Good Deeds Must be Performed in Faith

John GillJohn Gill:

Adam had a power to do every good work the law required; which men, since the fall, have not. Men indeed, in an unregenerate state, might do many things which they do not; such as reading the Scriptures, attending on public worship, etc.

No doubt but the persons in the parable, who were invited to the dinner, could have gone to it, had they had a will, as well as the one did to his farm, and the other to his merchandise. Men have an equal power, had they an heart, a will, an inclination, to go to a place of divine worship, as to a tavern, or alehouse; but it is easy to observe, that persons oftentimes have it in the power of their hands, when they have it not in the power of their hearts, to do a good work; as a rich man to give alms to the poor. Continue reading

The Love and Justice of God

systematic theologyWayne Grudem:

What was the ultimate cause that led to Christ’s coming to earth and dying for our sins? To find this we must trace the question back to something in the character of God himself. And here Scripture points to two things: the love and justice of God.

The love of God as a cause of the atonement is seen in the most familiar passage in the Bible: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). But the justice of God also required that God find a way that the penalty due to us for our sins would be paid (for he could not accept us into fellowship with himself unless the penalty was paid).

Paul explains that this was why God sent Christ to be a “propitiation” (Rom. 3:25 NASB) (that is, a sacrifice that bears God’s wrath so that God becomes “propitious” or favorably disposed toward us): it was “to show God’s righteousness, Continue reading

The Torments of Hell

Thomas WatsonThomas Watson:

The torments of hell abide for ever…. If all the earth and sea were sand, and every thousandth year a bird should come, and take away one grain of this sand, it would be a long time ere that vast heap of sand were emptied; yet, if after all that time the damned may come out of hell, there were some hope; but this word EVER breaks the heart.

“Do not be Anxious about Anything”

anxiety[D]o not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)

“Worry is a cycle of inefficient thoughts whirling around a center of fear.” (Corrie Ten Boom) In Philippians, the Apostle Paul tells us to “not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (4:6) Are you facing fear today? Many are afraid of losing their jobs; some fear they will lose their health and life to some major disease; and others fear what the future may bring. At times all of us experience fear. But don’t allow your fear to destroy your trust in God. He has kept you thus far; trust Him for the rest of the way. Fear creates a divided heart. It changes our focus of trust and faith in God to a focus on ourselves and our earthly troubles.

“For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you.’” (Isaiah 41:13 ESV) “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13 ESV) When we begin to worry unreasonably, there is obviously a gap between our knowing how to live and our actually living by faith. Continue reading

Answering the Call to Holiness

John CalvinJohn Calvin:

When we were scattered abroad like lost sheep, wandering through the labyrinth of this world, he brought us back again to his own fold. When mention is made of our union with God, let us remember that holiness must be the bond; not that by the merit of holiness we come into communion with him, (we ought rather first to cleave to him, in order that, pervaded with his holiness, we may follow whither he calls,) but because it greatly concerns his glory not to have any fellowship with wickedness and impurity. Wherefore he tells us that this is the end of our calling, the end to which we ought ever to have respect, if we would answer the call of God. For to what end were we rescued from the iniquity and pollution of the world into which we were plunged, if we allow ourselves, during our whole lives, to wallow in them? Besides, we are at the same time admonished, that if we would be regarded as the Lord’s people, we must inhabit the holy city Jerusalem, (Isaiah rev. 8, et alibi;) which, as he hath consecrated it to himself, it were impious for its inhabitants to profane by impurity. Hence the expressions, “Who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness,” (Ps. xv. 1, 2; xxiv. 3, 4) for the sanctuary in which he dwells certainly ought not to be like an unclean stall.

The Power of God

Is Anything Too Hard for the LordJesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27 ESV)

Do you give the impression to others that with God all things are possible? By your own actions, do you limit God in the eyes of others?

If you read a biography of one of the old saints of God, you will be astounded by what God can accomplish through just one life committed to His service! The Bible very clearly portrays the power of God working through the men and women who love and fear Him. We should be exhorting one another to live the life that grace has made possible to us.

Is God real to you? Continue reading

God’s First Promise to Fallen Man

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)

This is the first promise to fallen man. It contains the whole gospel, and the essence of the covenant of grace. It has been in great measure fulfilled. The seed of the woman, even our Lord Jesus, was bruised in His heel, and a terrible bruising it was. How terrible will be the final bruising of the serpent’s head! This was virtually done when Jesus took away sin, vanquished death, and broke the power of Satan; but it awaits a still fuller accomplishment at our Lord’s Second Advent, and in the day of Judgment.

To us the promise stands as a prophecy that we shall be afflicted by the powers of evil in our lower nature, and thus bruised in our heel: but we shall triumph in Christ, who sets His foot on the old serpent’s head. Throughout this year we may have to learn the first part of this promise by experience, through the temptations of the devil, and the unkindness of the ungodly who are his seed. They may so bruise us that we may limp with our sore heel; but let us grasp the second part of the text, and we shall not be dismayed. By faith let us rejoice that we shall still reign in Christ Jesus, the woman’s seed. (Faith’s Checkbook)

Temptation

Thomas WatsonThomas Watson:

Satan’s time of tempting is usually after an ordinance; and the reason is, because then he thinks he shall find us most secure. When we have been at solemn duties, we are apt to think all is done, and we grow remiss, and leave off that zeal and strictness as before; just as a soldier, who after a battle leaves off his armor, not once dreaming, of an enemy. Satan watches his time, and when we least suspect, then he throws in a temptation.

