Monday, December 28, 2009

Reformed Theology As Explained By Jesus

“I have my own private opinion, that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what is nowadays called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen which Christ wrought upon the Cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called.” – C. H. Spurgeon

Total Inability: Left to ourselves as fallen sinners, we are entirely unable and unwilling to choose God: “Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent Me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.””John 6:43-44

Unconditional Election: God chose those whom He would save by His sovereign will and out of mercy, not according to any work of merit or faith foreseen in them: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, and that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you.”John 15:16

Faith is the gift and work of God, not of ourselves: “Then they said to Him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.””John 6:28-29

Effectual Calling: All those whom God calls to faith in Christ, He saves, without exception: “But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear His voice, and He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all His own, He goes before them, and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice.”John 10:2-4

Irresistible Grace: All people whom God chooses to save are utterly unable to resist His work in them or thwart His purpose for their salvation: “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never cast out.”John 6:37

Eternal Security: It is impossible for those whom God gives saving faith in Christ to ever lose their salvation: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”John 10:27-29

Definite Atonement: Christ came to die for a specific set of people out of the world: the elect, His own sheep: “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know Me, just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”John 10:14-15

“I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.”John 17:9

God’s Foreknowledge and Eternal Purpose: Before He created the world, God knew whom He would save, and who would reject the gospel and not believe: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are the spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray Him.) And He said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted him by the Father.”John 6:63-65

Predestination: Christ did not only accomplish redemption for those who believed in Him before and during the time He lived on Earth, but for all those who would believe in Him in the future: “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”John 17:20-21

Soli Deo Gloria- To God Alone Be the Glory! Amen.

This is a re-posting from Joseph Boyd's Facebook page. (Re-Posted here by permission.)

See also: Jesus' Commentary on John 3:16
And: Jesus' Comments on the "Five Points" of Calvinism

Friday, December 25, 2009

Two Christmas Trees

This is our living room, and you can see that we have two little Christmas trees, instead of one slightly larger one. There is somethig else different. Our daughter Becky was married last September, and lives in Pennsylvania. She and her husband, Don, will celebrate Christmas at their home in Pittsburgh. God willing, they will be able to come out here to California and spend Christmas, 2010 with us. This year it is Sheila and me with our sons, Joseph and Michael. And, of course, the cats: Blacky, Fur Elise, Jean-Louis, Pierre, and little Scout.

Merry Christmas

The Nativity of Our Lord

O GOD, who makest us glad with the yearly rememberance of the birth of thine only Son Jesus Christ; Grant that as we joyfully receive him for our Redeemer, so we may with sure confidence behold him when he shall come to be our Judge, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen (The Collect for Christmas Day)

The Epistle
Titus 2:11-15
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.

The Gospel
Luke 2:1-14
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

"Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, good will toward men!"

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

The Epistle
Heb 1:1-12
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

For to which of the angels did He ever say:
"You are My Son,Today I have begotten You" ?

And again:
"I will be to Him a Father,And He shall be to Me a Son" ?

But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says:
"Let all the angels of God worship Him."

And of the angels He says:
"Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire."

But to the Son He says:
"Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions."

"You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will fold them up,And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail." (NKJV)

The Gospel
John 1:1-14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (NKJV)

He Shall Save His People From Their Sins

The Collect
ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin; Grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen

The Epistle
Gal 4:1-7
Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

The Gospel
Matt 1:18-25
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.

But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."

Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS

(In the Book of Common Prayer, this was intended to be the collect prayer and scripture reading for the First Sunday after Christmas.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

I am continuing to post selections from the Book of Common Prayer related to Christ's first Advent. My copy of this book is an older edition (1907), is theologically conservative and, best of all, is chock full of the Gospel. Something that I especially enjoy about the Advent readings is that they include related material from various parts of the Bible that expand upon what is written in the "traditional" Christmas passages.

I have included Mary's "Magnificat" after the selection about the angel's announcement to her that she would give birth to the Savior. In the B.C.P. the instructions are for the congregation to sing or read it aloud following the lesson and reciting of some verses as part of the evening prayer service.

