27 December 2007
As for blogging itself, I read other blogs to learn and spark my own thinking. Long posts I just don’t have time for. I forget what they say the limit is but if it’s more than 4-5 paragraphs I won’t read it and that seems to be about the blogging standard. I really don’t want to read magazine length articles no matter how well thought out or written. I like blogs that are updated often, at least once a week if not more so I do the same. My philosophy is that the whole blog is as important as the individual article. Thus, it is rare that I don’t add a photo to each post and I rarely re-use a photo, I try to find something new each time. I try to keep it pithy and interesting both visually and in content.
So that’s it really. A year gone by and another year to start. For those of you that I’ve been getting to know, I look forward to reading more of your posts and knowing you even better, sharpening our skills together.
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Prov. 27:17 ESV
26 December 2007
Q. 2. What is the benefit of believers at their death, in regard of their souls?A. The souls of believers at their death— 1. Are made perfect in holiness. "And to the spirits of just men made perfect."— Heb. 12:23. 2. They do immediately pass into glory. "Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ."— Phil. 1:23.
Q. 3. Wherein doth consist the perfect holiness which the souls of believers shall have at their death?A. The perfect holiness of believers' souls at their death doth consist— 1. In their perfect freedom from the stain and pollution, from the being, or any inclination unto sin. "There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth."— Rev. 21:27. 2. In their perfect rectitude of soul, and full conformity unto the image of Christ. "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."— Eph. 4:13.
Q. 4. What is that glory which the souls of believers, at death, do immediately pass into?A. The souls of believers at death do immediately pass into— 1. A glorious place. 2. A glorious company. 3. A glorious state.
Q. 5. What is that glorious place which the souls of believers, at death, do immediately pass into?A. The glorious place which believers' souls do immediately pass into, is their Father's house in heaven, where there are mansions prepared for them by Christ. "In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." — John 14:2.
Q. 6. What is the glorious company which the souls of believers do immediately pass into?A. The glorious company which the souls of believers do immediately pass into, is the company of God, and Christ in his glory, as also the company of angels, and the souls of other saints in their glory." Therefore we are always confident, knowing that whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord (for we walk by faith, not by sight). We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." — 2 Cor. 5:6-8. "Ye are come to the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant." — Heb. 12:23-24.
Q. 7. What is that glorious state which the souls of believers at death do immediately pass into?A. The glorious state of the souls of believers immediately after their death, is a state of blessed rest. "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God." — Heb. 4:9. "And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.." — Rev. 14:13.
Q. 8. What is the benefit of believers at their death, in regard of their bodies?A. 1. The bodies of believers at their death are still united unto Christ; for though death doth for a while separate their souls from their bodies, yet death cannot separate Christ from either. But as, when Christ died, his hypostatical or personal union still remained, his divine nature being united both to his soul in heaven and to his body in the tomb on earth, so, when believers die, their mystical union unto Christ still remaineth, and Christ is united both unto their souls with him in glory, and to their bodies, which are his members, even when they are rotting in the grave. "Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ ?" — 1 Cor. 6:15. "Them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him."— 1 Thess. 4:14. 2. The bodies of believers do rest in their graves as in beds, until the resurrection. "He shall enter into peace; they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness." — Isa. 57:2.
Q. 9. What is that resurrection here spoken of?A. The resurrection here spoken of is the last and general resurrection of all the dead that have lived in all ages, from the beginning of the creation—which will be, first of the righteous, and then of the wicked—at the last day. "The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth, they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation." — John 5:28, 29. "The dead in Christ shall rise first." — l Thess. 6:16.
Q. 10. How do you prove that there shall be such a general resurrection?A. It may be undeniably proved from the power of God, and the revelation of the Word. If God be of infinite power, and therefore can raise all the dead, and infinitely true, and in his Word hath revealed that he will raise all the dead, then there shall be a general resurrection. But God is infinitely powerful, and can raise all the dead, and infinitely true, and in his Word hath revealed that he will raise all the dead; therefore there shall be a general resurrection. The ground of the Sadducees' error, who denied the resurrection, was their ignorance of these two great foundations of this doctrine, namely, the power of God, and the Scriptures. "Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the Scriptures, neither the power of God?" — Mark 12:24.
