Friday, March 31, 2006

Dispensational and Covenantal Hermeneutics: Where is the Contention

What follows is some exploratory writing as I am currently trying to hammer out some issues regarding this topic.

Hermeneutics (the science and method of interpreting scripture) is at the foundation of both the Dispensational and Covenantal theologies. Both views hold a high regard for scripture and believe that it should be studied to find out what the authors through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit originally meant. If both groups hold to this then why do we end up in different places theologically?

Dispensationalists hold to a distinction between Israel and the Church. The reason they have this distinction is because when they read all of the promises made to Israel in the Old Testament, they take them literally. If the prophet said that God was going to establish the kingdom and rebuild the tabernacle, it means just that. There will be an earthly established kingdom with a tabernacle including the sacrifices in it. This promise is for Israel and not the church. Israel and the church have different purposes and promises and we should not confuse them. Another example of this is that David was promised to have an everlasting king seated on his throne. Dispensationalists do not believe this promise has been fulfilled, but will be fulfilled in the millennial kingdom when Christ rules on the earth (some progressive dispensationalist will disagree and say that Christ is now on the throne in heaven).

On the other hand Covenantal theologians say that we should not have this distinction between Israel and the Church. The Church is Israel. We have been grafted in and we are it. All of the promises to Israel have been fulfilled in Christ. Jesus is spiritually ruling over Israel (the Church) and will be on that throne eternally. Through the Church, Israel has been established.

How do these views play into the Hermeneutic discussion? The covenantal theologian charges the Dispensationalist with building his eschatology from the Old Testament and then forcing the New Testament to fit into this mold. On the other hand the Dispensationalist charges the Covenantal theologians with building his eschatology from the New Testament and then tries to make the Old Testament fit his mold. Both grougs would obviously reject these charges, but it is helpful to see this distinction. Ultimately the answer seems to revolve in how both groups relate the old and new covenants to each other.

I realize this is painting with an extremely broad brush and the answers are found in the details, but at this point I am simply trying to see the larger pictures then move in from there.

God Bless,


Thursday, March 30, 2006

Christian Wakefulness

"Let us not sleep, as do others." --1 Thessalonians 5:6

There are many ways of promoting Christian wakefulness. Among the rest, let me strongly advise Christians to converse together concerning the ways of the Lord. Christian and Hopeful, as they journeyed towards the Celestial City, said to themselves, "To prevent drowsiness in this place, let us fall into good discourse." Christian enquired, "Brother, where shall we begin?" And Hopeful answered, "Where God began with us." Then Christian sang this song--

"When saints do sleepy grow, let them come hither,
And hear how these two pilgrims talk together;
Yea, let them learn of them, in any wise,
Thus to keep open their drowsy slumb'ring eyes.
Saints' fellowship, if it be managed well,
Keeps them awake, and that in spite of hell."

Christians who isolate themselves and walk alone, are very liable to grow drowsy. Hold Christian company, and you will be kept wakeful by it, and refreshed and encouraged to make quicker progress in the road to heaven. But as you thus take "sweet counsel" with others in the ways of God, take care that the theme of your converse is the Lord Jesus. Let the eye of faith be constantly looking unto Him; let your heart be full of Him; let your lips speak of His worth. Friend, live near to the cross, and thou wilt not sleep. Labour to impress thyself with a deep sense of the value of the place to which thou art going. If thou rememberest that thou art going to heaven, thou wilt not sleep on the road. If thou thinkest that hell is behind thee, and the devil pursuing thee, thou wilt not loiter. Would the manslayer sleep with the avenger of blood behind him, and the city of refuge before him? Christian, wilt thou sleep whilst the pearly gates are open--the songs of angels waiting for thee to join them--a crown of gold ready for thy brow? Ah! no; in holy fellowship continue to watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation.

C.H. Spurgeon

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

On Meekness: The 3rd Beatitude - A.W. Pink

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).

There have been considerable differences of opinion as to the precise significance of the word meek. Some regard its meaning as patience, a spirit of resignation; some as unselfishness, a spirit of self-abnegation; others as gentleness, a spirit of non-retaliation, bearing afflictions quietly. Doubtless, there is a measure of truth in each of these definitions. Yet it appears to the writer that they hardly go deep enough, for they fail to take note of the order of this third Beatitude. Personally, we would define meekness as humility. “Blessed are the meek,” that is, the humble, the lowly.

It must be steadily kept in mind that in these Beatitudes our Lord is describing the orderly development of God’s work of grace as it is experientially realized in the soul. First, there is poverty of spirit: a sense of my insufficiency and nothingness. Next, there is mourning over my lost condition and sorrowing over the awfulness of my sins against God. Following this, in order of spiritual experience, is humbleness of soul.

Speaking as one whom God used in the ministry of the Gospel, the Apostle Paul said, “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” ( 2 Corinthians 10:4,5). The weapons that the apostles used were the searching, condemning, humbling truths of Scripture. These, as applied effectually by the Spirit, were mighty to the pulling down of strongholds, that is, the powerful prejudices and self-righteous defenses within which sinful men took refuge.

The results are the same today: proud imaginations or reasonings—the enmity of the carnal mind and the opposition of the newly regenerate mind concerning salvation is now brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

While humility of soul in bowing to God’s way of salvation is the primary application of the third Beatitude, it must not be limited to that. Meekness is also an intrinsic aspect of the “fruit of the Spirit” that is wrought in and produced through the Christian ( Galatians 5:22,23). It is that quality of spirit that is found in one who has been schooled to mildness by discipline and suffering and brought into sweet resignation to the will of God. When in exercise, it is that grace in the believer that causes him to bear patiently insults and injuries, that makes him ready to be instructed and admonished by the least eminent of saints, that leads him to esteem others more highly than himself ( Philippians 2:3), and that teaches him to ascribe all that is good in himself to the sovereign grace of God.

On the other hand, true meekness is not weakness. A striking proof of this is furnished in Acts 16:35-37. The apostles had been wrongfully beaten and cast into prison. On the next day the magistrates gave orders for their release, but Paul said to their agents, “Let them come themselves and fetch us out.” God-given meekness can stand up for God-given rights. When one of the officers smote our Lord, He answered, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou Me?” ( John 18:23).

No doubt there is also reference to the fact that the meek shall ultimately inherit the “new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” ( 2 Peter 3:13).

-Arthur W. Pink-

This has been an abridged version since his full explanation is quite lengthy. If you would like to read his entire explanation of this beatitude click here.

Dispensations: What's the Difference?

Many times when a dispensationalist and covenantal theologian get together there can tend to be a bit of a confusing discussion that takes place around the term dispensations. The dispensationalist will say something like, “the idea of dispensations is in the scripture, how can you deny this?” The covenantal theologian will say something like, “we believe in dispensations, the idea of the old and new covenant is quite clear in scripture.” At this point the discussion will tend to get a bit sloppy unless the term dispensation is defined.

The term dispensation for the dispensationalists carries with it the meaning of “economy” or “house rules” by which God tests mankind. To the dispensationalist there are usually seven dispensations.

1. The Dispensation of Innocence. (From Creation to Adam’s fall)
2. The Dispensation of Conscience and Sacrifice. (fall of man until the flood)
3. The Dispensation of Human Government. (flood until the tower of Babel)
4. The Dispensation of Promises. (Babel until Moses)
5. The Dispensation of Law. (From Moses until Pentecost)
6. The Dispensation of Grace Abounding. (Pentecost until the rapture)
7. The Dispensation of The Kingdom. (the thousand year millennium)

In each of these dispensations God has different rules by which men are to live. The focus in all of this for the dispensationalist is the focus on the rules or laws set forth to test mankind. It looks at the different ways in which God expects men to live in each period.