The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Collect
We beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts; that, as we have known the incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ by the message of an Angel, so by his cross and passion we may be brought into the glory of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

For The Epistle
Isa 7:10-15
Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying,
11Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.12But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.
13And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? 14Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. 15Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.

The Gospel
Luke 1:26-38
And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
28And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
37For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.


And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God (Revelation 21:3)


My soul doth magnify the Lord,
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden:
for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.

And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.

He hath shewed strength with his arm;
He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.

He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;
As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Who Is This, So Weak and Helpless?

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  Luke 2:6-11

I never tire of hearing or reading that part of the Word of God that gives the account of the birth of our wonderful Savior Jesus Christ. That the little boy, born in Joseph's and Mary's ancestral home-town, was also the Word that in the beginning was with God, and who was God (John 1:1), who became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14), is truly marvelous.

Just think of it. What can be more weak and helpless than a just-born baby? Well, maybe a dying man nailed to a piece of wood with his life's blood pouring out of him. Yes. That could be more weak and helpless.

Yet, this little baby, who would be that dying man thirty-something years later, was the way God saved us from our sins and from hell. (John 3:14-17)

He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name. John 1:10-13 NASB

(This is a re-post of a comment that I posted on Ray Comfort's "Atheist Central" last week.)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Third Sunday in Advent

O LORD Jesus Christ, who at thy first coming didst send thy messenger to prepare thy way before thee; Grant that the ministers and stewards of thy mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready thy way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at thy second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight, who livest and reigneth with the Father and the Holy Spirie ever, one God, world without end. Amen (The Collect, Book of Common Prayer)

The Epistle
1 Cor 4:1-5
Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
2Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
3But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.
4For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.
5Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

The Gospel
Matt 11:2-10
Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,
3And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?
4Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:
5The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
6And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
7And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
8But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses.
9But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.
10For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
(From the Book of Common Prayer)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Calvinistic Cartoons: Chews

Calvinistic Cartoons: Chews
Check out this post on Eddie Eddings' blog. If you are clever-minded, I encourage you to submit a comment. If you are too shy to type a comment, at least consider becoming a follower. It is a very funny blog.


Monday, December 7, 2009

John Gerstner's Evangelism:

Ask me which teachers/writers have had the most profound influence on my understanding  of the Christian Faith, and three men immediately come to mind: John Gerstner, R.C. Sproul, and Michael Horton. Not surprisingly, Gerstner had been a major influence in the formation of Sproul's theology, who in turn became instrumental in the development of Horton's understanding of Christianity and the Reformed Faith.

The following outline was composed of excerpts I copied down several years ago when I read Dr. Gerstner's small books, Theology for Everyman and  A Primer on the Atonement. Jesus' teachings on "The Narrow Door," and "The Wise and Foolish Virgins" were frequently  referred to by him when expounding the Gospel of Salvation. I have printed them out in full, rather than merely citing them as references.

Luke 13:22-30
  And He was passing through from one city and village to another, teaching, and proceeding on His way to Jerusalem. 23And someone said to Him, "Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?" And He said to them, 24"Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25"Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, 'Lord, open up to us!' then He will answer and say to you, 'I do not know where you are from.' 26"Then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets'; 27and He will say,' I tell you, I do not know where you are from; depart from Me, all you evildoers.' 28"There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth there when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being cast out. 29"And they will come from east and west, and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God. 30"And behold, some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last."

Matt 7:13-14
  "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. 14"For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it."

Matt 25:1-13
  "Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2"And five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. 3"For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. 5"Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. 6"But at midnight there was a shout, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' 7"Then all those virgins rose, and trimmed their lamps. 8"And the foolish said to the prudent, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' 9"But the prudent answered, saying, 'No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.' 10"And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. 11"And later the other virgins also came, saying, 'Lord, lord, open up for us.' 12"But he answered and said, 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you.' 13"Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour."

John 10:7-9
  Jesus therefore said to them again, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8"All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9"I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."

(Scriptures are from the NASB)


A. There is only one door, and it is a narrow one.
B. That door is now open, though it will one day close.
C. Our duty is to enter it.

John 14:6
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me."

a.We deserve to die for our own sins, but Jesus died in our place.
b.Jesus was sinless, but accepted the guilt of our sins and died for us.
c.This is how he became the door by which sinful men and women can approach the Father.

