THE IMPUTATION OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

Horatius BonarHoratius Bonar:

“This righteousness [the righteousness of Christ] is ‘reckoned’ or ‘imputed’ to all who believe; so that they are treated by God as if it were actually theirs.  They are entitled to claim all that which such a righteousness can merit from God (as the Judge of righteous claims).  It does not become ours gradually, or in fragments or drops; but is transferred to us all at once.  It is not that so much of it is reckoned to us in proportion to the strength of our faith, or the warmth of our love, or the fervor of our prayers; but the whole of it passes over to us by imputation.  In its whole quality and quantity it is transferred to us.  Its perfection represents us before God; and its preciousness, with all that that preciousness can purchase for us, henceforth belongs to us”. (The Everlasting Righteousness, 82-83)

DESIRING TRUTH

absolute-truth“The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.” (Psalm 119:160 ESV)

Postmodern culture is made up of many who believe that there is no truth to absolutely define reality. People believe that everything is relative to something else, and thus there can be no “one truth”. This leads many to think that moral absolutes do not exist and there is no real moral authority to declare what is good and bad. Their ethics become “situational”, therefore, right and wrong are relative to their circumstances. This inevitably leads to believing anything that feels good or seems right, at the time, is right in those circumstances.

Higher education has bowed its knee to the religion of personal pragmatic relativism. These institutions have encouraged our youth to adopt the attitude that, “Whatever seems to work for me is my truth.” Have they forgotten truth’s very definition: “The property of being in accord with fact or reality”? In other words, truth must correspond exactly to existence. The world has forgotten that truth does not change with the winds of public opinion. According to Winston Churchill:

“The truth is incontrovertible.  Malice may attack it.  Ignorance may deride it.  But in the end, there it is.”

Continue reading

TO HONOR GOD

Chariots of Fire“… for those who honor me I will honor …” (1 Samuel 2:30 ESV)

If you have ever watched the movie “Chariots of Fire”, you may remember the scene where Eric Liddell, a Scottish runner for Great Britain, is about to run the 400 meter race in the 1924 Olympics in Paris. Most people are doubtful of Liddell’s ability to when this race. In the film, just before the race begins, Jackson Scholz – an American runner, hands Liddell a note; “It says in the good Book, ‘He that honors me, I will honor.’ Good luck.” (Actually, the note was sent by Eric Liddell’s teammates, but this is movie history.) As real history records, Eric Liddell went on to win the race.

Let us consider what God is saying in the phrase, “for those who honor me I will honor.” God is justly jealous of His honor. He would not be God if He was to part with one molecule of His attributes. Thus, to honor God is to trust Him to be all that He says He is. We must totally trust in God’s divinity and His revealed Word. Doubt dishonors God and His Word. As Christians, we must beware of those who hold low views of biblical inspiration, as well as those who tamper with the meaning of Scripture. Christians should stand in awe of God’s divinity and bow unquestioningly to His Authority and Word as found in the Bible. As we honor God, He honors us by making His Word a light in the darkness of difficult times. (Psalm 119:105) Continue reading

JUSTIFICATION

John BunyanJohn Bunyan:

“And, indeed, this is one of the greatest mysteries in the world; namely, that a righteousness that resides in heaven should justify me, a sinner on earth!” (“Justification by an Imputed Righteousness”)

BOLDNESS IN PRAYER

Bishop J. C. RyleJ. C. Ryle:

Would you know the secret of the believer’s boldness in prayer? It is a marvel how a man that feels his sins so deeply as the believer does, can speak with the confidence the believer frequently does. How one that acknowledges he is wretched, miserable, poor, blind, naked, ruined, undone; who often does what he ought not to do, and leaves undone what he ought to do, and finds no health in him; how such a one as this can go before God with confidence, pour out his heart before Him freely, ask from Him what he requires day after day and not feel afraid,–this is wonderful indeed. What is the secret of it? It is the intercession of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, whereby the true Christian knows his prayers are made acceptable, and received in the court of heaven. What is the believer’s prayer in itself? A poor, weak thing, unfit to rise above the ground. I know nothing it is more like than a banknote without the signature in the corner. What is the value of that banknote without the signature? Nothing at all. Once get a few words, a very few letters, traced in ink upon the corner of that banknote, and that which was a piece of waste paper a few moments before becomes worth, it maybe, many hundred pounds, through the signature being attached to it. So it is with the intercession of Christ. He signs, endorses, and presents the believer’s petitions, and through His all-prevailing intercession they are heard on high, and bring down blessings upon the Christian soul. (“Able to Save”)

THE NATURAL OUTFLOW OF THE SOUL

Charles SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

“Prayer should be the natural outflow of the soul—you should pray because you must pray, not because the set time for praying has arrived— but because your heart must cry unto your Lord.” (1895, Sermon #2437)

SPIRITUAL DEPRESSION

Spiritual DepressionMartyn Lloyd-Jones:

The Scriptures do grant clearly by their teaching that it is possible for a Christian to be depressed. Not that they justify this, but they do recognize the fact. (Spiritual Depression – Its Causes and its Cures, 1965, p. 107)

EXCUSES, EXCUSES

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)

church_pew2At times, we all make excuses for not attending church. We have headaches, a runny nose, family problems, a golf tournament, the kids are playing an important soccer match, and we may go on and on. There are more excuses than I can bring to mind. Most of the time, however, it is simply laziness or failing to put our priorities in order. I know this because I do it too.

