Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Dangerous Idolization of John Piper (Part One)

To be fair, I have not read or researched extensively about John Piper, and some might contend that I ought.  Everything within me sounds an alarm where he is concerned.  I hate to use the word *feel* because feelings can be wavering.  However, with some recent events, people that Piper has invited to teach/speak with him, or he with them makes the alarm bells slightly more shrill.

Do not follow men...follow the Word of God...be a Berean (Acts 17:11) and check out EVERYTHING that is told you against what the Word of God states.  AND as my granny used to say, birds of a feather flock together, not only is care required with whom we call friends and/or hang out with, but specifically a greater responsibility is required of those who are standing or posturing themselves as shepherds.

"I deeply respect John Piper and the work he has done to bring serious biblical and theological thought back towards the mainstream of American evangelicalism. I also respect his passionate preaching, fiery rhetoric, and focus on the glory of God. When, I was first turned on to Reformed theology, I avidly listened to everything by Piper I could. But then I subtly began to be demystified with him, because I noticed that almost every word he spoke in public was in print, audio, or both on the Desiring God website. And I simply wasn’t cool with that.

At the same time, I noticed that those around me were extolling this guy to a point that no human should be extolled. Let me give you one anecdote that substantiates the effect of Piper’s reach into the Young, Restless, and Reformed movement due to the massively publicized nature of his teaching. I’ll be as vague as possible so as to not give up the identity of this person. I had a friend making a major, major life decision a few years ago (I can’t overestimate how important this decision was) and because of the teaching of Piper he was going to make an onerous mistake. Piper held to a very minority position on a particular interpretive issue and this friend was potentially going to follow his opinion because of the esteem in which he held Piper. And this isn’t an isolated instance: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people go further and say, “Piper says this or that,” subtly replacing ”Scripture says” or “tradition says” with Piper’s name!

Which leads us to today and tomorrow’s posts…"

Part 1 - read more--> HERE.

Part 2 - HERE.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Are Pictures of Christ Unbiblical?

In our day it is very common to see pictures of Christ in churches and in homes. Images of the Savior are commonly found on stained glass windows, church entry rooms, Christian school classrooms, living rooms, book covers, Charismatic television programs, church billboards, family Bibles and on the wall behind the pulpit. The vast majority of “Christian” bookstores sell a wide variety of pictures of Jesus. There is everything from the effeminate northern European Messiah to the grotesquely muscular Hulk-like renditions of the Lord. Even in Reformed churches (which ought to know better) pictures of the suffering servant are fairly common in Sunday school materials. Do representations of God’s Son violate Scripture or are such pictures merely works of art that are perfectly acceptable as long as they are not worshiped or used as aids to worship? Keep in mind that low church Protestants who use pictures of Christ insist that the pictures are not used in religious worship at all. They at the most (we are told) are merely artistic renditions used for educational purposes.

While many people who use pictures of Jesus are very sincere and do not bow down to such images, nevertheless the use of such images is unlawful and sinful. There are many reasons why the use of pictures of Christ is unscriptural.

First, the use of pictures of our Lord is a violation of the second commandment. This commandment says, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments” (Ex. 20: 4-5).

This commandment forbids worshiping rank idols or images of God or any image of anything created. It also forbids the use of images as aids to worship or devotion. Papists for example, would say that they do not worship a crucifix or statue of Christ but that such images are aids or mediums through which to worship the Son of God. “Romanists make images of God the Father, painting him in their church windows as an old man; and an image of Christ on the crucifix; and, because it is against the letter of this commandment, they sacrilegiously blot it out of their catechism, and divide the tenth commandment into two.”

Read more-->HERE.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pilgrim's Progress for Everyone

John Bunyan (1628-1688)

A condensation using Bunyan’s original words

Christian’s Pilgrimage

As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a den, and I laid me down in that place to sleep: and as I slept, I dreamed a dream. I dreamed; and behold, I saw a man clothed with rags standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a book in his hand, and a great burden upon his back. I looked, and saw him open the book, and read therein; and as he read, he wept and trembled; (Psa 38:4; Isa 64:6; Luk 14:33; Heb 2:2-3) and, not being able longer to contain, he broke out with a lamentable cry, saying, “What shall I do?” (Act 2:37).

In this plight, therefore, he went home, and refrained himself as long as he could, that his wife and children should not perceive his distress. But he could not be silent long, because that his trouble increased: wherefore at length he broke his mind to his wife and children; and thus began to talk.

“O my dear wife,” said he, “and you the children of my bowels, I, your dear friend, am in myself undone, by reason of a burden that lies hard upon me. Moreover, I am for certain informed, that this our city will be burned with fire from heaven. We shall all come to ruin; unless (which yet I see not) some way of escape can be found, whereby we may be delivered.”

His family was amazed; they thought some frenzy had seized him. Therefore, it drawing towards night, and they hoping that sleep might settle his brains, with all haste they got him to bed. But the night was as troublesome to him as the day; wherefore, instead of sleeping, he spent it in sighs and tears.

So, when the morning was come, they would know how he did. He told them, “Worse and worse.” He also set to talking to them again; but they began to be hardened. They also thought to drive away his distemper by harsh and surly conduct to him: sometimes they would deride; sometimes they would chide; and sometimes they would quite neglect him. Wherefore he began to retire himself to his chamber, to pray for and pity them, and also to console his own misery. He would also walk solitarily in the fields, sometimes reading and sometimes praying; and thus for some days so.

Evangelist Provides Direction

Now I saw, upon a time when he was walking in the fields, that he was (as he often did) reading in his book, and greatly distressed in his mind; and, as he read, he burst out, as he had done before, crying, “What must I do to be saved?” (Act 16:30-31).

I saw also that he looked this way and that way, as if he would run; yet he stood still, because (as I perceived) he could not tell which way to go. I looked then, and saw a man named EVANGELIST coming to him, and asked, “Why do you cry?”

He answered, “Sir, I am not fit to go to judgment! I perceive by the book in my hand that I am condemned to die, and after that to come to Judgment (Heb 9:27); and I find that I am not willing to do the first (Job 14:21-22), nor able to do the second (Eze 22:14).”

Then said EVANGELIST, “Why not willing to die, since this life is attended with so many evils?” The man answered, “Because I fear that this burden that is upon my back will sink me lower than the grave.”

“If this be thy condition, why stand thou still?” He answered, “Because I know not where to go.”

Then said EVANGELIST, pointing with his finger over a very wide field, “Do you see yonder wicket gate?” (Mat 7:14).

The man said, “No.” Then said the other, “Do you see yonder shining light?” (Psa 119:105; 2Pe 1:19). He said, “I think I do.”

Then said EVANGELIST, “Keep that light in your eye, and go up directly thereto; so shalt thou see the gate; at which, when thou knock, it shall be told thee what thou shall do.”

So I saw in my dream that the man began to run. Now he had not run far from his own door, when his wife and children cried after him to return (Luk 14:26); but he put his fingers in his ears, and ran on, crying, “Life! Life! Eternal life!” So he looked not behind him, but fled toward the middle of the plain (Gen 19:17).