For the Covenantal theologian (also known as Federal theology), the focus is the progressive revelation of the covenant of grace. Normally, as with Berkhoff and Charles Hodge, the dispensations are primarily broken down into the old covenant and the new covenant. But both theologians agree that the old covenant can be broken down into sub-divisions, as God reveals in different stages the covenant of Grace that he has made to save his people. Charles Hodge subdivides the old covenant into three different dispensations.

1. Adam to Abraham - the covenant is revealed through the promised seed that would come from mankind.
2. Abraham to Moses – God reveals further the covenant of grace by selecting Abraham as the head of a people from which the seed will come, as this progresses there is a clearer understanding through the type with the near sacrifice of Isaac.
3. Moses to Christ – Through the moral law God is further revealing our need for the covenant of redemption and through the Levitical law we see many types and shadows of how God was going fulfill this covenant of Grace.
4. Christ – the fulfillment of the covenant and the mystery revealed. This is also known as the new covenant.
(Hodge, by the way leaves, out the Noahic dispensation which earlier covenantal theologians held.)

So what is the difference? The dispensationalist tends to look at the law (God’s house rules for living during different dispensations), and the Covenantal theologian tends to look at the progressive revelation of the Gospel. So when both say they believe in dispensations they are thinking of completely different things.

I hope this is somewhat helpful. I'm currently going through a deeper study of these topic so I cannot say I have them completely worked out in my head. I'm sure there may be more to come.

God Bless,


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Glued To The World - james Meikle

"God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness." Hebrews 12:10 (NIV)

It is common to complain of the troubles of life; yet they are kindly designed to loosen our affections from the world. If our life were all clear sunshine, without care or confusion, jar or contention, disappointment or pain--how would we be glued to the world, and cemented to the things of time--since amidst all the disasters which occur, we are still so attached to the transitory things!

-James Meikle-

On Mourning: The 2nd Beatitude - A. W. Pink

“Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).

Mourning is hateful and irksome to poor human nature. From suffering and sadness our spirits instinctively shrink. By nature we seek the society of the cheerful and joyous. Our text presents an anomaly to the unregenerate, yet it is sweet music to the ears of God’s elect. If “blessed,” why do they “mourn”? If they “mourn,” how can they be “blessed”? Only the child of God has the key to this paradox. The more we ponder our text the more we are constrained to exclaim, “Never man spake like this Man!” “Blessed [happy] are they that mourn is an aphorism that is at complete variance with the world’s logic. Men have in all places and in all ages regarded the prosperous and gay as the happy ones, but Christ pronounces happy those who are poor in spirit and who mourn.

Now it is obvious that it is not every species of mourning that is here referred to. There is a “sorrow of the world [that] worketh death” ( Corinthians 7:10). The mourning for which Christ promises comfort must be restricted to that which is spiritual. The mourning that is blessed is the result of a realization of God’s holiness and goodness that issues in a sense of the depravity of our natures and the enormous guilt of our conduct. The mourning for which Christ promises Divine comfort is a sorrowing over our sins with a godly sorrow.

The eight Beatitudes are arranged in four pairs. Proof of this will be furnished as we proceed. The first of the series is the blessing that Christ pronounced upon those who are poor in spirit, which we took as a description of those who have been awakened to a sense of their own nothingness and emptiness. Now the transition from such poverty to mourning is easy to follow. In fact, mourning follows so closely that it is in reality poverty’s companion.
The mourning that is here referred to is manifestly more than that of bereavement, affliction, or loss. It is mourning for sin.

It is mourning over the felt destitution of our spiritual state, and over the iniquities that have separated us and God; mourning over the very morality in which we have boasted, and the self- righteousness in which we have trusted; sorrow for rebellion against God, and hostility to His will; and such mourning always goes side by side with conscious poverty of spirit (Dr. Pierson).

"A striking illustration and exemplification of the spirit upon which the Savior here pronounced His benediction is to be found in Luke 18:9-14. There a vivid contrast is presented to our view. First, we are shown a self-righteous Pharisee looking up toward God and saying, “God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. This may all have been true as he looked at it, yet this man went down to his house in a state of condemnation. His fine garments were rags, his white robes were filthy, though he knew it not. Then we are shown the publican, standing afar off, who, in the language of the Psalmist, was so troubled by his iniquities that he was not able to look up ( Psalm 40:12). He dared not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast. Conscious of the fountain of corruption within, he cried, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” That man went down to his house justified, because he was poor in spirit and mourned for sin."

Here, then, are the first birthmarks of the children of God. He who has never come to be poor in spirit and has never known what it is to really mourn for sin, though he belong to a church or be an office-bearer in it, has neither seen nor entered the Kingdom of God. How thankful the Christian reader ought to be that the great God condescends to dwell in the humble and contrite heart! This is the wonderful promise made by God even in the Old Testament (by Him in whose sight the heavens are not clean, who cannot find in any temple that man has ever built for Him, however magnificent, a proper dwelling place—see Isaiah 57:15 and 66:2)! “Blessed are they that mourn.” Though the primary reference is to that initial mourning commonly called conviction of sin, it is by no means to be limited to that. Mourning is ever a characteristic of the normal Christian state. There is much that the believer has to mourn over. The plague of his own heart makes him cry, “O wretched man that I am” ( Romans 7:24).

The unbelief that “doth so easily beset us” ( Hebrews 12:1) and sins that we commit, which are more in number than the hairs of our head, are a continual grief to us. The barrenness and unprofitableness of our lives make us sigh and cry. Our propensity to wander from Christ, our lack of communion with Him, and the shallowness of our love for Him cause us to hang our harps upon the willows. But there are many other causes for mourning that assail Christian hearts: on every hand hypocritical religion that has a form of godliness while denying the power thereof ( 2 Timothy 3:5); the awful dishonor done to the truth of God by the false doctrines taught in countless pulpits; the divisions among the Lord’s people; and strife between brethren. The combination of these provides occasion for continual sorrow of heart. The awful wickedness in the world, the despising of Christ, and untold human sufferings make us groan within ourselves. The closer the Christian lives to God, the more he will mourn over all that dishonors Him. This is the common experience of God’s true people Psalm 119:53; Jeremiah 13:17; 14:17; Ezekiel 9:4). “They shall be comforted.” By these words Christ refers primarily to the removal of the guilt that burdens the conscience. This is accomplished by the Spirit’s application of the Gospel of God’s grace to one whom He has convicted of his dire need of a Savior. The result is a sense of free and full forgiveness through the merits of the atoning blood of Christ. This Divine comfort is “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding” ( Philippians 4:7), filling the heart of the one who is now assured that he is “accepted in the Beloved” ( Ephesians 1:6). God wounds before healing, and abases before He exalts. First there is a revelation of His justice and holiness, then the making known of His mercy and grace.

The words “they shall be comforted” also receive a constant fulfillment in the experience of the Christian. Though he mourns his excuseless failures and confesses them to God, yet he is comforted by the assurance that the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses him from all sin ( 1 John 1:7). Though he groans over the dishonor done to God on every side, yet is he comforted by the knowledge that the day is rapidly approaching when Satan shall be cast into hell forever and when the saints shall reign with the Lord Jesus in “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” ( 2 Peter 3:13).

Though the chastening hand of the Lord is often laid upon him and though “no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous” ( Hebrews 12:11), nevertheless, he is consoled by the realization that this is all working out for him “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” ( 2 Corinthians 4:17).