Heb 10:19-20
Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh.

Eph 2:17
For through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.

“Religion” is your seeking after a god in your own image. Christianity is God’s seeking you and taking action to redeem you by the death of His Son.

No one will find God in any way but through Christ.

a. The door is Christ. (Our substitute)
b. Anyone may enter it, but the time for repentance is now. Today anyone may enter and be saved. (John 10:9)
c. Avail yourself of the means that God has provided – The Word of God, prayer, church, preaching. That is, expose yourself to God’s truth and the means of grace He has made available.

“Jesus Christ calls everyone, everywhere to confess his sin and trust in Jesus for his salvation and deliverance.”
“I call everyone, everywhere to come who will acknowledge his sin and bring his guilt and need to Jesus Christ, and I assure him, without any qualification, that in doing that he will most certainly be saved eternally by the blood of Jesus Christ.”__John Gerstner

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Second Sunday In Advent

"Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ." Amen (The Collect, from the Book of Common Prayer)

The Epistle

Rom 15:4-13

  For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
5Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:
6That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
8Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:
9And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.
10And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.
11And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.
12And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.
13Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. (KJV)

The Gospel

Luke 21:25-33

  And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
27And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
29And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
30When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
31So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
32Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
33Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. (KJV)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Martin Luther said:  When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, "Repent" (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance. (Thesis 1, of the 95 Theses)

We often hear of conversion as being a "one time event," but is this biblical? In this sermon by Pastor Tom Morrison on the Heidelberg Catechism's Lord's Day 33, we will hear: "... that a Christian is converted over the whole of his or her life. Of course this is something much different from what Evangelicals mean when they talk about conversion."

The scripture lesson on which this sermon is based is: Ephesians 4:17-24
Click here to listen. (27 minutes)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Wintery Weather in the High Desert

The night after the Mojave Narrows photo was taken (see Saturday's post below), we had a cold rain here, and the San Bernardino - San Gabriel Range to the south of us got snow. Here are two examples of the view we get from the desert whenever winter happens. The first one was taken by Joseph Boyd. Below it is one that I got from the web, and was taken by either someone who lives around here, or was just passing through.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


ALMIGHTY  God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen(The collect from the Book of Common Prayer)

The Epistle
Rom 13:8-14

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
9For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
10Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
11And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
12The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
13Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
14But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. (KJV)

The Gospel
Matt 21:1-13

And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,
2Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.
3And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.
4All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
5Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
6And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,
7And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.
8And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.
9And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
10And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?
11And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
12And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
13And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. (KJV)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mojave Narrows

November 27th- The Narrows at the Mojave River

We are about a week past the colorful Autumn leaves. In another week or two, most of these trees will be bare.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Why is the Son of God called "Jesus," that is, Savior


Q.29. Why is the Son of God called "Jesus," that is, Savior?

A. Because He saves us from all our sins, and because salvation is not to be sought or found in any other.

Mt 1:21; Heb 7:25; Isa 43:11; Lk 2:10-11; Jn 15:4-5; Acts 4:11-12; 1 Tim 2:5

Q.30. Do those also believe in the only Savior Jesus, who seek their salvation and welfare from "saints," themselves, or anywhere else?

A. No; although they make their boast of Him, yet in their deeds they deny the only Savior Jesus; for either Jesus is not a complete Savior, or they who by true faith receive this Savior, must have in Him all that is necessary to their salvation.

1 Cor 1:12-13, 30-31; Gal 5:4; Isa 9:7; Mt. 23:28; Jn 1:16; Col 1:19-20, 2:10; 1 Jn 1:7

__Heidelberg Catechism

Friday, November 13, 2009

"I used to be a Christian, but..."

The article below, by Rod Rosenbladt, concerns "...those who once professed that Christ shed his blood, freely justified them before God, forgave their sin, gave them eternal life--but now they don't believe it." The "having-given-up-on-it-all" ones.

Is the church itself to blame? Read the article, "The Gospel Is for the Broken."

