The Day of AtonementLeviticus 16 1 The LORD spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before the LORD and died, 2 and the LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat that is on the ark, so that he may not die. For I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat. 3 But in this way Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with a bull from the herd for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. 4 He shall put on the holy linen coat and shall have the linen undergarment on his body, and he shall tie the linen sash around his waist, and wear the linen turban; these are the holy garments. He shall bathe his body in water and then put them on. 5 And he shall take from the congregation of the people of Israel two male goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering.
6 “Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering for himself and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. 7 Then he shall take the two goats and set them before the LORD at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 8 And Aaron shall cast lots over the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for Azazel. 9 And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the LORD and use it as a sin offering, 10 but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the LORD to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel.
11 “Aaron shall present the bull as a sin offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. He shall kill the bull as a sin offering for himself. 12 And he shall take a censer full of coals of fire from the altar before the LORD, and two handfuls of sweet incense beaten small, and he shall bring it inside the veil 13 and put the incense on the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is over the testimony, so that he does not die. 14 And he shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy seat on the east side, and in front of the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.
15 “Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it over the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat. 16 Thus he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel and because of their transgressions, all their sins. And so he shall do for the tent of meeting, which dwells with them in the midst of their uncleannesses. 17 No one may be in the tent of meeting from the time he enters to make atonement in the Holy Place until he comes out and has made atonement for himself and for his house and for all the assembly of Israel. 18 Then he shall go out to the altar that is before the LORD and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and some of the blood of the goat, and put it on the horns of the altar all around. 19 And he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it and consecrate it from the uncleannesses of the people of Israel.
20 “And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall present the live goat. 21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins. And he shall put them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness. 22 The goat shall bear all their iniquities on itself to a remote area, and he shall let the goat go free in the wilderness.
23 “Then Aaron shall come into the tent of meeting and shall take off the linen garments that he put on when he went into the Holy Place and shall leave them there. 24 And he shall bathe his body in water in a holy place and put on his garments and come out and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people and make atonement for himself and for the people. 25 And the fat of the sin offering he shall burn on the altar. 26 And he who lets the goat go to Azazel shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. 27 And the bull for the sin offering and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the Holy Place, shall be carried outside the camp. Their skin and their flesh and their dung shall be burned up with fire. 28 And he who burns them shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp.
29 “And it shall be a statute to you forever that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict yourselves and shall do no work, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you. 30 For on this day shall atonement be made for you to cleanse you. You shall be clean before the LORD from all your sins. 31 It is a Sabbath of solemn rest to you, and you shall afflict yourselves; it is a statute forever. 32 And the priest who is anointed and consecrated as priest in his father’s place shall make atonement, wearing the holy linen garments. 33 He shall make atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tent of meeting and for the altar, and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. 34 And this shall be a statute forever for you, that atonement may be made for the people of Israel once in the year because of all their sins.” And Aaron did as the LORD commanded Moses.
The Place of SacrificeLeviticus 17 1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the people of Israel and say to them, This is the thing that the LORD has commanded. 3 If any one of the house of Israel kills an ox or a lamb or a goat in the camp, or kills it outside the camp, 4 and does not bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting to offer it as a gift to the LORD in front of the tabernacle of the LORD, bloodguilt shall be imputed to that man. He has shed blood, and that man shall be cut off from among his people. 5 This is to the end that the people of Israel may bring their sacrifices that they sacrifice in the open field, that they may bring them to the LORD, to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and sacrifice them as sacrifices of peace offerings to the LORD. 6 And the priest shall throw the blood on the altar of the LORD at the entrance of the tent of meeting and burn the fat for a pleasing aroma to the LORD. 7 So they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices to goat demons, after whom they whore. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations.
8 “And you shall say to them, Any one of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among them, who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice 9 and does not bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting to offer it to the LORD, that man shall be cut off from his people.
Laws Against Eating Blood10 “If any one of the house of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. 11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life. 12 Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, No person among you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger who sojourns among you eat blood.
13 “Any one also of the people of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among them, who takes in hunting any beast or bird that may be eaten shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth. 14 For the life of every creature is its blood: its blood is its life. Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off. 15 And every person who eats what dies of itself or what is torn by beasts, whether he is a native or a sojourner, shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening; then he shall be clean. 16 But if he does not wash them or bathe his flesh, he shall bear his iniquity.”
Unlawful Sexual RelationsLeviticus 18 1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the LORD your God. 3 You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. 4 You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the LORD your God. 5 You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the LORD.
6 “None of you shall approach any one of his close relatives to uncover nakedness. I am the LORD. 7 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father, which is the nakedness of your mother; she is your mother, you shall not uncover her nakedness. 8 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is your father’s nakedness. 9 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your sister, your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether brought up in the family or in another home. 10 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your son’s daughter or of your daughter’s daughter, for their nakedness is your own nakedness. 11 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife’s daughter, brought up in your father’s family, since she is your sister. 12 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s sister; she is your father’s relative. 13 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother’s sister, for she is your mother’s relative. 14 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s brother, that is, you shall not approach his wife; she is your aunt. 15 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your daughter-in-law; she is your son’s wife, you shall not uncover her nakedness. 16 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your brother’s wife; it is your brother’s nakedness. 17 You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and of her daughter, and you shall not take her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter to uncover her nakedness; they are relatives; it is depravity. 18 And you shall not take a woman as a rival wife to her sister, uncovering her nakedness while her sister is still alive.
19 “You shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness while she is in her menstrual uncleanness. 20 And you shall not lie sexually with your neighbor’s wife and so make yourself unclean with her. 21 You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the LORD. 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. 23 And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to an animal to lie with it: it is perversion.
24 “Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, 25 and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. 26 But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you 27 (for the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean), 28 lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. 29 For everyone who does any of these abominations, the persons who do them shall be cut off from among their people. 30 So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you, and never to make yourselves unclean by them: I am the LORD your God.”
The Reformation Study Bible
What I'm Reading
John Owen on the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit: The Treasures (Treasures of John Owen)
John Owen is among the theologians whose thoughts most closely mirror my own and, apart from the Scriptures themselves, this particular book of his could be called the manifesto of the theology that drives Monergism.com. I can only agree with Sinclair Ferguson when he says, "Whenever I return to read Owen I find myself at least in part wondering why I spend time reading lesser things." I would unhesitatingly put this book up there among Christian classics, and, probably, at least in my opinion, is one of the top ten Christian books ever written. This book will magnify your understanding of the Holy Scriptures and its divine author and make you wonder what ever happened to all the churches who preached from this perspective. Here are among my favorite quotes from the books' abridged edition ...
"To say that we are able by our own efforts to think good thoughts or give God spiritual obedience before we are spiritually regenerate is to overthrow the gospel and the faith of the universal church in all ages."
All men can be divided into two groups. They are either regenerate or unregenerate. All men are born unregenerate (John 3:3-8). ...Spiritual darkness is in all men and lies on all men until God, by an almighty work of the Spirit, shines into men"s hearts, or creates light in them (Matt 4:16; John 1:5; Act 26:18; Eph 5:8; Col 1:13; 1 Pet 2:9). ...The nature of this spiritual darkness must be understood. When men have no light to see by, then they are in darkness (Exod. 10:23). Blind men are in darkness, either by birth or by illness or accident (Psa. 69:23; Gen 19:11; Acts 13:11). A spiritually blind man is in spiritual darkness and is ignorant of spiritual things.
There is an outward darkness on men and an inward darkness in men.
Outward darkness is when men do not have that light by which they are enabled to see. So outward spiritual darkness is upon men when there is nothing to enlighten them about God and spiritual things (Matt 4:16; Psa 119:105; Psa. 19:1-4,8; 2 Pet 1:19; Rom 10:15, 18). It is the work of the Holy Spirit to remove this darkness by sending the light of the gospel (Acts 13:2, 4; 16:6-10; Psa. 147:19,20).
Inward darkness, on the other hand, arises from the natural depravity and corruption of the minds of men concerning spiritual things. Man"s mind is depraved and corrupted in things which are natural, civil, political, and moral, as well as in things which are spiritual, heavenly and evangelical. This depravity is often held back from having its full effects by the common grace of the Holy Spirit. So, man"s mind being darkened, he is unable to see, receive, understand or believe to the saving of his soul. Spiritual things, or the mysteries of the gospel, without the Holy Spirit first creating within the soul a new light by which they can see and receive those things, cannot bring salvation.
However brilliant the mind may be, and however brilliant the preaching and presentation of the gospel might be, yet without the Holy Spirit first creating this light in them, they cannot receive, understand and agree with the truths preached, and so will not be led to salvation (Eph 4:17, 18).
Excerpts from The Glory of Christ (Puritan Paperbacks: Treasures of John Owen for Today's Readers) | John Hendryx is the man who runs the site Monergism.com
Potiphar’s Rage and Bad Decision
By Alistair Begg from The Hand of God: Finding His Care in All Circumstances
Potiphar was obviously a masterful delegator and a shrewd judge of character. He could pick out a good slave. He was able to determine that Joseph had something special about him. And it is hardly surprising that Potiphar reacted in anger at the thought that his most trusted slave had tried to steal his wife’s purity.
