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One-sided Theology: Calvinism and Arminianism

We have lately received a long letter, furnishing a very striking proof of the bewildering effect of one-sided theology. Our correspondent is evidently under the influence of what is styled the high school of doctrine. Hence, he cannot see the rightness of calling upon the unconverted to "come," to "hear," to "repent," or to "believe." It seems to him like telling a crab-tree to bear some apples in order that it may become an apple-tree.

Now, we thoroughly believe that faith is the gift of God, and that it is not according to man's will or by human power. And further, we believe that not a single soul would ever come to Christ if not drawn, yea, compelled by divine grace so to do; and therefore all who are saved have to thank the free and sovereign grace of God for it; their song is, and ever shall be, "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy, and for Thy truth's sake."

And this we believe not as part of a certain system of doctrine, but as the revealed truth of God. But, on the other hand, we believe, just as fully, in the solemn truth of man's moral responsibility, inasmuch as it is plainly taught in Scripture, though we do not find it amongst what are called "the five points of the faith of God's elect." We believe these five points, so far as they go; but they are very far indeed from containing the faith of God's elect. There are wide fields of divine revelation which this stunted and one-sided system does not touch upon, or even hint at, in the most remote manner. Where do we find the heavenly calling? Where, the glorious truth of the Church as the body and bride of Christ? Where, the precious sanctifying hope of the coming of Christ to receive His people to Himself? Where have we the grand scope of prophecy opened to the vision of our souls, in that which is so pompously styled "the faith of God's elect"? We look in vain for a single trace of them in the entire system to which our friend is attached.

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Now, can we suppose for a moment that the blessed apostle Paul would accept as "the faith of God's elect" a system which leaves out that glorious mystery of the Church of which he was specially made the minister? Suppose any one had shown Paul "the five points" of Calvinism, as a statement of the truth of God, what would he have said? What! "The whole truth of God;" "the faith of God's elect;" "all that is essential to be believed;" and yet not a syllable about the real position of the Church — its calling, its standing, its hopes, its privileges! And not a word about Israel's future! A complete ignoring, or at best a thorough alienation, of the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David! The whole body of prophetic teaching subjected to a system of spiritualizing, falsely so called, whereby Israel is robbed of its proper portion, and Christians dragged down to an earthly level — and this presented to us with the lofty pretension of "The faith of God's elect!"

Thank God it is not so. He, blessed be His name, has not confined Himself within the narrow limits of any school of doctrine, high, low, or moderate. He has revealed Himself. He has told out the deep and precious secrets of His heart. He has unfolded His eternal counsels, as to the Church, as to Israel, the Gentiles, and the wide creation. Men might as well attempt to confine the ocean in buckets of their own formation as to confine the vast range of divine revelation within the feeble enclosures of human systems of doctrine. It cannot be done, and it ought not to be attempted. Better far to set aside the systems of theology and schools of divinity, and come like a little child to the eternal fountain of Holy Scripture, and there drink in the living teachings of God's Spirit.

Nothing is more damaging to the truth of God, more withering to the soul, or more subversive of all spiritual growth and progress than mere theology, high or low — Calvinistic or Arminian. It is impossible for the soul to make progress beyond the boundaries of the system to which it is attached. If I am taught to regard "the five points" as "the faith of God's elect," I shall not think of looking beyond them; and then a most glorious field of heavenly truth is shut out from the vision of my soul. I am stunted, narrowed, one-sided; and I am in danger of getting into that hard, dry state of soul which results from being occupied with mere points of doctrine instead of with Christ. A disciple of the high school of doctrine will not hear of a world-wide gospel — of God's love to the world — of glad tidings to every creature under Heaven. He has only gotten a gospel for the elect. On the other hand, a disciple of the low or Arminian school will not hear of the eternal security of God's people. Their salvation depends partly upon Christ, and partly upon themselves. According to this system, the song of the redeemed should be changed. Instead of "Worthy is the Lamb," we should have to add, "and worthy are we." We may be saved today, and lost tomorrow. All this dishonours God, and robs the Christian of all true peace.

We do not write to offend the reader. Nothing is further from our thoughts. We are dealing not with persons, but with schools of doctrine and systems of divinity which we would, most earnestly, entreat our beloved readers to abandon, at once, and for ever. Not one of them contains the full, entire truth of God. There are certain elements of truth in all of them; but the truth is often neutralized by the error; and even if we could find a system which contains, so far is it goes, nothing but the truth, yet if it does not contain the whole truth, its effect upon the soul is most pernicious, because it leads a person to plume himself on having the truth of God when, in reality, he has only laid hold of a one-sided system of man.

Then again we rarely find a mere disciple of any school of doctrine who can face scripture as a whole. Favourite texts will be quoted, and continually reiterated; but a large body of scripture is left almost wholly unappropriated. For example; take such passages as the following, "But now God commandeth all men everywhere to repent." (Acts 17:30.) And again, "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Tim. 2.) So also, in 2 Peter, "The Lord .... is long-suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9.) And, in the very closing section of the volume, we read, "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."

Are these passages to be taken as they stand? or are we to introduce qualifying or modifying words to make them fit in with our system? The fact is, they set forth the largeness of the heart of God, the gracious activities of His nature, the wide aspect of His love. It is not according to the loving heart of God that any of His creatures should perish. There is no such thing set forth in scripture as any decree of God consigning a certain number of the human race to eternal damnation. Some may be judicially given over to blindness because of deliberate rejection of the light. (See Rom. 9:17; Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26, 27; 2 Thess. 2:11, 12; 1 Peter 2:8.) All who perish will have only themselves to blame. All who reach heaven will have to thank God.

If we are to be taught by scripture we must believe that every man is responsible according to his light. The Gentile is responsible to listen to the voice of creation. The Jew is responsible on the ground of the law. Christendom is responsible on the ground of the full-orbed revelation contained in the whole word of God. If God commands all men, everywhere to repent, does He mean what He says, or merely all the elect? What right have we to add to, or alter, to pare down, or to accommodate the word of God? None whatever. Let us face scripture as it stands, and reject everything which will not stand the test. We may well call in question the soundness of a system which cannot meet the full force of the word of God as a whole. If passages of scripture seem to clash, it is only because of our ignorance. Let us humbly own this, and wait on God for further light. This, we may depend upon it, is safe moral ground to occupy. Instead of endeavouring to reconcile apparent discrepancies, let us bow at the Master's feet and justify Him in all His sayings. Thus shall we reap a harvest of blessing and grow in the knowledge of God and His word as a whole.

A few days since, a friend put into our hands a sermon recently preached by an eminent clergyman belonging to the high school of doctrine. We have found in this sermon, quite as much as in the letter of our American correspondent, the effects of one-sided theology. For instance, in referring to that magnificent statement of the Baptist in John 1:29, the preacher quotes it thus, "The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the whole world of God's chosen people."

Reader, think of this. "The world of God's chosen people!" There is not a word about people in the passage. It refers to the great propitiatory work of Christ, in virtue of which every trace of sin shall yet be obliterated from the wide creation of God. We shall only see the full application of that blessed scripture in the new heavens and the new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. To confine it to the sin of God's elect can only be viewed as the fruit of theological bias. There is no such expression in scripture as "Taking away the sin of God's elect." Whenever God's people are referred to we have the bearing of sins — the propitiation for our sins — the forgiveness of sins. Scripture never confounds these things; and nothing can be more important for our souls than to be exclusively taught by scripture itself, and not by the warping, stunting, withering dogmas of one-sided theology.

We sometimes hear John 1:29 quoted, or rather misquoted by disciples of the low school of doctrine in this way, "The Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world." If this were so, no one could ever be lost. Such a statement would furnish a basis for the terrible heresy of universal salvation. The same may be said of the rendering of 1 John 2:2, "The sins of the whole world." This is not scripture but fatally false doctrine, which we doubt not our translators would have repudiated as strongly as any. Whenever the word "sins" occurs, it refers to persons. Christ is a propitiation for the whole world. He was the substitute for His people.

