May 30, 2007 § Leave a comment
“My God, stand by me, against all the world’s wisdom, and reason….Not mine but yours is the cause….I would prefer to have peaceful days and to be out of this turmoil. But yours, O Lord, is this cause; it is righteous and eternal. Stand by me, you true Eternal God! In no man do I trust….Stand by me, O God, in the name of your dear Son Jesus Christ, who shall be my Defense and Shelter, yes, my Mighty Fortress, through the might and strength of your Holy Spirit. Amen.”
Martin Luther (AD 1483-1546) From the morning before the Diet of Worms
May 23, 2007 § Leave a comment
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.
For God so loved the world.
“Christ opens up the first cause, and, as it were, the source of our salvation, and he does so, that no doubt may remain; for our minds cannot find calm repose, until we arrive at the unmerited love of God. As the whole matter of our salvation must not be sought any where else than in Christ, so we must see whence Christ came to us, and why he was offered to be our Savior. Both points are distinctly stated to us: namely, that faith in Christ brings life to all, and that Christ brought life, because the Heavenly Father loves the human race, and wishes that they should not perish. And this order ought to be carefully observed; for such is the wicked ambition which belongs to our nature, that when the question relates to the origin of our salvation, we quickly form diabolical imaginations about our own merits. Accordingly, we imagine that God is reconciled to us, because he has reckoned us worthy that he should look upon us. But Scripture everywhere extols his pure and unmingled mercy, which sets aside all merits….”
That whosoever believeth on him may not perish.
“It is a remarkable commendation of faith, that it frees us from everlasting destruction. For he intended expressly to state that, though we appear to have been born to death, undoubted deliverance is offered to us by the faith of Christ; and, therefore, that we ought not to fear death, which otherwise hangs over us. And he has employed the universal term whosoever, both to invite all indiscriminately to partake of life, and to cut off every excuse from unbelievers. Such is also the import of the term World, which he formerly used; for though nothing will be found in the world that is worthy of the favor of God, yet he shows himself to be reconciled to the whole world, when he invites all men without exception to the faith of Christ, which is nothing else than an entrance into life.
Let us remember, on the other hand, that while life is promised universally to all who believe in Christ, still faith is not common to all. For Christ is made known and held out to the view of all, but the elect alone are they whose eyes God opens, that they may seek him by faith. Here, too, is displayed a wonderful effect of faith; for by it we receive Christ such as he is given to us by the Father — that is, as having freed us from the condemnation of eternal death, and made us heirs of eternal life, because, by the sacrifice of his death, he has atoned for our sins, that nothing may prevent God from acknowledging us as his sons. Since, therefore, faith embraces Christ, with the efficacy of his death and the fruit of his resurrection, we need not wonder if by it we obtain likewise the life of Christ.
Still it is not yet very evident why and how faith bestows life upon us. Is it because Christ renews us by his Spirit, that the righteousness of God may live and be vigorous in us; or is it because, having been cleansed by his blood, we are accounted righteous before God by a free pardon? It is indeed certain, that these two things are always joined together; but as the certainty of salvation is the subject now in hand, we ought chiefly to hold by this reason, that we live, because God loves us freely by not imputing to us our sins. For this reason sacrifice is expressly mentioned, by which, together with sins, the curse and death are destroyed. I have already explained the object of these two clauses,
which is, to inform us that in Christ we regain the possession of life, of which we are destitute in ourselves; for in this wretched condition of mankind, redemption, in the order of time, goes before salvation.”
John Calvin (A.D. 1509-1564)
May 22, 2007 § Leave a comment
This text has really come home to me the last day or so. I have a tendency to engage in discussions that are unprofitable out of a motivation to defend my on personal “integrity” or in other words to “save face”. This is not a reason to be discussing the truths of God and his holy scriptures. It is sinful. A friend of mine reminded me of this text while we were discussing these types of encounters. It is so easy to get caught up in “being right” while perceiving oneself as defending the truth. So this text is my meditation for today.
Tit 3:8-11, “8 Faithful is the saying, and concerning these things I desire that thou affirm confidently, to the end that they who have believed God may be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men: 9 but shun foolish questionings, and genealogies, and strifes, and fightings about law; for they are unprofitable and vain. 10 A factious man after a first and second admonition refuse; 11 knowing that such a one is perverted, and sinneth, being self-condemned.”
