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    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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DEATH REIGNED

Charles HodgeCharles Hodge:

“If the race fell in Adam, much more shall it be restored in Christ. If death reigned by one, much more shall grace reign by one.”

Bow Before the Truth

The Bible bears witness to the fact that the natural man is spiritually dead. He walks in the way of worldliness and has no real love for God or the things of God. He has no fear of God. Self is the center of his life. He is alive to the things of the world, but he is dead to heavenly things. A.W. Pink writes:

“I am the way.” Christ spans the distance between God and the sinner. Man would fain manufacture a ladder of his own, and . . . climb up to God. But that is impossible. That is the way which seems right unto man, but the end thereof are the ways of death (Prov. 14:12). It is Satan who would keep the exercised sinner on his self-imposed journey to God. What faith needs to lay hold of is the glorious truth that Christ has come all the way down to sinners. The sinner could not come to God, but God in the person of His Son has come out to sinners. He is the Way, the Way to Heaven, the Way to eternal blessedness.

“I am the truth.” Christ is the full and final revelation of God. Adam believed the Devil’s lie, and ever since then man has been groping amid ignorance and error. “The way of the wicked is as darkness; they know not at what they stumble” (Prov. 4:19). “Having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Eph. 4:18). A thousand systems has the mind devised. . . “There is none that understandeth” (Rom. 3:11). . . Truth is not to be found in a system of philosophy, but in a Person–Christ is “the truth;” He reveals God and exposes man. In Him are hid “All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). What tremendous folly to ignore Him! . . . . with all your learning have you bowed before Him who is the Truth?” (“I am the Way, Truth, Life”)

The Spirit of Truth and the Foolishness of Man

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. (John 16:12-13 ESV)

Let us note here that all truth is from above. In other words, the truth comes down to us. It is not of our own making because God is Truth and He proclaims this truth to man. Jesus declares that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth.

God, by His own counsel, has declared what is true. What He has spoken is flawlessly consistent with His unchangeable Holiness. Should we not desire to know Him and His Word ever more deeply? The vanity of man, however, has covered his mind with darkness. He refuses to acknowledge God as God or God’s Truth as true and therefore, brings the wrath of God down upon his thinking. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” (Romans 1:18 ESV)

The feeble attempts of Darwinian anti-science to prove a chain of development from the lowest forms of life to the highest is seriously flawed by its materialist cult-like philosophy. The progress they seek from the lowest animated matter to the highest form of life is full of gaps and gaffs. Missing links are hailed for their discovery and quietly forgotten when proved false. Darwinian pseudo-science continues in its duplicity, however, despite the facts and its critics. It is a futile attempt to portray man as ascending by his own nature to the throne of God. “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:21 ESV)

The modern church seeks to emphasize a man-centered religion through distorting the Bible as a self-help resource. Indeed, when I first became a Christian, the Bible was often presented to me in this way. I must admit that it was very appealing to my human nature. Who doesn’t want to believe the words of W. E. Henley, “I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul”? Yet, the Bible is not about self-help – it is all about grace, mercy, and love.

Man cannot elevate himself to the throne of God by his own works nor manipulate God through misused Biblical promises. Such ideas are cast down by God’s glory in sending a second Adam (Jesus Christ) to answer for the first Adam’s guilt upon the cross. Therefore, the cross sweeps aside the foolishness of those who claim to be wise and exchange “the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man. . . .” (Romans 1:23 ESV)

Following Christ

George Whitefield enjoyed his greatest triumph during his month-long tour through New England (1739). Welcomed by ministers and officials of colonies and towns, he found shops closed and business suspended during his stays, thousands of people at his heels, and many following him to the next town. Whitefield’s Boston visit lasted 10 days. Met on the road by a committee of ministers and conducted into the town, he found all meetinghouses except King’s Chapel open to him. He preached in all of them and also on the Common, where thousands could assemble. The contemporary record was set down in superlatives. Benjamin Colman’s words are typical: “admired and followed beyond any man that ever was in America.” The following is an excerpt from a sermon by Whitefield:

[T]hat I may know him and the power of his resurrection. . . . (Philippians 3:10 ESV)

The devils themselves cannot but believe the doctrine of the resurrection, and tremble; but yet they continue devils, because the benefits of this resurrection have not been applied to them, nor have they received a renovating power from it, to change and put off their diabolical nature. And so, unless we not only profess to know, but also feel that Christ is risen indeed, by being born again from above, we shall be as far from the kingdom of God as they: our faith will be as ineffectual as the faith of devils.