NOTE It is deeply interesting to mark the way in which scripture guards against the repulsive doctrine of reprobation. Look, for example, at Matthew 25:34. Here, the King, in addressing those on His right hand, says, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Contrast with this the address to those on his left hand: "Depart from me ye cursed [He does not say 'of my Father'] into everlasting fire, prepared [not for you, but]for the devil and his angels." So also, in Romans 9. In speaking of the "vessels of wrath," He says "fitted to destruction" — fitted not by God surely, but by themselves. On the other hand, when He speaks of the "vessels of mercy," he says, "which He had afore prepared unto glory." The grand truth of election is fully established; the repulsive error of reprobation, sedulously avoided.

 

C H M Mackintosh
Updated: 26 Oct 2014

 

Overview of Romans

Title: The Epistle (Letter) to the Romans

Place in bible: New Testament, 45th book of the Bible, first book by Apostle Paul, written to the Christians in Rome

Author: The Apostle Paul, who considered himself a bond servant of Jesus Christ, and was set apart to the Gospel (1:1), written to Roman believers, from Corinth. The letter was written by a scribe or amanuensis called Tertius (16:22), and delivered to the church by Phoebe (16:1).

Date: AD 57

Genre: Doctrinal and instructional; some say, forms the centrality of the gospel, and is certainly the greatest treatise of the righteousness of God.

Main idea:  God is righteous. The book is the doctrinal foundation of Christianity, outlining the gospel of God, which due to His righteousness provided a propitiation to deal with sin, and hence redemption for those who believe, thus saving sinners from death, without anything on the part of the sinner.

The book can be divided into three divisions and seven parts:

Doctrine of salvation

1.      Salutation (1:1-17)

2.      Sin (1:18–3:20)

3.      Salvation (3:21–5:21)

4.      Sanctification (6–8)

The sovereignty of God, or proof God can be trusted

5.      Sovereignty (9–11)

Exhortation and conclusion

6.      Service (12:1–15:13)

7.      Conclusion (15:14–16:27)

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Key events/themes: The key theme is the righteousness of God.

Only God is righteous (3:10) and His judgements/degrees are righteous (1:32, 2:5).

People who are considered righteous by God, have had that righteousness imputed to them by God, though faith (1:17, 4:4,5, 4:22-26). Righteousness cannot be attained by working/doing for God, but by confessing Christ with your mouth and believing Christ was raised from the dead (10:9,10; 14:11). Righteousness is available to all who believe (10:13).

God demonstrated His righteousness through Jesus Christ's death on the cross (3:25) and His righteousness is manifested in the one who believes in Jesus Christ (3:21,22; 5:17).

God's righteousness will not fail (9:6); although it looks as if Israel is abandoned, He will save Israel (chapters 9-11), because He cannot go back on his promises to Abraham (11:29)  (nor any other) – this provides the proof to the Gentiles, that if we believe Christ rose from the dead, we will be saved – there is nothing else to do, and we can trust God in this, because He will save Israel.

The letter to the Romans outlines the Gospel of Christ: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." (1:16) Where the Gospel is a declaration and revelation of salvation by Christ, through faith, not under law.

Words of importance

Believe (20 verses)

The essence of the satisfying God is through faith in Him and believing in your heart the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead (9:10).

"And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." (4:22-25)

Christ 68 verses

As Christ, Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, Son Jesus Christ, Christ Jesus

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (5:1)

Faith 35 verses (40 times)

Faith is the essence of the claiming the gospel – Israel failed because they did not use faith but works to approach God. Gentiles (and Jews) are being saved and can be saved if they believe in Christ Jesus. "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law." (3:28)

Justification 16 verses (17 times)

Justification arises from the Old Testament and quoted in Romans (the just shall live by his faith Habakkuk (2:4). One requires justification if one is to be imputed righteous – the converse is one remains in condemnation. Justification is the declaration that a person is righteous. "But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness" (4:5)

Law 52 verses (78 times)

There is a great contrast between the law that can only show how sinful sin is (3:20) and therefore cannot save you (3:28) and grace that brings salvation (5:17 etc). "For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law" (2:12).

Grace 20 verses (24 times)

It is not of ourselves that we are saved, but it is God's grace – free gift to us – that we can be saved. By grace we are no-longer subject to sin.

For a Christian "For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace." (6:14)

Peace 10 verses

Romans contrasts sin as causing our enmity with God (eg 5:10) and righteousness that leads to peace with God. "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (5:1).

Righteousness 34 verses (43 times)

The key element of the book of Romans – God is righteous. "But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets" (3:21)

 Unrighteousness 6 verses

Unrighteousness is the domain of Satan and humans. "What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not!" (9:14)

Key prophecies:  

Israel will be restored when the time of the gentiles are fulfilled (11:25) and they acknowledge Christ as Saviour (10:9,10; 11:5, 11:24 etc). There will be a time when the gentiles will cease from being saved (11:25) and after that the end time will befall the earth.

Key verse: Romans 3:21-26

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Key characters:

Epaenetus:

The first Christian in Asia (16:5)

Paul:

In this book, Paul outlines his Jewishness (9:1-5) and the weakness of the flesh that befalls us all – we do the things we don't want to do, and not the things we ought (7).

Phoebe:

Delivered the letter (16:1), who was a servant of the Lord, of the church at Cencheeae (Acts 18:18), a deaconess, with the role to minister to the women of the church.

Key Places: 

Israel:  Mentioned in 12 verses, and is the nation of Israel consisting of the small remnant (9:27, 11:5 ) that will confess with their mouths and believe with their heart the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead (10:9,10, 14:11).

David L Simon
Updated: 26 Oct 2014

 

I serve a living saviour

I serve a risen Savior, He's in the world today;
I know that He is living, whatever men may say;
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him He's always near.

Chorus:
He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.

In all the world around me I see His loving care,
And tho' my heart grows weary, I never will despair;
I know that He is leading thro' all the stormy blast,
The day of His appearing will come at last. (Chorus)

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King!
The Hope of all who seek Him, the Help of all who find,
None other is so loving, so good and kind. (Chorus)

Alfred H Ackley (1887-1960)
Updated: 26 Oct 2014

 

He is despised and rejected of men

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Isaiah 53:3 KJV

Jesus Christ, the Son of God came to this earth to save it: “for God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17 KJV). Yet prophesised some 740 years prior His coming was the fact that the world would reject Him – indeed had already rejected Him. Note the tense of the first phrase: “He is despised and rejected of men”. He is not accepted by men, indeed not acceptable by men even today, His brethren, his peers or his community – unacceptable in the opinion of others, indeed the whole world, He was accounted for as nothing. God the Saviour was a reproach of men, despised of the people to the extent He considered himself a worm and not man (Psalm 22:6). He came in love (as Love), “for He so loved the world” (John 3:16) and He was willing to die for the world although knowing the world would reject Him. Paul remarks “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.” (Romans 5:7 NKJV). Christ was willing to die for those who He knew would reject Him – had already rejected Him. He was hated because He was righteous; he knew the duplicity of men’s hearts and revealed it, and was maliciously attacked because of it.

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He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Troubles followed him where ever he went – from birth to death: from the flight to Egypt to escape Herod to his death on the cross after being falsely accused. Many a day he had no shelter or even a bed: “but the son of man has not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). This was more than physical – He was in need of rest, the work was great, the unbelief monumental, and He could not remain for long. He was the Messiah, the Son of Man, whose sorrow was great: indeed it was agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:44), in battle with the devil for our sake. And on the cross, He is alone, rejected by all, and forsaken by the Father (…Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?" Matthew 27:46).