An Unfriendly Neighbor (Obstinate and Pliable)

The neighbors also came out to see him run; and, as he ran, some mocked (Jer 20:10), others threatened, and some cried to him to return. Two resolved to fetch him back by forcethe name of the one was OBSTINATE, and the name of the other PLIABLE. Now by this time the man was a good distance from them; but, however, they were resolved to pursue him; which they did, and in a little time they overtook him. Then said the man, “Neighbors, wherefore are ye come?” They said, “To persuade you to go back with us.” But he said, “That can by no means be. You dwell in the city of Destruction, the place also where I was born. I see it to be so; and dying there, sooner or later, you will sink lower than the grave into a place that burns with fire and brimstone: be content, good neighbors, and go along with me.”

“What!” said OBSTINATE, “and leave our friends and our comforts behind!” (Mat 19:22). “Yes,” said CHRISTIAN, for that was his name; “because that all which you shall forsake is not worthy to be compared with a little of that which I am seeking to enjoy (2Co 4:18). And if you will go along with me, and hold it, you shall fare as I myself; for there where I go is enough and to spare (Luk 15:17). Come away, and prove my words.”

“What are the things you seek, since you leave all the world to find them?” (Luk 14:33). “I seek an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fades not away (1Pe 1:4). It is laid up in heaven, and safe there, to be bestowed, at the time appointed, on them that diligently seek it (Heb 11:16). Read it so, if you will, in my book.”

“Tush,” said OBSTINATE, “away with your book; will you go back with us or not?” “No, not I,” said CHRISTIAN, “because I have laid my hand to the plow” (Luk 9:62). Then said PLIABLE, “If what the good CHRISTIAN says is true, the things he looks after are better than ours: my heart inclines to go with my neighbor.”

“What! more fools still?” said OBSTINATE. “Well, neighbor OBSTINATE,” said PLIABLE, “I begin to come to a point. I intend to go along with this good man, and to cast in my lot with him: but, my good companion, do you know the way to this desired place?”

“I am directed by a man whose name is EVANGELIST,” said CHRISTIAN, “to speed me to a little gate that is before us, where we shall receive instructions about the way.” “Come then, good neighbor, let us be going.” Then they went both together.

“I will go back to my own place,” said OBSTINATE; “I will be no companion of such a misled, fantastic fellow.”

Now when OBSTINATE was gone back, CHRISTIAN and PLIABLE went talking over the plain: and thus they began their discourse. “Come, neighbor CHRISTIAN, since there is none but us two here, tell me now further what the things are, and how to be enjoyed, whither we are going.” CHRISTIAN said, “There is an everlasting kingdom, and an everlasting life to be given us, that we may inhabit that kingdom for ever” (Isa 65:17; Joh 10:27-29).

“Well said. And what else?” “There are crowns of glory to be given us; and garments that will make us shine like the sun in the firmament of heaven” (Mat 13:43; 2Ti 4:8; Rev 3:4).

“That is very pleasant. And what else?” “There shall be no more crying nor sorrow; for he that is owner of the place will wipe all tears from our eyes” (Isa 25:8; Rev 7:16-17; 21:4).

“Well, my good companion, glad am I to hear of these things: come on, let us speed our pace.” Said CHRISTIAN, “I cannot go so fast as I would, by reason of this burden that is on my back.”

Read more-->HERE.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Spurgeon - Prince of Preachers

Sharing...outside of John Bunyan's biography (Pilgrim's Progress author) I thoroughly enjoyed this.

Would that the hearts of HIS people be as passionate to speak the truth of HIS Word to those who are perishing.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I'll Fly Away (hymn)

Some glad morning when this life is o'er,
I'll fly away;
To a home on God's celestial shore,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).

When the shadows of this life have gone,
I'll fly away;
Like a bird from prison bars has flown,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away)

Just a few more weary days and then,
I'll fly away;
To a land where joy shall never end,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away)

I'll fly away, Oh Glory
I'll fly away; (in the morning)
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Covenant (poem)

by William Cowper
(Ezekiel, xxxvi. 25-28)

The Lord proclaims His grace abroad!
“Behold, I change your hearts of stone;
Each shall renounce his idol-god,
And serve, henceforth, the Lord alone.

“My grace, a flowing stream, proceeds
To wash your filthiness away;
Ye shall abhor your former deeds,
And learn my statutes to obey.

“My truth the great design ensures,
I give myself away to you;
You shall be mine, I will be yours,
Your God unalterably true.

“Yet not unsought or unimplored,
The plenteous grace I shall confer;
No — your whole hearts shall seek the Lord,
I’ll put a praying spirit there.

“From the first breath of life divine
Down to the last expiring hour,
The gracious work shall all be mine,
Begun and ended in my power.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Quite an eye grabbing title, eh?  In a discussion with someone about Hell...their perception?  It does not exist.  A little researching and and came across this article.

by R.C. Sproul

We have often heard statements such as “War is hell” or “I went through hell.” These expressions are, of course, not taken literally. Rather, they reflect our tendency to use the word hell as a descriptive term for the most ghastly human experience possible. Yet no human experience in this world is actually comparable to hell. If we try to imagine the worst of all possible suffering in the here and now we have not yet stretched our imaginations to reach the dreadful reality of hell.
Hell is trivialized when it is used as a common curse word. To use the word lightly may be a halfhearted human attempt to take the concept lightly or to treat it in an amusing way. We tend to joke about things most frightening to us in a futile effort to declaw and defang them, reducing their threatening power.
There is no biblical concept more grim or terror-invoking than the idea of hell. It is so unpopular with us that few would give credence to it at all except that it comes to us from the teaching of Christ Himself.
Almost all the biblical teaching about hell comes from the lips of Jesus. It is this doctrine, perhaps more than any other, that strains even the Christian’s loyalty to the teaching of Christ. Modern Christians have pushed the limits of minimizing hell in an effort to sidestep or soften Jesus’ own teaching. The Bible describes hell as a place of outer darkness, a lake of fire, a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth, a place of eternal separation from the blessings of God, a prison, a place of torment where the worm doesn’t turn or die. These graphic images of eternal punishment provoke the question, should we take these descriptions literally or are they merely symbols?
I suspect they are symbols, but I find no relief in that. We must not think of them as being merely symbols. It is probable that the sinner in hell would prefer a literal lake of fire as his eternal abode to the reality of hell represented in the lake of fire image. If these images are indeed symbols, then we must conclude that the reality is worse than the symbol suggests. The function of symbols is to point beyond themselves to a higher or more intense state of actuality than the symbol itself can contain. That Jesus used the most awful symbols imaginable to describe hell is no comfort to those who see them simply as symbols.
A breath of relief is usually heard when someone declares, “Hell is a symbol for separation from God.” To be separated from God for eternity is no great threat to the impenitent person. The ungodly want nothing more than to be separated from God. Their problem in hell will not be separation from God, it will be the presence of God that will torment them. In hell, God will be present in the fullness of His divine wrath. He will be there to exercise His just punishment of the damned. They will know Him as an all-consuming fire.
No matter how we analyze the concept of hell it often sounds to us as a place of cruel and unusual punishment. If, however, we can take any comfort in the concept of hell, we can take it in the full assurance that there will be no cruelty there. It is impossible for God to be cruel. Cruelty involves inflicting a punishment that is more severe or harsh than the crime. Cruelty in this sense is unjust. God is incapable of inflicting an unjust punishment. The Judge of all the earth will surely do what is right. No innocent person will ever suffer at His hand.
Perhaps the most frightening aspect of hell is its eternality. People can endure the greatest agony if they know it will ultimately stop. In hell there is no such hope. The Bible clearly teaches that the punishment is eternal. The same word is used for both eternal life and eternal death. Punishment implies pain. Mere annihilation, which some have lobbied for, involves no pain. Jonathan Edwards, in preaching on Revelation 6:15-16 said, “Wicked men will hereafter earnestly wish to be turned to nothing and forever cease to be that they may escape the wrath of God.” (John H. Gerstner, Jonathan Edwards on Heaven and Hell [Orlando: Ligonier Ministries, 1991], 75.)
Hell, then, is an eternity before the righteous, ever-burning wrath of God, a suffering torment from which there is no escape and no relief. Understanding this is crucial to our drive to appreciate the work of Christ and to preach His gospel.
  1. The suffering of hell is beyond any experience of misery found in this world.
  2. Hell is clearly included in the teaching of Jesus.
  3. If the biblical descriptions of hell are symbols, then the reality will be worse than the symbols.
  4. Hell is the presence of God in His wrath and judgment.
  5. There is no cruelty in hell. Hell will be a place of perfect justice.
  6. Hell is eternal. There is no escape through either repentance or annihilation.
Biblical passages for reflection: Matthew 8:11-12Mark 9:42-48Luke 16:19-31Jude 1:3-13Revelation 20:11-15.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cast down, but not destroyed...