Nothing has done more harm to the Christian world, nothing has rendered the cross of Christ of less effect, than a vain supposition, that religion is something without us. Whereas we should consider, that every thing that Christ did outwardly, must be done over again in our souls; or otherwise, the believing there was such a divine person once on earth, who triumphed over hell and the grave, will profit us no more, than believing there was once such a person as Alexander, who conquered the world.

As Christ was born of the Virgin’s womb, so must he be spiritually formed in our hearts. As he died for sin, so must we die to sin. And as he rose again from the dead, so must we also rise to a divine life.

None but those who have followed him in this regeneration, or new-birth, shall sit on thrones as approvers of his sentence, when he shall come in terrible majesty to judge the twelve tribes of Israel.

It is true, as for the outward work of our redemption, it was a transient act, and was certainly finished on the cross, but the application of that redemption to our hearts, is a work that will continue always, even unto the end of the world.

So long as there is an elect man breathing on the earth, who is naturally engendered of the offspring of the first Adam, so long must the quickening spirit, which was purchased by the resurrection of the second Adam, that Lord from heaven, be breathing upon his soul.

For though we may exist by Christ, yet we cannot be said to exist in him, till we are united to him by one spirit, and enter into a new state of things, as certainly as he entered into a new state of things, after that he rose from the dead.

We may throng and crowd about Christ, and call him “Lord, Lord,” when we come to worship before his footstool; but we have not effectually touched him, till by a lively faith in his resurrection, we perceive a divine virtue coming out of him, to renew and purify our souls. (“The Power of Christ’s Resurrection”)

Arthur W. Pink On Personal Holiness

Arthur W. Pink

There are many people who delude themselves into thinking that they are drawing nearer to heaven while they are really following the common path to hell. Who, among us, is able to enjoy the presence of God without being personally holy? Saving faith is proved by the fruit of godliness and true piety. Arthur W. Pink explains:

By our fall in Adam we not only lost the favor of God but also the purity of our nature, and therefore we need to be both reconciled to God and renewed in our inner man, for without personal holiness ‘no man shall see the Lord’ (Heb. 12:14). As He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (behavior); because it is written, Be ye holy for I am holy (1 Pet. 1:15, 16). God’s nature is such that unless we are sanctified, there can be no communion between Him and us.

But can persons be sinful and holy at one and the same time? Genuine Christians discover so much carnality, filth, and vileness in themselves that they find it almost impossible to be assured they are holy. Nor is this difficulty solved, as in justification, by recognizing that though completely unholy in ourselves we are holy in Christ, for Scripture teaches that those who are sanctified by God are holy in themselves, though the evil nature has not been removed from them.

None but ‘the pure in heart’ will ever ‘see God’ (Matt. 5:8). There must be that renovation of soul whereby our minds, affections and wills are brought into harmony with God. There must be that impartial compliance with the revealed will of God and abstinence from evil which issues from faith and love. There must be that directing of all our actions to the glory of God, by Jesus Christ, according to the Gospel. There must be a spirit of holiness working within the believer’s heart so as to sanctify his outward actions if they are to be acceptable unto Him in whom ‘there is no darkness’. True, there is perfect holiness in Christ for the believer, but there must also be a holy nature received from Him. There are some who appear to delight in the imputed obedience of Christ who make little or no concern about personal holiness. They have much to say about being arrayed in ‘the garments of salvation and covered with the robe of righteousness’ (Isa. 61:10), who give no evidence that they are ‘clothed with humility’ (1 Pet. 5:5) or that they have ‘put on . . . bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another and forgiving one another’ (Col. 3:12 & 13).

How many there are today who suppose that if they have trusted in Christ, all is sure to be well with them at the last even though they are not personally holy. Under the pretense of honoring faith, Satan as an angel of light, has deceived and is now deceiving multitudes of souls. When their ‘faith’ is examined and tested, what is it worth? Nothing at all so far as insuring an entrance into heaven is concerned: it is a powerless, lifeless, fruitless thing. The faith of God’s elect is unto ‘the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness’ (Titus 1:1). It is a faith which purifies the heart (Acts 15:9), and it grieves over all impurity. It is a faith which produces an unquestioning obedience (Heb. 11:8). (“Personal Holiness”)

The Freedom To Choose

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30 ESV)

If you have ever heard a conversation on free will, what did you think about it? Do you think human beings have free will? If you were asked to define “free will”, what would you say? The question of free will is very important when you try to understand salvation.

