times we read that men were astonished at his doctrine, for he taught with authority and not as the scribes. Christ declares the Father whom no man hath seen (John 1:18); he makes known unto us all that he has heard of his Father (John 15:15); he was ordained to be our chief Prophet and Teacher to reveal to us fully the secret counsel and will of God concerning our redemption (Heidelberg Catechism, LD 12).

Because ministers are called by Christ in the service of his word, they are given to the church as pastors and teachers (Eph. 4:11); teaching or indoctrinating is an important aspect of their work. Thus, ministers are to give themselves to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine (1 Tim. 4:13); they are to take heed to themselves and the doctrine, by meditating upon these things and giving themselves wholly to them (1 Tim. 4:15–16). Those who labor in the word and doctrine are to be counted by the church as worthy of double honor (1 Tim. 5:17). Great care must be taken that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. (1 Tim. 6:1). Sound doctrine is able to convince the gainsayers (Titus 1:9). All the minister’s speech must be in harmony with sound doctrine (Titus 2:1, 7). And the elders must be apt to teach—doctrine (1 Tim. 3:2).

We are saved by doctrine, for by taking heed to and continuing in sound doctrine ministers save themselves and those that hear them (1 Tim. 4:16). Some will ask, “But are we not saved by faith in Christ?” Indeed. But who is Christ as to his person and natures? What does his anointing consist of, and what is his place in the covenant of grace? What was the nature of his death and resurrection? For whom did he suffer, die, and rise again? And what is this faith, and what does it hold for truth? Faith in the heart, embracing Jesus Christ the Lord as he is set forth, described, delineated in the doctrines of that word of God, that is able to make us wise unto salvation. To deny the importance of sound doctrine for our salvation is to fly in the face of the scriptures and show ourselves either ignorant or unappreciative of church history. Controversies raged between adherents of the doctrines of men and the doctrine of God; confessions were written which condemned heresies and set forth the orthodox faith. Today we are called upon to contend earnestly for that faith because the great matter of salvation depends on pure doctrine, and the greater matter of God’s glory is wrapped up in it. We must be of the mind that characterized the writer(s) of the Athanasian Creed when he wrote after the Arian controversy, “Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic (universal) Faith, which Faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.”

The doctrine of God our Savior, held to with iota-like precision, embraced with believing hearts, must be adorned with good works (Titus 2:10). Here Paul shows the foolishness of trying to separate doctrine and practice, or even preferring one above the other. Scripture is profitable for doctrine…that we may be thoroughly furnished unto every good work. Doctrine is the root and branch; good works are the fruit. And there is a harmony and inner consistency between the two. True doctrine is itself beautiful, for it reveals God in Christ! When that doctrine brings forth good works by the Spirit, what adornment that is! How God is praised by it!

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This article was written by Rev. Dale H. Kuiper, and published in the Standard Bearer (12/15/1992, Volume 69, Issue 6).

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Brooks now turns to II. DEVICE AGAINST THE LEARNED AND THE WISE

Satan has his devices to ensnare and destroy the learned and the wise: and that, sometimes by working them to pride themselves in their abiilties; and sometimes by drawing them to rest upon their abilities; and sometimes by causing them to slight  those who lack their abilities. They will use their abilities in the service of sin against Christ. The truth of this you may see in the learned scribes and Pharisees. (John 5:44; 1 Kings 22:22-25; 1 Cor. 1:18-29.)

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That you have nothing but what you have received, Christ being as well the fountain of providence as of saving grace. ‘What have you,’ says the apostle, ‘that you have not
received? And if you have received it, why do you boast as though you had not received it?’ (1 Cor. 4:7). ‘Whatever you are, you owe to him who made you; and whatever you have, you owe to him who redeemed you’ (Bernard).

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That men’s learning and trusting to their own wits and abilities have been their utter overthrow and ruin; as you may see in Ahithophel, and those princes that engaged against Daniel, and in the scribes and Pharisees. God loves to confute men in their confidences. He who stands upon his abilities, stands upon a quicksand that will certainly fail him. There is nothing in the world which provokes God more to withdraw from the soul than this (pride!-JK); Ah! how many in these days have lost their estates, their friends, their lives, their souls, by leaning upon their admired abilities! The saints are described by their leaning upon their beloved, the Lord Jesus (Cant. 8:5). He who leans only upon the bosom of Christ, lives the highest, choicest, safest, and sweetest life. Miseries always lie at that man’s door that leans upon anything below the precious bosom of Christ; such a man is most in danger, and this is none of his least plagues, that he thinks himself secure. It is the greatest wisdom in the world to take the wise man’s counsel: ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding’ (Prov. 3:5).

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider that you lack grace and holiness. There may be great ability where there is but little grace, yes, no grace. And there may be, and often is, a great deal of grace, where there is but weak ability. You may be higher than others in gifts of knowledge, utterance, and learning, and those very souls may be higher than you in their communion with God, in their delighting in God, in their dependence upon God, in their affections to God, and in their humble, holy, and unblameable walking before God. Is it folly and madness in a man, to make light and slight of another, because he is not so rich in money or goods as he, when he is a thousand thousand times richer in silver and gold, in jewels and in pearls, than he? The scribes and Pharisees had great ability—but no grace. The disciples had grace—but weak learning. (Luke 11:1; 24:19-28.) It was the sad complaint of Augustine in his time: ‘The unlearned,’ says he, ‘rise up and take heaven by violence, and we with all our learning are thrust down to hell.’ It is sad to see how many of the rabbis of these times do make an idol of their abilities, and with what an eye of pride, scorn, and contempt do they look upon those who lack their ability and who do not worship the idol that they have set up in their own hearts. Paul, who was the great doctor of the Gentiles, did wonderfully transcend in all  abilities the doctors and rabbis of our times, and yet, ah! how humbly, how tenderly, how sweetly, does he carry himself towards the lowest and the weakest! ‘To the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some’ (1 Cor. 9:22). ‘Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not? Wherefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will eat no flesh while the world stands, lest I make my brother to offend’ (1 Cor. 8:13). But, ah how little of this sweet spirit is to be found in the doctors of our age, who look sourly and speak bitterly against those who do not see as they see, nor cannot speak as they speak.

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider, That there is no such way for men to have their gifts and parts blasted and withered, as to pride themselves in them, as to rest upon them, as to make light and slight of those who lack them, as to engage them against those people, ways, and things, that Jesus Christ has set his heart upon. Ah! how has God blasted and withered the parts and abilities of many among us, that have once been famous shining lights! How is their sun darkened, and their glory clouded! ‘How is the sword of the Lord upon their arm, and upon their right eye! how is their arm clean dried up, and their right eye utterly darkened!’ as the prophet speaks (Zech. 11:17). This is matter of humiliation and lamentation. Many precious discerning saints see this, and in secret mourn for it; and oh! that they were kindly sensible of God’s withdrawing from them, that they may repent, keep humble, and carry it sweetly towards God’s jewels, and lean only upon the Lord, and not upon their understanding, that so the Lord may delight to visit them with his grace at such a rate as that their faces may shine more gloriously than ever, and that they may be more serviceable to the honour of Christ, and the faith of the saints, than formerly they have been.

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Brooks continues his treatise on the sins of superiors:

DEVICE 2: By engaging them against the people of God, against those who are his jewels, his pleasant portion, the delight of his eye and the joy of his heart. i.e. persecution.Thus he drew Pharaoh to engage against the children of Israel—and that was his overthrow. So he engaged Haman against the Jews—and so brought him to hang upon that gallows that he had made for Mordecai (Esther 7). So he engaged those princes against Daniel— which was the utter ruin of them and their relations (Dan. 6). So in Revelation 20:7-9, “When the thousand years end, Satan will be let out of his prison. He will go out to deceive the nations from every corner of the earth, which are called Gog and Magog. He will gather them together for battle—a mighty host, as numberless as sand along the shore. And I saw them as they went up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded God’s people and the beloved city. But fire from heaven came down on the attacking armies and consumed them.”

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That none have engaged against the saints—but have been ruined by the God of saints. Divine justice has been too hard for all who have opposed and engaged against the saints, as is evident in Saul, Pharaoh, and Haman ‘He reproved kings for their sakes, saying, Touch not my anointed, and do my prophets no harm’ (Psalm 105:15). Ah! what a harvest has hell had in our days, of those who have engaged against the Lamb, and those who are called, chosen and faithful!

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell some time every morning upon the following scriptures, wherein God has engaged himself to stand by his people and for his people, and to make them victorious over the greatest and wisest of their enemies. ‘No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgement, you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, says the Lord.’  ‘Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege, both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.’ (Is. 8:9, 41:14, 15, and 54:17. Micah 4:11-13; Zech. 12:2, 3.)

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider, When you persecute saints you persecute God himself-JK. That you cannot engage against the saints—but you must engage against God himself, by reason of that near and blessed union that is between God and them. You cannot be fighters against the saints—but you will be found in the casting up of the account to be fighters against God himself. And what greater madness than for weakness itself—to engage against an almighty strength! The near union that is between the Lord and believers, is set forth by that near union that is between a husband and his wife. ‘They two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church; we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones,’ says the apostle (Eph. 5:32). ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute you me?’ (Acts 9:4); and ‘in all their afflictions he was afflicted’ (Is. 63:9).

Remedy 4. Even the wicked are preserved to some extent by their proximity to the saints. Ah! had not the saints many a time cast themselves into the breach between God’s wrath and you, you had been cut off from the land of the living, and had had your portion with those whose names are written in the dust. Many a nation, many a family, is surrounded with blessings for the Josephs’ sakes who live therein, and are preserved from many calamities and miseries for the Moses’, the Daniels’, the Noahs’, and the Jobs’, sakes, who dwell among them. That is a sweet word (Prov. 10:25), ‘As the whirlwind passes, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation, or is the foundation of the world.’ The righteous is the foundation of the world, which but for their sakes would soon shatter and fall to ruin.

From the believers’ point of view they must remember that God superintends the persecution. He decrees the opposition, the violence, the imprisonments, even the martyrdom of his people. (Acts 4:28)-JK

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Brooks begins a new section dealing with different types of people

:

The great and mighty, the wise, the ignorant, saints etc.

