Man shall not live by bread alone.



Living on bread alone, by living in this world without Christ is actually death. Death in the Biblical sense is separation from God (Rom.6:23, Isaiah 59:1-2, Ephesians 2:1). Every person is like this by nature. We are not born into the world as God’s children, we have to be adopted as such through rebirth. Christ, opposing Satan in Matthew 4:4, quotes Deuteronomy 8:3, saying that man can ONLY live by God’s word. This was said in the context of God supplying manna to the Israelites, which manna Christ said represented him (John 6:33). So Christ is heavenly bread. We must eat him! A man only becomes a child of God and truly alive by being born again (John 3:3, 6:53-58) by hearing, understanding, believing and obeying the gospel (I Peter 1:23), which is eating and assimilating Christ. We must hear the word of Christ to live spiritually (John 5:24-25). By hearing it preached in a true church, by reading it in a faithful translation, and by the working of God’s Spirit we are resurrected from being spiritually dead and become really alive. We eat the heavenly bread. Christ comes to dwell in us. We are graciously given eternal life by God’s grace. This eternal life is friendship and true knowledge of God (John 17:3). This is what real Christians celebrate in the Lord’s Supper. Are you really living or still dead in your un-forgiven sins?

Steadfast in purpose


     The Ballymena Academy motto TENAX PROPOSITI means steadfast in purpose. All people who study, who train for sporting competition or have set themselves some goal, need to be steadfast in purpose to achieve it. How about the Christian? Let’s look at Christ’s steadfastness.

In Luke 9:51 we read that he steadfastly set his face toward Jerusalem. Throughout his life he steadfastly obeyed Scripture and his purpose to glorify his Father, even when it meant suffering and death. Paul similarly, confronted by much suffering stated, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24).

Likewise according to the Westminster Confession, our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Our sovereign God and Father has a purpose for each of his children (Eph. 2:10). To accomplish this we must be steadfast in apostolic doctrine (Acts 2:42), steadfast in our service of God (I Cor.15:58) and steadfast in our resistance to Satan (I Pet.5:9). Thus this purpose encompasses our personal spiritual life, our life in church and our life in the world.

Christian-do you play games or train for sport on the Lord’s Day? (Sunday)


Isaiah 58:13-14

13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

Westminster Confession (Creed of all Presbyterian Churches)

This Sabbath is to be kept holy unto the Lord when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations; but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.

Sunday rest-the real meaning….maxresdefault

Holy War (1a)


“The evidence of regeneration (that you are a Christian, born from above-JK) is that you fight.  You know you are regenerated—born again from above with the life of the Lord by the Spirit of the Lord—if you fight.  You know with unshakable confidence that you belong to Christ now and forever if you fight.  The dead do not fight; the living fight.  You fight against sin in and for the kingdom of God.  You can see the kingdom by faith.  You love the kingdom—the church, its gospel preaching, its holy people, and its living truth.  You love God’s King, your Saviour, Jesus Christ.  You love and set your heart upon the treasures of the kingdom—righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit.  Because you love God, you hate and want destroyed the lie of false doctrine, wicked attitudes, alluring temptations, and all that is full of the vanity of wicked man.  You fight for the Bible and the truth of the Bible contained in the Reformed creeds.  The evidence of regeneration is not that you no longer sin, but that your sin bothers you before God. ”

The Reformed call this battle the Antithesis. It was instituted by God in Genesis 3:15, the enmity between the seed of the woman (Christ and the elect in him) and Satan and the reprobate wicked, and the battle between our old totally depraved nature and the new man animated by the Holy Spirit.

From Knowing War’s origin by Rev. Brian Huizinga in Standard Bearer 15/12/2016

Read whole article here.

Samples from Seminary – What is Mercy?

Good definition.

Young Calvinists

At seminary, the professors stress the importance of coming up with clear definitions whenever we develop a concept. Recently, we had a discussion over the idea of mercy.

The question arises: what exactly is mercy?

Some speak of mercy as it relates to grace. Grace is God’s undeserved favor toward those who deserve the opposite. In other words, because God is gracious toward us, we receive something we do not deserve. Some assert that mercy is just the opposite. Namely, that out of his mercy for us, God withholds what we rightly deserve. For example, while we deserve to be condemned for ours sins, in his mercy, God withholds that condemnation from us.