Any husband worth his salt must react in this way. Even the very idea that his wife’s purity has been threatened is abhorrent to a man, especially if the culprit is someone he has brought into the household. So Potiphar’s reaction is understandable. There is a rightness about that sort of protection.
But shouldn’t Potiphar have stepped back for a moment to consider his wife’s story? We know he should have, but apart from our perspective there are several features of his wife’s account that should have given Potiphar reason to proceed slowly in judging Joseph. After all, as captain of the king’s guard, Potiphar was used to investigating all sorts of allegations.
First, he should have realized that it would have been stupid of Joseph to leave behind such damaging evidence as his cloak if he were truly guilty. Potiphar’s wife was not as strong as Joseph, so why hadn’t Joseph grabbed the incriminating garment from her when he ran? Joseph had to know that as a slave, his life was as good as over if the charge against him were to be proven.
A second inconsistency in her story was the record of Joseph’s faithful service in the household. Years had passed since he had arrived. Joseph was twenty-seven years old by the close of Genesis 39. Joseph’s record should have earned him at least some benefit of the doubt.
But Potiphar would hear none of it. He allowed his anger to do away with his judgment. We read, “He burned with anger” (v. 19). He was enraged, and in that frame of mind he was incapable of hearing either truth or reason. The result was that he made a bad decision, the same as we do the majority of the time when we make decisions in anger.
If you listen to the Word of God with an angry heart, you will hear the pastor talking but you will not hear the Word of God to your spirit. That’s why people can sit under the ministry of the Word, and yet it rolls off them like water off a slate roof.
Anger will always blind the mind. That’s why James writes, “Man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” (James 1:20). Better to take a long walk in the rain and get soaking wet than to let anger rule your spirit.
There’s a second reason Potiphar summarily imprisoned Joseph. He allowed himself to be unduly influenced by his wife.
Now I didn’t say simply that Potiphar allowed himself to be influenced by his wife. I said unduly influenced. That is the key word. Every man is influenced by his wife — and in most cases, mercifully and gratefully so. But we men are not to be unduly influenced by our wives. To the man falls the responsibility of leadership and the headship of the home.
There is no doubt that Potiphar’s wife had a pretty good tongue in her head. She was adept at intimidating her husband. It’s been my observation that many an apparently powerful leader is led around by his nose when he goes home.
Listen to John Calvin. “Husbands are especially taught that they must use prudence, lest they should be carried rashly hither and thither at the will of their wives.” This is not politically correct, but it is biblically accurate.
The commentator George Lawson says, “Potiphar paid too much deference to his wife. He ought not to have believed her words against Joseph without examining the truth of them. A man ought to love his wife as a part of himself, but however dear she may be to him, truth and justice ought to be still dearer.”
And so, under the influence of rage and goaded by his wife’s intimidation, Potiphar assigned his faithful Hebrew slave to “the place where the king’s prisoners were confined” (Genesis 39:20). Without conducting a thorough investigation and without allowing Joseph to mount a defense, Potiphar dealt Joseph a swift and dreadful blow that may have plunged a lesser individual into despair.
Dr. Alistair Begg | (Trent University; London School of Theology; Westminster Seminary) was born in Scotland and spent the first 30 years of life in the United Kingdom. Since September of 1983, he has been the senior pastor at Parkside Church in suburban Cleveland, Ohio. He is the daily speaker on the national radio program Truth For Life which stems from his weekly Bible teaching at Parkside. He and his wife, Susan, have three grown children.
No, ‘Saul the Persecutor’ Did Not Become ‘Paul the Apostle’
By Greg Lanier 5/3/2017
I keep coming across a “sticky” misconception that God (specifically, Jesus) changed the name of an important figure we now typically refer to as “Saint Paul.”
In a recent sermon, I heard: “Just like Saul the persecutor can become Paul the apostle, God is gracious to us.” On an exam, one of my brightest students wrote: “It is Saul, who is re-named as Paul, who is the primary messenger of the gospel.” A church member asked me, “Wait, you mean Jesus didn’t change Saul’s name to Paul on the Damascus Road?”
The problem is that such a view, however common, isn’t accurate. I hate to ruin the fun.
Popular But Unbiblical | I’m unclear on the origins of this idea—though some industrious person has no doubt studied it—but it seems this Saul-renamed-Paul notion is a clever re-reading of an Old Testament storyline onto that of the great apostle.
As is well known, God prominently changed the names of two Old Testament patriarchs: Abram to Abraham (Gen. 17:5) and Jacob to Israel (Gen. 32:28). The idea seems to be that something similar happened to Paul when he encountered Jesus on the Damascus Road (Acts 9).
There is no scriptural evidence, however, to support a name change for Saul/Paul. Here are six lines of biblical evidence that prove the popular notion wrong:
1. Jesus addresses him as “Saul, Saul” during the christophany (Acts 9:4).
Greg Lanier (PhD, Cambridge) serves as assistant professor of New Testament and dean of students at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando. He is also an assistant pastor at River Oaks Church (PCA). He lives in Oviedo with his wife, Kate, and their three daughters.
Our Little Girl Has Cancer
By Jared Mellinger 2/4/2018
In the summer of 2016, our two-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer. From that day until now, we have experienced like never before what it means to be cared for by our church family in the midst of trial.
We can say of our local church what the apostle Paul said of the church in Thessalonica: when it comes to brotherly love, they have no need for further instruction, because they have been taught by God to love others (1 Thessalonians 4:9).
God promises that he will supply grace to us and be with us when the floodwaters of suffering rise (Isaiah 43:2). But we sometimes forget that he often delights to extend his presence, his comfort, and his help through his people.
Not Alone | Our daughter’s name is Agatha. We call her Aggie. As she battles cancer, we sometimes call her Aggie the Brave. We drove her to the hospital that summer because her breathing was labored, and she had several swollen lymph nodes on her neck and one on the side of her chest.
When the head of the oncology department sat across from us and told us that our daughter had cancer, the darkness seemed unbearable. Within 48 hours doctors were able to give us the diagnosis of a type of cancer called T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). We spent the next three weeks in the hospital with Aggie, as doctors and nurses worked to save her life and we learned more about her cancer.
Jared Mellinger is senior pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. He’s married to Meghan, has six children, and is the author of Think Again: Relief from the Burden of Introspection.
Read The Psalms In "1" Year
Psalm 18The LORD Is My Rock and My Fortress
18 To The Choirmaster. A Psalm Of David, The Servant Of The LORD, Who Addressed The Words Of This Song To The LORD On The Day When The LORD Delivered Him From The Hand Of All Is Enemies, And From The Hand Of Saul. He Said:
20 The LORD dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD,
and have not wickedly departed from my God.
22 For all his rules were before me,
and his statutes I did not put away from me.
23 I was blameless before him,
and I kept myself from my guilt.
24 So the LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
Moody’s Challenges and Scripture’s Inerrancy: Why the Chicago Statement Matters More Than Ever
By Owen Strachan 2/2/2018
In recent days, a furor has broken out over a surprising place: Moody Bible Institute. Moody is a hallmark of American evangelicalism, particularly the mainstream Chicago rendition, and has famously sent out thousands of graduates to the mission fields. Moody’s reputation is justifiably strong; it is a school that most evangelicals would instinctually trust.
But Moody has been shaken to its core in the last few weeks and months. First came reports of massive faculty cuts at two locations; then came the reporting of Julie Roys and allegations of both theological and ethical drift; then the school’s top leaders resigned. At present, the school seems destabilized. Many of us who support MBI and are grateful for its historic witness are praying for faithful resolution to these issues.
I cannot comment on anything happening on the ground in Chicago. I don’t know anything about the internal affairs of Moody, nor do I have firsthand reports of classroom instruction, and I have no personal stake in this matter. For my very limited part, I have only read Roys’s latest reporting (see here), and thus can only offer quick comment on one aspect: the institutional importance of inerrancy. Inerrancy is the historic claim that the original autographs of Scripture are without error in all they affirm, and thus the biblical text is entirely trustworthy. Inerrancy is based upon verbal plenary inspiration–the Spirit inspiring or “breathing out” the Word–and entails the absolute authority of the Bible (2 Tim. 3:16). According to Roys, this biblical doctrine is at the center of the controversy at Moody, which includes inerrancy as part of its core doctrine. If this is the case, and it certainly seems to be, then Moody is merely the latest institution to face this doctrinal gauntlet, and confront this definitive question: will the school reaffirm that its vital center is the sacred Scripture, or will it choose a different path?