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:7-10


Dealing with some disappointments, thought I knew the direction the Lord was guiding, prayerful consideration, heard His no.  While I know that His no is good, it does not change the fact that I have to work through it, even if I knew the answer was no.  Some songs I have listened to previously that ministered to my soul when it was in distress/anguish. Time for reflection and prayer.

Be Still My Soul

Before the Morning

What Faith Can Do

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

Whatever You're Doing

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  ~ Psalm 23:4

Mountain of God

Healing Rain

"Healing rain, I'm not afraid to be washed in Heaven's rain."

"Healing rain, it comes with fire, so let it fall and take us higher."


Why? Because the trials and tribulations of this world make us press closer into Him. Make us desire to be with Him.  Give us the opportunity and the inclination to be more heavenly focused that earthly.

Lord, let all that You allow in my life, O Lord let it be a glorification of You in the way I respond and act.  Let my heart cry out to You, be wrapped up in You, be captivated by You and devotion to You.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Thief Forgiven

This article made me think of how much we have sinned against a holy and righteous God and our deepest need is His forgiveness. Today is the day of salvation, repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.


Faithfully Forgiven: Convicted thief rejoins church he hurt
Charles Lohn was a thief and a liar.

More than two years ago, the youth pastor at Shelbyville Mills Baptist Church was convicted of embezzling more than $75,000 from church funds over a three-year period. The case was widely reported in local and national media.

Lohn served a nine-month sentence, three months of house arrest and is now completing the remainder of a 10-year probation.


This morning, he will stand before the congregation of the church he stole from, be transparent about his actions and motives, and ask for forgiveness from those he hurt directly. He will then be reinstated to membership in the church he's been associated with for a dozen years.

His relationship with senior pastor Jonathan Sims goes back much further than that.

"Charles and I have been together for 19 years," Sims said in an interview this week.

Sims met Lohn, then a young man just out of high school, while still in seminary. Lohn attended the first church Sims pastored in Texas, then followed him to a church in Talladega, Ala., where he would serve on the staff for six years. When Sims moved to Shelbyville, Lohn followed.

Sims had watched the young man grow up, had been a friend and counselor, had christened each of the four children born to Charles and Misty Lohn.

Shocking news

It was July 2009. Sims was a few days into a vacation with his family in Orlando, Fla. David Brown, associate pastor, was on vacation at home when the chairman of deacons of the church called his home.

"We don't have any money in the bank."

Not possible, Brown countered, ticking off assets and accounts which came to mind.

The two met at the church office and began to review bank statements. It didn't take long to figure out the discrepancy, to begin to understand what seemed impossible to believe.

"This is Charles. I trust him with my life," Brown said of his initial reaction. "There's got to be a more reasonable explanation."

Over a long period of time, Lohn had been embezzling from the church by taking cash and writing additional payroll checks to himself.

"I had ... thought that it would be alright to 'borrow' some money and pay it back at a later date," Lohn said. "This began to grow into taking more money. Although I told myself I would pay it back, deep down I knew that I could not."

Read more -->HERE.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Should We Allow Children Into the Membership of the Church?

by admin

Should we allow minors into the membership of the church? Most evangelical churches would, without hesitation, answer this question affirmatively. Those that practice infant baptism believe the Bible warrants the inclusion of the children of believers into the membership of the church de jure. On the other hand, many Baptist churches today pressure young children to “make a decision for Christ” and accept such decisions or professions of faith without careful reflection on credibility.

On the One Hand …

In response to these two common evangelical views, Reformed Baptists have rightly stressed the need for a profession of faith as a prerequisite for baptism and church membership (contra paedobaptism) and appropriately questioned the often superficial decisionalism that characterizes far too many Baptist churches (contra decisionalism). They have, I think rightly so, highlighted the need to be cautious about hastily accepting as genuine a child’s profession of faith in light of several factors. These include a child’s lack of intellectual maturity (1 Cor 13:11; 14:20; Heb 5:11-14; 11:24-26), a child’s tendency to be changeable in his/her opinions and commitments (Isa 3:4; Matt 11:16-17; Eph 4:13-14), and a child’s proneness to self-deception (Jer 17:9; Ps 58:3; Prov 1:1-4; Eph 4:13-14).1 It is also pointed out that Luke, in Acts, refers to adult males and females being added to the church but doesn’t explicitly refer to children (Acts 5:14; 8:3, 12; 9:1-2; 17:4, 34).2 Accordingly, some Reformed Baptist churches are hesitant to baptize children and, in some cases, require an individual to reach adult status before he/she may become members of the church.

