Chastisement of Christians

Isaiah 27:7-9

Hath he smitten him, as he smote those that smote him? or is he slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by him? In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it: he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind. By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up.

Compare:  Hebrews 12:11 

Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

When God sends forth an affliction on his people, or gives it a commission to them, as all are sent by him, he does it with moderation; he proportions it to their strength, and will not suffer them to be afflicted above what they are able to bear; and as, in afflicting, he debates and contends with his people, having a controversy with them, so he contends with the affliction he sends, and debates the point with it, and checks and corrects it, and will not suffer it to go beyond due bounds; and in this the afflictions of God’s people differ from the afflictions of others, about which he is careless and unconcerned: when afflictions, like a blustering and blasting east wind, threaten much mischief, and to carry all before them, Jehovah, from whom they have their commission, and who holds the winds in his fist, represses them, stops the violence of them, and gradually abates the force of them, and quite stills them, when they have answered the end for which they are sent: he speaketh,  “by his rough wind in the day of his east wind”; God sometimes meditates hard things against his people, and speaks unto them by the rough dispensations of his providence, admonishes them of their sins, and brings them to a sense and acknowledgment of them, which is his view in suffering them to befall them; or, “he removes by his rough wind”  their fruit, so the Lord, by afflictions, removes the unkind blossoms and bad fruit from his people, their sins and transgressions, as it follows.

By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged,….  they are the means of bringing the Lord’s people to a sense of their sins, and to repentance and humiliation for them, and confession of them, and of leading them to the blood and sacrifice of Christ, by which they are expiated and atoned, and which the Spirit of God brings near, and applies unto them; whereby their sins, they are convicted of by means of afflictions, and which lay heavy upon their consciences, are purged away, and removed from them: to take away sin; this is the design and use of afflictions, the profit and advantage of them to the saints, that, being humbled for their sins, they depart from them, leave and forsake them; as well as the guilt of them is taken away from their consciences, through the application of pardoning grace, upon their repentance; see Job 36:8 this shows another difference between the afflictions of God’s people and of others: namely, in the use and end of them. When he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder; that is, when Jacob, or the people of the Jews, being convinced of their idolatry by their afflictions, shall pull down all their idolatrous altars; break them (and burn them-JK) as chalkstones for lime. (Adapted from John Gill’s commentary of the Bible)

The Keys of the Kingdom

In Isaiah 22:22 we hear of Eliakim being given authority in the house of David, the palace in Jerusalem (JK) but in the mystical sense, Christ is said to have this key, Revelation 3:7 where the following words are applied to him: so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open; all which is expressive of the government of the church being on his shoulders, and of his absolute and uncontrollable power over it; who opens the treasures of his word, of his grace, and of wisdom and knowledge (in the preaching-JK) and communicates them unto, and shuts or hides them from, whom he pleases; who opens and shuts the doors of his church, his house, and lets in, and keeps out, whom he thinks fit; and who also opens and shuts the door of the kingdom of heaven, and introduces into it his own people, and excludes others. (John Gill) This authority was never in the hands of Peter and is NOT in the hands of the Pope but is delegated to those truly in apostolic succession namely office bearers in his true church, who advise on the admission of new members, can excommunicate others and fence the Lord’s Supper table-JK.

Heidelberg Catechism LD 31

The Jubilee (4)

Sung Psalm 45:1-6

Read Lev.27:16-25

The freewill offering of land to the priests became cash to the value of the seed required to sow that land. If a man wanted to buy it back he had to add 20% of the cash value but at the jubilee it reverted to the priests. If a man devoted land to the priests that was bought from another man then a cash value was calculated to be given the priesthood and the land reverted to the original owner at jubilee.

Related passages: Numbers 36:1-7. To prevent land leaving Manasseh the daughters of Zelophehad married within their tribe. Jer.32:7. II Chron.36:21. Neh.10:31. Ezek.46:16-18 (c.f. I Sam.8:14)

Another aspect of Jubilee: Deut.15:1-16. The non-exaction of debt among the Jews (but not foreigners).