Like the Apostle Paul, the believer who is in communion with his Lord can say, “As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing” ( 2 Corinthians 6:10). He may often be called upon to drink of the bitter waters of Marah, but God has planted nearby a tree to sweeten them. Yes, mourning Christians are comforted even now by the Divine Comforter: by the ministrations of His servants, by encouraging words from fellow Christians, and (when these are not to hand) by the precious promises of the Word being brought home in power by the Spirit to their hearts out of the storehouse of their memories. “They shall be comforted.” The best wine is reserved for the last. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” ( Psalm 30:5). During the long night of His absence, believers have been called to fellowship with Him who was the Man of Sorrows. But it is written, “If... we suffer with Him.., we [shall] be also glorified together” ( Romans 8:17).

What comfort and joy will be ours when shall dawn the morning without clouds! Then “sorrow and sighing shall flee away” ( Isaiah 35:10). Then shall be fulfilled the words of the great heavenly voice in Revelation 21:3,4: 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. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

-Arthur W. Pink-

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Covenant of Redemption

The covenant of redemption is the theological term for the agreement that was made between the God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit in how they were going to redeem for themselves the elect. This covenant is not mentioned by name in scripture but it is clearly implied that an agreement had been made between the Godhead. Much like the term Trinity does not apear in scripture but is clearly seen. Here is a quote by Charles Hodge explaining where this idea can be seen in scripture...

"In Psalm 40, expounded by the Apostle as referring to the Messiah, it is said, "Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will," i.e., to execute thy purpose, to carry out thy plan. "By the which will," says the Apostle (Heb.10.10), ''we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." Christ came, therefore, in execution of a purpose of God, to fulfil a work which had been assigned Him. He, therefore, in John 17.4, says, "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." This was said at the close of his earthly course. At its beginning, when yet a child, He said to his parents, " Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" (Luke 2.49.) Our lord speaks of Himself, and is spoken of as sent into the world. He says that as the Father had sent Him into the world, even so had He sent his disciples into the world. (John 17.18). "When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman." (Gal. 4.4). "God sent his only begotten Son into the world." (1 John 4.9). God "sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (Verse 10.) -Charles Hodge-

Below is a transcript from a Spurgeon sermon where he describes this covenant and then wonders what it would have been like to be to hear this covenant being made.

“Now, in this covenant of grace, we must first of all observe the high contracting parties between whom it was made. The covenant of grace was made before the foundation of the world between God the Father, and God the Son; or to put it in a yet more scriptural light, it was made mutually between the three divine persons of the adorable Trinity.”

“I cannot tell you it in the glorious celestial tongue in which it was written: I am fain to bring it down to the speech which suiteth to the ear of flesh, and to the heart of the mortal. Thus, I say, run the covenant, in ones like these:”

"I, the Most High Jehovah, do hereby give unto my only begotten and well-beloved Son, a people, countless beyond the number of stars, who shall be by him washed from sin, by him preserved, and kept, and led, and by him, at last, presented before my throne, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. I covenant by oath, and swear by myself, because I can swear by no greater, that these whom I now give to Christ shall be for ever the objects of my eternal love. Them I will forgive through the merit of the blood. To these will I give a perfect righteousness; these will I adopt and make my sons and daughters, and these shall reign with me through Christ eternally." Thus run that glorious side of the covenant. The Holy Spirit also, as one of the high contracting parties on this side of the covenant, gave his declaration, "I hereby covenant," saith he, "that all whom the Father giveth to the Son, I will in due time quicken. I will show them their need of redemption; I will cut off from them all groundless hope, and destroy their refuges of lies. I will bring them to the blood of sprinkling; I will give them faith whereby this blood shall be applied to them, I will work in them every grace; I will keep their faith alive; I will cleanse them and drive out all depravity from them, and they shall be presented at last spotless and faultless." This was the one side of the covenant, which is at this very day being fulfilled and scrupulously kept. As for the other side of the covenant this was the part of it, engaged and covenanted by Christ. He thus declared, and covenanted with his Father: "My Father, on my part I covenant that in the fullness of time I will become man. I will take upon myself the form and nature of the fallen race. I will live in their wretched world, and for my people I will keep the law perfectly. I will work out a spotless righteousness, which shall be acceptable to the demands of thy just and holy law. In due time I will bear the sins of all my people. Thou shalt exact their debts on me; the chastisement of their peace I will endure, and by my stripes they shall be healed. My Father, I covenant and promise that I will be obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. I will magnify thy law, and make it honourable. I will suffer all they ought to have suffered. I will endure the curse of thy law, and all the vials of thy wrath shall be emptied and spent upon my head. I will then rise again; I will ascend into heaven; I will intercede for them at thy right hand; and I will make myself responsible for every one of them, that not one of those whom thou hast given me shall ever be lost, but I will bring all my sheep of whom, by thy blood, thou hast constituted me the shepherd—I will bring every one safe to thee at last."

-Charles Spurgeon-

Imagine, that for all who believe, our names were written in the Lamb’s book of life since before the foundations of the world. The Triune God has covenanted to save us, and who can stay His hand. This is eternal security,

God Bless,


Saturday, March 25, 2006

What Are Those Wounds? - Spurgeon

O Lord Jesus, what are those wounds in your side,and in your hands?

He answers--"These I endured when suffering for you.
How can I forget you?
I have graven you upon the palms of my hands.
How can I ever fail to remember you?
On my very heart the spear has written your name."

Look at Jesus, dead, buried, risen, and then say,
"He loved me, and gave himself for me!"

There is no restorative for a sinking faith like
a sight of the wounded Saviour.
Look, soul, and live by the proofs of his death!
Come and put your finger, by faith, into the print of the nails,
and these wounds shall heal you of unbelief.
The wounds of our Lord are the tokens of his love.

Charles Spurgeon

Friday, March 24, 2006

On Being Poor in Spirit

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God. Matt. 5:3

What does it mean to be “poor in spirit”? In Matt. 13:44 Jesus tells this parable, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.” To be poor in spirit is to realize that nothing we have is worth more than the kingdom of God. Knowing this, we become willing to part with anything we have if it hinders us from receiving the kingdom. This is why Jesus said, “No one of you can be my disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” (Luke 14:33)

When we think of possessions, our minds automatically go to things like our homes, cars, big screen televisions, and the luxuries we live with, and this is certainly part of it. But Jesus goes much further when He says, “If anyone loves even his mother and father more than me, he cannot be my disciple”. Jesus is also including our families in this equation. Do you love your children more than Him? What about your health? If he decided to test your faith with disease, would you still trust Him? When Jesus speaks of possessions, He means everything; our careers, our reputations, even if our aspirations are to be leaders in the Christian community, and all of these are to be handed over if He asks. The idea of “possessions” is so complete that it includes everything we hold valuable. Nothing is to be more valuable to us than Christ.

Being poor in spirit is directly related to our faith. We know that, “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of those who seek Him.”(Heb 11:6). Without faith you could never come to Him, because believing that He is and that He will reward those who seek Him, is faith. If you don’t believe this, than you will not come to Him and thus you do not have faith. We also must realize that it is not the “coming” by which we are justified; it is the “faith”, but the "faith" produces the "coming."

The same applies to being poor in spirit. The only way we can be “poor in spirit” is to truly believe that He is more valuable than anything we have, and this is an aspect of our faith. The entire chapter of Hebrews 11 is about faith, and it lists what some of God people we’re willing to sacrifice because of their faith in God. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac (Heb. 11:17) Moses “chose rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin; considering the reproach of Christ greater riches, than the treasures of Egypt (Heb 11:25,26).

"Still others had trials of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented-- of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth (Heb. 11:36-38)."

Why would these people be willing to give up so much? It was because, by faith, they became poor in spirit. Nothing in this life was worth sparing if it meant not inheriting the kingdom of God.