Read more -->HERE.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Let Me Be A Woman (quote)

"Friend, lover, husband. In your life together he will be many things to you. Confidant, companion, provider, strength, playmate, listener, teacher, pupil, leader, comforter, and, as Sarah saw Abraham, "lord." Each role has its glories and its limitations, each requires a different kind of response from you and this takes resilience, adaptability, maturity. Life is made exciting and interest is sustained by these dynamics so long as all are undergirded by love.
Your provider may someday lose his job. Your strength may show unexpected weakness. Your knight in armor may experience a public defeat. Your teacher may make a serious mistake that you tried to warn him about. Your lover may become a helpless patient, sick, sore, and sad, needing your presence and care every minute of the day and night. "This isn't the man I married," you will say, and it will be true. But you married him for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, and those tremendous promises took into account the possibility of radical change. That was why promises were necessary.
There are things in life which can make what seems to be a mockery out of the solemn promises. "To love, honor, and obey" your husband can seem the last ironies in the face of the unspeakable humiliations and indignities of illness. Love, honor and obey this beaten, anguished, angry man who will not take his pill? The vows are serious. Staggeringly serious. But you did not take them trusting in your own strength to perform. The grace that enabled you to take those vows will be there to draw on when the performance of them seems impossible." ~ Elisabeth Elliot, Let Me Be A Woman

Friday, January 20, 2012


BY A.W. PINK (1886-1952)

IN every believer there remains the liability to sin. The new birth is not, as so many suppose, a change of heart, nor the removal of the carnal nature, but is the reception of an entirely new nature. The new birth is neither the elimination nor the transformation of the old nature, but is the communication and impartation of a new nature, a spiritual nature, the Divine nature. In every born again person there are two natures—the old and the new—the flesh and the spirit—which the Apostle Paul tells us are contrary in disposition, continually warring against each other. As then the old, carnal nature, remains in the believer as long as he continues in this body, there is always a possibility of him sinning. 

While this is true, yet the believer is responsible not to sin. The death of Christ annulled it. The Cross has freed us from the dominion of sin. Once we were its slaves, but now it has no right to control us. The Word of God forbids it: “Awake to righteousness and sin not” (1Co 15:34). “As he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation” (1Pe 1:15). The indwelling Holy Spirit condemns it. Our bodies are His temples, and it is our bounden duty to exclude everything which would in anywise defile t
hem. The grace of God repudiates (1) it. The promise of our Lord is, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” The resources of Deity are held at our disposal. All power is ours if we will appropriate it. No believer is obliged to sin, and there is no legitimate excuse for the indulgence of it.

But the fact remains that all believers do sin. “For there is not a just man on earth that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Ecc 7:20). Every believer sins every day of his life, sins both negatively and positively. By this we do not mean that he violates the laws of the State, or that he deliberately breaks one of the Ten Commandments. We mean, that all come short of the standard of holiness revealed in God’s Word. The thought of foolishness is sin (Pro 24:9). Anxiety and worry are sinful, because forbidden by the Scripture. Covetousness is sinful, pride is sinful, sloth is sinful, yet who can plead guiltless? “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1Jo 1:8).

While it is true that every believer sins, sins daily, insomuch that he fails to measure up to the standard of holiness revealed in God’s Word and fails to perfectly follow the “example” left us by the Lord Jesus Christ, yet, we would insist upon the fact that there is a fundamental difference in this respect between the believer and the unbeliever. The unbeliever is “the servant (slave) of sin” (Joh 8:34), but the believer has been “made free”—delivered from the power of sin (Joh 8:36). Furthermore; we read, “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.  Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil” (1Jo 3:6-8). Now these verses do not teach that the daily walk of a believer is sinless, but they do teach that such an one will not practice sin. The tense of the verb in these verses must be carefully noted. It is the perfect which is here employed: “he that committeth sin”—commits and continues committing is the force of the word: he that makes a regular practice of committing sin. Observe it does not say, “He that sins is of the devil,” but he that sins and goes on sinning. In the same way “he that doeth [practices] righteousness is righteous.” The apostle is referring to the general course and tenor of our lives. He is speaking of that which is our habit. Let the Christian’s life be summed up as a whole and though like David he may wander from the path of rectitude (2),yet shall he return thereto; though like Peter he may fail in the hour of testing, yet shall he repent of his failure; though like Paul he may sin with his lips (Act 23:3-5), yet shall he confess his wrong-doing; and it will be seen that his complete record can be characterized and summarized only as one that “doeth righteousness.”

Ere proceeding to the details of our theme, we must in faithfulness state the issue clearly. Reader, if you love sin you are no child of God, for God is holy. If you are living to please self and are enjoying the pleasures of sin, you are no Christian, for a Christian is one who denies himself, takes up his cross and follows Christ; a Christian is one who is subject to the lordship of Christ, and no man can serve two masters. If when you succumb to temptation you are not cut to the heart, if the fact that you have offended against the Lord God is not followed by genuine contrition and repentance, it is proof you have never been born again; for when a real believer sins he “grieves” the Spirit within him, and the Spirit will cause him to grieve over his wrong-doing. If you are not “fleeing youthful lusts” (2Ti. 2:22), if you are not buffeting your body to “keep it under” (1Co 9:27), if you are not “yielding yourself unto God” (Rom 6:13), you have no ground for concluding that you are a member of the household of faith.

1. The One Overtaken in a Fault 
But what of the one who is “overtaken in a fault” (Gal 6:1)? What of the one who really and daily endeavors with all his might to please God and glorify Christ, who actually does seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Mat 6:33), but who, nevertheless, is conscious that he offends in many things (Jam 3:2)—what are the consequences of such sins in the believer?

He does not cease to be God’s child.   A child of God is one who has been begotten by the Holy Spirit and made a partaker of the divine nature. The new birth is very much more than an external reformation, it is an internal regeneration. The new birth does not mean turning over a new leaf, but is the beginning of a new life. Now in the very nature of the case, one who has been born again cannot be un-born. We have been born again of “incorruptible seed” (1Pe 1:23). Can that which is incorruptible die? Impossible (Eph 2:5). Can those who have been spiritually resurrected be destroyed? Impossible. The new birth is a new creation (2Co 5:17, R.V.). Can that which has been created be un-created? Impossible. “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it: and God doeth it that men should fear before him” (Ecc 3:14).

He does not forfeit eternal life. When the believer sins he does not forfeit eternal life, and why? Because it is a gift—a free gift from God. “The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23, R.V.). He could do nothing to merit this gift (if he could, it would cease to be a gift: in such a case it would be a reward), consequently, he can do nothing to demerit it. Moreover, the gift which God bestows upon the believer is eternal life. This needs to be stressed. God gave to Adam a probationary life: it was his so long as he obeyed God’s command and refused to eat of the forbidden fruit. God gave to Israel in Canaan a conditional life: their continued tenure of Palestine was made contingent (3) upon their compliance with the divine Decalogue and their abstinence from idolatry. But to the believer in Christ, God gives neither a probationary nor a conditional life, but eternal life. And, “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Rom 11:29). To say that eternal life may end is a contradiction in terms.

He does not lose the Holy Spirit. David prayed, “Take not thy Holy Spirit from me.” (Psa 51:11), but this was under the dispensation (4) of law. In contrast thereto, under the dispensation of grace, the promise of the Saviour is, “And he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever” (Joh 14:16). The believer may and does, “grieve” the Holy Spirit, but he cannot drive Him away. And for this reason, the Holy Spirit takes up His abode in the believer not on account of any personal fitness He finds in him, but on the ground of the finished work of Christ, and nothing can disturb that. Therefore we read, “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph 4:30), that is, until the day when we shall be glorified in spirit, and soul, and body.

