The Melchisedecian priesthood greater than the Levitical.
Tithes (usually a tenth) are given to God via his representatives on earth. In Abraham’s case he gave them to Melchisedec showing that the priest-king was in a high position. Today we give to support the ministry and the diaconal work of the church. Abraham’s tithe was significant because the Levites were seminally in Abraham (their ancestor) and they were in their federal head paying tithes to Melchisedec (in the same way we sinned in Adam as our federal head). We reckon that Abraham probably knew Melchisedec and recognised him as a type of Christ, his saviour. The commandment to give tithes is first seen in Numbers 18:21 and Leviticus 27:30, but it is notable that even before the law Jacob gave a tenth to God (Gen.28:22). This begs the question, “How much of the Mosaic law did the anti-deluvian world know?” We believe they kept a sabbath day and there is good reason to believe that the moral law was written on their hearts. The greater blesses the lesser, just as Christ blessed his disciples (Luke 24:50) and our pastor blesses the congregation before and after the service. The mortal Levites received tithes in the Old Testament but the one who Melchisedec typifies as head of the church receives his peoples’ tithes for ever.
The Levitical priesthood and the law they represented, was not perfect, because centrally it could not atone for sin, grant forgiveness and cleanse the conscience. Christ’s priesthood was eternal, uninterrupted and actually atoned for sin and brought in salvation. The Levitical priesthood and the law were given simultaneously (moral, ceremonial and civil- Exodus 4,6,20,38). The Levites were teachers of the law (Deut.24:8, 2 Chron.17:9), judges (2 Chron.19:8), they carried the tabernacle, put it up, took it down, the priests among them offered sacrifices (helped by their non-priestly brethren), blew trumpets at the feasts, checked people, houses and objects that had leprosy etc.
The change in the priesthood and law typified by Melchisedec was from Levitical to Christ with the ending of the ceremonial and civil law when he died and the curtain was rent in two (Matt.5:18, 2 Cor.3:6-18 (especially v11). Christ was from Judah. Moses by God’s choice separated the Levites (Num.18,31:47) to minister in the tabernacle/temple. It was evident that our great High Priest came from Judah and more evident that he was typified by Melchizedek whose ancestry we know nothing about. Christ was like him because he was also a priest/king and greater than Abraham or Aaron. The law of a carnal commandment was the priesthood being passed down the generations from father to son e.g. Zecharias and John the Baptist and from certain examples we know it was greatly flawed e.g. Eli’s sons Hophni and Phinehas, also Annas and Caiaphas. Christ, the only immortal being, has because of his divinity and eternity, an endless life and so the ability to serve for ever in his position anointed by the Father. The Mosaic commandment was disannulled (made invalid) because it was weak and ineffective because it only exposed sin (and brought death-the letter kills (2 Cor.3:9) without actually removing it from conscience (forgiveness) or personal character (sanctification)-Heb.10:4. It took the New Covenant to put this law in the hearts of God’s people hence giving them enabling power and making it profitable. The law made nothing perfect* (the meaning of justification) because it did not encapsulate the Gospel, though it was a gracious covenant teacher pointing men to Christ. The better hope brought by the Gospel and New Covenant concerned Christ who is our hope (1 Tim.1:1) who gives us himself, the hope of certain future good. This hope, Christ himself, who has gone into heaven is the means by which we draw near to God because he opened the way (through the veil/his rent body), appears there as our High Priest and we are united to him and his access (Heb.6:18-20).
Contrasting the Old Testament Priesthood and that of Christ (A.W.Pink)
Levitical priesthood (Aaron)
Son of God
Tribe of Levi (Priests)
Tribe of Judah (Royal tribe) Priest-King
Law of carnal commandment (generational)
Power of an endless life
Made nothing perfect
Christ brought in perfection
Unable to bring a sinner near to God
Christ brings us into the holy of holies
Separate from sinners
Priestly head of an earthly people
Made higher than the heavens and head of his eternal kingdom
Let me first restate the four principal points which occupied us this morning. First, there is an evangelical perfection in contrast from that absolute perfection which the law demands, God in His grace accepting from His people (through Christ) sincere obedience of the heart: that genuine desire and sincere effort to please Him in all things. Second, relative perfection in contrast from absolute: this is what distinguishes the Christian from the non-Christian. Third, perfection of parts, that is, the adding of one grace to another, so that a well-rounded Christian character and conduct is developed. Fourth, perfection of degrees, that is, growth from spiritual baby hood to youth, and from youth to full maturity. It is after the third and fourth we should daily and prayerfully strive. By way of application, let me point out, first, that the Christian ministry has been appointed by God for “the perfecting” of His saints: see Ephesians 4:11, 12. God sends His servants that you may be instructed, nourished, sanctified. “Night and day” Paul “prayed exceedingly” that he should come unto the Thessalonian Christians, and this that he “might perfect that which is lacking in your faith” (1 Thess. 3:10): this is the yearning of every true servant of Christ’s. Second, our improvement of this means, the response which God requires His people to make unto the ministry of His servants: “As ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more” (1 Thess. 4:1): may this be true of you. Third, nothing short of this should be our aim and diligent endeavour, that you may “stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” (Col. 4:12).
Reasons Why We Must Be Perfect. That is, not only sincere, with a heart desiring to and seeking after the glory of God, not only having all the spiritual parts of a Christian, and striving after the highest possible growth, but that we may actually attain unto all that is possible for us in Christ, in this life. First, we have to do with a perfect God, and therefore we should seek perfection of character and conduct: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). The main reason why God has been pleased to make known His attributes, to reveal unto us His perfections, is that we should take them for our copy. Second, a perfect standard is set before us, and God will not lower it. To Abraham He said, “Walk before Me, and be thou perfect” (Gen. 17:1). Abraham is the father of us all (Rom. 4:16, Gal. 3:7), therefore what God says to him, He also says to us. Third, we have a perfect rule to regulate us: see 2 Timothy 3:16, 17. Those verses show that the strictness of the law is embodied in the Gospel. The high standard which God has set up under the old covenant, has not been lowered under the new covenant. The exhortations of the New Testament are but so many explanations and applications of the Ten Commandments. Fourth, we have a perfect and all-sufficient Redeemer to rely upon: Colossians 2:9. There is everything in Christ which is needed by us, and all that is in Him we may appropriate. God has not only given Christ for us, but He has given Him to us. Christ Himself is ours: O that the Holy Spirit may teach us how to draw from His infinite fullness.
II. Motives to Stimulate. When we truly ask God to make us more holy, we pledge our selves to use every means which makes for holiness, and strive our utmost to be holy. Prayer was never designed to be a substitute for diligent effort. Therefore if we are praying for the highest perfection attainable in this life we must strive after it. All around us we behold illustrations of the fact that God has closely linked together sin and misery; so also has He inseparably connected holiness and true happiness. Therefore we should consider how much we miss when we slacken in our efforts after Christian perfection. It is those who take Christ’s yoke upon them that find rest unto their souls; it is those who walk closest with Him that enter most into His joy. Not only so, but they who live a holy and happy life have a triumphant exit from this world: Psalm 37:37. Balaam said he wished that he might die the death of the righteous, but he was unwilling to live the life of the righteous. If our daily lives be right with God He will look after us in death: this thought is also brought out in 2 Peter 1:11, which supplies the climax to the whole of that passage.
Means to Help. The enjoyment of God, the service of God, the pleasing of God, must become the soul’s portion for time and eternity; but we cannot cleave unto God, walk with Him, or go on with Him, until we first take Him for our portion. David said, “The Lord is my portion.” Second, give special attention to the radical graces. Just as in our physical bodies there are some organs and members more vital than others, playing a larger part in determining whether we are well or sick, weak or strong, so there are certain graces in the Christian character which are more vital and radical than others. What these are is intimated in 1 Corinthians 13:13: faith, hope, and love. Let us be especially concerned to have a strong faith, a lively hope, and a fervent love. Remember that word of the Lord to the Pharisees in Matthew 23:23: they were very careful about minor things, most punctilious about washing their hands, so particular they would not eat if the shadow of a Gentile even crossed their path. But God is not found in such things, neither is the spiritual life promoted by them. Give your attention to that which is vital and fundamental. Third, seek grace to appropriate Philippians 4:13, and turn it into earnest prayer: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Faith says, I “can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”: turn that statement into believing, fervent, persistent prayer. Count upon God making it good. Fourth, remind yourself frequently that failure to strive hard and constantly after perfection dishonours Christ. O that the love of Christ may constrain us, that gratitude to Him will compel us to seek a closer conformity unto Him. The more I am like Him, the more I honour Him; the less I am like Him, the more I dishonour Him. We must realize this if our hearts are to be stirred up unto renewed efforts after perfection.
IV. Tests. Here there are two extremes to guard against. On the one hand, the workings of pride, assuming that I have made more progress than is really the case. On the other hand (and to a genuine Christian, this danger is just as real), the workings of unbelief, a mock humility denying that I have made true progress. Now every real Christian should be anxious to know what measure of growth he has attained unto. I am going to mention five things by which we should test ourselves concerning our growth. First, increasing deadness to the world. The closer we approximate to Christian perfection, the deader will our hearts be unto the world. The more fully we are conformed unto the image of Christ, the less power will the world have to attract us. When I say that, I refer to something more than its amusements and grosser sins; I mean also its pretty things. One of the marks of a child is to value a thing not according to its worth and usefulness, but according to its attractiveness to the eye. There are many forms of worldliness: Isaiah 3:22 warns against “changeable suits of apparel”—such savours of pride; it is an unnecessary expense; and, it is a denial of our strangership. The more we are really growing in grace the less shall we be attracted by such baubles, and the more attention shall we give to the adorning of our souls. One half of practical godliness is a dying unto the world; the other half is a living unto God: the mortification of self-love, and the strengthening of love to God. “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal. 6:14)—that is the language of a perfect Christian, that is the experience of a mature saint: dead to the world. It no longer has any attraction for him and no power over him. Second, increasing dissatisfaction with our present attainments. Therefore, dear friends, the measure of spiritual growth you have made during the past year is the extent to which you have grown out of love with yourself. Third, increasingly being moved by love rather than by fear. The weak and immature Christian is most obedient when he is most in fear of punishment from God—either fear of His law or fear of His chastisement. But the mature Christian, he who has grown in grace, is moved more by the love of God and love to God: this is what regulates his actions: “For the love of Christ constraineth us” (2 Cor. 5:14). The extent to which we have grown spiritually during the last twelve months may be gauged by the measure in which our conduct is now regulated by love to Christ. Fourth, increasing humility. Where there is real and deep humility, one sees more quickly and is more concerned about his own defects than those of his fellow Christians. A proud man is quick to note the faults of other people, but it takes an humble man to recognize and acknowledge his own. A babe in Christ is far more likely to be proud of his spiritual attainment than is a mature Christian: the latter is filled with self-abhorrence. Thus, increasing holiness means increasing self-loathing. Fifth, increasing deliverance from childishness. Where there is growth, one is less sensitive of being hurt over trifles. Second, a child is regulated very largely by his senses, rather than by his reason. Take food as an example: if something looks nice, tastes nice, smells nice, the child wants it, whether or not it is good for him—he is regulated by his senses. But as he grows older he learns that some things which look and smell good are injurious, and so he learns to leave them alone. So it is spiritually: a developed Christian is regulated by his judgment (reason) rather than by his senses. Third, a child is incapable of helping others very much: it is always needing attention itself. But as the child grows older it increases in usefulness: it becomes able to help mother in the home, and later on to do other things in the world. Finally, a child is always getting into mischief or trouble, constantly doing something or other which it ought not, so that it is not safe to allow it to be long out of sight. But as it grows older, if it be properly trained, it grows out of that. Now, my friends, honestly measure yourselves by these tests. In closing, let me say, praise God for any real growth that you can see has been wrought in you: to Him alone belongs all the glory. Strive earnestly after further growth, avoiding all things which hinder and retard it, making a diligent use of all the means of grace which God has appointed for the promotion of the same.
“We speak wisdom among them that are perfect” (1 Cor. 2:6): the Holy Spirit speaking through Paul acknowledges some are “perfect,” and He was referring to those still on earth. “This also we wish, even your perfection” (2 Cor. 13:9): that was the desire and longing of the Apostle for those saints; did he wish for something unattainable, impossible? “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable . . . that the man of God may be perfect”: such a verse ought to exercise us. “But the God of all grace . . . make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you” (1 Peter 5:10): this too is while we are on earth. “I have not found thy works perfect before God” (Rev. 3:2), which clearly intimates they ought to have been: the Ephesians were being rebuked because their works were imperfect.
Let us turn next to Job 1:1, “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect.” Yet in 9:20 Job says, “If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me; if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.” There seems to be a flat contradiction between those two verses. The explanation is simple: the word “perfect” is used in different senses in those two passages. Job 9:20 signifies, If I were to say I am sinless, faultless, absolutely perfect, I should lie. But what is meant in Job 1:1 where God Himself says that he was “a perfect man”? The term there, and in many other passages of the Old Testament means “sincere, honest”; such verses speak of a perfection of sincerity as opposed to hypocrisy; compare Ephesians 6:24.
Hebrews 10:14 — “by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified”—yet he mourns and grieves over many imperfections. Coming more closely to our subject, I want to carefully consider what kind of “perfection” is attainable in this life by the saint. In Philippians 3:15 Paul says, “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect,” and yet in the 12th verse of the same chapter the Apostle affirmed of himself, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect.”
We must discriminate between legal and evangelical perfection. Legal perfection is that complete and constant conformity in desire, thought, word and deed which God requires from us unto His holy and righteous law. This is the perfection which God demands from every creature—a full and flawless obedience, both internal and external, loving Him with all our hearts and our neighbours as ourselves; and this, not occasionally, but perpetually. This has been God’s demand in every age, and it cannot be lowered.
As Romans 8:3-4 tells us, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us.” God sent His Son here as the surety of His elect to meet the demands of the law by perfectly obeying it in their stead. Christ has procured for His people the gift of the Holy Spirit, and in regeneration the Spirit begets in our hearts a love for the law, a desire after that which is holy and righteous before God, and the real Christian longs to meet God’s claims, walk obediently, and endeavours to do so. Through Christ God accepts this real desire and genuine effort to obey Him. Here then is where we must draw the first distinction on “perfection”: we must discriminate between legal and evangelical perfection. Legal perfection or sinless obedience was found only in Christ. Evangelical perfection or sincere obedience is found in every Christian.
Now this evangelical perfection has marked God’s children in every dispensation. Unto Abraham—the father of all them that believe—the Lord said, “I am the Almighty God; walk before Me, and be thou perfect” (Gen. 17:1). That was God’s standard then: a heart completely surrendered to His claims, a sincere desire and determination to please Him in all things. “I beseech thee, O Lord, remember now how I have walked before Thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in Thy sight” (2 Kings 20:3). “And thou, Solomon, my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve Him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts” (1 Chron. 28:9). Here is another scriptural declaration which helps us to understand the nature of evangelical perfection: the obedience which God requires must be performed readily and not by constraint, with a willing mind. It must be spontaneous, and not compulsory. It must proceed from love, and not from terror. That obedience which is acceptable to God issues from the gratitude of a renewed heart, and is rendered freely, and not from external constraint. So that to serve Him with “a perfect heart and a willing mind” signifies to obey Him, readily and gladly, freely and out of love.
Legal perfection is that sinless perfection which the Law demands from man: that absolute, undivided, continuous obedience, both inward and outward, to all its precepts. This strict and faultless obedience Christ rendered unto the Law in the stead of and on behalf of His people. Evangelical perfection is that sincere desire of a renewed heart to please God in all things, a desire which is inseparably linked to an honest determination and effort to do so.
We must distinguish between absolute and relative perfection. And here too the former was found only in Christ, for He along received the Spirit “without measure” (John 3:34). He is the only one that could truthfully say, “I do always those things which please Him” (John 8:29).
First, as Christians are compared with non-Christians. In contrast from the unconverted, the saints are subject to Christ: they have surrendered to His Lordship, accepted His yoke, and so are “perfect” in contrast from those who yield not themselves to Him. “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven: and come and follow Me” (Matt. 19:21). The obvious meaning of that word was, “If thou wilt be a Christian, if you are anxious to be saved, here is what you must do—go and sell what you have, give to the poor, come and follow Me.” In other words, if you wish to enjoy the privileges of the Gospel you must submit to the rules of the Gospel. Thus, the word “perfect” is used here in a relative way, to describe the Christian in contrast from the non-Christian. In Christianity “perfection” is found, in contradistinction from Judaism: see Hebrews 6:1. All we have is to be held in trust for God and at his disposal. This is true not only of gold, but of our children also. A regenerated person will place each child at the absolute disposal of God, saying, It is not mine, it is Thine to do with as Thou pleaseth; to enlighten or to leave in darkness, to save and send forth as a missionary to the heathen, or to remain here; it is Thy creature, and my heart relinquishes all absolute claims upon it. Everything we have and are must be laid before God, and by the heart truly held at His sovereign disposal. This is the nature of relative Christian “perfection”: it is the difference between the heart of a converted and an unconverted person.