The doctrinal battles of the twentieth-century waxed hottest around inerrancy. George Marsden’s Reforming Fundamentalism, for example, shows just how fierce the battle was at the leading school of postwar evangelicalism, Fuller Theological Seminary. (Here’s my book on this period, which touches on these matters.) Harold Lindsell’s Battle for the Bible staked out the conservative position, as did Baptists and the Bible by L. Russ Bush and Tom Nettles and Scripture and Truth by D. A. Carson and John Woodbridge. The most significant short document about this doctrine was the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (see below). The Chicago Statement was produced in 1978 by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, a group led by statesmen like James Montgomery Boice, Kenneth Kantzer, J. I. Packer.
Forty years after it debuted, the Chicago Statement offers a potent summation of the historic Christian doctrine of inerrancy. Here is article XII, for example: “WE AFFIRM that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit.” With clarifying affirmations like these, the document leaves no room for a “postmodern” understanding of Scripture by which we would view the Scripture as telling us the truth in a spiritual sense but without concrete grounding in actual history. In other words, while the Chicago Statement leaves room for (and even necessitates) the interpretation of biblical passages according to genre and literary style, the Statement precludes a reading of the Bible that would render some historical accounts fictional. The creation of the world from nothing, the axe head floating on water, the sun standing still, the saints raised from the grave following Christ’s resurrection, the resurrection of Christ itself–all these miraculous biblical events actually happened (Gen. 1; 2 Kings 6; Joshua 10; Matthew 27). These events and many others like them did not “spiritually” occur in a mythological sense; they actually occurred.
Owen Strachan is the author of Awakening the Evangelical Mind and The Pastor as Public Theologian (with Kevin Vanhoozer). A systematic theology professor at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, he is the director of the Center for Public Theology and hosts the City of God podcast. He is writing a Jonathan Edwards devotional (Tyndale House) and a theological anthropology (B&H Academic). You can follow him on Twitter.
The Dumbing Down of Christianity
By Ethan Renoe 12/6/2017
The other day I was (surprise, surprise) in a coffee shop in the mountains, seated near the counter. A guy in his early 20’s walked in wearing a TOOL shirt and a long ponytail. I could overhear his conversation as he approached the barista and they began chatting. Somehow it came up that she attends a Christian university and he clearly didn’t approve.
“Do they incorporate religion into all the classes there?” he asked. “Even the science classes? How does that work?”
She valiantly began explaining how they pray before every class and teach from a Christian worldview, but it soon became evident that she was being crushed in this conversation. He was well schooled in the writings of Dawkins, Hitchens, and Nye and began doling out the punishment.
I use the word punishment because this poor barista has herself been punished by a church system which, for the past 200 years, has begun discarding intelligence within the church in favor of emotion, conversion experiences, and passion. Ask most American Christians today any question deeper than “Does God love everyone?” and you’re bound to get some sort of response suggesting that that sort of discourse should be reserved for theological universities.
The other day a friend of mine said that he sees no merit in understanding Calvinism or Arminianism because he just wants to Love God and love people. And it seems that the ball stops there for most Christians today. No need to know any more than that.
I’m Ethan & I love Jesus as much as my little heart allows. I’m an artist, writer and speaker. I’m a personal trainer, youth pastor, photographer, etc. Love to travel, do stuff, etc. I graduated from Moody a while ago and now attend Denver Seminary.
The Institutes of the Christian Religion
Translated by Henry Beveridge
4. Another distinction between the Old and New Testaments is in the
types, the former exhibiting only the image of truth, while the reality
was absent, the shadow instead of the substance, the latter exhibiting
both the full truth and the entire body. Mention is usually made of
this, whenever the New Testament is contrasted with the Old,  but
it is nowhere so fully treated as in the Epistle to the Hebrews (chap.
7-10). The Apostle is there arguing against those who thought that the
observances of the Mosaic Law could not be abolished without producing
the total ruin of religion. In order to refute this error, he adverts
to what the Psalmist had foretold concerning the priesthood of Christ
(Ps. 110:4). seeing that an eternal priesthood is assigned to him, it
is clear that the priesthood in which there was a daily succession of
priests is abolished. And he proves that the institution of this new
Priest must prevail, because confirmed by an oath. He afterwards adds,
that a change of the priest necessarily led to a change of the
covenant. And the necessity of this he confirms by the reason, that the
weakness of the law was such, that it could make nothing perfect. He
then goes on to show in what this weakness consists, namely, that it
had external carnal observances which could not render the worshipers
perfect in respect of conscience, because its sacrifices of beasts
could neither take away sins nor procure true holiness. He therefore
concludes that it was a shadow of good things to come, and not the very
image of the things, and accordingly had no other office than to be an
introduction to the better hope which is exhibited in the Gospel.
Here we may see in what respect the legal is compared with the evangelical covenant, the ministry of Christ with that of Moses. If the comparison referred to the substance of the promises, there would be a great repugnance between the two covenants; but since the nature of the case leads to a different view, we must follow it in order to discover the truth. Let us, therefore bring forward the covenant which God once ratified as eternal and unending. Its completion, whereby it is fixed and ratified, is Christ. Till such completion takes place, the Lord, by Moses, prescribes ceremonies which are, as it were formal symbols of confirmation. The point brought under discussion was, Whether or not the ceremonies ordained in the Law behaved to give way to Christ. Although these were merely accidents of the covenant, or at least additions and appendages, and, as they are commonly called, accessories, yet because they were the means of administering it, the name of covenant is applied to them, just as is done in the case of other sacraments.  Hence, in general, the Old Testament is the name given to the solemn method of confirming the covenant comprehended under ceremonies and sacrifices. Since there is nothing substantial in it, until we look beyond it, the Apostle contends that it behaved to be annulled and become antiquated (Heb. 7:22), to make room for Christ, the surety and mediator of a better covenant, by whom the eternal sanctification of the elect was once purchased, and the transgressions which remained under the Law wiped away. But if you prefer it, take it thus: the covenant of the Lord was old, because veiled by the shadowy and ineffectual observance of ceremonies; and it was therefore temporary, being, as it were in suspense until it received a firm and substantial confirmation. Then only did it become new and eternal when it was consecrated and established in the blood of Christ. Hence the Saviour, in giving the cup to his disciples in the last supper, calls it the cup of the new testament in his blood; intimating, that the covenant of God was truly realised, made new, and eternal, when it was sealed with his blood.
5. It is now clear in what sense the Apostle said (Gal. 3:24; 4:1), that by the tutelage of the Law the Jews were conducted to Christ, before he was exhibited in the flesh. He confesses that they were sons and heirs of God, though, on account of nonage, they were placed under the guardianship of a tutor. It was fit, the Sun of Righteousness not yet having risen, that there should neither be so much light of revelation nor such clear understanding. The Lord dispensed the light of his word, so that they could behold it at a distance, and obscurely. Accordingly, this slender measure of intelligence is designated by Paul by the term childhood, which the Lord was pleased to train by the elements of this world, and external observances, until Christ should appear. Through him the knowledge of believers was to be matured. This distinction was noted by our Saviour himself when he said that the Law and the Prophets were until John, that from that time the gospel of the kingdom was preached (Mt. 11:13). What did the Law and the Prophets deliver to the men of their time? They gave a foretaste of that wisdom which was one day to be clearly manifested, and showed it afar off. But where Christ can be pointed to with the finger, there the kingdom of God is manifested. In him are contained all the treasures of wisdom and understanding, and by these we penetrate almost to the very shrine of heaven.
6. There is nothing contrary to this in the fact, that in the Christian Church scarcely one is to be found who, in excellence of faith, can be compared to Abraham, and that the Prophets were so distinguished by the power of the Spirit, that even in the present day they give light to the whole world. For the question here is, not what grace the Lord conferred upon a few, but what was the ordinary method which he followed in teaching the people, and which even was employed in the case of those very prophets who were endued with special knowledge above others. For their preaching was both obscure as relating to distant objects, and was included in types. Moreover, however wonderful the knowledge displayed in them, as they were under the necessity of submitting to the tutelage common to all the people, they must also be ranked among children. Lastly, none of them ever had such a degree of discernment as not to savour somewhat of the obscurity of the age. Whence the words of our Saviour, "Many kings and prophets have desired to see the things which you see, and have not seen them, and to hear the things which ye hear, and have not heard them. Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear," (Mt. 13:17). And it was right that the presence of Christ should have this distinguishing feature, that by means of it the revelation of heavenly mysteries should be made more transparent. To the same effect is the passage which we formerly quoted from the First Epistle of Peter, that to them it was revealed that their labour should be useful not so much to themselves as to our age.