When the rich young ruler came to Jesus and said, “What must I do to be saved” Jesus told him to sell all he had and to give it to the poor. Jesus was not telling him, do these works and you will be saved, because works cannot save us. Instead, Jesus knew that His heart lacked faith, and was therefore not poor in spirit. He did not believe that following Jesus was more valuable than the things of this world.

Being poor in spirit is not taking vows of poverty, which can be acts of pretense, or despising the blessings God has given us. Instead it is a condition of the heart. As Matthew Henry said,

this poverty of spirit is a gracious disposition of soul, by which we are emptied of self, in order to our being filled with Jesus Christ.” He also said it was, “To be contentedly poor, willing to be emptied of worldly wealth, if God orders that to be our lot; to bring our mind to our condition, when it is a low condition. Many are poor in the world, but high in spirit, poor and proud, murmuring and complaining, and blaming their lot, but we must accommodate ourselves to our poverty, we must know how to be abased, Phil. 4:12”.

Today as we consider whether we are poor in spirit, may the Lord use this meditation to show us the true state of our hearts before Him? May He work in us a “spirit of poverty” regardless of our outward state. May we be humbly willing to serve our Lord wherever He may lead. May nothing be more valuable to us than our precious Savior. May we understand that we have nothing of value apart from Christ. Let us realize that we are the “unprofitable servants” (Luke 17:10), as we remember that the thief on the cross speaks of our condition when he said, “We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn't done anything wrong." Yet Christ responded to him “Today you will be with me in paradise”.

Hold nothing more valuable than this pearl of great price. Be willing to sell all you have to purchase it, if it is required of you. Such actions will not merit you anything toward salvation, but they prove that your faith is a living faith, by which you are justified, thus showing that you are poor in spirit and blessed because yours is the kingdom of God.

-Doug Eaton-

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Looking for Some Theological Teaching in MP3?

If you are looking for some theological and expository teaching in MP3 format, check out this site.

Believers Chapel

If you don't know where to start here are some great series to check out.

Three Great Imputations

Who Was Jesus Christ

The Doctrines of Sovereign Grace


Choose from many expository teachings based on certain passages of scripture.

God Bless,


Worldliness and Pleasure - J.I. Packer

Everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and Prayer. 1 Timothy 4:4-5

Enslavement to activities is worldliness in its purest form: compulsive workaholism is as worldly as is any form of laziness. Whether persons are worldly or not depends not on how much pleasure they take from life, but on the spirit in which they take it. If we let pleasant things engross us so that we forget God, we are worldly. If we receive them gratefully with a purpose of pleasing God by our appreciation and use of his gifts, we are not worldly but godly. Worldliness is the spirit that substitues earthly goals (pleasure, profit, popularity, privilege, power) for life's true Goal, which is the praise of God.

Worldliness is not pleasure, but the confusion of values.

J.I. Packer - The Christian and God's World

The Parable of the Unprofitable Servants

Which one of you having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat’? But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me until I have eaten and drunk; and afterward you will eat and drink’? He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unprofitable slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.

Luke 17:7-10 -New American Standard Version-

This parable at first glance can seem a bit perplexing as we try to understand what it is that Jesus is telling His disciples. But as we dig deeper it is quite an amazing parable because in one short story Jesus shows that works are completely useless for earning salvation and completely demanded in another sense.

As you exegete scripture, you must always start with the context in which you find the passage. This parable is the response Jesus gives his disciples, because they had requested more faith. Before Jesus begins to tell this parable, He lays two difficult commands on the disciples; first, he tells them not to cause anyone to stumble for it would be better to have a millstone tied around their necks and be thrown into the water; second, He tells them that they are to forgive anyone who wrongs them and asks for forgiveness, even if they do it seven times a day. In this context, seven represents the perfect number, which means there is no limit to how many times you are to forgive someone. It is these seemingly impossible commands that caused the disciples to ask Jesus for more faith, because they see the difficulty of the commands and the weaknesses in themselves. As David Brown says, in the Critical and Experimental Commentary,

What prompted so peculiar a petition? No doubt the felt difficulty of carrying into effect such holy directions—the difficulty first of avoiding offences and next of forgiving them so divinely.” (Brown, 298)

Jesus goes on to confirm their lack of faith by telling them that if they only had the faith of a mustard seed they would be able to do many wonders. This is used not only to humble them, but also to encourage them by showing the power of faith in Him. What they could never do themselves, would in fact be accomplished through faith. It is in this context that we find this parable, which cues us into the fact that faith has something to do with what Jesus wants to teach them.

We find in this parable two main characters; the master and the servant. In his book, Interpreting the Parables, Blomberg lays out the idea that there will be a truth or point that can be derived from each character in the parable. For many parables, this seems to hold true, although there are a few parables, in which he struggles to stay within the constraints of this system of interpretation.

The first character we will consider in this parable is the master. It is clear that the master is the figure of authority, which immediately causes us to see him as a representation for God. The master places demands on the servant, with which, the servant is required to comply. We can see that the master is not an equal with the servant. He is clearly above him in authority, and the servant has no authority to question his commands.

The authority of the master is made explicitly clear in the fact that no “thanks” is required in the servant’s compliance with the master’s demands. When one of two people who are equals asks the other to do something for them and it is done, a thanks is usually required because the person who asked had no real obligation to do it. This is not the case here. The master has the right to command the servant as he pleases and no thanks is required, even if the commands are difficult.

The servants are the subordinates. If the master is a representation for God, then clearly the subordinates are his disciples. As we consider the demands, we observe that they may, be difficult, but they are nevertheless just. There is nothing in the demands that is too harsh. In light of the context we understand that the commands are representations of; not causing someone to stumble and to forgive others when wronged.

Before we consider Jesus’ final statement to the disciples concerning this parable, it is important to point out that He begins this Parable with the phrase “Which of you.” Jesus starts many parables with this type of question. When he does this he is usually expecting a unanimous answer. As the disciples would have heard this, they would have recognized the master’s authority over the servant, and the servant’s duties to feed the master and gird himself. So when they heard the question that was being posed, --Would you let your servant sit down and eat first before he fed you?--they would have of course answered, “No.” Jesus used what is called an “a fortiori”, or “lesser to the greater” argument. This means that He is saying if a human master has the right to command his servant this way, how much more does God have the right to command his disciples? In other words, if we think a human master has the right to require this of the servant and offer no thanks, then how much more does God have the right to do the same?

Understanding this, we are able to move to Jesus’ closing statement that says, “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unprofitable slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done’.” It is in this statement that Jesus makes his reasons clear for telling this parable. Nothing we can do causes God to be indebted to us. Matthew Henry puts it this way,

God cannot be a gainer by our services, and therefore cannot be made a debtor by them. He has no need of us, nor can our services make any addition to his perfections. It becomes us therefore to call ourselves unprofitable servants.” (Henry, 618)

This same truth is found in Job 22:2-3, which says, "Can a vigorous man be of use to God, or a wise man be useful to himself? "Is there any pleasure to the Almighty if you are righteous, or profit if you make your ways perfect?” We have nothing that can make God indebted to us. We are truly “unprofitable servants.” If we do anything right, we have only done what is required. Even if we go beyond the call of duty, we have been required to go the “extra mile.”

