Temptation (38)

John Owen

Owen goes on to describe a third instance where temptation is waiting: A season of great spiritual enjoyments is often, by the malice of Satan and the weakness of our hearts, turned into a season of danger as to this business of temptation. We know how the case stood with Paul, 2 Cor. 12:7. He had glorious spiritual revelations of God and Jesus Christ (which he says would naturally puff him up with pride-JK). Instantly Satan falls upon him (by God’s sovereign will!-JK), a messenger from him buffets him; so that he earnestly begs its departure, but yet is left to struggle with it. God is pleased sometimes to give us especial discoveries of himself and his love, to fill the heart with his kindness; (This infirmity was to magnify God’s grace-JK). Christ takes us into the banqueting-house, and gives our hearts their fills of love; and this by some signal work of his Spirit, overpowering us with a sense of love in the unspeakable privilege of adoption, and so fills our souls with joy unspeakable and glorious. A man would think this was the securest condition in the world. What soul does not cry with Peter in the mount, “It is good for me to be here; to abide here for ever?” But yet very frequently some bitter temptation is now at hand. Satan sees that, being possessed by the joy before us, we quickly neglect many ways of approach to our souls, wherein he seeks and finds advantages against us. Is this, then, our state and condition? Does God at any time give us to drink of the rivers of pleasure that are at his right hand, and satisfy our souls with his kindness as with marrow and fatness? Let us not say, “We shall never be moved;” we know not how soon God may hide his face, or a messenger from Satan may buffet us. Besides, there lies oftentimes a greater and worse deceit in this business. Men cheat their souls with their own fancies, instead of a sense of God’s love by the Holy Ghost; and when they are lifted up with their imaginations, it is not expressible how fearfully they are exposed to all manner of temptations;—and how, then, are they able to find relief against their consciences from their own foolish fancies and deceivings, wherewith they sport themselves? May we not see such every day,—persons walking in the vanities and ways of this world, yet boasting of their sense of the love of God? Shall we believe them? We must not, then, believe truth itself; and how woeful, then, must their condition needs be!

Advertisements

God’s love and wrath.

Unlike God’s love and hate which are mutually exclusive meaning you are either loved by election in Christ or hated in reprobation outside Christ, God’s love and wrath may exist simultaneously.

We know assuredly from Scripture that the trinity is the repository of eternal love between Father and Son by the Spirit and that God’s people because they are in Christ, are taken into this covenant of love. But we were by nature children of wrath (before conversion) and if we backslide as believers we become subject to his wrath and chastening (Psalms 6:1, 38:1). God’s wrath is his implacable hatred of sin (Romans 1:18) and therefore the reprobate have this wrath abiding on them (John 3:36). Believers pre-conversion and who fall post-conversion are subjects of his temporary wrath.

Christ, the object of God’s eternal love became, during his lifetime and especially on the cross, the object of God’s (temporary) wrath.

God, who is a consuming holy fire (Heb.12:29) consumes sin by the Spirit as Christ suffers and dies, then as that sanctifying power is applied to us, he consumes sin in us throughout our life and especially when we die and enter glory. The sin of the wicked condemns them to the fire of his wrath eternally which never goes out because that sin was never propitiated (atoned for).

His love which is his nature and his wrath which naturally follows from his holiness are both to be praised and glorified by us his people.

Interestingly the burning bush, aflame but not consumed, is the symbol of many presbyterian denominations and depicts the church. We are aflame with his imputed holiness and are the light of the world but we are never consumed.

The Sacrifices (6)

Sung Psalm 50:7-14 (v8)

Reading Leviticus 1

The offerings

Burnt Offering

Meal offering (only stages 1,5,6-see previous posts)

Peace Offering

Sin Offering

Trespass Offering

The Burning

Wood was used and the ashes were put in a pit to the right of the altar and later taken outside the camp (Lev.6:10,11). Later we read of wood being brought by people, priests or Levites according to lot (Neh.10:34, 13:31)

The priests tended the fire.

Source of the fire? In a few instances God (9:24) and it was kept going.