My prayer back to the Lord.
Father, I pray that you will constantly remind me of the truth of this text, least I find myself not defending your truth but rather my own pride. I ask for your forgiveness in Christ. Grant to me by the power and inspiration of the Holy Spirit to be mindful of my own wickedness of heart. Teach me to rightly approach the discussion and debate concerning your word and truth. Teach me to ever have your glory in view not my own pride. Grant to me, Holy Spirit, a Christ like attitude and sincere concern for the souls of people and to always remember the grace I have received in Christ for his sake alone. All this I ask of you in prayer, Heavenly Father, in union with your Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Blessings in Christ,
Terry W. West
May 21, 2007 § Leave a comment
2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
But the Lord is not slack, or, delays not. He checks extreme and unreasonable haste by another reason, that is, that the Lord defers his coming that he might invite all mankind to repentance. For our minds are always prurient, and a doubt often creeps in, why he does not come sooner. But when we hear that the Lord, in delaying, shews a concern for our salvation, and that he defers the time because he has a care for us, there is no reason why we should any longer complain of tardiness. He is tardy who allows an occasion to pass by through slothfulness: there is nothing like this in God, who in the best manner regulates time to promote our salvation. And as to the duration of the whole world, we must think exactly the same as of the life of every individual; for God by prolonging time to each, sustains him that he may repent. In the like manner he does not hasten the end of the world, in order to give to all time to repent.
This is a very necessary admonition, so that we may learn to employ time aright, as we shall otherwise suffer a just punishment for our idleness.
Not willing that any should perish. So wonderful is his love towards mankind, that he would have them all to be saved, and is of his own self prepared to bestow salvation on the lost. But the order is to be noticed, that God is ready to receive all to repentance, so that none may perish; for in these words the way and manner of obtaining salvation is pointed out. Every one of us, therefore, who is desirous of salvation, must learn to enter in by this way.
But it may be asked, If God wishes none to perish, why is it that so many do perish? To this my answer is, that no mention is here made of the hidden purpose of God, according to which the reprobate are doomed to their own ruin, but only of his will as made known to us in the gospel. For God there stretches forth his hand without a difference to all, but lays hold only of those, to lead them to himself, whom he has chosen before the foundation of the world.
But as the verb cwrh~sai is often taken passively by the Greeks, no less suitable to this passage is the verb which I have put in the margin, that God would have all, who had been before wandering and scattered, to be gathered or come together to repentance.
John Calvin (A.D. 1509-1564)
May 19, 2007 § Leave a comment
“Let us therefore bow before the majesty of our good God,
Recognizing the great number of faults and offenses
With which we have provoked His wrath against us.
Let us pray to Him that He may etch the fear of His majesty
Upon our minds and make us sharers in those things
That we have learned in [the] Scripture,
That by His strength He may support our weakness and infirmity,
And make us victors by the power of His Spirit,
And provide sufficient strength for us to withstand any temptations
To which we would otherwise be unequal,
And run the whole course of our lives in obedience to Him,
Giving eternal thanks to Him for His many and great benefits to us;
Finally, that all our senses may be lifted up in worshiping Him
To His everlasting praise and glory,
And we may be led in the pathway of salvation,
Not for our own private advantage
But for the upbuilding of our neighbors. Amen.”
John Calvin (A.D. 1509-1564) -Prayer following his sermon on 1 Samuel 2
May 17, 2007 § Leave a comment
By Clifford E. Sutton
May 16, 2007 § Leave a comment
“For faith includes not merely the knowledge that God is, but also, nay chiefly, perception of his will toward us. It concerns us to know not only what he is in himself, but also in what character he is pleased to manifest himself to us. We now see, therefore, that faith is the knowledge of the divine will in regard to us, as ascertained from his word. And the foundation of it is a previous persuasion of the truth of God. So long as your mind entertains any misgiving as to the certainty of the word, its authority will be weak and dubious, or rather it will have no authority at all. Nor is it sufficient to believe that God is true, and cannot lie or deceive, unless you feel firmly persuaded that every word which him is sacred, inviolable truth.”
John Calvin ( A.D. 1509-1564) – From INSTITUTES OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION, Book 3, Chapter 2, Section6