The Gospel Is for the Broken | Ligonier Ministries

The Gospel Is for the Broken | Ligonier Ministries

Posted using ShareThis

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

All For Whom Christ Died

If Jesus Christ were to stand on this platform to-night, what would many people do with him? "O!" say some, "we would make him a King." I do not believe it. They would crucify him again if they had the opportunity. If he were to come and say, "Here I am, I love you, will you be saved by me?" Not one
of you would consent if you were left to your will. If he should look upon you with those eyes, before whose power the lion would have crouched, if he spoke with that voice which poured forth a cataract of eloquence like a stream of nectar rolling down from the cliffs above, not a single person would come to be his disciple; no, it wants the power of the Spirit to make men come to Jesus Christ.

He himself said, "No man can come to me except the Father who hath sent me draw him." Ah! we want that; and here we have it. They shall come! They shall come! ye may laugh, ye may despise us; but Jesus Christ shall not die for nothing. If some of you reject him there are some that will not. If there are some that are not saved, others shall be. Christ shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hands.

Some think that Christ died and yet that some for whom he died will be lost. I never could understand that doctrine. If Jesus my surety bore my griefs and carried my sorrows, I believe myself to be as secure as the angels in heaven. God cannot ask payment twice. If Christ paid my debt shall I have to pay it again? No.

From Charles H. Spurgeon's sermon, "HEAVEN AND HELL" based on the text: Matthew 8:11-12

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Ultimate Purpose For Our Existence

What is the chief and highest end of man?

Man's chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy Him forever.
__Westminster Larger Catechism, Question and Answer 1

Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.
But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.
(Psalms 73:24-28)

For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen (Romans 11:36)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Overarching Theme of the Bible

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. _Isaiah 53:6

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

God Justifies the Wicked

The righteousness of God is a command that condemns us all, but the righteousness from God is a gift that saves all who believe. This gospel announces that sinners "are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith" (Rom. 3:24-25). God imputes (credits) our sin to Christ and Christ's righteousness to us. "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:1). This is the simplest news to grasp and yet the most difficult news to accept. Paul considered this doctrine to be so central that he regarded its explicit denial as "anathema" --that is, an act of heresy that the Galatian church was on the verge of committing (Gal. 1:8-9). For Paul, a denial of justification was tantamount to a denial of grace and even to a denial of Christ, "for if justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose" (Gal. 2:21).

_Michael Horton__ from The Gospel-Driven Life

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Greg Koukl Interviews David Berlinski

Last Sunday Greg Koukl (pictured at left)interviewed David Berlinski on Greg's Stand to Reason radio program. The hour-long discussion centered on Berlinski's book, The Devil's Delusion, a critique of Richard Dawkins' book, The God Delusion; and is heard during the third hour of the show. Listen here.

(Photos from Stand to Reason's web site: )

Sunday, October 18, 2009

From John Bunyan

This book will make a traveller of thee,
If by its counsel thou wilt ruled be;
It will direct thee to the Holy Land,
If thou wilt its directions understand:
Yea, it will make the slothful active be;
The blind also delightful things to see.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Marshmallow Gospel

The scripture posted for the Bible Study on Ray Comfort's blog was:

Luke 1:51-53 He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty.

I contributed a comment which was mostly a quote from A.W. Pink, where he shows that a sinner coming to Christ for life must first realize his desperate and lost condition, and that death and judgment are just a step away.

Someone challenged that with an objection that concluded with their understanding of what conversion is. This is what they said:
"To come to Christ for life, is for the person to realize that God, as a loving father, wants only what is best for every creature; is to see himself as God's child; is to admit that he is deserving of God's love, thus taking side with God; it is for him to find himself for the first time in the grace and love of God, and humbly extend the love of God to others."

I called this a "marshmallow gospel" because the way of salvation found in Scripture is quite different. The Bible says that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. Through the Law He graciously reveals to sinners their own corruption and that they will have to face a holy and just Judge on the Last Day. Through the Gospel He shows Jesus Christ, who endured the wrath of Almighty God, on the cross, as the substitute for those he came to save.

No, it isn't a matter of realizing that we are "deserving of God's love" and that all are His children. All men are naturally God's enemies, and only by grace are we saved. It is the Son of God who draws sinners to Himself, and Salvation is of free grace for all who come to Christ and receive it on his terms. (Ephesians 2:2-5)

This is the "meat and potatoes gospel," not a "marshmallow gospel."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Jesus comments on John 3:16

The Text

John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Jesus' Comments

"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life."

