I just love my Amazon wish list. Because I love to read, my Amazon wish list has quite a few books on it that I would like to have. The problem is that those books, at times, cost more than my budget allows. But the real beauty of my list is that I do quite a lot of Information Technology work on a part time basis, and instead of charging people, I give them directions to my wish list and literally leave it up to them which book to purchase, and how many books they think my time is worth. Needless to say, my library has grown a little faster than I can keep up with, not that I’m complaining.
Yesterday I received a couple of books for a job I did a week ago and one of the books I got was No Holiness, No Heaven! by Richard Alderson. In the first chapter, Alderson makes it abundantly clear that without a desire for holiness a person is not saved. That is not to say that we will be perfectly holy or not have times where that desire wains, but if we are truly justified, we will have a pronounced desire to walk in a manner that is pleasing to God. As 1 John 3:9 states, “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (NASB). Again, this is not to say that we will walk in sinless perfection, but our increasing desire will be to know Christ in a manner so that we are conformed, day by day, to be more like Him. This desire WILL produce fruit in a true Christian’s life and this fruit will be evident.
Often times I look back over my life and see this fruit. How you might ask? By realizing that sins that once were dominating in my life, aren’t so strong; still there, but not ruling over me. Another way that I see it is that I don’t desire things like I once did. At one point in my life music was everything to me. I would listen to what is now known as “Classic Rock” for hours. I can’t tell you how many thousands of dollars I spent on music. But now, I find myself no longer wanting to do that. Of course, when I happen to be somewhere and hear a song from my past, many times I’ll sing along, but I don’t go out of my way to seek those situations out.
I say all of this because it gives me assurance that God is working in my heart and mind. It is a slow progression that has not happened in a day, a week, or even a year. But it has been something that has taken place over the last 5 years and it hasn’t been noticed just by me. The biggest confirmation is when those who I have known for years have told me that I am not the same as I used to be. So, you have both an internal and external witness of sanctification and that assures me of my salvation.
Having said that, I’ll be so bold to say that if you are not able to internally look back over the past 5-10 years and see that your life has changed dramatically and if people come up to you and tell you that you haven’t seemed to change, which is an external indication, then, if you call yourself a Christian, you most likely have very little assurance in your salvation. Alderson, in his book states:
It is totally foreign to Scripture to suggest that one can receive Christ as Saviour from hell, but not as the Lord who saves from sin. The Bible knows nothing of those who are ‘Christians’ but not ‘disciples’; of ‘believers’ who are ‘carnal’ but not yet ‘spiritual’; of those who are ‘justified’ but not yet ‘sanctified’.
On the contrary, Scripture is full of warnings about those who make extravagant claims to fellowship with God but whose moral nature remains unchanged. They many have great charismatic gifts and engage in remarkable acts of philanthropy, yet still remain spiritually dead and strangers to grace (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Those with true saving faith live as Christ lived. Those who persevere in a sinful life merely proclaim thereby that they are not Christians at all.
J. C. Ryle, in a comment upon the words of Christ, ‘Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing’ (luke 12:43), shows the importance of the distinctions we have given above. He writes:
It is not the servant who is found wishing and professing, but the servant who is found “doing,” whom Jesus calls “blessed.” The lesson is one which many, unhappily, shrink from giving, and many more shrink from receiving. We are gravely told that to talk of “working,” and “doing,” is legal, and brings Christians into bondage! Remarks of this kind should never move us. They savour of ignorance or perverseness. The lesson before us is not about justification, but about sanctification, – not about faith, but about holiness; the point is not what a man should do to be saved, – but what ought a saved man to do. The teaching of Scripture is clear and express upon this subject. A saved man ought to be “careful to maintain good works” (Titus 3:8). The desire of a true Christian ought to be, to be found “doing.” (pgs 7-8, emphasis mine).
If you find your desire to be doing as Christ did, if you find that you want to be more like Christ, you should find that you have an assurance IN Christ. Which leads me to Assurance of Salvation Part 7: Questions to examine ourselves Part 1 by SlimJim at The Domain For Truth. There are some good questions and points that you should ask yourself and ponder.
In case you missed any of the other 6 posts on Assurance, I have posted the links below.
THE PERPETUITY OF THE LAW OF GOD
DELIVERED ON LORD’S-DAY MORNING, MAY 21, 1882,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
“For verily I say unto you, Till Heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law till all is fulfilled.”
