Temperance

TEMPERANCE—The third property that we should supply in our supernatural faith is “temperance” (egkrateian, accusative of egkrateia, which means self-control or self-restraint). Paul preached the faith in Christ before Felix and “reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come…” (Acts 24:25). Temperance is one of the fruits of the Spirit proclaimed by Paul (Gal. 5:23). This word, as well as the other excellencies to be supplied in our faith, was used twice by Peter (II Pet. 1:6). Self-control is the mastery of desires and passions. It prevents excesses of any kind in the life of a Christian. Self-control includes more than abstinence from alcohol. A person may be a glutton and be just as guilty of the absence of self-control. Sorrow and laughter are all right, but a person does not want to spend all his time in either. Therefore, we will gird our mirth and restrain our sorrow. The apostle Paul refused to be mastered by bodily appetites. He disciplined his body into subjection that he might not become disqualified (1 Cor. 9:27).
The Christian is both the governor and the governed. The new nature within us enables us to control the old Adamic nature. From God’s word, we learn we have the new nature which is capable of controlling our old nature within. Hence, we learn that by the help of the grace God has given us that we are governors and we are governed. Without Christ we are nothing, but with Him and His grace we are governors. This is what Paul meant when he said he would keep his body under subjection (I Cor. 9:27). He taught this same truth in Romans 7. There is a warfare between the outward man and the inward man. But we can thank God that we have victory through Jesus Christ (Rom. 7:25).
Knowledge, the preceding property, defends itself by the excellence of self-control. True knowledge leads to self-restraint from every inordinate desire. 

Thanks Barry Watson.

Communion with God (32)

Other attributes of God manifest supremely in Christ.

Wisdom

Creation, providence and God’s governing the world exhibit his wisdom. “How manifold are his works in wisdom has he made them all; the earth is full of his riches,” Ps. 104:24. So in his providence, his supporting and guidance of all things; for all these things “come
forth from the LORD of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working,” Isa. 28:29. His law also is for ever to be admired, for the excellency of the wisdom therein, Deut. 4: 7, 8. But yet there is that which Paul is astonished at, and wherein God will for ever be exalted, which he calls, “The depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God,” Rom. 11:33; — that is only hid in and revealed by Christ. Hence, as he is said to be “the wisdom of God,” and Christ to be “made unto us wisdom;” and a “mystery; even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world was; which none of the princes of this world knew,” In Eph. 3:10, it is called, “The manifold wisdom of God;” and to discover this wisdom angels only learn it by observing the building of God’s church.

The recovery of Eden, nay the surpassing glory of the new creation, that was lodged in Christ’s bosom from eternity, to recover things to such an estate as shall be exceedingly to the advantage of his glory, infinitely above what at first appeared, and for the putting of sinners into inconceivably a better condition than they were in before the entrance of sin.
“This is a great mystery,” Eph. 5:32, says the apostle; great wisdom lies herein.

Attitude to Persecution

Hear Cyprian:

Cyprian of Carthage (200-258AD), while suffering banishment, writes a letter to three of his church members (Nemesian, Felix, and Lucius), who were sent to work in the mines as punishment for their faith. Cyprian, who by all accounts, should be the recipient of letters of encouragement, writes one himself to his fellow suffering Christians. He writes, “That you have been grievously beaten with clubs, and have been initiated by that punishment in your Christian confession, is a thing not to be lamented. The body of a Christian trembles not on account of clubs: all his hope is in the wood (i.e., the cross of Christ). The servant of Christ acknowledges the emblem of his salvation: redeemed by wood to eternal life, by this wood he is advanced to his crown. O happy feet, shackled indeed at present with fetters, ye will quickly finish a glorious journey to Christ! Let malice and cruelty bind you as they please, ye will soon pass from earth and its sorrows to the kingdom of heaven. In the mines ye have not a bed on which the body may be refreshed; nevertheless, Christ is your rest and consolation: your limbs are fatigued with labour, and have only the ground to lie on; but so to lie down, when you have Christ with you, is no punishment. Filth and dirt defile your limbs, and ye have no baths at hand; but remember, ye are inwardly washed from all uncleanness: your allowance of bread is but scanty; be it so, ‘man doth not live by bread alone, but by the word of God: ye have no proper clothes to defend you from the cold; but he who has put on Christ, is clothed abundantly. How will all these deformities be compensated with honour proportioned to the disgrace! What a blessed exchange will be made of this transient punishment for an exceeding and eternal glory!… And though your travail be great, yet is the reward greater, which is most certain to follow: for God, beholding and looking down upon them that confess his name, in their willing mind approveth them, in their striving helpeth them, in their victory crowneth them; rewarding that in us which he hath performed, and crowning that which he hath perfected in us.”