He was acquainted with grief to the extent that we have no fear of bringing our troubles to Him because He understands us in a very practical sense: Yes he knew no sin, yet he knows our weaknesses and infirmities – He withstood the temptations and therefore is able to help us. The writer to the Hebrews expresses it thus: “For we do not have a High Priest [The Lord Jesus Christ, King and High Priest] who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15 NKJV.
It is deeply troubling that we all despised Him, but even more troubling is we found Him abhorrent, indeed loathsome, as if he had Ebola virus disease or some other awful disease; it was an attitude of scorn (seen in the modern day atheistic evangelists) and Him being unworthy of any concern of ours, even though He was God (“The Father and I are one.” John 10:30)!

The writer of the poem repeats the concept to get across the incredulousness he has of our attitude – how could men and women contemplate rejecting the Messiah? Yet we did. Our proper place was to esteem Him, as one should a King, or even more, our saviour, yet we showed contempt. We are of course in this together – we all rejected the Messiah: “at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” Ephesians 2:12 NKJV, but those that believe in Jesus Christ will be saved: “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 NKJV. This is because of His love, such that He will forgive those who believe on Him, and of those who believe He says: “But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11 NKJV

David L Simon
Updated: 05 Oct 2014

 

Cast thy bread upon the waters

Cast thy bread upon the waters, (Ecclesiastes 11:1).

As the wise man had often suggested that nothing was better for a man than to enjoy the good of his labour himself, he here advises to let others, the poor, have a share with him;

  • and as he had directed in the preceding chapter how men should behave towards their superiors, he here instructs them what notice they should take of their inferiors;
  • and as he had cautioned against luxury and intemperance, he here guards against tenacity and covetousness, and exhorts to beneficence and liberality: that which is to be given is "bread", which is put for all the necessaries of life, food and raiment;
  • or money that answers all things, what may be a supply of wants, a support of persons in distress;
  • what is useful, profitable, and beneficial;
  • not stones or scorpions, or what will be useless or harmful: and it must be "thy" bread, a man's own;
  • not independent of God who gives it him;
  • but not another's, what he owes another, or has fraudulently obtained;
  • but what he has got by his own labour, or he is through divine Providence in lawful possession of;
  • hence alms in the Hebrew language is called "righteousness": and it must be such bread as is convenient and fit for a man himself, such as he himself and his family eat of, and this he must cast, it must be a man's own act, and a voluntary one;
  • his bread must not be taken and forced from him;
  • it must be given freely, and in such a manner as not to be expected again;
  • and bountifully and plentifully, as a man casts seed into the earth;
  • but here it is said to be "upon the waters";
  • bread is to be given to such as are in distress and affliction, that have waters of a full cup wrung out unto them, whose faces are watered with tears, and foul with weeping, from whom nothing is to be expected again, who can make no returns;
  • so that what is given thorn seems to be cast away and lost, like what is thrown into a river, or into the midst of the sea;
  • and even it is to be given to such who prove ungrateful and unthankful, and on whom no mark or impression of the kindness is made and left, no more than upon water;
  • yea, it is to be given to strangers never seen before nor after, like gliding water;
  • where the seed cast will grow up again, and bring forth fruit, and redound to the advantage of the sower, as what is given to the poor does;
  • they are a good soil to sow upon, especially Christ's poor, who are partakers of his living water, grace; see Isaiah 32:20;  though it may be the multitude of persons to whom alms is to be given are here intended, which are sometimes signified by waters, Revelation 17:15.

John Gill John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible
Updated: 21 Sep 2014

 

Suffering: Job's First Question,

 The first question of Job, "Why has God given me life only to send me such suffering now?" is the language of the natural man in rebellion against his Maker. Contending with the Almighty man wants to instruct Him (see Job 40:2). He curses the past, reviles the present and all his future hope is gone, just as Jeremiah (Jer. 20:14-18) not only bemoans his torments but also his very existence. What a state to be in!

 Yet both Job and Jeremiah were faithful and devoted men of God. How did they come to forget themselves? What led them even for a moment to despair of the power and goodness of God?

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 First of all, these men passed through very unusual exercises of soul. All blessings seemed to them to be changed into curses, and instead of hearing words of comfort and sympathy, they were covered with reproach. Their best friends had ceased to show loving sympathy; but, worse than all, they themselves could no longer understand why they should so suffer, and saw neither purpose nor profit in it. Just as Asaph in Ps. 73 they came to the conclusion: "Truly I have purified my heart in vain and washed my hands in innocency," and with the Preacher, looking only on visible things, they said "All is vanity." The original cause of such despair lies deeper. If the creature had not in the beginning turned away from his Creator he would not now curse his existence. The fact that men like Job and Jeremiah were capable of cursing the day of their birth, only proves how far man has drifted away from God. As long as all goes well the rebelliousness and sullenness of the human heart do not show themselves, but trials bring them to light. Temptations are therefore good and necessary, not in order that God may find out what is in man's heart (to Him the hidden things of the heart are manifest, and whatever comes out of it does not increase His knowledge), but that man may learn to know himself. By nature, as we have said, man is in rebellion against God, and even when born again still the old nature constantly shows itself in times of temptation. Let no one think, however, that he is more capable than Job of bearing temptations, "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (1 Cor. 10:12).

 Although Job in bitterness of soul said many perverse things, the result of it all was to God's glory and to the blessing of His servant. Many of the questions which he in anguish asked, became clear to him in the course of his pleading in defence of himself. Others were answered for him by Elihu, and again God answered some in the whirlwind and that mostly by counter questions.

 Every question can be asked in two ways, either in humility and with the sincere desire to learn, or else in presumptuous rebellion against the solution, be it what it may. In the first case the questioner honestly takes the place of a learner, which is the right thing for him to do; in the second case he takes for granted that there is no satisfactory answer or else that it is definitely withheld. Man either comes before God in sincerity and with the prayer which later Elihu taught Job "What I see not teach Thou me" (Job 34:32) or he asks in rebellion "Why is everything so different from what it ought to be?"

 He who does not wish to sit at the feet of the Master and say "I will demand of Thee and answer Thou me" takes the place of judge against his God. The vessel says to the potter "What makest thou?" Foolish as the question is, we yet find it frequently among the children of Adam, the generation of backsliders. The so-called Higher Criticism that has done so much harm in Christianity puts all its questions in the latter way. In our day, when the spirit of independence forces an entrance everywhere, and all men want to be free to think and do as they please, this fundamental error is almost universal. Even believers must take heed lest they be affected by the spirit of the times. Moreover there is nothing new under the sun. In reality the men of Job's time had to solve the same problems as we have to-day; only with this great difference, that God's counsel has since then been more clearly revealed. There may be some excuse for Job arguing with God, but for the Christian professor who possesses the whole word of God, it is a terrible thing to doubt the wise and loving providence of God.

 Job's first great question implies a doubt about the purpose of human existence, and therefore also about the wisdom of the Creator. This is an insult against God Himself, answered by Him at the end of the book and by a series of counter questions. Then Job submits, and his tormenting questions find a satisfactory answer in the power and goodness of God. But for the man without God, and without a Saviour, there is really no adequate answer to Job's question "Why have I been born?" What is the purport of the terrible words pronounced by the Lord Jesus over the traitor Judas: "It were good for that man if he had not been born," for all the millions who have since then gone to their own place? Will mockers like Tom Paine, Voltaire, and others in the place of torment, indeed curse their day through all eternity? Yea, truly, he who does not submit to God's verdict and accept Christ as the Redeemer, will never receive light about the purpose of man's existence nor about creation generally. Only in the restoration of all things (Acts 3:21) promised by God and pledged through the cross, will the problems of present day suffering be solved. Only when the groaning creation is delivered from the bondage of corruption (Rom. 8:21) will all questions be satisfactorily answered. This was shown to Job figuratively in his own experience.

 It is only in the New Testament, however, that God has revealed His plan for man. Only since the Holy Ghost has come down has the Third Person of the Godhead shown to the nations through the apostles' writings that "the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the coming glory to be revealed to us." It is only in our time, to him who hears and believes, that it has been proclaimed that we according to God's will are heirs of His glory through Jesus Christ. This Spirit, also called the Spirit of promise, is the pledge of our heirship (see Eph. 1:13, 14).

