Godliness with contentment is great gain.

If a man is selfish and self-love prevails in his heart, he will be glad of those things that suit with his own ends, but a godly man who has denied himself will suit with and be glad of all things that shall suit God’s ends. A gracious heart says, God’s ends are my ends and I have denied my own ends; so he comes to find contentment in all God’s ways, and His comforts are multiplied, whereas the comforts of other men are single. It is very rare thay God’s ways shall suit with a man’s particular end, but God’s ways suit with His own ends. If you will only have contentment when God’s ways suit with your own ends, you can have it only now and then, but a self-denying man denies his own ends, and only looks at tje ends of God and therein he is contented.

Jeremiah Burroughs
The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, p. 90

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Mortification of sin (36)

On what grounds do we hope in Christ to kill our lusts and sanctify us?

(1.) Consider his mercifulness, tenderness, and kindness, as he is our great High Priest at the right hand of God. Assuredly he pities you in your distress; saith he, “As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you,” Isaiah. 66:13. He has the tenderness of a mother to a sucking child. Heb. 2:17, 18, “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” How is the ability of Christ upon the account of his suffering proposed to us? “In that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able.” Did the sufferings and temptations of Christ add to his ability and power? Not, doubtless, considered absolutely and in it itself. But the ability here mentioned is such as has readiness, proneness, willingness to put itself forth, accompanying of it; it is an ability
of will against all dissuasions. He is able, having suffered and been tempted, to break through all dissuasions to the contrary, to relieve poor tempted souls:  “He is able to help.” He can now be moved to help, having been so tempted. So chap. 4:15, 16: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all
points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” The exhortation of verse 16 is the same that I am upon, namely, that we would entertain expectations of relief from Christ, which the apostle there calls, “grace for seasonable help.” “If ever,” says the soul, “help were seasonable, it would be so to me in my present condition. This is that which I long for, grace for seasonable help. I am ready to die,to perish, to be lost forever; iniquity will prevail against me, if help come not in.” Says the apostle, “Expect this help, this relief, this grace from Christ.” ” Suitable and seasonable help will come in, it will be more available to the ruin of your lust, and have a better and speedier issue, than all
the rigid means of self-maceration that ever any of the sons of men engaged themselves unto. Yea, let me add, that never any soul did or shall perish by the power of any lust, sin, or corruption, who could raise his soul by faith to an expectation of relief from Jesus Christ.
See also I Cor.10:13-JK

(2.) Consider His faithfulness who has promised; which may raise you up and confirm you in this waiting in an expectation of relief. He has promised to relieve in such cases, and he will fulfill his word to the utmost. God tells us that his covenant with us is like the “ordinances” of heaven, the sun, moon, and stars, which have their certain courses, Jer. 31:36. Thence David said that he watched for relief from God “as one watched for the morning,”  a thing that will certainly come in its appointed season. So will be your relief from Christ. It will come in its season, as the dew and rain upon the parched ground; for faithful is he who has promised. Particular promises to this purpose are innumerable; with some of them, that seem peculiarly to suit his condition, so let the soul be always furnished.

From John Owen

Communion with God (44)

The duties of the saints in this communion with Christ.

The saints continually eye the Lord Jesus as the great Joseph, who has charge of all the granaries of the kingdom of heaven committed to him. He is the one in whom it pleased the Father to gather all things under one head, Eph. 1:10, so that from him all things might be dispensed to the saints. All treasures, all fullness, and the Spirit without measure are in him. And they eye this fullness, in reference to their condition, in these three particulars:

(1.) In the blood sacrifice not only of atonement as offered, but also of purification as poured out. “A fountain for sin and for uncleanness,” Zech. 13:1; that is, it washes them and takes them away. The saints see that they are still greatly defiled.  Upon this discovery, they cry with shame, within themselves, “Unclean, unclean,” unclean in their natures, unclean in their persons, unclean in their lives;  How to remove this defilement? We look first to the purifying virtue of the blood of Christ, which is able to cleanse them from all their sins, 1 John 1:7. It is the spring from which flows all the purifying virtue that will take away all their spots and stains, “make them holy and without blemish, and in the end present them glorious to himself,” Eph. 5:26, 27.

(2.) They eye the blood of Christ as the blood of sprinkling. When they come to “Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant,” they come to the “blood of sprinkling,” Heb. 12:24.  Not only is there  a “shedding of blood” for the remission of sin, Heb. 9:22, but there is also  a “sprinkling of blood,” for the actual purification. David,  sensing the pollution of sin, prays that he may be “purged with hyssop,” Psalm 51:7. It is evident that this specifically referred to the uncleanness and defilement of sin. . The cleansing virtue of the blood of Christ lies in the promises, just as the blood of sacrifices lies in the hyssop. “Therefore, having these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God,” 2 Cor. 7:1. This, then, is what the saints do: they eye the blood of Christ as it is found in the promise, ready to spray out upon the soul to purify it.