"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him..."

"All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me."

"This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day."

And later he says to his disciples, "No one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father."

(Bible quotes from NASB)

The doctrine implicit in this text and Jesus' comments bars no one from receiving forgiveness of sins and eternal life who truly desires it. Rather, it provides hope for many who otherwise would have entered eternity unforgiven and forever condemned.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Cruel and Jealous God

Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.__Song of Songs 8:6

Yesterday I was reading a comment by a professed atheist who complained that the God in whom Christians believe is "cruel, jealous, and vengeful," and that if this God existed, he would want to have nothing to do with him. Is this charge true?

Our Creator-God is also Love; and what does he love? Well, the Father loves his Son supremely (John 3:35), but he also loves the people who are his own, as is shown in the verse quoted above. He is jealous over them, as the bible often says, and whoever desires to harm them or attempts to draw them away from him certainly makes himself the object of God's wrath and vengeance.

The people whom Jesus Christ purchased at the cost of his own blood are more valuable to God, for Christ's sake, than we can ever imagine. He calls them the "apple of his eye." His gaze is continuously upon them. The "apple" of the eye is the pupil. If you have ever seen your own reflection in someones eye, you can appreciate the imagery in those words.

The atheist I mentioned sees God from the viewpoint of one who is at enmity with him. He is correct in what he says; God is jealous over his own people and has set himself firmly against anything or anyone who would do them harm. (Zech. 2:8) His love is indeed as strong as death, and his jealously cruel as the grave.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven

The True Church, according to the Belgic Confession, can be recognized by three essential marks. 1. It practices the true preaching of the gospel; 2. It maintains the pure administration of the sacraments (baptism and the Lord's Supper) and 3. It exercises church discipline for correcting and punishing sins.

In the second mark, the administration of baptism and the Lord's supper serve as visible, tangible signs, appointed by God, to more fully declare the promise of the gospel. They are visible signs and seals of a spiritual reality.

The first and third marks, the preaching of the gospel and church discipline, are what we call "keys of the kingdom" by which the church is given the authority to admit to, or bar from the kingdom of heaven. Ultimately, eternal life and eternal condemnation of individuals are in the hands of God alone, but He has commissioned the church as His instrument in administering the kingdom of heaven on earth according to the Word of God.

The Heidelberg Catechism states what we believe the Bible teaches regarding how the kingdom of heaven is opened or shut by the preaching of the gospel:

Q: How is the kingdom of heaven opened and
shut by the preaching of the Holy Gospel?

A: In this way: that, according to the command of
Christ, it is proclaimed and openly witnessed to
believers, one and all, that as often as they accept
with true faith the promise of the Gospel, all their
sins are really forgiven them of God for the sake of
Christ’s merits; and on the contrary, to all
unbelievers and hypocrites, that the wrath of God
and eternal condemnation abide on them so long as
they are not converted. According to this testimony
of the Gospel, God will judge men both in this life
and in that which is to come.
__Q. 84
Matt. 16:19; Mark 16:15-16; John 20:23

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rebekah and Don

Becky and DonBecky
On Saturday, September 19, our daughter Rebekah, and Donald Fusina II were married in Pittsburgh, PA. It was a wonderful day. God bless their marriage.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Give some thought to your soul

There are thousands of men who would almost sooner be whipped than be made to think. The last thing to which they will ever come of themselves is thoughtfulness. Let me appeal to some here who are still unconverted. Did you ever give the affairs of your soul the benefit of an hour’s serious consideration?

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Please take take time out from whatever you are doing, and pray for Eddie Eddings' daughter, Tammy Osborn. Details here.

Be still, and know that I am God.

_Psalm 46:10

Monday, September 7, 2009

For What Shall We Labour?

Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

John 6:27-29

Monday, August 31, 2009


Our salvation is accomplished by the mediatorial work of the historical Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the father. In salvation we are rescued from God's wrath by His grace alone.

There is no gospel except that of Christ's substitution in our place, whereby God imputed to him our sin, and imputed to us his righteousness. The gospel declares what God has done for us in Christ. It is not about what we can do to reach Him.