In Isaiah 61:1, Jubilee was fulfilled partly when the Jews returned from Babylon but ultimately in the coming of Christ who himself said this Scripture was fulfilled as he read it in the synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4:16-21). Note it included kindness to Gentiles (widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian).

So the real jubilee came by preaching, by faith and by freeing from slavery to sin and the forgiveness of the debt of sin in the New Testament age, the “now” of II Cor.6:2, in which we no more keep days, months or years (Gal.4:9-10) but resort wholly to the person who brought in real jubilee namely Jesus.

” The benefits of Jubilee were squarely based on the atonement, on the shedding of blood in the stead of Israel. Israel did nothing to atone for itself, did nothing to pay. The benefits were simply bestowed upon Israel by sheer divine grace: slaves were released; debtors were freed;land and people had rest. No one did anything to earn liberation. All simply received it as a pure gift.” Prof David J Engelsma in pamphlet entitled “AD 2000: Year of Jubilee by Papal Indulgence or Reformation Gospel.”

Jubilee ppt (click on view slideshow)

Winning the Souls of Unbelievers – J. Payne

So true. Forget the cold turkey stuff that bears little fruit and take the opportunities as God provides especially anyone asking you a pointed question.

The Three R's Blog

As we pointed out earlier this month (see my Sept.10 post) the September 2017 issue of Tabletalk has as its theme “Soul Winning,” with the featured articles covering the various aspects of the Christian calling and methods of this task (based Prov.11:30).

I have once again profited from these articles, including that by Jon D. Payne, “Winning the Souls of Unbelievers.” In the first main section of this article, headed by the words “Wonderfully Ordinary,” Payne gives the “regular” believer great encouragement in the calling to evangelize.

I post these paragraphs tonight, so that you too may be assured that God has you right where you ought to be to be a means to win souls.

Rather than heap guilt on regular Christians for not soul winning on street corners or in market squares (which few believers are called or gifted to do), wouldn’t it be far better to foster…

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Don’t Worry

This is why his name above all names is Jesus Saviour.

Young Calvinists

“Are we there yet?” “Where are we?” “I want that now!” “What if?…..” “Don’t forget!….” We’ve all heard and asked these questions before, and usually get answers like, “Trust me.” “We get there when we get there.” “Stop worrying.” or simply, “no.” Why do we ask these questions? Because we want to know? Because we’re curious? Because we don’t trust? Because we worry? What is worry? What is trust?

Often times I find myself in a stage of life where I’m not sure who to turn to. Worry clouds my thought and judgment. I can’t think straight. I am driven by a single thought. “What if?” I find no comfort in friends, no comfort in family. My home feels like a prison and my life, hell. Worry is all around me like the storm on the Sea of Galilee, and I am Peter, sinking slowly.

Why didn’t Jesus save Peter…

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The Promise of God

We read of many promises of God (II Peter 1:4) but in essence they are all wrapped up in Jesus Christ-he is the fulfilment of every Promise (II Cor.1:20). The covenant is made with Christ and thus all the elect in him.

He is the promised Messiah (Gen. 3:15). The “mother promise” where God promises the antithesis, the emnity between Christ (and all his people) and Satan and hence assumes his friendship with God. ” I will be your God (unconditional not depending on any human condition). He fulfils the promises to Abraham of righteousness, multiplied seed, a people who would be redeemed from slavery, a land, and a seed who would bless all nations (Gen.12:2, 15:5,7,13,14 22:18, Acts 26:6, Gal.3:18). He is Abraham’s righteousness (Rom.4:3), gives him seed in great number (all believers) and gives him the inheritance of a new heaven and earth, of which Canaan was a type (Heb.11:8-10). As Abraham’s spiritual children we too inherit all the promises (Heb.6:12-17). The Siniaitic covenant is also of grace added to lead us to Christ. The Noahic covenant extended it to include the cosmos.