Martin Luther wrote that; “If anyone ascribes salvation to the will, even in the least, he knows nothing of grace and has not understood Jesus Christ aright.”

Man is born with a self-centered heart. We want to do things our way. We wish to be “the masters of our fate’ and “the captains of our soul”. (William E. Henley)

So, if man has free will and God has free will, what does it matter anyway? Because a man has free will, can he do anything he chooses? Suppose a man chooses not to drink water or any form of liquid. What will be the result? He will die. A man may choose to drink water or not, but if he chooses “not” – he will die. A man’s choices are limited by his nature. Therefore, his free will is limited by the nature of who or what he is. Adam was the federal head and perfect moral representative of the human race. When Adam sinned, we all sinned. All die in him (First Adam), but those who belong to Christ (Second Adam) are made alive in Him.

Now please read this closely: God has free will, but even His will is limited by His nature. God is pure, holy, and cannot sin. This is what makes God –God – along with omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence and so forth. God makes choices according to His holy nature. Man makes choices based on his sin nature inherited from the fall.

This is the problem with saying, “By my free will, I have decided for Christ.” Man’s will is spiritually dead according to its nature and so the inclination of his heart is to choose to go on sinning. Man is free to choose, but he is not free to choose not to sin.  Here we need the power of rebirth through the Holy Spirit. Then we have the ability to choose Christ. Jesus says in John 6:44, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” No man is able to come to Christ without His Divine intervention. It is the works of the Holy Spirit to change the inclination of men’s hearts and make God’s elect willing to come.

We are “free” to do what we want to do, but we are bound in what we want by our evil nature and desires. We cannot use our will to shape our natures, but rather, our natures determine how we will use our wills. We are only free when the Son sets us free. (John 8:36)

Charles H. Spurgeon On The Atonement

Charles H. Spurgeon

From the writings of Charles H. Spurgeon:

And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness. . . . (Romans 4:5)

He can even at this hour pronounce the sentence, “Thy sins be forgiven thee; go in peace;” and if He do this, no power in Heaven, or earth, or under the earth, can put you under suspicion, much less under wrath. Do not doubt the power of Almighty love. You could not forgive your fellow man had he offended you as you have offended God; but you must not measure God’s corn with your bushel; His thoughts and ways are as much above yours as the heavens are high above the earth.

“Well,” say you, “it would be a great miracle if the Lord were to pardon me.” Just so. It would be a supreme miracle, and therefore He is likely to do it; for He does “great things and unsearchable” which we looked not for.

I was myself stricken down with a horrible sense of guilt, which made my life a misery to me; but when I heard the command, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God and there is none else”—I looked, and in a moment the Lord justified me. Jesus Christ, made sin for me, was what I saw, and that sight gave me rest. When those who were bitten by the fiery serpents in the wilderness looked to the serpent of brass they were healed at once; and so was I when I looked to the crucified Saviour. The Holy Spirit, who enabled me to believe, gave me peace through believing. I felt as sure that I was forgiven, as before I felt sure of condemnation. I had been certain of my condemnation because the Word of God declared it, and my conscience bore witness to it; but when the Lord justified me I was made equally certain by the same witnesses. The Word of the Lord in the Scripture saith, “He that believeth on him is not condemned,” and my conscience bears witness that I believed, and that God in pardoning me is just. Thus I have the witness of the Holy Spirit and my own conscience, and these two agree in one. Oh, how I wish that my reader would receive the testimony of God upon this matter, and then full soon he would also have the witness in himself!

I venture to say that a sinner justified by God stands on even a surer footing than a righteous man justified by his works, if such there be. We could never be surer that we had done enough works; conscience would always be uneasy lest, after all, we should come short, and we could only have the trembling verdict of a fallible judgement to rely upon; but when God himself justifies, and the Holy Spirit bears witness thereto by giving us peace with God, why then we feel that the matter is sure and settled, and we enter into rest. No tongue can tell the depth of that calm which comes over the soul which has received the peace of God which passeth all understanding.