Justification is by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone__ Christ's righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God's perfect justice. It does not rest on any merit found in us.

Because salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, it is for God's glory and we must glorify Him always.

___A few excerpts from the Cambridge Declaration on our salvation.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Recommended: THE NARROW WAY

"Is there a heaven? If so, what is heaven like? Is hell real? Do many people go to hell when they die? Is what Jesus Christ taught the same as what is being taught in most churches today? Are some of those who profess to be Christians deceived about where they are going when they die? Are you one of them? Why do Christians say that Jesus Christ is the only way to God? How may I seek God?"

This book by William C. Nichols contains a faithful presentation of the true gospel message, and is a "must have" for anyone who desires to reach others with the message of salvation by grace, through faith in Christ alone. It presents a stark contrast to some of the evangelistic methods we see today, with their shallow gospel (or no gospel at all), and techniques aimed at manipulating people into "making a decision."
Chapter titles include: The Glory of Heaven, The Terrors of Hell, The Narrow Road that Leads to Life, True Godliness, Are You Deceived?, A Call to Self-Examination, and The Use of Holy Violence.
The book is available through International Outreach, Inc. Ordering information can be found on their web site. Also available are evangelistic books, booklets and tracts by some of the Puritans and others. An Evangelism Outreach Training Program package is offered, as well.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mojave Desert Wonder

Rainbow Basin National Natural

This is about an hour's drive from my home, and 20 miles south-west of Goldstone Deep Space Tracking Station. Rainbow Basin is an ancient lakebed where minerals have created an array of colors, and erosion has sculpted spectacular land formations. The fossilized remains of saber-toothed tigers, mastadons, camels, three-toed horses, and rhinoceros have been found here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Spurgeon Quote

There are some who say that all men are Christ's by purchase. But, beloved, you and I do not believe in a sham redemption which does not redeem. We do not believe in a universal redemption which extends even to those who were in hell before the Saviour died, and which includes the fallen angels as well as unrepentant men. We believe in an effectual redemption, and can never agree with those who would teach us that Christ's blood was shed in vain. The good Shepherd laid down his life for his sheep. Christ loved his Church, and gave himself for it. He bought his own people with his blood.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Two Good Friends

J.L. and Blacky by the Flower Circle.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

(1 John 3:1-2)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Affirming Divine Sovereignty

R.C. Sproul's post at Ligonier today ties right in to the theme I have been posting about lately, so I've linked it here. Has R.C. been reading my blog; or should I chalk it up to Providence? : )

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Then isn't God at least partly to blame?

I have been engaged in a very interesting conversation with Reynold, an atheist who is a regular commenter at Ray Comfort's blog. His questions and challenges relate directly to some of my recent posts here.

Reynold said "...isn't some of the blame his then? If it's up to him to "break in" and "cause them to be born again" then by what you just said, for every one who isn't "born again", it means that your "God" chose to NOT have them be "born again"? Is that it??"

The bible teaches explicitly that every one in the world, who is born by natural generation (i.e. except Jesus) is guilty of transgressing God's law (Romans 3:19-20), we have done what the law forbids, and have failed to do what the law commands. God would be just in leaving all of us to perish in our sins. That he chooses to save some is out of his sheer mercy and goodness. (Ephesians 2:1-3)

The Canons of Dordt addresses the point that Reynold was making in Head 1. article 6. That some receive the gift of faith from God, and others do not receive it, proceeds from God's eternal decree. (Romans 9:10-15) "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." See also: Ephesians 1:11. "Who works all things according to the counsel of his will."

That was looking at it from God's perspective. Those who are the objects of God's grace in his eternal decree are unknown to us, only that there are some. However, we are promised that whoever believes in Christ crucified shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 1:23)

Conclusion: God is indeed responsible for the damnation of sinners, in that he is just in punishing them. But, It is the duty and privilege of everyone who hears the gospel immediately to accept its merciful provisions; and they who continue in impenitence and unbelief incur aggravated guilt and perish by their own fault. [From the Westminster Confession of Faith]

Jesus Christ calls everyone,everywhere to confess his sin and trust in Him for his salvation and deliverance.