SATAN’S DEVICES TO DESTROY & ENSNARE ALL SORTS & RANKS OF MEN IN THE WORLD

I. DEVICES AGAINST THE GREAT AND HONORABLE OF THE EARTH

DEVICE 1 : His first device to destroy the great and honourable of the earth is, By working them to make it their business to seek themselves, to seek how to elevate themselves, to raise themselves, to enrich themselves, like Pharaoh, Ahab, Absalom, Joab, Haman, and others. ‘All,’ said the apostle ‘seek their own’ (Phil. 2:21).

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That self-seeking is a sin which will put men upon a plethora of sins, upon sins not only against the law of God, the rules of the gospel—but which are against the very laws of nature—which are so much darkened by the fall of man. It puts the Pharisees upon opposing Christ, and Judas upon betraying Christ, and Pilate upon condemning Christ. It puts Gehazi upon lying, and Saul and Absalom upon plotting David’s ruin. It puts Pharaoh and Haman upon contriving ways to destroy those Jews whom God did purpose to save by his mighty arm. It puts men upon using wicked balances, and the bag of deceitful weights. It puts men upon ways of oppression and ‘selling the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes’ (Amos 2:6). I know not any sin in the world but this sin of self-seeking will put men upon it—though it be their eternal loss! Self-love is the root of the hatred of others, 2 Tim. 3:2. First, lovers of themselves, and then fierce, etc.

Remedy (2).  Self-seeking will make a man say anything, do anything, and be anything, to please the lusts of others, in order to get advantages upon others. in other words to be a slave to men. Self-seekers are the basest of all people. There is no service so base, so poor, so low—but they will bow to it. They cannot look neither above, nor beyond their own lusts, and the enjoyment of the creature (Rom. 1:25). These are the prime and ultimate objects of their desires i.e. they are thoroughly worldly-minded.

Remedy (3). How terrible it will be for you who get rich by unjust means! So Isaiah: ‘Destruction is certain for the unjust judges, for those who issue unfair laws. They deprive the poor, the widows, and the orphans of justice. Yes, they rob widows and fatherless children!’ (Is. 10:1, 2). When you want a certain piece of land, you find a way to seize it. When you want someone’s house, you take it by fraud and violence. (Micah 2:1, 2). Loss, disgrace, trouble and shame, vexation and confusion, will be the certain portion of self-seekers.

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That self-seekers are self-losers and self-destroyers. Absalom and Judas seek themselves, and hang themselves. Saul seeks himself, and kills himself. Ahab seeks himself, and loses himself, his crown and kingdom. Pharaoh seeks himself, and overthrows himself and his mighty army in the Red Sea. Cain sought himself, and slew two at once, his brother and his own soul. Gehazi sought change of clothing—but God changed his clothing into a leprous skin. Haman sought himself, and lost himself. The princes and residents sought themselves, in the ruin of Daniel—but ruined themselves, their wives and children. Every self-seeker is a self-tormentor, a self-destroyer; he carries a hell, an executioner, in his own bosom.

Adam seeks himself—and loses himself, paradise, and that blessed image that God had stamped upon him. Lot seeks himself (Gen. 13:10, 11) and loses himself and his goods.

Remedy (5). Dwell much upon the famous examples of those worthy saints that have denied themselves and preferred the public good before their own particular advantage. As Moses: ‘And the Lord said unto Moses, Leave me alone so I may destroy them and erase their name from under heaven. Then I will make a mighty nation of your descendants, a nation larger and more powerful than they are.’ (Deut. 9:14). But Moses is hot in his desires and prayers that the people might be spared and pardoned; says he, ‘Please pardon the sins of this people because of your magnificent, unfailing love, just as you have forgiven them ever since they left Egypt. Then the Lord said, “I will pardon them as you have requested.’ (Num. 14:1920).  Nehemiah was a choice soul, a man of a brave public spirit, a man that spent his time, his strength, and his estate, for the good and ease of his people. Remember, O my God, all that I have done for these people, and bless me for it.’ (Neh. 5:14-19). Likewise Daniel was a man of a brave public spirit: ‘Then the other administrators and princes began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling his affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize. He was faithful and honest and always responsible. So they concluded, Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the requirements of his religion.’ (Daniel 6:4, 5). Christ had a public spirit; he laid out himself, and laid down himself for a public good. Oh! never leave looking and meditating upon these precious and sweet examples until your souls are quickened and raised up, to act for the public good, more than for your own particular advantage. Many heathens have been excellent at this. Our prayer is, and shall be, that all our rulers may be so spirited by God, that they may be willing to be anything, to be nothing, to deny themselves, and to trample their sinful selves under feet, in order to the honour of God, and a public good; that so neither saints nor heathens may be witnesses against them in that day, wherein the hearts and practices of all the rulers in the world shall be open and naked before him who judges the world in righteousness and judgment.

Remedy (6). The sixth remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That self is a great hindrance to divine things; therefore the prophets and apostles were usually carried out of themselves, when they had the clearest, choicest, highest, and most glorious visions. Self-seeking so blinds the soul, that it cannot see a beauty in Christ, nor an excellency in holiness; The Pharisees were great self-seekers, and great undervaluers of Christ, his word and Spirit. They cannot wait on God, nor act for God, nor abide in those ways wherein they might meet with God, by reason of self.  All the church has and is, is only for him. Let others bear fruit to themselves, and lay up for themselves, gracious spirits will work for Christ and lay up for Christ. All the divine endeavours and productions of saints fall into God’s bosom, and empty themselves into his lap. As Christ lays up his merits for them, his graces for them, his comforts for them, his crown for them; so they lay up all their fruits, and all their loves, all their graces, and all their experiences, and all their services, only for him who is the soul of their comforts, and the crown and top of all their royalty and glory.

Self-seekers, with Esau, prefers bowl of pottage above their birthright, and with the men of Shechem, esteem the bramble above the vine, the olive, and the fig-tree; yes they esteem empty things above a full Christ, and base things above a glorious Christ. The saints’ motto is, ‘For you, Lord, for you; not unto us, Lord.’

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Brooks

DEVICE 8 : By persuading them that their estate is not good, their hearts are not upright, their graces are not sound, because they are so followed, vexed, and tormented with temptations.

It is Satan’s method, first to weary and vex your soul with temptations, and then to persuade the soul, that surely it is not loved by God, because it is so much tempted. And by this stratagem he keeps many precious souls in a sad, doubting, and mourning temper many years, as many of the precious sons of Zion have found by woeful experience. He may so tempt as to make a saint weary of his life (Job. 10:1): ‘My soul is weary of my life.’

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That those who have been best and most beloved, have been most tempted by Satan. Though Satan can never rob a Christian of his crown, yet such is his malice, that he will therefore tempt, that he may spoil them of their comforts. Such is his enmity to the Father, that the nearer and dearer any child is to him, the more will Satan trouble him, and vex him with temptations. Christ himself was most near and most dear, most innocent and most excellent, and yet none so much tempted as Christ! Job was highly praised by God himself, and yet much tempted and tried. Peter was much prized by Christ; witness that choice testimony which Christ gave of his faith and happiness, and his showing him his glory in the mount, and that eye of pity that he cast upon him after his fearful fall—and yet tempted by Satan. ‘And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for you, that your faith fail you not’ (Luke 22:31, 32).

Pirates do not use to set upon poor empty vessels; and beggars need not fear the thief. Those that have most of God, and are most rich in grace—shall be most assaulted by Satan, who is the greatest and craftiest pirate in the world.

Paul had the honor of being exalted as high as heaven, and of seeing that glory which could not be expressed; and yet he was no sooner stepped out of heaven—but he is buffeted by Satan, ‘lest he should be exalted above measure’ (2 Cor. 12:2, 7). It is as natural for saints to be tempted, who are dearly loved by God, as it is for the sun to shine, or a bird to sing. The eagle complains not of her wings, nor the peacock of his train of feathers, nor the nightingale of her voice—because these are natural to them. No more should saints complain of their temptations, because they are natural to them. ‘For we wrestle not against flesh and blood—but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places’ (Eph. 6:12).

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider, That all the temptations that befall the saints shall be sanctified to them by a hand of love. Ah! the choice experiences that the saints get of the power of God supporting them, of the wisdom of God directing them (so to handle their spiritual weapons, their graces, as not only to resist—but to overcome), of the mercy and goodness of the Lord pardoning and succouring of them. And therefore, says Paul, ‘I received the messenger of Satan for to buffet me, lest I should be exalted, lest I should be exalted above measure’ (2 Cor. 12:7). If he had not been buffeted, who knows how his heart would have swelled; he might have been carried higher in conceit, than before he was in his ecstasy.

Temptation is God’s school, wherein he gives his people the clearest and sweetest discoveries of his love; a school wherein God teaches his people to be more frequent and fervent in duty. Temptation is a school wherein God teaches his people to see a greater evil in sin than ever, and a greater need of Christ and free grace than ever. This is a school wherein God will teach his people that all temptations are but his goldsmiths, by which he will try and refine, and make his people more bright and glorious. The outcome of all temptations shall be to the good of the saints, as you may see by the temptations which Adam and Eve, and Christ and David, and Job and Peter and Paul met with. Those hands of power and love, which bring light out of darkness, good out of evil, sweet out of bitter, life out of death, heaven out of hell—will bring much sweet and good to his people, out of all the temptations which come upon them. Luther said, there were three things that made a preacher: meditation, prayer and temptation.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, wisely to consider, That no temptations do hurt or harm the saints, so long as they are resisted by them, and prove the greatest afflictions that can befall them. It is not Satan’s tempting—but your assenting; not his enticing—but your yielding, which makes temptations hurtful to your soul. Satan is a malicious and envious enemy. As his names are, so is he. His names are all names of enmity—the accuser, the tempter, the destroyer, the devourer, the envious one. And this malice and envy of his he shows sometimes by tempting men to such sins as are quite contrary to the natural dispositions. And sometimes he shows his malice by tempting men to such things as will bring them no honour nor profit. ‘Fall down and worship me’ (Matt. 4:9). He tempts to blasphemy, and atheism—the thoughts and first motions whereof cause the heart and flesh to tremble. And sometimes he shows his malice by tempting them to those sins which they have not found their natures prone to, and which they abhor in others.

He who would stand in the hour of temptation must plead with Christ, ‘It is written.’ He who would triumph over temptations must plead still, ‘It is written.’ Satan is bold and impudent, and if you are not decided in your resistance, he will give you fresh onsets. It is your greatest honour, and your highest wisdom, decidedly to withstand the beginnings of a temptation; for an after-remedy comes often too late.

