The most recent British Reformed Journal carried an article entitled “Calvin on the wonder of the Psalms ” by Rev. Angus Stewart from which I have taken the following quotes:
- “In a word, whatever may serve to encourage us when we are about to pray to God is taught us in this book”. The believer will recognise the truth of these words on the vital connection between the Psalms (read and sung) and fervent prayer.
- Thus singing the prayers of the Psalms stirs us up to further praying and praising.
In evangelical churches, uninspired hymns are far more frequently sung than the 150 Psalms and Psalm singing is often derided as “dead,” as if the Spirit of Christ’s inspired words are not “spirit” and “life” (John 6:63)!
Calvinists were convinced that they could legitimately appropriate the psalms to themselves … The psalms were their (and should be our–JK) songs which they sang as the elect people of God in a covenant relationship with Him (W. Stanford Reid)
- Next time you feel disinclined to pray….read or sing a Psalm!
- Get the BRJ
James 5:19-20 and resumé of book
The Conversion of the Sinner
- Ultimately the truth is Christ (John 14:6) but in terms that we can see and understand it is the Scriptures (Ps.119:128,142).
- To err from the truth is to believe falsehood and/or teach it which then affects the way you live. Unbelief, deception and wrong behaviour are all sinful. Denominations that err from the truth usually apostatise. The necessity is knowing the truth AND loving it (II Thess.2:10-11).
- To convert means to come to confess sin or falsehood, repent from it and re-consecrate oneself to God. Peter is an example (Luke 22:32) and David (Ps.51).
- Although God must work in the heart, we may be the means whereby a sinner is converted. It is severally illustrated in terms of eyes, ears and mind. The eyes must be opened (John 3:3) and the ears (Matt.13:15, Mark 4:12, John 12:40 and Acts 28:27) to hear Christ’s voice and the heart needs to understand. The word is also the instrument (Ps.19:7). This is true at initial conversion and subsequent on-going conversion.
- The death of which James writes is that of backsliding and ultimately, if unrepentant, eternal death in apostasy.
- To hide a multitude of sins is to have them covered by the blood of Christ when they are confessed and forsaken (I John 1:9, Ps.103:12, Ps.32:1). God declares them buried in the deepest sea and no longer remembered.
Key themes of the book of James
- Affliction through trial and temptation to which we are to respond by rejoicing and prayer.
- Fleeting nature of riches and not respecting persons.
- Control of the tongue.
- Living faith is shown by works.
- Prayer encouraged and the restoration of the backslider.
Divisions of book
1:1-8 Greetings and exhortation to rejoice in trials knowing they work for good and that God will grant wisdom.
1:9-16 Riches fade. The source of temptation.
1:17-27 Control your anger. Obey the word.
2:1-9 Don’t respect persons.
2:10-26 Your faith works to show you are justified.
3:1-18 Teachers judged more strictly. Control tongue. Exhibition of godly wisdom.
4:1-17 Against lust and pride and boasting.
5:1-9 Against riches and injustice.
5:10-18 Exhortation to endure, no rash swearing, need to pray with examples.
5:19-20 Need to restore backslider.
Next BS (DV) March 25th to look at first chapter of “War of Words” by Paul David Tripp (on e bay £10 incl. p&p)
See also: War of Words
The woman with the issue of blood twelve years spent all her savings but remained ill and unclean. She was probably wrongly ashamed of her condition hence her attempted secrecy in coming up behind Christ whom she had heard was a miraculous healer and she believed was the promised Messiah. Once healed instantly and completely, which characterised all of Christ’s and apostolic healing
(c.f. Charismatic and Pentecostal claims today), she came with fear and trembling because she had been exposed publicly, but also as a right response to the omnipotent and omniscient Lord whose garment she had but touched in faith. She was saved as we can see from her faith, Christ’s pronouncement of peace (v34-the fruit of justification) and his calling her daughter, a term of adoption into God’s family.
Mark 1:40-45. Leper healed and told to go and see priest as Levitical law prescribed
Mark 7:1-5. The Pharisees had added their traditional laws which included washing (baptism!) of furniture-nothing ceremonially unclean here.
Heb. 13:4. Normal marital sexual intercourse is clean, and always was!
Jude 4-8. Ungodly antinomian teachers who were sodomites are called filthy dreamers (unclean!)
Jude 23. Open unashamed sin is likened to ceremonial uncleanness (garment spotted by the flesh-Lev.15) which could affect others, even the witness speaking to the sinner (v22).
New Testament considerations of food.
Sung Psalm 24:1-6. Note the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.
Read Romans 14
The subject of this chapter is Christian liberty specifically in relation to food and days.
The weak in conscience avoid eating meat and our aim in the church ought to be to strengthen them so that the enter into more liberty but till then the strong believer must accept them with charity. We do nothing in isolation as believers (vv7-8) but everything impacts on our Christian family in the church and in relation to God. We must not cause stumbling (v13). Paul KNEW that all foods were pure from the Psalms, from Peter’s account of his vision and from the words of Christ in the gospels (v20).
I Cor. 8 similarly is on Christian liberty but this time in relation to food offered to idols which was an offence to weak consciences.
Have you ever wondered how God can be love if he is one person?
“the fact that God is love implies plurality within God’s
being. God is love, I John 4:8. He does not become a
God of love when He elects and saves His people. He is a
God of love within Himself before and apart from us; He
is a God of love from eternity. Love is not the attribute
of a solitary personality. Love demands an object, one
who is loved. That God is love demands a Father who
loves, a Son who is loved and who responds in love, and
the Holy Spirit who is the personal agent through whom
this mutual love is expressed.”
Prof. Ronald Cammenga, Standard Bearer March 15th 2016
This is why there can be no love in the monotheistic, anti-trinitarian Judaism and Islam!