What was burnt? All but the skin of the burnt offering. All but crop and feathers of a bird burnt. In certain offerings parts were burnt outside the camp.

Who cuts up or washes the offering? The offeror “he” (vv 5,6,8,9,12).

Where was the washing of legs and innards done? Unclear.

Priests lay parts on altar.

All the burnt offerings are called a “sweet savour”, the smoke of which ascended to heaven as a type of Christ’s propitiation who offered himself as a sweet savour (Gen. 8:21, Eph.5:2) having consecrated (set himself apart) to God (John 17:19, Heb.9:14) with the eternal spirit acting like the flame. In a secondary or derived manner Christians are living sacrifices (Rom.12:1,2) and a savour among other people (II Cor.2:14-16). What made the smell of a burning animal, a type of Christ sweet was the fact it represented the willing and loving obedience of the Saviour.

Our God is a consuming fire (Heb.12:29), the sacrifice of Christ consumes the sins of all the elect, whereas the sins of the wicked go on burning them up for ever (Mark 9:44).

Temperance in all things

 

If the athlete has to be self-controlled and temperate in all things (food, sleep, physical training) then even more so should the Christian believer be temperate in all things and keep under, nay mortify, his body of sin (sinful flesh).

 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (I Corinthians 9:24-27).

John Gill is good: Commentary (v24)

Second marriages

Malachi warns people that if they are unrepentant, divorced and remarried their worship is unacceptable to God.

 And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out (the tears of the abandoned spouse and children-JK), insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand. Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant (Malachi 2;13,14). Futhermore marrying for a second time while the first spouse lives is adultery (Matthew 5:31, Romans 7:2,3) and adulterers shall not inherit the kingdom of God (I Cor.6:9). How many friends, even among professing Christians do you know in this position?

Psalm 133

I’ve often wondered why Christian love and unity was compared with Aaron’s anointing or the dew of Hermon. Here are my insights plus that of the great commentator John Gill.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” Psalm 133.

Christian love from our anointing is a public demonstration (John 13:34,35) and personal reassurance of one’s calling (I John 2:27). In Christ we are all anointed as prophets, priests and kings so as to minister to each other. Christian fellowship, like the oil, is precious and refreshing like the dew to invigorate.

“David means the superior aperture of the garment, that which we call the neck or collar band; This anointing oil was typical of the grace of the Spirit, the unction from the Holy One; which has been poured on Christ, the head of the church, without measure; and with which he has been anointed above his fellows; and from him it is communicated to all his members (I John 2:27); to every one of which is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ; and who from his fullness receive, and grace for grace: and particularly brotherly love is compared to this ointment; because of the preciousness of it, which is true of every grace; and because of the extensiveness of it, reaching to head and members, to Christ and all his saints, the meanest and lowest of them; and because of its fragrancy and sweet odour to all that are sensible of it; and because of its delightful, cheering, and refreshing nature; like ointment and perfume it rejoices the heart; yea, the worst things said, or reproofs given, in brotherly love, are like oil, pleasant and useful, ( Proverbs 27:9 ) ( Psalms 141:5) ; and is as necessary for the saints, who are all priests unto God, to offer up their spiritual sacrifices; particularly that of prayer, which should be “without wrath”, as well as without doubting; and to do all other duties of religion, which should spring from charity or love; as the anointing oil was to Aaron and his sons, in order to their officiating in the priest’s office.” John Gill

Temptation (37)