Catherine Bretterege once, after a great conflict with Satan, said, ‘Reason not with me, I am but a weak woman; if you have anything to say, say it to my Christ; he is my advocate, my strength, and my redeemer, and he shall plead for me.’

Make strong and constant resistance against Satan’s temptations. Make resistance against temptations by arguments drawn from the honour of God, the love of God, your union and communion with God; and from the blood of Christ, the death of Christ, the kindness of Christ, the intercession of Christ, and the glory of Christ; and from the voice of the Spirit, the counsel of the Spirit, the comforts of the Spirit, the presence of the Spirit, the seal of the Spirit, the whisperings of the Spirit, the commands of the Spirit, the assistance of the Spirit, the witness of the Spirit; and from the glory of heaven, the excellency of grace, the beauty of holiness, the worth of the soul, and the vileness or bitterness and evil of sin—the least sin being a greater evil than the greatest temptation in the world.

The tempter is restless, impudent, and subtle; he will suit his temptations to your constitutions and inclinations. Satan loves to sail with the wind. If your knowledge is weak—he will tempt you to error. If your conscience is tender—he will tempt you to scrupulosity and too much preciseness, as to do nothing but hear, pray, and read. If your consciences be wide and large—he will tempt you to carnal security. If you are bold-spirited—he will tempt you to presumption; if timorous, to desperation; if flexible, to inconstancy; if proud and stiff, to gross folly. The least sin set home upon the conscience, will more wound, vex, and oppress the soul, than all the temptations in the world can. Therefore never yield to the least sin—to be rid of the greatest temptation. I will leave you to make the application.

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DEVICE 7 : By suggesting to the soul he is lost because of his often relapses into the same sin about which he has particular sorrow, grief, shame, tears, and prayers and has  resolved against.

Says Satan—Your heart is not right with God, do you really think that God will eternally own and embrace such a one as you are—who complains against sin, and yet relapses into the same sin; who with tears and groans confesses your sin, and yet always falls into the same sin?

I confess this is a very sad condition for a soul after he has obtained mercy and pity from the Lord. How do these falls darken and cloud former assurances and evidences for heaven!

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That there are many scriptures which clearly evidence a possibility of the saints falling into the same sins whereof they have formerly repented. ‘I will heal their backslidings, I will love them freely: for my anger is turned away from them,’ says the Lord by the prophet Hosea (chap. 14:4). So the prophet Jeremiah speaks: ‘Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, O backsliding Israel, says the Lord, and I will not cause my anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, says the Lord, and I will not keep my anger forever. Turn, O backsliding Israel, says the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion’ (Chap. 3:12, 14). So the psalmist: ‘They turned back, and dealt unfaithfully with their fathers; they were turned aside like a deceitful bow.’ And no wonder, for though their repentance is ever so sincere and sound, yet their graces are but weak, and their mortification of sin is imperfect in this life. Though by grace they are freed from the dominion of sin, and from the damning power of every sin, and from the love of all sin, yet grace does not free them from the indwelling of any one sin; and therefore it is possible for a soul to fall again and again into the same sin.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That God has nowhere engaged himself by any particular promise, that souls converted and united to Christ shall not fall again and again into the same sin after conversion. .

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That the most renowned and now crowned saints have, in the days of their being on earth, relapsed into one and the same sin. Lot was twice overcome with wine; John twice worshipped the angel; Abraham did often deceive, and lay his wife open to adultery to save his own life, which some heathens would not have done. ‘And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, that I said unto her, This is your kindness which you shall show unto me; at every place where we shall come, say of me, He is my brother’ (Gen. 20:13).

Though Christ told his disciples that his ‘kingdom was not of this world,’ yet again, and again, and again, they desired to be high, great, and glorious in this world. Their pride and ambitious desires put them—who were but as so many beggars—upon striving for pre-eminence and greatness in the world, when their Lord and Master told them several times of his sufferings in the world, and of his going out of the world. Jehoshaphat, though a godly man, yet joins with Ahab (2 Chron. 18:1-3, 30, 31); and though he was saved by a miracle, yet soon after, he falls into the same sin, and ‘joins himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did very wickedly’ (2 Chron. 20:35-37). Samson is by the Spirit of the Lord numbered among the faithful worthies, yet he fell often into gross immorality. And this happens, that they may see their own inability to stand, or to resist or overcome any temptation or corruption (Jude 14-16), and that they may be taken off from all false confidences, and rest wholly upon God, and only upon God, and always upon God; and for the praise and honour of the power, wisdom, skill, mercy, and goodness of the physician of our souls—who can heal, help, and cure when the disease is most dangerous, when the soul is relapsed, and grows worse and worse, and when others say, ‘There is no help for him in his God,’ and when his own heart and hopes are dying.

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider, That there are relapses into ENORMITIES, and there are relapses into INFIRMITIES. Now it is not usual with God to leave his people frequently to relapse into enormities; for by his Spirit and grace, by his smiles and frowns, by his word and rod—he usually preserves his people from a frequent relapsing into enormities. Yet he does leave his choicest ones frequently to relapse into infirmities (and of his grace he pardons them)—as idle words, passion, and vain thoughts. Though gracious souls strive against these, and complain of these, and weep over these, yet the Lord, to keep them humble, leaves them frequently to relapse into these. These frequent relapses into infirmities shall never be their bane, because they are their burden. Relapses into enormities are destructive sins. Therefore the Lord is graciously pleased to put under his everlasting arms, and keep his chosen ones from frequent falling into them.

Remedy (5). The fifth remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider, That there are involuntary relapses, and there are voluntary relapses. Involuntary relapses are, when the resolution and full bent of the heart is against sin, when the soul strives with all its might against sin, by sighs and groans, by prayers and tears, and yet out of weakness is forced to fall back into sin, because there is not spiritual strength enough to overcome. Now, though involuntary relapses must humble us, yet they must never discourage us; for God will freely and readily pardon those, in course.

Voluntary relapses are, When the soul longs and loves to ‘return to the flesh-pots of Egypt’ (Exod. 16:3). When it is a pleasure and a pastime to a man to return to his old courses, such voluntary relapses speak out the man blinded, hardened, and ripened for ruin.

There is a great difference between a sheep which by weakness falls into the mire–and a swine which delights to wallow in the mire; between a woman who is raped, though she fights and cries out–and an alluring adulteress.

Remedy (6). The sixth remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider, That there is no such power, or in the sweetest or choicest discoveries of God’s grace and love to the soul as forever to fence and secure the soul from relapsing into the same sin. Grace may be prevailed against by the secret, subtle, and strong workings of sin in our hearts. And those discoveries which God makes of his love, beauty and glory to the soul, do not always abide in their freshness and power upon the heart; but by degrees they fade and wear off, and then the soul may return again to folly. We see this in Peter, who, after he had a glorious testimony from Christ’s own mouth of his blessedness and happiness, labours to prevent Christ from going up to Jerusalem to suffer, out of slavish fears that he and his fellows could not be secure, if his Master should be brought to suffer (Matt. 16:15-19, 22-24). And again, after this, Christ had him up into the mount, and there showed him his beauty and his glory, to strengthen him against the hour of temptation which was coming upon him; and yet, soon after he had the honour and happiness of seeing the glory of the Lord (which most of his disciples had not), he basely and most shamefully denies the Lord of glory, thinking by that means to provide for his own safety. Yet, by way of caution, know, it is very rare that God does leave his beloved ones frequently to relapse into one and the same gross sin; for the law of nature is in arms against gross sins, as well as the law of grace, so that a gracious soul cannot, dares not, will not, frequently return to gross folly.

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.” Psalm 37:23,24.

“For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.”

Precious Remedies (32)

DEVICE 6: By suggesting to the soul, that surely his estate is not good, because he cannot joy and rejoice in Christ as once he could; because he has lost that comfort and joy that once was in his spirit.

Remedy (1). Remember that the loss of comfort does not mean lack of grace. There may be, and often is, true grace, yes, much grace, where there is not a drop of comfort, nor dram of joy. That wisdom which is from above will never work a man to reason thus: I have no comfort, therefore I have no grace;  But it will enable a man to reason thus: Though my comfort is gone, yet the God of my comfort abides; The best men’s joys are as fragile as glass, bright and brittle, and evermore in danger of breaking. Spiritual joy is a sun that is often clouded. It is like a precious flower—subject to fade and wither. (Psalm 63:1, 2, 8; Is. 50:10; Micah 7:8, 9; Psalm 42:5.)

Remedy (2). You cannot lose your union with Christ, your communion with Christ, your sonship, your saintship, your heirship—which you still enjoy by Christ—far better than the comforts you have lost by sin. (Jer. 31:18, 19, 20).

Remedy (3). Your condition is no different than those who went before. One day you shall have them a-singing, ‘The Lord is our portion!’ The next day a-sighing and expostulating with themselves, ‘Why are you cast down, O our souls?’ ‘Why is our harp turned to mourning? and our organ to the voice of those who weep?’ (Psalm 51:12, 30:6, 7; Job 23: 8, 9; Lam. 1:16; Matt. 27:46; Psalm 42:5; Lam. 5:15) In other words feelings, even spiritual feelings are very changeable.

Remedy (4). The causes of joy and comfort differ. For example: the witness of the Spirit, bearing witness to your soul—that your nature was changed, your sins pardoned, your soul reconciled or he may bear witness to the soul, that the heart of God is dearly set upon him, that he loves him with an everlasting love, and yet the soul may never enjoy such a testimony all the days of his life again.The Spirit does not every day make a feast in the soul; Christ come to the amazed soul, and says to it, I have trod the wine-press of my Father’s wrath for you; I have laid down my life a ransom for you; by my blood I have satisfied my Father’s justice, and pacified his anger, and procured his love for you; by my blood I have purchased the pardon of your sins, your freedom from hell, and your right to heaven! Oh! how wonderfully will this cause the soul to leap for joy!

Remedy (5). God will restore and make up the comforts of his people. Though your candle be put out, yet God will light it again, and make it burn more bright than ever. Though your sun for the present be clouded, yet he who rides upon the clouds shall scatter those clouds, and cause the sun to shine and warm your heart as in former days, as the psalmist speaks: ‘You who have showed me great and sore troubles, shall quicken me again, and shall bring me up again from the depths of the earth. You shall increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side’ (Psalm 71:20, 21). Your mourning shall be turned into rejoicing, and the waters of consolation shall be sweeter and higher in your soul than ever! The mercy is surely yours—but the time of giving it is the Lord’s. Wait but a little, and you shall find the Lord comforting you on every side. See Psalm 126:6, and 42:7, 8.