Second, there is a relative perfection as one Christian may be compared with other Christians. Even saints differ much among themselves. Though none attain unto absolute and sinless perfection, yet there are several degrees of grace and diversity of growth among Christians. There are babes, young men, fathers: (1 John 2;13): the strong and mature Christian is relatively “perfect” in contrast from the weak and immature, who has less wisdom to detect error and less strength with which to resist sin and Satan. I want us to look at Scripture in connection with this point. “That we be no more children, tossed to and fro” (Eph. 4:14); God is not honoured by our remaining spiritual dwarfs; He is not glorified by a Christian continuing a spiritual child all his days. We should outgrow our spiritual baby hood. “We speak wisdom among them that are perfect” (1 Cor. 2:6): “perfect” here means matured, fully grown, in contrast from spiritual babes. “For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age” (Heb. 5:13, 14). “Brethren, be not children in understanding: . . . be men” (1 Cor. 14:29)—act like such. “Stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (1 Cor. 16:13). Those who are well instructed by the Spirit in the mysteries of the faith, who have made real progress in practical godliness, who are firm and established in their love for God, are, comparatively “perfect” in contrast from the “babes” in Christ. So it should be with us spiritually. Look again at an infant: it is easily peeved, it cries at almost anything: that is the characteristic of a “child”; and it is largely the same with a “babe” in Christ—worrying and fretting over trifles. “When I became a man, I put away childish things”: God help us all to do so.
3. There is also a “perfection” of parts. Let me illustrate from the physical. A child born minus a limb lacks a complete or perfect body; so one born with two arms and loses one, no longer has a complete or perfect body. Thus it is if a Christian lacks the development of any of the really vital graces: he may have faith, zeal, perseverance, but if he lacks compassion, he is deficient—his spiritual character is maimed. If a Christian has tenderness, patience, great consideration for others, but lacks courage, faithfulness, unflinching righteousness, he is lacking in parts. 2 Peter 1:5-7 is for the correcting of this, 26 inculcating the fully developed Christian character, bidding us cultivate all the graces of the Spirit, and thus be a “perfect” Christian, that is, complete in all his parts. “May grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ” (Eph. 4:15)—not only in faith, courage, patience, but in everything.
The purpose of this portion is to display the immeasurable superiority of Christianity’s High Priest over that of Judaism’s, and that, that the faith of the Hebrews might be established and their hearts drawn out in love and worship to Him.
They looked to him, and were lightened; these “looked” up to God in prayer and by faith, continually, not only when distressed and in uncomfortable circumstances, for help and deliverance, and a supply of every needful good thing; and they were “enlightened”-became radiant-JK; their faces were enlightened; They were enlightened before they could look, but by looking to the Lord more light was gained: the light of joy, peace, and comfort, which is had in a way of believing: some render the word “and flowed”, as a river does, that is, to the Lord, as in Jeremiah 31:12 and Micah 4:1:”But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills;and people shall flow unto it” denoting that in the church age large numbers looking up to the Lord in faith and the swiftness of their motion to him, and their earnestness and fervour of mind; so faith is not only a looking to Christ, but a going forth unto him; “and their faces were not ashamed” having what they prayed and looked for, and what they hoped and believed they should have, namely deliverance and salvation, and so peace and pleasure.
Moses for example spending much time on the mount with the Lord did not realise how his face shone as a result and as we do likewise we shine more with his glory (2 Cor.3:18) “And the glory which thou gavest me I have giventhem; that they may be one, even as we are one” John 17:22
God swore an oath when making promises to Abraham so he could have strong comfort (Gen.22:16-18). The promise concerned multiplied seed through Isaac and also Christ. The promise of seed was the promise of the gospel (John 8:56). Abraham obtained the promise, first of a son, and secondly of salvation (Acts 2:38, Gen.3:15, Heb.11: 13,17). All the promises concern Christ.
An oath should be the end of all strife because it is a vow before God who is called upon to punish. God was willing to show unto the heirs of promise (Isaac and Jacob) the immutability of his counsel to reassure them (Gen.26:3-5) that his counsel (covenant with them) was sure and unconditional. God’s counsel is his unchanging eternal decree and his swearing an oath is his reassurance to his people that he will certainly bring it to pass. The two immutable things are his decree and his oath (promise). It is impossible for God to lie because he is holy and the fountain of truth (John 14:6, 17:17, Psalm 100:5, Ex.34:6, Deut.32:4).
“That by two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie”. These are, His promise and His oath.”
“It is most blessed to perceive that God’s promises are but the transcripts of His eternal decrees; His promises now make known to us in words the hitherto secret counsels of His heart. Thus, “the immutability of His counsel” is that from which His sure promises proceed and by which it is expressed.” PINK
As Zacharias says in Luke 1,”
And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,
68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, 69 and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; 70 as he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: 71 that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; 72 to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; 73 the oath which he sware to our father Abraham, 74 that he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
In other words the oath concerned the coming of Christ.
It was to Christ that the original Promise and Oath were made. Hence, in Titus 1:2 we read, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began”: as the elect were not then in existence, the promise must have been made to their Head. Concerning God’s oath to Christ we read, “The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” (Ps. 110:4).” A.W.Pink
Strong consolation or comfort (Gr:PARAKLESIS) is strengthening (by the Holy Spirit who is the comforter) in the midst of affliction or suffering (2 Cor.1:3-7) and brings refuge from God’s wrath in Christ (the reality of the cities of refuge).The spiritual significance of God’s promise and oath to Abraham in Genesis 22 has been missed by most of the commentators, through their failure to see in him a type of Christ as the Head and Father of God’s elect. There we find God swearing to the patriarch, “Blessing I will bless thee.” The application of these words to Christ as the Representative of His people is clearly seen in Psalm 45:2 and Psalm 21:6, where God says to Him who is Fairer than the children of men, “God hath blessed Thee forever”. Let it also be pointed out that God’s promise and oath to David in Psalm 89 also gives an adumbration of His transactions with the Mediator before the world began: “My Covenant will I not break… His seed shall endure forever” (verses 34-36). Thus, our “strong consolation” issues from the implicit assurance that God has bound Himself in Christ to “bless” His people. “For all the promises of God in Him (Christ) are Yea, and in Him Amen” (2 Cor. 1:20)! PTL!
“But, blessed be His name, our God is “without variableness or shadow of turning” (James 1:17), and therefore the immutability of His counsel is the very life of our assurance. For the stay of our hearts and the full assurance of our faith, God has graciously given to us an irrevocable deed of settlement, namely, His promise, followed by His oath, whereby the whole inheritance is infallibly secured unto every heir of promise. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but God’s words never shall (Luke 21:33). All the promises recorded in Scripture are but copies of God’s assurances made to Christ for us from everlasting, so that the Divine oaths and covenants mentioned in Holy Writ are but transcripts of the original Covenant and Oath between God and Christ before the foundation of the world. Note how the words “impossible for God to lie”, link up with “in hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Titus 1:2)!” PINK
The hope set before us is glory and heaven, an objective hope. Hope is the anchor of the soul because it keeps us firm amidst the wild, restless sea of the ungodly (1 Peter 1:5). Within the veil is the holy of holies (Heb.10:19). Christ, the object of our hope, who is our hope, has entered heaven (behind the true veil, his body broken-Heb.10:20) torn in two at his cross so our access is to the Father. Our life is hid in Christ and his love, power and faithfulness to keep us, so we enter in by him. Faith enables us to enter now because of our forerunner. He entered as our High Priest taking his blood as atonement for the sins of all his people and entering by right having merited eternal salvation through his perfect obedience. He now sits as Priest-King interceding for us as a priest after the order of Melchisedec.
“So when the Lord Christ entered Heaven, He made an open declaration of His victory by spoiling principalities and leading captivity captive: see Psalm 45:4-6, 68:18, 24-26. Second, by way of preparation. This He did by opening the way for our prayers and worship: 10:19-22 and making ready a place for us, John 14:2, 3. Third, by way of occupation. He has gone into Heaven, in our name, to take possession and reserve it for us: Acts 26:18, 1 Peter 1:4.” Pink
This portion compares and contrasts the priesthood of Aaron and Melchisedec. Melchisedec is the first named priest in Scripture whose name means king of righteousness and as king of Salem he is king of Jerusalem (also meaning king of peace). Note that righteousness always precedes peace (Isaiah 32:17. Melchisedec is uniquely priest and king. He met with and blessed Abraham when Abraham returned with spoils from his defeat of the five kings in Gen.14:18ff who subsequently then gave the priest a tenth of the spoils. Christ fulfilled his part as Aaronic priest by entering the holy of holies inside the veil, offering himself as perfect sacrifice and he fulfils his Melchisedecian regal priesthood by entering into heaven to begin his everlasting ministry of intercession (originally outside the veil at the altar of incense) at the ascension. Melchisedec has no recorded parents or priestly lineage and so is like Christ who was not of the tribe of Levi and was from everlasting and whose lineage is mysterious. We know from other references to him he was a man (Heb. 5:1,5:6,10, 6:20).
“ And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: that ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises”. Hebrews 6:11,12
“Once more would we press upon our hearts that it is only as “diligence” in the things of God is continually exercised that a scriptural “hope” is preserved, and the full assurance of it attained. First, because there is an inseparable connection between these two which is of Divine institution: God Himself has appointed “diligence” as the means and way whereby His people shall arrive at this assurance: cf. 2 Peter 1:10, 11. Second, because such “diligence” has a proper and necessary tendency unto this end. By diligence our spiritual faculties are strengthened, grace is increased in us, and thereby we obtain fuller evidence of our interest in the promises of the Gospel. Third, by a faithful attention to the duties of faith and love we are preserved from sinning, which is the principal evil that weakens or impairs our hope.
Is this teaching salvation by works? Are you asking us to believe that Heaven is a wage which we are required to earn by our perseverance and fidelity. Observe how carefully the Holy Spirit has, in the very verse before us, guarded against such a perversion of the gospel of God’s grace. First, in the preposition He used: it is not “who for faith and patience inherit the promises”, but “through”. Salvation is not bestowed because of faith and patience, in return for them; yet it does come “through” them as the Divinely appointed channel, just as the sun shines into a room through its windows. The windows are in no sense the cause of the sun’s shining; they contribute nothing whatever to it; yet are they necessary as the means by which it enters. Another word which precludes all ground of human attainment and completely excludes the idea of earning salvation by anything of ours, is “inherit”. And how come we to “inherit”? By the same way as any come to an inheritance, namely, by being the true heirs to it. And how do we become “heirs” of this inheritance? By God’s gratuitous adoption.
That with which God promised to bless Abraham and his seed was faith, holiness, perseverance, and at the end, salvation (Gal. 3:14). That which God pledged Himself unto with an oath was that His power, His longsuffering, should be engaged to the uttermost to work upon the hearts of Abraham and his spiritual children, so that they would effectually attain unto salvation. He was to live in an adverse world where he would meet with various temptations, much opposition, many discouragements; but God undertook to deliver, support, succour, sustain him unto the end, so that His oath should be accomplished. Having the blessing of God in his own soul, enjoying communion with Him and all that that included—peace, joy, strength, victory, by faith in the promise, he saw Christ’s day, and was glad (John 8:56). Second, a more complete entering into the blessing of God when he left this world of sin and sorrow, and departed to be with Christ, which is “far better” (Phil. 1:23) than the most intimate fellowship which may be had with Him down here. Abraham had now entered on the peace and joy of Paradise, obtaining the Heavenly Country (Heb. 11:16), of which Canaan was but the type. Third, following the resurrection, when the purpose of God shall be fully realized he will enjoy perfect and unending blessing and glory.
“The Lord Jesus is filled with tender compassion and the most profound, lively, and comprehensive sympathy. This belongs to the perfection of His high-priesthood. For this very purpose He was tempted. He suffered. Our infirmities, it is true, are ultimately connected with our sinfulness; the weakness of our flesh is never free from a sinful concurrence of the will; and the Savior knows from His experience on earth how ignorant, poor, weak, sinful, and corrupt His disciples are. He loved them, watched over them with unwearied patience; prayed for them that their faith fail not; and reminded them the spirit was willing, but the flesh is weak. He remembers also His own sinless weakness; He knows what constant thought, meditation, and prayer are needed to overcome Satan, and to be faithful to God. He knows what it is for the soul to be sorrowful and overwhelmed, and what it is to be refreshed by the sunshine of Divine favor, and to rejoice in the Spirit. We may come in to Him expecting full, tender, deep sympathy and compassion. He is ever ready to strengthen and comfort, to heal and restore, He is prepared to receive the poor, wounded, sin-stained believer; to dry the tears of Peter weeping bitterly; to say to Paul, oppressed with the thorn in the flesh, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee.’ “We need only understand that we are sinners, and that He is High Priest. The law was given that every mouth may be shut, for we are guilty. The High Priest is given that every mouth may be opened . . . We come in faith as sinners. Then shall we obtain mercy; and we always need mercy, to wash our feet: to restore to us the joy of salvation, to heal our backslidings, and bind up our wounds. We shall obtain help in every time of need. For God may suffer Satan and the world, want and suffering, to go against us; but He always causes all things to work together for our good. He permits the time of need, that we may call upon Him, and, being delivered by Him, may glorify His name” (Saphir).
The unforgivable sin consists unbelief and rejection of Christ which is manifest in a) blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:29) or b) apostasy which is a public denial of Christ. In the case of the Hebrews they were tempted to revert to Judaism for their salvation and abandon Christ. The word “impossible” proves they could not be forgiven if they did so. They had been enlightened meaning they had heard and understood the gospel and had a historical or intellectual grasp of it (Matthew 13:20-22) but it had not changed their heart and enlightened them savingly (2 Cor.4:4-6). Among these are all the false teachers (1 John 3:2, 2 Peter2). The heavenly gift is Christ and the gospel (2 Cor.9:15).
They partook of the Holy Spirit in that they came under his influence in church, heard the external call, and may well have professed faith and even used supernatural gifts BUT deep down they resisted the Spirit (Acts 7:51 cf. 1 Thess. 2:13). The powers of the world to come are all that Christ does in redemption and spiritual gifting. These people had tasted these things perhaps even relished them, but they had not eaten or assimilated Christ by true faith which makes folk his people (John 6:54, 1 Cor.10:17,18, Heb.3:14). Remember Herod with John and Agrippa with Paul. It is impossible to renew them because they have hardened their hearts (God has too) (Heb.12:16,17, 10:26,29,38,39) and instead of publicly confessing Christ and cleaving to him they had publicly denied him.
‘”If they shall fall away”. The Greek word here is very strong and emphatic, even stronger than the one used in Matthew 7:27, where it is said of the house built on the sand, “and great was the fall thereof”. It is a complete falling away, a total abandonment of Christianity which is here in view. It is a wilful turning of the back on God’s revealed truth, an utter repudiation of the Gospel. It is making “shipwreck of the faith” (1 Tim. 1:19). This terrible sin is not committed by a mere nominal professor, for he has nothing really to fall away from, save an empty name. The class here described are such as had had their minds enlightened, their consciences stirred, their affections moved to a considerable degree, and yet who were never brought from death unto life. Nor is it backsliding Christians who are in view. It is not simply “fall into sin”,this or that sin.’ A.W.Pink
To deny Christ publicly or return to a works righteousness is the same as crucifying him afresh, you are siding with his enemies that put him to death and calling him an imposter. As Christ said, “for if ye believe not that Iamhe, (I am the divine messiah) yeshalldiein your sins.” John 8:24. Denying him after being in the church brings scorn on the church and his name (Rom.2:24). The allegory is of soils and what grows on them. The rain falling either brings forth good plants and fruit (of true conversion) or weeds like thorns and brambles (apostasy is seen as “by their fruits that ye shall know them”). The rain is vital moisture that allows growth and transport of nutrients from the soil
“the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but thetares are the children of the wicked one;”. Matthew 13:38.
The word of God, symbolized by rain (Isaiah 55:10,11) has a twofold effect (2 Cor.2:16).