As stated before, this is in a teaching about faith. How does this parable give us any teaching about faith? David Brown explains…

“The connection of this with the subject discoursed of (faith), may be thus expressed—‘but when your faith has been so increased as both to avoid and forgive offences, and do things impossible to all but faith—even then, be not puffed up as though you had laid the Lord under any obligation.” (Brown, 298)

Without faith we can do nothing that is pleasing to God, but with faith as small as a mustard seed we can move mountains. Even when we are doing things only possible by faith, we have no reason to boast of our benefit to God, because we are not profitable to Him. Jesus seems to be answering their inquiry about faith by saying, do not worry, you do not have it now but you will, and when you do, do not become proud thinking you have earned anything.

In one short parable Jesus has shown that works are useless in meriting our salvation, but for those who have faith they are absolutely required, because faith produces works. Even the disciples understood this truth. This is why when they are commanded to do great works they respond in asking for more faith. They also understood that faith comes from God, and not something they muster up themselves.

Using Blomberg’s system, we learn something from both characters in the parable. He finds that the two main points of this parable are as follows: First; “God retains the right to command his followers to live however he chooses.” Second, “God’s people should never presume that their obedience has earned them his favor.” (Blomberg, 263). Although both of Blomberg’s points are true it seems to leave out the emphasis on the faith that is required to do such works.

In conclusion, this parable should affect us by producing humility. Anyone who thinks that they have earned some special favor with the Lord because of their good works or service is severely mistaken, because this is what we are supposed to do. Even some of the greatest men who have ever lived such as the Apostle Paul, St. Augustine, John Calvin, Charles Wesley, or Charles Spurgeon, have not caused God to look with favor upon them. It is only by God’s grace that He looks with favor upon such people and upon us. Nothing in ourselves makes us worthy of being called children of God. That is why some versions of Scripture call the “unprofitable servants” the “unworthy servants.” In ourselves we have nothing of worth before God, but it is God’s love for us that gives us worth. As James Sire states in the Universe Next Door, “God does not love us because we are valuable, we are valuable because God loves us” (Sire, 29). Therefore, as we move forward doing the work God has commanded us to do, we can only do it by faith, and we must never begin to think that we are of such value that God owes us anything. For it is by grace through faith that we are saved, and anything we do for Him is the result of our salvation and not the cause of it. The favor God gives us is completely unmerited.

-Doug Eaton-

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

On Christian Disagreement - Francis Schaeffer

To put the following quote in context, Francis Schaeffer is speaking on the topic of Christian Love, and is speaking of serious disagreements between Christians with the world watching on.

“We should never come to such difference with true Christians without regret and without tears. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Believe me, evangelicals often have not shown it. We rush in, being very, very, pleased, it would seem at times, to find other people’s mistakes. We build ourselves up by tearing other people down. This can never show a real oneness among Christians.

There is only one kind of person who can fight the Lord’s battles in anywhere near a proper way, and that is the person who is by nature unbelligerent. A belligerent man tends to do it because he is belligerent; at least it looks that way. The world must observe that when we must differ with each other as true Christians, we do it not because we love the smell of blood, the smell of the arena, the smell of the bullfight, but because we must for God’s sake. If there are tears when we must speak, then something beautiful can be observed.”

-Francis Schaeffer, The Mark of A Christian-

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Comfort for Struggling Christians (4)

If Christ lose one of his people, he would not be a whole Christ any longer. If the meanest of his children could be cast away, Christ would lack a part of his fullness; yea, Christ would be incomplete without his Church. If one of his children must be lost, it would be better that it should be a great one, than a little one. If a little one were lost, Satan would say, "Ah! you save the great ones, because they had strength and could help themselves; but the little one that has no strength, you could not save him." You know what Satan would say; but God would shut Satan's mouth, by proclaiming, "They are all here, Satan, in spite of thy malice, they are all here; every one is safe; now lie down in thy den for ever, and be bound eternally in chains, and smoke in fire!" So shall he suffer eternal torment, but not one child of God ever shall.

-Charles Spurgeon-

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Comfort for Struggling Christians (3)

It says he will not quench—he will not break. But there is more under cover than we see at first sight. When Jesus says he will not break, he means more than that; he means, "I will take that poor bruised reed; I will plant it hard by the rivers of waters, and (miracle of miracles) I will make it grow into a tree whose leaf shall not wither; I will water it every moment; I will watch it; there shall be heavenly fruits upon it; I will keep the birds of prey from it; but the birds of heaven, the sweet songsters of paradise shall make their dwellings in the branches." When he says that he will not break the bruised reed, he means more; he means that he will nourish, that he will help, and strengthen, and support and glorify—that he will execute his commission on it, and make it glorious for ever. And when he says to the backslider that he will not quench him, he means more than that—he means that he will fan him up to a flame. Some of you, I dare say, have gone home from chapel and found that your fire had gone nearly out; I know how you deal with it; you blow gently at the single spark, if there is one, and lest you should blow too hard, you hold your finger before it; and if you were alone and had but one match, or one spark in the tinder, how gently would you blow it. So, backslider, Jesus Christ deals with thee; he does not put thee out; he blows gently; he says, "I will not quench thee;" he means, "I will be very tender, very cautious, very careful;" he will put on dry material, so that by-and-by a little spark shall come to a flame, and blaze up towards heaven, and great shall be the fire thereof.

Comfort for Struggling Christians (2)

Mat 12:20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench,

There is a bruised reed before me—a poor child of God under a deep sense of sin. It seems as if the whip of the law would never stop. It keeps on, lash, lash, lash; and though you say, "Lord, stop it, and give me a little respite," still comes down the cruel thong, lash, lash, lash. You feel your sins. Ah! I know what you are saying this morning: "If God continues this a little longer my heart will break: I shall perish in despair; I am almost distracted by my sin; if I lie down at night I cannot sleep; it appears as if ghosts were in the room—ghosts of my sins—and when I awake at midnight, I see the black form of death staring at me, and saying, 'Thou art my prey, I shall have thee;' while hell behind seems to burn." Ah! poor bruised reed, he will not break you; conviction shall be too strong; it shall be great enough to melt thee, and to make thee go to Jesus' feet; but it shall not be strong enough to break thy heart altogether, so that thou shouldst die. Thou shalt never be driven to despair; but thou shalt be delivered; thou shalt come out of the fire, poor bruised reed, and shalt not be broken.

Now, I can imagine some woman here this morning who has departed from the paths of virtue; and, while she is standing in the throng up there, or sitting down, she feels as if she had no right to tread these hallowed courts, and stand among God' s people. She thinks that God might almost make the chapel break down upon her to destroy her, she is so great a sinner. Never mind, broken reed and smoking flax! Though thou art the scorn of man, and loathsome to thyself, yet Jesus saith to thee, " Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee." There is some man here who hath something in his heart that I know not of -- who may have committed crimes in secret, that we will not mention in public; his sins stick like a leech to him, and rob him of all comfort. Here you are young man, shaking and trembling, lest your crime should be divulged before high heaven; you are broken down, bruised like a reed, smoking like flax. Ah! I have a word for thee too. Comfort! comfort! comfort! Despair not; for Jesus saith he will not quench the smoking flax, he will not break the bruised reed."

"Charles Spurgeon"

Friday, March 17, 2006

Comfort for Struggling Christians (1)

The next four posts are for those who are struggling in their Christian faith. They wonder if God has lost them, or if somehow they have gone too far where God will no longer have them. These are dark nights in the life of the believer. This post contains the lyrics of a song which I believe does a great job of expressing the situation. The next three post will be quotes by Charles Spurgeon which will explain it further and offer hope, the final one being my favorite.


The Silence of God

It's enough to drive a man crazy; it'll break a man's faith
It's enough to make him wonder if he's ever been sane
When he's bleating for comfort from Thy staff and Thy rod
And the heaven's only answer is the silence of God

It'll shake a man's timbers when he loses his heart
When he has to remember what broke him apart
This yoke may be easy, but this burden is not
When the crying fields are frozen by the silence of God

And if a man has got to listen to the voices of the mob
Who are reeling in the throes of all the happiness they've got
When they tell you all their troubles have been nailed up to that cross
Then what about the times when even followers get lost?
'Cause we all get lost sometimes...