The Sin Offering (2)

The Sin Offering

Leviticus 4

The sin offering is unique to Israel and also new because:

  1. They had God’s law written with extensive moral and ceremonial commands.
  2. The parties had to be in place viz. High Priest, congregation and leaders.
  3. The tabernacle, altars and camp boundary had to be in place.

Unique features of sin offering for:

  1. High Priest-bullock, blood into tabernacle (three applications v7), rest burnt outside camp.
  2. Congregation-elders lay hands on beast.
  3. Rulers-male kid goat, smearing horns burnt altar.
  4. Commoners-female kid goat or lamb or turtle doves or flour.

Next class: the significance of outside the camp (Heb.13:11-13) and what happened in the tabernacle.

Helpful chart and article: Link

 

Precious Remedies (31)


DEVICE 5: Brooks seems to invent another devilish strategy that does not appear obvious or Biblical to my mind namely that the conflict which is in believers is also a conflict that is to be found in hypocrites and profane souls;

The truth is, there is as much difference between the conflict which is in them, and that which is in wicked men, as there is between light and darkness, between heaven and hell.

The whole frame of a believer’s soul is against sin. the understanding, the will, and the affections. A hypocrite may condemn some sin but simultaneously be guilty of committing it. ‘You who preach a man should not steal—do you steal? You who say a man should not commit adultery—do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols—do you commit sacrilege? You who make your boast of the law—through breaking the law you dishonor God.’ (Rom. 2:21-23).

But a saint’s will is against sin. ‘The evil that I would not do, that I do.’ And his affections are against it, ‘What I hate, I do’ (Rom. 7:19,20).

A Christian conflicts against all sin. “I hate every false way.” Psalm 119:104. The Hebrew signifies to hate with a deadly and irreconcilable hatred. He will combat with all sin, though he cannot conquer one as he should, and as he desires. He knows that all sin strikes at God’s holiness, as well as his own happiness; at God’s glory, as well as at his soul’s comfort and peace.

The Christian knows that all sin is hateful to God, and that all sinners are traitors to the crown and dignity of the Lord Jesus. He looks upon one sin, and sees that which threw down Noah, the most righteous man in the world; and he looks upon another sin, and sees that which cast down Abraham, the greatest believer in the world; and he looks upon another sin, and sees that which threw down David, the best king in the world. He sees that one sin threw down Samson, the strongest man in the world; another cast down Solomon, the wisest man in the world; and another Moses, the meekest man in the world; and another sin cast down Job, the most patient man in the world. This raises a holy indignation against all sin, so that nothing can satisfy and content his soul, but a destruction of all those lusts which vex and rack his righteous soul.

Oh! but now the conflict that is in wicked men is partial (and usually ineffective-JK); they frown upon one sin and smile upon another; they strike at some sins yet stroke others; they thrust some out of doors but keep others close in their bosoms;  *The conflict that is in a saint, against sin, is maintained by several arguments: by arguments drawn from the love of God, the honour of God, the sweetness and communion with God, and from the spiritual and heavenly blessings and privileges which are conferred upon them by God, and from arguments drawn from the blood of Christ, the glory of Christ, the eye of Christ, the kisses of Christ, and the intercession of Christ, and from arguments drawn from the indwelling of the Spirit, the seal of the Spirit, the witness of the Spirit, the comforts of the Spirit. Though to be kept from sin brings comfort to us; yet we oppose sin from spiritual and heavenly arguments, which brings most glory to God.*

The conflict that is in saints is a constant conflict. A Christian lives fighting and dies fighting, he stands fighting and falls fighting, with his spiritual weapons in his hands. ‘ Consider that the pleasure and sweetness which follows victory over sin, is a thousand times beyond that seeming sweetness that is in sin!

But the conflict that is in wicked men is inconstant: now they fall out with sin, and later they fall in with sin. Now sin is bitter, later it is sweet. Now the sinner turns from his sin, and later he turns to the wallowing in sin, as the swine does to the wallowing in the mire (2 Pet. 2:19, 20). One hour you shall have him praying against sin, as if he feared it more than hell; and the next hour you shall have him pursuing after sin, as if there were no God to punish him, no justice to damn him, no hell to torment him.

The conflict that is in the saints, is  the regenerate part against the unregenerate part, in all the parts of the soul.

But now, in wicked men, the conflict is not in the same faculties—but between the conscience and the will. The will of a sinner is bent strongly to such and such sins—but conscience puts in and tells the sinner, God has made me his deputy, he has given me a power to hang, to examine, scourge, judge, and condemn, and if you do such and such wickedness, I shall be your jailer and tormentor. I do not bear the rod nor the sword in vain, says conscience; if you sin, I shall do my office, and then your life will be a hell: and this raises a tumult in the soul.

The conflict that is in the saints, is a more blessed, successful, and prevailing conflict. A saint, by his conflict with sin, gains ground upon his sin: ‘Those who are Christ’s,’ says the apostle, ‘have crucified the world with its affections and lusts’ (Gal. 5:24). Christ helps them to lead captivity captive, and to set their feet upon the necks of those lusts which have formerly trampled upon their souls and their comforts. As the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker, and the house of David stronger and stronger, so the Lord, by the discoveries of his love, and by the influences of his Spirit—causes grace, the nobler part of a saint, to grow stronger and stronger, and corruption, like the house of Saul, to grow weaker and weaker.

But sin in a wicked heart gets ground, and grows stronger and stronger, notwithstanding all his conflicts. His heart is more encouraged, emboldened, and hardened in a way of sin, as you may see in the Israelites, Pharaoh, Jehu, and Judas, who doubtless found many strange conflicts, tumults, and mutinies in their souls, when God spoke such bitter things against them, and did such justice upon them (2 Tim. 3:13).

These two, grace and sin, are like two buckets of a well, when one is up, the other is down. When one flourishes the other withers. The more grace thrives in the soul, the more sin dies in the soul.

But remember this by way of caution: Though Christ has given sin its death-wound, yet it will die but a lingering death. As a man that is mortally wounded dies by little by little, so does sin in the heart of a saint. The death of Christ on the cross was a lingering death, so the death of sin in the soul is a lingering death; now it dies a little, and anon it dies a little, as the psalmist speaks, ‘Slay them not, lest my people forget: scatter them by your power; and bring them down, O Lord our shield’ (Psalm 59:11). He would not have them utterly destroyed—but some relics preserved as a memorial. So God deals in respect of sin; it is wounded and brought down—but not wholly slain. Something is still left to keep us humble, wakeful, and watchful, and that our armour may be still kept on, and our weapons always in our hands.

Mortification of sin is a continued act, it is a daily dying to sin, ‘I die daily.’ A crucified man will strive and struggle, yet, in the eyes of the law, and in the account of all that see him, he is dead. It is just so with sin.

The best men’s souls in this life hang between the flesh and the spirit, There is no such pleasure, as to have overcome a sinful pleasure. Neither is there any greater conquest, as to overcome a man’s corruption.

Adapted

The Importance of Biblical Doctrine.

REFORMED FREE PUBLISHING ASSOCIATION

The Importance of Doctrine

BLOG POST | October 22, 2018

Doctrine is not highly regarded anymore. In many evangelical churches there is such ignorance of doctrine that even the fundamentals of Christianity are not well understood. Even in churches that remain faithful in their teaching and preaching, there is often little interest in learning and understanding doctrine. The youth are, for the most part, bored by it, and their elders are content with a superficial knowledge of the doctrines of the Reformed faith.

Very often the symptom of this lack of doctrine is a constant agitation for more “practical” preaching and teaching along with a greater emphasis on liturgy and on the other parts of the worship service until the sermon is all but squeezed out. On the part of the preachers themselves, one finds less and less biblical exposition and more and more illustration, storytelling, and entertainment.

Symptomatic of doctrinal indifference in the private lives of God’s people is complete disinterest in reading good Reformed books and periodicals. In some cases these are purchased and not read; in others there is not sufficient interest even to purchase them. If any reading at all is done, it is superficial, mostly of the “how-to” variety. Almost nothing of substance is read, and most would consider a book of doctrine too deep even though their fathers and grandfathers, who had far less education, not only were able to read theology, but read it widely and well.

If the church and the lives of God’s people are to be rescued from superficiality, decline, and all the church troubles that afflict us today, there must be a return to doctrine. For proof we need look no further than the great Reformation of the sixteenth century. Above all, the Reformation was a return to doctrine—to the doctrines of justification by faith alone, of sovereign grace, of the church, and of the sacraments. Without an interest in or return to doctrine, we cannot even hope for revival and renewal in the church.

In 2 Timothy 3:16–17 the Word of God tells us that Scripture is profitable for many things, but for doctrine first of all. Indeed, if it does not first teach us doctrine, it is not profitable for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness. To all of these, doctrine is not only first, but also foundational.

Scripture emphasizes the importance of doctrine in other ways. We learn from John 17:3 that the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ is eternal life. Nothing is more important than that. Doctrine, properly taught, understood, and believed, is that knowledge of God and of his Son. Scripture teaches nothing else. “Search the scriptures,” Jesus says, “for they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39).

Let us, then, give heed to doctrine. It is the province not only of the theologians but of every one who desires life eternal. Let us not set doctrine aside in the interest of more “practical” matters, but understand that doctrine reproves, corrects, and teaches the way of righteousness. Above all, it brings us face-to-face with the living God himself, in whom we live and move and have our being. To be without doctrine is to be without God.

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This excerpt was taken from the introduction of Doctrine according to Godliness, written by Ronald Hanko.

Precious Remedies (30)

DEVICE 4: By suggesting to them that their graces are not true—but counterfeit.

Satan does not labour more mightily to persuade hypocrites that their graces are true when they are counterfeit; than he does to persuade precious souls that their graces are counterfeit, when indeed they are true, and such as will abide the touchstone of Christ.

Yet it must be granted that many a fair flower may grow out of a stinking root—and many sweet dispositions and fair actions may be where there is only the corrupt root of nature.

The first remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That grace is taken two ways.

[1.] It is taken for the (beauty-JK) gracious good-will and favour of God, whereby he is pleased of his own free love to accept of some in Christ for his own and this is only in God.