Q. 11. Shall the dead be raised with the same bodies which they had when alive before?A. The dead shall be raised with the same bodies. "And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." Job 19:26.
Q. 12. How do you prove that the dead shall be raised with the same body! A. 1. Because if the dead were not raised with the same body, it could in no proper sense be called a resurrection, but a new creation. 2. Because the first body was an instrument of righteousness or sin, and therefore shall share in the reward or punishment.
Q. 13. Will not the bodies, when they are raised, differ from what they are now! A. The bodies which shall be raised will not differ from what they are now, in regard of their substance and essence; but they will exceedingly differ in regard of their qualities.
Q. 14. Wherein do unbelievers differ from believers at their death?A. The bodies of unbelievers are at their death shut up in the prison of the grave; and the souls of unbelievers are shut down in the prison of hell, where they are filled with horror and anguish in the company of devils, and other damned spirits, and there reserved in chains of darkness until the judgment of the great day. "By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which some-time were disobedient." — 1 Pet. 3:19, 20. "God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down into hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment." — 2 Pet. 2:4.
22 December 2007
19 December 2007
Q. What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification?A. The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification, are, assurance of God's love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end.
This is a weighty question and answer and there is much to consider in its exposition. Let’s turn to Thomas Vincent for his exposition but let’s not limit ourselves as there is much more to be said on this important q&a.
Q. 1. How many sorts of benefits are there which do belong to those who are justified, adopted, and sanctified?A. There are three sorts of benefits which do belong unto those wbo are justified, adopted, and sanctified, namely — 1. Benefits in this life. 2. Benefits at death. 3. Benefits at the resurrection.
Q. 2. What are the benefits which belong to justified, adopted, and sanctified persons in this life?A. The benefits which belong to justified persons in this life are five. 1. Assurance of God's love. 2. Peace of conscience. 3. Joy in the Holy Ghost. 4. Increase of grace. 5. Perseverance in grace to the end. "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." — Rom. 5:1, 2, 5. "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." — Phil. 1:6.
Q. 3. What are the benefits that do accompany and flow from the sight and sense of justification, adoption, and sanctification?A. The benefits which do accompany and flow from the sight and sense of justification, adoption, and sanctification, are, assurance of God's love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost.
Q. 4. May not unjustified and unsanctified persons attain any of these benefits?A. Unjustified persons may some of them have a presumptuous confidence of God's love, but not real assurance; they may have a carnal security, and false peace; but no true spiritual peace; they may have a carnal joy, or ungrounded spiritual joy, but no sound spiritual and heavenly joy of the Holy Ghost; these benefits are given only unto such as are truly justified, adopted, and sanctified.
Q. 5. Whence is it that all that are justified, adopted, and sanctified, do not attain these benefits?A. Because all have not a sight and sense of their justification, adoption, and sanctification, but are under doubts, and therefore fear that God doth hate them, and not love them; therefore they have troubles of conscience instead of peace, and sorrow in spirit instead of the joys of the Holy Ghost.
Q. 6. How may a child of God get a sure evidence of his justification and adoption?A. A child of God may get a sure evidence of his justification and adoption by his sanctification.
Q. 7. What is a sure evidence of sanctification?A. A sure evidence of sanctification is increase of grace.
Q. 8. What are the benefits which accompany and flow from the being of justification, adoption, and sanctification?A. The benefits which accompany and flow from the being of justification, adoption, and sanctification, are, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end.
Q. 9. Do all truly justified, adopted, and sanctified persons increase in grace?A. 1. All truly justified, adopted, and sanctified persons do not at all times actually increase in grace, for some of them may at some times be under declining and decays of grace. 2. They are always of a growing disposition, and desirous to grow in grace; and at some time or other they do grow, when they do not perceive themselves to grow, but fear that they do decline.
Q. 10. Do all truly justified, adopted, and sanctified persons persevere in grace to the end?A. All truly justified, adopted, and sanctified persons do persevere in grace to the end, and shall assuredly attain the heavenly inheritance.