. The figure is very beautiful. The rain is something which no man can manufacture, nor is the Word of human origin. Rain comes down from above, so is the Gospel a heavenly gift. The rain refreshes vegetation, and causes it to grow, so too the Doctrine of God revives His people and makes them fruitful. The rain quickens living seeds in the ground, though it imparts no life to dead ones; so the Word is the Spirit’s instrument for quickening God’s elect (John 3:5; James 1:18), who previously had (federal) life in Christ. (AW Pink)
The things that accompany salvation are faith and hope expressed by prayer, love, attending on the means of grace and good works. The writer had seen these fruit in the beloved Hebrews’ lives. Their work had been hospitality and care shown their brethren. We can only guess they shared spiritual and material gifts.
To show diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end means working hard in every aspect of life but especially the means of grace, serving others and forgiving (Heb.12:15) right to the end of our lives. The opposite is to be spiritually (and physically) slothful by not working (1 Thess.4) neglecting the means of grace and ignoring or mistreating our fellow saints (Matthew 24).
Those who throughout life exhibit faith and patience inherit the promises which are eternal life now and an inheritance in glory. It is by continued faith and patience (in affliction/persecution-see Hebrews 11) i.e. persevering, that we inherit the promises. But note that an inheritance is a gift of grace, something in a last will and testament given to children without them meriting it.
Next study (DV) Saturday March 13th 8pm on line Hebrews 6:13-7:3.
June, 1932 STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES THE FIGHT OF FAITH There are some who teach that those Christians who engage in spiritual fighting are living below their privileges. They insist that God is willing to do all our fighting for us. Their pet slogan is, “Let go, and let God.” They say that the Christian should turn the battle over to Christ. There is a half truth in this, yet only a half truth, and carried to extremes, it becomes error. The half truth is that the child of God has no inherent strength of his own. Says Christ to His disciples, “Without me, ye can do nothing” (Joh 15:5). Yet this does not mean that we are to be merely passive, or that the ideal state in this life is simply to be galvanized automatons. There is also a positive, an active, aggressive side to the Christian life, which calls for the putting forth of our utmost endeavours, the use of every faculty, a personal and intelligent co-operation with Christ. There is not a little of what is known as “the victorious life” teaching which is virtually a denial of the Christian’s responsibility. It is lop-sided. While emphasizing one aspect of truth, it sadly ignores other aspects equally necessary and important to be kept before us. God’s Word declares that, “Every man shall bear his own burden” (Gal 6:5), which means that he must discharge his personal obligation. Saints are bidden to, “Cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit” (2Co 7:1), and to, “Keep himself unspotted from the world” (Jam 1:27). We are exhorted to, “Overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:21). The apostle Paul declared, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection” (1Co 9:27). Thus, to deny that a Christian is called upon to engage in a ceaseless warfare with the flesh, the world, and the devil, is to fly in the face of many plain Scriptures. There is a very real twofoldness to the Christian life and every aspect of divine truth is balanced by its counterpart. Practical godliness is a mysterious paradox, which is incomprehensible to the natural man. The Christian is strongest when he is weakest, wealthiest when he is poorest, happiest when most wretched. Though unknown (1Jo 3:1), yet he is well known (2Ti 1:18). Though dying (1Co 15:31), yet, behold, he lives. Though having nothing, yet he possesses all things (2Co 6:10). Though persecuted, he is not forsaken. Cast down, he is not destroyed. He is called upon to “rejoice with trembling” (Psa 2:11), and is assured, “Blessed are ye that weep now” (Luk 6:21). Though the Lord maketh him to lie down in green pastures and leadeth him beside still waters, he is yet in the wilderness, and “in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is” (Psa 63:1). Though followers of the Prince of peace, Christians are to endure “hardness, as good soldiers of Jesus Christ” (2Ti 2:3), and though “more than conquerors” (Rom 8:37), they are often defeated. “Fight the good fight of faith” (1Ti 6:12). We are called upon to engage in a ceaseless warfare. The Christian life is to be lived out on the battlefield. We may not like it, we may wish that it were otherwise, but so has God ordained. And our worst foe, our most dangerous enemy, is self, that “old man” which ever wants his way, which rebels against the “yoke” of Christ, which hates the “cross.” That “old man” which opposes every desire of the “new man,” which dislikes God’s Word and ever wants to substitute man’s word. But self has to be “denied” (Mat 16:24), his affections and lusts crucified (Gal 5:24). Yet that is by no means an easy task. O what a conflict is ever going on within the true
Christian. True, there are times when the “old man” pretends to be asleep or dead, but soon he revives and is more vigorous than ever in opposing that “new man.” Then it is that the real Christian seriously asks, “If it be so (that I truly am a child of God) why am I thus?” Such was Rebekah’s puzzling problem when “the children struggled together within her” (Gen 25:22). What a parable in action is set before us in the above Scripture! Do we need any interpreter? Does not the Christian have the key which explains that parable in the conflicting experiences of his own soul? Yes, and is not the sequel the same with you and me, as it was with poor Rebekah? “She went and inquired of the LORD” (Gen 25:22). Ah, her husband could not solve the mystery for her. No man could, nor did she lean unto her own understanding and try and reason it out. No, the struggle inside her was so great and fierce, she must have divine assurance. Nor did God disappoint her and leave her in darkness. “And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger” (Gen 25:23). But the meaning of such a verse is hid from those who are, in their own conceits, “wise and prudent.” But, blessed be God, it is revealed to those who, taught of the Spirit, are made to realize they are babes, that is, who feel they are ignorant, weak, helpless—for that is what “babes” are. And who were the two nations that “struggled together” inside Rebekah? Esau and Jacob, from whom two vastly different nations descended, namely, Edom and Israel. Now, observe closely what follows. “And the one people shall be stronger than the other.” Yes, Esau was so strong that Jacob was afraid of him and fled from him. So it is spiritually, the “old man” is stronger than the “new man.” How strange that it should be so! Would we not naturally conclude that that which is “born of the Spirit” is stronger than that which is “born of the flesh” (Joh 3:6)? Of course, we would naturally think so, for, “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God” (1Co 2:14). But consider the matter from the standpoint of spiritual discernment. Suppose the “new man” were stronger than the “old man”—then what? Why, the Christian would be self-sufficient, proud, haughty. But God, in His infinite wisdom, allows that “new man” in His children to be weaker than the “old man.” Why? That they may depend upon Him. But it is one thing to know the theory of this, and it is quite another to put it into practice. It is one thing to believe the “new man” (Jacob) is weaker than the “old man” (Esau, who was born first!), and it is quite another thing to daily seek and obtain from God the needed strength to “fight” against the “old man.” That is why it is called the “good fight of faith,” for faith treats with God. “Fight the good fight of faith” (1Ti 6:12). Our circumstances are the battleground. The “flesh” is never long satisfied with the “circumstances” in which God places us, but always wants to change them, or get into another set than we are now in. Thus it was with Israel of old. The “circumstances” into which God had brought the children of Israel was the wilderness, and they murmured, and wished they were back in Egypt. And that is written as a warning for us! The tendency of circumstances is to bind our hearts to the earth. When prosperous, to make us satisfied with things. When adverse, to make us repine over or covet the things which we do not have. Nothing but the exercise of real faith can lift our hearts above circumstances, for faith looks away from all things seen, so that the heart delights itself and finds its peace and joy in the Lord (Psa 37:4). This is never easy to any
of us. It is always a fight, and only divine grace (diligently sought) can give us the victory. Oftentimes we fail. When we do, this must be confessed to God (1Jo 1:9), and a fresh start made. Nothing but faith can enable us to rise above “circumstances.” It did so in the case of the two apostles, who, with feet fast in the stocks, with backs bleeding and smarting, sang praises to God in Philippi’s dungeon. That was faith victorious over most unpleasant circumstances. We can almost imagine each reader saying, “Alas, my faith is so weak.” Ah, ponder again this word, “Fight the good fight of faith”—note the repetition! It is not easy for faith to rise above circumstances. No, it is not. It is difficult, at times, extremely difficult. So the writer has found it. But remember, a “fight” is not finished in a moment, by one blow. Oftentimes the victor receives many wounds and is sorely pounded before he finally knocks-out his enemy. So we have found it, and still find it. The great enemy, the “flesh” (self) gives the “new man” many a painful blow, often floors him, but, by grace, we keep on fighting. Sometimes the “new man” gets the victory, sometimes the “old man” does. “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again” (Pro 24:16). Yes, dear reader, every real Christian has a “fight” on his hands. Self is the chief enemy which has to be conquered, and our circumstances, the battleground where the combat has to be waged. And each of us would very much like to change the battleground. There are unpleasant things which, at times, sorely try each of us, until we are tempted to cry with the afflicted Psalmist, “O that I had the wings like a dove! for then I would fly away” (Psa 55:6). Yes, sad to say, the writer has been guilty of the same thing. But, when he is in his right mind (spiritually), he is thankful for these very “circumstances.” Why? Because they afford an opportunity for faith to act and rise above them, and for us to find our peace, our joy, our satisfaction, not in pleasant surroundings, not in congenial friends, nor even in sweet fellowship with brethren and sisters in Christ. But—in God! He can satisfy the soul. He never fails those who truly trust Him. But it is a fight to do so. Yes, a real, long, hard fight. Yet, if we cry to God for help, for strength, for determination, He does not fail us, but makes us “more than conquerors.” There is that in each of us which wants to play the coward, run away from the battlefield—our “circumstances.” This is what Abraham did (Gen 12:10), but he gained nothing by it. This is what Jacob did (Gen 28), and in consequence, his trials were multiplied. This is what Elijah did (1Ki 19:3), and the Lord rebuked him for it. And these instances are recorded “for our learning” (Rom 15:4), as warnings for us to take to heart. They tell us that we must steadfastly resist this evil inclination, and call to mind that exhortation, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you [act] like men, be strong” (1Co 16:13). “Fight the good fight of faith.” Nor does the Lord call upon us to do something from which He was exempted. O what a “fight” the Captain of our salvation endured! See Him yonder in the wilderness, “forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts” (Mar 1:13), and all that time without food (Mat 4:2). How fiercely the devil assaulted Him, renewing his attack again and yet again. And the Saviour met and conquered him on the ground of faith, using only the Word of God. See Him again in Gethsemane. There the fight was yet fiercer, and so intense were His agonies that He sweat great drops of blood. Nor was there any comfort from His disciples. They could not watch with Him one hour. 30 STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES June, 1932 Yet He triumphed and that on the ground of faith, “When he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared.” (Heb 5:7). Those two instances are recorded for our instruction, and, as ever, their order is beautifully significant. They teach us how we are to “fight the good fight of faith.” Christ Himself has “left us an example”! And what do we learn from these solemn and sacred incidents? This—the only weapon we are to use is the sword of the Spirit, and victory is only to be obtained on our knees—“with strong crying and tears.” The Lord graciously enables us so to act. O that each of us may more earnestly seek grace to fight the good fight of faith. We shall have happy and peaceful fellowship together in heaven, but before we get there, the “fight” has to be fought, and won or we shall never get there at all (2Ti 4:6- 8)
Having spent months and many hours training I blew it! Lined up with six other men age 65-70 on my machine at home, having spent perhaps an hour trying to get weigh in done and the video uploaded, I got left on the starting line because I was NOT WATCHING MY MONITOR for instructions: READY, ATTENTION, ROW! I was watching the U tube coverage oin the PC and only realised they had gone when the commentator said so and even she was taken unawares. So starting 200m behind the rest and giving away 43 secs* I did my best finishing last in 8 mins 15 secs (so make that 7m32s in reality) which would have been my best for a number of years, sixth placer was 7m29s.
I will need to redeem myself in the 2000m this Saturday run by Olderfleet Rowing Club in Larne (I managed 7:46)
see pic of my “boat” (above) still on starting line (at the bottom) with all the rest well away!
“Thus God works continuously in us to will and to do of his good pleasure. He not only regenerates us in principle, but he also continuously sanctifies us through the Spirit of Christ. That work of God in us is of such a nature that we consciously and willingly bear fruit unto righteousness. It is not true that God works our sanctification and that we work also, and these two aspects of the work of salvation stand independently from each other or must be conceived as an irreconcilable contradiction. Nor is it true that God alone accomplishes sanctification and that he drags us along the way as stocks and blocks, as is the presentation of the antinomians. Still less is it true that the relation between God’s work and our work is such that we must work, and that if we work, God will help us, as is the view of the Pelagians. All these wrong conceptions are repudiated by Scripture. Rather the relationship is always that we work out of the power of the work of God in us. God is first, and we follow. God is the fountain out of which we live. God works salvation to will and to do of His good pleasure, and we work out our own salvation as the fruit of the work of God (Phil. 2:12,13). ‘God is light’ (1 John 1:5), and we are always the light-bearers. God energizes us through Christ, and we manifest his energy as rational, moral creatures. He gives, preserves, and strengthens our life and we live. He works and continues to work in us true faith, and we believe. He works in us continued conversion, and we turn. He gives us and preserves in us the love of God, and we taste his love and love him. He works within us sorrow after God, and we call upon him in penitence for forgiveness of sins. He gives us true humility, and we walk in meekness of heart and life. He enlightens us, and we know. He leads us by his Spirit, and we walk. He makes us hungry and thirsty for the bread and water of life, and we hunger and thirst after righteousness. He calls efficaciously, and we come. He gives us the power to preserve, and we persevere. The power and the operation of the power–faith and believing, love and loving, hope and hoping, the eye and the seeing, the ear and the hearing, the understanding and the knowledge, the will and the willing, the power to fight and the fighting–all in connection with gifts, talents, means, circumstances, and time–are from God alone. He sanctifies us, and we walk in sanctification. Exactly from this relationship arises the possibility and the high calling of the people of God to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, because this obligation does not violate the moral, rational nature of the sanctified people of God, but rather persevere it. We must not say, therefore ‘work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, but God must do it.’ But according to Philippines 2:12,13, we must say ‘work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.’ Of him, through him, and unto him are all things. To him be the glory forever (Rom. 11:36).” – Herman Hoeksema, Reformed Dogmatics: Vol. 2 (RFPA, 2005), pages 129-131.
“Man willfully subjected himself to sin, and consequently to death, and the curse, giving ear to the words of the devil. For the commandment of life, which he had received, he transgressed; and by sin separated himself from God, who was his true life, having corrupted his whole nature; whereby he made himself liable to corporal and spiritual death. And being thus become wicked, perverse, and corrupt in all his ways, he hath lost all his excellent gifts, which he had received from God..” Belgic Confession Article 14.
” We believe that, through the disobedience of Adam, original sin is extended to all mankind; which is a corruption of the whole nature, and an hereditary disease, wherewith infants themselves are infected even in their mother’s womb, and which produceth in man all sorts of sin, being in him as a root thereof..” Article 15.
Canons of Dort III/IV Article 1. Man was originally formed after the image of God. His understanding was adorned with a true and saving knowledge of his Creator, and of spiritual things; his heart and will were upright; all his affections pure; and the whole man was holy; but revolting from God by the instigation of the devil, and abusing the freedom of his own will, he forfeited these excellent gifts; and on the contrary entailed on himself blindness of mind, horrible darkness, vanity and perverseness of judgment, became wicked, rebellious, and obdurate in heart and will, and impure in his affections.
Westminster Confession Chapter 6
Section 2. “By this sin, they fell from their original righteousness and communion with God,(1) and so became dead in sin,(2) and wholly defiled in all the parts and faculties of soul and body.(3)(1) Ge 3:6,7,8; Ecc 7:29; Ro 3:23 (2) Ge 2:17; Eph 2:1 (3) Tit 1:15; Ge 6:5; Jer 17:9; Ro 3:10-18————————————Section 3.) They being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed,(1) and the same death in sin and corrupted nature conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by ordinary generation.(2)(1) Ge 1:27,28; Ge 2:16,17; Ac 17:26; Ro 5:12,15,16,17,18,19; 1Co 15:21,22,45,49 (2) Ps 51:5; Ge 5:3; Job 14:4; Job 15:14————————————Section 4.) From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good,(1) and wholly inclined to all evil,(2) do proceed all actual transgressions.(3)(1) Ro 5:6; Ro 8:7; Ro 7:18; Col 1:21 (2) Ge 6:5; Ge 8:21 ; Ro 3:10,11,12 (3) Jas 1:14,15; Eph 2:2,3; Mt 15:19————————————Section 5.) This corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated;(1) and although it be through Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself, and all the motions thereof, are truly and properly sin.(2)(1) 1Jn 1:8,10; Ro 7:14,17,18,23; Jas 3:2; Pr 20:9; Ecc 7:20 (2) Ro 7:5,7,8,25; Gal 5:17————————————Section 6.) Every sin, both original and actual, being a transgression of the righteous law of God, and contrary thereunto,(1) doth, in its own nature, bring guilt upon the sinner,(2) whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God,(3) and curse of the law,(4) and so made subject to death,(5) with all miseries spiritual,(6) temporal,(7) and eternal.(8)
Note that the two great commandments to love God and man with all our being centres on man’s heart and will. Note that the perversity of fallen man lies in the soul or heart of man NOT his physical body although it too, like all creation, is now corrupt and liable to death. But it does not cause us to sin. But our heart, mind and will controlling our bodies cause them to sin.”Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. ” Romans 6:13. All we do in the body if not in faith and for God’s glory is sin.