We have seen the ungodly justified, and have considered the great truth, that only God can justify any man; we now come a step further and make the inquiry—How can a just God justify guilty men? . . .

The doctrine of the atonement is to my mind one of the surest proofs of the divine inspiration of Holy Scripture. Who would or could have thought of the just Ruler dying for the unjust rebel? This is no teaching of human mythology, or dream of poetical imagination. This method of expiation is only known among men because it is a fact; fiction could not have devised it. God Himself ordained it; it is not a matter which could have been imagined.

I had heard the plan of salvation by the sacrifice of Jesus from my youth up; but I did not know any more about it in my innermost soul than if I had been born and bred a Hottentot. The light was there, but I was blind; it was of necessity that the Lord himself should make the matter plain to me. It came to me as a new revelation, as fresh as if I had never read in Scripture that Jesus was declared to be the propitiation for sins that God might be just. I believe it will have to come as a revelation to every newborn child of God whenever he sees it; I mean that glorious doctrine of the substitution of the Lord Jesus. I came to understand that salvation was possible through vicarious sacrifice; and that provision had been made in the first constitution and arrangement of things for such a substitution. I was made to see that He who is the Son of God, co-equal, and co-eternal with the Father, had of old been made the covenant Head of a chosen people that He might in that capacity suffer for them and save them. Inasmuch as our fall was not at the first a personal one, for we fell in our federal representative, the first Adam, it became possible for us to be recovered by a second representative, even by Him who has undertaken to be the covenant head of His people, so as to be their second Adam. I saw that ere I actually sinned I had fallen by my first father’s sin; and I rejoiced that therefore it became possible in point of law for me to rise by a second head and representative. The fall by Adam left a loophole of escape; another Adam can undo the ruin made by the first. When I was anxious about the possibility of a just God pardoning me, I understood and saw by faith that He who is the Son of God became man, and in His own blessed person bore my sin in His own body on the tree. I saw the chastisement of my peace was laid on Him, and that with His stripes I was healed. Dear friend, have you ever seen that? Have you ever understood how God can be just to the full, not remitting penalty nor blunting the edge of the sword, and yet can be infinitely merciful, and can justify the ungodly who turn to Him? It was because the Son of God, supremely glorious in His matchless person, undertook to vindicate the law by bearing the sentence due to me, that therefore God is able to pass by my sin. The law of God was more vindicated by the death of Christ than it would have been had all transgressors been sent to Hell. For the Son of God to suffer for sin was a more glorious establishment of the government of God, than for the whole race to suffer. (All of Grace)

A Marred Piece Of Clay

George Whitefield Preaching

If you have never read any of the biographies of George Whitefield, you should make it a priority on your reading list. I highly recommend the biographies shown in the lower right column of this site by Dallimore. Many men have such a high opinion of themselves that they believe that if there were a God – they certainly would not need Him. When George Whitefield preached salvation through Jesus Christ, he understood that it was important to tell the “bad news” as well as the “good news”. The following illustrates his method:

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done?” declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. (Jeremiah 18:1-6)

Being made in the very image of God; undoubtedly before the fall, man had no other will but his Maker’s. God’s will, and Adam’s, were then like unisons in music. There was not the least disunion, or discord between them. But now he hath a will, as directly contrary to the will of God, as light is contrary to darkness, or heaven to hell. We all bring into the world with us a carnal mind, which is not only an enemy to God, but “enmity itself, and which is therefore not subject unto the law of God, neither indeed can it be.” . . . O man, whoever thou art, an infinitely more dangerous antichrist, because less discerned, even self-will, fits daily in the temple of thy heart, exalting itself, above all that is called God, and obliging all its votaries to say of Christ himself, that Prince of peace, “we will not have this man to reign over us.” God’s people, whose spiritual senses, are exercised about spiritual things, and whose eyes are opened to see the abominations that are in their hearts, frequently feel this to their sorrow. Whether they will or not, this enmity from time to time bubbles up, and in spite of all their watchfulness and care, when they are under the pressure of some sharp affliction, a long desertion, or tedious night of temptation, they often find something within rising in rebellion against the all-wise disposals of divine Providence, and saying unto God their heavenly Father, “what dost thou?” This makes them to cry (and no wonder, since it constrained one of the greatest saints and apostles first to introduce the expression) “O wretched man that I am who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” The spiritual and renewed soul groans thus, being burdened; but as for the natural and unawakened man, it is not so with him; self-will, as well as every other evil, either in a more latent or discernible manner, reigns in his unrenewed soul, and proves him, even to a demonstration to others, whether he knows, or will confess it himself or not, that in respect to the disorders of his will, as well as his understanding, man is only a piece of marred clay.