It has been said that he who understands the two covenants is a theologian, and this is, no doubt, true. I may also say that the man who knows the relative positions of the law and of the gospel has the keys of the situation in the matter of doctrine. The relationship of the law to myself, and how it condemns me: the relationship of the gospel to myself, and how if I be a believer it justifies me—these are two points which every Christian man should clearly understand. He should not “see men as trees walking” in this department, or else he may cause himself great sorrow, and fall into errors which will he grievous to his heart and injurious to his life. To form a mingle-mangle of law and gospel is to teach that which is neither law nor gospel, but the opposite of both. May the Spirit of God be our teacher, and the Word of God be our lesson-book, and then we shall not err.
Very great mistakes have been made about the law. Not long ago there were those about us who affirmed that the law is utterly abrogated and abolished, and they openly taught that believers were not bound to make the moral law the rule of their lives. What would have been sin in other men they counted to be no sin in themselves. From such Antinomianism as that may God deliver us. We are not under the law as the method of salvation, but we delight to see the law in the hand of Christ, and desire to obey the Lord in all things. Others have been met with who have taught that Jesus mitigated and softened down the law, and they have in effect said that the perfect law of God was too hard for imperfect beings, and therefore God has given us a milder and easier rule. These tread dangerously upon the verge of terrible error, although we believe that they are little aware of it. Alas, we have met with authors who have gone much farther than this, and have railed at the law. Oh, the hard words that I have sometimes read against the holy law of God! How very unlike to those which the apostle used when he said, “The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” How different from the reverent spirit which made him say,—”I delight in the law of God after the inward man.”
You know how David loved the law of God, and sang its praises all through the longest of the Psalms. The heart of every real Christian is most reverent towards the law of the Lord. It is perfect, nay, it is perfection itself. We believe that we shall never have reached perfection till we are perfectly conformed to it. A sanctification which stops short of perfect conformity to the law cannot truthfully be called perfect sanctification, for every want of exact conformity to the perfect law is sin. May the Spirit of God help us while, in imitation of our Lord Jesus, we endeavour to magnify the law.
I gather from our text two things upon which I shall speak at this time. The first is that the law of God is perpetual: “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law.” The meaning is that even in the least point it must abide till all be fulfilled. Secondly, we perceive that the law must be fulfilled: Not “one jot or one tittle shall pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” He who came to bring in the gospel dispensation here asserts that he has not come to destroy the law, but to fulfil it.
I. First: THE LAW OF GOD MUST BE PERPETUAL. There is no abrogation of it, nor amendment of it. It is not to he toned down or adjusted to our fallen condition; but every one of the Lord’s righteous judgments abideth for ever. I would urge three reasons which will establish this teaching.
In the first place our Lord Jesus declares that he did not come to abolish it. His words are most express: “Think not that I am come Continue reading
The biblical answer is: God will see to it.
Are you okay with that? Does this make you uneasy, admitting it depends decisively on God? I hope it is your joy and song. It really does have huge implications to believe this. Let God’s word shape your mind on it.
We must endure in faith to enter heaven.
By itself “must” is not a gospel word. By itself it feels threatening and burdensome. But it is not by itself in the Bible. “We must” occurs along with “he will” and “we will.” “We must” becomes “we will” because “God will.”
- “The one who endures to the end, will be saved” (Mark 13:13). We must endure.
- “If we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us” (2 Timothy 2:12).
- “I make known to you, brothers, the gospel . . . by which you are saved, if you hold fast the word . . . unless you believed in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:1–2).
God will see to it.
Enduring in faith is not owing to our first profession of faith the way health is owing to a one-time vaccination. Enduring faith happens because the great physician does his sustaining work every day. We keep believing in Christ not because of antibodies left over from conversion, but because God does his life-giving, faith-preserving work every day.
- “He is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory” (Jude 1:24).
- “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
- “I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me” (Jeremiah 32:40).
- “[Christ] will sustain you to the end. . . . God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with his Son” (1 Corinthians 1:8–9).
- “The Lord will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom” (2 Timothy 4:18).
We will endure in faith.
Because God will see to it, we will — not just must — endure to the end. If we have been justified by faith, we will be glorified. It is as good as done.
- “Those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Romans 8:30).
Four “R’s” follow from this security.
We relinquish the burden of self-preservation. We stop thrashing and let the firefighter carry us out of the burning house. We can’t make it. He can. He will. “It is not in man who walks to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).