He is the promise of salvation or eternal life (Acts 16:31, 2:39, II Tim.1:1, I John 2:25, Heb.9:15) to all who repent and believe.

The promised Spirit who is poured out is His Spirit (Luke 24:49) who personally enables us to persevere and inherit the promises to come (Heb.10:36). Abraham and the Old Testament faithful looked forward to Christ’s coming but never actually saw it (Heb.11:13,33) we look back on it as history, but whether faith is prospective or retrospective, all are partakers of all the blessings that are wrapped up in him.

The Place of Women in Church

I Timothy 2:11-15

This is the word of God for all time!

Let the woman learn in silence,….The apostle would have them learn in silence, and not offer to rise and speak. They may teach in private, in their own houses and families; they are to be teachers of good things, Titus 2:3. They are to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; but not to teach in the church; for that is an act of power and authority, and supposes the persons that teach to be of a superior degree, and in a superior office, and to have superior abilities to those who are taught by them: nor to usurp authority over the man; as not in civil and political things, or in things relating to civil government; and in things domestic, or the affairs of the family; so not in things ecclesiastical, or what relate to the church and government of it; for one part of rule is to feed the church with knowledge and understanding; and for a woman to take upon her to do this, is to usurp an authority over the man: this therefore she ought not to do.

Eve was formed out of him, and here lies the strength of the apostle’s reason, why the woman should be in subjection to the man; because she was made out of him, and made for him, see 1 Corinthians 11:8. So that the woman’s subjection to the man is according to the laws of nature and creation; and was antecedent to the fall;

But the woman being deceived was in the transgression: and the serpent really beguiled her; she owned it herself, Genesis 3:13.she, by her persuasions and example, brought her husband into the same sin; which involved him and all his posterity in ruin and destruction. And observe the order of the punishment of the serpent, Eve, and Adam, as of their sin; the serpent was first accursed, then Eve, and last of all Adam. Adam being the stronger and more knowing person, and less capable of being managed and seduced; but  Eve was deceived, it appears that the man is the more proper person to bear rule and authority, as in civil and domestic, so in ecclesiastic affairs; and it is right for the woman to learn, and the man to teach:

But women, particularly such as profess godliness, shall be saved in childbearing; meaning spiritual and eternal salvation; not that bearing children is the cause but that good women shall be saved, notwithstanding their bearing and bringing forth children in pain and sorrow, according to the original curse. Notwithstanding the fall of man by the means of the woman, yet there is salvation for both men and women, through the birth of Immanuel, the child born, and Son given;
if they continue in faith and charity, and holiness, with sobriety.

Adapted from John Gill.

Four corners of the earth

Four in Scripture signifies a sense of totality or “the world,” preeminently in the Book of Revelation (Wikipedia).It derives its meaning from there being four cardinal directions namely north, south, east and west.
Four corners of the earth. “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.” (Rev. 7:1). God rules over all creation.
“And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.” (Rev. 20:8). God rules over the wicked who oppose his church.
“And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:31) c.f. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (Isaiah 11:12). God saves all his elect.

What is a Protestant?

This article is part three of a series in my church’s Covenant Reformed News.

CR News

What Is a Protestant? (3)

Martin Luther (1517) Start of Reformation and Protestantism.

“As well as the truth that the Bible alone is the Word of God (sola Scriptura), Protestants believe in Christ alone (solus Christus).

The Lord Jesus is both fully God and fully man in one divine Person. He is the eternal and only begotten Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, incarnate. As Christ, He is God’s anointed One as promised in the Old Testament. As Jesus, He is the only and complete Saviour. As Lord, He the sovereign governor of all.

We Protestants believe Christ’s virgin birth, sinless life, sacrificial death, victorious resurrection, glorious ascension and almighty rule at God’s right hand.

On the cross, our Lord died for all the sins of all His elect people. All our iniquities were “laid on,” imputed or reckoned to Him (Isa. 53:6) and He bore the punishment for them that was due to us. As our only high priest, He continually prays for us, for “he ever liveth to make intercession for” us (Heb. 7:25).