His Love Brings Peace

Robert Murray McCheyne

God has invented a way of drawing us to holiness. When he shows forth the love of his Son, God calls forth our love. Robert Murray M’Cheyne touches on this idea in the excerpt below:

“For the love of Christ constrains us.” (II Cor. 5:14)

The love of Christ to man constrains the believer to live a holy life; because that truth not only takes away our fear and hatred, but stirs up our love.

When we are brought to see the reconciled face of God in peace, that is a great privilege. But how can we look upon that face, reconciling and reconciled, and not love him who has so loved us? Love begets love. We can hardly keep from esteeming those on earth who really love us, how worthless they may be. But when we are convinced that God loves us, and convinced in such a way as by the giving up of His Son for us all, how shall we but love Him, in whom are all excellences – everything to call forth love?

I have already shown you that the gospel is a restorative scheme; it brings us back to the same state of friendship with God which Adam enjoyed, and thus takes away the desire of sin. But now I wish to show you, that the gospel does far more than restore us to the state from which we fell. If rightly and consistently embraced by us, it brings us into a state far better than Adam’s. It constrains us by a more powerful motive. Adam had not this strong love of God to man shed abroad in his heart; and, therefore, he had not this constraining power to make him live to God. But our eyes have seen this great sight. Before us Christ has been evidently set forth crucified. If we really believe, His love has brought us into peace, through pardon; and because we are pardoned and at peace with God, the Holy Spirit is given us. What to do? Why, just to shed abroad this truth over our hearts, to show us more and more of this love of God to us, that we may be drawn to love Him who has so loved us, to live to Him who has so loved us, to live to Him who died for us and rose again. (“The Love of Christ”)

God’s Love Lost?

Robert Murray McCheyne

It is God who tells us that our hearts are “desperately wicked. I’m sure that many of you hear this charge with indignation and say it cannot be true. Yet, God claims for Himself the privilege of knowing and trying the heart. God says that “the carnal mind is enmity against God”. The inclination of the unconverted mind is hatred against god. We may not be conscious of this hatred within us, but that is because we have made our true self-consciousness into a maze of self-deception. The dread and hatred of God, is an impelling force which blinds us to our true state of being. Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-1843) explains mans dilemma:

“For the love of Christ constrains us.” (II Cor. 5:14)

When Adam was unfallen, God was everything to his soul; and everything was good and desirable to him, only in so far as it had to do with God. Every vein of his body, so fearfully and wonderfully made, every leaf that rustled in the bowers of Paradise, every new sun that rose, rejoicing like a strong man to run his race, brought him in every day new subjects of godly thought and of admiring praise; and it was only for that reason that he could delight to look on them. The flowers that appeared on the earth, the singing of birds, and the voice of the turtle heard throughout the happy land, the fig tree putting forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grapes giving a good smell, all these combined to bring in to him at every pore a rich and varied tribute of pleasantness. And why? Just because they brought into the soul rich and varied communications of the manifold grace of Jehovah. For, just as you may have seen a child on earth devoted to its earthly parent, pleased with everything when he is present, and valuing every gift just as it shows more of the tenderness of that parent’s heart, so was it with that genuine child of God. In God he lived, and moved, and had his being; and not more surely would the blotting out of the sun in the heavens have taken away that light which is so pleasant to the eyes, than would the hiding of the face of God from him have taken away the light of his soul, and left nature a dark and desolate witness. But when Adam fell, the fine gold became dim; the system of his thoughts and likings was just reversed. Instead of enjoying God in everything, and everything in God, everything now seemed hateful and disagreeable to him, just in as far as it had to do with God.

When man sinned, then he feared, and hated Him whom he feared; and fled to all sin just to flee from Him whom he hated. So that, just as you may have seen a child who has grievously transgressed against a loving parent doing all it can to hide that parent from its view, hurrying from his presence and plunging into other thoughts and occupations, just to rid itself of the thought of its justly offended father; in the very same way when fallen Adam heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, that voice which before he sinned was heavenly music in his ears – then “Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden”. And in the same way does every natural man run from the voice and presence of the Lord, not to hide under the thick embowering leaves of Paradise, but to bury himself in cares and business and pleasures and reveling. Any retreat is agreeable, where God is not; any occupation is tolerable, if God be not in the thoughts.