A striking demonstration and confirmation of this fact is seen in the case of the Corinthian saints. Due allowance must be made for the fact that they had only just emerged from an idolatrous and licentious (5) heathendom, yet when this is said, it remains that these Corinthians were guilty of the most awful sins. They were schismatics (6); brother went to law against brother; and what was worse, some had profaned the table of the Lord, having turned the supper into a drunken revel. And yet to this very Church, while admonishing the same, the apostle says, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1Co 3:16). In spite of their sins then, the Corinthian saints had not lost the Holy Spirit!

Read more -->HERE.

Thursday, January 19, 2012



The Remarkable Narrative of Andrew Dunn’s
Conversion by Reading the New Testament

Andrew Dunn was educated a Roman Catholic, and continued till he was about forty years of age, like his neighbors, taking for granted that everything his clergy told him was true. He was a shrewd, sensible man; but his sagacity, till this time, had been exercised merely on the affairs of this world. About the age of forty he began to think of the Gospel of Christ and his own ignorance upon the subject, and he determined to make some inquiries in a matter upon which the salvation of his soul turned.

First Interview with Father Dominick. Accordingly he went to Father Dominick, the priest of his parish, and told him that he wished to have a little conversation with his reverence. “Well, Andrew,” said his reverence, “what have you to say to me?” “Why, please your reverence, I have been thinking for some time back that though I can strike a bargain well enough with a neighbor, I am nearly as ignorant about the Gospel as a horse or a cow, and this I do not think becoming in me. Will your reverence be so kind as to put me in the way of getting some knowledge in this matter?” “Why,” answered he, “Andrew, I never missed you at confession, nor at Mass, and you are a very honest fellow; what more do you want than this?” “Why, then, sir, to tell you the truth, if any one was to ask me why I am a member of the Catholic Church I could not tell him, unless I was to say that my father was so before me, and this, with submission, I think a very foolish reason.” “But don’t you know, Andrew,” replied his reverence, “that you belong to the Holy Mother Church, and that there is no other true Church, and that all who do not belong to her communion are heretics, and will be damned?” “I have often,” said Andrew, “heard your reverence say as much in the chapel; but, with submission, may I make bold to ask your reverence how you know all this?” “Andrew, you are the first of my flock who ever dared to ask me such a question, and I do not understand such liberties! However, your question is easily answered. I know it, because the Church says so.”

Andrew was a little dismayed at first, but recovering himself, said, “May I make so bold as to ask your reverence, how came you to be so sure that the Church can make no mistake in these matters? For your reverence knows that it is but reasonable that a man should be a little inquisitive where he may lose or gain so much.” With an air of triumph Father Dominick answered: “If you will ask questions, know then that Jesus Christ has promised to be with His Church to the end of the world, and this makes her infallible, that is, incapable of error.” “This, indeed, is something to the point,” cried Andrew; “and if your reverence will make this matter plain to me I shall be easy in my mind for ever after.”

Father Dominick, glad to get rid of him on such easy terms, told him that the promise of Jesus Christ was to be found in the last chapter and last verse of the Gospel by St. Matthew, and having the promise at his fingers’ ends, he repeated it over in Latin for the benefit of Andrew. “All this,” cried Andrew, “may be very fine and very good for anything I know to the contrary; but, please your reverence, I do not understand one word you say.” “I know that very well,” replied Father Dominick; “we take care, for the benefit of our flock, to reserve the power of explaining such passages to them according to the true interpretation put upon them by the Church.” “With submission,” said Andrew, “may I beg an explanation of these fine and learned words?” “Why, Andrew,” answered Father Dominick, “the meaning of them is this: Jesus Christ promises to be with every council that the Pope shall call together to the end of the world; that such council, being the Church, shall be infallible, that is, shall not be liable to error; and that, consequently, every one who shall dare to dispute its decrees shall be punished as a heretic here, and that his soul shall be miserable to all eternity.” “Bless me,” cried Andrew, astonished at what he heard, “is all this contained in the short sentence your reverence repeated?” “Aye, and a great deal more,” replied he, “if I had time to tell it to you. With this passage we are able to confound all the pretenders to religion in the world; it leaves them not a word to say for themselves.”

Procures a New Testament. Andrew had learned when a boy to read and write, and being naturally possessed of a good memory was still able to read tolerably well. He used to work frequently at a Squire’s house in the neighborhood, and was taken notice of as a good workman. The Squire’s lady was very kind to the poor about her, and particularly in the two last hard seasons she employed herself with such diligence to procure food for them that she was the means of saving the lives of many who would have actually starved for want of proper food. But she also remembered that they had souls to be saved or lost; and she would, when she visited the sick, drop a word or two to call their attention to their everlasting concerns.

She began about this time to buy Testaments to distribute among the poor of all descriptions in her neighborhood. Father Dominick himself was ashamed to make any objection to this charitable deed of hers, although, if the truth was known, he would as soon that she had kept her favors of this kind to herself.

Read more -->HERE.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Another Gospel

By A.W. Pink

Satan is not an initiator but an imitator. God has an only begotten Son—the Lord Jesus, so has Satan—“the son of Perdition” (2 Thess 2:3). There is a Holy Trinity, and there is likewise a Trinity of Evil (Rev 20:10). Do we read of the “children of God,” so also we read of “the children of the wicked one” (Matt 13:38). Does God work in the former both to will and to do of His good pleasure, then we are told that Satan is “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Eph 2:2). Is there a “mystery of godliness” (1 Tim 3:16), so also is there a “mystery of iniquity” (2 Thess 2:7). Are we told that God by His angels “seals” His servants in their foreheads (Rev 7:3), so also we learn that Satan by his agents sets a mark in the foreheads of his devotees (Rev 13:16). Are we told that “the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Cor 2:10), then Satan also provides his “deep things” (Greek\Rev 2:24). Did Christ perform miracles, so also can Satan (2 Thess 2:9). Is Christ seated upon a throne, so is Satan (Greek\Rev 2:13). Has Christ a Church, then Satan has his “synagogue” (Rev 2:9). Is Christ the Light of the world, then so is Satan himself “transformed into an angel of light” (2 Cor 11:14). Did Christ appoint “apostles,” then Satan has his apostles, too (2 Cor 11:13). And this leads us to consider: “The Gospel of Satan.”

Satan is the arch-counterfeiter. The Devil is now busy at work in the same field in which the Lord sowed the good seed. He is seeking to prevent the growth of the wheat by another plant, the tares, which closely resembles the wheat in appearance. In a word, by a process of imitation he is aiming to neutralize the Work of Christ. Therefore, as Christ has a Gospel, Satan has a gospel too; the latter being a clever counterfeit of the former. So closely does the gospel of Satan resemble that which it parodies, multitudes of the unsaved are deceived by it. It is to this gospel of Satan the apostle refers when he says to the Galatians, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another, but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ” (Gal 1:6,7). This false gospel was being heralded even in the days of the apostle, and a most awful curse was called down upon those who preached it. The apostle continues, “But though we, or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” By the help of God we shall now endeavor to expound, or rather, expose this false gospel.