 Therefore the viewpoint of the Christian cannot ever be so dark as that of Job. Job saw only as from afar off and groped in the dark, but we are brought nigh to God through Christ and walk in the light. Should we not, therefore, so much the more guard ourselves from harbouring doubting thoughts and from presumptuously arguing with the Almighty? We may, indeed, in all humility, ask what the purpose of our life is, but let us beware of the rebel's spirit and of the language of the presumptuous.

 It is also good for the Christian to remind himself daily what the ultimate aim of his life is and when he does this in the spirit of communion with the Lord, he comes to the point where he can "glory in tribulation."

 When the ungodly man however, because of the vanity of earthly things curses his very being, or when the mere professor in times of trial, loses his apparent faith and argues with God, then he adds rebellion to his sin. The spirit of independence develops into open rebellion, and the state of mind previously hidden shows itself in action. May the Lord grant to every child of God to keep the purpose of his life and the end of his course always before his eyes, so that he may be kept from the presumption of Job in arguing with the Almighty! And if there be one of my readers who has not yet accepted God's answer to Job's question, oh, let him shake off his indifference, and flee from the ranks of the rebellious before it is too late! Do not seek the answer with the pride of the rebellious, or the perversity of the doubter, but with a humble and submissive heart. Then only in learning of Jesus will you find rest unto your soul.

 

 Job 40:2 "Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it."

Jeremiah 20:14-15 Cursed be the day in which I was born! Let the day not be blessed in which my mother bore me! Let the man be cursed Who brought news to my father, saying, "A male child has been born to you!" Making him very glad.

1 Corinthians 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

Job 34:32 Teach me what I do not see; If I have done iniquity, I will do no more'?

Romans 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors--not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.

Job 34:32Teach me what I do not see; If I have done iniquity, I will do no more'?

Acts 3:21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.

Ephesians 1:13-14 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Henri L Rossier Job's Three Questions and Their Answers
Updated: 17 Aug 2014

 

Application of Old Testement Prophecy to the Church

There will be no lasting peace on earth until God openly take up the reins of government; in that day He will set up a throne of righteousness on which the Son of Man shall sit and rule over all nations. The present state of the world is not an adequate witness of God's active government; for the moment He remains apparently silent. What would happen to those who give Him no place in their thoughts and ways if He were to make His presence fully known as a judge and ruler? If He were to appear in judgment, He would, deal with the evil so evident on every hand and put it out of the world.

Even now there are certain infallible consequences attached to behaviour as effects follow the cause, “For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6: 7). But the day is coming when sin will not be allowed, the hand of divine authority will be seen and recognized, and the evil-doer will be quickly cut (Isaiah 55: 20).

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Meanwhile the providential government of God goes on in the world whatever outward appearances may be; every hair of our head is numbered, and not a sparrow falls to the ground without the Father's knowledge. Providence is a concealed form of God's government, but a day is coming when He will govern the world openly and directly by Christ. In the past Israel was the centre of His authority on earth, but because of their failure to walk in the law of Jehovah, which was the expression of the terms of His government, the throne of Jehovah was removed from Jerusalem; and Israel became a captive to the Gentile powers raised up as chastening rods of judgment. In the mind of God Israel ever remains the centre of His public earthly dealings. All Israel will again be restored to the land of their inheritance through the mercy of God, according to His unconditional promise made to Abraham, and confirmed to his Seed, of which Isaac as one given back from death was a type. The Jews will first return, for they, were the people who joined hands with the Gentile power to reject and crucify the Messiah when He came to His own, and to them He will appear that they may be the first to repent and not lose their place amongst the tribes (Zechariah12: 7). Then the ten tribes will be gathered and the LORD will reign in Zion and govern the earth from amidst His people.

Prophecy is not occupied with providence, in which the ordering of the divine will is secretly brought to pass; but it speaks of the direct government of God in His immediate dealings with men on the earth with reference to their conduct, and His direct interference in human affairs revealing His ways on earth. The Jews are the central point of His displayed government on earth, and the Gentiles have their place in connection with God's ways as they have to do with God's people.

God is not now governing the world in a manner that all may learn His ways from the outward course of events. His providence governs everything, but the day is coming when His King will reign in righteousness and He will openly manifest His presence by His judgments, and right will receive its just recompense. At the moment, while Christ is sitting at the right hand of the Majesty on high, God is gathering out a people for heaven to reign with Christ, and to be joint-heirs with Him; in the meantime they are joint-sufferers.

The Church is not the subject of prophecy; it is given the light of prophecy, so that it will know what is coming upon the    world when God rises up in judgment to remove from His sight those whom He judges, and bring His earthly people into full blessing. The Church belongs to heaven; it is the body of Christ while He is seated there. A picture of the Church as a body in its external and active life in the world, covering the whole period of its history down here, is given in the book of Revelation. In divine wisdom seven assemblies are selected, and these serve to present a complete view of the moral character of the state into which the body on earth would successively fall. The moral judgment of the Lord is pressed on them, for what He judges cannot be in any way as His heavenly body. The Church, will never be set up on earth by the government of God to reign in peace. When Christ reigns the Church will sit with Him in His throne and reign with Him from above. Those who make Christ their confession will have to leave all that is in the world or perish with it. Christians must sooner or later give it up, and they may do so as taught by God in the truth, doing it with joy in the sense of His grace in Christ, or they will know the pain of broken ties that hold them bound to the earth. Grace working in the heart will make the feet willing to turn from, and flee the scene of coming judgment; if the heart is not free from the world, judgment will compel the break.

In New Testament prophecy judgment is pronounced against that which has taken the name of the Church, but which has the character of Babylon, and is the power of evil in the world. The Church proper belongs to heaven and will be taken away to heaven to be with Christ before the day of judgment.

The apostle Paul was given the revelation of the Church in its heavenly relationship with Christ in present spiritual union, and he does not speak of believers going to heaven, but of going to be with Christ. He speaks of the Church's heavenly calling; and by the Spirit says that believers are blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ; and adds that their present conflict is against spiritual wickednesses in the heavenlies. He lived morally in the new creation, and waited “to be clothed upon with our house from heaven”: so much did his mind already live in heaven.

The scene of God’s government is the earth, and prophecy is the expression of God's politics with regard to it. Israel is the pivot on which revolves His whole earthly system of government. When God begins to separate His people from among the nations, and judge them for their departure from Him, and also for their allegiance which they give to the Antichrist—the false Christ who will arise amount them in the last days—He then looks on all the nations and brings them into the land for judgment.

Christians have grown familiar with the prophecies which speak of the times of the Gentiles, which began when Jerusalem ceased to be the centre of Jehovah's government as it was in Old Testament times. After the failure of the house of David, the glory left Jerusalem ( Ezekiel 11), and God ceased to exercise sovereign power on earth; He gave it into the hands of the Gentiles, king Nebuchadnezzar being raised up by God to hold the world in subjection. The imperial system was to run its course, and God, who knows the end from the beginning, foretells its breakdown and ultimate apostate state, which brings down upon the whole system the wrath, and judgment of heaven. The Roman Empire was the last of the four empires of which Daniel speaks; and both Daniel in the Old Testament, and the book of Revelation in the New, give details of the rise and fall of the last form of Rome in its apostate character, allied with the Antichrist who leads Jewry at the end. The Church began its history on earth in the early days of Rome’s imperial power, and it will be taken away from the scene of coming judgment just a few years before the final destruction of “that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth” (Revelation 17: 18), and which has earned for itself the name of Babylon because of its religious corruption.