[2.] Grace is taken for the gifts of grace, and they are proper and peculiar to the saints, as faith, humility, meekness, love, patience, etc. (Gal. 5:22, 23).
True grace makes all glorious within and without. ‘The King’s daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is of wrought gold’ (Psalm 45:13). True grace makes the understanding glorious, the affections glorious. It casts a general glory upon all the noble parts of the soul: ‘The King’s daughter is all glorious within.’ And as it makes the inside glorious, so it makes the outside glorious: ‘Her clothing is of wrought gold.’ It makes men look gloriously, and speak gloriously, and walk and act gloriously, so that vain souls shall be forced to say that these are those who have seen Jesus. God brings not a pair of scales to weigh our graces—but a touchstone to try our graces. Purity, preciousness, and holiness is stamped upon all saving graces. Acts 15:9; 2 Peter 4:1; Jude 20.

Brooks says much here that is in error when he contrasts true grace with temporary, restraining or common grace which is NOT grace!-JK

As grace is a fire to burn up and consume the dross and filth of the soul, so it is an ornament to beautify and adorn the soul. True grace makes all new, the inside new and the outside new: ‘If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature’ (2 Cor. 5:17).The Greek signifies ‘a new creation’: new man, new covenant, new paradise, new Lord, new law, new hearts, and new creatures go together.

True grace changes the very nature of a man.

True grace enables a Christian, when he is himself, to do spiritual actions with real pleasure and delight. To souls truly gracious, Christ’s yoke ‘is easy, and his burden is light.’ ‘His commandments are not grievous—but joyous.’ ‘I delight in the law of God after the inward man,’ says Paul. The blessed man is described by this, that he ‘delights in the law of the Lord’ (Psalm 1:2). To a gracious soul, ‘All the ways of the Lord are pleasantness, and his paths are peace (Prov. 3:17)

True grace makes a man most careful, and most fearful of his own heart. (Psalm 51:10; 119:36, 80; 86:11). It makes him most studious about his own heart—informing that, examining that, and watching over that. True grace will work a man’s heart to love and cleave to the strictest and holiest ways and things of God, for their purity and sanctity, in the face of all dangers and hardships. ‘Your word is very pure, therefore your servant loves it (Psalm 119:140).
Grace is a panoply against all trouble, and a paradise of all pleasures.

True grace will enable a man to step over the world’s crown, to take up Christ’s cross; to prefer the cross of Christ above the glory of this world. It enabled Abraham, and Moses, and Daniel, with those other worthies in Heb. 11, to do so.

 Sanctifying grace, renewing grace, puts the soul upon spiritual duties, from spiritual and intrinsic motives, as from the sense of divine love—which constrains the soul to wait on God, and to act for God; and the sense of the excellency and sweetness of communion with God, and the choice and precious discoveries that the soul has formerly had of the beauty and glory of God, while it has been in the service of God. The good looks, the good words, the blessed love-letters, the glorious kisses, and the sweet embraces that gracious souls have had from Christ in his service—stimulate and move them to wait upon him in holy duties.

Saving grace, renewing grace, will cause a man to follow the Lord fully in the desertion of all sin, and in the observation of all God’s precepts. Joshua and Caleb followed the Lord fully. (Num. 14:24). Zacharias and Elizabeth were righteous before God, and walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless (Luke 1:5, 6). The saints in the Revelation are described by this, that ‘they follow the Lamb wherever he goes’ (Rev. 14:4).

True grace works the heart to the hatred of all sin, and to the love of all truth. It works a man to the hatred of those sins that for his blood he cannot conquer, and to loathe those sins that he would give all the world to overcome (Psalm 119:104, 128). So that a soul truly gracious can say, Though there is no one sin mortified and subdued in me, as it should be, and as I would desire; yet every sin is hated and loathed by me. So a soul truly gracious can say, Though I do not obey any one command as I should, and as I would desire, yet every word is sweet, every command of God is precious (Psalm 119:6, 119, 127, 167). I dearly prize and greatly love those commands that I cannot obey; though there be many commands that I cannot in a strict sense fulfil, yet there is no command I would not fulfil, that I do not exceedingly love. ‘I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold:’ ‘My soul has kept your testimonies, and I love them exceedingly’ (Psalm 119, 127, 167).

True grace leads the soul to rest in Christ, as in his ‘summum bonum,’ the chief good. It works the soul to centre in Christ, as in his highest and ultimate end. ‘Where should we go? you have the words of eternal life’ (John 6:68). ‘My lover is dark and dazzling, better than ten thousand others! I found the one I love. I held on to him and would not let him go!’ (Cant. 5:10; 3:4). That wisdom which a believer has from Christ—it leads him to centre in the wisdom of Christ (1 Cor. 1:30). And that love the soul has from Christ—it leads the soul to centre in the love of Christ. And that righteousness the soul has from Christ, it leads the soul to rest and centre in the righteousness of Christ (Phil. 3:9).

Grace is that star that leads to Christ; it is that cloud and pillar of fire that leads the soul to the heavenly Canaan, where Christ sits chief. True grace is a beam of Christ, and where it is, it will naturally lead the soul to rest in Christ. The stream does not more naturally lead to the fountain, nor the effect to the cause—than true grace leads the soul to Christ.

True grace will enable a soul to sit down satisfied and contented with the naked enjoyments of Christ. The enjoyment of Christ without honour will satisfy the soul; the enjoyment of Christ without riches, the enjoyment of Christ without pleasures, and without the smiles of creatures, will content and satisfy the soul. ‘It is enough; Joseph is alive’ (Gen. 45:28). So says a gracious soul, though honour is not, and riches are not, and health is not, and friends are not—it is enough that Christ is, that he reigns, conquers, and triumphs. Christ is the pot of manna, the cruse of oil, a bottomless ocean of all comfort, contentment, and satisfaction. He who has him lacks nothing: he who lacks him enjoys nothing. ‘Having nothing,’ says Paul, ‘and yet possessing all things’ (2 Cor. 6:10). A contented man cannot be a poor man.

But a soul truly gracious can say: In having nothing I have all things, because I have Christ; having therefore all things in him, I seek no other reward, for he is the universal reward. I prize my Christ above all, I would enjoy my Christ above all other things in the world. His presence will make up the absence of all other comforts. His absence will darken and embitter all my comforts—so that my comforts will neither taste like comforts, nor look like comforts, nor warm like comforts—when he who should comfort my soul stands afar off (Lam. 1:16). Christ is all and in all to souls truly gracious (Col. 3:11). We have all things in Christ. Christ is all things to a Christian. If we are sick, Jesus is a physician. If we thirst, Jesus is a fountain. If our sins trouble us, Jesus is our righteousness. If we stand in need of help, Jesus is mighty to save. If we fear death, Jesus is life. If we are in darkness, Jesus is light. If we are weak, Jesus is strength. If we are in poverty, Jesus is plenty. If we desire heaven, Jesus is the way. The soul cannot say, ‘this I would have, and that I would have.’ But having Jesus, he has all he needs—eminently, perfectly, eternally.

Acts 5:1-16

Acts 5:1-10

The story of Ananias and Sapphira in contrast to Barnabas introduced appropriately by the word “but”.

  1. Perhaps Ananias and Sapphira wanted to be members of the church for the status or to appear righteous but they were hypocrites planted by Satan.
  2. They sold land or a house but kept back some of the proceeds but told the church they had brought all the proceeds as a gift.
  3. It was not wrong per se to give only part of the sale price because it was theirs.
  4. Their deception was to tell lies about how much the sale was perhaps wanting to appear righteous and generous.
  5. We guess the Spirit told Peter expressly what Ananias had done cf. Acts 8:29, 10:19, 16:7, I Sam. 9:15, 16:12, I Tim.4:1.
  6. Peter quizzed Sapphira and not Ananias perhaps in the hope she would repent and tell the truth. Ananias clearly as the head and leader bore ultimately the greater responsibility.
  7. Their sin was deceit/lying to God and men perhaps motivated by self-aggrandisement and the love of money. Satan moved them.
  8. They had lied to men but the greater sin was to lie to God and not only men.
  9. Ananias had conceived the pretence believing no one would know including God.
  10. The punishment was so swift and severe to make them an example to the early church and expose hypocrisy (bit like man gathering sticks on the Sabbath in Numbers 15:32). It was a major public sin (like Achan’s). The wages of sin is death and with some it does not tarry.
  11. God inflicted the punishment.
  12. They had tempted or tested the Spirit unaware of his omniscience and power.
  13. The great fear was reverence and awe tinged with alarm (Gr: for fear is PHOBOS).

Acts 5:12-16

  1. Signs in Scripture are supernatural pointers to spiritual reality i.e. have a deeper meaning. They are usually performed by God’s messengers e.g. Moses, Elijah/Elisha, Christ and the apostles and confined to certain times in history where God had to authenticate and show the authority of his messengers. They include miracles and can even be performed by the wicked e.g. magicians in Egypt and Antichrist ( II. Thess. 2:9). Also Belshazzar’s writing on the wall* and Hezekiah’s sundial. They may be a portent*
  2. Wonders are happenings that are strange, sometimes natural events or calamities (Joel 2:30,31) that make people seek a reason for them. They me be a vision e.g. Rev.12:1,3.
  3. These two are often mentioned or occur together. God causes both, one through his servants, the other directly.
  4. These two class of miracles are thus described as signifying something deeper and making people question why.
  5. Their purpose is to authenticate that the messenger is divinely appointed and authoritative (in the case of the apostles before the completion of the canon of Scripture I Cor.12, II Cor.12:12).
  6. The apostles healed many people and drove out demons. Paul also struck a man blind.
  7. Peter may be singled out for special privilege because he was the natural leader.
  8. Miracles done by his shadow seem even more amazing than Jesus’ miracles where he touched people, was touched or gave commandment.
  9. The miracles served to keep some people away (“the rest”) from the apostolic band perhaps because they were opponents.
  10. They dare not join the church probably because they were not true believers and would come with wrong motives.
  11. But many others thought highly of the apostles and the church and joined them.

Next study Acts 5:17-40 (bottom page 40) November 5th 8pm (DV).

Precious Remedies (29)

Thomas Brooks

DEVICE 3: By tempting us to question God’s goodness in providence.