7. I proceed to the third distinction, which is thus expressed by Jeremiah: "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; (which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord); but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them," (Jer. 31:31-34). From these words, the Apostle took occasion to institute a comparison between the Law and the Gospel, calling the one a doctrine of the letter, the other a doctrine of the spirit; describing the one as formed on tables of stone, the other on tables of the heart; the one the preaching of death, the other of life; the one of condemnation, the other of justification; the one made void, the other permanent (2 Cor. 3:5, 6). The object of the Apostle being to explain the meaning of the Prophet, the worlds of the one furnish us with the means of ascertaining what was understood by both. And yet there is some difference between them. For the Apostle speaks of the Law more disparagingly than the Prophet. This he does not simply in respect of the Law itself, but because there were some false zealots of the Law who, by a perverse zeal for ceremonies, obscured the clearness of the Gospel, he treats of the nature of the Law with reference to their error and foolish affection. It will, therefore, be proper to attend to this peculiarity in Paul. Both, however, as they are contrasting the Old and New Testament, consider nothing in the Law but what is peculiar to it. For example, the Law everywhere  contains promises of mercy; but as these are adventitious to it, they do not enter into the account of the Law as considered only in its own nature. All which is attributed to it is, that it commands what is right, prohibits crimes, holds forth rewards to the cultivators of righteousness, and threatens transgressors with punishment, while at the same time it neither changes nor amends that depravity of heart which is naturally inherent in all.
8. Let us now explain the Apostle's contrast step by step. The Old Testament is literal, because promulgated without the efficacy of the Spirit: the New spiritual, because the Lord has engraven it on the heart. The second antithesis is a kind of exposition of the first. The Old is deadly, because it can do nothing but involve the whole human race in a curse; the New is the instrument of life, because those who are freed from the curse it restores to favour with God. The former is the ministry of condemnation, because it charges the whole sons of Adam with transgression; the latter the ministry of righteousness, because it unfolds the mercy of God, by which we are justified. The last antithesis must be referred to the Ceremonial Law. Being a shadow of things to come, it behaved in time to perish and vanish away; whereas the Gospel, inasmuch as it exhibits the very body, is firmly established for ever. Jeremiah indeed calls the Moral Law also a weak and fragile covenant; but for another reason--namely, because it was immediately broken by the sudden defection of an ungrateful people; but as the blame of such violation is in the people themselves, it is not properly alleged against the covenant. The ceremonies, again, inasmuch as through their very weakness they were dissolved by the advent of Christ, had the cause of weakness from within. Moreover, the difference between the spirit and the letter must not be understood as if the Lord had delivered his Law to the Jews without any good result; i.e. as if none had been converted to him. It is used comparatively to commend the riches of the grace with which the same Lawgivers assuming, as it were a new characters honoured the preaching of the Gospel. When we consider the multitude of those whom, by the preaching of the Gospel, he has regenerated by his, Spirit, and gathered out of all nations into the communion of his Church, we may say that those of ancient Israel who, with sincere and heartfelt affections embraced the covenant of the Lord, were few or none, though the number is great when they are considered in themselves without comparison.
9. Out of the third distinction a fourth arises. In Scripture, the term bondage is applied to the Old Testaments because it begets fear, and the term freedom to the New, because productive of confidence and security. Thus Paul says to the Romans, "Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father," (Rom. 8:15). To the same effect is the passage in the Hebrews, "For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: (for they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: and so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake); but ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem," &c. (Heb. 12:18-22). What Paul briefly touches on in the passage which we have quoted from the Romans, he explains more fully in the Epistles to the Galatians, where he makes an allegory of the two sons of Abraham in this way: "Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all," (Gal. 4:25, 26). As the offspring of Agar was born in slavery, and could never attain to the inheritances while that of Sara was free and entitled to the inheritance, so by the Law we are subjected to slavery, and by the Gospel alone regenerated into liberty. The sum of the matter comes to this: The Old Testament filled the conscience with fear and trembling--The New inspires it with gladness. By the former the conscience is held in bondage, by the latter it is manumitted and made free. If it be objected, that the holy fathers among the Israelites, as they were endued with the same spirit of faith, must also have been partakers of the same liberty and joy, we answer, that neither was derived from the Law; but feeling that by the Law they were oppressed like slaves, and vexed with a disquieted conscience, they fled for refuge to the gospel; and, accordingly, the peculiar advantage of the Gospel was, that, contrary to the common rule of the Old Testament, it exempted those who were under it from those evils. Then, again, we deny that they did possess the spirit of liberty and security in such a degree as not to experience some measure of fear and bondage. For however they might enjoy the privilege which they had obtained through the grace of the Gospel, they were under the same bonds and burdens of observances as the rest of their nation. Therefore, seeing they were obliged to the anxious observance of ceremonies (which were the symbols of a tutelage bordering on slavery, and handwritings by which they acknowledged their guilt, but did not escape from it), they are justly said to have been, comparatively, under a covenant of fear and bondage, in respect of that common dispensation under which the Jewish people were then placed.
Christian Classics Ethereal Library / Public Domain
Institutes of the Christian Religion
The Old Covenant Is Over. The Old Testament Is Authoritative
By Thomas Schreiner 11/01/2018
Andy Stanley’s claim that we need to unhitch from the Old Testament has created quite a splash, and he defends his view in a new book, Irresistible: Reclaiming the New that Jesus Unleashed for the World. The old covenant has passed away in its entirety, Stanley argues. In a blog post (“Jesus Ended the Old Covenant Once and for All”) he quotes me in support of his view: “Paul argues that the entirety of the law has been set aside now that Christ has come. To say that the ‘moral’ elements of the law continue to be authoritative blunts the truth that the entire Mosaic covenant is no longer in force for believers.” He ends the post by saying that we don’t treat others based on the Ten Commandments but on the law of love, the love Jesus expressed for his disciples (John 13:34–35; 15:12).
Michael Kruger has written an excellent response to Stanley from the standpoint of covenant theology. I’m in fundamental agreement with Kruger, and we nearly end up in the same place, but I get there a different way and would frame the issue a bit differently as one who subscribes to progressive covenantalism instead of classic covenant theology.
Distinguishing Old Covenant and Old TestamentThe quote Stanley attributes to me is correct, but it needs to be set in proper context. Yes, the old covenant has passed away in its entirety, and believers aren’t under the old covenant but the new covenant, which was inaugurated with Jesus’s death and resurrection (cf. Jer. 31:31–34; Gal. 3:15–4:7; Rom. 6:14–15; 7:4–6; Heb. 8:1–10:18). But moral norms still exist for believers. Love isn’t just a sentimental feeling.
Saying that the old covenant has passed away doesn’t mean the Old Testament is no longer (or somehow less) the Word of God. All of the Scriptures, both Old and New Testament, are the final authority as God’s infallible and inerrant word. All of the Old Testament has a revelatory and pedagogical authority for believers in Jesus Christ. We must interpret the Old Testament in terms of God’s progressive revelation in his covenants in order to discern how to apply it today.
New Testament writers don’t decide how to apply the Old Testament based on the moral, ceremonial, and civil divisions, where the moral law continues to function as a moral norm. Such categories are actually quite useful, and there is significant truth in such divisions, but the New Testament itself doesn’t apply the Old Testament law to believers based on these categories. Doing so can introduce distortions when applying the Old Testament to our lives.
Since believers are no longer under the Mosaic covenant, we’re not under the stipulations of the old covenant as a covenant. The Mosaic or Sinai covenant was enacted with Israel, not with us. Yahweh inaugurated the covenant with Israel when he freed them from Egypt. Israel’s covenant with the Lord contained both religious and political elements, and thus Israel as a nation, as a distinct people, received specific commandments for both its religious and political life. The laws given to Israel were its charter as a nation, as God’s special people in the ancient world. But the laws and stipulations aren’t the requirements for the church of Jesus Christ, which is under a new covenant (Jer. 31:31–34; Ezek. 36:26–27; 2 Cor. 3:6; Heb. 8:8–13).
Such statements make some people nervous, and they might say progressive covenantalists are antinomians! They might say we don’t even believe we should keep the Ten Commandments! But we need to be careful here, because progressive covenantalists don’t end up at the same place as Stanley, and we do believe in universal moral norms.
Distinguishing the Law of Christ and the Law of MosesWhen we consider the Ten Commandments, we have to situate them in their covenantal context. After all, they’re part of the Mosaic covenant, and Christians aren’t under that covenant. For instance, the sabbath is the sign of the Mosaic covenant, of Yahweh’s covenant with Israel (Ex. 31:13, 17), but believers in Christ are no longer under the sabbath command, since it’s a shadow that points to Christ (Col. 2:16; cf. Rom. 14:5). The sabbath points to our rest in Christ (Heb. 4:1–11), and I make this case in a book on progressive covenantalism. Since the sabbath is no longer required for believers today, it’s too simplistic to say that believers must obey the Ten Commandments.
Since the sabbath is no longer required for believers today, it’s too simplistic to say that believers must obey the Ten Commandments.
We need to remember in interpreting the Old Testament that there is both continuity and discontinuity, both abolition (Heb. 8:13) and fulfillment (Matt. 5:17–20). The law points to the fulfillment in Jesus. It doesn’t follow, however, that there are no moral norms for believers. The law of Christ functions as a norm for believers (Rom. 13:8–10; Gal. 5:14; 6:2; 1 Cor. 9:20–21), the heart and soul of which is love for neighbor. And this love was exemplified supremely in Christ’s self-giving on the cross.