The gospel of Satan is not a system of revolutionary principles, nor yet a program of anarchy. It does not promote strife and war, but aims at peace and unity. It seeks not to set the mother against her daughter nor the father against his son, but fosters the fraternal spirit whereby the human race is regarded as one great “brotherhood.” It does not seek to drag down the natural man, but to improve and uplift him. It advocates education and cultivation and appeals to “the best that is within us.” It aims to make this world such a comfortable and congenial habitat that Christ’s absence from it will not be felt and God will not be needed. It endeavors to occupy man so much with this world that he has no time or inclination to think of the world to
come. It propagates the principles of self-sacrifice, charity and benevolence, and teaches us to live for the good of others, and to be kind to all. It appeals strongly to the carnal mind and is popular with the masses, because it ignores the solemn facts that by nature man is a fallen creature, alienated from the life of God, and dead in trespasses and sins, and that his only hope lies in being born again.

Read more -->HERE.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Christian's Armour

BY A.W. PINK (1886-1952)

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” —Ephesians 6:10-18

In the passage which is to be before us, Ephesians 6:10-18, the apostle gathers up the whole previous subject of the Epistle into an urgent reminder of the solemn conditions under which the Christian’s life is lived. By a graphic figure he shows that the Christian’s life is lived on the battlefield, for we are not only pilgrims but soldiers; we are not only in a foreign country, but in the enemy’s land. Though the redemption which Christ has purchased for His people be free and full, yet, between the beginning of its application to us and the final consummation of it, there is a terrible and protracted conflict through which we have to pass. This is not merely a figure of speech, but a grim reality. Though salvation is free, yet it is not obtained without great effort. The fight to which God’s children are called in this life, is one in which Christians themselves receive many sore wounds, and thousands of professors are slain. Now, as we shall see in the verses which follow, the apostle warns us that the conflict has to do with more than human foes: The enemies we have to meet are superhuman ones, and therefore, in order to successfully fight against them we need supernatural strength.

We must remember that the Christian belongs to the spiritual realm as well as the natural, and so he has spiritual as well as natural foes; and hence he needs spiritual strength as well as physical. Therefore the apostle begins here by saying, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (v. 10). The word “finally” denotes that the apostle had reached his closing exhortation, and the words “be strong” link up with what immediately precedes as well as with what now follows. The whole of the fifth and the opening verses of the sixth chapters are filled with exhortations; exhortations
that pertain to each aspect of the Christian life; exhortations to regulate him in the home, in business, in the world. Those exhortations are addressed to the husband, wife, child, master, servant, and in order for the Christian to obey them he needs to be “strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.” Thus, the call which is given in verse 10 is not only an introduction to what follows, but is also closely related to that which precedes.

1. “Be Strong in the Lord”

“Finally, my brethren”-after all the Christian duties I have set before you in the previous verse, now-“be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” The words “be strong” mean to muster strength for the conflict, and be strong “in the Lord” signifies we must seek that strength from the only source from which we can obtain it. Note carefully it is not “be strong from the Lord,” nor is it “be strengthened by the Lord.” No, it is “be strong in the Lord.” Perhaps you will get the thought if I use this analogy: just as a thumb that is amputated is useless, and just as a branch cut off from the vine withers, so a Christian whose fellowship with the Lord has been broken, is in a strengthless, fruitless, useless state. Thus, “be strong in the Lord” means first of all, see to it that you maintain a live practical relationship to and remain in constant communion
with the Lord. Just as my arm must be a part of, a member in, my body, if it is to be vitalized and fitted to perform its functions, so I must be in real touch with the Lord, in daily communion with Him, in living contact-not in theory, but in actual experience. It is deeply important that we should, ere we proceed, grasp the exhortation found in verse 10; otherwise there will be no strength for the conflict.

“Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.” At first sight there seems to be a needless repetition there; but it is not so. A soldier not only needs strength of body for that carrying of his heavy weapons, for that strain of long marches, and for that actual fighting, but he also needs courage; a powerful giant who is a coward would make no sort of soldier. The two chief things which are needed for one engaged in fighting are strength and courage,
or vitality and a brave heart; and that is what is in view in verse 10—the last clause brings in the thought of boldness. “Be strong”: in faith, in hope, in wisdom, in patience, in fortitude, in every Christian grace. To be strong in grace is to be weak in sin.• It is vitally essential to remember that we need to have our strength and courage renewed daily. Be strong in the Lord: seek His strength at the beginning of each day—“they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isa 40:31). God does not impart strength to us wholesale: He will not give me strength Monday morning to last through the week. No, there has to be the renewing of our strength, and that strength has to be drawn from the Lord by the actings of faith, appropriating from His “fullness.” The enemies we have to contend with cannot be overcome by human wisdom and might. Unless we go forth to the conflict continually looking to Christ for all needed supplies of grace, deriving all our vitality from Him, we are sure to be defeated.

Read more -->HERE.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Is Christianity a Religion?

By Voddie Baucham

There is a common mantra that has been around for a while, but which seems to be picking up steam. It goes like this: “Christianity is not a religion; it’s a relationship.” We’ve all heard it before. However, how many of us have bothered to evaluate this ubiquitous saying? I believe we must do just that. We must evaluate this mantra, and the syllogism by which it is frequently accompanied:
Religion is man’s attempt to reach God
Christianity is God’s attempt to reach man
Therefore, Christianity is not a religion.
I believe this syllogism is not only invalid, but patently false. If for no other reason, this syllogism must be rejected on the grounds that it contains at least one false premise. Religion is much more than man’s attempt to reach God. And Christianity is indeed a religion. Moreover, I believe it is dangerous –even foolish— to argue otherwise. The argument that Christianity is not a religion has many inherent problems. Most importantly, this line of reasoning is at odds with the English language, the history of the church, and good old common sense.

At Odds With the English Language

The first problem with the argument that Christianity is not a religion is the fact that it is a linguistic/grammatical fallacy. This in turn exposes an unavoidable logical fallacy in what is ultimately a question-begging argument. In order for the statement –Christianity is not a religion— to be true, one has to assume a certain definition of the word religion that does not exist (i.e., “religion is man’s attempt to reach God”). The Encarta World English Dictionary defines religion as:
  1. People’s beliefs and opinions concerning the existence, nature, and worship of a deity or deities, and divine involvement in the universe and human life
  2. A particular institutionalized or personal system of beliefs and practices relating to the divine
  3. A set of strongly-held beliefs, values, and attitudes that somebody lives by
  4. An object, practice, cause, or activity that somebody is completely devoted to or obsessed by
How do we get from here to “Man’s attempt to reach God” as a definition of religion? Even Encarta knows better. In fact, the distance between the true definition and this contemporary mantra is even more evident when one examines earlier sources. For instance, the definition of religion in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of the English Language is far more disparate with the contemporary assertion. Webster offers a definition we would be hard-pressed to improve upon.

Read more -->HERE.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Doctrine of Repentance by Thomas Watson


I shall next show what gospel repentance is. Repentance is a grace of God's Spirit whereby a sinner is inwardly humbled and visibly reformed. For a further amplification, know that repentance is a spiritual medicine made up of six special ingredients:
1. Sight of sin
2. Sorrow for sin
3. Confession of sin
4. Shame for sin
5. Hatred for sin
6. Turning from sin
If any one is left out it loses its virtue.