There are two divisions of prophecy, one that deals with Israel when owned of God, and the other when Israel is no longer owned as “My people”, and even the last tribe—Judah with its capital Jerusalem is in captivity to a Gentile power. There are two classes of enemies of Israel mentioned in these two divisions of prophecy. The prophecies addressed to Israel when owned of God, speak of one class of enemies; those spoken by the prophets of Judah, prophesying of the time when Jerusalem would be taken, and God's government no longer for the present be seen in the midst of the Jews, indicate quite another enemy.

Daniel in the Old Testament, and the book of Revelation in the New, together give the complete history in prophecy of the Gentile empires, to which was confided sovereign power during the period known as “the times of the Gentiles”, when Israel, including those called Jews, are not owned by God as “My people”. (See Hosea chapters 1 and 2). They will not again be publicly owned until the last form of Gentile imperial power is broken and destroyed for ever. Providentially the Jews have been preserved and are to-day coming into the forefront of world news; the nation is stirring, but nothing that is taking place to-day is a witness to the open government of God on earth. Much that is going on is godless and destructive. Only when His people are repentant through grace, and the enemies of Christ are made His footstool, will He introduce His reign of righteousness and peace will pervade the earth.

Frederick A Blair An Exposition on Nahum (see this website for whole book)
Updated: 10 Aug 2014

 

Is Israel Rejected?

The question not asked by the modern church, was asked by the early church – is Israel rejected? The answer is very important, as it sets out the answer to the most important question of Romans – how is one imputed righteousness by grace alone? That is, Paul in chapters 9-11 of Romans, (forgotten by most Christians today), demonstrates that God is trustworthy in his promises. These chapters are a defence of God’s sovereignty. That is, if the sovereign God promises to save Christians based on his mercy and grace towards us (Romans 3:23-25), is this a trustworthy promise? It appears Israel has been abandoned – so are the promises to Abraham not going to be fulfilled, and if these aren’t going to be fulfilled, what hope do we have of God’s promise to us – “believe on me and you will be saved”?

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The answer to "Is Israel rejected?" is NO! Indeed the Greek is emphatic: μὴ γένοιτο and usually transliterated as “God Forbid”. John Darby writes: “Hereupon the question is immediately raised, has God then rejected His people? To this Chapter 11 is the answer. The apostle gives three proofs that it is by no means the case.

  1. Firstly, he is himself is an Israelite; [proving] there is a remnant whom God has reserved, as in the days of [Elijah] — a proof of the constant favour of the Lord, of the interest He takes in His people, even when they are unfaithful; so that when the prophet, the most faithful and energetic among them, knew not where to find one who was true to God besides himself, God had His eyes upon the remnant who had not bowed the knee to Baal.
  2. Secondly, the call of the Gentiles, and their substitution for Israel, was not the definitive rejection of the latter in the counsels of God; for God had done it to provoke Israel to jealousy. It was not, then, for their rejection.
  3. Thirdly, the Lord would come forth out of Zion and turn away the iniquities of Jacob” (Romans, JN Darby).

What is Paul saying?

  1. If Israel was cast off or put aside by God for ever, Paul could not possibly have saved, being a Jew of the Jews, persecuting those saved; yet he was miraculously saved.
  2. As in the days of Elijah, so today [2014] there is exists a remnant of saved Jews, who have believe Jesua is the Son of God. We often get into a state believing we are the only righteous in a church, community or town, yet God always has a remnant. We may not see them, but they exist and are working. There is a remnant in Israel – hard to see – but present. (Noting that most of the nation of Israel are unbelievers).
  3. God’s call to the Gentiles is not a rejection of Israel, but a method to provoke Israel to action, through jealousy (Romans 11:14). Seeing the blessings of the Gentiles, some Israel will respond, and put their faith in Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
  4. The deliver would come from Zion (Jerusalem) which surely happened. Peter spoke of this in Acts 2, and the remnant (3000) went out to evangelise the world. "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." Acts 2:36

Note the failure of Israel was due to ‘lack of knowledge’. Paul uses repetitively the phrase ‘do you not know’ what the Scripture says. The question I ask you is: do you know the Bible?

  • Those that believe the Church is Israel have this problem. The Church is not Israel; God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be fulfilled.
  • Those who want to add works to the grace afforded to them by God have this problem. We are saved by grace ONLY through faith. Righteousness cannot be gained by anything a human can do – we can never do enough perfectly to reach the standard required by God. Indeed working for righteousness is accounted as a debt not credit!
  • Those that reject God have this problem: the wages of sin is death.

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit. Psalm of David 32:1-2

David L Simon
Updated: 13 Jul 2014

 

Do not worry about tomorrow

Do we worry about tomorrow? Jesus stated: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” [Matthew 6:34]. One glance at the news bulletin either on TV or internet one could be mistaken in believing that this verse does to belong to our time. Putting aside the violent attacks on marriage and those married, along with violence against those that believe sex belongs only to the estate of marriage (and therefore only between one man and one woman) as the Bible commands, the corruption wherever we turn let alone the abject greed of our society, willing to place out great grandchildren into debt for a few pleasures today; and along with in evitable crash of the Australian economy built on the presumption that greed is good – where commodities are purchased and discarded with total disregard to the economic and environmental costs to this and the next generation – putting this to one side - we look with utter horror of the violence (the horror more pungent, since the advent of the internet) in Africa, the Middle East and much of south east Asia[1].

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Materially, socially and politically the west is where everyone wants to be – but for those with any spiritual discernment, the west is absolutely spiritually dead. It has completely replaced a relationship with God (and indeed any god) with a relationship composed of pleasure and material wealth. The former is fleeting, the latter, is discarded as rapidly as the new model is produced.[2] God stated: “So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels.” [Psalms 81:12]. This being reason why the world is in such a mess.

The backdrop to this is the abject cruelty of man being played out, yet again, in the theatre of community – and also yet again it is men and not women, and it is not soldiers but evil men of a regime that cares nothing for life (of a religion that does not acknowledge love, but built from the very beginning on violence). And it’s not a theatre of war, but the ordinary streets and fields of Iraq. And yet we westerners are very quick to forget the same atrocities were played out by ‘decent and civilized’ men in Warsaw, to name but one place of the holocaust, which took place in our parent’s life-time. It has also been played out in Russia, China and Rwanda to name a few in recent times. Yet for a Christian none of this should be surprising. One only needs to read the Bible to understand that "the heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9). The same awful things we see on our internet were played out in the land of Canaan some 2500 years ago, by those who knew but rejected God and who swapped the truth for a lie.

For a safe and functional civic society, two rules must be obeyed: The community must love the Lord God Most High (with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength), and each must love one’s neighbour as one’s self. These are the golden rules that Jesus Christ, the son of God gave. This of course requires the acknowledgement of God; which is not going to happen – the purpose of Darwin’s theory was to provide the world with an acceptable framework in order to create a philosophy that did not need to acknowledge God, and in particular Yewah. This was forewarned more than 3000 years ago: as the Psalmist writes, in recording a conversation between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit: “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed [Psalms 2:1-2].

The civil war in Syria, Iraq, Somalia, the Sudan, and Nigeria etc. is against the Lord God Most High; being played out in the name of religion. In every single case, there is no acknowledgement of the Holy One. This will however come, but it will take the coming of the Judge to reveal the hearts of people for what they are, and those who have (note the tense) rejected the Son of God will be thrown into hell, that is, cast into outer darkness in a place called hell where “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” [Matthew 25:30].

I draw your attention to the tense – to be saved from the coming wrath of God, who will come to deal with the greed of the west, the abject cruelty and lack of acknowledgement of Yewah and His Son by Islam and the wickedness of all men who reject the Lord Jesus Christ the Messiah, we must acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, now, before it is too late: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” [Romans 10:9]. The offer of salvation by Jesus Christ is time limited – eventually (and soon, I believe) God will withdraw the offer and punish those who have refused it.

