It’s always sad when a pet dies, never mind a human relative. Our rare little Crocodile Skink died yesterday. God gives life and breath to all things (Acts 17:25) and he takes it away too (Psalm 104:30). Since he alone is life and possesses eternal life (I Timothy 6:16), all that is united to him also has eternal life (John 17:3) and since sin entered the world (before which there was no death) all the world is naturally cut off from him and whether plant, animal or human it will die (Romans 5:17, 6:23, Genesis 2:17). Only those united to him by faith in Jesus Christ have life that lasts for ever but their bodies have to wait till the end of time for them to be given immortality (Romans 8:23).Meantime death reigns but he is an enemy that will one day be destroyed himself (I Corinthians 15:54). Then all creation will be immortal, hallelujah!
Pursuit of Holiness (Resume)
- We are sanctified, once for all in Christ and that is our status (I.Cor.1:30, Eph.1:4 and Hebrews 10:10, 14). But we in ourselves are totally depraved and are being sanctified progressively daily battling our sins and old nature and growing more like our Saviour.(see Qu.5 below)
- There are many possible reasons God makes sanctification a lifelong process-here are some: that we learn to depend upon him for help and forgiveness (as our Father); that we prove our love;that we hope for glory;to keep us humble; that we learn to deal with other sinful people (forgiving and confronting); that we experience his grace and power . The gradual elimination of the heathen Canaanites from the promised land is a useful illustration (Ex.23:29-33)
- Holiness consists a) consecration/devotion to God and b) the godly life of the antithesis (against sin and the sinful world).
4. The main motivation to be holy ought to be profound thankfulness to the God of our salvation but also to please him and enjoy his fellowship.
5. Sanctification is progressive as taught in the transformation of II Cor.3:18, the “more and more” verses e.g.Phil1:9, the metaphor of growth (I Peter 2:2 and II Peter 3:18) and the many exhortations to “put on” and “put off” in the epistles.
6. We inadvertently missed the next question (my fault) but I think we would all agree that our thoughts are the most difficult area of our lives to make holy (II Cor.10:5 and Ps.139:23-24).
7. Peter and Paul use several metaphors /illustrations to describe our part in being holy-they are:
Fighting and being a soldier; making effort and being an athlete; putting on and off clothes.
Our main responsibility in this is partaking of the means of grace (The word and prayer) but also our response to God’s chastening (Heb.12:1-12).
8.The major faculty of our being meant to rule in our lives is the mind or reason. Hence we need knowledge (Scriptural).
9. Faith consists union with Christ (unconscious-like branch drawing sap from vine-a reality even in young elect infants) and conscious believing and obeying the word (Heb.11).
10. Joy is the fruit of the Spirit and a product of holiness (Rom.14:17).
We men at CPRC start a new book August 8th 8pm (DV)
Here are the first study questions.
Lesson 1 Chapter 1-3 August 8th 8pm (DV)
Read chapter 1-3
- Why do you think we tend to major on the sins in society while we overlook our own more subtle ones?
2. Define sin and say why it is important to do so.
3. Where is the seat of sin, where does it spring from and what is the result?
4.Why has the word sin virtually stopped being used?
5. List some sins we tend to overlook.
6. Describe what Galatians 5:17 and Romans 7:15 are speaking about?
7. What then is our responsibility? (Gal.5:16, I Peter 2:11, Eph.4:29)
8. Outline God’s standard of behaviour ( I Cor.4:5, Ps.139:1-4).
9. Why should we take “hidden and respectable sins” seriously?
10. What stood out to you personally in this study and what have you learnt?
Sung : Psalm 147:12-20 (note beautiful imagery of weather!)
Read : Hosea 9:1-10
We looked at two aspects of agriculture as Hosea uses these natural images to warn and teach the people of Israel.
- Weather: rain (former and latter, meaning spring and autumn) was essential for the land to produce crops. Similarly his blessings were like rain for the people (10:12, 6:3-4).
Disaster came in the form of drought, prevailing east winds and whirlwinds (8:7, 12:1, 13:3, 15) also (2:3, 4:3).