Out of the heart comes evil toughts and all sin (Mark 7:21).
Every man is drawn away of his own lust (James 1:14,15).
“And every oblation of thy meat (cereal) offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.” Leviticus 2:13
“All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the Lord, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever before the Lord unto thee and to thy seed with thee.”
“ought ye not to know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?” 2 Chronicles 13:5
Why was salt an integral part of every meat (cereal) offering?
“The cereal offering was presented never as something separate and independent but always with the burnt offering and peace offering; and with it was connected a quantity of wine, that is, this flour or these cakes as prepared with the oil, salt, and frankincense were added, together with the wine, to the carcass of the animal sacrifice and with it burnt upon the altar. And in its state of consumption, this offering, too, was a sweet savor unto the Lord. The remnant of it, that is, what remained of the flour or of the cakes, was Aaron’s and his sons, and theirs only. Thus these materials might not be eaten by the common members of the theocracy, for they were things “most holy of the offerings unto the Lord made by fire.” The meat offering, as was said, had to be prepared with oil, frankincense, and salt, but never with honey and leaven (which ferment or corrupt), “And when any will offer a meat offering unto the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon; and he shall bring it to Aaron’s sons, the priests: and he shall take thereout his handfuls of flour thereof, and of the oil thereof: and the priest shall burn the memorial of it upon the altar, to be an offering made by fire, a sweet savour unto the Lord: and the remnant of the meat offering shall be Aaron’s and his sons’: it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the Lord made by fire” (Lev. 2:1-3).
Salt has always been valued as a preservative and a seasoning. It was often used for ratifying agreements so it became a symbol of fidelity and constancy. In its addition to an offering it typified the eternal nature of the “covenant of salt” between God and his people. New Bible Dictionary. Where is the proof of this-JK?
Is salt mentioned for its preservative properties in Scripture? No, this idea fails for three reasons. 1) Nowhere in Scripture is salt referred to as a preservative, but always as a substance that makes food tasty and pleasing. 2) Jesus does not say, “Ye are the salt of the world” (a spiritual ethical concept), but “Ye are the salt of the earth” (that is, the planet, the earthly creation). 3) It ought to be obvious that salt cannot preserve that which is already stinking and corrupt, which the world of unbelief surely is.
John Owen taught and wrote on the unchangeableness of God’s covenant, which is “the very salt of the covenant of grace.” Salt preserves. It keeps. What keeps the saints in God’s covenant is God’s unchangeableness, and what keeps sweet consolation in the hearts of the covenant members is the truth that God’s eternal covenantal love for them is steadfast and unchangeable. Salt also seasons. Assurance of preservation is to the taste of the members of God’s covenant most delightful. Of course! What is covenant fellowship with God, and what is union with Christ, and what is life in the Holy Spirit, and what is a walk in faith and holiness if it is all only temporary and losable? To be assured of everlasting preservation is indeed the very salt of the covenant of grace. The Arminian theology of conditional salvation has no savor. It also spoils. It eats at the truth of the covenant and the hearts of believers like a canker. Owen saw the destruction of this invasive teaching in England. For the glory of God and the welfare of the church, Owen defended the truth of an unconditional covenant of grace that God sovereignly establishes and maintains with His elect people so that His people are forever secure. The knowledge of this security is the very salt of the covenant of grace.
“Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.” Mark 9:50. “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men” Matthew 5:13-16
“The meat offering was mingled also with salt. It is especially the New Testament Bible that enables one to accurately ascertain the symbolical significance of salt. There are the utterances of Christ to which regard must be had. “Ye are the salt of the earth. . . .” (Matt. 5:13). “Salt is good, but if the salt have lost its saltness, wherewith shall ye season it? Have salt in yourselves and have peace with one another” (Mark 9:50). “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Col. 4:6). In these passages salt is the emblem of: 1) the believers again in their corporate capacity (ye are the salt of the earth); 2) a conscious and thus flowering spiritual life (have salt in yourselves); 3) that spiritual wholesomeness of which the fear of the Lord, the life of regeneration, is the principle, and that renders the speech of the believer agreeable to the palate of God and of believing men. The prevalent view seems to be that salt appears in Scripture also as the emblem of the element of preservation in the kingdom of heaven, preventing corruption and preserving nutriment. However, there is not one passage in the whole of Holy Writ which so speaks of salt as to lend support to the view that it has this symbolical significance. Christ says not, “If the salt have lost its preserving properties” but He says, “If the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted. “
George Ophoff Standard Bearer 4/1/1939
“In other words, salt has covenant significance in both the Old and New Testaments. God’s covenant embraces the entire earthly creation which He made and loves, which came under the curse for man’s sake, and which is redeemed in Christ and the salvation of the elect. We are to think of the earth, hanging in space, as an offering to God. This earth-offering is made tasty to God by the presence of redeemed saints scattered throughout the nations. They are salt on the offering. What an exalted position! Let men say of the church what they will; God says, “Ye are the salt of the earth!” Dale Kuiper. Standard Bearer 2/1/1991
Sung Psalm 23 (note all the personal references to faith)
Reading Hebrews 11:1-16
Revising previous classes to proove that assurance and faith are synonymous:
Source is God, by a gift of grace bringing us into a covenant relationship with our heavenly Father.
Subject is us, who personally express the conviction of our heart (Gal.2:20)
Objective includes the Persons of the Godhead, the Promises of Scripture (e.g. John 5:24) and the Propositions which are living spiritual words (John 6:63) that work faith/assurance in those elect who hear them. God’s promises lead him to act. He works in us the bond of faith uniting us to Christ, the activity of faith which is knowledge and confidence and the fruit of faith namely good works (Hebrews 11 is a catalogue of these). faith works by love-love for God and man.
Heidelberg Catechism LD 7
Q. 21. What is true faith? A. True faith is not only a certain knowledge,3 whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in His Word, but also an assured confidence,4 which the Holy Ghost5 works by the gospel in my heart;6 that not only to others, but to me also, remission of sin,7 everlasting righteousness, and salvation8 are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ’s merits.9
Christ learned obedience as a child with his parents and through a lifetime of suffering when it cost him to obey (Heb.12:4). Prior to his incarnation he commanded. In the same way he learned as a young person, he grew in the experience of perfectly obeying his Father, submitting to God’s law and obeying the two great commandments, much of this was a new experience for him hence he “learned” obedience. He was made perfect (tested and tried) through suffering and rising from the dead. He earned our salvation and grants it to all the elect, given to him before the foundation of the world, applying it to them by his Spirit. (John 6:39, 10:28, 17:2,24). His perfection in righteousness is bequeathed to all his people who are justified, forgiven by his substitution as the spotless Lamb and pronounced righteous with his righteousness, who will follow him to heaven.
Melchisedec was a unique priest-king of whose order Christ was anointed.
Being dull of hearing means lacking understanding and to a greater or lesser extent, being unbelieving or resistant to God’s truth e.g. disciples on Emmaus road, Jews in Isaiah 6. These converted Jews addressed in the book were tempted to return to Judaistic practices. They had the Scriptures (Old testament and some of New Testament). Their milk was the typology and prophecy of the Old Testament law, a schoolmaster that was meant to lead them to Christ. The strong meat was the reality of Christ and his fulfilling the Old Testament. To be skillful in the word of righteousness is to be able to apply it practically in everyday life as a mature believer (1 John 2:12) whose age and experience has taught them, giving them discernment like the increased ability to sense things e.g. tough, smell, taste and hearing that distinguish an adult from a baby. Adam thought that by sinning he could make his own decision as to what was right and wrong, a mature believer is able to make right decisions about this.
The principles of the doctrine of Christ are what the Old Testament teach about him in their types and prophecies. Jewish believers must leave them because they are only a foundation (Gal.3:24,25). They are dead works (Heb.9:9-14), baptisms (washings) were ceremonial washings with water (Ex.30:18, Lev.16:4, Num.19:19), blood or ashes of the Red Heifer, laying on of hands was the transmission or imputation of sin from the sinner to the sacrificial animal (Lev.16:21), resurrection and judgment was believed by the Jews (Eccles.12:14, Acts 24:14,15, John 11:24). These foundations must not be laid again because that would be a backward step, they had to be built on by the doctrine of Christ, the reality to which they all pointed and this they would do if God permit or DV (Deo Volente) because every step in spiritual progress depends on God’s grace and Holy Spirit.
Next study (DV) Saturday February 27th 8pm on Hebrews 6:4-12 on Zoom here:
Its Process. By the process of sanctification we mean the principal actings of those who have already been manifestatively set apart by God unto Himself and for Himself. To speak of the actings of sanctification necessarily presupposes a previous principle of holiness from which they arise. Sanctification, as we have pointed out in previous articles, begins with, and continues as a consequent of, regeneration. Viewed from the experimental and practical side, sanctification is not a Divine act, but a work of God’s grace, wherein He sustains and develops, continues and perfects, that which He imparted at the new birth. Thus considered, sanctification is a growth, under the supporting and fructifying influences of the indwelling Holy Spirit: a growth from spiritual infancy to childhood, from childhood to youth, from youth to spiritual maturity. This growth follows a two-fold process: the mortification of the old nature, and the vivification of the new nature. Throughout that twofold process there is a concurrence between the Spirit and the believer, and this, because holiness is both a privilege and a duty, a Divine gift and a human attainment. To our last statement some are likely to take exception, for the balance of Truth has been well-nigh lost on this subject. Antinomians insist that sanctification is solely the work of God, and that the believer has no part or hand in it. Pelagians virtually affirm that it is entirely the product of human industry. From one viewpoint, sanctification is indeed the work of God, but from another it is the work of man, assisted by supernatural grace. As a privilege, sanctification is the subject of promise and prayer: see Ezekiel 36:25-27, John 17:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:23. But as a duty, sanctification is the subject of exhortation: see Ezekiel 18:31, 2 Corinthians 7:1, 1 Peter 1:15. Those who are so insistent upon affirming that sanctification is entirely the work of God, and that man has no part in it, overlook God’s general method of working. Behold His handiwork in Nature. God does not create trees fully grown, nor even plants with flowers fully developed. Instead, they first exist as tiny seeds, and then they develop gradually unto maturity, and their growth is made dependent on the outworking of natural laws—supplies of rain and sunshine—and often of human cultivation. So it is spiritually. In the realm of grace, God works by means and according to the sequences of law. “Although the strength with which we believe is wholly and entirely from the Spirit, and put into the soul by Him who is said to ‘strengthen us in the inner man’ (Eph. 3:16), yet He useth apt and suitable motives, by and with which He conveys it, and conveys it answerable to the fitness and force that is in such motives to work upon an intelligent creature” (Thomas Goodwin, Vol. 8., p. 108). Sanctification is our work not as though we could change our own hearts from the love of sin to the love of God, nor even when they are changed to carry forward that change to perfection or completion; no, it is only as we are enabled from on High, for of ourselves we can do nothing (John 15:5). It is our work as we diligently use the appointed means, and trust God to make them effectual. It is God’s work as the Spirit employs powerful motives to influence us to action. For instance, He impresses us with the fact that God’s eye is ever upon us, and this causes us to walk softly before Him. Or, He applies to our hearts the solemn warnings of Scripture, so that we are afraid to sport with sin or give heed to Satan’s allurements. Or again, He fills the heart with a sense of Christ’s dying love for us, so that the springs of gratitude are set in motion, and we endeavour to please and glorify Him. By various considerations the Holy Spirit stirs up the believer to resist sin and cultivate holiness. The process of our sanctification, then, is both a Divine and a human one. Having dwelt so much upon the Divine side in the earlier articles we now continue our consideration of the human. This process is a protracted one, so that the believer gradually becomes more and more out of love with sin and in love with holiness. Now, as we have said above, this spiritual growth follows the twofold process of mortification and vivification. Yet those two actings are not so distinct that the one can go on independently, or at a distinct time from the other, for the one necessarily accompanies the other; nevertheless, in explaining that process of experimental and practical sanctification they need to be separately expounded; and a little reflection will show the order in which they need to be contemplated—we have to die to sin before we can live to God. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection” etc. (Col. 3:5). This means, put to death those fleshly lusts which are set upon earthly objects, and thus prevent their evil fruits of “fornication” etc.: with this expression “your members which are upon the earth” compare “the body of sin” (Rom. 6:6), which does not mean our physical body, though sin acts through it. The term “mortify” is not used in Scripture absolutely to kill and destroy, so as that which is mortified no longer has any being, but rather that it should be rendered impotent and useless, unable to produce its wicked works. In proof of this assertion, let it be carefully noted that the same Greek word which is translated “mortify” in Colossians 3:5 is rendered “and being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now “dead”, when he was about a hundred years old” (Rom. 14:19). Now the body of Abraham was not absolutely dead, but the natural force and vigour of it was considerably abated. The object of this duty of mortification is indwelling sin, which may he viewed in a threefold manner: its root or principle, its disposition and powers, its effects or fruits. The root of indwelling sin is that depraved habit or principle which inclines fallen man unto all that is evil: it is “the flesh” or “our old man.” The disposition or powers of indwelling sin are designated its “affections and lusts” (Gal. 5:24), “deceitful lusts” (Eph. 4:22), “secret (hidden, inward) faults” (Psa. 19:12). Its effects or fruits are its open transgressions against God’s Law. Now to “mortify” sin is a continual act or work, whereby we are to strive against sin, sap its power, rendering it impotent to beget evil works. The same duty (with relation to the death of Christ as the meritorious and efficient cause of it), is expressed by crucifying the flesh (Gal. 5:24)—a form of death which is a painful and lingering one. Mortification consists of a deliberate and diligent opposition to the solicitations of sin. It is the exercise and working of that hatred of sin which the Spirit communicated to the heart at the new birth. It is taking sides with the new nature against the flesh. It is the acting out of the grace received at regeneration unto a continual endeavour in the subjugating of the old nature, so that we may be able to truthfully say with the Apostle “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection” (1 Cor. 9:27). It is the putting forth of our utmost endeavours to resist our corruptions by all those methods prescribed in the Gospel. It is the “putting off of the old man” (Eph. 4:22): a displacing it from its former throne in the heart, so as no longer to yield obedience to its lusts or walk according to its dictates.