There's a statue of Jesus on a monastery knoll
In the hills of Kentucky, all quiet and cold
And He's kneeling in the garden, as silent as a Stone
All His friends are sleeping and He's weeping all alone
And the man of all sorrows, he never forgot
What sorrow is carried by the hearts that he bought

So when the questions dissolve into the silence of God
The aching may remain, but the breaking does not
The aching may remain, but the breaking does not
In the holy, lonesome echo of the silence of God

-Andrew Peterson-

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Importance of Our Words (3)

Idle Words

So what does this passage teach us as Christians who have not and cannot blaspheme of the Holy Spirit? First what this shows us is that our words reveal a lot about the state of our hearts toward Christ. What do your words say about your heart towards Christ? Maybe you say, Well I definitely do not blaspheme Him, but Jesus goes on in verse 36 to say, "But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give an account of it in the day of judgment.”

We may not be saying anything negative about Christ, but that does not mean we are not saying anything at all. Our idle words speak volumes about our hearts condition toward Christ. If all we speak about are the things of this world and trivial matters. Constantly engaging in gossip, slander, course jesting, using His name in vain, and other vanities of speech, we have failed to see that the words we speak are extremely important. Constant idle or trivial words tend to express an idle or trivial heart when it comes to its relationship with Christ.

Jesus said to the Pharisees, “he who is not with me is against me.” Scripture also asks us, “How long will you halt between two positions, if God be God then serve Him.” One of the ways we serve him is by speaking about him, praising Him, and praying to him. Be not idle in your words.

Our Confession of Christ

We have seen here two negative commands from the lips of Christ. We are to neither blaspheme the Holy Spirit, nor are we to be idle in our words. As with every negative command of scripture there is a corresponding positive command. In this case we are to be purposeful in our words and we are to positively confess him.

How often do you confess Christ? To understand the importance of this we must realize that to be able to confess him is a gift from God. This is because without the Holy Spirit it is impossible to receive the things of the God. 1 Cor. 2:14 tells us, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: For they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." We cannot confess what we cannot receive because it is foolishness to us, but through the work of the Holy Spirit He opens our blind eyes to see the truth.

Scripture then goes further by telling us that we cannot even say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. 1 Cor. 12:3 says, “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed; and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” When we confess Christ as Lord and mean it, and speak His truths, this is due directly to the Holy Spirit’s work in our life. It is truly a gift of grace.

This is expressed in the miracle that Jesus did which caused the Pharisees to blaspheme. It is no coincidence that the man who was healed was blind and mute. Like him, we were blind to the things of God, unable to receive them in their truthfulness, and because of this we were also mute in our ability to confess Him as Lord. But through the work of the Spirit we were healed of both infirmities.

Our confessions stems form a heart of flesh that is now sensitive to the things of God, but used to be a heart of stone. Paul in Roman’s 3 tells us that the true child of God has always been the one who has been circumcised of the heart. And Deut. 30:6 tells us that this is the work of God, as it says He is the one who does this. Most people know this as being regenerated or born again. This is another reason why we cannot commit blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Our new hearts won’t let us.

Make your confession of Christ and speak His truths. It can never disgrace you. Jesus in Luke 12:8 says, “Also I say unto you, whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God.” When we confess Christ, our name is being confessed I the heavens. More importantly Jesus says in Matt. 10:32-33, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heave. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God.” When we confess Christ He confesses us before His Father. The world may marginalize you, laugh at you, and my even put you to death, but your confession of Christ cannot disgrace to you. In fact, God is exalted because He is the one who works in you to will and to do His good pleasure.

Paul said of his confession, that it was for the Glorification of God and to lead men to salvation. He says this in Rom. 15:9 which says, "And that the gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, for this cause I will confess to thee among the gentile, and sing unto thy name."

Jesus then goes on to make an extremely interesting statement. He says, “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” What does this mean? Are we not justified by faith alone? In order to answer this many have said that Jesus was not speaking of Justification before God, but justification before other men. People will know you’re a Christian by the words you speak, and your speech should set you apart. There is a lot of merit in this understanding, but the context seems to be going deeper than that. He seems to actually be making a comment about our justification before Him. Ultimately the answer is yes, we are saved by faith alone, but true faith produces works. Our confession is one of those works, and even the thief on the cross had time to do this. When he asks Jesus to remember him in his kingdom, he was saying I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of God.

This is why our confession is often linked to our salvation. Romans 10:9 says, “That if thou shalt confess with they mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” We do not make our confession to be saved, but we make our confession because we are saved. Just to clarify, this does not mean that if a man was to die alone and come to faith right before death that he would not inherit the kingdom of God because he didn’t confess it to anyone. His confession would be in his heart toward God.

Make your confession now, because eventually everyone will make this confession. Phil. 2:10-11 says, “Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” Let the world reject you. Let the authorities of this world laugh. They too will one day make the same confession as you, but if it is not in this life it will be too late. There is no other name under heaven by which men can be saved.

Christian, your confession of Christ is evidence that you have been justified before God by Christ’s death on the cross. It brings glory to God, and leads others to Him. Non-Christian, by your words you will be condemned. Do you not confess that Jesus is Lord? Do you put down a message such as this as foolishness, or are you completely idle toward the truths of Christ? All three of these things condemn you, and you will bear the weight of them at the final judgment if you will not confess Him as Lord.

Make your confession. Make it now and make it often, whatever the cost in this life may be. Be careful of the words you speak, by avoiding negative and idle talk. You have been given a gift to speak His word and confess His name. You are no longer blind and mute. Use this gift, and be a witness. Contend for the faith. Make your words purposeful and true, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. May God give us the grace to do this.

God Bless,


Next I will start a 3 or 4 post series of quotes called Comfort for Struggling Christians.

The Importance of Our Words (2)

We all know that the words we choose to speak are significant. They can heal, hurt, comfort, or destroy. They can also proclaim Christ or curse Him. Scripture is clear that we are to take heed to the words we speak. One of the reasons they are so important is because reveal our hearts.

This passage in Matthew covers quite a bit, but for the sake of our discussion we will break it down into three different parts. First we will look at blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (post 2), Second we will look at idle words, and third we will look at our positive confession of Christ (post 3).

Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit
In this situation we have Jesus who has just healed a man who was blind and mute. Because of the work of the Holy Spirit through Christ, the man is healed and the truth that Jesus is the Messiah was being revealed. Many in the crowd even began to ask if this Jesus is the son of David. Understanding this truth themselves, the Pharisees say that the work that is being done by the Spirit of God is actually being done by the Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons. With this in mind Jesus goes on to give a few arguments as to why this could not be the case, and then lays on them some of the most terrifying words in scripture. He tells them that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven in this life or the life to come.

What exactly is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? There are a few basic views. The first one is that it could only be done while Christ was on the earth. This sin was to see what Christ was doing through the Holy Spirit and call it evil, but since Christ is no longer on the earth this sin can no longer be committed. Many great men and women of the faith have held this position. But the problem as I see it stems from the fact that the sin in this case is not against Christ, it is against the Holy Spirit. One of the greatest works of the Spirit is to reveal that Jesus is the Son of God. He has not ceased in doing this work and this work can still be called evil. Mark 3:29 says, “Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness.” The use of the word “whoever” does not seem to limit this sin to the time of Christ being on the earth. Much like when Jesus says, whosoever believes in me shall have eternal life. The "whosoever" in this passage is clearly not limited to the time Christ was on the earth.