I am saved: I know this and am certain of this – indeed guaranteed of this (something no other religion can boast), and therefore I have no need to worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow is but an infinitesimal portion of time – those that are saved from the coming wrath of God are assured of heaven, so what happens materially in the coming 24 hours is nothing compared with the eternity with God the Father. Furthermore, God the Father, although surely pained by the abject spiritual poverty of the world, will give strength to all who love Him to get through the next 24 hours – He might not take away the pain, nor the suffering (the sin of man assures us of suffering), and noting “indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” [2 Timothy 3:12] - but like a true father, He will walk the next 24 hours with me and you, if you let him, each step of the way.

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:34

A hymn I heard a few moments ago gives refreshing hope for the next 24 hours

There’s Not A Friend Like The Lowly Jesus

There’s not a Friend like the lowly Jesus:
No, not one! no, not one!
None else could heal all our souls’ diseases:
No, not one! no, not one!

Refrain:

Jesus knows all about our struggles;
He will guide ’til the day is done:
There’s not a Friend like the lowly Jesus:
No, not one! no, not one!

No friend like Him is so high and holy,
No, not one! no, not one!
And yet no friend is so meek and lowly,
No, not one! no, not one!

There’s not an hour that He is not near us,
No, not one! no, not one!
No night so dark, but His love can cheer us,
No, not one! no, not one!

Did ever saint find this Friend forsake him?
No, not one! no, not one!
Or sinner find that He would not take him?
No, not one! no, not one!

Was e’er a gift like the Saviour given?
No, not one! no, not one!
Will He refuse us the bliss of heaven?
No, not one! no, not one!

Johnson Oatman (1856-1922)


[1] The posturing by Russia is not part of the same agitation found in the equatorial belt, the latter being peculiar to Islam, the former to Russia – both situations however are spoken of in the Bible.

[2] As an aside, it is noted the latter is not possible when our debts become too burdensome – the cost of housing has consumed the ability of Australians to purchase and discard motor vehicles in the way they do with mobile phones, leading to a crash and total demise of the motorcar industry in the country – structured in a way that relied on the cycle of purchase and casting off in order to keep up with fashion. As a scientist familiar with dynamics, I believe our economy is incredibly unstable, and chaotic – and only by the grace of God has Australia circumvented, till now, the woes of the 2008 crisis.

David L Simon
Updated: 22 Jun 2014

 

Only Belief in Jesus Christ can Save

Jesus answered them and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labour for the food which perishes [and you need this bread every day], but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him." Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent. [that is there is nothing you can do]" John 6:26-29

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." John 6:40

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him." John 14:6-7

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; Philippians 3:8-9

But these [book of John] are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His.

ταῦτα δὲ γέγραπται ἵνα πιστεύσητε ὅτι ᾿Ιησοῦς ἐστιν ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ ἵνα πιστεύοντες ζωὴν ἔχητε ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι αὐτοῦ.


Updated: 15 Jun 2014

 

Jesus meets a Samaritan Woman by the well

And now Jesus, being driven away by the jealousy of the Jews, begins His ministry outside that people, while still acknowledging their true position in the dealings of God. He goes away into Galilee; but His road led Him by Samaria, in which dwelt a mingled race of strangers and of Israel — a race who had forsaken the idolatry of the strangers, but who, while following the law of Moses and calling themselves by the name of Jacob, had set up a worship of their own at Gerizim. Jesus does not enter the town. Being weary He sits down outside the town on the brink of the well — for He must needs go that way; but this necessity was an occasion for the acting of that divine grace which was in the fulness of His Person, and which overflowed the narrow limits of Judaism.

There are some preliminary details to remark before entering on the subject of this chapter. Jesus did not Himself baptise, for He knew the whole extent of the counsels of God in grace, the true object of His coming. He could not bind souls by baptism to a living Christ. The disciples were right in so doing. They had so to receive Christ. It was faith on their part.

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When rejected by the Jews, the Lord does not contend. He leaves them; and, coming to Sychar, He found Himself in the most interesting associations as regards the history of Israel, but in Samaria: sad testimony of Israel's ruin. Jacob's well was in the hands of people who called themselves of Israel, but the greater part of whom were not so, and who worshipped they knew not what, although pretending to be of the stock of Israel. Those who were really Jews had driven away the Messiah by their jealousy. He — a man despised by the people — had gone away from among them. We see Him sharing the sufferings of humanity, and, weary with His journey, finding only the side of a well on which to rest at noon. He contents Himself with it. He seeks nothing but the will of His God: it brought Him thither. The disciples were away; and God brought thither at that unusual hour a woman by herself. It was not the hour at which women went out to draw water; but, in the ordering of God, a poor sinful woman and the Judge of quick and dead thus met together.

The Lord, weary and thirsty, had no means even to quench His thirst. He is dependent as man, on this poor woman to have a little water for His thirst. He asks it of her. The woman, seeing that He is a Jew, is surprised; and now the divine scene unfolds itself, in which the heart of the Saviour, rejected by men and oppressed by the unbelief of His people, opens to let that fulness of grace flow out which finds its occasion in the necessities and not in the righteousness of men. Now this grace did not limit itself to the rights of Israel, nor lend itself to national jealousy. It was a question of the gift of God, of God Himself who was there in grace, and of God come down so low, that, being born among His people, He was dependent, as to His human position, on a Samaritan woman for a drop of water to quench His thirst. "If thou knewest the gift of God, and [not, who I am, but] who it is that saith unto thee, Give me to drink"; that is to say, If thou hadst known that God gives freely, and the glory of His Person who was there, and how deeply He had humbled Himself, His love would have been revealed to thy heart, and would have filled it with perfect confidence, in regard even to the wants which a grace like this would have awakened in thy heart. "Thou wouldest have asked," said the divine Saviour, "and he would have given thee" the living water that springeth up into everlasting life. Such is the heavenly fruit of the mission of Christ, wherever He is received.

His heart lays it open (it was revealing Himself), pours it out into the heart of one who was its object; consoling itself for the unbelief of the Jews (rejecting the end of promise) by presenting the true consolation of grace to the misery that needed it. This is the true comfort of love, which is pained when unable to act. The floodgates of grace are lifted up by the misery which that grace waters. He makes manifest that which God is in grace; and the God of grace was there. Alas! the heart of man, withered up and selfish, and pre-occupied with its own miseries (the fruits of sin), cannot at all understand this. The woman sees something extraordinary in Jesus; she is curious to know what it means — is struck with His manner, so that she has a measure of faith in His words; but her desires are limited to the relief of the toils of her sorrowful life, in which an ardent heart found no answer to the misery it had acquired for its portion through sin.

A few words on the character of this woman. I believe the Lord would shew that there is need, that the fields were ready for the harvest; and that if the wretched self-righteousness of the Jews rejected Him, the stream of grace would find its channel elsewhere, God having prepared hearts to hail it with joy and thanksgiving, because it answered their misery and need — not the righteous. The channel of grace was dug by the need and the misery which the grace itself caused to be felt.

J N Darby John 4:9-14
Updated: 18 May 2014

 

What is the Cross of Christ all About?

The deepest note of the Cross is not what our Lord suffered as seeing the sin and degradation of men, great as that was, but what He suffered in His own person at the hands of a holy God when, to accomplish propitiation (which means "God, be merciful to me a sinner" (Luke 18: 13) ed.), "His soul" was made "an offering for sin." He saw indeed how men opposed the light He brought and ruined themselves, but far beyond that. He "poured out His soul unto death. He was numbered with the transgressors and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." THAT IS THE CROSS.

F B Hole Scripture Truth, 1916, Vol. 8.
Updated: 02 May 2014

 

Jesus Christ our Saviour and Redeemer

I, even I, am the Lord, And besides Me there is no saviour. (Isaiah 43:11)

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. (1 John 4:14 ESV)

 

Introduction

We note four things:

  1. There is one God. He is the Lord God Jehovah who is also called The Lord God Saves . If you are a Jew, His name is I Am . If you are not a Jew, “He is the God who made the world and everything in it”: He is the Lord of heaven and earth.
  2. God is Holy: And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.'” Leviticus 10:3 (NKJV)
  3. Adam (and Eve) sinned and from this everyone has sinned, even the most holy pious person.
  4. The punishment for Sin is death: for the wages of sin is death. God demands holiness.