Now I am quite sure that many of you may hear this charge against the natural man with incredulous indifference, if not with indignation. You do not feel that you hate God, or dread his presence; and therefore you say it cannot be true. But when God says of your heart that it is “desperately wicked”; when god claims for Himself the privilege of knowing and trying the heart, is it not presumptuous in such ignorant beings as we are to say that that is not true with respect to our hearts, which God affirms to be true, merely because we are not conscious of it? God says that “the carnal mind is enmity against God”, that the very grain and substance of an unconverted mind is hatred against god, absolute, implacable hatred against Him in whom we live, and move, and have our being. It is quite true that we do not feel this hatred within us; but that is only an aggravation of our sin and of our danger. We have so choked up the avenues of self-examination, there are so many turnings and windings before we can arrive at the true motives of our actions, that our dread and hatred of God, which first moved man to sin, and which are still the grand impelling forces whereby Satan goads on the children of disobedience; these are wholly concealed from our vies, and you cannot persuade a natural man that they are really there. But the Bible testifies that out of these two deadly roots – dread of God- – and hatred of God grows up the thick forest of sins with which the earth is blackened and overspread. And if there be one among you, who has been awakened by God to know what is in his heart, I take that men this day to witness that his bitter cry, in view of all his sins, has ever been: “Against thee, thee only have I sinned.”

If, then, dread of God, and hatred of God, be the cause of all our sins, how shall we be cured of the love of sin, but by taking away the cause? How do you most effectually kill the noxious weed? Is it not by striking at the root? In the love of Christ to man then – in that strange, unspeakable gift of God, when He laid down His life for His enemies, when He died the just for the unjust that he might bring us to God – do you not see an object which, if really believed by the sinner, takes away all his dread and all his hatred of God? The root of sin is severed from the stock. In His bearing double for all our sins, we see the curse carried away, we see God reconciled. Why should we fear any more? Not fearing, why should we hate God any more? Not hating God, what desirableness can we see in sin any more? Putting on the righteousness of Christ, we are again placed as Adam was, with God as our friend. We have no object in sinning; and, therefore, we do not care to sin.

In the sixth chapter of Romans Paul seems to speak of the believer sinning, as if the very proposition were absurd. “How shall we, that are dead to sin,” that is, who in Christ have already borne the penalty – “how shall we live any longer therein?” And again he says very boldly: “Sin shall not have dominion over you” – it is impossible in the nature of things – “for you are not under the law, but under grace”; you are no longer under the curse of a broken law, dreading and hating God; you are under grace; under a system of piece and friendship with God.

But is there anyone ready to object to me that if these things be so, if nothing more than that a man may be brought into peace with god is needful to a holy life and conversation, how comes it that believers do still sin? I answer, it is indeed too true that believers do sin; but it is just as true that unbelief is the cause of their sinning. If you and I were to live with our eye so closely on Christ bearing double for all our sins, freely offering to all a double righteousness for all our sins; and if this constant view of the love of Christ maintained within us, as assuredly it would if we looked with a straightforward eye, the peace of God which passes all understanding – the peace that rests on nothing in us, but upon the completeness that is in Christ – then I do say that, frail and helpless as we are, we should never sin; we should not have the slightest object in sinning. But this is not the way with us. How often in the day is the love of Christ quite out of view! How often is it obscured to us! Sometimes hid from us by God Himself, to teach us what we are. How often are we left without the realizing sense of the completeness of His offering, the perfectness of His righteousness, and without the will or confidence to claim an interest in Him! Who can wonder then that, where there is so much unbelief, dread and hatred of God should again creep in, and sin should often display its poisonous head.

The matter is very plain, if only we had spiritual eyes to see it. If we live a life of faith on the Son of God, then we shall assuredly live a life of holiness. I do not say we ought to do so; but I say, we shall, as a matter of necessary consequence. But in as far as we do not live a life of faith, in so far we shall live a life of unholiness. It is through faith that God purifies the heart; and there is no other way.