While this is an attractive way to keep these two concepts straight, I’m not sure that it gets at the heart of mercy. Certainly this explanation is not unbiblical; however, it is more of an example of…

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James 5:4-9



James 5:4-6

The Sins of the Rich

  1. The rich addressed here acquire their wealth by fraud, by not paying their workers enough or promptly.
  2. The unpaid wages cry against the rich because God hears/knows about them just as Abel’s blood cried from the ground after his murder. It is possible the injustice also cries in the conscience of the rich as in the case of Zacchaeus.
  3. The Lord Sabaoth means Lord of hosts, Lord of the army of angels and his church, sovereign King, Saviour and Protector of all of them. See Psalm 46:7, 24:10.
  4. Pleasure is something in God’s creation that pleases people but in this case it refers to pure hedonism, pleasure for its own sake, wallowing in excess wine, food, sex and luxury without any reference to God (in thankfulness). See also I Tim.6:6-8, 17, Amos 6:4-6, Luke 16:19, 25. Wanton means wanting more, discontentedness, inordinate desire (especially sexual). See I Tim.5:6. Wanton may also be an adjective to describe wicked behaviour e.g. wanton cruelty or destruction. E.g. I.S.I.S.
  5. He sees the rich in their greed laying down fat around their heart unaware that at any minute they could be dead like a slaughtered beast. See Isaiah 6:10 and Deut.32:15.
  6. Condemned implies judgment or punishment, in this case unjust just as with Christ. They may be condemned to starve. We believe this portion of Scripture is written to comfort the suffering poor and confront the wicked rich whether believers or hypocrites in the church.
  7. The murder could be both literal or figurative (i.e. hate), the former in the case of Naboth and the latter with Laban and Jacob.
  8. The actions of the rich are made even more sinful by the fact they are given power by God and they actually take advantage of their righteous peaceful compliant Christian workers. But Matthew 25:41-46.

James 5:7-9


  1. Patience is longsuffering under their corrupt bosses, waiting for justice for themselves and the rich. Similar to the cry from beneath the altar in Rev.6:10. See also Rom.12:19-21, Deut. 32:35 and Ps.73:18.
  2. James admonishes patience because they need to know their trouble is working salvation (character and dependence upon God) and the opposite would be to fight back and rebel.
  3. James speaks of the coming of the Lord as the time of justice being done and all wrongs made right.
  4. James uses the illustration of the farmer with his crops, waiting for the rains (the early was Oct/Nov and late March/April) and then the ripening of his harvest.
  5. Stablish the heart means a settled faith, acceptance of one’s situation and God’s promises as opposed to complaining and fretting.
  6. The second coming is near in God’s time where a thousand years are like a day but also his coming for us (after our short lives) is near. The fact it is near should encourage us to wait and believe the promises.
  7. To grudge means complain or groan to others and we are not to do it because it is sinful. To do so invites God’s chastisement c.f., James 1:2-4. It displays lack of submission and contentment under God’s mighty hand. By the way both verbs “standeth” (at the door) and “draweth” (near) are in the present perfect tense meaning they refer to things that have happened and are on-going. E.g. I Have worked here since I left school. She has been living in Liverpool all her life. The’ve been married for nearly 50 years.

Next study (D.V.) January 14th (Sat.) James 5:10-12.

What Reformation means!

untitledBurning bush-emblem of many Reformed churches.

Reformed believers tend to have a mind-set that concentrates on events that happened 500 years ago and led to the churches of which they are a part but at an individual level human beings MUST be reformed or perish! “The awesome truth here is also that He (God) re-formed us—that is what is meant when He forms us for Himself while we were in a devilish form which was realized by Satan–for HIMSELF That is, for His own glory! And by all means take hold of that last part: God forms us for Himself in order that we may show forth His praises. His praise and His desire to receive our praise is behind the work of salvation which He realized in His Son. He established that wonderful covenant for His own praise and glory. There we have the deep purpose of our salvation. It is realized so that we do show forth and are able to show forth His praise. We are saved so that we may sing His praises, want to do so, and can do so! There you have the deepest reason for the covenant which He drew up and signed. There you have the purpose of God’s covenant. He forms us for Himself. He planned and designed our salvation so that He might be praised by us constantly in the New Jerusalem.” John Heys in Standard Bearer.