There are but two masters which divide the world between them; sin and God. Every man serves one of them, but no man can serve both. Every man serves either sin or righteousness, God or Satan, for there is no middle or neutral state: either their time and strength are spent in the service of the flesh, or the service of God. “For they that are after the flesh, do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit” (Rom. 8:5); “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Gal. 6:8). How it concerns us, then, to consider what or who it is that employs our souls! The faculties of the soul and the energies of the body cannot be inactive: they must be employed one way or the other—Heavenwards or Hellwards. Both of these services are entered by consent: “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness” (Rom. 6:16). It is true there are degrees in this, some yielding up themselves more completely and entirely than others; nevertheless, the service which the unregenerate render to sin and the service which the regenerate render to righteousness, is quite voluntary. Of the one we read “The heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Eccl. 8:11), and again “Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (Eph. 4:19); of the other it is written “but first gave their own selves to the Lord” (2 Cor. 8:5). No excuses, no quibblings, no reasonings can neutralize the plain testimony of these Scriptures. Each man freely follows the bent of his own heart and pursues that which he is most in love with. The great difference between the regenerate and the unregenerate is this: the one denies self, the other gratifies it. “Self denial lies in a man’s renouncing, foregoing, and postponing all his pleasures, profits, relations, interest, and whatever he enjoys, which may be in competition withChrist. From love to Him, and to be given up at His command. A self-denying person seeks first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and leaves all other things with God, to bestow upon him as He thinks fit; and what He has given him, he is ready at His command to bring all he has and place it at His feet, as the first Christians brought all they had and laid it at the Apostles’ feet. This is self-denial” (John Gill). The great motive to this is the example left us by the Son of God Himself: see Philippians 2:5-8. Mortification consists in the application to the heart and life of the principle of the Cross. It does not denote the abolition of sin in the believer or the present destruction of its being: our corruptions are not put off until we leave this world. Nor is the work of mortification to be understood in the literal and natural sense of the term, by the starving or scourging of the body: many deluded souls mistake the mortification of the body for the mortification of sin. Nor does it consist in the suppressing of the external acts of sin only, for sin may reign over the heart where the outward conduct is highly esteemed among men. Nor should it be supposed that the mortification of sin has taken place because some particular inclination which formerly predominated is now weakened, for the effects of illness or the advances of old age often produce this consequence. No, mortification is the purging of the soul, the freeing of it from that slavery of the flesh which detained it from God and disabled it from the duties of a holy and heavenly life. It is the resisting and denying of our corrupt inclinations. It is founded in a hatred of them, and not simply in fear of their consequences. It is not a bare abstinence from acts of evil, but an abhorrence for them from a regard to the authority of God in His Law, which forbids them. This is most important to note, for there is much abstaining from outward acts of sin where there is not a grain of holiness in the heart. There are various prudential considerations which deter many from crime, such as the fear of human punishment, the loss of reputation among men, the jeopardizing of a lucrative position, or concern for their health. But evangelical mortification proceeds from an abhorrence of evil and has respect to the will of Him who forbids its exercise. Evangelical mortification rises from the principle of grace in the renewed soul, for that principle heartily approves both the precepts and prohibitions of the Law. And herein lies the imperative need of self-examination, observing our hearts and ascertaining from what views and motives we act, otherwise there will be little or no real holiness, even though our outward conduct be such as raises it above the censure of those who know us best. We have no warrant whatever to deem ourselves any further holy than as we act under the influence of spiritual considerations: that is, doing what we do out of love to God, with a respect unto His authority, seeking His glory. It is a very dangerous mistake to suppose that all opposition to sin is genuine mortification, and therefore we need to carefully examine into the design and ends of our actions. Mortification of sin is one of the chief duties and should be the daily business of every Christian. Some who seem much mortified to bodily lusts, are yet greatly captivated by intellectual lusts. They do not wallow in the mire of immorality, drunkenness, and other fleshly gratifications, but they are full of pride, envy, covetousness, malice, contempt of others, which lusts are just as vile in themselves and as hateful to God as the others. True grace opposes lusts of every kind, for it will not connive at any evil. The new nature is just as much antagonistic to internal eruptions of sin as to the outward acts: necessarily so, for without this there is no purity of heart and nothing of that holiness which is indispensably requisite for eternal happiness. Many appear to think otherwise, and therefore so long as their lusts break not forth into outward acts of sin, they are well pleased with themselves. Alas, what multitudes are fatally deceived at this very point: the externals of religion and the outward acts of morality are all that concern them. But God is to be worshipped “in spirit and in truth,” if He is to be worshipped acceptably; and none but the pure in heart are admitted into Heaven. O how few make conscience of evil thoughts, or the first motions of the affections after that which is prohibited: the “plague of his own heart” (1 Kings 8:38) occasions them no concern—which is sure proof that they are not indwelt by the Holy Spirit. God requires the heart (Prov. 23:26), and if we give not that to Him, then He receives nothing which He values in the slightest degree. Such was the case with the Pharisees—and they have numerous successors today—whom our Lord compared to whited sepulchres, which are beautiful without, but within are full of putridity. Here is the great difference between faith and presumption: the one hates sin, is plagued by its presence, and mourns over its activities; the other is bold in sinning, persuades itself of security in Christ, lightly passes over its commission, having little remorse when guilty of it. Evangelical mortification of sin, then, respects not only the behaviour, but the heart, for there it begins. Its aim is to produce spirituality of mind, for “to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6). Abhorrence of evil, love of God, and a delight in conformity to His will, is the root of it, and where these be not in some measure, there is nothing of that mortification which God requires. Indwelling sin must not he spared, but attacked, for there is no other way of being freed from bondage to it, but by constantly opposing it, root and branch. Every unmortified sin will weaken the soul, so as to deprive it of its strength Godwards, and it will darken the soul, so as to deprive it of its peace and comfort. Observe what an unmortified lust in the heart did for David: “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; my moisture is turned into the drought of summer” (Psa. 32:3, 4). So too unmortified lust spreads a cloud over the soul, so that the beams of God’s favour are intercepted: “Your sins have hid His face from you” (Isa. 59:2). Nothing is so destructive of communion with God as the allowance of sin. Nothing is so opposed to our best interests as the indulgence of fleshly lusts. Nothing presents so serious a stumbling block to babes in Christ’s family as to behold the older members of it trifling with that which caused His crucifixion. If He died for sin, surely we must die to sin. On the other hand, there is a blessedness which results from mortification which should set every Christian to be more diligent and earnest in the prosecution of it. There is a double comfort in mortification: one in the nature of the work itself, as it is a God-appointed duty; the other as it respects Christ, affording evidence of our union with Him. God will be no man’s debtor, and He richly rewards those who set themselves to the work He has assigned. What a blessed tranquility of conscience and joy of heart is ours when we have faithfully repelled temptations and successfully resisted our corruptions! What recompense is found in the smile of God! There is then a Heaven within—whereas the wicked have a taste of Hell, in their gripes of conscience and terrors of the wrath to come. Moreover, mortification evidences our interest in Christ (Gal. 5:24): those endeavours of mortification, sincere yet feeble, plainly show that the Holy Spirit is in me, and what joy such assurance brings! Further, the daily mortification of indwelling sin not only has much to do with the comforts enjoyed by our souls, but it is instrumental in fitting us to be used by Christ, in whatever humble capacity He is pleased to employ us. “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the Master’s use, and prepared unto every good work” (2 Tim. 2:21). What is the blessedness of life but in being of some use in the Lord’s vineyard? Only so far as we live a fruitful life unto God, do we answer the end of our being. But let a proud, a carnal, or a worldly heart be employed in any service to the Lord, and such an heart is certain to spoil the work by managing it for some self end. Sin is a disease, a consumption upon the inner man, and so far as it prevails, unfits us to be used by Christ. When the Lord employed Isaiah, He first purged his iniquity: Isaiah 6:7, 8! Temptations can only be resisted in proportion as we devote ourselves to the work of mortification. It is the condition of our heart which determines whether or not we respond to Satan’s allurements. So too afflictions are unsupportable without mortification. My reader, you live in a mutable world, where Providence rings the changes in all its affairs. You that have husband or wife may be left desolate tomorrow. You that have riches or children may be bereft of both before you are aware. Sickness treads upon the heels of health, and death as surely follows life as the night does the day. Consider well with yourself: are you able to bear the loss of your sweetest enjoyments with patience? O get the heart mortified to all these things, and you will bless a taking as well as a giving God.—A.W.P
God always exercises his rule over sin. He remains king yet still gives sin free reign in his kingdom. He allows it to have everything-his world, his creatures, even his Anointed-for evils cannot exist without goods. He allows it opportunity to show what it can do in order ultimately to destroy itself, sin dies of its own diseases; it dooms itself to death. At the apex of its power, it is, by the cross alone, publicly shown up in its powerlessness. “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it”- (the cross). Col.2:15. For that reason God willed there to be sin. Because he knew he was absolutely able to control sin.
It is true that also and especially in God’s government over sin his attributes are splendidly displayed. The riches of God’s grace, the depth of his compassion, the unchanging nature of his faithfulness, the inviolable character of his justice, the glory of his wisdom and power have shone out all the more brilliantly as a result of sin. Hallelujah-JK
The possibility of sinning is from God. The idea of sin was first conceived in his mind. It was included in his decree or else it would never have been able to exist. God created humans and angels so that they could sin and fall (they did not have the grace by which they could stand in perpetuity). They were good but changeably so. What has been formed can be deformed and hence again be reformed.
Satan’s sin was produced in himself, Adam’s temptation and sin came from without. Bavinck rightly says the tree of knowledge of good and evil offered our first parents the right and the capacity to distinguish good and evil on their own.
Sin is a phenomenon whose possibility was indeed given in the creation of the finite, mutable beings, but whose reality could only be called into being by the will of the creature. It is there, it is no accident, and God assigned it a place.
Romans 8:13 “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”
Colossians 3:5 “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:”
I believe sanctification is monergistic in its origin (“through the Spirit”) but synergistic in it’s operation and expression (“if ye…”).
God sanctifies us in principle when we are regenerated and continues the work (Phil.1:6) but we are called to strive after sanctification with all our might (Hoeksema). We are called to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit (2 Cor.7:1) and put off the old man and put on the new man (Eph.4:22). God’s work always first, preserves us as rational, moral creatures so that we bear fruit consciously and willingly. He works in us continuous conversion and we turn. Christ lives in us, out of our new man.
John Owen has to be one of the masters of explaining this having written a whole treatise on it!
So according to this your training programme should incorporate sessions in the following percentages:
HR up to 65% max
HR 65-80% max
HR 0ver 80% max
Training needs to be sustainable and effective i.e. you need to be able to sustain it without burning out, getting too tired causing a drop in performance. Rest and sleep are when the training adaptations occur-hence their importance.
Wonderful experience. Deep communion.Occasional., Not for all i.e. separates brethren. Mystical.
All believers. Now. Received at regeneration. Gal.4:6, 2 Cor.1:22 Word based. Belgic conf. Art 5 on proof of God’s word being true by church, Spirit and evidences e.g. prophecy. Westminster Conf. I (5) 1 Peter 1:8 joy. Heidelberg LD 22 Q58
“How wonderful and blessed it is to know that the honor of Christ and the procuring of our salvation are so intimately connected that it was His glory to be made our Mediator! There are three chief offices which Christ holds as Mediator: He is prophet, priest and potentate. But there is an importance, a dignity and a blessedness (little as carnal reason may be able to perceive it) attaching to His priestly office which does not belong to the other two. Scripture furnishes three proofs of this. First, we never read of “our great prophet,” or “our great King,” but we do of “our great High Priest” (Heb. 4:14)! Second, the Holy Spirit nowhere affirms that Christ’s appointment to either His prophetic or His kingly office “glorified” Him; but this is insisted upon in connection with His call to the sacerdotal office (Heb. 5:5)! Third, we read not of the dread solemnity of any divine “oath” in connection with His inauguration to the prophetic or the kingly office, but we do His priestly—”The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, thou art a priest forever.” (Ps. 110:4)! Thus the priesthood of Christ is invested with supreme importance. ” A.W. Pink
“It is to be observed that Psalm 2:7 opens with the words, “I will declare the decree,” which signifies a public announcement of what had been eternally predestinated and appointed in the everlasting covenant. It was God making known that the Mediator had received a Divine commission, and therefore was possessed of all requisite authority for His office. The deeper meaning, in this connection, of the proclamation, “Thou art My Son,” tells us that Christ’s sufficiency as Priest lies in His Divine nature. It was the dignity of His person which gave value to what He did. Because He was the Son, God appointed Him High Priest: He would not give this glory to another. Just as, because He is the Son, He has made Him “Heir of all things.” (Heb. 1:2.)
Congratulations to Steve for just getting in front of Tyson again this year – I note however the gap was a little smaller being 30 points this year and 36 points last year so Tyson is putting the pressure on.Steve Roedde – 1275 Points – Steve managed to put in a couple of great efforts on Slides at 14.9 and Static machine at 15.4 seconds – both significantly under 1:20/500m pace! Also time seems to not be affecting Steve who at 66 is moving faster than either of the last 2 years.
Tyson Whitt – 1245 Points – Tyson also put in efforts on the slides and static machines with times of 13.7 and 14.1 so just 0.4 seconds slower on the static. The slides seem to give a bit of an advantage on the sprints in that they allow you to rate that bit higher and so get more strokes in with less chance of flying off your seat! Both of these are huge efforts and also faster than last year on both counts by at least 0.2 seconds.
Julian Kennedy – 1152 Points – A welcome podium place here – Julian has shown great improvement over the last couple of years with a 17.2 in 2019 then 16.7 last year and a 16.6 this year – which incidentally equals the British Record for his age group which is a superb achievement. He also hit that time of 16.6 twice in the month just to prove it wasn’t a fluke. Other Notables!!!!There were definitely some more great sprints this month with Mike De Petris taking 0.4 seconds off his time from last year and pushing Julian close for a podium place with 1142 points (just 10 points shy). Mike also managed somehow to average 89 SPM which is astounding. Rick Gadde also took 0.4 seconds off last years time and fell just behind Mike on 1134 points (again another tight margin of just 8 points). Juzzy Reston is then the first of perhaps the not out and out sprinters – Justine by her own admission is not a sprinter but I think of course you still wouldn’t bet against her and certainly wouldn’t want to line up against her in a race you wanted to win! Justine turned back the clock and equaled her time of 2 years ago continuing this trend for maintaining or improving power as you get older – didn’t work for me so I’m not jealous at all
19 entries in total this month included 12 repeat entries from last year. Of those 12 there were 7 improvements – with Andy Lane I think the most improved with a nearly 1 second speed boost in the 100m (which is massive of course).
A Stroke rate high of 89 (yes 89!!!) was hit by Mike De Petris while a of 33 was put in by Tom Maloney – good improvement potential there in the sprints when the confidence to push that rate up arrives.
Christ is a great High Priest because, being divine, he can sacrifice (himself) for, care for (because he knows each intimately) and intercede for, all his elect people for evermore in the real holy place which is heaven.
Christ, having a weak human body was subject to human feelings e.g. tiredness, disease and sorrow but without sin e.g. fear, dread of death, unrighteous anger etc.
It is a comfort to us that he was tested in all points as we are e.g. our desire to indulge (lust of the flesh), possess (lust of the eyes), to impress (pride of life) all these as external temptations presented to him in the wilderness (stones to bread, “I’ll give you the world, jump off the temple”) all of which would have avoided the cross, but having come through he was victorious (on our behalf). Having no sin nature Satan had nothing “in him” to work on so he remained impeccable, but he suffered as the testing intensified.
Therefore being a man, albeit a glorified one, he understands human nature and we are exhorted to come to him to find mercy (pity, compassion and forgiveness) and grace (power of salvation and granting of his beauty) which we obtain through the gospel.
For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted By Satan, at his entrance on his public ministry, a little before his death and throughout his life; which was done, not by stirring up sin in him, for he had none, nor by putting any into him, which could not be done, nor could Satan get any advantage over him; he solicited him one thing and another, but in vain; though these temptations were very troublesome, and disagreeable, and abhorrent to the pure and holy nature of Christ, and so must be reckoned among his sufferings, or things by which he suffered: and as afflictions are sometimes called temptations, in this sense also Christ suffered, being tempted, with outward poverty and meanness, with slight and neglect from his own relations, and with a general contempt and reproach among men: he was often tempted by the Jews with ensnaring questions; he was deserted by his followers, by his own disciples, yea, by his God and Father; all which were great trials to him, and must be accounted as sufferings: and he also endured great pains of body, and anguish of mind, and at last death itself. And so
he is able to succour them that are tempted (tested-JK); as all the saints, more or less, are, both with Satan’s temptations, and with afflictions in the world, which God suffers to befall them, on various accounts; partly on his own account, to show his grace, power, and faithfulness in supporting under them, and in delivering out of them; and partly on his Son’s account, that they might be like unto him, and he may have an opportunity of succouring them, and sympathizing with them; and also on their own account, to humble them, to try their faith, to excite them to prayer and watchfulness, and to keep them dependent on the power and grace of God: and these Christ succours, by having and showing a fellow feeling with them; by praying for them; by supporting them under temptations; by rebuking the tempter, and delivering out of them: and all this he is able to do; he must be able to succour them as he is God; and his conquering Satan is a convincing evidence to the saints of his ability; but here it intends his qualification, and fitness, and readiness to help in such circumstances, from the experience he himself has had of these things.
For we have not an high priestwhich cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; such as bodily diseases and wants, persecutions from men, and the temptations of Satan; under all which Christ sympathizes with his people; and which sympathy of his arises from his knowledge and experience of these things, and the share he has had of them, and from that union there is between him and his people: and it is not a bare sympathy, but is attended with his assistance, support, and deliverance; and the consideration of it is of great comfort to the saints:
but was in all points tempted like as we are: of the temptations of Christ, and of the saints, (See Gill on Hebrews 2:18)
yet without sin; there was no sin in his nature; though he was encompassed about with infirmities, yet not with sinful infirmities, only sinless ones; nor was there any sin in his temptations; though he was solicited to sin by Satan, yet he could find none in him to work upon; nor could he draw him into the commission of any sin.
Hebrews 5:9 “and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;” Sanctified suits the passage better than “made perfect”. “For their sakes I sanctify myself ” (John 17:19). Christ was consecrated.
Hebrews 5:12 ” ye ought to be teachers”..no one is to retain what he knows to himself, but to communicate it to the edification of others Calvin): hence participation in Bible studies!
Just as the Aaronic priests were publicly ordained (Ex. 28:41, 29:4,5,44, 30:7, Numbers 4, 8:7) so was Christ at his baptism in Jordan. The high priest was in charge of all the other priests and the upkeep of the tabernacle, offered sacrifices, and incense i.e. prayed for the people, taught holiness, circumcised, put out the showbread, trimmed the candlesticks, judged lepers , guarded the book of the law , blew the trumpets and annually went into the holiest place (Ex.20:10). These are all aspects of covenant fellowship of the people and their God. All the priests were weak because human, but Christ, offering the perfect sacrifice, and being also divine, escapes or avoids the besetting infirmity of the O.T. priests.