Says Satan—Do you not see how Providence crosses your prayers, and crosses your desires, your tears, your hopes, your endeavours? Surely if his love were towards you, if his soul did delight and take pleasure in you—he would not deal thus with you. (Psalm 77:7)

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That many things may be cross to our desires, which are not cross to our spiritual and eternal good. Abraham, Jacob, David, Job, Moses, Jeremiah, Jonah, and Paul, met with many things that were contrary to their desires and endeavours, that were not contrary to their good; as all know that have wisely compared their desires and endeavours and God’s actings together. Medicine and surgery often works contrary to the patients’ desires, when it does not work contrary to their good.

I remember a story of a godly man, who had a great desire to go to France, and as he was going to board the ship, he broke his leg; and it pleased Providence so to order it, that the ship that he should have gone in, was sunk, and not a man saved; and so by breaking a bone his life was saved.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That the hand of God may be against a man, when the love and heart of God is much set upon a man. No man can conclude how the heart of God stands—by his hand in providential dealings. The hand of God was against Ephraim, and yet his love, his heart, was dearly set upon Ephraim: “I have surely heard Ephraim’s moaning: ‘You disciplined me like an unruly calf, and I have been disciplined. Restore me, and I will return, because you are the Lord my God. After I strayed, I repented; after I came to understand, I beat my breast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’ Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him,” declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 31:18-20 ‘ (Jer. 31:1820).*

God’s providential hand may be with people, when his heart is set against them. God’s providential hand was for a time with Saul, Haman, Assyria, and Jehu—and yet his heart was set against them. ‘No man knows love or hatred by all that is before him’ (Eccles. 9:1, 2).

God can look sourly, and chide bitterly, and strike heavily—even where and when he loves dearly. The hand of God was very much against Job—and yet his love, his heart,
was very much set upon Job, as you may see by comparing chaps. 1 and 2, with 41 and 42. The hand of God was sore against David and Jonah—when his heart was much set upon them. He who shall conclude that the heart of God is against those who his hand is against, will condemn the generation of the just, whom God unjustly would not have condemned.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan, is, to consider, That all the cross providences which befall the saints are for some noble good that God intends to confer upon them. Providence wrought cross to David’s desire in taking away the child sinfully begotten—but yet not cross to more noble good; for was it not far better for David to have such a legitimate heir as Solomon was, than that a illegitimate child should wear the crown, and sway the scepter?

Joseph, you know, was sold into a far country by the envy and malice of his brethren, and afterwards imprisoned because he would not be a prisoner to his mistress’s lusts; yet all these providences did wonderfully conduce to his advancement, and the preservation of his father’s family, which was then the visible church of Christ. It was so handled by a noble hand of providence, that what they sought to injure, they did promote. Joseph was therefore sold by his brethren that he might not be worshipped, and yet he was therefore worshipped because he was sold. Cf. Genesis 37:7, etc.

David was designed to a kingdom—but oh! the straits, troubles, and deaths that he runs through before he feels the weight of his crown! And all this was but in order to the sweetening of his crown, and to the settling of it more firmly and gloriously upon his head.

The motions of divine providence are so dark, so deep, so changeable, that the wisest and noblest believers cannot tell what conclusions to make.

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That all the strange, dark, deep, and changeable providences that believers meet with, shall further them in their way to heaven—in their journey to happiness. Divine wisdom and love will so order all things here below, that they shall work for the real, spiritual, and eternal good—of those who love him. All the rugged providences that David met with did contribute to the bringing of him to the throne; and all the rugged providences that Daniel and the ‘three children’ met with did contribute to their great advancement. So all the rugged providences that believers meet with, they shall all contribute to the lifting up of their souls above all things, below God. As the waters lifted up Noah’s ark nearer heaven—and as all the stones that were about Stephen’s ears did but knock him the closer to Christ, the corner-stone—so all the strange rugged providences that we meet with, they shall raise us nearer heaven, and knock us nearer to Christ, that precious corner-stone.

 

Precious Remedies (28)

Thomas Brooks (1608–1680) was an English non-conformist Puritan preacher and author

Satan furthermore wants to undermine our peace by DEVICE 2: By causing them to hold a false definition of their graces (e.g.faith)

Satan knows, that as false definitions of sin wrong the soul one way, so false definitions of grace wrong the soul another way.

Brooks, like the Puritans generally goes wrong here in his definition of faith. He states that Satan ” works to define faith too high, as that it is a full assurance of the love of God to a man’s soul in particular, or a full persuasion of the pardon and remission of a man’s own sins in particular.” He says faith is not assurance but it is! That is what true faith is! he goes on to say that,” there may be true faith, yes, great measures of faith, where there is no assurance. He believes the recipients of I John did nor know they had eternal life!

There may be true faith where there is much doubtings. I agree-JK. Witness those frequent sayings of Christ to his disciples, ‘Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?’ (Matt. 6:30, 14:31, 16:8; Luke 12:28). People may be truly believing who nevertheless are sometimes doubting. In the same people that the fore-mentioned scriptures speak of, you may see their faith commended and their doubts condemned, which does necessarily suppose a presence of both.

He continues,” The next remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That assurance is an effect of faith; therefore it cannot be faith. The cause cannot be the effect, nor the root the fruit. As the effect flows from the cause, the fruit from the root, the stream from the fountain, so does assurance flow from faith. This truth I shall make good thus: The assurance of our salvation and pardon of sin does primarily arise from the witness of the Spirit of God that we are the children of God (Eph. 1:13); and the Spirit never witnesses this until we are believers: ‘For we are sons by faith in Christ Jesus’ (Gal. 4:6). Therefore assurance is not faith—but follows it, as the effect follows the cause. ” Hebrews 12: 3 states otherwise! True faith is the assurance of things hoped for the evidence of things unseen!

Brooks goes on, “Again, no man can be assured and persuaded of his salvation until he be united to Christ, until he be ingrafted into Christ; and a man cannot be ingrafted into Christ until he has faith. He must first be ingrafted into Christ by faith before he can have assurance of his salvation; which does clearly evidence, that assurance is not faith—but an effect and fruit of faith. ” But faith is BOTH an ingrafting into Christ AND the assurance of our justification by him-JK

“Again, faith cannot be lost—but assurance may;” I agree, especially when we fall into sin-JK. Psalm 51:12, Is. 8:17.
“There are many thousand precious souls, of whom this world is not worthy, that have the faith of reliance, and yet lack assurance and the effects of it; as high joy, glorious peace, and vehement longings after the coming of Christ.” This ought not to be so! Lord help thou our unbelief-JK!

Precious Remedies (27)

 

Brooks starts a new section:

CHAPTER 4: SATAN’S DEVICES TO KEEP SAINTS IN A SAD, DOUBTING, QUESTIONING & UNCOMFORTABLE CONDITION

[8 devices and their remedies]

Though Satan can never rob a believer of his crown, yet such is his malice and envy, that he will leave no stone unturned, no means unattempted, to rob them of their comfort and peace—to make their life a burden and to cause them to spend their days in sorrow and mourning, in sighing and complaining, in doubting and questioning. ‘Surely,’ he says, ‘we have no interest in Christ; our graces are not true, our hopes are the hopes of hypocrites; our confidence is our presumption, our enjoyments are our delusions.’

Blessed John Bradford (the martyr) in one of his epistles, says thus, ‘O Lord, sometime methinks I feel it so with me—as if there were no difference between my heart and the wicked. I have a blind mind as they, a stout, stubborn, rebellious hard heart as they,’ and so he goes on.

I shall show you this in some particulars:

DEVICE 1 : The first device that Satan has to keep souls in a sad, doubting, and questioning condition is, by causing them to be still poring and musing upon sin, to mind their sins more than their Saviour; yes, so to mind their sins as to forget, yes, to neglect their Savior; that, as the Psalmist speaks, ‘The Lord is not in all their thoughts’ (Psalm 10:4). Their eyes are so fixed upon their disease, that they cannot see the remedy, though it be near; and they do so muse upon their debts, that they have neither mind nor heart to think of their Surety. A Christian should wear Christ in his bosom as a flower of delight, for he is a whole paradise of delight. He who minds not Christ more than his sin, can never be thankful and fruitful as he should.

Remedy (1). The first remedy is for weak believers to consider, That though Jesus Christ has not freed them from the presence of sin, yet he has freed them from the damnatory power of sin. It is most true that sin and grace were never born together, neither shall sin and grace die together; yet while a believer breathes in this world, they must live together, they must keep house together. Christ in this life will not free any believer from the presence of any one sin, though he does free every believer from the damning power of every sin. ‘There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh—but after the Spirit’ (Rom. 8:1). The law cannot condemn a believer, for Christ has fulfilled it for him; divine justice cannot condemn him, for that Christ has satisfied; his sins cannot condemn him, for they in the blood of Christ are pardoned; and his own conscience, upon righteous grounds, cannot condemn him, because Christ, that is greater than his conscience, has acquitted him.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider, That though Jesus Christ has not freed you from the molesting and vexing power of sin, yet he has freed you from the reign and dominion of sin. You say that sin does so molest and vex you, that you can not think of God, nor go to God, nor speak with God.* Oh! but remember it is one thing for sin to molest and vex you, and another thing for sin to reign and have dominion over you. ‘For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law—but under grace’ (Rom. 6:14).

Now sin reigns in the soul, when the soul willingly and readily obeys it, and submits to its commands, as subjects do actively obey and embrace the commands of their prince. The commands of a king are readily embraced and obeyed by his subjects—but the commands of a tyrant are embraced and obeyed unwillingly. All the service that is done to a tyrant, is out of violence, and not out of loving obedience. A free and willing subjection to the commands of sin speaks out the soul to be under the reign and dominion of sin; but from this plague, this hell, Christ frees all believers. It is a sign that sin has not gained your consent—but committed a rape upon your souls, when you cry out to God. If the ravished virgin under the law cried out—she was guiltless (Deut. 22:27); so when sin plays the tyrant over the soul, and the soul cries out, it is guiltless; those sins shall not be charged upon the soul.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, Constantly to keep one eye upon the promises of remission of sin, as well as the other eye upon the inward operations of sin. This is the most certain truth, that God graciously pardons those sins to his people—that he will not in this life fully subdue in his people. Paul prays thrice (that is, often), to be delivered from the thorn in the flesh. All he can get is ‘My grace is sufficient for you’ (2 Cor. 12:9); I will graciously pardon that to you—which I will not conquer in you, says God. ‘And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me, and whereby they have transgressed against me. I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember your sins (Jer. 33:8, Is. 43:25).