2. Ephemeral weather: morning cloud and dew which both evaporated very quickly (6:4, 13:3). Their goodness was likened to this and their persons would be taken away in similar fashion upon the Assyrian invasion.
3.Farming: We read of every stage of crop production from ploughing (furrows and yoke 10:4, 11-13, 12:11) and sowing (2:23, 8:7) to reaping, threshing, winnowing (13:3, 9:1-2, 10:11) and storing. (2:9). Thus the Word Incarnate used farming imagery often to illustrate truth in his parables of the sower etc.In viticulture we have the production of wine (9:2, 10). This is inevitable really as Israel is in other scriptures herself likened to a vine however the winepress is a picture repeated in Isaiah 63:1-4 and Revelation 14:18-20, 19:15 of the fierce wrath of God in Christ as he crushes and destroys all his enemies.
Prof. David J. Engelsma received much criticism for upholding Belgic Confession Article 28 that states, ” That every one is bound to join himself to the true Church.” The main reason for this is highlighted by his former colleague Prof. Herman Hanko in his new book “Faith Made Perfect” where he states,” (James) has just said that our ongoing regeneration (our faith and sanctification) takes place by the preaching. Such would never be the fruit of the preaching if we paid no attention to what the minister says.” (or if we skip services or leave a true church-JK). “Preaching is the calling of the church in the world. It is most important because by the preaching Christ himself gathers, defends, and preserves his church.” “We are therefore to receive into our hearts the preaching as the powerful word of Christ. We are to receive it by being swift to hear and slow to wrath. And we are to receive it as the word, ‘which is able to save (our) souls.’ ” (Hence if you separate yourself from that preaching you are either reprobate or a foolish believer who thinks they can persevere without preaching and will backslide terribly-JK). You all know the coal that falls out of the fire illustration!
Faith Made Perfect
” Temptation is always deceitful. Temptation promises happiness and pleasure to the one who falls into the temptation, but it actually destroys him.”
Do not deceive yourselves. “God is mocked by such self-deception because (it shows) we do not really believe what God says is true.”
“A believer’s power to resist sin, to fight the good fight against temptation and to stand in the evil day is the power of the cross of Christ” (and the subsequent outpouring of the indwelling Spirit within us).
Herman Hanko on James 1:12-16 in “Faith Made Perfect”
Pursuit of Holiness
- What is the difference between our status as holy and what we are in ourselves?
2. Why do you think God makes sanctification a lifelong process?
3. What are the key aspects of holiness?
4.What are your main motives to be holy?
5. How can you prove sanctification is progressive?
6. In what area of our lives is it most difficult to be holy?
7. What words or metaphors (illustrations) do Paul and Peter use to describe the effort we must exert to be holy?
8. What is our main responsibility then as the means to pursue holiness?
9. What is the major faculty of our being that is meant to rule?
10. How is faith related to holiness?
11. How is joy related to holiness?
Wisdom is “the spiritual ability to apply the abiding truths of God’s word to all of life, including its problems and difficulties.” “Wisdom presupposes knowledge.” “Woe to the man (or woman-JK) who knows no doctrine and yet thinks he (or she) can live the Christian life. Woe to the man who tries to cope with the trials of life without any awareness of all the detailed instructions scripture gives concerning suffering.” “But mere knowledge of scripture is not enough. One must believe scripture to be the word of God and love God’s word as a lamp to his feet and a light on his pathway.”
Herman Hanko in “Faith Made Perfect” a commentary on the book of James.
Available from RFPA
RFPA (Reformed Free Publishing association) in USA and soon from CPRC.
It was a scorching hot day at the Mary Peters Track Belfast and entries included a number of over 35s (male and female) and every age group up to an 80 year old from all over the province, Scotland and the Republic. I got two golds, two silvers and two bronze. Best performances were in 300m hurdles where, despite falling at the last hurdle, I got up quickly and finished in 62.5 secs. Shot put 8m84cm (5Kg). Javelin (2nd) 26m. Discus (3rd) 24.66m. HJ (2nd=) 1m20cm. LJ tripped into the pit but still was only competitor! There were some excellent performances which will appear on NIMAA and NI athletics websites soon.