Does your heart not echo the joy of Charles Spurgeon when he said, “O dear friends, one’s heart rejoices to think of those potent shalls and wills — those immoveable pillars which death and hell cannot shake — the shalls and wills of a God who, ‘speaks and it is done’” (The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. IX (364). “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). The yoke is easy and the burden is light because God says: I will carry you and you will rest on me. “Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save” (Isaiah 46:4).
If you know your future is secured by your omnipotent, ever-keeping God, the threats of earth and hell cannot stop you from spreading his fame. The inference Paul drew from, “Those whom he justified he also glorified,” was, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). Therefore, we will risk “tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, and sword” (Romans 8:35). Because nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ (Romans 8:39).
Original article found here.
FILLING UP THE MEASURE OF INIQUITY
PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, JUNE 6, 1907.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON,
ON LORD’S-DAY EVENING, OCTOBER 8, 1871.
“The iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” Genesis 15:16.
THE Amorites had indulged in the most degrading sin. God had observed this, but He did not at once execute vengeance upon them. He had determined that, as a nation, they should be destroyed and rooted out from under Heaven and that their land should be given to the seed of Abraham. But He tells Abraham that his seed must wait for it, for as yet the Amorites had not filled up the measure of their iniquity. It would take more than 400 years, during which time God’s patience would wait while the Amorites continued to heap sin upon sin, iniquity upon iniquity, until they reached a certain point—and then God would bear with them no longer. When the Lord uttered the words of our text, the Amorites had not come up to that fatal point and, therefore, He did not at once mete out their punishment to them, for the measure of iniquity was not yet full.
It is a well-known Truth of God that God has great long-suffering, but that there is a point beyond which even His long-suffering will not go. It has been so in the great judgments of God in the world. Before the days of Noah, men had revolted from God, but Noah was sent to them as a preacher of righteousness. And he did preach and the Spirit of God was with him. Yet, for all that, the antediluvian world turned not from its sin and when the 120 years had expired—but not till then—God opened the windows of Heaven and down came the deluge which destroyed the whole race with the exception of the eight souls who were preserved in the ark. Those old-world sinners had had 120 years for repentance, and 120 years of earnest, faithful warning from holy Noah—and not till all those year’s had expired did God’s patience come to an end and His judgments begin.
Remember also the case of the children of Israel in the wilderness. They were a rebellious people—constantly revolting, often murmuring—at one time setting up a golden calf in the place of the one living and true God—yet the Lord had long patience with them. His anger did sometimes wax hot against them, but Moses came in between them as a mediator and God postponed the punishment of His wayward people. But at last it seemed as though He could bear with them no longer, so He swore in His wrath, “They shall not enter into My rest”—and their carcasses fell in the wilderness till the track of Israel through the desert could be marked by the graves of the unbelieving nation—and there were funerals every day. It was this sad fact that caused Moses so mournfully to sing, in the 90th Psalm, “You carry them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which grows up. In the morning it flourishes, and grows up; in the evening it is cut down, and withers. For we are consumed by Your anger, and by Your wrath are we troubled. You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your Countenance. For all our days are passed away in Your wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they are fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knows the power of Your anger? Even according to Your fear, so is Your wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Return, O Lord, how long? And let it repent You concerning Your servants. O satisfy us early with Your mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad according to the days wherein You have afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.” Not a man of all that generation, save only Joshua, the son of Nun, and Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, was permitted to enter the promised land!
You will also at once call to mind the history of the two nations of Israel and Judah in later years. They exceedingly provoked the Lord and their land was, therefore, invaded by their enemies—and many of the people and their rulers were carried into captivity. But God did not cast off His people, nor expatriate them from their highly-favored land till, by degrees, they had reached the climax of rebellion and idolatry. Then He delivered the chosen nations into the hands of their cruel adversaries. Israel was swept clean as a man’s threshing floor when he has purged it. And as for the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, they ceased to dwell by the vine-covered hills of their own dear land, for they were carried away into captivity by the rivers of Babylon where they wept when they remembered Zion. Continue reading
I recently had the opportunity to listen to two sermons by Paul Washer on the book of Ephesians. As usual, they have challenged me to rethink how I think about God and who He is. I’ve included a partial transcript I made of the second sermon. I’ve included the audio files of both sermons and you can listen to them by clicking on the links provided at the bottom of this page.
From Ephesians 1, Part 2:
When does God get scandalous for man? When does God become scandalous for man? When we talk about His love? No. When we talk about His mercy? No. When do people get angry when we talk about God? When we talk about His righteousness. Now think about that. When you say that God is righteous, men get angry. Now why would men get angry at the idea of a righteous God? Because man is not righteous.