The second view is held by many and it is considered rejecting the Holy Spirit’s work until death. And I believe this is ultimately true. But it seems leave out the fact that blasphemy is a sin of the tongue.

A Third view holds that it is actually a sin of the tongue. It is a known, malicious, calling of the working of the Holy Spirit evil, and can still happen today. Many in this view believe it cannot be committed ignorantly. What this means is that there is some sort of mental assent or knowing that the Holy Spirit is actually the one doing the work, but in an attempt to suppress that truth in unrighteousness the person blasphemes against it.

One of the reasons some hold to this being a sin that involves a knowing or mental assent is because it is often linked with the sin found in Hebrews 6. In this passage, the person has been enlightened to the truth, and has even partaken in the Holy Spirit’s work in the fact that they understand the truths, and still reject Christ. In rejecting Christ they are rejecting the Holy Spirit. The person who does such a thing is said to have crucified Christ afresh, and that it is impossible to renew such a one to repentance. Since the scripture tells us that all sin is forgiven of men except blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, and the sin committed in Hebrews 6 also seems to be unforgivable, there seems to be a good reason to link the two together.

So how do Bible expositors link this specific sin to being a continuous denial of the grace of God? They do this by looking at Jesus’ words which shows us that this blasphemy is ultimately a sin that flows from the heart. Jesus says, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." This sin comes from a heart that is so hard toward the things of God that it will never repent, and God in his purposes has refused to bring it to repentance.

This passage has undoubtedly caused many people trouble and fear. They wonder after reading it if they have committed this sin. If this concern stems from a heart that desires to be right with the Lord then this person has not committed it. If a person’s heart is sensitive to the truths of God, then they are not guilty of it. The person who’s heart is as hard as those in this scripture would not be concerned about being right with the Lord. They would despise Him.

Another aspect of this sin is that those who have been saved cannot commit this sin. In Hebrews 6 the author says, to his audience of believers that he didn’t expect them to fall away and crucify Christ afresh. Instead he expected to see from them things that accompany salvation. From the context perseverance seems to be one of those things that will accompany salvation. So a Christian is unable to commit this sin. The Christian inability to commit this sin will also be addressed further in the next post.

God Bless,


The Importance of Our Words (1)

Thank you to all who reponded to the question regarding blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. I had several who asked me to post my sermon on the topic when it was completed. The next three posts will be a written out version of this sermon. This first one is to give you the text of scripture that will be dealt with in the sermon. The second one will deal with blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and the third will deal with, idle words and our positive confession of Christ.


Matthew 12:22-37

22 Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. 23 And all the multitudes were amazed and said, "Could this be the Son of David?" 24 Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, "This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons." 25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can one enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. 30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad. 31 "Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. 33 "Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

New King James Version

Monday, March 13, 2006

Perseverance of the Saints

He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. Rev. 3:5

What a glorious promise, we will be dressed in white and Christ will acknowledge us before the Father and His angels. Who is this promise for? It’s for those who overcome. What are we to overcome? The many things in this world that try to cause us to ultimately renounce Christ. Many things can tempt us to walk away from the Lord. False philosophies, the desire for personal peace and affluence, the lust of our flesh, trials, temptations, doubts, fears, persecutions, and the list could go on. We are commanded by our Lord to endure to the end, and if we do so, God promises not to blot our name out of the Book of Life. .

Many may be saying, how am I to endure to the end? My faith is weak, lusts pull at my flesh, my eyes wander, and the pride of life tears at my resolve. With opposition like this, how am I to endure? If left to myself I shall surely prove a castaway.

But we who are His have had our names written in the book since the foundations of the world, and of those who are His, He will not lose one. If left to ourselves we will surely perish, but praise God we are not left to ourselves. We are kept by the power of God through faith. We shall endure because of His keeping.

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. He is the author and finisher of our faith. He is faithful and just to complete the work He has started in us. He was the one who initiated our faith, and it is He who will finish it. That is a promise, and His faithfulness endures forever

So press on! Make Christ your focus, Heaven your destination. You are promised to make it. Our names cannot be blotted out, for He said they wouldn’t be. Let the enemy assail, let our own depravity torment, and let persecution come if it must. We shall not stop marching until we reach the end of our sojourn and are at home in the land of our promise. For on the cross He said it was finished. He has bought us at a price, and our garments of white He already has waiting.

-Doug Eaton-

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Love of the Lord - Spurgeon

"The love of the Lord." --Hosea 3:1

Believer, look back through all thine experience, and think of the way whereby the Lord thy God has led thee in the wilderness, and how He hath fed and clothed thee every day--how He hath borne with thine ill manners--how He hath put up with all thy murmurings, and all thy longings after the flesh-pots of Egypt--how He has opened the rock to supply thee, and fed thee with manna that came down from heaven. Think of how His grace has been sufficient for thee in all thy troubles--how His blood has been a pardon to thee in all thy sins--how His rod and His staff have comforted thee. When thou hast thus looked back upon the love of the Lord, then let faith survey His love in the future, for remember that Christ's covenant and blood have something more in them than the past. He who has loved thee and pardoned thee, shall never cease to love and pardon. He is Alpha, and He shall be Omega also: He is first, and He shall be last. Therefore, bethink thee, when thou shalt pass through the valley of the shadow of death, thou needest fear no evil, for He is with thee. When thou shalt stand in the cold floods of Jordan, thou needest not fear, for death cannot separate thee from His love; and when thou shalt come into the mysteries of eternity thou needest not tremble, "For I am persuaded, that neither death; nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Now, soul, is not thy love refreshed? Does not this make thee love Jesus? Doth not a flight through illimitable plains of the ether of love inflame thy heart and compel thee to delight thyself in the Lord thy God? Surely as we meditate on "the love of the Lord," our hearts burn within us, and we long to love Him more.

-C.H. Spurgeon-

Friday, March 10, 2006

Family Man - Andrew Peterson

This is something a bit different than the usual but how can I have Godward Thoughts without speaking about the greatest blessing He has Given me besides His son on the cross?

I am a family man
I traded in my mustang for a minivan
This is not what I was headed for when I began
This was not my plan
I am a family man

But everything I had to lose
Came back a thousand times in you
And you fill me up with love
Fill me up with love
And you help me stand
'cause I am a family man

And life is good
That's something I always knew
But I just never understood
If you'd asked me then you know I'd say I never would
Settle down in a neighborhood
I never thought I could

But I don't remember anymore
Who I even was before
You filled me up with love
Filled me up with love
And you help me stand

So come on with the thunder clouds
Let the cold wind rail against us, let the rain come down
We can build a roof above us with the love we've found
We can stand our ground
So let the rain come down

Because love binds up what breaks in two
So keep my heart so close to you
And I'll fill you up with love
Fill you up with love
And I'll help you stand
'Cause I am a family man

I'm saving my vacation time
For Disneyland
This is not what I was headed for when I began
This was not my plan
It's so much better than

-Andrew Peterson- !

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Question - What is Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?

I am currently working on a sermon, and was planning on covering Matthew 12:22-37. I was interested in your view on the question of what is "blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?" There are about three different understandings that I am aware of. What would be helpful is if you can tell me your view, and a basic understanding of how you get it out of the text. If you don't have time to show me how you get it out of the text, you can simply tell tell me your view.

Another question you could answer that would be helpful is, what direction would you take a sermon on this text. We always want to end up at the cross of Christ, but how would you get there?