Someone might say at this point, “You do hold the same view as Andy Stanley!” Not so fast. Romans 13:8–10 helps us unpack the nature of love, and Paul tells us that love keeps particular commands, which include commands that prohibit adultery, murder, stealing, and coveting. Paul tells us that other commands fall under this umbrella as well. In fact, when we read the New Testament, we discover that nine of the ten commandments are repeated in the New Testament (again, the exception is the sabbath). Such moral norms prevent us from sentimentality in defining what love is.
So we know from the New Testament itself — from the new covenant, from the fulfillment in Jesus — the moral norms that guide our lives. No one can claim to be living a life of love while transgressing such moral norms.
Moral Norms and the Character of GodThe commands that are normative for believers today aren’t normative merely because they’re in the Ten Commandments or because they’re part of the old covenant. We know from the New Testament, from the new covenant, which moral norms apply today, and they remain moral norms because they express the character of God. There are indications even in the covenant with Adam and the covenant with Noah — which is in many respects a recapitulation of the covenant with Adam — that such moral norms were present at the beginning, prior to the Mosaic law. For instance, the permanence of marriage (Gen. 1:26; 2:18–25), the prohibition of murder (Gen. 9:6), and complete devotion to the Lord are present from the beginning, showing that the commands of love for God and neighbor (Matt. 22:34–40) are anchored in creation.
Progressive covenantalism and covenant theology come close to saying the same thing about moral norms. We just get there a different way, and we don’t disagree that idolatry, dishonoring parents, adultery, murder, stealing, lying, coveting, or same-sex marriage are morally wrong and transgress the love command.
The Old Testament is God’s authoritative Word to us, but we have to read the whole Bible covenantally, and in light of the fulfillment of Christ, to apply it well to our lives.
Thomas Schreiner Tom Schreiner is James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Professor of Biblical Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he also serves as Associate Dean of the School of Theology. He is the author or editor of several books and commentaries.
Books by Thomas R. SchreinerRecovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Redesign): A Response to Evangelical Feminism
Interpreting the Pauline Epistles
The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments
Believer's Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ (New American Commentary Studies in Bible & Theology)
Galatians (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament)
Romans (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament)
The New American Commentary: 1, 2 Peter, Jude (New American Commentary, 37)
Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church: A Guide for Ministry (9Marks)
The Lord's Supper: Remembering and Proclaiming Christ Until He Comes (New American Commentary Studies in Bible & Theology)
The Race Set Before Us: A Biblical Theology of Perseverance & Assurance
New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ
Paul, Apostle of God's Glory in Christ: A Pauline Theology
40 Questions About Christians and Biblical Law (40 Questions & Answers Series)
The Pilgrim's Progress From This World To That Which Is To Come;
Delivered Under The Similitude Of A Dream
By John Bunyan 1678
THE SIXTH STAGENow when they were got almost quite out of this wilderness, Faithful chanced to cast his eye back, and espied one coming after them, and he knew him. Oh! said Faithful to his brother, who comes yonder? Then Christian looked, and said, It is my good friend Evangelist. Aye, and my good friend too, said Faithful, for ’twas he that set me on the way to the gate. Now was Evangelist come up unto them, and thus saluted them.
EVAN. Peace be with you, dearly beloved, and peace be to your helpers.
CHR. Welcome, welcome, my good Evangelist: the sight of thy countenance brings to my remembrance thy ancient kindness and unwearied labors for my eternal good.
FAITH. And a thousand times welcome, said good Faithful, thy company, O sweet Evangelist; how desirable is it to us poor pilgrims!
EVAN. Then said Evangelist, How hath it fared with you, my friends, since the time of our last parting? What have you met with, and how have you behaved yourselves?
Then Christian and Faithful told him of all things that had happened to them in the way; and how, and with what difficulty, they had arrived to that place.
Right glad am I, said Evangelist, not that you have met with trials, but that you have been victors, and for that you have, notwithstanding many weaknesses, continued in the way to this very day
. I say, right glad am I of this thing, and that for mine own sake and yours: I have sowed, and you have reaped; and the day is coming, when “both he that soweth, and they that reap, shall rejoice together,”
John 4:36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. ESV
that is, if you hold out: “for in due season ye shall reap, if ye faint not.”
Gal. 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. ESV
The crown is before you, and it is an incorruptible one; “so run that ye may obtain it.”
1 Cor. 9:24–27 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. ESV
Some there be that set out for this crown, and after they have gone far for it, another comes in and takes it from them: “hold fast, therefore, that you have; let no man take your crown.”
Rev. 3:11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. ESV
You are not yet out of the gunshot of the devil; “you have not resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Let the kingdom be always before you, and believe steadfastly concerning the things that are invisible. Let nothing that is on this side the other world get within you. And, above all, look well to your own hearts and to the lusts thereof; for they are “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Set your faces like a flint; you have all power in heaven and earth on your side.
CHR. Then Christian thanked him for his exhortations; but told him withal, that they would have him speak farther to them for their help the rest of the way; and the rather, for that they well knew that he was a prophet, and could tell them of things that might happen unto them, and also how they might resist and overcome them. To which request Faithful also consented. So Evangelist began as followeth.
EVAN. My sons, you have heard in the word of the truth of the Gospel, that you must “through many tribulations enter into the kingdom of heaven;” and again, that “in every city, bonds and afflictions abide you;” and therefore you cannot expect that you should go long on your pilgrimage without them, in some sort or other. You have found something of the truth of these testimonies upon you already, and more will immediately follow: for now, as you see, you are almost out of this wilderness, and therefore you will soon come into a town that you will by and by see before you; and in that town you will be hardly beset with enemies, who will strain hard but they will kill you; and be you sure that one or both of you must seal the testimony which you hold, with blood; but “be you faithful unto death, and the King will give you a crown of life.” He that shall die there, although his death will be unnatural, and his pain, perhaps, great, he will yet have the better of his fellow; not only because he will be arrived at the Celestial City soonest, but because he will escape many miseries that the other will meet with in the rest of his journey. But when you are come to the town, and shall find fulfilled what I have here related, then remember your friend, and quit yourselves like men, and “commit the keeping of your souls to God in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”
Then I saw in my dream, that when they were got out of the wilderness, they presently saw a town before them, and the name of that town is Vanity; and at the town there is a fair kept, called Vanity Fair. It is kept all the year long. It beareth the name of Vanity Fair, because the town where it is kept is lighter than vanity,
Psa. 62: Those of low estate are but a breath;
those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath. ESV
Eccl. 11:8 So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity. ESV
Eccl 1:2–14 2 Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
3 What does man gain by all the toil
at which he toils under the sun?
4 A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever.
5 The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
and hastens to the place where it rises.
6 The wind blows to the south
and goes around to the north;
around and around goes the wind,
and on its circuits the wind returns.
7 All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.
8 All things are full of weariness;
a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
nor the ear filled with hearing.
9 What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been already
in the ages before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things,
nor will there be any remembrance
of later things yet to be
among those who come after.
Eccl 2:11–17 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.
12 So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly. For what can the man do who comes after the king? Only what has already been done. 13 Then I saw that there is more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness. 14 The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that the same event happens to all of them. 15 Then I said in my heart, “What happens to the fool will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise?” And I said in my heart that this also is vanity. 16 For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How the wise dies just like the fool! 17 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind. ESV
Isa. 40:17 All the nations are as nothing before him,
they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. ESV
Almost five thousand years ago there were pilgrims walking to the Celestial City, as these two honest persons are: and Beelzebub, Apollyon, and Legion, with their companions, perceiving by the path that the pilgrims made, that their way to the city lay through this town of Vanity, they contrived here to set up a fair; a fair wherein should be sold all sorts of vanity, and that it should last all the year long. Therefore, at this fair are all such merchandise sold as houses, lands, trades, places, honors, preferments, titles, countries, kingdoms, lusts, pleasures; and delights of all sorts, as harlots, wives, husbands, children, masters, servants, lives, blood, bodies, souls, silver, gold, pearls, precious stones, and what not.
And moreover, at this fair there is at all times to be seen jugglings, cheats, games, plays, fools, apes, knaves, and rogues, and that of every kind. Here are to be seen, too, and that for nothing, thefts, murders, adulteries, false-swearers, and that of a blood-red color.
And, as in other fairs of less moment, there are the several rows and streets under their proper names, where such and such wares are vended; so here, likewise, you have the proper places, rows, streets, (namely, countries and kingdoms,) where the wares of this fair are soonest to be found. Here is the Britain Row, the French Row, the Italian Row, the Spanish Row, the German Row, where several sorts of vanities are to be sold. But, as in other fairs, some one commodity is as the chief of all the fair; so the ware of Rome and her merchandise is greatly promoted in this fair; only our English nation, with some others, have taken a dislike thereat.
Now, as I said, the way to the Celestial City lies just through this town, where this lusty fair is kept; and he that will go to the city, and yet not go through this town, “must needs go out of the world.”