What is the great scandal about the Law of God? When I’m speaking, especially at universities, I hear people say all the time – “I don’t want to hear about the Law of God!” “Why, I ask?” “Because it suppresses me, it oppresses me and holds me down.” I had a student actually stand up and say that one time. I asked him, in front of the entire audience, please explain to me which law is oppressive? Which one do you hate? Is it ‘love your neighbor as yourself?’ Is it ‘you shall not lie or bare false witness?’ Is it ‘you shall not commit adultery and steal another mans wife or that you should not reduce another human being to an object to be used for your sexual pleasure?’ Exactly which law is it that oppresses you and if God’s law does oppress you, then what does that say about you?
You see, the reason why men are hostile towards God is this, God is good, and men are not. When we talk about this mass of humanity we are talking about a mass of people given over to corruption, hostile towards God and hostile towards His law. But also we are talking about a humanity that loves evil and refuses reconciliation. Now think about that, a humanity that not just loves evil, but a humanity that refuses reconciliation.
Humanity cannot come to God. Men cannot come to God on their own. When I say that people respond, “Well, if men cannot come to God on their own, then God is wrong in judging them in the same way we would be wrong for judging a man who was blind for not being able to read a sign on the road. What do you mean, man cannot come to God?” I mean that because Jesus said that. But what is the explanation and why is such a man held guilty? Man cannot come to God because man will not come to God and he will not come to God because he hates Him. He hates Him because He is good.
Have you ever seen an old lady whose face is etched with bitterness and you say to her, “Ma’am, you must forgive your husband.” She responds, “I cannot forgive him.” Now, she speaks the same language as her husband and they live in the same house. She is not saying she cannot, she is saying she will not and why will she not? Because of her hostility towards her husband.
What about a political prisoner who is in chains? The king comes down to the dungeon and says, “I will throw open the door, all you have to do is bow your knee to me and acknowledge my sovereignty.” The prisoner leaps up, grabs the door, slams it closed and says “I would rather rot in prison than bow my knee to you.”
That is man.
Jesus said this in John 3:19-20:
This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
Light came into the world. I’m always hearing people say that if the believers would just live like Jesus then people would be converted. No, you would have a lot of believers crucified. Jesus came into the world and what did the world do? They crucified him! Why? He gives us the reason:
…that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
Jesus said 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.
In John 6:65:
And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”
I want to read a paragraph that I have written here in my notes to make myself as clear as possible.
When the scriptures speak about election, it is not in the context of a mass of humanity victimized by the devil, that wants to be saved, but lacks the faculties to do so. That is the way, a lot of times, men are presented; victims. No that is not the context. The context is this. It is in the context of a mass of humanity that is morally corrupt, hostile towards God, that rejects every offer of redemption and that would rather spend an eternity given over to corruption and the misery’s of hell than to be subject to God in heaven.
One of the reasons why certain people have so much difficulty with election and they have so much difficulty with hell is because they think man is good, that there is something good in man that wants God. There is a little spark, there is a little something, there’s got to be some goodness in there somewhere. Therefore they say hell is immoral, how could God throw man in hell? What you need to understand is that that is not true. Hell is moral because man is immoral. The only reason they may look a little moral in the context of present society is because the grace of God is restraining their evil. But if God where to pull back, man would become monsters of iniquity. So every time you see some vile crime that comes out on the local news, or some atrocity committed by some government that is beyond the mind to comprehend, realize that that is you apart from the grace of God.
Ephesians 1, Part 1
Ephesians 1, Part 2
While listening to a sermon on Romans this morning by Ray Comfort, he made a reference to the first stanza of the poem below that was written by Anne Cousins but based on the letters of Samuel Rutherford. I was deeply moved by this poem. It is such a rare thing to hear or read one from our modern era that has such a grasp on the things of God. I can’t even pick out a favorite stanza as they are all so rich.
A Poem inspired by the letters and last words of Samuel Rutherford
by Mrs. A. R. Cousin
The sands of time are sinking, The dawn of Heaven breaks,
The summer morn I’ve sighed for, The fair sweet morn awakes:
Dark, dark hath been the midnight, But dayspring is at hand,
And glory—glory dwelleth In Immanuel’s land. (Letters 79, 147, 323.)
Oh! well it is for ever, Oh! well for evermore,
My nest hung in no forest Of all this death-doom’d shore
Yea, let the vain world vanish, As from the ship the strand,
While glory—glory dwelleth In Immanuel’s land (Letter 4.)