(3.) The saints look upon Christ as the only dispenser of the Spirit, and the source of all grace of sanctification and holiness. They consider that, by his intercession, it is granted to him to make all the fruits of his purchase effective, to sanctify, purify, and make glorious in holiness, his whole people. They know that this is actually to be accomplished by the Spirit, according to the innumerable promises given to that end. He is to sprinkle that blood upon their souls. He is to create the holiness in them that they long for. He is to be a well of water in them, springing up to everlasting life. In this state, they look to Jesus. Faith fixes itself here, expecting him to give out the Spirit for all these ends and purposes. They mix the promises with faith, and so they become actual partakers of all this grace. This is their way. This is their communion with Christ.

[1.] the Spirit of holiness to dwell in them.

[2.] a habit of holiness to be infused in them (habitual grace).

[3.] actual assistance to work out all their duties (actual grace);

If these continue to be lacking, they can never, with all their might, power, and endeavours, perform a single act of holiness before the Lord. They know that they are insufficient in themselves. Without Christ, they can do nothing.

This is the way, the only way, to obtain full and effectual manifestations of the Spirit’s indwelling. This is the only way to have our hearts purified, our consciences purged, our sins mortified, and our graces increased. This is the way our souls are made humble, holy, zealous, believing, and Christ-like. This is the only way to make our lives fruitful, and our deaths comfortable. Let us abide in this, absorbing the stain of Christ by faith, being conformed to him to the extent allotted to us in this world, so that when we see him as he is, we may be like him.
Adapted from John Owen.

Calvin on the Wonder of the Psalms

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

 

 

Ready to Grow in the Fear of God

Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee. Jeremiah 10:7

Young Calvinists

We must come to the worship service tomorrow ready to grow in the fear of God. Why? This is the reason: When we have the knowledge of who God really is and why we must fear Him, all of our other fears and concerns will be allayed. When we understand how great our God is, we will earnestly desire to praise and reverence Him at all times. David understood this: “O fear the LORD, ye His saints: for there is no want to them that fear Him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing. Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD” (Psalm 34:9-11).

What is the fear of the Lord? Let’s take a look at how the Bible defines it.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of…

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Cancerous Sin

This indeed the attitude we should have.

Young Calvinists

Cancer.

Such a small, simple word, and yet it has the ability to strike fear in our hearts the instant we hear it. The dreaded news of it halts our lives in a moment, turns our world upside down. It often comes as a death sentence, taking family members, close friends, and loved ones. It is accompanied by pain, tears, sorrow, and often death.

Sin.

Does this word have the same effect on us? When we hear it, think about it, and see it in our lives, do we flee from it as urgently as we do from terminal illnesses such as cancer? Cancer can take our physical lives, but that’s where its power reaches its limit. Sin’s devastating effects penetrate much deeper than the physical. It eats away at and destroys the soul. It pulls us away from the sole source of everlasting life and results in spiritual death…

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Expectations

Making created things our god!

Young Calvinists

God has blessed his people with many gifts, earthly and spiritually. So many gifts, that we have come to take many of them for granted.

And we expect them.

Nice homes, well paying jobs in a good location, a large circle of friends, the man/woman of our dreams, children, a perfect family. These are all things that we view as the normal things in life. Normal things that “everyone has.” But the thing is, we don’t all have them. And when we don’t have them, we become upset… even angry! “I need these!” we say. “When will you give them to me?”

We expect them from the Lord and we spend our lives waiting. Waiting for the financial break through, waiting for the group of friends to accept you, or waiting for the man to walk into your life and sweep you off your feet. We think about it throughout…

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The Heart of a Servant in the Church

Very challenging article. Anytime our motives are scrutinised it calls for some soul-searching!

Young Calvinists

“He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.”  (Proverbs 27:14).

The communion of the saints is a wonderful thing. Feeling the care and spiritual encouragement of one’s church family, especially in times of grief or spiritual struggle, is a great blessing and comfort to the Child of God. God did not mean for us to walk this pilgrimage alone. As it is written in Ecclesiastes 4:10, “woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.” The unity of the body of Christ is a good and beautiful thing.

However, we must search our hearts so that our good deeds towards our brothers and sisters don’t become a source of pride on our own part. In Proverbs 27, Solomon writes of a man who wakes up early…

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James 5:19-20

studyguidejames

James 5:19-20 and resumé of book

The Conversion of the Sinner

  1. 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).
  2. 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).
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. The death of which James writes is that of backsliding and ultimately, if unrepentant, eternal death in apostasy.
  6. 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)

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See also: War of Words

The Image of God and Human Dignity

Key issue in the light of many organisations who hold an erroneous view e.g. Christian Institute, Christian Concern and I would guess the Banner of Truth and all who believe in common grace.

Young Calvinists

Since this month is black history month and since I’m one of the rare African American voices in the PRCA, I figured it’d be fitting to speak on (mostly critique) an article titled “The Image of God and the African American Experience,”  which you can read here: https://www.raanetwork.org/image-god-african-american-experience-part-3/

When I first saw the title of this article I got a bit excited, it was around the time of the Mike Brown shooting when debates of race where constant and honestly a bit (lot) annoying, and I was hoping this would help bring some theological sanity to the situation. The fact that it was on the image of God also excited me since it’s one of my favorite theological subjects to ponder. Sadly, I was left a tad disappointed, because the image of God theology that was presented in this was one that I’m not too fond of. It follows a…

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