There is need of salvation

Hence we have a problem: All of humanity was destined for death after Adam sinned. The hardest thing for any person to accept is that there is nothing good whatsoever in him or her. That is if we compare ourselves with God, His glory would so overwhelm us that we would die looking at Him.

  1. The Old Testament shows the principle of the acceptable method to deal with sin.
  2. The Bible teaches that sin cannot be glossed over: God has to deal with it because he is holy.
  3. Once you have sinned you have been stained for ever: stained by corrupt flesh as the book of Jude put it. Hence sin must be dealt with; both intentional sin and un-intentional sin.
  4. Sin can only be dealt with by the shedding of blood.

And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. Hebrews 9:22 (NKJV)

Satan's biggest lie these days is the notion that there is no here-after: that at death we are turned into dust. Yet we all have souls – the very nature of each one us resides in the soul. At death your soul (that is the bit this is really you) is either lost to an eternity separated from God, or saved:

.. cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 13:50 (NKJV)

God came in the flesh

Human's required a sacrifice that could be the substitute for himself. This was Jesus Christ, God in the flesh.

If God became flesh, there are some very special characteristics about Him. We are not left in the dark concerning his nature and character: in the old testament there are at least two, if not three characters what are types of Christ: these are shadows of what and who the Messiah actually was , but nevertheless gives us evidence of the character of the person of Jesus

God came in the flesh as the Son

God was manifested in the flesh (KJV) or He appeared in a body, (NIV)

  1. Jesus is the Son of God
  2. Jesus Christ is the Messiah
  3. Jesus is God who came in flesh. (we will know He came and was crucified because He still bares the marks of the Cross - see The Revelation))
  4. Jesus Christ the Messiah came to save us from our sins
  5. He redeemed us from the curse of the law, which we could never keep
  6. He has died for our sin, and hence if will allow him to bear our punishment we are saved.
  7. Jesus Christ the risen Son of God is acting as our mediator between us and God, if you accept him as our mediator

 Salvation is only in Jesus

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 (NKJV)

But there is a hope in Christ Jesus. No-one need fall into the clutches of hell. Hell was built for Satan and his angels, not humans – but billions will be cast into hell because they have rejected the Lord God Jehovah (Yahweh).

  • You need to submit: if you rule your life you have no hope, because a ruler of his own life must provide the means to deal with sin, and the wages of sin is death.
  • You need to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God.
  • You need to let Christ rule your life – because as rule he provides, through his own suffering, the passage to salvation.

 

For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of [rule over] both the dead and the living. Romans 14:9 (NKJV)

What must I do to be saved?

So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:31 (NKJV)

If you are saved

and He [Christ] died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. 2 Corinthians 5:15 (NKJV)

Jesus Christ Our Saviour

David L Simon
Updated: 21 Dec 2013

 

Landmarks and Stumblingblocks: The Doctrine of Election Misplaced

I found this very helpful from CH Mackintosh in explaining where election belonged and how it was executed.

"Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour's landmark, which they of old have set in thine inheritance." (Deut. 19:14)

"Take up the stumblingblock out of the way of My people." (Isa. 57:14)

What tender care, what gracious considerateness, breathe in the above passages! The ancient landmarks were not to be removed; but the stumblingblocks were to be taken up. The inheritance of God's people was to stand entire and unchanged, while the stumblingblocks were to be sedulously removed out of their pathway. Such was the grace and care of God for His people! The portion which God had given to each was to be enjoyed, while, at the same time, the path in which each was called to walk should be kept free from every occasion of stumbling.

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Now, judging from recent communications, we believe we are called upon to give attention to the spirit of those ancient enactments. Some of our friends have, in their letters to us, opened their minds very freely as to their spiritual condition. They have told us of their doubts and fears, their difficulties and dangers, their conflicts and exercises. We are truly grateful for such confidence; and it is our earnest desire to be used of God to help our readers by pointing out the landmarks which He, by His Spirit, has set up, and thus remove the stumblingblocks which the enemy diligently flings in their path.

In pondering the cases which have lately been submitted to us, we have found some in which the enemy was manifestly using as a stumblingblock the doctrine of election misplaced. The doctrine of election, in its right place, instead of being a stumblingblock in the pathway of anxious inquirers, will be found to be a landmark set by them of old time, even by the inspired apostles of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, in the inheritance of God's spiritual Israel.

But we all know that misplaced truth is more dangerous than positive error. If a man were to stand up, and boldly declare that the doctrine of election is false, we should without hesitation reject his words; but we might not be quite so well prepared to meet one who, while admitting the doctrine to be true and important, puts it out of its divinely appointed place. This latter is the very thing which is so constantly done, to the damaging of the truth of God, and the darkening of the souls of men.

What, then, is the true place of the doctrine of election? Its true, its divinely appointed place, is for those within the house — for the establishment of true believers. Instead of this, the enemy puts it outside the house, for the stumbling of anxious inquirers. Hearken to the following language of a deeply exercised soul: "If I only knew that I was one of the elect I should be quite happy, inasmuch as I could then confidently apply to myself the benefits of the death of Christ."

Doubtless, this would be the language of many, were they only to tell out the feelings of their hearts. They are making a wrong use of the doctrine of election — a doctrine blessedly true in itself — a most valuable "landmark," but made a "stumblingblock" by the enemy. It is very needful for the anxious inquirer to bear in mind that it is as a lost sinner, and not as "one of the elect," that he can apply to himself the benefits of the death of Christ.

The proper stand-point from which to get a saving view of the death of Christ is not election, but the consciousness of our ruin. This is an unspeakable mercy, inasmuch as I know I am a lost sinner; but I do not know that I am one of the elect, until I have received, through the Spirit's testimony and teaching, the glad tidings of salvation through the blood of the Lamb. Salvation —  free as the sunbeams, full as the ocean, permanent as the throne of the eternal God —  is preached to me, not as one of the elect, but as one utterly lost, guilty, and undone; and when I have received this salvation there is conclusive evidence of my election.

"Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God; for our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance." (1 Thess. 1:4-5) Election is not my warrant for accepting salvation; but the reception of salvation is the proof of election. For how is any sinner to know that he is one of the elect? Where is he to find it? It must be a matter of divine revelation, else it cannot be a matter of faith. But where is it revealed? Where is the knowledge of election made an indispensable prerequisite, an essential preliminary, to the acceptance of salvation? Nowhere, in the Word of God. My only title to salvation is, that I am a poor guilty, hell-deserving sinner. If I wait for any other title, I am only removing a most valuable landmark from its proper place, and putting it as a stumblingblock in my way. This, to say the least of it, is very unwise.

But it is more than unwise. It is positive opposition to the Word of God; not only to the quotations which stand at the head of this paper, but to the spirit and teaching of the entire volume. Hearken to the risen Saviour's commission to His first heralds: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15) Is there so much as a single point, in these words, on which to base a question about election? Is any one, to whom this glorious gospel is preached, called to settle a prior question about his election? Assuredly not.

"All the world" and "every creature" are expressions which set aside every difficulty, and render salvation as free as the air, and as wide as the human family. It is not said, "Go ye into a given section of the world, and preach the gospel to a certain number." No; this would not be in keeping with that grace which was to be proclaimed to the wide, wide world. When the law was in question, it was addressed to a certain number, in a given section; but when the gospel was to be proclaimed, its mighty range was to be, "All the world," and its object, "Every creature."

Again, hear what the Holy Ghost saith, by the apostle Paul: "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." (1 Tim. 1:15) Is there any room here for raising a question as to one's title to salvation? None whatever. If Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and if I am a sinner, then I am entitled to apply to my own soul the benefits of His precious sacrifice. Ere I can possibly exclude myself therefrom I must be something else than a sinner. If it were anywhere declared in Scripture that Christ Jesus came to save only the elect, then clearly I should, in some way or another, prove myself one of that number, ere I could make my own the benefits of His death. But, thanks be to God, there is nothing the least like this in the whole gospel scheme.