Temptation

John OwenJohn Owen:

Our great Pattern hath showed us what our deportment ought to be in all suggestions and temptations. When the devil showed Him “all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them,” to tempt Him withal, He did not stand and look upon them, viewing their glory, and pondering their empire…. but instantly, without stay, He cries, “Get thee hence, Satan.” Meet thy temptation in its entrance with thoughts of faith concerning Christ on the cross; this will make it sink before thee. Entertain no parley, no dispute with it, if thou wouldst not enter into it.

How do You Know You have Believed?

PP wicket gatePaul Washer:

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matthew 7:13-14 ESV)

The great majority of people not only outside of the Church, but inside of the Church say, “Yes, I have passed through that small gate. Yes, I have believed in Jesus Christ.” But when you look at their life they live just like the world. They have the same desires of the world. The only thing they do is they are religious and go to Church on Sunday. But when you look at their life Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday there is no Christ and when you look about their conversation and their desires and their dreams and their passion there is no Christ. It is all about I already don’t worry about me, preacher. I already got that done. I repented a long time ago. I believed. I am saved. I prayed that prayer. And that is what their religion is. And when asked about the confidence of their salvation they say, “I prayed that prayer.” They are trusting in a prayer. I made my decision. They are trusting in a decision. I believed in that moment. They are trusting in the sincerity of their decision instead of doing as our forefathers did. How do you know you are saved? I am looking unto Jesus Christ and have great assurance because I can see the changes he has wrought in my life and the way he disciplines me zealously and guards my life. . . . Continue reading

We Know!

Thomas WatsonThomas Watson:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 ESV)

“We know,” says the apostle. Though a Christian has not a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the gospel, yet he has a certain knowledge. “We see through a glass darkly” (I Cor. xiii. 12), therefore we have not perfection of knowledge; but “we behold with open face” (2 Cor. iii. 18), therefore we have certainty.

The Spirit of God imprints heavenly truths upon the heart, as with the point of a diamond. A Christian may know infallibly that there is an evil in sin, and a beauty in holiness. He may know that he is in the state of grace. “We know that we have passed from death to life” (I John iii. 14). He may know that he Continue reading

The Call

Woman HealedNow he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. (Luke 13:10-13 ESV)

Have you ever suffered from back pain? After one operation and continuing chronic back pain over the years, I can certainly tell you a little about it, but there are many with much more severe problems than my own. Let us take, for example, the woman in the verses above.

The verses above tell us that this woman’s back had been bent over for eighteen years. Imagine the pain and suffering she endured. The verses also indicate that the source of her condition was a demon. Her body was bent double at the waist and, obviously, physicians could not help. In her own strength, she could not overcome her physical condition. Continue reading

God’s Love and Sovereignty

Arthur W. PinkAW Pink:

God is Sovereign in the exercise of His love. Ah! that is a hard saying, who then can receive it? It is written, “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from Heaven” (John 3:27). When we say that God is Sovereign in the exercise of His love, we mean that He loves whom He chooses. God does not love everybody; if He did, He would love the Devil. Why does not God love the Devil? Because there is nothing in him to love; because there is nothing in him to attract the heart of God. Nor is there anything to attract God’s love in any of the fallen sons of Adam, for all of them are, by nature, “children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3). If then there is nothing in any member of the human race to attract God’s love, and if, notwithstanding, He does love some, then it necessarily follows that the cause of His love must be found in Himself, which is only another way of saying that the exercise of God’s love towards the fallen sons of men is according to His own good pleasure. (The Sovereignty of God)

Half-Truth Christianity

Narrow Gate and WayBy Paul Washer:

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14 NIV)

One of the most dangerous things you can ever do is teach half of a truth. And it is something in evangelical Christianity in America that is too often common place. Half a truth is taught. One side of the coin is shown. And that leaves a very, very dangerous blind side to those who are not discerning.

We are taught today that there is only one small gate and that is true. We hear that in almost every denomination. … We hear that in modern day preaching. There is one small gate and his name is Jesus. But if you go through any other gate you cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. You will not be saved. There is no hope for you. There is no gate except Christ and all those who miss Christ miss forgiveness, miss right standing with God and enter in to a devil’s hell. That is true. We say that correctly and I applaud those who say this. But that is only half the truth. And because it is only half the truth this text has been used to damn many people to hell. Continue reading

The Support of Providence

Charles H. Spurgeon

Charles H. Spurgeon

Charles H. Spurgeon:

The boundless stores of Providence are engaged for the support of the believer. Christ is our Joseph, who has granaries full of wheat; but He does not treat us as Joseph did the Egyptians, for He opens the door of His storehouse and bids us call all the good therein our own. He has entailed upon His estate of Providence a perpetual charge of a daily portion for us, and He has promised that one day we shall clearly perceive that the estate itself has been well-farmed on our behalf and has always been ours. The axle of the wheels of the chariot of Providence is Infinite Love, and Gracious Wisdom is the perpetual charioteer.

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