People “out of the way” would be backsliders, walking in disobedience.
The high priest had to be descended from Aaron (Ex.31:10, Num.3:10) and ordained by another priest.
Christ was anointed and ordained by God, using John (the son of a priest) in the Jordan though he was in a sense ordained from eternity past (Lamb slain).
He was different, not being a Levite, but like Melchizedek, a priest-king (of Salem).
It was in death that Christ fulfilled the Aaronic type, making a full and perfect atonement for the sins of His people. It is in resurrection that He assumed the character in which Melchizedek foreshadowed Him—a royal Priest. It was after He had been officially “perfected” and had become “the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him” that the Lord Jesus announced, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18). There was first the Cross and then the Crown: first He “offered up Himself” (Heb. 7:27), then He entered “into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Heb. 9:24); and there He is seated “a Priest upon His throne” (Zech. 6:13). A.W.Pink
Christ prayed with crying and tears in Gethsemane and was diligent in his office going as far as the cross in his work on his people’s behalf fulfilling to the letter his office as high priest.
“He learned obedience”……But what is “obedience?” It is subjection to the will of another: it is an owning of the authority of another; it is performing the pleasure of another. This was an entirely new experience for the Son. Before His incarnation, He had Himself occupied the place of authority, of supreme authority. His seat had been the throne of the universe. From it He had issued commands and had enforced obedience. But now He had taken the place of a servant. He had assumed a creature nature. He had become man. And in this new place and role He conducted Himself with befitting submission to Another. He had been “made under the law,” and its precepts must be honored by Him.”
“Again; the “obedience” of Christ formed an essential part of His priestly oblation. This was typified of old—though very few have perceived it—in the animals prescribed for sacrifice: they were to be “without spot, without blemish.” That denoted their excellency; only the “choice of the flock” (Ezek. 24:5) were presented to God. The antitype of this pointed to far more than the sinlessness of Christ—that were merely negative. It had in view His positive perfections, His active obedience, His personal excellency. When Christ “offered Himself without spot to God” (Heb. 9:14), He presented a Sacrifice which had already fulfilled every preceptive requirement of the law. And it was as Priest that He thus offered Himself to God, thereby fulfilling the Aaronic type. But in all things He has the pre-eminence, for at the cross He was both Offerer and Offering. ”
He excelled them at every point, thus demonstrating the immeasurable superiority of Christ over Aaron. First, Aaron was but a man (verse 1); Christ, the “Son.” Second, Aaron offered “sacrifices” (verse 1); Christ offered one perfect sacrifice, once for all. Third, Aaron was “compassed with infirmity” (verse 2); Christ was the “mighty” One (Ps. 89:19). Fourth, Aaron needed to offer for his own sins (verse 3); Christ was sinless. Fifth, Aaron offered a sacrifice external to himself; Christ offered Himself. Sixth, Aaron effected only a temporary salvation. Christ secured an eternal one. Seventh, Aaron’s atonement was for Israel only; Christ’s for “all them that obey Him.”
It was in death that Christ fulfilled the Aaronic type, making a full and perfect atonement for the sins of His people. It is in resurrection that He assumed the character in which Melchizedek foreshadowed Him—a royal Priest. It was after He had been officially “perfected” and had become “the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him” that the Lord Jesus announced, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18). There was first the Cross and then the Crown: first He “offered up Himself” (Heb. 7:27), then He entered “into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Heb. 9:24); and there He is seated “a Priest upon His throne” (Zech. 6:13)
Next study (DV) Saturday February 13th 8pm on line looking at Hebrews 5:9-6:3
“Seeing the sinner man, says he, was, according to what God had threatened, become liable to death, till he had satisfied divine justice and was brought into that condition by the devil, who had con- quered man, and thereby was become his lord, under whose dominion and captivity man afterwards lived ; in order to deliver, and perfectly restore him, it was necessary, because he could do neither of these things himself, both that another could undergo and conquer for him the death which he deserved and that another rescue him from the power of the devil, who was rescued from him by violence and military prowess. The former requires a Surety, who, taking guilt upon himself in man’s name, should willingly and patiently undergo the just penalty at the hands of the most righteous Judge, to his full satisfaction. The latter calls for a Redeemer or Avenger, who, by a just claim, may rescue slaves out of the hands of an unjust tyrant (such as he who, by fraud and violence, acquires a dominion) and, by opposition and resistance, injures the innocent. To both these purposes God appointed his own Son, whom, by an eternal covenant, he chose to the mediatorial office ; and revealed in his word, that he should be the valiant conqueror of the serpent, and the deliverer of some men, also, a vicarious Surety, and afterwards a sacrifice, which was pointed out by clothing our first parents with skins, the sufferings of Christ therefore are of two sorts : One judicial, which he endured as Surety, justly on the part of God, for the debts of others, which he had undertaken to pay, and which being done, a reconciliation is the consequence : the other, warlike, which he endured as Deliverer [or Redeemer] unjustly brought on him by his enemies, Satan and his instruments, because he will bring to salvation those whom he redeemed by his ransom. Both these kinds of sufferings belong to the perfecting of Christ.”
Sung Psalm 51: 8-15 (when David prayed for reassurance)
Reading Ephesians 4:20-5:11
3. Unbelief-certain doctrines like reprobation, hell, sexuality, heaven, scripture’s authority, providence. Doubting these will weaken faith so that assurance is lost. The antidote is the shield of faith and reliance on the truth of God’s word.
4. Grieving the Spirit-he withdraws as we “hurt” him (although he is forever infinitely and unassailably blessed). We do this by lying, stealing, unrighteous anger, malice, unforgiveness, sexual sin and covetousness. The antidote is to repent, forgive, restore anything stolen and get restored by God. (Psalm 51:10-13).
The Spirit, then, does not grant the believer assurance irrespective of his own carefulness and diligence. “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning” (Luke 12:35): the latter being largely determined by the former. The Christian is not always in the enjoyment of a child-like confidence. And why? Because he is often guilty of “grieving” the Spirit, and then, He withholds much of His comfort. Hereby we may ascertain our communion with God and when it is interrupted, when He be pleased or displeased with us—by the motions or withdrawings of the Spirit’s consolation. Note the order in Acts 9:31, “Walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit”; and again in Acts 11:24, “He was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit.” Hence, when our confidence toward “the Father” is clouded, we should search our ways and find out what is the matter. A.W. Pink.
5.Walking in darkness-Eph.5:3-6 outlines this, also unequal yoke relationships, drunkenness, family sins, love of money, being outside the church, worldliness. Answer-repent, 1 John 1:9, Eph. 4:22-24.
6. Lack of evidences of good works-not loving the brethren, not loving and seeking to obey his commandments, not hating and mortifying sin. Answer-again repent, do your first works, return to your first love, see sin as God does (the cross).
“There remaineth therefore a Sabbath-keeping for the people of God.” The reference is not to something future, but to what is present. The Greek verb (in its passive form) is never rendered by any other English equivalent than “remaineth.” It occurs again in Hebrews 10:26. The word “remain” signifies “to be left after others have withdrawn, to continue unchanged.” Here then is a plain, positive, unequivocal declaration by the Spirit of God: “There remaineth therefore a Sabbath-keeping.” Nothing could be simpler, nothing less ambiguous. The striking thing is that this statement occurs in the very epistle whose theme is the superiority of Christianity over Judaism; written to those addressed as “holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling.” Therefore, it cannot be gainsaid that Hebrews 4:9 refers directly to the Christian Sabbath. Hence we solemnly and emphatically declare that any man who says there is no Christian Sabbath takes direct issue with the New Testament scriptures. See also LD 38 of Heidelberg catechism and John Calvin’s Institutes Book II chapter 8.
“Does God give us righteousness? He Himself is our righteousness, Jehovah-Tsidkenu. Does God give us peace? Christ is our peace. Does God give us light? He is our light. Does God give us bread? He is the bread we eat. As the Son liveth by the Father, so he that eateth Me shall live by Me (John 6). God Himself is our strength. God is ours, and in all His gifts and blessings He gives Himself. By the Holy Spirit we are one with Christ, and Christ the Son of God is our righteousness, nay, our life. Do you want any other real presence? God dwells and lives in us, and we in Him? What more real presence and indwelling, awful and blessed, can we have than that which the apostle described when he said: ‘I live; yet not I, But Christ liveth in me?’ Or again, ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”Thus God gives us His rest as our rest”
The “soul” is the seat of the emotions ( 1 Samuel 18:1, Judges 10:16, Genesis 42:21, etc.). It is that part of our nature which stirs into exercise the “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” The unregenerate man is termed “the soulish man” ( 1 Corinthians 2:14), the Greek word there being the adjectival form of “psyche” or “soul.” That is to say, the unregenerate man is entirely dominated by his soul, his lusts, his desires, his emotions. Spiritual considerations have no weight with him whatsoever, for he is “alienated from the life of God.” True, he has a “spirit,” and by means of it he is capable of perceiving all around him the evidences of the “eternal power and godhead” of the Creator ( Romans 1:20). It is the “candle of the Lord” ( Proverbs 20:27) within him; yet it has, because of the fall, no communion with God. Now at regeneration the spirit is restored to communion with God, united with Him, “reconciled.” The spirit is raised from its immersion in the soul, and once more functions separately: “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit” ( Romans 1:9); “my spirit prayeth” ( 1 Corinthians 14:14).
The word of God, “is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The Word of God now exposes our innermost being. Having eyes to see, we discover, for the first time, what a vile, depraved and hell-deserving creatures we are. Though, in the mercy of God, we may have been preserved from much outward wickedness in our unregenerate days, and so passed among our fellows as an exemplary character, we now perceive that there dwelleth “no good thing” in us, that every thought and intent of our desperately wicked heart has, all our life, been contrary to the requirements and claims of a holy God. The Word has searched us out, and discovered our real selves. We see ourselves as lost, ruined, undone sinners. This is ever the first conscious effect of the new birth, for one who is still “dead in trespasses and sins” has no realization of his awful condition before God.
“He was tempted—tried, exercised—for no more doth the word impart. Whatever is the moral evil in temptation it is due to the depraved intention of the tempter, or from the weakness and sin of the tempted. In itself, it is but a trial, which may have a good or bad effect. He was tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Sin may be considered as to its principle, and as to its effect. Men are tempted to sin by sin, to actual sin by habitual sin, to outward sin, by indwelling sin. And this is the greatest source of sin in us who are sinners. The apostle reminds us of the holiness and purity of Christ, that we may not imagine that He was liable unto any such temptations unto sin from within as we find ourselves liable unto, who are never free from guilt and defilement. Whatever temptation He was exposed unto or exercised withal, as He was with all and of all sorts that can come from without, they had none of them in the last degree any effect unto Him. He was absolutely in all things ‘without sin’; He neither was tempted by sin, such was the holiness of His nature; nor did His temptation produce sin, such was the perfection of His obedience” (Dr John Owen).
The Man Christ Jesus was the Holy One of God, and therefore He could not sin. But were not Satan and Adam created without sin, and did not they yield to temptation? Yes; but the one was only a created angel the other merely man. But our Lord and Saviour was not a created being; instead, He was “God manifest in flesh.” In His humanity He was “holy” ( Luke 1:35) and, as such, as high above unfallen Satan or Adam as the heavens are above the earth. He was not only impeccable God, but impeccable Man. The prince of this world came but found nothing in Him ( John 14:30). Thus, He is presented before us not only as an example to be followed, but as an Object upon which faith may rest with unshaken confidence.
I was training hard for this event following my coach Desmond Brown’s plan. I competed in the 1000m and 500m M65-69 and in both races against heavier men as these were mixed weight races ( I was just into the heavyweight category as it didn’t matter).
In the 1000m at 11am I got a bad start as GO instead of ROW came up on my screen and put me off, nevertheless true to form beaten by the strong Ken Lake of Malta with him doing 3m.22s and me 3.39.5s (results at 11.47). Long wait till 500m at 4.15pm. I ran out of steam with 150 to go but nevertheless was satisfied with a good time of 1.36.5 for fourth (second if lightweight).
Its Evidences What are the principal marks of spiritual growth? What are the outstanding characteristics of the Christian’s progress? If we bear in mind the real nature of spiritual growth and remember it is like that of a tree―downward as well as upward; inward as well as outward―we shall be preserved from mere generalisations. If, too, we take into account the three grades under which Christians are grouped, we shall be careful to distinguish between those things which, respectively, evidence growth in the “babes,” in the “young men,” and in the “fathers” in Christ.
When a young Christian is favoured with pious parents, or brothers and sisters who encourage him both by counsel and example, how much more may be looked for from him than another who dwells in the home of the ungodly. An unmarried woman who does not have to earn her living has much more opportunity for reading, meditation, prayer, and the nurture of her spiritual life, than one who has the care of a young family. One who is privileged to sit regularly under an edifying ministry has better opportunity for Christian progress, than another who is denied such a privilege. Again, the man with two talents cannot produce as much as another with five, yet if the former gain another two by them, he does just as well proportionately as the one who makes his five into ten. The Lord Himself takes note of such differences: “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” (Luk 12:48).
If the Christian expects to find an improvement in the “old man,” he will most certainly be disappointed: If he looks for a waning of natural pride, a lessening of the workings of unbelief, a cessation of the risings within him of rebellion against God, he will look in vain. Yet how many Christians are bitterly disappointed over this very thing and greatly cast down by the same. But they ought not to be―for God has nowhere promised to sublimate or spiritualise the “flesh” nor to eradicate our corruptions in this life―yet it is the Christian’s duty and privilege to so “walk in the Spirit” that he “shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Gal 5:16). Though we should be deeply humbled over our corruptions and mourn for them, yet our painful awareness of the same should not cause us to conclude we have made no spiritual growth. An increasing realization of our native depravity, a growing discovery of how much there is within us that is opposed to God―with a corresponding despising of ourselves for the same―is one of the surest evidences that we are growing in grace. The more the light of God shines into our hearts, the more are we made aware of the filth and wickedness which indwell them. The better we become acquainted with God and learn of His ineffable purity, the more conscious do we become of our base impurity and bewail the same. That is a growing downwards, or becoming less in our own esteem. And it is that which makes way for an increasing valuation of the atoning and cleansing blood of Christ, and a more frequent betaking of ourselves to that Fountain which has been opened for sin and for uncleanness. Thus, if Christ is becoming more precious unto you, if you perceive with increasing clearness His suitability for such a vile wretch as you know yourself to be, and if that perception leads you to cast yourself more and more upon Him―as a drowning man does to a log―then that is clear proof you are growing in grace.
Growth is silent, and at the same time, imperceptible to our senses―though later, it is evident. Growth is gradual; and full development is not reached in a day, nor in a year. Time must be allowed before proof can be obtained. We should not attempt to gauge our growth by our feelings, but rather, by looking into the glass of God’s Word and measuring ourselves by the standard which is there set before us. There may be real progress, even where there be less inward comforts. Am I denying myself more now than I did formerly? Am I less enthralled by the attractions of this world than I used to be? Are the details of my daily life being more strictly regulated by the precepts of Holy Writ? Am I more resigned to the blessed will of God, assured that He knows what is best for me? Is my confidence in God growing, so that I am more and more leaving myself and my affairs in His hands? Those are some of the tests we should apply to ourselves, if we would ascertain whether or not we be growing in grace.