I call everyone, everywhere to come who will acknowledge his sin and bring his guilt and need to Jesus Christ, and I assure him, without any qualifications, that in doing that he will most certainly be saved eternally by the blood of Jesus Christ.

_John Gerstner

Thursday, August 6, 2009


The Reformed have found in these great words
of our Lord, Biblical support for what have come to be commonly be known as the
"Five Points" of Calvinism. In this one passage alone...there is indeed textual
support for all five of the so-called "Five Points."

TOTAL DEPRAVITY__The notion that we are unable to come to God on our own apart from a prior act of God upon us: "I did tell you, but you do not believe." (v.25)

UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION__God chooses to save His elect, by-passing the non-elect and leaving them to perish in their sins: "I know my sheep...They will listen to my voice. You do not believe because you are not of my sheep." (v. 14, 26)

LIMITED ATONEMENT__Christ's death is not designed to make people savable, but to save those whom the Father has chosen: "I lay down my life for the sheep" (v. 15)

IRRESISTIBLE GRACE__as fallen, God must call His elect to faith through His word:
"My sheep hear my voice, I know them and they follow me" (v. 27)

PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS__the elect will persevere until the end because of Christ's intercession for them: "I give them eternal life and they shall never perish. ...No one can snatch them out of my hand" (v. 29)

(From The White Horse Inn: "Highlights from John's Gospel"- Listener's Guide to the broadcast of April 2, 1995)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Reason to Rejoice

"Divine sovereignty is not the sovereignty of a tyrannical Despot, but the exercised pleasure of One who is infinitely wise and good! Because God is infinitely wise He cannot err, and because He is infinitely righteous He will not do wrong. Here then is the preciousness of this truth. The mere fact itself that God's will is irresistible and irreversible fills me with fear, but once I realize that God wills only that which is good, my heart is made to rejoice."
—Arthur W. Pink

This post is from Eddie Eddings' blog, "Facets of Grace" (used with permission)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Way of Salvation (Part 3)

The Creation, Fall, and Corruption of Man

We believe that God created man from the dust of the earth and made and formed him in his image and likeness-- good, just, and holy; able by his own will to conform in all things to the will of God.

But when he was in honor he did not understand it (Ps. 49:20) and did not recognize his excellence. But he subjected himself willingly to sin and consequently to death and the curse, lending his ear to the word of the devil.

For he transgressed the commandment of life, which he had received, and by his sin he separated himself from God, who was his true life, having corrupted his entire nature.

So he made himself guilty and subject to physical and spiritual death, having become wicked, perverse, and corrupt in all his ways. He lost all his excellent gifts which he had reeceived from God, and he retained none of them except for small traces which are enough to make him inexcusable.

Moreover, all the light in us is turned to darkness, as the Scripture teaches us: "The light shone in the darkness, and the darkness did not receive it." (John 1:5) Here John calls men "darkness."

Therefore we reject everything taught to the contrary concerning man's free will, since man is nothing but the slave of sin and cannot do a thing unless it is "given him from heaven." (John 3:27)

For who can boast of being able to do anything good by himself, since Christ says, "No one can come to me unless my Father who sent me draws him"

Who can glory in his own will when he understands that "the mind of the flesh is enmity against God"? Who can speak of his own knowledge in view of the fact that "the natural man does not understand the things of the Spirit of God"?

In short, who can produce a single thought, since he knows that we are "not able to think a thing" about ourselves, by ourselves, but that "our ability is from God"?

And therefore, what the apostle says ought rightly to stand fixed and firm: "God works within us both to will and to do according to his good pleasure."

For there is no understanding nor will conforming to God's understanding and will apart from Christ's involvement, as he teaches us when he says, "Without me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)

__Belgic Confession (Article 14)

Sunday, August 2, 2009


A rose, a lily, and the Face of Christ
Have all our hearts sufficed:
For He is Rose of Sharon nobly born,
Our Rose without a thorn;
And He is Lily of the Valley, He
Most sweet in purity.
But when we come to name Him as He is,
Godhead, Perfection, Bliss,
All tongues fall silent, while pure hearts alone
Complete their orison.