Full article

God’s Unconditional Covenant


God’s covenant (testament) is NOT like that between two human beings with each making promises.

He alone makes the covenant and fulfils it in us, for the simple reason that not only do “dead men tell no tales” but dead men can have no part in their resurrection, and coming into living fellowship with the living God.

“We can never overemphasize that pronoun “I” in what is called the Mother-Promise, namely, Genesis 3:15. The almighty, unchangeable God said, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” It is not a promise of what we will do to flee from under the curse which we received because of our sinful work. The gospel, the good news, begins with God’s word as to what HE will do. Here very powerfully we are instructed that those who are going to be saved do not have to fulfill a condition, as we pointed out in the previous installment of these articles on That Wonderful Covenant. God’s covenant promises us what He will do to spiritually dead sinners who cannot yet want what He promises. We ought to take note of the fact that our covenant God begins with that truth, namely, I will do this before you even want it. This He promised to those who strove to escape punishment by fig-leaf aprons, and thus by their own works (dead works-JK). He promises covenant blessings to those who tried to hide from Him, not run unto Him in sorrow because there was yet a little love for Him in their hearts. Let us never forget how God began when He told the devil how we would be saved, not how we could save ourselves by fulfilling a condition. The simple truth we must hold on to is that God saves spiritually dead people who hate Him before He begins salvation in them. Enmity against Satan means love of God. There can be no neutrality. It is always, in every work we do, as far as its spiritual significance is concerned, either hatred against God or hatred against Satan. Did God not tell Adam, and still tells us today, that when we disobey Him we reveal spiritual DEATH? “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:17). When we die our hearts stop beating. And our hearts cannot by us be made to begin once again to pump our blood through our bodies. Well, that is what God told Adam and us. Clearly He told Adam and us that if Adam ate of that fruit, he and we could not even want to have our hearts beat in love to Him again. HE would have to do that; and in His grace He does it. ”

“He promises to His people, as represented by Adam and Eve, that which they do not even yet know exists!  (true of most believers-JK) Adam and Eve did not have the slightest idea that God had eternally decreed a covenant, will, and a testament, with that glorious promise of making us love Him and live with him in a more wonderful life, and with far more intimate fellowship with Him in the new Jerusalem than Adam enjoyed before he died spiritually. Yet our covenant God told them what was in His covenant. He would change them, not offer a change to them and give it if they asked for it. The conditional theology of Arminianism—so widely proclaimed today—denies the fact that Adam died spiritually that day, and that he had no spiritual life to hand down to any of his descendants. It maintains that God depends upon man to have His covenant promises fulfilled, rather than that man depends upon God for every bit of his spiritual life as well as every bit of his physical life.

John Heys in Standard Bearer.

Full article

God’s Covenant

Read book here:LINK

I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;” Isaiah 43:6

Christ is not only the mediator of the covenant and testator of that covenant, he is the substance of the covenant in that he gives himself. From conception, through his perfect life, death for sin, resurrection and ascension, he becomes ours and all his benefits and blessings as God’s only Son become ours as his adopted sons and brethren to our Saviour. This was true of the Old Testament saints just e.g. Abraham, like us. See Genesis 15:1.

The last will and testament (covenant) of God in Christ is to grant all his people, through and because of his death, eternal fellowship with him now and in heaven. This is the secret that God shows them alone (Psalm 25:14). Secret in the Hebrew means “love couch” the place people sit down together. ” Gesenius, in his Hebrew dictionary tells us that the root meaning of this word is “divan” or “couch.” He also tells us that the word secret means “a circle of people sitting together.” We may, therefore, explain that word “divan” or “couch” as a “love seat” upon which God sits with us in a most intimate fellowship of friendship. That is what God’s covenant is, namely, a relationship of friendship and fellowship between God and those whom He chose in His Son, and gave the right for them to have this by His Son’s death. ”

And more, he defeated and we defeat all our enemies through suffering, and then comes final judgment where we judge alongside the one who has been made the Judge of all men (John 5:22).

Read more here.