Any comments would be appreciated.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

On Foreknowledge - Gordon Clark

"Some people argue that knowledge or foreknowledge does not necessitate anything. Even a man may know that an event will occur tomorrow, but this does not mean that he causes it to happen. Perhaps so. But if he does not cause it to happen, there must be some other cause which does, for unless it were certain, he could not know it. Now, then, since omniscience shows that all events are certain, it follows that if God does not cause them, there must be a cause external to and independent of God. In other words, God has ceased to be God. Toplady recognizes this in his paragraph: “God’s foreknowledge, taken abstractly, is not the sole cause of beings and events; but his will and determinate counsel and foreknowledge act in concert, the latter resulting from and being founded on the former.” Note that foreknowledge is dependent on determinate counsel. This is not true of a man. For example, I know that Christ will return. The event is determined, certain, and necessary. But I did not determine it.

"Gordon Clark. The Atonement - page 135

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Replacement

Gen 22:13 "And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son."

As Isaac watched the knife which was lifted by his father be plunged into the ram that had been caught in the thicket, what could have been going through his mind? As he watched as the altar was set ablaze to finish the burnt offering, the thought of his replacement must have astonished him.

Only moments early he had been bound and laying on the altar himself. Not only him but the future existence of the children of God. As Isaac watched his replacement, he watched for us all as God shows him that there is one who will come to bear our scorn.

The ram obviously being a shadow of Christ who was to come, finds us bound upon the altar of the wrath of God, bound in the sense that we loved our sin, and wanted to continue in it. As it is with all those who are under the law, the dagger of God's justice was raised above us, waiting until His sovereign and unstoppable hand plunged it down.

But while we were still sinners, fighting against His authority and grace, He began to untie us. Our hearts of stone He began to soften as we lay in defiance of Him. With the hammer of His word, He then destroyed the bonds of false philosophies and empty arguments which held us captive. And He continued His work until we, being freed, crawled of the altar. As we stood in astonishment, God Himself in Christ crawled upon the altar freely without bonds. He lay there perfectly still, as God the Father plunged the dagger of His justice upon His only son.

By faith the children of God, look on in amazement as we claim the merits of His blood, completely undone by the fact that all of this has been done for us. Had God left us upon the altar to strike us with His justice, He would have been perfect in His Holiness and impeccable in His goodness. But He did not do it, not because we were worthy but because He loves us as the Father loves the Son; eternally without beginning and without end.

Doug Eaton

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Shepherd of Life - Steve Bell

The Lord of life is my shepherd
He leads me with nothing to want
And He leads me along
With His staff and His rod
He is here to comfort my fears

Though I walk through the valley
I walk with His hand in mine
Thought I passed my last breath
In the shadow of death
But I’m still here
Safe on the other side

Here with the waters beside
Cool in the grasses I lie
Here with my Lord
Who gently restores
The Shepherd of Life

There’s a table laid out before me
There’s a cup in which joy overflows
Surely goodness and love
Will follow me all of the days
All the days of my life

Steve Bell - Adapted from Psalm 23

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted - Thomas Kelly

Stricken, smitten, and afflicted,
See Him dying on the tree!
’Tis the Christ by man rejected;
Yes, my soul, ’tis He, ’tis He!
’Tis the long expected prophet,
David’s Son, yet David’s Lord;
Proofs I see sufficient of it:
’Tis a true and faithful Word.

Tell me, ye who hear Him groaning,
Was there ever grief like His?
Friends through fear His cause disowning,
Foes insulting his distress:
Many hands were raised to wound Him,
None would interpose to save;
But the deepest stroke that pierced Him
Was the stroke that Justice gave.

Ye who think of sin but lightly,
Nor suppose the evil great,
Here may view its nature rightly,
Here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the Sacrifice appointed!
See Who bears the awful load!
’Tis the Word, the Lord’s Anointed,
Son of Man, and Son of God.

Here we have a firm foundation,
Here the refuge of the lost.
Christ the Rock of our salvation,
Christ the Name of which we boast.
Lamb of God for sinners wounded!
Sacrifice to cancel guilt!
None shall ever be confounded
Who on Him their hope have built

Thomas Kelly, 1804

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Lord's Day - Henry Scudder

Put a difference between this and the other six days, even as you put a difference between the bread and wine in the sacrament, and that which is for common use. And that because it is set apart for Holy use, by divine institution. For as the seventh day, from the beginning of the creation, until the day of Christ’s blessed resurrection; so our Lord’s day which is the day of the resurrection, is by divine institution moral.

Now it appears, that it was the will of our Lord and Savior Christ, that we should, since his resurrection, keep for our Sabbath that first day of the week; forasmuch as he arose on that day, (John 20:1-19), and appeared divers times on this our Lord’s day to his disciples before his ascension; and did on this day, being the day of Pentecost, (Acts 2:1-4), fill his disciples with the gifts of the Holy Ghost, then being assembled together; all which gives a pre-eminence to this day, and a probability to the point.

But inasmuch as the apostles, (1 Cor. 11:1) who followed Christ, and delivered nothing but what they received from Christ, (1 Cor. 11:23 and 14:37), did observe this day as the Sabbath, (1 Cor. 16:1-2); what can this argue but a divine institution of this day? The apostle Paul might have chosen any other day, for the people to assemble to hear the word, and receive the sacrament: but they assembled to receive the sacrament, and to hear the word, upon the first day of the week, which is our Lord’s day, (Acts 20:6-7). Now the approved practice of the apostles, and of the church with them, recorded in Scripture, carries with it the force of a precept.

Moreover, the Spirit of God honors this day with the title of the Lord’s day, (Rev. 1:10) as he does the communion Supper of the Lord, (1 Cor. 10:21 and 21:20). What does this argue but as they both have reference to Christ, so they are both appointed by Christ.

Henry Scudder – The Christian’s Daily Walk

Thursday, March 02, 2006

On Vicarious Atonement - David Wells

"The moral law is simply the reflection of the character of God, and when God acts to address the outcomes to the broken moral law, he addresses these himself, himself taking the burden of his own wrath, himself absorbing in the person of Christ the judgement his righteous character cannot but demand, himself providing what no sinner can give, himself absorbing the punishment which no sinner could bear and remain in his presence. Christ gave himself "for our sins" (Gal. 1:4; I Cor. 15:3), he "bore our sins" (I Pet. 2:24). He was "put to death for our trespasses" (Rom. 4:25), he "bore our sins in his body" (I Pet. 2:24), He is the propitiation "for our sins" (I Jn. 2:2; 4:10) as God’s wrath is turned away from its proper objects and directed upon Christ so we are "now Justified by his blood" (Rom 5:9)."

-David Wells-

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

More Faith in Christ - Spurgeon

“Not every Christian is always happy. Perhaps the King of Saints gave you a season of great joy at first because you were a raw recruit and he would not put you into the roughest part of the battle when you had first enlisted. You were a tender plant, and he nursed you in the hot-house till you could stand severe weather. You were a young child, and therefore he wrapped you in furs and clothed you in the softest mantle. But now you have become strong and the case is different. Capuan holidays do not suit Roman soldiers; and they would not agree with Christians. We need clouds and darkness to exercise our faith, to cut off self dependence, and make us put more faith in Christ, and less in evidence, less in experience, less in frames and feelings. The best of God's children—I repeat it again for the comfort of those who are suffering depression of spirits—have their nights.”

-Charles Spurgeon-

There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood - Cowper

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.
Be saved, to sin no more, be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.
Lies silent in the grave, lies silent in the grave;
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.

Lord, I believe Thou hast prepared, unworthy though I be,
For me a blood bought free reward, a golden harp for me!
’Tis strung and tuned for endless years, and formed by power divine,
To sound in God the Father’s ears no other name but Thine.

-William Cowper-