Is. 44:2; Micah 7:18, 19; Col. 2:13, 14. The promises of God are a precious book; every leaf drops myrrh and mercy. Though the weak Christian cannot open, read, and apply them, Christ can and will apply them to their souls. ‘I, I am he, blotting out your transgressions’ today and tomorrow (the Hebrew denotes a continued act of God). also I John 1:9-JK

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, To look upon all your sins as charged upon the account of Christ, as debts which the Lord Jesus has fully satisfied; and indeed, were there but one farthing of that debt unpaid that Christ was engaged to satisfy, it would not have stood with the unspotted justice of God to have let him come into heaven and sit down at his own right hand. But all our debts, by his death, being discharged, we are freed, and he is exalted to sit down at the right hand of his Father, which is the top of his glory, and the greatest pledge of our felicity: ‘For he has made him to be sin for us that knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him,’ said the apostle (2 Cor. 5:21). Christ was the greatest of sinners by imputation and reputation.

All our sins were made to meet upon Christ, as that evangelical prophet has it: ‘He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:3-6).

In law, we know that all the debts of the wife are charged upon the husband. Says the wife to one and to another, If I owe you anything, go to my husband. So may a believer say to the law, and to the justice of God, If I owe you anything, go to my Christ, who has undertaken for me. I must not sit down discouraged, under the apprehension of those debts, which Christ, to the utmost farthing, has fully satisfied. Would it not argue much weakness, I had almost said much madness, for a debtor to sit down discouraged upon his looking over those debts that his surety has readily, freely, and fully satisfied? The sense of his great love should engage a man forever to love and honour his surety, and to bless that hand that has paid the debt, and cancelled the books. But to sit down discouraged when the debt is satisfied, is a sin which bespeaks repentance.

Christ has the greatest worth and wealth in him. As the worth and value of many pieces of silver is in one piece of gold, so all the excellencies scattered abroad in the creatures are united in Christ. All the whole volume of perfections which are spread through heaven and earth are epitomized in him.

Christ has cleared all reckoning between God and us. You remember the scapegoat. Upon his head all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, were confessed and put, and the goat did bear upon him all their iniquities (Lev. 16:21). Why! the Lord Jesus is that blessed scapegoat, upon whom all our sins were laid, and who alone has carried ‘our sins away into the land of forgetfulness, where they shall never be remembered more.’

The bloods of Abel, for so the Hebrew has it, as if the blood of one Abel had so many tongues as drops, cried for vengeance against sin; but the blood of Christ cries louder for the pardon of sin!

Remedy (5). The fifth remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, Of the reasons why the Lord is pleased to have his people exercised, troubled, and vexed with the operations of sinful corruption; and they are these: partly to keep them humble and low in their own eyes; and partly to put them upon the use of all divine helps, whereby sin may be subdued and mortified; and partly, that they may live upon Christ for the perfecting the work of sanctification; and partly, to wean them from things below, and to make them heart-sick of their absence from Christ, and to maintain in them affections of compassion towards others who are subject to the same infirmities with them; and that they may distinguish between a state of grace and a state of glory, and that heaven may be more sweet to them when finally arrived there.

Remedy (6). The sixth remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That believers must repent for their being discouraged by their sins. Their being discouraged by their sins will cost them many a prayer, many a tear, and many a groan; and that because their discouragements under sin flow from ignorance and unbelief. It springs from their ignorance of the richness, freeness, fullness, and everlastingness of God’s love; and from their ignorance of the power, glory, sufficiency, and efficacy of the death and sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ; and from their ignorance of the worth, glory, fullness, largeness, and completeness of the righteousness of Jesus Christ; and from their ignorance of that real, close, spiritual, glorious, and inseparable union which exists between Christ and their precious souls. Ah! did precious souls know and believe the truth of these things as they should, they would not sit down dejected and overwhelmed under the sense and operation of sin.

Good stuff!-JK

Rejoicing in the Lord

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk 3:18

“Rejoice in the Lord alway” Phil.4:4

Marriage, the earthly symbol of Christ’s communion with his church, is always a time of rejoicing.

“In the Word of the Lord, the essential Word of the Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ; in his person, the greatness and glory of it; in his offices, as Prophet, Priest, and King, the only Mediator and Saviour; in his relations, as head and husband, father, brother, friend; in his fullness, grace, and righteousness; in his spiritual presence, and comfortable communion with him, which may be expected in a remarkable manner after the above day of trouble is over; and in his personal appearance, which will shortly be, and when his tabernacle will be with men on earth: I will joy in the God of my salvation; in Christ, who is God, and so able to save his people; to make everything he did and suffered in human nature effectual and available to them; to supply all their needs, and to keep what they commit unto him, and to preserve them safe to his kingdom and glory: and who also joy in the salvation of their God, or which he is the author of, both temporal and spiritual, especially the latter; which is so great and glorious in itself, so suitable to their case, so complete and perfect, and makes so much for the glory of all the divine perfections, and is all of free grace, and lasts for ever: this salvation is peculiar to the people of God; it is theirs, and theirs only; it is brought and applied to them by the Spirit, and which they appropriate to themselves under his witness; and salvation and deliverance from all enemies, as a matter and ground of joy; and the enjoyment of Gospel privileges in the full extent of them; the word and ordinances in their power and purity; and the presence of Christ in them.”

Adapted from John Gill

A wise reprover

Excerpts from our recent church bulletin:

The Wise Reprover (2)

Brian D. Dykstra

 

Proverbs 25:12: “As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.”

The reproof of Elihu in the book of Job turned out much better than that in Jeremiah 43:1-7. As you know, Job was a very wealthy man. However, he lost everything—everything!—in one day and soon he was afflicted with terribly painful sores. Job was miserable. He had three friends come to comfort him. These friends claim that all this evil came upon Job because he must have committed some awful sin for which God is justly punishing him. Job denies his friends’ charges. Job says that he is not a sinner. Well, he knows that he has sinned but he certainly is not guilty of the dreadful sins of which his friends are accusing him. He has not done anything, in his judgment, to bring God’s awful wrath upon him.

The conversation between Job and his three friends goes back and forth. Job cannot convince his friends that he is innocent and the friends cannot convince Job that he is guilty. Job even expresses the desire that God would appear before him in some way because he would like to have the opportunity to ask God some questions. Through all of this, Elihu sat silently listening to this conversation. He was the youngest man there and felt the older men should speak first.

The talk among the other four men was over. They had nothing more to say. Elihu could no longer keep silent. Elihu reproves Job because he justified himself rather than God. He then reproves Job’s friends because they continued to condemn Job without having any evidence that he had done the dreadful things of which they accused him.

Elihu’s words in Job 33:12-13 are really the answer to Job’s horrible afflictions and losses. Elihu points out two essential truths. First, God is greater than man. Secondly, God does not give account of any of His matters. This means God can do whatever He pleases because He is great. The Almighty is under no obligation to explain to us why He does what He does. It’s none of our business.

Job and his friends have no protest to make about what Elihu has said. They know Elihu is right. God then appears to Job and speaks to him. Jehovah points out He is almighty, wise and can do whatever He wishes. At the end of the book of Job, it is important to note that God tells Job to offer sacrifices for the sinful speech of his three friends but He requires no sacrifice for what Elihu had said. God must have approved of Elihu’s reproof.

What can we learn about what makes a good reprover from Jeremiah and Elihu? Neither of them were upset because the sin they witnessed was a personal insult to them. They did not give reproof to vent their own personal anger. They did not speak because they felt this would clear their good name or soothe their troubled conscience of the sins they had witnessed. These reprovers saw sin as an affront to God. They wanted these sins to be put away because sin prevents a right understanding of God and a proper walk with the Lord.

Proverbs tells us a reprover must be wise. Jeremiah knew the spiritual condition of the Jews with whom he was dealing. Elihu let the others speak first so he could properly understand the situation. For us, we need to know whom we reprove. Some reproof needs to be strong, while with other friends we can speak gently. We cannot be hasty in our judgment of others but must make sure we have a good understanding of the matter. We must also be wise to know the proper time to give reproof. Some reproof must be given immediately, while sometimes it is better to wait. For a reprover to be as valuable as gold, he must be wise.

God also tells us in this Proverb that the person being reproved must have an obedient ear. The Jews reproved by Jeremiah did not obey reproof. They disobeyed and went forward in their own stubborn, rebellious way to their own destruction. The ears of Job and his three friends were obedient to Elihu. They did not protest nor give an angry response. They responded with submissive silence. This led to sacrifices being offered and forgiveness being granted.

Receiving reproof properly is not what we do by nature. We take offense. Who are you to tell me what to do or tell me I am wrong! Our natural reaction is to become angry and defend ourselves. The old man of sin in each of us does not take it well when we are told we have sinned. This has been my experience for many years almost without exception-JK

An obedient ear to reproof is hard to find. I am thankful as a teacher in a Christian school that when I have had to take a student aside and have a little talk, it usually goes well. Part of that could be the student’s recognition of authority. What I pray is that this is proof of the response to God’s Word by one who is redeemed by God. What we also need as a Christian community of believers is to react properly to reproof when the reprover is our equal or, harder yet, holds a position lower than our own.

The greatest and wisest reprover is our Lord Jesus Christ who died for our sins. When someone gives us reproof based on the Bible, they are really bringing the Word of Christ to us. We also read in John 16 that the Spirit comes to do exactly that!-JK. We have to listen to the minister when he preaches because he brings and applies Christ’s Word to our lives and hearts. In catechism class, you are being taught Christ’s Word. The history of the Old and New Testaments give us instruction in a godly life. Disobedience brings the anger of God, while obedience results in covenant fellowship with Christ. Finally, Christ gives us reproof when we read the Bible, the Word of God. This is the instruction of Paul in II Timothy 3:16-17, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

The Sin Offering (1)

The Sin Offering

Psalm 19:9-14

Leviticus 4:1-28

The sin offering characteristics:

  1. For sins of ignorance against any part of the law-though really there was no excuse as conscience accuses but when people were made aware either by the witness of others or the word of God read or preached they had a duty to confess and offer their sacrifice. Examples: Abimelech (Gen.20), Deut. 19:5 (manslaughter), I Sam.14:24 (Jonathan and the honey). See also Numbers 15:27-29 and Hebrews 5:2. Sins of ignorance are contrasted with presumptuous or deliberate sins in Numbers 15:30-32ff and see also Psalm 19:12,13.
  2. Specific instances see Leviticus 5 needing confessed.
  3. Different status of the sinner counted: some were more serious e.g. office bearers (like the priest) or in NT (teachers James 3:1), also mature or older saints. Luke 12:28, Eccles 10:1.