Q. 11. How do you prove this?A. 1. From God's everlasting, unchangeable love, and his faithfulness in his promises of perseverance, as well as of heaven, which he hath made unto them. 2. From their union and relation to Christ, and his undertaking for them. 3. From the constant abode and indwelling of the Spirit of God in them. 4. From the nature of grace; which is an abiding seed, which can never be totally extirpated.
Q. 12. May not any believer, by falling into sin, fall from grace?A. Some believers may, through the remainder of corruption in them, and the violence of Satan's tempting of them, fall into sin foully, and so fall from some degree and measures of grace; but they will never fall totally nor finally from grace. And when we see any fall totally and finally from the profession which they formerly made, we may know they were never in that sincerity which they professed themselves to be. "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, no doubt they would have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." — 1 John 2:19.
17 December 2007
1. Could I spend this time no better?
2. Are there better books that would edify me more?
3. Are the lovers of such a book as this the greatest lovers of the Book of God and of a holy life?
4. Does this book increase my love to the Word of God, kill my sin, and prepare me for the life to come?
16 December 2007
An excellent point, indeed. I have been in churches that have emphasized one or the other and left knowing something was missing. Granted, we are imperfect and this is a tough challenge to meet but where does your church fall? Does the pendulum swing wildly to one side or the other or does it rest somewhere in the middle. May God grant us the grace to see how we should correctly worship Him.
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel,in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” Luke 1:46-55
12 December 2007
An atheist was walking through the woods.
'What majestic trees'!
'What powerful rivers'!
'What beautiful animals'!
He said to himself.
As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned to look. He saw a 7-foot grizzly bear charge towards him
He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder & saw that the bear was closing in on him. He looked over his shoulder again, and the bear was even closer. He tripped and fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up, but saw that the bear was right on top of him, reaching for him with his left paw and raising his right paw to strike him.
At that instant the Atheist cried out, 'Oh my God!'
The bear froze.
The forest was silent.
As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky. 'You deny my existence for all these years, teach others I don't exist and even credit creation to cosmic accident.' 'Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer'? The atheist looked directly into the light, 'It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask you to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps you could make the BEAR a Christian'?
'Very Well,' said the voice.
The light went out. The sounds of the forest resumed. And the bear dropped his right paw, brought both paws together, bowed his head and spoke:
"Lord bless this food, which I am about to receive from the bounty through Christ our Lord, Amen!"
11 December 2007
Q. 35. What is sanctification?
A. Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and mare to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.
From Thomas Watson's Body of Divinity we read:
How may sanctification be attained?
(1) Be conversant in the word of God. 'Sanctify them through thy truth' (John 17:17). The word is both a glass to show us the spots of our soul, and a laver to wash them away. The word has a transforming virtue in it; it irradiates the mind, and consecrates the heart.
(2) Get faith in Christ's blood. 'Having purified their hearts by faith' (Acts 15:9). She in the gospel who touched the hem of Christ's garment was healed. A touch of faith purifies. Nothing can have a greater force upon the heart, to sanctify it, than faith. If I believe Christ and his merits are mine, how can I sin against him? Justifying faith does that in a spiritual sense which miraculous faith does, it removes mountains, the mountains of pride, lust, envy. Faith and the love of sin are inconsistent.
(3) Breathe after the Spirit. It is called 'the sanctification of the Spirit (2 Thess. 2:13). The Spirit sanctifies the heart, as lightning purifies the air, and as fire refines metals. Omne agens generat sibi simile. [The Spirit at work generates its own likeness everywhere.] The Spirit stamps the impression of its own sanctity upon the heart, as the seal prints its likeness upon the wax. The Spirit of God in a man perfumes him with holiness, and makes his heart a map of heaven.
(4) Associate with sanctified persons. They may, by their counsel, prayers, and holy example, be a means to make you holy. As the communion of saints is in our creed, so it should be in our company. 'He that walketh with the wise shall be wise' (Prov. 13:20). Association begets assimilation.