Ingredient I: Sight of Sin

The first part of Christ's physic is eye-salve (Acts 26.18). It is the great thing noted in the prodigal's repentance: `he came to himself' (Luke 15.17). He saw himself a sinner and nothing but a sinner. Before a man can come to Christ he must first come to himself. Solomon, in his description of repentance, considers this as the first ingredient: `if they shall bethink themselves' (1 Kings 8.47). A man must first recognize and consider what his sin is, and know the plague of his heart before he can be duly humbled for it. The first creature God made was light. So the first thing in a penitent is illumination: `Now ye are light in the Lord' (Eph. 5.8). The eye is made both for seeing and weeping. Sin must first be seen before it can be wept for.

Hence I infer that where there is no sight of sin, there can be no repentance. Many who can spy faults in others see none in themselves. They cry that they have good hearts. Is it not strange that two should live together, and eat and drink together, yet not know each other? Such is the case of a sinner. His body and soul live together, work together, yet he is unacquainted with himself. He knows not his own heart, nor what a hell he carries about him. Under a veil a deformed face is hid. Persons are veiled over with ignorance and self-love; therefore they see not what deformed souls they have. The devil does with them as the falconer with the hawk. He blinds them and carries them hooded to hell: `the sword shall be upon his right eye' (Zech. 11.17). Men have insight enough into worldly matters, but the eye of their mind is smitten. They do not see any evil in sin; the sword is upon their right eye.

Ingredient 2: Sorrow for Sin
I will be sorry for my sin (Psalm 38.18)

Ambrose calls sorrow the embittering of the soul. The Hebrew word `to be sorrowful' signifies `to have the soul, as it were, crucified'. This must be in true repentance: `They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn' (Zech. 12.10), as if they did feel the nails of the cross sticking in their sides. A woman may as well expect to have a child without pangs as one can have repentance without sorrow. He that can believe without doubting, suspect his faith; and he that can repent without sorrowing, suspect his repentance.

Martyrs shed blood for Christ, and penitents shed tears for sin: `she stood at Jesus' feet weeping' (Luke 7.3 8). See how this limbeck1 dropped. The sorrow of her heart ran out at her eye. The brazen laver for the priests to wash in (Exod. 30.18) typified a double laver: the laver of Christ's blood we must wash in by faith, and the laver of tears we must wash in by repentance. A true penitent labours to work his heart into a sorrowing frame. He blesses God when he can weep; he is glad of a rainy day, for he knows that it is a repentance he will have no cause to repent of. Though the bread of sorrow be bitter to the taste, yet it strengthens the heart (Ps. 104.15; 2 Cor. 7.10).

This sorrow for sin is not superficial: it is a holy agony. It is called in scripture a breaking of the heart: `The sacrifices of God are a broken and a contrite heart' (Ps. 51.17); and a rending of the heart: `Rend your heart' (Joel 2.13). The expressions of smiting on the thigh (Jer. 31.19), beating on the breast (Luke 18.13), putting on of sackcloth (Isa. 22.12), plucking off the hair (Ezra 9.3 ), all these are but outward signs of inward sorrow. This sorrow is:

(1) To make Christ precious. O how desirable is a Saviour to a troubled soul! Now Christ is Christ indeed, and mercy is mercy indeed. Until the heart is full of compunction it is not fit for Christ. How welcome is a surgeon to a man who is bleeding from his wounds!

(2) To drive out sin. Sin breeds sorrow, and sorrow kills sin. Holy sorrow is the rhubarb to purge out the ill humours of the soul. It is said that the tears of vine-branches are good to cure the leprosy. Certainly the tears that drop from the penitent are good to cure the leprosy of sin. The salt water of tears kills the worm of conscience.

(3) To make way for solid comfort: `They that sow in tears shall reap in joy' (Ps. 126.5). The penitent has a wet seed-time but a delicious harvest. Repentance breaks the abscess of sin, and then the soul is at ease. Hannah, after weeping, went away and was no more sad (i Sam. 1.18). God's troubling of the soul for sin is like the angel's troubling of the pool (John 5.4), which made way for healing.

But not all sorrow evidences true repentance. There is as much difference between true and false sorrow as between water in the spring, which is sweet, and water in the sea, which is briny. The apostle speaks of sorrowing `after a godly manner' (2 Cor. 7.9). But what is this godly sorrowing? There are six qualifications of it:

I. True godly sorrow is inward
It is inward in two ways:

(1) It is a sorrow of the heart. The sorrow of hypocrites lies in their faces: `they disfigure their faces' (Matt. 6.16). They make a sour face, but their sorrow goes no further, like the dew that wets the leaf but does not soak to the root. Ahab's repentance was in outward show. His garments were rent but not his spirit (1 Kings 21.27). Godly sorrow goes deep, like a vein which bleeds inwardly. The heart bleeds for sin: `they were pricked in their heart' (Acts 2.37). As the heart bears a chief part in sinning, so it must in sorrowing.

(2) It is a sorrow for heart-sins, the first outbreaks and risings of sin. Paul grieved for the law in his members (Rom. 7.23). The true mourner weeps for the stirrings of pride and concupiscence. He grieves for the `root of bitterness' even though it never blossoms into act. A wicked man may be troubled for scandalous sins; a real convert laments heart-sins.

2. Godly sorrow is ingenuous

It is sorrow for the offence rather than for the punishment. God's law has been infringed, his love abused. This melts the soul in tears. A man may be sorry, yet not repent, as a thief is sorry when he is taken, not because he stole, but because he has to pay the penalty. Hypocrites grieve only for the bitter consequence of sin. I have read of a fountain that only sends forth streams on the evening before a famine. Likewise their eyes never pour out tears except when God's judgments are approaching. Pharaoh was more troubled for the frogs and river of blood than for his sin. Godly sorrow, however, is chiefly for the trespass against God, so that even if there were no conscience to smite, no devil to accuse, no hell to punish, yet the soul would still be grieved because of the prejudice done to God. `My sin is ever before me' (Ps. 51.3); David does not say, The sword threatened is ever before me, but `my sin'. O that I should offend so good a God, that I should grieve my Comforter! This breaks my heart!

Godly sorrow shows itself to be ingenuous because when a Christian knows that he is out of the gun-shot of hell and shall never be damned, yet still he grieves for sinning against that free grace which has pardoned him.

3. Godly sorrow is fiducial2 It is intermixed with faith: `the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe' (Mark 9.24). Here was sorrow for sin chequered with faith, as we have seen a bright rainbow appear in a watery cloud.

Spiritual sorrow will sink the heart if the pulley of faith does not raise it. As our sin is ever before us, so God's promise must be ever before us. As we much feel our sting, so we must look up to Christ our brazen serpent. Some have faces so swollen with worldly grief that they can hardly look out of their eyes. That weeping is not good which blinds the eye of faith. If there are not some dawnings of faith in the soul, it is not the sorrow of humiliation but of despair.