Consider the work of mortification and seek to ascertain what proficiency you are making therein. There can be no progress in the Christian life while that work be unattended to. God does not remove indwelling sin from His people, but He does require them to make no provision unto its lusts, to resist its strivings, and to deny its solicitations. His call is: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth” (Col 3:5). “Put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (Eph 4:22). “Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1Pet. 2:11). “Keep yourselves from idols” (1John 5:21). That is the lifelong task God has assigned us: For as long as we remain in this body, the flesh will oppose from within; and the world, from without. If we become slack in the performance of this duty, sin and Satan will gain more and more of an advantage over us. But if we be faithful and diligent therein, our efforts―by the Spirit’s enablement―will not be altogether in vain. But most of our readers―perhaps all of them―will exclaim, But his is the very matter in which I meet with most discouragement; and if I am honest, it appears to me that my efforts are utterly in vain. Despite my utmost endeavours, my lusts still master me, and I am repeatedly brought into captivity by sin. Though such be the case, that goes not to show your efforts were useless. God has nowhere promised that if you do so and so, indwelling sin shall become inoperative, or that your lusts shall become weaker and weaker. There is widespread misunderstanding on this subject. The word “mortify” signifies “put to death,” but it must be carefully borne in mind that it is used figuratively and not literally―for it is a physical term applied to what is immaterial. Through no possible process can the Christian―not with the Spirit’s help―render his lusts lifeless. They may at times appear so to his consciousness, yet it will not be long ere he is again aware that they are vigorous and active. The holiest of God’s people, in all ages, have borne testimony to the power and prevalency of their corruptions; and that, to their last hour. It needs then to be carefully defined what is meant by the word “mortify.” Since it does not signify, “slay or extinguish indwelling sin” nor “render lifeless your lusts,” what is intended? This: Die unto them in your affections, your intentions, your resolutions, your efforts. We mortify sin by detesting it: “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer” (1John 3:15); and just so far as we really hate our corruptions, have we morally slain them. The Christian evidences his hatred of sin by mourning when it has gained an advantage over him. If it be his sincere intention and honest resolution to subdue every rising of his native depravity and the commission of every sin, then in the sight of Him who accepts the will for the deed, he has “mortified” them. Whenever the believer contritely confesses his sins unto God and “forsakes” them, so far as any purpose to repeat them is concerned, he has “mortified” them. If he truly loathes, grieves over, and acknowledges his failures unto God, then he can say, “that which I do I allow not” (Rom 7:15). “The LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1Sam 16:7) needs to be borne in mind on this subject. “If a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die” (Deut 22:25). In the verses which follow, we read, “there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death” (Deut 22:26). Not only did she not consent hereto, but we are told “the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her” (Deu 22:27). Now, that has a spiritual application to us. If a believer be suddenly surprised by a temptation which is unto something forbidden by God, and his heart agrees not thereunto―but he offers a resistance, which is, however, unavailing―though he be not guiltless therein, yet his case is very different from that of the unregenerate who found the temptation agreeable and responded heartily thereto. Note how the Spirit has recorded of Joseph of Arimathea, that though he was a member of the Sanhedrin which condemned Christ to death, yet “the same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them” (Luke 23:51)! “What is sanctification? Sanctification is a work of God’s grace, whereby they whom God hath before the foundation of the world chosen to be holy, are in time, through the powerful operation of His Spirit applying the death and resurrection of Christ unto them, renewed in their whole man after the image of God; having the seeds of repentance unto life and all other saving graces put into their hearts, and those graces so stirred up, increased and strengthened, as that they more and more die unto sin and rise unto newness of life” (Westminster Catechism). The words we have emphasized have occasioned much grief and anxiety unto many―for measuring themselves by them, they concluded they had never been sanctified. But it should be noted, it is not there said that “sin is more and more dying in them,” but that they “more and more die unto sin”―which is a very different thing. Christians do, as pointed out above, die more and more unto sin in their affections, intentions, and efforts. Yet we fail to find any warrant in Scripture for saying, “the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened.” Having sought to show what the word “mortify” does not denote in its application to the Christian’s conflict with sin―and what it does signify―let us, in a few words, point out wherein the believer may be said to be making progress in this essential work. He is progressing therein when he girds himself more diligently and resolutely unto this task, refusing to allow seeming failure therein to cause him to give up in despair. He is making progress therein as he learns to make conscience of things which the world condemns not, by being regulated by God’s Word, rather than public opinion, or leaning unto his own understanding. He is making progress therein when he obtains a clear insight of spiritual corruptions, so that he is exercised not only over worldly lusts and gross evils, but over coldness of heart, unbelief, pride, impatience, self-confidence; and thus, he would cleanse himself from all filthiness of “spirit,” as well as “of the flesh” (2Cor 7:1). In short, he is growing in grace, if he be maintaining a stricter and more regular watch over his heart.
Consider the work of living unto God and seek to ascertain in what proficiency you are making therein. The measure and constancy of our yieldedness and devotedness unto God is another criterion by which we may ascertain whether or not we be really growing in grace―for to lapse into a course of self-pleasing is a sure symptom of backsliding. Am I increasingly giving up myself unto God, employing my faculties and powers in seeking to please and glorify Him? Am I endeavouring, with intensified earnestness and diligence, to act in accordance with the surrender I made of myself to Him at my conversion, and to the dedication of myself to His service at my baptism? Am I finding deeper delight therein, or is His service becoming irksome? If the latter, then that is clear proof that I have deteriorated―for there has been no change in Him, nor in His claims upon me. If love be healthy, then my greatest joy will be in making Him my chief Object and supreme End; but if I seek to do so only from a sense of obligation and duty, then my love has cooled. “Be filled with the Spirit” (Eph 5:18). Probably that means, in part at least, Let no compartment of your complex being be reserved or retained for self, but desire and pray that God may possess you wholly. Is that the deepest longing and endeavour of your heart? Are you finding increasing pleasure in the will and ways of the Lord? Then you are following on to know Him. Are you making a more determined and continuous effort to “Walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col 1:10)? Then that evidences you are growing in grace. Are you less influenced than formerly by how others think and act, and requiring nothing less than a “Thus saith the Lord” for your monitor? Then you are becoming more rooted and grounded in the Faith. Are you more watchful against those things which would break, or at least chill, your communion with God? Then you are going forward in the Christian life. To be increasingly devoted unto God requires that I be increasingly occupied and absorbed with Him. To that end, I need to daily study the revelation which He has made of Himself in the Scriptures, and particularly in Christ. I need also to meditate frequently upon His wondrous perfections: His amazing grace, unfathomable love, His ineffable holiness, His unchanging faithfulness, His mighty power, His infinite longsufferance. If I contemplate Him thus with the eyes of faith and love, then shall I be able to say, “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD [the place of nearness and fellowship with Him] all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD” (Psa 27:4). The one who can do that must perforce exclaim, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee” (Psa 73:25). That, my reader, is not a mere rhetorical utterance, but the language of one whose heart has been won by the Lord Consider the Word of God and seek to measure yourself by the degree in which you really honour it. What place do the contents of the Sacred Volume have in your affections, thoughts, and life: a higher one than formerly, or not? Is that divine communication more valued by you today than when you were first converted? Are you more fully assured of its divine inspiration, so that Satan himself could not make you doubt its Authorship? Are you more solemnly impressed by its authority, so that at times, you tremble before it? Does the Truth come with greater weight, so that your heart and conscience is more deeply impressed by it? Are more of its very words treasured up in your memory and frequently meditated upon? Are you really feeding upon it: appropriating it unto yourself, mixing faith therewith, and being nourished by it? Are you learning to make it your Shield, on which you catch and quench the fiery darts of the wicked? Are you like the Bereans (Act 17:11), bringing to this infallible Scale and weighing therein all you read and hear? Carefully bear in mind the purpose for which the Scriptures were given to us, the particular benefits they are designed to bestow. They are “profitable for doctrine” (2Ti 3:16), and their doctrine is far more than a theological treatise addressed to the intellect or a philosophical system which furnishes an explanation of man’s origin, constitution, and relation to God. It is “the doctrine which is according to godliness” (1Ti 6:3)―every part of which is designed to exalt God and abase man according to Him, His rightful place over us, and our dependence upon and subjection to Him. It is profitable “for reproof,” to acquaint us with our innumerable faults and failures, and to admonish us for the same. It is “a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb 4:12), probing into our innermost beings and condemning all within us which is impure. It is profitable “for correction,” to teach us what is right and pleasing unto God; and such is its potency that the more we are regulated by it, the more are our souls renovated and purified. It is profitable “for instruction in righteousness,” for producing integrity of character and conduct. It is for the enlightening of our minds, the instructing of our consciences, the regulating of our wills. Now, my reader, test yourself by those considerations, fairly and impartially. Are you finding the Scriptures increasingly profitable for “the doctrine which is according to godliness”? If so, they are producing in you a deeper and more extensive piety. Are you more and more opening your heart unto their “reproof,” not confining yourself to those portions which comfort, and avoiding those parts which admonish and condemn you? If so, then you are cultivating closer dealings with God. Are you increasingly desirous of being “corrected” by their searching and holy teachings? If so, then you diligently endeavour to promptly put right whatever they show is wrong in you. Are they really instructing you in righteousness, so that your deportment is becoming in the fuller conformity to their standard? If so, you are more shunned by worldlings and less esteemed by empty professors. Do you frequently examine yourself by God’s Word and test your experience by its teaching? If so, you are becoming more skilled in the Word of Righteousness (Heb 5:13) and more pleasing unto its Author.
“The covenant of grace is an agreement between God and the elect sinner ; God declaring his free good- will concerning eternal salvation, and every thing relative thereto, freely to be given to those in covenant, by and for the sake of the Mediator Christ ; and man consenting to that good-will by a sincere faith. “ Witsius. Is he correct? No!
“The covenant of grace is an unconditional promise of eternal life made to every elect sinner who has been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. Christ as the only propitiation and mediator satisfied the judgment and justice of God by his substitution for them on the cross”
Sung Psalm 43 (note esp. v 5 where the Psalmist pours out the feelings of his heart to God.
Reading 1 John 2:18-29
Reasons for lack of assurance
Doctrinal. Roman Catholicism-a false gospel that does not save or produce assurance, whose teaching denies assurance and which feeds on the guilt of its members to make them dependent and generous. See Canons of Dordt V r5
Arminianism which denies perseverance
Easy-believism and “once saved always saved”, no assurance from a “decision”.
Puritanism with the teaching of a second blessing that has to be sought and
assurance being for a few, not normal
Lack of teaching-answered by the tenets of Calvinism
Feelings-overly sensitive conscience, critical spirit/negativity, too
Current situation-unemployed, retired, divorced (and too much time!)
Past life. Criminality, addiction, being a victim of abuse or crime, war.
John’s reasons for writing 1 John are seen in 2:19 and it was apostasy. Seceders left the church probably arrogantly self-deceived regarding special knowledge they allegedly possessed which also deceived others and as their lives were also wicked they left the church (rather than be disciplined!)
All God’s people have a rest to enter (Matthew 11:29). It is the rest of faith on the promise of eternal life. The ceasing from one’s own works probably means ceasing from attempting merit or seeking salvation by our own works (Rom.10:3, Phil.3:9), ceasing from evil works (and self-righteousness is an evil work), by mortifying sin and eventually entering our eternal rest in glory. Entering the rest of faith necessarily means renouncing all self -righteousness, typically keeping the sabbath day and eventually heavenly rest. God’s resting on the seventh day is the standard we follow or reject to our destruction (Gen.2:2,3, Isaiah 57:20,21, Rev.14:11,14). Christ’s rest, entered into after the resurrection and ascension was also mentioned. Heidelberg Catechism is helpful LD38 Q. 103.” What doth God require in the fourth commandment? A. First, that the ministry of the gospel and the schools be maintained; and that I, especially on the sabbath, that is, on the day of rest, diligently frequent the church of God, to hear His word, to use the sacraments, publicly to call upon the Lord, and contribute to the relief of the poor, as becomes a Christian. Secondly, that all the days of my life I cease from my evil works, and yield myself to the Lord, to work by His Holy Spirit in me; and thus begin in this life the eternal sabbath.” The Greek word used throughout this section of Scripture is KATAPAUSIS which means repose and by inference from Hebrew an abode (home).Vine’s dictionary of N.T. words states, “ In opposition to the burdens imposed by the pharisees, Christ’s rest is not a rest from work but in work, not the rest of inactivity but the harmonious working of all the faculties and affections-of will, heart, imagination, conscience-because each has found in God the ideal sphere for its satisfaction and development.” It is the covenant lived out and perfected.
We labour to enter into the rest by self-denial and the means of grace, we seek the pearl of great price (Christ) and this is not meriting because it is the rest of faith alone, in Christ alone by faith alone! The warning is that if we fail to do so, we fall and perish in unbelief as the Jews in the wilderness. The word of God which is likened to a sharp two-edged sword is the word the Jews rejected and that word judged and damned them, i.e. it slays the wicked (and the old man!) That same word because it is living, active, pure and powerful and is linked to God’s omniscience, wounds consciences, exposes our sin and wicked motives and renews our minds (Isaiah 55:10,11, Rom.8:11-13). The word is Scripture read and preached and wielded by the Holy Spirit as God’s instrument, acting on people to produce blessed spiritual effects (1 Thess.2:13, Rom.10:14, Rev.19:13). Each of the pairs that this word divides are so closely associated that it takes a very sharp penetrating instrument to do so, to expose heart motives (Psalm 139:2,23,24, Acts 2:37, 5:33, 7:54, Psalm 94:11, Isaiah 66:18, Matt.9:4). But we need to be thankful because it is the means of our sanctification (John 17:17).
Verses in 1 John that show how a godly life supports assurance
1 John 2 3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him
1 John 3 14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death 18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
1 John 4 13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
1 John 5 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
Note how often John says that godly living helps us KNOW we are God’s children.
Sung Psalm 27
Reading 1 John 1:1-2:5
Main points concerning assurance (recap):
Assurance is of the essence of faith. 1 John 4:16 and by it we overcome 5:4,5. Check Heidelberg Cat. L.D. 7
Assurance comes from the witness of the Spirit 1 John 2:20,27, 3:24,5:10-13,18,19 also 2 Cor.1:22,5:5.
Assurance is strengthened in the way of a godly life. 1 John 3:24, 2:3, Canons V 9.
Assurance is strengthened through observation of self. 1 John 2:3-5 but 1 John is replete with similar verses (see above)
“Let it also be remarked, that though no sins can affect the state of the justified, yet some sins may deprive them of the sense of their justification.”
“For without holiness no man shall see the Lord, Heb. 12: 14. We must not only be desirous to be found in Christ but also to be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless, 2 Pet.3: 14. In fine, it is not possible that one be found in Christ, not having personal, or evangelical righteousness. For the end of deliverance from the curse is, that men may serve the Lord in holiness and righteousness, Luke 1: 74. Every branch vitally united to the true vine, brlngeth forth much fruit, John.15: 5. Such as are married to him who is raised from the dead, bring forth fruit unto God, Rom. 8: 4. They are his workmanship* created in Christ Jesus unto good works, Eph.2:10. And hence, these their works shall be honourably mentioned at the last day, Matt. 25: 34-40 not as the causes of their right to the kingdom, but as its evidences.”
“Saving faith itself is assurance. Assurance is also connected with sanctification. The degree of this assurance can and does vary. Believers are certain according to the measure of faith. Not only does one believer differ from another in degree of assurance; but the degree of assurance in the same believer may differ at times. That variation is according to the measure of faith. If and when the activity of his faith is strong, his assurance is clear and bright; if and when the activity of his faith is weaker, the degree of assurance is also smaller. The one way of assurance is threefold. It is: 1). The way of God’s Word, His promises. 2). The way of the testimony of the Holy Spirit that we are children and heirs of God. 3). The way of a walk in sanctification: an earnest and holy exercise of a good conscience and of good works. These 3 elements belong to the one way of assurance. They belong together. Take any one of them away and assurance becomes impossible, changes to doubt and despair.Assurance is God’s work…the question is not: how do I obtain assurance…but how does God assure, what is God’s way of assurance? When I know this and walk according to this, I can grow in assurance day by day. For in order to enjoy assurance, I must be in God’s way. I must walk by faith in the way in which God always assures His children. In the way of a sanctified walk, God’s people enjoy the testimony of the Spirit with their spirit, through and in connection with the Word, that they are children and heirs.”HCH
37You, Samuel Watterson, Ed Bos and 34 others27 commentsLikeComment
“Since this paradise was given to man to be cultivated and kept, the Lord thereby reminded him, that he took no pleasure in a lazy idleness, but in an active industry. His will was, that man should employ his labour and care upon the garden, that he might have something to do, and in which he might continually experience the goodness and providence of his Crea- tor. He did not choose, that angels themselves should be idle, whom he made ministering spirits. God assigned to man the care of cultivating and keeping paradise, that he might have something to employ himself in the works of God ; just as a king’s son has some office assigned him, left he should become indolent by an excess of pleasures, honor, and riches. Thus he became obliged to be conformed to his God by the purest actings, and to be employed about the very work of God’s hands, till he should come to enjoy an eternal sabbath with himself” (in heaven). Herman Witsius
Work is a creation ordinance, man is made to work and work wholeheartedly-this is the Protestant work ethic! Paul say that any professing Christian who does not work should not eat either!
“Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:”
Futhermore (Witsius) says concerning God and man(adapted)
Paradise was a type of heaven, for the careful keeping of it reminded man to have heaven continually in his mind and thoughts. The labour and culture of paradise taught him, that only he that (through faith) labours and does that which is acceptable to God, can get to the heavenly habitation. He was also instructed to keep his soul for God, as a most pleasant garden, cultivated like the paradise of God, and show forth those trees of virtues, which God planted, as producing the most excellent fruits, that is, works proceeding from good habits : that so the Lord might come into this his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits. It pointed out to him, that he should, above all things, solicitously keep his soul, that garden of God, lest any wild beasts of depraved passions should break in, to lay every thing there in waste. And. when God said to him. Keep this my garden, may he not at the fame time be supposed to say, ” Keep thy heart with all diligence” or above all keeping ?