Another instance that leads into temptation is a time of the slumber of grace, of neglect in communion with God, of formality in duty, is a season to be watched in, as that which certainly some other temptation attending it. Let a soul in such an estate awake and look about him. His enemy is at hand, and he is ready to fall into such a condition as may cost him dear all the days of his life. His present estate is bad enough in itself; but it is an indication of that which is worse that lies at the door. The disciples that were with Christ in the mount had not only a bodily, but a spiritual drowsiness upon them. What says our Saviour to them? “Arise; watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.” We know how near one of them was to a bitter hour of temptation, and not watching as he ought, he immediately entered into it. I mentioned before the case of the spouse, Song of Solomon 5:2–8. She slept, and was drowsy, and unwilling to gird up herself to a vigorous performance of duties, in a way of quick, active communion with Christ. Before she is aware, she hath lost her Beloved; then she moans, inquires, cries, endures woundings, reproaches, and all, before she obtains him again. Consider, then, O poor soul, thy state and condition! Doth thy light burn dim? or though it give to others as great a blaze as formerly, yet thou seest not so clearly the face of God in Christ by it as thou hast done? 2 Cor. 4:6. Is thy zeal cold? or if it do the same works as formerly, yet thy heart is not warmed with the love of God and to God in them as formerly, but only thou proceedest in the course thou hast been in? Art thou negligent in the duties of praying or hearing? or if thou dost observe them, thou doest it not with that life and vigour as formerly? Dost thou flag in thy profession? or if thou keep it up, yet thy wheels are oiled by some sinister respects from within or without? Does thy delight in the people of God faint and grow cold? or is thy love to them changing from that which is purely spiritual into that which is very carnal, upon the account of suitableness of principles and natural spirits, if not worse foundations? If thou art drowsing in such a condition as this, take heed; thou art falling into some woeful temptation that will break all thy bones, and give thee wounds that shall stick by thee all the days of thy life. Yea, when thou awakest, thou wilt find that it hath indeed laid hold of thee already, though thou perceivedst it not; it hath smitten and wounded thee, though thou hast not complained nor sought for relief or healing. Such was the state of the church of Sardis, Rev. 3:2. “The things that remained were ready to die.” “Be watchful,” says our Saviour, “and strengthen them, or a worse thing will befall thee.” If any that reads the word of this direction be in this condition, if he hath any regard of his poor soul, let him now awake, before he be entangled beyond recovery. Take this warning from God; despise it not.

John Owen

The Sacrifices (5)

Sung Psalm 84:1-6

Reading Leviticus 1

Having discussed the first three stages in offering namely 1)presentation, 2)laying on hands and 3) slaughter we come to 4) application (of the blood).

APPLICATION Means Places (primarily to atone) Places/people (secondarily to sanctify)
  Sprinkling (even 7 times) altar (5)

horns (4)

people
  Smearing Incense altar(3) tabernacle
  Pouring mercy seat (1)*  
    Veil (2)

*order of holiness Note frequency of blood application is less the holier the place.

 

 

God is omnipresent in all these places but especially in the holy of holies, but also at the altar (Ex.20:24-26, Lev.17:11).

The application of the blood in all these ways is to atone for sin i.e. It is propitiation God-wards. This is redemption accomplished. Redemption applied (sanctification) towards the people is spoken of in 1 Peter 1:2 as it also was on the Israelite doorposts at the Exodus. All the stages of sacrificing are Godward except the last one-eating. Check the reality of Eph.5:2 (burning) and Heb.9:14 (where both accomplishment and application are spoken of).

With the burnt offering (Lev.1:5,11,15, 3:2,8,13) the blood was applied on and around the altar, with sin offering for the priest it was applied before the veil and upon the horns of the altar of incense (Lev.4:6,7, 16,17,25,30) and in same way for the people, a ruler or a common person. The day of atonement saw blood sprinkled on mercy seat and before mercy seat (Lev.16:14,15).

Lessons for us:

  • Blood sacrifice in the O.T. typified the accomplishment of redemption by Christ and the application of the blood typified the application of that redemption in every aspect of salvation.
  • Redemption by Christ’s blood is accomplished at the cross and applied by the Spirit.
  • God is so holy, the only way he can be approached by sinful man is by blood atonement (and that had to be Christ’s).
  • God is so holy all our worship and prayer need sanctified by Christ’s blood.
  • The different sacrifices all teach something different about our approach to God.

Blessing

What more could a human being want than the blessing of God?

 

Ye that fear the Lord, trust in the Lord: he is their help and their shield.

The Lord hath been mindful of us: he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron.

He will bless them that fear the Lord, both small and great.

 The Lord shall increase you more and more, you and your children.

 Ye are blessed of the Lord which made heaven and earth.

 The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord‘s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.

 The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.

But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the Lord.

Psalm 115.