Many complain that when they do attend church, they cannot listen to a 45 minute sermon. They arrive late and if the service is one minute too long they get up and leave because they do not want to wait in line at the restaurant! Obviously, when our attitudes are like this, we have not come to worship God because our hearts and minds are not prepared to glorify God or listen to His Word. Continue reading

SCRIPTURE AND SELF-LOVE

John CalvinJohn Calvin:

For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? (1 Corinthians 4:7 ESV)

Self-denial has respect partly to men and partly (more especially) to God. For when Scripture enjoins us, in regard to our fellow men, to prefer them in honor to ourselves, and sincerely labor to promote their advantages (Rom. xii. 10; Phil.ii. 3,) he gives us commands which our mind is utterly incapable of obeying until its natural feelings are suppressed. For so blindly do we all rush in the direction of self-love, that everyone thinks he has a good reason for exalting himself and despising all others in comparison.

If God has bestowed on us something not to be repented of, trusting to it, we immediately become elated, and not only swell, but almost burst with pride. The vices with which we abound we both carefully conceal from others, and flatteringly represent to ourselves as minute and trivial, nay, sometimes hug them as virtues. When the same qualities which we admire in ourselves are seen in others, even though they should be superior, we, in order that we may not be forced to yield to them, maliciously lower and carp at them … Hence the insolence with which each, as if exempted from the common lot, seeks to exalt himself above his neighbor, confidently and proudly despising others, or at least looking down upon them as his inferiors. Continue reading

A SAFE FOUNDATION

But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. (Romans 11:6 ESV)

Law and GraceNo one may be prideful of the good works he has done – for they were accomplished through the mercy of God’s grace. No one may boast except of what God has done. Look at the Pharisees: They boasted that their superior relationship with God was based upon their obedience to God’s law. The Pharisees boasted and trusted in the strength of their own achievements in keeping the Law as the foundation of their salvation.

The Pharisees did not understand that their justification before a holy God could come only through faith. They failed to see that faith is a free gift received through God’s grace alone. This was not simply the problem of the Pharisees, it continues to be a human problem. It is our problem. Human pride causes us to believe that we can save ourselves from sin and earn our way into Heaven through good works. We have faith in ourselves and what we can accomplish. We believe in salvation by works. Yet, Paul clearly teaches:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV)

The Law is not, in and of itself, a safe foundation for our salvation. Continue reading

GOD WORKS ALL IN US AND BY US

John OwenJohn Owen:

“Though we are commanded to ‘wash ourselves’, to ‘cleanse ourselves from sins’, to ‘purge ourselves from all our iniquities’, yet to imagine that we can do these things by our own efforts is to trample on the cross and grace of Jesus Christ. Whatever God works in us by his grace, he commands us to do as our duty. God works all in us and by us.” (The Holy Spirit, 124)

THE MOST FAVORED CREATURE

A. W. TozerA.W. Tozer:

“With the goodness of God to desire our highest welfare, the wisdom of God to plan it, and the power of God to achieve it, what do we lack?  Surely we are the most favored of all creatures.” (The Knowledge of the Holy, 64)

SANCTIFICATION IS A PROGRESSIVE WORK

John OwenJohn Owen:

“The growth of trees and plants takes place so slowly that it is not easily seen. Daily we notice little change. But, in course of time, we see that a great change has taken place. So it is with grace. Sanctification is a progressive, lifelong work (Prov. 4:18). It is an amazing work of God’s grace and it is a work to be prayed for (Rom. 8:27).”(The Holy Spirit, 108-109)

SAVED BY HIS LIFE

J.C.-RyleJ. C. Ryle:

Reader, you would do well to study the words of the Apostle in the 5th chapter of Romans: “Much more then,” he says, “being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Mark the connection: “Being already justified by His death, we shall be saved,”–and saved by what? “By his life:” by His ever living to make intercession for us. Wise and beautiful is the comparison made by that master of allegory, John Bunyan, in the “Pilgrim’s Progress.” He tells us how Christian was taken into the Interpreter’s house, and how the Interpreter showed him many things wonderful and instructive. In one place he took him into a room where there was a fire burning, and showed him one ever pouring water upon that fire, and yet the water did not quench the fire. However much water he poured on, still the fire went on burning steadily. Then said the Interpreter, “Knowest thou what this means?” When Christian did not know, he took him behind the fire, and showed him one pouring on oil out of a vessel. This oil fed the fire, and made it burn more fiercely, notwithstanding all the water that was poured upon it. Then the Interpreter told him that this was a picture of Jesus Christ’s intercession. That fire was the fire of grace in the believer’s heart. He that poured on the water was the enemy of souls, the devil. But He that poured on the oil, standing behind the fire, was the Lord Jesus Christ, who by continual intercession and the supply of His Spirit, secretly and unseen by man, kept alive His own work in the believer’s heart, and did not allow Satan and all his agents to get a victory over Him. (“Able to Save”)

THE SPIRIT OF THE WORLD

Christian FictionBeloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. … They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. (1 John 4:1 & 5 ESV)

“Don’t believe everything you hear.” (Aesop) You should carefully examine what you are taught by teachers and preachers who claim you can have everything you want now. Not everyone who teaches and preaches about God comes from God.

When we test something, we are trying to decide what is true. Only very gullible people believe every claim they hear or find in books or on the internet. We should be more like the Bereans who Luke praises in Acts: “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11 ESV) The Bereans were not as lazy as are many Christians today; they actually studied the Scriptures. Continue reading

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