In order for God to save sinners, Christ’s cross and intercession are absolutely necessary. It is entirely sufficient for all our salvation. We do not need the pope, earthly priests, Mary or the saints to bring us to God (John 14:6; Eph. 2:18; Heb. 10:19-22).

The battle of Protestantism with Rome (and others) is essentially the same as that in Acts 4 between the unbelieving Jewish religious leaders and the apostles, who declared concerning Christ, “This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (11-12).

Scripture alone teaches salvation in Christ alone by faith alone (sola fide). Protestantism proclaims that our salvation and perfect righteousness in Jesus Christ is received solely by faith. The forgiveness of sins in Christ’s blood and the imputed righteousness of God (the lifelong and perfect obedience of Jesus) is ours by believing—only by believing! Our justification and legal standing before God, therefore, does not need any supplementation by the works of the the saints, the Lord’s earthly mother, the church or ourselves.

This biblical and Protestant truth is just as necessary today over against Rome as it was in the sixteenth century. Sadly, sola fide is also crucial against much of modern day evangelicalism. Some of those who speak of justification by faith alone actually mean justification by man’s free will alone! They teach that the sinner’s salvation is determined by the decision of his own supposed free will, contrary to the truth of God’s Word (Rom. 3:11; 7:18; 8:7) and the united testimony of the Reformation, including Martin Luther’s great Protestant manifesto, The Bondage of the Will (1525).

Sola fide is vital for the comfort and vitality of the Christian every day. Being justified by faith alone, we have “peace with God” (Rom. 5:1) and blessedness (4:6-9; Ps. 32:1-2)!

To go further, Scripture alone teaches salvation in Christ alone by faith alone through grace alone (sola gratia). Our salvation is a divine gift, an entirely gratuitous or gracious gift, according to the sovereign favour of our merciful God in Jesus Christ, for we were “chosen … in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4).

Grace alone, both in time (by the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ) and in eternity (in election)—this is Protestantism, because this is the teaching of God’s Word: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). “So then it is not of him that willeth [so much for man’s free will!], nor of him that runneth [i.e., the exertion of man’s works], but of God that sheweth mercy” (Rom. 9:16).

The fifth of the Five Solas is the glory of God alone (soli Deo gloria). The glory is not man’s (even in the tiniest part), whether by his supposed free will or his good works, for all that is truly good in the believer’s works is entirely by God’s grace (John 15:5; Eph. 2:10). The glory is not even partially the church’s, especially not the false church of Rome nor any other false or departing church.

Salvation is wholly of the Father, through the Son and by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the glory is alone due to the Triune God: the electing Father, the atoning Son and the calling Spirit. Soli Deo gloria is the message of the Reformation, for “our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased” (Ps. 115:3)!

Philip Schaff, the church historian, sums it up well: “Romanism puts the Church first and Christ next; Protestantism reverses the order. Romanism says, Where the Church is (meaning thereby the papal organization), there is Christ; Protestantism says, Where Christ is, there is the Church. Romanism says, Where the Catholic tradition is, there is the Bible and the infallible rule of faith; Protestantism says, Where the Bible is, there is the true tradition and the infallible rule of faith. Romanism says, Where good works are, there are faith and justification; Protestantism says, Where faith is, there are justification and good works. Romanism throws Mary and the saints between Christ and the believer; Protestantism goes directly to the Saviour. Romanism proceeds from the visible Church (the papacy) to the invisible Church; Protestantism from the invisible Church (the true body of Christ) to the visible … Protestantism is a protest against the tyranny of man on the basis of the authority of God. It proclaims the Bible to be the only infallible rule of Christian faith and practice, and teaches justification by grace alone, as apprehended by a living faith. It holds up Christ as all in all, whose word is all-sufficient to teach, whose grace is all-sufficient to save.”  Rev. Stewart

Isaiah and Britain 2017

What Isaiah said millennia ago applies today!

Isaiah 3

 9The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.

12 As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

Isaiah 5

23 Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!

24 Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.