Is there one of you, then, desirous of being made new, of being delivered from the slavery of sinful habits and affections. We can point you to no other remedy but the love of Christ. Behold how He loves you! See what He bore for you; put your finger, as it were, into the prints of the nails, and thrust your hand into His side; and be no more faithless, but believing. Under a sense of your sin, flee to the Savior of sinners. As the timorous dove flies to hide itself in the crevices of the rock, so do you flee to hide yourself in the wounds of your Savior; and when you have found Him, like the shadow of a great rock in a weary land; when you sit under His shadow, with great delight; you will find that He has slain all the enmity, that He has accomplished all your warfare. God is now for you. Planted together with Christ in the likeness of His death, you shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection. Dead unto sin, you shall be alive unto God.

Do You Understand The Doctrine Of Original Sin?

Theologian Charles Hodge, a critic of Darwin's...

Charles Hodge

Charles Hodge, D.D. was the principal of Princeton Theological Seminary between 1851 and 1878. A Presbyterian theologian, he was a leading exponent of historical Calvinism in America during the 19th century. In the excerpt below, Hodge helps us to understand original sin:

[O]ur Confession [Westminster Confession of Faith] teaches the doctrine of original sin. That doctrine is essential to the Reformed or Calvinistic system. Any man who denies that doctrine thereby rejects the system taught in our Confession, and cannot with a good conscience say that he adopts it. Original sin, however, is one thing; the way in which it is accounted for, is another. The doctrine is that such is the relation between Adam and his posterity that all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, are born in a state of sin and condemnation. Any man, who admits this, holds the doctrine. But there are at least three ways of accounting for this fact. The scriptural explanation as given in our Standards is, that “the covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity, all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression.” The fact that mankind fell into that estate of sin and misery in which they are born, is accounted for on the principle of representation. Adam was constituted our head and representative, so that his sin is the judicial ground of our condemnation and of the consequent loss of the divine image, and of the state of spiritual death in which all men come into the world. This, as it is the scriptural, so it is the Church view of the subject. It is the view held in the Latin and the Lutheran, as well as in the Reformed Church, and therefore belongs to the Church catholic. Still it is not essential to the doctrine. Realists admit the doctrine, but, unsatisfied with the principle of representative responsibility, assume that humanity as a generic life acted and sinned in Adam; and, therefore, that his sin is the act, with its demerit and consequences, of every man in whom that generic life is individualized. Others, accepting neither of these solutions, assert that the fact of original sin (i.e., the sinfulness and condemnation of man at birth) is to be accounted for in the general law of propagation. Like begets like. Adam became sinful, and hence all his posterity are born in the state of sin, or with a sinful nature. Although these views are not equally scriptural, or equally in harmony with our Confession, nevertheless they leave the doctrine intact, and do not work a rejection of the system of which it is an essential part. (From: “What is Meant by Adopting the Westminster Confession?”)

The Voice Of The Shepherd

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give eternal life to them. They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” (John 10:27-29)

From the writings of J. C. Ryle:

Are you indeed Christ’s sheep? Then beware of ever trusting to yourselves; nothing offends the Good Shepherd more than to see the members of His flock, forgetting that in Him alone is all their safety, and glorying in their own attainments and performances. Think not of your weak endeavors; think not to say, “I do very little, and therefore have very little hope—by-and-by I trust I shall do much, and then I shall have much hope”; your best performances and attempts towards heaven are in themselves but broken reeds, and can bear no weight; they are precious as evidences of spiritual life—but they cannot justify. Think only of your Savior Jesus Christ, trust Him entirely, love Him affectionately, look to Him continually. As long as you lean on Him you are strong and none can touch you. Without Him and in your own might, you are weak and unstable as water.

Are you indeed Christ’s sheep? Then beware of wandering from the pasture He has provided. The devil and the old Adam would often persuade you there is no need for this diligence in using means of grace: “Surely,” they will say, “you are not such a babe but you can leave these fields for a short season; surely you need not keep so closely in your Shepherd’s sight.” Christian, take heed and beware of the charmer, charm he ever so wisely. Diligent private prayer, diligent Scripture searching, diligent gospel hearing—these are the pastures in which Jesus feeds His flock, and if you turn aside, if you become slack in using them, be sure your soul will soon starve for lack of its accustomed nourishment, and you will return to the fold weak and lame and lean and diseased.

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