4. Godly sorrow is a great sorrow
`In that day shall there be a great mourning, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon' (Zech. 12.11). Two suns did set that day when Josiah died, and there was a great funeral mourning. To such a height must sorrow for sin be boiled up. Pectore ab imo suspiria.3

Question 1: Do all have the same degree of sorrow?
Answer: No, sorrow does recipere magis & minus (produce greater or lesser [sorrows]). In the new birth all have pangs, but some have sharper pangs than others.

(1) Some are naturally of a more rugged disposition, of higher spirits, and are not easily brought to stoop. These must have greater humiliation, as a knotty piece of timber must have greater wedges driven into it.

(2) Some have been more heinous offenders, and their sorrow must be suitable to their sin. Some patients have their sores let out with a needle, others with a lance. Flagitious 4 sinners must be more bruised with the hammer of the law.

(3) Some are designed and cut out for higher service, to be eminently instrumental for God, and these must have a mightier work of humiliation pass upon them. Those whom God intends to be pillars in his church must be more hewn. Paul, the prince of the apostles, who was to be God's ensign-bearer to carry his name before the Gentiles and kings, was to have his heart more deeply lanced by repentance.

Question 2: But how great must sorrow for sin be in all?
Answer: It must be as great as for any worldly loss. Turgescunt lumina fletu5 `They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn as for an only son' (Zech. 12.10). Sorrow for sin must surpass worldly sorrow. We must grieve more for offending God than for the loss of dear relations. In that day did the Lord God of hosts call to weeping, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth' (Isa. 22.12): this was for sin. But in the case of the burial of the dead we find God prohibiting tears and baldness (Jer. 22.10; 16.6), to intimate that sorrow for sin must exceed sorrow at the grave; and with good reason, for in the burial of the dead it is only a friend who departs, but in sin God departs.

Sorrow for sin should be so great as to swallow up all other sorrow, as when the pain of the stone and gout meet, the pain of the stone swallows up the pain of the gout.

We are to find as much bitterness in weeping for sin as ever we found sweetness in committing it. Surely David found more bitterness in repentance than ever he found comfort in Bathsheba.

Our sorrow for sin must be such as makes us willing to let go of those sins which brought in the greatest income of profit or delight. The physic shows itself strong enough when it has purged out our disease. The Christian has arrived at a sufficient measure of sorrow when the love of sin is purged out.

5. Godly sorrow in some cases is joined with restitution
Whoever has wronged others in their estate by unjust fraudulent dealing ought in conscience to make them recompense. There is an express law for this: `he shall recompense his trespass with the principal thereof, and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him against whom he hath trespassed' (Num. 5.7). Thus Zacchxus made restitution: `if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold' (Luke 19.8). When Selymus the great Turk, lay upon his death-bed, being urged by Pyrrhus to put to charitable use that wealth he had wronged the Persian merchants of, he commanded rather that it should be sent back to the right owners. Shall not a Christian's creed be better than a Turk's Koran? It is a bad sign when a man on his death-bed bequeaths his soul to God and his ill-gotten goods to his friends. I can hardly think God will receive his soul. Augustine said, `Without restitution, no remission'. And it was a speech of old Latimer, If ye restore not goods unjustly gotten, ye shall cough in hell.

Question 1: Suppose a person has wronged another in his estate and the wronged man is dead, what should he do?
Answer: Let him restore his ill-gotten goods to that man's heirs and successors. If none of them be living, let him restore to God, that is, let him put his unjust gain into God's treasury by relieving the poor.

Question 2: What if the party who did the wrong is dead?
Answer: Then they who are his heirs ought to make restitution. Mark what I say: if there be any who have estates left them, and they know that the parties who left their estates had defrauded others and died with that guilt upon them, then the heirs or executors who possess those estates are bound in conscience to make restitution, otherwise they entail the curse of God upon their family.

Question 3: If a man has wronged another and is not able to restore, what should he do?
Answer: Let him deeply humble himself before God, promising to the wronged party full satisfaction if the Lord make him able, and God will accept the will for the deed.

6. Godly sorrow is abiding
It is not a few tears shed in a passion that will serve the turn. Some will fall a-weeping at a sermon, but it is like an April shower, soon over, or like a vein opened and presently stopped again. True sorrow must be habitual. O Christian, the disease of your soul is chronic and frequently returns upon you; therefore you must be continually physicking yourself by repentance. This is that sorrow which is `after a godly manner'.

Use: How far are they from repentance who never had any of this godly sorrow! Such are:

(1) The Papists, who leave out the very soul of repentance, making all penitential work consist in fasting, penance, pilgrimages, in which there is nothing of spiritual sorrow. They torture their bodies, but their hearts are not rent. What is this but the carcase of repentance?

(2) Carnal Protestants, who are strangers to godly sorrow. They cannot endure a serious thought, nor do they love to trouble their heads about sin. Paracelsus 6. spoke of a frenzy some have which will make them die dancing. Likewise sinners spend their days in mirth; they fling away sorrow and go dancing to damnation. Some have lived many years, yet never put a drop in God's bottle, nor do they know what a broken heart means. They weep and wring their hands as if they were undone when their estates are gone, but have no agony of soul for sin.

There is a two-fold sorrow: firstly, a rational sorrow, which is an act of the soul whereby it has a displacency against sin and chooses any torture rather than to admit sin; secondly, there is a sensitive sorrow, which is expressed by many tears. The first of these is to be found in every child of God, but the second, which is a sorrow running out at the eye, all have not. Yet it is very commendable to see a weeping penitent. Christ counts as great beauties those who are tender-eyed; and well may sin make us weep. We usually weep for the loss of some great good; by sin we have lost the favour of God. If Micah did so weep for the loss of a false god, saying, `Ye have taken away my gods, and what have I more?' (Judges 18.24) then well may we weep for our sins which have taken away the true God from us.

Some may ask the question, whether our repentance and sorrow must always be alike. Although repentance must be always kept alive in the soul, yet there are two special times when we must renew our repentance in an extraordinary manner:

(1) Before the receiving of the Lord's Supper. This spiritual passover is to be eaten with bitter herbs. Now our eyes should be fresh broached with tears, and the stream of sorrow overflow. A repenting frame is a sacramental frame. A broken heart and a broken Christ do well agree. The more bitterness we taste in sin, the more sweetness we shall taste in Christ. When Jacob wept he found God: `And he called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face' (Gen. 32.30). The way to find Christ comfortably in the sacrament is to go weeping thither. Christ will say to a humble penitent, as to Thomas: `Reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side' (John 20.27), and let those bleeding wounds of mine heal thee.

(2) Another time of extraordinary repentance is at the hour of death. This should be a weeping season. Now is our last work to be done for heaven, and our best wine of tears should be kept against such a time. We should repent now, that we have sinned so much and wept so little, that God's bag has been so full and his bottle so empty (Job 14.17). We should repent now that we repented no sooner, that the garrisons of our hearts held out so long against God ere they were levelled by repentance. We should repent now that we have loved Christ no more, that we have fetched no more virtue from him and brought no more glory to him. It should be our grief on our death-bed that our lives have had so many blanks and blots in them, that our duties have been so fly-blown with sin, that our obedience has been so imperfect, and we have gone so lame in the ways of God. When the soul is going out of the body, it should swim to heaven in a sea of tears.

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