1 Cor. 5:10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. ESV
The Prince of princes himself, when here, went through this town to his own country, and that upon a fair-day too; yea, and, as I think, it was Beelzebub, the chief lord of this fair, that invited him to buy of his vanities, yea, would have made him lord of the fair, would he but have done him reverence as he went through the town. Yea, because he was such a person of honor, Beelzebub had him from street to street, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a little time, that he might, if possible, allure that blessed One to cheapen and buy some of his vanities; but he had no mind to the merchandise, and therefore left the town, without laying out so much as one farthing upon these vanities.
Matt. 4:8-9 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” ESV
Luke 4:5–7 5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” ESV
This fair, therefore, is an ancient thing, of long standing, and a very great fair.
Now, these pilgrims, as I said, must needs go through this fair. Well, so they did; but behold, even as they entered into the fair, all the people in the fair were moved; and the town itself, as it were, in a hubbub about them, and that for several reasons: for,
First, The Pilgrims were clothed with such kind of raiment as was diverse from the raiment of any that traded in that fair. The people, therefore, of the fair made a great gazing upon them: some said they were fools;
1 Cor. 4:9-10 9 For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. ESV
some, they were bedlams; and some, they were outlandish men.
Secondly, And as they wondered at their apparel, so they did likewise at their speech; for few could understand what they said. They naturally spoke the language of Canaan; but they that kept the fair were the men of this world: so that from one end of the fair to the other, they seemed barbarians each to the other.
1 Cor. 2:7-8 7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. ESV
Thirdly, But that which did not a little amuse the merchandisers was, that these pilgrims set very light by all their wares. They cared not so much as to look upon them; and if they called upon them to buy, they would put their fingers in their ears, and cry, “Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity,”
Psa. 119:37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways. ESV
Phil. 3:20-21 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. ESV
One chanced, mockingly, beholding the carriage of the men, to say unto them, “What will ye buy?” But they, looking gravely upon him, said, “We buy the truth.”
Prov. 23:23 Buy truth, and do not sell it;
buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding. ESV
Heb. 11:13–16 13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. ESV
and that they had given no occasion to the men of the town, nor yet to the merchandisers, thus to abuse them, and to let them in their journey, except it was for that, when one asked them what they would buy, they said they would buy the truth. But they that were appointed to examine them did not believe them to be any other than bedlams and mad, or else such as came to put all things into a confusion in the fair. Therefore they took them and beat them, and besmeared them with dirt, and then put them into the cage, that they might be made a spectacle to all the men of the fair. There, therefore, they lay for some time, and were made the objects of any man’s sport, or malice, or revenge; the great one of the fair laughing still at all that befell them. But the men being patient, and “not rendering railing for railing, but contrariwise blessing,” and giving good words for bad, and kindness for injuries done, some men in the fair, that were more observing and less prejudiced than the rest, began to check and blame the baser sort for their continual abuses done by them to the men. They, therefore, in an angry manner let fly at them again, counting them as bad as the men in the cage, and telling them that they seemed confederates, and should be made partakers of their misfortunes. The others replied that, for aught they could see, the men were quiet and sober, and intended nobody any harm; and that there were many that traded in their fair that were more worthy to be put into the cage, yea, and pillory too, than were the men that they had abused. Thus, after divers words had passed on both sides, (the men behaving themselves all the while very wisely and soberly before them,) they fell to some blows among themselves, and did harm one to another. Then were these two poor men brought before their examiners again, and were charged as being guilty of the late hubbub that had been in the fair. So they beat them pitifully, and hanged irons upon them, and led them in chains up and down the fair, for an example and terror to others, lest any should speak in their behalf, or join themselves unto them. But Christian and Faithful behaved themselves yet more wisely, and received the ignominy and shame that was cast upon them with so much meekness and patience, that it won to their side (though but few in comparison of the rest) several of the men in the fair. This put the other party yet into a greater rage, insomuch that they concluded the death of these two men. Wherefore they threatened that neither cage nor irons should serve their turn, but that they should die for the abuse they had done, and for deluding the men of the fair.
Then were they remanded to the cage again, until further order should be taken with them. So they put them in, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
Here, also, they called again to mind what they had heard from their faithful friend Evangelist, and were the more confirmed in their way and sufferings by what he told them would happen to them. They also now comforted each other, that whose lot it was to suffer, even he should have the best of it: therefore each man secretly wished that he might have that preferment. But committing themselves to the all-wise disposal of Him that ruleth all things, with much content they abode in the condition in which they were, until they should be otherwise disposed of.
Then a convenient time being appointed, they brought them forth to their trial, in order to their condemnation. When the time was come, they were brought before their enemies and arraigned. The judge’s name was Lord Hate-good; their indictment was one and the same in substance, though somewhat varying in form; the contents whereof was this: “That they were enemies to, and disturbers of, the trade; that they had made commotions and divisions in the town, and had won a party to their own most dangerous opinions, in contempt of the law of their prince.”
Then Faithful began to answer, that he had only set himself against that which had set itself against Him that is higher than the highest. And, said he, as for disturbance, I make none, being myself a man of peace: the parties that were won to us, were won by beholding our truth and innocence, and they are only turned from the worse to the better. And as to the king you talk of, since he is Beelzebub, the enemy of our Lord, I defy him and all his angels.
Then proclamation was made, that they that had ought to say for their lord the king against the prisoner at the bar, should forthwith appear, and give in their evidence. So there came in three witnesses, to wit, Envy, Superstition, and Pickthank. They were then asked if they knew the prisoner at the bar; and what they had to say for their lord the king against him.
Then stood forth Envy, and said to this effect: My lord, I have known this man a long time, and will attest upon my oath before this honorable bench, that he is-
JUDGE. Hold; give him his oath.
So they sware him. Then he said, My lord, this man, notwithstanding his plausible name, is one of the vilest men in our country; he neither regardeth prince nor people, law nor custom, but doeth all that he can to possess all men with certain of his disloyal notions, which he in the general calls principles of faith and holiness. And in particular, I heard him once myself affirm, that Christianity and the customs of our town of Vanity were diametrically opposite, and could not be reconciled. By which saying, my lord, he doth at once not only condemn all our laudable doings, but us in the doing of them.
Then did the judge say to him, Hast thou any more to say?
Pilgrim's Progress (Illustrated): Updated, Modern English. More than 100 Illustrations.
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
A promise to praying parents
2/6/2018 Bob Gass
‘They shall come back from the land of the enemy.’
(Je 31:16-17) Thus says the LORD:
“Keep your voice from weeping,
and your eyes from tears,
for there is a reward for your work,
declares the LORD,
and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.
There is hope for your future,
declares the LORD,
and your children shall come back to their own country. ESV
Are you living under a cloud of guilt, feeling like a failure because your child has gone astray? Don’t do it! The Bible teaches that sometimes children simply won’t listen to the counsel of their parents. Solomon was probably giving a word of personal testimony when he wrote, ‘A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke’ (Proverbs 13:1 NKJV). Jesus didn’t hold the father accountable for the fact that his prodigal son went astray (see Luke 15:11). And if you did your best, God doesn’t hold you accountable either. The truth is that bad parents sometimes turn out good children, and good parents sometimes have children who go bad. God’s first two children were placed in a perfect paradise, yet they rebelled. Ultimately, we’re all given the power to choose. There comes a time when every child is no longer a child, and has to take responsibility for his or her actions. So, if you’ve done your best as a parent, don’t let the devil put a guilt trip on you. And if you’ve failed as a parent, it’s not the unpardonable sin. Not only will God forgive you, but you can also claim this wonderful promise: ‘Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded, says the Lord, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope in your future…that your children shall come back to their own border’ (Jeremiah 31:16-17 NKJV). Don’t give up on your children, because God hasn’t. Keep praying and believing, and allow Him to work on them.
UCB The Word For Today
by Bill Federer
He started his professional career as radio host in Iowa, served in the Army Air Corp during World War II, and became an actor, appearing in over 50 films. He was President of the Screen Actors Guild, switched from Democrat to Republican, and became Governor of California. At the age of seventy, he was the oldest person elected President of the United States. In 1981 he survived an assassination attempt. Who was he? Ronald Reagan, born this day, February 6, 1911. President Ronald Reagan stated: “If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under.”
Thomas R. Kelly
Out in front of us is the drama of men and of nations, seething, struggling, laboring, dying. Upon this tragic drama in these days our eyes are all set in anxious watchfulness and in prayer. But within the silences of the souls of men an eternal drama is ever being enacted, in these days as well as in others. And on the outcome of this inner drama rests, ultimately, the outer pageant of history. It is the drama of the Hound of Heaven baying relentlessly upon the track of man. It is the drama of the lost sheep wandering in the wilderness, restless and lonely, feebly searching, while over the hills comes the wiser Shepherd. For His is a shepherd's heart, and He is restless until He holds His sheep in His arms. It is the drama of the Eternal Father drawing the prodigal home unto Himself, where there is bread enough and to spare. It is the drama of the Double Search, as Rufus Jones calls it. And always its chief actor is-the Eternal God of Love.