Calvin’s Catechism (1537): “14. What True Faith Is. One must not imagine that the Christian faith is a bare and mere knowledge of God or an understanding of the Scripture which flutters in the brain without touching the heart, as it is usually the case with the opinion about things which are confirmed by some probable reason. But faith is a firm and solid confidence of the heart, by means of which we rest surely in the mercy of God which is promised to us through the Gospel. For thus the definition of faith must be taken from the substance of the promise. Faith rests so much on this foundation that, if the latter be taken away, faith would collapse at once, or, rather, vanish away. Hence, when the Lord presents to us his mercy through the promise of the Gospel, if we certainly and without hesitation trust him who made the promise, we are said to apprehend his word through faith. And this definition is not different from that of the apostle (Heb. 11:1) in which he teaches that faith is the certainty of the things to be hoped for and the demonstration of the things not apparent; for he means a sure and secure possession of the things that God promises, and an evidence of the things that are not apparent, that is to say, the life eternal. And this we conceive through confidence in the divine goodness which is offered to us through the Gospel. Now, since all the promises of God are gathered together and confirmed in Christ, and are, so to speak, kept and accomplished in him, it appears without doubt that Christ is the perpetual object of faith. And in that object, faith contemplates all the riches of the divine mercy. 15. Faith Is a Gift of God. If we honestly consider within ourselves how much our thought is blind to the heavenly secrets of God and how greatly our heart distrusts all things, we shall not doubt that faith greatly surpasses all the power of our nature and that faith is a unique and precious gift of God. For, as St. Paul maintains (I Cor. 2:11), if not one can witness the human will, except the spirit of man which is in man, how will man be certain of the divine will? And if the truth of God in us wavers even in things that we see by the eye, how will it be firm and stable where the Lord promises the things that the eye does not see and man’s understanding does not comprehend? Hence there is no doubt that faith is a light of the Holy Spirit through which our understandings are enlightened and our hearts are confirmed in a sure persuasion which is assured that the truth of God is so certain that he can but accomplish that which he has promised through his holy word that he will do. Hence (II Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13), the Holy Spirit is called like a guarantee which confirms in our hearts the certainty of the divine truth, and a seal by which our hearts are sealed in the expectation of the day of the Lord. For it is the Spirit indeed who witnesses to our spirit that God is our Father and that similarly we are his children (Rom. 8:16).” For more, see https://cprc.co.uk/quotes/calvin-on-assurance/
Finally, he who sincerely loves God, never thinks he loves and glorifies his God enough : he discovers so much excellency in him, he fees his name so illustrious, and so exalted above all praise, that he earnestly desires to have all men, nay all creatures, join him in loving and celebrating the infinite perfections of God. Now, this is the most sincere and pure love of our neighbour, to seek that God may be glorified in him, and he himself be for the glory of God. Hence it appears, that the love of our neighbour is inseparably connected with the love of God. If therefore it flows from the nature of God, to enjoin us the love of himself, as we have just proved ; it will likewise flow from the nature of God, to enjoin us the love of our neighbour.
On what grounds do we hope in Christ to kill our lusts and sanctify us?
(1.) Consider his mercifulness, tenderness, and kindness, as he is our great High Priest at the right hand of God. Assuredly he pities you in your distress; saith he, “As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you,” Isaiah. 66:13. He has the tenderness of a mother to a sucking child. Heb. 2:17, 18, “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” How is the ability of Christ upon the account of his suffering proposed to us? “In that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able.” Did the sufferings and temptations of Christ add to his ability and power? Not, doubtless, considered absolutely and in it itself. But the ability here mentioned is such as has readiness, proneness, willingness to put itself forth, accompanying of it; it is an ability
of will against all dissuasions. He is able, having suffered and been tempted, to break through all dissuasions to the contrary, to relieve poor tempted souls: “He is able to help.” He can now be moved to help, having been so tempted. So chap. 4:15, 16: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all
points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and findgrace to help in time of need.” The exhortation of verse 16 is the same that I am upon, namely, that we would entertain expectations of relief from Christ, which the apostle there calls, “grace for seasonable help.” “If ever,” says the soul, “help were seasonable, it would be so to me in my present condition. This is that which I long for, grace for seasonable help. I am ready to die,to perish, to be lost forever; iniquity will prevail against me, if help come not in.” Says the apostle, “Expect this help, this relief, this grace from Christ.” ” Suitable and seasonable help will come in, it will be more available to the ruin of your lust, and have a better and speedier issue, than all
the rigid means of self-maceration that ever any of the sons of men engaged themselves unto. Yea, let me add, that never any soul did or shall perish by the power of any lust, sin, or corruption, who could raise his soul by faith to an expectation of relief from Jesus Christ.
See also I Cor.10:13-JK
(2.) Consider His faithfulness who has promised; which may raise you up and confirm you in this waiting in an expectation of relief. He has promised to relieve in such cases, and he will fulfill his word to the utmost. God tells us that his covenant with us is like the “ordinances” of heaven, the sun, moon, and stars, which have their certain courses, Jer. 31:36. Thence David said that he watched for relief from God “as one watched for the morning,” a thing that will certainly come in its appointed season. So will be your relief from Christ. It will come in its season, as the dew and rain upon the parched ground; for faithful is he who has promised. Particular promises to this purpose are innumerable; with some of them, that seem peculiarly to suit his condition, so let the soul be always furnished.
Hmong believers are singled out for repression to be driven out by animistic neighbours by government consent. Wisdom needed by church leaders and people. Lau Y Pa has not seen her two teenage sons for some time. Vu Ba Sua’s baby could not be registered and was refused hospital treatment.
Paul with apostolic authority admonished the believers to live as renewed saints within the marriage bond putting off the old man of sin along with the immorality they once practised. All immorality is sin against God who is the Avenger of all evil both in this life and eternity.
Sanctification is God’s lifelong work of renewing his elect, regenerated and justified people into the image of his Son saving them from the dominion and power of sin.
Holiness encompasses consecration which is being set apart for God and purity or righteousness of character.
Sanctification includes putting off (crucifying) the old man and putting on the new man.
Although this progressive work is done by the Holy Spirit we are responsible for fighting and resisting temptation, not allowing it to reign, otherwise lamentable falls into sin will occur.
Adultery is sexual sin where one partner is married. Fornication includes all other sexual sin whether married or not but particularly of the unmarried.
A God-fearing mate (of the same denomination usually) is a biblical mandate and vital to marriage unity (Amos 3:3, 2 Cor.6:14).
Our vessels are our bodies (and our wives’) that are to be kept chaste and faithful. They are God’s temple and as such, just as the temple in Jesus’ day, are to have all unholy thoughts and actions that pollute it, whipped and driven out of them (Joe).
Marriage between unbelievers, though also arranged by God, is much more open to infidelity and adultery because the minds of the partners are still under sin, coveting others. Sexual perversion has gotten worse in terms of its variety and scope in recent years.
Honouring one’s wife, given by God, means caring for her, providing, protecting and cleaving to her alone. Any unfaithfulness in thought or action dishonours her (1 Peter 3:7, 1 Cor.7:33). Defrauding is stealing what is not yours.
We despise God (2 Sam.12:9,10) when we sin because we despise his word, show we do not love him supremely (“if ye love me keep my commandments”) and forget he saved us to belong to him and to be holy. God avenges this sin in this life and the next as seen in David, Amnon and Samson and our own experience. We are admonished to grow in love as it comes from God and is expressed to others. Working diligently and honestly at our living, submitting to authority and not gossiping is to be quiet. This is our example and witness as God’s light in the world.
Next Study (DV) June 10th 1930 hrs on Zoom, Lesson 7.
Paul sent Timothy to check on the spiritual state of the Thessalonian church with the recommendation he help establish and comfort them by teaching (content we have in our creeds).
There is a falling of saints but not an ultimate falling away to perdition. Canons V A4-8. See parable of sower (Luke 8 and 2 Thess.2:3). Paul was seeking assurance that their faith was genuine and stood the test. They were not to be troubled because persecution (and false teaching) is to be expected (it is decreed and the apostles specially were subject to it) as Jesus and Paul warn (Luke 21:16,17, John 15:18, Matt.5:10-12, 2 Tim.3:12) and in fact it is to be embraced and received as a blessing. We are to love our enemies and rejoice in our future hope. Tribulation comes in the form of troubles, sin and temptation and persecution.
Timothy reported their genuine faith was working by love (Gal.5:6) They loved each other and all men but their lack may have been in not supporting Paul or believing dead believers were lost (1 Thess.4). Paul’s experience of joyous eternal life was enhanced by knowing his converts were continuing in faith by God’s working (conversely, he would have been saddened if they were not). See 2 John 4 and 3 John 4. Paul’s asking the question infers his thanks is almost more than can be expressed. It is spiritual joy because spiritual victory and steadfastness come from God by the Spirit and produced this joy in Paul which was accompanied by feeling happy.
His desire is that their love grow (serving, meeting needs, praying for others) and that ultimately they would be unblameable (Jude 24, Col 1:22) we think this is to be expected of all believers when they meet Christ at the PAROUSIA (appearing and presence) something with which he ends every chapter.
The external call is the preached word or written word shared promiscuously as God permits whereas the internal call is the powerful life-changing effect of the Word (Jesus Christ) speaking through the preaching with power (John 10:16, Isaiah 55:10,11, Matthew 13:14-23). ” Many are called (external call) but few are chosen (election causing effectual call).” Paul’s preaching was the Word of God in that it was given him by direct revelation, entrusted to him and used as the foundation of the NT church (the Word preached and written in his epistles) including his exposition of OT passages. Preaching today by faithful men is also the Word of God, not directly Spirit-inspired but still used by the Spirit to effectually call and sanctify (Eph.4, 1 Thess. 1:5). The Spirit makes the word powerful to open, soften and change the heart. It can also be used to blind, harden and cause the reprobate to stumble and finally be destroyed. (2 Cor.2:15-17, 3:4-18, Ezekiel 36:26,27, Isaiah 6:9,10, Matthew 11:25, 21:44, 1 Peter 2:8).
The Thessalonian believers had the same faith as those in Judea and were also persecuted like them. Persecution is promised by Christ and Paul, it is a gift (John 15:20, Matthew 10:21,22, 35, Mark 10:30, Gal.4:29, Phil.1:29). Willingness to endure persecution is a mark of true discipleship because it is so predicted by Christ and Paul, spoken of in the parable of the sower where the plants among thorns were choked and only the plants with roots survived and bore fruit. Persecution is part of the cup of suffering that has to be filled up and is the result of the antithesis (enmity between seed of the woman and seed of the serpent). Persecution reaches into homes where family members are on opposite sides as Christ predicted. Godly wives must witness by submissive holy lives in front of unsaved spouses (1 Peter 3:1-4).
The persecutors of the church here were fellow Gentile countrymen and Jews who followed Paul around causing trouble, tools of Satan, some no doubt false teachers (Galatians). The church is tested through false teaching and persecution. They were contrary to all men by trying to stop the spread of the gospel and by their implacable detestation of Gentiles. God’s wrath is poured out on Jew and Gentile by blinding them, hardening them and giving them over to sin (Romans 1:18ff). It is on all the reprobate eternally. However there is always an elect remnant (Romans 11).
Paul desired to see these believers, sent Timothy to them, wrote to them and prayed for them. Satan can never thwart God’s purposes, he is always subject to Christ. (Matthew 16:18, Job 1 and 2) bound with the demons now but loosed at the end of time.
Paul wanted to revisit the church to see how they fared, comfort and teach (prevent falsehood) and perhaps ordain office bearers. First visit during AD 49-52 and second during AD 53-58). The churches planted by Paul were his joy because they were the evidence , confirmation and reward of his labours. (1 Cor.15:58, 3 John 4). They would form the basis of his reward of several crowns (2 Tim.4:8, James 1:12, Rev.2:10, 1 Peter 5:4, 1 Cor.3). We also expect a victor’s crown because we share Christ’s glory (Rev.4:10, John 17:22).
Next study DV Saturday April 22th at 1930 hrs on Lesson 5
Abraham was ready to sacrifice his dearest for God.
The world is full of distractions to turn us believers away from pursuing the right priorities. The kingdom of man is pleasurable and luxurious, promises fun and says there is nothing wrong with what it promotes or advertises. Even porn! Murder of the unborn and transitioning to the opposite sex is a right! The world’s “love” is momentary, the kingdom of man has no purpose except pleasure and self-will.
The kingdom of God is holy and the love of God to sinners is true everlasting love and its joy also is everlasting. Modern society basis its “truth” on feelings instead of reality. Thoughtful understanding leads to truth but personal feelings are often unwise and based on lies. The lazy mindset of the world creeps into our lives when we are made to work. We need God’s word-to read and study it and hear it preached-it is truth.
What is my purpose in life? What motivates me? For the Christian the answer ought to be the kingdom of God and practically speaking that means your church! This means we must deny sinful earthly pleasures and remembering that Satan knowing our weaknesses prays upon them. Put the phone, Instagram and your movies away. Don’t look to others all the time for approval. Work at your calling. We need to seek the kingdom daily, seeking to give glory to God. Call on Christ to gain you victory. Let the king be your guide. Seek first his kingdom.
Adapted from Beacon Lights December 2022 by Emma VanUffelen.
Gold is a wonderful precious metal. It has been value by societies for millennia. It has unique qualities: lustre (shine), malleability (bends), ductility (stretches), melts easily, is durable does not decay or tarnish and is relatively rare. The biggest country exporter is China and the biggest mine is on Irian Jaya, Indonesia. Many invest in gold as coins or bars because it tends to appreciate in value as little else does and unlike bank accounts gives a better return beating inflation.
Gold is mentioned first in Genesis 2:12 , quality gold being found in Havilah. Thereafter it is mentioned 410 times in Scripture (383 OT and 36 NT). The chapter with most references is Exodus (88) because the building of the tabernacle required much gold. Similarly the temple of Solomon was full of it and in his day it was common, used by him for drinking cups and shields. It was of course one of the magi’s gifts to the baby Jesus and his family.
As well as being very useful then it is used today in jewellery, as a national reserve of funds, in dentistry, medicine and electronics (every chip).
Scripture records sinful uses of gold in the fashioning of the golden calf, Jeroboam’s calves and Nebuchadnezzars statue. Achan and Gehazi (Elijah’s servant) coveted it.
But the key use of the word is in relation to faith and God’s people. Our faith is like gold tried in the fire of affliction (whether caused by our own sin or outside enemy influences). Just as gold is heated till it melts and impurities can be removed so we are tried in the furnace of affliction to remove impurity in our souls by the work of the Holy Spirit (Job 23:10, 1 Peter 1:7, Mal.3:3). This discipline is unpleasant but as the work of a good loving Father it bears fruit.
There are many spiritual riches that are more precious than gold: the word itself (Himself!), wisdom, knowledge of God, a good name. We are to seek treasure above in heaven where our good works including giving of ourselves and our resources and our prayers and worship are being stored up to be rewarded.
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent? * as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! ” Romans 10:13-15
*Sent means called and sent by a local church or denomination.
What I wrote to the leader of a large evangelistic outreach in Berlin Germany this Easter: “David I have prayed, and will pray for Berlin. My only misgiving about the outreach is, who will be preaching in the streets and tents. We both should be convinced that preaching is the chief means of conversion but OM (Operation Mobilisation) usually allow anyone to preach whereas Scripture clearly teaches that it requires called and sent ones (Romans 10) and preferably ordained ones who have gone through seminary theological training. We have nothing against witnessing and we know God uses that, but let us not succumb to easy believism, saying prayers which are assumed to be evidence of regeneration etc. The fruit will be seen in numbers TRULY REPENTING and JOINING CHURCHES and CONFESSING THEIR FAITH in those churches when they join.”
Below- yours truly preaching in the open air in Honduras 1985.
“Sahar courageously chose to tell her husband about her faith. And what she feared came true. He was furious and sent her away: that’s how she found herself crying in the back of a taxi, sent away from her home and her children. Her ordeal went unnoticed by the surrounding world – she was one of many hidden victims of persecution. “My pride was broken. I felt that everything was being taken away from me. I didn’t do anything wrong, I wasn’t a criminal. I knew everything was in God’s control – but I couldn’t control my feelings. I was in so much pain.”
Read how God turned her mourning into dancing here: Pages 7-12