Precious Remedies (26)

Brooks

DEVICE 8: By suggesting they can “rest on their laurels” and leave off prayer, listening to preaching, reading and the communion of saints. 

Thus he stops many souls in their heavenly race, and prevents their participation in those services that should be their joy and crown (Is. 58:1-2).

Remedy (1). Dwell much upon the imperfections and weaknesses which attend your choicest services. All our best works are tainted by sin. We need to say, ‘Oh enter not into judgement with your servant, O Lord’ (Psalm 143:2), for the weaknesses that cleave to my best services. We may all say with the church, ‘All our righteousnesses are as a menstruous cloth’ (Is. 64:6). If God should be strict to mark what is done amiss in our best actions, we are undone! Oh the dross that cleaves unto our gold! Pride and high confidence is most apt to creep in upon ‘duties well done’.

Remedy (2). Consider the inability of any of your best services to comfort, refresh, and bear your souls up from fainting, and sinking in the days of trouble. We need only Christ who is a very present help in trouble. No past good works but only Christ can succour.

Remedy (3). Consider, that self righteousness will as certainly undo us, and everlastingly destroy us—as the foulest enormities which can be committed by us. Those souls that after they have done all, do not look up so high as Christ—and rest, and centre alone in Christ, laying down their services at the footstool of Christ—must lie down in sorrow; their bread is prepared for them in hell. ‘But watch out, you who live in your own light and warm yourselves by your own fires. This is the reward you will receive from me: You will soon lie down in great torment’ (Is. 50:11). Our works are the fruit of thankfulness not something to rely on in place of Christ-JK

Remedy (4). Dwell much upon the necessity and excellency of that resting-place which God has provided for you. Above all other resting-places—he himself is your resting-place; his free mercy and love is your resting-place; the pure, glorious, matchless, and spotless righteousness of Christ is your resting-place. o poor souls who do not see the excellency of that resting-place that God has appointed for their souls to lie down in—they wander from mountain to hill, from one duty to another, and here they will rest and there they will rest. But those who see the excellency of that resting-place that God has provided for them, they will say, ‘Farewell holy exercises, I will rest no more in you—but now I will rest only in the bosom of Christ, the love of Christ, the righteousness of Christ!

Adapted

Precious Remedies (25)

Brooks.

DEVICE 7: By casting in a multitude of vain thoughts (distractions I guess-JK), while the soul is in seeking of God, and by this device he cooled some men’s spirits in heavenly services, and taken off, at least for a time, many precious souls from religious performances.

“I have no heart to hear, nor no heart to pray, nor no delight in reading, nor in the society of the saints. Satan does so dog and follow my soul, and is still a-casting in such a multitude of vain thoughts concerning God, the world, and my own soul, that I even tremble to think of waiting upon God in any religious service. Oh! the vain thoughts that Satan casts in, do so distaste my soul, and so grieve, vex, perplex, and distract my soul, that they even make me weary of holy duties, yes, of my very life. ”

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, To have your hearts strongly affected with the greatness, holiness, majesty, and glory of that God before whom you stand, and with whom your souls converse in religious services. Oh! let your souls be greatly affected with the presence, purity, and majesty of that God before whom you stand.There is nothing that will contribute so much to the keeping out of vain thoughts, as to look upon God as an omniscient God, an omnipresent God, an omnipotent God, a God full of all glorious perfections, a God whose majesty, purity, and glory will not allow him to behold the least iniquity. The reason why the blessed saints and glorious angels in heaven have not so much as one vain thought is, because they are greatly affected with the greatness, holiness, majesty, purity, and glory of God.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, To be faithful in religious services, notwithstanding all those wandering thoughts the soul is troubled with. When all those trifling vain thoughts that he casts into the soul do but vex the soul into greater diligence, carefulness, watchfulness, and steadfastness in holy and heavenly services, and that the soul loses nothing of his zeal, piety, and devotion—but doubles his care, diligence, and earnestness, he often ceases to interpose his trifles and vain thoughts, as he ceased to tempt Christ, when Christ was steadfast in resisting his temptations.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider this, That those vain and trifling thoughts that are cast into our souls, when we are waiting upon God in this or that religious service, if they be not cherished and indulged—but abhorred, resisted, and disclaimed; they are not sins upon our souls, though they may be troubles to our minds; they shall not be put upon our accounts, nor keep mercies and blessings from being enjoyed by us. Oh, do justice upon these, free me from these, that I may serve you with more zeal. It is not Satan casting in of vain thoughts that can keep mercy from the soul, or undo the soul—but the lodging and cherishing of vain thoughts: ‘O Jerusalem, how long shall vain thoughts lodge within you?’ (Jer.4:14) Vain thoughts pass through the best hearts; they are lodged and cherished only in the worst hearts.

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That resisting sinful thoughts, lamenting and weeping over sinful thoughts, carries with it the sweetest and strongest evidence of the truth and power of grace, and of the sincerity of your hearts, and is the readiest and the surest way to be rid of them (Psalm 139:23). Many low and carnal considerations may cause men to watch their words, their lives, their actions; as hope of gain, or to please friends, or to get a name in the world, and many other such like considerations. Oh! but to watch our thoughts, to weep and lament over them—this must needs be from some noble, spiritual, and internal principle—such as love to God, a holy fear of God, a holy care and delight to please the Lord. Thoughts are the first-born, the blossoms of the soul, the beginning of our strength—whether for good or evil; and they are the greatest evidences for or against a man, that can be.

A thorough work of grace is having your thoughts to be ‘brought into obedience,’ as the apostle speaks, 2 Cor. 10:4, 5 the subduing of those vain thoughts that walk up and down in the soul. (Psalm 139:23; Is. 59:7; 66:18; Matt. 9:4; 12:25.) Christ knew Herod’s bloody thoughts, and Judas’s betraying thoughts, and the Pharisees’ cruel and blasphemous thoughts afar off. (Matt. 15:15-18).

Oh! think thus: All these sinful thoughts, they defile and pollute the soul, they deface and spoil much of the inward beauty and glory of the soul. If I commit this or that sin, to which my thoughts incline me, then either I must repent or not repent; if I repent, it will cost me more grief, sorrow, shame, heart-breaking, and soul-bleeding, before my conscience will be quieted, divine justice pacified, my comfort and joy restored, my evidences cleared, and my pardon in the court of conscience sealed—than the imagined profit or seeming sensual pleasure can be worth. ‘What fruit had you in those things whereof you are now ashamed’ (Rom. 6:21). Inward bleeding kills many a man; so will sinful thoughts, if not repented of.

Remedy (5). Take it for an experienced truth, the more the soul is filled with the fullness of God and enriched with spiritual and heavenly things—the less room there is in that soul for vain thoughts. Oh, then, lay up much of God, of Christ, of precious promises, and choice experiences in your hearts—and then you will be less troubled with vain thoughts. ‘A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, brings forth good things’ (Matt. 12:35).

Remedy (6). Keep up holy and spiritual affections; for such as your affections are, such will be your thoughts. ‘Oh how I love your law! it is my meditation all the day’ (Psalm 119:97). What we love most, we most muse upon. ‘When I awake, I am still with you’ (Psalm 139:18). That which we much like—we shall much mind. Those who are frequent in their love to God and his law, will be frequent in thinking of God and his law—a child will not forget his mother.

Remedy (7). The seventh remedy against this device of Satan is, To avoid multiplicity of worldly business. Oh, let not the world take up your hearts and thoughts. Souls which are torn in pieces with the cares of the world will be always vexed and tormented with vain thoughts in all their approaches to God. Vain thoughts will be still crowding in upon him that lives in a crowd of business. The stars which have least circuit are nearest the pole; and men that are least perplexed with business are commonly nearest to God.

2 Tim. 2:4, ‘No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer.’ This is a comparison which Paul borrows from the custom of the Roman empire, wherein soldiers were forbidden to take up private businesses.

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Precious Remedies (24)

Brookes goes on listing Satan’s temptations to make Christians sin{

DEVICE 6: Satan presents the majority of the wicked world who follow their own lusts and make light the ways of the Lord.

Don’t you see that the great and the rich, the noble and the honourable, the learned and the wise, even the majority of men, care nothing for God’s ways, so why then should you be singular and odd? You had better do as the most do. (Micah 7:2-4.)

Remedy (1). God addresses this issue: ‘You shall not follow a multitude to do evil’ (Ex. 23:2). The multitude generally are ignorant. Num. 16:21, ‘Separate from them, and come out from among them.’ So the apostle: ‘Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness’ (Eph. 5:11). So Solomon: ‘Enter not into the way of the wicked; forsake the foolish, and live’ (Prov. 4:14 and 9:6). Those who walk with the many—shall perish with the many. Those who do as the most, shall before long suffer with the most. Those who live as the many, must die with the many, and go to hell with the many. The way to hell is broad and well beaten.  ‘The multitude’ is the weakest and worst argument. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

Remedy (2). If you will sin with the multitude, you will suffer with the multitude. If you will be wicked with them, you must unavoidably be miserable with them. Say to your soul, O my soul! if you will sin with the multitude, you must be shut out of heaven with the multitude, you must be cast down to hell with the multitude: ‘And I heard a voice from heaven saying, Come out of her, my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues’ (Rev. 18:4). Come out in affection, in action, and in habitation, or else the infection of sin will bring upon you the infliction of punishment. So says the wise man, ‘He who walks with wise men shall be wise—but a companion of fools shall be destroyed,’ (Prov. 13:20). Even Moses and Aaron were punished after aggravation to sin.

Remedy (3). Solemnly consider  your eternal soul. The loss of your soul is incomparable, irreparable, and irrecoverable. If your soul is lost—all is lost, and you are undone forever. Is it madness and folly in a man to kill himself for company, and is it not greater madness or folly to break the neck of your soul, and to damn it for company? Be suspect of that way wherein you see multitudes to walk; the multitude being a stream that you must row hard against, or you will be carried into that gulf out of which angels cannot deliver you. Is it not better to walk in a straight way alone, than to wander into crooked ways with company? Surely, it is better to go to heaven alone—than to hell with company!

 

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