It is to one strand in this inner drama, one scene, where the Shepherd has found His sheep, that I would direct you. It is the life of absolute and complete and holy obedience to the voice of the Shepherd. But ever throughout the account the accent will be laid upon God, God the initiator, God the aggressor, God the seeker, God the stirrer into life, God the ground of our obedience, God the giver of the power to become children of God.
A Testament of Devotion
Compiled by Richard S. Adams
I used to think I should close my Bible and pray for faith,
but I came to see
that it was in studying the Word
that I was to get faith.
--- D.L. Moody
even though the whole world deny him.
even if there be no public support. It is self-sustained.
--- Mohandas Gandhi
Lovers must not, like usurers, live for themselves alone. They must finally turn from their gaze at one another back toward the community. If they had only themselves to consider, lovers would not need to marry, but they must think of others and of other things. They say their vows to the community as much as to one another, and the community gathers around them to hear and to wish them well, on their behalf and its own. It gathers around them because it understands how necessary, how joyful, and how fearful this joining is. These lovers, pledging themselves to one another "until death," are giving themselves away, and they are joined by this as no law or contract could join them. Lovers, then, "die" into their union with one another as a soul "dies" into its union with God. And so here, at the very heart of community life, we find not something to sell as in the public market but this momentous giving. If the community cannot protect this giving, it can protect nothing...
--- Wendell Berry, Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community
As people of faith, we should view every drop of oil, every diamond, every lump of coal, and every source of water with a theological eye. We should try seeing our world through the eyes of the One who created it. All the earth is sacred. It seems quite foolish that only after we have gone too far will we realize that no amount of capital gains, no particular economic system or no modern convenience will be worth the price that we will be forced to pay … I sometimes wonder if modern humanity will drive itself to extinction over greed.
--- Randy Woodley, Shalom and the Community of Faith : An Indigenous Vision
... from here, there and everywhere
by D.H. Stern
Understanding is raising her voice!
2 On the heights along the road,
where the paths meet, she is standing;
3 by the gates leading into the city,
at the entrances, she cries aloud:
4 “People, I am calling you,
raising my voice to all mankind.
5 You who don’t direct your lives,
as for you, you fools,
get some common sense!
6 “Listen! I will say worthwhile things;
when I speak, my words are right.
7 My mouth says what is true,
because my lips detest evil.
8 All the words from my mouth are righteous;
nothing false or crooked is in them.
9 They are all clear to those who understand
and straightforward to those who gain knowledge.
10 Receive my instruction, rather than silver;
knowledge, rather than the finest gold.
11 For wisdom is better than pearls;
nothing you want can compare with her.
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
Are you ready to be offered?
I am already being poured out as a drink offering.
--- 2 Tim. 4:6. (R.V. marg.).
“I am now ready to be offered.” It is a transaction of will, not of sentiment. Tell God you are ready to be offered; then let the consequences be what they may, there is no strand of complaint now, no matter what God chooses. God puts you through the crisis in private, no one person can help another. Externally the life may be the same; the difference is in will. Go through the crisis in will, then when it comes externally there will be no thought of the cost. If you do not transact in will with God along this line, you will end in awakening sympathy for yourself.
“Bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.” The altar means fire — burning and purification and insulation for one purpose only, the destruction of every affinity that God has not started and of every attachment that is not an attachment in God. You do not destroy it, God does; you bind the sacrifice to the horns of the altar; and see that you do not give way to self-pity when the fire begins. After this way of fire, there is nothing that oppresses or depresses. When the crisis arises, you realize that things cannot touch you as they used to do. What is your way of fire?
Tell God you are ready to be offered, and God will prove Himself to be all you ever dreamed He would be.
My Utmost for His Highest
the Poetry of R.S. Thomas
Is the night dark? His interiors
are darker, more perilous
to enter. Are there whispers
abroad? They are the communing
with himself our destiny
is to be outside of, listeners
at our breath's window. Is there
an ingredient in him of unlove?
It is the moment in the mind's
garden he resigns himself
to his own will to conceive the tree
of manhood we have reared against him.
The Poems of R.S. Thomas
Thomas A Kempis
Book One / Thoughts Helpful In The Life Of The Soul
The Sixth Chapter / Unbridled Affections
WHEN a man desires a thing too much, he at once becomes ill at ease. A proud and avaricious man never rests, whereas he who is poor and humble of heart lives in a world of peace. An unmortified man is quickly tempted and overcome in small, trifling evils; his spirit is weak, in a measure carnal and inclined to sensual things; he can hardly abstain from earthly desires. Hence it makes him sad to forego them; he is quick to anger if reproved. Yet if he satisfies his desires, remorse of conscience overwhelms him because he followed his passions and they did not lead to the peace he sought.
True peace of heart, then, is found in resisting passions, not in satisfying them. There is no peace in the carnal man, in the man given to vain attractions, but there is peace in the fervent and spiritual man.
The Imitation Of Christ
A “kingdom” is a realm in which the will and power of a king are expressed. We live in the kingdom Jesus rules when we do His will. Then He will act in our lives and circumstances.
Jesus’ listeners were hungry for the kingdom. His message was a jolting one, yet many followed and listened eagerly. They sensed that this Man, who taught with authority, had to know the way to the experience for which they yearned.
That hunger, that longing, is something you and I can understand. We’ve yearned for a fuller experience of God. We too have been looking for the kingdom where Jesus reigns and acts. All too often we’ve missed it. All too often we’ve concluded, wrongly, that the kingdom is wholly future, only to be known when Jesus comes again.
Part of the reason why we tend to look at the kingdom as future only is that we’ve missed the kingdom when we’ve looked back into history. Our view of history is distorted, a caricature that has little resemblance to reality. Often the caricature is drawn something like this: “Everything was great as long as the apostles lived. Then it got bad, with the church hardening into a dead and restricting institution paganized by Rome. Then Luther and Calvin brought the Protestant Reformation, and it was alive again for a while. But soon that drifted into deadness as well. Today we’re just holding on (sometimes with a feeble grip), waiting till Jesus comes.”
This portrait of church history is faulty. It comes in part from the tendency of historians to focus on the institutions, the popes, the cathedrals, and the books written by establishment men to sum up the wisdom of their age. But neither Thomas Aquinas’ Summa nor John Calvin’s Institutes expresses the kingdom! The kingdom is expressed in the living witness to Jesus which the Holy Spirit has burned into the lives of those whose hearts turn to the Lord.
For instance, in the twelfth century, the Waldensians, the Poor Men of Lyons, appeared. They gave the Bible to the people in the common language, stressed repentance and conversion, and also emphasized living a Christian life guided by all Scripture—and especially by the Sermon on the Mount.
Long before Luther, John Huss led a great revival in Prague; a revival later forced underground by the persecution which led to Huss’ death. For 300 years an underground church existed in Bohemia, with the Gospel passed quietly from father to son, from grandparent to grandchild. Finally these people found refuge in Germany on the estate of Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf. Now called Moravians, this group provided impetus for a great missionary movement leading to revivals in Germany, Holland, the Scandinavian countries, France, Switzerland, and America, as well as England. It was Moravian missionaries who met John Wesley while on a ship going to America and introduced him to the possibility of personal faith in Jesus Christ. So, many years before Luther, small prayer and Bible-study groups dotted Germany; when God called Luther to the Reformation leadership, followers had already been prepared.
Today the United States sends out thousands of missionaries across the world. But as late as 1800, there was no missionary movement to reach abroad. Then in 1806, students at Williams College in Massachusetts began to discuss their part in sharing the Gospel with the non-Christian world. A sudden rainstorm sent them dashing into a haystack. Praying there together, God called the first American missionaries. Adoniram Judson, Luther Rice, and Samuel Mills were to lead a host of young men and women, who crossed the oceans to take the Gospel to the world.
nbsp; These illustrations, which can be multiplied to touch every century and every nation where the Gospel has taken root, bear a striking similarity. A movement of God began in a quiet, hidden way. As far as what has become known as “church history” is concerned, the movements often lie outside the worldly events historians choose to record. Yet the haystack, not the cathedral, is most likely to be characteristic of the kingdom!
True, these movements have often forced their way into the history books. A city set on a hill cannot be hid; a light placed on a candlestick cannot be ignored. But all too often, whether the movement has been Catholic or Protestant, the historical record is one of persecution and antagonism and fear. As in Jesus’ day, institutions tend to teach the traditions of men rather than those of God. And such institutions feel threatened by the kingdom.
The kingdom comes into conflict with the world, even as Jesus ultimately was forced into open conflict with the religious men of His day, who demanded, with insistent shouts, “Crucify Him!”).
The Teacher's Commentary
“Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed.…” When Jesus heard this,… he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.”
--- Luke 7:6–7, 9.