"The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10) And is not that just what I am? Truly so. Well then, is it not from the standpoint of a lost one that I am to look at the death of Christ? Doubtless. And can I not, while contemplating that precious mystery from thence, adopt the language of faith, and say, "He loved me, and gave Himself for me"? Yes, as unreservedly and unconditionally as though I were the only sinner on the surface of the globe.

Nothing can be more soothing and tranquillising to the spirit of an anxious inquirer than to mark the way in which salvation is brought to him in the very condition in which he is, and on the very ground which he occupies. There is not so much as a single stumblingblock along the entire path leading to the glorious inheritance of the saints — an inheritance settled by landmarks which neither men nor devils can ever remove.

The God of all grace has left nothing undone, nothing unsaid, which could possibly give rest, assurance, and perfect satisfaction to the soul. He has set forth the very condition and character of those for whom Christ died, in such terms as to leave no room for any demur or hesitation. Listen to the following glowing words: "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son," etc. (Rom. 5:6, 8, 10)

Can anything be plainer or more pointed than these passages? Is there a single term made use of which could possibly raise a question in the heart of any sinner as to his full and undisputed title to the benefits of the death of Christ? Not one. Am I "ungodly?" It was for such Christ died. Am I "a sinner?" It is to such that God commendeth His love. Am I "an enemy?" It is such God reconciles by the death of His Son.

Thus all is made as plain as a sunbeam; and as for the theological stumblingblock caused by misplacing the doctrine of election, it is entirely removed. It is as a sinner I get the benefit of Christ's death. It is as a lost one I get a salvation which is as free as it is permanent, and as permanent as it is free. All I want, in order to apply to myself the value of the blood of Jesus, is to know myself a guilty sinner. It would not help me the least in this matter to be told that I am one of the elect, inasmuch as it is not in that character God addresses me in the gospel, but in another character altogether, even as a lost sinner.

But then, some may feel disposed to ask, "Do you want to set aside the doctrine of election?" God forbid. We only want to see it in its right place. We want it as a landmark, not as a stumblingblock. We believe the evangelist has no business to preach election. Paul never preached election. He taught election, but he preached Christ. This makes all the difference. We believe that no one can be a proper evangelist who is, in any wise, hampered by the doctrine of election misplaced. We have seen serious damage done to two classes of people by preaching election instead of preaching Christ. Careless sinners are made more careless still, while anxious souls have had their anxiety intensified.

These, surely, are sad results, and they ought to be sufficient to awaken very serious thoughts in the minds of all who desire to be successful preachers of that free and full salvation which shines in the gospel of Christ, and leaves all who hear it without a shadow of an excuse. The grand business of the evangelist is to set forth, in his preaching, the perfect love of God, the efficacy of the blood of Christ, and the faithful record of the Holy Ghost. His spirit should be entirely untrammelled, and his gospel unclouded. He should preach a present salvation, free to all, and stable as the pillars which support the throne of God. The gospel is the unfolding of the heart of God as expressed in the death of His Son, recorded by the Holy Spirit.

Were this more carefully attended to, there would be more power in replying to the oft-repeated objection of the careless, as well as in hushing the deep anxieties of exercised and burdened souls. The former would have no just ground of objection; the latter, no reason to fear. When persons reject the gospel on the ground of God's eternal decrees, they are rejecting what is revealed on the ground of what is hidden. What can they possibly know about God's decrees? Just nothing. How then can that which is secret be urged as a reason for rejecting what is revealed? Why refuse what can be known, on the ground of what cannot? It is obvious that men do not act thus in cases where they wish to believe a matter. Only let a man be willing to believe a thing, and you will not find him anxiously looking for a ground of objection. But alas! men do not want to believe God. They reject His precious testimony which is as clear as the sun in meridian brightness, and urge, as their plea for so doing, His decrees which are wrapped in impenetrable darkness. What folly! What blindness! What guilt!

And then as to anxious souls who harass themselves with questions about election, we long to show them that it is not in accordance with the divine mind that they should raise any such difficulty. God addresses them in the exact state in which He sees them and in which they can see themselves. He addresses them as sinners, and this is exactly what they are. There is nothing but salvation for any sinner, the moment he takes his true place as a sinner. This is simple enough for any simple soul. To raise questions about election is sheer unbelief. It is, in another way, to reject what is revealed on the ground of what is hidden; it is to refuse what I can know, on the ground of what I cannot.

God has revealed Himself in the face of Jesus Christ, so that we may know Him and trust Him. Moreover, He has made full provision in the atonement of the cross for all our need and all our guilt. Hence, therefore instead of perplexing myself with the question, "Am I one of the elect?" it is my happy privilege to rest in the perfect love of God, the all-sufficiency of Christ, and the faithful record of the Holy Ghost.

We must close, though there are other stumblingblocks which we long to see removed out of the way of God's people, as well as landmarks which are sadly lost sight of.

C H Mackintosh Found on-line and in Miscellaneous Writings of C. H. Mackintosh
Updated: 10 Jul 2013

 

The Aim of this Website

 

Bible teaching is the essence of any assembly, congregation or church. The Bible, so we are told by the Apostle Paul, is useful for "doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (KJV) or put another way for "teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" (NIV).

Over the years I have produced a number of sermons or messages which include, in some cases, notes and handouts. These range from headings through to fully formed notes plus a few Microsoft Power Point presentations. Some have been produced by Stephen Simon and these can be found under "messages" as well.

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I am working through these, doing some editing and rearranging, and then placing them on this web site in the hope they may be of some help to one searching the Scriptures, precept upon precept. As with all written material produced by a person, it is not infallible but I hope it is a pointer to the truth, which is found in Scripture. Hence, the author humbly beseeches the reader of these web pages to use the notes and messages as a guide only, and use Scripture to find the truth. This must be done in all prayer and supplication, for it is the Holy Spirit that will reveal the truth to you.

The most recent material can be found under "messages" which should include the most recent sermon notes. Some have been contributed by others which is acknowledged.


Updated: 16 Apr 2011

 

Using this website

The weakness of any Christian website is the failure of the author to truly know the mind of God - his weakness due to sin (and there will be weaknesses) can always be revealed if checked against the Bible. Therefore, it is urged that anyone using this site must check the information against the Holy Scriptures - for the test of any such information, by any person, is against the Canon. For this reason the Canon is called simply that - deriving its name from 'cane' meaning measuring stick. Even the early Christians checked what the Apostle Paul had spoken against Scripture in order to test its veracity. You need to do the same.

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11 (NIV)

Furthermore, we must test all things:

Test [prove] all things; hold fast what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:22


Updated: 16 Apr 2011

 

What's in the title of this website

The heading comes from John 3:16, perhaps the most famous verse in the Bible. It indicates that salvation is by faith and not by works. That is, one cannot ever achieve rightness before God by one's own effort. What one cannot forget is the rest of the text - John 3:16 does not stand alone:

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

And this is the condemnation, that light [Jesus Christ] is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.


Updated: 16 Apr 2011

 

Contact the author

If you find a grammatical error, spelling error, broken hyperlink or some other error on these pages please contact me mentioning the page title and location.


Updated: 16 Apr 2011

 

Bibles used in this website

KJV = King James Version of the Bible
NIV = New International Version of the Bible original work copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
NKJV = New King James Version original work copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc

ESV = The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles

Others used

JND = New Translation by John Nelson Darby (1890)
Interlinear Greek-English New Testament (Literal, Textus Receptus, King James Version), Baker Books, Michigan, 1980
Strong's = Strong's Concordance, Hebrew and Greek Lexicon (either Riverside Book and Bible House, or an on-line version)


Updated: 16 Apr 2011