Thanks to Andy Underhile.

Communion with God (31)

Owen goes on to speak of the patience, forbearance and longsuffering of God. There is no question he exercises his patience in providence and does not requite sinners as their deeds deserve. Notwithstanding all the providential good he does to wicked men are to make them all the more guilty. So the patience and forbearance out of Christ  actually contribute to men’s destruction.  Rom. 9:22, “What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction?” It was but to leave them inexcusable, that his power and wrath against sin might be manifested in their destruction. And therefore he calls it “a suffering of them to walk in their own ways,” Acts 14:16; which elsewhere he holds out as a most dreadful judgement.

However in Christ these qualities, particularly the last, are revealed clearly and pre-eminently in the salvation of his people. He only suffers long with his people (II Peter 3:9). He waits to be gracious to them (Isaiah 30:18) and his forbearance is salvation (Rom.3:25).

Adapted from John Owen

 

The Land (9)

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Sung Psalm 37:3-9 (note multiple references in the psalm to our inheritance)

Reading Joshua 14

To recap Joshua 14-19 are about the division of the land among the 9 ½ tribes west of the Jordan. It is noteworthy that the division starts with an individual (Caleb) and ends in another (Joshua).

In Gilgal the allotment is made to Judah, Ephraim and half Manasseh. Gilgal was the place the campaign started and where the people were circumcised. Gilgal means rolled and the offence of uncircumcision was rolled away (as the skins were). The rest of the allotment took place in Shiloh. How long was the campaign? It was seven years and can be worked out from events in Caleb’s life. It took two years to get to Kadesh where the spies were sent out when he was 40 and then they were all condemned to wander 38 further years in the wilderness. So campaign started when he was 78 and finished when he was 85 with strength unabated (like Moses too Deut.34:7). God keeps his promises and men must remain fit for their tasks. His was a reward of grace. He was given the cities of Anak (Num.13:28 which were renamed Hebron (14:12, 15:13-14) c.f. I Samuel 30:14. In 19:49-50 we come to the conclusion of the division with Joshua’s allotment of Timnathserah in Ephraim. The common factors with these two men were they were the two good, fearless and faithful spies who wholly followed the Lord. In similar fashion there will be degrees of reward for Christians in our heavenly inheritance.

 

Communion with God (30)

God’s mercy and forgiveness is wholly wrapped up in the Lord Christ, and that out of him there is not the least conjecture to be made of it, nor the least morsel to be tasted. Had not God set forth the Lord Christ, all the angels in heaven and men on earth could not have apprehended that there had been any such thing in the nature of God as this grace of pardoning mercy. The apostle asserts the full manifestation as well as the exercise of this mercy to be in Christ only, Tit. 3:4, 5, “After that the kindness and love of God our Saviour towards man appeared,” namely, in the sending of Christ, and the declaration of him in the gospel. Then was this pardoning mercy and salvation not by works discovered.

His vindictive justice. God has, indeed, many ways manifested his indignation and anger against sin; so that men cannot but know that it is “the judgement of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death,” Rom. 1:32. He has in the law threatened to kindle a fire in his anger that shall burn to the very heart of hell. And even in many providential dispensations, “his wrath is revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness of men,” Rom. 1:18. So that men must say that he is a God of judgement. Consider:

  • The angels for sin were cast from heaven, shut up under chains of everlasting darkness unto the judgement of the great day
  • Sodom and Gomorrah were condemned with an overthrow, and burned into ashes, that they might be “examples unto those that should after live ungodly,” 2 Pet. 2: 6
  • God’s wrath could not be diverted from sinners without the interposing of a propitiation. God would admit of no atonement but in his (Christ’s) blood.

John Owen

 

Communion with God (29)

Owen states that God can only be truly known through Christ and to this Scripture agrees: 1 John 5:20, “The Son of God is come and has given us an understanding, that we may know him (God) that is true.” Christ in the revelation he makes of God and his will, is the great prophet of the church. God is known by creation in his eternal power and Godhead, but the life of this (full) knowledge of God lies in an acquaintance with his (that is Christ’s) person, wherein the express image and beams of this glory of his Father do shine forth, Heb. 1:3.