Observe the centurion’s humble expressions. ( Spurgeon's Sermons on New Testament Men, Book 2 (C.H. Spurgeon Sermon Series , No 2) ) Was it because he had had an insight into his own heart and was most unworthy in his own view?
When Christians make abject confessions, it is not that they are worse than others but that they see themselves in a clearer light. This centurion’s unworthiness was not because he had been more vicious than others but because he saw what others did not see and felt what others had not felt.
Deep as was this man’s contrition, overwhelming as was his sense of utter worthlessness, he did not doubt either the power or the willingness of Christ. He takes it for granted that such a one as Jesus must be willing to do all the good that is asked of him.
Nor is he at all dubious about our Lord’s power. The palsy that afflicted the servant was a grievous one, but it did not stagger the centurion. He felt not only that Jesus could heal it completely and at once, but that he could heal it without moving a step.
My dear friends, especially you who are under concern of soul, you feel unworthy—that is not a mistaken feeling, you are so. You are much distressed by reason of this unworthiness, but if you knew more of it you might be more distressed still.
Beloved, it has come to this: you are so unworthy that you are shut out of every hope but Christ. If there is anything to be done for salvation, you cannot do it. If there is any fitness wanted, you have it not. Christ comes to you and tells you that there is not fitness wanted for coming to him but that if you will trust him he will save you. I think I hear you say, “My Lord, on your atonement I cast my guilty soul, persuaded that you are able to save even such a one as I am. I am so thoroughly persuaded of the goodness of your heart that I know you will not cast away this poor trembler who takes you to be my only ground of trust.”
--- C. H. Spurgeon
Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers
Christian parents often worry about sending their sons and daughters to colleges and universities. Sometimes with good reason. Young people can “lose their faith” there. But some lose it only to regain it later with added strength.
Adoniram Judson grew up in parsonages around Boston in the 1700s. He entered Brown University at age 16 and graduated valedictorian of his class. While there he became best friends with Jacob Eames. Jacob was a deist and, in practical terms, an atheist. Ridiculing Judson’s faith, he challenged him with the writings of Voltaire and the French philosophers. When Adoniram returned home, he told his parents that he, too, had become an atheist. His mother broke into gentle sobs. His father roared and threatened and pounded the furniture.
Adoniram, 21, migrated to New York City to establish himself as a playwright. But then, hearing tales from the American frontier, he saddled his horse and headed west. One evening, weary from traveling, he stopped at an inn. The proprietor said, “Forgive me, sir, but the only room left — well, it’ll be a bit noisy. There’s a young fellow next door awfully sick.” Adoniram, too tired to care, took the key.
The night became a nightmare. The tramping of feet coming and going. Muffled voices. Painful groans. Chairs scraping against the floor. Adoniram was troubled by it all, and he wondered what his friend Jacob Eames would say about fear, illness, and death.
The next morning while checking out, he asked about the young man in the next room. The proprietor said, “I thought maybe you’d heard. He died, sir, toward morning. Very young. Not more than your age. Went to that Brown University out East.” Adoniram stiffened. The man continued, “His name was Jacob Eames.”
The West suddenly lost its lure, and Adoniram turned his horse toward home. Soon he gave his life to Christ, and, shortly afterward, devoted himself to missions. On February 6, 1812, Adoniram Judson was commissioned as America’s first foreign missionary. He, his wife, and companions sailed for Burma on February 18.
The Scriptures say that the Messiah must suffer, then three days later he will rise from death. They also say that all people of every nation must be told in my name to turn to God, in order to be forgiven. So beginning in Jerusalem, you must tell everything that has happened.
--- Luke 24:46-48.
On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - February 6
“Praying always.” --- Ephesians 6:18.
What multitudes of prayers we have put up from the first moment when we learned to pray. Our first prayer was a prayer for ourselves; we asked that God would have mercy upon us, and blot out our sin. He heard us. But when he had blotted out our sins like a cloud, then we had more prayers for ourselves. We have had to pray for sanctifying grace, for constraining and restraining grace; we have been led to crave for a fresh assurance of faith, for the comfortable application of the promise, for deliverance in the hour of temptation, for help in the time of duty, and for succour in the day of trial. We have been compelled to go to God for our souls, as constant beggars asking for everything. Bear witness, children of God, you have never been able to get anything for your souls elsewhere. All the bread your soul has eaten has come down from heaven, and all the water of which it has drank has flowed from the living rock—Christ Jesus the Lord. Your soul has never grown rich in itself; it has always been a pensioner upon the daily bounty of God; and hence your prayers have ascended to heaven for a range of spiritual mercies all but infinite. Your wants were innumerable, and therefore the supplies have been infinitely great, and your prayers have been as varied as the mercies have been countless. Then have you not cause to say, “I love the Lord, because he hath heard the voice of my supplication”? For as your prayers have been many, so also have been God’s answers to them. He has heard you in the day of trouble, has strengthened you, and helped you, even when you dishonoured him by trembling and doubting at the mercy-seat. Remember this, and let it fill your heart with gratitude to God, who has thus graciously heard your poor weak prayers. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”
Evening - February 6
“Pray one for another.” --- James 5:16.
As an encouragement cheerfully to offer intercessory prayer, remember that such prayer is the sweetest God ever hears, for the prayer of Christ is of this character. In all the incense which our Great High Priest now puts into the golden censer, there is not a single grain for himself. His intercession must be the most acceptable of all supplications—and the more like our prayer is to Christ’s, the sweeter it will be; thus while petitions for ourselves will be accepted, our pleadings for others, having in them more of the fruits of the Spirit, more love, more faith, more brotherly kindness, will be, through the precious merits of Jesus, the sweetest oblation that we can offer to God, the very fat of our sacrifice. Remember, again, that intercessory prayer is exceedingly prevalent. What wonders it has wrought! The Word of God teems with its marvellous deeds. Believer, thou hast a mighty engine in thy hand, use it well, use it constantly, use it with faith, and thou shalt surely be a benefactor to thy brethren. When thou hast the King’s ear, speak to him for the suffering members of his body. When thou art favoured to draw very near to his throne, and the King saith to thee, “Ask, and I will give thee what thou wilt,” let thy petitions be, not for thyself alone, but for the many who need his aid. If thou hast grace at all, and art not an intercessor, that grace must be small as a grain of mustard seed. Thou hast just enough grace to float thy soul clear from the quicksand, but thou hast no deep floods of grace, or else thou wouldst carry in thy joyous bark a weighty cargo of the wants of others, and thou wouldst bring back from thy Lord, for them, rich blessings which but for thee they might not have obtained: ---
“Oh, let my hands forget their skill,
My tongue be silent, cold, and still,
This bounding heart forget to beat,
If I forget the mercy-seat!”
Morning and Evening
THE LOVE OF GOD
Words and Music by Frederick M. Lehman, 1868–1953
The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
Never has God’s eternal love been described more vividly than in the words of this greatly loved hymn: “measureless,” “strong,” “evermore endure …”
The unusual third stanza of the hymn was a small part of an ancient lengthy poem composed in 1096 by a Jewish songwriter, Rabbi Mayer, in Worms, Germany. The poem, entitled “Hadamut,” was written in the Arabic language. The lines were found one day in revised form on the walls of a patient’s room in an insane asylum after the patient’s death. The opinion has since been that the unknown patient, during times of sanity, adapted from the Jewish poem what is now the third verse of “The Love of God.”
The words of this third stanza were quoted one day at a Nazarene campmeeting. In the meeting was Frederick M. Lehman, a Nazarene pastor, who described his reaction:
The profound depths of the lines moved us to preserve the words for future generations. Not until we had come to California did this urge find fulfillment, and that at a time when circumstances forced us to hard manual labor. One day, during short intervals of inattention to our work, we picked up a scrap of paper and added the first two stanzas and chorus to the existing third verse lines.
Pastor Lehman completed the hymn in 1917. His daughter Claudia (Mrs. W. W. Mays) assisted him with the music.
The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell,
It goes beyond the highest star and reaches to the lowest hell,
The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win:
His erring child He reconciled and pardoned from his sin.
When years of time shall pass away and earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray, on rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure shall still endure, all measureless and strong:
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—the saints’ and angels’ song.
Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the skies of parchment made,
Were ev’ry stalk on earth a quill and ev’ry man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry,
Nor could the scroll contain the whole tho stretched from sky to sky.
Chorus: O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure—the saints’ and angels’ song.
For Today: John 15:9; Ephesians 3:1, 19; 1 John 3:1; Revelation 1:5, 6.
Consciously try to personalize and experience the truth of this hymn in every situation that comes your way. Carry this musical message with you realizing that ---
Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
Darrell Bock, Stan Jones, and Michael Brown
Dallas Theological Seminary
Homosexuality - Ethics 1
Homosexuality - Ethics 2
Homosexuality - Ethics 3
Brett Meador | Athey Creek
Yom Kippur Leviticus 16:1-13
s2-068 | 3-21-2015
Nothing But The Blood Leviticus 17:10
s2-069 | 3-29-2015
m2-066 | 4-01-2015