(5) Pray for sanctification. Job propounds a question. 'Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean' (Job 14:4). God can do it. Out of an unholy heart he can produce grace. Oh! make David's prayer your own, 'Create in me a clean heart, O God' (Ps. 51:10). Lay thy heart before the Lord, and say, Lord, my unsanctified heart pollutes all it touches. I am not fit to live with such a heart, for I cannot honour thee; nor die with such a heart, for I cannot see thee. Oh create in me a new heart! Lord, consecrate my heart, and make it thy temple, and thy praises shall be sung there for ever.
Use three: Has God brought a clean thing out of an unclean? has he sanctified you? Wear this jewel of sanctification with thankfulness. 'Giving thanks to the Father, who hath made us meet for the inheritance' (Col. 1:12). Christian, thou couldst defile thyself, but not sanctify thyself; but God has done it, he has not only chained up sin, but changed thy nature, and made thee as a king's daughter, all glorious within. He has put upon thee the breastplate of holiness, which, though it may be shot at, can never be shot through. Are there any here that are sanctified? God has done more for you than millions, who may be illumined, but are not sanctified. He has done more for you than if he had made you the sons of princes, and caused you to ride upon the high places of the earth. Are you sanctified? Heaven is begun in you; for happiness is nothing but the quintessence of holiness. Oh, how thankful should you be to God! Do as that blind man in the gospel did after he had received his sight, who 'followed Christ, glorifying God' (Luke 18:43). Make heaven ring with God's praises.
Christ’s prayer is, “Sanctify them through thy truth.” The more truth you believe, the more sanctified you will be. The operation of truth upon the mind is to separate a man from the world unto the service of God. Just in proportion as truth is given up, worldliness and frivolity are sure to prevail. - C.H. Spurgeon
09 December 2007
This is the time to know who we are in Christ, where we are headed, and to heed the words of Jesus: “Go ye...”
Praise God for their dedication and decisive actions yesterday.
08 December 2007
07 December 2007
2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things.
3. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.
4. Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.
5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.
06 December 2007
05 December 2007
Q. 34. What is adoption?
Q. 2. What moves God to adopt any man? A. Nothing but his free love; 1 John 3:1. Behold what manner of love the Father bath bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God.
Q. 3. Is this privilege common to all men? A. No; it is peculiar to them that receive him; John 1:12. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.
Q. 4. What is the first property of adoption? A. It is a costly relation; Galatians 4:4. When the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Q. 5. What is the second property of adoption? A. It is an high and honourable relation; 1 John 3:1. Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God.
Q. 6. What is the third property of adoption? A. It is a free relation on God’s part; Ephesians 1:4-5. According as he bath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. Having pre~ destinated us unto the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. And it makes us free; John 8:36. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Q. 7. What is the fourth property of adoption? A. It is a permanent relation; John 8:35. The Son abideth in the house for ever.
Q. 8. What is the first privilege of the adoption? A. They have an interest in God, as children in a father; 2 Corinthians 6:18. And I will he a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
Q. 9. What is the second privilege? A. Being God’s sons, they are heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; Romans 8:17. And if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.
Q. 10. What was the third privilege? A. Seasonable and sanctified afflictions; Hebrews 12:6. He scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
Q. 11. What is the fourth privilege? A. The attendance and ministry of angels; Hebrews 1:14. Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
Q. 12. What is the fifth privilege? A. The assistance of the Spirit in prayer; Romans 8:15. For we have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. And God’s audience of their prayers; 1 John 5:14. And this is the confidence that we have in him, That if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.
Q. 13. What use should we make of this? A. It teacheth us to carry ourselves as children to our heavenly Father. First, In our imitation of him; Ephesians 5:1. Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children. Secondly, In our submission to him; Hebrews 12:9. Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh, who corrected us, and we gave them reverence; shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live? Thirdly, In our dependence on him; Matthew 5:32. For your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of all these things.
04 December 2007
Give it a read here and let me know what you think. Like, Tim, I love this time of year. Its a great time of family, friends and most of all, remembering the Incarnation.
02 December 2007
Let Us Go to the House of the LORD
A Song of Ascents. Of David.
3Jerusalem— built as a city that is bound firmly together,
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! "May they be secure who love you!