__Christina Rossetti

Friday, July 31, 2009

I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel

"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is
the power of God for the
salvation of everyone who believes: first for the
Jew, then for the Gentile. For
in the gospel a righteousness from God is
revealed, a righteousness that is by
faith from first to last, just as it is
written: "The righteous will live by
faith." Romans 1:16-17
Yesterday I received the August issue of the Reformed Witness. The featured article is a transcript of the November 5, 2006 Reformed Witness Hour broadcast entitled "Protestants! Defend the Gospel!" by Rev. Carl Haak. Here is an excerpt:

The Gospel is beautifully stated in Romans 3:24, "we are justified freely by his grace." God has made us righteous by His grace, by His own unmerited favor, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. That is the legal basis of our justification - the redemption, the purchase that was made by Jesus Christ. Because Jesus Christ purchased us upon the cross, we are justified freely by His grace.

...The Bible teaches us that the righteousness of Jesus Christ, that is, what He did, - His perfect work on the cross, His innocence - has been legally reckoned to our account, to the account of His elect. God imputed that righteousness to me legally, so that "...the perfect righteousness of Christ, without any merit of mine, out of mere grace, is mine so completely as if I never had nor had committed any sin; [and] as if I had fully accomplished all obedience to the divine law." (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 23)

That is the gospel. The gospel is: Jesus has made me righteous before God on the basis of His work on Calvary.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Way of Salvation (Part 2)

The Plan Unfolds: sin enters the human race

So God created man, delegated to him dominion over all the earth (Gen. 1:26-27), and established a covenant with him (Gen. 2:8-9; Gen. 2:15-17). God gave a command (the law) to man (who represented us) and told him what the penalty would be (" shall surely die.") for disobeying Him.

An intruder (Satan) entered Paradise, and spoke to Eve. Instead of kicking the intruder out and telling him to "go to hell", she entered into conversation with him. This was the beginning of the fall of mankind.

The devil's temptation was_
First: to doubt the Word of God, "Hath God said...?"
Second: to deny the consequence of disobdience, "You will not surely die."
Third: to misrepresent the character of God, "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

In the eating of the fruit of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil," man decided to assume to himself the right to determine what is good and what is evil; in other words to establish his own standard of morality apart from the word of God.

If these things sound familiar, they should, because this is what characterizes sinful mankind to this day.

Monday, July 27, 2009


God has a Plan

Each of us, according to the Bible, has his or her part in a plan which was conceived in the mind of God before the world began. (Eph. 3:9-11) This plan was set in motion at creation (Gen. 1:1; Gen. 1:27), and will reach fruition when the Son of God is joined with His eternal companion (corporate, redeemed humanity) in what the Scriptures call "the marriage of the Lamb." (Revelation 19:6-9; Rev. 21:2-3) The ultimate purpose of this plan is for the glory of God, as the Shorter Catechism says:

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever. (Romans 11:36)

Friday, July 24, 2009

There are some passages of scripture...

My wife, Sheila, and I are reading through the New Testament, one chapter a day. As I opened the E.S.V. to this evening's reading, 1 Corinthians 13, the thought struck me that there are some passages of scripture that are just meant to be read from the King James Version. Other translations just don't have the style, or flavor that these passages seem to call for.

Maybe it is just because of my own familiarity with them, but the Twenty-third Psalm, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want...", and the third chapter of John's gospel, "...For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life..." seem to be endowed with a certain dignity and majesty by the KJV that other translations cannot match.

And what about the nativity passage in Luke's gospel that begins, "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night..."

There are other passages too, but here is what is sometimes called "the love chapter" in all of it's KJV beauty:

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels,
and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries,
and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own,
is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come,
then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child,
I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face:
now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three;
but the greatest of these is charity. (KJV)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Samuel Rutherford Quote

And at the may ...arrive at our Lord's harbor; and be made welcome, as one of those who have ever had one foot loose from the earth, longing for that place where your soul shall feast and banquet for ever and ever upon a glorious sight of the incomprehensible Trinity, and where ye shall see the fair face of the man Christ, even the beautiful face that was once for your cause more marred than any of the visages of the sons of men [Isaiah 52:14], and was all covered with spitting and blood.