Other properties of God which, though also otherwise discovered, yet are so clearly, eminently, and savingly only in Jesus Christ; as

  •  His vindictive justice in punishing sin.
  •  His patience, forbearance, and long-suffering towards (elect) sinners
  •  His wisdom, in managing all things for his own glory
  •  His all-sufficiency, in himself and unto others. TBC

 

Communion with God (28)

Only in Christ can men know:

Love and pardoning mercy:—

[1.] Love; I mean love unto sinners. Without this, man is of all creatures most miserable; and there is not the least glimpse of it that can possibly be discovered but in Christ. The Holy Ghost says, 1 John 4:8, 16, “God is love;” that is, not only of a loving and tender nature, but one that will exercise himself in a dispensation of his love, eternal love, towards us, — one that has purposes of love for us (his sheep or elect) from of old, and will fulfil them all towards us in due season. But how is this demonstrated? how may we attain an acquaintance with it? He tells us, verse 9, “In this was manifested the love of God, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” This is the only discovery that God has made of any such property in his nature, or of any thought of exercising it towards sinners, — in that he has sent Jesus Christ into the world, that we might live by him.

[2.] Pardoning mercy, or grace. Without this, even his love would be fruitless. What discovery may be made of this by a sinful man, may be seen in the father of us all; who, when he had sinned, had no reserve for mercy, but hid himself, Gen. 3:8. He did it when the wind did but a little blow at the presence of God; and he did it foolishly, thinking to “hide himself among trees!” Pardoning mercy, that comes by Christ alone; that pardoning mercy which is manifested in the gospel, and wherein God will be glorified to all eternity, Eph. 1. Pardoning mercy is God’s free, gracious acceptance of a sinner upon satisfaction made to his justice in the blood of Jesus; It is forgiveness, tempered with exact justice and severity. Rom. 3:25, God is said “to set forth Christ to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness in the remission of sins;” his righteousness is also manifested in the business of forgiveness of sins: and therefore it is everywhere said to be wholly in Christ, Eph. 1:7. So that this gospel grace and pardoning mercy is alone purchased by him, and revealed in him. And this was the main end of all typical institutions (e.g. blood sacrifices), — to manifest that remission and forgiveness is wholly wrapped up in the Lord Christ. Had not God set forth the Lord Christ, all the angels in heaven and men on earth could not have apprehended that there had been any such thing in the nature of God as this grace of pardoning mercy. The apostle asserts the full manifestation as well as the exercise of this mercy to be in Christ only, Tit. 3:4, 5, “After that the kindness and love of God our Saviour towards man appeared,” namely, in the sending of Christ, and the declaration of him in the gospel. How this is to be had the Holy Ghost tells us, 1 John v. 20, “The Son of God is come and has given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true.” By him alone we have our understanding to know him that is true. Now, these properties of God Christ revealeth in his doctrine, in the revelation he makes of God and his will, as the great prophet of the church, John 17: 6.

John Newton

A Place

Young Calvinists

Of kings and of beggars,
Of black and of white,
Of sinners all different,
Tied together in Christ.
Of gathering in the Word,
Of devotion and song,
Of prayer and reflection
And knowing our wrong.
Of experiencing salvation,
Of giving great thanks
Of desiring to serve
In God’s holy ranks.
Of seeing new parents
Bring their child to the fount.
Of eating and drinking
Of blessings none can count.
Of meeting to study,
A rendezvous for rest.
Of feeling at peace
With the ones we love best.
Of laughter and cheer,
Of witnessing two wed,
Of tears of pure joy
As lifelong vows are read.
Of sorrow and heartache,
Of mourning one gone,
Of tears that remember
The promises we wait on.
Of communion of saints,
Of joy found in Christ.
Of living and learning
Of His life sacrificed.
Of happy hands lifted high
In thanksgiving and praise,
Of humble…

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Communion with God (27)

Further revelation (after creation).

Wherefore the Lord goes farther; and by the works of his providence, in preserving and ruling the world which he made, discovers and reveals these properties also. For whereas by cursing the earth, and filling all the elements oftentimes with signs of his anger and indignation, he has, as the apostle tells us, Rom. 1:18, “revealed from heaven his wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men;” yet not proceeding immediately to destroy all things, he has manifested his patience and forbearance to all. This Paul, Acts 14:16, 17, tells us: “He suffered all nations to walk in their own ways; yet he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling their hearts with food and gladness.” A large account of his goodness and wisdom herein the psalmist gives us, Ps. 104 throughout. By these ways he bare witness to his own goodness and patience; and so it is said, “He endures with much long-suffering,” etc., Rom. 9: 22. But now, here all the world is at a stand; by all this they have but an obscure glimpse of God, and see not so much as his back parts. Moses saw not that, until he was put into the rock; and that rock was Christ. There are some of the most eminent and glorious properties of God (I mean, in the manifestation whereof he will be most glorious; otherwise his properties are not to be compared) that there is not the least glimpse to be attained of out of the Lord Christ, but only by and in him; and some that comparatively we have no light of but in him; and of all the rest no true light but by him.